“People lie, people love, people go
But beauty lies in every soul.”
“A Dream of You and Me,” Future Islands
When I first heard Future Islands, the synthpop band from Baltimore, I thought it was The War on Drugs. They’ve been around more than a decade but came into prominence after performing “Seasons (Waiting On You)” on Lettermen a year ago. I know of them thanks to Robert Blaszkiewicz, whose mom turned him on to them.
Gregory and Kim Gillis; photo by Jeff Manes
Jeff Manes titled a Post-Trib article on Gregory Gillis, 61, a retired magistrate, “Gary man dedicated to law, teaching kids about game of life.” Gillis overcame polio growing up in the Dorie Miller Project, located in Gary’s Midtown District and graduated from Valparaiso, first with degrees in Music and Jurisprudence. Gillis recalled: “Dorie Miller was a community of families. We had a lot of pride in Dorie Miller. We had flower gardens.” Bussed into Bailly Middle School and then Lew Wallace, Gillis got bullied both by kids in his neighborhood and white kids in Glen Park. He told Manes:
It was a tough time. With that said, I treasured those times because I got an opportunity to mingle with people who were different. That is so important.
Manes told Gillis about going before Judge Delma Mae Williams:
Back in the '80s, I was involved in a union protest that got out of hand. We were about to go on strike. Well, a workmate and I got into an altercation with a couple of East Chicago police officers. We ended up getting put behind bars. When my comrade and I eventually had our day in court, the judge asked us if we got our union contract signed. I told her: “Yes, Your Honor, we did.” That's when she said: “God bless you both; case dismissed!” Then she slammed the gavel. The Honorable Delma Rae Williams must've been the daughter of a steelworker.
I’m a board game aficionado but, being a competitor, hated the game of Life. It went on and on without a dramatic denouement. As a kid, I much preferred Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, and Parchesi.
"The Fall of Montezuma" photos
Steve Spicer’s Miller Beach website mentionedtwo silent movies shot at Miller Beach, “Lost in the Soudan” (1910) and “The Fall of Montezuma” (1912). The latter, a three-reeler starring Francis X. Bushman, had a running time of 31 minutes and dramatized the conquest of Mexico by ruthless conquistadors. On May 31, 1912, the Gary Daily Tribune announced that ten Pullman cars transported over 200 people to the lakefront for a week of movie-making.
Coming upon graffiti on the front of the boarded up Ming Ling Restaurant and Lounge in Miller, Jerry Davich wondered if it was art or vandalism. Jerry Thomas Boyd responded: “I've seen some astonishingly artistic graffiti, brilliant design and color, but it doesn't change the fact that a wall is generally attached to private property and that makes the graffiti art vandalism in my estimation. I learned a harsh lesson in my youth about respecting other peoples' property. That is the issue for me when it comes to the question of art or vandalism.”
For Steve McShane’s class I read up on Frenchman Pierre Surprenant AKA Peter Surprise, Cedar Lake’s first permanent settler. Born in Canada around 1793, he married an Indiana wife (LaRose) and acquired a farm near Lake Champlain. In the early 1830s he and French neighbors founded a settlement in Momence, Illinois. Fishing and trapping along the Kankakee marshlands, Surprise in 1833 built a cabin in present day Cedar Lake. It burned down, but he rebuilt and became an naturalized citizen in 1837. He supposedly lived to the ripe old age of 109. A spiritualist, he claimed he could communicate with LaRose after she died. He was very active in old age and could still dance a jig after he turned 100. Showing students a family history Mike Certa brought to the Archives that he had been working on for years, I told the class that most families have someone interested in genealogy who would be a good resource.
Like 90 percent of IUN students, Kelsey Hensrud, Eric Tarnowski, and Angelique McPhearson work part-time but seem satisfied with employers and have big dreams but face an uncertain future. Kelsey Hensrud wrote about getting engaged, going on a trip to Madison, Wisconsin, and shopping for a wedding dress.
March 1: My coworkers at Schoop’s in Valparaiso teased me about a video from last New Year’s Eve. I had some tequila, a rarity for me. I seldom drink alcohol so am a lightweight – some would say a riot - on the infrequent occasions when I do so. When the clock struck midnight, my boyfriend and I began to kiss, but then he dropped to one knee. In my buzzed state, my first thought was that he had fallen. When I realized what he was holding in his hand, I started to listen to the sweet words he was uttering. By this time, we were both crying. The tears kept coming as I tried to reconstruct what was happening. On the video a family member took I am saying, “I’m not sober enough for this.”
March 2: Mondays are my long days at work and school. I wake up at 4 a.m. to open at Schoop’s an hour later. Normally customers do not arrive until after seven, so I bring homework to utilize the time. I try to be as friendly as possible to ensure my customers have quality service. This one couple was nice, but not unusually nice. It seemed like your average table. After they left, our cashier came up to me smiling and shoved their receipt in my face. They had written, “Thank you!” and left a $50 tip. On the table was a note that read: “Thank you for being so pleasant today. It can be so easy to be nasty and bitter in today’s society. You made our day a little brighter. Keep smiling while you serve because you never know if you are saving someone’s life. YOU are a gift.” I was already in shock, but the note pushed me over the edge. For this couple to do such a kind thing to a complete stranger was incredibly moving.
March 3: I am in “Back Half” on Tuesday’s. A man who sits at the counter almost daily is named Jeff, but goes by “Wheels.” He is wheelchair bound and will not answer to Jeff. He purchases lottery and scratch tickets like they’re water. He never wins a substantial amount, but this may be his only form of entertainment. At the counter, he’ll ask, “Hey, ya got some coffee?” He’ll complain how our chili is no good and that our coffee is “mud” if the pot isn’t fresh, yet comes back nearly every day.
March 4: My field experience placement is at SELF School in Valpo with high school students with emotional and behavioral disorders. During my observation I witnessed my first “outburst.” My teacher requested that I watch what was going on in the hallway for experience. The student was transitioning to high school and highly against the idea. He began kicking and screaming bloody murder, biting himself, choking himself, and various other tactics. Multiple staff members attempted to calm him, but this went on for ten minutes before he was put in an isolation room.
March 13: My fiancé and I visited my mom in Madison, Wisconsin, for the first time since her relocation last year. My twin sister came from Chicago as well. For dinner, we ordered Japanese food. I tried many different kinds of sushi for the first time. My favorite was fried sweet potato and asparagus roll. They failed to get me to try raw tuna. I am not a picky eater, but I like my meat cooked. Fair enough?
March 14: I tried on wedding dresses, while my brother, fiancé, and sister’s boyfriend had a guys day out. First we went to a spa for back massages. The first time my mom had gotten massage packages for my sister and me for our birthday, my sister had a very good-looking younger man. On the other hand, I had a rude older lady who stopped the massage a half hour early because I couldn’t stop laughing. This time, Sunshine, my masseuse, was so great that I fell asleep, then, refreshed, was ready to take on the day. At “Vera’s House of Bridal the sales woman was pushing a little too hard since we informed her that we were still undecided on the style of dress. It was a little overwhelming but informative and overall a fun experience, but I have a lot of planning ahead. After the guys returned from bar hopping, we called for a cab. The talkative driver informed us that comedian Chris Farley was buried in a cemetery we passed. After a pizza dinner we popped inside local shops and called for another cab. The same driver picked us up. My slightly inebriated sister was fascinated that the van’s windows rolled down and made funny faces at drivers going by. She has always found this hilarious, so it’s normal for us. The cab driver suggested a bar called The Wild Boar, so we made it our last stop of the night.
March 15: On our last day in Wisconsin we ate at Bassett Street Brunch Club. We waited two hours for a table but were offered frozen screwdrivers. I had never had one, and it was fantastic, like an orange Creamsicle. We said our goodbyes immediately after breakfast so my sister could catch her train to Chicago. My brother rode home with us in my fiancé’s lifted Dodge 2500 truck that sits very high off the ground. I don’t know what it is about guys and trucks, but they love them. I’m just happy to have a working vehicle.
March 17: Today I turned 23! I love having my birthday on St. Patrick’s Day. I had breakfast with my fiancé’s mother at Le Peep in Valparaiso. I got very lucky we get along so well. I said hello to a former Schoop’s customer and indulged in a waffle because I haven’t had one in years. My future father-in-law worked for U.S. Steel for over 15 years, but his plant is closing. They were to transfer him to another plant but decided to close it, too. We visited with my fiancé’s younger brother, who is leaving for basic training for the Marine Corps at the end of July. His older brother is in the Air Force, stationed in England; we have not seen him since his wedding in October of 2013. My fiancé does construction for a living and is very handy; this year he made us a living room table. I feel that homemade gifts are the best type.
March 18: On the way out of Beef Mart I dropped my meat. It was wrapped and apparently fine, but I am questioning whether to use it or not. That is horrible of me, but I don’t want to risk it.
Eric Tarnowski works at U-Haul in Schererville and spent Spring Break at Myrtle Beach with Lauren.
March 1: The first and last days of the month are always our busiest. I was slogging around in slush and snow all day, trying to keep my patience. If I didn’t like most of the people I work with, I’d have left a long time ago. But I do, so there you go. Also, U-Haul is flexible on hours.
March 14: My brother and I saw Gaelic Storm, an Irish folk band best known for being in Titanic playing while Jack and Rose are dancing in third class. I love their music, and they are hilarious. Several are Bears or Packers fans, so when they’re around Chicago or Green Bay, they rag on each other. They brought a Samuel L. Jackson lookalike onstage to make a marriage proposal. A Vin Diesel lookalike danced so hilariously that the band lost it. For the finale Gaelic Storm ended up on top of one of the bars. It was pretty great.
March 16: Man, I turned 22. I student teach in the fall, but after that, have no idea what’s coming. I like to have a plan - a general one at least. I watched How I Met Your Mother, one of my favorite shows (I AM Ted Mosby) and got pizza with my family and Lauren.
March 22: Lauren and I left at 4 a.m. and 14 hours later arrived in Myrtle Beach to a room literally next to the ocean.
March 24: In a t-shirt store a guy took a big drag on an e-cig, blew it in our faces, and said, “Is vaping popular in Chicago?” Lauren was so ticked she replied, “No, up there we smoke actual cigarettes.” Neither of us smoke, but she wanted to get the guy off our case.
March 26: Good-bye Myrtle Beach. Despite shopping, hitting the beach, relaxing, playing mini golf, eating out, visiting Hollywood Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not, there was so much more to see. I’d go back.
March 27: Back from a memorable week, I woke up early and drove to Merrillville to take two tests required for Social Studies teachers. The first, on pedagogy, was long but not difficult. The second, on Historical Perspectives, has a notorious failure rate. Three Methods classmates failed their first times; one had a Master’s Degree in History! The first test costs $114 and the second $80, and the company doesn’t take credit cards. Luckily, I passed both, so yay me.
March 29: Today sadly was my good friend Richard’s last day at U-Haul. He worked there over two years. We had some pretty great times together.
Angelique McPhearson (above with cousin) McPhearson works part-time at Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo as a graveyard shift janitor.
March 2: Living in Michigan City, I just shoot down I-94. I primarily clean the restaurants. It’s not a bad gig. I love the people I work with, who are from all different walks of life. The company treats you well, too. They provide good insurance and have an onsite wellness center. We get a food discount, and three times a year get gifts and a great meal for free.
March 6: In Ceramics my lighthouse is supposed to resemble the one at Washington Park in Michigan City. My dad came to campus with me and talked for three hours with Doris, who’s about his age. Man, did I get WIWAK’d (short for “When I was a kid”). Dad told about fishing on the Kankakee River and being the smallest but fastest guy on his Portage basketball and track teams. I could take just so much and turned on music.
March 12: Too tired to last an entire shift, I got an early out at work and arrived home at 5 a.m. I woke up with my dog Makhya at the foot of my bed. It’s only a twin, and I have three pillows and a body pillow, so there wouldn’t be room for both of us if I didn’t sleep curled up in a ball. Normally Makhya gets too hot and moves after ten minutes. She followed me into the bathroom and everywhere, which was unusual but the night before she table surfed hotdogs on the counter. Ha! She was hoping to avoid punishment.
March 23: Dad called, wanting me to pick up Diet Coke at CVS. They were having a special, four for five dollars. I told him he needed to stop drinking so much caffeine. It’s literally all the man drinks. I complied but refused to do it anymore. He’s a diabetic, has high blood pressure, eats like shit, is overweight, and hardly ever exercises. I won’t contribute to his poor health choices. I’d like to see him live past 50.
March 29: No more boyfriend. As Rascal Flatts put it, “I’m Movin’ On.” Long distance relationships are difficult under any circumstances. I loved him so much I lost sleep over his snubs. The final straw was cancelling our weekend plans to be with guys he knows at Bloomington. I told him he could go rot.
March 30: I raced home for my cousin’s second birthday party. She’s so stinkin’ cute, and I’m the only one she’ll eat a full meal for. After cake, I went downstairs to get laundry, and she started balling; she didn’t shed a tear when her parents left. While I made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby, dad said Makhya was pacing near the front door. When I returned, she lay on my bed while I put laundry away.
March 31: Despite school, work, and ex-boyfriend woes, I am optimistic about the future. All is good in the life of Angelique.