I can’t get to him right now.
He lives on the other side of task.
I pedal as fast as I can to get
to the light.
I see me on the other side
of the street.
Vroom, vroom. You get
By the time they all do their
thing and the light changes,
I’m gone. The me on the other
side of me, I can’t see him
It’s really frustrating. I pedal
some more, furiously. I sweat,
spit flies from my mouth.
There I am again, ahead in
the distance. That me looks
back. It’s not that the other
me doesn’t want to be caught.
I can see it in my eyes. “Come
get me so that we can be one.”
The eyes don’t lie. Fear and
sadness are no competitors
for the demands of the world.
athlete’s foot spray and
all cost money. There is ambition
and greed and duty and wire
hangers to deal with. Every so
often you get your teeth cleaned.
And it’s the darnedest thing.
You’re sitting there in the
dentist chair looking out the
and in the middle of the flossing,
you ride by on your bike. There
I go again. I’ll never catch up.
There's a lot to do these days. The biggest one is that I’m trying to learn marketing. I had class last night – it’s 3:35 in the morning right now – and we took a quiz. The instructor, Minoo, graded it right there in class. I got a 38 out of 40, and so did four others in the class. Every one else got lower than that. No one got a perfect score.
Minoo announced the first five of us and handed out our quizzes to us. I am so thankful that I couldn’t split the difference between a “threat of new competition” and a “threat of substitute.” Otherwise, Minoo would have handed the first quiz out to me.
“Jeem got the only peerfict scour.” She is form Iran, with a thick accent. Her accent would have added to my embarrassment, had I gotten that elusive perfect score. For I would have had to self-deprecate.
“Do you know how ironic this is?” I would have said to the class.
“Why eez dat, Jeem?”
“Because I have a company that is well-known at being really bad at marketing.”
What it boils down to is that I was walking down the steps Of Purdue Northwest’s Classroom Bullding at 9:32pm last night, and I was really pissed off at myself.
“I should have lerned this stuff 15 years ago.” I told my other self. “You are an idiot for waiting so long.”
I wonder if it’s too late to learn this stuff. Shouldn’t I be veering towards retirement. I ran into John Tite, the wrestler from Gavit, over the summer. He worked his whole adult life as a pipefitter. We were at a golf outing.
“Hey man, how’s it going?”
“Great. I’m retired.”
“Yep. I worked my ass off all those years. Now I’m getting really good at doing nothing all day.”
It got me to thinking. “When will I retire? Would I ever even want to retire? How do you retire if you really love getting up in the wee hours of the morning to walk up and down Indianapolis Boulevard talking on the radio.”
I walk up and down in front of the Purdue Commercialization Center every morning. The ironworkers union pays me to do this. And it looks like another company is gonna add to the payment.
I watch hundreds of really big steel haulers, box truckers, tankers, box vans, garbage trucks, flatbeds and more roll by. We live in one of the most industrial areas on the planet. Trucks are a part of our lives.
And there’s a lot of cars also. Some are newer models. Most of the newer models are heading north in the morning. They come from the suburbs to their jobs on the north part of the county, by the Lake. A lot of older models head south in the morning. These are the people of Hammond, East Chicago, Hegewish, Whiting, the East side of Chicago. Some have newer cars Some have tape on the passenger’s side back window.
It blows my mind that a guy named Ivan Reyes might have been one of the guys driving by me in the past couple of years. Ivan, you see, has been charged in the murder of Lauren Calvillo.
I found this out last night when I got back from class about 10pm. I sat at the kitchen table and wolfed down a plate of chicken enchiladas with whole beans and rice. This is a plate known as ‘Ray senior’s way” at El Taco Real. Only Ray Sr., the owner, and I order our enchiladas this way. Sometimes we eat together on Tuesdays at his restaurant and that’s how he orders his enchiladas. It’s amazing. You should try it.
I was paging through my emails and noticed that producer Ryan Walsh had forwarded an email to me. I’ll find it in my emails and copy and paste a portion of it for the three or four of you.
Ivan Reyes Charged
With The Murders Of Lauren Calvillo and Christopher White
HAMMOND - The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, Thomas L. Kirsch II, announced that Ivan Reyes, age 30, of Calumet City, Illinois was charged by Complaint with the Murders of Lauren Calvillo and Christopher White.
This caught me by surprise. Not that I wasn’t expecting something in this case… It’s just that I wasn’t expecting at 10:30 at night when I was thoroughly exhausted eating enchiladas from El Taco Real done Ray senior’s way.
United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II said, “The murders of Lauren Calvillo and Christopher White were heinous acts of senseless gang violence. Due to a relentless investigation conducted with our law enforcement partners, I am pleased that we are able to bring charges in this case at this time. Our investigation is ongoing and will not end until all responsible for these terrible acts are brought to justice.”
When you’re this tired, there’s two options for the tears that lurk behind your cheeks and under your eyes.
- You’re so tired that no matter what happens, no matter how sad or horrifying the happenings are, you can’t cry.
- You’re so tired that the tears pour out. You have no strength to keep them in check, like a man should.
A man, you see, should only cry twice in his life – when his mom dies and his first child is born.
I guess, for better or worse, I believe in the ideal of the stoic American male. I am one. The three or four who have been reading this ridiculous blog for the past four years or so have not yet seen me crying while I write it. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of the last time that I let tears come out of my eyes. It’s something that you earn as you get older. I don’t take advantage of this opportunity yet.
And I wish I could. I wish that I could start breathing heavily out of my mouth and then scrunch up the skin around my eyes. I wish that tears would come. I want my face to be wet, my eyes sparkling. I want to gasp. I want to cry to get to the other side. I carry a sadness in me right now. I feel as if I cried then maybe I could get to the other side of the street and catch up with me.
It’s not happening. I am not crying. But Ollie Hubbard cried. Boy did she cry.
Who in the hell is Ollie Hubbard?
She is the mom of Lauren Calvillo. Do you remember this story? Two and a half years ago, in late June of 2015, shots rang out in the Little Waco section of Hammond, Indiana. They try to call it “Jacob’s Square,” but no one does. We all still call it, for better or worse, Little Waco.
It’s small houses between a busy Calumet Avenue and some industry and some train tracks and, believe it or not, the big new Hammond police station. Shots rang out on the train tracks and next thing you know two people were dead. Christopher White and Lauren Calvillo. I apologize to the family of Chris White. I don’t know much about you, Chris. If your people get ahold of me, I’ll tell everyone about you.
The story that the five of us have followed has been the murder of Lauren Calvillo. She was 15, a student at Hammond High. She had almost died as a child from some sort of illness I can’t remember right now. Because of this, she often had to load up on steroids. If you know anything about steroids, they make you fat, especially if you take them as a child. Kids made fun of her at school sometimes.
But not at home. At home, she hung out on her porch with her little nieces and nephews and maybe even a little brother or sister. This is what Lauren was doing on that warm night in late June of 2015. She was hanging out with a bunch of little kids on her porch in the Little Waco section of Hammond, Indiana.
From what I remember, it was right about sunset. There would have been a purple glow to Little Waco. There was no rain. We were in the middle of a spell of dry weather. I remember this because the morning after Lauren Calvillo was killed, I got in my car at 5:45 in the morning and carried the three or four of you with me in my car as we drove over to Little Waco. It’s not too far from the radio stations.
When I got to Lauren’s street in Little Waco, I got out of the car – still talking to you via my cellphone on the radio – and I walked up to the house. I remember that it was the most beautiful morning you could even think of. It wasn’t too hot yet and the sun was coming up. Birds chirped. You could hear the semis and flatbeds and steel haulers and big box vans thrusting down Calumet Avenue a couple streets over. I remember looking up at the telephone lines and power wires. Birds watched me as I approached the house where Lauren Calvillo had been shot.
It’s a yellow house, all siding. There’s a relatively big porch hanging off of the front of the house. From all reports, there were a bunch of people on the street. Some would have been Lauren’s relatives. They lived in the area.
On the front of the house, there was a poster already.
“We miss you and love you, Lauren.” It was a little kid’s writing. This is the first time that I have thought about it – but what about the little kids who were on the porch? Lauren ushered them into the house, and then she was shot three times as she readied to close the door behind her. Dead. First these kids were shot at – that’s bad enough – but they had to watch Lauren take bullets and fall to the floor between the porch and the living room. That’s something you never forget.
I read to the three or four of you and to the three or four more who listen to my morning radio show what it said on the poster. There was more than “We miss you and love, Lauren,” but I can’t remember it right now. I am getting older. I can remember with clarity that John Tite has already retired and is probably gonna sleep in until 10am this morning, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is that the little kids said to Lauren Calvillo.
There is a practical consideration that has bothered me. If Lauren was killed at about sunset, how did the little kids get the poster board and markers and balloons so fast? She was shot around 8pm at night. I was there by six in the morning. The practical question is –
Did some parents have all of these supplies in their house? Or did they go buy the stuff late at night?
I’m guessing the latter. There’s a CVS not too far away from Little Waco. The CVS is at Calumet and 165th. That’s just a few blocks.
Fast forward to Tuesday of this week, just a couple days ago. I got an email from Ryan Holmes of the US attorney’s office. Press conference to announce some arrests in opioid and gang related activities.
Hmm. Must be big, I thought. This is because we just finished the sentencing of former Lake County sheriff John Buncich. It was just last week or the week before that. I can’t remember. Typically, the US attorney’s office spaces out the big announcements. Maybe it’s by design or it just happens that way.
I figured that if Tom Kirsch, the newly-minted US attorney was holding a press conference, it must be big. So I went, which was a huge undertaking. As mentioned at the beginning of this diatribe, I have a lot to do these days. It took some big rearranging of tasks to make it over to the big behemoth of a federal building on Hohman Avenue.
Per usual, I was taking off my belt to go through the metal detector… and there was a woman in front of me who was taking a bunch of time. She wore a black blouse and black pants and black shoes. She had black hair.
“Why are you here, ma’am?” the court security asked her. I was behind her so I could only hear her mumble.
“Where are you going, ma’am?”
The court security guy leaned in to her. I couldn’t hear what she whispered.
“Oh, oh. Yes. Just walk through here and then the press room is right over there through that wooden door.”
When we both got through the metal detectors, we gathered our shoes at the same time.
“Jim. Jim. How are you doing?”
The woman looked at me. She was smiling. For the life of me, though, I couldn’t place her. This happens to me a lot. I am the local radio guy. I talk to a hundred different people, at least, every day of My Radio Life.
“Fine. And you?”
“Well, we’ll see.”
I did the unthinkable. I grabbed my notebook and excused myself from this woman. I didn’t know her. She must simply be a listener I ran into one time in the canned goods aisle at Strack & Van Til.
I walked into the press room. I shook hands with the Times reporter and the Post reporter – “It’s just us, huh?” I said to them, referring to the lack of Chicago reporters.
There may not have been the big names of the Cjhicago nightly news there, but their camera crews were there. Fox, ABC, NBC, WGN, CBS, public radio, and more. They all had their cameras pointed at the podium.
We do it differently here at WJOB. We Facebook Live everything. So our video wunderkind Christina Cortez set up a smartphone on top of a tripod and we wired a microphone to the podium. And we waited.
I looked around the room. From living in this are for three lifetimes and from covering federal courts as far back as 1985, I know a few people who work in the building. We nodded to each other. A couple of Chicago reporters arrived. I nodded to them also.
And then I saw her, the woman in total black. She was sitting in the back by herself.
“Ollie Hubbard,” said out loud.
“What?” the reporter next to me said.
“It’s Ollie Hubbard,” I said.
I didn’t answer. I knew right then that the woman in black was there to seek some peace. I figured out why I didn’t recognize her at the metal detector. She was smiling. She looked pretty and not distraught. She had a peace in her eyes, I had never seen that.
And I had seen Ollie Hubbard a bunch of times. She did one of the bravest interviews I have ever been a part of. Just a few days after her daughter was murdered, Ollie Hubbard came on WJOB with me to plead for help in finding the killer of her daughter. She cried, no doubt, but she powered through it.
“Please, if anyone out there knows anything about who killed my daughter, please come forward. We just want to know…” and then she would trail off. I held her, live on the air. There was no other way. She would have collapsed to the floor otherwise.
Several times in the interim I have either interviewed Ollie or seen her at an event. There is little to say when there are no apparent leads in the murder of your daughter. You can just nod and smile and hug and express concern for Ollie’s well being. But what else can you really say?
Tom Kirsch came out and told about an indictment against a doctor named Jay Joshi. According to the feds, Ole Jay was dispensing hycdrocodone at an alarming rate. They say that he’d sign the prescription pad in the morning and leave the offices. He was even dispensing hydrocodone while on a vacation to Greece, so the indictment says.
This is where WJOB becomes tangential to the story at the federal courthouse again. I told you a few ridiculous blog entries ago that I became a big part of the Buncich sentencing hearing. Remember that? In a packed courtroom when they were trying to figure out how many years to give the Andrean graduate, porsecutor played a bunch of tape of me interviewing the Sheriff. A bunch of tape. Most of it was video. Some of it was just with my picture and the Sheriff’s on the screen and an audio tape playing in the background.
Now there was Jay Joshi. His offices are adjacent to the Munster police station, if you can believe that. That’s a couple blocks from where I’m typing like hell to you right now. My family doctors – the Foreits – all got out of general care and here I am looking for a doctor to stick his finger up my butt every year or so. I had picked Joshi. I was gonna stop by there next week.
I know the guy. He has been coming to the Purdue Commercialization Center where the WJOB studios are. He built this software to track patients. We’re always looking for new ideas and he has one. I interviewed him on the air a couple of times, and then station manager Debbie Wargo hit him up for advertising. He bought. For the past few months, we on WJOB have been telling people to go see Dr. Jay Joshi of Prestige Clinics. Imagine that.
Then Tom Kirsch went on the the second set of indictments. It was for four guys. Kirsch said they were being charged with conspiracy to commit murder, sell drugs, intimidate government witnesses and so forth. They operated out of Jackson Street in Hammond. That was a shocker. I’ve been riding my bike up and down Jackson Street since I was a kid. I rode down the length of it a couple of months ago. I didn’t see any gang members. Just older model cars, as mentioned previously.
It was a curious thing that Kirsch did. He told about the workings of the gang – they would put prospective members in the middle of a ring and punch them for a specified number of minutes – but he didn’t detail the crimes. He just told about them in a roundabout fashion.
“They are being charged with RICO conspiracy,” Kirsch said. Then it made sense when I heard the word “RICO.” I don’t remember what it stands for, and since I gotta be on the air in a 48 minutes, I’m not gonna look it up right now. But what it really means is that if you’re charged with RICO conspiracy, the feds have a lot more tools at their disposal to come after you… and your assets…. and your family, if need be. It’s a deep tool. If you’re sitting there in front of judge Martin, as these guys wound up doing, then you don’t want to hear the word “RICO.” You just don’t.
Kirsch then casually mentioned the Lauren Calvillo murder. He mumbled something about it and then finished the press conference.
“Any questions?” Kirsch said at the end. So I raised my hand.
“Can you go over the Lauren Calvillo murder again?”
“Yes, we foresee a connection with murder of Lauren Calvillo.”
“What does that mean?”
Kirsch and I went back and forth on this. He had mentioned by far the biggest part of the story… and then glossed over it. You could tell that he knew a lot more than he wanted to tell at this point, so I only pressed so far.
“Put it this way,” Kirsch finally said. “We EXPECT to file charges in the murder of Lauren Calvillo.” Then there was a stunned silence. Some of the Chicago people didn’t even know what that was. But the Times reporter – for the life of me I can’t remember her name, and it’s time to go do radio so I can’t look it up – said to me afterwards.
“Talk about burying the lead.”
Yes, Tom Kirsch on Friday buried the lead. By Thursday, he filed charges against Ivan Reyes for shooting Lauren Calvillo while she ushered kids to safety. I can’t cry about this right now. I want to badly. I want to cry for Lauren, and in a selfish way, I want to cry so that I just feel better. I want to do what I do every morning, which is bring pretty much the same Jim Dedelow to the morning show every day. I joke, I make fun of myself, I make fun of others, I yell “big truck” and I jump up and down every time someone beeps. It’s a lot of fun. I feel as if I don’t deserve a lot of fun right now. In this weird circle of no reason, I’m thinking that if I could sob, then I would feel better and could go on with My Radio Life.
What I won’t do is go into my closet and pick out my olive sweater to wear. For that sweater has a moisture stain on the shoulder.
On the way out of the press conference, I ran into assistant US attorney Dave Nozick. He’s the lead prosecutor against this Latin Counts gang and against Dr. Jay Joshi. Nozick, freshly shaven after a lengthy bout with a blotchy beard, was standing next to the woman in black. The three of us talked in low voices for a minute.
“I can’t believe it,” the woman said. “I just can’t believe that we found the killer of my daughter.”
And then the woman in black did something unexpected. She grabbed me. She grabbed me real tight. She hugged me and she cried. A deep, guttural cry. She did it right there in the middle of the entryway of the colossal federal building. All I could think at that moment with this grieving mother hugging me and sobbing was –
“Man am I glad that I wore a cotton sweater.”
Ollie cried hard into my cotton sweater. I realized that she knew Nozick the prosecutor some… but that she probably didn’t know anyone else at the press conference, at least not well. I was it. I’m the local radio guy who got to know her through a tragedy. It was my duty to comfort, which I did. I could feel her body convulsing as she collapsed into me.
And I could feel something else. A wetness on my shoulder. When Olllie finally let go, she wiped her face, looked down. Nozick and I just stood there, stoic American males with nothing to say.
“We better get going to the hearing,” Nozick said.
“Yes, we should,” Ollie said, and they walked away. I too would go to that hearing where Mr. Reyes and others would be paraded through the courtroom of judge John Martin.
But for a moment, I just stood there amongst the marble. I looked down at my right shoulder. It was sopping wet.