Babu does not always remember the stories that go along with her 1935 diary entries but sharing these pieces with her is still rewarding. She surprises me with remembering some details from then and at other times she will launch into stories some related to what’s in the entry she is reading and some not.
“I could have had a very different father.” She says gravely. She tells me the story about her mother and her mother’s sister and how her grandmother played matchmaker. They went to meet two boys, both Polish, I believe. “Her sister went with one guy and she went with my father! She found something she liked in the other guy,” (She means her mother’s sister and makes a sour face.) “I’m so thankful that she chose my father! I couldn’t have asked for better parents.”
Imagine, Dziadziu- that’s the only name I know him by, Polish for grandfather, gets sick that morning and doesn’t go to meet these two girls. Or he does go and has a runny red nose and she goes for the other guy. Would Babu be a different person with a different, less kind, less dedicated father? Would she have had a drastically different life? Would she exist at all? It’s easy to look back and be thankful for events like a stove blowing up – that’s why my husband’s father moved them back up north, to be with family during his injuries – (everyone is now fine) because we have the hindsight to know we’d be in a very different place, perhaps lost, with out those chance occurrences. It’s difficult to look at them in the present and know them for what they are. In fact, it’s impossible. We cannot tell the future but little twitches of fate are happening to us right now. Twitches that will change our lives in large ways.