Below, JFK and Gary mayor George Chacharis, Feb. 5, 1960
Friday, October 11, 2013
“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on,” John F. Kennedy
NWI Times reporter Phil Wieland wanted information on JFK links to Northwest Indiana for a piece that will run on the fiftieth anniversary of his death. Kennedy visited Gary on February 5, 1960, and toured U.S. Steel. In “Gary: A Pictorial History” Ron and I used a photo from the Archives showing the President wearing a hardhat. In the caption we wrote: “At the time Mayor George Chacharis was attempting to push through a referendum that would have enabled the city to take over the Gary-Hobart Water Company. When U.S. Steel sent a bus for the party with a sign reading “Vote NO on the Referendum,” Chacharis refused to get in and went to the mill with Kennedy in an automobile. Later at Hellenic Hall Chacharis poured Kennedy a drink of bottled water so that the banquet guests would not have to drink Gary-Hobart Water Company water. The referendum lost 25, 539 to 10,723.”
Pamela Lowe, below, at Asia Day
At IUN Asia Day the plentiful food was spicy except for the egg roll and baklava but delicious. My ears were sweating, but it was worth it. Joining me were Chuck Gallmeier, Dave Parnell, Anne Balay (wearing cuff links that Riva gave her as a seven-month anniversary present), an Asian professor whose name I missed, Pamela Lowe, and the Chancellor. A Punjabi drummer accompanied the Indian dancers whose costumes were quite exotic. When Business professor Surekha Rao came looking for dance participants, I declined but Pamela and David were good sports and joined in. I talked up the idea of having sports played in Asian nation as part of next year’s activities, like something Alissa organized at Grand Valley State.
I gave Anne the latest Rolling Stone issue that contains an article entitled “The Hidden War Against Gay Teens” about Southern Christian school expelling kids suspected of being gay. These schools receive millions of dollars in state funds. Brian Stauuffer writes, “It’s fully legal because the laws make it so. An, as the school-choice movement gains ground, it’s certain that other states will soon pass similar legislation.”
I tried to nap so I’d not fall asleep during the Bears game but ended up watching an especially violent “Sopranos” episode (I didn’t look when Tony and Christopher were sawing up a body). I missed ten minutes of the fourth quarter but was awake when Eli Manning threw a third interception to drop the Giants’ record to 0-6. Detroit advanced to the AL championship finals, making Phil happy.
An obnoxious KFC ad features two cops in a squad car. The white cop is eating chicken when a bad guy is fleeing a scene. The black cop tells his partner to chase him and then eats his chicken while he is gone.
Frederic and Blandine were in Chicago the other day speaking to film students. On the South Shore afterwards, Blandine said when they approached Gary, she felt like she was coming home. Sweet. They interviewed me on tape for two hours. At the end I thought it was 10:30 only to discover it was really 11:30. Their questions covered past events (Native Americans, the 1919 strike, the Richard Hatcher administration) as well as the present. I stressed that quite a few folks were proud to be from Gary and that the city had many nice neighborhoods. My fantasy is to win the $500,000 MacArthur “Genius” Award for Steel Shavings and build a mansion near campus that could serve as the chancellor’s residence after I’m gone.
James Wallace was in the Archives picking Steve McShane and my brain about a future diversity event with Dolly Millender. Employing a word Charlie Blum frequently used while on the Gary Centennial Committee, I said it needed something with sizzle in order to assure a crowd, such as inviting Avery Brooks or some other Gary-born celebrity to perform. I introduced James to Frederic and Blandine before we went to lunch.
A recent poll revealed that most people blame Republicans for the government shutdown, sparking hope that the few moderates in the GOP might soon come to their senses. I’m not counting on it.
Writing a review for Choice and recalled adviser Sam Merrill’s writing rules, I decided I didn’t need a conclusion. I still feel guilty on those rare occasions when I use the passive voice.