That’s how all journeys begin, right? A single step. Well…maybe journeys of long ago if you were traveling on foot and not taking anything with you or leaving anything behind. Otherwise, no! Modern journeys, especially journeys of multiple weeks, take a hell of a lot of work to put together.

The journey Annette and I are about to set out on began months ago with a hundred details and a thousands reconsiderations, and the preparation continues today, down to the very last minute before departure with packing, cleaning, pruning, securing, and arranging for our house guests, who will be staying here while we’re gone.

Neighbors play a role, too, and I want to thank them in advance for their generosity and kind offers to help keep the homestead secure while we’re away. And of course, our security company came out and did a thorough review and upgrade and our pool man and gardener were kind enough to agree to take care of the tasks that I normally do when I’m home.

And where are we going? First to New York to visit family for a few days. And then to Bordeaux, France for a visit to the wine country in Spring.bordeaux

The big destination, though, one that is almost mythic in my mind, is a visit to Poland, where my father was born. Most of you reading my blogs or my memoir, Passage From England, are familiar with the story of my father’s escape from Warsaw in 1939 and his flight to England, where he joined the RAF, met and married my mother, and where I was born.

As a child both in England and here in the U.S. where our family emigrated in the 1956, Poland seemed as distant as the moon, even more distant since I could see the moon above me at night, but Poland was ethereal. My father’s thick Polish accent, his often emotional and bitter descriptions of the war and its aftermath that lost Poland to him forever brought a visceral sense of the country into my heart, but now I will see it with my own eyes.

I will walk the streets he walked down, cross the bridges of the Vistula that he crossed, and picnic in the parks that he relaxed in. Foggy bridge

Of course I know that the Warsaw of my father’s youth was obliterated by the Nazis at the end of the War. I know that the Jewish population was annihilated, and many of the Christian Poles along with them. I know that my father’s younger brother, my uncle, was killed in Dachau, and that my grandfather died in the Warsaw uprising of 1944.

And I know the Warsaw of today is a cosmopolitan city rebuilt entirely since the end of WWII. Much of it was recreated as it had been before the War, but much of it bears little relation to the city streets my father ran through as a kid, or the restaurants and dances where my father charmed the young women in his gallant Air Force uniform.Night city lights

And yet, it is the city of my father’s birth, the land of his people, and therefore of my people, too. That can never change. And that is the country, including the cities of Gdansk and Krakow, and others, that Nettie and I will be visiting and blogging about in the weeks ahead.statue warsaw

I hope you’ll find the “reports from the front” interesting and worth a minute or two of your time.

Bon voyage!







9 Responses to A Single Step…

  1. Maxwell says:

    I shall travel with you vicariously through your posts.

  2. Mary Mallik says:

    Bon Voyage! Your plans bring back childhood memories of post-war Lincoln where both of our fathers had the RAF connection and our mothers became firm friends. Dad never spoke too much of the war days but had a great respect for the bravery and courage of the Polish airmen! I look forward to your blogs. Meanwhile I shall be in Texas at my daughters graduation from Texas A&M XX Mary M

  3. Carol says:

    Have a wonderful time! I look forward to reading your “Frontline reports”. Safe travels! Big Hugs, Carol

  4. Sean and Hugo says:

    Adios! We will guard your wine shipment until your return! Hugs!

  5. Mark says:

    Bon Voyage Frank and Annette.

  6. Nancy says:

    Have a wonderful trip. We will keep watch.

  7. Stephanie says:

    Safe and wonderful travels, Frenchy! I look forward to hearing all about them. Love you much.

  8. Brian & Amy says:

    Have a great trip you two . We will keep an eye on things . Enjoy your travels .

  9. George & Karen says:

    Frank and Annette,
    Sounds like a blast. Have a safe trip!

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