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A Christmas Story: A teen learns about family history from his dad

John Gorksi
Basim Blunt

This is John Gorski, and today I am interviewing his father, Martin Gorski. 

Son: What would you say is a human's purpose in life?

Dad: For six full years, I was adamant that I was going to go and be in either Broadway or be in music videos. I was going to be a dancer. But when life throws you Lemmons, I guess you got to join the military.

Son: I'm John Gorski. I'm a senior at Centerville High School and live in Centerville with my dad, Martin and 17 year old brother me. My dad is an army civilian and Desert Storm veteran. Growing up, he had to drop his dreams of dancing to go into the army. Yes, my dad wanted to be a dancer. I see a lot of parallels with my life and my dad's. He had dreams of becoming a dancer, and I have dreams of becoming a musician. I wanted to sit down with my dad, Martin Gorski, and ask him about his life decisions. Happiest days and biggest regrets. Do you know where the Gorskis come from? 

Dad: Yes. Part of the family comes from Poland. You, in fact, also come from Poland. That is on my father's side, your grandfather's side, on my mother's side. She's part German and part Irish. Your great grandmother, Josephine Gorska. She traveled over from Poland, went to Ellis Island.

Son: What can you tell me about growing up in Pittsburgh? 

Dad: I can remember the excitement of the Steelers when in their Super Bowls from the ages of 12 to 18, I took dance lessons. This is the 1980s and there was a lot of music videos and a lot of dancing and music videos. What I wanted to do initially was go to New York and either be on Broadway or head out to L.A. and be in music videos. 

Son: Do you have any stories about Grandpa that you'd like to share and could be literally anything? 

Dad: The day that Uncle Lindy and I got our licenses is the day that my dad, your grandfather had a stroke. He survived the stroke, but he was in the hospital for good four to six months, and I knew my parents were going to have a lot of medical bills, so I ended up deciding to join the military. So when I went to the hospital to visit my dad and tell him that I was going to join the military, the advice he gave me was "Don't be a military policeman and don't be a cook," because they work weekends.

Son: So, after you joined the military, did you ever dance again? 

Dad: I did not take any dance lessons again. Although, when you were very, very young, I did star in to like community theater things over in Germany. One was Alice in Wonderland, the other one was Christmas Carol. 

Son: You know, hopefully you don't have a stroke and I'm forced to join the Navy. But what advice would you give to me?

Dad: If you plan something and it doesn't work out? Or if you start to have second thoughts and you decide, maybe I want to do something else, it's OKAY. It's okay if you have second thoughts and you end up doing something else. That would be my advice. 

Son: Honestly, my dad, we never really got close. Like, super close, I feel like, I mean, I love him, but as I get older, I'm sure I'll see parallels with my life and his, as I've seen so far. My story is about my dad's story. I mean, he didn't answer all my questions like I'd hope, but 

Dad: Yeah, well, why does anybody get married? 

Son: A lot of people my age are not willing to talk and listen to their parents advice. But I think having this conversation with my dad has really improved our relationship. It's imported to learn about your your parents history. You know, the good parts and the bad parts, because that way you will be able to apply to your life and you will form a closer bond with them. And I'm proud to be a Gorski. It means a lot to me. For Dayton Youth Radio at Centerville High School, this is John Gorski.

John Gorski is a student at Centerville High School. Special thanks to Tricia Rapoch, teacher for the Communication Arts Program at Centerville High School. Learn more at the school's website:  http://www.centerville.k12.oh.us/CHS.Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.