Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Making Plans

“Make no small plans.  They are unworthy of your ability and your opportunity.” Herman B Wells
 Herman B Wells sculpture by Tuck Langland at IU's Herman B Wells Plaza
In 1962, the final year of his tenure as IU president, Herman Wells announced at commencement: “During the past 25 years I personally signed the diplomas of all [62,621] graduates.  Neither printing press nor mechanical device of any type has been used to multiply my signature.  Each diploma has been read as well as signed, one at a time.  This has given me a sense of direct identification with each graduate. Many of the names I have recognized, recalling pleasant contacts and mutual experiences during college days. In other cases the names have brought to mind fathers, mothers, or other relatives of my undergraduate era or earlier. But whether I recognized the name or not, in the act of signing I felt some individual participation in the joy and satisfaction of each graduate who had won his degree with conscientious work and application.”  Among the beloved President’s accomplishments was the desegregation of the Bloomington campus and defending sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. Wells, I am confident, would have championed Anne Balay’s case and realized the harm to the university of firing her.  For certain he'd have insisted on meeting her rather than let underlings decide her fate. Like me, Herman never really retired.
Tonj’a Pres Robinson posted photos from Anne’s book-signing party.  Tonj’a once worked in Instructional Media Services and recalled receptionist Crystal Weems, who’d say, “Have a good one,” a phrase I sometimes now employ, always thinking of her when I do.  Ron Cohen informed me that Crystal works at Charter School of the Dunes.

I made reservations for three rooms near Lancaster, PA, for the fourth weekend in July, as many Lanes from as far away as California, including J.B. IV (me) and J. B. V, will visit Wheatland, the estate of fifteenth president James Buchanan. 

I love the word play in Alyssa Black’s “Police Light,” recently published in Miracle magazine.

She said, siege shed, and seal the deal
Fire fight, run I might, first to find or feel
High light, hindsight, heavy-hand appeal
Drownded, dunder-head, dreaded, golden eel.”
View from IUN library; photo by Alyssa Black
William Buckley dropped off some poems, including this excerpt from “The Great Lay-Off” (2009).

“60,000 steelworkers, drivin’ south,
60,000 who lost their skill.
60,000 workers comin’ back,
and wives pack kids in U-HAULS.”

I enjoyed speaking in Steve McShane’s Indiana History students about the postwar in the Calumet Region and worked in 30 minutes on Vivian Carter and Vee-Jay Records.  Several students asked questions, and 61 year-old Roy Cast recalled listening to Vivian on WWCA.  I plugged Henry Farag’s musical “The Signal.”  When a woman who goes by J.J. asked if I were going to dance when I put on Spaniels and Jimmy Reed hits, I told her to come to Gardner Center Sunday and I’d dance with her.  Steve’s thank you note claimed that I was “on fire – again.”  Nice.

The students did an excellent job reading the oral testimony in my “Age of Anxiety” Shavings, especially the guy who was Hampton Hinton, who married a 15 year-old named Tip.  Hinton recalled:

            “My family ate turnip greens and corn bread and stuff like that.  Well, her family ate like Caucasians.  The first lunch Tip fixed for me for work was the worst.  It was a salami sandwich and instead of mayonnaise had cold butter on it.  It was cut in half and had no tomatoes or anything.  I got laughed right out of the plant.  They said, “Hamp’s bride sure fixed him a nice lunch.

            Later Tip made me soup.  It was a pot of water with about three beans and a handful of rice in there.  When it started boiling, you could see nothing but the water.  Every now and then a bean floated to the top.  She wasn’t but 15, and her mother had done all the cooking.”

In “Lawrence in Arabia” Scott Anderson wrote: “The modern Middle East was largely created by the British.  It was they who carried the Allied war effort in the region during World War I and who, at its close, principally fashioned its peace.  It was a peace presaged by the nickname given the region by covetous Allied leaders in wartime: ‘the great Loot.’  As one of Britain’s most important and influential leaders in that arena, T.E. Lawrence was intimately connected to all, good and bad, that was to come.”  What mischief European imperialists caused, not only in the Middle East but Africa and South Asia as well.

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter died of prostate cancer at age 76.  Wrongly convicted of murder in 1967 on the basis of testimony by two criminals who later recanted their testimony, he spent nearly 20 years in jail before exonerated.  Bob Dylan championed his cause, and Denzel Washington earned an Oscar nomination for playing him in a 1999 film.  After his release Carter moved to Toronto and became director of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted.

Jeff Manes interviewed 70 year-old Sandra Zaiko, who claims to have dated both Phil Everly and Joe Cocker and that Phil resided briefly in Hammond and wanted to marry her. I can’t find any evidence to substantiate this, but the family did live in Evansville for a year and Phil attended Indiana State for a short while.  It sounds like Sandra had a fertile imagination.  Jeff started his column with lines from John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” that go: “No matter how hard I try, the years just flow by like a broken down dam.”  Phil died three months ago.  Many local groups covered their hits, such as “Bird Dog” and “Wake Up Little Susie,” including the Naturals from Rochester, New York, that my fraternity pop brought to Bucknell for parties.  Maybe Sandra dated a Phil Everly “tribute artist.”
IUN professor Monica Solinas-Saunders
IUN Criminal Justice professor Monica Solinas-Saunders is teaching a course at the Lake County Corrections Center involving both prisoners and SPEA students and called the Inside-Outside Prison Exchange Program on Offender Re-entry.  Students refer to themselves as “Insiders” (rather than convicts) or “Outsiders.”  “Insider” Tammy Moore told NWI Times reporter Carmen McCollum that some of the Outsiders “were scared of us in the beginning.  Now they see that we are good people.  We made a mistake.  They have more compassion for us.  Not everybody in prison is a bad person.”  Monica added: “You have to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand what they are going through.  Students develop empathy and compassion, which is needed in their profession.”

“Draft Day” with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner was interesting for football lovers.  Veterans Frank Langella and Ellen Burstyn were excellent in supporting roles.  Plenty of athletes and former jocks had cameos, including Jim Brown and Bernie Kosar (Costner played a Cleveland Browns G.M.).  The movie’s been out several weeks, and just two others were in the theater. 

Friendly 34-year IUN veteran mailroom manager Kevin Richwalski received the Service Excellence Award at a recognition luncheon.  He recalls (as do I) when Andrean grad Dan Dakich delivered the mail summers while playing basketball for IU.  Jonathyne Briggs won the Founders Day Teaching Award.  Angie Stojanovic in Admissions and Professor Margaret Skurka were honored for 40 years of service –both look too young to go back that far.

I finished bowling season with a 493, including a 194 in game one.  The Legends finished in first place after being the laughingstock of the league two years ago.

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