“When this world turns its back on you
Hang in and do that sweet thing you do
Roll with it.” Steve Winwood
On heavy rotation on my CD player are Steve Winwood, Don Henley, Weezer, INXS, and The 1975. “Roll with It” (1988) leads off with the title song and also contains two favorites from the blue-eyed soul brother, “Holding On” and “Don’t You Know What the Night Can Do.” I also love Winwood’s compilation album “Chronicles” (1987), which includes “Arc of a Diver” and “Valerie.” Before going solo, Winwood, born in Birmingham, England in 1948, was in the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, and Blind Faith.
I rolled a 450 despite just four strikes in three games. Opponent Sharon Fisher finished with a 205 and has the women’s high series for the year, 669. Several bowlers had read my “Region Proud” NWI Times column, including Dennis Cavanaugh, a Gary Horace Mann grad and mutual admirer of Region historian Tom Higgins. Around my age, Dennis may have had future IUN Chancellor Peggy Elliott for English or known 1960 valedictorian and Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglich.
above, Dave Lane; below, Becca, James and Toni at Sectionals
IU clinched the Big Ten championship with a thrilling victory at Iowa. Radio sports jock Les Grobstein noted that five Indiana teams will likely be in the NCAA tournament (IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, Butler, and Valparaiso) but none, pathetically, from Illinois. High school sectionals are underway, and on the first day Valparaiso upset top-ranked Region powerhouse Merrillville, then lost to Crown Point. East Chicago Central defeated Munster to avenge last year’s loss and Lowell, who had beaten them a month ago. Dave announced the Sectional final and granddaughter Becca sang the National Anthem.
Former student Jim Daubenheyer, doing research in the Archives, said he still bowls and was in the stands when Crown Point upset Merrillville. He told me about a wild finish posted with this description on YouTube (CHS Buzzer beater!!! 2-19-16) by Nickanator86:
Down by 3 (54-57) against our rival, Valparaiso High School, Rhyss Lewis of Chesterton is fouled while shooting a three. He misses the first free throw but makes the second. He misses the third on purpose, the ball bounces around for a bit, and ends up in the hands of Antwan Beeks. Beeks drains the buzzer-beater three for the win, 58-57.
Roy Juarez at IUN
Dave and Spanish teacher Veronica Garcia brought 40 Hispanic E.C. Central students to IUN for a METAS Conference. The initials stand for motivate, educate, termina (graduate), alcanza (achieve), and sueña (dream). Five other area schools also participated. Dave alerted me that the keynote speaker, Roy Juarez. Jr., was fantastic, and he did not disappoint. In Savannah Auditorium he told of being homeless at age 14 and using all the charm he could muster to find shelter for his nine year-old brother and two year-old sister. He eventually graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas through a series of fortunate, unlikely circumstances. Juarez urged the seniors not to be a victim, not to settle for merely being a survivor, but mentor others. He spoke movingly of his mother, molested as a child and then married to an abusive man whose grasp she finally escaped. Juarez held the students’ attention; indeed tears flowed; afterwards he interacted warmly with all those who wished to speak to him. On his Homeless By Choice website Juarez advised never giving up, adding: “Our darkest moments are the birthplace of our greatest victories.”
At lunch in Moraine student union Admissions director Dorothy Frink talked with several of Dave’s brightest students and told Jessica, who has been admitted to IUN in the Fall, that once she becomes an American citizen in October, scholarship opportunities would be available. Interacting with students were Dean Pat Bankston, Geology professor Kristin Huysken, and Math profs Axel Schulze-Halberg and Vesna Kilibarda. Joining Dave, Veronica, Dorothy Frink, and me, Bankston told two of Dave’s tennis players about the variety of meaningful opportunities in Health and Human Sciences, including social work and environmental affairs. In the past the METAS event took place at Purdue Cal, but, thanks to Diversity director James Wallace and others, IUN snagged it and put on a good showing.
Nephew Bobby Lane linked me to a YouTube video of Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey.” I’m not a big country music fan but dug the Kentucky native’s bluesy twang, reminiscent of Leon Russell and bluegrass roots that make for an intriguing musical blend. On a recent Saturday Night Live Stapleton sang “Nobody to Blame” from the album “Traveler.” It goes:
She took down the photograph
Of our wedding day
Ripped it down the middle
And threw my half away
And I got nobody to blame but me.
She broke all my fishing rods
Put my guns in hock
Threw my clothes out in the yard
And changed out all the locks
And I got nobody to blame but me
I got nobody to blame but me
I know right where I went wrong
I know just what got her gone
Turned my life into this country song
And I got nobody to blame but me.
She fired up my old hot rod
Ran it in the pond
Put sugar in my John Deere
I can’t even mow my lawn
And I got nobody to blame but me.
She built her a bonfire
With my old six string
Took all my good whiskey
And poured it down the drain
And I got nobody to blame but me.
For Steve McShane’s Indiana History class Emma Lynn wrote about Bernice and Al Govorchian. They reside in the Valparaiso Rittenhouse, where Emma is a Certified Nurse Assistant.
Bernice Grakey was born in Gary Methodist Hospital in 1928. Her parents, Ursula and John, were from Lithuania. Her father left Russia illegally when 16. After fighting in World War 1, John hired in at U.S. Steel Mill because, in his words, “that’s what everyone did, that is where the paychecks were at.” During the Great Depression John was fortunate he had a very good job at the mill. Bernice’s parents lived in a two-story apartment and at one time rented out the first floor, she claims, to future Oscar winner Karl Malden.
An only child. Bernice attended Spaulding Elementary in Gary and later Lew Wallace. She attended IUN for two years, then completed her teaching degree in Bloomington, graduating in 1951. She taught first grade at Riley Elementary in Glen Park for 5 years and kindergarten until her retirement.
Bernice’s first husband, Ted Collins, worked for Hubbell Electric. They had one daughter, Sue, and then Ted died suddenly. Bernice next dated a man who worked at a technology building in Valparaiso. She recalled: “He brought over this box, plugged it in, and had us looking at this little TV and two practically naked men wrestling each other!”
At Riley Bernice met her second husband, Principal Alfred Govorchian. Al, also an only child, was from Indiana Harbor, and his father, nicknamed “Sam the Man,” was a lifer at Inland Steel. Al played basketball and baseball at East Chicago Washington, graduated from IU in 1955, got drafted, and was an army medic. A widower whose first wife Delores died of cancer at age 36, Al, like Bernice, had a daughter, Susan.
Now married for 40 years, Al and Bernice reminisced about their years at Riley. One kid nicknamed Fat Eddy threw a fit every day his mother dropped him off. She’d take off running and Eddy would chase her. This was an ongoing thing; I tried everything and then asked Al if he had a solution. Al came to the classroom one morning and when Eddy began his fit, Al wrapped both arms around him. Eddy just screamed and kicked like there was no tomorrow and ripped Al’s tie right off his suit.
Another student was so smart but lazy; he never wanted to do work. One day Bernice asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. The boy replied, “Mrs. Collins I want to be clean,” meaning he wanted to dress nice, live well, and stay clear of the police - easier said than done. Bernice later learned that the boy got in trouble with the law.
Govorchian family pictures
After they retired Al and Bernice bought two condos, one in the Florida Keys and the other in Chesterton. Bernice explained. “We went to Florida six months out of the year starting in October. Last year was the first time I saw snow in 25 years.” Al added, “I loved deep sea fishing; I would meet with a bunch of people on a boat and we would fish for hours. I also did a lot of lobster fishing.” Bernice interjected, “Once the girls graduated and moved out I like to say I sold the kitchen.” Al smartly added, “You sold the bedroom, too.” We all laughed for a solid 15 minutes. They went on numerous cruises and family trips. “We were a very fortunate family,” Bernice said.
Sand Creek condo board approved allocating $3,000 for pruning dead branches and, in one case, cutting down an entire tree. A day later Roger Getz and crew arrived for work, important to accomplish while the trees are still dormant. It looked to be a family enterprise. Leo Rondo, called, worried about his plum tree. Getz assured me that it was safe.
NWI Times guest columnist John Hodson, President of Kankakee Valley Historical Society, wrote about “river rat” Harry Nusbaum (1887-1980), a petty criminal who in later life built a shack at Baum’s Bridge. Hodson wrote about a ceremony near Baum’s Bridge A wildlife conservation group, according to Mark Miller, was releasing a previously injured hawk to the swampland.
It was a big deal. After a speech or two, they opened the cage and let the bird loose. It flew maybe a hundred yards or so down the river and BOOM! Harry had his dinner.
Descending to the basement, I missed the last step and fell, leaving rug burns on my left elbow and knee and a sore back. After a similar mishap, we put a different colored throw rug at the bottom, but I had moved it in anticipation of the cleaners’ visit and failed to put it back. I’m too old to be so negligent and fortunate to escape without more dire consequences. Visiting my trusty chiropractor Manuel Kazanas, I learned he is soon retiring. Bummer. Driving north on I-65, I saw a billboard touting IUN as “The Region’s University” with the slogan, “Fulfilling the Promise.”
On the news: an off-duty police officer got stabbed in the head while working security at a Chicago South Side tow yard. The victim was IUN patrolman Edward Morrison. Interim chief Wayne James released this statement: “The department was shocked and saddened this morning to hear of this news about Officer Morrison, but we are all very relieved that he’s been released from the hospital and that the investigation into his attack is promising. His physical injuries could have been much worse and we are all hopeful and positive about his continued recovery.”
Steve Rushin’s Sports Illustrated column on strange names quipped that O.J. Mayo could be a short grocery list and that East Chicago native E’Traun Moore, now starting for the Chicago Bulls could be an ad for Lay’s potato chips (“Eat one more”).
Answers in a Jeopardy category, “Born in the 1860s,” included Cannonball Express train conductor Casey Jones and Philadelphia A’s owner and manager Connie Mack.
The Halberstadt family is at Universal Orlando in Florida. Cancer victim Robin is rolling with the punches better than I possibly could. Regarding the photo, taken by Jef, son Charles posted: “Ignore Robin’s lack of a smile. She’s having fun, just cold.” Demonstrating courage and resilience, that’s the Robin I taught 35 years ago and wanted to get to know better. Then hubby Jef signed up for my Sixties course.
Sunday Alissa dropped in on her way home to Grand Rapids after visiting her mom (Beth) in Carmel. She announced that her job at Grand Valley State will take her to Istanbul and then Tanzania, a very poor East African country formed a half-century ago from the previous British colonies of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Alissa hopes to go on a safari photo shoot at Serengeti National Park and visit Mount Kilimanjaro, made famous by Ernest Hemingway. Dave, on hand for gaming with Tom and Brady Wade, told Alissa that some East Chicago Central students were pen pals with Tanzanian counterparts. Cool. I urged Alissa to get the recommended inoculations.