March 31, 1945: Anna writes a four page typewritten letter (single spaced) to her brothers. Easter has come and gone and springtime is coming to Albany, NY. As she opens the letter, Anna wishes her brothers “…a belated Easter wish.” She notes that she “…didn’t even get a chance to go out and buy an Easter card for you but just the same I wish you the best there is and a speedy return home to us.”
Being Polish Catholics, Easter is a very big deal for the Murawski family of Orange Street. Anna runs down all of the activities. She writes that they had Swieconka, the traditional blessing of the Easter feast baskets, at their house. Mama brought her food from upstairs and the local parish priest paid a visit to bless the food and collect an offering. She details that “Eddie did manage to get a ham but it was a seventeen pound one so we split it up with mama… We had the placki (potato pancakes) which mama usually makes… As for the eggs, mama had hers colored in onion skins and we had ours done in colors. Boy does Terry love the colored eggs and I let her play with them… Now we will eat our swieconka for supper and it usually tastes better too when it’s blessed.” They will be going to Eddie’s parents’ house for Easter dinner.
Anna writes of another Easter related episode that kind of brings a smile to me. One thing that I remember about Easter growing up was that Dad would always make his own horseradish. He always insisted on hand grating the horseradish root, referring to it as “his penance”. I’m not surprised to learn from the letters, that it is a tradition that he grew up with. Here’s how the whole horseradish thing played out for Easter of 1945, and remember as you read this that Terry is just a few weeks shy of two and a half years old. “…one night when we were out doing the shopping I told Eddie to go and look for some horseradish if he wanted it for Easter because I wouldn’t go grinding it myself like mama did all the time. This year mama didn’t have any horseradish. Well, he said he wanted to go fishing and didn’t want to go and look for it. I told him the zydy (Jews) on South Pearl Street probably had it and why not go and look. Well, he said NO and Terry heard him and started to yell and pull at him and cried, ‘I want horseradish daddy. Buy me some.’ Well, we laughed so hard and she really was serious and when we got in front of the house she wouldn’t go in but yelled at the top of her lungs that she wanted horseradish and daddy should buy it for her. Well anyway, daddy told her he would buy ice cream so that fixed everything up and we went and got it. Terry was so happy that she almost forgot about the horseradish.” Anna does write that they eventually did get the horseradish (no indication whether Eddie bought it), so their Easter meal was complete.
Anna addresses a portion of the letter directly to Dad to thank him for the gift he bought for Terry while he was home on furlough. She notes, “It was swell of you and already Terry has a new Easter hat and a new pocket book and boy she sure likes them. When she got her new pocketbook she wouldn’t let go of it and carried it around continuously with her…”
Terry also received another Easter gift. “We bought Terry a bunny cart filled with candy. It is a bunny made of cardboard and it is on wooden wheels so she can wheel him around. It’s very cute and she just loved it. Eddie’s folks said they have a basket for her too. Well I hope Terry doesn’t get sick from eating all that candy but her papa will help her because I’m laying off eating sweets and fattening things till little Lubinski comes around.”
On to more mundane things, we learn that there is apparently a statute of limitations for things that you leave home when you go into the service. Anna writes to Dad that “The shoes that you left home…have layed around for two years and now finally they have come into Eddie’s possession. We had them resoled and stretched into shape again and Eddie is ready to wear them. As for the ones that you asked for…Eddie got them from Mr. Harris and they are a size wider than the ones you had at home. They are plain without decorations or perforations… Too bad you can’t be around to wear them in civilian life instead of the army.”
Before closing, Anna passes on some somber news of the death of a family friend. Anna writes that their friend Ziggy Danielczyk was killed in action on March 10 and a Mass was held at their church for him. Although Anna does not go into details about Danielczyk’s service, a clipping from the March 23, 1945 edition of the Knickerbocker News reveals that he was a combat engineer who took part in the Normandy invasion. He was killed when his unit was surrounded by German troops at the Battle of the Bulge. He is buried in the military cemetery at Margraten in The Netherlands.
With that, Anna closes, “Happy Easter, even if it will be late. So Long, Good Luck, and God Bless You.”