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“Przekrój” Magazine brings to the English reader some of the best journalism from across Central and Eastern Europe, in such fields as culture, society, ecology and literature. Stand aside from the haste and fierceness of everyday news and join us now!

Przekrój
The Rojek Sisters column was published in “Przekrój” from 1962 until 1967. We present you with ...
2018-07-25 00:00:00
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The Rojek Sisters Go to Camp

Photo by Mieczysław Steifer, 1934, Wikimedia Commons
The Rojek Sisters Go to Camp
The Rojek Sisters Go to Camp

The Rojek Sisters column was published in “Przekrój” from 1962 until 1967. We present you with one of the articles from this series from 1963.

OK, it’s not really us, it’s my sister’s child, but that’s not important. In any case, the kid’s gone to summer camp and a terrible silence has descended on the home, interrupted only by postcards from said child.

We bought postcards, already franked, addressed them so that the kid wouldn’t have to work too hard, and packed them into his copy of Robinson Crusoe.

In the evening, his older sister caught the kid filling out the postcards in bulk. Two were already prepared, and he was writing on the third: “Mixed-up weather. This and that. The food is OK, but cold. The water varies. When it’s warm we bathe, when it’s cold we don’t. Zbyszek is an idiot.”

The older sister halted his wholesale operation and confiscated the cards that were already written. But we couldn’t help but praise his organizational sense. If only certain adults, etc.

We packed the kid up, each of us bought a kilo of sweets for the road, and a penknife and a pocket torch, and we took him off to the train station, where luckily we immediately lost sight of him, never to see him again. We came home, in the hope that maybe after a week or so we’d hear news of the child’s arrival.

The first news was in fact sent after a week of blissful domestic tranquillity, and read as follows:

“Dear Aunties, everything’s alright. We’re terribly hungry all day and there isn’t much to do. We play cards. Zbyszek is an idiot. Send sweets.”

There was great consternation among the aunts on account of this hunger. Why was he hungry? Was it a shortage of funds, were they stolen, maybe the child can’t push his way through, maybe he’s lying. Each of us sent a kilo of fruit sweets.

After a week, the next information arrived.

“Dear Aunties, the sweets arrived and have already been eaten. There are 400 boys here. Don’t write letters because the camp director reads them. Zbyszek is acting like a fool. Send something sweet.”

We started to wonder whether we had written something that could disparage the child in the eyes of the director. We read our letters out loud, in turn. Maybe asking about the weather was indiscreet, and maybe something else.

We couldn’t figure it out, but we decided not to write, and each of us sent a few kilograms of sweets

After a few days another postcard arrived.

“Dear Aunties, the packages arrived and they’re already gone. The director is a swine. So don’t write. Zbyszek is a cretin. Send lots of sweets.”

We quickly wrote some very censor-proof postcards and sent more of those sweets. A wildly expensive trip. A friend called and informed us that she had heard in the delicatessen that at some summer camp a kayak had overturned, and supposedly some children died. We asked whether she knew which camp, how many deaths and what names. Our friend said it wasn’t news, exactly, just a rumour, but she would try to find out.

Another friend called and said that some camp had had a measles outbreak and was closed. We said we were awfully thankful for the information and it must have been another camp, because our child wasn’t at home.

Until the next postcard arrived things were very nervous at home, and the blissful calm had ended. The next postcard came after a few days.

“Dear Aunties, they’re giving us more and more food, but we’re hungrier and hungrier. The director is a swine. I’d like to stay for another term. That idiot Zbyszek is staying. Send different sweets.”

We sent different sweets.

Then another postcard came.

“Dear Aunties, I’m staying for another term. I’ve arranged it with the director. Send a consent form and sweets.”

 

The End.

 

Post Scriptum:

The Rojek Sisters recommend that “Przekrój” readers send the magazine the best postcards from camp from children of both sexes. We’ll print them. Please note on the envelope that they’re for us. Thanks!

 

Translated by Nathaniel Espino

Published:

The Rojek Sisters

Mira Michałowska’s (1914-2007) pen name. Michałowska was a Polish writer, journalist, satirist and translator of American literature. The Rojek Sisters column was published in “Przekrój” from 1962 until 1967.