Saturday, 8 September 2012

Happy 85th, Babcia Marysia!

On this day in 1927, my mother Marysia was born, in what was then eastern Poland and is now Ukraine. She lived a peaceful and enjoyable life along with her two older sisters (both of whom are still alive, Irena in Canada, Dzunia in Wrocław), daughters of an estate manager running the forestry assets of a Belgian-born landowner, Kamil de Pourbaix. I have written about the estate, Horodziec, and my grandfather before (click on the Family History label below for access to all the posts mentioned above).

My mother's family were deported to northern Russia in February 1940 after the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland. Following the amnesty accorded to Poles in the wake of the Nazi invasion of the USSR, the family made its way to join General Anders' nascent Polish army. [This BBC News article about another Polish girl's journey out of Siberia with Gen. Anders is finely recorded here.] Marysia and Irena managed to leave the Soviet Union with the army; oldest sister Dżunia and their parents didn't - my grandfather died in Kazakhstan. Ciocia Dziunia and my grandmother returned to Poland after the war, to the re-claimed territories of western Poland, while my mother and Ciocia Irka found themselves in Britain, safely under the dominion of King George VI rather than Stalin.

And thank God for that. And for the National Health Service, which has looked after my mother so well through pregnancies and heart attacks and into old age. Babcia Marysia walks without a walking stick and mentally is in tip-top form, as is her husband, my father, Dziadzio Bohdan, who will be 90 next April. In June, they celebrated the diamond jubilee of their wedding, in 1952.

From the point of view of my children, having four grandparents living into old age is a great genetic gift. Besides Dziadzio Tadeusz, who died at the age of 91 years and seven months, the remaining three grandparents are alive, aged 89, 86 and 85 respectively. Having access to the wisdom of the generations is another great gift, and one that eluded me, as neither of my grandfathers survived WWII, and my grandmothers I met only briefly during my childhood.

My mother was 30 when I was born, 35 when my brother was born. Is this the optimal age for bearing children?

I will end this post with the greatest wisdom my mother has passed on to me: Quid quid agis, prudenter agas, et respice finem.

'Whatever you do, do it prudently, and consider the outcome'.

Cokolwiek czynisz, czyń rozważnie i myśl o wyniku

A recipe for a life in balance.

Sto lat, Babcia Marysia!

This time last year:
Summer comes crashing to a halt

This time three years ago:
The atmosphere of impending autumn - Mono no aware

This time four years ago:
Time to recycle.

This time five years ago:
They paved paradise

1 comment:

student SGH said...

All the best to your parents. May they live in good health for years to come.

Optimal age for bearing children? My mother was 37. The drawback I begin to discern children of older parents earlier have to face up to ailments of their mothers and fathers. Age of around thirty strikes a good trade of between youth, maturity and material status :)