In my last post, I mentioned how I constantly get spam comments and how I filter out all of the garbage so it doesn’t hit our blog. However, I occasionally get comments or emails that intrigue me. One such email came to me and my curiosity was peaked due to vagueness of the content. I am purposely not including the author’s name or website information, as to not incite a debate with them beyond what has already occurred.
Let me begin………………………….
In an email dated January 2, 2014, I received the following statement:
While your weblog is both lovely and interesting, I can’t help but wonder why you claim to be “Hunky” if you are Slovak and Croatian….
I was curious about the statement and being stubborn, I just couldn’t let it drop without further inquiry. I responded with the following on January 2, 2014 in reply:
I don’t quite understand your email, so I’m not really able to respond.
I felt it was a fair reply. Non-confrontational, but clearly stating my confusion about the statement. I really didn’t expect a response and I thought the matter was over. Lo and behold, the very next day brought a reply and a clarification of the previous statement’s intent. The email contained the following statement:
Someone posted a link to your weblog “The Duquesne Hunky” in Delphi Forums. I looked through it, in fact, bookmarked it.
“Hunky” nationally usually means Hungarian or Magyar, not Slovak or Croatian. The customs are somewhat similar and all are often tinged with Austrian, but the languages and historically the people are different. That’s why the latter voted themselves independent after the first world war.
Although many Slovak and Croatian people have been able to speak Hungarian — in later imperial years Hungary administered half of the empire homeland — and even have Hungarian blood lines, Hungary wasn’t exactly beloved.
I just found it strange that someone rather clearly not Magyar would rather generally claim be so in this day and age. Slovak is a Slavic (Indo-European) language like Polish or Russian. Hungarian or Magyar is Ural-Altaic (one of just four such languages in all of Europe). It was invasion from the east.
Now, I have often been accused of being overly sensitive. I accept that as one of my faults. However, I became rather offended about being accused of incorrectly calling myself a hunky after 62 years of existence. How could anyone be so naive as to not recognize people of Slovak, Croatian and other Slavic heritages as hunkies!! I took a bit of time and composed myself. I only wish I had some cabbage rolls to eat to remind me of my roots and gain inspiration before responding, however that was not in the cards. Instead, I settled for some holiday ham, a hard-boiled egg and some frozen perogies as motivation. I finished my meal and proceeded to respond as follows:
Thank you so much for helping me to understand how you view the historical etymology of the term “Hunky.”
My blog is intended as homage to my hometown and the era that I grew up in. My hometown, Duquesne, was a typical industrial town located in western Pennsylvania. The vast majority of the male residents were employed by USS (United States Steel,) and were of East-Central European descent. USS had a major facility in Duquesne called The Duquesne Works. You can read more about The Duquesne Works at this site: The Duquesne Works.
I explored the web a bit about the term Hunky and found the following on Wikipedia (not that Wikipedia is the definitive source for etymology):
“It originated in the coal regions of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where Poles and other immigrants from East-Central Europe (Hungarians (Magyar), Rusyns, Slovaks) came to perform hard manual labor on the mines. They were called hunkies by the American public which lumped them together into a category of Slavic immigrants, irrespective of their individual ethnic background. The use of the term as an ethnic slur has fallen into disuse, but the term hunky and the public image associated with it has historic relevance in the perception of Slavic immigrants in the United States. There is some usage of the term in other forms; for example, it is used to describe any mill worker in regions of Pennsylvania. The term would be Mill Hunky.
The term Hunky or Bohunk can be applied to various Slavic and Hungarian immigrants who moved to America from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The immigrants came en masse prior to the turn of the twentieth century (starting around 1880) seeking opportunity and religious freedom.”
“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.” – Wikipedia
Although I am certain that when the city was originally settled by the immigrants, their cultural and political differences were an issue as evidenced by the nationality based churches that were established. However, by the time that first generation Americans, our parents, were working at the Duquesne Works, the name Hunky had come to mean ANYONE of East-Central European descent, regardless of their parent’s original country or region of origin.
When I decided to write my blog, I had come to think of the term Hunkies as a word that was synonymous for all the citizens of Duquesne who embraced and demonstrated the strength, unity, love of family and formidable moral fiber, that WAS our parents. Coupled with this awe-inspired respect for its people, my blog is intended as a tribute and to serve as a recollection of the environment of friendship and the actual bricks and mortar of our city.
With all of that said, I hope you read through some of my posts. Take them for what they are intended, a loving heart-felt tribute to the town I grew up in and to the very people that provided my moral basis.
Keep well and Happy New Year!
I thought to myself after sending my reply, that I had clearly stated my point-of-view without being offensive. I had provided historical information to substantiate just WHY we all call ourselves hunkies. I felt that I had been victorious in defending my heritage and had set the story straight. But alas, I was wrong. On January 7th, the gauntlet was thrown down with the following:
I’m sure you were well-intentioned with your weblog, just missing a little background information.
I wrote because someone actually mostly Hungarian (like me) looking for information is mislead. I did look at (partly skimming) the first of your work and saw nothing I would call Hungarian. …But, of course I don’t know everything.
……… Personally speaking, if it were me, I would alter your title to read something like “The Duquesne Mill Hunky” and stick a few words of explanation somewhere. No regular reader would particularly notice the difference.
Good luck to you in the new year.
I have stewed for a while now, debating whether I should respond to this “person” or just let it go. I decided to take the high road and not stir the haluski any further. Instead, I decided to seek affirmation and comfort among all of you, my circle of friends! Whether our ancestors were Polish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Slovakian, Croatian, Serbian, or of another heritage, we ALL are Duquesne. We come together to remember, reconnect and rekindle friendships. It has been over three years that we’ve shared stories, thoughts and recollections. That’s what makes this blog, “The Duquesne Hunky,” appropriate and correct! I know we’ve got each other’s back!
I came across this blog when trying to explain to my 8yo where and why the term hunky originated. We were talking about what we are, where our people come from when I told him on pap pap’s side we’re hunky & Irish. This person clearly isn’t a yinzer and is trying to gatekeep hunky. You’re a hunky dammit! Great blog!
As a Swede who randomly stumbled upon this blog, thanks for the info, I learned something new. Continue the good work 🙂
I’m a proud 3rd generation Hunky from Kansas City KS. The East Central European immigrants settle in the Strawberry Hill area of KCKS. Locally known as “Hunky Hill”. My family immigrated here in 1908 & 1916 from Croatia. I was at a salon & said to the beautician that when i got home i was gonna make some Hunky Potato Salad. She got such a strange look on her face & said she hadn’t heard that term in decades. I’m proud of my Hunky heritage. Like ur family, mine are hard working, loving, loyal, warm wonderful people.
As an alumni of Union Switch and Signal (1977), Westinghouse East Pittsburgh (1978), and Homestead Works (1978-1981) and a Slovak-Ukrainian I concur with your definition of the terms ending with “hunky”.
Throughout my career I’ve encountered the unspoken version of discrimination associated with being labeled a dumb Hunky.
These days, I bristle when I hear this crap about “entitlement”. Being part of a group deemed barely sentient and denied educational opportunities while expected to do the work has resulted in more than one boss getting “the lecture”. You want me to do the work but you don’t want to teach me how?
Bite me! I’ve got your “entitlement” right here.
These people need to read “Out Of This Furnace” to see how things really were, and to a certain extent, still are.
My great great father was such a ” hunky”..he was a rumanian peasant from western Transylvania and I know he worked in a steel mill…
Both of my father’s grandfathers were recruited from Slovenia to come here, to Indianapolis, as were many other Slovenians. It’s common in this community is Americans with Slovenian heritage to call themselves and one anothe Hunkies.
First off, I extend big Hunky-Love to all youns – or is it younzes? I am 91% Eastern European, (according to testing by Ancestry.com) which includes many countries, not just Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine, etc. The other 9% is composed of DNA from other areas of Europe, which are separate genetically. My former claim to being 100% Slovak has been fine tuned, but is identity based solely on where one’s ancestors are from? Yes and no. I am 100% Duquesne, although I have resided in other places longer. Hunky is as Hunky does – my last name means “warrior” in Ukrainian – and I will go to the mat with anyone who disparages the pride of us Duquesners, whether we claim the title of Hunky or not. I left town in 1970 and still miss the Isalys vanilla with the chocolate chips. And pass me the halushki, please.
Don’t worry about that 9%. People have crossed borders in Europe for 1,000s of years. I doubt that any there is 100% anything.
Bless you fellow “Hunky”! I am also Slovak and Croatian, and bee proud of my heritage…so muck so, that I’ve visited all the countries of my grandparents.
I grew up in PA with the word Hunky. It’s true meaning is that you are of Hungarian descent. It is a cherished term from the homeland. When mom would put everything on the dinner table at once, this was known in our household as “Hunky Style”
It is a term of acestrial slang that reminds folks of their roots!
HI JIM I AM NEW TO YOUR BLOG I LIVED ON EDITH ST. NOW I AM IN VILLA RICA GA.IS SITE BRINGS BACK MEMORIES.
Hello to Mr. Hathaway from Edith St. Played ball with dad..Lefty!!!
Oh but those are good memories to have. I can’t even find things here in Reading that I could use as a substitute to recreate the dishes of my childhood. There’s nothing out there that comes close to their chipped ham. I’ve asked for different things out here and people just look at me like I have 3 heads. They have no idea what they’re missing! But I do thank you for stirring up those memories. Have a great day!
Hi Liz: Long ago I discovered chopped ham sliced .5 is closest I could get here in AZ Now when I go to the store they call it chipped ham! Bill Pilcher 3 so fifth st class of 60. William.email@example.com
I am Slovakian on both sides of my family, grew up on Aurilles Street, used to be offended when called a Hunky because it was a slur. My former neighbor in the 1990s in another state, a Hungarian countess from the Esterhazy family, called herself a Hunky and adopted me. Now I am a Double-Hunk :-]. I visited Duquesne recently and my heart ached for the old days when we did not lock our doors. Anyway, I saw the picture of Isalys that was on lower Grant Avenue. My first job was there in the early-mid 1960s. Thanks for the memories.
Aaahhh, that Grant Ave. Isaly’s, I never could quite decide to have a Maricopa or Whitehouse ice cream cone or indulge myself with a 2-scoop cone of Lime & Orange Sherbet. Usually, the Maricopa won out. I haven’t tasted those delights since the ’60s , alas.
Also, my fully Hungarian mother used to make her version of a “sloppy-joe” by using Isaly’s “chipped-ham” marinated in a saucepan with Heinz 57 Barbeque sauce and Heinz (never any other brand) Ketchup, placed when mouth-wateringly ready on a hard roll. There was no way I could ever eat one of those treats without making a glorious mess of myself. Haven’t had one of those in decades either, but those treats are sure part of my million fond memories of Duquesne (and don’t even get me started on Kennywood’s cotton candy or custard!)
Frank M. (of 105 Miller Ave.)
yep, i remember all that stuff. btw, were you the duquesne duke, tall blond fellow?
Was I the Duke, voytkova? Yes, I was he for 1962, something in which I still take great joy because of all the approval it represented to me. On the occasion in the DHS auditorium of my “acceptance” speech (which even Mr. Mooney and Ms. Allshouse said they liked,) Denny Michaels called out from the balcony, “You better be a cool Duke, Frank!” I hope I was.
Hi Frank – You certainly appeared to be cool, and I am glad the Duke experience was a positive one for you. (I loved the Kennywood french fries with vinegar and salt. The cotton candy was special, as well.)
Langoš from Slovak grandmother
1 kg flour (70 ounces American)
2 of sour cream or plain yogurt or cream
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cube of yeast
2 dl milk (@7 oz. American)
3 tablespoons oil
Sourdough prop up the dough. In almost finished dough add oil.
We’ll put in plastic bags in the fridge down (a lot will acquire!) The next day.
Then we Langoš so that the pull out his hands in patties and bake on a fat or oil.
Our tip: Eating dry or with ketchup, garlic, mustard … cinnamon sugar, jam, cream cheese, whipped cream. The dough will last in the fridge for a week. I read that someone wished RECIPE
Lángos is a Hungarian food speciality, a deep fried flat bread made of a dough with flour, yeast, salt and water. It is also traditionally made in Vojvodina, where it was introduced by the local Hungarians.
and I wanted to tell you, your site is amazing, and read your memories is interesting. I think you were a good team and you have me tesi’s preserve, what would your family ancestors left behind, a large puddle “.)Please continue, THANK YOU.SORRY FOR THE TRANSLATION
hello. I don’t know if my query displays, but no one responded.Looking for family of cicak, the address was Duqesne. MOTHER was ANNA, CHILDREN of HELENA and JANKO-JOHN?PLEASE HELP ME TO GET SOME INFORMATION …THANK YOU.GREAT AUNT EMIGRATED FROM SLOVAKIA, THE HUSBAND WAS IN AMERICA.
Readers, I received this from a woman from Slovakia who is investigating her family tree. Any help we can give her to help identify a family by the name of CICAK would surely be appreciated. – Jim
HI Jim. I’M from the CZECH Republic, BUT MY FAMILY COME FROM Slovakia, where STILL LIVE OUR RODINA.PRO ADVANCED STARTUP-IT was GREAT-GRANDMOTHER’S SISTER, so ACCORDING to MY ULTRASOUND I LIVE ONLY grandchildren, KTEYM is about 60 years.SISTER AUNT NAMED THERESA COPKO AND AUNT EVEN AFTER SLOVAKIA NAVSTIVILA.STRYC ME MOTHER, WHO STILL REMEMBERS THE ADDRESS LIVE DUQESNE.I FOUND IN THE DUQESNE CICAK, BUT THERE’S TOO MUCH.VERY THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HELP.
I am of Russian, Slovak and Italian decent second generation. All my grandparents were born in the “old country. My Italian father was a “Mill Hunky” for 35 years. I am proud to be known as a
Duquesne Hunky. Please continue your great blog. I look forward to seeing more from you.
What a wonder the Internet is. I was looking for a recipe for pagach and found your blog, or facebook, or whatever it may be. I lived in Rankin, Braddock, and other suburbs across the Mon from Duquesne but worked at “Duquesne” during the 1950s and 1960s on the Union Railroad. I am of Slovak/Ukrainian background. What a disappointment to learn, in my mid 80’s, I may not be a Hunky! I remember my uncle’s wife, who was of English descent, saying how much she liked Hunky food, as she ate my mother’s haluska and cabbage. Unfortunately, as first generation Americans, our Eastern European heritage was to be put behind us. I always believed I was, and will continue to be, proudly, a Hunky. Now back to that pagach recipe.,
Jim, when I read this post on your blog the color GREEN came to mind like in GREEN with envy. This person obviously envies your success and is ignorant of what we have. Keep up the good work and thanks for all that you do.
There will always be the 10% that look for”fly-specks”in the pepper shaker & don’t really enjoy life. Jim, you have put a lot of joy in our lives,so forget about xxxxxx. Hurrah for Duquesne Hunky’s.
Those of us who have relocated across the river, across the state, or across the continent thank you Jim for reminding us who we are and the wonderful place we grew up. I am a descendent of 2 generations of Duquesne Rusyn/Mill Hunkies. Both of my grandfathers came here from the “old country” for a better opportunity. They learned to speak English, worked in the mills, and raised families and they were as we are Hunkies and very proud to be called so. My father served our country and then returned to the mill and back home, to Polish Hill. I still carry on their traditions and have taught my children those traditions, hoping they will hand them down to their children. Reading your blog just validates why we must continue those traditions. MANY happy memories can be felt as we read your many words. Again thank you Jim for all these wonderful memories through your blog as well as from those who respond.
Jim …my brother reminded me of a story we were told when we were kids. I guess it’s ‘urban legend’ …..When the immigrants from Eastern Europe came over on the boat they would be waiting on Ellis Island to go to jobs & other family. (the weary huddled masses) A man from the steel company would come for them. His name was John Hunky. Someone asked who ‘those people’ were and another answered “They are Hunky’s men”. Which eventually just became Hunky’s. That’s why the people of Steel cities are called Hunkies 😉
I just happened to come across your site this evening and I must say, it’s delightful! I look forward to reading more blogs here!
As for the “gentleman” that insists the Croats aren’t hunkies…well, I too must disagree. My great grandparents came here (from Croatia) to work at J&L Steel in West Aliquippa. I never had the pleasure of knowing them, but my grandparents instilled all of the great traditions in me. Some of my fondest childhood memories were going to the Cro Club! Great food, kola dancing and everyone there was damn proud to be a hunkie! My Memow & Pap considered all from that region to be hunkies, just maybe different religions and a variation of language.
By the way, if anyone out there remembers the Slaboda Tamburitzans of Monaca I would love to here from you! My Pap, George Susie played the Bug & sang, they had a few albums and traveled the greater tri state region. He passed last summer and I miss him more than words can say.
I grew up in the Pittsburgh area and am of Slovak and Ukrainian ancestry. My understanding is that we were all called Hunkies because so many of us came from Hungary. Odds are, your Slovak great and/or grandparents spoke Hungarian in addition to their native language. Prior to WWI, Slovakia was a part of Hungary.
If you really want to stir the pot, point out that many Hungarians are actually Slovak by blood. Toth, one of the most common names in Hungary, means Slovak in Hungarian.
This person will never understand. I am not Hunky, but I was raised in Duquesne with many of the same memories and values. The writer will never understand because your blog evokes a time and place that you had to be there to appreciate. My husband is Slovak. A Mill Hunky who eats all of the foods you listed at Christmas.
As a proud son of the Westerlunds of Miller Ave., (Swedish-English-German) and the Terzas of Overland (Italian-Irish), I always “knew” that “Hunky” (or “Hunkie”) was somebody who was of Eastern European heritage. And that “mill hunk” was somebody who worked in the mill. So my dad wasn’t a Hunky, but he was a Mill Hunk. I am neither, but claim both as my heritage as a native of Duquesne.
It’s obvious that the term originated from “Hungarian” (duh), but it came to be applied to all Eastern European immigrants. I guess it’s because the “natives” were too stupid to figure out the difference.
I am 100% Slovak and lived in Duquesne in a family of steelworkers. My dad worked at National Tube until the day he died. My mom claimed to be the first female employee in the USS Duquesne works office during World War II. I attended Holy trinity grade school, which was predominately Slovak, even Slovak nuns, I think. The school monogram, HT, stood for “Hunky Tech” we joked.
My wife’s family is Croatian and Albanian. They too referred to themselves as “Hunky”. You have a wonderful blog, Jim. Keep up the good work. You generate such memories.
Hello Jim: Being the first generation Italian Born in America, I am proud of the fact that You have expended the time and energy to research so much of our Duquesne History and bring it forth as a reminder as to who we are and from whence we have come. Most of my friends and associates from Duquesne are as we call them Lovingly-Hunkies, have been my best friends. Please continue Your Blog as You have and share Your Thoughts and Findings from our Great Town of Duquesne. Happy and Healthy New Year.
Hope you and bride are doing well..How about an update???
CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO START A new thread so will just post this here for the classmates of Duquesne Sr. High class of 1956 I’d like to inform you that my hubby, Jimmy Gibb passed away on Jan. 7th.
Linda, sorry to hear of the passing of your husband. You have my deepest sympathy.
I agree with the TROLL perspective. Trolls mine the galaxy, lurking, particularly attracted to pleasant and happy forums and blogs, ever at-the-ready to toss in a grenade. They thrive on the attention and know that with a glib tongue and a cloak of faux-civility, they can nettle most polite folk with hot-button “issues” esp. involving race and ethnicitiy. That may be what you have experienced here, Jim. I refer you to the Flame Warriors Guide website, provided by firstname.lastname@example.org which I found to be an elightening resource of information, able to help identify trolls who love to use words and insinuation and accusation as weapons just to stir-up trouble and get attention for themselves. Once they get their sought-after initial reaction/response, they have their victims hooked.
Being born and raised in Duquesne, the term Hunky always meant to me someone of Polish, Slovak or Hungarian decent, who could cook the pants off of most of the so called cooks of Duquesne. I grew up on their foods, there was nothing that compared to a pot of stuffed cabbage, ,or a big scoop of haluski. I learned many things from all of the different people who were my world back then. To take the time to nit pick on the use of the name “Hunky”, to me is such a waste of time. I don’t know why it was so important to _________ to bring it up and then after your reply, to take the time to continue to “school” you on just what Hunky means. Jimmy, you are a true Hunky and if _________ doesn’t like you using the term Hunky, then she can just go elsewhere. I look forward to your next post. And Happy New Year to all Hunkys out there!
What a bunch of replies! That guy sure poked a hornet’s nest. Being Irish and German, I still considered myself a Millhunky. Lived in Duquesne till I was 42. After almost 20 years at USS, 3 at Homestead and 16 at Duquesne, several of those years with Greg Manns, who also replied, I had to relocate to work. I left in 87. I was proud to be in that brotherhood known as Millhunks. Growing up on Clearview and Overland, I was in many homes where Bubba and Zedo spoke their own language. I thought that was great but it embarrassed the kids. My folks couldn’t speak two languages. As my old friend Vic Mayack used to say “You can take the Hunky out of Duquesne but you can’t take Duquesne out of the Hunky.” Your replies were great but evidently he has always considered himself a superior intellect.
Larry, happy to see your response. Hope you are well. I worked at Homestead Works, 10 bay structural division, as a hooker. Being called a “hunky” was always better than being called a “hooker”. 😅😅😅 Hope you are well. Bob
He may consider him self to be superior but my line of thinking is God created us all as equal. I’m not better than anyone else & no one else is better than I. My grandparents were German on my mom’s side & Heinz 57 on my Dad’s side. Although we didn’t consider ourselves to be hunkies we did consider Duquesne to be a “Hunky” town. And that was a very good thing!! Good food, good lifetime friends need I( say more. If mr or ms. “Pure” hunky doesn’t like this blog I’m sure he or she can find many other blogs to follow. Leave us hunkies alone!
Remember Jim ” There are more horse’s asses in this world than there are horses”.
In life, no matter which way you turn; there;s always an asshole behind you!!!
Good one! I’ll have to remember this!
Sent from my iPad
Keep sticking with the high road. I love The Duquesne Hunky!!!!!
Kim Wright Mazel (Class of ’75)
I worked at the Duquesne Mill for 20 years: up to the time they closed the plant down. I considered myself a mill Hunky and didn’t take offence to the term. I’m German and Slovak but that didn’t bother me none to be called a ‘Mill Hunky’.
There was this gentleman who worked in the Boiler shop and for the longest time I thought he was Indian (Native American) because he had high and profound cheek bones. One day I asked him, “Are you Indian?” and his reply was, I’m a ‘Hungarian Indian’. Now there’s a term you don’t hear.
Hi Jim! Happy New Year! Well your blog has started the new year out in the red letters. It was bound to happen someday ..somehow there is always a malcontent out there lurking …the crab that wants to pull everyone else back down into the basket …I’d bet that particular Hungarian would be offended at even being called a hunky and must NOT even BE from Duquesne because WE all know we are Duquesne Hunkies! I am Polish/German and even before I got a job in the mill I considered myself a Duquesne Hunky ..thanks for all your hard work ..your blog is GREAT! C
I’m 100% non-hunky in an ethnic sense (German & Irish) but 100% Duquesne HUNKY being raised in Duquesne and working for a period at Duquesne Works (BOF). We lived at five different addresses on N. 3rd St. (101, 106, 122A, 42 and 11) over the years. Some of my best memories were when I met new immigrants (fresh mill hunkies) trying to learn the language who would go out of there way to buy me a pop, a candy bar or my favorite, a bag of DanDee cheese popcorn just to get a chance to talk and learn English and just assimilate to the new culture in America. Love you Hunkys, whether you were the real deal or just someone raised in Duquesne.
Polite trolls are still trolls. Ignore and ban this person from the comments section.
Harold… you rock. Yet another wonderful expression I have never hear, but CERTAINLY could be applicable to MANY people I have had to deal with!!! – Jim
Jim, I think you provided an outstanding response, And, you gave him much more time than I would have. If he wants to spend his life separating fly crap from pepper, he should feel free to do so w/o dragging the rest of us into that dark, deep hole. While we all appreciate the history lesson from him, the consensus is the Duquesne Hunky has got it exactly right. Keep up the great work. We all really enjoy reading your Blog and taking those trips (with you) down memory lane. Thanks for all of the time & effort you put into your Blog. We do appreciate it. It’s a “funner” for all of us Hunkies!
Thanks Ron…..you have given me a new expression that I will use for the rest of my life!! “If he wants to spend his life separating fly crap from pepper” has now become my new “favoritest” expression!!
Ron – like that “fly crap from pepper” – Hi to Karen…I became a great grandmother 2 days ago, talk about old! Sharyn Kelley Manns
yes dawg gone it you beat me @ that one! But love you anyhow 🙂
Good work with the response Jim. I grew up in Duquesne, My Father Ray worked at the Duquesne Works for 40 years. My paternal Grandfather worked at Duquesne Works for as long as did my maternal Grandfather, Jesse who was a heater at Duquesne Works and from Dover England. I worked for Firth Sterling in McKeesport for a number of years before leaving the area and Was a member of LOOM 75 and the GBU (Tutonia Manorchor) on Grant Avenue before I left. Even though my father and his father where of German Decent and my mother and her parents were English, we all considered ourselves Mill Hunkies. It is a Proud Title. I am proud to be from Duquesne.
I grew up in a Polish, Croatian home. My father worked at Irvin works steel mill. Even though I grew up in McKeesport , the surrounding cities had hunkies. My family was proud of our heritage and to this day even though I live in Texas, my roots are deep in Pa and proud of my huskiness.
So keep your blogs going strong and to hell with any idiot who tries to change us or correct your posts and our love of our heritage.
Oh and we love our Steelers.
For the record Jim, I am not of Eastern Europe descent but I did grow up in Good Old Duquesne and many of us that worked in the steel mill were affectionately known as “Mill Hunkies” and were proud of it. Our town had a great cross section of ethnic backgrounds and we all came together to support our neighbors regardless of nationality. A great part of the “social foundation” of Duquesne were all of our ethnic clubs: Slovak, Croation, Lithuanian, Russian and many others. The various Nationality Days at Kennywood Park were additional outpourings of ethnic pride that filled Steel Valley then and still does today – actually even more so since many of us have relocated all over the USA. Thanks for your blog – it always is a piece of home – one that cannot be replaced as Duquesne is suffering a slow death. This “Johnny Bull” stands with you my friend!!!
You doing OK? How;s Tim and the girls?
Hey Rick and Jim, I too am a “Johnny Bull” But I married a Duquesne Hunky, Had 3 Hunky Children, Learned the hunky customs, Learned to cook like a hunky, (Cabbage Rolls, Paska, Ciroc, Gibanica, Kroštule, etc.) along with my moms Johnny Bull recipes, Lived in Duquesne for about 2 years, and enjoy this blog. I didn’t grow up in Duquesne but have heard so many stories from my hubby, I’m beginning to feel like I was there! After being married for 35 years, would LIKE to believe I have EARNED the title, but I wont be so presumptous. Just ignor the naysayers!
Welcome Sue!!! Certainly after 35 years of intense Hunky training and associations, you have CERTAINLY earned a Doctorate of Hunky degree!!! Congratulations!!
Thanks a LOT, Jim! Now there’ll be no living with her.
I am so sorry that someone felt the need to question and debate the title of your blog, which I feel many of us think of this as “our blog”…its a way of visiting with childhood friends and memories…and in our case teenage friendships and shared experiences. I applaud your responses..you definitely took the high road. It also warms my heart to read Lou Andriko and Louis Weber rally round and support you . I am so appreciative of all of your posts and the hours you have given to write them. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Bless you…I have two slovak parents…I have always considered myself a hunky…my father worked in the mill…I am very proud of my parents, my heritage and my hometown. Wikipedia seems to be correct.in my humble opinion. Keep up the blog..we’re behind you.
Jim, I want you to know that I’m proud of the way you responded to the pseudo-intellectual attack from the aggrieved Hungarian. I’m sure he/she has no insight whatsoever into the real life experience and rich traditions we true “hunkies” were privileged to enjoy growing up in Duquesne! Thank you for your efforts, and I hope you continue the good work for many years to come. I wish you and yours a joyous, prosperous and happy new year.
While attending Pitt many years ago, I, a Slovak, worked summers at the Duquesne mill and no one there was offended being called a mill hunk regardless of their heritage. My parents owned and operated the Union Grill on Crawford Ave. where many a mill hunk came for a shot and a beer both before and after work. I totally agree on your definition of a Hunky.
It seems like the person of interest meant no malice. Very polite and technically accurate. But maybe you just have to be “one of us” to get it. 😏
I don’t have first hand experience with Eastern Europe. I only recall the stories handed down over the years. Proud that my fathers grandparents came from Slovakia. Just as proud that my mothers parents came from Ireland. However, I come from Duquesne! Any of us with some Eastern European ancestors and/or a non-wasp last name were considered “hunkies”. That’s a fact. Your antagonist wants to fall back on the pre WWI maps of Europe. That’s great, but we ain’t talking about Europe. We’re talking about a river valley in western Pa. In the good old USA. Where most of the population were referred to as, now don’t get your antagonistic self all tied up in knots, “HUNKIES”. And that’s the name of that tune!! 🇺🇸
Jim, I think the haluski has calmed you down a bit. The writer in question is quite insulting. He is telling you that you need ” a little background information” and you mislead the Hungarians looking for information. He wants you to change the title of your blog and finally insults the intelligence of your readers by saying we wouldn’t notice a ” few words of explanation”.
Keep up the good writing, we all enjoy your work.
Beautiful, Jim. Great comments – don’t personally know “youns” but all the names are familiar. I’m a Hunky/Mick(1/2 Irish)-proud of both halves…& proud and happy to have grown up in Duquesne!
This is what’s funny. Both Sharyn’s & my folks moved to the suburbs of West Mifflin but we both consider ourselves as having grown up in good old Hunky Duquesne!
Well written and continue with Duquesne Hunky. I’m 82 years old,& live in Duquesne , Croatian, and remember being called hunky… Love your posts, God bless and have a blessed and healthy New Year.
well stated, language evolves.
Well, Jim, this lit MY fire, too. As your very first replier ( go look ) and a top fiver at that, here is MY opinion.
My father is 100 % Hungarian, as both his parents were born in Hungary.(*)
My mother is 100 % Croatian, as both her parents were born in Croatia., as it was then and is again now, the Communist regime having fallen.
This make me 100% HUNKY and proud of it, as you and most of the other bloggers should be.
Most of what both of you posted is true regarding the derivation of the term and it’s development into a derogatory term and a badge of honor. The term is so very much like the terms used to describe almost any other immigrant cohort, past or present. I can call myself a Hunky and call you one too, but God help the ‘outsider’ who calls either of us that!
(*) In the interest of full disclosure, my own research into my father’s heritage uncovered my grandfather’s birthplace, Pusztadobos. It’s a small village on the far eastern edge of the great Magyar plain at the base of the Carpathian mountains. The borders there, as well as in Poland Slovakia, Serbia, and most of that part of eastern Europe were moved countless times as politics and and fortunes changed hands. The name ANDRIKO is of Ruthenian derivation; these hardy mountain folk were itinerant workers for several centuries, much like farm workers in this country following the harvest. Pap’s ancestors lived in Hungary for many generations without the need to change his surname.
You gotta know I am on your side with this one, Jim. I’m just really glad this person doesn’t know how to use GoogleMaps, or else this could very well end up being the WEST MIFFLIN Hunky, because Thomas Street isn’t and never was in DUQUESNE! (LOL- luvya, brother)
Well said Lou, but you have to know, home is where the heart is!
And my heart will always be in Duquesne. When the Mon valley hit bottom in the early 80’s, I packed up the family and moved to Logan WV, home of the Hatfields & McCoys. Wasn’t there very long before I was called a “Damn Yankee Carpetbagger” trying to take away a good job from one of the locals…. We lived there 3 yrs, 4 months, 9 days, 12 hrs and six seconds. Did I mention that my daughter (1st grade) was told she was going to hell for being a Catholic? There are worse things than being called a HUNKY. To paraphrase the Kris Kristofferson song ‘Jesus was a Capricorn’ –
“Everybody’s gotta have somebody to look down on, if you can’t find somebody else, well help yourself to me.”
Lou, for a Hunky Carpetbagger, that was downright poetic!! – Jim
You know Jim, there is always someone somewhere that has to try to make themselves feel smarter than others and try to bait another into some ideological debate. I don’t think this person has lived much among us “hunkies” and certainly doesn’t know anything but what they read and take for fact. I’m glad you took the road you did and will continue with your blog in the way we know things to have been in our past. This antagonist must only know his background and nothing more, as so many do, and only wants to be politically correct. Carry on my friend and please keep us remembering our past and we continue into the future and pass it on to our future generations.
Lou A. when we left the Duquesne/West Mifflin area we also moved to WV.. To Green Bank. Lived there till 95 then bought a home 27 miles south to the county seat of Marlinton, WV. Now live in FL. After living in WV for about 5 yrs. I considered myself to be a local & was nicely informed that I’d never be a local cause my grandparents weren’t born there. Well sc— them! I ended up living 1 more yr. in WV than I did in PA so now consider myself to be a bonafied Hillbilly & proud of it so I guess that makes he a Hunky Hillbilly!
Small world, Linda! We’ve been in ELKINS now for almost 30 yrs, love it; I know Green Bank, all of “the Forest” and actually worked some relief at Pocahontas Pharmacy in Marlinton… I’ve heard the “grandparents” line before; I just remind them that there is genetic proof many of the first generation Scotch-Irish to settle these vallleys intermarried with the Amerinds, and the subject changes quickly!
Got this Serb-Slovak Hunky’s back !
This Serb-Slovak Hunky has your back !
If many of my friends from Duquesne were living & if I asked them why we are called “hunkies” I’m pretty sure they would say because we grew up in the same area & felt that we all came from one big happy family whether biologically or extended. To this day we have love & respect for each other because of where we grew up.
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2014 00:29:10 +0000 To: email@example.com
Amen Diana W.!