It has been quite a while since I last posted. Research into my family tree and that of friends has continued but there is something about the Holidays and the many memories shared with my family which is helping me to get back to writing.
Love of family and love of Holidays seem to go hand in hand. The memories help carry us through times, both good and bad. As an only child, my cousins were surrogate siblings in my heart. We share many fond memories of growing up in the Chicago area. I was born in raised in what is called the “Little Warsaw” area of Chicago. It was in the northwestern area of the city, consisting of Bucktown, Logan Square, Albany Park and many other surrounding neighborhoods.
My immigrant ancestors originally settled in the Bucktown area which received its name from the goats owned by the Polish families of the neighborhood (a male goat is called a buck). It is the descendants of these immigrants, my aunts, uncles, cousins and me who moved our families to other areas but the “Little Warsaw” area remains predominately Polish. As late as 1994, when I attended my Aunt and Uncle Mitchell Wegrzyn’s 50th Anniversary, some store clerk only spoke Polish. I remember shopping in a local delicatessen (wędlinę which stands for meat in Polish) and the cashier having to call all around the store to find someone to translate the cost of my purchase from Polish to English. Alas, I never learned my ancestors mother tongue, a regret I have to this day.
My paternal grandparents died well before my parents married. My maternal grandfather died when I was 5 years old. I still remember his joy and excitement when the Holidays approached. I will carry his love for family and Holidays in my heart forever. My maternal grandmother died when I was 26. When this happened our families no longer celebrated the Holidays together, but the memories will always be with all my cousins and with me.
|Szostek & Kolodzinski Family Gathering|
This Holiday Season, along with creating new memories be sure to share family memories of days past. Treasure the stories of those in your family who have enjoyed more Holiday memories than you have. Write down or record (with their permission, of course) the stories for those too young or not yet born. In this way their love will never be forgotten. Don’t forget to share your memories, too, you are an important part of the Holidays!