11 May 2018

Published May 9, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT ©Jill Wisoff

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Genre: Memoir

Word Count: 100

The story you are about to read is true. No names have been changed to protect the guilty. 

 

FAMILY TIES

            “Wise-off?”

            “No. ‘Wiss-off.’ It’s a short ‘i’.”

            Very few can pronounce it correctly on the first try. We were the only Wisoffs in Kansas City—probably the world. Talk about feeling like the odd one out.          

            “Your great-grandparents who came over from Lithuania with 7 children shortened Wissosky,” said Dad. “There are plenty more little Wisoffs running around back east.”   

            In 1999 thanks to AOL, I met Jill Wisoff who lives in New York City.

            Say what you will about the evils of social media, but thanks to my unique surname, I don’t need DNA to find relatives on Facebook.

 

Click to hear and see a recent reading I did. Sight, sound and four flash fictions. 

Cloudburst 2018

117 comments on “11 May 2018

    • Dear C.E.

      My brother told me that there are Wisoffs in a different part of the country who do ascribe to the long ‘i’ pronunciation. 😉 What’s in a name? Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Björn,

      Since my great grandparents had 8 children…one born in the States…I have cousins I’m not even aware of. I’ve connected with quite a few on Facebook. And a few who’ve married out of the name have connected with me. Names fascinate, don’t they? As for DNA…I did that at my husband’s urging and found out I’m 93% Eastern European Jew…no surprises there.
      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Larry,

      I love my last name now…all the connections aside. As a kid you hate being singled out for any reason. So much pressure to fit in. I never really did. L’chaim to those of us with distinctive names. 😉

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 2 people

      • As A kid I was incessantly singled out. My parents were from northeastern PA, and I grew up in New York with a hardcore PA accent. Because of it I got into a lot of really bad fights. That’s just one example of the brazilians of ways I’ve plum never fit in.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I didn’t get in lot of fights but took a lot of teasing. I was the shortest kid in my class, was Rochelle in a crowd of Nancy’s, Karen’s, Sharon’s and Jennifer’s and Wisoff….well you get it. I look back on those days with gratitude that I didn’t quite fit in. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  • I wondered if Jill was a daughter–cool to discover relatives! The other day I was with my daughter when we passed a business owned by someone whose last name was spelled the same as my maiden name–Fullmer. Unusual to see it with two L’s. Made me want to stop and visit, but she was driving and we were on a schedule 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linda,

      Nope, not may daughter anyway. 😉 She has a lovely sister named Mona. Fullmer is a different name. It’s always interesting to find where names came from, isn’t it? Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • There are some good things about Social Media… For some reason the first thing I thought of with your story was a cartoon that I once saw that showed a tomb stone, “In loving memory of our dear father” with a very Eastern European name and then followed by 10 kids name that were each a slightly different variation of that name. Glad you found some other Wisoffs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Trent,

      Bader was the original family name but the passport my great grandparents acquired was for “Wissosky” (Not sure of the spelling). When they arrived in America, they simply shortened it rather than go through the legal hassle of changing it back. At least that’s the way I heard it. 😉
      As the tombstone in the cartoon shows…so many names have been anglicized. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Love this – plus hearing you read your story! You and I have discussed the benefits of social media and this is proof positive that, if we choose, we can find good. What a wonderful thing it is to discover a relative we didn’t know!

    Lotsa love,

    Dale

    Liked by 1 person

  • That’s great. I have thousands of would-be relatives, I’m afraid. Carroll is one of the most popular names in Ireland. I’ve had a doppelganger with my name and birthday who has caused some confusion over the years, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Josh,

      My brother has found two other Jeffrey Wisoff’s. One is a surgeon or a pediatrician, I think, and the other’s an astronaut. I don’t think there’s another Rochelle Wisoff. 😀 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • I don’t even have a surname. 😛 We use our father’s given name as our surnames/ initials in our community. Tracing our lineage is next to impossible after a couple of generations. 😀

      Lovely anecdote, Rochelle. Think it’d be fun to have a unique surname.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Iain and Varad,

        Growing up I felt conspicuous with my name. Either people pronounced it wrong or made fun of it. Now I’m kind of pleased that I have the name. I am lucky. 😉 Thank you.

        Shalom,

        Rochelle

        Like

  • Enjoyed your bit of history. Surnames + family histories are indeed fascinating — but you never really start digging until you’re over fifty and the ones with the most info are gone. 🙂
    My Great-grand was John Smith. Can you imagine?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Christine,

      You are right about that. And the ones I could’ve asked are gone indeed. That applies to both sides of the family.
      THE John Smith? OR just John Smith? Yeah…good luck finding anything there. 😉
      Originally our family name was Bader but it those days, to get out of Eastern Europe any passport would do. Also one passport covered the entire family. My great grandparents’ passport was for Wissosky which they shortened to Wisoff. As far as we know, our family name is unique to our family.
      Thank you. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • We also have a unique name and there is a town in Germany where my husband’s family migrated from called Templin. We were there in 2016! It was so exciting! The town is small and founded in 1268. The sitting Chancellor Merkel is from there as well. When we come across other Templins we know we are probably related somewhere down the road! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • Interesting Rochelle. I’ve always pronounced your name the correct way, but that could fit into my Australian accent. I’m not sure.
    I have been torn over using my “maiden” name and married name for 16 years now and have kept my driver’s licence and credit card in my name and changed the rest over. My surname is Curtin, which is clearly Irish and my mother’s surname was Haebich and clearly German. The surnames reflected my identity. My husband is Newton and that doesn’t really mean anything. Well, that is other than the scientist. I wonder how many other women find changing their name such an issue. Or, should I say, NOT changing their name.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

  • What a great story! Love the idea your ancestors just made up a new name to make it easier to pronounce. And as we all seem to have a story to share … My Nan’s family were French immigrants called Croix, supposedly diamond dealers. Of course, the moment they reached the UK they Anglicised the name to Cross. Sadly, they seem to have mislaid the diamonds along with the Frenchness 🙂 Lovely story and a lovely performance too, Rochelle.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Tracey,

      And it was Facebook where I found Friday Fictioneers. 😉 Glad I asked Madison how I could join. I really wasn’t asking to take it over. LOL. Google is my friend. You never know what or who you might find just by typing in a name. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Gosh, I’ve been mispronouncing your name all this time? Oops. Sorry about that, but not about trying to make you spew your coffee. 😉 I also have an unsusual surname, Wicklund. There’s not many of us. I’ve found others but they weren’t relatives, as far as I know. Go back far enough and I’m related to you. My name gets mispronounced and mispelled all the time. We’re definitely related in that regard. Fun story, Rochelle!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Eric,

      Wouldn’t your name be pronounced like it’s spelled. WICK (as in candle wick) and Lund? But then people can pretty much mispronounce anything…even Jones. Right? Ha…no coffee to spew. Nyah nyah nyah. 😀 Thank you. 😉

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

      • Curses! I’ll get you yet Purple Prestidigitator!

        And yeah, it’s as easy as pronouncing it like it looks. So how do people look at it and get, “Whichland?” Oh, well.

        Like

  • Dear Shelley Kohlen W(T)F,

    I’m glad you found someone who would claim you as kin. My family was surname was orginally Johnson-Smith-Jones, but too many of us were getting in trouble with the law or IRS (not to mention revenuers), so we shortened it to Gayer. For a few generations, people just thought we were happy. Now all we hear is homosexual jokes.

    Grumpy old curmudgeon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Grumpy Old Curmudgeon,

      Well that lets out GAYer meaning happy. Perhaps you could legally change it to Groaner. Seems to suit you. Ah well, what’s in a name. Would not purple by any other name be as sweet? Have a quality day.

      Shalom,

      Shelley Kohlen W(T)F

      Like

  • Another piece of history, but this time it’s family history and not fiction. What a great discovery, Rochelle. I first pronounced your name the german way in my mind, which was right, but then thought I must think it in English, and thought-pronounced wrong. There you go. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  • I really loved hearing you read, ‘Family Wis-off Ties’. … You will have noted I am poor at spelling. Even after 70 years I have a tendency to mix up the letters in my first name!

    Liked by 1 person

  • How could anyone think it was a long ‘i’? It is great to have an unusual name, as long as it doesn’t attract too much teasing. How many other Wisoffs have you tracked down?
    A lovely little snippet of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sarah Ann,

      A child who’s singled out and teased, being called Whizzo (after a local clown) or Wise-Off doesn’t appreciate a unique name. 😉 That’s changed. Actually I haven’t done all the tracking. A few have found me. When Jill and I found each other in an AOL chat room all those years ago, we recounted the family history to each other. When in NYC in 1999, she spent the day with my son and me. We had lunch with her parents, George and Rebecca Wisoff.
      One memorable cousin, Hank, in the Philippines contacted me and said, “I think we’re related.” Since someone constructed a family wheel (as opposed to a tree) years ago Hank and I were able to figure out how we were related. Tzriel and Louis Wisoff (great grands) had 8 kids…almost 2 separate generations. Anyway, when Hank questioned our relationship, I sent him an old picture of my grandfather. Hank looks just like him.
      Another cousin sent me a picture of her brother Peter Wisoff who looks more like my dad than my brother.
      In answer to your question, I haven’t kept a tally but I’d say upwards of 15 of us have found each other on Facebook.
      Apologies for a reply that exceeds the story’s word count. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Okay, so you got me. Why are kids so horrible to each other? My nickname at school was Worm or Hormone based on my previous surname.
        Thank you for the long reply and additional family information. I think it’s really interesting to see where the family resemblances show, especially when they are far apart. Family friends used to joke my brother and I were the postman’s rather than my dad’s, but the older we both get the more we look like him.

        Liked by 1 person

  • Very true. I have a friend whose husband has a Von… last name. She said there were like six of them in the US. However, as a amateur genealogist, DNA can lead to some interesting connections beyond the surname.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Susan,

      DNA is an amazing thing, isn’t it? I finally broke down, at my husband’s noodging and did the Ancestry.com DNA test. In my case, it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know and confirmed something I suspected. 😉 On my mother’s side the surname is fairly common amongst Jews and Germans. Those relatives would be more difficult to find. 😉 Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

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