Category Archives: Fond recollections

The last of the first cousins

My father was the youngest of 10 children, actually 12 children but two died very young, born to Ukrainian immigrants living in Pennsylvania.

When he was 45-years-old I entered the world – meaning I’ve attended more retirement parties for my first cousins on his side of the family than graduation parties. I was the youngest Wysochanski of the youngest Wysochanski, in other words.

As far as I know I am the youngest first cousin on the Wysochanski side.  This brings me, once again, to the topic of Facebook.

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Reflections on lost toys and crying boys

More and more fathers seem to be calling their boys sweetie and honey.

Let me start with this – I’m not a father so maybe I have no room to even ponder this. But it seems like I hear more and more men referring to their boys as honey or sweetie in public.

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As only they could see it

Chapter 6: Those bricks belong to someone

My Dad always looked at the world in a different sort of way.

One time we were driving past a McDonald’s and we saw some sort of landscaping pickup truck. The truck had a tarp over the back with several rows of little bumps protruding through it. On the cab there was a flashing sign that said “handicap children”. It was probably a grounds truck for a school for disabled kids.

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Wash me

Chapter 5: The Parking Space

Have you ever tried to park in a really tight spot just to prove you could?

Maybe there are no other spots, maybe you’re in a hurry or maybe you are angry because one of the cars on either side of the spot parked over the white line.

Such was the case on a trip to an Indian’s game with my family as a kid. Normally we parked outside in the lot near the stadium – the one which requires driving down a steep hill. My Dad, however, rolled down that hill one time when he slipped so maybe this particular trip he decided on utilizing a parking garage.

We circled round and round looking for a spot with my Mom urging him to go up another level. Suddenly, he stopped next to a space which had a regular sized car on one side of it and a large Chevy Suburban type vehicle on the other.

The larger vehicle’s wheels were way over the white line.

“Just keep looking,” Mom urged. “There’s got to be something else.”

Dad shook his head.

“I can’t let him get away with that,” he said.

Our family got out of the vehicle and he started maneuvering with the windows rolled down.

“How am I on that side,” he yelled while checking his side mirrors.

“Back up! Back up!” Mom shouted.

“You need to go more to the left,” my sister yelled.

With brake lights blinking on and off, and other cars driving by looking for spaces, and peering at us out of curiosity, Dad continued his quest for landing the impossible parking space.

Finally he got it in, Mom was pacing around, my sister was cheering and I just took it all in as usual. But there was a slight problem – he was so close to both cars, even though he was actually within the lines of his own space, that he couldn’t open the driver’s or passenger’s doors.

Luckily he drove a Ford Bronco at that time – it had a hatchback.

“Pop the hatch,” he yelled tossing one of us the keys.

Then he simply climbed out, dusted off his hands and said it was time to head to the game.

But there was one last thing before we headed off that he just couldn’t resist. The back windshield of the large car was covered in dust. He couldn’t resist leaving a personal message on the back.

“Lou not in front of the kids,” Mom was saying. “Let’s just go.”

“Nope, nope, he’s over the line,” Dad said, justifying placing his finger in the dust and scrawling a message.

I’m not sure what the learning experience I took from this was. Fight for a parking space? Speak your mind? Stand up for what you believe in? Or when you have kids try to be a little more sane?

Nah, the message was funny and to the point – “Asshole, learn how to park.”

What could you say? The man was right. He knew how to park and proved it.

Sidenote: The only comparable parking maneuvering I can compare this to is a perfect parallel parking job done by my friend Eric. My wife and I, and he and his girlfriend, were all on a trip to Nashville. Driving around downtown one night we couldn’t find a spot on the street to save our lives.

Finally we saw a spot but it was extremely tight. We all jumped out and shouted instructions to Eric as he parallel parked. He made it in by slightly driving over the curb, hopping out once or twice to check his progress and finally succeeding.

When all was said and done there was literally about a quarter inch between his bumpers and the cars in front and behind him.