Friday, June 1, 2012

No Bed of Roses

“Life can lift you up
It can drag you down
Life don’t have to be no bed of roses.”
   “Bed of Roses,” The Indians

Janet Dermody informed us that husband Mike has throat cancer.  He will be going through extensive treatment at a center in Boston.  That really sucks.  My mentor was a true friend for comrades Al Samter, Fred Gaboury and Ken Applehans when they were battling the “Big C.”

A personable guy named Elvis from Monroe Pest Control sprayed the outside of our condo to eradicate carpenter bees that had infested areas near the roof.  Later two guys cut down the ash tree in front of our unit that an emerald ash borer was in the process of destroying.

Gloria Biondi and Ron Cohen informed me that Arch McKinlay mentioned in his Times column that he was disappointed with my “anything but complimentary” appraisal of Gary native Tom Harmon.  There is no denying that the Horace Mann graduate was the best all-around athlete in the city’s history, but in my account of the WW II years I concluded that photo journalist John Bushemi was a bigger hero.  For one thing he volunteered to enter military service whereas Harmon was a reluctant draftee.  Bushemi died in the Pacific and therefore figuratively was the hero who never moved away while Harmon told people Ann Arbor was his hometown and became a Californian.  I did not mean to disparage Harmon, who returned for the 1956 Jubilee and maintained contact with a nun at Holy Angels and radio personality Tom Higgins.

Thanking me for “Gary’s First Hundred Years,” Jack Buhner (above, with Chancellor William Lowe at Time capsule event) wrote: “I was in Gary during the fiftieth anniversary festival in 1956.  At that time some of the history you relate seemed much closer.  A few of the actors were still around as well as much of the scenery.  And you should have experienced the show U.S. Steel put on!  Betty and I were guests at most plants and were wined and dined along with hundreds of others almost to death.  Also thanks again for all you did to make my visit so memorable.  It was a great capstone for my long life with Indiana University.”

Lewis Sink visited the Archives from Fort Wayne seeking info about a restaurant his family owned in Gary 75 years ago. Using a city directory, I located its address and that of the Sink family residence.

The Redhawk Café manager saw me in the Cedar Lake documentary that still airs on PBS.  If my Shavings volume weren’t out of print, I’d have given her one.  She’s lived there for 20 years.  Cheryl from Accurate Hearing Aid Services ordered the Portage issue, going fast since I began using them during talks about the Region during the Roaring Twenties.

I helped Toni on two NY Times crossword puzzle clues, recognizing the answers to the Cambodian ruler (Lon) Nol and the Elvis clone who sang “It’s Only Make Believe, (Conway) Twitty.

Son Dave posted these remarks on his last day of class at East Chicago central: “Said goodbye to the senior class of 2012 today...I must say that today was a strong affirmation for the reasons I became a teacher. Emotions flowed and tears were shed, but the overall vibe from everyone involved touched me genuinely in ways I wasn't aware I could still be touched. The young people I worked with this year give me HOPE for the future and I will miss them tremendously. I LOVE the CLASS of 2012!!!!!”

“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” with Judi Densch and Maggie Smith is in its second week at Goodrich Portage 16.  I suggested the film to the manager after leaving an empty (except for me) showing of “The Dictator.”  At the time he was doubtful that they’d be showing it despite my claim that lots of seniors would come see it. I was prescient; the place was packed with elderlies.  The cast included the great Judi Densch and Maggie Smith.  Toni found it somewhat depressing, but I thought it was uplifting.

Gianluca invited me to join the History and Philosophy departmet at a Chinese restaurant in Chicago to celebrate Chris Young’s tenure and promotion, but we’ll be seeing “Oklahoma!” that afternoon. Too bad; it’s a nice place.  Diana Chen Lin took us there after she got tenure.

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