Indulge in Poland
Name: Courtney Crisp
Job: Guidance Counselor/Clinical Psych Master’s Student
Current City: Newport Beach, California
Where did you travel? Krakow, Poland
A rough sketch of my family tree. I went to the mountains of Southern Poland to try and find where my family was from. Along with these names, I had a few old pictures, the name of the town, and very general memories from my uncle when he had been with my grandma in 1991.
Walking to the house with our Polish guide and friend, Mateusz. This journey was meaningful because it was the house my great-grandma was born in. My great-grandma (and my grandma) had always wanted to come back/visit Poland, but couldn’t because of the wars and subsequent Iron Curtain. A lot of her family died in World War II (shot by Nazis, Auschwitz). I have a picture just like this one but of my grandma walking up the same path.
Poland has what I like to call “Catholic kitsch” everywhere. Here is a shrine of Mary right by their house.
My great-grandma and her family used to walk the long way to church and take breaks at all of the shrines.
My grandma’s cousin, who was hanging out and chopping wood outside. I didn’t expect the house or my family to be from such a rural area. Mateusz told us their mountain accents were so thick he could barely understand them. It really struck me later that Aleksander (my grandma’s cousin), has lived through and seen so much (World War II, according to family folklore Nazis killing his father and brothers, Communism coming and going). And despite it, he’s outlived my grandma’s entire generation in America. Maybe it’s the mountain air.
“It’s always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you’re going.” – Anthony Burgess