March 13, 2016
The length of this letter is long for a very important reason. On February 6th we had our annual business meeting and to summarize, we are doing okay. The building is in very good condition with no major expenditures foreseen for a while. The finances have been struggling with the losing and replacing of renters, yet currently things are stable. But stable is break-even at best. We have had an almost complete change in the board of trustees, but they have come together as a team and the club could be in good hands for quite sometime.
The problem that has become apparent to me is; what are our long-term goals? Some long-term goals have been determined at previous business meetings.
- We want the building to be maintained at fairly high standards. No milking it with the thought of dumping it in 20 years.
- We want our history (including artifacts) preserved.
We can do both of these for many years with the current business plan of trying to break even in good years and pull a few thousand out of cash reserve in the bad years. The problem will come when 15 years from now it will be time to paint the building again ($20k) or 30 years from now replace the roof ($40k) -these are today’s prices, by the way. In the past, these large maintenance items were basically covered by our income from the interest of our cash reserve. Our interest income is now 20% of what it once was. So do we take our very safe 1% CD and invest it into a relatively safe 3% bond or a slightly riskier 5% (historic average) mutual? Then there is real estate at a 10% return, but riskier still. How about if Polish history is tied to the investment? Should we purchase the historic Polish St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church as a 2-apartment rental with the sanctuary renting for whatever?
As for our history, how far do we go? On May 6th it will be the 100th anniversary of the grand opening of our building –our club’s 100th anniversary was celebrated 3 years ago. Twenty years ago, to mark the 80th, we put a 16-page insert in The Daily World. However, the media world has changed. How do we best let our community know about our building’s contribution to the social, political and religious organizations; to the performing arts, the myriad of family functions and the just good times? Truly, the Polish Club can claim to be the most HISTORICAL BUILDING IN ABERDEEN! How much are we willing to do and spend to get this message out?
Think about these things. Talk to others about it. Bring your opinions and suggestions to the next club functions (Oyster Feed– April 9 or Mother’s Day Breakfast– May 8). Write, call or email. Continuing business is fine, but I believe it is, long-term, a slow death. Making changes and/or taking chances could be a big mistake, but it is quite possible the only way to keep the Polish Club legacy continuing on for another 100 years.
Solidarity forever, Don Norkoski –President
Easter is a major holiday in Poland, and Easter celebrations are not limited to Easter Sunday. Easter-related traditions take place for more than a week in Poland. From Palm Sunday to Wet Monday, this period is marked with religious rites and practices with their origins in pagan times. It is important to note that Easter in Poland is celebrated Western Roman Catholic calendar. Click this link for more details.
Easter Monday is a family holiday in Poland and is called Smigus Dyngus (also called Smingus-Dyngus), or Wet Monday, after the practice of men and boys pouring water on women and girls. However, the tradition isn’t necessarily limited to males pouring water on females – the roles are often reversed. Regional variations of the tradition are also known to occur, and a woman’s married status may protect her from being doused with water. However, it is best to assume that on this day, no one is safe from the Smigus Dyngus tradition!
Traditional pisanki feature designs and colors that are particular to regions of Poland. This window features eggs in traditional designs from Opoczno, Opatow, Opole, and other regions of Poland. Traditional pisanki and eggs decorated with non-traditional designs are available for sale around Easter time.
Palm Sunday in Lipnica Murowana (Poland). Competition for the highest palm.
In Poland, on the Saturday before Easter, people take baskets of food to church to be blessed. On Sunday, the blessed food will be eaten.
Through countless donations and efforts of members, we have been able to restore this beautiful flag. The flag was in use for years in the Aberdeen Splash Parade dating back to 1914. Restoration and framing was done with the help of Clyde and Sylvia of Frames-N-Things and now proudly hangs in our dining hall. Below, pictures show the translation and photo of the flag while in use at the July 4, 1914 Splash Parade. Our next restoration efforts will focus on restoring the drum also used in the same parade.
Our annual business meeting will be held SATURDAY February 6th due to the Super Bowl. A Polish lunch (Pierogis, Gołąbki and more) will be served at 1 PM.
There are places, people, and artifacts that symbolize Poland better than anything else. Here’s our subjective list of Polish symbols.
That is the way to say “Merry Christmas” in Polish. Among Poles, wherever they are, the most beloved and beautiful of all traditional festivities is that of Christmas Eve. It is then that the Wigilia, or Christmas Eve Dinner is served. It is a solemnly celebrated occasion and arouses deep feelings of kinship among family members.
For days in advance, Poles prepare the traditional foods and everyone anxiously awaits the moment when the first star, known as the Gwiazdka, appears in the eastern sky. For that is when the feast to commemorate the birth of the Christ Child begins.
There is always a thin layer of hay under the white tablecloth in memory of the Godchild in the manger. Before sitting down at the table, everyone breaks the traditional wafer, or Oplatek and exchanges good wishes for health, wealth and happiness in the New Year. This is such a deeply moving moment that often tears of love and joy are evoked from the family members who are breaking this symbolic bread. The Oplatek is a thin, unleavened wafer similar to the altar bread in the Roman Catholic Church. It is stamped with the figures of the Godchild, the blessed Mary, and the holy angels. The wafer is known as the bread of love and is often sent by mail to the absent members of the family.
The dinner itself differs from other evening meals in that the number of courses is fixed at seven, nine or eleven. According to myth, in no case must there be an odd number of people at the table, otherwise it is said that some of the feasters would not live to see another Christmas. A lighted candle in the windows symbolizes the hope that the Godchild, in the form of a stranger, may come to share the Wigilia and an extra place is set at the table for the unexpected guest. This belief stems from the ancient Polish adage, “A guest in the home is God in the home.”
The Wigilia is a meatless meal, no doubt the result of a long-time Church mandate that a strict fast and abstinence be observed on this day before Christmas. Although the Church laws have been revised and permit meat to be eaten on this day, the traditional meal remains meatless. Items that would normally be included in a traditional Wigilia menu include mushroom soup, boiled potatoes (kartofle), pickled herring (sledzie), fried fish, pierogi, beans and sauerkraut (groch i kapusta), a dried fruit compote, babka, platek, assorted pastries, nuts and candies.
After the meal the members of the family sing Polish Christmas Carols called the koledy while the children wait impatiently around the Christmas tree or choinka for the gifts to be exchanged.
Aside from the beautiful Wigilia, the Polish people have a number of other traditions that they practice throughout the Christmas season. Polish Christmas Carols or koledy are numerous and beautiful, especially when sung in Polish parishes at the Christmas Eve Mass. This Mass is called the Pasterka, which means the Shepherds Watch, and there is popular belief in Poland that while the congregation is praying, peace descends on the snow-clad, sleeping earth and that during that holy night, the humble companions of men – the domestic animals – assume voices. But only the innocent of heart may hear them.
Christmas Day itself is spent in rest, prayer, and visits to various members of the family. In Poland, from Christmas Day until the twelfth night, boys trudge from village to village with
an illuminated star and a ranting King Herod among them to sing carols. Sometimes, they penetrate the towns in expectation of more generous gifts. In some districts, the boys carry on puppet shows called shopky. These are built like a little house with two towers, open in the front where a small crib is set.
During the Christmas season, the theaters give special performances. On the feast of the Epiphany, the priest and the organist visit the homes, bless them and write over their doors the initials of the three wise men – KMB (Kasper, Melchior and Balthazar) – in the belief that this will spare the homes from misfortune.
The Christmas season closes on February 2, known as Candlemas Day. On that day, people carry candles to church and have them blessed for use in their homes during storms, sickness and death.
Don S. Crocker, age 74, a longtime resident of Aberdeen and member of the Polish Club, died on November 22, 2015, at his home in Aberdeen. Don was born in Portland, Oregon on December 12, 1940 to Howard James and Augusta Martha (Thomas) Crocker. He was raised in Oregon and graduated from Beaverton High School in 1960.
He would later serve in the U.S. Coast Guard. While stationed at the Port of Grays Harbor, he met Sherry D. Wolkiewicz. The couple was married on December 19, 1964 at St. Peter and Paul Church in Aberdeen. They originally made their home in Bellingham, then in 1967, then returned to Aberdeen where Sherry had been raised. While living in Bellingham, he had worked for Safeway and Frazier Chevrolet. On the Harbor, he had been employed for Grays Harbor Paper until it’s closure in 1992. He then worked for H.U.D. until retiring in 2000.
Don and Sherry loved traveling, having gone to Poland, China and the Mediterranean. Their travel highlight was a family cruise in 2010. They also enjoyed spending time in Timber, Oregon. They had also made their annual snow bird trip to Arizona for many years. Don also enjoyed hunting and fishing.
Surviving relatives include his wife Sherry of the family home; two sons and their wives, Chad and Shelley Crocker of Olympia and Matt and Vickie Crocker of Aberdeen; four grandchildren, Ashley (Sabre) Dahlen of Olympia, Daniel Crocker of Aberdeen, Nicholas Crocker of Aberdeen and Brooklyn Crocker of Olympia; two great grandchildren, Connor and Addison Dahlen; sister-in-law, Agnus Crocker of Hillsboro, Oregon; an aunt Bonnie Thomas of Oakridge, Oregon, nephews, Dr. Patrick Crocker of Medina, Texas and Tim Crocker of Moss Bluff, Lousiana; one niece Jeanette Olsen of Seattle, Washington and many cousins. A brother, Harvey Crocker, died previously.
A celebration of life gathering will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, December 12, 2015, at the Aberdeen Elks Lodge.
The family suggests that memorial donations be made to a charity of your choice.
Cremation arrangements are by the Coleman Mortuary in Hoquiam.
Please take a few moments to record your comments for the family by signing the on-line register at http://www.colemanmortuary.net.