Edward Mierzejewski was my father — the guy in the center of the photograph as the header of this blog. A fun-loving guy, he was shooting craps and drinking beer in the middle of winter in that photo.
There is no date on this photo, and no identification for the other two fellows playing with my dad.
Edward Mierzejewski was born December 23, 1924 at home at 1763 Buckingham Street to Walter (Wladyslaw) and Helen Mierzejewski.
The Buckingham address was quite important when researching my father’s family. Through that address, I could trace a number of the Mierzejewski family. Several of my father’s relatives used this address on either ship manifests, draft registration cards, or other documents. So far, it is the first address I can locate for my father’s family in the Toledo, Ohio area.
I have not yet located my grandmother’s maiden name. But it is also important to realize and understand that Walter Sr. and Helen also had a son and daughter-in-law known as Walter (Wlclaw) and Helen. However, Walter Jr. had eventually changed his last name to Myers.
Dad was the youngest of three children — Walter, Celia (Cseslawa), and Edward. Walter and Celia both were born in Poland and were considerably older than my father. My father also was the only child born in the US, just shy of two years after his parents, Walter and Helen, landed in the Toledo area. Celia was born December 13, 1913 and Walter was born in 1910. These facts do lead me to wonder whether there were other siblings, possibly older siblings who may have been left behind in Poland. I cannot find so far any record of other siblings in Toledo and I do not remember my father ever mentioning siblings other than Celia and Walter however.
Because my dad was born in 1923, just as the time St. Hyacinth Parish was forming, it seems I cannot locate his baptismal certificate. However, I did locate records of both his First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
Dad seems to have used his confirmation name, Bernard, as his middle name. Most of his records are signed Edward B. Mierzejewski. Most likely, this was an attempt to distinguish himself from a number of other Edwards Mierzejewskis and dad was not given a middle name at birth. My assumption is that dad’s older brother, Walter Jr., was his confirmation sponsor. Ladislaus is the Latin form of Walter. Many Catholic records that I’ve located and found during the time of the Kuschwantz neighborhood settlement and development were maintained in Latin or Polish. Earlier records were in Latin, later in Polish or English.
Dad enlisted into the Army Air Corps in 1943 and was honorably discharged in 1945, having an interesting and dangerous assignment as a ball turret gunner. He kept a log of his missions in 1944, after attending training at MacDill. Additionally, we have a photo of dad with his crew at MacDill along with a legend of the members of the crew.
MacDill crew photo June 10, 1944 (My dad is front row, center.)
It appears as if the squad had missions to destroy enemy supply lines. The Finito! at the end of the log indicates my father’s probable relief at having completed the missions. I do not know what the numbers indicate in the log; a guess is that the numbers indicate the number of the mission and the number of successful hits they had made.
A poem, in dad’s handwriting, was found in his personal papers after he passed away. The poem is the lyrics to Taps. (Thanks to my sister for recognizing that — I never thought there were lyrics.) But knowing my father, it was probably written as a release after witnessing what he did during the war.
Dad did have furlough to come home for his 20th birthday. A newsclip from the Toledo Blade indicates that he was a veteran of 40 combat raids and earned an Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.
Dad returned home after an honorable discharge.
He met and and then married my mother, Virginia Plenzler, in November 1946. Settling down in the neighborhood surrounding the St. Hyacinth parish, near his sister Celia and brother Walter and their families, he raised a family of three daughters. He was a member of the St. Hyacinth Holy Name Society and a 30+ year production worker at Champion Spark Plug.
Dad passed away on September 7, 1985 at the age of 60 after a stroke and surgery and being hospitalized for about three months. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio.