Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Movies Monthly: July

TV Serials by BBC:

Father Brown 5 - 2017 (detective story) - Lady Felicia has been removed from the character/cast list and substituted with a younger and more adventurous one.

Ashes to Ashes 3 - 2010 (detective story) - absolutely fantastic! The best of all seasons. Season 1 was the weakest/worst.

The Coroner - 2015 (crime story) - A coroner in England is a solicitor and criminal investigator. In Poland, it is a doctor who examines dead bodies, states death of a person and issues death certificates. Totally different positions, jobs and duties.

The Black Adler - 1982 (comedy) - Rowan Atkinson in Medieval settings and made up Medieval history plot.

Remember Me - 2014 (ghost story) - quite different to all the BBC series we have watched so far. A well written and an intriguing story.


Penelope Keith's Hidden Villages - 2014/2017 - lovely villages of Great Britain. Picturesque landscapes and pretty gardens. We would not mind living in one of those places. We would very much enjoy local little festivities and the countryside environment.

Kangaroo Dundee - 2017 - the series presents the man (and his friends) who rescue abandoned kangaroo babies and wallabies, raise them and bring them back to nature. Their dedication to saving little animals is really amazing.

Movie Classics:

The films which we enjoyed re-watching

Jaws - 1975 (thriller)
Jaws 2 - 1978 (thriller)

Death Wish - 1974 (action) - the original Death Wish is the best according to us. Each of the sequels made later was worse and worse - each next one was worse than a previous one.

Predator - 1987 (action/SF) - when I saw the movie for the first time (in the late 80s/early 90s), it was a very, very bad copy of it - the fifth or sixth one possibly. The quality of the picture was very bad and the silhouette of the Predator (which originally is rather unclear) was more like a green stain on the TV screen. I did enjoy the plot of the film, but when it ended I did not know what the Predator was. Therefore, re-watching the picture was more like watching it for the very first time.

Other - Newer - Films:

Hacksaw Ridge - 2016 (biography, WW2) - A true and moving story of a man who despite the fact that he did not wish to carry or touch a gun because of his religious views, he appeared to be a true hero and saved many lives.

Nowadays, when the meaning of the word 'hero' seems to be lost, changed or twisted totally, the movie and its main character remind what a hero really means...

War of the Worlds - 2015 (SF) - an interesting version of the fiction novel by H.G. Wells.

Legacy - 2013 (drama, thriller) - set in 1974 - an ex-army man discovers the unknown facts about his father's past. All in all, quite a complicated story.

Australia - 2008 (drama) - there is no place like home, wherever it it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jennie Mae Howard

Jennie Mae was the fourth child of William James Howard and Rachel Belzora Stimson. She was born on April 3, 1863, in Plano, Collin County, Texas.

At the age of 18, on July 20, 1881, Jennie married Thomas Alexander Porter. The ceremony took place in McKinney, a town of Collin County, TX. However, on the marriage certificate, Jennie's name was recorded as Mary Jane. Thomas Alexander was a son of Richard Lewis Porter and Ann Walker. He was born on February 12, 1853 (in Virginia), so he was 10 years older than his bride.

Jennie and Thomas had four surviving children.

Macon Howard Porter who was born when Jennie was 20, on March 31, 1884, in Maury County, Tennessee.

A girl was born to Thomas and Jennie on September 13, 1889, in McKinney as well. They named her Nona Vashti.

The name seems quite unusual, so I have researched what its possible origin might be. It appears Nona is a Christian saint. Little is known about her and her life. She was one of the virgins of Brabant (which was a State of the Holy Roman Empire) who were killed. Saint Nona's feast is on February 3.

Vashti is also a Biblical name. She was a queen of Persia, the first wife of King Ahasuerus. Vashti disobeyed the king when Ahasuerus wanted her to appear naked at a drinking party organized by himself. The idea was to show everybody how beautiful his wife was. Since Vashti refused, she was dismissed by her husband and replaced with another wife. Vashti is also regarded as a symbol of feminism and the first one who stood for women's rights. Well, quite a set of given names indeed.

Three years later, on March 15, 1882 (in McKinney, TX) William G. (George?) was born to the family.

When Jennie Mae was 33, she gave birth to a son. Thomas Houston Porter was born on September 3, 1896.

Census records from 1900(1) say that Jennie had two children (before 1900) who did not survive. At that time Jennie Mae (36) and Thomas Alexander (46) lived with their children Macon (16), Nona (11), Willie (8) and Thomas (4) at Justice Precinct 1 (south of S.S.&S.r.r. & east of public rd.), Collin, Texas, United States.
In 1905, on December 17, the family celebrated the marriage of the 21-year-old Macon Houston and Vergie Bell Lain, who was born in Kentucky on October 16, 1887. According to the Census data (1900)(2), Vergie lived with her family not far from the Porters (in McKinney city at Ward 2-3, Collin, Texas).

1910 - another United States Census(3). The records inform that Jennie Porter (46) and her husband Thomas A. (56) and their three children Nona (20), Willie (18) and Thomas Houston (13) lived at McKinney Ward 3, Collin, Texas then.

Nine years later, when Jennie was 56, her 29-year-old Nona Vashti got married. The spouse was Clarence Wilbur Brooks (born on April 30, 1896, in Indiana) and the marriage knot was tied on August 30, 1919, in Denver, Colorado. Nona and Clarence had four children Clarence Wilburn Jr. (b. June 14, 1920), Edith Meredith (b. May 2, 1922), and twins Carol Jean and Clarin Patricia, both born on December 19, 1933, in Palo Alto, CA.

Although I have not found any information on the marriages of the two sons of Jennie and Thomas's, William and Thomas Houston, the Census record from 1930(4) informs that Jennie (66) and Thomas (77) lived with their daughter-in-law Inez Faires (27) in McKinney, Collin, Texas, United States.

Ten years later (US Census 1940(5)) Jennie (76) and Thomas (87) lived on their own in McKinney, at Justice Precinct 1, Collin, Texas, United States.

On December 4, 1941, Jennie's grandson Clarence Wilbur Jr. married Ann Catherine Pavlina (born September 14, 1922).

In the picture from the left: Mr. Clarence Wilbur Brooks, his son Clarence Wilbur Jr., aunt Jennie, Miss Brooks (most possibly Ann, wife of Wilbur Jr.), Miss Nona Vashti Brooks.

Jennie Mae and Thomas Alexander were married for 62 years. Thomas passed away on September 1, 1943, in McKinney, where they lived.

Four years later, on January 9, 1947, Jennie Mae Porter Brooks left this world too. The couple's eternal resting place is the Rowlett Creek Cemetery in Plano, Collin County, TX.

Photo of the gravestone: Courtesy of Mr. Howard Case

(1)"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M3LV-TQV : accessed 15 August 2017), Jennie Porter in household of Thomas Porter, Justice Precinct 1 (south of S.S.&S.r.r. & east of public rd.), Collin, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 2, sheet 35B, family 642, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,620.

(2) "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M3LJ-TB6 : accessed 16 August 2017), Virgie Lane in household of J C Lane, McKinney city Ward 2-3, Collin, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 6, sheet 5B, family 109, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,620. 

(3)"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2MX-YGB : accessed 15 August 2017), Jennie Porter in household of Tomas A Porter, Mckinney Ward 3, Collin, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 8, sheet 9A, family 152, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1539; FHL microfilm 1,375,552. 

(4)"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:CWMW-2N2 : accessed 15 August 2017), Jennie Porter in household of Inez Faires, McKinney, Collin, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 3, sheet 32A, line 24, family 239, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 2309; FHL microfilm 2,342,043. 

(5)"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KWJD-3BJ : accessed 15 August 2017), Jennie Porter in household of Thomas A Porter, McKinney, Justice Precinct 1, Collin, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 43-4, sheet 13A, line 34, family 274, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 4008.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Wywiady Klubowe: Rozmowa z Małgosią Chalecką-Harris

Po ostatnim 'krajowym' Wywiadzie znów wyruszamy poza granice Polski. 

Kto był w Nowej Zelandii? Klub Polki na Obczyźnie ma i tam swoją przedstawicielkę. Jest nią Małgosia, z którą dzisiaj mamy przyjemność rozmawiać.

Małgosiu, powiedz nam gdzie jest Twoje miejsce w Polsce?

Moim najukochańszym miejscem w Polsce, za którym tęsknie jest Podlasie, a w szczególności Fronołów nad Bugiem. To miejsce mego dzieciństwa, wakacji, weekendów, do którego byliśmy razem z bratem wywożeni w dniu zakończenia roku szkolnego, i z którego wracaliśmy na dzień przed rozpoczęciem. Przez te dwa miesiące zmieniali się tylko ci, co się nami opiekowali. Miałam tam swój gang, przeżyłam tam swoja pierwszą fascynację chłopakiem, zabrałam stamtąd wiele wspomnień.

Przyroda na Podlasiu jest piękna, jest to miejsce, gdzie czas stanął w miejscu. Kojarzy mi się z beztroską, z łażeniem po drzewach, z całkowitą wolnością. Fronołów jest w moim sercu i w moich myślach codziennie. Jak jestem w Polsce, to zawsze staram się tam pojechać.

Jak dawno temu wyjechałaś z Polski?

Z Polski wyjechałam w 2000 roku, czyli 17 lat temu.

Kraj/ kraje / przyczyna Twojej emigracji?

Skończyłam magisterkę i nie mogłam znaleźć dobrej pracy (do Ikei próbowałam się dostać za wszelką cenę, ale niestety mnie nie chcieli). Poznałam dziewczynę (nawet nie pamiętam już jej imienia), która mieszkała w Anglii, i która tak naprawdę wpłynęła na moją decyzję o wyjeździe do Londynu. I tak oto, po wylaniu wielu łez, znalazłam się w Londynie, nie znając nikogo i rozpoczynając nowy etap mojego życia. W Anglii mieszkałam parę lat i wspominam je bardzo miło. Było to jeszcze przed wejściem Polski do Unii Europejskiej, wiec ciągle trzeba było załatwiać sprawy z wizą, a ponieważ byłam na wizie studenckiej, to mogłam pracować tylko określoną ilość godzin. Miałam dużo wolnego czasu i łaziłam po Londynie, ile się dało. Uwielbiałam spędzać godziny w National Gallery.

Po mniej więcej pół roku poznałam Phillipa, który pochodzi z Nowej Zelandii i tak na początku 2003 roku wyjechaliśmy do Nowej Zelandii. Początkowo na trzy lata, które trwają już prawie czternaście.

Co nam powiesz o swoim wykształceniu?

Uwielbiam studiować i na razie mam na karku Magistra Ekonomii, później zrobiłam dyplom z grafiki komputerowej, a w tym roku zakończyłam Psychologię. Raczej nie oznacza to końca studiowania, ale na razie robię sobie przerwę, bo jednak córki są jeszcze małe i chcę z nimi móc spędzać weekendy.

Jestem również coachem Gallupa Pierwszej Piątki (Top 5 Accredited Strengths Finder Coach).

Czym zajmujesz się na co dzień?

Na co dzień pracuję na Uniwersytecie i zajmuję się organizowaniem różnych projektów, które pozytywnie wpływają na środowisko studenckie. Moja praca jest bardzo różnorodna i dostarcza mi wiele satysfakcji. Podoba mi się to, że każdy dzień jest inny. Nie da się nudzić. Mam szczęście, że mam możliwość zaczynania pracy o siódmej rano i dzięki temu mogę skończyć przed trzecią i mieć czas na popołudnie z dziewczynami. Dla tych, co z przerażeniem czytają, że zaczynam pracę tak wcześnie, to powiem, że wolę spokojnie zacząć dzień, jem śniadanie w pracy, zawsze mam gorącą herbatę, jeśli śniadania miałabym jeść w domu, to byłoby pełno hałasu i pośpiechu. Plus wolne popołudnia są dodatkowym bonusem.

Czy masz jakieś hobby / co lubisz robić w czasie wolnym?

Ha, ha a co to jest wolny czas? Teraz kupiliśmy dom, więc ciągle jest co robić. Poza tym uwielbiam gotować, czytać książki (choć mam na nie mało czasu) szczególnie Murakamiego, uczyć się nowych rzeczy, fotografować, oglądać Masterchef, chodzić do kawiarni, oraz całkowicie tracić czas na Pintreście.

Z czego jesteś dumna?

Jestem dumna z siebie, że udaje mi się łączyć pracę na cały etat, ze studiami, z urządzaniem domu. Z tego, że mam super rodzinę. Z osiągnięć moich córek. Z osiągnięć mego męża. Że udało nam się kupić dom. Że jakoś udało mi się poukładać moje życie w Nowej Zelandii.

Zdjęcie: Karolina Stus Photography

Kiedy zaczęłaś pisać bloga / o czym piszesz na blogu?

Niestety nie piszę bloga, nie mam na niego czasu. Może kiedyś…

Czym jest dla Ciebie Klub Polki?

Klub Polki jest jak rodzina, rozśmiesza mnie, zmusza do myślenia, wyciska łzy, denerwuje, uzależnia. Jest taką dynamiczną mieszanką różnych poglądów, radości, smutków. Uwielbiam to.

Co jeszcze chciałabyś nam powiedzieć o sobie?

Mieszkam obecnie w Wellington, kupiliśmy dom w samym centrum życia filmowego Wety. Pomimo tego, że mieszkam w takim miejscu nigdy niestety nie udało mi sie zobaczyć na żywo żadnej gwiazdy filmowej, a przez Wellington wiele ich się przewinęło.

Kocham to miasto, choć ta miłość nie była od razu. Zajęło mi trochę czasu, żeby odnaleźć się tutaj, ale mam teraz swoje ulubione miejsca. Wellington jest bardzo łatwy do kochania w piękne, słoneczne dni, ale też trudny – bo jak jest źle to jest naprawdę źle. Wieje, pada i jest zimno. Może to być zarówno latem, jak i zimą, zresztą piękna pogoda też.

Podoba mi się, że jest wszędzie blisko, zajmuje mi około pół godziny, żeby przejechać z jednego krańca na drugi. Żyje się tu spokojnie, trochę innym trybem, nie tak zagonionym, jak w Europie.


Gratulujemy osiągnięć Małgosiu oraz tego, że tak wspaniale się odnalazłaś w miejscu, w którym obecnie mieszkasz!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Kin / Ben Davis Family Mystery

That photograph is part of Aunt Lula's Album. Unfortunately, I have not managed to find any information on the family portrayed in the picture. Aunt Lula wrote 'Mr. Kin Davis + family' and 'Mr. Ben Davis + family' at the back of the photo. Ben (Benjamin?), Kin (?). 

The couple might have been born in the 1850s or earlier. Possibly, they were related to the Howard family who came to Texas from Virginia in the 1850s.

The surname Davis appears in our family tree but I cannot find any connection to the Kin/Ben Davis. I wish Aunt Lula could tell me about them. Anyhow, I hope to find out anything on the family during my ancestry research. They might have lived in Texas as well.

If you know anything about the Davis family (of Georgia or Virginia?), you are welcome to contact me on that matter.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Found in Family Tree: President Zachary Taylor

According to my findings, Zachary Taylor appears in our family tree as the third cousin six times removed.

Governor William Brewster is Z. Taylor's direct ancestor (and ours as well).

Here is Zachary Taylor's direct family line:

Gov. Elder William Brewsterhis daughter - Fear Allerton (born Brewster)her daughter - Sarah Lee (born Allerton)her daughter - Elizabeth Taylor (born Lee)her son - Richard Lee Taylor﹢Sarah Dabney Taylor (born Strother) → Zachary Talor.

Zachary Taylor was the third son of Richard Lee and Sarah Dabney's. He was born on November 24, 1784, in Orange County, Virginia.

Since you can read his biography in every encyclopedia, I am not going to repeat it here. However, I need to mention that Zachary Taylor was a war hero (War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the second Seminole War, Mexican-American War) and a national hero at his own time. He was 12th President of the USA (elected 1848).

Major General Zachary Taylor was a military commander who led his troops to victory, had glorious military achievements and a brilliant military career.

Zachary Taylor married  Margaret Mackall Smith on June 21, 1810, in Louisville County, Kentucky. The couple had six children.

Sadly, Mr. Taylor died of serious digestion system disorder after eating a lot of fresh cherries, accompanied by drinking cold milk. Quite an irony you could say, considering the dangers of the wars he had survived and had gone through.

President Taylor died on July 9, 1850, after five days of suffering from acute gastroenteritis.

God bless his soul.

These days it seems quite obvious that such a diet composition, meaning having fruit and milk at the same time is likely to cause stomach and bowels 'revolution'. At least I was taught it by my mom. On the other hand, maybe our contemporary knowledge is a result of such lethal experiences of our ancestors. Who knows.

Remember - never drink milk when you eat fruits, including tomatoes. It is better to avoid any other cold drinks then. I have known someone who did have a tomato and milk and regretted it very badly. No, it was not me. Just someone I used to work with. Luckily, that person did not die, though.


Picture: By Zachary_Taylor_half_plate_daguerreotype_c1843-45.png: unknown, possibly Maguire of New Orleans derivative work: Beao [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mom's WW2 Stories: Grandma Arrested

When Nazis attacked Poland in 1939, they took the Poles and the entire world by surprise. It all started in the very early morning on September 1.

Mom, her family and other people in the neighborhood of the war port heard a Polish soldier cry:" Germans on the hillocks!". It was too late to evacuate or do anything. Nazis were too close and approached very quickly. Soon, my grandfather, his Polish Military Police Unit men and many Polish soldiers who were in the area, were arrested. The Nazis took over the port and the city as well. Grandpa was transported to a Stalag in Germany.

Not long after that, Gestapo men came to our family's apartment to arrest grandma. Mom and her sister were little then. They were in their beds as they had got ill. Grandma was told to say goodbye to her children and was taken away. The little girls did not know where to. They were horrified. The children neither knew what would happen to them nor whether their mother would ever be back.

They did not know either that she was taken to a local Gestapo station for questioning. An important part of the story was that my grandmother was born during the time when Poland was partitioned. I wrote about the third partition of Poland in my previous post. In case if you have missed that information, I will repeat it here:

Poland was partitioned for the third time in 1795. Three empires Prussia, Austria, and Russia divided Poland into three parts and took control over it. It meant Poland no longer existed as a country and the Polish people automatically became citizens of the suppressant empires. They not only were forbidden to speak Polish but also, when WW1 began, had to serve in the Prussian, Austrian or Russian army, depending on where they lived. In that way, Poles fought against their own people as well. My great-grandpa was one of them. Poland regained its independence after the war, when the peace treaty was signed in 1918.

Anyway, grandma was born in the part of Poland which, at that time, was controlled by Prussia. Therefore, her father fought in the Prussian army during WW1, he also perished on a WW1 front.

All the above was enough for the Nazis to say grandma was not Polish, and she had committed a crime when she married a Polish military man. They wanted her to sign a Volksdeutsche list. Maybe she was even told, her husband would be released from the Stalag to make her sign the paper, as it happened in similar such cases.

But grandma was Polish, her parents were Polish. If she had agreed to sign, it would have been a betrayal of herself, her husband, her family. So she refused to sign anything.

Of course, it had its consequences. You could not just say 'no' to the Nazis... Grandma was severely beaten by Gestapo men. They beat her all night long, with their guns as well.

Finally, she was let go home. She came back home where her little girls had kept crying all the time when she was away. The kids also cried when they saw their mom - she was covered with her own blood, her face was bruised, and she had no teeth. All had been broken when she was tortured at the Gestapo station.

Since mom and her sister were ill, grandma had their family doctor check on her daughters. After the examination, the doctor stated that the hearts of both girls had significantly enlarged due to the horror they had gone through. According to the medical man, mom's heart was as big as a heart of an adult. The good news was that the condition was to pass.

Most importantly, grandma was home so her children felt safe again. It was the best cure of all to the despair and distress of the little girls'.

Grandma and her daughters

Another Mom's WW2 Story will be on the blog in September.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Movies Monthly: June

Here are some notes on what we enjoyed watching most in the month of June.


The ones (by BBC) which came back with a new season:

  • Grantchester 3 - (drama, detective story);
  • The Tunnel 2: Sabotage - (crime story) - I enjoy watching the process of gradual development of Elise's social skills;
  • Broadchurch 3 - (crime story) - the previous season was disappointing. We expected a new thread to be presented then. Instead of it, the old plot was munched. Good, it is not repeated as we would have stopped watching the series.

A new one:

Prime Suspect: Tennison - 2017 (detective story) - set in the 70s, with all the props from the decade, including the Grundig radio, the interior of the flats, fashion and car models. It all brings my childhood to my mind. The reality in Poland looked very similar then. Everyday stuff which we used and had was similar. All in all, we were not so much behind the rest of Europe as someone could think. A lot of the music of the 70s was included in each series episode. I watched them all with some sentiment, recalling the long gone era. On the other hand, the story was very interesting as well.

Mini series:

The Passing Bells - 2014 (WW1) - I have seen quite a few movies depicting WW1 events/times. In Passing Bells, the first time the partitioned Poland was mentioned.

To Your Knowledge: Poland was partitioned for the third time in 1795. Three empires Prussia, Austria, and Russia divided Poland into three parts and took control over it. It meant Poland no longer existed as a country and the Polish people automatically became citizens of the suppressant empires. They not only were forbidden to speak Polish but also, when WW1 began, had to serve in the Prussian, Austrian or Russian army, depending on where they lived. In that way, Poles fought against their own people as well. My great-grandpa was one of them. Anyway, Poland regained its independence after the war, when the peace treaty was signed in 1918.

A great series showing individuals and their families involved in the war. Personal tragedies which they had to face and deal with. Each episode includes testimonials of ex-soldiers, the war participants, the words of original letters written by the army men. What is more, parts of original documentaries are merged with the TV show scenes. There is no us and them in the series. Just people.

Movies of June

9 - 2009 (animation) - quite deep and dark for a cartoon. Lots of work and thinking (the plot, setting, and characters) included in making it.

Dirty Pretty Things - 2002 (drama) - at first I did not know which country the plot was set in as each character spoke English with a foreign, non-British accent. Soon, I realized it was contemporary London. Quite an Immigrant Song.

The Boy - 2016 (horror) - different than we thought it would be - with quite an unexpected plot turn.

Tale of Tales - 2015 (fantasy) - modern type fairy tales in which nothing tends to be beautiful, cute, characters are not good or bad only and there is no such a thing as a happy ending. They did not live happily ever after.

Slumdog Millionnaire - 2008 (drama) - horrible living conditions of slums in India, crime, love, brotherhood and more. I know the name of the third musketeer but if I was asked questions on India and its culture, I would most probably fail to answer.

Stage Beauty - 2004 (drama) - quite tragic was the faith of those male-female stage beauties when their acting was no longer needed/admired.

Classics of June

The Killers - 1946 (crime) - based on the novel by Hemingway. The movie is the origin of the Dragnet series. We learned something again as we had thought Dragnet was the original crime story serial but, as it appeared, it was just a sequel of a former idea.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying - 1964 (comedy) - a bit weird as most of Kubrick's movies. Entertaining, though. Besides, Kubrick is one of my favorite film directors.

The Lost Patrol - 1934 (WW1) - with Boris Karloff - when you think WW1, you most likely associate it with France, Germany, Europe in general. Not a Mesopotamian desert. Another front of the war.