In 1912, my great-grandfather, Dominik Kowalski, immigrated to America from Poland and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. Like several of my other immigrant ancestors, I found his Oath of Allegiance certificate and Naturalization Card from April of 1932:
With my other immigrant ancestors, finding these forms has been the final step in learning about their citizenship process. However, thanks to GenealogyBank, I found out a little bit more about Dominik's citizenship experience. On July 4, 1932, Dominik's name appeared in The Cleveland Plain Dealer as one of 1,500 immigrants who were to receive citizenship diplomas at Cleveland's Edgewater Park. I like to think that Dominik DID attend the ceremony, but there is no way to know for sure. Maybe his wife and children even came with him to watch. In any case, after a lot of searching, I'm pretty sure it was the only time he ever made it into the 'big city' newspaper, and it's just another great reminder that MY citizenship as an American really began the moment he received his citizenship in 1932.
©2013, copyright Emily Kowalski Schroeder
A collection of photos celebrating all of the fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers in our families! Enjoy!
June 8th is my Dad's birthday, so to celebrate I am posting a couple of photos from one of his childhood birthdays.
Today, May 30th, is my younger brother Mike's birthday. We are only 18 months apart in age, so Mike was my first friend and playmate. We played with Matchbox cars together, made pillow slides down the stairs, threw toys down the laundry chute, jumped on our parents' bed, rolled around in appliance boxes in the basement, and played video games together on our Atari 2600 and (later) the original Nintendo Entertainment System. We played checkers on this big blanket-sized checkerboard with checkers the size of our hands. We were also fans of board games like The Game of Life, Clue, and Midnight Party. We listened to Michael Jackson, The Cars, and Huey Lewis and the News cassette tapes on our mom's tape player that she kept in the kitchen.
Today, May 15, is the United Nations International Day of Families. Some of these family photos I have posted before, and some I haven't. I hope you get to enjoy the day with your family members!
Just thought I would post some favorite pics of the mothers in my family:
This is the funeral card of my great-grandfather, Dominik Kowalski. Dominik immigrated to the United States in 1912 and settled in Cleveland. His wife, Wladyslawa, came over the following year with their three young sons, Stanley, John, and Joseph. Wladyslawa, or "Lottie" as she was known by, passed away in 1919 of appendicitis and Dominik remarried in 1921. By the early to mid-1920s, Dominik had established a neighborhood hardware store, which he maintained until he retired. He and his second wife, Lucy, moved to Arizona sometime in the mid-1940s, and they stayed there the rest of their lives.
So, in case you didn't know, Ancestry.com has a nice collection of school yearbooks in its database. Sometimes the yearbook results do not automatically show up when you do a basic search through their engine, so make sure to click the 'Schools, Directories & Church Histories' category on the left-hand side of the screen to narrow it down.
I found this photo of my Uncle Dan (standing, third from left) pictured with the 1968 Cleveland State University baseball team:
I've also found Uncle Dan mentioned in CSU baseball stories and box scores published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1968-1969:
Random fun fact: The 'Dick Globokar' who is mentioned several times above (and who is also pictured in the team photo - kneeling, last guy on the right) ended up being my high school geometry teacher in the mid-1990s.
This is me (on left) with my brother, Mike (center), and my cousin, Phil. (Don't ask me why he's holding a syrup bottle.) I was about two and a half years old in this picture.
Here we are again, except now I am holding my baby cousin, Steve, and the other two have passed out.
"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball."
It's that time of the year again. Major League Baseball's Opening Day is a little over a week away. Managers are determining batting line-ups and pitching rotations. Ground crews are preparing the fields. Concession stands are firing up the ovens and getting the condiments ready. Fans are hopeful.
There are some people who simply live and breathe one particular sport. In our family, it was my Grandpa Kowalski and that sport was baseball. He loved it. He played on various community and city teams when he was young and later, when he wasn't working his day job as a plumber, he "worked" as an umpire for Cleveland's softball leagues. I say "worked" because it was never really work to him; he enjoyed it. He enjoyed it so much, in fact, that he did it for over 50 years. In 1992, he was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Slo-Pitch Hall of Fame. At the time, he was the organization's oldest active umpire. He even had the opportunity to umpire games in six National Tournaments. Below are a few photos of Grandpa either as a player or umpire.
Grandpa wasn't exactly what you would call a conversationalist. My grandmother passed away when I was a young child and he lived alone. It was often hard to strike up a conversation with him, that is, unless you talked baseball. He was always willing to talk baseball. If you went to visit him between the months of April and October, chances were very good that there'd be a baseball game on his TV screen. It didn't matter which teams were playing; he watched them all. He read the newspaper sports page every day, looked at every game's box score. He knew the players, he knew the managers, he knew the teams.
Grandpa spent his entire life in Cleveland, so, of course, he was a fan of the Cleveland Indians. Not exactly the most successful MLB franchise. (Yes, we KNOW.) But from the mid-90s to the early 2000s, we actually had a competitive team - consistently went to the playoffs and even made two World Series appearances. The team's success came at a good time for Grandpa; umpiring had become too physically taxing on him, so he had to give it up, which I'm sure was a difficult thing for him to do. Even though Grandpa maintained his stoicism about most things, the fact that his team was WINNING made him a little more excited than usual. And I think he was happy to see his city once again come to love baseball.
But there was one player on those great Indians teams that he just did not like. To my family members, he will always be known as Jim 'I'd-trade-him-tomorrow' Thome, because that's exactly what my grandfather would say about him. Didn't matter how many home runs he hit or how many All-Star games in played in, or how immensely popular he was among fans - Grandpa wanted him gone. (To Grandpa's credit, he DID strike out a lot.) Jim Thome left the Indians as a free agent in 2002, which is the same year in which Grandpa passed away. Coincidence?
So, as the quote says above, the one constant in my grandfather's life was baseball. He passed down his love of the game to his children and grandchildren and for that we are grateful.
Emily Kowalski Schroeder