Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Just got back from hanging out with Shawn Robinson, one of only two roommates I had in college, who used to go by the nickname Goat Boy because he would forget food in the microwave for days and then eat it when he found it. Iron stomach and all that. He has always been cool about that nickname, even though I would hate it if tagged with such a moniker. Still, when I kissed Esther good-bye, I said "I'm off to the goat palace."

We drank beers together while he chain smoked and played Slayer and the Cult and New Order and New Wave Hits, including Puttin' on the Ritz by Taco. That was a quiz song two days ago I heard on the radio, 97.5 WZOK, name the artist and title and win free tickets to see Bill Cosby in DeKalb. Except I didn't know. And I didn't have a cell phone and I was in my car. The Slayer tunes really took me back. Not that I ever listened to them, but the tape jackets (yeah, really retro listening to cassettes) had art work I recognized from high school. You know, all macabre and skulls and airbrushed art a la Iron Maiden. Guys with feathered hair who smoked in the bathroom in high school would cut up their Slayer t-shirts and pin the shirt remnant cheesy death metal album art on the back of their blue jean jackets. 11-12 years later I'm finally giving them a listen. Not bad, for genocide pop. Quite prescient to these Afghani mass grave times.

Shawn also allowed me to have the Cubs game on TV, on mute, and was a nice background to our discussion. His apartment is air conditioned now. It used to be so hot I didn't want to go over there. But now it's cooler than my place. The Cubs, after winning 14-12, the previous night over the Astros, lost tonight, 4-0.

On Monday I made a great discovery when my Uncle John, Dad and brother Ken came over. We went to St. Mary's Cemetery less than a block away from my apartment and visited my great grandfather John Locascio's (1856-1918) grave, which is less than 200 feet from our apartment. My great-grandmother Calagera (Virzi) Locascio (d. 1912)is also buried there. Her grave is unmarked. We can only approximate her location. It is along the fence line. After that we drove south of town to Calvary Cemetery and visited my maternal great-grandparents on the Fiorello side. We also stopped at my grandparents' graves and my Uncle Vince's. At dusk Uncle John found the six graves of the Nelson children, who were all murdered in Rockford in 1978. All this death and decay! A murder trial last week, visiting cemeteries and Slayer! The cemetery visits were heartening, a connection to my roots. That's what I love about this town. So much of me is here. So much of my history. There are no mountains nearby, but this is my home. My DNA touches everything.

Seven more days left at the Beloit Daily News. I got to get to bed now. Back to the grind one more time tomorrow. It is thundering pretty good now. I wish to slumber and listen to the summer storm.

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