It's Cheaper Than Therapy, Or My Garden 2011 - Wordless Wednesday

My Annual and Veggie Garden

(Original Images and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)  One of the reasons I didn't blog much over the summer was that I was busy pulling weeds.  Does anyone have a really good recipe for salsa using cherry tomatoes and jalapeno peppers, by the way?


More Zinnias

Marigolds, and Too Many Cherry/Grape Tomatoes...

Morning Glory


My Veggie and Annual Garden (Again)

Hydrangeas and Marguerites



Peonies, Iris, and Hosta

Mock Orange

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The Mystery Brides Are Back, A New Season Begins - Mystery Monday

(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)  After taking a bit of a hiatus over the summer I am returning to my regularly scheduled programming of posting photos of mystery brides from my collection for the Geneabloggers theme of Mystery Monday.  It's a new season, and I have a whole new batch of brides in store.

To recap last season (I feel like I'm doing reality TV here, by the way.) I presented a group of ten mystery brides between June 2010 and June 2011.  The photos are so lovely I hate for them to be buried in a box at the bottom of my collection somewhere.  I'd hoped someone would by chance be able to identify one or more of the brides on my blog.  Well it finally happened!  The grand-daughter of one of my couples contacted me to identify her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter (Sophie) Shenkowski.  The excitement in finally identifying one of my brides was tremendous! A geneablogger's version of "sweeps week" in television!

I invite you to review Season One (This is kind of like watching reruns, but it will help new followers/readers catch up with what has happened thus far.):

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Here Come the (Mystery) Brides
Mystery Monday: Here Come the (Mystery) Brides, Again
Mystery Monday: Another Polish Wedding
Mystery Monday: Yet Another Polish Wedding...
The Mystery Brides Return - Mystery Monday
Mystery Wedding #9 - Mystery Monday
Send Up A Flare, Mystery Bride Identified! - Mystery Monday
Always a Bridesmaid - Mystery Monday 

This week I present another photo from my collection.  What do I know about this photo?  My best guess is the bride and groom, as well as their attendants, were members of the Polish community in Worcester, MA.  The wedding probably took place at Our Lady of Czestochowa (also known as St. Mary's), also in Worcester, MA.  I don't know for certain, but my guess is the wedding took place sometime in the late 1910s or 1920s, given the style of the ladies' dresses.  The embossed imprint on the card that the photo is mounted on identifies the photographer as DeDuke, 411 Main St., Worcester, Mass.  The next time I get down to the Worcester Public Library I'll look through the city directories to see when DeDuke photographers was in business at that location and report back.

If you are able to identify this couple or any of the brides/wedding couples in my collection I'd love to hear from you.  At the very least, stay tuned for another exciting season of - The Mystery Brides!  Become a follower!  Tell your friends!  I promise you a season filled with lovely couples, refined taste, and classic beauty!  And (thank goodness) not a bridezilla in sight!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

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Memories of the M/S Pilsudski? An Author Wants YOU!

Helen Bulak, M/S Pilsudski, 1937
(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) Last spring I was contacted by Gzregorz Rogowski from Poland who is doing research on the M/S Pilsudski and her sister ship the M/S Batory.  He is writing a history of the two ships which is scheduled to be published by a major publisher in Poland in 2013.  Greg asked if he might use the images and memorabilia I have posted on my blog, as well as additional material in my collection from my aunt Helen Bulak's 1937 trip to Poland.

The Pilsudski and the Batory were owned by the Gdynia-America Line and traveled back and forth on a regular schedule between Gdynia, Poland and New York City between their launch in 1935 and the beginning of World War II.  On November 26, 1939 the M/S Pilsudski was sunk by a German U-Boat off the coast of Yorkshire, England after it was commandeered by the British for military use.  The Batory survived the war and again served as a passenger liner  after the war.

Greg is looking to interview anyone who has stories about traveling or working on the Pilsudski or the Batory or has or had family or friends who traveled or worked on either of the ships.  Over the last  few months I have had a couple of people contact me to either tell me about their ancestor's experiences on one of the ships or to ask for Greg's e-mail address.  Unfortunately both Greg and I have been away for the summer which has led to a delay in my posting his contact information.  I also wanted to get his permission before I posted his e-mail address on my blog.  I apologize for the delay to those who have been waiting to hear from me regarding his e-mail address.

If you are interesting in talking to Greg about your family's experiences on the Pilsudski or the Batory, please contact him at rogas86 at (I have not used the @ symbol in an attempt to avoid spam bots).  I am sure he would be happy to hear from you.  Greg has agreed to let me interview him about his project and post the interview on my blog sometime in the next month or two, so stay tuned!

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Happy Labor Day!

My grandfather, Adolf Szerejko, at work sometime in the 1950s.
(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)

Happy Labor Day everyone! Enjoy your day off, and get some rest!

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Going Home: Our Lady of Czestochowa, Worcester, MA

File:Ourladyofczestochowa worcester.jpg
Our Lady of Czestochowa, Worcester, MA
(Original Images and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette; Image of Our Lady of Czestochowa is in the public domain.)

My family has maintained a connection to Our Lady of Czestochowa parish, in Worcester, MA for over 100 years . My grandmother was four years old when she and her sister and her parents moved to Worcester in 1900. When my grandmother's family arrived in Worcester there was no Polish church for people of Polish descent to be baptized in or married in.  By 1901 there were approximately 150 Polish families in Worcester who attended church at other Catholic churches in the city.  The closest Polish church was in the south county town of Webster which was a long way for a family to travel to hear a sermon said in their native language. For a time Poles and Lithuanians shared space at St. Casimir's Church in Worcester where Mass was said in Polish at 9:00 and in Lithuanian at 10:00 on Sunday mornings.  Despite these accommodations turn-of-the-twentieth-century Worcester Poles longed to have a church of their own.

Plans were made, and a fundraising campaign for a Polish church began in 1900.  The campaign involved raising money by canvassing house to house, fairs, picnics, and amateur theatricals. On May 8, 1902 church founders met at the Hotel Vernon in Worcester to sign papers and elect officers for what was to become Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as St. Mary's.   Land on Richland St. in Worcester was purchased in 1901, and the Polish community's first resident priest, the Rev. Jan Z. Moneta arrived in 1903.  Construction began on the church and rectory in 1905 and was completed in 1906.  Parishioners joined their new pastor in celebrating the Polish community's first Mass in their new home on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, 1906. 

Msgr. Boleslaw Bojanowski

By 1914 the church's fourth and longest serving pastor, Msgr. Boleslaw Bojanowski established an organized program of religious education and began a fund drive for what was to become St. Mary's School.  The school opened in September of 1915, and the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth were engaged to instruct the students.  St. Mary's School expanded in 1919 with an enrollment of about 1,400 students.  In September of 1936 the high school division began, with the first class graduating in 1940.

Sunday Church Picnic, late 1910s

While St. Mary's was the center of the Polish community's religious life, it was also the center of their social, musical, dramatic, cultural and political life.  My family participated in a variety of social activities, service projects and amateur theatricals.  During World War I my grandmother and her sister participated in a service effort by the Red Cross. Both my grandparents were involved in amateur theatricals, and my grandmother was a member and well regarded soloist with the St. Cecilia Choir. Our Lady of Czestochowa was and still is a vital community.  Masses are still celebrated in English and Polish every Sunday. 

My Grandparents on Their Wedding Day

The last time I was at St. Mary's was for my mother's funeral in 2008, and I haven't been able to bring myself back there since.  I figure I just need some time. My grandparents were married there. My mother and her siblings were baptized, received communion, and were confirmed there.  My parents were married there.  And even though my family moved out of the largely Polish Vernon Hill neighborhood two decades before I was born, I was still baptized there.  It was important for the family to stay connected with the church community that was so meaningful to them for so many years.  I know I will visit St. Mary's again, and when I do it will probably be with my son.  I want him to know where he came from.  It will kind of be like going home.  For both of us.

Submitted for the 109th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.


~ "Church Plans First Sermon in English." Worcester Telegram. 3 Jan 1954.
~ "City Parish Observes 75th Anniversary." Worcester Gazette. 13 Oct 1978.
~ McGrail, Rev. Richard. "Sketches Sketches." Catholic Free Press. 4 March 1983.
~ Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish (Worcester, Mass.).  Our Lady of Czestochowa, Worcester, Massachusetts. So. Hackensack, N.J.: Cutombook, 1979.
~ "Polish Parish Has A Big Week" Worcester Sunday Telegram. 22 Oct 1978.
~ Proko, Barbara et al. The Polish Community of Worcester. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2003.
~ "St. Mary's Notes Golden Anniversary. Worcester Telegram. 8 Nov 1953.

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