Obviously the young boy is nervous. He is standing at the very back of a room, far away from the spot light, under which an author is signing his new “W kosmosie” books. As the crowd finally thins out, only the young boy is left. His patience is rewarded by having the author all to himself.
Christa: “I was wondering if you’d eventually step out of the shadows.”
Young boy: “Mr. Christa…, I have my own book for you to sign.”
Christa: “What do you mean, your own book? Show me.”
The young boy places a large, hand bound book onto the table. Upon carefully opening it, Christa’s expression changes.
Christa: “How did you get hold of these? You weren’t even born when this story came out!”
The book is a precious collection of Kajtek Majtek stories from Wieczór Wybrzeża, that are lovingly bound into an album.
Young boy: ” I have collected all of your stories, but Kajtek and Koko are my favourites, and my best friends.”
A big smile appears beneath Christa’s moustache. Then he leans over and writes with his bold blue pen: “Pełen podziwu dla wytrwałego zbieracza.” After scanning through the pages, he discovers some sketches at the back.
Young boy: “Mine. I draw too.”
Christa: “OK! Work hard at it, you could be good one day.”
Young boy: “Thanks, but… I’m going away.”
Christa: “Where to, boy?”
Young boy: “I am heading to the Yukon someday, to learn about living in the wild.”
Christa: “Aha! An adventurer at heart!?”
Young boy: “Yes. Beside you, Jack London is my next favourite author.”
Christa: “Good. But you know what? Maybe Kajtek and Koko can go with you?”
Young boy: “Oh, they will! I am taking my whole collection with me, and would never leave them behind.”
Christa: “Promise that when you return one day, you will share your adventures with me. Your stories might even become an inspiration for others.”
Young boy: “I promise, Mr. Christa.”‘
Excerpt from my journal, 1974
After that prophetic exchange, the two would never meet again. Only three months later, in the middle of the night, the young boy left Poland. His entire collection went with him, all the way to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. What follows is the fantastic story, of that young boy’s adventures, the people, places, and experiences that shaped him into a man. The man…, I am today.
It is July 19th, and so it is Mr. Christa’s 85th birthday. Happy Birthday Janusz! 100 lat! May your creative expression shine forever!