Monday, December 31, 2012
OSLO - AALESUND, NORWAY
Late Spring 1958, Joanie is once again pregnant...and, we decide to take a four-week trip to Aalesund, Norway, the home of Joanie's father, Ole.
At the age of 12, Joanie already traveled with Ole and Jeanne to visit relatives in Oslo, Stabekk, and Aalesund. She has always spoken of her first cousin, Kari Mette, who lives with her parents in Stabekk. Before we leave Naples, we agree that if Kari Mette has time and is willing, we will bring her back with us to Naples for a month or so.
It is about 1,700 miles to Oslo. We travel across the Brenner Pass into Austria by way of Innsbruck...thence to Hamburg, Germany, and Denmark...taking the ferry boat across the North Sea to Narvik, Norway...thence East to Stabekk (Oslo), Norway.
The Brenner Pass cuts through the Dolomite Mountains - continuation of the ALPS -in Northern Italy, exiting into Austria at the city of Innsbruck, where we take a hotel room for the night.
In the morning, we get on the Autobahn...the super highways of Germany constructed during the 1920s and 1930s...taking it all the way to the border of Denmark.
Our drive across Germany on the Autobahn is much faster than we anticipate. We arrive in northern Denmark in late afternoon...just as the ferry boat is loading for Narvik, Norway...so, we decide to drive on board, cross the North Sea overnight, arriving in Narvik in the morning.
A HORRIBLE MISTAKE !!!
Kari Mette's parents are not expecting us for another day. Not even thinking of the problems our early arrival will cause, we pull into the driveway on Asvein Street, Stabekk, Norway only to find a very angry mother...totally unprepared for our early arrival ... the least you could do was telephone us before leaving Denmark !!!!!
Our reception is very cordial, but Joanie and I are totally wrong in our desire to arrive early.
Stabekk is about 20 miles West of Oslo on the above map.
Kari Mette, we find, is in the midst of a beauty pageant for Miss Oslo...so, she cannot leave.
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Historic Note: Kari Mette is a crew member on board Air Force 1 in Dallas on November 23, 1963...the day of the assassination of President Kennedy.
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What Joanie and I do discover is a real shocker...Kari Mette has an older sister, Sylvia. We meet Sylvia the second morning after our arrival. She is standing behind the service counter of the Bakery Shop of her parents...where she works. We also find that at 8 years old, Sylvia and her friend, while sledding down a hill in Stabekk, crash into and under an automobile...Sylvie sustaining severe head injuries.
The next 14 years - Sylvie, now 22 years old - (as I have always called her) has been deemed to have sustained brain damage resulting in her being with-held from public schools and activities...essentially, Sylvie has been considered an invalid not capable of functioning in public.
Joanie, carrying another baby during our trip, is taking it easy...Joanie is not the adventurous type in any event...so, Kari Mette and Sylvie take me in hand; we go swimming in the Bay of Oslo - surprisingly warm for so far north...as the result of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic crashing against the coast of Norway..., where both girls far out swim me...Sylvie waits for me to be sure I don't drown. We also visit the city of Oslo and the Museum of Kon Tiki...Thor Hyerdahl is a cousin of all three girls.
A nephew of Thor Hyerdahl lives in Seattle, working for The Boeing Company.
Joanie and I stay in Stabekk for 5 days. On the fourth day, we agree that Sylvie can travel back to Naples with us. First, however, we will drive north to Aalesund, Norway, the birthplace of Ole, Joanie's dad...Sylvie will also travel to Aalesund with us.
Sylvie and I have forged a rather tight bond.
VIA APPIA ANTICA
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Many Facebook readers have contacted me regarding inability to upload the "links" of this blog. I recently received detailed guidance from Marie as to how to correct this problem. Seems I have been using the URL (in black print), whereas I should be using the URL (in green print).
The previous post - POST 1030 - has been re posted using the "green" URL. Would appreciate comments back as to whether or not "links" now upload properly.
Now, back to Naples, Italy....
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NAPLES, ITALY (1957)
Living on top of the steep hills to the North and West of Naples, Joanie and I not only have magnificent views of the surrounding countryside, we also are first in line to receive water delivered by pipeline and aqueduct from the distant APPENNINO Mountains, which form the North-South backbone of the Italian Peninsula...
Heavy rains in the mountains have caused a land slide which cut the water supply to Naples. There exists an alternate supply, which is pressed into service. This alternate supply is of little help, however, as it is simply too small to service the millions of residents. It is decided to feed the available water to the areas on top of the surrounding hills (Vomero and Posillipo), allowing water to "trickle down" to the main population areas bordering the Bay of Naples.
As we know, Lucky Luciano lives a few meters across the street from our building...what has not been revealed is that this "top of the hills" area is also the center of the Italian Mafia residential area...yes, even the manager of our building is Mafioso, as are local shop owners...so, Joanie and I have all the water we need.
We have a maid, Maria, about 20 years old, who helps Joanie 3 times a week with household chores...local indigenous folks (local residents) are often quite poor, offering superb employees at reasonable cost. Maria lives in the crowded residential area near the Bay of Naples - at the bottom of the hills -, in a two room walk-up apartment, sharing it with eleven (11) of her parent's family, including her brother and his new wife - the sole occupants of the only bed in the apartment.
Joanie and I visit Maria's family bringing water in 5-gallon wine bottles. Walking the local streets, residents crowd the ancient narrow cobble stone streets carrying all kinds of containers...looking for water trickling from the ornate pipes of hundreds of fountains found in old Naples.
From time to time, a city water truck pulls up...with a half dozen pipes - with faucets - protruding. Lines of thirsty people carrying everything from a Coke Bottle to large washtubs form lines behind each pipe. More often than not, those with large containers are pushed out of the way by those waiting behind...sometimes resulting in water being dumped in the ensuing scuffle.
More than once, I have taken photographs of fights breaking out...precious water spilling onto the cobbles. The truck driver summarily shuts off the faucets and drives away leaving dozens of still thirsty people fighting each other.
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TRICKLE DOWN THEORY did not work during Naples water crisis any better than Obama's $$ trickle-down theory in recent Bank / Corporation Bailouts
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VIA APPIA ANTICA
VIA APPIA - Paved Over.
VIA APPIA...perhaps the most famous ancient roadway in the world extends from the city of ROME to BRINDISI, Italy (in the "heel" of the Italian Boot, passing through Naples on its way.
From our apartment, we can nearly see Via Appia. A small portion of it has, in years, been paved over. Most of Via Appia is, however in its original state. Even so, some of the original roadway is open for vehicle travel.
Joanie and I sometimes become tourists, driving portions of Via Appia.
1955 OPEL REKORD
From the Greek Officer with whom I work in AIRSOUTH, I have purchased a German 4-door 1955 OPEL. Opel is an excellent 4-cylinder vehicle, giving us the opportunity to travel anywhere we wish to drive.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
POUZZUOLI, ITALY (5 miles north of Naples)
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BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON: Yesterday, walked 4 hours on Meridian Avenue - main roadway to Lynden, Washington and the Canadian Border. Along the way, arranged with Circle A Trailers to use my "for sale" trailer on Wednesday to pick up my love seat (couch) and Kitchen table w/chairs from my "former" fiancee', who booted me out two years ago when my 32-year company finally closed down...so much for relationships based upon "love" instead of $$...wonder if I should ask her to return my custom-made engagement ring - which cost many thousands of $$...Hhmmmm
In any event, walked some 14 miles without any damage or further knee pain. Did, however, strain my right achilles tendon a bit while forcing myself to power climb a long steep hill - must remember to slow down in transitions to avoid injury.
This morning - now 10:00 am - the achilles tendon is no longer painful.
Will hit the road again in a couple hours...waiting for the Sun to warm things up a bit...fog to ground level and heavy white frost covering everything at the moment.
Looking forward to listening - have no TV - to the 4:30 pm SEAHAWKS football game against the St. Louis RAMS. Should be a ripsnorter of a game.
Whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and have some champagne on ice...just in case someone drops in this New Year Eve...
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Nearly everyone in the world knows about the local Volcano, Mount Vesuvius - which buried POMPEII and HERCULANEUM back in AD 79...
...well, it erupted again in 1942 - in the midst of the Allied invasion of Naples during World War II.
What is not so well known...is that from our (Joanie and I) apartment on the top of Posillipo Hill above Naples...we look down to the Northwest into the valley in which lies the ancient city of POZZOULI...and, a SECOND VOLCANO "SOLFATARA".
SOLFATARA lies at ground level only a mile or so from the Bay of Naples...it lost it's top at some unknown historic moment lost in time.
SOLFATARA is, however, a very ACTIVE volcano...reminding me very much of YELLOWSTONE in Wyoming, USA.
Since our apartment is only 5 miles or so from smoking SOLFATARA, joanie and I have visited it many times. SOLFATARA has the "old" main highway between Naples and Rome passing only a few meters from the "entrance" to the "crater" (there is really no crater, as everything is at ground level). A favorite vacation spot for visitors from Europe, one drives his car through an opening in the 50-foot high crater wall, immediately driving onto the one-meter (3 feet) thick solid - but HOT - lava surface of the 1,000 + foot diameter cone.
Surrounding the cone is the 50-foot high wall - about 200 feet wide at the base - in which numerous caves have been hollowed out. Parking the car in front of the "rented" cave - yes, parking directly on the hot solid lava surface - one sets up housekeeping for a week or so INSIDE the radiating walls of the cave.
Numerous caves line the circular wall...while, only a few feet away lie, ever-changing in location, open bubbling liquid lava cauldrons, throwing lava into the air. The cauldrons are roped off from tourists strolling all over the place.
Scoop away a couple inches of pumice, the scooped out surface will certainly burn the flesh -Jumping onto the hot hardened surface, the entire surface vibrates as the pigskin on a drum...
Needless to say, SOLFATARA is an awsome place. More interesting still, is that when Mount Vesuvius is "active", SOLFATARA goes to sleep. When Mount Vesuvius - some 80 miles away in a direct line under the CENTER of the city of Naples - is dormant, SOLFATARA wakes up by buring it's way through the 3-foot cone covering and continues to throw bubbling lava about.
Some scenes of SOLFATARA:
The surface of the cone of SOLFATARA is in constant change.
Mt. Vesuvius as seen from Pozzuoli, Italy...Naples is to the left.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Above image is ALMAFI DRIVE, the southern peninsula forming the Bay of Naples.
I once scuba dived along these precipitous cliffs, succeeding in spearing a large grouper hiding in a cave.
OK...will now "publish" and post this update to Facebook...hopefully it will load for Facebook readers...
will add one more "narrative" link to give a variety of formats to test.
Together with my Italian diving buddy, Guido Pechetti, I was the first person to dive into this undersea city...about 90 miles west of Rome in the Tyrrhenean Sea...more about this in later blog.
Just love the LIQUID SUNSHINE of Bellingham.
Yesterday afternoon sky clouded up a bit after a morning of on again off again sun breaks.
UPS opened at 2:00 pm for Customer Service, so I walked the 2 miles in the most pleasant misting fog shrouded sky...cars going by using wipers, but I did not even get wet.
Turned in my uniform - no record was made...no receipt given -, and picked up my meagre paycheck: $60.83...but then, is $60.83 more than I had yesterday morning.
Disappointed I did not receive more work. Local manager, Jay, confirmed that package handling was down from prior expectations and that no driver helpers have been used for at least one week.
Took the long way back to my apartment, walking at a pace of about 3.5 mph over narrow - NO BERM - back roads heavily travelled by cars and trucks. Knee came out with NO pain...looks that I have once again been fortunate to recover so quickly.
I attribute my quick recovery to continued high proficiency of my LYMPHATIC SYSTEM which keeps my body purged from toxin and uric acid buildup. I am coming to recognize that after strenuous exercise, even my arthritic hands are painless for many hours; i.e., it is now 18 hours after yesterday's walk...and no arthritis pain at all in my hands...knee is also without any pain.
My findings: want to be healthy...EXERCISE...get that LYMPHATIC SYSTEM functioning as it is designed to do.
Made an effort to mend fences with my OBX friends...sent them all Christmas Gift Boxes of CRISTOFORO BISCOTTI...hand made by my many year friend Martine:
Greenport, Long Island, New York (631-477-6145) www.cristoforobiscotti.com, who produces some of the finest biscotti available.
Last Christmas (2011), I was in OBX volunteering my time to help the towns of Rodanthe, Wave, and Salvo recover from Hurricane Irene. Martine donated a case of biscotti - about 150 bags - for Pastor Steve's Food Bank. Everyone raved about the gift...including Pastor Steve. Since I was not at OBX this year, I treated each to a single bag...and received back many thank yous...I hope they understand my pride and gratefulness for the opportunity to live and work among them for the past 8 months or so.
'tis now 9:00 am...a bit dark outside in continuing LIQUID SUNSHINE - even tho too overcast for the Sun -. Will have a bite - my normal double-size hot oatmeal - then will hit the road. Objective today will be 3 - 4 hours at moderate pace (3.5 mph) to strengthen my knee.
Must say, while I appreciate my comfy apartment, I yearn for the open road...the magic of Mother Nature....
Oh, yes: I received a special gift this Holiday Season...my Son, Ronald, a bit estranged the past couple years, chatted with me for nearly one hour on the phone...and, I have been invited to visit: I tell you what...it is so pleasant to want and to be wanted...
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Living on the first floor of our apartment building, is the family of an historic figure...Father, Mother, and daughters Marinella and Fiorella. Both daughters often babysit for Bruce, Jr., allowing Joanie and I some time together. "Father" - I will call him "Anton" - and I have become fast friends.
Anton was a World War II Italian Bomber Pilot. Anton informed me that he was also Commander of the Italian Air Force Academy. Anton also informed me that he attacked and sank a British Cruiser...this did not sit particularly well with his wife, a British national.
Anton also informed me that he was a personal aide to Benito Mussolini . Anton accompanied Mussolini when he was kidnapped and subsequently killed by Communists.
After surrender of Italy, Anton was "pardoned", but never again allowed to work. When I met Anton, he surreptitiously operates a local movie theatre projector.
Anton also teaches me to play CHESS.
Ironically, I vividly remember my third grade classroom in Des Moines, Washington erupting in celebration on September 08, 1943, at the announcement of the surrender of Italy.
Hated enemy one moment...dear friend the next...it doesn't really have to be that way !!!
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A few moments ago, I received a telephone call from Ron in Wilmington, North Carolina...Ron, some may recall, is the gentlemen who took SAM (my solar-powered stroller) off my hands, promising he would store it for me. Well...Ron has SAM safely tucked away in his new warehouse building...
...just waiting for you, says Ron...just let me know a few days in advance so I can have her ready for you...
SAM is apparently in excellent shape, having been personally cared for by Ron. Wilmington, N.C. has service by DELTA AIRLINES, making it quite easy logistically to return for SAM.
I am sorely tempted to retrieve SAM, strip her of her electronics, solar panels, batteries, and 36V DC front wheel motor...after which, we fly to Lisbon, Portugal to commence our walk across Europe, around the Black Sea and Caspian Sea...thence on The Silk Road to Beijing, China.
WOW...gives one something to contemplate !!!
I would love to have a companion (or two) to make that walk...anyone interested, please contact me.
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Friday, December 28, 2012
Yesterday, I hit the road again...the first time since injuring my left knee three weeks ago stepping out of the UPS truck. Such an injury normally takes 6 weeks to heal...yes, I know I am pushing it...but then, what's new.
Walked at a 3.5 mph speed on the sidewalks of the Barkley Residential District for 1.5 hours. The entire time, I concentrated mentally on the tendon from my front thigh down to and over my knee cap...a time or two, I felt it slide a bit to the side - as I rounded corners -, but the tendon stayed in place when I slowed up a bit to limit the side loading.
All the time, I guarded against ANY pain in the knee...it became a bit dulled; i.e., kinda numb...but, it never became painful.
At the end of the walk, I continued to walk within my apartment...then, treated myself to a 1-hour long HOT soak in my itsy-bitsy bath tub...what ever happened to the good ole' sloping tubs with the eagle talon feet...tubs designed to stretch out in.
Tempted to hit the road again early this morning...is a beautiful day in Bellingham today..., but decided to hold off until this afternoon.
In the interim, telephoned UPS local manager: why have I not been called to work as driver's helper...and where / how do I return my uniform (a requirement to preclude inappropriate use of UPS uniforms)...and how / where do I pick up my $$ check for the little work I did do.
Response was apology for not keeping me informed; return the uniform...and at the same time pick up my $$ check...at the local UPS terminal between 2:00 and 3:00 pm this afternoon. The terminal is about 1.5 miles from my apartment, so have decided to walk there and back by a circuitous route...killing two birds with one stone.
Actually, I am quite comfy in my apartment. I have no TV - there is none in the building for public view, and, they want $35.00 / month to hook up service to my apartment -, so I spend my time reading and rummaging through the many boxes / bags of things not opened for many months...like Christmas all over again.
Problem is, I am biting at the bit to get back on the road...not just walking around Bellingham, but setting out on another USA Crossing.
This morning, I telephoned Ron, in Wilmington, North Carolina, where I left SAM in storage...only to discover Ron has sold the business. New owners have no knowledge of SAM or whereabouts. I do have Ron's private phone number, which I called only to find he has recently incurred a back problem and is not taking calls...so, I left a message:
I'm ready to pick up SAM to continue my walk around the world...please call.
If SAM is available, perhaps I will fly (I have many DELTA Air Miles available) to Wilmington, North Carolina, and walk BACK to Bellingham.
If I do that, I will welcome someone to babysit my apartment - must be over 55 years old, pass a detailed background check, and have minimum $$ income... to meet apartment requirements.
We shall see what transpires.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
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A moment to share my new blog format...inasmuch as this instrument has become a dual means of communication; i.e.,
current events ...Current-time update will be written between the symbols
" * * * * * * * * * " and " * * * * * * * * * "
whereas biographical "bare bones" sketch from 1935 - 20_ _ (? ?)
will reside outside the above symbols.
OK, here we go...
Today being December 26, 2012, I wish to thank Bob and Pam for including me in their family / friends Christmas Day celebration.... which celebration included not only a wonderful dinner, but also a Puppet Show and evening long carols of the season accompanied by guitars, violin, and mandolin...seems everyone except me plays one or more of those instruments.
I have never again heard from UPS, calling me to work as promised. I queried UPS by phone, only to be told that I would be called when needed...also, I have not received any $$ for the days I did work. Guess I missed something in the mix.
Have done rather extensive research on Google Maps to detail my walking route from Lisbon, Portugal to Beijing. I succeeded nicely until reaching the city of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (where I have a friend living), which is next door to China. Google maps, however refuses to allow any maps within China.
Will contact the Chinese Consulate to help complete my walking route to Beijing.
My injured left knee is now three weeks a-healing. Took my first long walk this afternoon...seems to be OK, but will give it another weekend before setting out on renewed power walks.
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I have reported to my new assignment at NATO, AFSOUTH, AIRSOUTH, situated in BAGNOLI, Naples. I have been assigned to the Communications Division, which includes all means of electronic communication, such as: Radio, Radar, TACAN, LORAN, etc. My offices are within a compound of three story modern buildings. Since I am working in a TOP SECRET area, cannot say much more than that.
AIRSOUTH Building is in the lower right of building complex above right.
Our division includes officers from the United States, Italy, Great Britain, Greece and Turkey. We work as a team monitoring NATO communication activities for the underbelly of Europe, including the Central and Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Much of my time is spent assisting staff officers in the preparation and presentation of reports ... presented verbally and with images to visiting VIPs (Very Important Persons...Chiefs of State, Congressmen, etc)
I am also pressed into service reporting courts martial proceedings for AFSOUTH.
One such trail concerns cigarettes. Cigarettes cost $1.00 per CARTON in the PX, with 2 cartons per week allowance. On the Black Market, the same carton sells for $5.00. Shortly after I record the courts martial of a military person apprehended selling cigarettes on the Black Market - the accused was caught because he was not a smoker, but always picked up his ration - I immediately took up smoking.
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I continued to smoke to age 43 - some 20 years - , when I throw all my cigarettes into the fire place (on June 15, 1975). Six months later (December 06, 1975), I run - and complete - the first of many Marathons. It takes three years of extreme exercise to get the stink and brown sweat purged from my body. Had I not stopped smoking, I am certain not only would I NOT be walking around the world...but I would a long time ago, be dead.
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Joanie is a real home-body. She is totally content to remain in our apartment caring for Bruce, Jr. Our home sparkles and one can safely eat off our marble floors...in fact, Joanie uses a tooth brush to clean the corners. Even so, we take many short car trips to the many historic sights near Naples. Just to the north of Naples is the Palace of Caserta...one of the most beautiful properties I have ever visited.
To the South of Naples, of course, is Mount Vesuvius, the volcano which in AD97, buried POMPEII and HERCULANEUM. Joan and I visit Pompeii many times
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...my many photographs have, regretfully, been lost during my many subsequent moves...
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In 1957, I become a member of TOASTMASTERS International "PARLO BENE"...to attempt to overcome my reluctance to stand before an audience. One result of this association is that a joint TOASTMASTERS meeting is held at Pompeii...during which, I have the opportunity to speak from the ancient FORUM OF POMPEII.
The great Roman Orator CICERO is Mentor of TOASTMASTERS PARLO BENE.
PARLO BENE = SPEAK WELL
Monday, December 24, 2012
NAPLES, ITALY and MT. VESUVIUS, taken from Via Posillipo...a few blocks from the home of Joanie and I...POMPEII sits at the far upper right.
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Bellingham, Christmas Eve, 2012...I sit alone in my small apartment in Bellingham, Washington, creating my "bare bones" biographical sketch. Interspersed in companion blogs are current-time updates of my activities and preparation(s) to continue my round-the-world walk...next up: Lisbon, Portugal to the Sea of Japan via French Riviera, Venice, Caspian Sea, ( picking up the ancient Silk Road) Gobi Desert, and Beijing, China. Planned departure from Lisbon: Fall of 2013; ETA Sea of Japan ( 7,500 miles, approx. ) prior to June 30, 2015, my 80th birthday.
I am currently searching for Internet / phone service to allow communication / blog update in the endless tracts of the Middle and Far East. Assistance would be greatly appreciated.
In the meantime, we left Bruce and Joanie having been recently married.....
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Joanie, having graduated from Lincoln High School, Seattle, Washington, is settling down to being a housewife to her new US Air Force husband. Neither Joanie nor I have an appreciation of what we have entered upon...me, from a stump ranch...and she, descendants of Norwegian boatmen...her father, Ole, having been born in Aalusund, Norway, near the Arctic Circle where the Sun never sets...and the Cod Fish are always biting.
If I thought I have been maneuvered about during the recent year or so, I am now being inundated with near daily suggestions, proposals, and even coercion to enter into vocations deemed - by the Seattle Scandinavian community - to be appropriate for a newcomer into their society.
Primary among those riding my back is to enter the University of Washington. I have, as the result of 4 years of honorable US Air Force service, earned a four-year full tuition paid grant from the US Government; i.e., I am entitled to 4 years of college training at NO COST.
Simultaneous, brother Jim has arrived from Kennewick, having just graduated from high school. Jim will enter U of W in September 1956...and is lobbying for me to join him.
Alas, with my continuing luggage from June 1952, I carry such a heavy guilt, that I am still reluctant to poke my head above my "ostrich hole" for fear of degrading, tainting, and embarrassing those around me.
I DECLINE ALL EFFORTS TO ENROLL ME INTO U OF W.
Instead, I am so tired of being hounded that I should do this...I MUST do that...that I opt to re-enlist in the U.S. Air Force, with assignment to Hamilton AFB, California...taking me 1,000 miles away from all the fuss.
Needless to say, Jeanne and Ole are devastated.
My parents are non-committal...57 years later, I find out why.
Jim takes the opportunity to become a crew member on board the 100 foot salmon trawler of Joanie's Uncle, Ivar S., heading out into the Bearing Sea in search of salmon. I, too, could just as easily join my new Father in law, Ole, on his HOOVER Halibut boat, sailing out of Ketchikan...but I do not.
Joanie and I purchase a 16 foot house trailer, hitch it up to my 1949 Merc. and head for California. We settle down in a small trailer court in Novato...Joanie now pregnant, spending lots of time with other service wives while I slide back into the Staff Judge Advocate Offices reviewing courts martial.
Brother Jim enters the U of W in the AFROTC (Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp).
In June 1957, I request and receive orders to transfer to Naples, Italy...a good 7,000 miles away from the Nordic influences still after me to change my ways.
On July 18, 1957, Son, Bruce, Jr. is born. In August 1957, we board a DC 7 for the flight to New York City, where we will board a MSTS Ship bound for Naples, Italy.
As we board our plane in Sea-Tac (Seattle-Tacoma) Airport, Joanie is crying...we, I say...lump in my throat..., are just moving on to a new chapter in our lives...
leaving behind many frustrated and angry family members. I put them out of my mind as we walk the streets of Manhattan, New York. Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to visit the Empire State Building as we take the elevator to the observation deck. We quickly descend, grab a taxi, and rush back to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard to retrieve my camera...only to be told that our sailing time has been moved up...we must board in 4 hours...QE2 we miss.
We are assigned a cabin with shared bath. Bruce, Jr. is snuggled into the top drawer of the steel dresser, where he sleeps comfy the entire trip to Naples.
Our bath-mate is a US Navy Chief (E-8) with two teen age daughters. A couple interesting bathroom confrontations occur because the girls refuse to lock their side of the bathroom door to our cabin...later in Naples, we learn that the Ship Chaplain has taken certain liberties with our neighbor girls...but that is another story.
I'm still learning about grown ups.
We enjoy an uneventful cruise across the Atlantic Ocean, stopping first in Morocco, where we join a tour group...and a dinner ashore before rejoining the ship.
A few days later, we pull into Barcelona, Spain...the port from which Columbus sailed in 1492, where we visit Old Town...complete with live-in Dark Ages craftsmen shops...and, of course, the magnificent Cathedral...
Crossing the Tyrrhenian Sea, our ship slips into the harbor of Pisa, Italy, where Joanie and I tour this ancient city...climbing to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and visiting the Piazza del Duomo, where one must be cautious inside the domed cathedral...as a whisper in any part of the building is heard clearly in all corners.
Before boarding ship, Joanie and I were invited to breakfast in one of the ancient restaurants of Pisa. I order "French Toast". Having never heard such a thing, I was asked to prepare french toast as at home back in Seattle...which the chefs shared with apparent delight.
Re boarding our ship, we cruised the final few miles to the Bay of Naples, disembarking, finding temporary housing in the village of Vomoro...
...on top of the steep hill forming the north boundary of the ancient Greek (and certainly many civilizations before Greece, dating thousands of years before Christ) city of:
NAPLES, COMPAGNIA, ITALY
We find a magnificent all marble 3-bedroom apartment on the 7th floor of a nearly new apartment building at the intersection of MICHAELANGELO de CARAVAGGIO and VIA POSILLIPO...only 1/2 block across the street from the walled villa of LUCKY LUCIANO, recently deported from the United States.
Joanie is somehow sad.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Mother obtains a job at "Big Pasco", a materials handling facility across the Columbia River in Pasco, Washington. Big Pasco, being a military (Army) Supply Depot, has for some years been used as a Prisoner of War (Prison)Facility for Italian soldiers captured during World War II. Prisoners are often seen walking the streets of Pasco, having been accepted as being no threat to the community.
My life to age 16, has been void of ANY show of affection...i.e., I always think of Mother as being a "closet" person. It is a great shock, therefore, that when walking into her Big Pasco office, I find a life-size poster of Marilyn Monroe in her famous nude pose hanging behind Mother's desk.
Not surprising that Joanie and I continue the "closet" scenario.
As winter approaches, Jean (not daughter Joan) invites me to move into their spare bedroom on 45th North in Seattle...much easier, Jean says, to drive to Paine AFB in the snow. Whidbey Island has become a bit boring, so I agree to move in...
Joanie and I still avoid each other as much as possible... until:
Jean, Ole, and 'lil brother are out someplace. Joan and I are home alone...still very much disinterested in each other... when: I walk out of my bedroom door into the hallway... just as Joanie walks out of the bathroom with a bath towel around her...just as the front door opens...; in walks Jean. All right, says she... what are you two up to...
... caught in a innocent compromising position, Jean adds 2 and 2 and comes up with 10,000,000....you two are going to be married immediately !!!
...I already told Jean I had no interest in her daughter...but, would marry her (Jean) in a heartbeat...
On the evening of April 14, 1956, Joanie and I - at Reverend Kimball's command "You may kiss the bride" - have our first kiss ever...in front of 500 invited guests in the University Congregational Church.
The NORSELANDER - Sons of Norway - building is reserved for our reception...complete with 16-piece orchestra, 32 CASES of liquors, huge bowls of Champagne and Norwegian delicacies filling many tables... and a Scandinavian Whos Who...and I still don't drink !!!
Among Joanie's relatives present are next door neighbor to Bill Boeing; a personal friend of President Dwight D. Eisenhower; a cousin of Thor Hyerdahl (Kon Tiki)...
Joanie has listed her "preferences" with The Bon Marche in Seattle, which keeps track of choices remaining as purchases are ticked off.
It takes all Joanie's Brides Maids and Mother(s) to open and display the hundreds of gifts. Included are:
- 16 place settings each of:
china and everyday table service
every possible size of crystal glasses, and goblets;
sterling - ROSE POINT - silver and flatware service;
- Numerous sterling silver serving dishes;
- Every possible size and type of stainless pots and pans;
- Electrical appliances, including six mix masters.
- Linens to equip a mansion.
- and, a number of envelopes with personal checks.
Me...I am oblivious to the events going on around me...still stunned at being here at all...
A shotgun wedding if ever there was one !
Joanie and I drive to Whidbey Island, where I take her salmon fishing .
Jean, Joan's mother, is irate...how dare you spend your honeymoon at the Maynard's !!
We find a small apartment on Ravenna Boulevard near Green Lake, where after two weeks, we finally get around to consummating our marriage. I buy two huge pickle barrels, clean them out thoroughly, and pack china, crystal, and sterling gifts inside..., leaving them at Jean and Ole's for storage...
Never again do I see our wedding gifts.
A few days later, walking to Green Lake, I am surprised to see Carol walking toward me. Carol...what are you doing here...Oh, Bruce...do you live around here? Yes...pointing to our apartment building...Well, Bruce and I live just across the street...pointing directly across from our apartment...we are neighbors again...
While at Hamilton Air Force Base two years ago, we four (B.B., Carol, Dolores and I) spent weekends together at Stinson Beach near the Golden Gate Bridge. Carol, a WAF (Womans Air Force), moved to Chicago.
B.B. and I are once again sharing our lives...first in High School; then, in Korea; then, at Hamilton AFB, California; and now, in Seattle...
...with many more such meetings in our future.
In June 1956, I am discharged from the Air Force.
At the same time, Little Brother Jim graduates from Kennewick High School, about to enter University of Washington in September.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Standing in front of the class, Miss Ronning asks me to introduce myself...I can not get a single word out...this, class, is Bruce...directing me to an empty seat next to the most beautiful girl my young life has ever seen. I take my seat next to my instant life-long companion... she leans across the aisle, smiles, whispers...Hi, Bruce...I'm G. (SAM).
57 years later, I hear hear those words once more...but I'm getting ahead of myself !
For two years, I plunge into mastering Gregg Simplified Shorthand and typing. Weekly competitions are held in both classes, the winner to receive a reward at the end of the year. The competition is stopped after two months...my name standing alone over the chalk-board. By graduation, my shorthand speed is 165 wpm (words per minute); typing something close to 100 wpm). I never ask why no "reward" is given.
Receiving a "by-pass specialist" upon enlisting in the US Air Force, I am, 90 days later, recording courts-martial in Wichita Falls AFB, Texas...thank you, G. for inspiring me...as you still do.
During 1955 at Paine AFB, a new electronic device is brought into the court room. As the only court reporter, I quickly master this new machine...the STENOMASK...in about one week.
Using the Stenomask, I ad-lib throughout the proceedings...giving "color" about the folks involved...mannerisms. gestures, and expressions. I am really enjoying myself.
Having moved onto the farm at Bay View, I am becoming reacquainted with my family . Dad has taken up scavenging the beaches of Useless Bay for lumber to build a chicken house...he is determined to become a gentleman farmer by going into the business of raising chickens. I am pressed into service to help pull the waterlogged planks out of the sand and haul them the 5 miles home. The chicken house is soon completed, with automatic heaters, feeding, and watering system for a couple hundred chicks.
In 7 weeks, chicks become 5 - 6 pound chickens. In the beginning, chickens are decapitated and let run loose...a good way to make sure they "bleed out" before dipping them into a washtub of scalding water, pulling the feathers - make sure ALL pin feathers are out ! - and dressing - removing the guts, liver, heart and gizzard - before packaging for sale.
Dad comes up with the idea to roll a length of wire around as small pipe, nailing the spiral wire to a 2 x 4 nailed between two posts. One leg of a live chicken is threaded into the wire..the chicken now hangs upside down. Sister Millie is our master executioner...holding flopping chicken still, Mick inserts her Paring Knife (a sharp kitchen knife about 4 inches long) into the chicken's mouth, giving it a twist before moving on to the next sacrifice. The flopping chicken bleeds out completely...and we don't have to chase the headless critter across the yard.
This gives him time to turn to fishing. In 1955 salt water fishing is
Monday, December 17, 2012
Paine Field is located a bit south of the city of Everett, Washington...(late 20th century knows Paine Field as the Boeing Airplane Corporation FACTORY for the assembly of the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet).
Being only a ferry boat ride and two short drives from Bay View, Whidbey Island, I take up residence on the family farm. Daily, I commute to work at Paine Field (Paine Air Force Base). I am very much enjoying my work, even though from time to time, I, as an enlisted man, am assigned special duty on base, such as K.P. (Kitchen Police) and guard duty.
Paine AFB is a front line Cold War Air Defense Base...the first such base south of Alaska. Only months after the cessation of hostilities in Korea, Paine Field is equipped with the latest in fighter interceptor aircraft...loaded with the new guided / heat seeking Hughes Aircraft Air to Air Missiles.
On a cold snowy New Years Eve 1955, I have guard duty. I am issued a rifle, loaded with live ammunition, and driven onto the flight line to guard four loaded for bear F-89D Scorpion Fighter Interceptors. It is bitter cold. There is no protection from the strong wind. In a short time, I am freezing cold...walking quickly around my aircraft trying to keep warm.
A bit after midnight, I sit on the starboard landing gear tire...the main gear a bit of a shield from the direct wind. I jump up from my tire, rifle at port arms...
HALT - WHO GOES THERE ... I yell, staring into bright headlights...a figure stops on the fringe of the light;
SERGEANT OF THE GUARD ... comes a reply from the darkened figure...
ADVANCE AND BE RECOGNIZED
Good evening, Sergeant.
Maynard...I been flashing my lights as I drove up... before slamming my door...you appear to be dozing.
No, sir, Sergeant...I just sat for a moment...
Had I reached your rifle, you would be in serious trouble...sleeping on sentry duty during war time is punishable by DEATH...and your aircraft are on alert, loaded with live missiles...this is not a game we're playing...
Officer of the Day is making his flight line rounds just behind me...I always check my sentries before he gets out here...
Stay alert, Maynard...good challenge.
Three weeks later, I am recording the proceedings of that same Sergeant of the Guard. Seems some of his MP's (Military Police) have been pilfering items from the warehouses they are assigned to protect... the Sergeant is accused of having been aware of the thefts, but to protect his men, he has taken direct action with them. Unfortunately, his men have been discovered anyway and court martialed. I am recording HIS court martial because his men revealed that he has been covering for them. According to UCMJ (Uniform Code Of Military Justice), he is found guilty, reduced in rank, and serves 90 days suspended sentence.
This was one of my greatest lessons...be very careful whom you trust...be ever grateful for he who covers for you...in truth, I could have been executed if proved I was sleeping on that F-89D tire...
...AND BE ALERT AT ALL TIMES ON GUARD DUTY.
A quarter mile from the farm at Bay View, sits the Bay View Community Hall. This historic building is about to play a major role in my life...
For the moment, however, I will share a men-only secret about this building. Folks come near and far to attend Saturday night dances. Upon my first visit, I find it strange that during breaks, men retire to the basement, where the oil fired furnace is located...whereas, women remain on the main floor overhead. Following the men down, I am at once curious...then embarrassed; The men gather under the overhead grate, on which the women stand ... skirts swirling in the rising heat.
On the other hand, perhaps the secret may not be men only...ladies smile demurely to the stiff-neck men returning upstairs. I apparently have much to learn about the world of grownups.
On nearby Useless Bay waterfront, lives Dad's Sister, Virgie and her hubby...Next door neighbor to Virg is Harvey Swenson, the gentlemen who designed and built the Sweden Freezer...soft ice cream machine.
In their Seattle home, Virg is neighbors to her good friend Jean S.
Jean and hubby Ole have a son and daughter...daughter Joanie...18 year old high school Senior.
One Saturday evening at the Bay View Community Hall..., Virgie introduces Joanie...Bruce, says she, can teach you to dance...
Sunday, December 16, 2012
A narrow, steep roadway winds its way from Pacific Ocean beaches on the west...and from the Golden Gate Bridge on the east, up the side of 2,571 foot high Mt. Tam...passing through the elegant yet massive redwood forest of Muir Woods The summit of Mt. Tam gives a 360 degree view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco to the south; Oakland, California and the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east, Sacramento Valley and Napa Valley to the north, and the unending Pacific Ocean to the west.
A favorite place to take a girl is Stinson Beach...a sandy stretch bordering the Pacific Ocean beneath Mt. Tam, a bit north of the Golden Gate (waterway). My first introduction to USA girls is during an excursion with B.B. to Stinson Beach. Bruce now owns his own car and has Carol, his girl. Hey, Bruce...getchyrself a girl and come with us to Stinson Beach...I have no girl, but ask a WAF (Women Air Force) acquaintance, Dolores S., a nurse living in women's barracks up on Cherry Hill...Cherry Hill, so called because - it is said - not a single cherry can be found on that hill overlooking Hamilton Air Force Base.
The four of us spend a number of daily outings on Stinson Beach.
Dolores and I become good friends...strictly platonic, but some interesting moments. I, too purchase a car...a l949 green four-door Mercury. Returning from a day in San Francisco, Dolores and I sit all evening talking and snuggling in my car. Next thing I know, the car rocks...I open one eye...it is still dark...and three guys are sitting on the fenders and hood of my car...Dolores and I still snuggled. Playing dead, I don't move...Dolores sleeps on...finally, the guys jump down, walking to the WAF Mess Hall, where they are pulling KP.
Wanting more than a platonic relationship, Dolores moves on to more responsive guys.
Alone again...a pattern to be indelibly ingrained in my life...I begin week-end trips to Kennewick. Leaving Hamilton AFB at 5:00 pm Friday after work, I drive straight through the night, arriving in Kennewick 13 hours later...a distance of 800 miles. Sunday afternoon, I return by way of Highway US 97, via Yakima, Washington; Bend, Oregon; majestic Mt. Shasta, California; where I pick up Highway US 99 through the narrow twisting Sacramento River Canyon; onto the plains of Sacramento Valley with its tens of thousands of olive and nut trees, finally turning west towards Napa Valley and back to Hamilton AFB in time for work Monday morning.
In the Spring of 1955, I ask for and receive a transfer to Paine Field in Everett, Washington. Paine Field, 25 miles north of Seattle, is only 4 miles from the tiny village of Mukilteo, Washington on the eastern shores of Puget Sound.
Mother and Dad suddenly pull up stakes in Kennewick and move onto Whidbey Island where they purchase a 40 acre forested farm...nearly all view property...glacier peaks of the Olympic Mountains visible 60 miles to the west. The farm has a small two story house, a big ole falling down barn, 15- tree apple orchard, two hand dug water wells, and 15 acres of cleared pasture...all surrounded by second-growth Douglas fir trees. A barb wire fence fronts north-south Highway 525...the village of Bay View directly across the two lane road. Purchase Price: $7,200.00.
Six miles east of Bay View is Columbia Beach, 7 miles directly across Puget Sound from Mukilteo. Washington State Ferries CHETZAMOKA and OLYMPIC make the crossing in about 35 minutes...the wait to board is often an hour or more.
Reporting in at Paine Field, I receive approval to live off base, and reunite with my family by moving into one of two upstairs bedrooms. Brother Jim has stayed behind in Kennewick - moving in with Uncle Harold - to finish school at Kennewick High.
I quickly learn from mother that letters from Keiko have been intercepted, opened, and responded to by Dad. He, without my knowledge, has informed Keiko that I have become engaged to be married and that she should leave me alone; also, that he has burned the photographs of Keiko and I.
From that moment on, I come to distrust my dad...indeed, I have come to despise him. As the years have gone by, I find his transgressions minuscule as to those perpetrated against many others.
I continue to write Keiko, telling of dad's lies...and I continue to send my $50.00 to our joint bank account in Kokura. Even so, I never again hear from Keiko.
Two events occur within the next few months...both of which shock me, anger me, and form much of that which my life is to become:
Be very careful as to whom you help;
Be wary of those who profess to help you.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
On December 06, I spent the afternoon and early evening as UPS Driver Helper. Sometime during my many trips up and down the truck steps, I succeeded in pulling the knee cap tendon of my left leg.
I said at the time that it was not a permanent sort of injury; well, it seems I am mistaken. That "slight" pull is still with me, having become aggravated during the subsequent walking on Saturday (Jingle Bell Walk in Mt. Vernon); on Sunday (Alger Alp Hike), and on Tuesday (18-mile speed walk).
Last two days on Ibuprofen allows me to hobble around my apartment...when it wears off after 18 or so hours, the pain returns with a vengeance.
I now have a full blown injury...the very thing I have avoided for so long.
Goes to substantiate my earlier findings...before beginning a new realm of stress - up hill, down hill, around sharp bends - CLIMBING DESCENDING STAIRS -, it is essential that the tendons / muscles to be brought into play be given an opportunity to become attuned to the new range of motion and severity of loading about to be encountered;
i.e., slow down and enter the new movement(s) slowly and without excess pressure...that also means warm-up exercise !
The stairs of UPS trucks are rather high and far apart...it is, after all, a truck. Repeated up - down, up - down ... especially lifting a box at the same time puts tremendous stretch and compression on the knees.
I simply did not exercise / stretch sufficiently to condition my knee to the new loads it was about to receive.
Now, I must pay the price.
I certainly have destroyed any opportunity to continue as a UPS Driver Helper...no, they have not again called for me ...
I certainly have destroyed any opportunity to continue intense walking.
I certainly must let the injury heal...normally, a 6 week healing process.
Gratefully, my Lymphatic System is still finely tuned. This will enable my body to clean out damaged tissues and speed up the healing process.
In the interim, the non-injured parts of my body must continue exercise to maintain Lymphatic System functioning.
Many believe it takes the body longer to heal as one gets older...
Will be interesting to see how long it actually takes this ol' body to heal...I'm betting on 3 - 4 weeks !!
...and I keep wondering what its gonna be like when I do get old.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Hamilton AFB is situated in Marin County, reached by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, driving past Sausalito, San Quentin Penitentiary, San Rafael, and another 15 miles to reach Hamilton. In 1954, Hamilton AFB is manned by F-86E and F-102 Delta Dagger Interceptor Aircraft...all assigned to WADF...Western Air Defense Force.
Also part of WADF is the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate...my new home.
I check in...two weeks early, as I have not taken my two weeks leave upon returning from Korea - I simply did not want to go back to Kennewick; especially with Dad's Cat-O-Nine-Tails still fresh in my memory.
I am assigned to a two-story barracks at the bottom of Cherry Hill...a 10 minute walk to my new job at JAG. I have a honest to goodness steel cot with springs, soft mattress, sheets, pillow case, and a large foot locker. The latrine is only a few steps from my cot...and, no KP (Kitchen Police - peeling potatoes or cleaning pots) or latrine duty. I just work at JAG.
...and at JAG, I am assigned to the Review Board; i.e., reviewing courts martials conducted at the half dozen Air Force Bases on the West Coast of the USA.
I love my job. It is here at Hamilton AFB that I begin my life-long routine of rolling out of bed about 5:00 am, arriving at work around 6. I am always at my desk working hours before anyone else.
...and would you believe...walking to the PX (Post Exchange), whom do I meet but my high school buddy Bruce B.;...yes the same BB with whom I have shared my year in Korea. Bruce is a jet mechanic, crew chief on one of the high tech F-86E and F-102 aircraft. Bruce is also a beer drinker...spending every Friday and Saturday evening out at Black Point Tavern. I am a teetotaler, so I accompany Bruce only once...not my cup of tea.
Instead, I take myself into San Francisco. Outside the Main Gate of Hamilton AFB is a "share-the-ride" shelter on Highway 101. Stand there 10 minutes produces a certain lift to San Francisco.
I quickly find that even on warm days, it becomes bitter cold walking the streets of San Francisco in the evening and into the night. Thick fog rolls in off the Pacific Ocean through the Golden Gate, often obscuring all but the tip tops of the Golden Gate Bridge Towers...bringing in cold air off the ocean.
I walk the streets of China Town, take the cable cars from Fisherman's Terminal to the top of Knob Hill, stroll down the narrow streets of the Red Light District....and a time or two hike all the way out to the Cliff House and Museum. My Grandfather, Leo, is a boat builder craftsman...as well as a master ship model maker. In the Cliff House museum are three or four of Grandpa's models of the Great Northern Liners which before World War II sailed from the USA to the Orient. The museum, along with G.pa's models and mummies from Egyptian Tombs, burned to the ground;...but, I did get to visit it a number of times first.
San Rafael is an upper crust residential town - my secretary at the JAG and her husband, Captain of the famous liner, LURLINE - lived in San Rafael. My favorite was to hitch hike from Hamilton AFB to San Rafael...then walk the three miles to the "Miracle Mile"...a favorite shopping street. Early on, I came upon the small building housing the dance studio of Arthur Murray. TV being in it's infancy, The Arthur Murray Party is a popular show...watched by just about everybody in America.
Having been introduced in Wichita Falls, Texas to the world of dance, I walked in and introduced myself...so, you would like to take dancing lessons...yes, please...well, we have three levels: BRONZE - SILVER - GOLD. Bronze level teaches Foxtrot, Waltz, Jitterbug, Swing, Mambo, Tango. The complete course is 1,000 hours. Total cost is about $2,000.00.
At the end of training, an examination is held in Oakland, where you will demonstrate your dancing skills of all dances, dancing with a number of teachers from the Bay Area. When you pass, you are invited to an Arthur Murray Party...a very formal affair (tuxedos and evening gowns, TV, etc.), where you and your guests share an evening of dinner and exhibition dancing...exhibitions by newly certified graduates choreographed by the student.
Of course, there is no way I can afford $2,000.00...but, I sign up anyway. I take three 1-hour classes each week. My teacher, Miss Barry, is tall, slim, gorgeous, and married to a Marine Sergeant. My classes are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening. I am also at the studio Tuesday, Thursday, and nearly all day Saturday. When not dancing with Miss Barry, I studiously concentrate on ALL students and their teachers; then I step out the back door to the small concrete patio...a 2-foot high retaining wall holding back the hillside. On the retaining wall...a one gallon of water in each hand...and sometimes another on my head...I practice...and practice...and practice.
There is a 23 year old college student also studying for the Bronze Medal. She has a male teacher...we often switch off ...she dances with Miss Barry; I dance with her teacher. We both become quite good at performing both male and female parts.
She and I are very aware that a undeclared competition is underway between us. We NEVER dance together...not a single time.
As the Summer of 1954 stretches into Fall, she and I both are approaching 100 hours of instruction. Oakland Arthur Murray has scheduled a testing seminar...we both request to be tested.
Her final test scores are: 97% dancing perfection; 99 total hours instruction.
My final test scores are: 95 % dancing perfection; 94 total hours instruction.
We both pass...apparently with the highest scores / vs / hours of instruction ever at Arthur Murray.
Our Arthur Murray Party is held in the Ballroom of the Mark Hopkins Hotel in midtown San Francisco. She and I both receive standing ovations for our exhibitions...holding Miss Barry in my arms I float around the floor to the Blue Danuabe Waltz...
in the presence of my Mother, my Dad, Mother's Mother, and Dad's Dad.
...very possibly the most proud moment of my young life...even Dad gave me a hug...I am proud of you, Bruce...he actually said to me !
Since my return to CONUS (Continental United States), I have religiously wired $50.00 to our joint bank account in Kokura...leaving only $25.00 a month for myself. The first few months, I receive a letters from Keiko, thanking me for remembering her...then, the letters stop...I never again hear from Keiko...two years later I find out why.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
A couple guys from K-13 invite me to go into Tokyo with them...amazed at the magnificent tall buildings...extravagant carnival atmosphere...and then we walk through squished together neighborhoods of paper houses...sliding doors...shoes lining the doorsteps - one never wears street shoes into a Japanese home.
We are to meet in the morning for a pre-boarding meeting, medical checkup, including updating shots. Being marched into a huge enclosed gymnasium, all lined up for inspection, we receive the order: Lower your trousers and your shorts...we do...hundreds of half naked men standing at attention ready for "short arm" inspection... doctors and nurses casually stroll the lineups...closely examining penises ... lifting, smelling, and poking; some are excused from the lineup and march off, pulling up their clothes.
Satisfied that those of us remaining are not smuggling contraband or some awful disease, we are allowed to pull our clothes back on, collect our duffel bags, and march out of the building to waiting buses, which drive to the nearby docks. We board a waiting MSTS ship, finding ourselves once again shoe-horned into a huge room - 250 at least, to a room. Again canvas stretched tight by clothesline like ropes attached to steel pipes... 8 bunks, all of 24 inches wide by 6 feet long...stacked 18 inches between each bunk from floor level to the overhead.
I quickly climb to the top bunk, snuggling in between a myriad of pipes and wires...but high above the coming cascade of lost dinners from seasick men.
Lucky me...again assigned to latrine (The Head in Navy talk) duty...cleaning toilets, sinks, and showers twice a day. No guard duty in dependent's quarters this voyage.
Second night out from Japan...sailing north into the Pacific Ocean on the great circle route following the Aleutian Islands, we run into a tempest; Gale force winds with high waves toss our ship around like a leaf. Nearly everyone is heaving into bunks, onto floors, in the head. I take it for one night. Second night of the 5 day storm, I find a dogged (locked) steel door. I open it, finding a stairway leading up to the next deck...I follow it up...open another door into a dimly lit passageway leading toward the bow (front) of the ship. A couple more doors...a couple more passageways, I find my way onto the weather deck at the front of the ship...surrounded by huge windlasses (winches) for the anchor chains and hawsers - thick ropes - for mooring the ship to a dock.
I snuggle in between these pieces of equipment...wind screaming over my head...deflected by the bow coaming. Night after night, I retreat to my clean smelling - but cold - hideaway. Impossibly, none of the doors I pass through are locked behind me; equally impossible, no one finds me on deck...strictly forbidden at any time. I'm back in my bunk before reveille - a trumpet plays over the P.A. (public address) system, waking everyone up.
I have lots of time between dozing off and on, to recall my increasingly exciting young life...especially thinking of Keiko and Sam. While out under the cold windy night, I mentally create a poem...a poem to be with me many years into the future...
Our ship docks at Pier 91 in Seattle, Washington. Disembarking, I am slowly processed back into the United States. My new orders read that I am to report to Hamilton Air Force Base located north of San Francisco...about half way between Napa Valley and the Golden Gate Bridge. I have two weeks leave, requiring me to report to the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Western Air Defense Command.
I am met outside the gate by Mother and Dad...I get a hug - never before had a hug from Mother - and a hand shake from Dad. A cold reception.
I decide I do not want to return to Kennewick...Please drop me off at the railroad station.
I board the train in Seattle, leaving Mother and Dad standing on the platform as my train pulls out for San Francisco.