Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rest In Peace, Nick The Ukrainian...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

It seems fitting that I should learn of the passing of Wasyl "Nick The Ukrainian" Nikolajenko while serving in the army in Afghanistan, gleaning this sad information from a copy of North News placed in a care package.

Nick had a life that was marked by war. As a young man, he was in a "displaced persons" camp in Germany, so hungry his family would beg for food from prisoners of war.

When I met Nick back in 2008 and wrote about him I knew, instinctively, Nick had seen World War Two up close and personally, but it wasn't something he cared to talk about. He was far more interested in the neighborhood and an admirer of Council Member Don Samuels. Nick would sit on his front steps and greet people. From that porch, he witnessed the incredible changes that took place in the Hawthorne Eco Village.

Nick talked, jokingly, of death and how near it was for him.

He was jovial, unafraid to die. The main theme of one of our conversations was how awful it is that people should kill each other in the name of religion, how displeasing this must be to God.

And now I find myself in Afghanistan, and Nick's words echo in my ear.

Nick was good and wise and kind, and he will be missed. I express, here, a hope his house at 2951 Lyndale Ave. N. will fall into the hands of a good citizen and home owner; not become a crappy rental or face demolition, that Nick's home will become, in a sense, a living monument to this profoundly decent man who saw so much in his lifetime and was so kind to his dog.

(Do Not Click "Read More")


NoMi Passenger said...

There's been a lot of R.I.P.s wished aloud on this blog lately, I gotta say it's kinda nice to be giving a R.I.P. to a northsider who died of naturally causes after living a long, healthy, productive life.

John, about the North News copy, take a picture of yourself with the edition and send the photo to them, I think I've seen them publish those kinds of travel photos before.

Johnny Northside! said...

Not a bad idea.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

The house is for sale at a reasonable price. I'll track down a listing and post it here.

Anonymous said...

Was this the house where I would often see a retriever or lab (yellow) laying outside the front door? Anyone know if the dog found a safe place to live?

Anonymous said...

The house has been sold to an owner-occupant.

Johnny Northside! said...

I hope what you're saying is true. How lucky they are to live so close to Bangkok Market!

Johnny Northside! said...

Scurrilous talk about Nick The Ukranian rejected.

Rest In Peace, Nick.