Martha (Kaczmarek) LaFleur with son Archie  (1942)

Ron's aunt
unknown location with son, Archie  (1942)
Maria Marta (Kaczmarek) LaFleur  (1904-1981)
Born August 10, 1904 in Poland, Martha had little opportunity for a proper education.  She celebrated her eighth birthday
two days before boarding a ship for America.  Once in the United States, the family struggled financially.  As a result,
Martha learned to do without, developing a thick skin to hide her feelings.  At thirteen, she left home, supporting herself
by working as a waitress.  In fact, she spent the rest of her working life in the restaurant business.  For several years
during the mid-1930's, she personally prepared the traditional Waldorf Salad at the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New
York City.  Somewhat stocky and big-boned, she had wiry dark brown hair and broad, flat features.  At first glance, she
she seemed gruff and bluff, but that was a facade.  True, she took no lip from anyone, but Martha also had a huge heart
and an open wallet -- an "easy touch" one might say -- whenever any of her younger siblings needed help.  A quick wit,
Martha called everyone "kid."  Her second husband, Arthur LaFleur, a career merchant seaman, sailed throughout the
Western Hemisphere, bringing home souvenir coins from each country visited.  Art and Martha eventually settled in
Concord, New Hampshire, and raised one son, Arthur, Jr. (1942 -     ).


Martha's younger sister, Virginia, traveled back to Poland several times, in search of her roots; but Martha, older by five 
years, still suffered frightening memories from her youth in the Russian sector of Poland -- of surprise raids by fearsome
Cossacks on huge horses who lined up all the men and boys in the village square and threatened to kill them unless
their demands were met.  Those shocking memories, and a strong conviction that the Communist regime ruling Poland
at the time was probably no better than the Cossacks, caused Martha great anxiety.  "With my big mouth," she said,
"they'd throw me in jail inside of a week."  Although desperately yearning to visit her birthplace, she consistently refused
to accompany Virginia to Poland.  In the summer of 1981, after years of persuasion, Martha finally agreed to make the
trip.  Sadly, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and died on November 17, 1981, a few months short of realizing her
dream.  Virginia made the journey alone the following year and returned with a small jar of dirt collected from outside the
church where Martha had been baptized . . . which she sprinkled on her sister's grave.

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