“HUNKY” Is Not A Four Letter Word

Let me get one thing straight. I am an authentic Duquesne Hunky. I use the term “hunky” in the most endearing and loving way possible. I am a hunky, my entire family were hunkies, I grew up in a world of hunkies and my kids are hunkies….well, at least in part!

According to Wikipedia:

  • The use of the term Hunky as a disparaging reference to a person, especially a laborer, from East-Central Europe, is falling into disuse.
  • The “Hunkies” are a composite Polish, Hungarian (Magyar), Rusyn, Slovak ethnic group which primarily inhabits western Pennsylvania and Upstate New York (Binghamton) and speaks English.[1] The immigrants came en masse prior the turn of the century (starting around 1880) searching opportunity and religious freedom. The Hunkies image was a departure from Hungarian prestige that peaked around Lajos Kossuth‘s visit in 1851-1852, aka Triumphal Tour[2].
  • The term Hunky or “bohunk” can be applied to various Slavic and Hungarian immigrants who moved to America from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Many of these immigrants fled religious persecution and loss of personal freedoms in their native land. Deriving from a rich culture, the people are entrenched in music, food and family. Hard work and traditions of family are considered important. Traditional food of the hunky culture include: fried cabbage, halušky / galuska, stuffed cabbage or ‘pigs in a blanket’ (halubki/gołąbki), kalacs and pierogi.
  • “The overwhelming majority of these economic immigrants (initially 85%, later 65%) consisted of young working age men. Originally they planned to spend only a few years in America, and then return to Hungary with enough capital to transform themselves into independent farmers or self-employed artisans. This was precisely the reason why, instead of moving into agriculture in line with their traditions, they went to work in the coal mines and steel mills. Only in heavy industry did they have a chance to collect enough money to be able to fulfill their goals back in the Old Country.[3]

 Hunkies settled in highly industrial areas: they worked in steel mills in western    Pennsylvania;  .more……..

Now, with all of that said, I have my own very concise and direct definition. Hunkies are love, family, food, warmth, compassion, fun, tradition and religion. That’s how I remember my childhood in Duquesne.

I plan on using this blog as an ongoing documentation of my memories of life in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, “the great years.” I am referring to the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, before the decline and eventual closing of U.S.Steel’s Duquesne Works facility in 1984. There is no set path that I plan to take. Who knows, perhaps I’ll jump decades from one posting to the next. When the mood strikes, I’ll go there.

I hope that you will enjoy reading my ramblings and occasional very mild diatribes. Childe in when you disagree with something, but most importantly, let me know if something I have mentioned stirs up similar memories. I intend for this blog to be as loving, family oriented, warm, compassionate, and fun as the hunky life I remember.

Welcome or as we said in Duquesne…… Dobrodošli!!!

This entry was posted in My Hunky Family, The Steel Mills. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “HUNKY” Is Not A Four Letter Word

  1. Larry Petrillo says:

    The class of ’64 is planning their reunion for September 12,13,13, 2014….save the date..50 years!!!!
    The library and the pool bring back so many Duquesne Dolphin memories!!!

  2. Lou A. says:

    …those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end….

    • Lou Andriko says:

      Jim and I met in 1965 at Serra HS; we reconnected in 2010 on this site. I had the good fortune to have lunch with him once since then, at Tillie’s in McKeesport. He was visiting his aunt and I my mother. It was like the fifty years that passed between us had not. I’m sure he’ll be remembered kindly by family and close friends; he’ll also be remembered by every Duquesne Hunky everywhere.

      Puna hvala, moj prijatelj. Z’Bogom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s