Honeymoon & Consular Service
I was feeling rather lost. There on the platform were my parents and all my friends, here in the train was Zygmunt, although my husband, rather like a stranger, here was also his mother and his aunt. I did not like the beginning of our married life. I felt that I did not belong here, neither to Zygmunt nor to Mrs Kruszewski. They were all strangers. I couldn’t even voice my thoughts to Zygmunt, what would his mother think?
I didn’t feel happy at all, just so very tired. Two days before there had been my exams, yesterday the concert and today the wedding.
After a few hours we arrived in Poland and Zygmunt’s home, where we were met by his Aunt Ola, whom I liked best of all. Now I think I loved her as after greeting us she said that I must feel tired and she would show me to my room, which was separate from Zygmunt’s room. God bless her!
Next day lots of Zygmunt’s relatives arrived for a party given in our honour. He had so many relatives. I didn’t know any of them throughout all the years, as one uncle lived in Poland, one aunt in France and another uncle in Russia. I was not used to masses of relatives. I was trying to sort them out but got lost. I liked only his father who was quiet, but looked nice and pleasant and he was the only one who did not glare at me. The others looked at me as one does at a new animal, just bought on the market!
The following day I looked at myself in the mirror and could see no difference between Mrs Marusia Kruszeswka the woman and Miss Marusia Voitkeviciute (or Wojtkiewicz).
Next evening we left for Germany, (Stettin), going first through Warsaw. We overslept in the train and woke up at a goods depot railway yard. In Warsaw there was again a party for us, again plenty of relatives. By now I was completely lost as to who belonged to whom. But that was not the end as the next stop was Poznan where there were again more relatives. How could one have so many relatives?
Next day we went through Danzig (Gdansk). Luckily no relatives, but I’ll never forget Gdansk as here we had our first row. I don’t know what about but it had to do with an umbrella. I thought Zygmunt to be domineering and he thought me irrational and we both thought we had made a terrible mistake in choosing each other as partners. However we made it up on the same day and arrived in Stettin happy and full of anticipation to start our life together.
Zygmunt had only one room. A nice room with nice furniture there were flowers to welcome us, but it was only a room. But again I did not measure up to Zygmunt’s expectations. He tried to be nice but I thought him inane. Showing me this one room he started to explain as if to a blind person: here is the desk, here is the wardrobe, he even opened it showing masses of white shirts, here is the bed and here is the table, the couch etc. As I was standing in the middle of the room he asked me to sit down, which I did, but then he asked me to get up as I was still in my overcoat. He helped me take it off and showed me where to put it and my hat. He really kept trying but I felt confused and my only replies were “yes, thank you” or “no, thank you.” Then he brought a bottle of wine and it became a bit better but when he asked me if I loved him I replied: “I think so, yes.” He was nice and kind but everything was so alien – his wardrobe full of white shirts and dark suits, his room not mine, not even really ours, and even he, although a legal husband, was a stranger, a person whom I did not know.
I liked Stettin and settled down very quickly. The German language was more of a mother tongue to me than Polish and the way of life was quite familiar.
It was a sunny summer and I spent most of the days swimming in the Glamek Sea. There was a good library next door to us and, although I was alone, I felt happy and looked forward to the evenings when Zygmunt would be with me. Except for breakfast we were always eating out and always liked restaurants and here it was even more fun as they were all new to me. He had a car, which I think he loved even more than me and we spent weekends motoring if he did not have to attend parties. I did not like these parties, I felt so inadequate. My Polish was still faulty and I was afraid of embarrassing Zygmunt and therefore kept quiet and answered only when addressed, in very short sentences. I liked the Consul, Mr Nowicki, but felt unsure with his wife who was so sophisticated. I liked Talunia Minishewska but she was younger than myself and we were shy of each other.
The political situation was already tense. I remember that once I travelled with the Consul to Berlin, which was not just an outing. He had to deliver some documents to the Embassy and it was better for him to travel not alone but with a young female.
We spent only a short time in Stettin, as Zygmunt was due for his annual leave on the 1st of August, which we intended to spend partly in Druskieniki, a Polish spa and partly in Lithuania.
The journey was not pleasant. Near the frontier we saw armoured cars, we were stopped for many hours, our entire luggage was inspected, including the car, and I even had to undress completely but they did not find Zygmunt’s revolver which he kept in his jacket and, being a hot day, the jacket was hanging on a fence post! Along the road were newly built hangers, marching military men, newly erected barracks. It gave one an unpleasant feeling. They let us go after a few hours.
Druskieniki was nice, I liked it. Zygmunt’s mother was also there but she spent most of her time with her friend, Senator Ambramowitcz, a very pleasant man. Zygmunt and I had a lot of time to ourselves and we started to know each other. Even an unpleasant memory from Stettin began to fade. It happened when my trunks arrived and, whilst unpacking, Zygmunt saw a letter addressed to him which was never posted. The letter contained a lot about Stach and I considered it school-girlish. Zygmunt wanted to read this letter but I would not let him, saying that some time later I would show it to him, but not now. He agreed to wait and everything would have been fine but he took the letter and started to draw some lines on the last page and said laughingly that now he would be able to recognise this particular letter and I would not be able to substitute it at some later date. How could he do a thing like this? I never told him a lie. I always hated lies as they were so cowardly. According to me, if one was caught doing wrong it would make it even worse to tell a lie. Zygmunt did not trust me! How could we build up a good marriage without trust? Trust according to me was the essential thing between two partners.
A few days later Czes arrived from Kaunas, loaded with presents from parents and friends and even with a new wedding ring for Zygmunt who had lost his whilst swimming. It was good to see Czes. He always brought with him the atmosphere of home, of love and trust which I always had. I asked him what I should do if my partner did not trust me (without giving details). He was sympathetic but could not advise. He asked me if I thought I had made a mistake marrying Zygmunt. What could I say but the truth, that I didn’t know. It was still too early, we were both trying. I promised Czes once again that, should I see that the marriage did not work, I would let him know and come home. He kissed me tenderly and I knew he was my friend for life.
Now here in Druskeniki I felt that Zygmunt was starting to trust me, even when he did not understand.
We left about the 20th intending to go first to Wilno and then to Kaunas. It was an unpleasant drive. A lot of traffic and many young men asking for a lift, as they were called up. Our car was overcrowded. In Wilno there was a card waiting for Zygmunt, advising about mobilisation. Already the next evening he had to be in Molodeczno where his regiment had to assemble. The atmosphere was tense but nobody was really frightened. Why should there be war? Just for the town of Danzig? It seemed quite unreasonable. I was not frightened, just annoyed that our holiday was over earlier than intended. We always had some political tensions but the diplomats were always able to smooth out the problems just by talking. An army prepared and ready in the background gave their talks a nice support.
In Zygmunt’s house I felt a complete stranger. His mother, all the aunts and even old Zosia were all the time around him. He had not time even to say a few words to me in private. I was not the only outsider, his father was too. I hoped that maybe at the station he would sit next to me for a few minutes whilst waiting for the train. It was not to be – his mother took him by the arm and they walked up and down the platform until the train came. I thought he looked handsome in his uniform of Lieutenant. The train came and everyone rushed towards him for a hug and kiss, only his father and I were standing in the background, but he remembered and gave us a quick kiss.
When the train left I decided to leave as soon as possible and told my mother-in-law and she seemed quite happy about it. It was lovely coming home. Open arms, love and smiles. Even father was humming the whole day. Friends came and telephoned. All were happy to see me. I realised only then how I had missed the atmosphere I was used to. It seemed simply heaven.
It was the 27th of August, 1939.
After the first wave of happiness I started to take notice of my surroundings. Father seemed pre-occupied. He brought me newspapers to read. The headlines were alarming. Father hoped that once again, everything would straighten itself out. I received a letter from Zygmunt, not from Molodeczno, but from Wilno! He wrote that he was demobilised and recalled to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw. He did not know for how long. As he was in a hurry, it was only a short letter, promising to write from Warsaw immediately. He suggested I should join him in Warsaw. Why not?
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