Not long ago I had a conversation with a frustrated man who has long been rescuing castoff fragments of Fort Wayne from the trash heap.
The pieces are part of the citys history, he said, and he has offered some of his finds to various history-oriented groups. But no one even had the courtesy to respond, he said, and it made him angry.
Well, I told him, sometimes it takes time for people to see the historical significance of some things. One day something is just junk, and suddenly, for one reason or another, it becomes historically important, to some people, at least.
That brings us to Marlene Lobsiger. Shes wishing that some obscure hoarder had bothered to save a little memorabilia from a local club that closed nearly 60 years ago.
Lobsiger is a member of the Four Freshmen Society.
The Four Freshmen were a group of Indiana students, including one from this region, who were studying music at Butler University in Indianapolis. Sometime back in the 1940s they came together and started singing as a combo, playing their own instruments.
In time, the band began to draw peoples attention. They had their share of hits, appeared in one movie, and the story has it that the groups singing style was the inspiration for the Beach Boys.
For devotees of screamo, rap and hardcore spinning, it might be noteworthy that the group is still in existence 65 years after it was formed. True, its original members arent there any more, but the Four Freshmen still sell records and put on concerts.
They have fans all over the world and hold concerts, and every year the Four Freshmen Society holds a convention, drawing hundreds of fans.
Next year, on the groups 65th anniversary, the societys convention will be held in Fort Wayne at Grand Wayne Convention Center. The convention is being organized by Lobsiger, a not-quite-retired musician, and fellow musician David Blackwell.
Heres where the need for that local hoarder would come in handy.
The Four Freshmen had their first paying gig in Fort Wayne in September 1948 in a place called the 113 Club at 113 W. Washington St., where Grand Wayne now stands. Legend has it that the clubs manager didnt like their music and wanted to fire them after one night, but the manager had a daughter who was smitten with one of the group members and talked her father into keeping them on for the whole week.
So it is significant to people like Lobsiger and society members that they will have their convention on the 65th anniversary of the groups first paying gig in the very spot where the group got their professional start.
To help celebrate the anniversary, Lobsiger is looking for memorabilia from the old club, but other than references in old city directories and one picture of the building just before it was torn down, practically nothing can be found.
Lobsiger has tracked down three matchbooks from the club, and she knows of a granddaughter of the clubs owner who has an old menu from that period, but she isnt interested in sending along a copy. Certainly, someone, somewhere must have stashed something from the era when the club booked acts, Lobsiger hopes.
But then, it could be that virtually nothing remains. After all, the old 113 Club didnt become historically significant to anyone until a few weeks ago.
If anyone does have memories or any artifacts rescued from the old club, that person can call Lobsiger at 432-6330, or Blackwell at 489-9855.