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.