I will add to this file as time goes on. But the following is easily the question I am asked most regularly:
Where did you get your last name?
My ancestors came from a small village near Kiev. According to my great-uncle, the name was never changed when the family came to America. There is some evidence that the Foon family may have originally come from Manchuria to Russia. Foon, in Cantonese, is a rice noodle. In Japanese, if you say Foon, watch your intonation. It is a rather obscene word.
A foon (also called a spork) is also an eating utensil; part fork, part spoon. Available for sale in your local camping store.
There is a literary connection for the name Foon that I’m fond of, by a writer who was one of my early inspirations, Theodore Geisel. The Foon appears in Dr. Seuss’s If I Ran the Circus. “And you’ll now meet the Remarkable Foon, who eats sizzling hot pebbles that fall off the moon! And the reason he likes them red hot, it appears, is that he greatly enjoys blowing smoke from his ears.”
And one of my heroes, R. Crumb, has a character named Flakey Foont, who the guru Mr. Natural likes to kick in the butt to help him attain enlightenment. I realize that Foont is not Foon, but it’s close enough. Like me, Flakey Foont has yet to find enlightenment.