Friday, March 3, 2017

Traveling Light

“Meet today’s problems with today’s strength.  Don’t start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow.” Max Lucado, “Traveling Light: Releasing the Burdens You Were Never Intended to Bear”
Neil Goodman

I travel light, never more than an overnight bag and tend to tackle future problems rather than leave them until the last minute.  Is that why I have high blood pressure?  Ann Fritz hosted a reception for Neil Goodman’s sculpture show, entitled “Traveling Light.”  I had seen it at Valparaiso University last year while attending Peter Aglinskas’ “Film Noir” series but was still disappointed that the event conflicted with bowling.  Ron Cohen told me that a nice crowd was on hand.  Neil, a mainstay for decades, will soon be retiring.

At Hobart Lanes Gene Clifford had a hand-made cedar bird feeder waiting for me, along with a gadget for connecting it to a tree plus a gallon of bird seed.  Several bowlers admired it, and George and Marge Yetsko ordered one.  The Engineers took all three games from Hot Shots, who spotted us 120 pins.  The lane conditions were such that strikes were difficult, which probably worked to our advantage.  After I picked up a 5-10 split, I told Dave Czapla that I might have blown the spare had only the ten-pin been left standing.  During the second game, I stepped too far backwards watching my ball and tripped, bumping the side of my head against the automatic scorer. It broke the fall but left one ear sore.  I iced it down and was no worse for wear except for some discoloration.  Both Dick and Frank called later to check on me.
Mary Lee reported that her former boss, Vice Chancellor of Student Services Ernest Smith, passed away in Sugar Land, Texas. Ernest suffered a stroke about 15 years ago but made a remarkable recovery that enabled him to continue working until his retirement in 2005.  He began at IUN as a counselor and then was in charge of University Division, where undecided freshmen started out.  He, Bill Lee in Admissions, and Leroy Gray in Financial Aid were invaluable to incoming students.  Linda Anderson said he mellowed out and became more patient after the stroke.  In an interview Ernest told me:
  Rather than be depressed over my stroke, I felt blessed. Knowing what other people have to deal with, it didn’t faze me.  Several people my age had recently died of heart attacks, so I was overjoyed that I was still around. I never had a negative attitude.  Everyone was very encouraging except for one therapist who told me I’d never use my arm.  At the time, I couldn’t even move my arm.  I told her she could leave and told others never to let her back in my room.  I guess the word got around.  After the stroke, I knew I could still do my job.  Otherwise, I would have explored other options.
 Aja Harris

TV producer Aja Harris interviewed me for a series on Rustbelt cities in the “James B. Lane Room” of the Archives – so-called because about 30 years ago Toni bought plaques for that work space and Steve McShane’s old office (unofficially the “Ronald D. Cohen Room.”  I wore a green shirt and tie, aware that white is bad for lighting purposes.  After about a half-hour, Aja asked if I had anything to add.  I mentioned that Latinos played an important role in Gary’s history, that the Gary public schools were once world-famous under progressive educator William A. Wirt, and that unionization eventually enabled steelworkers to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle. I was somewhat disappointed to learn that the Gary segment will only be about ten minutes long and hope Harris follows my lead and not be too negative.  Gary may be down on her heels, but there’s still plenty of life in her yet.

Cameraman Christian attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia.  I visited there for a Bucknell Aesthetics class, conducting an experiment with an art piece.  I told one group the painting was untitled and invented a descriptive title for the second group.  Unlike with high school and Bucknell students, the art students paid little attention to the title.
interior of Union Station by David Tribbe
Harris and her two-man crew were headed to the 107-year-old Union Station, which ceased being a railroad terminal a half-century ago.  A front-page article in today’s Post-Tribune mentioned that a group called Decay Devils recently received a $22,000 grant from Legacy Foundation to spruce up the building in hopes of eventually restoring it. Reporter Gregory Tejeda wrote: “Architect M.A. Lang intended the neoclassical design to be reminiscent of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago of 1893.”
Former student Joe Coates, now the Purdue Northwest archivist, was doing research in the Archives on interurban railways, which enabled Gary to be a regional commercial hub beginning in the 1920s.  In the summer of 2007, he was a supplemental instructor for my final History class before I retired.  In my Eighties Steel Shavings that came out that year, Danielle Lanctot wrote about the Coates family embarking on a five-week cross-country trip in an old Chevy van after Joe’s dad got laid off from J&L Steel in East Chicago.  Coates told Danielle: “When the mills shut down, dad became addicted to Atari for a couple of months.”  He’d stay up until 3 or 4 a.m. playing Pac-Man on an old 13-inch black and white TV.  Joe’s dad eventually got called back to work and is about to retire from Mittal Steel in East Chicago after putting in 47 years.

Gloria McMillan, who is collecting short stories by the children of steelworkers, included this paragraph in her composition ‘Scents and Sensibility”:
            Dad wore Old Spice cologne because Mom talked him into it.   Most Harbor City steelworkers did not wear men’s cologne.  It wouldn’t matter if Dad wore totally muskratty cologne to his job at Midland Steel because the other boilermakers, shop floor sweepers, and field forces hands would never smell it over the ambient pungent aromas of molten metals, acid baths, and acrid, charred slag and clinkers.  But around the house, Old Spice was prevalent.
Lou Nimnicht in 2014
Barbara Walczak’s bridge newsletter honored Lou Nimnicht for becoming a sapphire life master by accumulating 3,500 master points. Several players noted that he offered helpful tips to beginning players, was a caring friend, and an aggressive partner. Steve Watson stated: “Lou has distinguished himself as a bridge tactician, strategist, and analyst.”  Barbara Graegin wrote: “Lou does unusual things – like opening 1 NT with a singleton or with less than 15 points – [but] we usually come out all right.  He is very patient, only when I am a little slow to bid, then he says, ‘Now you’re getting like Watson.’” 

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