A long-lost Polish relative found me via a google search and contacted me in a letter I posted here. My family and I have been talking with this Polish relative ever since. Today, my father sent me this e-mail that he (my father) had sent the this longlost relative today. I think it's pretty fascinating, so I decided to post it here.
My mother and father, I and H, came to America in 1951, along with my brother (actually my half brother) K. My mother's first husband died in the war.
They moved to Detroit, Michigan when they arrived. They lived there for several years before moving to a suburb of Detroit, Redford Township. My mother worked as a waitress for a short time, then became a hair stylist at a beauty salon and also worked in a department store.
My father worked in several factories in Detroit before becoming a licensed barber and having his own shop. His first shop was in Detroit, then in the suburbs.
My parents had many friends here in Michigan, mainly other families who also immigrated from Poland to America. Since I certainly can't relate everything from the last 50 years to you, let me tell you just one story my family will always remember. Mom and Dad were good friends with a LB and his wife. Dad and he were both Prisoners of War, were in the same camp together, and had escaped together. They were friends there in Poland, and also here in Michigan throughout their lives. When my father died on January 26, 1991 of a stroke, many friends attended the funeral, including LB. When the time came LB got up and walked to his casket. He took a plastic baggie from inside his wallet and poured the contents into my dads casket. It was dirt from "the homeland, Poland". Both he and my dad had promised each other that whover died first, the other would bury them with some soil from the homeland, Poland. I must say, it was a very emotional moment, and a fitting end to my fathers life.
This has become a long e-mail, hasn't it?
I was born May 22, 1952. I married my wife L in 1976. L is a Nurse at a local Doctors office here in South Haven. We have 2 children. My daughter H is completing college in Grand Rapids (60 miles away). She is 25 years old. My son, M, is 28. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, about 700 miles away. He is a high school teacher there.
I retired from the Michigan State Police in 2003. After several months off (and getting quite bored), I now work as a police officer part-time, in the county that I live in.
My mother, I, has been in an assisted living home, and now nursing home, in Detroit since 2000. She has alzheimers disease, and remembers very little. My older brother, K, lives just north of Detroit with his wife. He works for Ford Motor Company, and since he lives the closest he visits our mother more often than H, Jr. or I. H, Jr. lives with his wife in Flint, about 60 miles from Detroit. H, Jr. recently retired from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Well, this is probably the longest e-mail that I have ever written. I hope it is informative to you. I'm still working on the DVD to send you.
Back to me now... I remember the moment when "LB" put the dirt from Poland on my grandfather's coffin. I remember it a little differently than my dad does; I remember it in a little baggie, and "LB" taping it to the coffin. He spoke in Polish, sputtering out the words in between sobs. It was one of the saddest things I've ever witnessed.
This is my paternal grandma and grandpa with me, circa early 1978:
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