52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Close Up

In a classic American film, the main character beckons, “All right, Mr. Demille, I am ready for my close up!” The character poses as if acting in a silent film. The scene is just a snippet of the movie, but it eludes the faded charism of that character. Classic and not forgotten…

My father’s mother, Anna Mroz, died two months before my parents were married so I never knew her. My father and his sister would speak of her in endearing terms and phrases, such as “My mother always…” They spoke of her with respectful and reverential admiration, but she was not mentioned often. As a child, I never even so much as saw a photo of her or visited her grave. She faded into the background of my awareness…my babcia (Polish for “grandmother”).

When I became interested in family history, she was one of the first persons entered on my family tree. (I wrote about this grandmother in a previous blog entry, The Case Of The Baffling Babcia.)  Who was she? What could I discover about her? Who would know anything? Where could I look? At that time, my father’s sister was still living. When my babcia was debilitated by cancer, she and my dziadek (Polish for “grandfather”) lived with my aunt and her family. I turned to my aunt for help but learned very little. She did pass on two pictures of my babcia…one with my dad when he was a little boy and one with my dziadek. In both pictures, I could not really see her face the way I wanted.

In time, I kept thinking of places where I might find records of her…marriage license and certificate, funeral card, naturalization record index. What could I glean from this information? I sent for Anna’s naturalization papers, and I had read that these papers would contain a photo. Maybe at last, I could see her face close up. I was ready for her close up! When the papers arrived, I was not to be disappointed…there she was…I could see her clearly. There was even a physical description of her…oh, my goodness…we have the same body build.

How glorious, dear babcia, to see you close up…classic and not forgotten! One day, I will meet you face to face as we live together in God’s kingdom…

Anna naturalization

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