A few years ago, I was a docent at the Erie County Fair Heritage and History Center, and one of the more popular questions was about when the fair was in South Buffalo near Indian Church Road for a few years back in the 1800s.
That inevitably lead me to mention that my grandma lived a block south of Indian Church off Seneca on Fairview, which usually lead to some small talk about who lived where or the bikes in the Babe Boyce store windows and PM Berst Furniture– both of which were at Seneca and Indian Church.
If people don’t seem immediately certain where grandma’s street is, I’ll mention it’s where Heidie’s Tuxedo used to be on the corner.
That sparked something for one guy.
“Heidie’s, right. Yeah, who was that fuckin’ crazy family that lived on Fairview?”
I tried to think of the name of one family a couple of houses down that my ol’man wanted nothing to do with… but then the obvious answer struck me.
“The Cichons?” I asked.
“Holy shit! Yeah, that’s them! They were all fuckin’ crazy! What was your family down there?”
“That’s my family,” I said, expressionless.
The guy’s wife blanched. He started apologizing, mostly, I think, because he was worried he offended a “fuckin’ crazy Cichon.” But I laughed, and said, “naw, it’s ok– we are crazy.”
He rattled off a list of uncles and a few cousins that he drank with and fought with and fought against.
Then I said, “Yeah, one or two of those guys might get mad when I tell ‘em you think they’re crazy.”
As the color drained from his face again, I said, “Just kidding,” with a smirk.
We chatted a while longer, but I think I tweaked him around enough to maybe watch his back for crazy Cichons for a while.
Hahaha. He was right. We are a fuckin’ crazy family. Hahahaha.