My personal biography include in spiritual way as parents, brothers and sisters all my native land classmates and teachers. It is also important to call my homeland also some places and countries in which I was feeling inspiration to do poetries and nice projects with more success than in geographical homeland.
It was possible by belonging to Universal church, which has own history in any place on the world. I got strong feeling of being home in any foreign city in case, Catholics are there.
Describing Poland in first part of my biography I w2as talking only about Central and North part of Poland.
There was no relative from South, West or East Poland, but these places also attracted me and I tried to study far away from native home. It was the way to know Poland better.
Now I am going to talk about my first teachers in Zielun, Skrwilno and professors in Lyceum Brodnica and Wloclawek.
In the third part will be stories from my Pedagogical studies and from Army. The last it will be church part talking about "Church Relatives."
Nobody cannot expect when I took decision to enter Seminary in Bialystok, that I really may be a priest. Mostly the people were thinking, than by studying there I am still looking for adventures...not for vocation!
1. Zielun Kindergarden
To the Kindergarden I was sent together with my younger sister Margaret. There are still somewhere home photos from these times. I remember, even without remembering names I was very close to them, calling them aunts, even sometime I mistook calling some of them "mama".
Kinder garden in Zielun was just half a way between my house and School, so I was seeing many times school children that they go later to the school and come back earlier than we do, I was really missing home.
I was sad when parents dressed me similarly as my sister even in some of hers dressings. Perhaps sister had more clean close time to time...
The children house at first was in some temporary but old wooden barrack "enveloped" in metallic foils. Later we were walking to kindergarden in local Meyer House in the center of the settlement, just few minutes from the church.
In summer time our "aunts" were taking us to the beach of the very close and picturesque river Wkra. Some young aunt even took us swimming on small "boat" from plastic and I fall down in the water, even she didn't realize...
2. First class teacher
I do not remember her name. Just we were calling her Mrs. Sokolowska. I remember how surprised I was her strong relationship with daughters, rather stronger than with other children. Just these days I understood the difference between school and kindergarten, between aunts and Misses. Comparing my mother and aunts, school teachers were much more official. Anyway, I am very thankful, for teaching me reading and writing. Also she trained us to keep money on special saving book.
I was saving so seriously so soon my parents were able to by me my first bicycle for "my own money".
I was keeping even small money which mostly children were getting for cakes or breakfast.
3. Mr. Maciejewski and his piano
The wooden house of family Maciejewski was for me full of secrets. Also his classroom in the school where except violas and alts were other instruments which Mr. Maciejewski was keeping and teaching the members of school choir to play.
I was also a member of choir even from the first class. Between the songs we were singing one was about white nights in st. Petersburg (Leningrad)..."if somebody will stay even one night as I, he will love that city as I do"..
Yes it happened to me to stay one night in st. Petersburg, but even I realized his beauty, I had no idea about looking on white nights, my had was full of another important things...
My parents were insisting, both of us: I and my sister have to play accordion. Instrument was too big for me, so my professor was taking accordion on his legs and I was trying to play as on piano... It was not very fascinating for me, truly. My sister has the same difficulties, but she was more obedient. Soon later, father find small instrument, but it does not change the situation.
Much more I was attracted by guitar. It was small instrument in kindergarten, but I was unhappy when I realized, that instrument is not obedient to me and did not play the melody I tried to create. Same sadness happened in grad-fathers house, when I saw big guitar and she also did not obey to me. The system of playing accordion and guitar were too much different to me. Slowly I realize that I have no gift to play guitar or any other instrument. It was painful and sad knowledge.
4. First Communion
First Communion and my first teacher of religion were also important experiences in my life which happened in Zielun. On lessons of Catechization I was many time late, or even absent. I was not realizing that it is also obligatory. The priest was so good to children and never criticized open way. Just at the end of the year when he gave me attestation with two notes five for knowledge and for notices, but three for absence in lessons...I got to now that three is not OK.
I was doing my best in the second class when we were preparing us to First Communion. I was so successful that priest fr. Jan Pyka elected me to be one of children reciting poems in public during ceremony. I wrote down many times, and I was thinking, that I remember very well, BUT IN PUBLIC I FORGOT EVERYTHING.
The strange thing is that it was not bothering me that time at all. I was not very shy or easy to be ashamed... It happened to me later.
5. Mrs. Goralska and French language...
In Skrwilno in the 4-th class children have General Communion, my Catechist was fr. Adam. All that time
In Zielun and in Skrwilno I wa altarboy and my activities on that purpose were growing and going down together with my family difficulties. We were living rather much poor life than in Zielun. Sadness were becoming our daily reality. I was told that life in big town have to be better than in village. The two rooms on the second floor of Gorskis house, on Koscielna (Church) Street, were just in the center of the town. I was able to be in church at 7 and at 8 in school.
One of most influent teachers was lady which was giving private lessons of French. She came from some Belorus-Lituanian border town Bieniakonie. Poet Mickiewicz spend there his youth, been in love first with some Maryla. The lady was one of so many people deported from native land under so calling "repatriation" wave. Before I only knew about aggression and occupation from German side. Now I got to know some effects of war from East aggressor side. Mrs. Goralska was separated with her husband and caring her daughter together with grand-mother. All these three ladies were very interesting house, full of oriental traditions. I was constantly visiting them during my studies in Seminary. It was much more interesting talking with them about politics and church affairs than sitting and looking my parents' matrimonial crisis.
6. Goralski and "historians circle"
One of favor teachers was historian Goralski Boguslaw. He was youngest brother of Goralska's husband and they were living near each other, but unfriendly. His great knowledge of history was for me like discovery, permanent travel into the world. All this beginnings were helpful in my Seminary studies and my world understanding in the future. Until today I may recite historical dates without thinking, mechanically. I t is thanks to him. He was giving us additional lessons after classes with slides and talks about Chinese, Indian or Japanese cultures, which official program in elementary school did not mention. Goralski gave me attraction to geography, foreign languages and travels.
7. Father Adam Walesiak
Walesiak gave me a book about missionary from Madagascar fr. Josef Bejzym in the fifth class. From that moment, I was missionary in heart. Admiration to overseas missions was growing after visits of Juan Skowronski native from Skrwilno but priest in Argentina. Ones he made exhibition of slides showing his missionary activities. Similar activities were made by fr. Stros parish priest. He was not missionary man, but he was very handsome and zealous person. In October he was showing us slides during month of rosary. It was very attractive way to attract us recite rosary. That priest was taking in his old car the most active altar boys on excursions to visit churches around. Under his care altar boys were having small notebooks for priests' autographs after each Mass attended. The number of autographs was deciding, who of us is the best altar boy. My notebook one day was destroyed, by jealous friends. I was used to collect things from Mrs. Sokolowska times, so I got new notebook and I started collection again. My mother has similar character. She is fanatic doing things, not easy to give up.
Father Adam, he realized my difficulties and discretely helped me, when other altar boys disturbed my zeal.
8. Fathers and mothers in Brodnica's "Alma Mater"
These days my family was growing. As lyceum student I got many mothers and fathers in Brodnica and Wloclawek. Also I got new brothers and sisters there. I was living in so called "internat house". It was easier for my mother to care three not 4 children. These days she was separated from father.
In internat I remember Mr. Sobieszczak, one of youngest professors. He was playing with us football, teaching us chemie in 3-rd class. He had nice mustache and long nose. As teacher he had no principles, he was same as all of us "soviet baby".
There was bit strange crying voice Mrs. Markowska. She was forcing us to make gymnastics daily in the morning. There was also young teacher of Latin. Previous ones were very strong so we were happy expecting some freedom, but we were mistaken.
Previous teacher Mr. Psuty was making us 3 minutes exams from vocabulary. It was very difficult to pass. He died in the middle of my second class in Lyceum. It was the only case all the school has gone to the church together. But excuse to do it was very sad.
Also the first time in my life I visited Franciscan convent in Brodnica, because he was parishioner there, later we got to know, and that he was zealous catholic.
Most of professors were strong with us. The school was proud those 80% graduates continue another studies.
Mr. Psuty's wife was teaching Chemie, before Sobieszczak. Her experiments were ever unexpected result, even for herself. There were explosions of material and explosions of fun. Her exams were same difficult as 3 minutes Latin language exams of her husband.
9. Friends and enemies
Every class has teacher in care "class teacher". Our class teacher was Polish language teacher Tojek-Gesicka, wife of local Museum Director. I had good relationship with her at first, but in the third class I became from the best the last student and outsider. In internat many youngsters were wishing to organize strike against injustice in teachers' behavior. It was 1980, the year all the country was in strike, so students also.. One of active strikers was me and my classmate, who made suicide effort during striking. I was with him in hospital, so most professors were thinking we two are the leaders.
I was wishing to change Scholl myself. Some of my colleagues does the same before, because of difficulties with some professors, so my mother was not against. She helped me to move in Wloclawek and everybody was happy, especially my class teacher.
The similar sadness with me was feeling Mr. Otrebski, French teacher. He was taking me as the best student, but from the moment I start asking to leave classroom more and more, he became suspicious thinking that I am smoking cigarettes in WC. He had good intentions. He wished me to be the best student. Hew even send one of Brodnica graduates to study in France, so perhaps I was the next in his plans, but I was not obeying him as he expected. We was calling him Mr."Bonjour".
I got good relationship only with teachers of history and Russian, which never had problems with me...also the lady caring scouts, remembering me from vacasions comedies, she also ever liked me. Her name was Tuptynska.
10. Scouting Service to Socialistic Homeland
Such strange name had scouting these days. Membership was obligatory. I remember some archeological camp somewhere in Zbiczno, near Brodnica. Under my Polish teachers' husband, as Director of museum I got to know, how to look for treasures. I got also the first theatre experience.
Each group of scouts has to make small show presenting some country. We archeologists were doing Egypt show.
I was Pharaoh because small and easy to take in "lectica". Dressed all in white I made small comical text about old scouts caring us, between them also our teachers. Text was brave so the public happy. The first time in my life I became a star.
11. Escaping from classes
I was escaping from school with good excuse: to collect books. The classes were to me less and less interesting. I was feeling in the air some hangings which Poland was so badly expecting. It was the second year of John Paul the Seconds pontificate. At first it was city Torun. We were invited for some "open doors" to Armey Academy, which badly needed students. After visiting all the boys were coming back on themselves, so I used opportunity to visit the city and some libraries.
I got convince that the travel is cheep and easy both by train and by "occasional transport". In one hour I was there, two hours visit in libraries and back, just in supper time. Nobody realized during long term of time. I was getting still good notes in school, mother was happy, only my classmates were smiling because of my strange hobby. There was feeling that nobody can read so many books as I bayed.
The first time in my life I visited by case Middle Age basilica of Holy Mary in Laki. Without any insisting I was entering to all the churches I met on my way.
The first time in my life I visited by case Middle Age basilica of Holy Mary in Laki. Without any insisting I was entering to all the churches I met on my way.
It was the time when I loose any taste in prayer, it was big conscience problem like many other teenager sins. I had no spiritual guidance and no idea how to manage my life. I just simply entered churches by intuition and sitting in benches I was reposing before the next effort in my adventure.
Later I visited Mlawa and the cities around. Sometimes I was in Olsztyn, Olecko, Goldap and Elk. I was getting customs which I have also now in missionary activities. "No where man" has no time to make stops. He is still looking fro these places which may inspire him more than daily bread, more than books or human talks.
12. My classmates
In my Kiceum were people from Sadlowo, Radziki Male and Duze, from Osiek, Swiedziebnia, from Kowalewo, Gorzno, Jablonowo even from Lidzbark Welski. Some of these towns or cities I was visiting many times. Having classmates there I was traveling all over the world being accepted as member of family.
Leszek Rupinski from Strzygi, who was living in my room in internat he moved to Lyceum in Rypin and only after his moving during my visit in his home, his mother, recognized in me her own classmate as my mother. You can imagine how big surprise it was for both of them.
To Sadlowo I was going to visit Krzysiek Jezewski, who was from same class as Leszek in Brodnica Lyceum but same room with me. He also moved to Rypin...I was the third to move, on the list. It was the most popular way to avoid troubles in treatement from unfriendly teachers side. I was not the unique case.
In Kowalewo was living small Margaret Kostempska and black Elisabeth also white Dorothy or Iwona. Today I may not remember clearly the third girl name, it past so many years, but all the three were from Kowalewo so I have ever somebody to visit on my way to Torun.
Margaret was really busy about me and even once she asked me "why am I dressing so poor way", I have nothing to answer, at first I never cared at the second I was really poor boy in 4 children family under one mothers care in very difficult time of changing system and total collapse of polish economy. All the children around were the "good families children", I was one of exceptions when the poor family boy may also have aspirations to study in good school. Perhaps, my way of dressing was also the secret why the people which met me were caring about me so much.
In Radziki was living a boy with great memory to historical teachings, poetries even astronomy. His name was Andrzej Suszynski. He had big problems with languages so I spend once all my vacasions trying to help him. He finally passed two additional exams and stayed one year more in Lyceum even the situation was for him very hard. Later he moved to candied school and became cake maker. It is not very familiar profession fro man so he was rather successful. In difficult period his house became as mine.
After Brodnica it happened to me wonderful 1981 year of Solidarnosc and crazy 1982 year of Communist Reaction. I spent that time in Wloclawek.
I got to know what freedom is and what is underground, I even was risking to repeat the last class or to be arrested by politic reasons. I was still traveling much and visiting churches but this time inside big city Wloclawek.
13. Capital of Kujawy
To have the title of Capital in Kujawy pretend two or even three cities. I do not know what arguments have Inowroclaw. In fact Kujawy administrative capital was in city Brzesc. Today it is very small city 15 km south of Wloclawek, which some day may become a part of big Wloclawek agglomeration.
Wloclawek was ever big capital of diocese which included even Torun and Gdansk. It is why Copernicus as a monk after his studies in Krakow spent some time in Wloclawek as astronomy specialist helping to design Bishops Sea and Cathedral. Memory about that is still fresh and Wloclawek is proud of that having his monument, streets and even schools under his name. The third Lyceum I was student was Maria Konopnicka, but the second was Nicolas Copernicus Lyceum.
In Edward Gierek times started here big chemical Enterprise of "Azoty" with British specialists. So some 20 years it was capital of prefecture. In these top times I was studying there. My Lyceum was just near very famous from Jaroslaw Neverly book "Celuloza Fabric", same aerie along Wisla River old middle age With Containing houses of merchants, small and forgotten Main Square with Communist Marchlewski monument and church of saint Hyacinth. Starting from Wisla and main Square walking along nice avenue you may go to Freedom Square which was a place of old huge Orthodox church in Russian times...near there Franciscans, Seminary, Lutheran church all of them on Brzeska street leading to cathedral and main bridge on Wisla.
It was still Bishops Sea so many new churches were built just thanks to Solidarnosc time. I remember small chapel on Jagiellonska where I was attending Mass and visiting classes of religion. Same purpose was to visit st. Joseph on Zazamcze and Cathedral. In the last case we were only 5 or 6 students and our teacher was some professor from Seminary. In Jagiellonska Street I remember total anarchy during classes. Poor priest was trying to read prepared lesson but old boys were disturbing him all the possible way. I was really sorry about him. It was the first time I saw opened aggression against innocent priest. These days I liked also to visit seminarian library.
In Wloclawek city and in the neighbor I was traveling with same zeal as in North East Poland of Warmia and Mazury (former East Prussia). City was so big and interesting to me that my fascination of Torun slowly despaired. Yes I visited Ciechocinek and Aleksandrow Kujawski. These were native places of Edi Stachura, the most famous youth idol as poet and traveler.
Later he gave me more excuses to behave my way... Sompolno, Kowal and Izbica Kujawska. I visited all of them and returned back without any worry of aggression from the teachers' side. Internat was so huge and there was people from so many male schools that nobody cared what we do and where we go after the classes.
I liked to travel by city busses from one end point to another. Especially I liked landscape of Wisla River in the aerie of artificial lake which became soon the place of killing priest Popieluszko, Solidarnosc chaplain.
I liked to visit the right side of Wisla river, the settlement of Szpetal and Bobrowniki. There was damaged memorial from 1920, remembering Bolshevik aggression and polish defense.
I was knowing the city like own pocket. I got finally nice dressings so the people liked me both in the school and in Solidarnosc. I made just humble visit asking to make copy of satiric picture made by myself.
The people trained me how to use copy machine and I became slowly a member of staff. I got these days many photos made by secret policy and showed me one year later in their office.
When general Jaruselski using Army, destroyed our hopes I was really depressed and aggressive. I participated some meetings of Youth underground and even some actions of producing and colportage forbidden papers. Once I destroyed some police cars wheels at the front of Seminary, by putting hundred of specially prepared nails on the police parking place.
Their office today belongs to Seminary and local paper is printed there...it is funny to remember these days.
Just in Wloclawek I got feeling that secret police is rather more strong than our underground.
The Latin teacher was some former seminarian, perhaps even a deacon. In fact he was teaching nothing, he just talked rumors from seminary almost against the clergy, but result was contradicted. I was more and more nostalgic for such topics and places like seminary.
I got this days big emblem with symbols of catholic youth movement OAZA on the peace of skin. Some people perhaps were surprised, but mostly not care, there were 25 girls in my class.
History teacher was Mr. Nazarkiewicz, it was great personality, he was teaching just by influencing. Same kind of people were teaching me French and Russian, so I was still happy having good teachers.
French professor we were calling "Zaba" (the Frog) and Russian "Flora" (it was her first name). I got good basis from Brodnica, so here I just continued and my professors were glad from me.
My records in Wloclawek, except physics and mathematics were not bad. Our class teacher was "Mysza" (Mouse) or Mrs. Myszkowska, gymnastics teacher. She was really good to me like mother or better older sister. During her classes to not disturb girls, I just walked on Wisla...I was still no smoking man; even most of teenagers this time was doing so. I preferred library as topic drug.
After Wloclawek I got interest to other big Polish cities: Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznan and Opole especially academic settlements in these cities, it was something attracting me there from very beginning, polish students ever poor but ever good hosts.
In Poznan I met Edyta Bakowska, which was silent like mouse and working as biss so slowly she became favorite student of Mr. Bonjourek and became student of Roman Languages.
In Torun I met as a student of Polish language Basia Stefanska... in Bydgoszcz I visited my sister Margaret. In Krakow some were studying some of Wloclawek classmates.
So I spent time after graduating. I loosed one year because me entering exams to Arabic languages in Krakow University was unsuccessful. A year later I stated in Opole in Russian Language and I was successful. I became a student far away from native places. I choice South Poland, because I fall in love. The girl was studying in Krakow but born Gliwice, I was curious her native places, I was also sad because my love was not accepted.
Fr. Jarosław Wiśniewski