And Another Thing……..

I promised myself and my family that I would never grow so old as to be one of the senior citizens that complain about the “way things are” AND the “way things were.” If fact, I was so committed to NOT being that way that I instructed my kids to tie me to a log and float me out to sea if they ever heard me uttering those sentiments. Once they read this post, I probably only have a week before I become shark bait at their hands, but it’s worth the risk.

Growing up in Duquesne at the hands of hunky parents, I had clear setting on my moral compass at a very early age. I am sure that each one of us had the same experience. Our parents provided clear boundaries, so we understood expected behavior. These expectations were reinforced for me through each and every aunt and uncle, all of the good Sisters and teachers at Holy Name, as well as Fr. Shaughnessy, Fr. Hanlon, and Fr. Turner when I served as an altar boy at Holy Name. I was also under the watchful eye of all of my Thomas Street neighbors too; Anna Yasko, Mrs. Davies, Mr. and Mrs. Gregory, Mr. and Mrs. Oravick, Mr. and Mrs. Snyder, Mr. and Mrs. Hanks, Mrs. Mensler, Dr. and Mrs. Brown and Mr. and Mrs. Kovach. As I stated in an earlier post, we were all privileged to be raised by our own village of hunkys.

One of the Hunky Commandments must have been “Thou shalt always respect adults.” One of the expected behaviors was that I was always to initiate a greeting to my adult neighbors. If I would see Mr. or Mrs. Hanks leaving the house and I was playing across the street, I would yell “Hi Mr. and Mrs. Synder!” As I am writing, I am wondering why I am making such a big deal out of such a simple gesture. Its then that I recall how you can drive or walk through my current neighborhood and pass by children that you see every day and NEVER get so much as a wave, a hello or ANYTHING resembling a greeting. They usually totally ignore you as if you don’t even exist or stare at you with a blank mindless stare that just short of blowing spit bubbles. In today’s society, children are constantly reminded about the risks of talking to strangers, and rightfully so. However, understanding all of that, I miss the hellos that would greet adult neighbors as I was growing up.

The respect that I long for also applies to material things. In our Thomas Street home, we never had things that were worth “coveting.” The same held true for our neighbors as well. Our parents truly practiced an “open door” policy. Doors were almost never locked. Even if the doors would be locked, a simple skeleton key would gain anyone entry to just about any home in the area. It that didn’t work, one would only need to check under the door mat to find a key that would work. I remember how my mom would be upstairs cleaning and we’d hear someone yell “Gas Man” or “Water Man.” The side door to our home would be left open, some man would come into our home, do his job and leave without a second thought. Even if we were gone for the day, the door would be left open for the meter man to do his job. Cars were never locked and keys sometimes never were taken out of the ignition. Our bikes were always left outside in full view and never locked up with a chain. We just respected each other and each other’s property. The thought of taking something from our neighbors was unfathomable. Simpler times for sure!

I was reading about a very recent study that was conducted by two psychologists investigating sexism. Apparently, although considered to be radical in their thinking, some people perceive the very acts that young men were encouraged to perform for a woman as sexist. C’mon! Cut me a break! I was raised to be a gentleman. Somehow, the simple act of opening the door to Jerry and Bud’s Donut Shop for a woman in today’s society would be considered an insult. To refer to a group of females as “girls” is also considered to be in bad taste. Somehow, ridiculous sensitivity has replaced common sense and good manners. What’s a guy to do??? How else is a boy going to impress a girl besides offering to carry her books. Are we to just let a door slam into the face of an elderly woman entering a store behind us?? Seriously world….”snap out of it!” Chivalry will never die as long as Duquesne Hunkys have anything to do with it!!

Seeing that this post is fast becoming an “and another thing” whiney conglomeration of rhetoric, allow me to continue to add to that perception. I want to know, when exactly did we become so “germaphobic?” Can you even imagine going into Kennedy Meat Market and seeing Andy Valco pull on a pair of latex gloves in order to slice your chipped ham order? And what about the double dipping phobia. I distinctly remember fingers and spoons being dipped, licked and re-dipped into family favorite recipes without a second thought! My Aunt Mary would patiently wait until we would finish our edge slices of Irene’s pizza to grab our leftover crusts, since she enjoyed them so much. Amazingly, we all survived. Although some people today would never think of keeping or reheating a leftover, the good hunkys of Duquesne NEVER met a leftover they couldn’t turn into a casserole or pot of soup. I believe we all heard the “I survived the Depression stories” or were placed on guilt trips for uncleaned plates with the mere mention of the starving children in China.

OK, I’m finish. I am prepared to meet my fate. Megan and Abby, Daddy is ready for that log, as promised. But, before you tie me up to meet my fate… can you just wash your hands? I don’t know where they’ve been!

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10 Responses to And Another Thing……..

  1. Linda L. (Negley) Gibb says:

    Hey Jim, I think you’re about 10 yrs. younger than I but do you remember the ragmen that used to come through town occassionally hollering “any old rags, any old rags” I can remember him coming down the alley behind Sherman & Lincoln Ave.’s from Wilmont at the top to Catherine st. at the bottom.
    Can’t remember either my mother or grandma giving him any rags. I also remember the hucksters coming around

  2. Harry Wagner says:

    Bob Chermonitz…I went to school with him for 12 years….wow..Ever hear from Eugene?

    • Bob Chermonitz says:

      Hi Harry! Long time no see. Yes, Geno is here. Check the different posts and you’ll find him. Hope you are well. 🙂

  3. Laurine says:

    Oh, Right ON!!! The disrespect for property and person is sadly growing around here, too. I can say “Hi” to the neighbors’s kids (there are only about 6 in our little corner of the condo complex) and maybe one of them will return the greeting. Nothing can be left out if you don’t want it stolen (unless it is old and something newer is available elsewhere) and we even got a newsletter suggesting we lock our screen doors when the inner door is open!! Can you imagine that ever happening when we grew up? (Sorry, Mom, but I only locked the screen door if a boy was sitting on the couch next to me and you adults were out for awhile – we needed some time to sit at opposite ends of the couch and locking the door was the easiest way – it also prevented anybody else from sneaking up on you while you might be smooching with your guy) I think Dr. Benjamin Spock started it all with “you should NOT spank a child – a time out is sufficient. I got my bottom smacked a lot as a kid and as a result I would never think to take something off of someone’s porch or from their car or whatever. My last boyfriend spoiled me . . he always offered me his arm going up or down curbs, opened and closed the car door for me, and opened whatever door we were going into. Obviously, he was raised “old school” too. My neighbors have had to call the police and report to the condo complex about kids from elsewhere in the complex jumping on her lawn furniture and bullying “our” kids (who are all younger and smaller than they were). My housemate has yelled at some of these same kids for taunting and throwing things at one of the girls here. I HATE the way things are these days, but until things do a 180 I think we are stuck with the way it is. UGH!! Like you, I miss the respect that is sadly lacking today.

    Thanks for the great rant, and I hope your girls forgive you (even if it is just once) because I sure would miss your blogs!!!

  4. Tom Lane says:

    The little kids in my neighborhood always say hi and I fix their bikes and other toys. I live in a blue collar neighborhood like the one we grew up in and in a small town like the one we grew up in. Maybe it is where you live?

  5. Bob Chermonitz says:

    On a brighter note, I’ve reached an age where, when calling on hospitals or doctors offices, I can call each lady “Dear” and get away with it. Never had a complaint and if I ever do well why ruin it for the others.? After all, who could ever resist a Duquesne hunky? 🙂

    • Laurine says:

      Oh so right about getting older. I call most everyone “Sweetie” even if I know their name. In person, I always get a smile for that, and over the phone whoever I am talking to (like the nameless person at a pizza shop) gets just a bit cheerier. I use it like a smile to make people feel better and it usually works.

  6. Bob Chermonitz says:

    You bet, Jim! Disrespect to our elders could bring down a wrath of punishment in no time flat! We were raised to use proper titles such as Mr. @ Mrs. Authority figures were addressed as Officer, Father or Sister. It didn’t matter who. Black or white, hunkey or not! And any adult was allowed to correct you. Back then children were an extension of not only their family but also of Today the family and the community are the extension of the children. And we made it so. 😦

  7. sue wiesen says:

    Gee, I really want some chipped ham now that you mention it!!! On Feig’s yellow buns!!!!

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