Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia, Anna Maciejewska. Merry Christmas wherever you are. Maybe I will just talk to you directly today?
The photo I posted was lent to me by the people at Finding Anna Maciejewska on Facebook.
We never met, but I still think of you often. The mainstream media seems to have forgotten you, but me, your friendly neighborhood blogger and many others have not. So I thought I would write you a letter.
I have three women as friends who were Polish by birth like you. Two I worked with once upon a time, and one is a very dear friend and married to one of my oldest friends in the world. Like you they emigrated here and became citizens to live their American dreams. They are among the most genuine and lovely people I know.
They all love Christmas. I am guessing you did too. One of these friends of mine for years has been sharing the beloved Polish Christmas tradition of the Oplatek, or the Christmas wafer. I don’t have to tell you about what the wafer is, as you know. But for everyone else reading this, please enjoy what the Polish Women’s Alliance of America has to say:
Christmas Wafer – Oplatek
Sharing of the oplatek (pronounced opwatek) is the most ancient and beloved of all Polish Christmas traditions. Oplatek is a thin wafer made of flour and water, similar in taste to the hosts that are used for communion during Mass. The Christmas wafer is shared before Wigilia, the Christmas Eve supper. The head of the household usually starts by breaking the wafer with his wife and then continues to share it with everyone at the Wigilia table. Wishes for peace and prosperity are exchanged and even the pets and farm animals are given a piece of oplatek on Christmas Eve. Legend has it that if animals eat oplatek on Christmas Eve, they will be able to speak in human voices at midnight, but only those who are pure of spirit will be able to hear them.
This tradition dates back many centuries when a thin, flat bread called podplomyk was baked over an open flame and then shared with the family gathered around the fire on Christmas Eve. Patterns would be cut onto the bread to make breaking easier. This is why oplatki today still have patterns on them, usually of Nativity scenes. You can order Oplatki from PWA. Learn how here.
Everyone who knows me Anna, knows how much I love Christmas. Some of my favorite mercury glass ornaments are Polish made. The ornaments made in Poland and Germany and once upon a time in the Ukraine are just truly magical.
This morning I stumbled across two things. One was a post written by a man who took part in searches for you in 2018. I never knew it existed. Here, let me share a little bit:
I spent part of my wife’s birthday recently looking for a dead body in the woods of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
I joined a group of about 20 people who had gathered in Malvern, Pa. to search for the missing-and-presumed dead body of Anna Maciejewska, a wife and mother who went missing in April 2017…Anna’s elderly parents in Poland, both cancer survivors, are grief stricken, frustrated and angry. And to make things worse, Anna’s husband has reportedly prohibited them from seeing their now four-year-old grandson.
Anna was not a young, attractive model or a wealthy socialite, and she didn’t fit into most of the other categories of missing persons anointed by the media as being worthy of intense and prolonged coverage. She was just an average American, like you and me, and she has vanished from the face of the Earth, leaving her family and friends distraught and seeking answers.
Most likely, you’ve seen clips on the news of packs of volunteers searching fields, woods and riverbanks for the remains of crime victims. It’s a horrid task and, in a way, nobody wants to find the object of the search – a body – as they cling to a sliver of hope that the person is somehow alive. That is, unfortunately, almost never the case.
But I can tell you that the search for a missing person is also a heartwarming act; it’s people banding together to help one another in a time of unimaginable stress and grief, especially for the victim’s family. An act of despicable inhumanity, the killing of an innocent person, paradoxically gives birth to an outpouring of love and unity among many, including people who did not know the victim….As one of mankind’s greatest minds, Albert Einstein, said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
Anyone with information about Anna’s disappearance is asked to call the Pennsylvania State Police at (610) 486-6280.
And also this literally happened recently – a podcast I find intriguing The Ever Evolving Truth has picked up the mantle of talking about this. There is also a page on Facebook called Fresh Eyes on Anna Maciejewska. It gives me hope, even if I don’t agree with some of their take on your disappearance so far. BUT they are paying attention to what happened to you, and I pray their interest sparks other renewed interest from media, law enforcement, etc. I also agree that even if you don’t agree with something, maybe see it through so every angle is covered, right? As an actuary you would look to all of the details to make sure you were correct, right?
Maybe the miracle of Christmas will help find you and bring you home? We all pray for that, Anna.
A Christmas wish and a wish for the New Year is for you to be found, Anna. You deserve to rest, your little boy deserves to know where his mama is, and your beloved parents deserve closure and answers along with your friends.
2 1/2 years missing is too long.
Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia, Anna Maciejewska.
Very Truly Yours,