poniedziałek, 7 stycznia 2013

Dreams and Reality Polish Canadian Identities


[Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm]


ISBN 0-9691756-0-4


(..)I was delighted also to received the books, and I have already started reading my copy. It is written with genuine feeling for the very special circumstances that the Polish immigrants encountered upon setting in Canada and I’m certain that it will give the Polish reader a new appreciation of what the Polish settlers have accomplished. Needless to say, I was particularly gratified by the chapter regarding my father.

I would be happy to send you copies of my most recent bookis, provided there was some way of making cerain that they reach you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

With kind regards.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, January 5, 1987, Washington, DC USA

„Here is another important addition to the history of the human side of immigration to Canada. This book by Aleksandra Ziolkowska, translated by Wojtek Stelmaszynski,  contains 31 narratives about Polish immigrants in Canada. The stories depict the difficult beginnings of these immigrants, some ending in disappointment, some leading to an outstanding success. All the profiles in this volumes describe real real people and actual events. The asuthor’s goal is to give a true cross-section, an honest representation of attitudes, personlalities, careers amd ways of thinking”.

George Bonavia, Books Noted For You, NORTHERN MOSAIC. Dec-Feb., 1985

„In her 1984 short-story collection „Dreams & Reality”Polish Canadian Identities”, published in Polish as „Kanada, Kanada”, Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm chronicles the daily struggles of postwar Polish immigrants in Canada. With characters such as Maciej, a recently arrived laborer in Canada, who finds himself emplyed by a miserly farmer who refuses to take him to the doctor after he injures his arm, and Stefan, a shoefactory janitor, who gives his address to an ill-mannered priest in hopes of getting a job at the parish’s Polish school, only to receive Sunday offering envelopes instead, the stories capture the daily tempests weatheterd by many postwar displaced-persons. With a well-trained eye and concise writing style, Ziolkowska-Boehm, a recipient of the Kontrasty and Zloty Exlibris awards, allows the reader to experience the uncertainty, joy, and discrimination endured by the masses of twentieth-century Polish immigrants to North America”.

Charles R.Kaczynski, THE POLISH REVIEW, New York, No 4, 2004.

“Information concerning cultural maintenance is provided in William Makoski "The Polish People in Canada: A Visual History " (Montreal, 1987), which also includes an extensive bibliography of commemorative publications on the cultural life of Polish Canadians. Anna Zurakowska, ed., "The Proud Inheritance Ontario's Kaszuby" (Ottawa, 1991) describes the oldest surviving Polish rural settlement in Canada. Polish identities are the topic oa an article by Henry Radecki ,"Etnic Identities in Contexts,", "Laurentian University Review, volk 13, no 1(1980), while Aleksandra Ziolkowska presents thirty-one individual views of self-identity in "DREAMS AND REALITY: POLISH CANADIANS IDENTITIES" (Toronto, 1984).”  ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CANADA'S PEOPLES by Paul R. Magocsi, Multicultural History Society of Ontario, University of Toronto Press, 1999, pg 1075, ISBN 0-8020-2938-8


Talent of observations, August 12, 2001

Reviewer: A reader from Toronto, Canada

The book is written beautifuly and I learned about my fellows Polish immigrants a lot. I can be proud of them. It is written with genuine talent of observation, showing interesting details, thoughful thoughts, impressions. I recommend the book for everyone who wants to immigrate, not to scare him/her, but to appreciate the circumstances the others had to go through. This book helps to appreciate the new adopted country, and... to love the old country - Poland.

Very touching and true stories!, January 13, 2001

Reviewer: Michael Kopacky (see more about me) from Washington, D.C. USA

The talented writer shows her interest in Polish immigrants to Canada - their life and strugges, their hopes and disappointments. It shows the achievement and happiness they found in a new country and a new environment. The book is true, touching and very well written. The original title in English "Dreams and Reality".


“I have read over 100 pages of “Dreams and Reality” finding it interesting and absorbing. The personal stories and opinions of the characters make it worthwhile reading (…)

Erik Boehm, November 11, 1992,  Layton, Utah

Aleksandra’s book is very interesting and I like the fairness of her reportds. One3 gesdt a very good impressions abou the difficulties and the life as it was at that time. Many people noweadaysd could learn from the onesd who had to rebuild their existence in a foreign country”.

Christa Kraft, 5 December 1994, Bad Kissengen, Germany


*GOOD NEWS (Miami)1997, “Down the Farm” str. 71-73, In English

*LANGUAGE BRIDGES  (Richardson, Texas) In English, Summer 1992, pg. 17-20

*NORDOST-ARCHIV VIII/ 1999. Luneburg 2001, Germany str..765-787

(In German)

On the Road With Suzy From Cat to Companion


Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm


Purdue University Press, 2010

West Lafayette, Indiana

ISBN 978-1-55753-554-2

Two chapters:

A second Chance Farm by Thomas Tomczyk

Animals in India by Thomas Tomczyk

Reviews, opinions:

“I am a cat lover as well as a friend and admirer of Dr.Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm other fine publications and books. 
    I am sure that all animal lovers will find it truly wonderful, and all thinking people, even if they hate cats, will find it a profound, sensitive, insightful and funny book.
    Dr. Aleksandra's understanding of cats, and animals in general, goes beyond our common need for the unconditional love we receive from our pets. It reaches into our deepest feelings and spiritual needs in line with the Taoist and Buddhist philosophy of wisdom and compassion: that the belief in an absolute unity transcends all divergences, and all life is seen to be but forms of the Primal One.”
Audrey Ronning Topping /acclaimed author of six books and a prize-winning photojournalist/.


“Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boem should be highly commended for writing a book that conveys so well the author’s appreciation and compassion for animals”.
Robert Ackerman
“I have always liked cats admiring their grace, cleanliness and even their "quirks" that are interesting to say the least. The wonderful story about the very special cat Suzy gave me a new dimension of admiration for cats. Reciprocating with love, devotion and faithfulness is a cat's reward for that given to them by humans. The book by Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm is definitely a "good read". “
Carl Boehm


“I always like dogs and whole my life I had a one around me. Cats - in my opinion - were too self absorbed and aloof. After reading "On the Road with Suzy: From Cat to Companion" I decided to have a cat. Now, just one month later, I am in love with him and became a great admirer of all cats. My cat is very independent in a way that I respect him, but he is so loving and giving that I love him. Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm did a miracle with me, and I am very thankful! “
Bill Smart

"Many people would question Aleksandra's and her husband's decision to embark on a 2.5 months motor trip accompanied by their cat Suzy. Cats are generally considered not to enjoy automobile transportation. Then, we learn about thus special feline... calm, collected, warm, friendly; devoted and loving even under what must have been trying situations. Surely, Suzy has to be remarkable, unique and even brave to face challenges most cats never encounter. I can understand how she became a focal point and an integral member of the family. I wish Suzy many, many happy years.
What a beautiful book about the bond between a cat and humans!"
Mary Salkind, The Bond between a cat and humans, ALIBRIS, Sep. 10, 2010

“After reading "On the Road with Suzy" the first time, I was left with the feeling of why and how could I have always disliked cats as many others do. Surely, no one could dislike the sweet and loving Suzy. So, I reread Aleksandra's book and came to the conclusion that the love, caring and devotion she and her husband extended towards Suzy may have became a challenge to her. Her qualities of affection and faithfulness were almost like those of a dog but tempered a bit by the normal aloofness and pride of a cat. However, when it was time to be affectionate, loving and faithful, Suzy responded. She is a remarkable feline and most interesting to read about!”.  
David Keller, GOOGLE BOOKS
“If Suzy could talk and probably does in cat language, I believe she would say to Aleksandra and Norman: "I really love you for taking me in from stray status, for being with me during my pregnancy and birth on my five beautiful kittens, for striving to find good homes for my kittens because it was impossible to keep them, for always having time for me and tolerating my cat quirks and antics, for caring for me in sickness and in health, for always showing your love, affection and pride in me (and bragging about me too). You two are truly cat people, co we are a threesome"
This is a remarkable tale about a wonderful cat! “.  
John Carr, ALIBRIS, September 2010
 “Doctor Aleksandra is an animal lover. Her compassion for her cat, Suzy, makes this a book of discovery and adventure for all animal lovers.
Suzy found the Boehms, and stalking around their Houston apartment, won their hearts and soon became a member of the family. She accompanied them on trips either by auto or plane, a loving companion.
Aleksandra understood the need of compassion and love for animals, and they related to her. A description of a long cross-country trip with husband, Norman is hilarious, as they must make accommodations before and during the trip. Suzy survives and explores her new surroundings in Delaware. Later on Suzy even flies to Poland with her owners.
This is truly a couple who enjoy and deeply care for the welfare of their animals”.
Florence Waszkelewicz Clowes, The POLISH AMERICAN JOURNAL, Boston, NY, September 2010
This book created a new feline heroine Suzy. Like other known animals heroes , such as Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, she is a real and truly remarkable creature. We observe her over a 13 years period - since as stray cat she found herself the right couple - humans beings who welcomed her and who made life changes for her addition to the family. Suzy accompanied them on their trips, was in Indian territory for over two months, (and always stoic as an Indian), oversees many times, in her lady friend Aleksandra's - country - Poland.
She dedicated herself completely to that remarkable couple and enriched their lives.
This is truly an amazing story how humans and animals can fit into each other's lives and make a wonderful loving group.
Traveling with Suzy from Houston, Texas living in Wilmington, Delaware and traveling overseas is now part of the great literature about the animals and their bond with humans.
That book reminds me of RING OF THE BRIGHT WATER by Gavin Maxwell. Mr. Graham and his Mij the otter are truly remarkable like Suzy and her devoted couple Aleksandra and Norman.
Bill Adams, Amazon

What a wonderful tale! Suzy, the homeless Texas cat, won the hearts of a caring couple visiting her state. Their travels and experiences provide a heart warming rendition of how a devoted feline and loving humans bond and the happiness each brought to the other.
George Mitchell, ALIBRIS

The reader does not have to be "cat person" to enjoy the heart-rending story of Suzy. Homeless, she adopted a concerned couple as only a cat can. Always appreciative and devoted to her new family, Suzy brought them untold happiness and joy in their travels together.
Wonderful book!
Henry Albright, ALIBRIS

I do admire your writing a great deal – it is as if you are speaking to the reader.  And I do review a great many any books
 Florence Clowes, Vero Beach, Florida, 11/22/2013

After reading "On the Road with Suzy" the first time, I was left with the feeling of why and how could I have always disliked cats as many others do. Surely, no one could dislike the sweet and loving Suzy. So, I reread Aleksandra's book and came to the conclusion that the love, caring and devotion she and her husband extended towards Suzy may have became a challenge to her. Her qualities of affection and faithfulness were almost like those of a dog but tempered a bit by the normal aloofness and pride of a cat. However, when it was time to be affectionate, loving and faithful, Suzy responded. She is a remarkable feline and most interesting to read about!
David Keller, Google


What a fantastic feline! Suzy accommodates herself to travel by automobile, train or airplane. At the same time, she exudes love and devotion to her owners under any circumstances. All readers will enjoy a true story of the bond between animal and humans.
John Harrison, Google

Suzy and her travels are wonderful reading. The author has cleverly personified a precious “tortoise shell” cat relating all her experiences both good and bad. Then, she exemplifies how the ever-adaptable Suzy basked in the aura of the good ones and triumphed over the bad ones.
Matt Burke, Trove, Australia

This is the story of a deepening relationship between a couple and their cat, written by an award-winning author and filled with insightful comments about cat behavior and the nature of the human-feline bond. The episodes in this book will delight and inform other 'cat people' and will leave readers with a new understanding of the way interactions with animals transform our lives.


The story of Suzy the cat is a remarkable one. Not only did she win the hearts of her owners, she converted them to “cat people”. For those who expound their hate for cats, I would challenge them to read this book. Such an education about felines would be good for them.
Lori Martin, Book Depository

“(...)Not only am I under cat’s magic, but recently in the bookstores Nowy Swiat presented the book written by Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm. That eminent writer and reporter, now living in the USA, has written over 250 pages dedicated to animals, particularly to cats. What a wonderful book! It is full of wisdom and fun and close to some metaphysics in analyzing interpersonal relationships between people and animals. The people who share a love for animals, are like a garden of similar beautiful human beings, sharing in the beauty of the whole world of living creatures. Animal brothers are our relatives. It is not difficult to understand and follow.

Cats have special mystery and mystic around themselves. They go their own way, follow their own paths, more than dogs. Independent from people, they live the way they like. They love the night more than the day, they can be critical, moody… and those are the reasons that some people believe that cats are not faithful and haughty, but superior. It is not true! The contact with cats is very different than with dogs, more intellectual. (…) Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm in the second part of the book includes cat’s stories from her friends and acquaintances. What a gallery! One cat loved to listen to a violin quartet, the other loved to take a snooze on freshly washed and dried laundry, and the cat of an actress from Krakow has a party for his birthday , the people bring him presents, and he with some disdain looks at everybody.(…)”.

Leszek Zulinski, Le chat fatal, TRYBUNA, 06-12-2002


“The newest book written by Aleksandra Ziólkowska-Boehm, who for more than 10 years now has lived in the USA. “Travels with my cat” reminds me of the famous book by Graham Green “Travels with my aunt”. Greene shows the London snob, whose aunt makes him more human by taking him into new avenues of adventures and surprises, and about a world he never knew existed. In Ziólkowska’s book, the story of the cat who received the name Suzy opens to the writer a new world she hadn’t known, giving new sensitivity, appreciation and observation of beauty surrounding life and world .(…) The book shows other stories about dogs, cats, parrots and opossums and rabbits, but mainly it is about cats. It’s a chronic of days when people open their lives to a new animal and to their different outlook and personality. The chronic is full of drama, lost and found cats, and misunderstandings, happy returns, moving to new homes and new cities and even final goodbyes. I promise that none will finish the story about Latik with a dry eye. The instruction about how to give a pill to a cat can be included as one of the most funny stories written about cats.(…)”.

Gwidon Znajco, Kociopolacy, NOWE KSIAZKI Nr 1, 2003


“The Cat who enters into literature

Suzy, the heroine of the book, is a chocolate-black beauty from Texas with charm who jumps into literature. (…) Someone said that the world is divided into cat and dog lovers, Aleksandra Ziólkowska-Boehm is known from her book as a lover of all animals.

The accomplished writer who has written many books dedicated to historical and eminent problems, now writes 250 pages dedicated to Suzy, Tuffy, Kubus, etc.(...).The book shows the American and Polish cats, about those who have owners, and about strays. The book is also about the people –how they react to each other, and to other animals.

-When the people brag about their children, they make each other jealous and unhappy; when they talk with pride and joy about their animals, everyone listens with a smile and immediately shares their own stories.

Aleksandra Ziólkowska-Boehm has her own unique style. She has a way of showing the details, names, facts, so the world she writes about is real and leaves a permanent impression in our minds and hearts. None can stop reading the book until they finish. And everyone feels happy during the reading and thereafter. The book makes people happier and more joyful.”.

Anna Bernat, ZYCIE, Warszawa, November 15, 2002


„(...)Aleksandra Ziółkowska-Boehm writes about every day events of life with her cat Suzy, about trips in the US and to Poland, also about Suzy’s kittens and other cats. She also writes about other animals that were living in her house, whom she took care of, or whom she met in different circumstances. In the second part of the book, there are stories written by other people about their cats. In the end, there is a beautiful poem written by the Nobel prize winner, Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska “The cat in the empty house”.

The book shows how true friendship can be built between animals and people. We all are created by the same God; we are all inhabitants of the same globe.”.

Ewa Hellenska, "Cats", NOWINY, January 2003

“The cat is the creation that probably is the most wonderful deed of the Creator”, these words can be a motto for this beautiful book”.

Janina Podolska, GAZETA WYBORCZA, Lodz, November 13  2002


(...)”The wish of the authoress is that everyone who reads the book would feel happier and contented. This is a very sympatic book and makes peoples’ souls fly. (…) Suzy is a great traveler, she flys by plane to Poland, she accompanies Ziolkowska-Boehm and her husband on trips in the States. She likes her escapades; they are better then a cat’s kennel. Suzy seems to be a cat with a great experience and knowledge of the world”     

Maja E.Cybulska „About Cats”,  TYGODNIK POLSKI, London, England, March 8, 2003


„Travels with my Cat” is a book enriched with care, good feelings and love towards all our “smaller brothers”. The authoress writes mainly about cats, but also about dogs, parrots and other animals. She shows how to understand that animals are our true friends, and that they are so helpless in the modern world cruelly taken over by people” (...).

Renata Fijalkowska  WEGETERIANSKI SWIAT  Nr 12 (83) December 2002


„Suzy has big amber eyes and chocolate color with a gold flair. She is the main character of the book “Travels with my cat” by Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm. When the authoress took care of a stray cat, she didn’t know much about cats, but now, she is a great admirer and has a good knowledge of them. The book is filled with touching and funny stories about cats other than Suzy and animals, like dogs, opossums, parrots and rabbits”.

„Kocie opowiesci”, GAZETA POMORSKA, Bydgoszcz, January 18/19,  2003


„The authoress draws multicultural feline-people relationships that take place in the USA, in Europe, in Texas, Delaware, New York, London, Torun and Jazgarzewo… Beside cats and people and very objective stories about them, there are also tales about other animals that don’t speak the human voice – dogs and parrots.  The animals are partners and friends, although the writer tries not to anthropomorphise them. They don’t possess, as in fairy tales about animals, the human virtues and weaknesses. Those in “Travels with my cat“ are always cats or dogs and as cats and dogs, are respected by the authoress. Sometimes we feel in a very agreeable way, that owners of the animals are changing character to be more like the animals taking on their more admirable attributes such as intelligence, courage and tolerance of four legged creatures. The humans take a good example from them.  From city loving inhabitants, they change into country loving people, from malcontents – into happy people contented with everyday blessings. Providing happiness and contentment is another wonderful virtue of this warm – but not in a sentimental way – book. The world in which people live together with animals is probably the best of the world.

I assure everyone reading the book will be happier, as the authoress wanted.”

Joanna Rostropowicz-Clark „About Cats (and dogs) in different way”, NOWY DZIENNIK, (New York) May 9, 2003”


."I have received 'On The Road With Suzy' yesterday and read it in one sitting with great pleasure. I am sure that all animal lovers will find it truly wonderful, and all thinking people, even if they hate cats, will find it a profound, sensitive, insightful and funny book. Dr. Aleksandra's understanding of cats, and animals in general, goes beyond our common need for the unconditional love we receive from our pets. It reaches into our deepest feelings and spiritual needs in line with the Taoist and Buddhist philosophy of wisdom and compassion: that the belief in an absolute unity transcends all divergences, and all life is seen to be but forms of the Primal One."
 - Audrey Ronning Topping, acclaimed author of six books and a prize-winning photojournalist.