A Short History of the Barrel Brothers, or..
"Who Am Us Anyway??"
The Barrel Brothers are a group of loyal friends (actually we consider ourselves family) that have known each other for over 40 years. Over the years we’ve been together through good times and bad, but have always vowed to get together at various times during the years to enjoy each other’s company with fun filled parties, sometimes based on themes (Oktoberfest). We still do to this day! Check out the other pages filled with photos within our site documenting these grand events. After all these years of grand times we thought (now with the power of the internet) that it was time to celebrate our lives & times with a web page! But how did it all start and what made us what we are today, you may ask? Below is an excerpt from the ramblings of noted Eastside (of Joliet, Illinois) Historian and radio voice of KRAP studios, Art Kitchkay. The passage is from Mr. Kitchkay's epic book “Eastside Legends: The Glory of Mishka Revealed”
Within this fertile bed pan of beer, potato sausage, cheap wine and gravel driveways, the seeds of great friendship would take root like a crazed dandelion on dog crap and grow to epic proportions. In those early days during the late 1950’s, John “Kutsy” Kochalka, Andy Partak (later to be known as “Kid Komfort” but that’s another saga) and Dave “Riko” Picco lived within heaving distance of each other on Garnsey Street (known to some as “Droby Drive” thanks to the tons of potato sausage made there weekly). Little did they know that within a few years fate would throw them together and a legend would be born. With such establishments of the community as Partak’s Tavern, Yasko’s Tap, Kochalka’s Groceries, Shadow’s INN and St. Cyril Church (known for large nuns with even larger rulers), the boys would have the foundation few could imaging. Then add in neighborhood icons such as, Jack Yasko, Marge Hertko, Angelo Piazza, Fabian Dooda, Joe Pott, Mickey McTavish and Yuttutta, and the catalysts were all in place to cause an epic eruption that would overwhelm Elwood Street and Hickory Creek.
By the mid-1970’s, some of the Barrel Brothers from the early years had moved away or followed careers that took them away from the original gang. But a solid nuclease was being formed, stronger than any of the founders could ever imagine. The vision that was imagined long ago on Yasko's bar stools and brought into focus by the Barrel Sisters had over the years now crystallized like Schlitz Lager in the bottom of a 7 oz. glass at Partak’s Tavern.
Four families now formed the core of the Barrel Brothers: John & Sue Kochalka, Andy & Eileen Partak, Al & Bonnie Soley and Dave & Diane Picco. It became their quest (like trying to find blueberry cigars with plastic tips) to honor those great principles forged in their youth of friendship, family and good times. As the years have gone by, they have been blessed with children, changed their residences and underwear many times, and have had life's situations change their fates. But one thing has remained a constant: their friendship and love for one another which is the true soul of all that is east-side and good is still there. As these sons of the east-side have made their pilgrimage to new lands joined in body and soul by those beacons of passion the Barrel Sisters, their joyful vision has been realized to the Glory of Miska: Lifelong friendship and the determination to enjoy that great gift of friendship as often as possible. Brazzoss!
As Art would suggest let us raise our glasses............................
Back to the Barrel