Sto Lat -
A Hundred Years of the Wisniewski Family in America
by Chris Wisniewski
- Trim size 8.5 x 8.5 inches
- 214 pages
- over 120 black & white photographs
Price $25.95 + tax and shipping
In the first decade of the twentieth century, two young people each left their small farming villages in northwestern Poland and traveled, alone, to America in search of a better life. Władysław Wisniewski and Dominica Rutkowska met in Norwich, Connecticut and married. They raised ten children on a hundred and fifty acre farm in the rural town of Preston. Władysław peddled wood, chickens, and produce in Norwich. For a family that was often short on cash, they had a wonderfully rich life. This is their story — a story of self reliance, resourcefulness, family, and pride. As one of Władysław's sons once said of their family, "They didn't have nothing, but they kept it nice."
Sto Lat is an oral history based on extensive interviews with eight of the ten children in the family. The book documents the way Polish immigrants lived in Southeastern Connecticut in the first half of the 1900s, including:
- Farming practices of the day.
- Descriptions of daily chores on the farm.
- Typical foods eaten on the farm, including the family's secret favorite.
- Stories of the 1938 hurricane that devastated Southeastern Connecticut.
- Descriptions of entertainment in the Norwich area.
- How the family maintained their Polish traditions while assimilating into their new country.
- Extensive coverage of the experiences of two of the Wisniewski sons in
the Navy in World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters.
- Plus stories of ordering live foxes through the mail, Aunt Apolonia and her moonshine business, and the proper way to make a slide whistle out of a tree branch.
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"Sto Lat" means "One Hundred Years" in Polish. It is also a song commonly sung as a toast for birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings.
Sto lat, sto lat,
Niech żyje, żyje nam.
Sto lat, sto lat,
Niech żyje, żyje nam,
Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz, niech żyje, żyje nam,
Niech żyje nam!