100

Last post of the day. I couldn’t let the day go without mentioning this is the 100th birthday of Studs Terkel, one of my great heroes. He more or less defined Chicago for the last 75 or so years, until his death at 96, just a few days before Obama won the presidency. It felt like you could hear him cheer from beyond. There were events all over the city, and WFMT, the radio station that hosted his show for decades and still plays The Best of Studs every Friday night, had a six hour retrospective. A website celebrates the centenary. No one, and I really do mean no one, did more in the 20th century to give voice to the ordinary American, to show the dignity in all people, regardless of standing, race, religion, politics, or any of the other things we so regularly use to divide us. I got to meet Studs a couple times over the years, the first time when he gave the first reading at Waterstone’s Booksellers in 1992, shortly after we opened. I loved working there for the three and a half years they were in Chicago, and we had many wonderful famous visitors and authors, and Studs was the perfect voice to start us off. He gave a reading from Nelson Algren’s “A City on the Make,” and answered questions. One of my favorite stories was one he told on himself. It happened, if I remember correctly, when he was in his 80s, a couple years after his wife of over 60 years had passed away. A burglar came in through the window of his apartment and robbed him. He demanded all the money from Studs’ wallet. Studs handed it over, and as the burglar was starting to climb out the window, Studs shouted, Hey, now I’m broke until payday. Give me 20 bucks back. The burglar returned a 20 and went on his way.

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About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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