Archive for the ‘Kathy’s Tour’ Category

Wigilia with my great-grandmother

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

(The story was sent by email to Tad Wysocki and Zenon. Kathy plans to arrive in Poland in 2013 and she agreed to publish her earliest childhood memories as an introduction to her travel blog.)

Tekla came to the US around 1909. She was still alive when I was a little girl, and I actually met her once. I thought you might like to know a little more about what happened to Tekla after she emigrated, especially since it involves a Christmas story.

After her arrival here, Tekla continued to live a life of many joys and sorrows. Teklas’ husband Jan came first and worked as a smelter and goldsmith in Newark, New Jersey, a small industrial city. Within two years he was able to pay for the passage of his wife and three children who each arrived with $25 in their pocket, the equivalent of over $500 today. Jan and Tekla had one more ‘American’ child after they reunited, a daughter Irene.. However, they lost their 17 year old son Waclaw to pneumonia, probably at the start of the Great Flu Pandemic. The two older daughters, Bronislawa and Eleanora married and started families of their own. Jan died sometime in the 1920s from lung problems related to his work. Their lives were centered around St. Casimir’s, an important Polish American parish in Newark.