Homestead: My Family's Roots


Tamara WilmBack in 1927, my great-grandfather, Josef, moved his Polish family to the cold, snowy, and seemingly desolate area of northern Wisconsin, known as "up north" to locals. There, they were farmers, raised nine children, and started the story of the Bugalski family in America.

My grandfather, Thadeus James Bugalski, is now the owner of the homestead. In his 80s, the land has always been his home. Throughout his life he has returned to this place over and over, sometimes for weeks on end, to be where he feels most comfortable.

My grandfather with family photo

While the house has undergone changes over the years, the original structure has remained. Sometimes I think my grandfather's favorite place is sitting at the kitchen table, looking out at the barnyard.

The kitchen being remodeled

The hay in the barn's loft is the last load of hay my grandfather put up there in 1959, before he would leave the homestead and move to southeastern Wisconsin to raise his family. With his mother still living on the farm, he returned often (nearly every weekend) to help her with chores around the 500 acre property.

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