Thursday, April 26, 2012

Other America

“I got the message on my machine
The party starts at 10:15
So tell me, can you give me a ride?
Drop what you’re doing and meet me outside.”
    The Donnas, “Gimme a Ride

Ron Cohen mentioned that a party is in the works celebrating Tanice Foltz’s promotion to full professor.  Last year Vice Chancellor David Malik presented her with the Founders Day teaching award.  Since she loves to dance, I may give her a Donnas CD.  My favorite is 2001’s “The Donnas Turn 21.”  Chris Young also was promoted and awarded tenure.  Ron spent last weekend at a history conference in Milwaukee and ran into former Marylanders Dave Goldfield and Don Ritchie as well as Ray Mohl, whom I replaced at IUN 42 years ago when he got another job based on his publications on the history of Gary. 

Ron also gave me an excerpt from Michael Bronski’s “A Queer History of the United States” that discusses the “romantic” friendship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette and between a James Hervey Bingham and Daniel Webster, who wrote: “Yes, James, I must come; we will yoke together again; your little bed is just wide enough; we will practice at the same bar, and be as friendly a pair of single fellows as ever cracked a nut.”

Maryland professor Ira Berlin thanked me for the Shavings volume I sent him for the Merrill Seminar room and added: “Good to meet you at Ray [Smock]'s Distinguished Alumni lecture--yes, Ray again distinguished himself. Your warm eulogy for Marian and memories of Sam fit exactly with my own memories. Look forward to seeing you at the next alumni lecture and hope you will consider giving one yourself.”  What an honor that would be.

Eighty years ago H.L. Mencken had lunch with F. Scott Fitzgerald (named for second cousin Francis Scott Key) and observed: “He is a charming fellow, and when sober makes an excellent companion.  Unfortunately, liquor sets him wild and he is apt, when drunk, to knock over a dinner table, or run his automobile into a bank building.”

Last time I went to post on my blog, the format had changes, leaving me confused on a number of counts, including how to edit previous posts.  Thankfully librarian Scott Hudnall came to my rescue, not only with editing but making the background of my site more attractive and showing me how to add photos and even things from YouTube.  I immediately added a photo of Dave’s old band LINT as well as a Shoes’ “Hate to Run” video to my “White Wedding” post.  Scott was very patient with me, having me do the procedures rather than just doing them himself.

Ron Trigg, who has donated material to the Archives pertaining to the Town of Porter, is writing a manuscript about his experiences as a traveler and diplomat in Africa and wanted advice on finding a publisher.  I made some inquiries on his behalf since I’m confident the project has great merit.

On historian Paul O’Hara’s recommendation Don Terry, a Chicagoan who writes for the New York Times, wants to interview me about the decline of Gary for an “American Prospect” Chicagoan who writes for the New York Times magazine article commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Michael Harrington’s “The Other America.”

IUN’s Marketing department put out a moving announcement concerning Leroy Gray’s death.  Former registrar Pete Kesheimer called him “one of the kindest, friendliest people that you would ever hope to meet” who “would go to any lengths” to help students.  Leroy, who was born the same month as I (February 1942), was a huge IU fan, and as a joke at Leroy’s retirement reception Pete got a big laugh when he took off a trench coat to reveal that he was wearing a sweatshirt from the University of Kentucky, IU’s big rival.

I emailed Jerry Pierce that the History department’s old stomping grounds, Tamarack Hall has finally been razed and underneath the structure was a foul body of water with toads, fish and muck.  When we’d have a heavy rain, foul-smelling liquid would spew out of the water fountain near my office.  Jerry recalled the hallway discussions and wrote: “I distinctly remember during the 2004 election when Kerry conceded I heard a loud ‘Goddammit’ from your office.”  Ohio Republicans stole the Buckeye State by making it virtually impossible for students to vote.

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