My turn

Two from Cal City invited to presidential inauguration

2013-02-07T00:00:00Z Two from Cal City invited to presidential inaugurationGeorge Grenchik Times Columnist
February 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Two Cal Citians were invited guests at the inauguration of President Obama recently.

Loretta Augustine-Harris and Margaret Bagby were working for the Developing Communities Project in Chicago when a young Barack Obama was hired in the early '90s to run the organization. The ladies took their young boss under their wing, to the point they were affectionately known as "Obama's mamas."

The ladies were at the wedding of the future president and when he came to their table and asked if there was anything he could do for them, they asked to be invited to the ball when he became president of the United States. It didn't happen with the first election of Obama, but it did for the second. Pretty cool.


I watched most of the "big game" Sunday although I'm not a big pro football fan at all. I seldom if ever agree with columnist George Will, but I'm with him when he says that football combines two of the worst traits of American culture: violence and committee meetings.

And while there is no denying the phenomenal athletic prowess of the athletes, and the almost scripted drama of many of the games, much of the nonsense is beyond me. The oddly dressed fans, the "look-at-me-daddy" idiotic antics of many of the players and the other worldly hype is a bit much for me.

Then there's the advertising. I believe there have been commercials for shows about the commercials of the Super Bowl. Really.

I was visiting my father and brother in Whiting the Sunday before last. My niece phoned my brother to say there was a fire in Whiting. An hour and half later before going back home, and always being fascinated by fires, I had to see what was up.

I expected to see a struck fire, but it was still roaring and was still roaring when I left after an hour or so later, chased by the cold.

I visited Whiting the next day to see that the fire was still smoldering and what was left of the structure and the surrounding area was eerily beautiful being encased in ice.

I did bring some clothes to the Whiting Elks building as there was a collection for the folks in the 10 apartments of the century-old structure who were rendered homeless. I was pleased to find my niece, Maryellen Grenchik Basham, there with the St. John the Baptist volleyball team, which she coaches, helping with the emergency collection.

Folks taking care of folks; the way it should be.

Calumet City's former city attorney, Tom Bobak, passed away recently. Tom was a quiet , competent, soft-spoken gentleman whom I got to know by having taught his children. He was a calming voice in the often turbulent world of city politics.

Peace to his wife Ruth and the Bobak family.

Thanks for reading

The opinions are solely those of the writer. George Grenchik is a longtime Calumet City resident and retired instructor at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. He can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses



Who do you support for the U.S. House of Representatives in District 1?

View Results

Illinois Newsletters