Friday, February 28, 2014

Now Popular Even in Communist Countries!

So I’m looking at the dashboard for this here blog and was interested in some of the stats.

Now, as I’d expect, most of you are located in the U.S. But I also have a few readers in the UK, 4 in Germany, 2 in the Netherlands, and 1 each in China and Poland.

I can’t imagine who’s interested in this in the first place, but it looks like my target audience is interested in Garbage Theatre and my complaining about people complaining on the Internet.

There must be some way I can capitalize on that. If I could figure that out, I wouldn’t need a job. I must say, though, I’ve resisted adding ads to the page. Not only do I not want to seem crassly commercial, I also can’t imagine what kinds of ads would show up or why you’d click on them. I mean, who clicks on ads in this day and age?

I kinda know who the UK readers might be – at least a few of them – but China? Poland? Even my ancestral homeland isn’t in Poland – even if no one is actually sure where that homeland is. When we were kids, we were always told the Sikulas came from Hungary, but my grandparents spoke German around the house. I suppose that makes sense, given that I’m pretty sure that part of Central Europe was under German control when they left. Apparently, the town they came from is now in Romania, so it’s anyone’s guess.

One thing I do know. Back in the 70s, when they were restoring Ellis Island (and if you go to or live in New York and you’ve never been there, if you have European ancestors who came to America through there, you have to), they solicited donations to help the process. If you donated, you’d be able to have the names of your forebears engraved on a wall. Well, sometime in the mid-90’s, I was in New York for the first time in a couple of decades (the Moscow Art Theatre was doing “The Three Sisters,” and there was no way I was going to miss that), and one of my stops was Ellis Island. I toured the building, then went outside to what I guess you’d call the memorial garden. After a brief search, I located my grandparents’ names, but was I for a surprise. Rather than the “Joseph Adam Sikula” and “Magdalena Schaudenecker Sikula” I expected, I found “Joseph Adam Schwartz Chikula Sikula” and “Magdalena Schaudenecker Schwartz Chikula Sikula.”

The “Chikula” was surprising enough; I expect that that was a matter of some sort of name-changing by Ellis Island officials; the annals are rife with stories like that. But “Schwartz?” Are the Sikulas secretly Jewish? That would have come to a huge surprise to my Auntie Tess (aka Sister Mary Rosina), who spent the last fifty or so years of her life as a nun. We were all raised Catholic, whether we stayed that way or not. (In my case, it didn’t stick, obviously ...) In spite of that, I don’t think any of us have converted. (Though I do like delicatessen. Does that count?)

I’ve never had enough interest in genealogy to investigate the matter. The real interest in that field comes from other parts of my family. My mother’s brother (Uncle John) once gave me a huge binder that traced us back to the 9th century. How you can get records that far back is a mystery to me, but then, as I say, it’s not my field. My brother-in-law has traced our maternal line back to Colonial New England (Salem, MA included – my family probably had some involvement in the Witch Trials), which seems more traceable.

I was talking to someone at the show the other night and mentioned my Bohunk heritage. He looked at me with no comprehension of what I was referring to. I thought, “My god; has the state of ethnic slurs in this country sunk to those levels? Do kids nowadays not know the simplest of racial insults?” I quickly enlightened him by going through the basics .

In spite of that background, though, I don’t know anyone in Germany – are there any Sikulas there at all? (I know the only other Dave Sikula that I’ve found is a Canadian guitarist – who is probably pissed that I’ve beaten him to so many registrations of our common name) And Poland? Who in Poland has time to read this – and in Polish, yet? And how did they find me? Inquiring minds want to know.

But don’t even get me started on China or Holland.

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