He was Joe Adamczyk and
Eve Grabuskawa was her name.
They owned a tavern called
Adamczyk & Eve’s and they
Called their sex life Grandma Fogarty.
Nights as closing time approached
Joe would say, ‘Eve, do you think
‘Grandma Fogarty could drop by?’
And Eve would often answer,
‘I would not be a bit surprised.’
Years passed in just this way.
Blatz, Schlitz, Pabst Blue Ribbon,
Heileman’s Old Style Lager,
Old Milwaukee -- ten thousand
Beer glasses filled and emptied.
When pizza pies, as they were then known,
Achieved popularity Joe and Eve offered
The pies to customers and called them
Polish pizzas for a laugh. Beer sales
Skyrocketed as pizza pies appeared.
Also available were White Owl cigars,
And Cubs’ home runs were called
White Owl Wallops by Jack Brickhouse
On the TV set above the bar.
But the Cubs lost during the 1950s.
In those days some wrong ideas were held.
Around the time Kennedy was elected and
Eve Grabuskawa began her menopause,
Grandma Fogarty was told to take her leave.
Grandma Fogarty was sent on her way.
No more did Grandma Fogarty come calling
At all hours of the night like a will-o’-the-wisp
Fluttering, flickering, and then fully ablaze.
As Eve and Joe’s union passed twenty years,
Grandma Fogarty was nowhere to be found.
But is this not a familiar story as married
Couples age and passion’s flame sinks?
Let us turn to the much more novel story
Of how Joe Adamczyk, the Chicago bartender,
Transforming himself into a man of ideas.
No stale autodidact would he become,
But a thinker comfortable and at home
In a variety of disciplines, reading widely
In libraries, copying pages, memorizing
Long passages, and making diagrams.
He would hardly sleep. He ate little and,
As was true of Edmund Burke,
Anyone trapped under a tree with him
In a sudden rain would quickly see
That Joe Adamczyk was a first rate mind.
With time his interests would encompass
Gottlob Frege and Whitehead and also
Alonzo Church and Church’s dissertation
Awarded at Princeton in 1927 entitled
Alternatives to Zermelo's Assumption.
His transformation began inauspiciously,
Meandering for years like a stream.
Paint-by-numbers was his first awakening:
Sunsets, views of old windmills,
Solitary reapers, the heads of noble steeds.
In faux-impressionist style these emerged
From the confusing higgledy-piggledy
Of lines and numbers on canvas glued
To cardboard. Joe could execute a large
Paint-by-numbers landscape in one day.
Somehow from his paintings a hunger
For narrative gradually developed.
He imagined stories of people who
Lived in his paint-by-numbers cabins
With smoke curling from the chimneys.
Fascinated by the concept of man
As a story telling animal, he began
Serious reading for the first time in his life.
He read The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
And Marjorie Morningstar, also by Wouk.
He followed Wouk with the historical novels
Of Irving Stone: Lust For Life, Men To Match
My Mountains, and The Agony and the Ecstasy.
He read the best selling Magnificent Obsession
And The Big Fisherman, both by Lloyd C. Douglas.
He amused himself by considering life
As a stage play. Was it tragedy or farce?
He pondered the nature of storytelling,
Then took the short leap, intellectually,
To viewing the world itself as a narrative.
Turning his attention to non-fiction,
In Volume Two of Will and Ariel Durant’s
The Story of Civilization he discovered
The concept of telos in a discussion of
Greek philosophy and the work of Aristotle.
He gnawed the concept of telos like a dog
With a bone. He toyed with the caprice
That even mathematics might be teleological:
An unwinding tale with a start, a middle,
And perhaps an end returning to the beginning..
He grew careless of his tavern and
Heedless of Eve Grabuskawa, still his wife.
He felt drawn to the used bookstores
And hole-in-the-wall coffee houses
Near the University of Chicago.
The day came when without a word
Joe left Eve Grabuskawa and rented
A room on South Harper Avenue.
He immersed himself in the collegiate
Ambience of the University of Chicago.
In a coffee house called the Pegasus
He saw a reproduction -- displayed
With ironic intent -- of the portrait
Entitled Arrangement in Grey and Black,
Also known as Whistler’s Mother.
He was shocked, was set back on his heels
By the subject’s strong resemblance
To Eve Grabuskawa. Had all those years
Of marriage to Eve Grabuskawa been
A dour arrangement in grey and black?
It was the last time he ever thought
Of Eve Grabuskawa, who evanesced
Like the Cheshire Cat and even his
Attraction to women in general
Deliquesced like Frosty the Snowman.
Yet the Pegasus was known for pulchritude.
It was the era of girls in black turtlenecks
With love for jazz and folk music --
Educated young women who watched
Italian films at the all-night Clark Theater.
There in the Pegasus one of those women
Approached Joe, she stole up behind him,
And in a voice rich with a kind of sarcastic
Academese she asked, ‘Have you read
‘The Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead?’
Joe’s look of baffled incomprehension
Must have moved or amused her,
For she pressed a dog-eared paperback
Into his hand: the 1956 Mentor Classics
Edition of Whitehead’s Dialogues.
‘Here, take my extra copy,’ she said,
Slinking out of the Pegasus as Joe
Glanced at the book’s cover illustration
Of Whitehead reading aloud from a
Volume held in his liver-spotted hands.
What a revelation The Dialogues of
Alfred North Whitehead proved to be!
That very night, like a magic carpet,
The book whisked Joe from his bare room
To Whitehead’s home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
There, close by Harvard Yard, a journalist
Named Lucien Price drew the eminent
Mathematician into conversation ranging
Across history, theology, philosophy,
Politics, education, and of course mathematics.
A truly fascinating man was Whitehead,
In Joe’s opinion, and a man full of surprises.
He believed, for example, that mathematics
Beyond quadratic equations should remain
The province of specialists -- and Joe agreed.
As a teenager Joe was tortured by algebra
At Archbishop Weber High School but
He never needed algebra to run the tavern.
His crank-operated adding machine lasted
Many years and did not even use electricity.
In fact – and here he imagined himself
Speaking to Alfred North Whitehead --
Joe would extend Whitehead’s thinking
And require no math instruction at all
Past basic fractions and decimals.
All through the night he read, pondering,
Considering and re-considering, accepting
Many of Whitehead’s ideas, questioning
Others, rejecting nothing out of hand though
Some passages caused him to stamp his foot.
Finally, as dawn broke over the university,
Joe sighed and shut the Mentor paperback.
He then noticed a name -- Karen Schmolke --
Lightly inscribed by some dying ballpoint
On the front cover of The Dialogues.
Schmolke, Schmolke…. Joe stroked his chin
Not an uncommon name on the Northwest Side
And here on the South Side more Schmolkes
Might be found. Should he return the book?
‘Schmolke’ would be in the phone directory.
But no, by God. He would keep the book.
It was a gift. It was now his prized possession.
Phrases like, ‘In the nimbus of religious awe,’
Which Whitehead used so gracefully,
Made one forget he was a mathematician.
Joe’s studies went on. Months passed and
He spoke to no one. He ate tuna fish.
He ordered pizza pies. Physically
He diminished. Like a breeze in the trees
His sixtieth birthday came and went.
Yet he felt strong and growing stronger.
The Dialogues whetted his appetite
For more Whitehead. With difficulty,
Sometimes pounding his head on the wall,
He read Treatise on Universal Algebra.
‘The process of forming a synthesis between
‘A and B, and then to consider A and B united,
‘As a third thing, may be symbolized as AB.’
As Joe’s familiarity with Whitehead grew,
The significance of this proposition awed him.
How striking that even in the Treatise,
His earliest work, Whitehead referred to AB
As symbolic of process rather than product.
Yet the Treatise came thirty years before
Whitehead’s greatest book, Process and Reality.
On and on he read. The vigor with which he
Once devoured Sidney Sheldon’s Rage of Angels
Now energized his attack on Gottlob Frege’s
Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik which he read
Using Langensheidt’s German-English dictionary.
For Joe, October of 1962 was noteworthy
Not for the so-called Cuban missile crisis
But for his completion of Ernest Nagel’s
Problems in the Logic of Explanation.
He found Nagel’s easy style very appealing.
No sooner had he finished Nagel
Than a still greater dreadnought hove
Into view. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
By Thomas Samuel Kuhn made Nagel
Look like a Sunday school picnic.
One midnight – or was it noon? for night
And day were now indistinguishable –
Joe in his reading came upon a name
That, like no other, would inspire and
Instruct him for many months to come.
The name was Alonzo Church. Who was
Church? Well-known, but not well-known.
Very well-known in the world of philosophical
Mathematicians and mathematical philosophers
But unknown in most Chicago neighborhoods.
Something about Church captured Joe’s fancy.
Perhaps Church's theorem on the undecidability
Of first order logic (extending Godel's
Incompleteness proof of 1931) engaged Joe’s
Sense of himself as an intellectual outsider.
Church – like Jack Brickhouse celebrating
White Owl Wallops -- was an appreciator
of Godel, but his appreciation was such that
Church’s connoisseurship and Godel's creation
Actually fused. This was Joe’s hope for himself.
He phoned for a pizza pie and took stock
Of his life. Whitehead, Nagel, Kuhn, Church –
His understanding was real even if only he
Knew it. Just like the tree falling in the forest.
Which still falls though no one hears.
His room – austere, ascetic – this was how
Wittgenstein lived. Little furniture but
The air abuzz with energy of intellect.
He would die here. He would die happy.
There was a knock on the door: the pizza.
He opened the door and it was one of those
So-called deer in the headlights moments,
But since that trope would not achieve
Currency for some years Joe thought of it
Differently. He thought he was fit to be tied.
Yes, he was fit to be tied. ‘Schmolke?’
He inquired, diffidently. And then with
Much greater force: ‘Karen Schmolke!
‘Delivering pizza?’ He quoted Shakespeare:
‘Confusion hath made his masterpiece.’
She was frightened. ‘You know my name?’
Then, laughter: ‘Are you psychic or what?
‘Here’s your pie, cheese and pepperoni.
‘And yeah, I’m doing deliveries, man.
‘Life takes dough just like pizza.’
The pizza changed hands and Joe stared
Blankly at the box as Karen Schmolke stated,
‘Four ninety-five plus tip. Hey, are we old friends?
‘Wait a minute. I know you. I gave you
‘A book in the Pegasus coffee house.’
‘Yes, absolutely,’ Joe said and quoted Buddha:
‘What you have given will always be yours.’
He reached in his pocket, found a five,
Then found another five and gave her both.
‘I’m so grateful to you. Please come in.’
She entered, saw his table piled high
With books and papers, his telephone
For ordering pizza, and in a corner
His mattress. ‘Nice place,’ she quipped,
But sarcasm was wasted on Joe Adamczyk.
Mole-like or like a digging aardvark
He was attacking a seemingly random
Hodgepodge of books that in his own mind
Was superbly organized, and from this
He soon retrieved Whitehead’s Dialogues.
‘Look familiar?’ he said, grinning triumphantly.
Karen Schmolke nodded: ‘You read it?’
The question insulted Joe: ‘Of course.’
But now her attention was drawn to a paper
On the card table. ‘Look! Alonzo Church!’
It was Church’s June 1940 review of
Are There Extra-Syllogistic Forms of Reasoning?
By S.W. Hartman from the Journal of Symbolic Logic,
Joe obtained it from the John Crear Science Library
Where zeal for learning won him borrowing privileges.
‘I called him Uncle Alonzo,’ Karen Schmolke said.
‘When Uncle Alonzo taught at the U of C,
‘He and my dad would sit at the kitchen table
‘Working on the Entscheidungsproblem
‘And I drew pictures of them with mustaches.’
‘You knew Alonzo Church?’ Joe urgently
Demanded -- and then, as if to answer himself,
He shouted, ‘You knew Alonzo Church!’
Recovering, he pointed out with reverence,
‘Church was the teacher of Alan Turing.’
‘Yes, he was.’ said Karen Schmolke. ‘He also taught
Barkley Rosser, Raymond Smullyan, and don’t forget
Isaac Malitz. Dad took me to Uncle Alonzo’s lectures
‘But at ten or eleven years old I had no interest in the
‘Philosophical underpinnings of arithmetic.’
As she began a narrative of her undergraduate
Years at Oberlin College, Joe Adamczyk with an
Impatient wave, as if shooing away a horsefly,
Cut her off and with fierce interest demanded,
‘What kind of lecturer was Alonzo Church?’
‘Well, he had a very careful, deliberate style,’
Karen Schmolke reminisced. ‘He would start
‘Writing on the left side of the blackboard
‘In a large, clear, cursive hand…’ She paused.
‘Are you all right? Have some pizza.’
‘Pizza?’ said Joe distractedly, for the word
Meant nothing to him now. With the clarity
Of inner vision he saw Alonzo Church
At the blackboard, he saw Alonzo Church
Pacing around a lectern deep in thought.
And this girl Karen Schmolke! With her own
Ears she heard Alonzo Church lecture on the y
Church-Turing Thesis, the Frege-Church
Ontology, the Church-Rosser theorem, and
Many similar matters. With her own ears!
For her part, Karen Schmolke just stared
In quiet puzzlement at this peculiar man
Whose name she had still not learned,
This odd duck who with his head cocked
Seemed to hear some far-off supernal music.
‘Please try some pizza,” she offered again,
Now more insistently – for Joe’s face seemed
To be changing, his expression deepening.
What did he see? With his obvious interest
In logic, she surmised it was some esoteric proof.
But no, it was Grandma Fogarty! Oh God,
Grandma Fogarty had dropped by unexpectedly!
Joe Adamczyk felt the presence of Grandma Fogarty
And indeed he felt the presence of Grandma Fogarty
More strongly than ever in his life before!
Turning his gaze toward Karen Schmolke,
He wondered whether she might also sense
The arrival of Grandma Fogarty. Gently,
Hesitantly, he reached toward Karen Schmolke.
He caressed her cheek, then took her hand.
Wow, she thought. All men were the same.
On the other hand, never had Karen Schmolke
Felt such…desire? Or was it desperate need?
It was flattering, in a way. She smiled benignly.
‘It’s okay,’ she said. ‘Just don’t have a stroke.’
Her acquiescence, her mercy, Joe chose
To see as acceptance, as heartfelt assent
When hand in hand they drew nigh the mattress.
She wore no bra and this fact, to Joe Adamczyk,
Was a powerful expression of youth’s sans souci.
But was there not also a sans souci of age?
An insouciance, a devil may care perspective,
A what the hell attitude, a damn the torpedoes
Point of view? Yes, yes, yes, goddamnit!
And Joe embraced that carpe diem sensibility!
He gamahuched Karen Schmolke with startling
Enthusiasm. Cunt, slut and similar words
Eddied and swirled in his brain. Yet a logos,
A telos, was also disclosing itself, cleverly
Interweaving his fucking with philosophy.
Through this most intimate touching
Of a woman who had seen Alonzo Church,
Joe felt himself connected not just to Church
But through Church to the realm of pure forms
Described by Pythagoras, Plato, and others.
Thought and feeling, cunt and consequentialism,
Mingled until an aphorism of Whitehead’s emerged:
‘There are no whole truths. All truths are half-truths,’
The great man explained. That is: truth is never final,
Truth is ever on the way, always halfway there.
Like Achilles’ fabled pursuit of the tortoise
Truth is a reality but a reality of process.
Truly Joe had been a bartender. Just as truly
He was one no longer. Who could aver that he
Would not one day be President of Mexico?
Rising to his knees, he poised his swollen member
To enter Karen Schmolke. She arched her back
And her breasts like spring lambs leaped to meet him
Until for at least a moment his ratiocinations quieted
And twice she nutted to one nut of Joe Adamczyk’s.
I hope you have enjoyed this story of a man who
Late in life undertook what Alfred North Whitehead
Called Adventures of Ideas and then, to his surprise,
Reignited his sexuality, which he called Grandma Fogarty.
And Eve Grabuskawa? Her story will be told, but not today.