Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tales of the South Side - Police Officer George Newell and the Temptations

The "Classic 5" lineup of The Temptations: David Ruffin (bottom left), Melvin Franklin (top left), Paul Williams (top right), Otis Williams (bottom right), and Eddie Kendricks (center) circa 1965.

Chicago Police Officer George Newell* is a man of parts - husband & father, public safety professional, Leo Alumnus and civic minded neighbor.

I did not know until last night that George also drinks deeply from the Pierian Spring.

"You have two books out, Hickey."

Indeed, and read by tens of people.

" I wrote a study of the Temptations, the Temptin' Ts. This woman from a publishing house in New York liked my proposal and I submitted the manuscript: six hundred pages with notes and photos."

Hey, that's wonderful George. You are among the Leo Literary Lions, Dr. Lawrence McCaffery of Loyola authored many books on Irish history, Paul Somers is the author of the history of Lake Michigan Aircraft Carriers of WWII, Dr. Jack O'Keefe has published two best-selling novels and former Fire Commissioner Jim Joyce has a book about life on 79th Street in publication. You are standing in tall company with your brother Lions.

" There's a problem."

There always is in bringing any book to full-term, George.

" The publisher has a problem with my book. I love The Temptations!"

Who could not?

" I concentrated on the early years of the group. I tried to make a case for the cause of the many splits and personnel changes in the group, substance abuse, creative shifts in the R & B genre, the clash of ego, the train wreck of celebrity, the racism in the recoding industry."

All good topics of focus. What was the problem? Were they looking for a substantial treatment on some other point of discussion?

" No, they liked where I took the ideas fine."

Were there problems with point of view?

" No. not at all."

Was there a problem with your format?

"No, I handled that well - one-inch margins on all sides;double-space;courier or new courier font; no smaller than twelve-pitch; no more than 26 lines per page all that was fine."

What did they tell you was the problem?

"It was just my Pagination . . . running away with me!"


I continue to be a Ball of Confusion, much like the world today, Hey. Hey.

The hook slipped nicely into my gills; set with authority. George boated another fine bass-hole.

In the sobering words of the Dublin prose genius, Flann O'Brien, " out such events weaves the pattern of what I am pleased to call my life."

Newell, 45, of Morgan Park, has lived in the 19th Ward for 15 years with his wife and son, who attends Morgan Park High School. He grew up at 95th and Sangamon streets and attended St. Margaret of Scotland Elementary School and Leo High School. He has been an officer for 20 years, including the last nine with the 22nd District. He currently works as a school resource officer at Percy L. Julian High School.

No comments: