Written by on April 13, 2022

This is definitely an observation, I hope it’s not rambling, but for sure I am cranky, also angry and very sad. When I first started writing this article, Art Fredette told me, “No politics.” I plan to stand firm to that, and as much as I can I will not be finger pointing or flag waving. I will speak with pride, however, in discussing Ukraine.

As I am writing this (March 12th), the invasion of Russia into Ukraine continues. By the time this is published, it may be ongoing, or a resolution, in one form or another, will be achieved. For the purpose of this article, whatever happens when it’s published doesn’t matter in what I want to express.

For those who have been following me, I am known as Jeff Spaulding. Some of you get that that is a “pen name,” my tribute to the great theater and film character Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding, played by my idol Groucho Marx in “Animal Crackers. In partial reality, I am publicly known as Mike Patrick, a broadcaster of 45 years and growing. In true reality, I was born Michael P. Marchinuke, the son of an Irish mother, and to be specific for this issue, the son of a Ukrainian father. 

The Irish part of me got Marie’s sense of humor, boundless energy, a very strong work ethic, and a love of beer (insert stereotype joke here). The Ukrainian part of me, which is less than the Irish side, got Sam’s hair trigger temper and anger issues. It’s those traits that have led to my frustration at what has been happening to the land my paternal grandparents came from.

I don’t know about you, but as I get older, I get very reflective of my past and my family history. I am at the age where I want to know as much of how I came to be and what made me who I am, based on my ancestors. I also have three grandsons, and while for the moment they could care less about Popsie’s family, one day they will realize the need to know.

As far as learning about my past, I have always wanted to visit Ireland, to see where my maternal grandparents came from. With the money I make, however, I will just have to settle for a pint or ten of Guinness Stout. As for Ukraine (or “THE Ukraine” as they used to call it), I also wished to visit to see how my old man was influenced. Those dreams initially were stopped by a little thing called Chernobyl in 1986. Whatever freaks in the line of Marchinukes there still were then probably mutated and freaked out even more. Now, with all that is going on in the land of my paternal grandparent’s birth, the odds are next to none I ever will have a chance to go.

Let me pull back the curtain a little more about me. I’m betting you have never met anyone with the last name of Marchinuke. I will go further in saying the only Marchinuke you have ever heard of is me. Well, I am quite comfortable saying within the next say 30 years, that will be true.

To my knowledge, I am the very last male Marchinuke in the family. The last female Marchinuke was my stepsister Judy, who died in 2006. So that is yet another reason the situation in Ukraine bothers me so much. Assuming none of “us” are living over there anymore, and since my searches in the United States have not found a long lost relative, after I am gone, the entire family is wiped out. Not to make light of it, but I call that “Marchicide.”

It’s funny, for years I have always favored my mother’s side of the family. As it happened a couple of years back, I was contacted by Judy’s son Scott, who was, by coincidence, researching in part the Marchinuke family. He came upon me, reached out and we reconnected, as I was there the day he was born. Now, and nothing against my wife, my kids or my grandkids, I finally, yes finally, have a real family, my family. The Marchinuke family. And that’s why the situation in Ukraine angers me, saddens me, enrages me. It’s like none of us ever existed.  

Be hearing you.

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