Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ides of March

“On my own again
Alone again tonight.”

Up before seven, I caught the latest alarming news about the Japanese nuclear reactors. Cooked six pieces of bacon (two slices cut into thirds) to go with OJ, coffee and cheerios mixed with blueberries and banana slices. Made a chicken sandwich for lunch to go with celery, radishes, chips, and cookies. On the drive to IUN listened to sports jocks talk about the Blackhawks and the NCAA tournament. Thirteen years ago today, Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew hit a miracle shot against Old Miss. Filling in my brackets, I picked Kansas to beat Ohio State in the Final but both Michigan and Michigan State to go far and Bucknell to pull another upset against third-seeded UConn, which had to play four days in a row to win the Big East tournament.

Got to school and discovered I’d somehow skinned my left thumb to the point where it was bleeding slightly. Bummer! I received emails from TRACES editor Ray Boomhower (who received my “Maria” article), Chris Young (he got the grant from the Virginia Historical Society and thanked me for the letter of endorsement), Ron Cohen (about a rally in Lansing, Michigan, that Michael Moore is organizing), Fred McColly (with advice on rain barrels), and Karren Lee (thanking me for telling her about the book club event and offering to loan me Simone de Beauvoir’s “Love Letters” book). I told her I found “Transatlantic Love Affair: Letters to Nelson Algren” in IUN’s library and added: “I had no idea there were so many letters – 559 pages worth. Simone came to Miller Beach twice and according to the editor (Sylvie – her daughter?) had a miserable time in 1950 and a better experience in 1951 although by then Nelson’s affections had turned to someone else. He does not seem to be a very lovable man. Your comparisons last evening between the meal habits of your Romanian relatives with the Arredondos was very interesting, and the restaurant you described brought back memories of being in Istanbul and seeing clusters of men engaged in animated discussion while smoking and drinking coffee (or whatever) from small cups or glasses. If and when they ate, the platters were probably heavy on meat.”

Took my lunch to the cafeteria but found it devoid of faculty, it being Spring Break. They were out of milk, so I could have eaten the sandwich in my “cage.” A reporter from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, aware that I had written about the Bailly antinuclear fight, called for my reaction to the impending catastrophe in Japan. I gave him a quote about never trusting utility companies, recalled how Ed Osann would ask what one notices about cement, used to contain leaking radiation (the inevitable cracks), and mentioned organized labor’s vital part in the Bailly Alliance. At a rally celebrating the victory Jack Weinberg warned against complacency because there was more work to be done in places such as Illinois. I suggested he call Chesterton Tribune editor David Canright, more knowledgeable than I and a leader in the Bailly Alliance.

Donna DeGradi from the Bookstore called to say someone from IU Bloomington was interested in buying my Gary and Vietnam Shavings. I told her to have him come to the Archives. His name was John Gusan, and he grew up in a Romanian household in Gary, attending Froebel and Lew Wallace (Class of 1959). He was on board a ship during the bogus Gulf of Tonkin incident and relayed messages from the ships involved back to the National Security Agency. He mentioned that his brother-in-law is Greek and was pleased when I gave him “Daughters of Penelope” and “Age of Anxiety.”

Waiting to see Vice Chancellor Malik, I skimmed through Keith Sinclair’s “History of New Zealand.” Scholars call the first Polynesian settlers moa-hunters because they feasted on massive flightless birds that were as tall as ten feet high. Not surprisingly the moas were soon extinct. Malik loved the Eileen Bender tribute DVD and suggested we find footage of her participating in a legendary choir session.

I emailed Bruce Allen that I was putting the AT Auto cap he gave me and other Upper Dublin classmates at the reunion to good use, what with all the snow and rain. He sent me a nice reply, saying he’ll re-stock me next time we cross paths. That inspired me to call him and we had a good chat about classmates we’re in touch with and how much we miss Dick Garretson, who dragged us into a bar in 1980 to watch the Phils clinch the NL pennant. He took a bunch of people to the reunion banquet in a limo designed to look like a vintage car, and I told him my goal was to be in one like that at our next reunion.

Filled the Corolla tank with 11 gallons of gas selling for $3.51.9 a gallon. Talked to Toni in Michigan, who spent much of the day shopping for stuff Alissa needs in her new apartment. Had leftover filet minion while watching the Bulls, in green uniforms for St. Patrick’s Day, get another win to move ahead of Boston for the number one seed in the East. Aretha Franklin was at courtside, and often maligned Keith Bogans had five threes an a season high 17 points against the Wizards.

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