“You got a great gift, son. It’s as if angels came down from heaven and put a blessing on your three bowling digits. You can apply everything that I taught you about bowling to your daily life. And if you do that, you’re gonna be decent, you’re gonna be moral, and you’re going to be a good man.” From the 1996 movie “Kingpin”
A couple weeks ago, after fellow bowler Anthony Forbes told me how much his dad meant to him, I suggested to Jeff Manes that he interview him. The result, a fantastic Post-Trib article entitled “He has love to spare (and strike), starts with the above quote from “Kingpin where Calvert Munson (Daniel Greene) passes on advice to son Roy, played by Woody Harrelson. Manes wrote: “Anthony Forbes works two jobs, as director of environmental services at Aperion (nursing home) Care and head of Forbes Home Solutions, but still finds the time to bowl three nights per week. Through the years, he has held a wide variety of jobs, including in the restaurant industry, where he worked his way up from dishwasher to becoming general manager. Forbes, 40, has been married to Nakiea for nine years.” Nine year-old daughter Teala bowls and attends Charter School of the Dunes. Anthony’s dad, Dennis Forbes, who died 18 years ago, was a mechanic who owned English Auto Service at Twenty-First and Broadway in Gary, now run by Anthony’s brother.
Forbes told Manes:
“I was rebuilding carburetors, doing brake jobs, and the whole nine yards for my dad by the time I was 9 or 10. Years ago, I was working at a place and disliked it. I called up my dad a few months before he died and told him: ‘Dad, I’m thinking about walking off this job.’ I was making decent money. He told me there was no need in working there if you’re not happy because you’re not going to do a good job. My theory after that was I’d rather make a little money and be happy as opposed to making a bunch of money and being miserable. I still kind of live that way.
I bowl in leagues at Camelot Bowling Center in Portage and Cressmoor Lanes in Hobart. I like them both. The lanes are the same length. I had played basketball in junior high, but when it was time for me to enter high school at Horace Mann, my dad introduced me to bowling. I never looked back. Dad kept me out of trouble. There was no option. But 15 is that age when boys want to discover trouble. I was always at the bowling alley. When I’d come home on the weekends, I’d find out that a friend of mine had gotten in trouble or shot. I’m talking about friends that I would’ve normally been with, but I was bowling. Bowling saved my life.
If you look on the wall there, that very top plaque is my dad’s 1990-91 second-place finish trophy. I keep my awards just below his. He was the best man in my life. He was a true father in every sense of the word. He taught me so much. To be honest, some of it, I didn’t realize until a couple of days ago. Every day, I’m still learning: ‘Oh, this is what he meant.’ ”
Manes concluded: “Dennis Forbes might have finished second back in ’91, but he’ll always be No. 1 in his son’s heart and soul.”
Manes reported that he and Anthony bonded well and had this exchange:
Manes: I like your email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forbes: I recorded music when I was younger. ‘Poe boy’ was short for poetry.
I wrote lyrics for hip-hop and rock music. I chased that dream for about 10
years or so. Eventually, I realized I had to get serious about life and work a
full-time job. I still write from time to time.”
Manes: You know what the late, great Langston Hughes once said.
Forbes: Yeah, “Money and art, far apart.’
Manes: Anthony, I’ll probably be a poor boy for life, but I enjoy writing.
In her WW II class on the Pacific Theater Nicole Anslover showed a Bugs Bunny cartoon portraying Japanese as buck-toothed, slant-eyed, yellow-bellied buffoons and a Private SNAFU short meant to warn GIs against writing classified information in letters home. She mentioned that the Battle of the Coral Sea, while indecisive, kept Australia from possibly falling into Axis hands and brought up the Navaho code-talkers who played a decisive role at Guadacanal. According to a Naval History and Heritage Command report:
“When a Navajo code talker received a message, what he heard was a string of seemingly unrelated Navajo words. The code talker first had to translate each Navajo word into its English equivalent. Then he used only the first letter of the English equivalent in spelling an English word. Thus, the Navajo words "wol-la-chee" (ant), "be-la-sana" (apple) and "tse-nill" (axe) all stood for the letter "a." One way to say the word "Navy" in Navajo code would be "tsah (needle) wol-la-chee (ant) ah-keh-di- glini (victor) tsah-ah-dzoh (yucca).”
Anne Balay spoke at the Oral History Association meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, and is in Nashville for the Southern Festival of Books. She wrote: “I slept in the car, and am about to head on south. I used to dream of driving around the USA talking about my book. I had several conversations at the OHA that literally gave me chills. Scholarship can change lives. Blessed.”
above, Anthony Lane; below, Phil and Toni
Last Thursday in Grand Rapids we saw Tori play volleyball and Anthony in a soccer match with Tori volunteering as sidelines “ball girl.” Friday we checked out ArtPrize entries downtown and visited with Alissa and Miranda before watching Phil shine in indoor soccer, scoring twice and assisting on two other goals. Alissa, who lives with Josh Leffingwell in a cool, century-old house with old-fashioned steam radiators (perfect for warming a towel while showering), loaned me Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants,” which includes these tips on how to succeed in a male-dominated workplace:
1.No pigtails, no tube tops.
2. Cry sparingly but if you’re so mad you could cry, then cry. It terrifies them.
3. Don’t eat diet foods at meetings.
photos by Samuel A. Love
Saturday evening at White Ripple Gallery in Hammond we enjoyed a show entitled “SALUTE: Homage to the Godfathers of Art, Neil Goodman, Gregg Hertzlieb, Sergio Gomez, and Richard Brauer.” Corey Hagelberg helped organize the exhibit and sold two of his woodcuts. A huge crowd was treated to delicious food. I chatted with “godfather” Neil Goodman, whose early models for IUN’s sculpture garden were on display, and wife JoEleen, friends with Marianita Porterfield, whose son J.J. went to Marquette School in Gary with Phil and Dave and whose daughter babysat them. Also on hand were Samuel A. Love, with wife Brenda and his mother and aunt, snapped provocative photos. Valerie Denney came with Dorreen and Bill Carey, now retired but photographing Miller (as is Dorreen) and making homemade beer and wine.
National Lakeshore Marquette Trail in Gary by Dorreen Carey; Ore boat on Lake Michigan by Bill Carey
Sunday Dick and Cheryl had us over for bridge and food from Wing Wah. After I read my cookie fortune, Dick said he had a friend who added, “Between the sheets” to sayings, such as, “Flattery will go far tonight” or “A pleasant surprise is in store for you.” That’s about as naughty as he gets with us.
Both the Bears and Eagles won. DeSean McCoy had a big day for once, enabling me to win my Fantasy match against Phil. I’d have won the weekly CBS pool except that Carolina tied Cincinnati after the Bengals kicker missed a chip shot field goal at the end of OT. I had 11 (of a possible 14) points on the game, which counted as a loss for everyone.
Cast of "The Signal": Tribune photo by Stephanie Dowell
Chicago Tribune’s Rick Kogan’s lengthy feature on Henry Farag entitled, “Singer hopes ‘Signal’ reaches Broadway,” touted the encore performance Friday at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Michigan. Recalling the performances at the Aquatorium and Gardiner Center, Farag said Gary was “the right and proper place to start this adventure.” Even more appropriate would have been at IU or IUN, where Henry attended college. Characterizing “The Signal” as “a narrative in song, played at a 45-rpm beat,” Henry told Kogan, “I look at the success of those so-called juke-box musicals, ‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘Million Dollar Quartet,’ and I will tell you that we are as good but grittier and truer.”
In the news: Ebola virus has reached Texas, as a hospital health care worker where a Liberian died has been infected despite having worn protective gear. Meanwhile, U.S. bombing has not stopped ISIS from threatening Baghdad and a Kurdish city near the Turkish border. Protests continue in Hong Kong and St. Louis over police brutality in Ferguson. In Hammond black leaders are expressing outrage over a cop who stopped Lisa Mahone on her way to the hospital to visit a sick relative for a seat belt violation and then broke a car window and Tasered passenger Jamal Jones, who refused an order to produce ID and leave the vehicle. The driver’s 14 year-old son videotaped the incident. The story was featured on Chicago TV newscasts and MSNBC’s The Reid Report.
Hammond NAACP President Homer Cobb; NWI Times photo by Rob Earnshaw
Linda Keck informed me that husband Jay, a Vietnam vet and gentle soul, died. “Hymn of Promise,” the last poem he sent me, unlike most that dealt with PTSD, was upbeat and contained these lines:
IN THE BULB THERE IS A FLOWER
IN THE SEED, AN APPLE TREE;
IN COCOONS, A HIDDEN PROMISE:
BUTTERFLIES WILL SOON BE FREE!
THERE'S A SONG IN EVERY SILENCE,
SEEKING WORD AND MELODY;
THERE'S A DAWN IN EVERY DARKNESS,
BRINGING HOPE TO YOU AND ME.
IN OUR END IS OUR BEGINNING;
IN OUR TIME, INFINITY;
IN OUR DOUBT THERE IS BELIEVING;
IN OUR LIFE ETERNITY.
I sent condolences to Linda and added: “I want to think Jay found peace after such a troubled life due to Vietnam.
David Parnell gave an excellent presentation about “Perspectives on Barbarians: From Research to the Classroom” at Monday’s “Chalk and Talk.” He is interested in what the Greeks and Romans wrote about them, whereas most scholars in his field, he said, were more into ethno genesis – how various Germanic tribes got formed. Halfway through his Fall topics class, he is devoting a week to such subjects as religion, race, and facial hair. I suggested he investigate other types of body presentation, such as tattoos or ornamental paint. He replied that the Romans used tattoos on slaves and soldiers. I also suggested he devote a week to the place of women in Barbarian society, and he mentioned that they’d sometimes bare their breasts and jiggle them to encourage troops in battle. He is very learned but seems like an excellent teacher.