Tomorrow, Poland will host the IAAF World Cross Country Championships for a third time, the second in four years in the city of Bydgoszcz. But in 1987 the Polish capital of Warsaw held the honor, and I attended as a radio and newspaper reporter from Boston.
Since it would be my first visit to Poland, I also brought along my mother from St. Louis, as she was a native Pole whose extended family still lived in the homeland. And though Perestroika had begun to unravel the Soviet apparatus to the east under Gorbachev, Poland remained locked in the long winter of Soviet domination, a full two years before spring revolutions would loosen the Communist grip once and for all.
The following is just one memory from my first trip to the a country long savaged by war, then demeaned by its outcome. (more…)