A granddaughter pitches in about my Polish memories

The Polish in Me bubbled out in May when I wrote about a great spot in my memories, a resort in the Catskill Mountains my father Frank reveled in taking our family.

I poked around the recesses of my gray matter from more than four decades ago to bring back that time when I was a teen from Long Island. Where exactly did we go? What exactly was the name of the joint? I did remember family dinners and music and a pool and a waitress.

My sister sent me an old family picture.

The Bialczaks on vacation in the Catskills, early 1970s. I must be taking the picture.

The Bialczaks on vacation in the Catskills, early 1970s. I must be taking the picture.

I poked around on Google. My childhood friend Mike Carr told me he was pretty sure the name of the place was The Valley View House.

I found other pictures on Google.

Old post card

Old post card

Vintage post card

Vintage post card

Tuesday night, out of the blue, I received this email:

Dear Mark,

My name is Cynthia Tegnander, I am a granddaughter of the people, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Bekarciak, who owned the Valley View. It was great to see the old photos. To get you up to date, my grandparents owned the hotel for 45 years. In 1969, my family, the Winskis moved to Kenoza Lake to help my grandparents.

We owned the hotel after my grandparents, then my parents rented it as a drug rehabilitation center, then they ultimately sold it to a Greek gentleman. It is still owned by that gentleman as far as I know. I believe he rents it to a religious organization.

I know a lot of Polish Americans enjoyed many a summer there. You got the right impression, it was a Dirty Dancing kind of place minus the dirty part. People who visited with us did so for many years. I as a granddaughter worked as a waitress, office girl and cocktail
waitress as the years went by. It was a very exciting place to grow up but we did work hard …

Hope all of your memories of Valley View were pleasant ones.

Cynthia Tegnander

And now they just became even more pleasant. Thank you, Cynthia, for making the picture about my father’s Polish slice of heaven in the Catskills even sharper.

Here’s the link for The Polish in Me story.

Here’s the link for the It’s the Valley View House story.

Fish of Gold

56 thoughts on “A granddaughter pitches in about my Polish memories

  1. I spent some time there when I was around 12 years old and my sister had a job there at the time.
    I remember how exciting it was for me to hang out with the older kids who worked there. (My sister was 16) I remember seeing the rooms where they slept and meeting one of my sister’s co-workers, a Winski.
    My aunt Sophie Krukowski knew the owner which is how my sister got the job.


  2. I have fond memories of staying there when I was younger. The name of the owners is familiar to me. I remember he used to pick us up from the bus stop when we went there.
    I heard that other family members worked there.
    Also he was involved in much of the construction line when the indoor pool and recreation area was built.
    The fishing was very good the lake had bass and pickerel. It was great as when you stayed you could just walk to the lake and fish.
    I wish there were more places like this but the world keeps changing.


  3. Mark .. How sweet it is when those holes in our memory bank are filled in. And, how grand to hear from someone who can help you make those connections. I wish I had a few more photos, letters and notes from my childhood so that I could do the same.


  4. I loved that post when you posted it, and I loved the vintage photos when you followed up. So this post is very exciting! Did she just find this on your blog and randomly write you? How cool! πŸ˜€


  5. You know that’s one of my favorite posts. See, there is still goodness in people! And “Polish” is one of those words you have to read contextually to say it correctly. Oy! Oh, look, I learned some Polish today: Good night = Dobranoc.


  6. That is really neat Mark. Great of her to drop you a note and it is likely that your worlds touched but you didn’t know it at the time. We think of ourselves as paying attention and aware and yet decades later we find out that two worlds went right by each other without even noticing. So cool.

    Great Post Mark.


    • Yes, it is likely that somehow we were in each other’s field of vision back then. The hotel grounds weren’t that large and my father brought us there for a week a couple summers in a row. I was a teen always on the lookout. I should use this premise as a flash fiction story. If I ever would write a flash fiction story. Thanks, Paul, as always, for your great comment, my friend.


  7. Did you ever go to the Catskill Game Farm? Some of my earliest memories are from that place. They had a train ride that would get “robbed” by cowboys with bandanas over their faces. I must have been 3 or so, and I still remember how much that terrified me.


    • Cynthia took the time to fill in the gaps to my stories from May. I feel lucky. Memories can be sharpened 45 years later, by a kind person you’ve never met. But … perhaps I did, when I was 14 years old? Thanks, Beth. πŸ™‚


  8. Sometimes I think the internet is Pandora’s Box. Someone opened the lid and now all the black filth is pouring out. Stuff that will distort my daughter’s views. ISIS decapitations. etc. But then I stumble across fantastic stuff like this. It wouldn’t have happened without the internet. It’s not all so bad, is it? I should reconsider my views.

    Off to read the Polish story. Something tells me it’s going to hit close to home. I made sure my daughters are strangers to “Beer Barrel Polka” and “Who Stole the Kishka?”

    Liked by 1 person

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