Witold is a lifetime sailor & mariner, a passion that started in the 7th grade while reading sea stories written by old-school captains. Those stories would hardly hold true on today’s high waters, yet they always bring great nostalgic memories.
Witold’s life story is colorful, full of surprises, and some (notable) accomplishments. His nag for arts started in high school, where he played a meaningful part in organizing some artsy happenings, his class’ prom, and some funny events meant for a public entertainment. Unfortunately there were no digital cameras back then and a lot of it was never properly documented. Time will tell how much of the then taken photographs can be salvaged and posted.
In 1980 he was admitted to Gdynia Maritime Academy, the same year the Solidarity was born. Those were some crucial times in Polish & World’s history that ultimately lead to a martial law and incarceration for many involved in the movement, Witold was not spared either. He was involved in the Student Independent Movement at the academy (known as NZS, a student wing for Solidarity movement) and played an important role during the initial days of the Martial Law, traveling between the Gdansk Shipyard and the Academy as the strikes against the regime were launched immediately upon the announcement. Unfortunately, the strikes lasted only a few days. At Gdynia Academy, where ZOMO (military wing of Militia of the day) moved in on Monday, from the initial 150 or so participants, only 14 decided to continue their protest by initially moving to the University of Gdansk and immediately after to the Gdansk Shipyard. The shipyard lasted just another day and in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, December 16 1981, ZOMO forcefully entered the yard and arrested all protesters. Later that day, all actual shipyard workers were released, but all others were held in the main mess hall until after midnight and taken away to several different jails and detention centers. Witold wound up in jail in Starogard Gdanski were he was interrogated several times and eventually sentenced to jail, but luckily released on a posted bail within a couple of days.
Life had to move on. He spent about 12 months working as a production coordinator at a large factory and eventually was drafted to serve the mandatory 2 years in the military. As tough as it was, he managed to return to his artsy roots while in service and directed a politically-correct (of course) play in a national competition and the team advanced to the next round in spite of all the naysayers surrounding that project. Upon release from service he spent another year working as an aircraft electrician and eventually managed to leave his country for Italy.
Italy was beautiful and bountiful. Those memories would never go away, especially the time working for the late Mr. Ed Cheever at Roman Sport Center, an awesome fitness center in Villa Borghese in Rome. But a decision had to be made and a new pursuit of happiness began in January of 1989 upon arriving in St. Louis, MO.
Fasion design was Witold’s passion for a while then and he was even admitted to a fashion design college in Los Angeles, but gave up on that and entered Masachusetts Maritime Academy instead in 1991. Since graduating in 1994 he’s been working at sea, but never quit on his artsy ideas. He is a photographer, house designer, is getting into guitar making and has many projects he would like to get to … one day. Aside from that he always enjoys being on or by the water, a born sailor. Although he’s not done it in a while, he had good time playing golf, even though he never managed to become a scratch golfer. But he’s always said one thing about it: ” golf is the only sport I enjoy playing without ever being any good at it”
Currently he also does a bit of web design, all for his own use.
He can be contacted anytime at editorATwjgrabiec.com on any subject matter contained within.