polish club – aberdeen, wa

Christmas Wafer: Oplatek

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Sharing of the oplatek (pronounced opwatek) is the most ancient and beloved of all Polish Christmas traditions. Oplatek is a thin wafer made of flour and water, similar in taste to the hosts that are used for communion during Mass. The Christmas wafer is shared before Wigilia, the Christmas Eve supper. The head of the household usually starts by breaking the wafer with his wife and then continues to share it with everyone at the Wigilia table. Wishes for peace and prosperity are exchanged and even the pets and farm animals are given a piece of oplatek on Christmas Eve. Legend has it that if animals eat oplatek on Christmas Eve, they will be able to speak in human voices at midnight, but only those who are pure of spirit will be able to hear them.

This tradition dates back many centuries when a thin, flat bread called podplomyk was baked over an open flame and then shared with the family gathered around the fire on Christmas Eve. Patterns would be cut onto the bread to make breaking easier. This is why oplatki today still have patterns on them, usually of Nativity scenes.

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William “Willy” Kalinowski

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Longtime Polish Club Member and Trustee, William Richard “Willie” Kalinowski, 86, Cosmopolis resident and former Rural Letter Carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, died Tuesday, May 8, 2017, at his home in Cosmopolis, Wash.

Willie was born on Sept. 12, 1930, in Aberdeen to Vincent and Mary (Blahut) Kalinowski. He attended school at Steven Elementary and Miller Jr. High and graduated from Weatherwax High School in 1948. He then attended Grays Harbor Community College.

On June 23, 1951, Will married Bonnie Jean Parshall in Aberdeen. She passed away Feb. 28th of this year. Will sorely missed her.

He went to work for Posey’s Manufacturing from 1948 to ‘66 he worked for Cascade Natural Gas for a couple of years. He owned and operated B Street Exxon form 1969 to ‘79. Will went to work as a Rural Letter Carrier in the Wishkah and E. Hoquiam area from 1976 to 1996.

He as a member of the Polish Club for over 66 years and was the Finance Secretary for many years. He was also a member of the Aberdeen Elks and the Elks Band where he played Coronet for many years and then drums later in the Marching Band. He belonged to the South Aberdeen Baptist Church.

Willie enjoyed playing golf, fishing, traveling, visiting his grandkids and puttering in his woodshop.

Willie is survived by two sons: Ron of Everett and Walter (Kristel) of Keizer, Ore.; two grandkids: Elise (Michael) Maynes and Aleksandr Kalinowski; one great-grandson, James Maynes. He was preceded in death by his siblings: Helen Donley, Ed Kalinowski, Walt Kalinowski and Wanda Rivera.

There will be no services. He will be inurned with his wife at Forest Hill Cemetery, Cosmopolis, Wash.

Arrangements are entrusted to Twibell’s Fern Hill Funeral Home in Aberdeen, Wash

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Bonnie J. Kalinowski

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Wife of longtime Polish Club member Willy Kalinowski, Bonnie Jean Kalinowski, 84, Cosmopolis resident and former Librarian Assistant at Grays Harbor College, died Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, at Montesano Health & Rehab Center in Montesano, Wash.

Bonnie was born on Jan. 9, 1933, in Stewart, Neb. to George J. and Doris (Henifin) Parshall. Her family moved to the Rochester area for a few years before moving to Aberdeen where she graduated from Weatherwax High School in 1951.

A few days after graduation, she married her high school sweetheart, William Kalinowski on June 23, 1951, in Aberdeen. He resides at the family home.

Bonnie worked at Kresses Dept. Store for a few years before working at the college in the Library for over 20 years.

She was a member of the South Aberdeen Baptist Church. She loved sightseeing and traveling.

Bonnie is survived by her husband of 66 years, William Kalinowski of Cosmopolis; two sons: Ron Kalinowski of Everett, Wash. and Walter (Kristal) Kalinowski of Beaverton; sisters: Donna Kulich of Cosmopolis and Phyllis (Ed) Kulich of Aberdeen; two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by a brother James Parshall and a sister June.

A celebration of Bonnie’s life will be held on Saturday, March 11, at 4 p.m., at the South Aberdeen Baptist Church. Supper will follow in the Fellowship Hall following the service.

A card of condolence with a message or a memory may be sent to the family through

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Twibell’s Fern Hill Funeral Home in Aberdeen.

New Facebook Page

Polish Club of Grays Harbor & Pacific Counties

Annual Business Meeting

Our annual business meeting will be held today, February 10th in the Polish Club Dining Hall starting at 1pm. Lunch will be provided.


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