Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Slow Turning

“It’s been a slow turning
From the inside out
A slow turning, baby,
Not fade away, not fade away.”
John Hiatt

I’ve been playing a 1988 John Hiatt album, “Slow Turning,” that I discovered I’d kept. Perhaps the most famous song on it is “Tennessee Plates,” about a guy in prison making license plates. “Not Fade Away” is a famous Buddy Holly song.

LeeLee Devenney has been posting photos on Facebook of sights she’s visiting in Ireland – makes me want to go there. Concerning his native-American garden, Fred McColly reported: “Nine months after my wild potato seeds from the international potato institute in Peru were seized by a rampaging USDA the bureaucrats are finally prepared to release them to me...months after I obtained some from the potato introduction station in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin...the wheels grind slowly.” Sam Barnett posted a video of the Hollies performing “Carrie Anne” in 1968 on the Smothers Brothers show. I wanted to name Phil Carrie Anne had he been a girl. Post-Trib columnist Jerry Davich wrote: “While at the office, I just overheard this police scanner traffic: ‘Man masturbating in his pickup truck."’ Then, a few seconds later, I heard this one: ‘A 50-year-old man with a possible stroke.’
 Geez, I hope they're not related.” Davich has a Friday radio show. If the newspaper goes belly up, he may have a future in broadcasting.

Michael Boos updated me on how his manuscript about the Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative. Dr. Lynne Westphal of the U.S. Forest Service sent him this anecdote: “One day in about 2003 or so, we were having a family brunch in our Evanston home. My partner was wearing the Wolf Lake T-shirt – you know the one with the swans? My mother looked across the table, saw it and exclaimed “Wolf Lake? My Wolf Lake? The one where my father took me fishing as a kid?” AWLI started and continues as a labor of love, for Wolf Lake and for the community at large. They have had significant impact in advocating for the Lake, and keeping it in our minds and our hearts, in keeping Wolf Lake “my Wolf Lake” – for all of us.”

I talked to Steve’s class about Gary and Portage during the Twenties. The population of the Steel City doubled to 100,000 (more than at present) while Portage remained primarily rural. I had students read reminiscences by old Portage residents and going over material from my Gary book pertaining to trials, religious controversies, and advertising stunts. I hadn’t ever talked about evangelist Bob Lewis or stunt driver Cherry Lamont before, so it was fun. Several African-American women taking the course for graduate credit asked interesting questions and afterwards asked me to autograph “Gary’s First Hundred Years.” I plugged my Fall class on diaries, journals and memoirs.

At Walgreen’s I picked up travel-size containers of gel and shaving cream for my Maryland trip and printed out my boarding pass. I tried to join the frequent flyer program for American Airlines but struck out. There was a part where you had to write down letters that were strung together in a weird type of cursive. I’ve never been good at deciphering them and don’t even know what they’re for.

Lynette Jones thanked me for sending her my “Retirement Journal” issue of Shavings (volume 40) and added: “You have always been so kind to me and recognized my potential. As I was going through your book I laughed and was refreshed by your candor.” She’s going to start keeping a journal.

On April 4, 1904, TR’s wife Edith complained in her diary that people who showed up for the Easter egg roll were ruining the grass on the White House lawn. The custom then, evidently started during the Hayes administration, was to roll hard-boiled eggs downhill. One year while Nixon was President there was a hunt, but the ones not found left in stunk. Later artificial eggs replaced the real thing.

In the news: tornados swept through Texas laying waste to many homes. Nobody died, but many families lost all their possessions. In politics Romney, the “Etch-a-Sketch” candidate went three for three in primary battles against “Crazy” Rick Santorum.

I showed the tribute documentary Aaron Pigors and I made to David Malik about his tenure as director of FACET. His only suggestion was to revise the title (“The Influence of David Malik”) to suggest it was part of a series on FACET directors. He asked if he could take home a copy to show his family.

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