Family, Life

My Great Grandparents


Up until a few days ago I had never seen a photo of my great grandparents. I didn’t think I’d ever see a photo of them cause, well if I haven’t seen one so far in my 36.5 years I doubted I’d come across one now. I don’t know much else about it (date? their names?) but here they are on their wedding day. I’ll dig more into this as time goes on, but for now a few things stand out to me:

I see A LOT of my mom in my great grandma. It is like they are carbon copies of each other. Here are a few photos of her over the years that stand out to me…I see the resemblance in their eyes:

I also see a lot of my son Finn in my Mom, so it is very interesting to be able to connect these threads FIVE generations back now. Wow.

It is amazing to think about where we came from, and it is even more amazing to see this in a photograph. All of this couldn’t have come at a more interesting time for me, with the recent news being dominated by my home country’s immigration ban. Because of that this photo isn’t just a photo of my relatives to me. It is a reminder to me that we all come from somewhere. It makes me see how a positive and welcoming approach is what is best for our world. We should welcome others with open arms, give them a chance, and who knows…some amazing things may happen.

Family, Life, Pittsburgh, PA

March Birthdays


March is a great month for many reasons, but I’ve always enjoyed it because of the plethora of family birthdays that happen throughout the month. Happy birthday to my mom Mary Ann, my brother Brandon, and my Uncle Bob.

Around this time every year we all get together to have dinner and then head back to one of our homes for cake and presents. It usually happens on a Saturday night. It’s nice to be around family and share stories and just bullshit about this and that. I always loved that part of growing up. When Haley and I were off living in NJ/Maine/TN, we missed these events quite a bit. Sometimes we’d Skype into the party but for 5 minutes at the most. I was always bummed that we were missing out on them, especially once Finn and Aero were born. Family may be a drag sometimes but guess what? Family is one of the most important things we have. I am constantly reminded of that as I grow older.

Now we’re back in Pennsylvania and we’re just a mere 1.5 hours away from the extended Hoenke/Pleczynski family. Last week we got to attend that March birthday celebration. It was full of the typical Pittsburgh “Italian”* restaurant, Giant Eagle cake, and talking about stuff. It was awesome. I wouldn’t change this for the world. I look forward to these events happening every month.

Life is good.

*I put Italian in quotes because if you’re from Pittsburgh you’ll know that there are at least 5-7 “Italian” family restaurants on every block. They all serve spaghetti, pizza, hamburgers, appetizers, beer, etc, and they all claim to be authentic Italian cooking. Some are good. Some are bad. The Hoenke/Pleczynski has been to all of them.



Joshua Hoenke

28 years ago today, Joshua Hoenke was born in Pittsburgh, PA to William and Mary Ann Hoenke.  After living for three days, Joshua passed away in October 1983.

I never got to meet my brother Joshua, but his brief life has forever changed the way that I look at things and how I got about my life.  He’s always in the back of my mind, constantly reminding me that life doesn’t always end up like how we plan it.  However, it also taught me that in those moments of extreme sadness that there’s always a bright light.

In 1985, my family adopted Kyeong Suk Lee from Seoul, South Korea.  Born March 2, 1985, Kyeong went on to be known as Brandon Robert Hoenke, my brother.  Without Joshua, I don’t know if I’d have ever met Brandon and shared all the wonderful moments we’ve shared together.

Today, I take a moment to thank Joshua.  I may never have met you, but I still love you brother.

I chose Brian Eno’s “2/2” as my song for Joshua today.  I think he’d enjoy it.