Monday Moanin’: Promises, promises — made, broken, kept

By Jeff Salisbury

Oh, promises, their kind of promises, can just destroy a life
Oh, promises, those kind of promises, take all the joy from life
Oh, promises, promises, my kind of promises
Can lead to joy and hope and love

“Promismister journalism2es, Promises” was a musical based on the 1960 film “The Apartment” by the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David from a book by Neil Simon. The story focused on an insurance company’s junior executive seeking to climb the corporate ladder by allowing his apartment to be used by his married superiors for extra-marital affairs.

“Promises, Promises” was also a 1968 studio album (her 11th) by one of my favorite vocalists of that and several more decades, Dionne Warwick. Like most of Warwick’s previous albums, this one was produced by Bacharach and David. The album included three songs from the play “Promises, Promises,” which premiered a month after the album’s release. They included the title song along with “Whoever You Are (I Love You)” and “Wanting Things.” The title track reached the Top 20 during November 1968 the month (speaking of promises) after my wife Penny and I were married now, nearly 47 years ago.

Promise made… and broken

Michigan’s Promise Scholarship was a merit-based scholarship program in the state of Michigan that provided up to $4,000 towards post-secondary education at any approved Michigan institution to qualifying Michigan high school graduates. The full amount was reserved for students attending at least two-year programs.

In 1999, Michigan legislature enacted in Public Act 94 the Michigan Merit Award. Designed to benefit graduating seniors between 2000 and 2006, it granted up to $3,000.00 to students who scored highly on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests. On Dec. 21, 2006, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed Public Act 479, establishing the Michigan Promise Scholarship to replace that award. Students were eligible to receive the scholarship if they had taken the entire Michigan Merit Examination (MME) in their junior or senior year of high school and received at least a score of Level 1 or Level 2 on all components.

The scholarship was dispersed in installments, with $1,000.00 available at the start of each of the first and second years and the balance payable after completion of the second year. In order to maintain eligibility, a student’s GPA at the approved institution couldn’t drop below 2.5. If the program a student attended didn’t assign grades, the student had to provide proof of having successfully completed the program. The State of Michigan discontinued the Michigan Promise Scholarship until further notice due to lack of funding.

Promises made… and kept

The Kalamazoo Promise, unveiled at a Nov. 10, 2005, Kalamazoo Board of Education meeting, will celebrated its 10th anniversary the fall. The individual anecdotes are so very heartwarming. Julie Mack from the Kalamazoo Gazette did just marvelous job covering the anniversary this past week including some compelling success stories of youngsters who might otherwise been unable to attend post-secondary educational institutions.

For those unfamiliar with it, The Kalamazoo Promise is a pledge by a group of anonymous donors to pay up to 100 percent of tuition at any of Michigan’s state colleges or universities for graduates of the public high schools of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Since the Kalamazoo Promise was announced, enrollment in the school district has reportedly grown by 16%, test scores have improved, and a greater proportion of high-school graduates are attending college.

To receive the minimum 65% benefit, students must have lived within the Kalamazoo School District, attended public high school there for four years and graduated. To receive a full scholarship, students must have attended Kalamazoo public schools since kindergarten.

In 2010 alone, the Kalamazoo Public School district saw enrollment rise 3% to 12,409. Tuition checks began to be distributed in 2006. As of summer 2010, the program had paid out $18 million in tuition for about 2,000 high school graduates of Kalamazoo’s two high schools and three alternative schools, according to executive administrator Robert Jorth.

Even though by October 2010, while a total of 60 Promise-funded students had obtained bachelor’s degrees by 2011, half of all students who started post-secondary programs had dropped out before finishing degrees or certificates. Six in 10 of those go to Western Michigan University or Kalamazoo Valley Community College. And over time, a greater number of students are landing at the more selective University of Michigan and Michigan State.”

Even though the skeptic in me sees this as a boon to the business of colleges and universities, I still think it’s marvelous that these youngsters who do take advantage of the opportunity are apparently succeeding — even if that success comes in fits and starts. Nothing like persistence!

As someone who graduated high school in 1967 and college in 1980, I love it! And bless the promises made and kept by the philanthropists who fund this program. For more on this, go here:

Promises made… and sadly broken

Finally, I was tempted to avoid any mention of some political news about promises made… and sadly broken… here I go just the same… The Detroit News published audio recordings on Aug. 7, 2015, in which Michigan House of Representatives member Todd Courser asked member(s) of his staff to create a rumor that he had been having sex with a male prostitute in order to distract from an extra-marital affair he was having with Cindy Gamrat, also a Republican member of the Michigan House, representing the 80th district (Allegan County, where I live). The pair was first elected in 2014.

This is the second time in the past few months that Gamrat was in the news. In April 2015, she was permanently removed from the Michigan House’s Republican Party caucus for violating their confidentiality rules with a Facebook post. Speaker of the Michigan House Kevin Cotter, initiated an investigation into their use of public funds to cover up their affair.

Despite calls for each to resign from office, Courser claimed in a sometimes rambling pre-recorded public statement that in fact he was being blackmailed by mainstream Michigan Republicans and would not resign. As for Gamrat, she claimed in a press conference that while she wished to apologize for breaking promises to her husband and family that she had no involvement in any coverup, had done nothing illegal and promised furthermore that she was not about to resign.

Frankly, I don’t care if Courser or Gamrat resign. Maybe if I’d voted for her I might feel differently. Look around. Watch the news. Talk to your friends and relatives. You know what? People from all walks of life have affairs. Rich. Poor. Young. Old. And they totally disrupt their own lives and the lives of people they care about the most.
Courser and Gamrat sadly did just that. Some sort of forces within each of them and outside each of them pulled them toward the affair. In the coming weeks and months and maybe years they will (sooner or later) spend some time trying to sort all that out. Maybe they will seek professional counseling. Maybe not.

But for those of us looking outside-in, we best keep our distance – let things unfold – ethically, in the Michigan House of Representatives – legally too if that ends up being the case – whether we are Democrats or Republicans or unaffiliated independents. And that goes for people who’ve experienced this sort of thing in their own families or among their own friends or colleagues.

The best thing that can happen is for couples/partners to use these public affairs to foster an honest and open discussion with their life partners because there are no guarantees. Keeping the promise of intending to have a life-long and successful marital-relationship requires ongoing honest discussions about this sort of thing before it happens, not after. Too late for Courser and Gamrat.

But it doesn’t have to be too late for you and your partner or your friends or relatives or colleagues. So, don’t resign, Todd and Cindy. Not because you had an affair. Resign yourself instead to being open and honest even when that means the subject of “attractions” so when you make a promise it’s more likely you can keep it. Better to have an uncomfortable discussion before and affair than to have an even more uncomfortable discussion after the fact. Too late once a promise is broken.

Oh, promises, their kind of promises, can just destroy a life
Oh, promises, those kind of promises, take all the joy from life
Oh, promises, promises, my kind of promises
Can lead to joy and hope and love

Now, if you’ve interest in listening to the full Promises, Promises album by Dionne Warwick…trust me, it’s worth it…here’s a link:


Since I did a short one last week, and I saw another movie this week… I am on a role… here’s a good review instead of the lousy one I wrote about last week. “Mission Impossible Rogue Nation” – not sure I have that title precisely right – but let me say I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. So did my wife Penny. And it was at my favorite theater, The Old Regent, in downtown Allegan. THREE DOLLARS… yes $3… for the all Saturday matinees.

My son Mike told me I would love it and he was right. He also said that the action starts almost immediately and never lets up. He was right on that one too. Viewers hardly have a chance to catch a breath. I loved the TV show back in the 1960s and this “franchise” is very special.

Tom Cruise and his cast including Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris as Solomon Lane, as the “rogue” MI6 agent were all brilliant.

f you’ve never been to The Old Regent – if you are able – do so. Renovated and updated 1930s-ish movie house. All digital now – but otherwise nearly all the nostalgic ambiance you could imagine – original signage, entranceway, lobby, ticket booth and concession stand – and while I am not one of the volunteers, I suspect if I lived in Allegan I would be.

Open Mon – Sat at 7:00 pm $4.00
Matinees on Saturday at 2:00 pm $3.00

Mondays – 2-for-1 admission
Tuesdays – B.Y.O.B. for free popcorn
Wednesdays – Facebook fan special

Leave a Comment