No Hackleys on the Isle of Wight and, apparently, no sense of humor in England

By Jack Hackley

When I was in grade school, the teacher gave us an assignment for the next day to tell the class where your family came from, what nationality, etc.
I asked my parents and neither one of them knew. My mother said she couldn’t trace her family back further than Kentucky.
My grandparents were tenant farmers without an education, who obviously were not told by their parents, if it was known, where they came from.
Luckily, I’ve had some cousins interested in geneology who told me the Hackleys came from the Isle of Wight off the coast of England.
A few years ago, Laura and I flew to London, took a train south, then got on a ferry to the Isle of Wight.
We got a motel, rented a car, and circled the island. We stopped at churches and cemeteries. Some of the churches were over a thousand years old, all had cemeteries and lists of who was buried there, but no Hackleys There weren’t even any in the phone book.
We were getting ready to leave the motel early one morning to catch the boat back to England. I absentmindedly opened up the door on the left side like I would have at home, and no steering wheel. The English drive on the left side of the road and all the controls in the rental car were on the right side.
This reminded me of one of my favorite stories I like to tell about the drunk who called the police and said shomeone had shhtolen the shteering wheel out of his car, along with the brake pedal and even the dash.
In a little while, he called the police back and told them to ignore that last call, he had gotten in the back seat by mistake.
Trying to be funny, I went back into the lobby of the motel to tell Laura, who was talking to the owners, that someone had stolen the steering wheel out of the car.
The owner, without hesitation, immediately called the police and that’s when I first realized the English do not have a sense of humor.

Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075, or Visit

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