Monday, October 31, 2011

Pop Up Art

Up and down Lake Street in Gary’s Miller Beach business district on Saturday from 6 until 9 local artists displayed their wares at a dozen different locations. After having Chinese food at Dick and Cheryl Hagelbergs, we started out at the old Miller Drugs, where Corey Hagelberg and seven others had hung their work. I had not been there since owner Frank had finally given up trying to compete with the big pharmacy chains. Thirty years ago, I persuaded him to offer “Gary: A Pictorial History” for sale, and he ended up unloading about 200 copies. A big crowd was on hand, including most of our Miller friends, including Nancy and Ron Cohen, Omar Farag, Kay and Bud Rosen, Karren and Pat Lee, Tom Eaton and Pat Conlin, Cindy Fredrick, Bill and Terry Payonk, Gene and Judy Ayers, Jim and Elaine Spicer, and Tanice Foltz in a belly dancer outfit under her coat (she was going to a Halloween Party later). Laura Kittle, who works at IUN, waved, but she was gone before I had a chance to talk with her. Down the street in Curves, a fitness center, were Al and Alice Sasek, who was displaying some of her glass pieces. Joyce’s Lake Street Gallery was packed, and she had art displayed on the surprisingly large second floor area. Even Miller Pizza had pieces on display; we ran into old friend Ramon there. Most places had wines and snacks, but we saved enough room for pumpkin pie when we got back to the Hagelbergs.

Had my best gaming day in months, winning three of four, including a rare victory in Stone Age by playing the starvation strategy. I lucked out in Acquire when both Dave and Tom spent the bulk of their original $6,000 on Continental stock, each thinking the other had the merging tile. The only reason I stayed out of the race was that I would have been doomed to finish third. Instead I bought stock in the company involved in the first merger, while Continental languished.

The Republican primary race is getting stranger and stranger. Establishment candidate Mitt Romney excites nobody, and Texas governor Rick Perry keeps sinking in the polls like a lead balloon and is even behind pizza man Herman Cain in the Lone Star State. Liberal and conservative commentators alike are outraged by a Cain ad where campaign aide Mark Block is shown smoking, but it certainly generated much publicity. The press loves to build someone up and then tear him down. The latest revelation is that two women filed sexual harassment grievances against him 15 years ago while he was head of the National Restaurant Association. He called the accusations false and at first claimed to be unaware of any settlement paid to his accusers before acknowledging that he knew about an agreement.

My review of the Thyra Edwards biography is taking shape. Her sister was the saintly Thelma Marshall, longtime director of Lake County Children’s Home, who co-chaired the local chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom when Toni and I moved to Gary. It was the most active area antiwar group, and both Toni and I joined as a way to protest the Vietnam fiasco. Thelma’s son was Shakespearean actor William Marshall, blacklisted for his radical views and most famous, ironically for playing “Blacula” in that Black exploitation flick.

I sent this email to Ray Smock: “It looks like Herman Cain is a victim of a high-tech lynching, just like his favorite Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas. It was inevitable that when Cain didn’t quickly fade away like Trump, Bachman and Perry, his sex life would get examined. Much as I loathe Clarence Thomas, I never saw Anita Hill as being all that much of a victim. She could have walked away when he started talking about “Long Dong Silver” and pubic hair, simply told him to shut up, or, better yet, slapped him upside his head. Many Black guys of our generation banter about sex, even in mixed company, in a way that might be offensive to feminists and faint-of-hearts. If crudeness disqualified one for the presidency, only wimps would be left to choose from (to paraphrase Doris Kearns Goodwin at the time of Clinton’s impeachment). If Cain did something out of bounds, OK, let’s hear about it, but the press is taking the bullshit position that what matters more that what he might have done is whether he is being evasive or covering it up.”

I added, “The climate in Washington, vis a vis Obama, reminds me of Chicago after Harold Washington was elected mayor – the losers were determined never to cooperate or acknowledge his legitimacy. MSNBC has this blurb where “Morning Joe” Scarborough is talking with Bill Clinton and claims that as much as Republicans fought him, they were able to work for the common good. In the original interview, knowing that is bullshit, Clinton looks Joe in the eye and with a grin replies, “Well, you did shut the government down twice and vote to impeach me.”

Ray replied that we’ll soon find out with the Cain thing whether it was just a case of two disgruntled employees or if sexual harassment was a pattern in his life. Regarding Morning Joe, he wrote: “The bit I have seen on Morning Joe, which I catch every day, has Clinton saying that working with Republicans when Scarborough was there was productive. I have not seen the part where he talks about the shut downs and the impeachment. Maybe they edited that part out. Scarborough was one of Newt’s hotheads when he was in the House. He has grown up some since he left Congress. People can change and I certainly don’t despise Joe now like I did when he was in the House. We both have changed. I see the concept of Change writ large in Senator Byrd’s career. From Klansman to Statesman. But some people, especially our dear friends in academic life, cannot forgive Byrd. I hated Byrd in the 60s and 70s. I was diametrically opposed to his positions on Civil Rights and later his superhawk support of the Vietnam War. He will never be fully redeemed for his past positions, but that does not mean we shouldn’t try to see his full context over a half century. It is a very human story, and his career represents some of the major transitions that occurred in American society in our lifetimes.”

Halloween at the condo was much fun. We took our candy and joined neighbor Sue Harrison, who had her garage door up and was seated with her friend Dave and a big bowl of candy. Toni also took over chili. Our front door is somewhat obscured from view, so this way trick-or-treaters could get a double dose at one place. Ken and Christine, whose unit is between Sue’s and ours, were also passing out treats after they arrived home about halfway through the two-hour period. I asked most people who they were, and one guy said, “Jason.” I thought he misunderstood me and was telling me his name, but Toni clued me in that he was referring to the villain in the “Friday the 13th” films.

The Anthropology dollar book sale is underway, and I found a 1997 issue of the literary magazine “Spirits” had contained a poem by Bill Buckley entitled “Down from Walgreen’s” and an essay about shopping and musical tastes by George Bodmer, where he recalled driving into Toronto listening to a Doors tape. Dr. Mucci said someone donated a copy of Steve and my book “Skinning Cats” and said that copies were going for ten bucks on Amazon. I donated “Shavings” issues on the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Mucci claims my magazines always go fast. We’ll see.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mildred Gruenenfelder

Mildred Gruenenfelder, friend and former bridge player in our monthly group, passed away at age 89. The obit mentioned that she worked as a Gary school librarian until age 76 and was a lover of good fiction (a nice touch). Husband Jack taught philosophy at IUN until he was at least that old. The last time I was at the Burns Funeral Home in Hobart was when one of their sons died. Mil was a gentle soul who enjoyed reading my Shavings magazines and loaned me a couple of Graham Greene novels. At the funeral home were son Tom, who lives in Bloomington with his wife, and Dawn Marie (formerly Vivian), who is a Buddhist monk.

Sheriff Dominguez and I finished going over the copy editor’s suggestions for his autobiography “Valor.” She found it very clean, and our main task was to make the spelling of words consistent (such as Rosie, the nickname for his sister Rosario) and to clarify things that were slightly vague or unexplained. We agreed with most everything the editor did except when she changed the capital N to lower case in Northwest Indiana. Roy found “Valor” listed as “Forthcoming” on the IU Press website that also contained a brief description of it and short author bios of the Sheriff and me. April 12 was given as the date of publication. People can order it right now.

I got an email from a Marion Uecker, who read my blog and hoped I could provide info about Gary ancestors, including Herman Uecker, a cashier killed in 1919 during a bank robbery and his widow Louise a teacher at Beveridge School. I wrote back: “Herman is mentioned in Ronald Cohen’s book “Children of the Mill” because he was a school board member at the time. The 1926 city directory lists Louise as a teacher and widow of Herman residing at 552 Van Buren. The 1930 directory has her in an apartment at 1902 W Fifth with daughter Marion sten (stenographer?). Next to Marion’s name is A. L. Anchors. Albert L. Anchors was one Gary’s pioneer residents and built apartments on the West Side, so perhaps the A.L. Anchors refers to the owner. The 1941 directory lists Louise’s residence as 805 Madison.

Mike Certa ran into an old friend of ours, Karen Orr, at a wake for a mutual friend. I’d have loved to have seen her. She and then-husband Tom took us on a ten-day cruise of the Virgin Islands around 30 years ago. Tom was a softball teammate and sailed the boat nearly across the Atlantic when it was struck by a submarine and sank. A Portuguese fisherman rescued him. Karen was quite beautiful and voluptuous and a Nursing student at IUN when I first started teaching.

It was taco day (my favorite) at IUN. In the cafeteria were regulars Alan Lindmark, Jean Poulard, Chuck Gallmeier, Kurt Nelson, and Bill Dorin. Ran into Jon Briggs and Anne Balay near the History office. I told Anne I was looking forward to hearing guest speaker Irit Tzvelli speak on “Being Gay in Israel” next Wednesday. She suggested we have lunch afterward.

I bowled poorly but the Engineers won 5 of 7 points, the seventh time we did that this year. Three weeks we were shut out, so our record is 35-35, not bad for a bunch of geezers. The team only had 32 strikes after 29 frames, but we had 8 strikes in the final frame, amazing especially since Frank, our best bowler, didn’t have any of them.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Champagne Cellars of Mareuil

“Caught beneath a landslide
In a champagne supernova.”

Jean Poulard gave me a copy of his book “The Champagne Cellars of Mareuil: The Story of a Family and a Village.” Jean was born in 1939, and the Nazis took over his French village soon afterwards. The Germans occupied the village after the French leader Marshal Petain signed a humiliating treaty in June of 1940. They forced several dozen young men to go to forced labor camps in Germany. I prrofread the manuscript for him and his inscription reads: “To Jim Lane to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for the unfailing collegiality he has always demonstrated to me. Thanks for helping with this endeavor.” I emailed him: “Thank you so much for the awesome book and the thoughtful inscription. It is so great that “Mareuil” was published in English as well as French. You have done a masterful job in keeping alive memories of a family and a village.”

In the prologue Poulard mentions that the village of Mareuil-Sur-Aÿ, located on the right bank of the Marne River, was bombed and had its bridges destroyed and that in July of 1944 he witnessed human corpses being dragged onto its banks. During Allied bombings the wine cellars became a refuge for villagers. Poulard wrote about the Americans liberating Mareuil shortly after the German retreated. Villagers brought them sweets and bottles of champagne and wine and that they were more interested in fresh tomatoes. Two young women who had consorted with German soldiers suffered the humiliation of having their heads shaved. Jean was just five years old at that time. As life returned to normal he recalled following his father on a bike to the family vegetable garden and going for Sunday walks on the bank of the canal observing the fishermen and their catch. He wrote: “There were many pike in the canal. These fish were prized; I loved to eat one when it was well fried.” Poulard’s family moved away from Mareuil in 1949 and after his father died in 1957, Jean came to America with a sister and her American husband. A year later, at age 18, he enlisted in the American army and then pursued a college education at Otterbein College in Ohio before earning advance degrees at the U. of Chicago.

In response to my query Anastasia Churkina, who filmed Steve and me for a short documentary about the decline of Gary, sent a link to the four-minute piece. Steve, who showed her around downtown and got them into the ruins of City Methodist Church, is in it quite a bit while I appear for about five seconds. My only line: Gary’s two growth industries are strip clubs and truck stops.” I’m gone in the blink of an eye.

I’ve been reading “Maggie’s American Dream: The Life and Times of a Black Family by James Comer and plan to have a chapter about Maggie and husband in my “On Their Shoulders” book.

Fred McColly stopped in to see me after planting some winter wheat in his Native American garden. It evidently put good chemicals in the ground and will come up in the early spring.

Returning the Clarence Darrow biography to the Chesterton library I came across Richard M. Lytle’s “The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918: Tragedy Along the Indiana Lakeshore.” The author is a Hammond library and appears to have done an excellent job. Some 86 people died when an engineer fell asleep and his train plowed into an idle Hagenback-Wallace Circus Train. Steve is going to order it for the Archives.

Good eating this week. Tuesday David bought Chinese food for Angie’s 41st birthday. Wednesday I packed a ham and cheese sandwich and just had yogurt, chips, and cookies for supper since I had a condo association board meeting. Thursday was free Latin food at lunch (yummy and perfectly spiced) and then Toni’s stuffed peppers for dinner, and Friday I bogarded a sandwich and some cookies left over after a Faculty Org meeting that I didn’t attend followed by Toni’s flounder and fried green tomatoes (provided by bowling teammate Frank) for dinner. Saturday was Carpatho-Rusyn food for lunch and chili at Hagelbergs. Sunday Toni made stuffed peppers as the Dick Halelberg came over for the Bears game in London and Cheryl went shopping with Toni.

My talk at the Carpatho-Rusyn anniversary banquet went well. I talked about what Gary was like a hundred years ago. Here’s my opening paragraph: “The first decade of the twentieth century was a period of rapid industrialization in the Midwest and also a time when record numbers of newcomers, almost 9 million of them, emigrated to America. Most were from Eastern, Central, and Southern Europe, including many Eastern Rite Catholics from villages located near the Carpathian Mountains. The first destination for some of these newcomers were coalfield areas in Pennsylvania and Illinois. Before they arrived in Gary to work in the recently completed integrated Steel mills of the United States Steel Corporation, Carpatho-Rusyns pursued opportunities in nearby Indiana Harbor and Whiting, as well as the Windy City of Chicago. This mass migration that furnished Gary with so many hard workers was a result of what historians have labeled push factors and pull factors. In eastern Slovokia, for instance, rural poverty and rapid population growth prodded many adventurous young men to embark on the trans-Atlantic journey. Oppression by Hungarian authorities also contributed to the exodus. Pull factors included the lure of a decent paying job and the affordability of steamship fares. Most of the newcomers to America initially hoped to earn enough money to return home and become landowners. Sometimes there was a chain migration effect. In a letter home one former villager might brag about how well he was doing and convince family and friends to follow in his footsteps.”

My hostess, Charlotte Conjelko, was married to an Eastern Rite priest and knew several former IUN faculty, including Ruth Needleman and Lou Ciminillo. Tim Cuprisin, who originally invited me after coming across my blog, followed me with a brief history of the three churches that were founded in Gary in 1911. Fred Chary, who was at the IUN lunch table, knew Charlotte and Father John from various liberal causes. I mentioned that I was reviewing a book about radical journalist Thyra Edwards and the subject of the Scottsboro trials came up. Michelle Stokely was surprised that I had not heard about the successful Broadway musical called “The Scottsboro Boys.”

The Occupy Wall Street movement has come to Gary. People gathered near City Hall Saturday from one to three. The organizers advised participants to “make your protest peaceful but determined” and suggested singing rather than shouting and not to let provocateurs or the police rattle you. Generally, the Gary police have been friendly and cooperative during past antiwar marches. I know many of the organizers, including Julie Chary and Ed Johnston.

Monday, October 17, 2011

California Wedding

“True love
Is not the kind of thing
You should turn down.”
Avett Brothers, “January Wedding”

Toni, Alissa, Josh, and I flew to California Thursday for Jim Satkoski’s wedding. A limo took us to O’Hare and we flew nonstop to LAX via Virgin America Airlines, which provided plenty of seat space and individual TV sets. Alissa’s mom Beth met us with an SUV and drove the 180 miles to Avila Beach on California’s central coast. Beth had reserved us rooms at The Inn, a rustic place right by the Pacific Ocean where the sound of waves reached our room.

The rehearsal was at an apple orchard in a very nice setting. The bride’s parents were of German ancestry and very pleasant. One of Erika’s friends, who had vegan tattooed on her arm, obtained a certificate online that allows her to marry people, and she was nervous, as this was her first ceremony. Alissa was asked to recite a poem by e.e. cummings. At a chapel in San Luis Obispo Jimmy’s mother Donna read kind of a combination prayer and toast and then Jimmy introduced everyone. When he came to me, he mentioned that I had been his Little League coach and that our families were intertwined in many ways, including Phil and Dave being close friends. Then we went to a jazz club for dinner, a vegetarian buffet that was quite delicious followed by a performance by a trio doing what was billed as gypsy jazz. The five of us had a nightcap back at the Inn on an outdoor deck.

San Luis Obispo (Spanish for St. Louis the Bishop) was founded as a Catholic mission in 1772 and now is a college town (home of Cal Poly). The whole area is beautiful with rolling hills and wineries aplenty. We had breakfast at the Custom House, which has a history dating back a century although in 1998 the discovery of oil seepage forced the entire main street to be closed down for four years. Unocal agreed to settle for $30 million to rebuild the downtown and replace the oil-damaged sand. The wedding proceeded without a hitch. Old family friend Tom Horvath – in from New York with his wife and two kids - was best man. It was also great seeing Erick Orr and his family (Margaret and the twins). He’d been in the band LINT with Dave in high school and had come back, to NW Indiana for a reunion concert last year. Jimmy’s birth mother, who he first met about ten years ago, was on hand and got along real well with his parents Donna and Bob. During the dinner and reception afterwards background music included “January Wedding” by the Avett brothers. We topped off the night at a nightclub located at the Madonna Inn, a kitschy landmark hotel. A big band played swing music and the dance floor was filled. Maid of Honor Julie got several of us to jitterbug with her, including the bride’s 73 year-old father. The men’s room was reputed to be one of the top ten in the world and featured a urinal with an activated waterfall. There are several YouTube videos online for those who are curious.

Sunday was traveling day, but beforehand I watched a ceremony dedicating the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D.C. Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder sang, and president Obama gave a stirring speech that provided historic perspective and mentioned the ongoing anti-Wall Street protests and said that MLK would have approved. On the plane I watched the Bears beat up on Donovan McNabb and the hapless Vikings. When Devon Hester ran back a punt for a TD several passengers cheered. Home by midnight, thanks to limo driver Dave. A good trip. It was great seeing Jimmy so happy, being with cool people, and discovering a part of the country I’d never been to before.

Now that Herman Cain has shot up to the top of the Republican Presidential hopefuls, he is getting lots of media scrutiny. It is interesting that Newsweek has “Yes We Cain” on the cover and Time’s latest cover story is “The New Silent Majority” by Joe Klein. Asked about something outrageous that he’d said on the stump, he claimed it was a joke. According to Ray Smock, his sugar daddies are the Koch brothers, the same rightwing billionaires that financed the campaign of the antiunion governor of Wisconsin. As Ray points out, Cain is the darling of evangelicals, who during the nineteenth century, in his words, abandoned blacks once slavery was ended, just like today’s evangelicals abandon children once they are out of the womb.
When we left for California, the weather was still balmy, like it had been for the first two weeks in October. We came back to autumn. When I rebooted my computer, Entourage was missing, but Velate Sullivan came over and found the application. Indiana Magazine of History sent me a book to review, “Thyra J. Edwards: Black Activist in the Global Freedom Struggle.” Thyra lived in Gary for 12 years and was the sister of Saintly Thelma Marshall, who was a social worker and head of the local antiwar group Women’s International league for Peace and Freedom, as well as the mother of actor William Marshall.

At lunch I mentioned that Gloria Steinem talked at a conference marking the twentieth anniversary of the Anita Hill testimony at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings and mentioned that a high percentage of veterans suffering from PTSD were sexually harassed or assaulted. Psychology professor Kurt Nelson, who has done research at VA hospitals, agreed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Handle with Care

“Reputations changeable
Situations tolerable.”
“George Harrison, “Handle with Care”

The George Clooney movie “Ides of March” held my interest despite a rather weak plot line. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti are fantastic as rival campaign managers, and Marisa Tomei shines as a nosey reporter. More memorable was a three-hour documentary directed by martin Scorsese of Beatle George Harrison entitled “Living in the Material World.” Harrison had a spiritual side and a carnal side and could be both caring and ruthless. I loved the part where the Traveling Wilburys, including Roy Orbison, are rehearsing. George got the title to my favorite song, “Handle with Care” from a box that was in the room. George’s wife describes the home invasion and attempted assassination in horrifying detail.

Beatle Paul McCartney, three months younger than I, got married for the third time to a 51 year-old socialite, Nancy Shevell, who reputedly is as rich as he is. Maybe richer, considering his last wife took him pretty good to the cleaners.

Time magazine stopped the presses to put Steve Jobs, who died of cancer, on the cover. Nice touch for a man who ranks with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison as one of the great innovators of all time. On a lesser note Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis kicked the bucket. Though he was one of the most hated men in the sport, you would never know it from the tributes he is getting.

At some Values Conference put together by evangelicals, a minister who introduced Texas governor Perry referred to Mormonism, Romney’s religion, as a cult. Even though fewer than a third of all Americans support the Tea Party, Republican candidates dare not even hint at being anything but orthodox when it comes to so-called family values. In an email to Ray Smock I made reference to Hank Williams, Jr., leaving Monday Night Football after comparing Obama’s golf outing with John Boehner to Hitler playing golf with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I wrote: “The last Saturday Night Live had a couple funny skits, especially one about Hank Williams, Jr., refusing to apologize for comparing Obama to Hitler and the other about Chris Christie explaining why he isn’t running. The show has been pretty bad since Tiny Fey stopped doing Palin and Obama got in – it’s hard to mock the Prez and even though the guy who does him has the mannerisms down, most skits just fell flat. Governor Mitt Romney seems more and more like what Eisenhower was to the Republican Party on the 1950s – the Eastern establishment candidate trying to keep the crazies from taking over the Grand Old Party. It is amazing how much the yokels hate him even though Mr. Sincerity has SLICK written all over him.”

I picked up a biography of Clarence Darrow at the Chesterton library subtitled “Attorney for the Damned.” Author John A Farrell wrote the 2002 biography “Tip O’Neill and the American Century” that I reviewed for Magill’s Literary Annual. One of Darrow’s first unpopular cases was trying to save the life of crazed assassin Patrick Prendergast, who killed Chicago mayor Carter Harrison in 1893. It was the last time one of his clients was executed. In a chapter called “Free Love” Farrell writes that Darrow was a rake but not a heel. Like Bill Clinton, he took interest in and respected those he seduced and didn’t lead them on. Many were young Hull House workers who were not lesbians like Lady Jane.

It was a bad sports weekend with the Phillies knocked out of the playoffs, IU bowing to Illinois and the Eagles’s so-called “Dream Team” falling to 1 and 4. Tiger Woods finished thirtieth in a golf tournament, and a fan got arrested for throwing a hot dog at him.

By happy coincidence most Court One condo residents were outside when I took out the garage container and recycle bins. The couple in Unit 411 normally walks two dogs but only had one with them. The other evidently splits time with a former spouse. One person suggested we have a group yard sale. I’ll find out at the next board meeting if we can.

Shannon Pontney called for our address because she’s getting married in December. She appreciated my mention in v.41 of her and her dad, Rich, who died unexpectedly after a fall. I haven’t met the fiancé; her old boyfriend, Maury, I kept calling Rory until it got to be a standing joke. She said she’d understand if I didn’t come all the way to Fort Wayne for the wedding, and I told her I’d come even if it were in California (where, in fact, we’re headed next weekend for Jimmy Satkoski’s nuptials.

Budd Ballou dropped by the Archives and, having read volume 41 over the weekend, asked how I knew his friend, attorney Clyde Compton. I drew a blank for a moment and then recalled how he attended my talk to the Ogden Dunes Historical Society and noticed I had dedicated my Postwar issue to Art Daronatsy and other “Old Lefties.” He was a big admirer and friend of Art.

Sent this email to Chris Young: “I had a chance to read “Gentle Power of Opinion: The Federalist Campaign against the Massachusetts Constitutional Society” over the weekend and found it, as expected, very insightful and well-written. O thought the sub-headings were very useful in introducing the various sections. How about that eerie picture of Jedidiah Morse – what type of reproduction is that, an artist’s rendering, perhaps? He looks like a truly scary individual.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mind Space

“You gotta stay
In your mind.”
D J Luna, “Mindspace”

On October 3 Ann Fritz of IUN’s Gallery for Contemporary Art hosted a reception for six excellent Chicago artists, including Louise LeBourgeois, who does lush landscapes of areas near Lake Michigan as well as the lake itself. One of just waves and sky was my favorite. The show was entitled “Hand Space/Mind Space,” and the artists were on hand talking informally about their pieces. Louise mentioned liking to swim in Lake Michigan and once feared that she had gone out too far when it suddenly got foggy and she could feel rip tides. She teaches at Columbia College, where several of my students have gone. Her business card is a small square replicas of one of her paintings with the info on how to contact her on the back.

Steve McShane introduced me to Budd Ballou, a local historian and Geography teacher, who was in the Archives researching old school buildings that existed in south Lake County over a century ago. He was fascinated with my Shavings issue on Cedar Lake and familiar with the writings of historian Beatrice Horner, who is featured on the cover. A former wrestling coach, he mentioned knowing Bob Petyko, whose controversial remarks are a highlight of the issue, and coaching his son. Petyko came of age during the Sixties, when his hometown, nicknamed Cedar Tucky was a rendezvous spot for motorcycle gangs.

It’s nail-biting time in the Phillies-Cardinals series. Albert Pujols has been fantastic, stealing third base in one game, getting four hits in another, and last night throwing Chase Utley out at third when he tried to take an extra base on a hit-and-run groundout. Hopefully “Doc” Holladay can win the decisive game on Friday.

Searching for information about the parents of Gary-born Nobel Prize winner (in Economics) Joseph Stiglitz, I found a 2005 obit on his mother Charlotte that claimed she taught at Purdue Cal until she retired at age 80 in 1995. I called fellow historian Lance Trusty, but he hadn’t heard of her. Odd! She could have been a part-timer or maybe the obit had the facts wrong. I have emailed Stiglitz at two sites, but return messages indicate he doesn’t answer most queries. The Wall of Legends committee is honoring him and another Gary-born Nobel winner, Paul Samuelson, in December along with five Medal of Honor winners and the Jacksons. I did find some info on Stiglitz’s parent in Michael Hirsh’s Capital Offense: How Washington’s Wise Men Turned America Over to Wall Street. His father Nate was an insurance salesman.

The Chesterton Tribune article by Kevin Nevers finally came out, entitled “IUN Historian listens to the region’s voices.” As I emailed him, it was worth the wait and as good as anything written about what I’ve been trying to do with Steel Shavings. He mentions that I’m a bowler, sports fan, fantasy footballer, WXRT listener, recent resident of Chesterton, and proud Hoosier. I had asked him to emphasize the student “Ides of March” journals and he quotes from four of them, as well as this Editor’s Note excerpt: “Working mothers struggled with homework, jobs, and family duties, including caring for elderly parents and grandparents. Almost everyone complained of rising gas prices and food costs and worried about the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan and the military operations against Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi. Primarily Education majors, they had strong opinions about the union rallies in Indianapolis and Madison, Wisconsin, to protect teachers.”

Electrical Engineers won 5 of 7 points thanks to our new guy Duke. I had pathetically few strikes but did win two of the quarter-pots. I called Bill, our captain, with the good news. He can’t drive after dark and misses coming to the alley – maybe in the spring, he said. Stayed up to see heavy metal band Mastodon do “Curl of the Burl” on Letterman. It starts out. “I killed a man ‘cause he killed my goat.” The title means something like “It’s just the way of the world.”