In memory of Marcella Juszynski Bucktown Community Organization dedicates bench

Date: 
09/21/2013
Plaque

In memory of Marcella Juszynski, a bench behind the Bucktown Wicker Park Library, 1705 N. Milwaukee Ave., was dedicated to the well known longtime Bucktown resident, Fri., Sept. 20, by the Bucktown Community Organization (BCO). 

Unveiling

Unveiling of the bench

SittingOnBench

Chris, Tony, Kim and Marcia Juszynski with Steve Jensen

Honoring Marcella as an important part of the community's fabric for 60 years, Steve Jensen, BCO President, had members of Marcella's family reveal the bench with a plaque. The bench will be permanently installed when the park is reconstructed next spring.

Awakened to the sounds of Russians pounding on her family's door in Dubno, Poland in 1940, 18-year-old  Marcella's life would be forever changed. She, her brother and parents were taken from their home bound for a Russian prison camp.

In 1942, they were "freed" by the German's and forced to walk more than 260 miles to a train station and board a train to Uzbekistan. Both her father and brother died. She and her mother eventually moved to Iran. It was in Iran where she met, in 1944, the man that she would marry, Jan.

The Juszynski family moved to Chicago in 1951, purchasing their Bucktown home in 1954. Marcella worked at the YMCA hotel at Ashland and Division for 31 years while he husband worked at a steel foundry at Clybourn and North. 

Experiences that Marcella and her husband endured in Europe set the stage for the way they lived for the rest of their lives.

"They never talked about their experiences when I was a kid," explained Tony Juszynski, who is one of Marcella's three children. "I found out later. But it explained why they saved everything. Dad collected wood for the coal stove. They conserved everything. It made me realize that it was important to not discard things and to conserve them. 

"Bread was really important to them. They helped everyone they could. They were very generous. Dad even help buy someone's home. Her grandchildren learned about their values from her too"

Kim Juszynski, Tony and Marcia's daughter, lives in Bucktown and wrote a beautiful eulogy that describes the many facets of  her "gram."  Below are some exerpts. Fore the entire text, click here.

"She was always what most people would call a bit peculiar, eccentric even.  At one time, I swear she had about 20 parakeets livings with her in cages and free flying around her kitchen and back porch.  She used to only wear skirts, never pants but when she began to get older in the colder weather she took to wearing pants under her skirt...

So as the years passed living close to her, I began to realize how uniquely special she was. On warm days, you would often see her and her best friend and roommate Diane sitting on the porch, laughing and talking and feeding the birds. I’m glad they had each other and know they are together again. She always had a story, she always had the neighborhood news. I would meet new neighbors and when they would learn who my grandma was, they would speak of her with kindness and affection and remind me of her classic catchphrase “don’t ever get old.” I realized truly what a fixture she was in our community.  Everyone knew Marcella. The neighbors down the block who bought her a bottle of B & B  every year for Christmas, Billy and Ronnie at Lincoln Tavern who often commented I had just missed her. She would walk to the corner bar and trade them quarters for dollars. Anna down the block whose porch she would sit on when she needed rest on her walks.  My next door neighbors, Robert and Gary and Lisa who would ask about her every time I saw them.  Rich across the alley who upon hearing the news of her passing texted me “She was a very special woman. The kids will be crushed.” His kids would always yell “Hi Marcella” from the balcony or alley when they saw her. 

So as the years passed living close to her, I began to realize how uniquely special she was. On warm days, you would often see her and her best friend and roommate Diane sitting on the porch, laughing and talking and feeding the birds. I’m glad they had each other and know they are together again. She always had a story, she always had the neighborhood news. I would meet new neighbors and when they would learn who my grandma was, they would speak of her with kindness and affection and remind me of her classic catchphrase “don’t ever get old.” I realized truly what a fixture she was in our community.  Everyone knew Marcella. The neighbors down the block who bought her a bottle of B & B  every year for Christmas, Billy and Ronnie at Lincoln Tavern who often commented I had just missed her. She would walk to the corner bar and trade them quarters for dollars. Anna down the block whose porch she would sit on when she needed rest on her walks.  My next door neighbors, Robert and Gary and Lisa who would ask about her every time I saw them.  Rich across the alley who upon hearing the news of her passing texted me “She was a very special woman. The kids will be crushed.” His kids would always yell “Hi Marcella” from the balcony or alley when they saw her. 

'The moment that you left me, my heart was split in two; one side was filled with memories; the other side died with you. I often lay awake at night when the world is fast asleep; and take a walk down memory lane with tears upon my cheek. Remembering you is easy, I do it everyday; but missing you is a heartache that never goes away. I hold you tightly within my heart and there you will remain; you see life has gone on without you, but will never be the same.'"

Marcia Juszynski said that Marcella sang like an angel. Now she is among them.

Related:

Comments

Reply to comment | Our Urban Times

This is absolutely awesome! Thanks for putting this online

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Insert images and media with <pp_img> or <pp_media>. See formatting options for syntax.

More information about formatting options