Suffield’s Polish Heritage Society will celebrate its 100th meeting with a luncheon at Suffield by the River on Wednesday, June 7. Members will hear Chris Kervick, first selectman of Windsor Locks, tell the history of the Windsor Locks Canal. The canal pre-dated the arrival of Polish newcomers to Suffield and figured significantly in their history.
The Polish Heritage Society was founded in 2006 to research and preserve history that was quickly disappearing. Valuable oral history emerges from meetings as members hold lively conversations about old times, family events, relationships, and customs. The late Lorraine Kulas Rapacki recorded much of the history, and Patsy Cosma now tapes it.
For Show and Tell gatherings members brought family photos and keepsakes, holding a special meeting for wedding photos and customs.
Vi Carney read her recollections about growing up in Suffield, working on the farm, and volunteering during WWII to keep watch for enemy aircraft. Bernice Sobinski wrote and read memories of her family practicing Polish agricultural methods and wisdom on their New England farm.
Jim Turek wrote a book about his grandparents and their farming life in Suffield. In addition to programs about Poland, Jim produced The History of Polish Music in Suffield. Interspersing local Polish history with live music by seven musicians, Jim told the story of Suffield’s earliest Polish immigrants and the songs they brought from Old Country weddings, christenings, and other gatherings. Polkas were not included in native Polish music. Research showed that the Polish polka was born in America. Like Irish coffee.