“Listen and Recount” – Marta Madejska

Marta Madejska: Listen and Recount, Łódź

“Listen and recount” – Łódź 2012 (“Słuchaj i opowiadaj”) Topografie Association has been collecting oral histories for several years, looking for seniors who would like to share their life stories. This time we invited story bearers of all ages to visit us; to listen to the stories of others and to record their own childhood memories so that they can be shared.

“Listen and Recount”- New Orleans 2013 – Hania Gill-Piątek is my friend. She agreed to share her childhood memories from Łódź during Phase 1 of Memory Project in August 2012. I picked two of them. Hanna was born in 1974, between second and third generation after WWII. She experienced Łódź in the shape, which Anne Skorecki Levy had no access to. In New Orleans I invited people to listen (or read) very peculiar memories of my friend and asked them to share their stories.

Hanna: My earliest memory of Łódź is feet. Woman’s feet, when I get on the tram in the Retkinia district. By then, they’d already built  the street which is now called Wyszyński Street, but it had a different name then. I get on the tram and on that tram, there are old, wooden seats put one opposite the other, one opposite the other. Sitting in those seats are old ladies. It seemed to me that they were old, because I used to think that everyone in their 20s is ancient. It’s summer, those women are wearing open-toe wedge shoes, with their toes sticking out, horribly ugly, unkempt, painted with red nail polish; their calves are hairy. It’s a bit disgusting and it stinks, because they are sweating in their polyester dresses. But the worst part of that memory is their heels. When you’re a kid, you’re small, you’re standing, looking down on the tram. Because you’re good child and give your seat to the elderly. I see these untidy, cracked  heels of those women – only women, actually, there were hardly any men on those  trams. But women  were important in my life then, because I had a nanny and I had a female neighbor, both had previously been  workers in Łódź, they had worked in Łódź factories, they had been seamstresses, the nanny had also worked with clothes. And that strange smell of sweaty polyester clothes, those nasty feet, it was all mixed in my mind with my memory of some kind of kindness, tenderness, and simplicity that I experienced from these women.

A later memory is of the Sienkiewicz park, but it must have been before I was seven years old, so it could be in 1979 or 1980. There used to be some magical things in the Sienkiewicz park. One of them was a neglected fountain, which is now repainted and restored, but was ugly then, sometimes covered with snow. I used to go there for a walk with my grandma, who lived at 31 Sienkiewicz Street. I never associated grandma with nasty feet, or the smell of polyester dresses. Maybe because she worked at the university, she was a professor of law, and she dressed always differently, she always wore closed-toe shoes.

Marta Madejska – was born in 1987 in Warsaw and is currently a PhD candidate at Institute of Contemporary Culture, University of Łódź, an educator, urban/cultural researcher and activist.. Since 2010 she has been a member of Łódź Urban Initiatives Association “Topografie”; interests include oral history, memory studies, urban studies and theory of culture.


“Słuchaj i opowiadaj”- Łódź 2012 – Stowarzyszenie Topografie od kilku lat zajmuje się zbieraniem historii mówionych, zwykle poszukując seniorów, którzy zgodzą się opowiedzieć o swoim życiu. Tym razem zaprosiliśmy rozmówców w każdym wieku do odwiedzenia nas – do odsłuchania cudzych wspomnień z dzieciństwa i nagrania własnych. Nagrane narracje zostały wykorzystane w dalszych fazach projektu. 

“Słuchaj i opowiadaj”-

Marta Madejska – urodziła się w 1987 roku w Warszawie. Obecnie doktorantka w Instytucie Kultury Współczesnej Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego. Od 2010 r. członkini Łódzkiego Stowarzyszenia Inicjatyw Miejskich “Topografie”; jej zainteresowania obejmują oral history, memory studies i teorię kultury; edukatorka, badaczka miasta i kultury, aktywistka.



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