Monday, December 7, 2015

Welcome Network

“It is the responsibility of all Americans -- of every faith -- to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose.” Barack Obama, Address to Nation, December 6, 2015

Sadly but predictably, no Republican endorsed the President’s sensible statement.  When columnist Jeff Manes argued for taking in Muslim as well as Christian refugees, he wrote, “Let the hate mail begin.”  He interviewed Tony Burrell, director of the Chicagoland Immigrant Welcome Network, a faith-based organization that connects refugees with churches willing to provide help for them.  Burrell, who lives in Munster, told Manes:
            The Refugee Resettlement Program has been around for decades. Since the 1970s, we've resettled more than 3 million refugees into this country. Not one of them has ever committed a terrorist act — zero.  Our government highly vets them despite what some people are saying.  None of the 9/11 terrorists [who came in as tourists] or the brothers behind the Boston Marathon bombings went through the refugee program.  Is the system perfect? No. But it's not Obama's system. In fact, it was thoroughly revamped after 9/11 under George W. Bush. People like the 33 governors who say Syrian refugees are not welcome in their respective states are politically posturing and not very well informed.
We no longer subscribe to the Post-Trib because its parent Tribune Company evidently fired all its deliverers and attempted to use NWI Times deliverers.  Some rebelled or quit.  The upshot was that we got no paper for weeks. Thankfully Manes posts SALT columns on Facebook and wrote this about his own ethnic background:
         I'm second-generation Italian. You go back far enough, Albanian. My people grew rocks. But the Turks were slaughtering them so the Manes family and six other families sailed around the boot of Italy (purposely taking the long way around the barn fearing they would be followed) and settled on a mountain they named Falconara in Calabria. For 500 years, they lived in Italy. In 1910, at the age of 10, my grandfather, Vito Manes, came to Ellis Island, then Chicago, and eventually hacked it out in Lake Village during the Great Depression.

Irma Miranda-Anaya came across my blog while seeking information about Jeff Manes’ new book.  She compared my entries to letters written in days of old.  Referencing Henry David Thoreau (come to the end only to discover one hasn’t even begun to live) and Jerry Garcia (what a long strange trip it’s been), she wrote: As I see my life go through its own metamorphosis, your blog shows me how important each and every day is.  I work hard but truly can say that I live harder. I’m fortunate to still have my parents and, true of many Hispanics, fortunate to have lots of relatives.”  Irma is married to Juan Anaya, a mentor to Dave when he started teaching at East Chicago Central.  I was on Juan’s Indiana State PhD dissertation committee.  I wrote back: “It's so nice to hear from you.  From time to time I ask Dave what he's heard about Juan, and I thought of him during a recent trip to Terre Haute. I recently wrote about community organizer Richard Morrisroe, who I recall meeting at your home.  I'd love to see you all some time.”
 1958 wedding of Jesse Villalpando and Rose Marie Oria used in Connections article; Maid of honor was Blanche Padilla; in the wedding party were Ruben Murillo, John Lopez, Galvino Galvan Isaac Villalpando, Louis Campos, Arturo Cardenas, George Velasquez, John Macias, Frank Vasquez, Nicholas Rodriguez, Martin Ruiz, Sara Murillo, Rebecca Oria, Marie Oria, Mary Villalpando, Margaret Campos, Anita Aguirre, Martha Lopez, Sarah Oria, Beatrice Mendoza, Florinda Gonzalez, Roseanne Murillo

Connections magazine contains an article Steve McShane and I wrote about the Calumet Regional Archives.  Part one, Steve’s contribution, started off:
  Established in 1973 at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Indiana, the Calumet Regional Archives (CRA) pursues a tripartite mission to collect, preserve, and make available records from organizations and individuals documenting the history of Indiana’s Calumet region for use by students, scholars, and the general public.

I wrote part two, titled “The Michael and Susanna Guba Family of Gary, Indiana,” making use of a 46-page manuscript by four Guba daughters that described life at 1310 Buchanan Street between the two world wars.  Calling the memoir a “treasure trove for understanding the tight primary bonds that existed within working-class immigrant families,” I noted that daughter Marion, born in 1922, remembered one Buchanan Street neighbor, Mrs. Danielovich, giving the girls homemade root beer and baloney and letting them look at her newspaper funny pages.  When Mrs. Ellis, confined to a wheelchair, needed an item at the store, according to Marion, “she’d open a window and holler and we’d come running.”  I was hoping to see on the magazine cover a family photo we provided, but instead the editors went with a Ku Klux Klan statue on a pedestal inscribed with the initials KIGY, evidently meaning “Klansmen I Greet You.”
above, Albion Fellows Bacon; below, Flossie Bailey

On the back cover of the Indiana Historical Society publication was an ad for “Indiana’s 200.” I learned about Albion Fellows Bacon, whom Robert G. Barrows called “Indiana’s Municipal Housekeeper.”  Active in Progressive Era tenement house reform, Bacon corresponded with New York City urban reformers Jacob A. Riis and Lawrence Veiller.  Albion was named after her father, and her husband was Hilary Bacon.  Weird.  Disliking the spotlight, Albion reluctantly agreed to lobby for a state measure, recalling: “I took the leap with the desperate deliberation of a suicide who jumps into the icy water.”

“Indiana’s 200” Contributor James Madison wrote about Katherine “Flossie” Bailey, an NAACP leader and indefatigable organizer from Marion, Indiana.  After two young African Americans, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were lynched there in 1930, Bailey pressured the state legislature into passing an anti-lynching bill that, among other things, mandated the dismissal of law enforcement officials who failed to protect prisoners from mobs.  Making use of a quote by an NAACP official, historian Madison titled an earlier Traces article on Flossie Bailey “What a Woman!”  Indeed.  The NAACP official added: “If only we had one in every town.”

Dick Hagelberg, who plays French horn in the Hobart Area Concert Band, provided two tickets to attend its Winter Concert.  The first part featured holiday music such as a Christmas medley and “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson.  After intermission the band, directed by Susan Williams, started with the Twentieth Century Fox “Fanfare” by Alfred Newman and then played selections by John Williams (arranged by Robert W. Smith) from “Star Wars” episodes. Members of the Northern Darkness Garrison of the 501st Legion dressed as “Star Wars” characters walked down the aisle, came on stage, and posed in the lobby afterwards for photos.  Dining at Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheryl Hagelberg mentioned seeing a video of me speaking on Mexican Repatriation at Porter County Museum while attending an exhibit featuring work by her son Corey.  The video was part of a display that student’s in VU professor Heath Carter’s History class put together.
below, Porter County Museum

In “Reckless: My Life as a Pretender” Chrissie Hynde admits to sleeping with legions of rock stars and bikers and ingesting enough booze and drugs to leave her frequently in bed with virtual strangers.  Johnny Rotten got his last name due to the condition of his teeth, she claimed, and Iggy Pop resembled the Mad magazine fictional character Alfred E. Newman when not in his stage persona.  As the Pretenders took off on the road to fame, the deaths of lead guitarist Jimmy Honeyman Scott and bass player Peter Farndon left Hynde shaken.  Giving birth to a daughter, Chrissie cleaned herself up and went on to enjoy 30+ years of success.
Iggy Pop by Peter Hujar
Anne Balay wrote:
            Last night I went to see a Drag King show, and the man sitting behind me saw my “Steel Closets” jacket and took me aside to tell me that he works in the merchant marine, where he is closeted and scared. He sees gay people in places like Philadelphia, and thinks it’s just a whole other universe. I saw his face wash with relief when I described the experiences of my narrators. Sometimes I feel so alone as an academic, never really one of the "in crowd" - marginally employed. Moments like that, where my work lessens the isolation of just some regular person, I hope is what defines me.

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