Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bridge over Troubled Waters

“Sail on silvergirl
Sail on by,
Your time has come to shine.”
 Simon and Garfunkel, “Bridge over Troubled Waters”
Anne Balay posted: First class day was energizing and fun. Trying to hold on to hope and pride as I wait seemingly endlessly to see what will happen with my job. I used to say I suck at waiting, but maybe I'm improving?”

On his first day teaching Art Appreciation Corey Hagelberg stopped by the Archives and then had lunch with Anne Balay, Jon Briggs, Brian O’Camb, and me.  He was well prepared and seemingly relaxed.  I told him that I always had a little nervous energy going first day, down to my final semester.  Afterwards he said class went well and that he had four East Chicago Central seniors in it.  One of them is Tennis ace Fabiola Guillen.

After a chicken dinner with all the trimmings, I watched in shock as IU overcame a ten-point deficit and beat third ranked Wisconsin, breaking a streak of 12 straight losses to the Badgers.  Yogi Ferrell started slowly but was the difference maker.  Tom Wade exclaimed: “IU in upset of the year; they couldn’t beat Wisconsin last year with [Cody] Zeller and [Victor] Oladipo.”  Paul Kern posted: “Hoo hoo Hoosiers!!!!!”  Now with the Orlando Magic, Oladipo recently scored 35 points against the Bulls.
Hollis Donald dropped off an essay entitled, “The Bridge Is Not Broken.”  He wrote: “There are families that are shattered, there are masses of people that have lost their way, there are teachers and leaders wondering, ‘Which way do we go?’  There is a little old lady who is giving up on life.  There is a student who has lost hope and desire, unfulfilled dreams stare us in the face, like a mirror, but the bridge is not broken.”

As my California trip nears, I’m hoping for decent weather.  Chris Young and his brothers visited their dad in Florida over the break, and he had trouble getting back due to airline cancellations.

Trish and Ray Arredondo report that “Maria’s Journey” is going into second printing and that they are pursuing their dream of having a Spanish translation.  Great news.
Jeff Manes profiled our neighbor Gina Darnell about her activities as an urban forester and member of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association.  She generously allows us to pick from her ample garden anything but tomatoes (which she sells on a stand in front of her house).

In his Notice about the Sand Creek Courts Owners meeting, Bernie Holicky announced that he’s resigning as President as of March 15 due to health and personal reasons.  Ken Carlson agreed to serve the remaining nine months of Bernie’s term but not beyond that time.  Too bad.  Both are dedicated workhorses.  At the meeting I discovered that a new board member, Kevin Cessna, was a student of mine 35 years ago and is the cousin of former State Rep. John Bushemi.  Kevin seems friendly and eager to be a contributing member of the board.

I offered to deliver a eulogy to Jack Gruenenfelder at the next Faculty Organization meeting and read Paul Kern’s remarks, not realizing Chuck Gallmeier would schedule me on the day I’m leaving for California.  Steve McShane agreed to read a statement by Paul Kern and the following:
Along with Bill Neil, George Thoma, and Herman Feldman, Jack Gruenenfelder was part of the “Old Gang,” as George Roberts called them, of Liberal Arts professors who basically ran IU Northwest during the 7 years before Business-oriented Chancellor Dan Orescanin took over the reins in 1975.  While Neil, Thoma, and Feldman built History, English, and Psychology into formidable departments, Jack was content to be a one-man Philosophy Department, at least until Division Chair F.C. Richardson forced him to merge with the History Department.
Jack was an integral part of the Faculty Organization during its so-called Golden Age, when reports from administrators were brief or non-existent and serious debates took place about such matters as curriculum and grading policy. In contrast to Les Singer’s histrionics and George Roberts’ bombast, Jack, a traditionalist, was always erudite and logical and worth listening to.  Yet he could be stubborn.  Opposed to a university smoking ban, even though he rarely smoked and then only a pipe, on the day before the ban went into effect, he lit up the smelliest cigar imaginable.
Jack taught well into his 70s, spoke on campus recently about his memories of Tamarack, and continued to have lunch weekly with old colleagues such as Keith Lorentzen and Clayton Anderson.  He died of a heart attack coming home from a concert at Valparaiso University.  He was one of a kind and will be missed.

         Mike Bayer sent me a New York Times article by Ted Gup entitled “The 1890 Book I Had to Have,” about a signed, first edition of “How the Other half Lives” by Jacob A. Riis. Gup notes that 2014 is the hundredth anniversary of Riis’ death and that his children and grandchildren shared his social conscience.  Martha Elisabeth Riis Moore, for example, was a social worker in Richmond, VA, who, Gup writes, “like her grandfather, used a camera to expose social inequalities – in her case, the squalid conditions of black schools in the South of the 1950s.”  Incoming New York City mayor Bill de Blasio cited Riis in his inaugural address and stated: “It was new Yorkers who challenged the status quo, who blazed a trail of progressive reform and political action, who took on the elite, who stood up to say that social and economic justice will start here and will start now.”

When I was writing my PhD dissertation on Riis, I was tempted to call it  “Bridge over Troubled Waters,” but Simon and Garfunkel had come up with the phrase first.  In fact, their song was number one for six weeks beginning February 28, 1970, while I was finishing the final chapter so I probably got the idea from them.  I then considered “Bridge to the ‘Other Half’” but thought that too derivative so settled for “Jacob A. Riis and the American City.”

At Dawn Gruenenfelder’s invitation I perused the thousands of books Jack and Mildred had in their house and took several Graham Greene novels as well as a couple of my publications, including the Cedar Lake Shavings and “Forging a Community.”  She’s hoping to interest a used bookstore in taking most others.  I expressed interest in looking at a manuscript Jack wrote that discusses such philosophical issues as freedom, hope, and faith.  I’ll get back to after my California trip.

Toni and I had lunch at Miller Bakery Café with Dick and Cheryl, who treated since it was our forty-ninth wedding anniversary.  In the next room a Gary Rotary meeting was taking place, and George Rogge waved at us.  Afterwards we crossed the street to the Gardner Center and gaped at bead artist Stephen Wanger’s magnificent renderings.  In fact, Wanger himself was present, talking with Wirt Deb Weiss’ Wirt Emerson students.  Karren Lee mentioned that George Rogge’s recent Mardi Gras Party raised about $3,500 for the Miller Beach Arts and Creative District.  When our anniversary came up, Karren said that she and Pat will celebrate their forty-ninth in two weeks.  I told her we got married in a snowstorm.  She replied, “We got married on the coldest day of the year.”
above, Jimbo and Toni; below Stephen Wanger's art

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