36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 328: Arrival in Malomice


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 328 — Arrival in Malomice
25-Jun-1972 (Sun.)


Teta M and daughter in Malomice
Last night was terrible. After freezing at Lygnice, the train ride to Lubin was also freezing. Was dead tired and cold. Couldn’t get a room at the hotel. I think the guy thought I was German. Tried to sleep in the waiting room—torture.

Left around 5:00 A.M for Malomice. (Gets light at 3:30.) First bus—part way. Driver was friendly. Walked, got directions.

Lubin. A new industrial type town. Highrise apartments.

Crazy thing

On the way to Malomice, while walking, a police car was approaching me. Obviously, I must have shocked him because the car suddenly swerved out of control. He tried to turn the wheel sharp and stop, and it swerved by me and crashed into a medium size rock. (Maybe he though he was going to get a promotion.) He nervously got out and looked at me, but mostly at the car. After I assured him that there was nothing wrong with the car, he asked me for my passport, said OK and then drove me to my aunt’s house. I thanked him and shook his hand.


Very small type of area just outside of Lubin. Small houses (poor type) and small tracts of land. Chickens running all around. Like small farms.
Teta M’s house was very small and old. Chickens in the yard. Also a mad dog. I waited and then tried to go to the door, but the dog was so wild that I stopped and gave up. About to leave.

Teta M was very nice. Saw me and came out. She is very young and friendly. I guess all of my mother’s sisters are. Son—Bogdan—about Dennis’ age and a daughter Ella, slightly older. Her husband is John. Nice meeting them. Got by even with the language problem.

Gigantic breakfast. Delicious. Eggs, cheese, butter, coffee. All tasted so good, probably because it was so fresh.

Sleep. For quite a while.

Dinner. Really stuffed. Soup, chicken, potatoes, cucumbers. The relatives really stuff you.

Sat and talked and visited relatives. Michael (about 25) and mother, father, and sister. I think some kind of second cousins. Extremely nice and friendly.

They had a really nice house. A separate house out in the fields. Two really nice horses.

Saw my first Polish TV. “Gunsmoke” with Marshall Dillon and Polish narration.

The son, Michael, tried to go to America, but the Polish government wouldn’t let him go.

Another snack, and then to sleep.


Journey to Malomice. The journey to the real Malomice continues in high-drama fashion. Last night I take a freezing-cold train from Lignice to Lubin. I arrive and wait it out in the waiting room. I’m pretty sure I was miserable. Remember that I’m traveling with probably two small suitcases and a camera and lenses hanging from my neck. In those days, I didn’t think of or feel any sense of danger about being robbed or such. And nothing ever did happen. Good.

The Lubin bus. In Lubin, I remember getting on the bus to get closer to where I was going. It was early and the bus was packed with many young workers going to their jobs early in the morning. This was a Sunday morning and it was like a normal work day. I’m willing to bet these people worked seven days a week. At any rate, everyone was very friendly. I remember lots of buildings and industry. At the end of the line, I get off the bus.

Walking to Malomice. Then, after getting directions by showing them my relatives’ letter and address, I start walking towards the town of Malomice. As I later learn, it’s really a village.

The police. I remember this story even without my journal. Imagine that I’m walking down a country road (perhaps it was a dirt road)—a solitary guy with two bags and a camera, just walking. Certainly, I’m the “wrong” in “what’s wrong with this picture?” A car approaches me and as it nears me it does the stop-and-swerve thingy, just like in the movies. I imagine that I was a bit scared as to what was going on. It was an old-style police car. The officer was friendly and asked to see my papers. In my sparse Polish, I managed to convey to him that I was on my way to my relatives. Here’s the charmer—he drove me the rest of the way in his car to my relative’s house. How nice was that. Thanks.

Malomice, the village. The Malomice I was traveling to was a village, not on the map. As with many villages, the homes looked very basic and to my western eyes, poor. However, they worked the land and seemed to be fine living within their means. Farming is certainly hard work. I believe that each family received a small plot of land for their personal farming and with which they grew most of the food that they ate. My cousin Michael, seemed to have a nicer house off in the fields. The opening photo shows my aunt, Teta M., carrying milk or water buckets. I believe this is Michael’s house.

Meet the relatives. Teta means aunt in Polish. Teta M. was my aunt, one of my mother’s sisters. Young Bohdan and Ella (Elizabeth), Teta M’s children, were anxious to meet me. Meeting all the relatives, including, Michael, was fun and I imagine that I was able to communicate moderately well with everyone, after all, I knew the names of most of the foods. Years later, most of my relatives emigrated to the U.S. and became productive U.S. citizens. That’s what our country is all about.

Fresh food. I note that the food tasted good. That’s because it was fresh—right off the farm. On one day, perhaps today, I remember them catching one of the live chickens running around—I think it was dinner. As always, even if people don’t have money, which I’m sure they didn’t, they don’t hesitate in the slightest to provide a lot of food for visitors, friends, and relatives. Giving is part of their character.

Malomice montage. Here are a few photos from my Malomice visit.

Teta M’s village house
My aunts village house
Cousins Bohdan & Elizabeth
Cousins Bohdan and Elizabeth
A village kitchen stove
A wood-fired village kitchen
Grazing sheep in the backyard
Grazing sheep in the backyard
Chickens, what did I have for dinner?
Chickens what did I have for dinner

2009. Today is a special day in 2009. Can’t tell you what it is. Don’t like special days, anyway.


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