The grass is green across the hill,
But yellow blooms the daffodil.
It’s sunshine on a little stalk,
A friendly flower, I bet they talk…
Of little kids, too long inside
They burst outdoors to play and hide.
Tracking mud and bringing bugs.
Look, there’s footprints on the rug!
Tiny whirlwinds, these little tykes,
They skin their knees while riding bikes.
They rip and roar, they’re running wild!
What fun it is to be a child.
It grows warmer every day.
Shoo the children out to play!
Pick the flowers, play in mud.
Too much rain, here comes a flood!
My snowy, winter days are gone.
I mourn them, but I hear a song
Of birds in trees; wind chimes ring.
I guess it might as well be spring!

April has made its entrance to 2024 and we welcome it with open arms. With the celebration of Easter almost behind us, we look to the month to celebrate the beauty of spring and the many events filling our calendar, in addition to the PRCUA National Bowling Tournament in NASHVILLE (4/19-20); the Świeconka hosted by D-8 on April 7; and recitals (the 55th for both Halka Dancers and Rogalin on 4/14; Polskie Maki on 4/21; the Southwest Center of Polish Song and Dance on 4/28).

Happy birthday and anniversary wishes also abound, so from the start, let us take the time to extend our best wishes for good health, much happiness, continued success, and love to all our celebrants, especially to former President Edward G. Dykla on his 91st birthday, Secretary-Treasurer Agnieszka Bastrzyk (4/13), and on a personal note, Benjamin Pearson on his Ruby birthday (4/2), daughter Alina (4/15), and best friend Teresa Pazdziora (4/27). STO LAT TO ALL! (Many of my immediate family members who have since passed were born in April, so the month is filled with much nostalgia for me).

March definitely roared in like a lion as from the get-go it was go-go-go, starting with the PRCUA Board of Directors meeting. Presented at this year’s 84th White and Red Ball, which took place on March 2 and organized by the Legion of Young Polish Women, was Maja Nagi, a member of PRCUA and a dancer of “Młoda Polonia” of the Polonia Song and Dance Ensemble, amidst many other lovely debutantes. Each debutante was officially introduced by her father or another adult male member of the family. This ball is the Legion’s largest celebration during which funds are collected for its philanthropic activities. Representing the PRCUA was Secretary-Treasurer Agnieszka Bastrzyk, as well as the Director of District 8 and Adult Culture Group President, Elizabeth Dynowski. Congratulations to Maja and her parents. PHOTO 1

The Casmir Pulaski Day was celebrated two-fold, first on March 3 hosted by the Polish American Foundation-IL Division and PAC Illinois Division, at Mayfield Banquets in Chicago. Musical entertainment was provided by The Trio: Alan Krolikowski, Nicole Kwasny and Youseff El Jakime). The three executive officers attended the event.

The second Pulaski celebration was hosted by the PRCUA and PMA, on March 4, in the Great Hall of the Museum, attended by many government and Polonian leaders, including Illinois State Comptroller, Susana Mendoza; Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs; Judge of the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District, Aurelia Pucinski; Cook County Treasurer, Maria Pappas; the Mayor of Chicago, Brandon Johnson; and others. The artistic program included selections by songstress Mirosława Sojka-Topór and dance suites from Rzeszów and Eastern Kraków by the PRCUA Wesoły Lud Polish Folk Dance Company (R. Jaminski, Artistic Director and Choreographer).

March 10 was a busy day in Michigan with the Blessing of the Dance Groups at St. Hyacinth Catholic Church in Detroit and the Gwiazda Dance Recital (Jessica Urban, Director; Basia Nowakowski, Choreographer). Meanwhile, back in Illinois, Sec-Treas. Bastrzyk attended the 10th Anniversary of the Feliks Konarski Polish School. School Director Anna Siek, together with School Board President, Hubert Szmajda, welcomed guests and invited them to watch an artistic program performed by the talented students of the school, emceed by PMA Managing Director, Małgorzata Kot. The students presented the works of and paid tribute to the school’s patron, Feliks Konarski, also known as Ref-Ren, in song and poem. We would like to congratulate the Teachers, School Board and Student Body on this milestone and wish them many more beautiful anniversaries.

Meanwhile, Richard and I attended the 49th Adult Culture Group Fashion Show, “Moda Around the World,” held at Crystal Banquets in Lemont, IL also on March 10. The chair and group’s VP, Nathalie Skowyra; president, Liz Dynowski; and their committee members did an outstanding job organizing the event. The models were gorgeous (and handsome), the fashions spectacular, the performances by the HHPD Dancers (choreographer Liz Dynowski) and Wesoły Lud Dancers impressive, a wide assortment of products displayed by the vendors, made for a pleasant afternoon. Details and photos in a future issue of the Naród Polski.

Speaking of fashion shows, Recultured Designs by Olenka Lisiecki held its runway extravaganza at the Polish Institute of Culture and Research at Orchard Lake, Michigan on March 11. Some of the stars included the Bonkowski ladies.

Together with other esteemed attendees representing the commitment to international cooperation and solidarity, PRCUA President James Robaczewski was invited by the Consul General of Chicago, Paweł Zyzak to attend the 25th Anniversary of Poland’s membership in NATO. This historical event commemorated with a ceremony held in Independence, Missouri, signifies a quarter of a century of collaboration, strength and unity.

The PRCUA 89th National Basketball Tournament, hosted by PRCUA St. Stan’s Society 718 in Livonia, Michigan was held on March 15-16. Thanks to Bob Hojnacki, Chair; Jerry Nasiatka, President of 718 for 25 years; and the committee for a wonderfully organized event. Special thanks to Fraternal Department Coordinator, Conrad Wiecek, and the PRCUA Marketing team for their input, and especially the players without whom there would be no tournament! Teams: Men’s Division – St. Rita’s Blazers, St. Stan’s Boomba Boys, St. Stan’s Knights, PRCU 162, Wawel Dragons and East Chicago Task Force; Men’s +50 – St. Stan’s Orange, St. Stan’s Red, St. Stan’s Blue, St. Stan’s White, and St. Rita’s Blazers. Champions: PRCU 162 and St. Stan’s Orange.

The 19th Annual Zajaczek Dance Ensemble Recital was held at Warren Woods Auditorium, Warren, Michigan, on March 16th. Congratulations to Colleen Bonkowski, School Director; Tricia Dennis and Rachael Kasperek, Choreographers and Dance Instructors, as well as to the graduates; and all the dancers for a great school year and their grand finale – a successful recital. Check out next month’s issue for photos and details (although there are several albums of photos on Facebook).

Also on March 16, but in Illinois, D-7 Director Ewa Cholewinski represented the PRCUA at the 25th Election of the May Third Polish Constitution Parade Queen at Allegra Banquets in Schiller Park, Illinois. For the second year in a row, a Polonia Ensemble dancer and PRCUA member, was crowned queen. The beautiful and talented Gabriela Ner will reign during the coming year, be featured in the May Third Polish Constitution Parade in Chicago on May 4 and represent the Alliance of Polish Clubs at many upcoming events. Congratulations to Gabriela who also was selected Miss Publicity (Publiczność). PHOTO10

Missing the Annual Corned Beef and Cabbage Luncheon hosted by District 7 for over 25 years, my sister Jeanine and husband Brian hosted the Jaminski’s to a delicious dinner on March 17th, finished off by a green jello mold and a very green pistachio cake. It was indeed a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The PRCUA and PMA Employees were treated to the St. Joseph’s Table on March 19. Rev. Andrzej Totzke from Holy Trinity Polish Mission graced us with his presence and blessed those present and our food on this most special Polish and Italian occasion. All the best to the Josephs and Josephines on their Namesday!

The Malbork Dance Group were surprised by a visit from President and Mrs. Robaczewski at its March 23rd Spring Recital (Natalia Szczygiel, School Director; Michelle Marcinowski, Instructor). Familiar faces at the event were D-10 Director Colleen Bonkowski and her daughter, Natalya, who not only attend the recital, but are additional costume assistants. Mr. Robaczewski reported an excellent performance by all the dancers and I join him in congratulating the staff for a job well done. Director  Bonkowski posted photos from Malbork’s 2019 Recital and the current one, and this group is blossoming. Congratulations to Director Natalia and Instructor Michelle. Keep up the good work!

Palm Sunday at various Polish parishes were celebrated traditionally throughout Chicago and its suburbs. Two of our PRCUA schools, M. Konopnicka Polish School participated in the Mass at the Cysterican Fathers in Willow Springs, and Polonia Ensemble at St. John Brebeuf in Niles.

Obit: Our condolences and deepest sympathies to: two members of the current Budget and Grievance Committee and their families, Michael Smigiel, on the passing of his grandmother, Joan Smigiel, age 85 on February 23, and Desiree Sacinski, on the passing of her father, Henry Picman, age 70, also on February 23, and her uncle, Paul Picman, age 68, on March 5;  the family of Rose Ann Lackey, beloved wife of Thomas (for 56 years), mother, grandmother, and former School Director of the PRCUA Tatry dancers for 31 years, who passed away on March 11, at the age of 81; Anna Kraszewski-Winkler on the passing of her mother-in-law, Geraldine Clifford-Winkler, age 89. Eternal rest grant unto them, Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

Ending this article, I leave you with a few words by Lenore Hetrick in her poem “April Moods”:

April changes her sweet mind
Every other second.
With her many moods and minds
Nothing can be reckoned.
I always carry my umbrella,
It serves for rain and sun!
I take my boots and out I go
To share in April’s fun.