This is 10 Rocky Lane.
It is located next to an overgrown German cemetery, in a picturesque Polish village near the Lithuanian border. The town is engulfed by dark forests which are flocked to by mushrooms enthusiasts and surrounded by 10,000 interlocked lakes that are renowned for sailing.
This is the house of my Babcia and Dziadek. My grandmother and grandfather.
As the highest elevated house in the village it sits next to an ancient water tower. This is the tower that I searched for after dark as an adolescent, to lead me back to my Babcia's house on my summer vacations abroad.
Two separate families live at 10 Rocky Lane. My Babcia and Dziadek live downstairs and my Babcia's brother and wife live above. It is safe to say, that in Poland, the bones of the house are wealthy and this house is considered to be an upper middle class dwelling. Furthermore, it is safe to say that the tenants are wealthy in love but considered to be stubborn as heck. This is not your average home in Poland.
The garden is a new addition. This is the garden that my Babcia's brother and wife manicure daily to occupy their retirement. It is beyond spectacular. On our vacation, Lola baptised it the "magical princess garden" and Jay fished in the pond with a twig and a piece of sausage daily in hopes of bringing home dinner for my Babcia. He also hand picked flowers for her and she smiled outloud as she pressed the flowers within the pages of her bible.
I invite you into 10 Rocky Lane. The stubborn computer-less tenants will never know you have entered. Although much has changed on the outside of the house, the inside is a virtual museum of the house that my mother skipped through as a seven year old girl.
The narrow unpainted hallway spills guests into the main room of the house, the living room. One futon couch, one Russian TV, a table, and a buffet filled with stemware that hasn't been used since communism all occupy the concrete slab of floors. Although modest in nature the delicate lace and wedding china remind visitors that at one point the house was filled with many entertaining nights.
Once in the hallway again, we pass by the mirror that my mother, her sisters, their daughters, my Babcia, my sister, and I have all re-applied our lipsticks at. It is the same mirror at which the comb and brush were swiped by a wild banshee of a toddler named Fifi and the cream was pocketed by Lola, whom is obbsessed with moisturizing.
The bedroom directly across that mirror is now occupied by my Dziadek. At one point it was my mother's room, the room my mother hid her older sister's stylish pea coat to wear for an upcoming Friday night date. Today, my Dziadek sits his days away while listening to the radio and watching the villagers pass by through his window.
Only a thin wall separates my grandparents, as my Babcia sleeps next door, beds placed in the same directions toes pointing East. My Babcia has said goodbye to three daughters as they immigrated to America and said goodbye to one son eternally. Alone with her husband of sixty years she spends most of her hours at this pray table reciting the rosary while peeking through her lace curtains.
A laundry machine, toilet, and bathtub occupy the only bathroom. The clothes are hung outside to dry and a plastic bowl subsidizes as the sink. This is the same "sink" that I used to wash off my knees when falling down after an afternoon of Chinese jump rope with the neighborhood girls. My Babcia, the stubborn stiletto sass she is, dislikes when people change her ways. The "sink" serves it's purpose just as the wind serves it's purpose to dry her clothes.
This is the kitchen of 10 Rocky Lane that used to feed four children and two adults. Which later fed, on separate occasions, seven American grandchildren and three great grandchildren on their summer vacations. Nothing but the produce and dairy has changed.
The only sink in the house of a stubborn but hardworking housewife named Apolonia has washed the same six plates and seven forks for fifty years in this spot. Apolonia, the name, is the saint called upon for those suffering from dental problems. My husband the dentist finds this information awesome.
It was in this kitchen that my Babcia fed her children such delicacies as the Polish/Lithuanian pizy, meat filled dumplings the size of grapefruits, smothered in pan fried onions. Meals of which I only can dream of manipulating myself with her guidance.
and my husband smiling proudly.
This is for us, my family. This is for you, my children. This is for you, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren. This is for you.
This is why I, needed to become the author of my life and make this trip happen. THIS was so important to me. I needed for you, my children, to understand and fall in love with family to help build our own foundation inorder to understand our future.
This is for you.