By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Dulce Paloma Baltazar Pedraza
By Ray Stern
By Pete Kotz
By Monica Alonzo
By New Times
Christina the Lawyer expected there would be chilly nights. But not like this. It was, to put it bluntly, ridiculously cold. So now she is on the telephone, calling me from frigid Michigan, seeking a decent way out. Christina the Lawyer had enrolled in a class at the famous Ox-Bow summer school of the Art Institute of Chicago, located just outside the town of Saugatuck. She wanted to see if her talent somehow measured up. At least, she wanted to give it a try. "It was close to freezing last night," she is saying. "Right now I can see steam coming off the lagoon. There's no heat in our rooms. I don't have enough blankets and even with two pairs of wool socks and two sets of long underwear, I can't keep warm."
We are taking separate vacations. At this moment, I am perfectly content. I am sitting snugly in the library of an old friend's apartment on the 57th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago. As we talk over the telephone, I can see out onto Lake Michigan for several miles. Somewhere on the other side of that same lake, Christina, her teeth chattering, is calling for help.
As a lawyer, she knows how to make the best case for her side.
"Come on up to Ox-Bow and I'll spring for a great pasta dinner," she says. "We'll stay in a great bed-and-breakfast place with a heated swimming pool. I'll go to school during the daytime and you'll have all day to read.
"There are some wonderful characters here at Ox-Bow," she says. "They're tremendously talented, too."
It's an offer I can't refuse. ù ù ù
You drive along a single, tree-lined dirt road into Ox-Bow, which takes up more than 100 acres set on a lagoon. There are 14 wooden buildings, all shaded by trees. There are studios, living quarters, a dining hall, even an outdoor glass-blowing facility with three furnaces.
The largest building was once a hotel, established before the turn of the century. Wealthy vacationers from Chicago once traveled directly across Lake Michigan by boat. The Art Institute of Chicago has run this school continuously for 78 years.
ù ù ù
Beverly DeMario has been head chef at Ox-Bow for several years. She is a touch tyrannical in the kitchen but displays a distinctly artistic bent.
Chef Beverly leads me into a small room and invites me to sit down. A woman of indeterminate age, Chef Beverly has a strong jaw and an air of command about her. "I was born in Globe, Arizona," she says, "and had my first kitchen job under Danko Gurovich at the Copper Hills Inn when I was 14 years old.
"A great big lovable bear of man that Danko was, and still is," she says. "You know, he was a great friend of John Wayne's and so Wayne was around the Copper Hills a lot, too. I liked him. He never acted like a movie star."
Chef Beverly's experiences include working in the copper mines in Globe, going down the shaft with the men who quickly learned to respect her courage and work ethic.
"We all worked carefully down there below," she says. "Our lives depended on it."
She saw a fellow miner die suddenly one day. He lost his balance and fell into a crusher. "We couldn't get to him in time," she says.
Chef Beverly also has fonder memories of Globe.
"There was a time when it was one of the wealthiest communities in the country," she says. "Every family averaged about $40,000 a year because of the mines. What a paradise! There were immigrants from central Europe, Switzerland and Italy. And there were the Mexicans and the Apache Indians from San Carlos."
It was Danko who taught Chef Beverly how to take good care of people who work under her in kitchens.
"One time Danko went up to a big hotel in Scottsdale and hired what he referred to as a 'Black Hat Chef' from France to come down to Globe and run the kitchen at the Copper Hills.
"Danko put him up in a trailer on the property and paid him a great salary. He was a culinary genius. But he was also a tyrant.
"One week he kept me working late so that I was putting in something like 16 hours a day," Chef Beverly says, her eyes looking off into the distance and her head nodding at the memory.
"Danko came through the kitchen and saw me crying.
"What's the matter, little one?' Danko said.
"I told him about the overtime and how I needed to get some rest. Danko brought me and the chef together. He put his arms around both of us and the three of us stood there huddled in the kitchen.
"Look,' Danko told the chef, 'you're the greatest chef I know. But you must remember that when this little girl works for you, she's also giving us a part of her life. "'No matter how skilled we are in our jobs, we should be cautious as to how much of another's life we are willing to use for our own purposes.'