Wednesday, October 23, 2013


“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” Eleanor Roosevelt

A 12 year-old Nevada middle school student shot several classmates, killed a Math teacher (Michael Landsberry, a former marine) trying to protect others, and then turned the gun on himself.  Beforehand, he indicated that he was seeking revenge on those who had bullied him.  Soon after I moved to Michigan and started eighth grade I was running down the hall to catch the bus when a kid evidently stuck out his foot and I went sprawling.  I didn’t know who did it, embarrassed just got up and continued on my way rather than seek a confrontation.  The only other time I was bullied was by a teammate on my seventh grade football team.  Before the coach arrived, a guy went down the bench hitting kids on the head.  When he tried to rap me, I put up my hand, which struck his nose and it started bleeding.  He ran into the locker room, and I ran after him – to apologize and have the incident end right there - which it did. In the eyes of my friends I was very brave, but what I did was inadvertent and for self-defense only.

Diana Chen-Lin circulated a link to C-Span in connection with Nicole Anslover’s appearance next Monday on a program about Bess Truman.  Last week two historians discussed Eleanor Roosevelt.  They did a program combining Jane Pierce with my great-great-great aunt Harriet Lane.  Jane spent most of her time writing maudlin letters to her dead son.  On the other hand, Harriet was a vivacious hostess, often wearing outfits that some thought scandalous because she showed so much of her ample breasts.  Ann Covall called her the second most popular First Lady, topped only by Dolly Madison.
 Harriet Lane, First Lady for her uncle, James Buchanan
Grace Coolidge was much cooler than her dour Puritan hubby Calvin.  Touring a government farm, she passed the chicken coops and asked her guide if roosters copulated more than once a day.  “Dozens of times,” she learned, than said, “Please tell that to the President.”  According to the story, perhaps apocryphal, Coolidge, when told about the rooster, inquired, “Same hen every time?”  When told the rooster serviced the entire flock, he allegedly said, “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”

Sports Illustrated has a poignant article about Bison Dele, known as Brian Wilson when he played center for the NBA champion Bulls in 1997.  A free spirit who changed his name to reflect his African and Native American heritage, he disappeared in the South Pacific while on a catamaran with three others, including his brother Kevin, who probably murdered him, his girlfriend Serena Karlan, and skipper Bertrand Saldo.  The brother committed suicide soon afterwards.

I wore my winter jacket for the first time, as the temp dropped into the 30s with predictions of rain mixed with snow later.  Noticed that gas at Speedway was down to $3.29 per gallon, lowest in memory, so filled up the Corolla.
Taking time out from duties as Lady Redhawk basketball coach and for IUN’s Marketing department, Ryan Shelton saved my butt after I encountered a mysterious problem using the InDesign program.  Archives volunteer Dave Mergl, noticing I had left the lock and keys outside my cage, asked what I’d do if he locked me in.

October’s Soup and Substance speaker, Jessica Lawson, a.k.a. “The Feminist Hulk,” has 74,000 Twitter followers and appeared via Skype rather than in person.  During the recent government shutdown she disseminated info about how to continue obtaining needed WIC supplies.
Anne Balay’s “Steel Closets” page proofs arrived.  Anne, above, is really, in her words, “delirious with happiness.”  She depositing tapes of her oral interviews at Cornell University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center.  The curator wanted to know if in a hundred years it could release the names.  Anne probably would have donated the material to the Calumet Regional Archives had her superiors at the university not treated her so shabbily.   She reiterated how much fun she had at Friday’s Blues Cruise concert and looks forward to bringing more folks to the next one. 

The Dia de Los Muertos gallery reception, sponsored by the Office and Diversity and Equity, featured “Day of the Dead” altars.  Gallery director Ann Fritz brought in delicious food from El Ranchero Restaurant.  Ana Osan used to display photos of deceased faculty, such as Rhiman Rotz and Bill May but feared she’d forget someone and cause hard feelings.  I’ll have to tell Ana to try it next year, get publicity out, and if she misses people, their photos could go in at the last minute. 

Nephew Beamer Pickert passed on this “reflection on parenting.”  He and Nick were exercising together until it was time for dinner.  Aaron wrote: “Nick started asking to do more and when we said no because it was time to eat he started getting upset and begging to do yoga.”  After thinking it over Aaron “realized it was worth the few minutes of inconvenience to get the mats out and let him do a few activities rather than struggle to get him to have dinner and have a negative encounter related to exercise. He was happy, we were happy. It was the right choice.”

After Nicole Anslover showed an excerpt from a PBS “Stonewall” documentary, I noted that unlike Selma and Seneca, which President Obama mentioned in his second Inaugural Address in the same sentence with Stonewall, the participants were not respectable club women or ministers but drag queens and street people.  While the media at the time blamed a full moon, Judy Garland dying and even Dr. Spock’s childrearing theories, the film showed the riot was a reaction to police brutality at a time in 1969 where oppressed young people were not going to be pushed around any more.  The class got a kick out of hearing that Stonewall was a Mafia-controlled dive where the drinks were watered down and over-priced and probably from stolen stock.

At the Calumet Heritage conference at Pullman Saturday I plan to start my talk about the Calumet Regional Archives by reading these two paragraphs from a 1977 article Ron Cohen and I published in Drexel Library Quarterly:

In June of 1973, Gary Neighborhood House, a social settlement founded 64 years previously, closed its doors.  In the first generation of its history it had provided newcomers to Gary with kindergarten classes, a health clinic, day care services, evening classes, a library, social clubs, a used clothing store, and recreational and welfare services.  During the 1960s its staff became involved in such community issues as welfare rights, tenant unions, drug abuse, prison reform, police accountability and black studies.  Perhaps because of these controversial activities Neighborhood House lost its funding from the Presbyterian Church and the Neighborhood Services Board.

During this time in the absence of an area repository for materials of historical importance, Ron and I declared ourselves to be co-directors of a new Calumet Regional Archives located at IU Northwest and began negotiations with the settlement directors.  Before an agreement was consummated, a fire gutted most of the vacant building, and it became a sanctuary for homeless people and rodents.  Nevertheless, one day we sifted through the water-soaked litter and salvaged a large collection of pictures, publications, minute books, financial statements and other materials dating back 60 years, as well as pamphlets and records attesting to the settlement’s activist pursuits during its last decade in existence.  We dried everything out; although some valuable items were badly damaged or destroyed, what remained constituted a decent documentation of an important local organization.  The episode underscored the urgency of obtaining manuscripts of regional importance that might otherwise be destroyed.  In Fact, this became the first priority of the Archives: preventing the loss of valuable historical materials.

Tuesday at Cressmoor I bowled two practice games, a 144 (one pin better than James last Saturday) and a 176 (more like it).  Tonight Dave filled in for me and rolled a 628 series as the Engineers took two games from the first place team.  In game three one opponent bowled a 297.

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