Is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? I was so gung ho to be setting up a new blog and a new learning experience that I completely overlooked an aspect of my history. It came back to me with a vengeance when my Uncle Jakub died. 15 years younger than my Dad, the two had never met until Dad returned to Poland at the age of 79. Estranged from his country by the events of World War II, it took 64 years before Dad could be reunited with his family.
Emotional doesn’t do it justice. One of the remarkable things was that Jakub and Dad were like kindred spirits. Both loved to puff away at the demon nicotine, a ‘piwo’ to hand, but more importantly a set of dominos and the book in which Jakub meticulously kept score. Occasionally I joined them, and was gently chided when I laid the dominos in a pattern deemed incorrect. Despite my protestations, my dominos were relegated to their ‘proper’ place and I rarely won. Simple, happy times! I almost didn’t need language, which was just as well. After Dad died I returned to Poland one more time. We communicated in hugs, and dominos.
In August Jakub died, suddenly, of a heart attack. Messages reached me simultaneously from different family members. And then, a few weeks later, a grandson contacted me. He was overwhelmed by Dad’s story, and wanted to collect data to piece everything together. Could I help? He referred to a TV news item that featured Dad’s return to Poland. I had a CD of the event. I played it again, and it made me cry. Dad’s Teesside accent, acquired over many years, and the very warmth of the man.
I was winding up Restlessjo. An interval in my life which I had thoroughly enjoyed, but felt I had outgrown. What I had overlooked was the Polish connection. When Jakub’s grandson was searching the ‘Net he found Exploring the Polish Connection, and it brought him here to me. Just this week I realised that I had jettisoned my whole Polish saga with the old blog. That can’t be right, can it?