Monday, October 12, 2015

Hey, J.R. ... I made it to Angola!

Circa 1980, I received a postcard in the mail from a college friend who was driving from Wisconsin to the East Coast. If I remember correctly, he was headed to the University of Connecticut, and I believe he was accompanied by one or two other college friends.

The witty J.R. Jenswold (possibly traveling with Francis and/or Geno) had made a stop in Indiana along the way and knew I'd relocated to Indianapolis only a couple years earlier. He thought I'd get a kick out of receiving a postcard with a picture of and postmark from Angola.

I don't remember if I knew back then that there was even a community in Indiana by that name -- I don't think I did -- but it came at a time when the west African nation of Angola was still in the news occasionally because of a decades-long civil war, so J.R. knew he could spin a clever note to go with the card. And he did. I know I saved the card somewhere, and I'm sure I'll come across it again some day, but I couldn't get my hands on it this week to pull some remarks to include here.

I never thought then I'd ever have a reason to actually visit Angola myself, but some 35 years later -- last weekend -- I did. On the long drive to northeastern Indiana on Saturday to shoot a football game at Trine University, I thought back to that postcard from J.R., who died in 1990, and I smiled. Actually, I grinned broadly. I thought he'd get a kick out of knowing I'd finally made it there ... and I thought of clever things I might say in a note I would have liked to have sent to him along with a picture I'd be taking when I got to Angola.

As it turned out, I didn't shoot hardly anything labeled "Angola" on Saturday. But I did manage to get the community's water tower into a picture of the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts (above, leading off the post), which is across Maumee Street from the Trine campus. During halftime announcements at Trine's football game against Olivet College, I would learn that the Oak Ridge Boys would be performing at the Furth Center that night in a sold-out show as part of the school's homecoming events.

Incidentally, Trine is the latest school I include in my ongoing "Game Day" project to visit and photograph small Indiana colleges or universities that field football teams. It's a project I began in 2009 and have added to in various increments in successive years. Sometimes I made it to as many as five campuses (2012, although two of those -- Wabash and Franklin -- involved second visits) in one season; other times, such as the first year (2009) and also in 2014, just one. Trine is my first visit in 2015.

Presently, I am working on the Trine campus, game and marching band photos that I took last weekend with the expectation of being able to present them in blog posts here by the end of this week. If you are looking for them and don't see them by then, just know I ran into everyday life delays. They will be posted eventually.

In the meantime, I toast J.R. ... and Francis and Geno, if they were with him. You can smile knowing that I finally made it to Angola,

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