Industrial Stories#1: The Name

My grandma’s name is a name of a patron saint of coal mining. Berbra (Polish: Barbara). Surprisingly, she was given this name by her family living in green Masovia known for fruit farming. The family didn’t expect that after graduating in Warsaw, as a young woman, she would move to Upper Silesia, the capital of coal mining of that time. This picture was taken after the relocation. Barbara is in her twenties, she’s wearing flared dress. The research for further coal mine deposits is in progress and she – in line with her education – works for geological research companies. The lives in Murcki, Katowice – the couple at the picture are her landlords. She rents a room at their home, but they’re more like family for her.

The patron of a Silesian coal doesn’t know yet, that soon she’ll meet my grandfather. He’ll approach her at the tram stop near Theatre of Silesia. She doesn’t know she’ll be the mother of two daughters. And she’ll take me to the countryside every summer and will cook the best potato pancakes ever. Then – after I finish my school, I move to the opposite direction – from Sosnowiec (near Katowice) to Warsaw and rent a room near the church where my grandma got married. The symmetry of this story still surprises me.

Post Author: Gocha Pawlak