Throwback Thursday — Family Stories

Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Lauren wants to know about family stories that were shared and passed on.

Here are Lauren’s questions.

1. Did you have multiple family generations nearby when growing up?

When I was young, my grandmother lived with us, but she passed away when I was only 6. About the only thing I remember about her was that she was a diabetic and used to have to give herself shots of insulin. That scared me.

My mother’s brother and his wife — my uncle and aunt — lived one town away from us and they had a son my age and we were very close.

2. What are some of the earliest family stories you remember hearing?

Both of my parents (my mother with her family, my father on his own) immigrated to America during the Russian revolution. They were both from Ukraine, but always identified themselves as Russian. Neither spoke much about their youth or their escape from Ukraine.

3. Did your parents tell you the story about how they met? Did you share with your children your own love story?

My parents met in the U.S. at some sort of Ukrainian/Russian social club in Newark, New Jersey. That’s about all I know. Our kids know that their mother and I were a fix-up and they are aware of some G-rated stories about our courtship.

4. Did aunts, uncles, or grandparents ever share embarrassing stories about your parents when they were children? Were the stories fictionalized or factual?

Not really. I think coming to America from Ukraine was a pretty harrowing experience, especially for my father who escaped from being drafted into the Czar’s army and was a stowaway on a ship across the Atlantic. Or so he claimed. Fact or fiction? Who knows?

5. Did your parents or siblings ever tell your kids embarrassing stories from your youth?

Not my parents or older sisters, but my wife has always been ready to share embarrassing stories about me to our kids.

6. Were there tales you wish you had asked your parents or grandparents, but never did? What would you like to have asked them?

That is actually one of my greatest regrets. I was too self-centered in my younger days to ask my parents for details about their childhoods, their immigration to America, and their early years in this country. If I could, that’s what I’d ask them about now.

7. If you had a magical way to speak to a deceased relative, what would you most like to ask them?

See my answer to #6.

8. Do you share stories about your time growing up with your children or grandchildren? Is there something you don’t want to be lost when you are no longer in this realm?

I have shared shared stories about my youth, but unless I write an autobiography before I die, I doubt they recall much of what I shared with them. It wasn’t that interesting, entertaining, or memorable.

9. Have you ever done research to find out more facts about your lineage? Did you ever find anything surprising?

I submitted a 23andMe saliva DNA sample. The most interesting thing I found out that I hadn’t already known is that I have a small percentage of Italian and a tiny bit of Neanderthal in me.

10. Have you kept journals, records, or important information about your family, that you want to be handed down for future generations?

Nope. Maybe that will motivate me to start writing my autobiography.

Thursday Inspiration — Pussycat

For this week’s Thursday Inspiration post from Jim Adams, he gave us the image above and the word “new.” My mind immediately took me to the Tom Jones song, “What’s New Pussycat?”

The song was written by Burt Bacharach for the Peter Sellers’ character in the movie What’s New Pussycat? It was an instrumental first and then, according to Bacharach, words were put on it. “If it’s got a good melody it can always fit the lyric,” he said.

In the song, Welsh singer and sex symbol Tom Jones is telling a girl to powder her pussycat nose so he can kiss her “sweet little pussycat lips.” At the time, Jones was developing an image as a ribald pop star, and this song played right into it. Jones said, “Most songs are about the relationship between men and women, and so sex is involved. I act it out as best I can.”

Burt Bacharach knew Jones had the chops to convey the right tone in the song, and convinced him to do it. “When I first heard it I thought, Christ! What the bloody hell do they want me to sing this for?” Jones said. “But Burt Bacharach explained, ‘I want the big voice to sing this bloody crazy song, and you put it on, it’s a classic.’” Bacharach was right.

Here are the lyrics to “What’s New Pussycat?”

What's new pussycat? Whoa, whoa, whoa
What's new pussycat? Whoa, whoa, whoa, oh whoa

Pussycat, pussycat, I've got flowers
And lots of hours to spend with you
So go and powder your cute little pussycat nose
Pussycat, pussycat, I love you, yes I do
You and your pussycat nose

What's new pussycat? Whoa, whoa, whoa
What's new pussycat? Whoa, whoa, whoa, oh whoa

Pussycat, pussycat, you're so thrilling
And I'm so willing to care for you
So go and make up your big little pussycat eyes
Pussycat, pussycat, I love you, yes I do
You and your pussycat eyes

What's new pussycat? Whoa, whoa, whoa
What's new pussycat? Whoa, whoa, whoa, oh whoa

Pussycat, pussycat, you're delicious
And if my wishes can all come true
I'll soon be kissing your sweet little pussycat lips
Pussycat, pussycat, I love you yes I do

You and your pussycat lips (whoa, whoa)
You and your pussycat eyes (whoa, whoa)
You and your pussycat nose

Reblog: Remember When … ???

Like every registered voter in the state of California, my wife an I recently received our mail-in ballots for the upcoming midterm elections. Many pundits have called these midterms “the single most important election in our lifetime” because these elections threaten to be a turning point in election protocol and the future of the United States.

I admit that the phrase — the most important election in our lifetime — is overused and abused. But in her post today, Jill Dennison makes a great case for why it definitely applies to next month’s midterm elections. And since she makes the case way better than I ever could, I figured I’d share who post with you.

Remember When … ?

Remember when mid-term elections were boring, almost non-events?  Remember when the media took their job seriously to inform the public rather than …

Remember When … ???

#WDYS — Into the Woods

Her daughter had offered to pick her up, but Helen said it wouldn’t be necessary. It wasn’t that long of a walk and Helen knew the path through the woods very well. But the sun started setting earlier these days and then fog set in, and Helen got confused.

As the fog thickened around her, enveloping her in a cold mist, she realized that she was lost and she started to panic, wondering if she’d see her daughter and grandchildren ever again. She started to sob.

She was startled when she heard the voice. “May I be of assistance?” the deep voice asked. Helen turned around to see a very old, hunched over man. He was rather creepy looking once he got close enough for her to see his features through the fog, and his breath was rancid.

“No thank you,” Helen said, “I’m on my way to visit my daughter and her husband and I must have gotten turned around in the fog, but I think I’ve got my bearings now.” She lied, but she was frightened by this strange man who emerged from the thick fog out of nowhere.

Suddenly Helen felt his gnarly fingers grab her hand and squeeze hard enough that she couldn’t get out of his grip. “Come with me,” he said, “I will take you where you need to be.” Then he pulled her hand.

“No!” Helen screamed, standing her ground. “Let go of me.” But the man’s grip further tightened around her hand.

The sound of a barking dog could be heard coming closer to where Helen and the man were standing. Then a woman’s voice. “Mom? Mom?”

Then a man’s voice. “Helen, is that you? Are you all right?”

The man holding Helen’s hand loosened his grip, turned around, and vanished into the fog right before Max, her daughter’s German Shepherd reached Helen, followed momentarily by her daughter and son-in-law. “Mom, we got worried when you didn’t arrive when we expected you. You seem a little shaken. What happened?”

“Nothing, sweetheart,” Helen lied. “It’s the fog. It came in so quickly and so thick. I became a little disoriented, but I’m fine. But I think next time, I’ll accept your offer to come get me and give me a lift.”

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Shahzin Shajid @ Unsplash.

FOWC with Fandango — Weak


It’s October 13, 2022. Welcome to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (U.S.).

Today’s word is “weak.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Please check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. Show them some love.