2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 33 (Aug. 12-18): Comedy

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 33 (Aug. 12-18): Comedy

“first” joined Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on its “first” year in 2014… and what a whirlwind year that was… writing, editing and researching daily for 365 days! As much as I wanted to continue the following year, I found that I didn’t have the time to continue another year with that type of research… although I did continue blogging and writing stories at my own pace, which allowed me to write on other topics as well as family stories when ideas came my way… but I’ve often missed it. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. Head over to 2014 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks to read about my ancestors in the first years challenge.

If you’re new to genealogy, make your “first” stop to Amy’s website for genealogy ideas or even join in on this 52 Week challenge… you learn by doing… not procrastinating! There is no right or wrong… anything you do is a start!



The “Comedy” prompt once again has me scratching my head… I first thought I had nothing on one individual for comedy… but between myself and hubby, I soon discovered that there were family members that might offer a few remembered comedy incidents… so in this post I’ve chosen to write comedy remembrances on both our family members!

I’m starting with my grandfather, Edgar Thomas McKinley… who my mother always said had a dry sense of humor… does that mean comedy? Some of  his shenanigans should have gotten him into trouble, but they somehow always seemed to escape… unharmed! Let’s begin with his days as a young hooligan… pranking his grandfather, Joseph Thomas Sharp, as he snoozed in his comfy chair on the porch. Granddaddy and his brother Joe often stuck matches in grandpa’s shoe while he slept… lighting, and quickly running away… giving grandpa Joe a hotfoot! I’m sure he shook his fists at those hooligans as he called them the “limbcats of the devil.” I searched out that phrase but came up empty, but I’m sure we can all surmise of what it meant!

Granddaddy just always had a bit of devilment in him… it seems in growing up. In as much as he loved my grandmother, he could just never resist a little humor… not sure it was always as funny to her, as it was too him. Any time she walked by, if he’d just struck a match for his cigarette… he couldn’t resist the urge to pop her leg with the still warm head of the matchstick! I’m not sure I would have just jumped as she did without resisting the urge to pay him back… but she jumped each time… and he chuckled each time! He loved her and would have fought the world to protect her… but he never tired in making her jump!

He never lost his dry humor, as mama called it, and while spending time in a veteran’s home, he had no problem in antagonizing the nurses there; it’s a miracle he didn’t get in trouble or actually hurt someone in his joking around. Him having a cane there was dangerous for them… as any nurse who walked by was fair game, and he thought nothing of taking the handle and hooking their leg. Mama always said, “it’s a miracle that he never broke their leg“! I’m sure it didn’t take long before they learned how to do a quick shuffle around Mr. McKinley’s chair… but that was his entertainment… and he always chuckled. No matter how many times mama told him he shouldn’t do that… he paid no attention!

I guess granddaddy was the only one in my family that joked around… as I don’t remember anyone else being comedic!

In hubby’s family, I would say Uncle Frank Cambino had comedy running through his veins… always having a joke to entertain… especially with the young kids… and he loved having them beg as to how it was done. Even if they’d seen the joke before, he always managed to twist it around in a different way to continue entertaining them. There was usually a deck of cards always within arms length… just begging to be used in a trick… and often, even us adults sat there befuddled… wanting to know how he did it.

One of my favorite stories and jokes he told was with a deck of cards about a bank robber… I believe he asked you to pick the card that the robber would steal…and as he told the story, cards shuffled from here to there… and everyone who reads this and has heard the story… you’ll remember what the robber stole, always ended up in his pocket! He amazed us all with this one… every single time!

I bet he learned his way around cards from his father, Joe Cambino… as my husband remembers grandpa showing and amazing him with a card trick when he was only five years old… and he’s never forgotten it. It begins with a deck of cards… put all the suits together in the same order of ace to king or king to ace… just be sure and do each one the same way; stack the suits on top of each other in the same order as you put them together… then cut the deck thirteen times. You can cut it 26 times also… just alway cut it in multiples of 13 times. Lay the cards out face down, one by one, in a circle of thirteen… you’ll discover that they will all lay back together in their own similar groups… with each group consisting of only one “number like” card, consisting of all suits… it will make you smile… and wonder! If you’ve cut them exactly 13 times and laid them out correctly in going around.. when you turn them over, they will all show in the same suit for every number. (Always remember where you laid the first card!)

Are you looking for a deck of cards yet?

Uncle Johnny (Cambino) was comedic… not necessarily in telling jokes, but just in general in his way of talking. He could tell a story… about almost anything… and make it funny! He seemed to always be happy, and enjoyed laughing! It was just his manner as he colored a story… which made you laugh… and always wanting to hear more!

A few of Uncle Jimmy’s puzzles… making them made him smile! The boomerangs he whittled and painted to give to all his favorite waitresses at The Outback… he enjoyed entertaining wherever he went!

And then there was Uncle Jimmy (Donahue), the lone Irishman, in hubby’s almost all Italian family. Now this man could tell a story… although it might take awhile to get around the bush… to get to the end, but it was repeatedly entertaining and funny! Uncle Jimmy always had something lurking in his pocket to entertain young and old alike. If the kids were around, he’d pull out a simple piece of string, and before you knew it, he had their attention. He never came without a new puzzle to amaze you with… and we still have a box full of them today, saved over the years. If he saw a puzzle somewhere… he came home and duplicated it, and then passed dozens around throughout the family. I’m sure whoever is reading here, still have many of these same puzzles tucked away in a drawer.

Uncle Jimmy’s daughter, Diane D. Taylor remembering her father’s comedy ways… “Anytime he would meet a little girl, he’d say “hello little boy”… or “hello little girl” to a boy… and they always got very indignant… which gave him a good chuckle out of it! He also enjoyed making little wooden gadgets and leaving them around in the train station and waiting rooms at the VA… just to watch people pick them up… play.. and become frustrated! (My father was a train conductor for Amtrak Railroad)

His rope tricks were especially entertaining… he’d pull out just a plain string from his pocket and begin looping his finger… you’d think he was tying a knot… then he’d have you loop it on your finger… yours always knotted… while his would come off straight… leaving you befuddled and wondering why his string wasn’t in a knot!” 

I’ll never forget my father saying… “Holy Bootfeet”… it was his words for holy cow or omg!” (Diane D. Taylor)

Even a slice of pie could become a funny moment with Uncle Jimmy. I often baked him his favorite… pecan pie… and he never failed to say after the first piece, “I think there’s something wrong with this pie, I need another slice.” Sometimes it took several slices to discover what was wrong with it! It was comical at its best!

My Son, Steve remembers… “Whenever Uncle Jimmy would first see me, he’d immediately say “how are you little girl?” Naturally I’d say, I’m a boy not a girl… and it would continue on and on, with him smiling and repeating it until one of us gave in. I remember him telling me that he ate milk and sugar sandwiches as a kid”… but I’m pretty sure today that he really didn’t, but as a kid… I probably made a face, thinking he did.”

In asking my husband what he remembered as funny on Uncle Jimmy… “I always thought it funny how he never ate sweets until after retirement… then he suddenly craved all sweets, never turning down anything! When I was young, he was too busy working and building things… everyone in the family had the “over the window cornices” to keep the curtains from gathering dust.”

Stay tuned for Week 34: Tragedy featuring… Uncle Freddie Cambino


Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 33 (Aug. 12-18): Comedy

  1. Eilene Lyon says:

    I’d love to have a collection of those handmade puzzles. How clever!

    Liked by 1 person

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