Above – link to short video
Below: Link to Page 2
Essays, Art/Photos & Original Music Recordings by Buddy Allen Simco
Select the link below to see a menu of a few self produced original recordings (all tracks by myself, except a couple of drum tracks – thank you Keven McCloud). Note that the Yahoo email address in the header of the below link is no longer being used.
Note: One of my favorite tunes (recorded circa 2014) – FORGET ME NOT – has a broken link in the menu above. The link to this tune is below (it starts soft, then changes after one minute):
FORGET ME NOT
Another recently added
All files are free and downloadable and sharing for PERSONAL, NON-COMMERCIAL use – with attribution.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, below you will find a series of papers which may be of interest to a few.
If you skip past about the first 30 percent of a few highlights of my early years you will find papers probably of more interest to some. This is still a work in progress as I track down and correct typos here and there.
A FEW THOUGHTS
A few remarks about Ernest Hemmingway vs. The Surveillance State:
I have read a few books by Ernest Hemingway, mostly short stories, but also a couple of his novels. More interesting, however, have been two or three biographies.
Along with historical books, biographies of diverse personalities have always been preferred reading for me.
Subjects have ranged from Howard Hughes to Vera Nabokov, the wife of Vladimir Nabokov, and of course of Vladimir himself. Some others: J. Edgar Hoover, Marilyn Monroe, Patrick O’Brian, Henri Matisse, Rebecca West, Joseph Smith, Berryl Markham, Leo Tolstoy, Napoleon Bonaparte, Amelia Earhart, Leonardo da Vinci, Douglas MacArthur, Kahil Gibron, Akhenaton, the Roosevelts (all of them), Frank Lloyd Wright, and Joshua ben Joseph (Jesus Christ, as per the version presented from pages 1323 to 2097 in The Urantia Book), Michaelangelo, and Nikola Tesla.
These are but a few that come to mind. I regret not having the wit for complete recall of subjects, but the point is that in addition to history and good novels, I enjoy reading biographies, an amazing source of facts and useful information; it is an opportunity for superior writers to breath life into what otherwise might be considered dull stuff. Some writers are so good that they can make a subject matter as prosaic as the New York City phone directory a fascinating read.
I never tire of learning from the experiences of others, even a biography of a horse – Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand.
Returning to Ernest Hemingway: Regardless of which biographical version one is reading, there is always his suicide to deal with. Everyone is familiar with his paranoia of being followed, bugged, and spied upon. His treatment for these delusional notions included hospitalization and electroshock treatments. It was following such a series of treatment that Hemingway, shortly after his release from hospitalization and shock treatments, located a shotgun and ended his life.
What I found to be of interest is that decades after the fact, through the Freedom of Information Act, researchers and family members discovered that indeed Ernest Hemingway had been followed and spied upon by Hoover and the FBI for decades! Of course Hemingway was not alone is this regard. Just about everyone in public life received the same treatment, and in private life too, not to put too fine a point on it.
However, the point I wish to make is this: Ernest Hemingway was treated for symptoms of what were then termed mental illness, as evinced by his belief that he was being followed and spied upon. Although it is a supposition that his treatment led to his frazzled mental condition and directly contributed to his suicide, following confinement, medication and electroshock treatments, it is not an unreasonable one.
One supposes that to a younger generation the above information is not so shocking (pun intended), having been born into a society where freedom is defined as being politically correct in language, thought and action; when attention must be paid to how one appears, stands and moves (or not) lest they are profiled as a threat.
In recent times it has been considered treasonable to seek and speak the truth, where to dissent and question abuses of power, routinely justified in the names of (1) the children, (2) national security, (3) it is too secret to discuss – not even in the courts.
Now one is expected not to object, without risk of being wrestled to the floor and handcuffed by a security goon, or added to a so-called no fly list, of being forced to wait for hours in a room purposely not heated, of of having personal digital devices and other property confiscated for legally asserting ones views in objecting to national insanity related to security theater, or even for protesting the abolition of habeas corpus and anti-trust regulations and sane banking regulations.
One longs for the days when an Attorney General of the United States could unequivocally define torture, when it included waterboarding and prolonged stress positions or pain compliance (what a term). Many WWII Japanese officers were tried and executed for just these offenses. Now: just routine. No knock? No warrant? No problem!
One now expects to be spied upon. We call it Freedom. If you think otherwise: Up against the wall and assume the position. Prepare for a cavity search, and not by a dental technician.
I listened for a few minutes to an NPR radio show, On Point, discussing such matters, specifically: in upstate New York.
One statistic cited was that in 28,000 body cavity searches, upon the routine jailing of people for offenses ranging down to riding a bicycle without a bell mounted on the handlebars. Only one person in 28,000 was detected with contraband. Twenty-eight thousand strip and cavity searches yielded one offense!
What I found interesting was the statistic of 28,000 arrests in what was not in a major city – although it was not clear as to the time frame involved. Still, this seems to me like a lot of arrests, although no one on the radio show seemed to think so.
I suppose when you include such offenses as riding a bicycle without a bell, or being a passenger in a car stopped (but not cited) for non-payment of a traffic citation some years past, even though it was the result of a computer error. The “perp” had to spend eight days in jail and undergo two strip and cavity searches before he was seen by a judge who in this case recognized the computer error and dismissed this unfortunate fellow.
Once upon a time, in my youth, it was taught in my schools that the system was weighted to allow a guilty person to escape justice in order to prevent an innocent person from being wrongfully incarcerated. In the intervening decades this notion has been reversed. Now the prevailing attitude is, if you are not guilty, it doesn’t really matter because at some time in the future or past you will be or have been guilty of something.
THIS NEXT SECTION IS LENGTHY, CONSISTING OF RANDOM THOUGHTS REGARDING THIS AND THAT… MOSTLY THIS:
HEREIN are a few observations and reflections related to over seven decades of living, including random extracts from a dream journal. An initial observation: There is much room for improvement.
As per the dialog written by Bud Shulberg for the character Stanley Kowalski in the film entitled A Streetcar Named Desire, which won an Academy Award circa 1954, “I could have been a contender.”
On the other hand I have managed to keep my nose off the sidewalk, at least most of the time. It certainly could have been worse. I can- not say that it has been a life without interesting events. Glimmerings of understanding have been punctuated by periods of regret, some confusion, much striving, and a few accomplishments tempered with increasing humility and respect for mysteries yet to be comprehended.
Although originally a private journal, these musings are now offered for whatever amusement or edification they may provide to the occasional intellectual wanderer or student of absurdities, especially those with temperaments embracing the dictum: Rideo, ergo sum (I laugh, therefore I am).
I began this exercise in August of 2009, having procrastinated for quite a while. Eventually I yielded to the “still, small voice” encouraging me to commence.
This is a work in progress. I suppose one should complete a project before making it available for public scrutiny. It is not my way. C’est la vie. One never knows when one may slip on a banana peel – then: Adios amigos… hasta beyonda.
In reference to the first paragraph of this paper, and reference to the dialog of the character Stanley Kowalski in A Street Car Named Desire: Shortly before his demise, Marlon Brando, who as a young man was cast in the role of Stanley Kowalski – when asked how to sum up his life – said that in the end, he would likely look back and say, “Whew! I wonder what that was all about?” I thought then and think now that his observational comment is as enlightened as any I’ve ever heard.
As to my personal thoughts, I suspect that the “I” felt by each and every sentient being is essentially the same, quite apart from the “personality” engaged in the doing – the sensing, feeling, thinking, acting, reacting, and calculating. In effect, all sentient beings are agents and synaptic points for gathering and transmitting intelligence (experience) for the creative aware energy responsible for the existence of the “end agent” to be sentient and sensitive to experience, enabling the ability to evaluate, speculate, and to co-create. The “I” felt within by each being could be likened to a holographic fractal fragment of the whole.
It has been speculated that God needs Man as much as Man needs God, as part of the process of the Macro being knowledgeable of the experiences of the Micro, a sort of feedback/correction loop, with the Micro striving to realize the potential of the Macro while learning by trial and error, if not by inspired intellectual effort, and the Macro providing the wherewithal for the Micro to progress toward goals and relative states of enlightenment commensurate with experience and intent.
I once commented to an acquaintance, now deceased, that even though one may not comprehend the reasons for being, beyond Descartes’ dictum, “I think, therefore I am,” that it would behoove one to “trust the process and dance with what ‘brung’ ya.” My otherwise mild-mannered interlocutor, during the course of our philosophical musings over a bottle of wine and a left-handed cigarette, bristled at my comment. “That’s the problem,” he said, “I don’t trust the process!”
Well, there you have it, I thought. A difference of opinion. I perceived no benefit in arguing a point which, to me at least, was obvious, particularly in view of my recognition that when it came to parsing some of the more esoteric considerations and mysteries associated with the cosmos in general, and personal intellectual awareness, specifically, my acquaintance and I rarely agreed on anything.
However, I have reached the stage of life where of I have relieved myself of the desire to convince anyone of anything. My acquaintance of four decades and I were able to get along inasmuch as neither wished to pursue a point beyond a simple declaration of yea or nay. If someone takes pleasure in forever pissing against the wind, who am I to object (as long as I am not downwind)? What will be will be. Time will tell, and all that. Meanwhile, don’t Bogart that herb, my friend.
ACCORDING TO at least one source of which I am aware, “In the beginning” had something to do with the movement of the breath of God across the waters, and of light penetrating darkness. For myself, it had to do with “spots” on the ceiling.
My first awareness of being was sometime prior to the age of two years: I was lying in my crib examining the pattern of the perforated holes in the ceiling tiles. That is my earliest memory. The light in the room was subdued. The tones were pale to medium gray. The “spots,” or perforated ceiling tiles, were mesmerizing in that the patterns would change with oculi intendere, with a sense of movement.
In later preadolescence years I would discover this same pattern driven sensation in the perforated linings of headliners of cars, and on the fabric backings of some furnishings. I could “space out” after a few moments of gazing at the changing patterns within the pinprick “spots” in fabric or tiles while relaxing my focus. This pleasant diversion has so far remained undetected by mainstream society and has yet to be legislated as unlawful activity.
My second memory was of playing dead, as a soldier having been killed on a battlefield. I had been seated next to an adult in a movie theater observing scenes of soldiers falling after being shot in battle. Later I was outside the theater waiting for my adult escort. On a grass strip in front of the theater, I fell down, as I had seen the soldiers do in the cinema. It is ironic that one of my earliest memories of a new life is associated with play acting the end of life.
Other early memory fragments are a jumble – just snippets here and there – vignettes not assuming coherence until about the age of five.
I was born in the second month of the year 1940. I now know, having been born “without benefit of clergy,” that associated stresses were considerable for my mater, who was then an attractive young woman. This was three months prior to her twentieth birthday, when she alone and trying to make her way in the world. Being an unwed mother was especially difficult in those times, and not without social stigma.
In later years I learned that it was initially thought it best that I be raised by another family – one with requisite interests and means to accommodate one such as myself. This arrangement lasted for a while – details were never revealed.
I suspect I may have been with the family of one of my mother’s sisters, specifically: on the farm where my mother was then living when I was born. Later, having reconsidered, my mother requested my return to her custody. She did tell me that much, when I was about ten years old, but nothing else.
From the age of a few months, although technically in her care, I was intermittently boarded with a number of caretaker families until about the age of five and briefly with another family when I was fourteen.
My mother, by necessity, continued to work until she married an army officer in 1941 or 1942. She was divorced from him sometime in the early 1940’s, after giving birth to her second son, Jimmy, a year or two following my birth. At a young age Jimmy was sent to live with his paternal grandmother, following Mom’s divorce from Lt. Paine.
In 1945 my mother married a handsome young fellow named Bob Robinson, after he was discharged from the Army Air Corps at the end of the war. We then lived together as the Robinson family from late 1945 until late 1948 or early 1949, in Topeka, Kansas.
Bob and his father, George, were real estate brokers and proprietors of Capital City Realty in Topeka, Kansas. The three years immediately following WWII were prosperous boom years in the Topeka area (unlike today). These were the first and only years that Mom didn’t have to work or concern herself about financial security.
This was the only time I experienced a fairly normal family life, even though I was usually alone and – with occasional exceptions – had no friends; there were activities at the local YMCA, and at school, that enabled reasonable socialization.
I played with a neighbor a few blocks away, a boy of about my age named Charles Crank. He was adopted and was what in those days called deaf, and in current times called hearing impaired (someone apparently decided that four syllables are better than one). I modulated Charles’ voice, indicating with gestures or speech (he could lip-read) when to lower or raise the volume of his voice when speaking and when he shouted “bang bang” when we played Cops ‘N Robbers (his father was a policeman). We were about six or seven years old. Charles was a good kid, it seemed, although I didn’t spend that much time with him. I do recall my first experience in a swimming pool was at a summer party in his backyard with a group of other kids.
Although the Topeka years were brief, they were formative years for me. I heard my first symphony in Topeka, Kansas, at age seven. That same year my school class toured a museum exhibit of scaled-down mock-ups of the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci. I was amazed at the mechanical inventions: The auger, his movable tanks with sloping roof, his glider, and a helicopter-like machine, and various gears and pulleys. Our class periodically toured manufacturing facilities. It was interesting to see how things were made.
The schools were excellent, at least if one’s skin happened to be white. This was prior to the Brown vs. (Topeka) Board of Education decision by the Supreme Court. At that time the schools in Topeka, Kansas were segregated. I did not then understand why, and I saw very few non-white people. White kids attended Polk elementary school and black children attended Van Buren school a few blocks away. An exception to strict segregation was at the local YMCA where I swam in the pool and went on YMCA camping trips with blacks and whites together. We were not segregated; men, boys, whites, and blacks, all showered and swam together in the nude. But the YMCA was the only place I knew where all races mixed.
My family employed an African-American teenage boy for yard work. His name was Norvell. When food was served at our home and Norvell was present, he was invited to join us in the dining room. However, he always declined politely and ate in the back yard or on the porch. I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t join us.
Once Norvell was picked up by the police when he was on his way to our place to do some yard work (detained for walking while black). Bob Robinson was called as a reference and Norvell was released.
Although my mother was raised in Arkansas and Oklahoma, she never uttered a disparaging remark regarding blacks, or anyone else. She and her family struggled with limited means and had no inclination to throw stones at anyone else trying to make their way in the world. To her credit, she never voiced negative opinions about any group, racial, political, or otherwise, nor did I ever hear her gossip or speak negatively about any individual. She simply minded her own business and refrained from mixing in or commenting on the affairs of others.
Mom strongly advised me to avoid lingering as a spectator at any after-school fight, which was not infrequent. She told me to walk away, to not hang around with the spectator crowd, but to ignore them and continue on about my business.
I was always mindful of this advice. Later I came to appreciate that it was good advice. Eventually, however, I did have occasion to declare myself and to make my stand when being picked on. Usually on such occasions I insisted to any antagonist that we meet alone, without spectators – just the two of us. This usually worked to the extent that the antagonist never showed up at the agreed upon place and time.
But not always: I recall one time in Denver, Colorado, at school in the 8th grade, when I was knocked out because one guy pummeled my head while his friends held my arms behind my back. I had no friends in that particular school, which fortunately was of only three months duration before we once again moved because my step-father accepted a job in another city. My face was pretty beat up, eyes blacked and swollen, but no one, neither teachers nor parents, asked any questions. That’s when I learned something about taking one’s lumps and keeping silent.
Just before leaving this particular school in Denver, which as usual was an abrupt process with only a day or two notice to me and to the school, I had to write a creative short story for an English assignment. A couple of days later when we met for our scheduled session, the teacher was excited and began speaking about something really special. At first I really didn’t understand what she was talking about. Finally I realized that she was speaking about the story I had written. She proceeded to read my short story in its entirety.
Unfortunately, I never retained a copy for myself, and my original paper was not returned. The story concerned a battle between two deer stags during mating season. In a forest glade, combat was witnessed by birds and small animals. Beyond this I now recall little, ex- cept that during the process of writing the story I completely forgot myself and entered into the story in a way that was a new experience for me. I was absorbed in describing not only the physical event, but also the ambient light, sounds, smells, topography, flora, fauna, any anything else that came to mind.
I was very surprised, amazed really, at being singled out for praise. I appreciatedthe kind words and recognition, which turned out to be very short-lived. The next day I learned that I had to withdraw from school because we were suddenly moving to Montana, where my step-father had taken a position to manage a country club. I never had occasion to speak to any of my classmates again, and only once to the teacher when I announced that I was moving out of state. That was that. I did not mentioned the paper to my parents. At the time I wrote the story I regarded it as just another school paper.
Variations on this theme followed me through my early years of academia – abandoned projects, opportunities, returned gifts, always moving on. Although there are some benefits to such a course, at the time it was of little solace to me, even though on occasion I welcomed the opportunity to leave a place, yearning to return to other former communities where a certain amount of bonding had occurred, with associated networks and developing friendships.
Alas, it was not to be my way. There were some compensations, however. I often have thought about the process of how some people become locked into a community or way of life not to their liking, and of feeling trapped or victimized.
Early experiences account for a lot. Over the years I have concluded that, with regard to the debate about Nature versus Nurture, that Nurture trumps every time – allowing for exceptions of the extreme.
Thanks to my mother’s encouragement, I discovered the library at the age of eight years. I was reading my way through the adult section before the year was out. My first adult novel was entitled The Mists of Dawn, a work of science fiction with a plot line involving time travel into the ancient past. Travelers had to remain on elevated sidewalks constructed for tours, so as not to interfere with the environment. Someone accidentally stepped off the walkway and a butterfly was killed. When the traveler returned to the originating time, all colors were different, because of the butterfly killed eons ago – a rippling cause and effect associated with a new time-line.
I was also interested in history, especially about the just concluded war in Europe and the South Pacific. For these subjects I had to obtain written permission for many books.
AFTER THE PASSAGE of several decades, I eventually learned from my mother that the reason she and Bob Robinson divorced, when I was nine years old, was because of Bob’s jealous nature. I was oblivious to this.
At the time I was disappointed, the first of many disappointments. Mother seemed to be happy and prosperous and Bob was not abusive, inattentive, or unreasonable, at least from my perspective.
As to Mom’s prior husband, James, I know nothing about him or the reason their marriage ended after such a short period. I recall seeing him once, briefly; I was probably about three years old. I must have been living with another family during that period.
After Mom’s divorce from Bob Robinson, James made an effort to contact her by telephone. This was circa 1949-50 after she divorced Bob Robinson and moved to Utah. She refused James’ calls. She later learned that a few days later he was found dead at his residence. These are only hazy memories for me. I was never informed of details, except than James had been drinking.
It was about this time, in the summer of 1950, when Jimmy Paine, my younger brother, came to live with us. This proved to be an unhappy affair for both Jimmy and my mother, and Jimmy returned to Oregon to live with his grandmother who had raised him for the preceding five or six years. We lost contact. The years passed. I never saw Jimmy again, and my mother never spoke of him until we had a brief conversation about these events over 50 years later, during the final year of her life. She died in February 2007, at the age of 87.
My mother was from a large family of nine children raised in rural Arkansas and Oklahoma. During my childhood she rarely spoke of her life at home. Not at all, actually, I know nothing about her life as a child or teenager. During my first ten years I met most of her siblings and a few of my cousins. Mom was close to her mother, who was living alone in Salt Lake City, Utah when we moved there in 1949. We lived there until we went to Colorado in 1953, after her marriage to C. Simco.
The odd thing is, as I look back on those times, although I remember visiting my grandmother a few times, always in the company of my mother, I cannot recall having a single conversation with her. Not one, except for saying hello and goodbye.
She was a pleasant woman who was employed by the nursing home next door to her rented cottage, She looked after the residents. of the nursing facility. Her spotless home was interesting in that she had a large old-fashioned coal burning stove in her kitchen, a foot treadle-power Singer sewing machine in her parlor, and she always had a canary named Jake.
I did not learn until years later that my maternal grandfather was an unpleasant man. I do not wish to be unkind to his memory; I reference only what scant information was revealed. Thus, there was an exodus from his household by all the children and his wife, as soon as they were able. Beyond this, I know nothing, except that all the children were raised on a farm and the patriarch was said to have been a hard case prone to physical and verbal abuse, especially directed at his sons.
Supposedly he was rather intelligent and talented in some ways. In addition to farming, he wrote quite a few songs, mostly of the religious kind. He taught school in his younger years, and also wrote comedy scripts for early day radio programs (Lum ‘N Abner) in Oklahoma.
One of my mother’s brothers – a year younger than she – was named Joe. He enlisted in the marines at the beginning of WWII and was killed in the South Pacific in a battle on the shores of Palau. His death greatly affected both my mother and grandmother. He was especially beloved.
I had occasion to meet my maternal grandfather only once, when I was seven years old at a gathering of a few of his children and some of my cousins at his home in Oklahoma. Given what I subsequently learned of his unpleasant nature, I cannot imagine why such a reunion occurred. My grandmother was not present at this gathering.
At that time my grandfather was 67 years of age. I believe he lived for another ten years or so, but I never saw him or heard anything about him again – with a single exception. The winter following our visit he sent a cardboard box containing mistletoe, which he had picked from trees near his home. Mom and Bob made packets up for me to sell door-to-door for Christmas decorations, which I did.
Curiously, as I thought at the time, even though I contributed to this enterprise, I was never rewarded with payment of any kind. A few cents would have been nice.
I must have been given an allowance, because I had a dime bank. Unfortunately, I had to hand over my savings when a woman who lived a couple of blocks away knocked on our door one day and claimed that I was one of a group of boys who had broken her window.
This was not true. I never roamed with any groups, having no friends at the time, and did not break anyone’s window. ,My savings were given to this woman, and no one was interested in what I had to say about the matter. It bothered me then. Come to think of it, it bothers me now! This was my first experience of being truly wronged and not being able to do anything about it. A bitter pill.
I remember a one-time visit to my grandfather’s home for another reason, having to do with the weather. It was summertime: We had driven caravan-style from Oklahoma to Kansas during the height of summer when temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. The car windows were open all the way. We discovered upon arrival in Topeka that the entire trip had been made with the heater ON. But it was so hot outside that it hardly mattered. It helped to have a sense of humor. This was one of the few times I observed my mother in consistent good humor, which she was when she was in the company of her siblings.
For most of my early life my mother was struggling to make ends meet; she expended considerable effort to keep me as a part of her personal family even though I frequently had to be boarded with others to enable her to maintain employment.
I did not learn the identity of my biological father until I was about 45 years of age. Much to my surprise, I discovered that his last name was Gibbons. I never met him in person, although we spoke via telephone on two or three occasions in later years.
During the period when he knew my mother in 1939 he was a pilot and a Major in the US Army Air Corps stationed near Phoenix, Arizona, and a married man, a marriage that lasted until his death decades later (early 2000s).
As a boy, the only time I questioned my mother about the identity of my father was during the period when Jimmy Paine came to live with us, when I was about nine or ten years old. I was told a story about my real father being killed during the war, which, as it turns out was not true, as discovered later.
Mom left home at about age 18. She stayed for a while with a married sister in the Phoenix area, Some time later she met my biological father. I cannot imagine why she elected to consort with a married man, unless she was unaware of his being married. Perhaps he took advantage of circumstances involving an attractive lass fresh off the farm.
An interesting footnote to this story: I discovered decades later that my biological father’s wife wasn’t able to have children, although there were some adoptions in later years. Mr. Gibbons practiced law in Texas. I believe his father was also an attorney, and the family owned quite a few acres of producing oil wells at one time. Of course nothing was ever provided in terms of support, assistance, or advice.
When my mater discovered she was expecting, she went to live with one of her married sisters who had three of her own children and husband. They owned a two hundred acre farm in eastern Utah, near the Wyoming border. Forty years later I learned that the farm is located about ten miles from the mysterious, infamous Skin Walker Ranch, where many re- ports of strange, anomalous paranormal events have been reported for the past fifty years.
I knew nothing about these events until decades later. There, in early 1940, I made my entry into this world. My Uncle Cliff Olson built a wagon from scrap lumber and sold it to pay the attending doctor’s fee.
It was my Uncle Cliff who named me with a first name of Buddy, because I would be “everybody’s buddy.” I know he meant well, and I suppose I should be grateful because my mother had named her sister’s son Ardell Marilyn – born four month’s earlier. Ardell… OK. But Marilyn? Growing up, everyone called him Doot.
My early friends, when I had any, considering we moved around so much, called me Bud. My mother always called me Buddy. Many of my grade school teachers disliked the name Bud, and I didn’t care for it much either. Nor did I care for the name Buddy. Joe or John, or almost anything else, would have suited me just fine. Some people just don’t ponder the significance of assigning a name for life.
At age 32 I started going by my middle name – Allen – as it was more convenient for business purposes. When I mentioned this to my mother, she asked in all sincerity, “How do you spell that?”
I had always spelled my middle name as Alan until I happened to see my birth certificate for the first time in 1953, after my last name was changed to Simco, following Mom’s third marriage. It was only then I noted spelling as Allen. I have never seen my original birth certificate. During my youth, such matters were of less importance than current times when an inordinate amount of time and foolishness is dedicated to whether or not one is a legal person, and of which jurisdiction.
If Jesus Christ were suddenly to appear – without papers – in the USA today, He would most likely be apprehended as an illegal alien, and perhaps water- boarded at GITMO in an attempt to discover if impending celestial events pose a threat to national security.
DREAM FRAGMENT: Sometime during the 1980s, I had a vivid dream. I was standing in an ordinary room. A young man walked up to me. He was wearing a white turban, and was swaddled in white cotton clothing in the fashion of Mahatma Gandhi.
He said to me, “Your name is SEEEEEETOOOOOWEEEEeeeeeeeee.”
The vowel sounds were considerably accented and extended. He walked away.
END OF DREAM (Interesting, but I don’t think this name will fit on my driver’s license)
There were times in my youth when I felt I had all the benefits and privileges of a left-handed, redheaded, stepchild. But I moderate the tendency to feel sorry for myself with the realization that Mom was doing all that she could, given her circumstances.
She was trying to do her best. Sometimes her decisions were abrupt and shortsighted, but it is too easy to say that in retrospect. In her own way she was trying to cope with her circumstances.
One of the genuine regrets of my lifetime is related to her unfulfilled, unrealized potential. She was very attractive, and very intelligent, and quite talented in many ways. However, she herself had no advantages when growing up. None!
In later years she paid the price for poor nutrition in the softening/fracturing of her bones due to osteoporosis. Most of what was produced on the farm was sold for essentials – food not being considered essential for the children. This is one of my criticisms of the way of life as it seems to be, i.e., youth to maturity to decrepitude (for most). Bummer.
Born the seventh of nine children, she was never encouraged to develop, expand, and explore… to do anything. Therefore, she lacked confidence. Unfortunately, this frequently resulted in a tendency to be hypersensitive and overprotective of her own children, which was counterproductive in my own case. She had a tendency to be fearful, and believed the best way of coping was to avoid situations, to not take chances, and to stay close to home, to play it safe.
For her the glass was always half empty. With the exception of reading, I was never encouraged to develop skills or interests of any kind, but left to my own solitary devices, which were not entirely wasted.
There were never any discussions along the lines of career interests and goals. Frequently my various projects and interests were aborted because of changes of schools and residences.
At a critical juncture in my life, late in my sixteenth year, I was considerably assisted and benefited as the result of being recruited for a four-year enlistment in Marine Corps Aviation – radar operations and general administration, as well as a stint in Motor Transport in the Phillipines and Taiwan – followed by five years in an inactive reserve unit in Glenview, Illinois – due to my “critical” MOS in radar operations. I never saw combat, although I nearly “bought the farm” in two aviations incidents. One: flying from El Toro to Yuma on a R4D (DC-3) when we missed a collision by about three feet due to an air traffic controller lapse. Another: after flying from Japan to the Philippines. Our R4D refueled for the return trip to Japan and was lost at sea. Nothing was ever found except a floating wheel. Non-combat aircraft incidents were fairly common.
I was honored by the base commander, Admiral Spring, at a fiesta in my honor, as the result of relations I had established with the locals related to equipment provided to them to improve their roads prior to the monsoon season (with a story in the Stars & Stripes newspaper. Shortly thereafter he too died in an yet another R4D aircraft crash.
There is a difference between existing and living. If the former has to be done at the expense of the latter, well… for me I believe the latter is more attractive, although perhaps more abbreviated.
Mater was very intelligent. She could have been anything she wished, had only she been encouraged and had provided educational ad- vantages, and especially if she had developed self-esteem.
She could have excelled at anything, I truly believe – including the sciences. Unfortunately, she had a gift of selecting the wrong men for herself, and this helped her cause not at all. Nor did her lack of self-confidence She had the unfortunate tendency to submit to limitations as asserted by others regarding her abilities and station in life.
Mom had abundant natural abilities, including a wonderful singing voice, a beautiful handwritten script, and the ability to compose a well-written narrative on any topic.
In her youth and until well past middle age she was an exceptionally attractive woman, and that had some currency, but it was as much a liability as an asset, in my opinion. This was a source of friction due to jealousy and unwanted attention on numerous occasions. Although she had a series of marriages, she was not unfaithful and was loyal to whatever her situation was at the time.
For a number of reasons, including frequent changes of residences, almost always involving changes of cities, and her love of privacy, she rarely had friends other than casual business associates. I can only identify one for a period of two years circa 1950-1951: Clara Pearson – she married and moved to California. They corresponded until Clara died about 20 years later.
In later years, in the last year of her life, she joked that her daughter (my sister, of course… half-sister; I also have two half-brothers), who had appointed herself her guardian and caretaker, had commented in a conversation they were having: “You know, Mom, you could have been intelligent.”
I felt an emotional pang at hearing this. I know Mom was a very intelligent woman. Her greatest liability was a lack of self-confidence and her tendency to worry too much. I made light of the comment made by my sister. I commented that what was meant by my sister’s remark was that you, Mom, are very intelligent, and that given the proper advantages and circumstances you could have excelled in a profession of your choosing. She accepted this view.
For my part, until recent years I harbored a delusion that I would become a financial success in one of my chosen creative endeavors, as a musician/guitarist, artist/painter, for example, that I would be able to provide in the way of creature comforts and/or real estate for my mother’s benefit. It didn’t quite work out that way, in terms of finances, although I was able to send money at irregular intervals.
One benefit from a lifetime of reading and study is developing the ability to identify and share excellent literary works with a few who are interested in such things, as was Mom. In recent years I sent her dozens of books, including, for example, Berryl Markham’s West with the Night, and Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit, to name but two. There were many others. As the decades passed, I sent books by a variety of writers on various subjects.
Mom preferred non-fiction, and enjoyed them and expressed her gratitude, with one exception: she didn’t share my enthusiasm for Patrick O’Brian’s historical nautical novels related to the Napoleonic wars. (O’Brian completed twenty books in this series,. I’ve read them all, most at least three times.)
Mother frequently remarked on my selections: “How do you keep finding these great books?” So, to some extent, at least, I was able to provide something she enjoyed and valued as the decades passed.
Below: An excerpt from a typical note from me to my mother regarding forwarded reading material:
September 23, 1998
Enclosed are a couple of books you might enjoy. You mentioned that you found Seven Years in Tibet to be interesting, so I’ve enclosed the sequel, Return to Tibet. The saddest part about the Chinese occupation of Tibet is noted in the epilog. After over twenty years of harsh repression, the Chinese slightly relaxed their controls, for about four years, but it truly was only “dzuma” (eyewash) because they have cracked down once again, with imprisonment, torture and executions.
What I find to be particularly appalling is our government’s designation of China as “most favored nation” trading status. The current USA administration originally campaigned with a hard-line (get tough with China) platform, but soon sold out to the corporate big- money interests – even going as far as to accept campaign contributions from the Chinese government.
Otherwise, the short essays by Studs Turkel are also interesting reading. I particularly enjoyed the piece on John Gofman, MD (page 401).
SPEAK MEMORY – As previously noted, my first two memories of life were related to focusing on spots on the ceiling, the perforated ceiling tiles, and playing the part of a soldier falling in battle.
My third memory is dim and fleeting. It was when my mother and my little brother “Jimmy” had returned from the hospital, Jimmy having just been born. I believe this must have been circa 1941 or possibly early 1942; Jimmy was a year or two younger; I’ve never been certain. Anyhow, he had just been circumcised, and was lying on his back. I observed what appeared to be a yellow bandage around the base of his glans penis, and wondered what that was all about.
The next time I saw Jimmy was when I was nine years of age. This was when I really learned about him for the first time. We had recently moved to Salt Lake City from Topeka, Kansas when mother divorced Bob Robinson late in 1948 or early in 1949. Jimmy Paine came to live with us for part of the summer. He was very unhappy about being away from his grandmother and the ranch where he had lived for almost all of his life. After just a few weeks in Salt Lake City in our mother’s custody, he returned to The Dalles, Oregon, to the custody of his paternal grandmother.
Other than two or three early letters when still in Utah, I have not had any contact with my brother Jimmy Paine since we left Salt Lake City in 1952. I do not remember the address of his home in Oregon, only that it was a rural route address. Jimmy’s grandmother, Rhoda, was an employee at the ranch, not the owner.
Later, in 1952, mother remarried – a third time – and we moved to Colorado. Her new married name was Simco. At the same time my last name was changed to Simco, in an adoption procedure before a judge in Salt Lake City.
I am assuming that the last name of Essert was on my original birth certificate, but I have never seen the original certificate. It was the name I had been using at Lowell School in Salt Lake City from 1949 to 1952. Previously, when in Topeka, Kansas, I had been enrolled at Polk School from Kindergarten through the 3rd grade under the name of Buddy A. Robinson. Since mom was married to Bob Robinson, she just used his name for mine for my school purposes. Mom’s new husband (Mr, Simco, In 1952) was about 28 years of age, younger than my mother, who was then age 32. I was 12 years old.
In later years I was told my original last name of Essert had been selected at random from a phone book, as a convenient necessity at the time. I doubt this.
While doing personal research decades later, I discovered through school records that there was a student by the name of Essert who attended Arizona State University during the late 1930s.
As the years have progressed, I truly don’t care any more about source names and parentage details. For me, it simply no longer matters. What’s in a name anyhow? I exist, and am not ungrateful. This life, of whatever duration, is fleeting enough and will soon be spent. If there is a future life, there will be another name. If not… well… In any event, life is what one makes of it. One plays the hand which was dealt. We are what we think we are, and do, and say, and act. We program ourselves, with particular regard to aspirations.
It has been said that it is more important what one aspires to than what is. I subscribe to this way of thinking. We have more power than most of us are aware of. For various reasons, mostly related to greed and control, legions of entities wish to conceal this fact. But cultivate and guard your aspirations and thoughts wisely, because one can truly manifest one’s desires.
I AM REMINDED of the following joke: A man, accompanied by an ostrich, walks into a bar. The man says, “I’ll have a beer, please.” The ostrich says, “I’ll have the same.” The bartender looks at the man, then at the ostrich, shrugs his shoulders, and places two mugs of beer on the bar. “That will be two dollars and fifty cents,”
Without looking up from his beer the man reaches in his pocket and slaps some money down on the bar, exactly two dollars and fifty cents. He and the ostrich drink their beverages and depart.
This scenario repeats itself over a period of several days, except that each time the man orders a different kind of drink, and the ostrich always says, “I’ll have the same.” The man pays, never counting his money; he just slaps cash down on the bar. It is always the correct amount even though the price is usually different than previous times. He and the ostrich consume their drinks and depart.
One day the bartender said to the man, “Do you mind if I ask you a question?” “No, go ahead,” said the man.
“Every day you and your feathered friend here walk in and order different drinks from what you’ve had before, and the amount due usually varies, but when you pay your bill you never look at your money. You just slap some cash on the counter. It is always the correct amount! How do you do that?”
“Well,” said the man, “I’ll tell you. One day I was cleaning out the attic in the home of a deceased relative when I came upon a brass lamp. As I was polishing the lamp, a genie emerged from the spout, as a kind of translucent cloud, and said, ‘You have summoned me. I will grant you two wishes. What do you desire?’
“As you can imagine,” said the man, “I was surprised. After thinking for a moment I said that I would always like to have in my pocket enough money to pay for whatever I wanted.”
“Wow,” exclaimed the bartender. “That is amazing. That explains everything.” He paused, then said, “What about the second wish?” “Oh yeah,” said the man. “That… I asked for a chick with long legs.”
[Kaboom – rim shot]
TO CONTINUE with the chronology: In 1950, it was a sad event in my life when Jimmy Paine departed, made ever sadder by the fact that during the short time he lived with us, Mom, for unknown reasons, favored me over him. It was obvious to Jimmy and me. The consoling fact was that he would be happier in the home he had always known. When later we exchanged a couple of letters, I was assured of that.
Jimmy Paine was a good, kind boy. I recall getting into a fight with Johnny Walker, who lived across the street. Johnny threw a rock at me, which bounced and broke our front window. I was crying because I knew that even though I didn’t break the window, Mom would pounce on me as the culprit (it turns out, for once, she didn’t). Jimmy placed his arms around my shoulder and comforted me until I fell asleep.
The fact was that at that time Mother was again a newly divorced woman with limited resources. As a matter of convenience and also in the interest of Jimmy’s preferences, this resulted in her giving up her second son to be raised by his paternal grandmother.
I became increasingly aware of the difficulties Mom had in maintaining me without sufficient resources most of the time, and the necesity of intermittently placing me with boarding establishments and foster families in earlier years.
The last time this occurred was when I was fourteen years old. I lived for a few weeks with a Morrison family in Salt Lake City, and attended Roosevelt Jr. High School. Mr. Morrison was a retired sheriff from Nevada. My mother met the Morrisons while working as a waitress at Lamb’s Grill on Main Street in Salt Lake City, where Mrs. Morrison was also employed.
It was established that I would reside with the Morrisons from then on. This was during one of Mom’s many periodic separations from her third husband, with whom she eventually had two children and resided with intermittently in various cities over a period of about fifteen years.
He was always chasing the next, better/best job in high-end hotels and country clubs – The Brown Palace Hotel, The Broadmoor Hotel, the Billings Country Club, then to Cleveland, then Missoula, Montana, Salt Lake City, etc. He worked as a restaurant manager or head waiter/bartender. He was a suave, good looking guy and looked good in a tux and cumberband.
I was not at all unhappy about living with the Morrisons. In fact I was truly happy. Finally a promise of some stability! For the first time in my life I had my own room; up until this time I had always slept either on a screened back porch or on the couch. Even though I
had yet to fit in at my new school, Roosevelt Junior High School, where I had been enrolled as Buddy Allen Morrison, I was at least associated with adults who conversed in polite conversational tones with concern and interest. Also, I felt I would probably have a better relationship with my own mother from a distance.
This arrangement didn’t last. Mom had another change of heart when she once again separated from her latest husband, which usually occurred just prior to the winter solstice holiday season.
She returned to reclaim custody of me. I had to return a couple of gifts given to me by the Morrisons, a .22 rifle and a wristwatch. Soon thereafter Mom reconciled with her husband, and again we moved to another state.
I had not fit in at my new school in Salt Lake City, and leaving the school wasn’t really a problem for me, but I regretted saying goodbye to the Morrisons. They seemed like decent, easy going folks enjoying a quiet, stable life. I enjoyed having my own room, and adults with whom I could converse and share experiences.
To illustrate this pivotal time for me, inserted below is a vignette I wrote a few years ago as part of a separate collection of recollections.
After three marriages and decades of living, I have experienced my fair share of intimacy. In reflecting upon these experiences one kiss remains vivid in my memory.
It was in my fourteenth year. I had been enrolled in a junior high school for approximately three months, having transferred from another state. I was once again moving, to a different city, and was withdrawing from my classes and making arrangements to have my school records forwarded to a different school.
I was not unhappy at the prospect of leaving this particular school. During the three months at this school, Roosevelt Junior High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, I had remained the outsider and friendships had not developed. When sports teams were selected during gym, for example, I and one other student, Grant,
were always passed over. We were both new to the school. Grant, a slightly built brainy guy, had attended the same grammar school as I had a few years earlier, in the same grade.
Grant made me laugh when, once again I/we were ignored when sides were chosen for sports, he said, “Gee, Bud, they don’t known who you are.” In the former school I had been a team captain and respected leader; but not at Roosevelt Jr. High; I was an outsider and a nobody. Grant, himself, didn’t expect to be selected for any team because he was so fragile, but he was a kind spirit, as evinced by his comment to me about being snubbed.
The fact that I was moving was not known to me until two days prior to my departure. I reported to the Administration office and, while I did not attend any of my classes that day, I had to wait for each class to begin and then obtain the teacher’s signature on a withdrawal form for forwarding transcripts to another state.
There I was, waiting in the hallway for my final class of the day, Speech, to commence. I had been one of four boys in that class of about thirty students. One of the most attractive girls in school was also in that particular class; she was beautiful and could accurately be described as resembling a youthful Sophia Loren. We had never spoken and I had no reason to believe she had ever noticed me. It was ten minutes prior to the beginning of the period, I was standing outside the door of the classroom and leaning with my back against the wall.
“Sophia” (unlike her kiss, I don’t remember her name, if I ever knew it) was walking with one of her girlfriends. I obliquely noticed they had stopped about thirty feet away and were whispering together. I had looked away and a moment later glanced toward her as she walked directly to me and, without a word, placed her arms around me and gave me a kiss.
I instantly knew that the plan was to embarrass and tease me. I had no doubt they fully expected I would not react as I did. When she kissed me, I tenderly returned the kiss and held her gently, as if I had been expecting her. The kiss was sensitive and sensuous and was of a few seconds duration. I remember the scent of her perfume, the texture of her sweater, and the fullness of her lips.
During this entire episode I did not move from my original position. As we parted, she stepped back and seemed flustered. I casually said, without moving from my original position, “Let’s do that again sometime.”
She said nervously, “Do what?” and then hurried into the classroom (her friend followed). Those are the only words we ever spoke to each other during the few weeks I was a part of this student body. At that time neither she nor anyone else except a few teachers knew that this was my final day at this school.
Five minutes later my teacher arrived. I entered the classroom, obtained a signature, and left the school forever. The next day I left the state.
I may not have known her name, but I’ll never forget that kiss. As the years have passed I have had more intimate kisses, more passionate kisses, but never a kiss as tender, as sweet, as sensuous, and never a kiss remembered so vividly.
I wonder what she thought of my sudden disappearance, and if she too remembers that kiss.
Some memories are especially sweet. For me, fourteen years on a rocky road led me to a few seconds of a genuine la dolche vita experience, rarely approached since, in terms of pure bliss.
As time passed, I felt some increasing resentment toward me from my mother. In later years I surmised this may have been due to my resemblance, perhaps, to my biological father – who contributed nothing at all to the welfare of my mother, but a young age I was oblivious to this possibility (“he died during the war,” was my belief at the time).
I was frequently irritated when my friends would visit me at home, Mom was always exceedingly cordial and conversational with them, but rarely with me when we were alone. I thought I would be more than satisfied if she treated me with half the respect shown to my schoolmates and neighborhood friends. Mom and I hardly ever had conversations. As to my step-fathers (du jour), I recall only two or three talks, of a few seconds duration. Result: Auto-didactic activities on my part and a dreamy detachment in solitary activities.
I would usually stay outside or otherwise be engaged in some solitary activity such as handball against a wall, or practicing golf putting and swings. At age ten I began working as a caddy in the summertime and earned enough money to buy all my school clothes. After a while I resigned myself that I was going to bail out at the earliest opportunity. Thereafter I developed a thicker skin and an indifferent attitude. At age 15, I was gone – on my own. Late in my 16th year, I was a Marine recruit.
However, if at an early age I had, for example, specific questions about the nature of fractions, or whether or not cursive handwriting incorporated multiple words into one – an early misconception of mine, the questions were directly and accurately answered by mother. When I had growing pains in my legs, she rubbed them with alcohol and assured me that the pains would eventually desist.
There were a few lighter moments. For example, much to my surprise, when I was about ten years old, she said, “Do you know what a Humdinger is”? She said that back in Arkansas, a Humdinger was anyone who could place a mouth over a mule’s rear end and blow with sufficient force to expel the bit from the mule’s mouth. That was a real Humdinger! Crude, but funny. I was surprised.
I recall another time when she directed my attention to a quotation in a book she was reading. “Life is like a grindstone. It will either wear you down or polish you up. It depends on the metal you are made of.” I appreciated the attention and quotation, although I refrained from commenting on the difficulties associated with a creation selecting the constituents by which it was created.
Mother encouraged me to accompany friends and their families or scouting groups to various outings, which I appreciated. When I was eleven years of age, and a Tenderfoot Scout, I was encouraged by the Scouts and allowed by Mom to go with a group of Eagle Scouts to the University of Utah to audit astronomy classes, which I enjoyed immensely. I was the only non-Eagle Scout in attendance. I have never paid much attention to making rank, being the underachiever that I am.
There was an on-again off-again aspect to this familial relationship; sometimes I felt anger mixed with guilt directed toward me for being a burden. This I knew then, and know now. It helps explains why generally there were so few conversations and genuine encouragement, and never consultations or discussions regarding major changes, such as marriages and sudden, frequent re- locations.
In terms of career choices, only two were ever mentioned. One: Lath and plaster… “A good way to make a living.” Another: Having observed that I had good looking legs, it was suggested that I be a male model of stockings (“lots of men model stockings”). That was the extent of career counseling during my home life.
I wasn’t sure if she was being serious or joking, but I was having none of it. I resolved to remove myself from “home” (wherever that was, as we moved so frequently) at the earliest opportunity.
I eventually left home at the age of 15 and lived on my own for a few months in Montana – with college student roommates – prior to my enlistment in the Marine Corps, although I remained in high school in Billings, Montana until the end of the school year. This was during a period when Mom once again separated from her husband and returned to Salt Lake City.
I remained in Montana and in school. Later, in the Marines, at age 17, I passed the examination for a high School GED at a time when I would have been in my Junior Year in High school. At the same time I came within a whisker of earning a two-year college certificate. Close, but no cigar. Bright I may have been, but apparently not a genius.
Following my four-year enlistment in the Marine Corps, I attended classes at Fullerton College in California and had credits transferred to Fullerton Union High School where I was awarded my second high school diploma. At the time this was essential for me in or- der to accept employment as an insurance inspector for the Retail Credit Company in Southern California; otherwise, they would not hire me because of their refusal to accept a military GED certificate.
Later I intermittently attended classes at Long Beach City College for a couple of years, usually evening classes, but I never earned a college degree, although I was on the Honor Roll upon completion of my final semester, which included Psychology and Anatomy and Physiology (with a lab course).
At age 15, I was a member of the Montana National Guard, assigned to a tank crew. I was on active duty with the Guard during the summer, participating in gunnery exercises (cannon, and 50 caliber machine guns) prior to my enlistment in the marines. Since I was not of legal age to be in the Guard, I wasn’t really concerned and didn’t take it seriously. I stopped going to Guard meetings following summer active duty. I had gone with a friend to check out the Guard; he didn’t qualify, but they snagged me.
The marines also knew I was under age, but that I would be of legal age (17), with parental consent, just prior to graduating from boot camp, so they recruited me . A marine recruiting sergeant, Master Sergeant Jerry Vaculin, visited my mother. She had moved from Montana to Salt Lake City with her two children by C. Simco.
Master Sergeant Vaculin obtained mom’s written consent for my enlistment. Mom was concerned, and said, “They will kill you!” I advised her not to worry, and reminded her that at the time hostilities in Korea had ended.
Recruiting quotas aside, Master Sergeant Vaculin apparently saw in me some potential, and was concerned about appropriate discipline, direction, and continuing education. Having sized me up, I believe he had some respect for my potential and abilities as the result of my scores in a series of written tests.
Sergeant Vaculin sought me out when I was at the post office, where I had been delivering blueprints for an engineering company I had just arrived in Salt Lake City from Billings, Montana. Upshot: I was slated for Marine Aviation and further schooling upon completion of basic training.
He assured my mother that the Marines would be good for me. They would take care of me, and I would be a better person. He was right. At the time, I needed what they had to offer, which included a time to mature a bit, stability, objectives, motivation, and esprit de corps.
Decades later I worked part-time on weekends driving for Black Tie Limousine Service in Pleasanton, California. My day job during the week was Lead Document Control Clerk for Jacobs Engineering at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as related to construction of the world’s largest laser project.
One Sunday I picked up a Mr. Vaculin and his wife for an early morning trip to the airport. I asked if he was related to Jerry Vaculin; he became excited, and went to his wife with the news that I knew Jerry Vaculin, and said yes! Jerry Vaculin was his uncle, much esteemed. I then went on to say that I had been recruited by him some 40 years earlier, for a four-year tour of duty with the Marines, and asked about him. I learned that he was deceased, and that he had retired from the marines and spent his final years tending his rose garden. His nephew was astonished that I knew him -and pleased that I had inquired.
A year or so after my enlistment, the Executive Officer in my squadron took care of the legal paperwork which arose when I failed to report to the draft as ordered by mail forwarded to my mother, the result of my missing quite a few Montana Guard meetings because I was then on active duty in the marines. I was told that it could have been a major hassle for me, but to forget about it. Uncle Sam wanted me, and they had me for four years, two years longer than if I had been drafted for two years.
At this point I’ll insert a relevant essay I wrote a few years ago about an incident in Marine Corps boot camp.
THAT’S THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES
After I had enlisted in the Marine Corps, at the commencement of basic training, I became aware of the value of anonymity. I perceived that to blend in and avoid focusing attention on oneself while following orders was the key to success. I would endeavor to maintain a low profile, to be a stealth recruit.
The drill instructors had their agendas, and a significant part of the program was designed to harass, intimidate, humiliate, and other- wise push us to our limits. Special attention was given to those who somehow distinguished themselves. This could be anything from failure to pass inspection (dirty rifles or sloppy lockers) to having certain physical characteristics (overweight, a heavy beard), or even hav- ing attended an ivy-league college.
We were assembled according to our height. The tallest of each squad was usually appointed as squad leader and was responsible for relaying orders to the remaining recruits. The squad leaders were harassed more than the rest of us, at least in the beginning.
We were assigned quarters in three barracks referred to as the tall hut, medium hut, and short hut, so called because of our segregation by size and position in company formation. I was in the middle of the middle-sized hut and as average, or anonymous, as one could be. During the course of the fifteen weeks of boot camp our ranks thinned considerably, by approximately a third, as washouts and setbacks departed.
The number one position in the company was known as the Right Guide. Our Right Guide was Private Foster. He was more mature, being in his early twenties. Also, he was well conditioned. Therefore he was singled out immediately for special attention, to test his mettle. The Right Guide carried the company’s banner – ours was 1076 – and marched a few yards to the front of the company whenever we moved. The first squad leader always aligned himself with the Right Guide as we moved, and we always maintained our relative positions.
Private Foster’s first assignment, as our new Right Guide, was to stand for about three hours at attention in the pouring rain while balancing the guide-on (staff with banner) on his shoulder. On several other occasions he was given equally arduous tasks. Foster was a good man. He never wavered.
Our senior drill instructor was Staff Sergeant Steve Fox. He was a recruiting poster-image of a marine; squared away, handsome, broad-shouldered and muscular, resembling an inverted triangle, always impeccably attired in his specially tailored uniform. He was, all things considered, an amazing specimen. The year before he had been named Mr. Marine Corps of 1955. This honor included an arranged date with the then-well-known Hollywood actress Mamie Van Doren.
But he was no Hollywood Marine. He was a combat veteran of World War II and Korea. He took his responsibilities seriously. He endeavored to condition us, to impart whatever he could to help us stay alive. He believed most of us would be tested under fire, as he had been.
When I describe Sergeant Fox as “amazing,” I mean it literally. Every day we ran five miles, before breakfast. Of course we were dressed in fatigues, and following our marathons we were sweating and doubled over, gasping for breath. Sergeant Fox, sometimes in his dress uniform, always ran every step of the way with us.
What was particularly amazing was he would run at least a third of the way backwards, all the while imploring us to close up ranks, to stay in step. He never seemed to break a sweat. I never saw a wrinkle in his uniform, or a sweat stain.
In due time most of us were thoroughly brainwashed, convinced that a misstep would cost us dearly, the threat of physical violence al- ways present – although never actualized, at least in our company. In retrospect, I realize that even though we thought at any moment a drill instructor would go berserk, this was calculated bluster and part of the program.
A few weeks earlier a half a dozen recruits had drowned in a swamp during a night exercise in basic training. Because of the resulting media and official attention to this incident, the drill instructors were then particularly mindful of not even touching a recruit unless it was to assist in some type of instruction. Generally this was true, but most of us thought all hell might break loose at any moment. Actually a D.I. did go berserk in another company; he grabbed a rifle stock and began beating anyone who was not raising his knees high enough while running in ranks, in place. He was relieved of duty.
During the first few weeks I was doing a pretty good job of remaining anonymous. I neither excelled nor lagged behind. With our shaved heads and new fatigues, we all pretty much looked the same anyhow. And I, being in the middle of the “middle hut,” was Mr. Chameleon. I was the youngest, age sixteen, but not by much; with a few exceptions, we were all just kids.
Candy, sweets, cookies, and other forms of junk food were strictly forbidden. And we had no time off. There were no canteens and candy machines, or snack bars; no movies or newspapers; no radios; no free time except for two or three hours in the barracks before lights out. This was time for cleaning gear and perhaps writing letters. There was nothing else, or fifteen weeks.
The beginning of the end of my anonymity was related to a box of cookies. Christmas fell about mid-way through basic training, but to us it was just another day at the office. One thing we did have was mail call. I don’t believe it was on a daily basis, but it was at least once a week. Mail call was what most of us lived for, that contact with the outside world, even if it was only my aunt imploring me to remain chaste.
And so it was on Christmas day we were ordered to fall in, just after a midday meal. We were expecting mail call, but Sergeant Fox was in a particularly nasty mood for some reason. He immediately ordered a Private Simmons to step forward. For about ten minutes Sergeant Fox berated Private Simmons in every way imaginable, all because Private Simmons’ mother had sent him a box of cookies for Christmas.
This was no ordinary dressing down. Sergeant Fox outdid himself. Although I have an excellent memory, the passage of decades precludes a verbatim recount of his scathing monologue. He was livid. I was thinking, “Thank God I’m not the one up there.”
A couple of weeks earlier, Sergeant Fox had admonished us to advise our correspondents not to send candy, cookies, or any kind of food for Christmas, and I had done so in a letter to my mother.
Finally, Sergeant Fox was spent. Having thoroughly berated Private Simmons at considerable length, he stepped back and prepared to dismiss him. He stared for a moment at a card in his hand, then said, “Wait a minute, those cookies weren’t for Private Simmons, they were for Private Simco!”
My heart turned to stone. However, by this time Sergeant Fox was exhausted, having emptied his clip into Private Simmons, so to speak. When Private Simmons returned to ranks, he glanced at me with a hard look that said, “You owe me.”
What was particularly irritating to Sergeant Fox was that in addition to the cookies having been sent, my mother had, unknown to me, written a letter of apology to the Commanding General. She had mailed the cookies before she received my letter advising her not to send anything. Additionally, Sergeant Fox had been taken to task by his commanding officer, who in turn had been advised by the Commanding General that Sergeant Fox did not have the authority to prohibit cookies from being sent to a recruit as a Christmas gift.
Subsequently, I discovered that officers were always more pleasant to deal with than staff NCOs. This view was reinforced three years later when I was the guest of honor, and the only enlisted man present, at a fiesta in Cebu City, in the Philippines, an event hosted by the base commander, Admiral Spring. But that is another story.
In effect, Sergeant Fox was neutralized; he was not inclined to repeat himself. He had to make an example of someone, and Private Sim- mons was the hapless whipping boy. I was not called out of ranks. Instead Sergeant Fox walked to within an inch of my nose and said, in a surprisingly calm voice, “Don’t you think you ought to share your cookies.” I readily agreed (“Sir, yes sir!).
I never did see those cookies, although I did catch a glimpse of the canister as it was tossed to the assembled ranks. They were gone in about six seconds. That was all right by me, but Sergeant Fox now knew who I was. My cover had been blown. My only hope was to strive to do nothing further which would focus attention on myself, and I nearly succeeded.
My emergence from relative obscurity was unexpected and, considering the circumstances, an oddity. It was during the last third of basic training when we relocated to the rifle range. At Camp Matthews we lived in tents, and spent most of our time target shooting and developing our “dope books.” In those days the word dope was a synonym for intelligence.
The standard issue weapon at the time was the M-1 rifle. Each weapon was unique, with regard to sighting. The rear sight was calibrated laterally, and one would record, at varying distances, the “clicks” left and right while developing data for the characteristics of a particular rifle at varying distances. There would be one setting when firing standing at 200 yards; another for kneeling at 300 yards; another when seated on your foot, which was folded under your butt, at 400 yards; and still another when prone at 500 yards. Of course the front sight was fixed, and was the primary component in the configuration, which was unique with each weapon. All of this deter- mined by shooting, observing and recording the information in our dope books, to be used on qualifying day.
There was tremendous pressure to qualify as Marksman, Sharpshooter, or Expert, and woe to the recruit who failed to qualify. We thought that failure to qualify would “wash you out,” or perhaps require the repeating of basic training.
It was still dark when we left camp on the morning of qualification day, and as we marched in darkness on the way to the range, Sergeant Fox decided to order the Marching Manual of Arms With a Twirl. This was a specialized form of “monkey drill” which we had become proficient at during the preceding weeks on the “grinder” – the one-by-two mile asphalt parade ground at MCRD in San Diego. It was a way of counting and shifting rifle positions during the march, twirling the rifle 360 degrees at specified times, and slapping the rifle stocks at other times to maintain the count, while marching in close formation.
We had even done the drill with fixed bayonets, although not frequently – something not done lightly. We were pretty good at this drill – actually the best in a long time, as I later learned. But this was the first time we had ever been ordered to do this drill in the dark of night.
As we marched, slapping and twirling our rifles, the young jar-head next to me got behind in the count. I could barely make out his form, but saw that his rifle was twirling opposite the rest of us, and I had the luck of being next to him. Despite my efforts to avoid the inevitable, as my rifle barrel rotated counter- clockwise, his rifle butt struck my front rifle sight and sent it flying into the dirt with a distinct “thwang.”
I then did something I never dreamed I would ever do. I broke ranks and went back to retrieve my front sight. After a few seconds and with blind luck – literally blinded by dark and dust, and literally by luck – I located this small piece of metal in the dirt and stuffed it in my pocket as I ran back to rejoin the moving column. Fortunately, because it was still before sunrise and the rest of the formation was making a considerable racket in the slapping of their rifles while marching, Sergeant Fox was unaware of what was going on behind him.
When we arrived at the rifle range I realized that my dope book would be useless because everything had been calibrated to the original position of the fixed front sight. I located the armorer, He remounted the sight by sliding it onto the barrel and tightening it down and advised me to just aim for the 12 o’clock position on the black at all distances, which I did. And damned if I didn’t qualify. Not only did I qualify, I qualified as Expert – and as the high-shooter of the entire series, of all companies in our basic training series.
Sergeant Fox was pleased that everyone in our platoon qualified, a good number of us as Expert. However, I was no longer a face in the crowd. And Sergeant Fox was no more Mr. Nice Guy. Having distinguished myself, much to my surprise, it was my turn to be scrutinized, harried and tested. I had drawn attention to myself.
As a reward for doing well at the rifle range, that night the company was treated to its only movie during the fifteen weeks of boot camp. This was a real treat. Except for me, of course, inasmuch as I had been the high-shooter. I had to walk fire-watch that night, while the others went to the theater and then got a good night’s sleep, but I didn’t really mind. I was later to receive an award and shake hands with the same general whom my mother had apologized to for sending me cookies some weeks earlier.
I stood a lot of watches after that. I recall walking perimeter one morning, about 3:00 a.m., when Sergeant Fox himself appeared out of the fog. After I challenged him, and ordered him to advance to be recognized, he asked me to recite the “13th General Order,” an unofficial General Order and often expressed by Sergeant Fox as the most important of all orders. “SIR! To walk my post from plank to plank and take no shit from any rank! SIR!” He looked at me with cold eyes. “Carry on, private.” Didn’t this guy ever sleep? Maybe he had just returned from a date with Mamie Van Doren.
As we prepared to leave Camp Matthews for a long march back to San Diego, I discovered that someone had stolen my field jacket. It had been raining for a couple of days. However, by wearing my poncho it would not be evident that I didn’t have a jacket on; it wasn’t too cold, even though it was winter. Only a few more days and boot camp would be over. Much to my surprise, a couple of guys from the “big hut” section, upon hearing of my loss, went on a midnight requisition at the barracks of the permanent personnel. This took some nerve on their part. They returned with a jacket for me to wear.
Two days after our cross-country march back to San Diego we were ordered to fall in, wearing field jackets. Everyone had on their dark green jackets, except mine was faded and appeared to have been through two wars. After a few moments of silence, I heard (in a sing- song voice), “Oh blue eyes”; then repeated in a higher octave, “Bluuuue eyes.”
Although I tried to be invisible, I knew my jacket color marked me, and I knew that Sergeant Fox was referring to me. But I was not go- ing to move until specifically ordered to do so. After calling for blue eyes two or three more times, with various intonations, Sergeant Fox finally yelled, “PRIVATE SIMCO, GET THE HELL OUT HERE!”
This was the order I was waiting for. Thank God I had the presence of mind not to respond to “blue eyes.” I knew he wanted to discuss the jacket, and I was right. I stood at attention, front and center. Sergeant Fox moved closer and asked where I had gotten my jacket.
“Sir, Private Simco’s jacket was stolen at the rifle range, Sir! Sir, a couple of fellows requisitioned another jacket for me as a replacement, Sir!”
“Fellows? FELLOWS?” Sergeant Fox bellowed incredulously. Perhaps this was a poor choice of a word on my part.
“Sir! Yes Sir, Fellows, Sir!” I was not going to name names, no matter what. Sergeant Fox said nothing for a few seconds, then stepped closer, I believe I detected the hint of a smile in his eyes. Speaking in a conversational tone that could not be heard by the rest of the company he said, “After formation, go to Supply and get yourself another jacket.”
No more fire watches. No more badgering. Sergeant Fox had other fish to fry.
DECADES AFTER Jimmy Paine disappeared from my life, in the year 2004, I was listening to a program on Public Radio out of Oregon. It was a brief interview with an official with the Bureau of Land Management for the State of Oregon, by the name of James Paine. I absolutely know it was my brother I heard being interviewed. I could tell by his voice (yes, I know, but still…). It brought a tear to my eye then, as it does now, at this writing. I see no benefit for anyone to revisit the past at this late date, and I have made no effort to con- tact Jimmy – after over a half a century, even with a clue to go on regarding his employment with the State of Oregon.
I recall living for a short time at the ranch, in The Dalles, Oregon. This was likely to have been some time prior to mother’s divorce for James Paine, and I must have been somewhere between two and three years old. I recall only a few fragments – several ranch hands. Lots of horses. A roundup and the branding of cattle. The caretaker of the ranch was James Paine’s mother, Rhoda.
Years later, I was told that when I lived on the ranch at The Dalles, Oregon, I was accidentally knocked in the head by the knee of a horse and was in a coma for a couple of days. Mother had a premonition of sorts and retrieved me from the ranch, which I never saw again. As an afterthought to this event, circa 1946 I fell from a jungle gym high-bar on a playground at Polk School in Topeka, Kansas, and was unconscious for a few hours. I recall regaining consciousness while lying supine on a table in the library, with mother and Bob Robinson standing over me. I suppose these two head-knocking events could explain a lot.
RETURNING to earlier memories: At one home I was one of several children being boarded – in Walla Walla, Washington. The family’s name was Wilson. It was a pleasant environment. I had a friend, a boy my own age, we must have been about three or so, and we were digging in the backyard, all the way to China. We were told that if we kept digging we would come out on the other side of the world, which we commenced to do with determination, which lasted for a few minutes, and then we began peeling oranges. My playmate was telling me what he was going to do and be when he grew up. I had not yet formulated any plans. I am still working on that.
I recall being with several children at another home. I was thirsty. I noticed flowers in a clear vase of water on top of a piano. Not wanting to bother anyone by asking for water, I removed the flowers from the vase and took a sip. It was bitterly ghastly. I learned a wee bit about chemistry that day. Same day: I swallowed a nickel. I worried about that for a while, then forgot it.
Next: Residing with the Teehan family in Walla Walla. My primary caretaker and playmate was an Irish Setter dog named Wally. Wally and I spent quite a bit of time exploring a nearby creek and observing crawdads.
The Teehans were kindly, older folks. Mr. Teehan worked at a military base. I would occasionally accompany him to work. I recall just prior to passing through a guard station being told to make myself small and inconspicuous. I curled into a ball under the dash on the right side of the car. Although we had no trouble passing the guard going to work, Mr. Teehan was upset because he only wanted me to slink low in the seat, and not get under the dash.
Still, going places with Mr. Teehan was fun – for both of us I think. I recall looking out of the hangar door where he worked and observing an aircraft preparing for take-off, with the flight crew swinging themselves up though belly hatches with no ladders to assist. Later, we drove past a penitentiary, which Mr. Teehan advised was a very bad place. I promised I would do my best to not go there.
The next thing I recall is waking up one day in Topeka, Kansas, to a new home, and stepfather. I must have been about five years of age. It was a while before my first day of school in kindergarten.
The best thing about kindergarten was when it rained because we got to play inside with finger paints, which I found to be especially pleasing. I mentioned this to my third wife circa 1973, and she purchased some finger paints for me shortly thereafter. I was surprised, and touched by her humor and thoughtfulness.
Another thing I learned by playing games in kindergarten was that life is not always fair, if ever it is. One game involved a foot race and tag game while balancing an eraser on top of one’s head. A girl named Barbara always wore braids on top of her head, Swiss style, and she always won because there was no way the eraser could fall out of her cradle of braids.
I also heard my first joke at about this same time – a Little Moron joke. Why does the Little Moron carry a ladder with him? He wants to go to high school.
Another one of life’s unfairness was impressed upon me one day when a neighbor’s German Shepherd dog, Pepper by name, jumped my leg and began humping it. Of course I had no idea what this was about, being five years old at the time. Anyhow, my mother ran out of the house and began whacking me – not the dog – as if somehow it was my fault, that I had initiated the proceedings and was sexually assaulting the dog.
It was also about this period of my life – age five – when I first discovered guilt, REAL guilt. I was seated in the front yard and observed a cat walking across the grass. The cat was quite a ways away, about 25 or 30 feet. I had a large clump of dirt and grass in my hand, and casually heaved the clump of dirt in its direction. I didn’t think the dirt clump would actually come close to the cat, let alone hit it, but it did, directly on the back of the neck. The cat went stiff and fell over.
I was very unhappy, and scared. I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I had killed a cat. Finally, I picked up the stiff feline and placed it behind the steps under the front porch, and then commenced to worrying. A few minutes later I observed the same cat walking across the lawn. It had regained its senses and was apparently unhurt. I was greatly relieved.
When we first arrived in Topeka, before my parents purchased their own home, we rented an apartment near the new high school. Even though I was only five years old, I thought the teenage girls were hot. I paid attention when they swished by in their plaid skirts, white blouses, with socks rolled down over brown and white saddle shoes, singing Shoo Fly-Fly or some other popular tune of the day, while holding books against their breasts in a manner unique to their gender.
My first hint of sexual stirrings manifested a year or two later when I awoke one morning to find the end of my penis swollen to the size of a golf ball, and itching like crazy. Of course I was alarmed and immediately reported this to my mother. To the doctor’s office we went.
We learned that I had been bitten by a spider. The first treatment, actually the only treatment I can recall, was a nurse holding a warm solution in a large cup. The nurse was kneeling and I had dangled my dongle in the cup in order to receive the benefits of the solution therein. The nurse was very attractive, and although I was technically sub-tumescent, the end of my penis was definitely tumescent. Strangely, I felt not at all shy, and rather enjoyed the ministrations of the clad-in-white beauty kneeling before me. I found the nurse’s perfume and personal scent to be intoxicating, her visage to be alluring, and the electricalesque itching of my throbbing penis immersed in a warm solution strangely exciting.
A FEW DREAMS – The Other Side of Memory DREAM JOURNAL 3/4/65 (age 25)
This was a vivid, realistic dream of considerable duration. I am at Long Beach City College in my biology classroom. A the class ends, I am approached by a classmate, a beautiful young woman, who in waking life really is a classmate, although we have never spoken to each other. She said, “I know what you are thinking! Your place, or mine?”
What follows is a realistic lovemaking session of considerable duration and not at all dream-like. I was not aware that I was dreaming. Afterward we parted and I went to my residence. My wife wasn’t home. I walked to the beach – we lived close to the water in Belmont Shores – and sat on the shore, gazing out to sea while basking in the late afternoon sun.
I was feeling relaxed and serene. It was becoming dusk , not yet dark. Suddenly there was a tremendous flash on the horizon. My immediate thought was that it was a nuclear explosion, but then it became obvious that this was not a bomb blast, however, as there was no shock wave or sound. The light was brilliant white, almost blinding.
Subsequent events passed rapidly over a period of two or three seconds: From the center of the light emerged a dark speck that moved quickly towards me and eventually passed over my left shoulder. As it moved closer, and increased in size, I perceived the form of Jesus Christ in a traditional pose, as in Catholic literature, clad in flowing robes and with arms reaching forward and slightly down, palms forward in a traditional welcoming gesture.
As soon as I recognized Christ’s image, which was rapidly increasing in size as it moved directly toward me, simultaneous with the realization that this was not a nuclear explosion, my immediate thought was that this was “the end of the world,” and exclaimed, “It’s true, what they were saying is really true!”
This was followed immediately by my saying, “Oh, no, and I just committed adultery.” For an instant I thought that this was Judgment Day. By this time the image had reached me and had assumed life-size dimensions. It passed above and over my left shoulder. I then saw that the image was a two-dimensional cardboard cutout, and not animate.
The light immediately faded and everything returned to normal – early dusk. I was aware of the sound of gently breaking waves. I sat there, puzzled. The dream ends.
DREAM JOURNAL 9/3/78 (age 38)
I have not been keeping up my dream journal. Last night I dreamed of someone handing me the journal with a comment that I should resume.
DREAM JOURNAL 7/20/79 (age 39)
Quite active dreaming, most now mostly a jumble. Fragments include a “UFO” taking off, and I was naked on the street watching its silent, vertical ascent – multicolored lights flashing. Others stood about, also watching. They had their clothes on.
DREAM JOURNAL 7/28/79 (age 39)
I was in New York City in an office building – very spacious – associated with Starpath, Inc. Later I was walking around the city – crowds everywhere – very realistic. I realized I was dreaming and, for the first time, studied the backs of my
hands in an attempt to gain control of the dream – as per Don Juan’s comments in one of Carlos Castenada’s books. My hands appeared solid and real. I focused on the skin texture and my ring.
DREAM JOURNAL 7/29/79 (age 39)
Fragments: I was an aide, or bodyguard, for the Shaw of Iran, who was in exile. At one point I was on a beach with children, trying to protect them from a strafing attack by an aircraft. Recall became jumbled at this point. Later, I was inspecting piles of clothing on the ground. It was mostly a peaceful environment, except for the airplane incident.
DREAM JOURNAL 12/9/79 (age 39)
I was in the company of four people while traveling somewhere in Northern California in an unusual accelerated manner. There was an older woman in a wheelchair, a man in a motorized wheelchair, and two others who were walking. I was pedaling some kind of bicycle flying machine. As I pedaled, the bike hovered about five feet above the ground. We moved forward at a fairly rapid pace. We seemed to share good, friendly feelings. I commented that I planned on acquiring a motorcycle, perhaps with a sidecar.
An earlier dream fragment involved some kind of a poison attempt on our lives, involving biological methods. This long dream segment ended with the apprehension of the two persons responsible. The villains tried to draw and use weapons, but I was able to restrain them: one, using a scissors-style leg-lock, until others arrived to assist me (we prevailed).
DREAM JOURNAL 12/29/79 (age 39)
An unusual dream in that at one point I physically felt awake, in a sense, although only briefly. I was moving back to 430 Fair Oaks Street in San Francisco, but suddenly I was involved in a spontaneous flying episode – ala Superman – by “willing” myself to fly. I was flying “loops” in front and above my house. As I flew faster and faster in diminishing circles, I felt the wind pressure against my face.
At this point I had my eyes closed, in flight, and as the wind pressure increased on my face (being the leading edge of my body in flight) I believed I was awake and actually flying. I thought I should open my eyes to ensure I didn’t fly into something. I did open my eyes and really did come awake. I saw that I was in my room, and knowing that my flying activities were being dreamed, I was reassured that I wasn’t going to injure myself by flying with my eyes closed. As I briefly flashed on my room, the wind sensation against my face ceased. At the same time I heard music playing on the radio. I thought the clock radio alarm had gone off, but as I closed my eyes and drifted back to sleep the music disappeared and the wind sensation returned to my face.
I resumed flying. This part of the dream ended shortly thereafter. The clock-radio alarm hadn’t really sounded then, but later it did and I awoke.
DREAM JOURNAL 3/25/80 (age 40)
A horse race with three horses, but no riders. Each horse is draped with distinctive, colorful silks. The race started twice, each time with a starter’s pistol, but each time the horses refused to run. The pistol would fire and the gates swing open, but the horses only slightly flinched, but refused to run. They just stood their ground, without riders, with the gates open. I was perplexed in the dream, but amused when awake.
DREAM JOURNAL 3/27/80 (age 40)
I was dreaming of swimming and diving to considerable depths, with ease. I was breathing naturally under water. DREAM JOURNAL 3/31/80 (age 40)
I was dozing with the television on at about 10:30 pm. I dreamed I was lying on a bed at work – at Bank of America. I was on the bed and watching television in the dream; one program was Star Trek. I repeatedly adjusted the volume so as not to disturb others sleeping nearby in part of the office, which had been converted to a dormitory.
I felt a woman’s arm pulling me close to her in bed. At first I didn’t see her face clearly – only her arm pulling me closer to her, and I heard her say, “Why don’t you just turn it off?” I awoke and turned off my own TV. It was then 10:30 pm I immediately returned to sleep. I then dreamed of being in the same bed with this same woman. It was Sharon, whom I have not seen (or dreamed of) in over twenty years. We started to make love. It was good. I was surprise that it was Sharon, and during our lovemaking I realized that I had missed her.
DREAM JOURNAL 4/9/80 (age 40)
Active dreams for the last three nights. In one, I was a house guest at the home of Senator Ted Kennedy. His wife and children were present, and it was very congenial. I recall one scene where I was with a woman, seated on a staircase. The woman sat on my lap facing me and we were having intercourse, rocking back and forth. Other people were walking about the house, as if at a party. Ted Kennedy walked past us on the stairs. Members of his family accompanied him. We chatted. They seemed oblivious to our conduct. I cannot recall what we chatted about, but it was congenial, and we were not embarrassed regarding our erotic conduct.
I had another dream last night where I was visiting with John Wayne (well, there is no accounting for dreams). As it was with the Kennedys, it was very friendly and warm encounter. Many other fragments but the details are beyond recall, except that this was at a period in his life shortly prior to his demise; although he was not distressed, he was aware he was about to die.
DREAM JOURNAL 4/15/80 (age 40)
Very active dreaming, but only fragments now. At one point I was talking with two young men who were brothers. They were very tall – about nine feet. I seem to recall concentrating intently on my surroundings, and on the backs of my hands. Later I was in the company of a woman in Marin County. Much, much more, but now unable to recall.
DREAM JOURNAL 7/27/80 (age 40)
I dreamed of Countess Irena Tolstoy for the second time in a week and for the third time altogether. The first dream was six months be- fore this dream. In last night’s dream she told me that she was going to the hospital and would die. She wanted me to “toast” her with a drink of my choice, which I soon discovered – upon instant materialization -was sherry, “worth thousands of dollars.” When she in- formed me of forthcoming events and following her request, we kissed – rather passionately.
Later I tried to locate her in the “hospital/hotel” and I passed by the morgue that contained about fifty corpses. They, mostly, were covered with sheets. I didn’t want to look at them and hurried by; “knowing” Countess Tolstoy was not here. I never succeeded in locating her and I have no other recall of the services except for the brief sherry episode.
DREAM JOURNAL 8/1/80 (age 40)
Last night I was reading Colin Wilson’s book, Mysteries, and one part was about a woman who seemed to have different personalities, and her physical appearance was different for each personality. While dreaming, I recall looking at photographs showing three separate appearances of this woman.
Another fragment: I was either in or on my way to St. Louis. I was riding in a tram-type of vehicle. It was elevated – very high – and the view was as if looking down from the top of a roller coaster, with views of the buildings and city. I was with some people. I commented to a man: “Deja vu.” He said, “What?” But the fleeting “feeling” had passed. I had to speak over the sound of the tram on the rails.
Later: Checking out apartments in St. Louis, in the company of others, and trying to reach a decision about relocating.
DREAM JOURNAL 8/7/80 (age 40)
In last night’s dream I acquired a ship – a fantastic ship. The details of how this came about are not clear, but related to my acquiring the vessel for very little money in order to prevent it from being scuttled. The ship had both power and sails (multi) and several cabins and a hold, which I never fully inspected because I was pressed for time in learning how to maneuver it. Also, I didn’t know what to ex- pect in the lower cabins (riches?). I was savoring the prospect of being able to carefully examine the ship later when not feeling so rushed. It was all new, well maintained and absolutely first-rate. I recall being shown a heavy safe built into the deck. It was about 18 inches in diameter and had two silver keys and a combination lock. I didn’t have time to open it. I was busy maneuvering in a cramped harbor/berthing area. At one point I actually ran the prow through the window of a building while coming about – no damage to the ship. I was focused on helm response time.
I had a crew of two or three, but they were not clear to me due to my focus and preoccupation in being pressed for time. I couldn’t get over my extraordinary luck. I was thinking I would learn about the ship in the relatively safe harbor before any transoceanic voyages. The dream passed all too quickly.
Later I was really disappointed when I realized it was only a dream, but it was a heck of a good ship.
DREAM JOURNAL 8/5/82 (age 42)
For the first time I can recall in dreaming, I was looking into a mirror at my own image. I was somewhat different in appearance, yet basically the same. The hair was more red/gold, and thinner, and slightly more receded, but not bald. It was difficult to maintain focus on the image.
DREAM JOURNAL 7/15/84 (age 44)
Several computer programmers surround me. They want me to take a written aptitude examination, as a prelude to becoming a col- league. One of them writes the “answers” on the side of a pen. I tell him that I will not refer to the answers because it would be cheating. I do not want to copy the answers, but must comprehend them. They decide to give me a verbal examination instead. The question presented to me was, “You are a dog, and everything around you is God. What is the relationship?” Since god and dog are reverse spellings of the same three letters, and all around the dog is God, I say, “God is a reflection in a dog’s eye?” The group’s spokesman paused, then replied, “No, that is not the answer.” However, I sensed dissension among them. They move a few feet away for further discussion. The dream ends.
DREAM JOURNAL 8/24/84 (age 44)
I was definitely aware that I was dreaming and was impressed with how “real” everything appeared to be. Although aware, I wasn’t too successful in controlling the dream.
I was somehow designated to be the Master of Ceremonies at a concert featuring the artist known as Prince. I was with a young man and woman. They were to provide transportation to the event. We departed in a large step-van. It was afternoon. The concert was to be- gin at 8:30 pm After driving for two or three hours – I was not driving – we were lost. We were trying to find my residence because I was given a green “concert jacket” to wear, and I thought it would not match my maroon trousers. Therefore, we had to stop by my house so that I could change trousers (silly, I know).
After all this driving about, I was concerned about missing the commitment to “announce” at the concert, and also about not being able to locate my residence. Finally we arrive at a residential area. It seemed like it was about ten or eleven at night. We went into a house to ask for directions to “my place.” I looked around and realized I had previously seen this neighborhood in other dreams. At the same time I was impressed with the apparent solid nature of the dream.
Recall is jumbled at the point. Some people from the previously visited residence joined us. We reentered the van and continued to drive.
Next segment: I am walking in daylight, down a non-paved alley, or trail, in a suburban residential area. Behind me were a half dozen people – men and women. I noticed John G. was near the rear of the group. I turned and faced them and said, “We are dreaming. Any- one who is aware that they are dreaming, raise your hand.” Other than myself, only one other person raised a hand. The others seemed not to hear.
Next scene: I am in an apartment somewhere (not mine) with a few people around – entering, leaving. I seem to be with a woman. I still had this; “Hey, this is a dream” thought in my mind and was still impressed with how real everything appeared to be. At this point I thought it would be too much to record upon awakening, because the dream seemed to have been ongoing for several hours. I am next aware of water coming down from above us, through the ceiling – and more-or-less flooding the place.
Next (there was more, but now beyond recall) I am striding into the concert arena. It is exactly 8:30 pm This was my original destination, and the concert is about to commence. Quite a few people are present, but it is not as crowded as I anticipated. As we enter, a security guard attempts to stop me, but he is deterred by my original two companions, a man and woman. They explained that I was there to
announce. I approach the microphone and say, “Welcome ladies and gentlemen. Let the fun begin!” At precisely that instant, the clock radio turns on and I awaken.
DREAM JOURNAL 3/9/87 (age 47)
I have had three dreams involving flying in the past week. Last night’s dream involved piloting a small plane under and around the Golden Gate Bridge. Two nights ago I was trying to purchase a ticket for a “French airlines” trip to Paris via New York. I was going to stay only a day or two and had no baggage. I was being questioned as to why I was taking no baggage and, at one point, emptied my pockets to show what I was taking. Ron H. was standing nearby and advised me not to fly on this airline because of its “bad record.”
Later, with no recall of being on the airplane, I was in New York City. This seemed very “real.” I walked the streets during a spring-like afternoon and observed very large apartment buildings and street scenes. There was more, but I am unable to recall.
The third dream, about four or five days ago, involved Diana R. and others. Diana and I were leading a group of people for a walk. I don’t recall actually focusing on the other people, only that they were behind us. Again, this seemed very real, as in being awake, al- though I did not have it in my mind that I was dreaming. We walked through a country club-like setting and came upon some parked aircraft.
At this point we began flying, without the planes, by “willing” ourselves up and away. This continued for a while, with the other people following behind us. Diana was in front of me and my arms were around her as she snuggled against me. We were flying a few feet off the ground, then a bit higher, and then we were suddenly without clothes. I became aroused and we began making love while flying… This was literally a “Flying Fuck” (as in, go take a yada yada) – but without much success as there was no surface to react against. Di- ana did not want to continue with this activity and we began to lose altitude. She said that to regain altitude, we had to “think of the fu- ture.” We then gained some altitude, although I don’t recall any specific thoughts. The dream recall stops at this point. It seemed very real.
(In real life, Diana and I were never lovers; our social activities were limited to attending a movie together. Our only date.)
JOURNAL 2/16/87 (age 47)
I have been remiss in recording my dreams, as of late. I do recall one dream a couple of days ago where I am standing outside with two women. We are near some buildings when someone begins hurling metal discs from the top of a building. We dodge them one by one. Then several are thrown at the same time. I
command the women to lie flat on the ground (we all do); shortly thereafter we take shelter behind a wall. In the next scene someone asks me if I want to work in New York City. The dream ends.
JOURNAL 1/26/87 (age 47)
Last night I was in an office and was talking to a secretary about an idea about business cards with color photographs on them. I thought this concept would lend itself well to certain types of businesses such as art galleries, photographers, and the like.
I am reminded of a dream I had some years ago where my own business cards had sepia line drawings of landscapes and seascapes on them. Each card seemed to be of a different drawing.
JOURNAL 1/18/87 (age 47)
I have only partial recall of a dream last night that involved several people and horses. We were in Colorado. We were riding the horses near Colorado Springs and were going to make a new home. The people were friendly and we were glad to be there. I recall that it was night. There was much more but I am now unable to recollect other details.
JOURNAL 01/16/87 (age 47)
An interesting dream last week; I sensed, to a greater degree, an awareness of dreaming and also of the apparent “reality” of the sub- stance of the dream.
In the second dream I was traveling up a scenic, colorful road toward a well-built stone house. Upon entering I “knew” I would immerse myself in whatever I focused on. I looked at an attractive woman; she spoke of the maker of the stained glass windows, a man named Longi. He was standing in front of the windows (panels, actually). As she spoke he broke all the panels except one. I seemed to recognize this as being in an art gallery in “my time,” as I was aware that I was 400 years in the past. I told the woman I was from 400 years in the future.
The woman asked me what it was like “400 years in the future”. I gazed at her. She was beautiful and I was drawn to her as I tried, half- heartedly, to speak of the “future.” I felt drawn to a responsive kiss when the dream recall terminates.
JOURNAL 3/17/93 (age 53)
It is evening. I am at a social gathering in an outdoor patio garden setting. It is warm, almost balmy. I am aware of the fragrance of flowers. A couple of dozen people are chatting and holding beverages. Someone points to the sky and we all turn to look at a flashing strobe-type orange light at a low altitude. It is partially eclipsed by a black disk. The stationary, silent object is visible only at the edges as a rotating (clockwise) brilliant orange light – approximately two rotations per second.
I extend my arms outward, as if in welcoming recognition, my female companion (date?) at my side. The next thing that I am aware of is being inside the craft, alone. I don’t recall much detail of the interior except for a domed, circular arrangement with smooth surfaces. I observe three, featureless, semi-transparent orange egg-shape images, each about half my height, a few feet in front of me. I know they are intelligent entities. The dream ends.
JOURNAL 10/12/93 (age 53)
Dream Fragment: I am looking at myself in the mirror, but I have the hair of Darrell Hall (thick, flattop). I am surprised and amused.
JOURNAL 10/26/93 (age 53)
I am in Wyoming, wearing an ill-fitting white western hat. Briefly, I wonder why I am not wearing my comfortable black western hat. In am walking around in a small city, considering relocating to this area.
Although a pleasant community, I conclude that I might find the pace of living too sedate and without diversity. Beyond the moderate high-rises in the downtown area I gaze at green, gentle hills and fleecy clouds.
The scene changes: I am in a residence. Kim is there, at about the age of three – thirty years younger than her age at the time of the dream, independently coming and going.
Next, I am having dinner with about a dozen people. I am aware that this is the home of my Uncle Wid. At one point I walk into the kitchen. Kim is in the kitchen. I notice the back door is open. As I approach the door I observe that immediately beyond the door there is a sheer drop of about a thousand feet. The view is spectacular, but I am concerned of the danger to Kim and to all of us, so I close the door. My uncle seems unconcerned.
JOURNAL 10/27/93 (age 53)
Interesting dreams. Part of the time I am in the company of a woman. We are sexually attracted, but not intimate (close, however). At one point we are in a room with other people when three orangutans walk by – two adults and one juvenile – almost brushing against us as they amble through the room and out a door.
JOURNAL 11/3/93 (age 53)
I am flying in (and, at times, on) a DC-3 aircraft, with a man and a woman. The young woman was the pilot. At one point, after we arrive at our destination, I ask the woman when we would be returning to our point of origin. She said in about a year. When I expressed surprise she replied, “That’s what makes it interesting.”
DREAM JOURNAL 6/24/05 (age 65)
A strange, realistic dream: I was working for a public utility company (PG&E in San Francisco?). It was my final week on the job. I was presented with an offer to “go to the moon.” I heard someone in a group of people say, “Don’t go.” However, to satisfy my curiosity, I agreed to go.
I was transported on some type of shuttle craft – looking out a window at landscapes and sky prior to departure. En route I observed others who were doing aerobic exercises.
[Missing time.] I was pushing a scooter aboard a returning craft.
[Missing time.] I am standing on a public street in what I thought was the San Francisco Bay Area. I was with a small group of people. We had just “appeared,” (as in materialization) and were observing pedestrians as they passed by; we wanted to see if they noticed us. One woman in our group said to me, “Do you want to know what I and “my people” really look like?” She then directed my attention to a wall at a nearby bus stop. Specifically, to a small patch of “blemish” on the wall. (End of dream recall.]
Other recent dreams: A significant feeling dream involving a USMC signet ring.
Another (very brief): I was with Constance, with erotic kissing, which never occurred in waking life.
DREAM JOURNAL 8/5/05 (age 65)
Partial recall of an unusually vivid dream of being shown a vision of twisting, turning images. Then, the “rewiring,” or beginning of fo- calization of an aboriginal man – African, or perhaps Australian – in non-western costume. The primary image was followed by a series of patterns composed of multicolored bead-like designs. The repeating series of designs was accompanied by a feeling of “knowingness.” I then heard a verbalization (apparently mine): “It is orders of magnitude.” I was suffused with a growing understanding, which dissipated upon awakening.
The following day, upon recollection of this dream, I was reminded of a novel I read over 40 years ago: Magistar Ludi (The Bead Game) by Herman Hesse, about the Dark Ages of the future where essential knowledge is encoded in strings of beads.
DREAM JOURNAL 12/28/07 (age 67)
Strange “transportation” dreams last night. The most vivid and lengthy involved the acquisition of a very small prototype scooter-sized silent flying machine. It was for one person only, with foot rests for standing while flying, with a bicycle seat to center personal gravity, and a simple one hand-powered thrust/lift device which operated in combination with leaning for direction, with the hand- operated lever operating for elevation. At various times I flew over a cliff across wide, deep valleys of a few thousand feet. I felt a twinge of concern regarding possible distance and altitude limitations. Also, I was concerned about the rate of descent, in the event of a loss of power from the downward pointing thrusters on each side. No mishaps were encountered. It was a very scenic and thrilling experience.
I regret that many other dream journal notations have been misplaced or lost over the years. A couple were particular vivid or meaning- ful, recalled thusly:
Circa 1969 – Age 29:
I am at a peaceful gathering of diverse people in a park. The people are gathered in picnic groups in rolling hills amid trees and grassy lawns. A storm gathers with sudden intensity and rain begins to fall – with increasing force. A group of men erect a tarp as a makeshift tent. I note the presence of native Americans dressed in buckskin trousers and vests; they are engaged in the erection of the shelter. The scents of wet grass and wet buckskins are prominent.
The storm intensifies to flooding in small valleys, which soon become running streams and then a raging torrent. The dream is jumbled and hazy at this point, but for some reason some men have rigged a large wooden box with ropes attached to a hoist and a series of ropes. The box is approximately eight feet on all sides, closed on all sides except one. The box is empty. For some reason it is important that for the box to be lifted and moved to the other side of what is now a raging river.
In the process one of the ropes disengages and the box, held partially secure, falls part way into the water. Without hesitation, three or four people, including myself, dive into the water and swim to the box in order to reattach the rope. This effort is successful, and I climb, alone, into the box. Others begin to hoist the ropes and the box begins slowly to rise into the air. Simultaneous with the lifting of the box, the rain abates and the clouds diminish to fleecy, puffballs. The sun is streaming down on what is again a peaceful, pastoral scene. Many people are gathered below and are looking up at the box. I am standing at the open side of the box, gazing out and down.
As the box rises, my being is filled with the music of a choir humming and sustaining a note, which is thrilling to hear and feel. The higher the box rises, the louder the choral humming becomes. I have a feeling of peace and awe. Finally, after a minute or two, at an elevation of a couple of hundred feet, the box stops rising and the vocal choir ceases. I am at peace.
The box slowly descends. The people gathered below continue to gaze up at the box as it descends. As I come nearer to the ground, one of the women said, “What is it?” I replied, without thinking or with any conscious reasoning, “It is fear. It is inside of fear.” The woman who asked the question said, “Oh,” then she and the others turn and casually walk away, many holding hands. The dream ends.
Another dream comes to mind – circa 1975 – age 35:
I find myself standing on a highway in a desert environment. There are no cars or people in sight. I am wearing a black digital watch with a red display. The time was 3:00 p.m. A car appears and stops. I am given a ride. I learn we are just outside of Houston, Texas. In the next scene I walk into what appears to be a living room in someone’s home. I ask, “What century is this?” Someone replies that it is 1975. I ask, “Where have I been?” Someone in the room replied, “In a hospital. You were violent.” The dream ends.
Another dream – circa 1978 – age 38:
I am standing in a semi-cleared wooded area and very tall people surround me. They are about ten feet tall. They are asking me why I am reading books by Carlos Castenedas (The Art of Dreaming, and many others.) Although I don’t feel particularly threatened, neither do I trust them. To protect myself, I imagine myself encircled by white light. The dream ends.
In about 1982, age 42, I had a dream of “flying” without assistance through a large dimly lighted warehouse. I encounter a solitary fig- ure standing in the center of the warehouse. He is playing a trumpet, softly. As I fly by, I noted that it was the actor, William Holden, who has been deceased for quite a few years.
Similarly, in the late 1980s, I dreamed of encountering the deceased Jane Roberts, the author of a dozen “Seth books.” She expired at an early age (at about the age of 50 years) a couple of years earlier. I am walking down a long, winding path, over hills. I have the impression, however, that I am in some kind of stage set, and not really outdoors. The lighting is subdued, as if twilight. Walking towards me is Jane Roberts. We both stop. I tell her that I have read all of her books, both her own and the channeled Seth material, and that I find them to be interesting. She isn’t particularly responsive. We both resume walking in opposite directions. The dream ends.
I have not been making entries into a dream journal for quite a while now. It has been a few years. However, I vividly recall a dream I had two nights ago (year 2009, at age 69): I am in a very well appointed, lighted, spacious and luxurious apartment complex – almost palatial. I encounter Laura Peterson. She was a business neighbor 35 years earlier, when we both managed shops near The Cannery in San Francisco. At the time I was attracted to her, and I believe she had thoughts about me, because she once said – in “real” life, “One of these days I’m going to get around to you.” At the time she was seeing someone and therefore we never acted on our mutual attraction. In the dream I said to Laura, “I think it is time you finally got around to me.” She took my hand and we walked to her apartment.
As we were about to make love, very “real” love, the dream suddenly becomes jumbled and absurd, almost comical.
The next image was that of Marlon Brando (older, as he appeared in The Godfather) in Drag! He was dressed as a Catholic nun. The following images continued for what seemed to be several minutes. Brando, dressed as a nun, begins to slide down a Rube Goldberg type of contraption, resulting in a kaleidoscope of images, many of which were visually stunning. What followed was a series of images of color and shapes resembling huge Matisse-like art works, the wall-size type he favored toward the end of his life.
Each image would shatter and then reform into different images – very beautiful splashes of colors and shapes. And Marlon Brando in his nun’s habit is sliding through them all! I laughed in the dream. Finally, I took semi-control of the dream and “will” the images to cease and desist, as it is becoming tiring to maintain attention. I only wish I had the wherewithal to resume my activities with the now departed Laura Peterson. The dream ends.
In “real” (waking) life I did indeed encounter Laura once again about ten years prior to this dream, in Healdsburg, California. For a few short months I reconciled with Grace, my (most recent and presumably last) former spouse. Laura was then a neighbor, living two doors away. She and Grace had been friends since Laura had moved there a couple of years earlier, and we all visited together from time to time. My attempt to resume a relationship with Grace was not successful.
In retrospect, I regret not following up at the time with Laura, who was then unattached. Obviously, as per my dream episode above, I have an unfulfilled desire in that regard.
ON TO other matters:
To follow-up with a comment near the beginning of this paper, about my attempt to learn the identity of my biological father: Before I eventually did learn his identity, in about 1980, at age 40, I made such an effort. As stated, my original last name was Essert. I called the Registrar’s office at Arizona State University and learned that there was an alumnus by the name of Essert who attended and graduated during the appropriate time frame vis-a-vis my conception.
There was only one such student with this name. I was convinced that this had to be my father, all things considered. Although personal information, such as a current address, is not generally available to the public, by truthfully stating my reasons for asking for this information I learned of the then current address for this individual. His last address of record was in southern California.
After a directory search, I found Mr. Essert’s name at the indicated address and obtained his phone number. Then, my interest in the matter came to an end. I was within a few seconds of telephoning Mr. Essert for the purpose of respectfully and politely advising him of his unknown son, i.e., myself, when suddenly I thought, “Enough.” I lost interest. I now knew the name of my father. That was enough. Let it be!
I am glad I did, because I avoided considerable embarrassment as two years later I learned that I was mistaken.
One could reasonably inquire why I did not simply query my mater regarding the identity of my father. For one thing, I did not want to make her uncomfortable by dredging up memories she would rather forget. The only time she ever discussed the matter with me was at age ten, at her sister’s urging, because I wondered aloud to my aunt as to why Jimmy Paine and I had different last names. At the time she said my father had been killed during the war.
As I matured and thought the matter over, I concluded otherwise, but chose to not make an issue of it. My mother and I never discussed personal matters, neither when I was a child, nor after I became an adult. I preferred to let unpleasant memories for her remain in the past.
A couple of years after the aborted effort to locate and contact my father, I telephoned my mother for a periodic, friendly long-distance chat. She said that she had received a call from my father. I said, “Essert?” You can imagine my surprise when she replied, “No. Gibbons.” She then went on to say that he had contacted her after he first located one of her sisters, whom he had also known, and had ob- tained my mother’s phone number. He then called her to inquire about me. The gist of his call was that he wondered whether or not I would consent to speak with him. My mother provided me with his full name and phone number. He was an attorney living in Houston, Texas. I did not tell my mother of my successful effort of locating a Mr. Essert in California a couple ofyears earlier, and of my decision not to contact him. Neither did I follow-up and further inquire why she had selected the name of Essert for my original birth certificate.
My mother told Mr. Gibbons that at one time I had considered studying the law. He reportedly said, “If he wants to go to law school, I’ll pay the tuition.” True to form, mother declined his offer, on my behalf, saying, “He’s a grown man now.”
The fact is I would have gladly accepted his offer. I would have attended Golden Gate Law School in San Francisco, where I was living at the time. I held my tongue and recorded Mr. Gibbons’ phone number and later gave him a call. This was the only time I spoke with my mother regarding Gibbons, and the matter of his identity as my biological father. Odd, I know, but there you have it. As of this writing, both are deceased.
In our initial phone call Mr. Gibbons and I had a friendly chat. He was pleased that I called. I was interested in having a brief face-to- face meeting. I planned on flying to Houston for a meeting of an hour or two, and then returning to California on the same day. To this end, I made an airline reservation. I called Mr. Gibbons again a couple of days later to advise him of my schedule, but then decided against making the trip after he stated that his wife would object. I thought, what a spineless wimp. What was the purpose of his reaching out to contact me in the first place?
I never met him in person. Over the next year or two we spoke by phone or two or three occasions. Once he called me about a plan for tertiary oil recovery on some of his property, although oil prices were low at the time. He was trying to raise some capital for a project, and said that if I could assist in raising the funds, there would be a $5,000 finder’s fee.
I referred him to a friend in New York who was from a well to do family who had connections and might have been interested, but nothing ever came of it. It was interesting to later learn from my New York contact that he thought Mr. Gibbons and I sounded similar on the phone, i.e., speech patterns and such.
Our next to last phone contact was not pleasant. Gibbons asked if I was sure I was his son. What a ridiculous and insensitive question that was. How would I be in a position to know that? If anything, a face-to-face meeting would likely have addressed a few of his concerns along those lines. I hung up. A few months later he called again, and immediately asked me not to hang up. I did. That was our last contact – circa 1988. A couple of years ago I learned that he died sometime during the early 2000s.
AS I TRIP down memory lane, I have taken the liberty of jumping around in time. Well, why not? Memory is like that. I have decided to incorporate a few papers written in recent years as separate projects,, in an effort to consolidate them within one memoir, of sorts. To this end, inserted immediately below is a major portion of a paper I wrote in 1978 and updated over a decade later. It concerns some of my activities while serving in the Marine Corps, specifically some of the people with whom I associated as related to contemporary historic events.
To Whom It May Concern:
This is a memorandum recounting my knowledge of Kerry Thornley’s association with Lee Harvey Oswald. It was begun at the sugges- tion of Greg Hill who has known Kerry Thornley since high school in Whittier, California during the mid-1950s. In 1968 Greg Hill and I met and discussed what we knew of Thornley’s involvement with Oswald when they were both stationed at the same military base in Cal- ifornia in 1959. We also discussed Thornley’s subsequent literary activities while he was residing in New Orleans from 1961 to 1964. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s indictment of Kerry Thornley for perjury (precipitated by Thornley’s denial that he had met with Oswald in New Orleans in 1963 – the indictment was later dismissed) provided the impetus for the original meeting and my subsequent memorandum to Greg Hill in 1968, and this updated account
Years later Thornley said that while he was residing in New Orleans in mid-1963, he unknowingly associated with at least one of the architects of President Kennedy’s assassination. He recalls having had discussions with someone introduced as Gary Kiersten (Thornley reportedly later concluded Kiersten was actually E. Howard Hunt) and how they speculated as to how a president could be assassinated; during the course of their speculations reference was made to “framing a jailbird.” These specific words, used in another context, are what triggered Thornley’s recollection of the significance of these mid-1963 conversations. I am not sure if the context of the conver- sations was associated with Thornley’s writing of fiction, but I suspect that it was. He was drawn to discussions with various colorful individuals to gather material for his yet to be written novels about New Orleans.
In later years I discovered that Oswald had enlisted six weeks earlier, in October of 1956. We went through the same training series at the same bases; he was a month ahead of me in the training schedule, and I didn’t meet him until over two years after our enlistment, when we were both at the same air base in California.
First there was boot camp, fifteen weeks at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, followed by advanced combat training at Camp Pendleton, and then classes in fundamental electronics and aviation related courses at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, and last there was six weeks of intensive training in radar operations at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. These were the same duty stations and schools as Oswald’s, except he was always over a month ahead of me in training. We both were assigned an MOS (Military Occupation Specialty – job title) of 6741, or Aviation Electronics (radar) Operator.
The duties of a radar operator were not complicated, but the job was classified as critical because we worked with classified equipment and operational codes; accordingly, we were given Confidential security clearances. We monitored radarscopes, updated plotting boards, communicated with a Ground Control Approach squadron, and with air traffic when logging them out or passing off control to Ground Control Approach for landing instructions. Our primary mission involved the direction of fighter aircraft to targets as directed by the radar control officers (MOS 6709). Much of our time was spent in mock air combat training exercises, both in real time and with electronic simulation devices.
As radar operators we were not trained technicians, positions which required over one year of additional schooling at the Naval Air Station in Memphis, Tennessee. Our post-boot camp and post-combat training classes in radar operations had been of a few weeks du- ration. I never understood why my related civilian occupation was listed on my separation papers as Radio Repairman, a totally unrelated activity. This was either a clerical error or a mistake at a higher level. Either way, I was disappointed in the shoddy attention to detail at the time of my separation from active military duty.
We were all given Confidential security clearances upon graduation from Radar Operations School at the Marine Detachment Center, Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, and then assigned to our first non-training duty stations. Some were assigned for duty in Japan, others to Cherry Point, North Carolina, and the remainder to Santa Ana, California.
Oswald was sent to MACS-1 at Atsugi Naval Air Station in Japan (MACS denotes Marine Air Control Squadron). I, some six weeks later, was ordered to report for duty with MACS-9 near El Toro Marine Air Station in California, near Santa Ana (MCAF – Marine Corps Air Facility, a subsidiary of El Toro). I arrived in August of 1957 and remained until late May of 1959, not quite two years, until transferred for an overseas tour of duty with the First Marine Air Wing in Japan.
In August of 1957 I settled into life in MACS-9, but not as a full-time radar operator. Sergeant Major Lusk, the senior non-commissioned officer, needed a replacement for one of the clerks who was about to be discharged, a Corporal
Meeks. Curiously, Meeks disappeared just four weeks before he was to be discharged at the end of his three-year enlistment. He was listed as Absent Without Leave, and we never again heard from or about him.
Sergeant Major Lusk learned of my typing skills, as noted in my personnel file. Consequently I spent most of the next three years work- ing as an administrative clerk, although initially I did stand occasional radar watches to maintain my proficiency as a radar operator. I was not pleased at being assigned the duties of an office pinkie – we referred to ourselves as Remington Raiders. I expressed my disap- pointment. Sergeant Major Lusk explained that I was at the top; he said there was no place for me to go except down. Although it took some time, I later came to appreciate that the Sergeant Major’s observations were accurate.
A few weeks following the new assignment, my Confidential security clearance was upgraded to Secret and I assumed the duties of a Secret and Confidential file clerk. This was a routine job of retrieving, routing and filing classified files – nothing above the classification of Secret. Top secret files were located at an unrelated site.
MACS-9 was a radar squadron located in an isolated area apart from the mainside base groupings of other squadrons. Our living quar- ters were located near the working compound. We did not reside in ordinary barracks, as did most of the other Marines at El Toro.
Our quarters were old Quonset huts formerly occupied by married enlisted men and their families during World War II. Each hut was partitioned into two halves, with three rooms in each half; enlisted personnel were assigned two to a room. We frequently joked about the decrepit appearance of the huts (tin shacks with peeling paint), but in fact most of us preferred our quarters to the more impersonal standard of squad bays, barracks and lack of privacy, the usual fare for enlisted personnel.
We became acquainted with just about everyone in the squadron because of our unique living and working conditions and the fact that we were located apart from other squadrons. There were fewer than 200 enlisted men in MACS-9.
In June of 1958, I married and commenced residing off base in Orange, California, in an apartment building occupied by other married enlisted men from MACS-9. Thereafter, except for monthly 24-hour duty assignments, I associated with my fellow Marines at MACS-9 only during working hours. During my two years in MACS-9, there was a general turnover in personnel. Some were assigned to duty stations overseas, or were dis- charged, at fairly regular intervals. Others returning from overseas tours of duty checked into the squadron.
There was a particularly large influx of radar operators in the spring of 1959. One of them was Lee Oswald. Kerry Thornley also transferred to MACS-9 at about the same time, approximately March of 1959, although he was not returning from Japan. He was a radar operator who was a reservist who had been on active duty for only a few weeks, having been trained while in the reserves. I believe he was a student at USC at the time he was in the reserves.
There was generally a casual atmosphere in the squadron to begin with. Since there were so many lieutenants in the squadron (radar control officers), the regulation requiring enlisted men to salute officers was suspended around the working compound. With the influx of personnel returning from Japan, this relaxed atmosphere was reinforced.
The new guys were salty, as compared to the rest of us. Most had only a few weeks or months remaining before leaving the service, and they all had tales from Japan and about how different military life was there as compared to stateside, as I later confirmed.
Oswald was one of the few in the squadron with the military rank of private. Anyone with over two or three years of service was a corporal. I didn’t think much about this, figuring there were plenty of opportunities to get into trouble while in Japan (usually related to drinking), and being reduced in rank was the usual punishment.
Oswald was a nondescript person who was generally sloppy in appearance. He wore his hat pulled down over his eyes, Beetle Bailey style, and his shirt was usually loose and his boots scuffed. He seemed almost to cultivate his unkempt appearance. Consequently, any- time a work detail was formed he was usually the first to be selected. He would take everything in stride with a cocky “so what” attitude, and I never observed him becoming upset by anything.
It was common knowledge that Oswald was studying the Russian language. He appeared to be fairly advanced in conversational Russian at the time he reported to MACS-9. Obviously he had begun his studies while in Japan. He displayed a sense of humor in that he frequently made jokes while in ranks while waiting for a formation to be called to attention. He would effect a thick Russian accent (in English) and make comments such as, “The collectivist labor meeting is about to begin,” for example. He would often utter phrases in Russian.
One summer afternoon I was taking a break in the recreation hut with Corporal “Rocky” Camarata and a few others. Rocky had his tape recorder and was taping an improvised comedy routine. Oswald walked in and asked if he could say a few words into the recorder. Rocky gave him the microphone and Oswald spoke
in Russian for a few minutes, gesticulating as if addressing a large crowd. He played the recording back and seemed pleased at his proficiency with the language, but of course the rest of us did not understand what he had said.
At this time I didn’t know Kerry Thornley well. We became better acquainted when we both received orders for duty in Japan, a few weeks later. Nor did I know Oswald well. I can only recall conversing with him on one occasion when I was taking a break from one of my infrequent radar watches. He was walking by and stopped to talk for a few minutes. It was late afternoon and I was looking in the direction of a farmhouse located a few hundred yards beyond the fence. He told me the Russian word for farmhouse, “Just in case you should ever have to know.” This was said in a lighthearted manner, trying to initiate a conversation. I was not particularly responsive. Oswald continued on his way and I returned to my radar watch in Operations.
It was unusual that Oswald seemed so preoccupied with his study of all things Russian, at least in comparison with the majority of the other enlisted men. Most didn’t appear to take Oswald seriously in terms of being a security threat. In general terms, most of us didn’t really take anything that seriously. Oswald himself was probably more sober than any of us, in terms of his interests; he never commented on parties, girls, cars, the standard topics of conversation throughout the ranks. It was obvious he was intent on mastering the Russian language, and I frequently observed him studying and practicing pronouncing Russian words.
I heard of one incident when Lieutenant Vincent DePadro questioned Oswald’s Russian interests. Lieutenant DePadro, (MOS 6709 radar control officer) from Florida, who happened to be in the mail room one day and saw a Russian publication addressed to Private Oswald. I believe it was printed in Russian. The lieutenant began inquiring as to why anyone would subscribe to a Russian newspaper, written in Russian. When I heard of this from others while in the recreation hut, those present laughed, because someone said that it was “just Oswald.”
Kerry Thornley and Oswald were soon debating and discussing one thing or another. I recall passing through the recreation hut one day, where others had assembled in a standby situation, when someone mentioned to Oswald that Kerry was an agnostic. Oswald said to Kerry, “I think Communism is the best religion.” I went on my way as the two of them pursued this point. I believe this was the first time they spoke to each another.
Kerry soon had a reputation of being quick to debate anyone on any subject. Sometimes he was quite assertive in his views. At the time he admired Castro and at one time I believe he wore two wristwatches (one set to Greenwich MeanTime), as Castro did. He always seemed to have a book tucked under his arm and was fond of quoting Robert Ingersoll: “Helping hands help by far more than lips that pray.”
At the end of the day I returned to my residence off base. I never saw Oswald after working hours, and have no idea how he spent his time when not on duty. Despite his interest in the Russian language and comments about Communism, unusual for a private in the Marines, he stood his regular radar watches. As previously noted, he was not regarded as a security threat. Otherwise, he would not have been allowed to work in a position requiring a security clearance.
Oswald was still assigned to MACS-9 and working in Operations as a radar operator when I was transferred out of the squadron in May of 1959 for processing and staging for an overseas tour of duty.
In June of 1959, I sailed to Japan aboard the USS Breckenridge with several hundred other marines, including Kerry Thornley. We had about four weeks at sea with plenty of spare time for bull sessions, chess matches, card games, and reading.
Kerry was busy with his notes about the events or non-events of the day. He wrote on three-by-five cards. He was incessant in this activity. He said he had wanted to be a writer since about the age of fourteen. His daily notes would provide grist for some yet undefined novel. He was truly a writer looking for something about which to write. Shortly after arriving in Japan he began his first draft of a novel about life in the peacetime Marines, entitled The Idle Warriors.
Another activity of his was a study of the Japanese written language, or at least one variation of it. In this he also used three by five cards as flash cards to reinforce his memorization of basic pictographs. As I became better acquainted with him, I found him to be an interesting person and a stimulating conversationalist.
Kerry Thornley never saw Lee Oswald after he left MACS-9 in 1959. Of this I am convinced, Jim Garrison’s allegations notwithstanding. We discussed Oswald after we read of his defection to the Soviet Union a few months later. I am not sure if it was at that time or on board ship going to Japan when Kerry told me of his last conversation with Oswald. Kerry said that it was at a retirement parade at El Toro Marine Air Base. We had been standing around before formation for the parade. Oswald reportedly had complained about being required to participate. Kerry said something like, “Well, come the revolution we’ll change all that, eh comrade?” He meant this as a joke but Oswald reacted angrily and
said, “Not you too, Thornley!” and walked off, with hard heels. They never spoke again to each other. A few days later Thornley and I, along with a few hundred others, departed for Japan aboard the USS Breckenridge.
Kerry mentioned someone in MACS-9 had said Oswald had been reduced in rank to private while stationed in Japan. When drunk, he poured a beer over a sergeant’s head. We thought this was atypical of Oswald’s behavior, at least as we observed him in California. Kerry had also heard that Oswald’s security clearance had been revoked because of this incident. I was skeptical because Oswald was still standing radar watches in California and it seemed unlikely that a security clearance would be withdrawn and then the same person allowed to continue working in a classified area. What would be the point of revoking a security clearance, particularly for sophomoric social conduct?
In 1978 I had two lengthy telephone conversations with Jim Botelho in San Juan Bautista, California. Botelho was also a 6741 radar operator who spent a couple of years in MACS-9 in 1958-59. I knew him at that time, but 1978 was the first time we had spoken since 1959. Botelho was nearing the end of a three-year enlistment at MACS-9 when I departed for duty in Japan.
Oswald had been sharing one of the rooms at one end of a hut with a Private Nelson Delgado. Botelho said it had developed that Os- wald and Delgado were not getting along. A rearrangement of personal quarters resulted; thereafter Botelho shared a room with Os- wald, while Delgado took Botelho’s former space in another hut. This arrangement continued until Oswald was suddenly, on very short notice, discharged from the Marines.
Botelho, who later was appointed a judge in his hometown of San Juan Bautista, California, said his statement to the Warren Commis- sion did not reflect what he really said. In fact, the editing of his statement had changed the meaning of his statement. Botelho said he did not believe Oswald was “pro-Russian” at all. While acknowledging Oswald’s interest in the Russian language and doctrines, Botelho said Oswald “hated bureaucracy in the Soviet Union as much as he did in the United States.”
Oswald may have been more candid with Botelho than others, but I don’t know for sure. In view of other sources of information, I am convinced that Oswald had at that time already been recruited for intelligence work. Since he was a Marine, a branch of the Department of the Navy, this logically would have been with ONI, the Office of Naval Intelligence. With this in mind, I doubt he was being totally candid with anyone while he was in MACS-9.
Botelho said that after my departure from MACS-9 for duty in Japan, Oswald was assigned to replace me as the squadron S&C File Clerk. This surprised me, because to function in this capacity a Secret security clearance was required. Oswald would have been cleared only for Confidential, the standard clearance for a radar operator. Also, I have been under the impression that his spelling
wasn’t too good. I believe he had some kind of dyslexic impediment when writing, and the drafting of administrative documents was one of the requirements for the position. Typing skills were essential, skills that Oswald did not possess, as I confirmed decades later while reading a biography about Oswald as written by Norman Mailer – Oswald’s Tale – Random House, 1995 .
[Half of the fifty-odd pages of Oswald’s notes related to his observations of industrial procedures in the USSR, and other technical matters, are published beginning on page iii of the Appendix in this book. Anyone who takes the time to read these notes would be hard-pressed to conclude that these are the ramblings of an unintelligent person or deranged malcontent.]
Upon returning to the USA from the USSR, Oswald hired a woman to transcribe a portion of extensive hand-written notes he had made regarding activities in the USSR, reprinted in Mailer’s book, as noted in the above citation – an interesting read. It belies the notion in some quarters than Oswald was not too bright. But, he did not know how to type and would have been an unlikely candidate to replace the departing S& C Clerk (yours truly), unless there were other reasons.
Botelho said that (the new) Sergeant Major Brown disliked Oswald and his salty attitude, scruffy appearance and scuffed boots. Oswald was placed on report by the Sergeant Major more than once, but Oswald was never concerned and always seemed to avoid disciplinary action. Since Sergeant Major Brown didn’t like Oswald, he didn’t want him working in the Administration unit. When I learned of this assignment from Botelho, years later, it seemed to have been a peculiar arrangement, i.e., his lack of job-specific qualifications and a personality conflict with the Sergeant Major, his direct superior.
In retrospect, however, this assignment now seems logical if Oswald indeed had been recruited by ONI and was soon to be leaving the squadron, the marines, and the United States for his phony defection to the Soviet Union. Botelho said he believes a Lieutenant Dono- van, who was also assigned to Administration, interceded between Oswald and the Sergeant Major, and was probably Oswald’s intelligence control officer in MACS-9. Lieutenant Donovan contacted Kerry Thornley several years later to suggest a reunion, but nothing resulted along these lines.
Botelho said that in August or September of 1959, most personnel in the squadron went on maneuvers at Camp Pendleton, California, while a few men, including Oswald, stayed behind as a skeleton crew at the main base. When maneuvers were completed Botelho re- turned and discovered Oswald was no longer at MACS-9. He had been transferred abruptly to the main base at El Toro and was in the Separations Unit awaiting a Hardship Discharge.
This was a surprise to Botelho because, as Oswald’s last roommate at MACS-9, he never heard him speak of any hardship situation at home, nor was Botelho aware of any problems involving Oswald’s mother; her circumstances were ostensibly responsible for his Hard- ship Discharge. Oswald only had a few weeks remaining on his regular enlistment of three years, and it then appeared to be an unusual situation. [In any event, Oswald left the States for the USSR shortly after his release from active duty, a move not conducive to providing aid and comfort to any mother’s hardship, under normal circumstances.]
While awaiting his Hardship Discharge, Oswald returned to MACS-9 to visit with Botelho. He repeatedly spoke to Botelho and others about possibly going to Cuba, and referenced being paid to train troops. Botelho said a Sergeant Charlie Call was present on one such occasion, as were others. Oswald seemed to be trying to recruit them to volunteer. Botelho recalls that he told Oswald that he (Botelho) was a lover, not a fighter, and besides he knew nothing about training troops. Oswald reportedly said they could fake it. He made this suggestion more than once, with apparent seriousness, but no one expressed interest. Botelho reported this to the Warren Commission, which did not appear in the final report.
Botelho said everyone was surprised when Oswald’s discharge was granted so quickly. It wasn’t long before the remaining personnel at MACS-9 learned of his defection to the Soviet Union. Several speculated that he was on a mission for the government, and not a genuine defector. Botelho said that after Oswald’s defection, a couple of men in civilian clothes came to the squadron and asked a few questions, but this was low-keyed.
The Warren Commission quoted Private Nelson Delgado, Oswald’s former hut- mate at MACS-9, prior to Botelho, as saying there was a big investigation. Botelho said Delgado wasn’t even there at the time, having been previously discharged. In later years I read that Delgado, when speaking of Kerry Thornley, said Thornley didn’t even live in the same area. This I know to be false. Thornley’s hometown was a few miles away, in Whittier, California, but at the time he did not drive and lived in a Quonset hut at MACS-9, although he had been a part of the squadron for only a few weeks prior to being assigned for duty in Japan. Thornley’s association with Oswald was primarily by day during standby situations in the ready room, or while on radar watch. To my knowledge he never socialized with Oswald after hours. The issue of where Thornley lived was hardly a relevant observation, in my opinion.
Botelho said he advised the investigators making inquiries following Oswald’s reported defection that he believed Oswald was on an intelligence mission of some sort and that his defection was not genuine.
Botelho also said he is of the definite opinion that Oswald never shot anyone. He has first-hand knowledge of his own testimony being edited when published in the Warren Commission Report. In addition, he too is aware of the Altgens UPI
photograph, which was taken at the time President Kennedy was reacting to the first shot. This photograph reveals someone looking like Oswald peeking around the front entrance of the Texas School Book Depository. Botelho said this figure closely resembles the Oswald he remembers, and the figure in the photo is wearing the same type of shirt as Oswald when he was arrested in Dallas.
[Insert note – March, 2014] Over the years I’ve found it curious that many written accounts of Oswald’s reported activities include the emphasis by authorities that he changed shirts after leaving work, going to his rooming house, and then to a movie theater.
There is a photo of him in a shirt as described above, after being taken into custody, which matches with the UPI photo taken as noted above. However, no description is reported by the officer who first encountered him in the lunchroom, or any other follow- up information.
Could it be because it would be inconvenient to have a photo of the alleged assassin watching from near the front door just as the gunshots were fired, with enough time to slip into the lunchroom just minutes before the police arrived? An issue regarding the changing of a shirt by Oswald would tend to skew inquiries associated with the UPI photo of Oswald wearing the same shirt as when arrested (with the same hair and face features of the figure in the UPI photo).
See the comments re: Billy Lovelady, a co-worker of Oswald, later in this narrative. Lovelady was identified by the Warren Commission as being the figure in the Altgens UPI photo, despite the published photo of him near the front door in other publi- cations. Loveland was wearing a differently patterned shirt as compared to Oswald’s, and had a full beard. Clearly, this was not Lovelady in the UPI photo.
I phoned Jim Botelho in 1979 after being contacted by a Dave Bucknell via Kerry Thornley. Bucknell said that he had transferred to MACS-9 a short time prior to my departure for Japan. I had a vague recollection of him, but he is not someone I personally became ac- quainted with at the time. He was not a radar operator, nor did he work in the Administration Section, as I did. He had been assigned to the Radio Section.
Botelho said he did not have a clear recollection of Bucknell from MACS-9, which surprised me since Botelho remained at MACS-9 un- til eventually completing his period of enlistment. However, when Botelho later became acquainted with Bucknell in about 1978, a year before I contacted Botelho by phone, he had become involved in a business venture with Bucknell; this commercial association was short-lived and not successful. Botelho must have then had
confidence in Bucknell and what he had to say because he did enter into business arrangement with him, and during that time he and Bucknell often discussed Oswald’s activities at MACS-9, and subsequent events.
Bucknell said he had been acquainted with Oswald during the summer of 1959, while at MACS-9, and in fact they had a small money lending operation going – small change – such as five for seven, or ten for twelve dollars until payday – a common practice. This was the first I had ever heard of Oswald being involved with money lending. However, I knew nothing of his activities after working hours. I sup- pose if anyone had cash, it could have been Oswald; he certainly appeared to be fiscally conservative.
Bucknell said he believed Oswald was involved with the intelligence community when both arrived at MACS-9 in the spring of 1959. There was an occasion when he and Oswald were both ordered to report to Criminal Investigation Division at the main base. Bucknell was worried that this was related to their money-lending operation. Oswald reportedly was not worried, and reminded Bucknell that Kerry Thornley had also been ordered to report, and Thornley was not involved with money lending activities.
They attended a lecture with several marines, including Kerry Thornley. The topic was foreign affairs and contemporary events. A ques- tion was asked: Would anyone consider involvement in clandestine operations and subterfuge as a legitimate means to an end, if for the greater good. Bucknell said the meeting was followed by individual sessions, but he doesn’t know what Thornley did thereafter.
Later I asked Thornley about what Bucknell had reported. He didn’t remember attending such a meeting, but he believed that at the time he would have been receptive to such an overture. Bucknell was positive in his recollection, while Thornley had no clear recall of the meeting, although generally he had an excellent memory. He did say that there were several orientation sessions associated with his ar- rival at El Toro Marine Air Base in the first place, and later other sessions related to his rotation to Japan with the overseas draft.
I attended general assemblies associated with the overseas draft, but not the sessions Bucknell described. Also, as a matter of routine, in prior months we attended periodic lectures conducted by visiting officers from Headquarters, at MACS-9, prior to the arrival of Kerry Thornley (or Oswald).
Bucknell said he returned to CID for follow-up sessions, as did Oswald. Bucknell was screened further and at one time he was asked if he would consider going to South America for purposes of teaching radio and electronic skills in military operations somewhere in the jungle, although nothing specific was discussed. He told me that he expressed interest, in response to the question, but said he was never again contacted.
Bucknell said that Oswald confided that he might be defecting to the Soviet Union on a mission, or at least he had been asked if he would consider it. Otherwise, no details were mentioned. Bucknell said that after Oswald’s arrest and murder four years later, he knew Oswald had been set up. He said he became so paranoid as a result, and that he lived under assumed names for the next nine years.
I spoke with Bucknell by phone three or four times in 1979, and once in person. I have had no contact with him since 1979.
When I first met Dave Bucknell in mid-1979, a man named Ivan Septoff was present, as were Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley. There was also another man from Atlanta, but I don’t remember his name. When Kerry introduced him, he humorously said that he suspected one or both of us was CIA. I just laughed it off, having been aware of his intermittent paranoid tendencies for years.
Kerry’s suspicions may have been sparked in part by my higher security clearance as a Marine, as a Secret and Confidential File Clerk, and perhaps my later five year period of civilian employment as an insurance investigator for a large nationwide corporation based out of Atlanta, Georgia – at the time known as the Retail Credit Company (now known as Equifax).
Kerry seemed to think that that he, as an active duty marine from 1958-1960 – he only served two years on active duty – was the subject of monitoring by CIA types. I thought that this notion was absurd. As a kid fresh out of high school with a year or two of college, and no association with nefarious people or activities, I cannot imagine of any reasons for his concerns.
After Kerry returned to Los Angeles from New Orleans in 1964, I attended his wedding and a few of his parties. I considered him to be an interesting fellow, and (for a while) a friend. His suspicions about me and many others manifested after his indictment by Jim Garri- son sometime after his move from LA to Tampa circa 1966-67.
Kerry telephoned me in 1967 or 1968 from Florida. I was living in Long Beach, California at the time. He said that he expected I would be contacted by someone from Jim Garrison’s office in New Orleans, for verification of some of the information that he provided to them, specifically that he was writing a book partially based on Oswald years prior to 1963. Garrison didn’t believe him. Kerry only asked me to speak the truth, which of course I promised to do. He also said, for the first time, that he suspected a lot of people, including me, of being informants.
Although this was part of a friendly phone conversation, I was surprised and perplexed. Informants regarding what? There was nothing about which to inform. I now know, however, that stress was likely taking its toll and causing his emotional and mental condition to deteriorate.
No one ever contacted me from Garrison’s office, or anyone else, for verification or information of any kind about Kerry Thornley, with the exception of a visit from an FBI agent on November 24, 1963, the day following President Kennedy’s assassination, as detailed later on in this paper. At that time I provided a one page statement stating that I had served in the same squadron as Oswald while on active duty in the Marines, and that Kerry Thornley had known Oswald during that time in the Marines and later had begun a novel based in part on Oswald, after he learned that Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union. Otherwise, no one has ever inquired, officially or other- wise, about Kerry Thornley.
Thereafter Kerry was suspicious of just about everyone except Greg Hill, a friend since high school, and a couple of others. From then on his mental condition was sometimes fragile, until he died of natural causes in 1999, in Atlanta, Georgia.
At the time of the 1979 meeting, Bucknell said Ivan Septoff was researching material for a magazine article about the JFK assassination. During a follow-up phone conversation with Greg Hill some weeks later, Bucknell said that Ivan Septoff was an FBI informant.
I recall Septoff asked me, when we first met, what I thought of the FBI. I replied that I thought they were a thoroughly discredited organization. This was a strong opinion made in reference to a few of the FBI’s reported activities – or non- activities – associated with political assassinations and other events – such as the framing of Geronimo Pratt, a black activist, and the harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Also, I wanted to evaluate Septoff’s response. I acknowledge that there are many outstanding individuals in the FBI. I was making reference to the agenda as had been established by the FBI’s corrupted leadership for so many years (Mafia? What Mafia?).
Septoff told me that he had heard from a friend of his that the FBI had changed. I replied that I didn’t know about any changes, but thought the die has been cast. We dropped the subject, although no doubt my remarks likely got my name placed on a few watch lists re- sulting in later special attention in various forms years prior to 9/11.
Septoff wrote down his address in the event I wanted to communicate (I had no reason to do so), a post office box number in Berkeley. He called me a month later with some additional information about Bucknell’s military discharge, citing a specific paragraph number. That was our second, and final, contact.
As a follow-up to the information given to me by Septoff , I wrote to the Navy Department for confirmation. I referenced Bucknell’s full name, service number, dates of service, and the specific paragraph describing a type of his discharge. I received a written reply stating I would have to provide a signed authorization from the person in question. I wrote back and said to disregard personal information and service dates, amending my request for verification of the type of discharge as previously originally referenced – as provided Ivan Septoff. I received no reply.
I never had occasion to speak with Bucknell and Botelho together – only separately (Botelho by phone). It had been some time (this was in 1979) since there had been any direct communication between them because of hard feelings due to a five thousand dollar loss resulting from their short-lived business venture dealing in agricultural products. Bucknell contacted Botelho several months earlier. It was at that time that they really became acquainted – not years earlier at MACS-9, when they were both still on active duty in MACS-9. Bucknell said he wanted to ask about Oswald – to learn what he thought of the Warren Commission Report and the official line regarding Oswald.
TURNING TO OTHER MATTERS:
In 1976, Robert Morrow published a book entitled Betrayal, published by Warner Press, New York, NY. A statement from a congress- man, Representative Thomas Downing, prefaces the book: Mr. Downing said this book was in large measure responsible for the formation of the House Select Committee to reexamine the JFK assassination. The information as provided by Mr. Morrow was never referenced by the House Select Committee. His name was never even mentioned even though he states he personally secured a weapon that was actually used in the assassination. He did not know how the rifle was to be used at the time he purchased the weapon, but this is an- other story. He tells this story well in his book, which was ignored by the House Select Committee.
Mr. Morrow, an electronics expert, said he worked for the CIA as a contract employee from 1961 through 1964.
A part of his activities involved a scheme to counterfeit Cuban currency in a plan to destabilize the Cuban economy; there were other government factions that were strongly opposed to this idea. Morrow’s book discusses these activities. His account is most interesting in that he reveals information concerning Lee Oswald’s Marine Corps activities. The Deputy Director of the CIA, General Charles Cabell briefed Morrow, while Oswald was still in the Soviet Union. General Cabell said Oswald, whose code name was reported to have been Harvey, was on a mission for the government and that he was recruited while stationed in Japan when in the marines. He was given special training and began studies of the Russian language. Cabell reportedly said Oswald was given a security clearance of Top Secret/Crypto prior to his phony defection.
Apparently Oswald was provided certain codes and data that would be valid when checked by the Russians, but would be changed shortly thereafter and not seriously damaging. Parenthetically, Frances Gary Powers, the U2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union, was convinced that he was shot down as the result of information provided to the Russians by Oswald.
Robert Morrow said he once flew to Cuba in a small plane piloted by David Ferrie for the purpose of verifying, with electronic sensing and recording devices, the presence of Soviet missiles on the island; this was prior to public disclosure and the subsequent Cuban Missile Crisis. He also said that at an earlier time he had flown from Europe (Spain) with information reportedly relayed from Oswald, who was then still in Russia. Again the pilot was David Ferrie.
Morrow stated in his book that because of national security issues he would not reveal all of what he is aware in print, but he said he would be willing to testify in a closed session. Apparently this never came to pass. The House Select Committee never mentioned his name. This committee underwent considerable reorganization following its inception. Representative Downing was removed. The Chief Investigator was replaced. The appropriated funds were reduced.
In Betrayal, Mr. Morrow provides a reconstruction of events, based in part on his activities. He is quite specific with details. He does state, without additional comment, that General Cabell dropped dead as he was departing Walter Reed Army Hospital after undergoing a routine physical examination. Morrow also discusses how Jack Ruby was blackmailed. Ruby had been forced to make some of the arrangements relating to the assassination of JFK.
Several years earlier Ruby had been arrested in Chicago under the name of Jack Rubenstein. His arrest was related to the investigation of the murder of a garbage collection union organizer. The Warren Commission did not discuss this, but it is published in other books, including the Chicago newspaper articles at the time. Morrow also discussed some of Clay Shaw’s activities for the CIA, and his involvement with the assassination. Shaw was later charged and tried by Jim Garrison, and was acquitted. Morrow also reveals information relating to Oswald’s “double.”
Morrow discussed his own activities and described how he became involved with some of the principals of the assassination, and provided information about the actual shooters, and also the murder of Officer Tippett. There is no question in Mr. Morrow’s mind that Oswald was indeed a patsy, as Oswald loudly proclaimed following his arrest.
Bucknell, by the way, had photocopies of a couple of documents stated to be from the Warren Report – from the main body of the report. These were copies from Oswald’s military service record, which I examined. One was a page from Oswald’s pay records noted special assignment and special pay for a period when he was in Japan. Since I had the same training and had been assigned to the same bases, I know this was not normal duty for a 6741 MOS radar operator in Japan. Another document was from Oswald’s medical records and noted that he had been treated for gonorrhea contracted “in the line of duty.” Again, this was unusual. Anyone else would have been restricted, and certainly no line of duty comment would have been noted.
Bucknell stated that this was the period when Oswald was first recruited. Bucknell said Oswald thought that one of the girls in an off base bar was trying to obtain information from him about base operations (perhaps about U2 flights). Oswald reported this to military authorities and was encouraged to provide the girl with misinformation.
If true, this would account for the “in the line of duty” notation in Oswald’s medical records when he was treated for a venereal disease. Bucknell left a copy of these two records with me. I retained these documents for a few years until, except for this narrative, I discarded everything relating to the JFK assassination and Oswald, including numerous books, photos, and articles. I am convinced that these is- sues will never be “officially” honestly accounted for.
Bucknell said that Oswald’s original military records are now reported as having been destroyed in a fire in St. Louis, where permanent records were stored. He also said that my records might also have been destroyed in the same fire. I have never attempted to verify this. I did unsuccessfully attempt to confirm Bucknell’s service dates and the nature of his discharge. This was after Ivan Septoff telephoned me and reported that he had discovered records in Bucknell’s possession referencing an Undesirable Discharge.
Septoff referenced a paragraph number from naval regulations, as noted on the papers. Septoff also said that Bucknell previously con- fided to Lou, another business associate, and that he in fact had been in South America for two years. He said he had been engaged in activities for the CIA as a contract employee. Considering that this is twice-removed hearsay, I have no way of knowing if this is true.
Returning to the main point of this narrative: Kerry Thornley and I arrived in Japan on the 4th of July in 1959. We were both assigned to duty in MACS-1 at Atsugi Naval Air Station, Oswald’s former duty station. We were both a bit wide-eyed at the drunken celebration in progress as we reported to our new duty station. There was considerable drunkenness, fighting, and window smashing at the Marine compound. The outrageous behavior was associated with ongoing holiday celebrations, not an every day occurrence. Approximately eighty percen of enlisted personnel were under 21 years of age; in the States one could not drink at the enlisted men’s club if under 21 years of age. There was no age restriction in Japan. There were many first-time experiences in social drinking and drinking to excess.
I was again assigned duty as the Secret and Confidential file clerk; in Japan I did not stand watches as a radar operator. Thornley was assigned duty as a radar operator. We had been in Japan for a few weeks when we learned of a contest called the Technique of Instruction Competition. The contest was available to everyone, although few entered. The winner would go to Washington, DC, to compete in the finals, and then be given 30 days of additional leave. Contestants were free to choose any subject on which to speak.
I, being homesick at the time, briefly considered entering for the opportunity of 30 days leave in the States. Thornley declared his inter- est and entered the competition. He was articulate and the public speaking competition seemed tailor-made for his natural inclination to debate.
Thornley did well in the contest, winning in the initial and interim contests, and he was sent to Washington, DC to compete in the final competition, where he lost. In retrospect I realize I never did know the subject of his presentation, and I would be interested in knowing, even at this late date.
At this same period of time Thornley was busying himself with initial and secondary drafts of his novel about life in the peacetime Marines, and had titled it The Idle Warriors. This was his first attempt at a novel. The protagonist was named Johnny Shellburn; at that time the character was a composite more or less based on himself, me, and a couple of others in the squadron. At this time the book was strictly a novel.
When Thornley returned from his trip to Washington, and personal time off, following the competition, he was promoted to the rank of corporal. Initially he declined the promotion, causing a mini-flap in Administration. No one had ever declined a promotion before. However, Administration insisted Thornley accept the promotion (with “or else” implied), and he acceded. I recall his saying that he could use the extra pay. I believe he was playing around and testing authority.
During this period of time I saw Thornley around the barracks or within the administrative offices during the day, but after duty hours we went our separate ways. In the squadron I believe he was thought of as a little eccentric, but generally a fair-haired lad as the result of his initiative in the Technique of Instruction Competition. He did alienate some with his tongue-in-cheek attitude regarding matters considered by most to be sacred. For example, he jokingly referred to himself as the Atheist Chaplain, saying that he would be performing baptism in the fire-sump at midnight. This would usually get a rise out of someone. I recall one guy saying, “Lay off my God.” Kerry said, “Isn’t your God big enough to take care of Himself?” I think they scuffled at this point, but a few days later they were pretty good friends for a while.
Kerry and I almost engaged in physical combat at one time. He was commenting that after he got out of the Marines he was going to ac- quire some sophisticated camera equipment and pursue photography. I was joking and said something to the effect that any Brownie or box camera would do. For some reason he took offense at this and was quite serious in his anger. This never made any sense to me considering his ability to dish it out. Also, my comment was not particularly offensive. The irony of this episode is that I have never known of Kerry to take any photographs in the years since this altercation, whereas I have worked professionally for a time as a photographer with sophisticated large and medium format equipment.
I do remember vividly that it was I who first saw the short article which appeared in the Stars and Stripes, a newspaper published for military personnel stationed overseas, about Lee H. Oswald, an ex-Marine from Texas, appearing at the United States Embassy in Mos- cow and renouncing his citizenship. This was a brief article. It appeared in the middle portion of the newspaper. I brought this to the attention to Kerry who happened to be working in an adjacent office at the time as the Basic Training clerk.
I said, “I believe this is the same Oswald who was in MACS- 9.” After reading the article Thornley said, “Well I’ll be damned, he really meant it!” Kerry said he would like to write to Oswald in Moscow to learn of his experiences and motivation. At the time I thought it was unrealistic and naive to think that one could write a general delivery type of letter to a defector from the United States to the Soviet Union and expect it would be delivered. Thornley agreed, and he never did try to correspond with Oswald. However, this did influence the direction of Thornley’s book in progress, The Idle Warriors, in that Oswald’s defection gave him an idea for the ending.
The protagonist, Johnny Shellburn, defected to Russia after certain experiences while in the Marines in the Far East. However, at this stage the book was strictly a novel and not based literally on Oswald. I am not positive about the date of this newspaper article, but believe in was late spring of 1960.
In the late sixties when New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison indicted Thornley for perjury, he alleged that Thornley saw Oswald in a coffeehouse in New Orleans in 1963, and that Thornley later lied when questioned about this. Thornley stated that he had not seen Oswald at any time since 1959 when they were both stationed at MACS-9 in California. Also, it was Garrison’s belief that Thornley just couldn’t have happened to have been “writing a book about Oswald” three years prior to the events of November of 1963.
Garrison reportedly had a witness, Barbara Reid, who said she saw Thornley talking with Oswald in a coffeehouse in the summer of 1963. Thornley would certainly have wanted to talk with Oswald for his book, which was unpublished and still in progress, but he didn’t know Oswald had returned from the Soviet Union. There was, strangely enough for a returning “defector,” no publicity when Oswald re- turned to the States.
Thornley was very public about his book and for a period of three years this book occupied much of his time. For one thing he com- mented on most everything in his letters to his parents and friends, including Oswald’s defection after he read of it while in Japan, as de- scribed above. These letters to his parents were not discarded and could have easily been produced. Had Thornley encountered Oswald in New Orleans, he would not have kept it secret.
Greg Hill, who was with Thornley in New Orleans at the time in question, said Barbara Reid’s account was suspect. She had a reputation in the New Orleans French Quarter as a dabbler in black magic. Greg believes she would say anything, for various motives. Greg remembers her and said she was known to brag around the French Quarter that she once killed someone with a hex. This was Jim Gar- rison’s principal witness against Kerry Thornley.
A thought occurred to me in reference to some information in Robert Morrow’s book, Betrayal, where he detailed the activities of an O wald doppelganger operating in New Orleans and Dallas just prior to the JFK assassination. Morrow identifies this man as Bill Gemelo – a code name – who was one of the professional killers operating with Jim Hart – another code name – on separate fire teams involved in the assassination. Gemelo was then living in Miami. Morrow said that at the time he wrote his book, Gemelo was reported to be living on the West Coast. He was an expert shooter, a professional killer and, amazingly, looked like Oswald, although shorter.
Oswald was about my height, 5’10”. Gemelo, according to Morrow, was employed in a couple of incidents that were designed to incriminate the real Lee Oswald. Other writers have reported some of these activities.
Since 1970, Thornley believed that he might have associated with a person who actually had a part in planning the JFK assassination, a man known to Thornley as Gary Kiersten. Years later, Thornley came to believe Kiersten was really E. Howard Hunt. Thornley had also been living, working and socializing in the same neighborhoods and establishments as Clay Shaw (restaurant), David Ferrie (a party at his apartment) and others – including Carlos Marcello, whom Kerry frequently served while working at a restaurant.
Thornley believed his preoccupation with his book, The Idle Warriors, and that fact that it was based on an Oswald-type ex-marine defecting to the Soviet Union was well known around the French Quarter in mid-1963. Thornley had then
lived there for over two years. He later concluded that he would have been an ideal secondary patsy in a then developing scheme to later mislead those attempting to ferret out the truth following the events at Dealy Plaza.
Some preliminary activities regarding the Oswald lookalike were not very well thought out. There was an incident in October of 1963, a month prior to the assassination, when someone using Oswald’s name and in the company of a woman posing as his wife created a scene at an auto dealership in the Dallas area. After taking a test-drive in an automobile and driving recklessly and at high speeds, this Oswald impostor made comments about “going back to Russia,” and then left without buying a car.
The fact was Oswald reportedly did not know how to drive a car. This incident has been reported in more than one of the several books published concerning anomalies associated with the case against Oswald. Somehow it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to think that Thornley may have been a pawn in some attempt to sow the seeds of misinformation for the likes of a Jim Garrison; but again I speculate. (In recent years I have learned of a second Oswald, both Marines and, apparently, both groomed to be cut-outs, along with other agendas. I do not know enough about this to comment further.)
According to Robert Morrow, in Betrayal, the decision to murder JFK was made in about June of 1963. Oswald’s final role wasn’t determined until after that time. In the case of Jim Garrison’s allegations against Kerry Thornley, it seems Garrison was on to something, but he was not able to differentiate fact from misinformation. For example, he pegged General Cabell as one of the conspirators. Robert Morrow said that the general was not a conspirator, and in fact when he learned at the last minute of the plan to assassinate JFK, he did all that he could to stop it, but it was too late.
One fact is certain: General Cabell did not go public with what he knew. As mentioned earlier in this narrative, Robert Morrow reports that General Cabell suddenly died as he was leaving a military hospital following a routine physical examination.
Morrow was a contract employee with a high-level security clearance in the early 1960s. He believes his partial account of his interaction with some of the principals placed his life in jeopardy. Despite Representative Thomas Downing’s initial interest and preface to Morrow’s book, no comment has ever been made by any official or news organization regarding Mr. Morrow’s book. Neither to dismiss his account as fantasy, nor to confirm the significance of what he alleges and has published.
Just before Kerry Thornley left Japan to return to the States for his discharge, there was a large demonstration at the air base where we were stationed, Atsugi Naval Air Station. F. Gary Powers had just been shot down in his U2 Spy Plane over Russia, and President Eisenhower had just canceled his scheduled trip to Japan in the aftermath of the U2 incident. Following this incident there was a large demonstration beyond the front gate at the base. Thousands of demonstrators rallied and demanded that the U2 planes be removed from the
base. There were hundreds of Japanese police on the base and the situation was kept under control. One thing was certain: It was not a secret that the U2 planes flew out of Atsugi Naval Air Station.
When we first arrived in Japan we attended a mandatory orientation assembly and were told of the “black planes” on base. We were ordered to ignore them. We were not to approach them and we knew nothing about them and should know nothing about them. That was all a radar operator or any marine would normally have known. Our operations area, however, was located only about twenty yards from the end of the runway where the U2s would taxi and turnaround for take- off. I was impressed by their quick lift-off and near silent, steep ascent, and how quickly the flat-black plane disappeared from view into the blue.
F. Gary Powers believed that he was shot down as the result of information Oswald provided the Soviets when he defected. If Oswald did have information about the U2s, which aided the Russians in shooting down Powers’ flight, he would have had to be given the data. Any information about U2s would not normally have been known to an ordinary radar operator.
As previously mentioned, Robert Morrow, as briefed by General Cabell, said Oswald had been given a clearance of Top Secret/Crypto prior to his defection. Although he doesn’t mention Powers, one wonders if Oswald established his bona fides to the Soviets in part by providing information concerning U2 flights, particularly in light of Gary Powers’ beliefs on the matter. Morrow said that General Ca- bell stated that part of Oswald’s mission was to get Marina out of Russia so that her uncle, a KGB official, could defect. I have never heard of Marina’s uncle from any other source except Dave Bucknell, who agreed with this statement.
[Insert 2009: Norman Mailer, when doing research for his book, Oswald’s Tale, Random House, 1995, did go to Russia and in- terviewed Marina Oswald’s uncle, Ilya Prusakova . Prusakova had been a former colonel in the MVD (not KGB) during the post WWII era. Mailer reported that Mr. Prusakova never left Russia and never wanted to do so. ]
In October of 1960 I returned to the States and received an Honorable Discharge at Treasure Island in San Francisco. Coincidentally, John F. Kennedy delivered a campaign speech at Treasure Island the day after I arrived. Although I had the opportunity to attend the campaign rally and speech, I elected instead to go on Liberty in San Francisco.
One of the soldiers (Army) I spoke with on the USS Breckenridge grew up on Nob Hill in San Francisco. He was returning from Korea via the Breckenridge for a new assignment at the Presidio in San Francisco. Imagine my surprise when he showed up at my barracks in a convertible, with an extra tuxedo, two beautiful young women, and tickets for the San Francisco Opera (Lowengren). He was from a prominent family in San Francisco. Folowing the opera, we attended a large dinner party at the family home on Nob Hill. I did not have to spend much time deciding between attending a political rally versus a convertible, blonde, opera, and dinner.
As a civilian, I returned to Southern California and in December of 1960 telephoned Thornley’s parents in Whittier. They gave me Kerry’s address and I stopped by for a brief visit. This was the first time I had seen him since he left Japan four or five months earlier. I noticed he had grown a full beard and I was envious, since I was then unable to grow a full beard.
Thornley was still writing. He said he had also given a couple of lectures in the local area about Japan. He had previously mentioned that he wanted to go to New Orleans and live in the French Quarter, and I learned he planned on doing this after spending the holidays with his parents. At the time my mother was living in Houston, Texas. I made plans for her to move to California with my little brother and sister. I was going to take the bus to Houston and drive them to California in the family car. I asked Kerry if he wanted to come along for the ride. He agreed, saying it was a chance to see some of the country, and he had a few days to spare before the holidays.
We took a Greyhound bus to Houston. Thornley made quite a hit with his Lincolnesque beard; one the passengers on the bus joked that he would have to be careful because with his beard he looked too much like Abe Lincoln to be traveling south. Thornley was a very high- profile person, in addition to being outspoken, but he took the comments about his beatnik appearance with good humor.
Generally, he handled people well – but not always. There was one incident at the Greyhound Station in Houston: When we arrived, Kerry discovered he had lost his baggage claim ticket. He had only one suitcase that had been checked through in California. He explained to the baggage claim clerk that he had lost his claim ticket, but that he had identification that would match identification located inside the suitcase. The clerk said there was nothing he could or would do without a claim check.
Finally, Kerry tired of trying to reason with the baggage clerk and climbed over the counter, grabbed his suitcase, climbed back over the counter and stomped out of the terminal. The clerk started to summon the police but I intervened and convinced him that Kerry was truly the owner of the suitcase, and could prove it. The clerk said, “OK, but tell your friend he could get in a lot of trouble that way.”
This anecdote serves to illustrate how Thornley could be highly visible and frequently the center of attention. I believe this was the case while he was living in the New Orleans French Quarter from 1961 through 1964; by his own account, and by Greg Hill’s account of those times – who also was in New Orleans at the time, Kerry did not endeavor to keep a low profile.
We stayed only two days in Houston, just long enough to pack and load my mother’s belongings, and then we drove back to Fullerton, California.
A few days later Thornley stopped by a Bank of America Data Processing Center in Los Angeles to visit with his friend from high school, Greg Hill. I was with Thornley at the time, and this is when I first met Greg, although we did not become better acquainted until six years later. It was on that same day in December of 1960 that I met another of Thornley’s friends from high school, Bob Newport. We gave Bob a ride to the train depot where he left for the University of Chicago Medical School; he is now a physician and psychiatrist.
I did not become better acquainted with Bob until about ten years later. Later on that same day Kerry Thornley and I said goodbye and wished each other well. That is the last I saw of him for about two years. He left for New Orleans in January of 1961, in the company of Greg Hill, and I began my life as a civilian in Southern California. During this two-year period we corresponded a half a dozen times.
From his letters I knew he was re-writing and polishing the novel he had begun while in Japan, The Idle Warriors, and that he had ideas for other writing projects. He said he was working as a waiter and I knew he had a couple of girl friends he thought a lot of. He men- tioned both; one was a married woman by the name of Grace. At the time he was thinking of a book he wanted to title, Can Grace Come Out To Play? He also spoke of an idea for a book about New Orleans called The Color Wheel.
He mentioned another woman, Jessica Luck, whose father was a professor at Tulane University. Other than these few details, which were related in correspondence, I knew little of his activities in New Orleans. Since this paper was primarily begun at the suggestion of Greg Hill, and since Greg was with Kerry in New Orleans, it would be interesting to read a detailed account by Greg of Kerry’s activi- ties in New Orleans, particularly in view of Kerry’s subsequent allegations and fears.
[Note inserted in 2009. This never happened: Greg Hill died in the year 2000. Kerry Thornley died circa 1998 or 1999.]
In early 1963, I am not sure of the date, Thornley left New Orleans and moved back to California for four or five months. I believe this was in early summer. I visited with him for the first time in over two years, at his temporary residence at the Pickwick Hotel in Anaheim. We went out for coffee and visited for a couple of hours. We talked mostly of The Idle Warriors and I read parts from the final drafts. I recall sitting in a restaurant as Kerry read aloud some selected parts from his book. I thought his book was interesting, but I wasn’t con- vinced why the protagonist was motivated to renounce his citizenship and travel to Russia, based on his experiences as a marine in Japan. I recall making this point in our conversation.
We returned to the Pickwick Hotel and talked for a few minutes in his room. This next incident is probably irrelevant, but considering the times and subsequent events it might be worth mentioning. As I was preparing to leave, it was one or two in the morning, we heard footsteps crunching slowly across the gravel roof. We were on the third floor, and the roof commenced at the window level. We turned off the lights and listened as someone crept up a stood a couple of feet away from the window, pressed against the wall, listening. We could see one of his feet, but nothing more. After five or ten minutes the man slowly crept away and we saw him climb through a window to a room at the other end of the L- shaped building. I said we should notify the management, but Kerry said to forget it.
The manager happened to be in the lobby as I left the hotel, so I stopped and reported the prowler. As Kerry later informed me, the man- ager called the police, who responded and questioned a man in the identified room. He reportedly denied prowling, and nothing further developed. It may have been nothing, but again it may have been someone keeping tabs on Kerry for whatever reason.
Since I am mentioning tidbits that in all probability mean nothing, I may as well comment on another incident that occurred at about this same time. In the summer of 1963 I was living with my wife and daughter at 244 So. Wayfield, Orange, California, and working as an Insurance Inspector for the Retail Credit Company in Santa Ana. Our residence was the center unit of a triplex.
One morning as I left for work, I noted that I was being filmed by a couple of men dressed in suits and wearing dark glasses. They were in a car parked at the curb. I had walked half way toward my garage before I recognized the grinding sound of a movie camera unwind- ing during the process of filming. I continued on my way to work.
The men stayed throughout the entire day and filmed all activities in the area, my wife; the landlady; the neighbors. I did some checking through the Orange Police Department and was told that they had identified themselves to the Orange Police – who responded to my re- quest and had questioned them – as being with the Hollywood Detective Agency. Since they were violating no laws they were free to film whatever they wanted – from their parked car. No motive was ever ascertained. They stayed only for that day.
I was going to school at night at Fullerton College, and I mentioned this incident to my Political Science instructor. He suggested I should have punched them in the nose. I said I was not going to assault anyone, and it would only have resulted in my being arrested.
Was I being checked for some reason? Who knows? It was during that interesting period of time in 1963, just a few months prior to No- vember. I cannot help but recall the time I got on the back of a truck in the Philippines in 1959 and came face to face with my double. He was another marine, also a corporal, and other than he being about ten pounds heavier, we appeared to be twins. We did not just resemble one another; we appeared to be exact copies. I was surprised, but we did not speak. We just looked intently at each other. My double remained in Japan when I returned to the States a few months later.
Late in the summer of 1963 Kerry Thornley decided to return to New Orleans. When I visited with him he said he never did make that bus trip to Mexico City, something he had been talking about doing for years, and he said this was what he would do on the way to New Orleans. In November of 1963, Kerry was again living in the French Quarter of New Orleans, having arrived via a bus trip to Mexico City.
Immediately following the JFK assassination and the arrest of Oswald, I received a telephone call from Thornley’s mother in Whittier, California. She asked me if the Oswald in the news wasn’t the same Oswald about whom Kerry had written – from Japan over three years earlier. I replied that he was. When I spoke with her for the second time two days later, she said she talked to Kerry and said he was flabbergasted, as she and I were. She said Kerry had been on television in New Orleans a couple of times talking about Oswald as he knew him in MACS- 9, and the fact that he had been working on a book based on Oswald’s defection to the Soviet Union.
I am convinced that Kerry’s book, The Idle Warriors, based on Oswald’s defection, was a coincidence and not some sinister plot planned in advance to later deceive investigators – as Jim Garrison alleged. After all, Oswald did defect, at least that is what he publicly was al- leged to have done, and this was not something that was an every day occurrence – particularly someone known personally. Kerry had been writing since the age of fourteen and this was his first serious attempt at a novel. This book was started prior to Kennedy being elected President of the United States, and can easily be proven. It could hardly have been part of a conspiracy so far in advance.
During the immediate post-assassination period, all evidence presented to the public certainly incriminated Oswald and at the time most believed Oswald was guilty. It was a couple of years before it became apparent that Oswald may have been what he said he was – a patsy.
Insert: December, 2012
During the mid-1970s, when I wrote the first draft about this subject, specifically about Thornley’s conversations and writings with and about Oswald, I was of the opinion that Oswald was indeed a patsy. I was inclined to think that Oswald was working with others, it is just a question of who and why. My initial belief was that he was attempting to alert “the good guys” of a developing plot (but those whom he thought were the good guys were really not, and so…).
I believe I may have been originally mistaken in speculating about Oswald’s motives (re: essentially patriotic, as associated with his clandestine activities before, during and after his defection). I now have to consider that at all times his personal motivations were op- portunistic. His personal agenda was always paramount. But, of course, I really don’t know (and it is not really important what I think of him).
However, in this final month of 2012, I am not so sure of anything anymore, thanks in large measure to the extensive work of Norman Mailer in his 1995 book, Oswald’s Tale, as cited elsewhere in this paper. I have come to realize that Oswald was a life-long liar, with an exaggerated sense of self-importance beyond the bounds of what generally passes as normal. Oswald demonstrated that he was a master manipulator and an opportunist of the first rank. His means were always justified by his ends.
While anyone engaged in “spook” activities may play fast and loose with the facts as a matter of necessity, it seems that lying was Os- wald’s modus operandi during his entire lifetime, brief as it was.
Mailer’s work clearly indicates Oswald was broken in some way. Mailer fully documents and explores Oswald’s delusions of grandeur and inflated sense of self vis-a-vis history. I am now more fully informed regarding Oswald’s direct involvement in the attempt on the life of a General Edwin Walker in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. Oswald’s wife makes this very clear. Her story was consistent in 1963, with written evidence in Oswald’s own hand, and when questioned thirty years later in 1993, when Mailer’s team again inter- viewed her.
Unlike in 1963, Marina no longer thought her husband was the JFK shooter, as she had assumed in November, 1963, although likely he was in some way involved with others; herein is the question: Good guys? Bad guys? Bad Guys pretending to be Good Guys?
If one is interested in this, one should seek out Mailer’s work and wade through the details. My final comment re: Oswald’s abilities is the fact that in his attempt at shooting General Walker with the same rifle as alleged to be the JFK murder weapon, that from a braced, fixed position over a fence, only 40 feet from the stationary target (General Walker) seated at his desk in a lighted window, and
with a 4x power scope, Oswald missed! And yet there are those who insist that he and he alone fired the three shots at the moving target of JFK (with multiple hits, in the space of 5 seconds), through the leaves of a tree between himself and the moving target, a feat that not even the most expert have been able to duplicate in subsequent tests.
Then there are the undisputed facts that (1) on the morning of November 23, 1963, when Oswald left his wife (for the last time), he left his wedding ring in a small bowl on the dresser, and quite a bit of cash; (2) Although he denied it when questioned by Captain Frisk of the Dallas P.D., he certainly did carry into the School Book Depository building a package that he said contained curtain rods, this said to the person who gave him a ride to work, when asked what was in the package. (3) His personal rifle was not in its usual place in the garage, as ascertained later that day; it was at the shooting site in Dallas.
The question I have: if he was not the shooter, why would he incriminate himself by taking his own rifle which was later found near (one of) the shooting sites? (Yes, I know, he purchased the rifle with one of his aliases, a name used frequently over the years)
See the section re: Robert Morrow and his reported purchase of duplicate weapons and other activities associated with Oswald. Final thoughts regarding this insert:Nothing is as uncertain as certitude.
Fifty years later, thousands of pages of records are still sealed. Little man steals an apple: five years in prison. Big man murders, lies, cheats, steals: nada. Because big man operates in the name of na- tional security, world peace, stability, and other buzzwords du jour – but mostly to keep the big man’s butt from being hauled off to the slammer, assuming the big man would have to answer to the law of the land as written, which clearly is not the case. The laws are sim- ply ignored, in the name of [see above]
This editorial comment aside, all other comments on this subject are as originally written circa 1977-1978.
Immediately following the assassination the first thing Kerry did was to write another book titled Oswald, published by New Classics House, Chicago. This was a two-part book and included most of Kerry’s testimony given to the Warren Commission – given, in my opin- ion, in good faith. One part of this book was factual and concerned Kerry’s MACS-9 conversations with Oswald; this was pointedly con- cerning all Kerry could recall of Oswald, and not some fictitious character.
The second part was written at the time when Thornley believed Oswald was guilty. Kerry took the liberty of speculating what must have motivated Oswald, and what must have gone though his mind when he pulled the trigger. This part was clearly labeled conjecture, but it was a mistake in more ways than one in that it cost Kerry his credibility in many circles. In other words, some believe Kerry was in- volved with CIA types in writing a book in an attempt to convince the public that Oswald was guilty.
However, it wasn’t long – a few months – before Thornley came to the conclusion that he may have been mistaken in accepting the premise that Oswald acted alone, or was even directly involved in the JFK murder – although he may have known of the plot. This change of heart occurred months prior to the Jim Garrison affair. I recall quite vividly turning on the radio one day and hearing Kerry being interviewed by someone named Harry Brown on KPFK, Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles, concerning Kerry’s book, Oswald. There was Kerry, circa 1966, stating over the airways that he was wrong in previously assuming Oswald was guilty.
The situation was exacerbated by Thornley’s reaction to the news that President Kennedy had been shot. This was in New Orleans and just following the first news of the shooting, before Oswald was known to be in custody. Thornley was no admirer of Kennedy. He thought Kennedy was partly responsible for the massacre of thousands in Africa, I believe in Katanga, as the consequence of something he did or did not do.
(It is with regret that I note, decades later, that such activities have become “normalized” in recent years. Ho-hum. Just routine.)
I recently became aware that Lumumba was assassinated two weeks before JFK was sworn in as president, an operation apparently approved by people in the Eisenhower administration. JFK didn’t learn of Lumumba’s murder until five weeks after his inauguration. He is said to have expressed sorrow upon being informed of the events).
Thornley did not admire John Kennedy, and reportedly when he heard of the assassination he said, “Good,” and celebrated the occa- sion.
Thornley later said that this was one of the “dumbest” things that he ever did. I was surprised and shocked when I, four or five years later, learned of this reaction. This seemed out of character for Thornley, as I had known him. Had I known of his initial reaction I prob- ably would not have wanted to even talk to him, let alone contribute to his book on Oswald, published by New Classics House in Chicago (a third party verification of their association which was published as an insert). I had always been impressed by Kerry Thorn- ley’s humanitarian nature – considering his long-held libertarian views, and I thought he would be the last person to sanction acts of coercion or violence of any kind.
Also, I believed he was not the type of person who would celebrate anyone’s death, regardless of the cir- cumstances. However, he has said that he regrets his comments. The only official statement I have ever made to anyone was on the day following Oswald’s arrest in Dallas. I was then employed as an insurance investigator for the Retail Credit Company in Santa Ana, California. I was at the home of a former insurance investigator, Larry Dawson, who was then working as a police officer with the City of Orange, California. Larry and I were watching the news on television when, to my surprise, the image of Oswald was presented for the first time. I told Dawson that I recognized Oswald, and told him what I knew of Oswald’s defection to the Soviet Union, and of Kerry Thornley’s book.
Then I learned, coincidentally, that Dawson’s brother, Pritch, was a police officer with the Dallas Police Department. A few minutes later Pritch telephoned Larry for the second time that day (he had telephoned once prior to Oswald’s arrest) and said, “All hell’s broken loose down here.” Larry told Pritch that I was sitting in his living room watching the news and that I had just commented that I knew Oswald from the marines. Larry gave Pritch my name and address.
Pritch relayed this information to an FBI agent in Dallas. The following day an agent from the Santa Ana office called Larry Dawson. Dawson was a former co- worker and a graduate of the L.A. Sheriff’s Academy through military training when on active duty with C.I.D. when in the marines. He later went to work for the Orange Police Department. The FBI agent inquired as to my veracity and character. Larry said I was a friend, and arranged for the agent to meet me at Dawson’s home on the following day.
I provided a short, one page, statement regarding my recognition of Oswald as being a former marine who was reported to have de- fected to the Soviet Union some three years prior. His arrest in Dallas was the first time I had heard of Oswald since his defection. That was the extent of my knowledge of Oswald, and of my statement. I did mention that I knew another ex-marine, Kerry Thornley, who was living in New Orleans and who wrote a book partly influenced by Oswald’s reported defection to the Soviet Union.
That was the extent of my contact with anyone of an official nature. Kerry Thornley was contacted for a statement, and later he went to Washington and presented himself for an interview by a staff member of the Warren Commission, a Mr. Jenner. His statement appeared in the summary of the Warren Report published a year or so later.
Years later, following Thornley’s indictment by Jim Garrison for perjury, I fully expected to be contacted by someone from Garrison’s office to confirm Thornley’s literary activities based on Oswald’s defection. Kerry said he expected someone would call or visit me as a part of Garrison’s investigation of him and his book on Oswald prior to 1963, but no one ever did.
When I telephoned Jim Botelho for the first time in 1978, one of the first questions he asked me was whether or not I was or am CIA. I truthfully answered that I have never been associated with any intelligence community. Parenthetically and, I believe humorously, this could be applied in a broad, general sense as society at large. I have generally regarded myself as apolitical, although I understand the necessity of political structure and the value of certain government functions; I also disdain certain government excesses and abuses. In the main, however, my perception is that political and ideological differences are as much due to psychological attitudes determined by personal experiences as anything else.
Botelho said he and Bucknell had speculated whether I had been Kerry Thornley’s control or CIA/ONI babysitter. They dismissed the idea upon reflecting that the period being considered, 1959-60, was over three years prior to the Kennedy assassination, was prior to Oswald’s defection and was prior to Kerry’s New Orleans activities. It is an absurd notion.
Kerry apparently came to believe he was being watched or monitored because he was a troublemaker while a marine. I do not under- stand this notion. He was as much a favored person as anything else, primarily because of his initiative in his Technique of Instruction Competition – and meritorious promotion as a consequence. The idea that he was singled out in 1959-60 for special monitoring is, in my judgment, a paranoid exercise.
I read in some of Thornley’s accounts – written in the 1970s – that MACS-1 in 1959-60 in Japan was practically a continuous state of riot and rebellion. There were a few extreme drunken incidents, to be sure, and discipline was loose as compared to the States, but I believe Kerry’s perspective was distorted. He believes MACS-1 was relocated to the States and the personnel dispersed to other bases because they were incorrigible. I feel this was normal rotation for all squadrons and personnel at regular intervals.
Kerry engineered a practical joke in his final weeks in Japan. He was working as a Basic Training Clerk in Administration at the time. He created a partial file for a fictitious person, Private Omar K. Ravenhurst, and placed it in Administration’s general files. He also placed O.K. Ravenhurst’s name on a wall locker in the barracks, and made up a bunk for him. For a time O.K. Ravenhurst’s name was called at morning formations. His partial file indicated little beyond the fact that he was a Private, spoke seven languages and had an exceptionally high IQ.
It wasn’t long before the Sergeant Major discovered that no such person existed and that this practical joke was the work of Thornley who had returned to the States and life as a civilian. Contrary to Kerry’s opinion that this incident reinforced his troublemaker image, the Sergeant Major laughed and recommended a fictitious award for this fictitious person – a “Rapid Retreat Medal.” The Sergeant Major also had a sense of humor!
Thornley was only on active duty for about two years following his reserve time. I would guess that his Conduct and Proficiency Marks were high, and that he had been recommended for re-enlistment. My final marks were 4.9 and 4.9 on a scale of 5.0.
I did not hear from Thornley for several years after 1979. One of our last topics of conversation involved his questioning me about someone I had befriended in 1958 while living in Orange, California. I was residing off base with my wife at 383 South Orange St., Orange, California and had become acquainted with a man who was a friend of my landlady. His name was Basil. He was elderly, I believe in his nineties. I only knew him by his first name. He was lonely, and when given a chance he would talk for hours.
He related tales of his experiences in Russia during the revolution and talked about the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. He said he had been a White Russian and for a brief period, only a matter of days, he was the Vice President of the short- lived Republic of Siberia (or was it the Siberian Republic?). The Bolsheviks quickly defeated them. He survived brutal interrogations, including an incident when captives were lined up and every other person in line was shot; then the survivors were questioned. He eventually made his way to China and then to the United States.
Basil and I were not close friends. I visited with him only a few times during 1958 and 1959 when he came to the apartment complex to visit with my landlady. Basil seemed happy that someone would converse with him. After I met Kerry Thornley in 1959 and learned that we would be going to Japan on the same ship, I invited Kerry to my residence for dinner and to meet my wife, and I mentioned visiting with Basil earlier in that day.
Nineteen years later, in 1978, Kerry questioned me about Basil. He was fishing for a connection to Oswald and his trip to Russia. Greg Hill has said that an intelligent man considers everything, and that paranoia is an intelligent man’s disease. However, I believe Kerry was stretching things a bit in his attempt to make a connection between Basil and Oswald. He persisted in thinking I was or am associ- ated with an intelligence organization, and that I was assigned to report on his activities.
I did not see Kerry from December of 1960 until early 1963 when he returned to California from New Orleans for a few weeks. Then he went again to New Orleans where he was residing when President Kennedy was assassinated. He moved back to California in 1964. While in New Orleans Thornley befriended, among others, someone by the name of Gary Kiersten, purportedly a cousin of another of Kerry’s new friends, Slim Brooks. Kerry also met a retired newspaperman by the name of Clint Bolton, who read some of Kerry’s earlier drafts of The Idle Warriors. He reportedly encouraged Thornley to polish and complete the book. In fact, Thornley dedicated his first published book, Oswald, to Clint Bolton. Therein he writes that Bolton said to him, “If you want to be a writer… Well, go home and write, ya bum!”
Thornley said he later came to believe Clint Bolton was associated with the FBI, although I do not know the reason he believes that. Thornley also said he believes the man he knew as Gary Kiersten was E. Howard Hunt.
Thornley apparently became well known to the regulars of certain coffeehouses in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the two to three years in the city. As noted previously, anyone who knew him at all knew he had written and was working on final drafts of a novel in which Oswald’s defection to the Soviet Union figured in the plot.
One of Thornley’s girlfriends was a local woman by the name of Jessica Luck. She was the daughter of John Luck, a professor at Tulane University. Kerry said he had introduced Jessica to the man he knew as Gary Kiersten in 1961 or 1962. Kerry said he last saw Jessica in 1968, but she reportedly did not want to see or talk to Kerry and was quite abrupt in her refusal to have anything to do with him.
For reasons not entirely clear, Thornley has for some time been convinced that Jessica was murdered a few years later. He believes that he is partly responsible because he introduced her to Gary Kiersten, and through him to her murderer. Thornley believes Jessica was eliminated as a witness to conversations between Kerry and Gary Kiersten.
I, of course, have no way of knowing if any of these events actually occurred. Allowing for Kerry’s speculations about my spying on him, which I know to be ridiculous, I am naturally skeptical. For one thing it would seem much more expeditious to eliminate Kerry rather than a witness to his conversations. The conversations themselves were nothing more than hypothetical conjecturing – not specific details, at least as reported to me by Thornley.
Additionally, there is the question of Thornley’s intermittent mental/emotional condition in later years, as well as the intervening years between Jessica Luck’s reported unverified murder, and Kerry’s belated realization of the significance of his conversations with Kier- sten.
Thornley was first informed of Jessica Luck’s murder when he was working for the Georgia Nuts and Bolts Company in Atlanta, Geor- gia in 1973 or 1974. A man known as R.C. Suttles had been hired as a Thornley’s supervisor. Thornley said R.C. Suttles was really there to learn what Thornley knew of the JFK assassination plot, and that he was an intelligence agent. Greg Hill has a tape recording of Kerry’s detailed account of this period; I have listened to the tape on one occasion.
It was R.C. Suttles who reportedly informed Thornley of Jessica Luck’s murder. If true, then this would be an acknowledgment of prior knowledge regarding Thornley by R.C. Suttles, and would tend to validate Thornley’s fears and concern. However, Thornley has not been able to verify the information as related to him by R.C. Suttles concerning Jessica Luck. I cannot understand why this should be difficult considering she had friends in New Orleans and the fact her father was a professor at Tulane University. Nevertheless, because of the information provided by R.C. Suttles, Thornley suffered a breakdown of sorts in Atlanta in 1974, and he still blames himself for Jessica Luck’s (unverified) death.
This information was relayed to me by Greg Hill as well as by recordings Greg Hill made of Thornley’s account of these activities. Thornley’s beliefs, at least at the time the recordings were made in 1978, were that an organization with the acronym of DISC (Defense Industrial Security Command) was behind the JFK assassination. This organization includes, among others, some “captured” Nazi sci- entists from World War II.
Thornley believed the person he knew in New Orleans, as Gary Kiersten, was one of the architects of the JFK assassination. Somehow Thornley was never the least bit suspicious or aware of this until the during the early 1970s when he read of what a witness had report- edly said in reference to the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination. Thornley read a quotation about “framing a jailbird” to take the fall for the King assassination, he then realized that Gary Kiersten had said the same thing some ten years earlier. This was in reference to a conversation initiated by Kiersten; he asked Thornley how one could assassinate a President, and get away with it. The phrase “framing a jailbird” was used then, and when Thornley encountered this exact same phrase relating to the King assassination he began thinking of other comments Kiersten had made he previously had not considered as being particularly significant following the JFK assassination.
Thornley evolved the belief that Kiersten was central to the whole plot to murder JFK. For the record, I believe others had a more sig- nificant role in this regard, although Kiersten may or may not have been a peripheral participant.
Thornley has other reasons in addition to the ones I have briefly touched on, but I am not privy to all of the details. It is certainly possible, in my view, that Thornley could have been manipulated in such a way that his prior association with Oswald and his subsequent book would be helpful in an attempt to frame Oswald, once it was determined that Oswald was to be a patsy. The fact that Thornley, while residing in New Orleans, came to be known by some of those involved in the assassination conspiracy appears to be just as much of a coincidence as the fact that Thornley knew and wrote of Oswald four years earlier.
Perhaps to a casual observer it appears to be just too much of a coincidence. For my part I know the circumstances concerning the de- velopment of Thornley’s book, as presented in this narrative, and I find some of his fears to be understandable.
My thinking is influenced by my knowledge of the early development of Thornley’s novel and how it came to be based on Lee Oswald’s reported defection to the Soviet Union. Greg Hill was also aware of the development of this book as well as the period in New Orleans in 1961 when he accompanied Thornley to New Orleans and met some of the same characters Thornley has referenced.
Some information in Robert Morrow’s book, Betrayal, explains some of the details that dovetail with other independent sources of infor- mation, such as the Altgens UPI Photograph showing Oswald standing in the doorway of the TSBD as Kennedy, in the foreground, is reacting to the first shot fired at the president. The Warren Report identified this figure as Billy Lovelady.
Anyone wishing to confirm the accuracy of the identification of Lovelady will find that other photos taken at the same show Lovelady was there, but with a full beard and wearing a different type of shirt with a broad, plaid pattern. Oswald had a narrow crisscross plaid pattern, the same as when he was arrested, and the same as the figure in the Altgens UPI photo. Lovelady reportedly died of natural causes about ten years later. He was not yet forty years of age.
This discrepancy in the interpretation, plus the examination of the Warren Report’s evidence which was supposed to support the findings on this point but which revealed altered and false documentation, has been glossed over and left essentially unexamined and unex- plained. It is fairly clear that it is Oswald standing in the doorway in the photo – more like peeking around the edge of the doorway, wearing the same shirt he had on when arrested a short time later. One only has to look.
Meanwhile, Morrow states one member of three fire teams at Dealy Plaza – one primary team and two backup teams – was an Oswald lookalike as well as a professional hit man. Also, Morrow states that when he (Morrow) was a contract employee of the CIA, he pur- chased several rifles similar to Oswald’s – but more accurate, also Italian and of a similar caliber, one of which was actually fired in the JFK assassination.
In 1987 a book entitled Reasonable Doubt, by Henry Hurt, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, came to my attention. This fascinating book in part concerns the account of Robert W. Easterling, known as “Hard-Hat” to his associates in New Orleans. He was a self-confessed murderer, and he related to Mr. Hurt his activities with some of the participants in the JFK assassination. He was not a direct participant, but claims to have personally assisted one of the shooters on one fire-team.
I will not attempt to summarize Mr. Hurt’s book, but anyone with a serious interest in this matter would find it well worth their time to read it – as well as Mr. Morrow’s book, if they can locate a copy. These two books are as close to knowing what really happened regarding the JFK assassination that I will ever be made aware of. I know of and have read most of the dozens of other books on the subject, some legitimate and some nonsense – intentional misinformation, in my opinion.
I do not believe the government will ever officially reveal more, pertaining to the JFK murder. Most of the principals are now deceased. The House Select Committee, concluding its inquiry, did state that there likely was a conspiracy, then they closed up shop and went home. They couldn’t parse the details, and let it go at that.
There is no question in my mind that Lee Oswald was framed, as he claimed to have been. He went to Russia on assignment and later became involved in other intelligence activities after returning to the United States from the Soviet Union. He found himself involved with some of the conspirators to assassinate the President, and he attempted to alert authorities. As one may recall, there was a whole lot of non-note taking during his interrogation – and subsequent note destroying by certain FBI and police officials. I believe that Os- wald was a scapegoat who was never intended to have his day in court. He was to have been shot while resisting arrest; this may be associated with Officer Tippit’s murder (who may have refused to carry out orders to murder Oswald, and then he himself was executed by two bullets from different weapons. Witnesses reported two shooters of Tippit, neither of whom was identified as Oswald. Also, Oswald’s pistol was later determined to be defective, and wouldn’t fire.
Jack Ruby had much he wanted to say, after the fact, but only if moved to another location. His request to be relocated was denied, and then he suddenly developed cancer and was soon history.
I do not believe this narrative will have an impact in any way as to the disposition of this affair. This is intended for the half dozen or so who might find it of interest. I began this narrative in 1978 and, after a nine-year hiatus, concluded it in April of 1987 (tweaked in 2009, and once more five years later).
I regard this account as an exercise in writing only. I am not consumed with any desire to see justice done, for I believe there is a cosmic way of justice asserting itself. What goes around comes around – one way or another. Justice in our time may as well be just ice melting under a Texas sun.
[Insert: Summer, 2014: Subsequent to writing the above, at the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, other information has surfaced, including E. Howard Hunt’s deathbed confession of his participation as a team member at Dealy Plaza.
I keep confusing H.L Hunt and E. Howard, both of whom apparently shared similar agendas re: JBK, according to some sources.
E. Howard Hunt’s son, St. James Hunt – published and aired his father’s confession, which has been broadcast on various radio programs. Not much has been mentioned by main street media, most of which is owned by fewer that a half dozen corporate citizens.
I believe this is called an oligarchy, made possible by dismantling anti-trust regulations.
Hunt described himself as a “bench warmer” in the operation. It seems there were more team members and planners and other various representatives of intelligence agencies and backup team members who were present at the scene that they outnumbered the few casual bystanders also present.
Other photos and film have surfaced. Several credible sources have described LBJ’s direct involvement in the planning, as well as several others including J. Edgar Hoover, especially in the cover-up (for national security reasons, of course). There were many ac- tive participants, proactive covering up (murdering select witnesses) and altering/destroying evidence.
The secret service stood down. There is film of an agent displaying his disgust as he is being pulled from his bumper riding position as the presidential car is being redirected to turn into Dealy Plaza. (interestingly, there has never been a public explanation for this. Hmmmmmm.)
That is why there were no agents riding on the special steps next to the fenders of the presidential limousine and jogging alongside, which is normal procedure. Note how the limo comes to a complete stop (!) as the fatal shots are being fired. Interestingly enough, there has never been a published comment from the Secret Service about their abdication of duties on that day.
One of the several persons said to be present at the scene was a long time associate and friend of LBJ, a man known as Mac (Malcolm) Wallace, descibed as LBJ’s personal “hit man” in both this and several other events. Google his name – Mac (Malcolm) Wallace, and read all about it.
Mac Wallace is thought to have been one of the two men on the sixth floor of the TSBDB where Oswald was said to have been (Os- wald was actually on the ground floor at the time). In recent times it has been reported that Wallace’s fingerprint has been identified as one (of many) found at the “snipers nest” on the sixth floor of the TSBD. Two men were reported by witnesses as being seen mov- ing around and looking out the window, prior to the arrival of the motorcade (one looking much like Wallace, in a leather jacket and horn rim glasses, which Wallace wore).
Wallace was said to have been involved in several murders associated with LBJ. He was tried and convicted in instance one for the murder of man who was having an affair with LBJ’s sister (Josephia). Wallace was also involved with LBJ’s sister.
Reportedly, the murder victim was trying to obtain “a loan” from LBJ via Josephia, LBJ’s sister, after he had learned of some of Johnson’s shading dealings re: agricultural financial allotments and other dealings associated with what later became known as the Billy Sol Estes fraud case. Estes was convicted, served a prision sentence, and had some very interesting things to say after he had served his time.
At his trial, Wallace said nothing on the witness stand, but was convicted based on eye witness testimony. He was not sent to prison thanks to intervention by LBJ and intimidation of jury members in Texas (by their own account). LBJ obtained a federal government job for Wallace – in the Department of Agriculture (where he worked for about nine years).
Wallace, an educated man and former college professor (economics), was also described a killer who had a penchant for botching his jobs. He was later provided with a government job (Dept. of Agriculture), and was said to have carried out a number of other murders for LBJ, including one instance where he shot a man five times with a bolt-action .22 caliber rifle in the chest after first slugging the victim in the head and then attempted to induce carbon monoxide poising at the tailpipe of a vehicle with the engine running. The deceased man,was also a federal government employee (investigator) who had been making inquiries into irregular financial dealings associated with LBJ kickbacks and other financial dealings with the Department of Agriculture.
The sheriff ruled this government investigator’s death as a suicide, believed to be he only time someone shot in the chest five times with a bolt action rifle has been described as a suicide.
This was and is a well known case/event in the Dallas, Texas area. However, Mac (Malcolm) Wallace was not a primary figure in JFK’s murder. He was only described as being present on the scene (he fit the description of witnesses).
I reference some of the events and details only to allude to a complex series of events and associations.
Primary shooters were located in the Dal Tex Building, and also on the grassy knoll, whence the fatal shots were fired after the presidential limousine made an unscheduled turn, then slowed to a complete stop. There may have been other backups on standby.
There is so much more, but I am not inclined to go into all the specifics and names, except to say that several others have recently been named in the planning and execution of JFK’s murder. There is even one questionable photo that some say resembles a youthful George H.W. Bush. In a few short years he was elected president, following his stint as director of the CIA, and then announced the promulgation of the New World Order, which to date has included all manner of “extra judicial” proceedings, endless wars (against a noun) and various “too big to fail” criminal financial schemes, by his three successors (many allege that the senior B. continued to call the shots until his demise).
Anyone interested in doing their own research and work will find plenty of information. There is so much information these days that it tends to be overwhelming.
Many people simply shrug, keep their heads down, dope themselves with big-pharma meds, watch sports, and do what they can to avoid inquiring about truth, false flags and staged events, social manipulation, and being labeled an enemy of the state for daring to question the Truth.
One cannot help but recall the well-known photo of a secret service agent giving LBJ a very prominent eye-wink at the swearing-in ceremony on the presidential plane, with Jackie Kennedy standing by. That, my friends, says as much about the Truth as anything, in my humble opinion.
Interestingly, there was recently a story about this agent in a local newspaper, inasmuch as he recently died (2014), although the story was not about the “wink.” It was a feel-good fluff piece.
But, to my knowledge there has never been a story by or about the secret service agent who was filmed venting his disgust at being ordered to stand down just as JFK was being led to the kill zone at Dealy Plaza.
Some of the criminals involved in this treason were said to have been of the opinion that they were acting for the greater good in keeping this country “safe” from (fill in the blanks) and the likes of JFK. Only they didn’t believe in the previously agreed upon methods of selection.
End of one insert, and the beginning of another, brief insert – a portion of a message sent to a life-long friend of Kerry Thornley – since their years together in high school in Whittier, California . This message was composed in 2005, a few years following Thornley’s death of natural causes at the age of 59.
I finally got back to the website created by Kerry Thornley’s last girlfriend. I followed all the links to the 38 short chapters – a two hour effort. I thought you might be interested in reading this. Although you can download the entire paper, I believe it is more interesting to read it as laid out on the website with the associated drawings, photographs and captions.
For my part, I systematically worked my way through all the papers and found them to be very interesting. In the final analysis, Kerry was a terrific writer. As noted in one of the chapters, Kerry wrote of his recollections of his New Orleans experiences, specifically: his associations with Slim Brooks and “Brother-in-Law” aka: Gary Kiersten in 1982. There were also a few references to Greg Hill.
I learned quite a bit about his experiences circa 1961-1964 that I had not been aware of. I recall visiting with Kerry for a few hours in about May of 1963, when he returned to Southern California for a few weeks. He was working as a waiter at The Trappers Inn in La Habra, while staying at the Pickwick Hotel, in Anaheim. This was just prior to his return to New Orleans via Mexico City. At that time I read part of his early draft of The Idle Warriors, and expressed some reservations about his protagonist’s motivation to defect to the USSR.
Some of the papers posted on the web site are quite detailed about Kerry’s conversations with Kiersten. An interesting read. I also found his comments about the nature of paranoia to be thoughtful and well-articulated. However, I couldn’t help but wonder as to why Kerry would continue to associate with someone he described as a loathsome creep and a self-described burglar and forger.
At one point Kerry mentioned that he visited with Gary approximately 20-25 times over a period of three years or so. That works out to perhaps once every couple of months. I just don’t understand why he would waste his time with such a low-life. I can only conclude that he was gather- ing material for his yet to be written books about New Orleans.
I recall Kerry from the period when he was living in Watts circa 1964-1967. He frequently associated with diverse personality types ranging from one end of the social and political spectrum to the other.
I remember one social event where political activists were gath- ered in the living room: “Gentle People” were dropping acid in the dining room, while gazing at candles, and right-wingers were argu- ing with each other in the kitchen. One was wearing a bullet proof vest and had a .45 strapped to his hip because he was afraid of the left-wingers and hippies. The kitchen was shared with others who were cooking up a batch of baked banana peel scrapings, per a circu- lated recipe thought to be referenced in Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” – a popular hit of the time. No one knew for sure whether or not the recipe worked because someone had previously passed a left- handed cigarette and a jug of wine. Other groups included apolitical, party- hardy types. All mixed freely and tolerated each other, at least while gathered together at Kerry’s house.
Cut to the chase: Regarding Thornley’s “confession” that he helped plot the crime of the century. It appears to me that this amounted to no more than a series of bullshitting sessions. No specifics were discussed that even remotely related to what actually occurred.
From Kerry’s written accounts, he was asked how he would go about doing this or that, and he would come up with this or that generalization. For someone as intelligent as Kerry was, I cannot imagine he actually believed he assisted the architects in any significant way. Although I am reminded that Greg Hill once mentioned that Kerry acknowledged (to Greg) that he was intentionally misleading people by claiming that, “I helped plan…” His stated motivation was to alert anyone who would listen to the fact that official explanations of historic events were deceptions. That may have been, but to substitute one deception for another does not further the Truth. It is just wrong.
Another thought occurred to me: Kerry knew the location of the house where he met with Gary Kiersten – which was later purchased by Kiersten. He described the location quite specifically (later to become a commercial business site). It would be a simple matter to deter- mine who owned a specific house or parcel of land at any County Assessor’s office. It would have taken an hour or so to ascertain the name of the owner of record for any given time. It would still be a simple matter – if anyone remains who can identify the location. Another passing thought: Kerry said he hated Kennedy. His reasoning, I thought, was rather weak. He thought Kennedy was responsible for the massacre of innocents in Katanga (as well as for the death of Patrice Lumumba, an associated politico), as the result of a UN op- eration.
But how responsible is the president of the USA for a sponsoring UN nation to a specific non-directly controlled event at any given time, especially in consideration of a multitude of actions and concerns? As good of a writer as Kerry was, he certainly was prone to failure to develop pertinent issues in writing.
Anyhow, this is not intended to be a rambling rant. I thought you might be interested in checking out these papers for yourself if you are so inclined.
Regards, Allen Simco
TO LIGHTEN UP A BIT – Below are a few vignettes. Some of these have been published separately at scribd.com (my user name is alsimco) as “Reflections.”
OUTSTANDING IN HIS FIELD
On a hot afternoon in mid-August I was scheduled to drive Mr. Pfeffer and his companion for the afternoon, Countess Tolstoy, to their luncheon engagement at a remote, newly-opened French restaurant located an hour’s drive northwest of San Francisco, near Point Reyes. The chef was known in urban areas, and his new venture was the antithesis of a big city establishment, with its location situated in a remote rural area in a converted farmhouse.
We arrived at the restaurant’s empty parking lot in mid-afternoon after a leisurely drive in a sand and sable-colored Silver Shadow. I knew that it would be over two hours before we would return to the city, and decided to take advantage of a splendid afternoon by taking a walk in the countryside.
I ambled down the road as it curved away and out of sight from the restaurant. After a few minutes I left the road and strolled through some woods, eventually coming to a cornfield. Walking to a small clearing within the cornfield, I stopped and turned my face to the sun, savoring the “summerness” of the moment. It was hot, but not sweltering. Only the humming of insect activity disturbed the sweet aromatic stillness.
After a few minutes the thought occurred to me: even though I felt at one with nature, I must looked absurdly out of place. I was dressed in a three-piece dark blue suit, more suitable (pardon the pun) for entry to the Pacific Union Club than for meandering through woods and across farms.
At just the moment this thought occurred to me I heard the corn stalks rustle and a man pushed his way through the tall corn and into the clearing in which I was standing. He appeared to be in his mid-thirties and attired as a farmer. Indeed, It was probably his land on which I was trespassing. He obviously was startled to see me standing there. After an initial hesitation he stepped forward and asked, “Do you believe in reincarnation?”
A rather unusual salutary remark under any circumstances, to be sure. As it happens, I have given this subject considerable thought over a number of years and in so doing have perused quite a number of arcane and popular books written from a variety of perspectives. Rather than answering his question directly I engaged him in general conversation, initially remarking upon various perceptions of reincarnation, and commented on differing philosophical and religious interpretations. Later I asked if he had ever read any books concern- ing this subject and, upon learning that he hadn’t, recommended a few books of possible interest.
We conversed for a few minutes. I never moved from the position where I was standing when first encountered, nor did he. We never introduced ourselves by name, nor did we speak of any other subject. He never inquired as to how I came to be in a small clearing in the middle of the cornfield, nor did he comment on my manner of dress. We were well away from any populated areas and far from the restaurant where I had parked the Rolls Royce. I do not believe he would have known I was associated with guests dining at this newly opened and nearly deserted establishment.
I engaged a stranger in a focused conversation regarding a subject of his interest, for he did seem interested. We discussed the consideration of the meaning or purpose of being as viewed from the context of reincarnation vis-a-vis a “one shot deal,” and of creationism as opposed to evolution (and that they are not necessarily mutually exclusive concepts), and of experience as related to multiple lifetimes, varying in duration and depth, and subject to diverse stimuli. After a few minutes my interrogator suddenly announced, “Well, I have to go.” And literally ran away in the direction from which he came.
I continued standing on the same patch of ground for another few minutes and then slowly walked in the opposite direction back through the woods a mile or so to where I had parked the car.
I was thinking of how startled this man had been upon encountering me standing in the corn field, by appearances doing nothing and looking out of place in my formal attire; for whatever reason he asked me a most unusual question, under the circumstances, and without a moment’s hesitation received the benefit of over a two decades of thought and study summarized in a reasonably coherent fashion, and with a list of suggested books to read. All presented with good humor, with di- rectness and no reference to other matters, such as our occupations, identities or small talk.
The Countess and Mr. Pfeffer rode in silence in the silent car as we motored back to San Francisco via a scenic route. I did not speak with them regarding the cornfield mini-discourse on reincarnation. When asked what I had been up to, I replied, “Nothing much.” There was no way I could briefly comment on the incident and relay the spontaneity of the exchange, of the discussion of ideas and concepts in depth in direct response to a query at a chance encounter in the midst of a corn field, of my observance of a man’s increased bewilderment and uneasiness regarding my formal attire and presence at such a remote and unlikely site, and of his suddenly ending the conversation and literally sprinting away. I reminisce not about the significance of anything that may have been said, but rather how this little vignette must have appeared from the perspective of the other man. It amuses me. Thank God for the little things in life.
THE POWER OF THOUGHT
It is not my intention to attempt to convince anyone that my perception materially affected the course of events described below. How- ever, just perhaps….
It was late at night, after midnight, in San Francisco. The streets were deserted. Having just left my shop near the Cannery, I elected to walk home to my apartment on Powell Street, near the Stanford Court Hotel. I was ascending a steep hill on a street nearly devoid of auto traffic, lost in my thoughts, and aware of only my echoing footsteps through the amplification effects of intensifying fog.
Suddenly, the still of the night was interrupted with the screeching of automobile brakes. I could clearly discern the sounds of two cars braking from fairly high speeds. My initial reaction was that a severe collision was imminent. Now it should be said that I had on sev- eral previous occasions both heard and seen collisions, as have most people. But this was somehow different. What made it so was my reflexive reaction, which was a total surprise.
I was alarmed at the prospect of a peaceful foggy night shattered by a serious accident, with a medical emergency requiring attention; however, the differentiation between altruism and selfishness was not under consideration as my body responded before my mind com- prehended the action undertaken. When the horrific screeching of the braking cars seemed to be only an instant from impact, I turned and yelled NO!
There are, on occasion, precognitive moments in one’s life, measured in fractions of a second. One example: shooting a basketball from a long distance – knowing that the shot will be made, the instant the ball leaves your hand. Or perhaps at archery when, although previ- ously the target was repeatedly missed, the center of the bull’s eye is struck, with you knowing in advance that it would be so. I am sure we have all had these experiences, serving as tantalizing indications of power beyond our normal abilities.
It was a feeling of commanding the cars to stop, without a collision, and in fact they did. I had turned at the instant of willing them to stop, when I shouted NO, and observed the cars sliding to a stop in the middle of the intersection at the bottom of the hill. They did not touch, but I don’t believe there was enough room between the potential impact points to pass a credit card. For a few moments all was still. The drivers just sat in stunned silence and looked at one another. They, of course, were totally unaware of my presence as I stood a half block away in the gathering fog. Finally, one driver said, “Well,” and made a gesture to the other driver to proceed. The second car backed up, then drove around the first car, then the first car drove away slowly.
Quantum physics postulates that the observer affects the observed. I do not seriously suggest that my lending any energy to the above incident in any way affected the course of events (but I do leave the door ajar, just a bit). My atypical reactive response did give me cause to wonder, however.
As an after-thought: if one could develop such abilities, one would make one heck of a traffic cop.
REFLECTIONS ON REFLECTIONS
A certain amount of wisdom is accrued, distilled, and transmitted from one generation to another in the form of folk tales, aphorisms, cliches, and the like. From personal experience, I can affirm that there is definitely a margin of error to be considered.
As a boy I had heard that only an animal’s eyes reflected light, not a human’s eyes, and I grew up thinking this to be so. As an adult, I made the discovery that this is not the case at all; however, this experiential confirmation was not as an observer, but rather as the ob- served.
This incident happened on Cherry Street in San Francisco. I had spent the evening playing music with a couple of guitar players, and we were taking a break for a late meal. I had volunteered to drive, and as we departed for the restaurant I proceeded ahead of the others to get my car. The other musicians, Tony and Constantine, stood in front of the apartment, waiting for their girlfriends to join them.
We did not know each other that well, having met at a party a few weeks earlier, but our musical styles were compatible and we enjoyed playing together. Tony and I had day jobs. Constantine was a song writer and itinerant musician who was spending a few weeks in the Bay Area before returning to Southern California.
I approached my car, which was parked near the top of a steep hill, where Cherry Street intersects with Sacramento Street. Constantine called something out to me, as we had been joking back and forth as we left the apartment, and I turned back to reply.
At precisely that moment a car turned the corner onto Cherry Street, at the bottom of the hill. The angle of the hill was steep, approximately 20 degrees. I was about 50-60 feet up the street from where Constantine and Tony were standing. The oncoming car was about 100 feet beyond them, at the bottom of the incline.
As the headlights of the oncoming car swept across my face, I could “feel” a reflection in my eyes, similar to the sensation of an optometrist shining an examining light into the eyes. Shortly thereafter I heard Constantine exclaim, “I could see light reflected from your eyes!” Since I had said nothing, Constantine’s exclamation confirmed what I had felt.
That is all that was ever said about the incident. As I have never suspected that I am anything but your average humanoid, this was to me confirmation that indeed human “animals” can and do reflect light from their eyes (not the same as eyes glowing in the dark, how- ever), given the appropriate physical circumstances.
Constantine seemed distant following this episode, almost afraid. Some days earlier he had seen a movie that just been released, The Exorcist, and had spoken of it on a number of occasions (I had and have no interest in seeing this film). I believe that his observing the headlights of a car being reflected from my eyes, combined with the fact that he had just seen The Exorcist and was a recent “born again” Christian, effectively colored his attitude toward me. It was not long afterward that we lost contact with each other, no doubt due in part to his interpretation of the events as described above.
My only other personal experience remotely related to “lights and eyes” (though not reflected light) was about six months later. I was riding a bus home from San Francisco to Marin County when an attractive woman on the bus approached me and invited me to a play that was to be performed during the evening of the following day. Motivated at the prospect of seeing this woman again, I accepted her complimentary ticket.
The following evening I attended a play by (and starring) Alex and Sheila Horn at a theater in the Mission District of San Francisco. Later I was invited (not by the same woman, whom I did not see at the theater) to attend a meeting following the performance. I was curious as to what the “pitch” was going to be; the play was entertaining, but I had no doubt that there was another agenda.
I subsequently learned that the theater and the associated personnel were part of an Ospensky/Gurdjieff personal development group. Anyhow, I joined an assembly of about thirty others at an adjoining storefront that had been set up for a meeting.
I am generally an open and friendly type who is receptive to new ideas, and one who enjoys stimulating conversation in a mutually re- spectful environment. But I have a recalcitrant trend in my personality when I sense “power games” are being played, when others are less than candid or are being manipulative, or when posturing an attitude of superiority.
I understand that there may be others who may benefit from rigidly controlled settings, that there are some instances when this may be beneficial for certain individuals. Having been through Marine Corps boot camp, and four years of active duty followed by five years in the reserves, I can – as they say – relate. As a sixteen- year old kid undergoing marine corps boot camp, the discipline to which I voluntarily submitted had a positive effect on my maturation process, still ongoing decades later.
But I was not enlisting in the marines. After about a half an hour into the meeting I had a sense of some of the above, i.e., we were being questioned (in turn) by script where binary responses led to subscripts. Conversational exchanges were not favored, and though I was respectful in speech and attitude, I felt resistance from the group leaders, especially when I questioned the purpose of the meeting, or agenda.
I do not recall the specifics of the final exchanges between the group leaders and myself, but I was asked to leave – which I did. However, just prior to my departure, a young man began tapping on the window. He had been standing on the sidewalk outside of the store, observing us through the window. Of course he did not know the purpose of the meeting (neither did I, at the time), but he was asking to be admitted.
Someone opened the door and let him in just as I was gathering my belongings to exit through the same door. As he entered, and as I walked past him into the night, he looked at me and then at the group leader and said, “Wow, I don’t know what this is all about, but I just saw all this light flashing around the room, and I had to come in.”
It seems that more than beauty is in the eye of the beholder (and, perhaps, the beholdee).
In conclusion, the following excerpt is from my intermittently kept dream journal, some five years following the above, and also relates to eyes and reflections:
Several computer programmers, who want me to take a written aptitude test, encircle me. This is in preparation to becoming a col- league. One of them writes the “answers” on the side of a pen (hey, it’s a dream) and attempts to give it to me for use during the exami- nation. I refuse to accept the pen, stating it would be cheating. I said I must comprehend the answers, not copy them. At this point it is decided I will be examined viva voce. The spokesman asks, “You are a dog, and everything around you is God. What is the relationship?”
Since Dog and God are reverse spellings of the same three letters, I answer, “God is a reflection in a dog’s eye?” They seemed puzzled. Finally, the spokesman says, “No, that is not the answer.” I sense dissension among some of the others observing; they move a few away for further discussion. The dream ends.
FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES
Some years ago, when I was a part-time chauffeur, Mr. Pfeffer was one of my regular clients. He was a self-described snob. In fact, he was proud of being a snob, and said so.
His snobbery was even reflected in a letter of reference provided for me, when I elected to dis- continue my activities as a driver-for-hire. It read, in part, “Mr. Simco is a man of total integrity and a meticulous perfectionist in his work. He has a multifaceted range of expertise which should entitle him to work in positions of far greater responsibility and challenge than the mere steering of an automobile.”
I laughed when I read the letter. I never presented the letter of reference to anyone, in part be- cause of its somewhat comical tone.
Despite frequently stating that he had no desire to, “…live by the side of the road and be a friend to man,” he could be most generous and helpful in unexpected ways, such as once when visiting a friend who had entered a private hospital because of alcohol related problems.
When visiting this friend, Mr. Pfeffer observed another man, then a total stranger, a Mr. Watanabe, standing alone in the hallway with his forehead touching the wall. He was just standing there, facing the wall, in the manner of an autistic child. Mr. Pfeffer, uninvited, initiated a conversation with Mr. Watanabe, who was extremely depressed.
Mr. Pfeffer initiated a friendship that continued for several years, until Mr. Pfeffer’s death. Mr. Pfeffer would schedule outings (in the Rolls) with Mr. Watanabe three or four times a year, and introduced him to some of the best restaurants and various historic sites in Northern California.
When Mr. Pfeffer befriended Mr. Watanabe, who was and is a successful businessman, Mr. Watanabe was living in a bare room with a sleeping bag and one knife, fork and spoon as personal possessions.
When I became acquainted with Mr. Watanabe years later (while driving him as a guest of Mr. Pfeffer), he was living in an elegantly furnished pied-a-tier. I, being a part-time photographer, took a series of photographs of items for insurance purposes in his tastefully decorated apartment. In fact, I spontaneously arranged a portrait of Mr. Watanabe as a reflection in his elegantly framed mirror, with the image of a likeness of Buddha positioned nearby. Of the many portraits I have taken over the years, this remains my favorite.
So despite Mr. Pfeffer’s assertion that he had no desire to live by the roadside and be a friend to man, he could indeed befriend someone in a significant way. I believe Mr. Watanabe would agree that in many ways Mr. Pfeffer helped restore his will to live and inculcated an appreciation for the exploration of the world around him and in developing interests and a tasteful personal environment more conducive to a balanced outlook.
It was a paradox that Mr. Pfeffer was planning his own demise when his “money ran out.” I discovered this over a period of months in the course of our conversations while on the road. He had inherited what was left of his father’s fortune and was at the time living off the capital. I know how much he had in the bank at the time and it was enough to keep an ordinary person living in a sensible but comfort- able manner indefinitely, if prudently invested.
Mr. Pfeffer, however, stated emphatically that he did not want to be one of the “nouveaux poor.” This aspect of his snobbery was well defined. He spent his capital as if on a budget for bankruptcy (he tipped generously in public) and knew exactly how many years and months he had remaining. I know of at least three well known and very wealthy local society matrons who wanted to marry him, but he was not interested in compromising his schedule and lifestyle, though he frequently entertained them in expensive restaurants and on outings in the chauffeured Rolls.
Over a period of time I became convinced that his plan to end his life when his money ran out was genuine. (One of his last major expenditures prior to this event was to have his teeth capped.) I calculated that he had less than three years remaining at his rate of spend- ing, and I had no desire to contribute to the “delinquency” of an elder. I wanted no part in taking his last dime, in payment for services and, metaphorically speaking, driving him to the bridge (he once stated, “I would never involve you in my final plans”).
This was the impetus for my forsaking “easy money” and moving on to other occupational activities.
He was content to re-read Proust constantly, but nothing else, and was not particularly receptive to new ideas. Every detail in his life was planned and meticulously executed, right down to the hospital corners of his bedding. He hated classical music because his mother, a classical pianist, would not allow him, as a child, to play in the house when she rehearsed. He would then usually go find the chauffeur and asked to be driven to nowhere in particular, just driven.
He loved ice cream, and this was often a focal point of activity for an excursion. He also loved to have blini at Alexis’ – across from the Mark on Nob Hill. (This was my first taste of caviar, a taste I have no desire to acquire, pedestrian that I am.) Occasionally Countess Tolstoy would present to him a jar of Buluga caviar. At such times he would turn off the telephone and consume the jar at one sitting.
His father was a hard-working man who emigrated from Germany at a young age and made a fortune in the manufacturing of iron prod- ucts. One can still occasionally find iron sewer access covers in San Francisco inscribed with “Pfeffer Iron Works.” Mr. Pfeffer was not particularly close to his father. He said that during both world wars his father would say, “Any fool can see that the Germany is going to win!”
His father sent equal sums of money to his two sisters who remained in Germany. One immediately purchased an apartment building with the money she received. Her sister put her money in the bank. After the first war, as inflation began to accelerate, her friends and relatives implored her to take her money out of the bank; she always replied, “The only place for money is in the bank.” When she finally did remove her money from the bank, the same amount that her sister had purchased an apartment building with, she had enough money to buy a pound of butter.
One of the more humorous examples of Mr. Pfeffer’s snobbery was his imbibing of Perrier water with meals while dining out. Invariably the waiter would ask if Mr. Pfeffer would like to have ice with his Perrier, whereupon Mr. Pfeffer would always ask if the ice had been made with Perrier water. In all instances, except one, the answer was always that the ice had been made with regular water. Mr. Pfeffer would then ask that there be no ice in his Perrier because it was not made with Perrier. This was the case in all of the best restaurants in San Francisco. But once when we were in an obscure, small French restaurant in Eureka, California, and this routine was again repeated, the proprietor replied, without hesitation, “But of course.” That was the only time I observed Mr. Pfeffer with ice in his Perrier water, though he and I both knew that the proprietor most certainly did not make ice with Perrier water.
Over the course of a year-and-a-half during our once-to-twice weekly outings to various parts of Northern California, I came to know him fairly well. He was meticulous in all that he did, and very precise in speech and mannerisms, generous to the point of being extravagant and for the most part considerate and polite.
The exception was the fact that he believed that when being chauffeured in a Rolls Royce he was entitled to trespass on restricted and private property anytime he wished, and he frequently did so.
Usually this presented no problem. We would be driving by a particular estate somewhere that he found interesting, usually by chance, and he would instruct me to drive onto the property regardless of any signs posted advising one to keep out. He would invariably gain the confidence of whomever we encountered.
In his youth he had studied architecture at UC Berkeley. He also was quite knowledgeable with regard to the design and maintenance of gardening on a grand scale. These qualities, combined with his formal mannerisms, and the presence of a Rolls Royce, were generally all that were required to calm the tempers of those property owners and caretakers first encountered. Usually he just wanted to further explore and investigate particular architectural or gardening details.
The only exception to his penchant for trespassing was when he was entertaining one of his friends, Countess Tolstoy. On one occasion we were near Sacramento in a rural area. On this occasion Mr. Pfeffer wanted to investigate a farmhouse he had discovered while reading Architectural Digest. I don’t recall the particular significance of this structure except that it was built over a hundred years ago, and on this occasion it was one of the items on the itinerary for the day.
Countess Tolstoy was a guest that day. We located the house and saw that it was set about half a mile off the main road. The access was by a dirt road and there were several prominent signs posted stating that there was to be no trespassing, for any reason. These multiple warnings and admonitions were boldly posted. Countess Tolstoy asked Mr. Pfeffer not to enter, but he insisted and advised me to drive on.
And so I did, at a reduced speed because of the dust generated by the passing of an automobile (even a Rolls Royce) on the dry dirt road.
The owner, furious, was waiting for us when we arrived at the house. Mr. Pfeffer’s impeccable manners, well-groomed appearance, knowledge of architecture, gleaming Silver Shadow, and reference to his guest, Countess Tolstoy, did nothing to allay the wrath of the woman who apparently frequently ranted and raved at trespassers.
In addition to not wanting to be bothered by those investigating historically significant structures was the fact that vast clouds of dirt were generated and covered the house and everything nearby each time someone drove onto the property.
This was the only time I observed Mr. Pfeffer in defeat. Countess Tolstoy was mortified and perturbed that Mr. Pfeffer ignored her re- quest not to trespass in the first place. So we departed shortly after we arrived, never having exited the car. Thereafter, whenever Countess Tolstoy was a guest, we never again drove uninvited onto an estate.
Of course this did not deter Mr. Pfeffer when we were alone or when he had guests other than Countess Tolstoy. On one occasion he took me to see the Carolina Mansion near Crystal Springs. Unfortunately the owner, a woman whom Mr. Pfeffer had known for years, was not at home and I did not have an opportunity to see the interior, though we did inspect the grounds. According to Mr. Pfeffer, she purchased the property and had lived there for several months before she opened what she thought was a closet door and found another ten rooms (the house had, I believe, 120 rooms).
Several months after the trespassing incident near Sacramento, I arrived one day in the Rolls at the Fontana East in San Francisco at the scheduled time. On the way to pick up Mr. Pfeffer’s guest for the day, he commented on the news event of the day, as boldly bannered in the newspapers. Congressman Leo Ryan and several others had been murdered while preparing to depart from British Guyana after investigating the so-called “Reverend” Jim Jones and his activities in Jonestown.
Mr. Pfeffer asked if I had heard about Congressman Ryan’s death? I replied that I had. Mr. Pfeffer then said something that seemed to me to be totally inappropriate. He said, “Well, he had no business going down there uninvited in the first place and I believe he got ex- actly what he deserved.”
Attempting to place this event in perspective, and in view of my perception of Mr. Pfeffer as the king of trespassers, I glanced over my shoulder and said, “Why Mr. Pfeffer, don’t you think that murder is a rather severe penalty for trespassing?” He sniffed and looked away, but said nothing. We never spoke of the incident again, not even after the subsequent (and even more appalling) events relating to Jonestown were made public.
It was not long afterward that I discontinued my work as a part-time chauffeur and found a nine-to-five type of position in the leasing department at a major bank. I recall clearly my last visit with Mr. Pfeffer. It was in the afternoon of an unusually warm and clear day for San Francisco. I had assisted him with some local errands and was preparing to take the Rolls to the garage. As I opened the front door to leave, a sudden, mighty gust of wind blew into the apartment and literally blew a painting off the wall.
It was his favorite painting, one by Joseph DeNito, and one that the artist did not want to part with; it was acquired as the result of Mr. Pfeffer’s persistence. Mr. DeNito finally agreed to sell it after repeated visits by Mr. Pfeffer over a period of several weeks. It was of a scene visible from Mr. Pfeffer’s l5th floor apartment at the Fontana East, a night scene wherein a street lamp illuminated a portion of the curving pier that jutted into San Francisco Bay from just north of Fort Mason. The painting of light in the dead of night is most diffi- cult to accomplish, and this painting was particularly well done. (Mr. Pfeffer had one of the choicest northern exposure views in all of San Francisco, a room-wide ceiling to floor view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais, Alcatraz, and all of San Francisco Bay looking toward Marin County.)
I returned and replaced the painting on the wall. We chatted briefly about the painting and paused to admire it for a few moments. Then, with a firm handshake and a steady gaze, once again we said goodbye. That was the last time I saw Mr. Pfeffer.
Approximately two years later I was walking down Chestnut Street with my girlfriend when I saw Mrs. Pichelle walking toward me. Mrs. Pichelle, an elderly European expatriate, was a neighbor to Mr. Pfeffer. She had been Mr. Pfeffer’s guest for dinner on two or three occasions.
I greeted Mrs. Pichelle as she approached. As I was dressed casually, she didn’t recognize me right away; she seemed somber and preoccupied with her thoughts. Since I hadn’t communicated with Mr. Pfeffer in two years, I asked how he was. She said, “I just learned that he committed suicide last night. He took an overdose of pills.” She seemed to be in a state of shock (of course Mr. Pfeffer never confided his plans to Mrs. Pichelle). We conversed briefly and then she continued on her way.
It had been a stormy day, but the dark clouds had just parted and the sky was streaked with pink and gold, and an assortment of other vivid hues. I looked at the brilliant pinks in the clouds and was reminded that more than once Mr. Pfeffer had stated he intended to “go out on a pink cloud.” As my girlfriend and I walked on down Chestnut Street I told her who Mr. Pfeffer was and the fact that the news of his suicide should not surprise me, but still I was saddened. What was a surprise was our encountering someone who knew of the event just a few hours afterwards, and this was the first person I had seen in two years who knew Mr. Pfeffer.
I recall commenting to Marvera, “Say what you will about Mr. Pfeffer, he had integrity. In some ways he was a jerk, but I cared for the old guy.” It started to rain again. I wept.
A few weeks ago while walking early in the morning to catch a bus for work, I noticed a bud, which had broken off from a small bush. It lay on the sidewalk – lively green and perfectly formed, with a slightly protruding bright orange tip.
It was apparent that its “decapitation” had been recent, as it was still covered with dew. I picked it up and admired its symmetrical con- figuration, all the more defined by the absence of even a hint of a stem. I did not think it would be long before decay and disintegration would set in, but I ignored an impulse to discard it and placed it in my pocket and proceeded on my way.
Later, while having morning coffee at my desk, I withdrew the bud and placed it on a black mouse-pad next to my computer; there was no evidence that it was beginning to dry out, but I didn’t believe it would last long. I again admired its elegant design, which was en- hanced by the juxtaposition of the green sheath and protruding bright orange flower against the black background of the mouse pad.
I thanked my lucky stars for simple pleasures and was grateful that I had not just continued walking when I first observed it on the side- walk, and that I had not discarded it following my initial examination.
After a few moments I focused my attention on the demands of the work place and then forgot it. When I returned from lunch, I observed that the bud had fully opened and an unusually brilliant, mufti-petaled orange flower, about the size of a silver dollar, lay flat – perfectly arranged.
It was incredibly beautiful; I had never seen anything like it. It was silken-like in appearance and literally seemed to shimmer, with a suggestion of emanations resembling heat waves in the desert. Because of the intensity of the unusually brilliant orange color and the delicacy, profusion and symmetry of the petals, it was difficult to focus on its boundaries. There appeared to be slight, undulating movement which was accentuated by its placement against the black background of the foam pad. A couple of visitors to my desk commented on its silken appearance and unusual beauty.
Again I thought that it would not be long before it would begin to wither and die. It was a Friday afternoon; otherwise, I might have devised a small float- bowl. I assumed that with or without a float-bowl it would not last too much longer, but I took much delight in its ra- diance throughout the afternoon and then left it in place when I departed for the weekend.
When I returned three days later I discovered that the flower appeared exactly as it had when I had departed on the preceding Friday. It had not begun to wither and there was not even a hint of decay (the Paramahansa Yogananda of flora).
Suffice it to say this bud/flower delivered into my life a full measure of beauty and pleasure. Throughout the week it continued to radiate and appeared not to thirst. The “budding” scientist in me monitored it closely; just when would it wither? I left it where I had first placed it, where I could see it as I worked at my computer.
Throughout the week I was nurtured by it, pausing now and again and reflecting that I had never been so moved by a single flower. Finally, on the seventh day, I detected slight curling at the edges of the petals. As I left the office for another weekend I reverently disposed of my treasure, for indeed it was a treasure.
During the course of the week, as I walked to the bus stop, I observed the bush whence it had fallen. Surprisingly, the other “live” flowers were rather ordinary by comparison. Their petals did not appear to be silken, nor were the colors the same shimmering brilliance (there were nice, however). Interestingly, when I looked again for this bush during the second week, it was no longer there. There was no evidence that it had ever been there.
Never before have I been so moved by a flower. I have always been appreciative of them, particularly of roses and the more fragrant tropical flowers. On numerous occasions I have spent hours meandering through the botanical gardens of the Huntington Library in San Marino, and my former spouse always kept our residence full of flowers and plants (her African Violets were always in bloom). But my special flower, le petit fleur orange, was unique. Not only did it bring me great joy, of which I am most appreciative, it continues to do so, as a vivid memory not yet inclined to attenuation.
The old academic riddle comes to mind, raised early in one’s curricula, as to whether or not there is sound if a tree falls in a forest but there is no one there to hear? For my part I have satisfied myself that the answer to this riddle is in the definition of sound. If it is de- fined as the generation of waves being transported through whatever medium, however generated, then there is sound. If it defined as the perception of these shock waves, then there is no sound.
Had I ignored this nascent flower on the sidewalk, would it have opened and shone with such vivid, intense beauty, and with such duration? Perhaps, but I suspect that perception and appreciation were reflected a hundred-fold – that this made a difference. On the other hand, perhaps the perception of the bees, ants, birds and other creatures would have elicited the same response.
I am reminded of an incident thirty years ago while attending college: While conversing with a fellow student as we awaited the com- mencement of our Anatomy and Physiology class, we stood near a large flowering bush outside the classroom. It was a warm, windless evening, and we had been considering the
possibility that flora were sentient, but with a completely different sense of time. (This was a few years before The Secret Life of Plants was published.) At a propitious pause in our conversation, while considering communication with plants and speculation on ways of measuring responses, a flower from the large bush next to us disengaged itself and fell to the sidewalk, landing directly between our feet. There had been no physical contact with the flower or the bush, nor any wind. My classmate looked at me and said, “Aha!”
A BUMP ON A LOG
How I came to be seated on a log, in a forest, near a remote ocean beach in Northern California, is not important. I was there. What would have been perceived as unusual to a casual observer was the fact that I was dressed in a suit, but not an ordinary suit; it was an elegant forest-green suit with subtle brown pin stripes. For all intents and purposes it was as if I was wearing camouflage, but wool, tai- lored and unintentional (camouflaged, that is). But of course I was not anticipating encountering any human observers, casual or other- wise.
In addition to being there, about a mile from the Feather River Inn on the Northern California coast south of Eureka, was the fact that I was inert. I had found a comfortable seat on a log that was located in a shaded and sunlit dappled area that offered an excellent view through the foliage and tree boughs toward the beach some fifty yards distant. From the log, which had fallen near the side of the steep hill from which I had descended, I could see and hear the breaking waves. I relaxed my gaze and quieted my mind to a semi-meditative state and had become just another point of awareness in an enclave of flora and fauna on a warm summer’s late afternoon.
After about an hour, I calculated I had a few more minutes before I should make my way back to the main road. Highway 101 was sev- eral hundred yards behind me. It was a half a mile up the road to the parking lot of the Feather River Inn where I had parked the Rolls. Instead of dining at the inn I decided to take a stroll down toward the beach, but I had wandered a bit farther than originally intended. Still, I had plenty of time before my appointment to meet the passengers whom I had driven from San Francisco, for the return trip.
It would not be accurate to describe the area as deserted, but it was nearly so. I had not seen anyone for over an hour. As I sat there, however, I became aware that someone was slowly making his or her way down the narrow trail on the adjacent hillside, on the same trail I had traversed. I glanced briefly up the hill to the descending figure on the shaded wooded hillside, then turned by gaze back to the sea and my attention to the sounds of the breaking surf in the distance.
After a few minutes, however, I became aware that the sounds of the person moving down the hillside had ceased. I casually turned my head to survey the scene and saw that a woman had continued for a ways on the trail and had stopped at a point just about eye-level from where I sat, but was slightly elevated from my position and approximately ten feet away. She had selected that spot to make water and had just taken down her clothing and assumed a squatting position. Obviously she had no idea that there was anyone else in the vicinity, this being far removed from pedestrian traffic. However, at precisely the instant I turned my head and noted her presence, she turned her head in my direction and, in micturation’s mid-stream, saw me for the first time.
For an instant our eyes locked, with mutual surprise. In a millisecond I considered the situation and possible appropriate responses as to what to say or do. What I did do was simply to turn my head back to the sea, say nothing, remain still and, visually at least, to not fur- ther intrude on my new neighbor’s privacy. After all, I was there first. Soon thereafter she ascended the hill, at a pace less leisurely than her descent.
There is no moral to this tale. It was simply a moment of surprise, but I have to laugh when I consider the expression on the woman’s face as she turned her head and discovered that she was not alone in the secluded woods as she had supposed. The bump on the log in the periphery of her vision was a man dressed in a tailored, wool suit of the same color and shades as the log and leaves and trees – per- haps a leprechaun.
You never know what you might run into in the woods. I imagine this is something she subsequently confided to someone.
HIT THE RIM LOADED
The four of us decided on the spur of the moment to drive from Southern California to the south rim of the Grand Canyon – my wife, a good friend from college, and his girlfriend. We drove straight through, a long haul made easier by sharing the driving, good conversa- tion and spectacular scenery.
It was about ten or eleven at night when we arrived, having had a good laugh a few minutes earlier as we passed a billboard for Kodak film exclaiming, “Hit The Rim Loaded” – an advertisement for color film.
Ken’s girlfriend had driven the last leg of the journey. Both she and my wife had not ingested any mushrooms. They would retire for the night shortly after we pitched our tent, being exhausted from the long trip and in anticipation of hiking on the following day. Ken and I, however, were feeling the effects of the mushrooms, and sleep was not on the agenda.
Having arrived late at night, we selected what appeared to be a campsite in a secluded area surrounded by huge sagebrush. After the large tent was pitched, our gear stowed, a fire started, and the women had retired, we sat around the campfire during an intermittent lightning storm. I
t never did rain hard, just a few sprinkles now and then, but the fire was never extinguished and the ground was never very wet. What little rain there was seemed to almost evaporate just before touching the ground, causing the fire to hiss and pop; the distant lightning and rolling thunder continued throughout most of the night.
The sky was never totally overcast and stars were always visible in patches as the calico and patchwork display of clouds and light were laced with occasional flashes of distant lighting and ac- companied by brief incandescence of distant cloud formations.
The fresh air, the sage, the scent of rain, the burning wood, and the effect of the mushrooms all contributed to an unforgettable night. Ken and I talked of many things: philosophy, God, god (upper and lower case) school, work, humor, life, death, the macrocosm, the mi- crocosm.
We frequently did not speak, but just gazed at the dancing images within the flames and smoke, marveling at the dazzling em- bers. Because of the distance and ongoing lightning, at times one would gesticulate and lightning would appear to dance from the ends of our fingertips.
One of us commented of having read somewhere that electricity is one of the ways that God is made visible, and made the point by rais- ing a finger and, almost as if on cue, lightning seemed to extend from the end of the extended digit. Laughter.
It was a timeless night, moments, eternal moments: fire, rain, wind, light, dark, shadows, embers, laughter, then silence. Now and then Ken, a giant of about six and a half feet, with red hair and beard, would stand, hoist and heave a very large rock, or was it a very small boulder? There was no particular point to this activity other than to see how far he could throw the large rock – every once in a while – and feel the earth vibrate as it succumbed to gravity, there being no escape velocity on this night.
Now and then I would take my guitar and play – lost in the music; lost in the velvet embrace of the mushrooms. The music was like a raga; it had a life of its own. It would decide where to go, not I. The music would evolve, then fade away. Then it would be time to stoke the fire, then more conversation punctuated by periods of silence. THUD would go the boulder, one more time, as the giant exhilarated in being strong, in being. Then, more music… a joke. Laughter – a belly laugh this time.
It was a glorious non-passage of non-time, a contradiction in terms, I know, but there is no describing the Tao. Eventually the night be- gan to transition to day and the effects of the mushrooms began to wan; the fire burned low; the embers smoldered. The aromas of the sage, damp sand and distant rain lingered – and still linger thirty years later – these little packets of events beyond the confines of linear time – eternal moments.
And then, a surprise: amazement, really. We had been all alone in the desert; our loving consorts safely ensconced nearby. But we were not alone. As the circle of sight from around our campsite began to expand with the morning light and we peered past the sagebrush en- circling our immediate vicinity, we observed tents, tents, and more tents.
What fools we had been to believe we were alone in the desert. There was a population on the scale of a small military bivouac. Had we any idea of the human population encamped nearby, how dif- ferent would have been the night, how much more considerate we would have been. There would have been no periodically tossed boul- ders; no nocturnal concerts; no loud debates, musings, and cosmic speculations; no crude jokes; no audible flatulence.
Throughout the remainder of our encampment, none of our neighbors ever said a word about our nocturnal shenanigans. I would like to think that some of them might have been entertained. I know I was.
THE LOST MONARCH
It was a hot afternoon, and the air was heavy with the exhaust from buses and cars in near gridlock. A blue haze filtered the view of the steel and concrete jungle, where the heart of the Financial District intersected with Market Street. The back of my shirt clung to my sweat-moistened back as I worked my way through throngs of pedestrians, holding my breath in an effort to avoid inhaling the sky-writing exhaust of a passing bus.
Suddenly a flash of yellow fluttered past my face.
A Monarch butterfly materialized out of the haze and flitted erratically, first one way, then another. The incongruous spectacle was riveting; one of Nature’s most fragile and beautiful life forms was struggling through toxic fumes, seemingly lost, indeed a stranger in a strange land if ever there was one.
I quickened my pace in an effort to keep sight of its semaphore-flashing velvety wings as it intermittently faltered, then accelerated its flight in an alternating rising and descending pattern, inches from vehicular and pedestrian traffic. It occasionally fell, seemingly about to succumb to heavy air laced with exhaust from belching trucks and buses, avoiding physical contact at critical junctures.
Finally, an oasis presented itself: a small flower stand at a crowded intersection. The Monarch briefly alighted on one of the potted plants, a moment of relief, but within seconds it was off again, skimming the bobbing heads of pedestrians at recess from glass and con- crete cages of commerce. It flitted away on a zigzag course – a blinking yellow dot that soon disappeared through a curtain of purplish blue haze. A lost Monarch, but not alone. I shared a small portion of its journey and wished it well; hoping it would be able to find its way out of the maze of fabricated products in an oppressive petrochemical atmosphere.
For a moment I felt sad at the spectacle – at the thought that the odds were not in favor of its finding a natural life-sustaining environ- ment. Then it occurred to me: perhaps the Monarch was a beacon, or a messenger dispatched by a greater Consciousness, suggesting, “follow me; set yourself free.” The semaphore of its wings decoded:
Marks the end of
One more day
On this spinning, glowing Island of Iron, Water, and Sand. Rearrange the earth,
To some degree.
Walk the land –
Trace the shadow
Of your hand
Gesturing to horizons
Waving free as
One can be
While bound by
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
The experience was totally unexpected and the result of chance and of unique physical circumstances. I had boarded the California Line cable car in San Francisco; it was twilight on Christmas Eve, and the air was crisp as twinkling holiday lights glowed with halos accen- tuated by a thin fog and rapidly attenuating ambient light.
I boarded at the end of the line, at the bottom of California Street. Having arrived before most of the other passengers, I selected a seat on the outside of the cable car. Soon the car was crowded with passengers, and we were off, the bell clanging and people exuding holi- day cheer and good will, talking and laughing. Most of the standing positions on the outside step were occupied, but two more women boarded at the last moment, just as we began to pick up speed.
They squeezed onto the step just in front of me, holding tight to the verti- cal posts designed for passengers who were standing. The car was fully occupied now and there would be no room for additional pas- sengers for several blocks.
The women were en route to Grace Cathedral for a Christmas Eve choral event, as ascertained by their comments. They were attractive and bubbling with energy and seemed to be riding the cable car for the first time ever, taking in the sights and enjoying the holiday cheer of other passengers. A cable car passing from the other direction required that passengers standing on the interfacing outside steps squeeze inward to avoid physical contact with the passengers hanging off the other car as they passed. Accordingly, the woman di- rectly in front of me moved forward a few inches.
I was locked into my position, having earlier assumed the most compact position possible to accommodate my neighbors. I could not move my legs any farther back or down; my feet were flat on the floor with my heels abutted against the backboard. Nor could I move my legs laterally because of the passengers on either side, although my knees were slightly parted.
I was comfortably seated erect and as far back as possible as the woman in front of me moved forward to make room behind her as the other car passed. She was wearing jeans and a coat that came to her mid-thighs. In order to make room, she parted her legs slightly and straddled my right knee, then pushed forward on my leg. It was a fairly intimate position, although I was certainly aware of the necessity for this action. She was not actually seated on my knee or leg, but I could feel the warmth from her body, which was less than an inch above my leg and all the more acute because of the crispness of the cold winter air at day’s end.
After the other cable car had passed I expected the woman would resume her original position, but she did not and as the cable car lurched and bumped its way up the hill, we swayed and jiggled in sympathetic motion. The woman’s inner thighs, and occasionally her crotch, would intermittently brush against my knee and leg. I wasn’t sure if it was just my imagination, but her body heat seemed greater than before. Now and then the inch space between my leg and her body diminished. Gradually, she physically pressed against and slid on and off my leg with what I came to realize was deliberate action.
By outward appearances nothing untoward was occurring. My demeanor having remained unchanged and her movements concealed by the length of her coat and the press of adjacent bodies and the bumping and swaying motion of the cable car, occasionally jerking to stops and starts amid the ongoing conversations and vista gazing of our fellow passengers. The woman’s companion was busy scanning distant views and holiday decorations, making occasional remarks to her friend, who responded appropriately.
We continued on this way for several blocks. After one physical encounter, when she pressed a little harder for just a bit longer, I casu- ally glanced at her eyes to determine her level of awareness; she was looking directly at me, smiling slightly. It was no accident and it wasn’t just my imagination. She was riding me, and enjoying herself. For the duration of our ride together, having become unspoken physical partners, we occasionally glanced at each other, our steaming breaths blending with those of the other passengers and with the fog. It was an erotically stimulating ride for several blocks.
The space between her body and my leg was no longer present and she smoothly rode my leg back and forth with the swaying of the cable car, but done with a natural motion not suggestive of lewdness. I sensed that she was becoming increasingly stimulated, by virtue of direct contact with my body, whereas my arousal was sub-tumescent and related to her perceived pleasure.
My destination was to the end of the line, on Van Ness Street. My unnamed consort’s was Grace Cathedral, a fact I had overheard shortly after she had boarded as she conversed with her companion. As we approached her stop I considered my options. To hastily ini- tiate conversation; to disembark and attend the same festival and then initiate a conversation; or to continue to my original destination and with my original plans. In the end I thought that it best not to intrude upon the plans of the two women. I thought perhaps that I was reading more into the experience than she was. I resigned myself to my decision. I would continue on.
The cable car lurched to a stop and, with one final motion she squeezed my leg with her thighs and stepped away with her friend, glanc- ing back quickly with a smile and just a hint of a pantomimed kiss in my direction as the cable car moved away. In retrospect, I believe I should have abandoned my original plans. I should have taken the chance to at least enhance my cultural experiences by attending the choral event at Grace Cathedral. My chances were good for making her acquaintance, and I would have liked to know her better – per- haps in the Biblical sense, being Christmas Eve and all. Who knows, perhaps this was the elusive “Ms. Right.”
Generally it is unwise to second-guess one’s actions. In retrospect I know that we shared mutually reciprocated erotic desire. This is not novel. What confused me at the time was that the experience was instigated by an attractive female stranger in a public place under un- usual conditions, unusual from the perspective of an average guy – the stuff that fantasies are made of. I had no prior experience of be- ing desired by a woman who was unknown to me. I have been well conditioned by custom and convention, and am aware of escalating
political and sexual “correctness” and the consequences of associated misunderstandings. However, should an attractive woman ever again straddle my leg on a cable car, and not disengage in a reasonable period of time, well….
I am reminded of an incident some years past when I was riding a Greyhound Bus late at night. The bus had stopped at a small station and a woman boarded and took the seat next to me. It was late, about 1:00 a.m., and I had been sleeping; soon we both drifted off to sleep. At about 5:00 a.m. the bus stopped at another small station and the same woman departed. As she was leaving her seat she spoke to me for the first time, “Good-bye,” she said. I sleepily replied, “Nice sleeping with you.”
TIME FOR a few rants, raves, and miscellaneous observations in keeping with my peripatetic observations, beginning with thoughts associated with a 2005 drive from San Diego, California to Vancouver, British Columbia, to Topeka, Kansas, and back to San Diego.
All the way, from San Diego to Seattle in late April 2005, from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, the cost of gasoline was within a nickel of $2.51 per gallon. The first significant price variation for fuel was in Wyoming. After turning east in Seattle, having first visited British Columbia, I drove through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and then on to eastern Kansas. In Topeka, regular gas was $2.00 per gallon in Early May, about the same as Wyoming fuel prices.
The cost of living is lower in Topeka, as compared to San Diego, in terms of rents. Real estate prices range from one-half to two-thirds less than California prices, and 20% less for gas, but groceries are much higher. A sandwich in Topeka costs 10-20% more than similar fare in California, at least at the southern end of the scale to which I have become expert. Higher food costs probably represent addi- tional shipping costs, considering that Kansas is the geographic center of the lower forty-eight. Also, the global new world order corpo- rate controller types have devised methods to ensure increased profits to their oil-based interests by shipping produce from South America to California, and then on to Kansas where today, in late May, I can purchase a single orange in Topeka for 70 cents! Meanwhile, California citrus groves have systematically been destroyed in favor of parking lots and malls. This has the ultimate effect of allowing the privilege of purchasing an orange for nearly a dollar instead of a few cents, an oil-inflated price resulting from being shipped half way around the world. One is lucky find the orange not desiccated when peeled, from too many days in transit, an experience not un- common. Few things are as disappointing as a juice-less orange – at any price.
The drive from San Diego to Vancouver, British Columbia was probably as near perfect as there ever will be. It was divided between day and night driving during mid-week. I set the cruise control at 59 mph and stayed in the right lane. Other than exiting for gas or for rest stops, I probably touched the brake pedal no more than three or four times in over a thousand miles. There was the additional bene- fit of discovering the joy of driving without shoes and with legs fully extended, with small pillows strategically wedged between me and the door, on top of the arm and elbow rest, behind the lower back, and behind my neck. I was driving the living room couch and viewing the landscape through a picture window.
In central California I encountered rain near Stockton, which continued until well past Sacramento. I cruised downtown Stockton after stopping for gas and was surprised that it appeared to be reasonably lively and livable, which was not what I expected. Back on the free- way I elected to stay inland on Highway 5, and bypass San Francisco and the coastal region.
Prior to passing through Stockton I paused briefly in Fresno, impulsively exiting the highway as I was about to bypass the city. I was curious about some of the places I had visited almost fifty years ago, specifically 805 Weldon Avenue. This was the residence of a former stepfather – Bob Robinson.
He had moved his real estate business to Fresno in the 1950s – with his father, George Robinson – from Topeka, Kansas via Palo Alto, California. Bob was the only real father figure in my life, if only for a brief period between 1945 and 1949. Still, these were formative years for me. Like a duckling, I was imprinted. Eight years later, as a young marine, I found myself sta- tioned in Southern California in 1957 and 1958 near the El Toro Marine Corps Air Base in Southern California, I occasionally made the trip north to Fresno and stayed for weekend visits with Bob at the Weldon Avenue apartment. Later I married the girl from back home (Billings, Montana) before going overseas to duty stations in Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan. I visited for a few days following reen- try into civilian life in late 1960, and then we lost contact.
I surprised myself by quickly locating Weldon Avenue after only ten minutes, by chance. The old residence has been well cared for, fifty years on. The coin- operated laundry across the street, which Bob also owned, has been converted into small apartments. I don’t know if Bob is still alive. He is not listed in any
current Fresno directory, and since nothing turned up in Internet searches, I suspect that he has by now passed from this world, or else he is elsewhere in retirement.
Downtown Fresno gives the impression of being tired, more in a state of decline than rehabilitation. This generalization is probably un- fair, but still – an impression. By contrast, I had imagined Stockton to be a more desolate city, appeared more vibrant, progressive, and alive. Stockton appeared to be a community in ascension, whereas Fresno appeared to be in decline.
Otherwise, other than the occasional rest stop I didn’t stop again until Redding, California, and later again at Mount Shasta City. This was a particularly pleasant period – just after sunrise, with lifting mists and rising pheasants from fields and roadside, when disturbed by my passing. Several hundred miles of meditative, blissful awareness and little thought of anything except being tuned to my senses of the road and shifting panorama. At each new segment the beauty of the land impressed me, and I found myself thinking how nice it might be living here should an opportunity present itself. This pattern kept repeating and escalating as I penetrated farther north through Ore- gon and Washington.
At Mount Shasta City I stopped for a bit of a walkabout in the crisp morning air in the downtown area, a pleasant collection of shops and businesses. After a short tour through some of the residential areas, I was back on I-5 headed north.
A word or two about designated rest stops: I give thanks for them to the Powers That Be who were responsible for their construction! These useful and generally well maintained way-stations at intervals rarely more than fifty or seventy miles apart for the entire I-5 San Diego to Canada route, although less frequently encountered throughout the interior states. These were places to pull over and sleep, with the added security of fellow travelers and truckers, not to mention the convenience of usually heated facilities and a place to brush one’s teeth. There was a time when I regarded such amenities as places for sissies, but no longer. I now appreciate them. Perhaps I have become a sissy. If so, I don’t mind.
I remember the ways of the open road in the era of Route 66 and tee-pee style motels, when a water bag dangling from the front bumper was considered standard equipment when venturing through the desert. I recall a period when I always seemed to be required to stop at a particular garage in Blythe, California, when traveling from Phoenix to Los Angeles – always with a radiator problem. This happened on three successive trips, and was the reason I acquired a Volkswagen. No radiator to contend with, and very few mechanical problems. Nowadays we have different issues; however, being stranded by the side of the road today is usually less dire and of shorter duration than in bygone times.
I cannot even imagine making a transcontinental trip with a covered wagon, although I would be more inclined to do so on horseback and with pack animals. It staggers my mind when I contemplate that when Lewis and Clark first explored the West, the first Europeans to see the West Coast, it was less than the span of three of my lifetimes in the past.
Onward, to Canada: Portland seems to be an interesting, thriving metropolis, as does Seattle and, as I later observed after returning from Canada, Spokane. However, considering that it was nearly midnight when I arrived in Rain City, I decided to press on the 180 miles past Seattle to the Canadian border and then to Vancouver, B.C. – stopping just south of the border for a brief nap, and then crossing into Canada just after sunrise.
Changing US dollars to Canadian currency had been a concern since San Diego. The teller at my San Diego bank said it would be a two-day wait for currency conversion, which was understandable, but I was leaving on the following day. The teller had never heard of traveler’s checks. Therefore, I withdrew $1,200 in cash and proceeded, with the intention of making a currency exchange at a bank near the Canadian border. As it developed, this was not convenient to do so due to the time of my passage, and I learned from a clerk at a gas station north of Seattle that US currency is accepted throughout Canada. It would have been prudent to exchange currency at a bank be- cause I discovered that although the US/Canadian exchange rate was then 1 to 1.25, the Canadian retailers usually skimmed 10% for themselves.
The Canadian border official didn’t appear happy to see me. On the contrary, he was rather rude in a specific way. He asked about my destination. I said that I was going to a retreat located at Sechelt Bay just north of Vancouver, via the Langdale Ferry. He almost spit the word “retreat” back in my face. His voice was laden with sarcasm.
“Retreat? What is the purpose of this retreat?” I considered my options before replying. With a tone-of-voice that implied the unspoken words of “would you believe?” I replied that the purpose of my trip was spiritual rejuvenation. It would have been too obvious and perhaps escalating an unpleasantness to have simply said “to re- treat,” and comment that the general purpose of a retreat is to have no purpose.
After a considerable pause, he typed at his computer. Following a cursory glance at the heap in the back of my car, which consisted of two suitcases, a guitar, a laptop computer, and some clothing and bedding, he asked if I would be taking everything with me when I left Canada. I replied in the affirmative. This was not entirely true because I had forgotten about the bag of Fuji apples in the trunk, which I had purchased in San Diego. (The host at my destination was incredulous that I had entered Canada with San Diego apples – when I of- fered her one; we immediately ate the evidence). The border guard returned my
passport and allowed me entry into Canada after I promised I would take everything with me when I left, apparently deciding that a 65 year old white male driving a newish Ford with Caifornia plates did not pose a considerable threat to the citizens of Canada – at least not on that day.
A couple of days later I was discussing this with a Canadian citizen, a shopkeeper. She said that Canadians themselves were occasion- ally denied reentry into Canada – and they were citizens! I asked why. She said it could be for any reason, such as they were not suffi- ciently meek, or because they may have looked the “wrong way” at their gatekeeper. I asked what recourse did Canadians have in such circumstances. She said to try again – another time and place. It was just a way of life.
I gathered, from overhearing some of the locals – old timers, mostly farmers – talking together over morning coffee, that all is not well in Canada in terms of the Canadian government’s relation with some of its citizens. It seems to be even more adversarial in some ways than in the US – generally in relation to tax matters and making ad hoc arbitrary demands regarding proofs and additional documenta- tion associated with revisiting business activities in prior years as a means of generating additional tax revenue.
I happened to read a newspaper story about a store in North Dakota located fifteen miles south of the Canadian border. In years past this specialty store traditionally did about a third of its business with Canadians who drove the fifteen miles south of the US/Canadian border. The Canadians were finding it too difficult these days to cross the border; the news article didn’t specify which direction of travel was more difficult. The Canadians said it now isn’t worth the hassle to drive the few miles into the US for shopping as had long been the custom, resulting in significant impacts to many businesses south of the border.
[Mount Soapbox: Begin Rant – Summer: 2005]
This is not the Canada of the 1970s. Recent agreements between the US and Canada ensure that there is no longer an alternative or safe haven available for anyone from the US who cannot abide the new-world order of preemptive wars predicated on lies and deception. There will be no escaping to Canada in the coming draft when middle-aged National Guard members refuse fifth and sixth tours of du- ties.
Recruiting results are in decline in part due to thousands returning with disabilities ranging from missing limbs, to exposure to toxic residue associated with the depleted uranium used in offensive explosives, a condition generally referred to as Gulf War Syndrome. A little discussed fact is that approximately 30% of those who served in the first Gulf War are now deceased or permanently disabled as the result of chronic illness and injuries.
One brave woman, Air Force Captain Joyce Riley, a nurse and veteran of the first Gulf War, has labored tirelessly on behalf of veterans ignored for years by the VA. These vets complained by the thousands of symptoms and conditions denied by the VA until sufficient num- bers of them died and others found themselves deteriorating physically and financially – unable to work, unable to live.
Captain Joyce Riley spent years in the documentation of thousands of cases of these vets, assembling facts and statistics, and probable causes of the Gulf War Syndrome. After over a decade of work, the VA doctors finally acknowledged that there “may be” some concern after all. What was formerly dismissed as psychosomatic and malingering is being reconsidered in the face of thousands dying at an early age after returning from the Gulf War, having been discharged, ignored, and forgotten. Captain Riley struggles on, a dedicated health professional and continuing advocate for the voiceless veterans poisoned by exposure to radioactive weapons (of mass destruc- tion), the deployment of which – in the first place – should be regarded as crimes against humanity.
Captain Riley, during a recent radio interview, that she recently found her name on a terrorist watch list on a government watch site! She, an officer, a veteran, a professional, without a criminal record, has been anonymously added to a government terrorist watch list. Does anything believe this is anything other than payback for asking the wrong kind of questions about unpopular issues?
I recently saw a news interview of government official responding to a question by a reporter with the statement, “You’d better watch out. (Because you ask questions such as you just asked) Your name may be added to a list.”
Question authority in the interest of justice and correcting wrongs, oversights and just plain stupidity and you may be labeled an unpa- triotic coward, a psychotic, or a terrorist. A nameless, faceless, spineless functionary with the ability to add a name to a secret list may render anyone unable to board an airline flight in a timely manner. Why? Your opinions are not “approved” by someone who is never identified nor called to account, often resulting in nothing more than politically motivated tactical harassment.
If someone is deemed a serious threat to fly as a passenger, then there should be sufficient cause to arrest and charge such persons accordingly.. Or immediately deport them. Otherwise, if no crime has been committed and no warrants for arrest have been issued for specific persons, all passengers should be treated equally in terms of screening and boarding and travel.
Taken to an absurd and illogical extreme, if someone on a list cannot be allowed to fly from point A to B, why should they be able to take a train, bus, drive a car, or even walk – or remain “free”?
Let us not forget those who suffer from their experiences as witnesses and participants of torture and violence on a scale not natural to being human. If they protest, they are branded as cowards.
One forty-five year old sergeant in the army was forced to be strapped down on a gurney and flown to a psychiatric unit after he reported what he perceived as unlawful conduct by others in his unit (without due process or discussion).
To justify the invasion of Iraq, the president repeated the mantra “weapons of mass destruction” – shouting it repeatedly like a man possessed, month after month.
Meanwhile in Africa, hundreds of thousands are beaten to death with rocks and clubs, other highly effective forms of weapons of mass destruction being much in evidence, but of no apparent concern to the US, Europe, Asia, the UN and/or re- gional powers. He never mentioned prior US support of Iraq for many years in recent history, when the US provided Iraq with many weapons in the then stated interest of regional stability. At the time it was convenient to do so. Even so, after this tactic proved to be less than effective, it has resulted in providing a theater for radicals where none existed before.
Fundamentalist religious crazies now have a place to focus destructive activities in pursuit of their anticipated rewards as promised by those who have convinced them of their delusions. Note: those “teachers” of dark, dastardly deeds usually have no intention of doing what they advise others to do. Let someone else do the dying; they prefer their virgins here and now.
On Memorial Day, 2005, our leader speaks of toppling two “terrorist regimes.” No more WMDs to shout about. Never mind that Iraq had no strong ties to terrorists prior to the invasion and, in fact, was an adversary of our current number one bad guy (Sammy, i.e., Osama), who was then supported and supplied by US policies vis-à-vis the USSR in Afghanistan. Never mind that many other nations harbor more active terrorists whose sworn national enemy is the US – such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, North Korea (an abbreviated list). If Iraq proved to have weak or no links to terrorists prior to the invasion, that can no longer be said. Terrorists subsequently flocked to Iraq to prosecute their demented visions.
There is no shortage of those who hate the US. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that our country has bases in dozens of countries worldwide, and has for over fifty years. How would we feel if our country were occupied by a foreign power – for generations on end?
Murders and assassinations are now routine government procedures – some carried out by unmanned drone aircraft, out in the open, and recognized as legitimate activities by a government which no longer discerns any distinction between the means and the ends. Terms such as “extra-judicial procedures” are used instead of what it is: Murder. Due Process be damned (too difficult).
Personal rights won by the hard-fought sacrifices of our parents and grandparents are systematically being rescinded in the names of security and order, at the cost of the overused but apparently little understood words of liberty and freedom (another overused and little understood word is “intelligence”). The values of the post World War II generation as once taught in our public schools are no longer recognized. Instead, they are regarded as quaint, such as once commonly shared views about torture, as expressed by the US Attorney General when referencing long accepted world standards such as the Geneva Accords. Of course mercenaries and private security folks need not bother with such details.
When these issues are raised for discussion, the responding mantra is they are all lies. Credibility is denied anyone who cites evidence of torture, abuse, and unlawful detention of significant numbers of people who have never been terrorists, but have no access to due process to plead their case. If innocents are rounded up with the bad guys, that’s too bad. Anyone who thinks or says otherwise is ac- cused of being unpatriotic. You must not dissent. If you do, you are unpatriotic.
You may not be able to fly but we won’t arrest you because you have not been charged with a crime. You may not be able to work. You may not be able to support yourself. You might at some future time be given a ticket to one of the various detention centers kept in readiness for malcontents and other elements of the great unwashed, because “someone” has placed your name on a list as being a terrorist – no matter if it is truth or fiction. An anonymous phone caller has the power to launch a Swat Team to a wrong address with no knocks or warrants to murder unsuspecting folks unfortunate enough to be there.
Nothing has to be proved. No matter that possibly up to half to two-thirds of those detained are thought to be entirely innocent. No more of this “innocent until proven guilty” nonsense.
These proponents of the New World Order wrap themselves in a flag, pretend to value liberty and disdain big government, but act con- trary to their stated values and purported objectives, probably more often in ignorance than fundamentalist fervor or greed. They make the nation and world a more dangerous place as the result of their shortsighted actions, and act as if the Constitution of the United States is a quaint idea.
The president thought the war could be fought and won on the cheap – with troops being greeted by flower-throwing citizens of Iraq. Surprise! He even assured a fundamentalist conservative preachers that there would be few casualties.
Yet, US forces were unable to secure perimeters to protect and secure weapons depots, or national treasures – resulting in providing adversaries with additional means to prosecute their agenda. They were able to take possession of munitions caches and valuable museum artifacts – as good as cash to purchase more munitions from, guess where? Could it be from the USA, the world’s largest arms supplier?
[Insert Note, July 2014: It should be noted that a couple of months ago, circa May, 2014, finally, the USA agreed to stop producing/selling lands mines, after decades of being one of the two nations in the world opposed to the banning of land mines – the other country, I believe, being North Korea.]
You do not extinguish a fire by pouring gasoline on it. But that is what is happening. Many of those passing themselves off as our so- called leaders are doing much the same as this. They will say anything as long as they have an opportunity to assume power and make money with a privatized open-ended war effort and to promote undeclared agendas of service to the corporate new world order.
Usually this is done while invoking words such as freedom, patriotism, and national security while restricting freedom with counterproductive legislature and ceding unlimited power to one individual. In so doing they are making a mockery of national security, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in acting in ways that erode the ideals upon which this nation was modeled.
This must please our enemies to no end. They themselves could do no better to harm an adversary. One of my mistakes was, as a young person, assuming that the USA defeated Germany and the Nazis in 1945. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that Germany never signed surrender papers, but rather a truce, and that their whole spy apparatus headed by a General Gehlan was incorporated into the USA by President Truman along with the Paperclip project (I have read he later regretted his actions) which formed the backbone of what became the CIA.
I believe that Ralph Nader was correct when he stated there is very little difference between Democrats and Republicans. It was under former president Clinton that his attorney general Reno could not serve a routine arrest warrant for weapons violation (isn’t it always so) on David Koresch during one of his many shopping trips away from his “religious” compound. The local sheriff said he could have easily done this, many times, and without incident. Instead, the federal authorities found it necessary – insisted -to escalate a conflict with tactics befitting the Gestapo, with loudspeakers, tanks, and media restrictions – eventually resulting in the horrible deaths of scores of innocents.
Likewise, under this same Democratic administration, the FBI was exonerated when one of their snipers shot and killed (murdered), without warning, the wife of one of their suspects – again someone accused of violation of a weapons law – Randy Weaver.
Mrs. Weaver was shot while holding her baby in her arms, while standing on her front porch, unaware of the FBI sniper hidden several yards distant. Somehow the FBI and the courts upheld this action as being justified.
It baffled me then, and still does, as did the National Guard firing on peaceful demonstrators at Kent State University in Ohio, some years earlier (Reagan’s administration), killing several unarmed students.
Most people are unaware, being too preoccupied with the current baseball, football, basketball scores, the sore muscles of millionaires athletes, the latest Star Wars movie, or whatever carefully packaged consumer-oriented distraction dribbles out of the infotainment box babbling in bank lobbies, elevators, post offices, homes and offices – disguised as news.
[Stay numb; stay dumb; move along; there is nothing to see here; do you believe your lying eyes, or us?]
It was a Democratic Secretary of State, Madelyn Albright, who answered in the affirmative in response to a question from a newspaper reporter when asked if she thought the sanctions against Iraq were worth it.
The sanctions were thought to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi children and other innocent civilians. Yes, she said, she thought it was worth it. At the time, I thought this was just like pouring gasoline on a fire. How thoughtless! How stupid!
There was recent extensive coverage about Libya’s capitulation in terms of their involvement with those who were responsible for the destruction of an airliner over Scotland several years ago.
Most everyone is familiar with at least the cursory facts of this incident. What is rarely mentioned, however, it that it was originally thought this event was a response to the unprovoked shooting out of the sky of a civilian airliner some months earlier. Specifically, an unprovoked incident when a US warship in the Mediterranean shot down a civilian airliner which had just taken off from a civilian airport in Europe.
Five hundred civilians were killed. Most of the victims were Mus- lims, men, women and children. The US compensated the families of the victims for this unprovoked incident. It was never made clear as to why it happened in the first place.
The ship was the USS Vicente. It was cruising the Mediterranean at a time when no hostilities or wars had been declared. There were no unusual international tensions other than the long-ignored situation in Yugoslavia, when NATO sat on its hands for several years and did nothing in the face of atrocities and deterioration in that country.
The only explanation provided was the commander of the ship thought the civilian airliner taking off was some kind of an unspecified threat.
The first casualty of war is said to be Truth. In this day of managed news, consolidated media, dismantling of anti-trust regulations, muzzling of reporters, embedded propagandists/journalists, or whatever they are called these days – there is nothing more clear than, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
With so many “mini-Reichtstag fires” in the news it is sometimes impossible to sort things out – at least from traditional sources. (“Trust the Force, Luke…”)
I’ve noticed that most of those who beat the drums most loudly for war as the party line are those who themselves have never been in harm’s way (bone spurs, football injuries, etc.).
They have found ways to exempt themselves because they had “more important” things to do (politics and power). But they do not hesitate to send little girls to battle, and squander National Guard resources on repeated tours of duty in phony national emer- gencies, sending someone else with inadequate equipment and training while trying to fight the war on the cheap.
These creeps who do not even allow the returning deceased to be photographed or accessed by the media. They dishonor those who make personal sacrifices in service to these posturing pretend leaders.
(Yes, I know this is a generalization, but this is the feeling of the moment. There are many exceptions; there always are. Still, in the main…)
Isn’t freedom wonderful? You are now free to move from one side of your cell – or designated area – to the other. The dimensions of confinement vary from about three feet to three thousand miles, give or take. And you had better stand up straight and smile and shuffle your feet at the designated frisk and checkpoints, comrade, except when your photo is being taken (no smiling allowed then, a new order from the New World order).
The penalty is denial of (fill in the blank – employment, money, food, liberty, and life). The citizen of a nation is now regarded as a consumer of the corporate new-world order with treaties superseding local democracies; the consumer’s responsibility is to shut- up, be quiet, consume, and then die – and don’t make a fuss about that, either.
I found myself recently looking over an article in the Monday, January 5, 1948 edition of The Topeka Daily Capital. The article was by Arthur Capper, the publisher of the newspaper, and former US Senator. The subject was that America should not give up freedom in or- der to aid Europe (“Can assist without Europeanizing”). Part of the article discusses a New Year’s card entitled, “There’s No Way Like The American Way” – because:
I can go to any church I please.
I can read, see and hear what I choose.
I can express my opinions openly.
My mail reaches me as sent – uncensored.
My telephone is untapped.
I can vote for what and for whom I please.
I have a constitutional right to a trial by jury.
I am protected against search and seizure.
Neither my life nor my property can be forfeited without due process of law.
The article is about much more than the above, which was referenced to make another point. The newspapers of Topeka, Kansas in the late 1940s were more robust, thoughtful and thorough than those of today, particularly considering recent media consolidations and the metamorphosis of news’ gathering, analysis and reporting to that of entertainment and propaganda. With regard to the items noted above, how many are applicable today?)
Nowadays, not too many people seem all that concerned that most measures implemented in reaction to perceived threats are irrational and have little to do with the real bad guys, and that usually the remedy is worse than the identified malady. It is the ordinary citizen, now usually referenced only as the consumer, who is inconvenienced, suspected, and disrespected as the result of knee-jerk reactionary regulations.
Regulations which have been implemented as riders to bills passed by spineless legislators who do not even read them, passed as deals in exchange for quid-pro- quo considerations, usually done in the dead of night with no debate or comment. Even well intentioned mea- sures are often counter-productive. They further the objectives of the true adversaries of freedom, whose intent is to erode and restrict freedom and liberty, often done in the name of the defense of liberty and freedom by incompetent bullies and cowards who wrap them- selves in flags, and hide within gated communities. It is insane! (the new normal).
Sometimes it is the well-intentioned do-gooders who are operating out of their depth as they aid and abet the objectives of the declared adversaries by the disruption and dismantling of the infrastructure of liberty and freedom, done in the name of the defense of same. First, you change the language. Call black white and white black. Say if often enough and soon it is assumed to be factual.
Never mind that Senator Ted Kennedy is known by sight to an airline employee as being who he is. The facts are clear to the airline em- ployee. Senator Kennedy’s name is on a list. Even though Senator Kennedy is known, he cannot fly from point A to point B because his name is on a list.
That is so because his name was appropriated by a low-life whose sole intent is to sow discord, confusion, disruption, all of which is accomplished because intelligence and common sense are not allowed. Never mind the facts of the matter – which include the absolute knowledge that Senator Kennedy is not a threat to anyone by flying on an airplane from point A to point B. This is irrelevant. His name is on a list. That is all that matters, because that is what it says on the list.
No one knows how names get on the lists. No one knows how names are removed. And who benefits?
Oh yoo-hoo, Alice? May I accompany you, down that rabbit hole? The letter of a foolish law must be obeyed by the gatekeepers, while the spirit of the law is frequently disregarded, all of which advances the objectives of those who wish to promote fear-based reactive and restrictive measures in the erosion of the social components of a free society. But, I digress.
[DISMOUNT SOAPBOX. END OF RANT.]
My apologies to the reader if the above may have been a little strident in some places. I can only say it was heartfelt, and cathartic. Additionally, it is, IMHO, reasonably accurate.
Also, as an addendum to the above remarks decades later, apparently my remarks ruffled the feathers of a few buzzards inasmuch as in recent years (2015-2018) I have had a number of in person death threats by hired low-life street thugs (usually youngish, up to 30 years of age), with clownish Keystone Kop-esque street surveillance and tailing tactics, with all the trimmings.
However, since I am still among the living (2020, such as it is), apparently this in-person in your face harassment and attempted intimidation (“I think I will have you shot”) by actors too young to do or know anything except as directed by one of the alphabet agencies. (I note that I lived a block from the local FBI HQ).
Clearly I am more fortunate than those many journalists such as Dan Winter of the San Jose Mercury newspaper in San Jose, California, and many, many others, who knew they were being threatened and were eventually murdered. Of course, their audiences were much, much beyond my modest communication efforts to a few.
Still, I must say, for the record, that I am aware that we live together in a diverse world – a diverse universe. There are many concurrent and coexisting “realities,” as defined and lived by one and all. That being the case, allowances should be made for the fact that there is something for everyone. It is all happening at the same time. If one focuses on death and destruction, to the exclusion of all else – as the saying goes: “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” Conversely, intelligence, joy, and serenity, coexist, along with everything else – potentially in all places (yes, I believe this).
That on which we focus, we tend to manifest – depending on energy intensity and duration of focus. It is not all doom and gloom, al- though it can be if so desired – or not. It is up to each individual to make selections, refine values, and focus interests and intents in terms of how to spend one’s time and energy in the days of our lives.
Our moment to moments extend forever as a series of infinite now- points, in effect being eternal. Additionally, some of us believe there are over-arching interests and agreements on many levels (beyond immediate daytime consciousness) which also factor into our world-views and what we choose to focus and manifest.
For my part, I believe one would do well to “be loose,” be joyful, strive for excellence, intelligence, discernment, and seek to ally with those who wish to pursue happiness as a reality, and not a “quaint” idea.
My initial impression of Vancouver, B.C., was that in many ways it resembled San Francisco. However, after driving for an extended period through the city it became apparent that Vancouver is much larger than San Francisco. Much! Although I cannot state why, exactly, and even though the cityscapes, parks, languages and various groups of people were nearly identical to that to which I am accustomed, I felt as if I had been inserted into an alien landscape, almost a cartoonish caricature of a metropolis. Most likely this feeling was the result of having just spent the better part of three days and nights driving at a meditative and leisurely 59 mph on cruise control, with legs fully extended, shoes off, and assorted supporting cushions. I drove for extended periods in isolation and with limited or no traffic and an almost percussive explosion of wildflowers and green growth for hundreds of miles as the result of an unusually wet spring, the likes of which I have never seen before.
I followed directions to the ferry to Sechelt (pronounced See-Shalt) Bay, a $40 Canadian ($32 USD) round trip fare. The ferry runs ev- ery two hours. My timing was good and we departed shortly after my arrival. The vehicles were directed to drive onto three decks quickly and with military precision by an efficient crew.
I settled into an upper-deck lounge area for a 30 to 40 minutes crossing to The Sunshine Coast. Two older women were seated nearby. I learn they were nurses. We had a pleasant conversation for the duration of the crossing. I learned that had I timed the crossing for a Tuesday, there would have been no charge for seniors, even for a non-Canadian. By the time we were ready to disembark I felt I was in the company of friends.
Most of the people I encountered were friendly and helpful, as is usually the case, whether here or there. Usually it is a matter of extending oneself in a friendly, genuine manner. I recall one conversation I had with a young Canadian woman, age twenty, and her comment to me that, unlike some other people she had been meeting lately, that I was not “duplicitous.” She trusted me. We spent a pleasant afternoon together as we explored fractal geometric images with a computer program. We had a pleasant conversation, totally in the moment, with no expectations or motives other than a polite and respectful exchange of views and opinions on a variety of subjects.
When I first approached the residence and grounds of the sanctuary via short private road serving private residences and bed and breakfast establishments, I saw an earth-tone tiger kitten walking through the tall grass at the edge of the road. I had a feeling that this was a special feline, and most likely associated with Inner Sanctuary, which proved to be true. Shanti, the house kitten, became a special friend to me, and a frequent napping companion. It had been a long time since I had heard a kitten purr, and this was just what I needed.
When I arrived at Inner Sanctuary, Christina received me warmly. She had expected me two days later, but it didn’t matter. I settled for a week plus two extra days. I had no definite schedule, and allowed myself up to six months if that seemed appropriate. I was open to be moved by Spirit, one way or another.
The retreat is a large, two-story residence on an acre in the midst of trees and a garden overlooking Porpoise Bay at an elevation of a few hundred feet. At regular intervals each afternoon, a seaplane arrived and departed.
The central part of the village was situated less than a mile away, at the bottom of the hill. It didn’t take much effort to get to know the town. Two or three small stores and gas stations, restaurants, and assorted shops and bakeries served basic needs.
Of course there was the ever present McDonalds (with a fireplace), and one large central supermarket. Upon visiting the supermarket I was again reminded of how little real food can be found, although there are plentiful aisles and shelves for all manner of cardboard facsimiles of food and household items, and acres of junk food.
I was again reminded of how much we should treasure and support local markets – especially farmer’s markets. Later I discovered a local Chinese- owned produce shop, with reasonably priced grapes. The owner seemed to have one or two of just about everything, but not much more. His English was not good, but with money and gestures, communication was not a problem.
My original plan was to spend at least a month in Vancouver. At the Inner Sanctuary I was assigned the to Zen Room. The single win- dow opened to a shaded area next to a small hill. The leaf-filtered natural light was always dim, entering through the single widow, and the natural light was insufficient for reading in this room. The room itself, although comfortable enough for sleeping, had limited elec- tric lighting, and no table or chair. Although there were a few outside deck and lawn chairs, the interior of the entire house consisted of floor cushions and ceiling and wall draperies and carpets. Still, no tables or chairs were available for indoor use. The large living room was well lighted by day, and it provided a grand view of the bay.
One day I spotted a stranger in the yard, a black rabbit seated in the center of the lawn. It appeared to be taking in the view while pausing for refreshment, and then it disappeared into the shadows of the undergrowth bordering the lawn.
Otherwise, Shanti the house kitten was the lioness of the manor and yard and gardens, with numerous cat-access portals into the house.
Crows and eagles contributed to a peaceful setting. The general auditory environment consisted of the frolicking crows and periodic arrivals and departure of a seaplane in the bay a few hundred feet below. On occasion there could be heard a faint growling noise of a gravel-processing plant located a few miles away on the opposite side of the bay.
Late in the afternoon of my first day at the sanctuary, I sat alone in the living room on floor cushions, stretching and relaxing after three days in the car. I began to play some chord progressions on my guitar – the Guild G-37 maple arch-back I purchased new 30 years agoin San Francisco, to replace the Gibson ES-125 stolen from my apartment on Capp Street.
I found a musical groove in a progression from D minor to B flat and F, having lifted the chops several years ago from a Larry Coryell album. I slowly repeated the progression, articulating each note, allowing them to ring true to attenuation.
After a while I was joined in the room by a weekend guest, a beautiful woman named Rebecca. She was with her four-year-old son and infant daughter. Rebecca seated herself nearby and began to sing – blending her beautiful voice perfectly with the progression I was repeating. This continued for a few minutes while Rebecca nursed her infant daughter, her face in the streaming sunlight, her son playing nearby. She was beautiful and radiant – her voice flawlessly and perfectly complimented the guitar. These golden moments eventually ran their course and the demands of Rebecca’s son were asserted.
Rebecca was facing the window looking over the yard, trees and bay. I was seated with my back to the window. Rebecca said that an adolescent eagle was perched on top of a tree in the yard, and from her line of sight it appeared to be perched on top of my head. With- out hesitation I pulled down the collar of my shirt to reveal the tattoo of an eagle high on my left shoulder – now almost 50 years old, and said it seemed appropriate, somehow. These few moments were priceless, well worth the drive from San Diego to Vancouver. I would do it again for another few minutes of bliss.
I spent some time playing kick the ball around the living room with Rebecca’s son, a free spirit chasing another free spirit. He had a cold, but it didn’t slow him down. The following day I visited for a few minutes with another woman who was visiting for a while; she lived elsewhere in the village. After we conversed she excused herself and said she had to go home to bed because, as she explained, she was really sick. It was never clear to me why, feeling so sick, she should take a break to visit with friends and strangers.
The following day I felt a tickle at the back of my throat which I recognized as the early warning symptom of a respiratory infection beginning in the larynx, having experienced this a half dozen times in my life. Sure enough, the tickle rapidly developed into a moving infection of my sinus, and then to a condition of bronchitis. I hadn’t even had a cold for over three years, but I intuited that I was in for a spell of heavy weather; this proved to be the case. Really heavy weather!
I sincerely believe that we can and do manifest – individually and collectively – everything in our lives, including our health. I endeavor to maintain this perspective, but there are times when conscious efforts and awareness are superseded by energies beyond our immediate abilities to manifest otherwise. There may be reactive periods to more subliminally assertive energies and there are time delays related to our overarching conscious and subconscious intent. Metaphorically speaking, when your boat has been swamped by a freak wave in a sudden storm, one had best reach for a bucket to bail, and weather the storm.
Although I was at least fortunate in not having this flu-like respiratory infection cycle through my lungs, tonsils, or throat, it did settle into a persistent bronchial infection of some duration and intensity. I don’t believe I developed a fever, but it was three weeks before I was finally free of coughing and lingering effects.
I intuited that the state of my health was going to take a hit. I am accustomed to riding out the occasional bad weather in solitude, and I rapidly assessed my personal circumstances. It was not my wish to impose my respiratory infection on anyone else at my newly arrived at living environment – even though this was where I first encountered sickness in others and then my personal symptoms.
In addition to these considerations was the lingering “road buzz” body vibrations of many hundreds of miles of driving and the almost peristaltic urge to continue on the road. And then, finally, there was the discomfort of living without adequate light – in my room – and the absence of a table, chair, or couch.
After a few days of living on floor cushions and sleeping on a ground-level futon, I longed for a regular chair, table, and adequate light for reading. Although I do not require much to be happy, these constitute the bare minimum.
Concurrent with these considerations was my communication via the Internet with the manager of an apartment complex in Topeka, Kansas. I had been in contact with her some months earlier. Topeka is where I lived from the age of about five to nine. In recent years I have had three vivid dreams about traveling to and being in the Topeka area. The dreams were associated with pleasant emotions and feelings.
As I tend to act on my impulses more often than not, I acted when it developed that an apartment was then available. Following an Inter- net (VOIP) phone call, I mailed checks for the deposit and a month’s rent prior to leaving Canada. I had a place to which I could point my car 1,800 miles southeast, knowing I could gather myself in a personal domain without first having to find a place to land. I was relieved that my Canadian associates would not be subjected to my frequent coughing and exposure to my bronchial infection.
I anticipated that I would probably be more comfortable spending three days seated upright while driving in the car during the long drive in- stead of supine on the floor in a dimly lighted room. After arriving at my new apartment, I would not have social considerations with which to contend, until I felt sufficiently recovered.
Thus, after only a week in Canada, I was on the road again, at a steady pace, with 59 mph set on a cruise control rarely disengaged. The miles easily slipped by. After reentering the US at Vancouver – happily, with no difficulties or attitudes to contend with (although I did have to remove my sunglasses to demonstrate that I did not appear to be stoned, apparently).
I turned east at Seattle for the long trek across Washington. I would cross northern Idaho, Montana, then drop south through Wyoming and most of Colorado before turning east at Denver and proceeding to eastern Kansas, to Topeka.
I was bypassing the high mountain passes farther south in Colorado, still potentially dangerous at this time of the year – in the first week in May. I was surprised to see that the elevation was only 5,500 feet when crossing the continental divide.
I regret not making note of the location, but I recall it was only a few hours east of Seattle, in the Idaho panhandle. I intended stopping for a few hours in Missoula, Montana, but somehow I passed it by; I recall seeing no signs to exit the highway for Missoula, but I must have skirted it – unaware.
The small city of Livingston, Montana appeared to be “real.” I stopped for the first restaurant food of the entire trip, and to do my laundry. Livingston is one of the few places I encountered anywhere without the usual jumble of fast food franchises and cookie cutter retail outlets now sprinkled across the country and throughout most of the world. The town appeared to be a little shop-worn and dog-eared, but it was uniquely itself.
After doing the laundry I had lunch at a restaurant located at the railway station. The two waitresses working the counter called me “honey” and “sweetie,” as if they really meant it. One of them, of course knowing that I was a road-weary stranger, seemed to be send- ing signals that she might be available if I were inclined to make another appearance and demonstrate some interest. She was a kindly soul, not unattractive, but romance was not a priority. I certainly did not want to expose her to my still developing respiratory infection.
It was easy to identify the regulars at various tables, and who was just passing through. I was the only one seated at the counter. It was a fine, sunny day. An old timer who appeared to be about ninety was seated in a wheel chair outside the front door, dozing in the sun. He literally was on his last leg; one had been amputated. Inside, one of the waitresses said she thought she should go outside and wake him, to give him a pill. This seemed to be the kind of town where people look out for each other.
Livingston is less than a hundred miles west of Billings, where I spent three years as a teenager, just before enlisting in the Marines. On the road again, about fifty miles outside of Billings, I encountered the first rain since leaving California. Thunder, lightning, and heavy wind gusts followed me to Billings and throughout the rest of Montana and Wyoming for the next several hours.
I passed a sign advertis- ing 20 acres parcels of land for $80 per acre! I was thinking that $1,600 seemed reasonable for a place where one could go and sit and spit (and pay taxes) for part of the year, even if the land was only scrub. I shook off this thought and focused on the road ahead, knowing that at this stage of my earthly sojourn it is unlikely that I’ll become a Montana rural property owner. (Also, I considered that probably a zero or two had fallen off the price, most likely blown away by the wind.)
The lightning flashes increased and the sky darkened as I literally blew into Billings with mighty gusts from the storm which, after a while, diminished to intermittent showers. At first nothing was familiar. This was my first trip back to Billings in almost 50 years. The freeway signs said take the next three exits for Billings. When I was last in Billings, there was no freeway. I took the first exit and promptly got lost and spent an hour on rural roads west of town, but because of the thickening rain, long rural roads, no signs, and no people, I had no idea which end was up.
Eventually the rains abated and it became sunny again. I made my way downtown after I recalled it was sited near the rim rocks, and finally seeing them, I angled in that direction. The near night had become a bright, sunny, late afternoon. I finally got my bearings and soon found myself driving past my former school – Billings Senior High School, and the adjacent football field where in my sophomore year I put on the pads and hit the practice sleds with lunge blocks while being timed by coach’s whistle. The school appeared un- changed.
I quickly located my old neighborhood, but the apartment building where we lived with a quarter acre garden in front, tended by Claude Forker, the owner, with his heaps of scrap metal in the back of the property, was gone. It its place now stands a building, looking new: an Elk’s Lodge.
However, three blocks south, I found the house where Sharon, who later became my first wife, lived with her mother and stepfather after they moved to Billings from Pierre, South Dakota.
Her stepfather, Al, was a geologist for Shell Oil Company. At the time I was 14 years old; Sharon was 15. Her old house is not yet derelict, but it has not been maintained well, as it was when she lived there. But it has been 50 years.
The apple tree in the back yard, under which we spent a few evenings in summer, was still there – although much grown. The tree triggered some memories – including singing together, Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me.
Now vacant. I sat in the car and gazed at the wall of this old building and recalled a strong visual shadow image one night in the spring of 1954. I had just left Sharon’s house after seeing her home. We had been to see a movie – a musical; I believe it was Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain (or else Fred Astaire in Daddy Long Legs).
After saying goodnight to her at her door, and a kiss, I started to walk home past the grocery store across the street. It was late a night, nearly midnight, and the shifting triangulation of a street lamp and my passing created a vivid shadow of myself projected onto the wall of the store. The shadow rapidly changed shape, morphing from one of regular dimensions to that of a muscular, hulking figure, quite different from my then 5’10” 135 pound slender frame. The contrast between the bright wall of the grocery store – well lighted by a nearby street lamp – and my hulking black shadow was remarkable. I thought so at the time, even though the visual event only lasted a second or two. It made a strong impression, amusingly so, as over the years
I have recalled that evening and shadow image on several occasions. Now, over 50 years later, I found myself at the same wall and recalled again this visual image from long ago. What a trip – literally, and figuratively.
After a minute or two I rouse myself from my reverie. I point the car southeast, in the general direction of Wyoming, and soon I am past the edge of town. I have seen my old school, have ascertained that the old apartment is no longer, and visited the home of a first love. My business in Billings is concluded, and there are miles to go.
East of Billings I stopped for gas. I ask and receive directions to Highway 28 from a grizzled cowboy wearing spurs as we water gas our mechanical ponies from adjacent pumps.
As is almost always the case in the northwestern states, and especially in Montana, most people are helpful and friendly, a natural way of being.
A couple of states back I had pulled into a drive through coffee stand in downtown Spokane. The college age young man spoke naturally and easily, as if he had known me all his life. He noted my out of state license plate and guitar and clothes in the back. He asked how the trip was going, and if I would be pushing on until daybreak, and agreeing that he would do the same, when I replied in the affirmative. Then adios, see you later.
There is a significant difference between Pacific Rim states and the states farther east – especially Montana and Wyoming. Smoking indoors in restaurants and gas stations and truck stops is not permitted in Pacific Rim states. But in going east it is different. Truck stops are blue haze death zones. Everyone inside is smoking at the same time, and the air is universally bad. There is no escaping the stink of stale cigarette smoke.
It seemed that at one truck stop the clerks were all coughing themselves to death. I held my breath for as long as I was able, then left as quickly as possible. If ever there is an incentive to pay at the pump with a credit card, this ranks high.
Until now I have preferred cash and go. If I should ever go on the road again, frequently, I will start using the card instead just to avoid going inside these zombie zones. You have to stand in line for five to ten minutes behind people loading up on chips, and smokes, and all manner of junk food – everything except gas, and they are all puffing away at the same time while the sales clerks are all hacking with their coughs. And I think to myself, “What’s wrong with this picture?”
In such moments I hold my breath for as long as I am able and recall the good old days when getting gas was fast and generally a pleasant experience. The attendant at the island fueled the car and collected payment at the pump.
I was surprised to find that in the state of Oregon it is mandated by law that there be full service at all stations at all times. I was told that the state of New Jersey is the only other state with a similar law. The penalties are significant for both the motorist and the gas station for pumping your own gas, with fines of thousands of dollars for each.
I was quick to learn that “full service” meant the attendant only pumped the gas. I checked my own oil and cleaned my own windshield. The air station is usually at a separate location. I’ve found that some stations no longer offer water, although they do have beer and soft drinks; I suppose they would make do in an emergency.
One station had a silly scheme where the attendant pumped the gas, but he was not allowed to collect payment for the gas. He would give you a slip of paper to take inside the station to pay a cashier. After standing in line behind those buying junk food, eventually the cashier collects for gas when it is your turn; at that time the cashier stamps the slip of paper to take back to the attendant at the pump who is standing by your car. The attendant at the pump collects the paper slip stamped by the cashier and then discards it as trash, and allows you to take possession of your car. (Not much of an audit trail.)
I am reminded of how business is conducted in parts of China, as reported to me by a former colleague who moved to Beijing with his wife to work for an American business located there. Several people are often employed to perform a task that could be performed faster and more efficiently be one person. In China, this frequently is a deliberate strategy to create jobs. An example is the purchase of a single stamp at some Chinese post offices: one person accepts payment for the stamp; another person issues the stamp; a third person issues a receipt for the transaction. All very official and proper – similar to buying gas at some stations in Oregon.
The rains increased in frequency, duration, and intensity as I left Montana and crossed Wyoming from north to south through the night. Lightning was the rule, rather than the exception; it developed for the next three weeks that I encountered more lightning than I had cumulatively encountered during my entire lifetime to that point.
At the time I left Montana I was considering the problems I would be facing in removing a considerable patina of bugs from the front of the car. This problem soon resolved itself after moving through one severe storm cell of such intensity that I decided that in the interest of safety I should discontinue driving until the storm abated. This I did not do because the rest stops on Wyoming highways are less frequent than states farther west. By the time I located a spot where I could pull over, the rains has ceased and the car was bug free. I took the occasion to sleep for an hour or two and continued on at daybreak.
In Wyoming I encountered odd situations in remote areas – the likes of which I have never seen before. Specifically, very large drop- down road barriers, similar to the ones at railroad crossings, but larger. They were located randomly on lonely stretches of the inter- state highway. There were signs at the base of each
warning of a two years in prison and fines of five thousand dollars for “violation.” For violation of what was not clear, at least as I was not able to note specifics in passing the barriers and signs at speed; perhaps small print provided additional information, which one would have occasion to read while stopped at a lowered barrier.
I cannot imagine the purpose of these “Check Point Charlie” style barriers located in the middle of nowhere. It seems unlikely that they are related to road closures due to snow conditions. The elevations were non-mountainous, and two years in prison and fines of thou- sands of dollars seem severe and out of proportion for someone who has become stuck in the snow. I suspect there may be other activities having to do with road movements (of whatever – fill in the blanks) not to be witnessed by passing motorists. Who knows? Real information is difficult to come by these days.
There is little incentive for an informed general citizenry, but plenty of incentive for dog-and-pony shows, infotainment, and other distractions for people for purposes of control and manipulation. Above all, there is an agenda to foster a consumer mentality in the public; thus, “consumer” has replaced “citizen” in most media vocabularies. Consumers should not question authority, incompetence, or insanity, all of which can easily be hidden behind an official act of secrecy, usually in the name of national security. As a broken clock provides the correct time at least twice in a 24-hour period, one must allow that, similarly, secret acts can and do have their places and times.
I suspect, however, that abuses abound, and that more often than not they function to keep hidden the folly of fools. Not that this has anything to do with passing unknown road barriers, not lowered, in the night in remote stretches of the high plains, with serious penaties of imprisonment for “violation.” So much for the home of the brave and the land of the free.
But the mind has a tendency to wander and chatter unless brought back into focus, with a reminder to one’s self that thought is definitely related to manifestation. Sometimes immediate, but usually deferred for a time. Therefore, rather than becoming a one-trick-pony con- spiracy spectator, it is prudent to monitor one’s thoughts and speculations and to maintain focus on positive aspects of society and creation unless otherwise compelled by events of the moment to do otherwise. In any event, in this neck of the woods there were no alternatives in driving hundreds of miles from point A to point B – north to south – and I kept moving while the time for moving was available and uneventful.
The miles continued to effortlessly slip by my window as I penetrated farther south into Colorado. To the west I could see the Rocky Mountain Range shining in the morning sun, heavy with snow. Except for a persistent and frequent expectorating bronchial cough, I was feeling good. I had no fever. It was of some comfort to keep my respiratory struggles a private affair.
I made the last leg of the journey through Colorado, then west to east across the entire state of Kansas in a single day.
The entire journey was amazingly free from traffic, from San Diego to Vancouver, and from Seattle to eastern Kansas. I did spend one hour negotiating morning commuter traffic in Denver, but the traffic dwindled to nothing as I turned east, past the city limits. I almost always had the road to myself. Apparently few people travel long distances during the month of May. Even commercial truck traffic was light.
I considered that at this stage of my life I would probably be as happy as a trucker as I would be doing just about anything else – for wages. Truck stops provide facilities for showers and to do laundry for about $8.00. Most modern trucks have sleeping berths as standard equipment. With cell phones, laptops, tracking devices, and all the rest, the hazards of the road are less severe than in times past. The problem with this idea is that despite my personal feelings of vitality and health, generally, I don’t believe many trucking companies would want to take on a 65-year old driver.
These are just the facts of life. As the old joke goes, “When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep, just like my grandfather, and not screaming in terror, like his passengers.”
The final leg on the road passed quickly as I moved through Kansas, passing from hot, dry air into humid heat and air with a liquid feel on the skin. I did not recall this level of humidity from my early primary school days in Topeka, during the late 1940s. I later learned, in conversation with an old-timer and life- long resident of Topeka, that the local humidity dates from the early 1950s.
Following major flooding in Topeka in 1951, a series of dams and reservoirs were constructed in the surrounding area. Prior to this time the humidity was rarely above 30% when not raining. Since then, however, the average humidity locally has doubled as the result of the development of micro-climates related to the numerous reservoirs constructed as flood control measures.
Once in Topeka, I discovered that our old house at 1125 Harrison is gone. The entire block was redeveloped; this portion of the street is now a small park-like block leading to civic buildings. The same is true for the old business of Capital City Realty at 1017 1⁄2 Kansas Avenue, located a few blocks away. This entire block was redeveloped for the site of a large, four-story government building.
Polk School, the elementary school where I attended from kindergarten through third grade (circa 1945-48) is still standing, modern looking and functioning – having been reconditioned once or twice. These were happy years for me, 1945- 48. They were innocent years. Topeka then took pride in their schools, and they are still a priority.
Topeka High School was constructed in 1934 and it was the first high school in the entire country to cost more than a million dollars to build. It is still, today, one of the best high school buildings I have ever seen, with a nice campus.
I happened to arrive in Topeka in the early evening of a Saturday, May 7th, and drove past Topeka High School just as graduates were arriving for their Senior Prom. I was stopped at a red light in front of the school.
Dozens of boys, all in black tuxedos, and girls in their formal wear, in a group, crossed in front of my car to assemble on the front lawn of the school for group photographs prior to the dance. The light changed again, and several remained to wait for the next light.
As I proceeded through the intersection, one of the girls, wearing a close- fitting pearl colored gown with a single, white orchid, looked me in the eye with a smile and somewhat quizzical look, like, “Don’t I know you from some place?”
I thought, What if… What would it have been, to have zigged rather than zagged in this crazy zigzag time-line of a life, to have remained in Topeka and to have graduated from Topeka High School? To perhaps be this girl’s grand- father?
I spent five months in Topeka, until flooding from a heavy rainstorm entered my garden apartment, rendering it uninhabitable. I then returned to San Diego to reclaim my possessions from storage. I then moved to the State of Utah where I was able to spend some time near my aging mother, who was then in her mid- 80s, and who passed from this life a few months later.
Summer in Kansas was hot. HOT!
I know hot, having spent a few months in the Philippines and Taiwan while in the Marines, following military schools at Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida, and training in radar operations at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi and Yuma, Arizona.
But Kansas in July was, by far, the most heat I have ever experienced, with frequent rains and very high humidity. There were also perodic tornadoes – with neighborhood tornado sirens and designated shelters.
I adjusted my schedule to accommodate the heat, usually avoiding the heat of the day in my garden apartment. It was pleasant enough, to the extent that I didn’t have to turn on the air conditioning to beat the heat.
My brother had a good laugh when I told him that my apartment complex was situated between a zoo (within Gage Park) and a cemetery. However, the park was nice, and the residents of the cemetery were not inclined to be rowdy.
Late in the afternoon and early evening I would take my guitar across the street to the park and play for a couple of hours in one of the many gardens. I was usually alone, but occasional passersby would linger and listen.
I recall one gentleman who was walking in the rose garden with two children. After a few minutes he approached and said, “Thank you.” It made me feel good.
On another occasion – with very little light left – I was seated with my guitar on the railing of a stone bridge, but not playing. A woman approached with two little girls; she was playing some kind of “enchanted garden” game with her girls. She asked if I would play a song for the girls. I played Yellow Is the Color of my True Love’s Hair, much to the delight of the girls – both of whom had yellow hair – and their mother. Just my small audience and me in the company of fireflies in the dusky light amid heady scents of various flowers. A peak experience.
Many days were spent within the cool confines of the Topeka Room at the public library, a modern facility with free computer access to the Internet, or at one of the many nearby restaurants or coffee shops with free wireless connections. When venturing out by day I al- ways kept the air conditioning running in the Ford Focus, although the AC motor eventually gave up the ghost and ceased functioning in late summer.
I frequently drove the 35 miles to Lawrence, a college town, to buy books at The Dusty Bookshelf on Massachusetts Avenue. This street was a real find. It reminded me of a blend of Berkeley and Stanford – a very hip and happening kind of street. But HOT!
One day, I thought I would die before I could make it from the bookstore (air conditioned, of course) to my car, parked three blocks away. After walking only one block I was overwhelmed by what felt heat from a blast furnace. I sat – or rather collapsed – on a bus bench, overcome with weakness and a real feeling that I was taking my last breaths.
I know that dying is generally a lonely affair, and I am not afraid of the inevitable, but I was resistant to succumbing as a stranger on the streets of Lawrence – although in retrospect, I don’t know why that should make any real difference in the overall scheme of things.
In any event, I somehow willed myself to my feet and stumbled across the street and into the confines of a cool, marble table populated cafe where I ordered two iced lemonades. After a few minutes I composed myself, having concluded that I would probably live at least another day, and was able to get to my car a block or so away. The first thing I did was crank up the AC, one of the last times I was able to do so before it went south.
Topeka itself was less populated and less lively than during my youth. At that time – post WWII – housing space was at a premium and – until the great flood of 1951 – this was a growing, vibrant city – but no longer. I explored the city thoroughly in a few days, then settled into my personal routine of reading, research, and working on personal recording projects. Most of the people I met were friendly enough, although I made no real friends.
One unexpected observation was that of continuing racial tensions in the Topeka area. I had, perhaps naively, thought that our nation had made significant advances with regard to race relations. Unfortunately, it became evident that there are still simmering tensions in the Topeka area. Although “Brown versus the Board of Education” was adjudicated in Topeka a half century ago, in some ways it seemed as if it had been only a few weeks. This fact was referenced by the owner of a bookstore (of historical records) in Topeka, a thoughtful gentleman who referenced this sad state of af- fairs, as an ongoing fact of life in Topeka.
I noted a quite a bit of “attitude” (e.g., hostile staring) from time to time – in response to a friendly greeting from me or directed toward another white male walking by. I also noted that during events where primarily black folks would gather in the park for picnics, the police were busy checking cars in the parking lots, one by one, an activity not otherwise observed when white folks gathered in the park.
Another observed anomaly, was that of an extreme fundamentalist Christian church operating out of Topeka. They are known to picket at funerals of war dead carrying signs with messages stating – essentially – all the world’s problems – wars, hurricanes, whatever – are related to their belief that (their idea of) God is angry about gays in America. They are vocal, visible, hectoring and pesky. I was reminded of the so-called “reverend” Jim Jones – a real control freak, and paranoid to boot – who operated out of San Francisco about 25 years earlier.
My first puppy love was in Topeka. I was eight years old. Dolores was seven. We met in church, after I had delivered a three minutes talk entitled “The meaning of a Miracle,” written by my mother about relativistic attitudes related to what might be regarded in some ages as miracles, as limited by lack of knowledge of technological advances of future ages. Dolores and I adored one another. When leaving Topeka, knowing that I would never again see her, I had an aching heart. I may have been only eight years old, but I have never longed so deeply as I did then.
During my five-month sojourn in Kansas I revisited many youthful memories and tripped down various memory lanes. A final anecdote in conclusion to this mid-2005 three thousand mile drive and walkabout: a recollection from an event in 1946, at Polk School in Topeka: It was during a recess play period. I was in the first grade. The boys were all playing softball and the girls were jumping rope and playing hopscotch.
The boy’s softball game was proceeding with the established rules of rotating team positions in the field with each new inning. It was my turn to be the pitcher. Three successive events occurred, but at intervals so close together that they almost constituted a single event in time. It was closer than a bang, bang, bang sports-play. It was a single bang: three events in one.
I pitched the ball, moderately fast and within the strike zone. The boy at bat was a strong, athletic type, even at the age of six. He swung with all his strength and connected squarely with ball, the sweet zone of the bat connecting with the meat of the ball with a resounding THWACK at the crack of the wooden bat.
It was a slugging sound typically associated with a baseball hit for a home run. The ball was hit directly back to me. Without any conscious thought or effort on my part – because it happened so quickly, no thought was possible – my body reacted as if independent from my conscious awareness.
I stuck out my bare right hand and caught the ball. Thwack (again) with pain and such force as to create a blister a few moments later. Those were the first and second events: (1) Thwack: ball hit with force; (2) Thwack: ball caught one-handed, with pain and amazement, and with no thought or effort.
The third event was simultaneous to the ball striking and sticking to my outstretched hand: The recess bell rang and all the children, in- cluding the batter – who didn’t register that I caught the ball, nor did anyone else – turned around and ran back to the classroom.
I was left standing with pain, pride, amazement – and the awareness that nobody other than myself knew I had caught the ball with one bare hand, and not an ordinary hit ball under ordinary circumstances. That ball was slugged as hard as anyone of that age could have hit it – and I was very close to the batter.
As I think of this event, now almost 60 years later, this “three in one” event seems to have been an apt metaphor for what was yet to come for my then first grade self, for what has frequently transpired in the intervening years. That is pretty much how things have been in my life. Still, there is the knowledge that the deed(s) was/were done.
My faithful and constant companion has been solitude, although others come and go.
Moral of the tale: Look not to others for approval. Be your own leader. Look within, gather strength, and persevere. Il faut (d’abord) durer.
Allen Simco, June, 2005
End of one insert, and begin another; this one related to notes and associated comments associated with the recent reading of various more-or-less thematically related materials:
WHAT FOLLOWS are a few notes, thoughts, questions and reflections based on various readings. The initial focus related to these note takings was related to multiple readings of The Urantia Papers (or, The Urantia Book), and later expanded to include additional inspirational sources – at least for myself – and associated observations.
This activity has been expanded to incorporate encountered observations, humor, and wit appealing to my personal eclectic nature.
Questions lead more to more questions than answers. It is an exercise which for me refreshes and, from time to time, provides glimmer- ings of understanding in addition to stimuli for further reflection. This exercise will be expanded as time and circumstances allow.
Rather than making use of footnotes, I cite within the main body of the text all appropriate references.
This paper is intended primarily for myself; it is also for whomever may find something of interest herein; I suspect there are a few. However, it is not intended to convince the skeptic, or anyone, of anything at all. In the main, my primary personal objective incorpo- rates the expansion of a spiritual dimension and understanding – among other things. Those who would disdain such activities, in the interest of how best to utilize available time and energy, you would do well to read no further.
A FEW POINTS TO PONDER RE: THE URANTIA BOOK
[Urantia is said to be a higher universe language word for our planet Earth] From: The Urantia Book – Para. 3 – “The Infinite Spirit, The Conjoint Creator” “…His influence and personalities [plural] are ever near you; they really know and truly understand you.” Upon further reading:
Ibidem – P. 138, Para. 4: “The Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man represent the paradox of the part and the whole on the level of personality. God loves each individual as an individual child in the heavenly family. Yet God thus loves every individual; he is no respecter of persons, and the universality of his love brings into being a relationship of the whole, the universal brotherhood.”
Ibidem – P. 29, Para. 6: “It is literally true: ‘In all your afflictions he is afflicted.’ ‘In all your triumphs he triumphs in and with you.’ The Universal Father realizes in the fullness of the divine consciousness all the individual experience of the progressive struggles of the expanding minds and the ascending spirits of every entity, being and personality of the whole evolutionary creation of time and space.”
Ibidem – P. 100, Para 3: “The universe of your origin is being forged out between the anvil of justice and the hammer of suffering…” [??.. Bummer!]
Ibidem – P. 951 – Paper 86 – Para. 1 of Section 2: “Anxiety was a natural state of the savage mind. When men and women fall victims to excessive anxiety, they are simply reverting to the natural estate of their far-distant ancestors; and when anxiety becomes actually painful, it inhibits activity and unfailingly institutes evolutionary changes and biologic adaptations. Pain and suffering are essential to progressive evolution.”
“…Exploration of the phenomena of life sooner or later destroys man’s belief in chance, luck, and so-called accidents, substituting therefore a universe of law and order wherein all effects are preceded by definite causes. Thus is the fear of existence replaced by the joy of living.”
[Note: Elsewhere within the papers there is reference to (inevitable) “accidents of time.”]
Ibidem – P. 1203 – [Paper 110 – Relation of Adjusters to Individual Mortals] Para. 1: “The endowment of imperfect beings with Freedom entails inevitable tragedy, and it is the nature of the perfect ancestral Deity to universally and affectionately share these suffer- ings in loving companionship.”
Ibidem – P. 258, Para. 5: “The Creators are possessed of full power to make Urantia a veritable paradise, but such an Eden would not contribute to the development of those strong, noble, and experienced characters which the Gods are so surely forging out on your world between the anvils of necessity and the hammers of anguish.”
Ibidem – P. 1301, Para. 5: “Personality has the prerogatives exercising volitional choice… and if this is a true and free choice, then must evolving personality have the possible choice of becoming self-confusing, self-disrupting, and self- destroying. The possibility of cosmic self-destruction cannot be avoided if the evolving personality is to be truly free in the exercise of finite will.”
Ibidem – P. 104, Para. 8 (Last sentence on the page): “The Infinite Spirit is the perfect expression of the mind of the Creator to all creatures; the Supreme Being is the evolving expression of the minds of all creatures to their Creator.”
Ibidem – P. 103, Para. 6: “Too often, all too often, you mar your minds by insincerity… You subject them to animal fear and distort them by useless anxiety… The contemplation of the immature and inactive human intellect should lead only to reactions of humility.”
Ibidem – P. 115, Para. 7: “The Mortal mind can immediately think of a thousand and one things – catastrophic physical events, appalling accidents, horrific disasters, painful illnesses, and world-wide scourge – and ask whether such visitations are correlated in the unknown maneuvering of this probably functioning of the Supreme Being.
Frankly, we do not know; we are not really sure. But we do observe that, as time passes, all these difficult and more or less mysterious situations always work out for the welfare and progress of the universes.”
Ibidem – P. 1286, Paper 116, Para. 1 – The Almighty Supreme: “If man recognized that his Creators – his immediate supervisors – while being divine were also finite, and that the God of Time and Space was an evolving and non-absolute Deity, then would the incon- sistencies of temporary inequalities cease to be profound religious paradoxes. No longer would religious faith be prostituted to the promotion of social smugness in the fortunate while serving only to encourage stoical resignation in the unfortunate victims of social deprivation.”
Ibidem – P. 119, Para. 4 (Paper 11) – Nature of the Eternal Isle (Paradise): Not spherical – ellipsoid – being one-sixth longer in the north-south diameter than in the east west diameter. Essentially flat. The distance from the upper surface to the nether surface is one- tenth of the east west diameter.
Ibidem – P. 164 [Paper 15] – Para. 1: “As far as the Universal Father is concerned – as a Father – the universes are virtually nonexistent; he deals with personalities.” [??? It is stated elsewhere that “God is no respecter of personalities.”
Ibidem – P. 165 – last Para.: “Only the Universal Father knows the location and actual number of inhabited worlds in space; he calls them all by name and number…”
Q: Just what is the “Will of the Father”?
Ibidem – P. 1221 – Para. 3 [The Consecration of Choice]: “The doing of the Will of God is nothing more or less than an exhibition of creature willingness to share the inner life with God – with the very God who has made such a creature life of inner meaning-value pos- sible. Sharing is Godlike – divine… The imitation of God is the key to perfection; the doing of his will is the secret of survival and of per- fection in survival.”
Ibidem – P. 435 – The Seraphic Hosts – Para. 7, Quickeners of Morality:
“To the inhabited worlds the quickeners of morality portray mortal life as an unbroken chain of many links. Your short sojourn on Urantia, on this sphere of mortal infancy, is only a single link, the very first in the long chain that stretches across universes and through the eternal ages. It is not so much as what you learn in this first life; it is the experience of living that is important… the work of this world, paramount though it is, is not nearly so important as the way in which you do this work. There is no material reward for right- eous living, but there is a profound satisfaction – consciousness of achievement – and this transcends any conceivable material reward.
“The keys to the kingdom of heaven are: sincerity, more sincerity, and more sincerity. All men have those keys. Men use them – advance in spirit status – by decisions, by more decisions, and by more decisions. The highest moral choice is the choice of the highest possible value, and always – in any sphere, in all of them – this is to chose to do the will of God. If man thus chooses, he is great, though he be the humblest citizen of Jerusem or even the least of mortals on Urantia.”
Ibidem – P. 103: “Virtue is righteousness – conformity with the Cosmos. To name virtues is not to define them, but to live them is to know them. Virtue is not mere knowledge nor yet wisdom but rather the reality of progressive experience in the attainment of ascending levels of cosmic achievement. In the day-by-day life of mortal man, virtue is realized by the consistent choosing of good rather than evil, and such choosing ability is evidence of the possession of a moral nature…”
“…Moral acts are those human performances which are characterized by the highest intelligence, directed by selective discrimination in the choice of superior ends as well as in the selection of moral means to attain these ends. Such conduct is virtuous. Supreme virtue, then, is wholeheartedly to choose to do the will of the Father in heaven.”
Ibidem – P. 221: “And from all this, you mortals, just now taking your first step on the eternal journey, can well see that you must advance a long way before you will progress by “sight” and “material” assurance. You will long use Faith and be dependent on revela- tion if you hope to progress quickly and safely.”
Ibidem – P. 229, Para. 2: On a Mortal-bestowal Mission a Paradise Son is always born of woman… as Jesus did on Urantia… From a material viewpoint, these human-divine sons live ordinary lives with just one exception: They do not beget offspring on the worlds of their sojourn; that is a universal restriction imposed on all orders of the Paradise Bestowal Sons.”
Ibidem Para. 6: “When the Bestowal Sons, Creator or Magesterial, enter the portals of death, they reappear on the third day. But you should not entertain the idea that they always meet with the tragic end encountered by the Creator Son who sojourned on your world nineteen hundred years ago.”
Ibidem – P. 241 [Paper 21] Para. 2: The elevation of a sevenfold Bestowal Son to the unquestioned sovereignty of his universe means the beginning of the end of age long uncertainty and relative confusion. Subsequent to this event, that which cannot be sometime spiritualized will eventually be disorganized; that which cannot be sometime coordinated with cosmic reality will eventually be destroyed. When the provisions of endless mercy and nameless patience have been exhausted in an effort to win loyalty and devotion of the will creatures of the realms, justice and righteousness will prevail. That which mercy cannot rehabilitate justice will eventually annihilate.”
Regarding P. 250 – Paper 22 – Trinitized Sons of God:
This represents to me the most difficult reading of all the papers. No matter how thoughtful and careful a reading I attend to this paper, I cannot begin to comprehend.
I find the word “pathetic” in describing the nature of High Son Assistants – as used on P. 254, Para. 5 – to be offensive to the reader – particularly following a reference in a preceding paragraph where Pilgrims of Space are encouraged to aspire to such a state.
Paper 22, as contributed by one identified as a Mighty Messenger [which, according to references elsewhere, is defined as usually one for- merly a human/mortal personality] is mighty short of components of comprehension and elements of respect to both subject and reader.
The Urantia Book – P. 290- Last Paragraph: “Ability to comprehend is the mortal passport to Paradise. Willingness to believe is the key to Havona. The acceptance of sonship, cooperation with the indwelling Adjuster, is the price of evolutionary survival.”
Ibiem – P. 300 [Paper 27] Para. 4: “Ethical awareness is simply the recognition by any individual of the rights inherent in the exis- tence of any and all other individuals.”
Ibidem – P. 303: “Worship is the conscious and joyous act of recognizing and acknowledging the truth and fact of the intimate and personal relationships of the Creators with their creations.”
Ibidem – P. 330 [Paper 30] Para 2: “It is not possible to formulate comprehensive and entirely consistent classifications of the personalities of the grand universe… It would require numerous additional papers… Such conceptional expansion would hardly be desirable as it would deprive the thinking mortals of the next thousand years of that stimulus to creative speculation which these partially revealed concepts supply. It is best that man not have an overrevelation; it stifles imagination.”
Ibidem – P. 614 [Paper 54] Para. 2: “Even wisdom is divine and safe only when it is cosmic in scope and spiritual in motivation.”
Ibidem – P. 615 [Paper 54] Para. 4: “The free will of evolving man or exquisite angel is not a mere philosophic concept, a symbolic ideal.”
After the first and second reading of the following, I found this difficult to accept (in a word, disgusting). Upon continued reflection, while attempting to be as objective as possible – and considering the opposite implication – I have to acknowledge that the statement was likely not expressed in an effort to promote control of the strong over the weak, but rather in the consideration of components of society and evolution as a whole while dealing with variations
and extremes. [A less civilized proposal would be as advocated by Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot – i.e., extermination of most and enslavement of some.] Nevertheless, I continue to ponder this.
The Urantia Book – P. 771 – Top [Paper 68]: “The subnormal man should be kept under society’s control; no more should be produced (?) than are required to administer the lower levels of industry; those tasks requiring intelligence above the animal level but making such low-grade demands as to prove veritable slavery and bondage for the higher types of mankind.”
Ibidem – P. 780 [Paper 69] Para. 1: “Today, men are not social slaves, but thousands allow ambition to enslave them to debt. Involun- tary slavery has given way to a new and improved form of modified industrial servitude.” –—
I think of the scam of all the outstanding student loans to be a burden for life, in a society without employment or, for that matter, with- out even having provided a “real education,” or even the skills to work at a decent trade.
Ibidem – P. 865 [Paper 77] Para. 2: Contact Personalities: “In the contacts made with the mortal beings of the material worlds, such as with the subject through whom these communications were transmitted, the Midway Creatures are employed. They are an essential factor in such liaisons of the spiritual and material levels.”
Ibidem – P. 397 [Paper 36] Para. 4: “The number ten – the decimal system – is inherent in the physical universe but not in the spiritual. The domain of life is characterized by three, seven and twelve, or by multiples and combinations of these basic numbers.”
Ibidem – P. 402 – Last Paragraph.: “Things material may enjoy an independent existence, but life springs only from life.” [I am think- ing of particle consciousness, as expressed by various other sources.]
Ibidem – [Paper 39] Para. 4: “In the more advanced epochs of planetary evolution these seraphim (the Souls of Peace) are instrumental in supplanting the atonement idea by the concept of divine atonement as a philosophy of mortal survival.”
Ibidem – [Paper 39] Para. 2: “During this pause you will, as a citizen of Jeresum, attempt to express in creature life those things which you have acquired during the eight preceding life experiences – embracing Urantia and the Seven Mansion Worlds.”
Ibidem – P. 438 [Paper 39] Para. 2: “In the more advanced planetary ages these seraphim enhance man’s appreciation of the truth that uncertainty is the secret of contented continuity. They help the mortal philosophers to realize that, when ignorance is essential to success, it would be a colossal blunder for the creature to know the future. They heighten man’s taste for the sweetness of uncertainty, for the romance and charm of the indefinite and unknown future.”
Ibidem – P. 471 [Paper 42] Para. 5: “The Nebadon Melchizedeks long since denominated the phenomenon of the transmutation of cosmic force into universe power as one of the seven ‘infinities of divinity.’ And that is as far as you will advance on this point during your local universe ascension.”
Ibidem – P. 480 [Paper 42] Para. 1: “This sevenfold persistence of creative constitution is exhibited in the chemical domains as a recurrence of similar physical and chemical properties in segregated periods of seven, when the basic elements are arranged in order of their atomic weights.”
Re:Ibidem P. 532 [Paper 47] – Personal note: The last two paragraphs of this paper (“The Probationary Nursery”) are troubling to me, raising many questions which were not addressed by the paper.
Ibidem – P. 622 [Paper 55] Para. 4: “Such a Morontia temple also serves as the place of assembly for witnessing the translation of living mortals to the Morontia existence. It is because the translation temple is composed of Morontia
material that it is not destroyed by the blazing glory of the consuming fire which so completely obliterates the physical bodies of those mortals who wherein experience the final fusion with their divine Adjusters.”
[Could this be related to the spontaneous combustion of people, as occasionally occurs – and/or what is elsewhere referenced in the Urantia Books as “Son Seizures – i.e., occasional instances when mortals bypass some post material- mortal steps and fuse directly, while resident on a material planet?]
Ibidem – Cont’d. From P. 622: “On pre-settled worlds, planets without Morontia temples, these fusion flashes many times occur in the planetary atmosphere.”
Ibidem – P. 648 [Paper 56] Para. 5: “Love is the desire to do good to others.”
Ibidem – P. 656 [Paper 57] Para. 3: “This great column of solar gases which was thus separated from the sun subsequently evolved into the twelve planets of the solar system.”
This paper discusses retrograde motion precipitated by three additional planets from a passing/intruding neighboring Angona system; they were also captured by our solar system.
Ibidem – P. 658 – Talks about the original fifth planet which traversed an irregular orbit until it was fragmentized by gravity-tidal disuption when passing too near to Jupiter, and became the present day cluster of asteroids.
It is interesting to note that although there are detailed accounts regarding various geological and evolutionary events throughout the world, in great detail, there are only two fleeting references to Antarctica. Although there are thousands of words referencing the formmation of Europe, Asia, North and South America, Greenland, Iceland, and the Pacific Island, there is only a single sentence or two about Antarctica.
Otherwise, there is nothing of any significance about the stages of development of local fauna and flora, or any geological changes pertaining to this continent – unlike the highly specific and detailed descriptions concerning all other areas of the planet. During earlier epochs, climatic/geologic conditions were fairly uniform, with successive upheavals and flooding prior to continental fracturing.
The Uantia Book – P. 910 – [Paper 81] Para. 2: “At first life was a struggle for existence; now, for a standard of living; next it will be for quality of thinking, the coming earthly goal of human existence.”
Ibidem – P. 863 [Paper 77, Section 7 – The Rebel Midwayers]: “…This was accomplished in much the same way as the loyal Midway Creatures function when they serve as efficient contact guardians of the human minds of the Urantia Reserve Corps of Destiny at those times when the Adjuster is, in effect, detached from the personality during a season of contact with superhuman intelligences.” [??]
The above statement is strange, and without elaboration: At no other time is it stated that an Adjuster is detached from a human person- ality during the period of mortal planetary existence. Also, what is a “season of contact with Superhuman Intelligences”?
In my mind, the oddness of the statement is particularly acute considering that it is elsewhere stated that the creation of Midway entities is somewhat accidental, and not fully understood by the spirit personalities presenting these papers. That is, functioning as guardians of the human mind when a fragment of the original creator – First Cause – which indwells a human mind during mortal existence, takes temporary leave for a “season” … (etc., per the above).
Consider: a Midway Creature is sometimes subject to error – unlike the “Father Fragment,” or Adjuster, which normally indwells the mortal mind – aka: The Mystery Monitor.
Summery of comment/observation: An “accidental” and less than perfect entity acting as a guardian of a human mind in the (tempo- rary) absence of a “perfect” portion/fragment of the indwelling Thought Adjuster (“Mystery Monitor”)?
Notes from reading various (collected) essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson – for purposes of comparison and contrast (e.g., the sub- ject of “art”) to The Urantia Book.
IN THE URANTIA BOOK it is stated that whenever possible, information was appropriated and restated from various unnamed, his- torical earthly mortals – without referencing the source material, and that the subject was expanded only when historic references were inadequate for the purpose of the presentation of The Urantia Papers. The UP is stated (within the papers) – emphatically – to NOT be Divine Revelation, but “revealed” information, nonetheless. It would have been nice to know which portions of the papers were first published in the works of contemporary and/or historical personalities.
Excerpt from The Poet, by Ralph Waldo Emerson: ‘For the Universe has three children, born at one time, which reappear, under differ- ent names, in every system of thought, whether they be called Cause, Operation, and Effect; or, more practically, Jove, Pluto, Neptune; or, theologically, the Father, the Spirit, and the Son; but which we call here the Knower, the Doer, and the Sayer. These stand respec- tively for the love of truth, for the love of good, and for the love of beauty. The three are equal. Each is that which he is essentially, so that he cannot be surmounted or analyzed, and each of the three has the power of the others latent in him, and his own Patent.”
Excerpt from Nature, by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Nothing divine dies. All good is eternally reproductive. The beauty of Nature reforms itself in the mind, and not for barren contemplation, but for new creation.”
“…All men are in some degree impressed by the face of the world; some men even to delight. This love of beauty is Taste. Others have the same love in such excess that, not content with admiring, they seek to embody it in new forms. The creation of beauty is Art.”
“…What noble emotions dilate the mortal as he enters into the Councils of the Creation, and feels by Knowledge the Privilege to BE! His insight refines him. The beauty of nature shines in his own breast. Man is greater that he can see this, and the Universe less, because Time and Space relations vanish as laws are known.”
The Urantia Book, P. 2096, Para. 7: “Art results from man’s attempt to escape from the lack of beauty in his material environment; it is a gesture toward the Morontia level. Science is man’s effort to solve the apparent riddles of the material universe.
Philosophy is man’s attempt at the unification of human experience. Religion is man’s supreme gesture, his magnificent reach for final reality, his de- termination to find God and to be like him.”
[Regarding the above statement in re: Art – the attempt to escape from the lack of beauty…” As an artist, I have always endeavored to reflect (not escape) the beauty in the (material or otherwise) environment.
Although I have a high regard for most of what is presented within The Urantia Book, as evinced by much of what is presented within these notes, I find the above reference re: Art to be absurd (although, for some, it is no doubt true.)]
P. 52, The Agony And The Ecstasy, by Irving Stone: “No one could call you a saint, not with your crusty disposition. But all honest ef- fort to re-create that which God created orginally…”
“… is a form of worship?”
“Has in it a love of God’s universe. Else why would the artist bother?”
From My Unknown Chum (aka: Aguecheek – author unknown) Published by The Devin-Adair Co. In 1917, p. 57: “The pencil of Beato Angelico has consecrated that dead plastering, and given to it a divine life. The rapt devotion and holy tranquility of those faces reflect the glory of the eternal world. I ask no more convincing proof of the immortality of the soul, than the fact that those forms of beauty and holiness were conceived and executed by a mortal.”
The Urantia Book – P. 1123 [Paper 102] Para. 2: “Because of the presence in your minds of the Thought Adjusters, it is no more of a mystery for you to know the mind of God than for you to be sure of the consciousness of knowing any other mind, human or superhuman. Religion and social consciousness have this in common: They are predicated on the consciousness of other-mindness: The technique whereby you can accept another’s idea as yours is the same whereby you may ‘let the mind which was in Christ be also in you.’”
Ibidem – P. 1131 [Paper 103] Para. 8: “When a moral being chooses to be unselfish when confronted by the urge to be selfish, that is a primitive religious experience. No animal can make such a choice; such a decision is both human and religious.”
Ibidem – P. 1135 – Para. 4: “Theology is always the study of your religion; the study of another’s religion is psychology.”
Ibidem – P. 1109 – Para. 4: “…we who participate in the revelation of truth are very rigorously limited by the instructions of our supe- riors… Let it be made clear that revelations are not necessarily inspired. The cosmology of these revelations is not inspired. It is limited by our permission for the coordination and sorting of present-day knowledge. While divine or spiritual insight is a gift, human wisdom must evolve.”
Ibidem – P. 1150 – The Sixth Triunity – “The Universal Father; The Deity Absolute; The Universal Absolute: This is the association of Deity-in-the-Cosmos, the immanence of Deity in conjunction with the transcendence of Deity.” [??]
“This is the last outreach of divinity on the levels of infinity toward those realities which lie outside the domain of deified reality.”
Ibidem – P. 1187 – Prerequisites of Adjuster Indwelling – Item #1: “If a mortal has not been previously indwelt by an Adjuster, the assignment of a personal guardian brings the Adjuster forthwith.”
Q: I note no reference elsewhere of multiple Adjusters assigned to an individual! Just the opposite, in fact. No comprende! Although it is stated that this applies to times prior to the pouring out of the Spirit of Truth… i.e., Pentacost – the 7th Sunday following Easter – the 50th day.
The Urantia Book – P. 1208 – Last Para. – Relation of Adjusters to Individuals: “The Adjuster of the human being through whom this communication is being made enjoys such a wide scope of activity chiefly because of this human’s almost complete indifference to any outward manifestations of the Adjuster’s inner presence; it is indeed fortunate that he remains consciously quite unconcerned about the entire procedure.”
Ibidem – P. 1216 (last sentence) The Mind Arena of Choice: “And it is not so much what mind comprehends as what mind desires to comprehend that insures survival…”
Ibidem – P. 1217 – Para. 5: “Mind is your ship, the Adjuster is your pilot, human will is captain.” [I have always been fond of saying, “I may not power my ship, but I can give it direction.”]
Ibidem – P. 1220 – Last Para. – The Adjuster and the Soul: “This is the problem: If freewill man is endowed with the powers of creativity in the inner man, then must we recognize that freewill creativity embraces the potential of freewill destructivity. And when cre- ativity is turned in destructivity, you are face to face with the devastation of evil and sin – oppression, war, and destruction. All conflict is evil in that it inhibits the creative function of the inner life. It is a species of Civil War of the Personality.”
P. 349-350 – Post Captain, by Patrick O’Brian: “There are days – ‘good evening to you, Sir’ – a Parson went by, walking with his cat, the smoke from his pipe keeping him company as he walked – ‘there are days’ he reflected, ‘when one sees as though one had been blind the rest of one’s life. Such clarity – perfection in everything, not merely in the extraordinary. One lives in the very present moment; lives intently. There is no urge to be doing; being is the highest good.”
The Urantia Book – P. 1232 – Para. 3 – Survival of the Human Self: “The living cosmos is an all but infinitely integrated aggregation of real units, all of which are relatively subject to the destiny of the whole. But those that are personal have been endowed with the actual choice of destiny acceptance or destiny rejection.”
Ibidem – P. 1229 – Para. 4 – Personality Survival: “The actual transfer from material association to Morontia identification is affected by the sincerity, persistence, and the steadfastness of the God-seeking decisions of the human creature.”
Ibidem – P. 1217 – Para. 5 – The Mind Arena of Choice:
“Mind is your ship, the Adjuster is your pilot, the human will is captain… With your consent, this faithful pilot will safely carry you across the barriers of time and the handicaps of space to the very source of the divine mind and on beyond.”
Ibidem – P. 1193 – Para. 2 – God in Man: “The “image of God’ does not refer to physical likeness… but rather to the gift of the spirit presence of the Universal Father in the supernal bestowal of the Thought Adjusters upon the humble creatures of the universes.”
Ibidem – P. 1260 [Paper 115 – The Supreme Being – Relativity of Concept Frames] “The realms of the finite exist by virtue of the eternal purpose of God. Finite creatures, high and low, may propound theories, and have done so, as to the necessity of the finite in the cosmic economy, but in the last analysis it exists because God so willed. The universe cannot be explained. Neither can a finite creature offer a rational reason for his own individual existence without appealing to the prior acts and pre-existent volition of ancestral beings, Creators or Procreators.”
Ibidem – P. 1272 – Para. 67 – The Almighty Supreme: “…the local universes are the real laboratories in which are worked out the mind experiments, galactic adventures, divinity unfoldings, and personality progressions which, when cosmically totaled, constitute the actual foundation upon which the Supreme is achieving deity evolution in and by experience.
“In the local universes even the Creators evolve…
“The local universes are the starting points of true evolution, the spawning grounds of bona fide imperfect personalities endowed with the freewill choice of becoming co-creators of themselves as they are to be.”
Ibidem – P. 1274, Para. 3: “The time universes are not perfect; that is their destiny. The struggle for perfection pertains not only to the intellectual and the spiritual levels but also to the physical level of energy and mass.”
P. 52, The Agony and The Ecstasy, by Irving Stone:“In the final analysis, all energy responds to mind.”
The Urantia Book – P. 1275, Para. 6 – Spirit Dominance:
“In a human being the mechanism of physical life is responsive, in part, to the dictates of (personal) mind.”
Ibidem – P. 1276, Para. 3 – The Living Organism of the Grand Universe: “The Grand Universe is not only a material creation of physical grandeur, spirit sublimity, and intellectual magnitude, it is also a magnificent and responsive living organism. There is actual life pulsating throughout the mechanism of the vast creation of the vibrant cosmos… This physical universe is permeated by energy lanes which effectively activate material creation, and as the human body is nourished and energized by the circulatory distribution…”
Ibidem – P. 1281-1282 – Significance of the Supreme to Universe Creatures: “Mortal man is more than figuratively made in the image of God. From a physical standpoint this statement is hardly true, but with reference to certain universe potentialities it is an actual fact… Man consciously grows from the material world toward the spiritual by the strength, power, and persistency of his own decisions… and once the soul comes into being, it begins to grow in and of itself.”
Sanskrit Apothegm [c. Fourth Century, BC] – “God sleeps in minerals, awakens in plants, walks in animals, and thinks in man.”
The Urantia Book – P. 1293 – Last Para. – God The Supreme – “The perfected Grand Universe of the future days will be vastly different… Gone will be the thrilling adventures of the organization of the galaxies of space, the planting of life on the uncertain worlds of time, and the evolving of harmony out of chaos, beauty out of potentials, truth out of meanings, and goodness out of values. The time universes will have achieved the fulfillment of finite destiny! And perhaps for a space there will be rest, relaxation from the age-long struggle for evolutionary perfection. But not for long!”
Excerpt from War and Peace – Vol. II, Part II, pp. 378-379, by Leo Tolstoy:
“ ‘I would never claim that I know the truth,’ said the mason… no one person can attain truth. It is only stone by stone, with everyone’s involvement, over millions of generations from our forefather Adam down to our own day, that a temple arises to be a dwelling place worthy of Almighty God,’ said the Freemason, and he closed his eyes.
“ ‘I ought to tell you that I don’t believe, don’t… believe in God,’ said Pierre ruefully, feeling himself obliged to make every effort to tell the whole truth.
“The Mason looked closely at Pierre and smiled the smile of a rich man with millions in his hands beaming at some poor wretch who might have said to him that all he needed as a poor man was five rubles to make him happy.
“ ‘But you do not know Him, sir,’ said the Freemason. ‘You cannot know Him. You know Him not, and that is why you are unhappy.’ “ ‘Yes, I am unhappy,’ Pierre agreed, ‘but what can I do about it?’
“ ‘You know Him not, but He is here. He is within me. He is in my words. He is in thee, and even in those blasphemous words that thou has uttered… If he did not exist… we should not be speaking of Him, sir. Of what, of whom have we been speaking? Whom hast thou de- nied? … Who has invented Him, if He does not exist? How was there born in thee any conception that such an ineffable Being could exist? How did it happen that all the world together have postulated the existence of such an inconceivable Being, a Being omnipotent, eternal and infinite in all his qualities.’ He stopped and said nothing for some time.
“ ‘Who art thou? What art thou? Thou seest thouself as a wise man because thou wast able to pronounce such words of blasphemy,’ he added with a dark, sardonic smile, ‘whereas thou art more foolish and artless than a small child who plays with the parts of an ingeniously constructed watch and dares to say that because he does not know what the watch is for, he will not believe in the creator who made it. He is not easy to know. Down the ages… we have been working towards this knowledge, and still are infinitely distant from the attainment of our goal, but in our lack of understanding we see only our own weakness and His greatness… He is attained not through reason, but through living,’ said the Mason.
“ ‘…the highest wisdom and truth is like… the purest liquid which we try to absorb into ourselves… Can I receive that pure liquid into an impure vessel and judge its purity? Only through the inner purification of myself can I bring the liquid received within me to some de- gree of purification.’ “
Ibidem – P. 380 – Top (Tolstoy): “The highest wisdom is founded not on reason alone, not on the worldly sciences – physics, history, chemistry and the like – into which intellectual knowledge is divided. The highest wisdom is one. The highest wisdom knows only a sin- gle science – the science of the whole, the science that explains the whole of creation and the place of mankind within it. In order to as- similate this science it is necessary to purify and renew the inner self, and so, before we can know, we must have faith and be made perfect. And for the attainment of these aims we have implanted into our souls the light of God, which is called Conscience.”
The Urantia Book, P. 1299 – Para. 5. Omnipotence And Compossibility – Para. 1: “The omnipotence of Deity does not imply the power to do the non doable… even the infinite God cannot create square circles or produce evil that is inherently good.
“Always must Deity provide the pattern universe, the perfect personalities, the original truth, beauty, and goodness for which all subdeity creations strive.
“God is truly omnipotent, but He is not omnificient – he does not personally do all that is done.”
Ibidem – P. 1303 – Universe Mechanisms – Para. 5: “The Grand Universe is a mechanism as well as an organism, mechanical and living – a living mechanism activated by a Supreme Mind.
“Mechanisms are the products of mind, creative mind acting on and in cosmic potentials. Mechanisms are the fixed crystallizations of Creator thought… The purpose of any mechanism is in its origin, not in its function.”
Ibidem – P. 1339 – The Hebrew Religion – Para. 2: “But Paul’s theory of original sin, the doctrines of hereditary guilt and innate evil and redemption therefrom, was probably Mithraic in origin, having little in common with Hebrew theology, Philo’s philosophy, or Jesus’ teachings. Some phases of Paul’s teachings regarding original sin and atonement were original with himself.”
Ibidem – P. 1378 – Jesus at Jerusalem [at age 13] – Para. 2: “Jesus simply would not accept explanations of worship and religious devotion which involved belief in the wrath of God or the anger of the Almighty.”
Ibidem – P. 1429 – On The Way To Rome – Para. 2: “Your Father in heaven, by endowing you with the power to choose between truth and error, created the potential negative of the positive way of light and life; but such errors of evil are really non-existent until such time as an intelligent creature wills their existence by mis-choosing the way of life… This is why… permits the good and the evil to go along together until the end of life, just as nature allows the wheat and the tares to grow side by side until the harvest.”
Ibidem – P. 1431 – Para. 2: “… the will of God is the way of God, partnership with the choice of the progressive experience of becoming more and more like God… The will of Man is the way of Man, the sum and substance of that which the mortal chooses to be and do. Will is the deliberate choice of a self-conscious being which leads to decision-conduct based on intelligent reflection.
“… will is that manifestation of the human mind which enables the subjective consciousness to express itself objectively and to experience the phenomenon of aspiring to be God like.”
Ibidem – P. 1511, Baptism And The Forty Days – Para. 2: “And just such an adjuster indwells all normal human beings living on Urantia since the ascension of Michael to the headship of his universe…”
Q: Wasn’t this so prior to Jesus’ ascension? (Perhaps this is in reference to the time of creation, and not to the final bestowal/ascension?)
The Urantia Book – P. 1479, Discourse on Mind – Para. 6: “When any animal becomes self-conscious, it becomes a primitive man. Such an attainment results from a coordination of function between impersonal energy and spirit conceiving mind…”
Ibidem – P. 1594, Beginning Public Work – Para. 6: “It was on this occasion that Jesus intimated to Peter, James, and John that his work on earth was in some respects limited by the commission of his ‘associate on high,’ referring to the pre-bestowal instructions of His Paradise brother, Immanuel.”
Idem – Paper 33, P. 366 – Michael of Nebadon: “Our Creator Son is the personification of the 611,121st original concept of the in- finite identity of simultaneous origin in the Universal Father and the Eternal Son. The Michael of Nebadon is “…the only-begotten son” personalizing this 611,121st universal concept of divinity and infinity…
“Our Creator Son is not the Eternal Son, the existential Paradise associate of the Universal Father and the Infinite Spirit. Michael of Nebadon is not a member of the Paradise Trinity. Nevertheless our Master Son possesses in his realm all the divine attributes and powers that the Eternal Son himself would manifest were he actually to be present on Salvington and functioning in Nebadon. Michael possesses even additional power and authority, for he not only personifies the Eternal Son but also fully represents and actually embodies the personality presence of the Universal Father to and in this local universe.”
Q: How did the modern Christian (as a religion) concept of Jesus as God’s “only begotten son” develop?
Q: Other references in the Urantia Papers to Jesus’ “elder brother” Immanuel (e.g., in the papers regarding Jesus’ final – 7th –pre-bestowal preparations) reveal no additional information concerning their relationship.
The Urantia Book – P. 1513, Para. 3: “The records are completed. The sovereignty of Michael No. 611,121 over his universe of Nebadon rests in the completion at the right hand of the Universal Father.”
Q. Does this imply that Immanuel – senior/elder and lower in number of creation as a Creator Son – one of hundreds of thou- sands – is sovereign of an earlier created universe (His), and was thus functioning on assignment of a temporary nature? Or perhaps not all Creator Sons function as universe sovereigns of their own universe creations?
Still – Re: Biblical “only begotten Son” – How has this concept evolved? Perhaps it was assumed because other revealed information was not available until the 20th Century (the year 1935 with the Urantia Papers) – with the concept being too advanced for prior generations in view of other issues and/or the Adamic Default and the Caligastia Rebellion.
Ibidem – p. 87 – The Paradise Sons of God: “The lack of a knowledge of the multiple Sons of God is a source of great confusion on Urantia…”
Ibidem – p. 88 –
“The original and Eternal Son is the offspring-person of the ‘First’ completed and infinite thought of the Universal Father. Every time the Universal Father and the Eternal Son jointly project a new, original, identical, unique, and absolute personal thought, that very instant this creative idea isperfectly and finally personalized in the being and personality of a new and original Creator Son. In spirit nature, divine wisdom, and co-ordinate creative power, these Creator Sons are potentially with God the Father and God the Son.
“The Creator Sons go out from Paradise into the universes of time and, with the cooperation of the controlling and creative agencies of the Third Source and Center, complete the organization of the local universes of progressive evolution. These sons are not attached to, nor are they concerned with, the central and universal controls of matter, mind, and spirit. Hence they are limited in their creative acts by the pre-existence, priority, and primacy of the First Source and Center and his coordinate Absolutes. These Sons are able to administer only that which they bring into existence. Absolute administration is inherent in priority of existence and is inseperable from eternity of presence. The Father remains primal in the universes.”
The Urantia Book – P. 1642, Paper 146 – The Preaching Tour – Para. 2: “You survive your life in the material world of flesh because you are identified with the Father’s living spirit, the gift of eternal life. Many, indeed, had this life before I came forth from the Father, and many more have received this spirit because they believed my word; but I declare that, when I return to the Father, he will send his spirit into the hearts of all men.”
Ibidem – P. 1621, Para. 7: “As prayer may be likened to recharging the spiritual batteries of the soul, so worship may be compared to the act of tuning in the soul to catch the universe broadcasts of the infinite spirit of the Universal Father.”
P. 151, West With The Night, by Beryl Markham: “In Africa people learn to serve each other. They live on credit balances of little favors that they give and may, one day, ask to have returned. In any country almost empty of men, ‘love thy neighbor’ is less a pious in- junction than a rule for survival. If you meet one in trouble, you stop – another time he may stop for you.”
The Urantia Book – P. 1864, Later Ideas of the Kingdom – Para. 7: “The church, as a social outgrowth of the kingdom, would have been wholly natural and even desirable. The evil of the church was not its existence, but rather that it almost completely supplanted the Jesus concept of the kingdom. Paul’s institutionalized church became a virtual substitute for the kingdom of heaven which Jesus had proclaimed.
“But doubt not, the same kingdom of heaven which the Master taught exists within the heart of the believer, will yet be proclaimed to his Christian Church, even as to all other religions, races, and nations on earth – even to every individual.
“The church was an inevitable and useful social result… the tragedy consisted in the fact that this social reaction to the teachings… so fully displaced the spiritual concept.”
Ibidem – P. 1301, Supreme and Ultimate – Time and Space – Control and Over- control: “In the time-space creations, free will is hedged about with restraints, with limitations. Material-life evolution is first mechanical, then mind activated, and (after the bestowal of personality) it may become spirit directed…
“Mortal man is a machine, a living mechanism; his roots are truly in the physical world of energy. Many human reactions are mechanical in nature; much of life is machine-like. But man, a mechanism, is much more than a machine; he is mind endowed and spirit indwelt; and though he can never throughout his material life escape the chemical and electrical mechanics of his existence, he can increasingly learn how to subordinate his physical-life machine to the directive wisdom of experience by the process of consecrating the human mind to the execution of the spiritual urges of the indwelling Thought Adjuster.”
Ibidem – P. 2016, Meaning of the Death on the Cross: “Although Jesus did not die… to atone for the racial guilt of mortal man nor to provide some sort of effective approach to an otherwise offended and unforgiving God; even though the Son of Man did not offer himself as a sacrifice to appease the wrath of God and to open the way for sinful man to obtain salvation; notwithstanding that these ideas of atonement and propitiation are erroneous…”
Ibidem – P. 2017, Para. 3: “When once you grasp the idea of God as a true and living Father, the only concept which Jesus every taught, you must… abandon all those primitive notions about God as an offended monarch, a stern and all- powerful ruler whose chief delight is to detect his subjects in wrongdoing and to see that they are adequately punished, unless some being almost equal to himself should volunteer to suffer for them, to die as a substitute and in their stead. The whole idea of ransom and atonement is incompatible with the concept of God as was taught and exemplified by Jesus…”
Ibidem – P. 2076, Para. 1: “Do not try to satisfy the curiosity or gratify all the latent adventure surging within the soul in one short life in the flesh. Be patient! Be not tempted to indulge in a lawless plunge into cheap and sordid adventure. Harness your energies and bridle you passions; be calm while you await the majestic unfolding of an endless career of progressive adventure and thrilling discovery.
“As you view the world, remember that the black patches of evil which you see are shown against a white background of ultimate good. You do not view merely white patches of good which show up miserably against a black background of evil.”
Star oman, by Lynn V. Andrews, P. 203: “To shamanize someone, you look at what they can become, not just what they appear to be. Look at the magnificence of possibility in an individual. And then look at what they are, and you locate their pain, their tragedies, their incompleteness. This creates a space between what is and what could be. It is within that void that enlightenment exists.”
Biography of Elisha Kent Kane (1858), by William Elder, as quoted in the Voyage of the Narwhal, by Andrea Barrett (1998):
“A novelist, an orator, or a player, may work upon the sympathetic emotions of virtue until our heart-strings answer like echoes to his touch; but we are not deceived nor cheated into an admiration unworthy of ourselves. We are not made in the Divine image to take Seemings for things. Our instincts stand by the real interests of the world and of the universe, and we will not meanly surrender our souls to any impostor. We say to every man who challenges our admiration for his deeds, ‘Stop! Worship touches the life of the worshiper. If your objects are nothings, expect nothing for them; if your motives are selfish, pay yourself for them. We will not make fools of ourselves; we will settle the account justly to you and honorably to us.’ “
A FEW WORDS about The Urantia Book: I first read the entire book (2000 pages) over thirty years ago. After this interval, I re-read the book, having pondered the various papers for decades.
I am grateful for the experience, for a number of reasons, even though I take issue with some of the statements by a couple of the presenters (the papers were presented by dozens of entities representing a variety of different spiritual life forms).
Although it is never explicitly stated, it is obvious that the material was channeled by one individual over a period of several months – during the mid- 1930s.
This is one of a very few books dealing intelligently with issues of universe creation. It touches on issues from the macro/spiritual to the micro/material, and personality associations. To some extent the physical history of our planet is discussed. Specifically, the spiritual aspect of the development of humans and society is prominent. I am grateful for the book, although with some reservations. It is rare that a book of such quality (productions, content, and organization) is produced. This book is unique; no contemporary human personal- ity is referenced anywhere.
The general negative knock on the book, according to some observed comments posted here and there on the Internet, is related to a statement within the Urantia Book favoring scientific research in the field of eugenics. Most lexicons define eugenics as the study of hereditary improvement by genetic control. A few critics equate this as demonstrating a Nazi mentality. I don’t see it that way. A hammer, for example, is a tool; it can be used as an aggressive weapon for criminal purposes, or it can be used to construct a functional structure – which in turn can be utilized for purposes either of benefit or detriment to … (fill in the blank). The same can be said for any research endeavor and of all information and knowledge. This is the old “ends” and “means” argument. In any event, nowhere within the Urantia Book is there any reference at all regarding coercive control associated with genetic manipulation related to Nazi techniques for some kind of return to racial purity.
For one thing, the book makes clear that we are now all a blend of various ancient races (orange, indigo, violet, blue, red, brown, and green – each with unique and worthy attributes). Further, social justice and freedom in evolutionary societies are cited as evolutionary goals. Even ancient primitive tribal societies developed taboos against incest and inter-marriage within small groups after it became apparent that such practices were detrimental to the general welfare of their social groups and to their future generations.
This was a hard lesson for some later European “royal” families, resulting in various genetic maladies (hemophilia, insanity, etc.). While studies related to the improvement of evolutionary life, whether plant, animal or human, can be championed by those few who have not the wit or wherewithal to value all components of creation and instead focus on a narrow, misguided agenda (i.e., persecution of some “other” in the pursuit of a bogus idea of superiority), the overall objectives related to enhanced development should not be disparaged.
In my research, I see that Martin Gardner (now deceased), who worked for a number of years for Scientific American as the Puzzle Editor, read the Urantia Book from cover to cover. His only comment – at least the only comment I could find – was that “it is a cult.” That was all. I thought, for someone who was supposed to be so gifted with intelligence, that this was a nifty way of avoidance. No insights were forthcoming – pro or con; nothing useful in the way of useful information or the benefit of critical analyses. Moral of the tale: Do your own reading, research, thinking, and draw your own conclusions.
The Nature of Personal Reality, by Jane Roberts, p. 53: “You get what you concentrate upon. There is no other main rule.”
Ibidem “Believe, then, that you are a being unlimited by nature, born into flesh to materialize as best you can the great joy and spontaneity of your nature.”
I also have a high regard for all of Jane Roberts’ (Seth) books – I have read all of them. Some information in Roberts’ (Seth) books directly contradicts what is presented in The Urantia Papers. In my life, it is par for the course that I should be attracted to information presenting alternative views and opinions; it is likely that I’ll never resolve most of the contradictions.
The Urantia Book is not perfect, nor does it claim to be. At various times it is stated that while it represents partial revelation, it is not divine revelation. Many of the topics discussed are taken from unnamed contemporary sources. Purportedly, the objective was to present data as much as possible from contemporary sources, only referencing extra-human (spiritual) sources when “local” references were unavailable.
The organization of the papers is itself remarkable. If all papers were a restatement of diverse human sources, that would represent a major effort. Still, by my estimation, the majority – the vast majority – of information was not previously authored by human subjects. There is simply no way of knowing. This is in consideration of various subjects discussed in an authoritative, non- speculative manner, regarding subjects of which no human being would have direct knowledge.
Examples: How and why the physical universe was/is created, the personalities involved, personality creation, creator beings, the nature of spiritual and material energies, etc. One of the most remarkable sections of the book is the life of Christ as lived on the planet, as well as his origin and destiny (as well as ours).
There are passages with which I am not in agreement. For example: On the last page of the book a presenter of that particular paper makes reference to art – on our planet – as an attempt to escape from ugliness – or words to that effect (as commented on earlier in this journal). This statement is utterly absurd, although art can be employed to various ends by diverse means – chief among them is the desire to reflect what is beautiful on the world, just the opposite of escaping from ugliness.
I should, in this context, note that there is quite a variety in tone and attitude on the part of the presenters (or channelers – for that is what they were) of the various papers. Elsewhere in the Urantia Book are other references to art in a more reasonable and enlightened manner .
Considering the fact that the writings of various human sources are frequently referenced to make a point about a particular subject, I am surprised that – taking the subject of art as an example – that the beautiful writings on this subject by Emerson and/or Tolstoy were not referenced.
This is one example in which I take strong exception to something in the Urantia Book. In the main, however, I find the book to be inspirational and reason for joy and hope, and a way of reviving one’s faith – despite the number of points with which I am not in agreement (perhaps given my present level of intellect and comprehension; this remains to be seen).
Another example is the assertion that man is born with intellectual limitations, or a capacity that cannot be exceeded. While I cannot prove otherwise, it is contrary to the idea of the unlimited potential and the fluid dynamics of “being and becoming.” Other sources of information for which I have respect are the various Seth Books by Jane Roberts – as referenced earlier in this narrative. Especially The Nature of Personal Reality. It concerns itself, in part, with unlimited human potential and the continuous, ongoing creation.
I’ve spent the better part of twenty years attempting to reconcile apparent contradictions between these diverse sources, and have taken my inquiries within this narrow focus about as far as I am able – with no resolution.
The Nature of Personal Reality – Jane Roberts – P. 180:
“Your beliefs, thoughts and feelings are instantly materialized physically. Their earthly reality occurs simultaneously with their inception, but in the world of time, lapses between appear to occur. So I say one causes the other, and I use those terms to help you understand, but all are at once. So are your multiple lives occurring as the immediate realization of your being in the natural extension of its many-faceted abilities…
“Close your eyes. Think of your breath as lives, and you the entity through which they have passed and are passing. Then you will feel your state of grace, and all artificial guilt will be meaningless. None of this negates the supreme and utter integrity of your individuality, for you are as well as the individual entity through whom the lives flow, and the unique lives that are expressed through you.”
The Day The Universe Changed, by James Burke pp. 158-159:
“In 1633 Baruch Spinosa published his views, replacing Descartes’ dictum, ‘obey the law and respect religion,’ with his own: ‘love your neighbor and perfect your reason.’
“In his essay entitled, Of Human Bondage, Spinoza argued that we were prisoners of religion or the state only if we thought we were. When we recognized that on the whole we were not captives, we immediately set ourselves free.”
State of Fear, by James Crichton (author’s message): “The current near-hysterical preoccupation with safety is at best a waste of resources and a crimp on the human spirit, and at worst an invitation to totalitarianism. Public education is desperately needed.”
Brother Odd, by Dean Koontz:
“Lumin de lumine… Light from Light… Waste and Void… Darkness on the face of the deep… Then God commanded light. The light of the world descends from the Everlasting Light That Is God. This is surely one thing it means… but it may also mean that the visible can be born from the invisible, that matter can rise from energy, that thought is a form of energy and that thought itself can be concretized into the very object that is imagined.”
“Well, sir, that’s a mouthful to get out of three words.” “Most assuredly,” he agreed.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca – c. 4 BC – AD 65 – born in Cordoba, Iberia (Spain) – Teacher to Nero in Rome – Per James Michener’s Iberia – P. 157:
“From the time that money began to be regarded with honor, the real value of things was forgotten.”
Ibidem – P. 158:
“God is nigh to you, he is with you, he is in you: I tell you, Lucilius, a holy spirit resides within us, and observer and guardian of our good and our bad doings, who, as he has been dealt with by us, so he deals with us; no man is good without God.
“A great sacred spirit talks indeed within us, but cleaves to its divine original.”
The Lonesome Gods, by Louis L’Amour – P. 249: “Knowledge is awareness, and to it there are many paths, not all of them paved with logic. But sometimes one is guided through the maze by intuition. One is led by something felt on the wind, something seen in the stars, something that calls from the wastelands to the spirit.”
Napoleon Bonaparte – An Intimate Biography, by Vincent Cronin (Wm. Morrow & Co., Inc. 1972) – P. 427: “When in this mood Napoleon enjoyed shocking Gourgaud, who was a good ‘mother’s boy’ catholic. ‘Say what you like,’ Napoleon told the young officer, ‘everything is matter, more or less organized. The soul? Some sort of electrical or magnetic force.’ Then, exaggerating for Gorgand’s benefit, ‘If I had to have a religion, I should worship the sun – the source of all life – the real God of the earth. If Christ were God, the fact should be evident, like the sun in the sky.’ Yet materialism failed to satisfy Napoleon. ‘Only a madman declares that he will die with- out a confessor. There is so much that one does not know, that one cannot explain.’”
The Reverse of the Medal, by Patrick O’Brian – pp. 178-9: “
‘Why do I feel such an intense pleasure, such an intense satisfaction?’ asked Stephen. For some time he searched for a convincing reply, but finding none he observed, ‘The fact is that I do.’ He sat on as the sun’s rays came slowly down through the trees, lower and lower, and when the lowest reached a branch not far above him it caught a dewdrop poised upon a leaf. The drop instantly blazed crimson, and a slight movement of his head made it show all the colours of the spectrum with extraordinary purity, from a red almost too deep to be seen through all the others to the ultimate violet and back again. Some minutes later a cock pheasant’s explosive call broke the silence and the spell and he stood up…
“ ‘Returning thanks at any length is virtually impossible,’ he reflected, sitting on a stile and watching two hares at play… ‘How few manage even five phrases with any effect. And how intolerable are most dedications too, even the best.
Perhaps the endless repetition of flat formal praise’ – for the Gloria was still running in his head… Quoriam tu Solus Sanctus, tu Solus Dominus, tu Solus Altissimus…’ ”
Extract from Discourse #2 – Lyricus.org (Wingmakers.com):
“Teacher: Trust the parts and the whole. Trust the connection of these to First Source. Trust the God-fragment that orchestrates all this complexity into coherent experience and knowledge that assures the recollection of your divinity. Trust the evolutionary process defined by the First Source. Trust each of these above the external voices that meet you, no matter how infallible they may appear to be. Trust your self-knowing and its ability to guide you in the ascending spiral of your journey.
Extract from Discourse #4 – Lyricus.org (Wingmakers.com):
“Teacher: ‘The universe responds to your directives, not your questions, hopes and prayers. If you choose to define your future by telling the universe what you desire to experience and appreciate, and you hold these thoughts in your mind with fierce persistence, the universe – by its own design – will respond accordingly. If, on the other hand, you ask questions and pray for answers, the universe will respond with a deafening silence because you have not given it direction…
“Desire is not a directive. Simply desiring to achieve something does not engage the universe; it engages your personal power and applies your will to achieve a goal. Praying, as it was originally intended, held two complementary purposes: to demonstrate to the universe that an individual made choices regarding their destiny, and expressing gratitude to the universe for its unfailing support.
“You can make any directive you select. The universe is not obligated to respond, it simply does. By your selection the universe knows you. You are revealed in this simple act, and through this intimacy, the universe will respond in kind and reveal itself.”
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon, Vol. 1, P. 53: “The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious accord.”
Ibidem – P. 209 (Speaking of Germans circa 200 AD): “A warlike nation like the Germans, without either cities, letters, arts, or money, found some compensation for this savage state in the enjoyment of liberty. Their poverty secured their freedom, since our desires and our possessions are the strongest fetters of despotism.”
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon, Vol. I, Chapter 15, P. 93 (regarding the history and progress of the Christian religion): “
But this inquiry, however useful or entertaining, is attended with to peculiar difficulties. The scanty and suspicious materials of ecclesiastical history seldom enable us to dispel the dark cloud that hangs over the first age of the church. The great law of impartiality too often obliges us to reveal the imperfections of the uninspired teachers and believers of the Gospel; and to a careless observer, their faults may seem to cast a shade on the faith which they professed. But the scandal of the pious Christian and the fallacious triumph of the infidel should cease as soon as they recollect not only by whom, but likewise to whom, the d vine revelation was given. The theologian may indulge the pleasing task of describing Religion as she descended from heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed on the historian. He must discover the inevitable mixture of error and corruption which she contracted in a long residence upon earth, among a weak and degenerate face of beings.
W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn, as quoted by Ellen Meloy in The Anthropology of Turquoise (Meditations on Landscape, Art, and Spirit, Pantheon Books, 2002)
“I have always kept ducks, he said, even as a child, and the colors of the plumage, in particular the dark green and snow white, seemed to me the only possible answers to the questions that are on my mind.”
Edwin Shrake, The Borderland (A Novel of Texas) – Hyperion – 2000, pp. 271- 272:
“By my reckoning we have come ninety miles deeper into Comancheria in the two days since we lost our mules in the running of the wild horses. What a grand adventure that was! In the crucial matter of my yearning for God, which is intense, I consider myself a Christian- roseybuddhitarian, a light-headed way to explain my theology – Christian, Rosicrucian, Buddhist, Presbyterian, all mixed into one cosmological scheme. This theology broadens to include my soul’s allegiance to the Master of Breath, and to my own spirit, which stirred me gloriously while riding Gaucha with the wild horses. I became a free-feeling, exultant, primitive spirit. I felt like wild laughter sounds. I was a strange being that is no stranger to me. Was I this in a former life? Is this another aspect of the life I am now living? Who was I? Who am I? Who is writing this journal? Who is thinking these thoughts? What will become of Who is thinking these thoughts?”
C.S. Forester, Lord Hornblower, p. 50
“She was like some tigress previously content to evade the hunters by slinking from cover to cover, but now hurling herself on her tormenters mad with fighting fury. The wind laid her over, the spray burst in sheets across her bows… The forces of the world, the old primitive powers that had ruled earth and water since the creation, were being set at defiance by man, weak, mortal man, who by virtue of the brain inside his fragile skull was able not merely to face the forces of the world but to bend them to his will, compel them to serve him… He was like Prometheus stealing fire from the gods, he was the successful rebel against the blind laws of nature, he could take pride in being a mere mortal man.”
Mary Renault, Preface, The Praise Singer, Pantheon Books, 1978 –
“So I shall never waste my life-span in a vain useless hope, seek- ing what cannot be, a flawless man among us all who feed on the fruits of the broad earth. If I find him, I will bring you news.”
Frank Conroy, Body & Soul, Houghton Mifflin, 1993, p. 160
“The Overtone Series… also called the harmonic series, is determined by Nature. The piano strung at low C vibrates at 64 per second, but also segments of that string vibrate separately at the same time, the pitch going up accordingly to the length of the segment – two halves – three thirds, four quarters, until they get too small to matter. One- half length of the low C vibrates at 128 per second, or an octave higher. That is the first overtone. One third of the length of the low C creates a G above the second C. That is the second overtone, and the interval is a fifth. Now the overtones keep going up, but the one that really matters is the G, because it is the loudest, and the closest to the tonic C. So Nature says if you take any note as the tonic, its closest relative will be a fifth above, the root of the dominant.
“If you go in a straight line from tonic to dominant, and then make the dominant a new tonic going to its dominant, and keep on going on a tempered piano… you get C, G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, F, and C again. That makes 12 tones before you come back to C, and that’s why why there are twelve instead of some other number.”
Ibidem – p. 380 – “The first three notes – the root, the fifth, and the minor third – seemed entirely magical. In their simplicity he heard the implication of the whole piece itself, and from that, from his awareness of the fugue, came an awareness of all-of-music, as if all-of- music were the overtones of any small part of music, as if all the notes were contained in any single note… Music is here! Music has been forever and always will be here!”
Selected Letters of Rebecca West, edited by Bonnie Kime Scott, Yale University Press, 2000 – P. 324 – From a letter to Raymond Mortimer, 16 July, 1958:
“Original sin seems to me a useful conception, to warn one that neither oneself nor other people have been brought into our place in the universe by a process which promotes kindness, unselfishness, or good sense, and that we therefore should always watch ourselves like detectives. But I wouldn’t let it put on airs, and I have known one or two people who seemed to me to need no such detectives. The somberness of the doctrine I think comes from a period when observers of the human character (and I suppose the Christian Fathers were that above all) put on the same portentous manner that scientists assume today.”
Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003, p. 932:
“Every human heartbeat… is a universe of possibilities. And it seemed to me that I finally understood exactly what he’d meant. He’d been trying to tell me that every human will has the power to transform its fate. I’d always thought that fate was something unchangeable: fixed for every one of us at birth, and as constant as the circuit of the stars. But I suddenly realized that life is stranger and more beautiful than that. The truth is that no matter what kind of game you find yourself in, no matter how good or bad the luck, you can change your life completely with a single thought or a single act of love.”
The Thirteen Gun Salute, Patrick O’Brian, 1989, W.W. Norton & Company, New York * London, pp. 76-77:
“Bless me,” said Blaine. “It is not a mantis. And yet -” “It is Saga pedo.”
“Of course, of course. I have seen him figured, but never preserved nor even dried, far less alive and swaying at me. What a glorious animal! But look at those wicked serrated limbs! Two pairs of them! Where did you find him?”
“On the side of the road just outside Cintra. She, if I may be pedantic. In these parts the females alone are seen: they reproduce parthenogenetically, which must surely ease some of the tensions of family life.”
http://www.http//Scribd.com/17564731-Elisabeth-Haich-Initiation.pdf (http://www.http//Scribd.com/17564731-Elisabeth-Haich-Initiation.pdf) , by SELVARAJAN YESUDIAN, Zurich, April 1962 – page 191
“All the Sons of God have always brought and always will bring the same truth into different parts of the earth, but people will interpret it differently depending on the characteristics of their race and their degree of development. These different interpretations, as they get passed on to later generations, will give rise to different religions all springing from the same truths. One and the same Son of God will reincarnate himself at different times and in different places of the earth in order to proclaim the highest truth to humanity. And from the same truth proclaimed by the same spirit, people in different parts of the earth will develop different religions. Because of such differences arising merely from human ignorance, people will make war upon each other, trying to send each other to hell “in the name of God.”
The Urantia Book – P 435 – The Seraphic Hosts – Para. 7 – Quickeners of Morality: “
To the inhabited worlds the Quickners of Morality portray mortal life as an unbroken chain of many links. Your short sojourn on Urantia, on this sphere of mortal infancy, is only a single link, the very first in the long chain that is stretched across universes and through the eternal ages. It is not so much what you learn in this first life; it is the experience of living that is important. Even the work of this world, paramount though it is, is not nearly so important as they way in which you do this work. There is no material reward for righteous living, but there is a profound satisfaction – consciousness of achievement – and this transcends any conceivable material reward.
“The keys to the kingdom of heaven are: sincerity, more sincerity, and more sincerity. All men have those keys. Men use them – advance in spirit status – by decisions, by more decisions, and by more decisions. The highest moral choice is the choice of the highest possible value, and always – in any sphere, in all of them – is to choose to do the will of God. If man thus chooses, he is great, though he be the humblest citizen of Jerusem or even the least of mortals on Urantia.”
Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes (Alfred A. Knoph, pub. 2005) pp. 78-79:
“Take Wallace. The co-discoverer of the modern theory of evolution, the man who stood at Darwin’s side when they jointly announced the idea of Natural Selection to the Linnaean Society. The fearful and the unimaginative had concluded that Wallace and Darwin had delivered us into a godless and mechanistic universe, had left us alone upon the darkling plain. But consider what Wallace himself believed. The greatest of modern men maintained that Natural Selection accounted only for the development of the human body, and that the process of evolution must at some point have been supplemented by a supernatural intervention, when the spirit’s flame was inserted into the rough developing animal. Who dared claim now that science was the enemy of the soul?”
Voyage of the Fox Rider, by Dennis L. McKiernan – 1994 – p. 43 (Penguin Books):
“Heed me, if in every instance you were in distress or doubt you called upon your god to aid you, and if that god answered and resolved your woe, then I ask you, what would happen to your initiative? Why struggle when there is no need? Your god will see to all. Yet, would that not lead to your god controlling every aspect of your life? And if that happened, then what would be the challenge of living?
“Let me ask you this as well: if your god was not benevolent but instead were a selfish, jealous god, then would you have Him control every aspect of your life? And heed, even were He a beneficent, loving god, still, would you give up your free will for the generous life He would afford you? Would you surrender your very being in order to live in the comfort of a golden prison? And if you did surrender your very being, then what would be left of you? What would you have become?”
Rolling Thunder, by Doug Boyd – 1974 – Dell Publishing [Quoting Rolling Thunder] – p. 99:
“People have to be responsible for their thoughts, so they have to learn to control them. It may not be easy, but it can be done. First of all, if we don’t want to think certain things we don’t say them. We don’t have to eat everything we see, and we don’t have to say everything we think. So we begin by watch- ing our words and speaking with good purpose only. There are times when we must have clear and pure minds with no unwanted thoughts and we have to train and prepare steadily for those times until we are ready.
We don’t have to say or think what we don’t wish to. We have a choice in those things, and we have to realize that and practice using that choice. There is no use in condemning yourself for the thoughts and ideas and dreams that come into your mind; so there’s no use arguing with yourself or fighting your thoughts. Just realize that you can think what you choose. You don’t have to pay attention to those unwanted thoughts. If they keep coming into your head, just let them alone and say, ‘I don’t choose to have such thoughts,’ and they will soon go away. If you keep a steady determination and stick with that purpose you will know how to use that choice and control your consciousness so unwanted thoughts don’t come to you any more. Then you can experience purification completely and in the right way and no impurities can exist in your mind or body at any time.”
Ibidem – p. 199:
“The establishment people think they have a pretty advanced civilization here. Well, technically maybe they’ve done a lot, although we know of civilizations that have gone much further in the same direction. In most respects this is a pretty backward civi- lization. The establishment people seem completely incapable of learning some of the basic truths.
“The most basic principle of all is that of not harming others, and that includes all people and all life and all things. It means not controlling or manipulating others, not trying to manage their affairs. It means not going off to some other land and killing people over there – not for religion or politics or military exercises or any other excuse. No being has the right to harm or control any other being. No individual or government has the right to force others to join or participate in any group or system…”
The Grea Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 1925 – Charles Scribner’s Sons – p.100:
“For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing.”
The Bok of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber – 2007 – William Morrow – p.277:
“…was now talking about turning my work over to various associates… and part of that work was, of course, the cell phone ring tones. And this phrase now completely occupied my brain (cell phone ring tones! CELL PHONE RING TONES!!!), and the force of the absurdity struck me like a pie in the face: here we were, grown men, actual human beings, the crown of creation, concerned of making sure that money would be paid out in the proper way whenever some idiot’s cell phone went bee-dee-boop-a-doop instead of ding-ding-a-ling… I started to laugh and cry at the same time and could not stop for an excruciatingly long time.”
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. II, p. 338 – Constantine And The Christian Empire, by Edward Gibbon, London Folio Society, pub. 1788:
“Their charitable exhortations betrayed a secret wish that the clergy might be permitted to manage the wealth of the faithful for the benefit of the poor. The most sublime representations of the attributes and laws of the Deity were sullied by an idle mixture of metaphysical subtleties, puerile rites, and fictitious miracles: and they expatiated, with the most fervent zeal, on the religious merit of hating the adversaries and obeying the ministers of the church. When the public peace was distracted by heresy and schism, the sacred orators sounded the trumpet of discord, and perhaps of sedition. The understandings of their congregations were perplexed by mystery, their passions were inflamed by invectives; and they rushed from the … temples … prepared either to suffer or to inflict martyrdom.”
Fixing the Abyss, by James Morrow, p. 1, as published in Terra Incognita, The Voyage Issue, Bi-Annual Volumes of New Writing, edited by Bradford Morrow, published by Bard College, 2011, p. 53:
“To this day no one can say precisely why a remorseless and reified nihilism visited itself upon Western civilization in the second decade of the twenty-first century… The most viable theory of the rift’s origins attributes it to a conjunction of five disparate events. I allude not only to the wholesale abandonment of reason, under cover of Jesus, by several major political parties in the industrialized democracies of Europe and North America, not only to the bal- looning of thermonuclear-weapon stockpiles in the United States and Russia following a convulsion of nostalgia for the Cold War, but also to the realization by the priestly caste that they could once again impose their carnal requirements on non-consenting children without running afoul of the civil courts, as well as to the ontological transmogrification of suicide bombing…”
A Firing Offense, by David Ignatius, Random House, 1997, p. 148:
“…the great truth of the 1990s is that the world is run by organized criminals… We still like to pretend that the world is run by governments, which have neat little boundaries, and their own currencies and stamps, and intelligence services and police forces. Those were the rules of the game during the cold war, but they’ve changed. Power has slipped from the governments into the hands of private organizations. In New York, private currency traders have more power over the dollar than the Federal Reserve. In Russia, the mafiya has more power than the army. In Mexico, the drug lords have more power than the president. In Japan, the politicians are just a front; the real power is held by the corporations… Real power around the world does not reside with governments any longer, but with private interests. Real power is secret power.”
Rowing The Atlantic, by Roz Savage, Simon & Schuster, 2009, p. 191: “I marveled at how different I felt now that I had no way of obtaining a weather forecast. There was nothing to raise my hopes of good progress or arouse fears of adverse condition. I couldn’t post a dispatch to my website, so there was nothing to plan while I rowed. There would be no beeps of the phone to let me know that a text message had arrived. There was just the present moment, and in the moment there was only me, my boat, and this big blue ocean. After all my deliberate efforts to accept what came with Zen-like equanimity, the loss of my communications had made it all so easy. At last I had found serenity.”
North To The Night, by Alvah Simon, p. 182, first published in hardcover in 1998 by International Marine, a division of McGraw Hill and subsequently published in paperback by Broadway Books: ”Think about that, but not too much… Take the phrase, In the eyes of God. It could mean exactly what it says. Not God standing back, watching. It could mean… we are his eyes. We are not being watched, we are the process of watching…
“Start from the beginning. ‘In the beginning was the Word.’ What word? Maybe not a particular word, but a sound, a vibration. To find the building block of all matter, physicists have probed deeper and deeper into the atom. They find only energy, and when they peel that back the onionskin layers of energy, ultimately they find only vibration. The brute paw that might crush my head is made of muscle, blood, and bone, which are made of molecules, which are made of atoms, which are made of electrons, which are made of sparks and quarks, which are made of nothing that can be measured or weighed. Everything is made of nothing! My head will be crushed by illusion. My illusory brain will drip onto the illusory ground. My death itself will be an illusion and therefore so too must be my life. In the beginning was the Word. The word was God. God is that vibration that creates form through visualization alone…”
Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, p. 36, published in 2003 by St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY.
“The past reflects eternally between two mirrors – the bright mirror of words and deeds, and the dark one, full of things we didn’t do or say.”
Ibidem – P. 606: “Everything you ever sense, in touch or taste or sight or even thought has an effect on you that’s greater than zero. Some things, like the background sound of a bird chirping as it passes your house in the evening, or a flower glimpsed out of the corner of your eye, have such an infinitesimally small effect that you can’t detect them, and some images… attach themselves to the secret gallery and they change your life forever.”
The World Within The Word, Essays by William H. Gass, published in 1979 by David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc., first published in 1978 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., pp. 175-176, from an essay on Paul Valery: “… he was particularly a master of the side-long look… to attend to ‘little’ things and small steps, for there, in scrupulosities only a spider might otherwise pain itself with, were the opportunities for genius. It is Valery, himself, who writes:
Great events are perhaps so only for small minds. For more attentive minds, it is the unnoticed, continual events that count.”
Vol. V, pp. 88-89, The History Of The Decline And Fall Of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon, 1987, London – The Folio Society, first published in 1776:
“A poet, who beheld the primitive lustre of St. Sophia, enumerates the colours, the shades, and the spots of ten or twelve marbles, jaspers, and porphyries… The precious metals were distributed in thin leaves or in solid masses… The sanctuary contained forty thousand pounds weight of silver, and the holy vases and vestments of the altar were of the purest gold, enriched with inestimable gems. Before the structure of the church had arisen two cubits above the ground, forty- five thousand two hun- dred pounds were already consumed, and the whole expense amounted to three hundred and twenty thousand… A magnificent temple is a laudable monument of national taste and religion, and the enthusiast who entered the dome of St Sophia might be tempted to suppose that it was the residence, or even the workmanship, of the Deity. Yet how dull is the artifice, how insignificant is the labour, if it be compared with the formation of the vilest insect that crawls upon the surface of the temple!”
MACBEATH – WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE – SCENE V.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Excerpt From A Dream Journal Diary Entry of Buddy Allen Simco: (Summer, 2011)
A. Ah, a Sticking Point. That’s It!. I am in need of a Sticking Point.
B. What need have you?
A. I wish to screw my memory to a Sticking Point.
B. Memory? Don’t you mean courage?
A. It is my memory I wish to stick.
B. Was not the bard referencing courage?
A. Bard? Ah, you mean that windy fellow with the javelin?
B. The javelin?
A. Yes. Did he not wave his javelin about in gesticulation, when making a point?
B. Oh, you mean Shakespeare.
A. I believe you are correct, sir.
B. Yes. And now I better understand your need for a Memory Screw.
A. I rest my point. Unfortunately, it is not a Sticking Point.
Addendum: I began this paper with reference to a line of dialog (“I could have been a contender”to a fictitious character named Stanley Kowalski in his screenplay for A Streetcar Named Desire.Upon further reflection, I believe it was actually a line uttered by the character named Joey (played by Marlon Brando) in On The Waterfront, another work by the same author, Bud Shulberg. I’ve not seen either production, although I’ve heard discussions and references, over the years, regarding both works. For me, it is like reaching for a memory item off the shelf, a recollection awaiting recall by anyone.
So, to quote Vladimir Nabokov, “Speak Memory.” Memory has spoken, but with the slippery countenance of a greased electric eel.
Soul Cage – Photo by Allen Simco
Photo by Allen Simco
Garden Frolic by Allen Simco
Surf Fishing – Allen Simco
FORGET ME NOT
THE BEAT WENT THATAWAY
CYCLE OF TIME
DANCING WITH CATS
TWO UNTITLED TUNES
ROCKING CHAIR BLUES
Waiting For Godot
Digital Painting based on a sketch I did of a photo viewed in antique store in 1975
Colored Pencil Doodle by Allen Simco
Color Me – Allen Simco
Street Of Gold by Allen Simco.jpg
Bush League – Allen Simco
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