Wednesday, October 9, 2013


“I looked beneath the sofa, beneath the chair
Looking for them Reds everywhere
I looked up my chimney hole
Even looked inside my toilet bowl
They got away.”
    “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” Bob Dylan

President Obama will nominate Janet Yellin to be the next Federal Reserve Board chair to succeed Ben Bernanke.  Political analyst Chuck Todd speculated that Republicans would oppose her because many Tea Party fanatics believe the creation of the Board in 1913 was part of a worldwide conspiracy to take away people’s freedoms.

In Nicole Anslover’s Sixties class the subject was conservatism.  A John Birch Society document claimed that liberals, including Ike and Chief Justice Earl Warren, were part of a massive communism conspiracy.  A founding member was Fred Koch of Koch Industries.  National Review editor William Buckley denounced the organization, but Koch’s progeny continue to spew conspiratorial rhetoric.

Nicole showed a film clip about the dangers of LSD.  A tripped out woman sees a face on a hot dog and screams when she bites into it.  The students howled.  Nicole asked me how accurate I thought it was.  Some folks had bad acid trips of a paranoid nature; it was best to be in a controlled situation and not out on the street.  Mentioning the 1930s flick “Reefer Madness,” I stated that young people were skeptical of establishment warnings about drugs because they exaggerated about the evil effect of marijuana.
 Dolly Millender (r) receives 2011 Legacy Leadership Award from Neal-Marshall President Sandra Hall Smith (l) and V.P. Phyllis Barlow (c) 

Yesterday Frederic and Blandine appeared on WGVE radio and then interviewed three brothers from the blues group Kinsey Report.  I called to tell them I’d lined up an interview for them with theater director Mark Spencer, and Blandine said they’d just come from Walgreen's.  I thought she said Wild Wings.  They interviewed Dharathula “Dolly” Millender today. Notre Dame students recently visited Dolly and said their project was to study about dead cities.  She quickly informed them that there’s still plenty of life in the Steel City.  Dolly has helped keep the city’s cultural life alive as founder of the Gary Civic Symphony Orchestra in the wake of the original orchestra moving to Merrillville during the 1970s.

We’ve been having gorgeous weather.  Recently retired Steve Spicer photographed Marquette Park lagoon.  In Keystone, South Dakota, on the other hand, Dean Bottorff got stuck in a five-foot snowdrift and busted the clutch of his Wrangler Jeep trying to escape from it.   The storm came with 60 mph winds, causing trees and power lines to come down, and killed an estimated 75,000 cattle. 

In a “Sopranos” episode Tony has a discussion with a black guy about The Chi-Lites, an early 70s soul group, whose biggest hit was “Oh Girl.”  Tony shows off by remarking that their label was Brunswick Records. Henry Farag saw them perform at a black nightclub in Boston, got to know lead singer Eugene Record personally, and years later booked them for Oldies shows. In “The Signal” Henry wrote: “Eugene was a former cab driver who just walked into Brunswick one day and convinced Carl Davis, the senior producer, to give him a shot.  He went from cab driver to a number one hit maker, just like in the movies.”  Original member Marshall Thompson is still kicking.

At an upcoming Calumet Heritage Conference I’ll summarize how on Cohen and I came to start the Calumet Regional Archives. Around 1973 we received a call about endangered scrapbooks in burned out Gary Neighborhood House.  Despite some being water-damaged, we rescued valuable materials and realized other such items would soon disappear without an appropriate repository. I’ll also highlight some of our 500+ collections, in particular the labor, environmental, and ethnic holdings, and mention what some recent visitors were researching, including John Dillinger, Vivian Carter, Mexican Repatriation, and Carpatho-Rusins.  

At a reception in November recipients of the Chancellor’s Medallion will include Garrett and Barbara Cope – a well-deserved honor.  Others to be honored are Milford and Margaret Christianson, John and Betsy MacLennan, and Joseph and Joanna Thomas.  Garrett’s parents were servants for Post-Trib publisher H. G. Snyder, nicknamed “The Duke of Dune Acres,” who helped pay for Garrett’s education at IU.  Campus facilities were segregated when he arrived in the 1940s.  Both he and Barbara became Gary teachers and help form Little Theater Guild when they were discouraged from joining a white theatrical organization.  He and Barbara worked at IU Northwest a combined 80 years.  My kids loved being in three of Garrett’s summer musicals.  When Dean of Students, Barbara often defused potentially serious situations.  She’s still going strong as executive director at Gary Educational Development Fund.

At Cressmoor Lanes after a mediocre night I had three strikes in a row (a turkey) in the final frames of the third game for a 179, but the Engineers lost by six pins when Rusty Pleasant struck out in the tenth.  I won three of the four strike pots.  I had half-dozen splits but not nearly as many as Joe Piunti, bowling on the adjacent alleys.  He is hobbling with bad knees and can’t get much drive on the ball.  Next week teammate Bob Robinson is attending a five-day senior retreat in Wisconsin where historians will lead discussions about the 1930s.

Sunday Dave bowled a 277, all strikes except in the sixth when his ball came in light and left the 2-4-5.  The time he rolled a 300 in a mixed league, with Angie on hand, he called me immediately afterwards. 

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