“Cooking is a caring and nurturing act. It's kind of the ultimate gift for someone, to cook for them. It creates all this beautiful stuff, conversation, appreciation, romance. All the most important things in life you do around a dinner table.” Chef Curtis Stone
Although Jack Clifford, creator of the Food Network, considers Grand Rapids, Michigan, his hometown, he was born in Gary in 1933. In his autobiography, “The Least Likely to Succeed,” which my son Phil told me about, Clifford revealed that his father, also named Jack, worked as a policeman for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Clifford wrote:
America’s railroads were a nation unto themselves because most of the nation’s cargo and passenger transportation was handled by train until the late 1950s. The railroad police had jurisdiction over all crime committed on railroad property. Jack worked and lived in Gary where much of the nation’s steel was produced and shipped by train.
In “The Least Likely to Succeed” Clifford makes no further mention of his father, who, according to Gary city directories, lived at 1728 McKinley with wife Paulina in 1935 and with another mate, Florence, in 1937, by which time Paulina must have moved to Grand Rapids with Jack and older sister Rosejean. The book does include a 1934 photo of one-year-old Clifford taken at Gordon’s department store that received a certificate of honorable mention, as well as one of Jack in a sailor’s cap labeled “Age two and a half, Gary, Indiana, 1935.”
Allen Salkin, author of “From Scratch: Inside the Food Network” (2014), declared: “Jack Clifford was part of the golden age of television. He went from literally being on TV in the old black and white days in the ’50s to managing to shift over to cable when that was exploding. He’s an original TV pioneer.” Clifford claims that his fascination with television began when at age seven he received as a Christmas present a silent movie projector and some Disney cartoons. One evening he pointed the projector toward the house next door and, in his words “a giant Mickey Mouse danced across the walls in their living room.” It startled a well-endowed teenage babysitter who was making out with her boyfriend, and she leaped up from a couch with her breasts exposed.
My culinary skills are restricted to breakfast, although I’ve gotten compliments on my BLTs and can put together a tossed salad to go with hot dogs or store-bought rotisserie chicken.
Peter Mandich, Jr.
Visiting the Archives was Pete Mandich, Jr., a golf pro, writer for GolfPlusOnline, and the son of the Gary mayor (1952-1958) responsible for IUN’s campus being at its present site. Pete mentioned that his dad got hate mail from segregationists opposed to the university moving to Glen Park, including threats to his family. We discussed the desegregation of Gleason Park’s 18-hole course in July 1949, after an African-American organization, the Par-Makers, invited heavyweight champ Joe Louis to participate in a tournament, shaming civic leaders into allowing them use of the facilities. Previously black golfers were restricted to an oft-flooded nine-hole course north of the Grand Calumet River that was often flooded. Pete recalled playing there as a kid. Mayor Mandich had starred on the 1940 Froebel Blue Devils basketball team that lost in the Regionals to eventual state champ Hammond Tech.
I interviewed Joe Chin at the Archives, a diamond life master who has accumulated more than 5,000 duplicate bridge master points. A native of the Philippines, he said that his father had a book on bridge even though he himself didn’t play. It motivated Chin to learn more. Joe taught Chemistry and Math at Gary West Side for 30 years, starting in the 1970s, and also was an IUN adjunct. He mentioned that two of the largest weekly duplicate games took place in Cal City and Hammond. Unlike many players, he has multiple partners rather than just one or two. A bachelor, he described them as his substitute family. Joe also likes to teach bridge to people, many of whom are recent retirees. Impressed with the Archives, he may donate some of his bridge records and memorabilia to the Northwest Indiana bridge collection we’ve started.
Wayne Carpenter (right) with Laverne Niksch, Joe Chin, George Roeper, Ruth Westberg, John Miller
Barb Walczak’s Newsletter honored Wayne Carpenter becoming a ruby life master by accumulating 1,500 master points. Wayne started playing bridge between classes at IUN with his cousin Laverne Niksch and other friends. The steelworker didn’t play duplicate regualrly until retiring 37 years later. Carpenter told Walczak: “My cousin Laverne helped me get about two thirds of my master points. Other team partners include Zafar Khan, Dave Bigler, Yuan Hsu, Jim Angell, and Chuck Briggs.”
At Chesterton YMCA I made a small slam despite missing an Ace and 4 Diamonds doubled despite a 4-0 trump split. I needed Spades to go around three times in order to twice finesse the player with all four trump. Dee and I finished second to Chuck and Marcy Tomes in a 12-couple game. In a hand Wednesday at Banta Senior Center in Valparaiso, our opponents kept bidding Hearts, and when I went 5 Clubs, they overcalled 5 Hearts. We doubled and set them 4 for 1100 points. I thought that we’d get high board for sure because even if 6 Clubs made, the point value was just 920. Another pair made 6 Clubs doubled and redoubled, however, for over 1500 points.
Valpo bridge players at Banta Center; photo by Tom Rea
One person, knowing I’d written a history of Gary, told me that as a child her favorite book was Holling C. Holling’s “Paddle-to-the-Sea” (1941), about an Indian boy who carves a canoe with a figure inside that travels through Northwest Indiana to Lake Michigan and on to the Atlantic Ocean. Growing up, I recall a book about cowboys by Holling C. Holling, whose strange name has stuck with me all through the years.
Garret Cope, Jr.
Driving through Miller, I spotted a sign touting a July 7 appearance by Garret Cope, Jr., and the Jazz Vibrations at the Vibrations Juice Bar at 430 South Lake Street. I called his mother, Barbara Cope, and told her Toni and I would be there. “I’ll save you spots at the head table,” she said.
Anne Balay sent me a link to a “Mel” magazine article entitled “The Trucking Industry Is the Perfect Fit for Many Transgender People” that contains references to Anne’s paper “Sex and Surveillance on the Highway” in Transgender Studies Quarterly:
Balay explains that these women, many of whom call themselves “T-girls,” are attracted to the autonomy and isolation associated with the open road. They especially identify with the cowboy ideal of trucking, born in the late 1940s in films like “They Drive By Night,” which portrayed the free spirit of the new American cowboy — unabashedly self-sufficient, unfettered by love and heroically transporting important goods from destination to destination safely and on schedule.
T-girls embraced the magic of that myth: that you can have control of your life, your day’s schedule, your gender and your sex life all at once. “Christine,” for example, observes that “you won’t see any of these people again, so that makes you free to hook up. Sex on the road is what keeps you from dying of boredom, or getting too frustrated by all the company’s impossible rules.” Another T‐girl, “Leslie,” explained to Balay that she used to make her sexual contacts online and then meet them when she was out driving. Now Leslie relies on chance encounters, which she says aren’t hard to find: “If somebody’s looking, you can tell.”
Balay’s subjects tell endless stories about sex. “Lana” describes a female four‐wheeler driver who drove by in the next lane, exposed her breasts, then cut in front of Lana’s truck, clicked on the turn signal and exited. Lana followed her off the highway, and they had sex. “There is something about the flow of trucking — you do not know where you will be tomorrow, and that constant, uncontrollable motion, combined with the sense of bodily power derived from the truck itself and the expectations of unstoppable virility, makes sex seem inevitable and inconsequential,” Balay writes.
Ray Smock recommended Rebecca Solnit’s essay “The Loneliness of Donald Trump: On the Corrosive Privilege of the Most Mocked Man in the World.” The final paragraph states:
The man in the white house sits, naked and obscene, a pustule of ego, in the harsh light, a man whose grasp exceeded his understanding, because his understanding was dulled by indulgence. He must know somewhere below the surface he skates on that he has destroyed his image, and like Dorian Gray before him, will be devoured by his own corrosion in due time too. One way or another this will kill him, though he may drag down millions with him. One way or another, he knows he has stepped off a cliff, pronounced himself king of the air, and is in freefall. Another dungheap awaits his landing; the dung is all his; when he plunges into it he will be, at last, a self-made man.
Barbed wire at Iolani Palace in Honolulu, 1941
way or another this will kill him, though he may drag down millions with him. One way or another, he knows he has stepped off a cliff, pronounced himself king of the air, and is in freefall. Another dungheap awaits his landing; the dung is all his; when he plunges into it he will be, at last, a self-made man.
The Journal of American History (JAH) June 2017 issue contains a review of “Bayonets in Paradise: Hawaii during World War II” by Harry N. and Jane L. Scheiber that mentions territorial governor Joseph Boyd Poindexter, subject of my M.A. thesis. In response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Poindexter, on orders from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, placed the islands under the control of the army until such time that the danger of a second attack no longer existed. By mid-1942 Hawaii officials, including Poindexter’s successor, Ingram Stainback, were united in opposing continued military rule, which did not end until October 1944. In a (JAH) review of Geoffrey M. White’s “Memorializing Pearl Harbor,” IU’s John Bodnar wrote:
Japanese Americans questioned an orientation film at the memorial that had contained a scene suggesting that there might have been a security risk on the islands during the war – a point that was simply not true. The depiction was removed in a second edition of the film.
Recruitment table at Porter County Courthouse
soldiers march down Lincolnway in Valparaiso
Doug Ross of the NWI Times called me for information about Gary during World War I. I offered to send him “Gary’s First Hundred Years” and he took me upon it. In April, Ross did a feature about the hundredth anniversary of American entrance into “The Great War” that included photos provided by the Porter County Museum.
Ukrainian TV producer Polina Shaganenko (above) wants to interview me, and I set something up to take place in the Archives. Here is his request:
I am a Director of Overseas Communications at Mariupol Regional Television (MTV), Ukraine. I hereby would like to kindly ask you to take a part in the visit of our team to Gary during the first week of July 2017. The purpose of our visit, which will include a number of the cities within the Rust Belt (including Gary, Cleveland, Youngstown, Flint, Detroit and Pittsburgh), is to hear at firsthand about a unique experience that your country obtained as a result of the decay of the US steel industry, as well as the efforts towards adaptation to the new reality. As you may know, the Ukrainian steelmaking is facing similar problems that have had so damaging effect on the US industry in the last 30 years, once strongest in the world. It would be extremely important for our public opinion to learn about this story and adjust rather indifferent attitude to the industry, and steelmaking in particular.
Lorenzo Arredondo with reporter Suzanne Spencer
This from Indianapolis film producer Kim Jacobs:
Some happy news about WFYI's Bicentennial series---Parts 1 and 3 were nominated for an Emmy from the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences. Last Saturday, Part 3 which featured a large section on NW Indiana---won in the category of Historical Programs. It says so much about your work to tell the stories of that area of our state. Please share the news with Steve McShane and any other interested folks. Many thanks for all your help.
Kim and historian James Madison came to the Archives to interview me and Mayor Richard Hatcher. They were looking for a Latino family to include in the documentary on the history of Indiana, and I suggested the Arredondos. They not only interviewed Judge Lorenzo Arredondo but other family members as well, including Ray and Trish, authors of Maria’s Journey. In fact, Kin emailed them as well, and they called me up to make sure I’d heard the news.