Translation from the book
Z Kresów Wschodnich R.P. Wspomnienia z Osad Wojskowych 1921-1940
(From: The Eastern Borderlands of Poland, Memories of Military Settlements 1921-1940)
Pub: Ognisko Rodzin Osadników Kresowych (OROK)
(Association of the Families of the Borderland Settlers)
London, UK. 1992 and 1998
ISBN 1 872286 33 X
Province (Województwo) WOŁYŃ
Postal District (Poczta) Tuczyn
District (Powiat) Równe
I was born on osada Jazłowiecka. Our family consisted of dad and mum, my brothers Waldy and Stefan, my sister Ala and me. Dad had served in the 14th Jazłowiecki Lancers Regiment. After the Polish-Soviet war he was granted land and he became a settler-farmer. Our land was very poor for cultivation but he worked it tirelessly and by the sweat of his brow he produced wheat, oats, barley, rye, rapeseed for oil, and potatoes. He also had a license for growing tobacco and sugar beets. The beets were sent to the sugar refinery in Babin. Mum was the housekeeper and also looked after the garden. My brothers’ and my own duties were to help mother. I often had to look after the cows grazing in the pasture or along the boundary strips. The cows would frequently wander off while we were distracted playing palant (similar to ‘rounders’) or other games. More than once I got a good licking for allowing this to happen.
As a child, I did not realize what difficulties our parents faced. But things continued to become easier, as they worked towards making a better life for us all. The collective effort of all the settlers had also produced some good results. Settlements already had their own small shops, bakeries, dairies and community facilities. They started building a new church in Horyngrod and a flour mill at Hallerowo. The generosity towards social causes was extraordinary, for example making it possible to acquire a replica of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa for the new church in Karłowszczyzna just before the outbreak of war (mid-1939). This was paid for by donations and gifts from the whole area: my parents donated their wedding rings for this purpose.
I started my school years at the osada primary school. The school was in Mr.Jaworski’s house. From the fourth year on I went to school in Hallerowo. This was a good school; I have fond memories of the teachers and the school. The headmaster was Mr B. Błaszczyński, my form teacher and Polish language teacher was Mrs Adela Błaszczyńska. We took part in school plays, official celebrations and nativity plays. Nobody escaped from these activities! The school was a long way from our house and the path took us through fields and along boundary strips. It was not easy getting there in the rain and snow, but nobody ever missed their lessons. Those were the days! If only they could return, just once more! If only…….
I walked to school with Tusia Korniewska and Tadek Muszynski. Every Sunday we marched off to the ancient chapel in Horyńgród but later it was to the newly built church in Karłowszczyzna. There the parish priest and teacher of religion was father Kąkol. In the evenings we did our homework by kerosene lamps. We read a lot of books as set reading and we also borrowed books from the library.
I was in the scouts - I liked field exercises and camp fires. Holidays were a time of absolute freedom. Books went back to the bookshelf and we headed off to the local forest to pick wild strawberries, nuts and mushrooms, or sometimes to swim in the river Horyń or perhaps fish with a rod made from horsetail hair. We made our own toys such as shepherd’s pipes (similar to the ‘recorder’), bows and arrows, slings, sleighs, skis, even ice skates. Only at the parish fair in Horyńgród would we buy cap guns, cock-shaped clay whistles or tin whistles or trumpets (things we couldn’t make ourselves). That was a real joy! Something to brag about! It was great fun to ride on a farm wagon or to ride a horse.
But with the start of the Second World War in 1939 everything went up in smoke and disappeared, gone with the wind. And that wind was to blow us all over the world.