Janice & Joyce

Every year until I was in high school, my family would make the twelve-hour drive to Buffalo, New York to visit my maternal grandparents, Tom and Janice (Zielinski) Kuznicki. We would stay for a week or two at a time, and my sister and I would beg my grandmother to tell us stories the entire … More Janice & Joyce

On Trains & Tolstoy

This past week, I’ve been re-reading Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina–one of my favorite novels. Anna’s and Vronsky’s ill-fated affair is framed by the coming-and-going of trains: they’re a symbol of their love, of ties to the “West” and, ultimately, of the tragedy at the novel’s conclusion. Trains were, in many ways, at the center of … More On Trains & Tolstoy

Golden Anniversary

Wuerstle’s Tavern is often at the center of my grandfather’s story. Gramps was having a drink at the bar when John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960; when President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963; when Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot and killed in 1968; and when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in … More Golden Anniversary

DNA Connections to Pomerania

With surnames like Marczynski, Zielinski, Gostomski and Kuznicki in my family tree, I’m undeniably Polish. My great-great-grandparents, Mikołaj Kuznicki and Wiktorya Drag, left Galicia for Dunkirk, New York in their early twenties, and the Zielinski’s, Gostomski’s and Marczynski’s all arrived at Ellis Island in 1900. Some of my ancestors started working in the coal mines … More DNA Connections to Pomerania

Coastal Geologist, Good Friend

“Coastal Geologist, Good Friend;” that’s how Cousin Susie’s tribute, written by her parents, begins in their local newspaper, The Carlisle Mosquito. Susan Elizabeth Zielinski, my grandmother’s niece, was born on April 30, 1970 in Concord, Massachussetts to Robert and Sally (Handel) Zielinski. She and her older brother, Steven, grew up in the small town of Carlisle, and … More Coastal Geologist, Good Friend