Sunday in the park in Warsaw

A balmy late August Sunday in Warsaw and it feels like the entire city is out walking, bicycling through leafy green parks, along the river banks, through the city streets. Or strolling hand in hand while licking ice cream cones. My friend Joanna walked me back to the hotel through the park, after a lively morning poking around the flea market (I ended up with a blue-rimmed porcelain saucer, a bakelite cake knife, some Bavarian sheet music that looks like a Mondrian drawing, a rotary dial without the phone… Joanna found a 1920’s projector and a 50’s coffee mill) savoring cold borscht in her flat and admiring the strange and beautiful mid-century objects she and her husband Wojtek gleaned from those little stalls at the market.

What could be better than sitting in one’s friends’ kitchen in a faraway land, sipping a drink and watching the camaraderie of cooking? After our meal, four of us walked down the road to the pastry shop for tea and talked about the state of the world, economics, the riots in London and the upcoming American election.

I’d read descriptions of the late August golden light in fiction describing the beginning of the war… how much like a regular summer day it was. People ate ice cream and fresh cherries. There were plums in the market like the ones I bought yesterday.

I was dozing off on the last leg of the journey from LAX to Frankfurt to Warsaw, woke up when the pilot said, “We just crossed the border between Germany and Poland.” I looked out the window but of course, there is no visible dividing line between these two countries. It was a casual comment and was not intended as any commentary on Sept 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland at the start of WW II. How marvelous when crossing a border can be so commonplace, so unremarkable.

In Ujazdowski Park, we came across these two fine ladies sitting in their little green kiosk which at first I thought was a religious shrine. It turns out they sit there with their old scales… like guardians of justice from another era.


5 responses to “Sunday in the park in Warsaw”

  1. So fascinating to read about your connection to Poland. I have it too. And to the war, I have that too. I think alot of us do, whose parents and grandparents were so affected by it. I’m in LA, just did a Grand Performances gig for 3000+ people with the hottest Mexican up and coming band here, La Santa Cecilia, performing a Mickey Katz song. Like, isn’t this now truly global village? And ain’t it wonderful. Louise I’ll be in Warsaw in 2 wks reseaching a film my partner is making on the remerging Jewish presence in Poland. We’re particularly interested in interviewing people who’ve found Jewish roots and rediscovered their Jewish past, or not. Or people who celebrate Jewish culture in Poland who are not Jewish. The key is that they are Polish. Any ideas?


  2. The commonplace border crossing….reminiscent of how some could go to market in Warsaw or wherever during the war having no idea what was going on behind tall walls…..shivers.


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