Friday, September 23, 2016


“When you see me in misery
Come on baby see about me.”
         “What’d I Say,” Ray Charles
Ray Charles in 1968
Becca spent the night because she had an English paper due at midnight, and power went out at her house.  For the topic “I Believe” she wrote 600 words on equality   I drove her to Chesterton High School and then turned on WXRT.  Lin Brehmer talked with Len Kasper about the Cubs getting into the 1908 World Series thanks to NY Giant Fred Merkle’s bonehead play, not advancing to second base on an apparent game-winning single.   Featured artists were members of Rock and Roll’s royalty Ray Charles and Bruce Springsteen, both born on September 23.  Ray would have been 86, while “The Boss” turned 67.  Ray Charles was my favorite performer in high school and “Drown in my Own Tears” my favorite song.  Over the course of the morning WXRT played “Lonely Avenue,” “The Right Time,” and “What’d I Say,” which some prudes at the time thought contained dirty words.  My favorite line: “See the girl with the red dress on, she can do the Birdland all night long.” What fantasies to put in the mind of this impressionable teenager.  In “We Like Birdland” by Huey “Piano” Smith and the Clowns the final line goes, “Ah, Safire, momma, we’re really gonna do that now.”
Bill Carey captured on camera monarch butterflies fueling up on the wildflower golden rod at Marquette Park in Gary.   Spencer Cortwright wrote:
About this time of year our monarch butterflies are getting ready for their annual migration to Mexico.  Our monarchs have to fuel up on as much nectar as possible to ensure they can make it to each refueling spot along their way!  They have a long way to go.  When they return in spring, they don't go all the way, they stop in southern states and lay eggs and die.  Their young then continue on the migration in a stepping-stone like fashion.

The Frankish kingdom of Jerusalem existed from 1099 until 1187, when overrun by the forces of Saladin (An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub), a Sunni Kurd.  During the 88 years numerous disputes occurred over the issue of succession, due to the lack of male heirs in the case of both Baldwin I and Baldwin II, his distant cousin, whose four children were, alas, girls.  The eldest, Melisende, married Count Fulk of Anjou, who died in 1143 in a fall from a horse.  Melisende’s son Baldwin III (whose real father may have been Hugh of Jaffa) ascended the throne but died childless, provoking yet another crisis that ultimately led to the child of Baldwin’s brother, the leper Baldwin IV, assuming the throne.  He was unable to have children, died at age 24, and his sickly nephew Baldwin V died just two years after he did, leading to yet another conflict that Saladin exploited, soundly defeating a Crusader force at the Battle of Hattin, located in present-day Israel.  In the aftermath he ordered hundreds of Knights Templar executed.  Learning of the disaster, Pope Gregory VIII put out a call for another crusade that enlisted three foolhardy monarchs, King Richard the Lion-Heart, Philip II of France, and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I.
Good friend Alice Bush bowled in my place because we need her to sub next week while I am in New York and Robbie is on a Mississippi River cruise.  Several people commented on her black Flamingo’s Pizza shirt with pink lettering, including two relatives of the current owner.  George Villarreal recalled when Flamingo’s was located on Fifth Avenue downtown. When Gregg Halliburt expressed the hope that she’d do well, Alice responded, “Keep Hope Alive,” a Jesse Jackson quote.  An SEIU organizer, she was an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter.  She hadn’t bowled in over 30 years and had to use a house ball but improved with each game and plans to be back next week. 
Post-Trib reporter Nancy Webster requested information on the Union Espanola’s social center, Spanish Castle, built in 1931 and still standing on West Eleventh Avenue, home to a church congregation.  Archivist Steve McShane referred her to Ernie Hernandez’s “Ethnics in Northwest Indiana” (1983), and I recommended the chapter on Hispanics in “Peopling Indiana: The Ethnic Experience” (1996). In Ron Cohen and my pictorial history of Gary is a photo provided by Angie Prado Komenich of Union Espanola members attending a 1926 picnic, accompanied by this caption:
  Founded in 1913 to provide beneficiary, educational, and recreational activities for its two dozen charter members, the Union Espanola grew rapidly during the 1920s.  Between January 1, 1922, and July 1, 1923, membership rose from 50 to 400 under the leadership of Antonio Garcia (president), Daniel Vega (secretary), Francisco Chamorro (treasurer), and Hipolito Fernandez (vice-president).
I was able to put Webster in touch with Angie Komenich, now in her mid-80s and living in Portage.

In a 2013 article entitled “Hidden City”         about homeless New Yorkers, estimated to be in excess of 50,000, Ian Frazier referred to Jacob A. Riis’s pioneering exposé “How the Other Half Lives” (1890.  He wrote:
Fiorello LaGuardia, by general consensus the greatest mayor the city ever had, loved “How the Other Half Lives” so much that he put a copy of it in the cornerstone of one of the nation’s original low-cost public-housing projects, part of a series he built downtown and in Brooklyn.

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