Trip to Poland: July 15, 1937 - Letter to Family in America

(Copyright (c) 2017 Cynthia Shenette)  This letter was written to my grandfather, Adolf Szerejko in Worcester, Massachusetts, from his brother Feliks Szerejko in Warsaw, Poland, about my Aunt Helen Bulak's trip to Poland.  Just to refresh your memory or if you haven't read from the beginning, Aunt Helen was my grandmother, Antonina (Bulak) Szerejko's, sister.  She traveled around Poland, between June and September 1937 and visited my grandfather's family in Warsaw at various points during her trip. 

Major thanks to my cousin Marek for his translation from the Polish.

Feliks writes...

15 July 1937

Dear Adolf,

In the last letter, you send us picture of Mrs. Helena.  We didn't have a problem to recognize Antosia's sister.  We have a small picture of Mrs. Helena sitting beside the piano in the room.

We were waiting impatient for day when she arrive.

On June 24 Mrs. Helena and Mrs. Pomianowska finally visited us.

On June 26 we went to train station in Warsaw to pickup Mrs. Helena when she would stay with us longer.  She lived with us for two weeks after that she went to visit her uncle.  She suppose to come spend time with us again.  After the first day we felt like we know each other for years.  As you know it's hard sometimes to get use to somebody new or even like that person.  But Mrs. Helena was very easy to get use to and to like.  Thanks to Mrs. Helena's visit we feel like you were here with kids, and it feels like we saw each other just yesterday.  Most of the day we spent talking about you and your kids. We were asking about Olek [my grandfather and Feliks' brother Alexander Szarejko, from Buffalo, NY], about life in America and general how you live and how you do.  Now we know everything.  We know you have beautiful six room house. Here, big house like that, can only afford somebody very rich.  We know that Antosia has many amenities like electric washing machine.  We know that she is very good housekeeper and you can't afford housekeeper because is very expensive. Here to get help doesn't cost much.  We know Adolf like to go fishing and he has a partner [his son, Robert?].  Big family needs lots of fish for supper so he needs help with fishing.  We know, Adolf, when you coming from work for dinner you going first to your garden to look at your flowers, which you both love a lot. Don't spend all your love on flowers only but also on each other.  You both deserve it.  We know, that one time when you were listening to boxing match you doze off and had to ask Antosia for results. That happen sometimes.  We know that during summer every Sunday you driving in your car to Antosia's father [in Oxford, MA] where you picking up mushrooms, blueberries, raspberries.

We also know that you drive to work. Here in Poland if any blue collar own a car he would be first to get laid off. We would be considered to be rich and should vacate his place at work for somebody who needs it more.  But things slowly are changing.  The government is trying to promote auto industry.  They constructing better, smoother roads outside cities.  In the cities more and more roads have asphalt surface.

A lot has improved but still more factories should be open.

We also know that you all the time thinking how to improve things at home and at work, for which you received raise. We know you are happy about it. We are also happy for you.  Now is going to be easier for you for you to pay off your house,

Now, Antosiu, I have some complaints.  Mrs. Helena is very picky.  She doesn't eat much even though she likes our food.  In our opinion if you like the food you eat a lot.  She eats only a few small potatoes and small piece of meat for dinner.  When we are eating we are filling up our plates until we are full.  She drinks tea and coffee without sugar because she doesn't want to gain weight but she loves sweets.  She lost a few pounds during trip and she is very happy about it. We want here in Poland to show our visitors things which are worthy to see and feed them well.  We don't want anybody to lose weight during visit here.  The only weight may lose their wallets, when they spend their money here, which is good for our economy.  My other complaint about Mrs. Helena, she gave boys two dollars each and my wife a gift, powder box.  I received from her pen which I'm using now to write this letter.  We also got some other small gifts.  All those gifts she bought with help from Antosia.  We thought Mrs. Helena is buying those gifts to take to America.  Then one evening, surprise, many nice, small gift boxes for us.  Now you know how intolerable she is.

Is she the same at home?

I know it is not nice to complain about somebody but this time I had to.

During those two weeks, Mrs. Helena was here, we visited whole family.  We visited Celina [Gzell, my granfather's niece and Feliks' daughter], Henryk [Szerejko, my grandfather's brother], and aunt Julia [Bielska].  What impressions that visit made on Mrs. Helena, she will tell you when she come back home.  I guess you will spend many evenings talking about Poland, our life.  We try to show Mrs. Helena how we live on regular basis so you would also know that.

Henryk, when he found out that somebody is coming visit from America, he thought that you were coming.  I told him Mrs. Helena will visit us but he thought I was lying to surprise him.

One week passes already when Mrs. Helena took a train to visit her uncle.  We asked her to let us know how her trip went as soon as she get there.  But so far there is no news.  We hope she gets there without problems.  There are many bad people around.  They always try to rob travelers.  We warned Mrs Helena but she said that you also warned her about it.   I guess she may be busy and doesn't have time to write yet.

You are probablay surprised why I'm using different paper to write letter.  I started yesterday and ran out of paper so now I'm using different pages.

I'm sitting on balcony and continue to write.  Yesterday was very sunny, today there is not much sun and there is no wind.  It's nice and quiet.  I'm home alone now.  Ladies went to visit sister, boys went to our friends in Michalin.  One of them will stay there a week or two, other is coming back tonight. This  year unfortunately I wasn't able to send my kids for whole summer to the country.  Thanks to that I'm alone now I can finish that letter.  You know when are people around there are many distractions.  Kids are asking questions, trying to catch flies which are sitting on my head or they play the piano or listening to the radio, wife wants a kiss, housekeeper wants to dress table for dinner or supper.  To write a letter you need peace and quiet.  It's hard to do anything in this racket.  We, men, have to be very patient and make everybody happy.  So when we have a moment for ourselves we have to use it.  Adolf, tell me that you're agreeing with me.  Being alone is also not good.  Women, can't live without them.  Let our lovely wives live for long, let all women live for long but only good ones of course.

I wonder what Antosia will say about my letter.  Let me know if she say anything and what she thinks.

I have to finish.  I would write more but housekeeper prepared supper already.

We are sending you all greetings and kisses.

To be continued.

Leokadia and Feliks

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