8951Re: [S-R] Your expert opinions needed
- Jan 9, 2004Vladimir,
You are up at 4:00am!!!!!! You are earlybird. Yes, terrorism is sad. Lost
opportunities will be the result if we let terrorism control us.
Regarding "cold meeting" people in other countries, when I went to south of
Poland in 2000, I had a car rental and was driving around in the village of my
grandfather looking for "lost relatives". (You could not get any more "lost"
than I was.)
I asked people about the family, and, of course since I was pronouncing my
family surname "wrong".. no one knew what I was talking about. Then I wrote
the name on a piece of paper and got the response "aha". They knew of the
family. So, they pointed which way to go and off I went. Soon I found myself at
the elementary school (actually the one and only school) and parked the car
outside the gate. Withing five minutes, the teachers and students were looking
out the window. A minute or two after that, the head teacher came out and
wanted to know what I was doing there. I thought that they were suspicious of
me. Maybe they were. Rightly so. I explained myself (Lord only knows how, did
not speak any Polish at that point) and soon a girl of about 18 came out and
opened the passenger door and just got in. she pointed ahead and said
"prosto" and straight ahead we went. I was amazed. this was it. "prosto". No
questions and no time for suspicion.
We drove a few miles through some of the most beautiful farmland and hills.
The perimeter of this village was a thick forest. In the background to the
south, always the Tatra mountains. It was late April and the land was coming
How beautiful. I started asking myself "why would anyone leave this place"
but soon reminded myself of the poverty in the 1900 timeframe.
To make a long story short, we soon were going from house to house, people
were getting in and out of my car and pointing "prosto". (straight ahead) I was
nervous and maybe they were also. But this was why I came and I decided that
one way or the other I would find the cemetary of my ancesters. Either as a
visitor or as one of the newest additions. This was my one chance to find
family. And these people were willing to help.
The 18 year old girl turned out to be the daughter of the head teacher of the
school. The people who got in and out of the car and gave so freely of
their time soon turned into friends that I correspond with to this day and value
their generosity. The teacher and her daughter are friends to this day also.
Their kindness eventually led me to find my second cousin. His grandfather
and my grandfather were brothers. The wonderful connection!! Unfortunately,
the connection was made 15 minutes after I left the village was heading back
to Krakow to catch a plane to go back to New York. So I did not actually meet
my cousin Ryzard in person, but I did meet his Dad, my cousin Wojchiech, who
was in his kitchen and just held out his blessed 84 year old arms and said
"Witam Kuzyna". Welcome cousin. He knew the connection already long before I
We write to each other, my cousin's children are learning English at school.
Eleanor, this is why I recommend that you 'trust your gut feelings" my gut
feelings let me trust some of the best people I ever met. However, elsewhere
on this trip in 2000, my gut feeling told me to turn around and leave the area
as soon as possible. I did .
I wish you the best of luck and the happiest of travels. You may be starting
one of the best friendships with Ladislaw. By the way, in the 1998 telephone
book, there is a Cobirka in the city of Poprad also.
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