6-22-2015. Slovenians, Now and Then

I read a book a few years ago, one of those fiction based on history types.  The book was set in the 5th century and follows the main character on his adventures in Europe, mostly Eastern Europe.  In one of his journeys, he comes across a race of people called ‘the Slovenes’.  He said that he had heard of them in his travels and was told that they got their name because they were ‘slovenly and lazy’.  Instead, the man discovers that they are a hard working, intelligent, and of course a very good looking group of people.  Man, Bojons were getting a bad rap 1600 years ago.  No respect at all.

The first Slovenian settlers in the United States arrived in the 1730’s.a Father Kappas and Father Baraga.  There were Slovenian immigrants that fought in the Revolutionary War!  I never even thought that we were here that long ago.  The largest period of Slovenian immigration was between 1880 and World War I.  Slovenians are responsible for building the first schools in Michigan.  It seems that Slovenians were making a mark here long before I realized.

Wikipedia lists the top 9 cities with large concentrations of Slovenians.  Pueblo is on the list!  It’s us!!!  Up there with Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and that glorious city of Slovenian Legends, Joliet, Illinois!  Colorado has the 6th largest Slovenian population of any state, and that’s because the other big cities need to get busy and get more Bojons.  Pueblo is already doing it’s part, but we need to get into that top 5.  Have more babies!

Speaking of other cities in Colorado, I still take a ride through Globeville every once in a while when I get to that part of Denver.  It’s not quite the same as I remember in the 70’s when there were still a lot of Bojons there, but it seems to be making a bit of a comeback.  I’m not sure if there are any Bojons left, but I’m sure there are.  We’re harder to get rid of than weeds in a rainy summer.

Leadville is the other place in Colorado that actually feels Slovenian.  You can take a couple of side streets and it’s just like being home.  I can’t remember who told me this story, but Grandpa and Grandma Kocman lived in Leadville and my Grandma Bear was born there.  When Grandma Kocman went to get a Social Security card for my Grandma and one of the brothers, I believe it was Uncle Eddie, the Courthouse in Leadville had burned down and there was no record of their births.  Grandma Kocman took the family Bible to the Social Security Office and showed them the entries when the kids were born, and they gave her the cards.  I’m not sure if I got all that right, but that’s kind of the way I remember hearing it.  I do remember a Bible sitting on a table in almost every living room in Bojon Town when I grew up.  I see old family Bibles in thrift stores and antique stores, and I can’t help but looking in them to see what was written.  And it always makes me wonder what happened to a family that could end up with their precious history in a junk shop.  Sad.
Frankie Yankovic is Slovenian.  Go figure.  But so is Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees.  Other famous Slovenians, Randy Gradishar, who showed up in the Locker Room one time.  Bob Golic and Mike Adamle, two old-school NFL guys.  In fact, Golic is on TV every day and is a pretty funny guy.  Luke Hochevar, son of Brian, who spent a lot of time in Bojon Town, is a top Major League Pitcher.  Some very talented people in that list, and more to come.

I’m getting down towards the end of the month.  I’m going to take a nice long rest, because thirty days is a lot of days for me to have to use my brain.  So, on July 1st, I will be starting an extended period of rest and relaxation.  I’ll be back on July 2nd.

4 responses to this post.

  1. I would love to be the owner of that original bible Grandma Kocman had! What a sweet story! Kay said Uncle Moon, your Grandma Bear and my dad were born in Leadville. I remember my dad talking about some cousins, I think Plute was their last name ,from Leadville. I never saw a birth or death certificate for my dad so I never knew. Dennis Skender lived in Leadville with his first wife and they ran the barber shop. I buy bibles in the thrift stores all the time! I wish I would come across one that had a rich history behind it like this one. We do have a great heritage. I like these names you threw out here. Nick Novak who is the place kicker for the Sand Diego Chargers has to be a bojon but I do not see a reference to his ethic origin. 😦 I always favored Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees. HaHa! I must have known he was my cup of tea! Hee Hee! I knew Hochevar because that name alone says it all! Pretty awesome group you have here Mike! I was having an incredibly bad day until I came over here. Prayers for me that I can find a job ASAP would be appreciated. I remember my mom told me when she and my dad applied for Social Security retirement their baptism certificates were more easily accepted than their birth certificate! Wow! Different times for sure. Today you need an attorney, a lab tech to draw your blood and four forms of photo ID before you can get anywhere with the government bureaucracy today! My friend who is a native Pennsylvanian knew what a bojon was! LOL! So do some folks I know from Wisconsin, they know us as sLOVEnians! Mike, you write a wonderful post each day. Thank you. Means the world to me. See you soon. Take that much deserved break too! Have a beautiful evening. Hugs, Anne xo

    Reply

  2. Posted by Jeanette litherland on June 22, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    It is true that the birth certificates were lost in a fire. Grandma Kocman’s sister, Annie and her husband Steve Malin lived in Leadville. They had two daughters named Mae and Betty. Mike, I think your Dad sends emails to Betty’s husband, Bob Luoma. uncle Steve was the fire chief in Leadville at one time and also worked in a mine. There were cousins in Leadville. Joe Plute lived there and his brother John lived in Denver. John and Louise had two daughters, Barbara and Betty. I think the girls live in Denver. We used to stay in touch sometimes but haven’t for a long time. There are so many things I wish I knew about our family. Sadly we wait until it is too late to ask the questions we would like to have the answers to.

    Reply

    • I remember my Grandma talking about them all the time. I need to get back up to Leadville and do some digging. I know that there is a lot of family history there.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Mike Deverich on June 24, 2015 at 5:08 am

    Mike don’t forget Freddie Couples, one of the greatest swinger of a golf club ever. Actually it is Mike Golic on TV, not only is he funny but he can really sing. Bob is his brother and played D-line for 17 years in the NFL. The entire family including Mike’s kids went to Notre Dame which was my dream school since I was 5 years old. How come when you fill out a Government form there is no box to check for Slovenians, Croatians, Italians or any group other than blacks, Latino’s or Asians. If this country had more Bojons, Croatians and Italians we would be in so much better shape. No credit only cash, no national debt..

    Reply

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