Sometimes I forget that Halytch can be closer to a village than a town. 5000 people, some new houses. Many newer houses actually. Yet, maybe because I am more used to it and it’s closer to everything, I still prefer my grandma’s old house – no running water, no indoor toilet – to the “new” family house that my dad helped his dad build.
It was interesting to hear my dad and aunt reminiscing about the countless childhood hours they spent playing on the Old Castle Hill. Apparently kids these days don’t really go up there but, hey, there is a PkGo gym where someone attempted to do those restorations that only made things worse.
We visited family at the cemetery on my dad’s side. I can’t remember ever going there, certainly not the “old” cemetery, which is actually just right next to the “new” one. The old tombstones are a great reminder that this part of the country was part of Poland until 1939 (and part of other empires before that). I guess this is my great-great-granddad’s tomb by name but actually houses a few more family members, I guess they chose not to update the gravestone for the others.
Life finds a way and people find ways of making grey staircases be more lively. If you disregard the fact that the USSR-era lift was broken when we arrived (it hasn’t been changed since the building opened in the early 80s), most things looked much better than I remember them being in the 90s.
I hadn’t been back in almost a decade, 8 years maybe. It’s strange how some things just cannot be forgotten – the neighbourhood I grew up in is ingrained in my memory forever, the parks, the kindergarten I went to (and the one I didn’t), the school I attended for less than a year (and that other school across the house).