Category Archives: Family

Another story told by my dad

Bea was 5 years older than her brother Charlie. Here’s an account he often told of their childhood.

Layer cake

          I can remember coming home from school and my sister Bea calling me. “Charlie, come here. I want to show you something.”

          Downstairs, in the kitchen on the table sat a giant layer cake, at least four layers high and very big around.

          “Wow!” I gasped. “Can I have some?”

          “Sure. Help yourself.”

          “Can I have two hunks?”

          “Sure. Have all you want.”

         Well, that remark was a big mistake. Sister went upstairs and I stayed with the cake.

          About an hour later Bea came downstairs looking for some cake. “Charlie, where did you hide the cake?”

          “I didn’t hide it. I ate it.”

          Bea could not believe her ears. “What?! You ate it all?”

          “Yup,” I said. “You said to eat all I wanted and I did.”

         You would think I would have been sick of cake for a while. Sure I was! ‘Till the next cake.

In this photo my mother is holding baby Russell, Robby is between Grandma Izzy and Grandpa Chuck, who is holding Becky.

Robby and Rebecca remember Grandpa telling them fun stories like this.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

Another story from Dad

I thought I’d share another of my dad’s stories. Playing Chicken was also adapted to be part of my novel, Chicken Charlie’s Year.

Playing Chicken

My sister, Bea, always could out do me of any candy or popcorn that I might have. Her chicken game always backfired on me.

“Baloney! You’re always the chicken and I’m always the farmer. I want to be the chicken for once,” I demanded.

“Okay, you can be the chicken,” Bea said. “Give me your popcorn and I’ll feed you.”

Down on all fours I went, crawling around, going, “Cluck, cluck, cluck,” and my sister Bea scattering popcorn on the floor.

Everything went fine until I got a popcorn stuck in my nose.

“Just close your mouth and blow,” she suggested.

A couple of tries and out it came.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized she had fed me my popcorn and ate mine, too, hiding her own until later.

Bea wasn’t selfish, just too clever for little old me. She enjoyed playing her games and jokes on me.

Mom and Dad on their 40th anniversary

Dad and his sister teased each other throughout their lives. It was all done in fun with love.

When Dad told this story he emphasized the dislodging of the popcorn kernel. In my book, I made it more graphic, too.

I hope this gave you a giggle today.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

A Chuck Paska story

My dad told stories about his life all the time. I thought I’d share one of his earliest memories today.


          My mom was very easy going with me. I don’t think I ever got a smacking.

          I remember riding my tricycle on the sidewalk alongside of our house. My mom was washing clothes in the basement with the window open.

          I would stop and talk to her. On one stop she was gone, but on the windowsill I found three pennies. Well, into my pocket they went and I was on my way to Louie Sults’s Grocery store. – In those days three cents bought a lot of candy: soldiers, six for a penny, Mary Janes, five for a penny.

         Well, me and my bike and a bag filled with candy headed home. I turned into our yard. My mom was standing by the basement window. She called me over and whispered. “Do you know what happened? While I was gone somebody came over to the window and stole my three cents. Now, I know you wouldn’t do that because you’re such a good boy. Do you have any idea who could have taken my money?”

          With a red face, I held out my bag of candy. “It was me, Mom. I took the money and bought this candy.”

          My mom took the bag and said, “I guess the candy is mine, Sonny.”

          With my head bowed, I said, “Yes, Mom, it’s yours.” – To this day, I can remember how ashamed I was.

          With head down, I rode my bike down our walk, back and forth, too ashamed to look at my mom.

          As I rode past the window, Mom called out to me. She held in her hand two pieces of candy. “Here, Sonny, this is for being honest. You could have said that you didn’t take the money.”

I loved the candy, but I loved my mom much more. My face brightened into a big smile. Life was great again.

          As the day wore on I think I finished the bag of candy one piece at a time.

          Our kitchen was in our basement and soon it was time to eat. Mom was a great cook. We were very poor, but I didn’t know it. I thought I was the richest kid in the world and really I was because of Mom.

A favorite pastime of Chuck Paska was fishing.

This photo was taken closer to the end of Dad’s life, but he still was telling stories.

Some of Dad’s stories were adapted to fit my novel, Chicken Charlie’s Year.

Thanks, Dad for all the love you gave me and Karen and all the stories you shared with us.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

A little known story

My dad was in the Battle of the Buldge. I honor him today with a short account about his name.

Charles J Paska

When Dad was in the army they misprinted his name. He went from Charles Poska to Charles Paska. He soon found out that when the army says your name is Paska, that’s what it was.

I asked Dad why he didn’t get it changed back. He told me he’d have to go to court and pay a fee to fix what the army did. Dad had enough government interference in his life after his years in the army and said it was okay with him to have Paska as his name. Because of this my sister and my maiden names are Paska, too.

I tried looking up Dad’s service records, but I got a letter telling me a fire destroyed a great many records years ago. That’s such a pity, as many soldiers had their duty erased in those flames.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

Sibling photos – late 1982

I’ve been going through old photos and scanning them for a column collection from 1982-1983.

Today I’m sharing two here.

This first one is of Rebecca and baby Rachel Jo.

The second shared photo is of Russell and big brother Rob.

I love the expressions in both photos.

Of course, everyone was sweet every day–NOT. As they grew, these four had many meltdowns. But they survived.

Today, our children are best friends.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved