All along the river my Dzia Dzia worked, repairing old bridges, river walls, etc.  He was a bricklayer.  One summer he found himself near Marksteft, near the farm my Babcia was living on.  
My Babcia was good friends with another Polish girl named Sophie.  Sophie was the opposite of my Babcia.  Where Babcia was dark and buxom, Sophie was blond and petite.  They each had Sunday off work and would often go for walks along the riverbank.

And that's how they came upon a boat full of eager young gentlemen.  Babcia remembers having to walk a plank to get on the boat and that the men on the boat refused to put the plank back until early in the morning.  They drank and laughed all night, feeling their youth.  They then said their good-byes and went on their separate ways.  Babcia had to walk 7 km at sunrise to deliver sugar beets to town.  

Babcia has always supposed that Dzia Dzia had girlfriends all along the river.  She's probably right.  His parents never accepted her because he left a fiancé back in Poland that he was expected to return to.  What ended up happening was that the war ended.  And a lot of people did not know where to go.  Poland was destroyed.  So my Dzia Dzia returned to Marksteft, to the not so little "schwarz" haired girl that must have made quite the impression that night on his little boat.  Sophie also married a man that she met that night, the love of her life, named Henry.

So even though the war had ended, my Grandparents stayed in Germany.  They worked on the farm, and earned a fair living.  To this day she collects a German pension.  She says that Germany remains beautiful in her memory and the people she knew were very kind to her.  

When it was time for all displaced persons to find a more permanent residence, my Grandparents moved to a refugee camp in Karlsruhe.  They married.  They lived here for a few years yet.  In a room with three other couples, including her friend Sophie.  Eventually those couples had children, including my Uncle Zbigniew, aka Ben.  And then their time in Germany came to an end.  Babcia recalls a loud announcement being made for all bricklayers to come to the office.  They were leaving for Canada the next morning.  Just the bricklayers.  It would be another year before Sophie, my Babcia and their children would be able to make it over.

Meanwhile, in a little house in Hamilton, my Dzia Dzia bought a table for his family to use.  An old, beat up canning table was there to welcome his family home.  They didn't have much, but they had a place to gather and be together.  That was all they needed.

My Babcia and Sophie.
In Karlsruhe. My Dzia Dzia is the man in the middle, wearing a vest and looking to his right. My Babcia is beside him with my Uncle Ben in her lap.
6/1/2012 05:12:10 am

You are the living image of your grandmother. I *told* you that I didn't allow any other gene pools into you and your brother besides mine. Now you have the proof.

6/1/2012 05:26:17 am

Can you say that when someone is still alive? Wouldn't she be the living image of herself?
Aaron says he can see a resemblance, but that our hairstyles are way off from each other.

6/1/2012 05:33:57 am

I'm menopausal. I can say what I want. Invent new words even. Smart people don't argue with me. (Actually I don't think the expression works when both are still alive but hey, I'm menoetcetc ..) As for Aaron, please point out to him that the picture of Babcia wasn't taken last week. Gees.

7/1/2012 02:25:43 am

I don't care what Aaron says.......holy crap - you and Babcia look like twins!!

7/1/2012 09:11:06 am

Wonderful story Tarah, and I can't believe how much you look like your Babcia! It's uncanny!

7/1/2012 11:07:42 pm

Thanks ladies!! She's more put together than I could ever hope to be, but it's nice to know that I look like her.

9/1/2012 05:56:21 am

You are a walking history book of your Grandparents. It's amazing the stories, your babcia has told you that you have held onto and are now shairing with us. Your kids will know their history and German living will have more history and meaning when they are older. The short story of them is Wow amazing, sad , heartfelt so many words I can't write it all out and it's really nice to see it all written down. Thank-you for shairing there long road to Canada. I can't help but notice the comments are not flying out as quicky as they did when it was juicey. I'm sure people are but let's hope everyone is still enjoying this amazing Blog.


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