Happy 96th Birthday, Nana!

Walburga Kolinski was born in Toledo OH on January 10, 1910. She married Edward Wojtkowiak in 1932. Eddie and Wally adopted Judy Jaworski, born in 1939, and re-named her Patricia.

Patricia Wojtkowiak married Robert Bohls in 1960. They had three children: Marianne, born in 1961; Robert Jr., born in 1963; and Edward, born in 1964.

My understanding is that my sister Main had trouble at some precious young age articulating grandpa and grandma, coming up instead with Papa and Nana. These are, of course, not uncommon nicknames for grandparents.

Nana once described herself to me as a hillbilly farmer. Their house included a corner grocery store, the floors of which we were never allowed as kids to walk on barefoot. Papa and Nana owned and ran the store, and Papa was a butcher as well. Later, probably driven out of business by the arrival of supermarkets, Papa worked for a tobacco and candy distributor.

Nana could cook, man. I’ve never ever found pierogis like she used to make. She also used to send us boxes and boxes of Christmas cookies every year.

She died suddenly in 1993. She and Papa had moved in with my mother, staying in the bedroom that we still call the Pink Room. Nana passed away in bed in her room on August 19, 1993.

I think of her often when I recite the Hail Mary. I don’t exactly remember or know where or when it would have been, but I guess she must have helped me learn it. It seemed somewhat spooky and scary to me, the pray for us “at the hour of our death” business.

I should have asked her to teach it to me in Polish too, now that I think about it.

Zdrowas Maryjo,
laskis pelna, Pan z Toba.
Blogoslawionas Ty miedzy
niewiastami i blogoslawiony owoc
zywota Twojego – Jezus.
Swieta Maryjo, Matko Boza,
modl sie za nami grzesznymi,
teraz i w godzine smierci naszej,

We love you, Nana. And miss you.

One thought on “Nana

  1. Searching tonight for info on Walburga Wojtkowiak and came across your blog and some much needed family information. I am the granddaughter of Frances (Kolinski) Kopczynski, your grandmother’s sister. I’ve been working on and using Family Tree Maker to work on our genealogy. I’m interested in old photos if you have any that you can scan and send to me. I have a copy of Edward and Wally’s wedding photo and some pictures of Teofil and Hattie Kolinski, our great grandparents if you don’t have any.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


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