Grandma in a Tree - Wordless Wednesday

(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) I have no idea what the heck is going on here.  Do any of you have photos of your grandmother in a tree?  My grandmother, Antonina (Bulak) Szerejko, is the young woman in the middle sitting in the crook of the tree.  Her sister, Helen Bulak, is the young woman standing on the ground.  I'm not sure exactly, but I think my grandmother's cousin, Sophie (Kowalewski) Konopka, is the girl standing in the tree at the top of the picture.  I'd love to know the back-story on this picture...

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Chopin Rising

Leokadia (Szymanska) Szerejko and Helen Bulak
(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette; Photograph of the Chopin Statue is in the public domain.) My grandmother's sister, Helen Bulak, visited Poland during the summer of 1937, two short years before the beginning of World War II. While she was there she spent several weeks in Warsaw visiting with my grandfather's brother Feliks Szerejko and his family.

The photo above was taken on Sunday July 4, 1937 in front of the statue of composer Frédéric Chopin in Lazienki Park. The art nouveau style statue was designed by Wacław Szymanowski and occupies a prominent spot in the largest park in Warsaw. Like much of current day Warsaw the statue in the contemporary photograph below is a replica.

The original statue was destroyed on May 31, 1940, blown up by the occupying German forces. The Germans salvaged the resulting scrap and transported it to a German steel mill to be melted and used for the war effort.  After the war a new statue was cast from the original mold and placed at the same site in Lazienki Park.

File:Chopin, Statue in Warsaw. 2005.jpg

Like the statue of Chopin, Feliks and his wife Leokadia, were casualties of World War II. When I look at this photograph I can't help but think to myself, what if? What if life was different for Feliks and Leokadia and for the millions of other people just like them?

While a statue doesn't live or breath, it can serve as symbol for what was and is no more.  Bronze can be recast.  Chopin's statue was given a second chance at life, and like the phoenix it rises from the ashes to begin life anew. 

* Special thanks to Denise Levenick for posting a link to this post from her blog, the Family Curator, for the "Past is Present: Genealogy Photo Challenge for World Photography Day."

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The Rope Pull - Wordless Wednesday

(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) My guess is this was taken at a church picnic in the late 1910s.  My grandmother, Antonina (Bulak) Szerejko, is the girl in the middle on the right side.  Her sister, Helen Bulak, is the girl to the far left on the left-hand side.  I wonder who won...

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Feeding the Chickens

(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia ShenetteThis photo of my grandmother, Antonina (Bulak) Szerejko, was probably taken in the late 1910s.  I love the dichotomy between my grandmother's outfit and the task at hand.  I know I always wear my white dress, white shoes, and pearls when I go out to feed the chickens.  Don't you?

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