“When he said we were approved to go to Canada, I cannot even tell you how happy that made me. There was nowhere else I wanted to go.”
In a series dedicated to Janina’s history, Andrzej outlines how he came to Canada, how he entered the goldsmithing, and how Janina’s became to be.
Waiting For Letters (Again)
Waiting for the results on his goldsmithing exam was excruciating.
Andrzej found himself once again waiting for a letter. Perhaps a bit more anxious than when he had waited for letters back in Poland as a child, Andrzej knew this letter had the potential to shift his dreams.
Finally, it came in. And, of course, all the translating, all the runs across town to find tools, all the work he had put into learning his new craft paid off.
He had passed the course and received his diploma. He was – at least, on paper – a goldsmith.
The Real Test
Sights set on becoming a goldsmith on paper and in practice, Andrzej headed back to the Prairie Mall. He waltzed back into Warrington’s and addressed the owner:
“Hello. I was here before, but now I am a goldsmith so I can work for you.”
The man looked at him. “Wait, weren’t you here a few months ago wanting to learn how to be a goldsmith.”
The owner, Ormand Schultz, looked at him. “What? You know how to do it now?”
Andrzej replied, “Yeah. I made a few rings and stuff.”
Mr. Schultz stared at him in disbelief. Who was this young man, so eager to learn more about this craft? He didn’t say anything at first. Instead, he reached into the showcase and pulled out a ring.
It was a simple ring. Nothing too fancy or expensive. It featured a tiny cluster of diamonds, all around one diamond in the centre.
Mr. Schultz pulled this ring from the case. And handed it to Andrzej.
Then he spoke, “Look. This ring is a size six because they all come in size six. It’s the standard size. I need you to size this to a size five. When you’re done, you come back and see me.”
Andrzej was shocked. He had just been handed a ring to take home. Never would this have happened in Poland. Never would he have thought someone would hand him gold and diamonds and say, “Come back when you’re done.”
So, Andrzej took the ring home. He resized it – carefully cutting out the one millimeter chunk of gold necessary to drop it to a size five – polished it back up. The next morning, he walked back into the mall, back into Warrington’s, and set it down on the counter.
Mr. Schultz just stared at him. “Oh. That quick?”
Andrzej nodded. “Yeah, I did it.”
Mr. Schultz looked at the ring again. “What’s your name?”
“What? What is it?”
Andrzej said it again. Mr. Schultz just shook his head.
“Write it down.”
Andrzej wrote it down, spelling it out and saying his name again. Mr. Schultz kept shaking his head, and then finally, he said, “Okay, AJ. That’s a good job. Let me give you some work.”
Mr. Schultz pulled out customer files this time. From these little envelopes, he handed Andrzej three rings to size down and a single chain. Andrzej thanked him, and left.
The entire way home Andrzej couldn’t hold back his excitement. He did what anyone young and happy would do: he blared his music so loud the windows shook.
“I am a goldsmith. I am a goldsmith!” He thought to himself. For the moment, Andrzej was on top of the world.