Monday, August 3, 2015

South Haven


“These memories won’t fade
cause I’ll feel the same
and I won’t go away.”
         “South Haven,” Moses Mayfield.

Moses Mayfield was an alternative rock band from Birmingham, Alabama, as well as the name of its lead singer, who later recorded solo albums.  There’s also an eight-minute dance mix by Element One entitled “South Haven.”
above, Toni and Jimbo with beach house in background; below, Beth's 50th
Thanks to daughter-in-law Beth Satkoski’s largess, my family of 14 enjoyed a week-long “Michigan Adventure” at the summer resort town of South Haven.  The weather was perfect, the sunsets spectacular, and the Lake Michigan waves excellent for body surfing although participants had to struggle to keep their swimsuits on.  One day I went to town with Dave’s family for ice cream cones and stopped at an upscale olive oil and balsam shop that offered many free samples.  Walking abeside the Black River, I watching boats of all shapes coming in and out of the harbor.  We feasted each evening on such delicacies as ham, tacos, lasagna, burgers, and spaghetti and meatballs.  At night we played card games (SOB, Pitch, Texas Hold-‘em), the dice game Yahtzee, the tile game Rummikub, and the social game Werewolf – not my favorite but popular because an unlimited number of people can participate. One highlight was having dinner in Saugatuck with Steve and Jon Helmrich, who had worked with Phil on a documentary called “Michigan Hometown Stories.”  They had meant to take us to the Red Dock Café, but the hippie owner made so much money the previous weekend he decided to close for the day.  We visited the place anyway and then went back to Steve and Jon’s fantastic house in the woods for homemade raspberry cream pie.  
dinner with Jon and Steve and at Red Dock Cafe
One afternoon on the beach a guy was attempting to launch a huge kite from the water, and twice it crashed near to where kids were playing.  A couple guys yelled for the guy to stop, but as he tried to do so, it once more came down perilously close to people.  After one irate father went over and pushed the guy’s head into the sand, Phil’s wife Delia rushed to the scene and told the culprit to stop.  Fortunately the fellow’s wife got him to settle down, and the crisis passed.  I heard about the incident later and was proud of Delia.  On a lighter note: One day the women visited a shop where Alissa tried on wedding dresses for next summer’s nuptials.
Alissa and Josh on the beach
I did plenty of reading while at South Haven, starting with a Young Adult novel by John Green that somebody brought entitled “Looking for Alaska,” about a 17 year-old’s year at an Alabama boarding school, during which time he starts smoking and drinking cheap wine and gets a blow job from exotic friend Lara. Miles, the protagonist, is a bit of a nerd, interested in the last words of famous people such as John F. Kennedy (“It’s obvious” – referring to the people of Dallas giving him a nice reception) and Simon Bolivar (“Damn it!  How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?”).  The rationale Miles gave for wanting to leave home were the last words of French Renaissance scholar Francois Rabelais: “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” 

I found a Reader Digest condensation of a sappy biography of Dolley Madison, the outstanding nineteenth century White House hostess for Thomas Jefferson as well as hubby “Jemmy.”  After former President Madison died in 1937, Dolley left Montpelier and spent her last 12 years back in Washington, poor but still a society icon, and died at the ripe old age of 81. 

More edifying was Antonia Fraser’s “Royal Charles,” about Stuart monarch Charles II.  A believer of religious tolerance and peace through friendship with French King Louis XIV, Charles once said, “I would have everyone live under his own vine and fig-tree.  Give me my just prerogative and I will never ask for more.”  During his reign the theater flowered and scientific inquiry flourished.  Scarred by 11 years in exile under the Cromwellian interregnum, he was not really the “Merry Monarch” of myth but had a stable of mistresses that he treated with respect and decency.  As Fraser concluded, “Many a monarch has had a worse epitaph than giving back peace to a torn nation.”  One source of pleasure in reading about Charles II was the prominent presence of Samuel Pepys, whose diary described the king’s return from exile and coronation, as well as the terrible London plague and fire, both of which occurred in 1666.  Pepys also served with distinction as Secretary of the Admiralty but nevertheless spent several months as a prisoner on the Tower of London on phony charges of being a papist.
Ed Erb
In his SALT column Jeff Manes wrote about Ed Erb, a Hammond Tech grad who recalled South Hammond neighbors not liking his father’s African-American friend Granville Love and his family swimming in their family pool.  Ed once worked for a company called Dombrowski and Holmes. The founder, Mr. Holmes, according to Erb, “was trying to break into the Polish neighborhoods without much luck.  He opened up the phone book and noted there were more Dombrowskis than any other name.  So he added Dombrowski to his business name and business improved by about 1,000 percent.”

Back home I found among the accumulation of mail the Ayers Realtors Newsletter.  In his column Jean Ayers wrote about Miller stores along Lake Street when he was growing up, such as Todd’s Confectionary, where, he recalled, “you could buy comic books, Mad magazines, and cinnamon oil in a tiny jar to dip tooth picks to give them flavor, not to mention a whole display of penny candy.”  Among his many teen jobs was dipping ice cream cones and hand packing quart packages at Jack Spratt’s, where on Sundays the waiting line started shortly before noon and continued until near closing 10 p.m. closing time.  Jean wrote: “My favorite celebrity visit was when Ted Karras, who played for the Chicago bears, brought in his teammates Mike Ditka and Ed O’Bradovich.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Licks of Love


“Shadows settle on the place, that you left.
Our minds are troubled by the emptiness.
Destroy the middle, it's a waste of time.
From the perfect start to the finish line.
         “Youth,” Daughter
 John Updike


At Chesterton library I checked out John Updike’s “Licks of Love.”  It includes the 182-page novella “Rabbit Remembered,”, which I first read when it came out 15 years ago.  Updike is a splendid social historian, in this case through the eyes of Harry Angstrom’s widow Janice, now remarried in 1999 and a real estate sales agent.  She observes that housing values “shoot up when a community cuts down on signage and buries its electric wires.”  Driving through Brewer, she recalls Arnold’s Footgear, where “at a machine you could see he bones of your feet move in a ghostly green light that it turns out gave you cancer.”  Janice’s divorced son and grandson communicate long distance by computer, trading off-color jokes such as this sick reference to JFK, Jr., crashing his plane into the Atlantic Ocean with his wife and sister-in-law on board: “Remember when the Kennedys used to drown only one woman at a time.”

After Miller booster George Rogge appeared on Jerry Davich’s “Casual Fridays” show to plug an Aquatorium fundraiser featuring spirits from 18th Street Brewery, food provided for Rogge’s his birthday celebration, and Three Blues Bands, an overflow crowd turned out on a balmy Friday evening.

James and Becca (above) participated Saturday in the “Premiere Performance” production of “Summer Showcase.”  Becca sang “Youth” by Daughter, while on the piano James played “Underwater Background Music” by Koji Kondo (from “Super Mario Brothers”).  Highlights included Holly Kittredge and Aliza Tannish doing the Wiz Khalifa soft rap hit “See You Again” and Alyssa Cruz and Emma Kitchel performing “What Is This feeling?” from “Wicked.”

After watching Cole Hamels no-hit the Cubs, I went to an outdoor concert at Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve.  Dick Hagelberg is the Hobart Area Concert Band formerly known as Rusty Pipes and picked us up.  An Oldies medley included “Rock Around the Clock,” “Blueberry Hill,” and “Old Time Rock and Roll.”  It was a beautiful evening, and the concert ended before the mosquitoes came out.
Phil in South Haven; Tori and Miranda with "mermaid"

Daughter-in-law Beth Satkoski rented a beach house in South Haven, Michigan,  for a week that accommodated 14 of us quite comfortably.  Next-door neighbor Eileen warned us about a treacherously narrow driveway that bore signs of previous tenants’ collisions.   Everybody brought loads of food and drinks, including Beth’s homemade potato salad, blueberry and peach pies, and two lasagnas, one meaty and the other vegetarian.  The first evening we celebrated Miranda’s twenty-first and Beth’s fiftieth birthdays with cupcakes.  I stayed up until 2 a.m. playing Texas Hold-‘em, eventually finishing third to Anthony and winner Dave.  A straight by Anthony did me in when I went all in with two pair.

As a belated birthday present Beth gave me Don Winslow’s “The Cartel,” about Mexican drug lords.  The dedication page lists hundreds of dead or missing journalists who had the temerity to write about the powerful cartels that smuggle illegal drugs into the insatiable American market.  Winslow has contempt for our country’s naïve drug policies, and his portrayal of drug chieftains reminded me of U.S. gangsters such as Al Capone.

To get in and out of South Haven’s beach area requires crossing a drawbridge that opens every half hour.  We waited ten minutes for the boats to pass by. Monday we made it across seconds before the crossing gates came down. I went back to Indiana for a day with Dave’s family to play duplicate bridge.  Dave registered James for high school while Angie took Becca to “Jesus Christ Superstar” rehearsals.

I’ll begin my talk on the history of Edgewater by explaining how we came to live there.  We gradually came to see ourselves as Portage residents.  Initially, though living in Porter County on national Lakeshore property, we had a Gary mailing address and phone number, and Phil and Dave continued to attend an alternative school in Glen Park. I played softball in Portage’s Woodland Park, however, and the kids joined Portage Little League and met people their age who lived in Ogden Dunes, some of whom remain close friends. Gradually we began shopping at Town and Country, bowling at Camelot Lanes, using the Portage library, and getting our hair clipped at Quick Cut.  While having IUN students do oral histories of Portage residents, I read through council meeting minutes, interviewed political and business leaders, including Cortie Wilson and William Westergreen, and visited the Bonner Center for senior citizens.

Maurice Yancy and I watched Frederic Cousseau and Blandine Huk’s 90-minute documentary “My Name Is Gary.”  Maurice frequently identified places he recognized and was pleased to see his name included in the credits.  Samuel A. Love commented that he would not like to see Gary go back to what it had been – a polluted city where racism was virulent.  The film began and ended with footage of Lake Michigan.  Midway through, with the Chicago skyline across the water in the background, a young man stated that his goal was to move somewhere else with greater opportunities, such as the “Windy City” of Chicago.

Blowhard Donald Trump’s statements about illegal Mexican immigrants and fellow Republican John McCain not being a war hero and graduating last in his class at Annapolis have made him temporarily the front-runner in the crowded GOP presidential field.  Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham have criticized him, while Tea Party conservatives Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum have held their tongue.

Here are excerpts from the journal of Brienne Karriman (left, with sister):
May 24: We celebrated my younger sister’s, Kayla, twentieth birthday  by having friends and family over for a barbeque. We didn’t use to get along very well but since she moved in with my dad, we have become a lot closer.  
May 27: My boyfriend Tyler and I went to Redamak’s in New Buffalo, Michigan, a great burger joint about a 25-minute drive from my house in Burns Harbor.  Redamak’s has been around since the 1940s and is always busy whenever I go.  Afterwards, we went to a cute ice cream place down the road called Oinks.  I got a scoop of moose tracks in a sugar cone, and it was fantastic!
May 29: Tyler and I drove to Monrovia, a suburb of Indianapolis, to visit his brother, Timmy, and his fiancé, Krista.  We ended up going to Krista’s parent’s house so the boys could shoot their guns.   Timmy bought Tyler a handgun as a college graduation gift.  Krista’s family lives on a farm and has cattle.  So while the boys shot their guns, Krista and I fed the cows by hand.  They just had a bunch of babies that were so cute!  After dinner (deer burgers for everyone but me) we had a bonfire to end the night. 
May 30: We drove from Timmy and Krista’s to Southport for my cousin’s high school graduation party. My aunt is a very over-the-top person and had not one but two different food trucks, Chinese and Italian, and also hired a very talented balloon artist.  He made me Ariel the Little Mermaid, and my sister got a squirrel hat.  Outside they had a fire pit and everything you needed to make s’mores. 
May 31: I went with my best friend, Evelyn, to my boyfriend’s hockey game.  He plays on a men’s league, and we were the only ones watching.  Tyler’s team won.
June 5: Linda, my mom’s mom, is the family genealogist. According to her research, David and Margaret Forsythe were my eighth great-grandparents.  David and Margaret moved from Scotland then to Ireland and eventually they moved to Kentucky in about 1770.  The couple had 11 children.  In 1808, David passed away and Margaret moved to Johnson County, Indiana.
June 8: I went to my grandma and grandpa’s for his seventy-third birthday.  We had pizza from Val’s and chocolate cake.  It got postponed yesterday due to tornado warnings.  We had a nice time talking with everyone.  I have a three-year-old cousin, Garrett, which tends to be the focal point because kids are so funny at that age.   
June 11: For five years since age 16 I have worked at George’s Gyros in Chesterton, a family owned restaurant with fewer than 20 employees. Three years ago I became a manager.  My only added responsibility was closing at the end of the night by making sure everything in the kitchen is off, lights are off, and doors locked once the alarm is set. When I received my check, I was happily surprised to see that I had gotten a 50-cent raise.  My boss is very generous and gives us raises every year.
June 12: I went to the Southlake Mall twice.  I know I’m crazy!  Two friends asked me to go separately so I couldn’t say no!  In the morning I went with Lydia, who attends IUPUI.  The second time, I went with Evelyn.  We also went to Plato’s Closet.  You drop off old clothes, and they offer you money for the things they want.  They offered me $50.00, which is awesome, unless I think about how much I originally spent on them.  At Casa Del Mar in Valparaiso I got chicken flautas.  I love Mexican food. After the mall we rented a movie called “The DUFF” and ended our night.      
June 15: I was in a Chicago restaurant watching the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup for the third time in the past six seasons.  It would have been awesome to be at the game but standing room tickets alone were upwards of $300. Everyone in the restaurant went crazy. 
June 16: Tyler and I went to Kelsey’s Steakhouse.  I got stuffed green pepper soup and the Santa Fe chicken.  Afterwards we did a little shopping because Father’s Day is coming up next weekend.  Then, we got Cold Stone Ice Cream.  I always get the birthday cake remix.  
              June 21: For Father’s Day my dad and I went to Pesto’s. I got the baked ziti and he got veal.  When the check came, he tried paying but I would not allow him considering it was my treat and his Father’s Day gift! Once we were back at his house we hung out outside along with my dad’s cousin, Ryan, until the mosquitos got too bad and I couldn’t take it anymore.  I hate mosquitos!
June 26: I got my hair done at Studio 46390 in Wanatah, which is about a half hour drive.  The prices are so great the drive is worth it.  I got my hair lightened and cut and also got my eyebrows waxed, all for $60.00.  Afterwards I went down to Monticello where my boyfriend has a house on Lake Schafer. 
June 27: My cousin’s fifth birthday party had a Mexican fiesta theme.  We had tacos and chips and salsa followed by birthday cake.  When the party was over, I was asleep before ten o’clock, which is early for me
June 28: About two miles from my house a very serious situation was going on.  A man had started shooting at his estranged wife and children’s house and then barricaded himself inside.  The wife reported the incident around 7:30 a.m.  There were police from three different stations, the Portage SWAT team, the Burns Harbor Fire Department, and also the Portage EMS.  The entire road was closed off for several hours.  
July 1: Evelyn and I drove to Chicago to rollerblade along Lake Shore Drive.  It took us less than an hour to get to Navy Pier because we didn’t hit any traffic.  It was really fun! It was about 62 degrees, perfect since we were constantly moving.  We had to pay for parking; but since we split it, it wasn’t too terrible. We were in the parking garage, and that was where we put on our roller blades.  There was a little bit of a decline going out and I wiped out in the middle of the street.  It really hurt and it was embarrassing, but only a security guard saw me. Today was the first time I rollerbladed in about a year so I didn’t quite have my stance quite right, but the further we went the better I got.