Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Easter Workshop at the Pilsudski Institute and Our Favorite Things

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Easter Workshop at the Pilsudski Institute 

On March 24, at 3 p.m. the Pilsudski Institute of America invites all children with parents to an Easter Art Workshop dedicated to making Easter Palms.  Under the guidance of Jola Szczepkowska the workshop's participants will make their own, traditional Easter Palms used in liturgy on Palm Sunday (a week before Easter), and as Easter decorations at home.   Registration: 212-505-9077 or office@pilsudski.org. The institute is located at: 138 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn NY 11222.

These hand-made Easter Palms may become, in time, cherished objects that are associated with fond memories of family, childhood, togetherness, celebration... in other words, Objects that Speak.

Objects that Speak

The Polish American Historical Association has designated a portion of its website to documenting Polish American experience through objects brought by immigrants from Poland and cherished by their descendants.  Moderated by Prof. Anna Muller, this section includes already several such objects - photographs accompanied by stories - and we are always looking for more. In the site's introduction, Prof. Muller writes:

Old furniture, books, dolls, pottery, so much old stuff… all these various objects encircle us and take up crucial living space. Do they add anything to our lives? We often treat them as an addition to our lives, as a sign of prestige and possession. They tell the story of who we are, the hobbies we have, sometimes the fear or ambition that consume us. Perhaps they simply pollute the space around un with unnecessary memories of various moments we experienced, people we used to know, journeys we took or only dreamt of taking, things that symbolize fulfilled or unfulfilled potential or dreams. They do participate in our lives, they are elements of material culture, they help sustain our social lives, but do they perhaps also live separate lives from us?

Here are some pictures and stories gathered so far.  To submit your idea please contact
Prof. Muller (anmuller@umich.edu), or
PAHA Executive Director, Dr. Pien Versteegh (pien.v@polishamericanstudies.org), or
PAHA Communications Director, Dr. Maja Trochimczyk (maja@polishamericanstudies.org).

SEWING MACHINE AND SHEEP WITH PYSANKY
Theresa Veltri (with the help of Anna Muller and Talylorann Lenze)

A Singer sewing machine may have been a staple of many 1900s women’s households, but for Janina Andrzejczak, it was also a way to maintain and pass on culture. “My mom used to make all of our Polish dance costumes,” the Janina’s daughter, Theresa Veltri remembers. “Three of the four of us kids used to take Polish dance lessons every Saturday, ending the year each May with a dance recital.  We were even in the Hamtramck Parade one year with our Polish costumes.” [...]

The clothing wasn’t Janina’s only effort to pass on her Polish culture to her children. “My mom… was also a fantastic cook always making traditional Polish food like pierogi, gołąbki, soups, and other foods…. She would always cook lamb for Easter,” Veltri notes. [...] Around Easter, Veltri remembers always seeing an Easter lamb statuette surrounded with pysanky. She and her siblings didn’t paint the colorful eggs themselves but were aware that the delicate art came from Poland.
To read more, visit PAHA Website.

STORY OF THE MORTAR AND PESTLE
Czesław Blechinger (with the help of Anna Muller and Talylorann Lenze)

During World War II, young Czeslaw Blechinger and his family were brought to Germany as forced laborers. They departed from Otynia Poland, a town south of Lwow, with only essentials and a decoratively wrought mortar and pestle.  The two brass pieces were intended to prove Blechinger's father’s technical craftsmanship competence, so they were not used on a daily basis. Blechinger explains that his father had “worked in the shop area, where railroad cars were maintained. A foundry was also in the shop, that’s where the mortar and pestle were made.”

When WWII ended, the mortar and pestle came with the Blechinger family to the displaced persons (DP) camp, called Bergen-Belsen. It was a former Nazi concentration camp where thousands of prisoners died including Margo and Anne Frank. ... To read more, visit the PAHA Website.


THE WEDDING RING
Karen Walczyk Prescott

The 10K gold ring inlaid with rubies and pearls has the initial J inscribed on it. It traveled from Przasnysz, Poland in 1908 to the United States, shortly after my grandmother, Henryka Kolakowska Bulawa was born. Originally the ring had belonged to her great-grandmother, Jozefa. Henryka's mother, (Jozefa's daughter), had returned to Poland after only a year of lliving in the US in order to honor her beloved mother's death. Jozefa's will stipulated that the ring would be passed on to her first grandchild, whoever that might be. Already pregnant, Stanislawa would save the ring for Henryka and bring it back to the US....
To read more,visit the PAHA Website.

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