News From A Duquesne Neighbor

Periodically, I receive emails from some of our former Duquesne friends and neighbors. I received the following email from George Simcina and wanted to pass it along to you. When I saw that it was from someone by the name Simcina, I recognized the name immediately. I began to think of the many names that seem so familiar when reading your comments or in past issues of The Duquesne Times. Names such as Kopriver, Pucci, Valco, Benovitz, Isadore, Toretti, Achtzehn, Shaughnessy, Linn, Terza, Simcina, Meighan, Staisey, Falvo, Gigliotti and so many more. I am sure there are so many more, but my memory bank is running a bit low on funds, so you’ll have to fill in whatever blanks I’ve left.

George’s greetings to all of us –

My name is George Simcina, a graduate of DHS in 1945 at age 17. Therefore my memories of Duquesne are from the war years.  I went onto the service in 1946 -1949. I graduated for Indiana, Pa college in 1953. It is now IUP.

My brother John owned the Hill Top Dairy at the corner of Kennedy Ave and Peter St. with his wife Alice. They had a son John who was known as Jack. My sister Helen worked there. In the war years there were a lot of small grocery stores in that area.  Now they are called Mom and Pop stores. This was a time of the depression and this was a way of survival.

We did a lot of walking in those days. Also, many of us Hunky kids worked at Kennywood Park. I worked at the Dipsy Doodle. There were times we would walk to Kennywood to save the nickel. I lived on Barbara St. then.  We could get the bus to Kennywood at the corner of Kennedy and Peter St. At that time there were to buses to ride, one coming down Kennedy or one going up, both with the final destination of Kennywood.

There were two theaters (shows as we knew them,) The Plaza, which showed the regular feature, and The Grant (I think) that showed the B movies.

Many of us in that class were first generation Americans. We were called “Hunkies.” When someone called us that we would call them “Bo Hunks.”  I am not sure why or what it meant.

A former mayor of Duquesne was one of my classmates,  Melvin Achtzehn.

These are old memories old Duquesne.

I now live in Romeo, Michigan about 75 years younger than Duquesne but keeping

it a nice place to live. My home was built in 1872 as the others on this street.  Some others in this village are 40 years older

I enjoyed your page and the remarks from other Hunkies.  It would be nice to hear from home.

George Simcina

I also received an email from Anita Jakubovics  – Oct 19


I wanted to thank you for your wonderful blog! I have been following it for the past couple of months and I find it such a joy to read.  My name is Anita Jakubovics-Smith, and although I’m too “young” to remember most of the things that you’ve mentioned, (I was born in 1980), I’ve always had a soft spot for history.  My hunky grandparents came to work in the Duquesne Mill in the early 1900s. My parents are from the West Mifflin / Duquesne Area.  My mom grew up on Worton Blvd, down from Jim’s Hot Dogs, and my dad down on Belmont Ave.  I currently teach at New Emerson Elementary, the sight of the old Edision Jr. High in West Mifflin.  Plus, my parents were the last owners of Joe’s Luncheonette,  and an uncle owned the Union Bar and Grill, so even though I’ve never lived there, my Duquesne roots run very deep!

My reason for finally contacting you is regarding your latest post, Hunky Halloween. In the picture I notice that my dad, Richard Jakubovics, one of his sisters, and several cousins are listed. Unfortunately, I can’t place him because of the quality of the photograph.  My dad suddenly passed away 11 years ago, and I love looking at photographs of him in his younger days.  Plus, I’m pregnant with his first grandchild, and would love to add it to a memory book for her of her “pappy Jake” in heaven.  I was wondering if you could send me a scanned copy of the article, or even let me know where you were able to locate the Duquesne Times so I can take a better look at it.  Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated!! Keep writing your wonderful posts because I look forward to reading them:)

Thanks again,


As an added treat, Lou Andriko has sent along a few “get you in the mood” Croatian Christmas Songs that you’ll enjoy. As I told Lou, who describes himself as a Hunky Porky Chedwick, I remember hearing Hunky carols, but never knew what they meant, that is until now. Listen and enjoy!

This entry was posted in Christmas Memories, Feedback From Our Friends. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to News From A Duquesne Neighbor

  1. Sharyn Kelley Manns says:

    We weren’t Croatian, but my aunt was…her dad (ChaCha) was usually at our family gatherings & I remember him singing Christmas songs. Barbara Zuber(my aunt) passed away a few months ago…wish she could have heard these.

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