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