Thursday, March 27, 2014

Writer's Workshop... What's in a name?

Moma Katt's pretty much famous writers workshop :

Tell me about your middle name:

Well my middle name is Stanislawa, the female version of Stanislaw.  Translated that means Stanley.  I've never really known for sure, but I suspect my mother named me after her youngest and only brother, Stanley Banas.  I was the fifth girl in our family.  My mother and father were married a year before WWII broke out.  It was an arranged marriage.  My mother was 19years old (an old maid, by standards of the day).  Needless to say, when the war broke out my parents were shipped off to Siberia, by that time my mom's first child had already perished, for lack of food her second much the same and third of dysentery. By this time my mom had been separated from her siblings for a number of years and I suspect she missed them quite a bit.  She'd last seen her brother when he was 12 and then not again until he was middle aged.  So consequently I was named after him, I think?

During her first year of marriage my mom was having her first child, I believe her name  was Krystyna.  My father lived with his whole family on a farm run my grandmother.  My mom told us that while she was in labour the unrest in the area had already begun.  People hid in the forest to save their lives.  Since she was in no physical state to run, they left her alone to deliver.  My father was already on maneuvers with his unit.  My mothers uncle would every once in awhile come and check on her.  When Krystyna was born, my mom was unable to breast feed, and gave her cows milk, which my mom always felt was not fresh and the child died.  I'm not sure when her second child was born, she didn't talk about it often.  The third child, Stefania was born at some point while my parents were in exile.  She managed to survive until my mother was in India (all the while these displaced persons were being moved from refugee camp to refugee camp, much like we see on the news, living in tents in foul conditions).  And even though there were hospitals, there was no medicine.  All medicines were sent to the front. My sister, Stefania is burried in a mass grave someplace in Karachi.  

So you can imagine when my parents arrived in Canada, it was heavenly,  Medical care for mother and child were available, and when my sister Donna lived past her first year my parents finally relaxed.  My mother said she woke frequently to see that she was still o.k. when she slept.  Now by the time they had me, well she decided to name me after her brother, I might add I'm not sure that they even knew of each other's survival at this time.  

My uncle Stan: a creative, guy, good looking, knew his way around the world, self taught welder.   He married a lovely lady and had two really nice girls.  I only met him on the one trip, when my mom and I went to Poland, some 40 years ago.  He died young, in his 50's of a massive heart attack.  Predeceased  by his wife.Poland was still a communist state at the time of his death, and once again, health care was grossly inadequate.

These are thoughts and memories as related to me, they may not be accurate, since we all know how well kids listen to their parents.

  Writers workshop is hosted by Mama Katts Pretty Much Famous Writers Workshop


4 comments:

kelley jensen said...

that was some very interesting history. names are very important aren't they?

Vicki said...

Wow!! What an interesting, emotional history! Thanks for sharing it with your readers!

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

There is so much family history behind your second name! Your parents must have been so happy when you and your sister survived.

Jenny said...

So much pain and hardship, it's almost unimaginable. God bless you, dear Irene. The hardest part for me to read was about Stefania. God rest her soul. xoxo