Calumet Roots

It all depends on how you look at things

2013-07-07T00:00:00Z It all depends on how you look at thingsBy Archibald McKinlay Times Columnist nwitimes.com
July 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It’s strange how a single event, however small, can change your entire life.

The University of Colorado had moved from one of those mountain conferences to what became the Big Eight. At that point, they began a nationwide search for talent.

I got caught up in that net and began practicing with the team. All went well and I gradually became enamored of the college. I finally became consumed by spring football, and through the bone-headedness of an untrained trainer, developed a knee problem that I could not shake.

I eventually dropped out of college and returned to my home in Indiana Harbor. About the same time, my sister went to work for the town’s clinic, which was underwritten by all of the industry in town that tended to generate the walking wounded.

She worked for Florence Dunlap, a product of Mayo Clinic. The doctors of the clinic who had brought her in found her a classy apartment across from Central Park in Gary, part of a very classy neighborhood. In time, we were drawn together and I married her.

All of this led to my interviewing with General Electric for the prized GE training course. It was a competitive interview and I won.

That swept me immediately to the East, where I quickly climbed the ladder of success and became the youngest manager in the entire General Electric Company, which then operated 166 plants from coast to coast. After rotating through several assignments, I wound up in Pennsylvania as manager in a large plant.

After that, I returned to Chicago, where I had a number of experiences that led me, eventually, to the White House. After two jobs in Washington, I returned to Chicago and several other high-ranking jobs. I subsequently wrote several books and became well informed on the Calumet Region. You may have become acquainted with a couple of those books.

At this point, my head is so loaded with information about the Calumet Region that I can perform a little trick that I sometimes use to start a speech. I’ll go into the dining room with a copy of this morning’s paper, and then I will use the articles on the front page to lead me into subjects of region history.

That is, some aspect of a story will tie in to an aspect of region history. And that helps make the point I want to make. That point is that the history of the Calumet Region is so broad and fascinating that, even today, it ties into news from around the world.

And that’s a message I’d like to carry to you as well. You may think your job is boring, but if you look at it in a certain way, you’ll find that it ties in to the top news of the day. In other words, you are in the midst of the most exciting adventures available.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

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