The lonely curator.

Question for Brian and the other Fort Wayners: What was the name of the taxidermy museum that used to be at one of the city parks? It just came to me: The Diehm Museum, something like that? It was the sort of place that older people love, because they came of age when your only chance to see a bobcat was in an Encyclopedia Britannica or something. Today you have the internet, the zoo, 500 channels of NatGeo footage filmed with remote cameras in the wild.

But the story I’m thinking of was before the internet. One of our reporters did a piece on the declining fortunes of the museum, and the manager/owner was just furious about it. How could people not see the value of taxidermy, the animals arranged in fierce poses? Where else would a child in Indiana see an ocelot, or at least a pelt stretched over a form that resembled an ocelot?

I thought of that when I read this piece in the Freep today, by the talented John Carlisle, who used to be the Detroitblog guy, liberally linked here for years. It’s about the old keeper of a historical museum in Galesburg, Mich. He’s not angry, just sad and old and getting older, wondering who is going to care for his museum when he’s gone, when no one seems to care about it now?

Some days, he might get a few visitors. But there are also whole weeks when he gets none. Yet twice a week, right on time, he dutifully lights the red neon “Open” sign in the window with a yank on its cord, unlocks the door and waits in case someone out there shares his passion for the past.

He’s here because he simply loves history. He loves to teach. And because nobody else will do it.

Most of the museum’s founders and supporters have moved on or passed away over the years, and he’s worried if nobody comes along soon to replace him, all these objects and photos and antiques he’s worked so hard to save might vanish or get thrown out.

It’s a really good story, sad and wonderful at the same time. Y’all read.

And thanks to Alex for finding this artifact of the ever-deepening swamp of weirdness that exists in the far-right fever swamps. This is the MMA fighter who was arrested in Dekalb County, Ind., for either leading the police on a high-speed chase (the cop version) or just being normal freedom-loving citizens with a baby in the back and some car trouble (their version). I was fascinated by their repeated request for “three forms of ID, as required by law.” Is this a new wingnut thing? Say what you will about lefty lunatics, but at least all they do is refuse to get their kids vaccinated.

And so the next 10-day to two-week stretch begins, when I will be working my butt off and maybe dying, but I will try to open a new thread from time to time. I’ll be on the lookout for some interesting images, which is what we foo-foo people say when we mean “pictures.”

Have a great weekend, all. I’ll be in and out.

Posted at 9:58 pm in Current events |

67 responses to “The lonely curator.”

  1. brian stouder said on January 22, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    I think the Diehm Museum is now office space…and the building may also be where the Zoo day-campers (Chloe does this each summer, and loves it) congregate in the morning and at the end of the day.

    If I was in Galesburg, I’d visit the guy’s museum.

    A very fine place to visit is the Benjamin Harrison home in Indianapolis*. I’d just finished a bio about him, which was altogether enthralling (he was sort of crossed up when it came to the women in his life)….

    and a long-running joke, whenever Pam and I drive past the museum in Logansport, is to see if it is open (it almost never is). But the two times I’ve ever made it in there, I’ve found it to be altogether engaging and thought-provoking (hence the name ‘museum’, I suppose)

    Here in Fort Wayne, I still miss the old Lincoln Museum, although the ACPL has lots of good stuff. One very sobering place to visit is our old castle-like city hall, which is now a museum. The basement jail cells in that place comprise an actual dungeon, and is one of the spookiest places in town.

    *I got a wonderful book called Hoosiers for Christmas, and I hadn’t realized that his grandpa, William Henry Harrison, was really such a son-of-a-bitch….but we digress!

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  2. Kirk said on January 22, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    From previous thread: I’ve never heard of “a horse apiece,” either.

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  3. Dexter said on January 22, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Brian, anything new on the one-man restoration of Baker Street Station? There was a story in The News-Sentinel about it a while back.

    Auto show over, back to basics with a bast from the past:

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  4. brian stouder said on January 22, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Kirk, nor have I.

    Years ago, I did learn several new old-sayings from Pam’s Cass County family. “Just as leave” (as in “I’d just as leave have a baloney sandwich”) or “it’s far from my heart” (as in “No, no, I’m OK” – when you stub your toe or bump your head) leap to mind…but there are many others

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  5. beb said on January 22, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Good luck with working your ass off.

    The DeKalb nut cases is an example of white privilege.

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  6. brian stouder said on January 22, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    Dex – I’ve heard about the Baker Street deal; an awful lot of energy is going into the new Ash Brokerage building/apartments, and The Landing is getting a concurrent blast of energy and redevelopment interest.

    Here’s a trippy interactive Google deal for a restaurant that calls itself Baker Street – and appears to be up north of Glenbrook mall,-85.125453,3a,75y,71.29h,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sk_woUDhoQw6-yFcYAcdNLA!2e0!3e2?hl=en

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  7. Jolene said on January 22, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Also following up from the previous thread, I wanted to link to this great three-part NYT serieson what has been happening with regard to land use, environmental protection (or lack of it), and political and economic conflicts of interest in regard to the North Dakota oil boom.

    Even if the subject isn’t close to your heart, it’s a really impressive work of investigative journalism. Basically, it’s a story about large financial interests entering a region that is lightly populated and even more lightly governed. When you have only 700,000 people in 70,000 square miles, it’s relatively easy for people to stay out of each other’s way. Also, historically, it’s not a complex economy, with most of the state’s GDP coming from agriculture. And, there’s a culture that treats as natural the idea of using the land, water, and other resources for the purposes of the humans that currently occupy those lands, coupled with general disdain for outside regulators.

    There simply isn’t a local contingent of government or environmental watchdogs to keep tabs on what people who stand to profit from extracting oil by the most efficient means possible, whatever the cost in environmental damage or quality of life. Nor is there an aggressive journalistic community with the skills and resources to draw these issues to the attention of the public.

    Pretty sweet deal for the oil companies and, of course, their activities have brought many benefits to the state too. But I wonder, as the downside becomes more apparent and as oil prices plummet, how long it will be before the boom goes bust.

    I know you have busy weeks ahead, Nancy, but if you have a chance to look at these pieces, I think you would appreciate them, if not for their intrinsic interest then for the quality of the work.

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  8. alex said on January 23, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Ah, the Diehm Museum. I’m not sure what was more grotesque, the mediocrity of the art and lighting in the dioramas or the crispy critters themselves. It was a popular public school field trip destination until an arsonist mercifully torched it. Though it managed to reopen, it never recaptured its old mojo and soon sputtered out of existence.

    Funny how when you’re a kid you don’t have adult sensibilities. A lot of people found the place abhorrent, but to us kids, there didn’t seem to be a hill of beans’ difference between visiting the captive animals at the nearby zoo and the dead ones in this place.

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  9. Sherri said on January 23, 2015 at 1:35 am

    These museums remind me of the Museum of Civilization in the new novel Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. It’s post-apocalyptic, but less dark than many of that category.

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  10. Dexter said on January 23, 2015 at 3:59 am

    alex…Helluva big fire in Waterloo…train traffic halted for “several hours” as hoses were strung across tracks.

    Back in the 50s and early 60s the place was “Waterloo Equity Exchange”, then a series of businesses , lastly an antique shoppe before being reduced to ashes yesterday.

    In 1955 Dad took my brother and my grandpa to The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. That was my first museum ; I was five. Same day, The Field Museum of Natural History. Blew my little mind! Back then the apatosaurus was called a brontosaurus. I visited both museums a few times over the decades, but the Chicago Art Museum I saved for last…the Vincent Van Gogh exhibit attracted me, wife, and daughter and her art student bff.
    I visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1981, those “Rocky” steps are a killer (because one has to run them, right?)
    So, yeah, I’ve seem some classy stuff and junk, including the King Tut treasures when they visited Chicago, but the most fun thing I ever saw was a large exhibit by Peter Max at the San Francisco Art Museum in Golden Gate Park. I still love the art of Peter Max.

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  11. Wim said on January 23, 2015 at 7:06 am

    The problem for the future of the Galesburg museum isn’t simply that the young people lack interest. The problem is that there aren’t many young people to be interested. There’s nothing left in Galesburg and so very many towns like it to hold child-rearing families there. Even if you grew up there and love the place, still, you need to go where you can find a livelihood.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2015 at 7:09 am

    At the U of M, avoid the SAM house, I’d say.

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  13. David C. said on January 23, 2015 at 7:17 am

    The poor frat boys couldn’t help it. The resort was painted so alluringly and it didn’t say no.

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  14. nancy said on January 23, 2015 at 7:39 am

    One of my Facebook network remarked that if that had been Omega Psi Phi, they’d still be in the county lockup.

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  15. alex said on January 23, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Dex, that was quite a fire. On the news it was mentioned that there may have been homeless squatters living in the building. Doesn’t surprise me. Every now and then we discover homeless people who have managed to get inside the U-Store facilities down the block that are owned by my partner’s family. Not a good thing when they build indoor bonfires to stay warm.

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  16. beb said on January 23, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Looking at the damage I have to wonder why those lily white asses are in prison.

    Meanwhile the Rev. Huckabee is worried people don’t know that law “comes from God.”
    Which makes their paranoia about Sharia law so confusing because Sharia law is also law that comes from God. The same God of Abraham that we worship.

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  17. beb said on January 23, 2015 at 8:20 am

    aren’t in prison

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  18. Julie Robinson said on January 23, 2015 at 8:41 am

    The Diehm Museum, shudder. When they announced its closing there was a hue and cry from everyone who had ignored the place for decades.

    The front part of the Baker Street station was renovated by an architectural firm for its office space, but they left the passenger boarding area intact (not fixed up). The idea is that if and when we get rail service restored it will still be available. There’s a group working on bringing high-speed rail but it’s still in the study stage and many years away.

    Interesting images? How about this slide show of Miss Universe contestants in their “national” costumes, which look less national than Vegas showgirl to me:

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  19. Julie Robinson said on January 23, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Sorry, for some reason that tiny url takes you elsewhere, here’s the long clunky link:

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  20. coozledad said on January 23, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Bet this douche is a real sweetheart when he gets pulled over by the cops, too.

    A pair of Republican fratboy drunks won our local elections by running George Wallace style campaigns. Another one might not be a drunk, but he’s an anti-gay Baptist minister of music who wants to invade Mexico.

    One of the drunks has been pulled for DWI twice, but he and the DA and the newspaper publisher are ass-sniffing buddies, and his latest DWI has been continued for going on a year now. He’d appreciate being able to get behind the wheel with a .13 and not have to worry about some black cop enforcing a law clearly designed for other people upon him.

    When we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, we invaded countries whose cultures are based on extended familial and tribal ties similar to those in the county where I live. These social arrangements are beyond most suburban Americans understanding. So far. But the South and other hick regions of the Midwest and West believe themselves to be soldiers in the army of god despite ample evidence to the contrary.

    Should we send in some fucking snipers?

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  21. basset said on January 23, 2015 at 9:14 am

    And now for something completely different… anyone been to Alaska recently? Mrs. B. and I were up there about ten years ago, probably going back this summer and she wants to see the grizzly bears. Which is fine, but some of the tours seem even more crowded and ridiculous than I expected… one of the first I looked at had something on their webpage about how they manage the waiting list to go stand on the observation deck, that’s just a little too pre-arranged for us. I mean, you need someone to show you around, but don’t make it Disney World.

    Last time we were standing in a city park in Anchorage looking at some moose when a family carload pulled up and the dad started throwing pebbles at the alpha male moose because “he’s not doing anything!” We had to have a talk about that, bothering the moose can get you killed if they take a mind to rush you. and wildlife is not there to perform for you anyway…

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  22. Peter said on January 23, 2015 at 9:21 am

    In the Now I’ve Heard Everything Department: Last night on the “L”, an old guy was talking to his friend and said that the Deflategate scandal was being orchestrated from the White House through the media to divert attention from Benghazi.

    I couldn’t help it – I had to yell out “OH, C’MON!!!!” And his cogent retort? “Well, commie, you haven’t heard about Begnhazi lately, have you? It’s obviously working!”.

    I told him that he may be running low on tin foil.

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  23. coozledad said on January 23, 2015 at 9:42 am

    It’s obviously working!

    You’d think Thomas Pynchon’s paranoid theory is a playbook for them. But it’s just people with a mental age of about seven trying to mine data, then proceeding to graph the results in fingerpaint (feces).

    They can drive cars. They can vote. They can buy guns.

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  24. nancy said on January 23, 2015 at 9:49 am

    There’s never a bad time to post this animal-interaction video, proof that God does indeed take care of babies and drunks.

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  25. alex said on January 23, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I saw the football scandal referred to yesterday as “Ballghazi,” which I took to be an effort to deflate the matter of any seriousness. Didn’t realize this was a “thing” inside the right-wing media bubble.

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  26. coozledad said on January 23, 2015 at 10:06 am

    alex:It’s also that football is sacrosanct, and a critical component of wingnut cosmology:

    They need to farm football and frats out to, uh, farms.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on January 23, 2015 at 10:07 am

    TLo is great as always, but for some unknown reason they neglected Miss Canada, dressed as an entire hockey game complete with scoreboard and Stanley Cup:

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  28. coozledad said on January 23, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Netanyahu keeps pissing off the wrong people. But like Andrew Cuomo, he’s a goomba, and the Republicans eat that shit up.

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  29. Deborah said on January 23, 2015 at 11:07 am

    That was a good piece about the history museum by Carlisle. But the photo shows it to be a place where I wouldn’t want to spend much time. Having done some exhibit design I can say that it’s important to create a place where people want to be, obviously the way you display information makes a difference. The lighting in that museum in Galesburg is horrible, and there doesn’t seem to be any hierarchy, in other words what do you look at first, then later etc. It may be organized by kind (can’t really tell from the photo) but other than that it seems a hodge podge. When I worked for a small (but good) graphic design studio in St. Louis for a time, we always wanted to adopt some crazy out of the way museum like that and redesign it so that it would be a fantastic place, but we never did it of course, because how would they pay for it. We would have volunteered our services but they would have had to pay for the rest. We never even approached any museum because we knew it was pie in the sky, but it was fun to think about.

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  30. Deborah said on January 23, 2015 at 11:17 am

    OK, I missed the video of the museum somehow when I was on my iPhone. When I looked at it on my laptop it showed more but it’s still a pretty dismal place (IMO). Sad that good stories that might be in there are being expressed so poorly.

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  31. Charlotte said on January 23, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Tom Brady Supercut (which even made my Patriots fan laugh):

    I wonder if “a horse apiece” is in any way related to a game we played as little kids on the playground — clearly left over from the German immigration to Wisconsin/Northern Illinois. If you had to choose who would go first, we played “Eins, Zwei, Drei … Horsengoggle” — and each kid threw out 1,2 or 3 fingers. We had no idea what it meant or that it was German … it was just how you decided who went first.

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  32. brian stouder said on January 23, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Deborah – you reminded me that an old ‘friend of nn.c’ was the fellow who ran the Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, back in the day.

    Lincoln National Life Insurance (or whatever they call themselves, nowadays) used to be a major presence in Fort Wayne, and they owned and operated the museum.

    Back in the day, they expanded their collection of really cool stuff (including a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Lincoln, which cost several million dollars, as I recall) and retained a cadre of professional historians and preservationists.

    Dr Prokopowicz (the old friend-of-nn.c) recalled how much work they put into redesigning everything when they moved the museum from the basement of their corporate office into a much larger, and very nice space (which is now city hall!).

    Up ‘til then I’d taken for granted how nicely the displays flowed from early years (literally in the wilderness) through exposure to slavery*, and into later years, and the presidency.

    By way of saying, indeed – it is all too easy to take for granted the centrality of smart design, to a good museum.

    *they had iron manacles that you could touch and handle, and the horror of those things made a huge impression on our now-16 year old, when she was 5. It had a visceral impact, which got the wheels turning, in her brain.

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  33. LAMary said on January 23, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I can’t do Tom and Lorenzo at the office. Now I have to think of some good reason to leave early. The international costume commentary is one of their best things. The movie recaps are good too. Not just White Christmas, which is a perennial favorite.

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  34. Suzanne said on January 23, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I went to the Diehm museum as a kid (oh so many years ago) and was enthralled. I took my kids when they were young and they were creeped out. I guess it was cool when your only other option was the Funk & Wagnalls or National Geographic, but NG was risky because of those half-nekkid natives.

    My kids loved the Lincoln Museum! Partly what killed it was school reform (aka defunding) & high gas prices. Suddenly, field trips were mostly taboo which cut into their revenue. Sad.

    So, the conspiracy people smell a well placed rat even in the NFL playoffs? This mentality really does frighten me because there is no reasoning with them. They believe they are entitled to their own facts and some that I’ve encountered aren’t stupid, so it isn’t all ignorance & low IQ. The blindness, though, makes them ripe for the picking by some nefarious charismatic leader.

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  35. Connie said on January 23, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Brian, wasn’t that former museum space the temporary home of the Allen Co. Public Library during the construction project? I remember there was some pretty grand statuary in the library administration area.

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  36. brian stouder said on January 23, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Connie – yes, it was indeed; or at least, that’s the same building.

    It’s a fairly massive structure, and the Lincoln Museum occupied part of the main level, and a lower level; but most of the building was something else – or simply empty. (I think it was the old LS Ayres department store? Before they built the malls… or something…)

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  37. Julie Robinson said on January 23, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Yep, it was Ayres, and of course Wolf & Dessauer before that. Lincoln bought it after it had been empty quite awhile, and the upper floors were Lincoln offices. Supposedly the rug in the CEO’s office cost $1 million. When the library took it over the director got that grand office (huge pillared entrance area with lots of wasted space) but the rug had been removed. Now I guess the mayor has that office with its delusions of grandeur.

    For those who go way back, and I don’t, W&D was THE fancy-schmancy place, with a tea room and fashion shows, and was the original location of the big lighted Santa and reindeer that now dwell on one of the bank buildings. The owners were Jewish.

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  38. adrianne said on January 23, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    And in for the win is the New York Daily News headline on Tom Brady and the deflated balls: “My Balls Are Perfect”. Their headline on New York Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver getting busted on corruption charges was pretty good, too: “Silver Lining Crook Book”.

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  39. Suzanne said on January 23, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I was in that “upper room” in the now Citizen’s Square building (tour but I can’t remember why) when it was somewhere in between Lincoln and what it is now. I saw that carpet, which was beautiful, but I was only quoted a price of $650,000 as I recall. No one was allowed to walk on it. The whole floor looked like some monument to excess, although the statuary had been removed when I saw it. Marble columns leading to a dais that had held a statue of Lincoln and behind that, the Lincoln CEO’s office. I think Ian Rolland was still in charge when the offices moved there, and seeing it made me respect him a lot less. I know he’s done many charitable things, but I could only wonder how many college tuitions could have been paid with the money from that one rug.

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  40. LAMary said on January 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Suddenly, people are dragging their kids to the pediatrician’s office to get a measles vaccine.

    Since the end of December 2014 California has a total of 59 confirmed cases of measles. Of the confirmed cases, 42 have been linked to an initial exposure in December at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California. The confirmed cases include five Disney employees. In addition, other cases have visited Disney parks while infectious in January. CDPH recommends that any patient with a measles compatible illness who has recently visited venues where international travelers congregate, such as theme parks, airports, etc., be considered to have a plausible exposure to measles.
    Local health departments and CDPH continue to investigate reported cases. Several “secondary” cases in persons exposed to the initial group have been reported. Secondary cases are common with measles. As with the first group of cases, there is a risk of additional transmission in places where the secondary cases have been while infectious. Persons can be infectious for a few days prior to developing symptoms of measles and may feel well enough to be out and about potentially exposing others.
    The CDPH measles health advisory can be accessed at:

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  41. Connie said on January 23, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Yes, a grand dais with a marble sculpture. All done in a kind of grand sort of French Provincial gold and white.

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  42. brian stouder said on January 23, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I grew up in working-class southeast Fort Wayne, and the folks across the street, who were probably 10 years older than my parents, used to delight in recounting that Ian Rolland grew up on their block (old west central?) and was “plain as a pair of shoes”

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  43. Deborah said on January 23, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Jolene, those were good links about ND. We have a friend in Chicago who develops condos in the Chicago area. He’s a really intelligent guy and we were astounded when he wanted to expand his business in ND to build housing for the workers who are there for the fracking. This guy, we thought, is one of the most consistently aware people we know who cares about the planet. But now we’re not so sure. It seems he cares a lot about his own bank account. It turned out in the end that he got taken for a song by some really unscrupulous people up there who were bilking people left and right, people who saw stars in thier eyes about how much they could earn but it was all a scam. Sorry to say this about our friend, but he got what he deserved

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  44. alex said on January 23, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Not sure where Ian Rolland grew up. For some reason I thought it was Kendallville, but that might have been his wife. He wasn’t and isn’t a flashy person, so I’m not sure what’s all this fuss about a million dollar rug. I don’t remember anything about it. The Lincoln offices in the old Ayres building weren’t particularly extravagant that I recall. My dad was in that building for a time in a corner office with a balcony door. It always struck me as a big comedown from his office in the old building on Harrison Street, which had high ceilings and its own private bath and dressing room.

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  45. Dexter said on January 24, 2015 at 12:04 am

    I guess I go way back to another Fort Wayne. I remember certain things a child would pay attention to. For one thing, Dad worked out of The Gettle Building.
    For small pocket change moms could take their kids atop the Lincoln Tower, an unforgettable day, one of the best presents mom ever gave us.
    Overhead power lines fueled the direct-connected bus trolleys, sparking along the way.
    Coney Island on Main, 3 and a bean and a Coke…3 coneys, a dish of sugary baked beans and a bottle of Coke.
    We discussed some of these a few years ago, like Eavey’s Horn of Plenty supermarket, billed as the nation’s first supermarket, and what a joy it was to go inside that place. Way down on the south end of the city it was.
    I’d buy a Sporting News every week at Riegel’s Pipe and Tobacco Shoppe also. When I got a little older I’d buy records at Smokey Montgomery’s on Wells.
    G.C. Murphy’s was not far from Wolf & Dessauer, but I only went into W&D’s a few times to buy Mom a Christmas present. Murphy’s was the place to go…bulk candy, soda fountain, carmel corn, cheap clothes, and later for me, record albums. “Introducing the Beatles” $2.68 Must have been 1964…I still have it.
    Another fun place was an Italian restaurant just west of the Salvation Army…later it was called Mrs. Cooper’s restaurant, but when Dad took me there it was Mangini’s or something like that and I loved that gravy on the pasta. That was the first time I had real long-simmering suace (gravy) like that.

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  46. brian stouder said on January 24, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Dex – you have me thinking of old times.

    My mom would sometimes take me and/or one of my brothers and walk a few blocks to the corner of Queen and Pontiac, and catch a bus for downtown. She always loved W&Ds, and of course you had to visit ‘the shit store’ (as she affectionately referred to Murphy’s, if she didn’t refer to it as ‘the dime store’). As a native New Yorker, she never saw the need to drive a car, and never had a license.

    By the time the malls killed downtown retail (and the Sears at Rudisill and Lafayette; although she never liked Sears, we occasionally went there) she had one or the other of her sons to driver her wherever she needed to be.

    And now comes ‘breaking news’ that my dad would have been quite taken with; Ernie Banks is dead…apparently there will be more news on that front (not a natural death?)

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  47. Dexter said on January 24, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Ernie? Say it ain’t so. Shocker to me…I fell asleep in my chair in front of the TV, dreaming of my youthful baseball days, and awaken to this bad news. Thanks for breaking the news, better than reading it on a cold hard website.

    The Sears store at Rudisill and Lafayette I remember well…wasn’t there a Sears warehouse near or on Winter Street where they’d have occasional blow-out sales? At one of those places I bought a humidifier in 1973.
    Most moms drove cars, but many did not. Both Mom’s sisters drove, my mom did not. I remember when she got the idea she wanted to learn. Dad almost went crazy as he taught her to drive. Mom just did not have the knack or something…she abandoned the idea immediately after a couple lessons.
    Two of our daughters are excellent drivers, the other has a record of cracking up a few cars. Two out of three ain’t bad.

    MichaelG, if you are out there…when I was eval’d at the VA foot clinic (I take pills for diabetes) , I was given a clean bill of health and given a few items, like six pairs of compression stockings, an extended mirror for foot-checking, and a surprise..”You want some new shoes?” I said I was wearing a nice new expensive pair of Red Wing boots and wasn’t needing any, but the therapist said I had them coming if I wanted them and could either go to Ann Arbor or wait for the mobile van to come to Toledo, and when I said I live a long way from Toledo she said that in that case we’ll call a place near your house then. Jeez, what nice caring people! And so when on Friday I went to get measured for a pair of new shoes, my scrip they had was for two pairs. We all struggle and then something nice happens. I will soon have two pairs of dress and athletic shoes to wear this spring and summer. How nice.

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  48. basset said on January 24, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Reminds me of when my mother learned to drive, she was thirty-something and we lived outside Bloomington… she would go into town and come back with harrowing stories of near misses and aggressive drivers, turned out that she thought putting your turn signal on gave you the right of way.

    And I see Edgar Froese has died:

    That Vanderbilt rape trial is really disturbing – four football players accused of bringing a passed-out woman student home from a bar, carrying her into a dorm room and it went from there. One of the defenses seems to be that the accused was too drunk to form intent. oh come on now.

    and it never would have been noticed except for a totally unrelated vandalism incident on the same hallway, campus police reviewed some security cam video and there they were.

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  49. Deborah said on January 24, 2015 at 10:06 am

    My mother didn’t drive either. She grew up on a farm, her younger sister didn’t drive either, her younger brother did drive and died in a car accident. That was the first funeral I ever went to, I was 6. My dad drove my mom everywhere and when my sister and I hit the age where you could get a license he made sure we got them. In Florida you could get a learners permit at 14, back then.

    Little Bird doesn’t drive either because of her neurological condition, but she gets around town just fine either walking or by bus.

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  50. alex said on January 24, 2015 at 11:33 am

    As if we needed any further evidence that “education reform” is a euphemism for some of the worst public corruption in recent history, get a load of this. It’s not just unseemly. The guy’s brazenly on the take. Why isn’t it a prosecutable crime?

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  51. brian stouder said on January 24, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Alex, I read that this morning, and it made the bile rise in my gullet! At the same time that Adrianne points us to the powerful legislator in New York who’s (rightly) headed for the Big House, for the same damned thing (graft), this Hoosier sack-o-dung unashamedly (and with the full support of the Speaker of the Indiana House) gloms onto as many dollars as he possibly can, as a direct result of the “public” policy that he whole-heartedly supports/promotes/foists onto the state of Indiana.

    The shamelessness is…. breath-taking. The disgraced and convicted (and soon to be imprisoned) former governor of Virgina did no less than our Hoosier hoser.

    Basset – your story got me laughing out loud! Let me say that, today, Pam and I and Shelby, our 16-and-a-half year old daughter, drove to the license branch in Waynedale, where she (Shelby) had her picture taken and we walked out with her driver’s license.

    Then, I gave her the keys to my car (which will soon be hers, I suppose) and we followed her out of the parking lot as she drove solo (we were headed for McDonald’s, for an egg mcmuffin before she continued on to Wayne High School for today’s winter guard contest in Dekalb).

    And the first red light we came to, she turned left on green – right in front of a guy who was going to come straight across. She seemed to have your mom’s turn signal right-of-way theory going. Ay yi yi!!!

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  52. susan said on January 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Brian, apparently there are more dropping shoes in New York State lege, including the shameful goobernor. Too bad his Dad didn’t live to see his son indicted, but then, maybe that’s what killed him.

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  53. alex said on January 24, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Of course, our state’s attorney is too busy fighting the losing battle against gay marriage to be bothered with prosecuting members of his own party for graft.

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  54. brian stouder said on January 24, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Susan – a great article! As a dyed-in-the-wool public education supporter, Cuomo’s wrecking ball approach leaves me basically antagonistic toward Cuomo (and indeed, is my #1 reservation about President Obama & his Race to the Top/Arnie Duncan toxic waste dump, toward public education policy), and whatever shoes (or pianos) that happen to plummet toward him, won’t break my heart.

    Alex – I cannot cannot canNOT understand what the hell is in the minds of the business-owning people (if there really are any) who object to (for example) preparing wedding cakes for gay couples, and so on. Why would anyone care, so long as the bill is paid?

    And for a clumsy metaphor – what would the rightwing/whacko response be to a law that enables gun sellers to, say, refuse service to any shithead who comes in with a stars-and-bars tee shirt on?

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  55. MichaelG said on January 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Great news, Dexter! So glad to hear you’re catching a break from the VA.

    The Mayor here in Sacramento is Kevin Johnson, former basketball star. His wife is – Michelle Rhee. Prominent education “reformer”. You must have heard of her, eh, Brian?

    Today is Jan 24. We have had no, that’s no as in none, rain this month. December was a promising month but nothing since then. Ski resorts are closing. January is normally our wettest month. Things are not looking good.

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  56. Dexter said on January 24, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Ominous, MichaelG…I hope there is a rainy spring and no fire eruptions this year.

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  57. brian stouder said on January 24, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    MichaelG – yes indeed; Ms Rhee is associating herself with the (currently) ascendant ‘besmirch/belittle/blitz’ your public education system, for fun and (massive) profit’ bunch of plutocrats (the Walmart Waltons, and Bill Gates, and the Koch brothers); and when that movement finally implodes, she’s the sort of mid-level public face that will have earned the Goebbels award for putting a smiley face onto the horribly damaging enterprise

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  58. MichaelG said on January 24, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    That’s the one.

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  59. Dexter said on January 24, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    It was a Fort Wayne tradition and I botched the name horribly.
    It was Manocchio’s. It’s been closed for decades so I don’t expect this crowd of youngsters to remember it. 😉

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  60. Sherri said on January 24, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Funny thing about the school reformers; their own children never seem to attend schools that follow their reform-minded principles. Gates sent his children to the same private school that he attended; I’m reasonably certain that Lakeside hasn’t spent much time worrying about adapting their curriculum to the Common Core. Michelle Rhee’s daughters live with their father in Tennessee and at least the older one attends Harpeth Hall, another expensive and distinguished private school. (Their father, Kevin Huffman, is also an education reformer, until a few months ago the Tennessee Education Commissioner.)

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  61. brian stouder said on January 24, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Sherri, indeed.

    I believe the entire thing boils down to: re-segregation, period.

    And indeed, more people than you’d guess will, in candid moments, simply admit that if segregation (economic and racial) is the result of “reform” and “accountability” – then – oh well! There’s something to be said about the virtues of “seperate but equal”…or just “seperate”, anyway

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  62. brian stouder said on January 24, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Say – Kim Kardashian has a pair of…shoes just like the ones the Proprietress wore to the Khar-prom!

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  63. susan said on January 24, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    OMDog, I just looked at the T & L Miss Universe series. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard, since, well since I don’t know since when. Their commentary is hilarious. And Julie @27, Miss Canada appears in Part 4 Crazies, Lazies, & Try-Hards, near the bottom. “Check me out! I’m Marie Antoi-NET! Get it? Puck me! Fine. We’re not known for our word play.”

    She’s right above Miss USA, “LIBERTY IS SHOOTING OUT MY ASS, Y’ALL!”

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  64. Deborah said on January 25, 2015 at 10:30 am

    When did the Miss Universe pageant start doing those ridiculous costumes? I don’t remember that before a couple of years ago. They are outrageously hysterical. I remember watching the show as a kid but haven’t watched in probably 50 years.

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  65. Dexter said on January 25, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    I turned to The Weather Channel and I saw what’s going on in the northeast and I thought of Whitebeard, our late blogger-pal, and his ancient house he lived in. They are getting a massive snowfall as the clipper is dumping on them. Ayuh.

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  66. Deborah said on January 25, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Since I’m leaving for NY on Weds, I hope this snow nonsense out there is over by then.

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