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John Palcewski's Journal

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A PhotoForum Exchange
Below is an image entitled “erect structure” submitted to the weekly PhotoFourm Gallery hosted by the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, with a caption by its author, Trevor Cunningham. Following comes my review of his image, and a response by a fellow listmember, Dr. Chris Strevens. (Both Dr. Strevens and Trevor Cunningham have given their permission for my reposting the exchange on Live Journal.)

erect structure

Caption: i believe john [Palcewski] made a phallic reference to an image i submitted a few weeks back (not that i'm shocked), so when i saw this tower in the middle of the zoo, i couldn't resist...plus, i thought the paint job was pretty interesting as well...should i just spot remove the moon? i think it looks a little pathetic next to the large bulbous end of the tower

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Review of Trevor’s image by John Palcewski:

Whenever I see a Freudian phallus I remember a joke. Guy goes to a shrink who gives him a Rorschach test. The shrink raises the first inkblot and asks, What do you see? The guy replies it's a naked woman lying on a bed with her legs spread. The next? The guy says it's two lesbians having sex. The third? Two male homosexuals having sex. The shrink says, "Obviously you see sex everywhere you look." The guy replies, "Hey, doc, you're the one
with all the dirty pictures."

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To: List for Photo/Imaging Educators - Professionals - Students
From: Chris Strevens


Yes there are quite a lot of phallic symbols around us... my telephone, my pen and the sexual implications of the diesel engine are obvious and when my wife wants sex (she does not speak English) she puts her fore finger through her thumb and curled finder on the other hand. Her word is "neki" I think, which means "into". They also use the normal word "fucken" or "fuck" which is not a swear word there. I think it can also mean "rape". However the pen, the telephone hand set and the diesel engine were not invented by sex maniacs as psychiatrists would have us believe and as for the long telephoto lens...

I did have the photographic assignment once of photographing ladies bottoms at various stages of oestrous and also the human sex act. I recall we had lighting and lens problems. We also photographed the defecation process through a glass window in a toilet for the text book and childbirth and the woman's bottom during 9 months of pregnancy. It caused huge problems for me with the psychiatrists. I got the impression that the doctor and the psychiatrists are sex maniacs. I was married at the time so it did not mean much.

They thought I would be excited by viewing my naked wife, but this is quite normal for my household at the time but they could not understand why I was not excited.

All my marriages broke up because of the interference of psychiatrists as my latest one has been. I am sad.

The other symbol we are sensitive to is the female organ like an orchid and the bust. We like disc objects with points on like mountains and churches with domes. I suppose the mosque (shell - Arabic) is also a woman where we can shelter as in the womb.

Pity my latest baby died. I think it was a prescription drug that the doctor gave it and it nearly killed me too. But I do not know what killed him because he was healthy.

I am sad.


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Palczewski/Palcewski family roots in Poland

Hi Dad,
I don't know how to email you on this site, so I'll just post here & hope you see it.

Could you send me the information you got on our family ancestry in Poland, when they came to the US & where exactly in Poland they lived?

Was your Aunt Jane (I think that was her name?) an immigrant from Poland? I remember you telling us she spoke Polish.

Did you know your dad's parents? Were they from Poland?

I'm also interested in the faith of the family--has it "always" been Catholic?

If you just find me on Facebook & send a friend request, that will be an easy way to communicate/post pics, etc.

Hope all is well. How's the economy in Italy?

Re: Palczewski/Palcewski family roots in Poland

Dear Lara,

Just got your message on my LiveJournal regarding Polish ancestors,
but I wasn't able to find you among the hundreds of Lara Martinezes on
Facebook. Let me know if you receive this, and I'll send you all I
have, which includes photocopies of birth certificates of your great
grandmother Josephine Hoffmann Palczewski, and great grandfather
Casimir Palczewski, both of whom came to America in the 1900s from
Galacia, Poland

You may also be interested in the Irish side of the family. My
mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Jean Joyce, and there's a story
that during the Great Famine in Ireland a Joyce was arrested for sheep
stealing, was tried and convicted, and then transported to a penal
colony in New South Wales, Australia. Later his descendants moved to
America to work on the railroad.

I was in correspondence with some Palczewskis a couple years ago and
one of them said that one of our relatives was mayor of Cracow,
Poland. He was a nobleman, but then back in those days aristocratic
titles were sold freely and relatively cheaply.

Anyway, let me know if you get this and I'll send you more from my archives.

Hope you are well. It's good to hear from you!


I accepted your friend request, so you should be getting that. It's so odd that the town is Galacia! I have been reading a lot about the Poles in WWII, and just saw a documentary about an amazing old Polish woman who hid 15 jews in her home and pigsty, AND a German soldier who deserted. She invited German officers over for tea, and was unafraid of anyone.

I've always felt a strong connection to Poland and the people in that area.

Do you know why the "z" was dropped from the name?

I'd love to have any info you've got!


Lara, yes I received confirmation of your acceptance, thanks.

As for the absent “z,” one theory is that when Casimir and Josephine arrived at Ellis Island, the bureaucrats were either sloppy or bent on simplifying all those “foreign” names they had to deal with, so they just deleted one bothersome letter, which I’m sure they believed was an improvement.

Below are links to a number of my LiveJournal entries that deal with our family history, as well as a memoir excerpt that deals specifically with your great grand-parents, Casimir & Josephine, and also with the Brier Hill section of Youngstown, Ohio, where they lived, worked and died. The latter will come in the following LJ entry, since there's a word count limit to a post.

Now, I have their death certificates as well, along with the birth and death certificates of my uncle Stanley, Alexander, and John. If you’d like I can scan them and send them to you.

Also, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.



Revisionist History – Old Photos from both sides of family

Titles of Nobility Are A Dime A Dozen Palczewskis in Poland

The Joyce Clan of Ireland

Please Don’t Stop Loving Me - Betty Joyce with early symptoms of dementia

Mother – montage of photos of mother, father, etc.

Jacek Malczewski (1854 – 1929) Fabulous Polish artist with a name exactly like
Ours, except for one letter


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Memoir Excerpt:

I have no memory of Grandma Josephine ever smiling. Just that cold, grim look and the light reflecting off her squarish rimless glasses.

But then grandma had plenty to be dour about. She’d been raising her family alone in the Briar Hill section of Youngstown, Ohio, since the death of her husband Casimir, in January 1930. Their son, John, died on May 2, 1941, at age 30.

Josephine and Casimir had married in a small town in Galacia, Poland, formerly part of the Hungarian-Austrian Empire, and had come to America in 1900. Unlike Irish, German, and Italian immigrants, Galacians didn’t plan to stay forever.

Most ethnic Poles came as migrant laborers—known as za chlebem, or 'for bread' immigrants—intending to return home with their American savings, usually to acquire land.

Grandma’s maiden name was Hoffmann, and she spoke both Polish and German. By spooky coincidence Bruno Schulz, the enormously gifted Polish-Jewish literary fabulist and artist of the 40s, grew up and lived most of his life in the Galician village of Drohobycz, and what’s more Schulz’s sister Hania married a German engineer named Hoffman.

Casimir, as did most of the other newly-arrived European immigrants, quickly found a steady job at Youngstown Sheet and Tube, and after many years of frugality and saving bought a house on Marble Street, at the bottom of a steep hill.

From Wikipedia: The real story of Youngstown is steel. And, no story of Youngstown is complete without the mention of Youngstown Sheet and Tube. It was organized in 1900 and placed on a 300-acre site on the Mahoning River. Over the years, it established plants at Brier Hill, Campbell, Struthers, Girard and Hubbard; it acquired mining properties; owned its shipping company; and formed subsidiaries. It became the largest steel mill in the area and employed over 7,500. It fostered a zealous local pride; why not? After all, it had been formed with the intention of making a locally-owned, steel-producing powerhouse. The "sheet and tube" as locals called it, was the measure of Youngstown prosperity; it was one of the chief contributors to hospitals, libraries and Youngstown College.

The area encompassing the Brier Hill neighborhood was originally owned by Youngstown industrialist George Tod, who established a farm on the district's brier-covered hills around 1801. Tod called the agricultural enterprise Brier Hill. This semi-rural area was transformed irrevocably when coal was discovered in the hills in and around Brier Hill.[5] The district drew thousands of immigrants seeking work in the mines, and Brier Hill became Youngstown's oldest working-class neighborhood.[6]

The first iron furnace in the district was opened by the Tod family in 1847.[5] By the 1880s, blast furnaces and rolling mills were established in close proximity to the coal mines, a practical arrangement, given that Brier Hill mines provided coal for the mills. The surrounding neighborhood grew in tandem, as more housing was built for miners, iron workers, and their families. By the opening of the 20th century, the rapid expansion of the industry in Brier Hill had turned the area into the main entry point for Youngstown's immigrants. The largest groups were Italians, Welsh, Irish, Germans, and African Americans.[7]

Given its relative isolation from downtown Youngstown, Brier Hill developed independently and established its own schools as well as a post office, and churches.[8] During the early 20th century, the neighborhood hosted four churches. These included the Catholic parishes of St. Anthony's, St. Ann's, and St. Casimir's [Which I entered when I was five years old!] as well as the Episcopal parish of St. Rocco's.[8] The district remained an unincorporated village (outside of Youngstown Township) until 1900, when it was absorbed by the city.

Casimir worked at the mill until he died, and three of his sons—my uncles John, Stanley, and Alex—did the same. Casimir and Josephine also had a daughter, Jane, who married a man named Howard Hubler.

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