On Trains & Tolstoy

On Trains & Tolstoy

This past week, I've been re-reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina--one of my favorite novels. Anna's and Vronsky's ill-fated affair is framed by the coming-and-going of trains: they're a symbol of their love, of ties to the "West" and, ultimately, of the tragedy at the novel's conclusion. Trains were, in many ways, at the center of [...]

DNA Connections to Pomerania

DNA Connections to Pomerania

With surnames like Marczynski, Zielinski, Gostomski and Kuznicki in my family tree, I'm undeniably Polish. My great-great-grandparents, Mikołaj Kuznicki and Wiktorya Drag, left Galicia for Dunkirk, New York in their early twenties, and the Zielinski's, Gostomski's and Marczynski's all arrived at Ellis Island in 1900. Some of my ancestors started working in the coal mines [...]

Coastal Geologist, Good Friend

Coastal Geologist, Good Friend

"Coastal Geologist, Good Friend;" that's how Cousin Susie's tribute, written by her parents, begins in their local newspaper, The Carlisle Mosquito. Susan Elizabeth Zielinski, my grandmother's niece, was born on April 30, 1970 in Concord, Massachussetts to Robert and Sally (Handel) Zielinski. She and her older brother, Steven, grew up in the small town of Carlisle, and [...]