In Ol’ Duquesne


Jim Volk

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25 Responses to In Ol’ Duquesne

  1. Sharlene Carr says:

    Every Christmas my Dad would tell the story of Christmas in Duquesne in the depresion. And standing in a long line outside in the cold with the other children at the Library to recieve a little box of hard candies. The only Christmas gift they would have, but so thankful to get it. He instilled in me the best gift ever…….gratefulness.

  2. I’d like to think I did, but I am not certain if I knew, as a boy and as a teenager, how lucky I was to have grown up in Duquesne, and more specifically, Duquesne Place. Every person I knew, while attending DHS, for example, was a good person to know. Whether it was Mr. Kashlak, a neighbor and our vice principal, or Mr. Mooney, who taught me all the grammar I ever needed to know, or Lea and Fred, who were Class of ’62 officers, each was a good and decent person who knew how to treat others well. I don’t have a single memory of the Duquesne of the late 40’s, 50’s, & 60’s that does not bring a smile to my heart. So, whether I knew it or not, back then, I sure do know, now, that one of the great joys of my life was Duquesne, Pennsylvania.

    • Diane Kashlak says:

      Thank you for remembering my Dad, Mr. Kashlak. He taught me everything I need to know, too. So fortunate to have had such a wonderful upbringing and appreciate your memory. FYI, I never did pass Mrs. Kashlak’s home economics course. She is still the active home economist and keeps her own home and yard. One tough Dukaner!

      • Frank Mullen says:

        He is an easy person to remember, especially considering that engaging smile (which I can still see, even without referring to the yearbook.) I also recall that he held sway – and court – at DHS withour being loud or unduly aggressive. Students listened because he was right, which was something we somehow “common-sensed” when decisions or directions came from him.

        I am amazed I have no memory of you, though, living just a few houses from you on Miller Avenue. Maybe, that was because students respectively kept a certain distance from your house, even though the bus stop was alongside your home at the corner.

        Sometimes, these several decades since high school graduation (1962), I visit Pennsylvania and, of course, make a point of seeing Duquesne Place. I park my car in front of my childhood home and walk farther up Miller, across Commonwealth to Harden, down to Overland; then, to Herman, to the Kennywood Bridge; lastly, getting a rootbeer milkshake at the Dairy Queen, heading back to my car, refreshed
        in many ways.

  3. Leslie says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU, ALSO! Keep up the great work…..I so enjoy reading your blog.
    The latest is great! :o)

  4. Linda (Negley) Gibb says:

    Great poem Jim! Thanks, Linda (Negley) Gibb

  5. John (Jack) Berta says:

    A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you Jim. Just finished reading your last 4 entries on your blog. This time of the year I always remember when I was so much younger the family gathering on Christmas Eve for dinner. Your writtings have enhanced those memories. Now we try to carry on those traditions for our children and grandchildren. We have Christmas Eve dinner at our home every year. My sister’s and brother’s families take part. Even though she enjoys cooking and baking, the preparation is a lot of work for my wife. Afterwards we open gifts while cleaning up. Having two great son-in-laws makes it a lot easier when they wash the dishes that don’t fit in the dishwasher (and there are a lot). I hope the kids can somehow carry this on. Thanks for the help with the memories. Best wishes to you and yours and all of our fellow hunkies (or not).

    Merry Christmas
    Jack Berta

  6. Deanne Harris Seese says:

    Merry Christmas to you all also, reading the Duquesne Hunky website! My brother’s Christmas letter was in the Duquesne Times edition. I also saw my Aunt Sue’s letter, which was so hard to believe. Jim, are you related to Tim and Betty Jane Stepetic? Betty Jane was mine and my sister Judy’s best friend growing up. Also Tim was good friends with my cousins, the Hedbergs. Happy and Healthy New Year to all. Deanne Harris Seese

    • Jim says:

      Deanne, my cousins were Tim and Betty Jane. Of course, as a child I knew them as TJ and Betsy Jane. They are both doing well and I think Betty Jane reads my blog, so she should see your comment. Thanks for the Christmas wishes. I hope you had a great one!

    • Barry Long says:

      Hey Deanne or Deeny as we used to call you when you came over to our house with Judy, to play with my sister & brother Maureen & Johnny Long. We left Kennedy Ave in 1953 & we heard later your family moved to the corner of Sherman & Catherine St. Maureen is in Charlotte NC. & she said she would like to hear from you. You can give her a call at (704)998-1440. Brother John was a M.D. & died at 44 when he got a puncture wound in his hand working in the yard,got blood poisoning that went to his heart & killed him in 12 days. It was very tragic. He lived in Atherton Calif. Maureen would love hearing from you. I’m Barry the big brother then. We have a picture of you Judy, & John leaning on Poljack’s fence with a piece of candy in each of your cheeks.

      • Deanne Harris Seese says:

        Hi Barry, I have been seeing your name on the blog, never associated with our old friends. So many Long’s in Duquesne. I am Deeny, Deanie, Deannie (is how it is pronounced), but it is spelled Deanne like DeeAnn, so confusing. You probably never saw my name in print. I certainly will call Maureen., because I do remember all of you. I did hear that Johnny was a Dr., not sure about the death though, I’m sure that was tragic. Did you know Judy died, she was 62, breast cancer. Didn’t expect that. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Nice to hear from you.

  7. Diann M. Topley says:

    Jim, thank you for bring back to me the memories that everyone said I imagined. Yes I did walk from my home on Friendship St two miles down the hill to the High School. Yes there was a steel mill on the banks of the Monongahela River (please tell me they still make children spell that word).
    I was born in McKeesport Hospital on 09/21/53, the first born child of Anna Mae Kilen and Roy Phillip Topley. My father went to Korea in 1952; after i was born my mom and I lived with her mother on Hilltop St on the cliff high above the steel mill. I never feared for my safety; I walked from my Grandmother Topley’s home on Friendship St to Grandma Kilen’s home in the middle of the night
    9 do the children still walk everywhere today?).
    I was accepted to attend Duquesne University after i graduated in 1971. I never looked back at where i grew up and I cherish the values that were instilled in me.
    Diann Topley

  8. Lou A. says:

    We all know this hunky boy, (his brother’s name is Stephen),
    Who writes a blog about our town before we all were leaven’.
    “Jobs are gone, homes torn down” could be cause for grievin’
    But the Baby newly born is cause for our believin’!

    Faith and hope and charity: virtues we adhere to.
    Family, friends and all the folks who we are so near to
    See or greet them every year when it is December.
    We were taught this in Duquesne, and now we all remember

    Those whose lives have taught us well as we all were growing
    Into those we are today, never even knowing
    Seeds were planted, nurtured well, memories a’sowing
    As we look back o’er the years, now our hearts are glowing.

    They were special, we are too! How can we forget it?
    Memory will only die, only if we let it.
    Thank you, Jim! And thank you all for each and ev’ry meeting!
    Tho’ I’ve rambled far too long, accept this Christmas Greeting!

  9. Thank you Jim, and Merrt CHRISTmas to you and your family from way out here in Mesa, Arizona

  10. Michael Bashista says:

    And a very Merry Christmas to you, Jim, and your family and all of our Hunky [and non Hunky] friends. Have joyful and safe holiday. We all look forward to a healthy , happy New Year!!

  11. Joe Haver says:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year. The memories you bring to us are the best gifts anyone could get. Thank you very much.
    Joe Haver DHS ’60

  12. Denise Hudak Ventura says:

    Jim, a very Merry Chrisrmas to you and your family, and all my friends from Duquesne. Thanks for all the good old Hunky memories of Duquesne.

  13. Ralph DeRose says:

    Merry Christmas to You Jim and You Family. Thank You for refreshing the memories of our Hometown. It has been an exciting year to look forward to your postings, stories and travels back “Home”.
    Merry Christmas to all of our Friends from Duquesne.
    Ralph & Janet (Bock) DeRose

  14. Barry Long says:

    Another 1/2 finished comment vanished?JIM, you are a very good Poet of the Robert W. Service school. He was known as the” Bard of the Yukon” & wrote “Dangerous Dan McGrew” & others. Keep up the great poetry & photos. You have made my day. The house on the corner (2nd & Library) was owned by my Great aunt Hannah Rabeck who was married to Bill. Her spinster sister Mary also lived with them. While visiting them I remember my father lifting me up to look across 2nd street to see Wendel Wilkie give a speech from the Library steps when he ran against Roosevelt for President (1940). My father pointed & said,”There is the next president of theUSA.”For decades after when Dad would give an opinion opposite of mine i would say,”Yes Dad, just like Wilkie was going to be President.” That would stop any further comments.

  15. Paula Smith says:

    Merry Christmas Jim and Judy.
    I know the holiday’s with your new grandson will be special.
    Much love, Paula and Ron

  16. Raymond Isadore says:

    Jim: I’m in Duquesne at this moment visitng my mother Therese on Kennedy. Stopped by to take her to 4:00 PM mass @ St. Joseph’s church with Fr. Dennis. Also here to help her with some computer issues. Mom says she went to school with one of your relatives but was unable to recall the persons hame (mom is 84 yrs old and attended St. Josephs).

    Have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed new year.

    • Jim says:

      Ray, ask your mom if it was either a Stepetic or a Puskaric that she attended St. Joe with. All 9 children went there! Merry Christmas to you too!

      • Raymond Isadore says:

        Jim–my mom recognized both names but said “I’ll have to get out my school photos after the holidays and look them up.” Sometimes it takes a while for her to sort thru memories. Mom is a very special lady.

        Merry Christmas to you and your family Jim!

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