“When I was young I thought I had all the time in the world, but time has went so fast … swoosh… just like the wind!”
Meet local resident Christine Stanislawski, who turned 90 years young on Saturday, July 4.
“I’m the last living person from my family of eight brothers and sisters,” she said. “I was born third to the last.”
Her parents immigrated from Poland and homesteaded in the Florian, Minn., area.
“When I was thirteen years old my parents moved to the Cities. The year before I had went to live with my aunt in Cleveland, Ohio.”
She later moved to South St. Paul where she when to work in a Chinese restaurant.
“I rented a small room and rode streetcars to work. I only made $20 a week so I really had to ‘watch the pennies’. I loved to go shopping for hats in South St. Paul – I always loved wearing hats and still do. Another thing I liked was going to movies – double features on Sundays. Some of the movie stars back then were Clark Gable, Susan Hayward, Bette Davis, John Wayne, and many more. They always dressed so nice … not like those today.”
Christine met her future husband, John Stanislawski, when she came to visit her sister, Helen, in Greenbush. The couple married on November 12, 1947, at the Holy Trinity Catholic church in South St. Paul.
The Stanislawski’s made their home on land they purchased from John’s sister, Frances.
“At one time, Halvor Johnson, who was a trapper, had built a two-room house of big logs on the place – the kitchen was downstairs and the bedroom was upstairs,” Christine remarked. “Later the Sandwick post office was added onto and included a little store. People came by horse to pick up their mail and other needs.
“When I got to the farm I told myself many times … I lived in South St. Paul – we had running water, electricity, indoor bathroom and now this is what I get … you asked for it!”
She made comment that the first winter was very cold and they had to walk a fourth of a mile to get to their house (from the main road.)
“Thank God, John had given me a fur coat. It was street length and I was wearing only nylons on my legs – they were freezing!
“And then, the babies came!” she laughed. “Don was the oldest, then Bob, and then Roz (Rozanne). Eight years later I thought I was as free as a bird. But then I had five more: Bill, Harold, Peggy, Jeff, and Lori. There was 20 years between our oldest and youngest. It was hard at first and I had a lot of back and leg problems. But, times goes on; you get used to it. Big gardens, lots and lots of canning – no running water; no bathroom, just an outhouse. A wood-burning cookstove … hotter than a pistol when I was canning!”
Christine continues to enjoy life in her attractive and well-kept home. “I love to read,” she said. “I think I’ve read about half (of the books) in the library. I like Christian books. And I like flowers, keeping the yard nice, and sitting on my swing in the back. That’s when I enjoy listening to the birds. Every time the humming birds come back they come to the window like they’re telling me, ‘We’re here now – where’s the nectar?’ I also like to watch the beautiful Monarch butterflies fluttering about.”
A couple of other fun times this fine lady has enjoyed is ice fishing on Lake of the Woods with Bill and Angie during the winters of 2017 and 2019!
She was also looking forward to a 90th birthday celebration her children and families had planned to hold in her honor, but because of the Covid-19 crisis changes were made.
“Five families from farther away were here on the Fourth. The families living closer will be stopping by, too. Roz is coming this week and Don in August …”
In closing, she said with a big grin, “Even though I’m retired, I’m busy all the time.”
Happy, happy, 90th Birthday, Christine!!
To see the complete story, read the July 8 issue of The Tribune in print or online.