The History of Huttsinski
3 generations ago my Polish Great Dziadzia (Gramps) and Babcia (Grandma) stepped off the boat from Poland into a new land. They took the train and settled in Milwaukee because it looked a lot like home (Warsaw area), but had a hopeful future because of the prosperous factory jobs. At Ellis Island they were forced to change their names from Hutzinski to Hutts. I have grown to be proud of my Polish (and German) roots. I still remember spending time with Babcia Stella and my German great-grandma Alice. They would tell wonderful stories about life in another world.JUSTIN You know you’re Polish-American if.. -You come from Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Hamtramck, or Milwaukee. -There is a large church called “Saint Alphonsis’,” “Saint Hedwig’s,” or “Saint Casimir’s” within one block of your childhood home. –Your knowledge of the Polish language is limited to ‘quirky’ words (e.g., dupa, gowno, gatki, etc), names for food (e.g., pierogi, kapusta, etc), and toasts (e.g., na zdrowie, sto lat, etc). –You occasionally add the suffix “-ski” to English words for no apparent reason (e.g., “I’m gonna go put the car-ski in the garage-ski”). –You call your grandma “babcia” or “busia” and your grandpa “dziadzia.” -You know how to dance the polka, but you only do it at weddings. -You have one grandma that wears a babushka and galoshes every single day of the year and another grandma that wears a lot of chintzy jewelry and too much make-up. -You have a grandma who occasionally kills animals and uses every single part of their carcasses to make sausages, soups, dumplings, etc. –You know more Polish jokes than all of your non -Polish friends combined. –You have at least one uncle named “Stan,” “Stas,” “Casey” “Al,” or “Joe.” –You have at least one relative who works, or used to work, in a steel mill. –Your relatives exhibit fanatical devotion to local sports teams (e.g., Packers, Badgers, etc.) –Your grandma has a shrine in her broom closet complete with votive candles and a picture of the “Black Madonna of Czestochowa.” –Your parents have at least one crucifix or religious picture mounted on a wall in their house with palms tucked behind it. -Your grandpa and other older men in the family habitually kiss women’s hands. -You regularly attend Friday fish fries, harvest festivals, parish carnivals, and/or bingo. –You like to put sour cream and horseradish on everything you eat. –Your family likes to play card games like hearts and sheep’s-head, and this often culminates in full-scale brawls. –You always prefer rye bread to white or wheat. –Your dad has forced you to eat horseradish, claiming that it will “put hair on your chest” (even if you’re a female!). -People in your family have their wedding receptions at places called “Polish Legion Hall,” “Sacred Heart Center,” etc. –You know the words to “Sto Lat” and sing it at birthday parties. -You’ve waited in line at a church or bakery to buy pierogi…. we make our own pierogi! –Words like kiszka, kielbasa, and kolaczki actually mean something to you. –You know the difference between Czechs, Slovaks, and Slovenes, and you think they’re all inferior to Poles despite the numerous glaring similarities.–You actually know who Kosciusko and Pulaski are, and why they’re important. –You mention Nicholas Copernicus, Frederic Chopin, or Marie Curie (no, she’s not French) whenever people accuse Poles of being stupid. -You have at least one relative who plays the accordion. –You’re either completely overdressed or completely underdressed for every occasion. -[If you’re a woman], you wear make-up at all times – even if it’s 90 degrees outside and you’re 88 years old. –You make or are forced to listen to unnecessary speeches before proceeding with any group event. –You like corny expressions, puns, and/or stupid, infantile jokes. -You have a potato-shaped face, a huge dupa, and/or a ‘Polish nose.’ –[If you’re a male], you’re either as hairy as an ape or as hairless as a baby gerbil. -[If you’re a male], you have a mammoth gut and legs as thin as sticks. -[If you’re an older male], you have an exceptionally large, Stalin-esque mustache and/or an affinity for gaudy jewelry (e.g., pinkie rings, ‘miraculous’ medals, etc). –Your family bickers constantly.-You have at least one bar in your house – usually in the basement. -Your front yard is filled with lawn ornaments – (e.g., pink flamingos, jockey, Mary in the half shell, etc.) -You have relatives who are priests and nuns. –You collect “prayer cards” from funerals. -You add a possessive “apostrophe s” to the name of EVERY business (e.g., Burger King’s, Blockbuster’s, etc). –You or someone in your family owns at least one beat up, highly outdated Dodge (e.g., Aries, Aspen, Dart, Shadow, etc) or Plymouth (e.g., Acclaim, Reliant, Sundance, Volare, etc). -Your family owns a deli, bakery, sports bar, or funeral parlor (you know, to serve all the people who eat sausage and kolaczki!). –You’re haven’t been a practicing Catholic for years but everyone in your family insists that it’s “just a phase.” –You generally talk too much. -You listen to polka music and other “ethnic programming” on the radio. –You cross yourself whenever you are shocked or disgusted. –You honestly believe that Poles are the brightest, most beautiful people in the whole world. –People often have trouble pronouncing your last name. -You know that “head cheese” isn’t really cheese. –You like, or know people who like, pickled pig’s feet and raw herrings in sour cream. -Your family is so loyal that even a second cousin would take a bullet for you. –You typically insist on doing simple, routine tasks in the most difficult, time-consuming manner possible. –You always point out that names ending in “-sky” are Russian, not Polish. –You make fun of everything you see on TV, but this doesn’t stop you from watching it for 8 hours straight every night. –Your family has 7 or 8 meals on major holidays and they always bake way too many desserts!