Central Jersey Dinner Draws Large Gathering

by Donna Chmara

Twenty-eight people gathered on April 17 at Rozmaryn restaurant in Trenton to enjoy Polish dishes made fresh on the premises such as cabbage rolls, pierogi, chicken cutlet with mushrooms, and potato pancake over beef stew.

Donna Chmara, who organized the dinner with Carmine Grasso, opened the event with a review of the Polish items she had on display and a brief personal background. “I had organized a few dining events for the group but felt like I was on home territory for this one because I was born in Poland. But this was during WWII and I never got to live in my country of birth.  When I was 10 weeks old, my town in Eastern Poland was burned to the ground by German troops and the people were deported to Germany for forced labor. I spent the first two years of my life in a Nazi labor camp in Germany, then five homeless years in various displaced persons camps. Came to US when I was 7.  Couldn’t speak a word of English.  The little immigrant child became an English teacher and represented America in the Peace Corps. Isn’t that a wonderful American story?”

RPCV-NJ President Christine Musa then explained some of the activities of our NJ group. As described by participants, it was a delightful afternoon with excellent company, delicious food, and a beautiful display of Polish ceramic items.  In addition, six of George Dusichka’s ESL students were able to attend and practice their English in a social setting.

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Participants included the following:  Martha Asinobi (Jamaica 67-69) and friend Carol Szymanski, Anne Bloomenthal (Zaire 74-76) and husband Marty, Donna Chmara (Turkey 66-68) and husband Henry Talarsky and friends Marilyn and David Jose, George Dusichka (Bulgaria 2000-02) and six students, Doug Garatina (Ghana 71-73) and wife Virginia, Mary Gethard (Albania 96-97) and husband Dwayne, Carmine Grasso (Kiribati 79-81) and companion Linda Berezny, Nancie and George Gunkelman (Kenya, Brazil), John Lawlor (Dominican Republic 74-76) and wife Lynn, Christie Musa (Sierra Leone 81-83), Anthony Privatera (Dominican Republic 2007-09) and wife Gaby.

We had so much fun getting to know each other, we hope to have a gathering in the Mercer County area at least once a year.  Please pass on your ideas for social events to Donna Chmara (dchmara@gmail.com) or to Carmine Grasso (onotoa@optonline.net) who were the organizers of this event.

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