“I was raised to be charming, not sincere.” Prince Charming, in “Into the Woods”
Lisa Woodruff Hedin, Michael Glorioso and Colleen Peluso
Dick and Cheryl Hagelberg, back from a Baltic Sea cruise, drove us to Memorial Opera House in Valpo for the presentation of “Into the Woods.” Last year I saw James and Becca (playing the Baker and the Witch) in a one-act version of the Stephen Sondheim musical, which had a happy ending that suited me just fine. In Act II we learn that the characters are not what they seem. Prince Charming, for instance, seduces the Baker’s wife (played by Colleen Peluso, whose real-life husband was Prince Charming). The beanstalk giant’s wife kills several main characters. The main point, I gathered, was be careful what you wish for. My favorite character was Little Red Riding Hood, played by Danielle Scampini-Linn as a tough cookie who liked her independence and wore a cape made from the wolf’s skin. At one point she sang, “Do not put your faith in a cape and a hood, they will not protect you the way that they should. And take extra care with strangers, even flowers have their dangers, and though scary is exciting, nice is different than good.” Sitting in the third row, I saw from time to time the baton of Maestro Troy Webdell, conducting a 14-piece orchestra below. As I gradually lost interest in what the characters were saying, I came to enjoy the music more and more.
At West Beach over the weekend a 2016 Dunes Blowout celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the centennial of the National Park Service. Among the performers were singer Patti Shaffner, the Emerson Jazz Tornadoes, and the South Shore Dance Alliance. When we lived near West Beach I liked to go into the woods to collect firewood. The plentiful sassafras trees would fall over after a few years and when cut into logs gave off a pleasant aroma as well as little sparks. Unfortunately, poison ivy was also plentiful, and one had to be careful to avoid it. I’ve been slightly wary of woods since attacked by yellow jackets and bitten several times as a kid stumbling across their hive. When Toni and I were in the woods in the Poconos years ago, she enjoyed being temporarily lost while I was extremely uncomfortable.
Granddaughter Becca went to Chesterton’s Friday homecoming game (a loss to Portage) and then on Saturday to the dance. Her date’s mother arranged for photos on the beach in Odgen Dunes beforehand. When I was a high school senior, my job was to announce the homecoming court during halftime of Upper Dublin’s football game. I was told in advance that Wendy Henry had been elected queen and would be riding in the final convertible in the entourage. I couldn’t see very well and probably got the timing wrong although nobody complained.
Door Prairie Barn
Sunday’s Post-Trib came with a glossy magazine on Chicagoland suburban landmarks, including a half-dozen located in Northwest Indiana: The old lighthouse in Michigan City, Lake County Courthouse in Crown Point, Heritage Hall on Valparaiso University’s campus, Door Prairie Barn in LaPorte, Collier Lodge in Kouts (the only one that has not been refurbished), and Kaske House in Munster, originally built in 1845 as a tavern and now a museum. Philip Potempa wrote of the Munster landmark, located on 1005 Ridge Road and acquired in 1986 by the Munster Park Board:
The inn originally had six bedrooms, the tap room, a dining room and a sitting room.
In 1864 the property, called the Brass Tavern, was sold by Allan and Julia Watkins Brass to Johann an Wilhelmina Stallbohm and renamed Stallbohm’s Inn, which featured the addition of a wire telegraph service. The first news of the assassination of president Abraham Lincoln was delivered to residents of the area after it was sent by wire to Stallbohm’s Inn.
In the 1890s, when the business, and the health of the owners, declined, the inn closed. Johann died in 1899 and Wilhelmina in 1901. Their daughter, Wilhelmina Kaske, moved in to the former inn with her husband and converted it into the family home. In 1909, much of the original structure was destroyed by fire and had to be rebuilt.
On Sunday I learned that golf legend Arnold Palmer died at age 87 as did star pitcher José Fernandez for Miami from a boating accident. The Cubsbeat the Cardinals for win number 99 on a David Ross home run after Wrigley Field fans had given him an ovation on his final regular season home game. The Eagles surprisingly are 3-0 after trouncing the Steelers, while the Bears not surprisingly are 0-3. I won my Fantasy Football game despite zero points from tight end Rob Gronkowski while my backup, Zach Miller, totaling 19. In fact, my bench outscored the Jimbo Jammer starters 110 to 89 despite being without an extra kicker or defense.
Rolling Stone ranked the top 100 TV shows of all time. Number 2, behind “The Sopranos,” was “The Wire,” which I had never seen until yesterday. The next four were “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “Seinfeld,” and “The Simpsons.” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” made the list but not “Friends” or “The Big Bang Theory.” I’d have put “Saturday Night Live” in the top five rather than ninth, as well as “Sesame Street,” just 31st on the list. “The Wire” deals with the flawed law enforcement system in Baltimore, where almost everyone is out to protect his ass, and the drug trade infects inner city ghetto life. The most interesting character is a lesbian cop. In the first two episodes I heard “Way Down in the Hole” by Tom Waits and “Love Is Strange’ by Mickey and Sylvia.
Louis VII, Conrad III, and Baldwin III at Jerusalem Council
Last week David Parnell discussed the Crusades from the Byzantine perspective, and this week from the Muslim point of view, using the twelfth century “Book of Contemplation” by Usama ibn Munqidh. Whereas the fragmentation of Muslims had enabled the First Crusade to be a success in winning control of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Edessa, it led to the rise of Imad ad-Din Zengi, who recaptured Edessa, which caused Pope Eugenius to call for another Crusade. This time two monarchs, Louis VII and Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III became involved. Louis took his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine with him, whose uncle was Prince Raymond of Antioch. Conrad’s army was annihilated at Dorylaeum in 1147 and the French king’s army a year later at Damascus. While in Antioch, Queen Eleanor evidently became overly intimate with Raymond, and her marriage with Louis later was annulled. She went on to wed the future English King Henry II and bore him eight children. Imprisoned for 16 for plotting against her husband, Eleanor was the mother of Richard I and regent while he went off on the Third Crusade.
Robert Arnaud of Swiss radio interviewed me for an hour about the history of Gary. He’d come from meeting with Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chuck Hughes. He told me that they’d dub my voice in French for the program he’s planning on Gary.