Although this will be a story with strong Poznań accents, we should start in Prague, where the owner of a beer hall, Mr. Rampa, once lived in the Vinohrady district.
This Rampa, when someone wanted to drink at his place on credit, used to say that “such moments come upon a man that he becomes as deaf as a stump.”
A similar opinion was held by Jan Apolinary Michalik, the owner of a cafe on Florianska Street, known today as “Jama Michalikowa”, who came to Krakow from Lviv in 1895. He went down in history as the “pâtissier of artists”. Indeed, he fed and watered the “malaria” from the nearby Academy of Fine Arts, often taking nice money for it, but – attention! – he never gave credit. If you have no money, give me a painting, brother. And so it was that Mr. Apolinary lived to see quite a good (today he could take a fortune for it) collection, which in 1919, after selling the cafe at Florianska Street, he took with him to Poznan.
In the famous capital of Pyrland, in Wały Wazów Street (today Wieniawskiego Street), a newcomer from Cracow opened a boarding house. Who hasn’t frequented it! Actors such as Maria Malicka and Ludwik Solski, Adam Grzymała-Siedlecki and Teofil Trzciński, as well as a whole cloud of artistic and scholarly petty folk. It seemed that Michalik – faithful to the principle of not giving credit – would make a great business out of his boarding house, but oh well. Bad rumors began to circulate in Poznań that “this Galileo from Congress Poland” (Mr. Apolinary) (Mr. Apolinary) was a representative of Sodom and Gomorrah, that is, of the moral decay originating from the first cabaret on Polish soil, which he had popularized in his café in Cracow. That honest mothers should never allow their daughters to take a walk along the Vasa Embankment. That it was a disgrace! Three times a disgrace! – The daughter of Jan Apolinary Michalik, Miss Helena Kazimiera, staying at the boarding school of the Sacred Heart Gymnasium in Polska Wieś near Poznań, instead of a decent, modest leotard called milanez she wears silks “underneath”!
This is a tangible proof of decadence of customs, which the outsider from Cracow wants to transplant to the land of Poznan. Although the term “tangible” deserved a lawsuit, Jan Apolinary did not wait: On May 28, 1926 he gave up the Galician spirit to God and – already in a horizontal position – returned from Warta to the Vistula. His bones rested in a family tomb in the Rakowicki Cemetery.
They could be seen because in the 20th century the tomb represented a typical picture of poverty and despair. Fortunately, there was a donor this year, the current King of the Chivalry, Piotr Skalski, who, in the name of the best-understood care for human memory, renovated the grave of the “passionate artist” and – involuntarily, but always – a patron of art.
This event was witnessed by hundreds of Cracovians who, like me, could swear that Jan Apolini’s voice could be heard from the beautifully restored tomb: – Thank you! Thank you. But you will not get anything on credit from me! That would be un-Poznanian!