There aren’t too many of us old timers left that knew my father, Joe Wishnatzki. He was quite a character. He passed away too soon in 1988 at the age of 70. I talked to him on several occasions about writing a book about his life because he had so many good stories. The following account I wrote down a few years ago when I began compiling some of the many tales he used to tell. Maybe one day I will publish a book about Strawberry Joe.
One year when Joe was just a teenager he was traveling south from New York to Florida with a group of kids. They were all relatives and they were heading south to visit Florida and work the vegetable season for Harris. One was a girl cousin they called Mootsy and another was cousin Seymour. The drive was long and the roads were not that good. It was getting late and they had been driving awhile, so they decided to check into a motor-inn to sleep for the night. They were probably somewhere in North Carolina and it was around midnight. Seymour went to sleep while the rest of the group stayed up and talked in the other room. While Seymour slept the gang decided to play a prank on him. It was probably Joe’s idea because he never required much sleep. So this is what they came up with. It was 2 a.m. and they all set their watches ahead 4 hours to 6. They also set the clock in the car ahead 4 hours. They woke up Seymour and said, “Time to get up Seymour! It is 6 o’clock.”
Seymour woke up groggy after hardly being asleep a couple of hours. They hit the road shortly after. He became very puzzled by the extended darkness. Seymour kept looking at his watch with a puzzled look on his face. He finally said, “Boy it sure stays dark a long time around here.” It was probably his first time in the south and he thought it was a southern thing. By 10 a.m. on the clock it was still pitch black out. They kept him going for a while longer until the group couldn’t hold their hysteria any longer. Joe loved to tell that story of the prank they pulled that day on a trip to Florida.
Wish Farms is headed toward great things.