Amanuensis Monday: Where My Doll Came From

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Thanks to John Newmark at
Transylvanian Dutch for providing the idea for Amanuensis Monday.

Last week for Wordless Wednesday I posted a
photo of me and a doll in a Polish costume. I got the doll when I was very little. I knew it came from someone in Poland, but I never knew who. When I cleaned out my mother's house a few years ago, I found a couple of boxes of old letters from Poland. I don't read Polish, but I saved the letters hoping I could find someone to help me translate them some day. Back in January, my cousin Marek and I "found" each other through online genealogy channels. Marek's grandfather and my grandfather were brothers. He has kindly been translating the box of letters for me over the last year. The letter below is one of the letters he translated last spring.

Dear Antosia,

I received the letter and aspirin and money from you but I couldn't respond right away. I was sick since first day of Christmas. I spent all that time in bed. And that was the reason I didn't even write a few words. I'm still not feeling well but well enough so I can hold a pen and write now. I'm really happy that you got the package from us and wasn't damaged. I was worrying that maybe we didn't pack properly and that the doll may break. I wanted so much for you to receive that doll undamaged and that's happened and I'm very happy. I'm so happy that the youngest American girl, little Cendusia, will have a toy from Poland. I'm sure you have over there in America dolls and maybe even nicer. This doll is from Poland where little Cendusia's grandpa and grandma coming from. Dear Antosia, than you for money and aspirin and more important remembering about us. I'm moved with your cordiality. Thanks again.

I'm sending warm wishes, much health and all the best in everyday life. The wishes are for Mrs. Helena and for you dear Antosia and all your family. And for little Cendusia lots of kisses from old great-uncle.

Heniek, Rozia and family

My doll was sent from my grandfather's brother Henryk Szerejko and his wife Rozalia who lived in Warsaw. I don't have the doll any longer, but I do still have a few pieces of her clothing. I hope someday to find another doll about the same size, repair the clothing I have, and try to create a similar look.

Special Thanks To: My cousin Marek for translating the Polish to English

Other Posts You Might Like:

Where They Lived: Every Address Tells a Story
Wordless Wednesday: Warsaw Wedding
The Stories My Grandmother Told Me
(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Polka Time!


Nolichucky Roots said...

You're a lucky woman, Cendusia, to have these letters and to have found your cousin Marek. Thanks so for sharing this one.

I remember my aunt and grandmother speaking of the packages they sent back to Czechoslovakia full of aspirin, antacids and clothing. My cousins there remember receiving them, as well.

Dorene from Ohio said...

So wonderful that you have this letter as well as the translation.
A wonderful story!!!

Greta Koehl said...

A double, no, triple treasure: the doll, the letters, and especially the cousin.

Nancy said...

It's wonderful that you have the letter and a photograph and that you found a relative to translate the letters. You look just the same when you were little as you do now.! Amazing! I hope you'll be able to find another doll like that one. It was so very kind of them to send such a large doll.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Thank you ladies for all your nice comments.

Susan - You are so right. I am lucky on all counts. Marek's translated a number of letters for me over the last year. Many of them dating just after WWII. My family was sending all these ordinary, day to day items we take for granted. We are lucky we live where and when we do.

Dorene and Greta - You are both right. The letters are great, but it's been especially nice being in touch with Marek!

Nancy - What a good point! Your remark on the size of the doll that is. Given what things probably cost in Soviet occupied Poland, the doll was probably a pretty extravagant gift.