Welcome to the latest issue of the newsletter dedicated to the CANDOERs (Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement). This newsletter will be distributed quarterly. New issues will be posted on the Web for viewing on or about, January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15.
The CANDOER Web site and newsletter may be viewed by going to the following URL: www.candoer.org
The success of this newsletter depends on you. I need story contributors. Do you have an interesting article, a nostalgia item, a real life story, or a picture you would like to share with others? Do you have a snail-mail or an e-mail address of one of our former colleagues? If you do, send it to me at the following e-mail address:
or to my snail-mail address:
Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062
Tel: (301) 283-6549
Please, NO handwritten submissions.
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With your help, I hope to reach 125 issues, but this can only happen with your help.
I NEED STORIES!
It has been a rough year fishing. I normally average getting out, in the boat, over a hundred times a year. Trying to cut off the little finger on my right hand, having reconstructive surgery on it, the recovery period and then getting pneumonia, cut into my fishing in 2014. I was only able to get out fishing, in the boat, 52 times this year.
WWII War Story
Last year, 2013, I caught 269 large mouth bass and a total of 423 fish. The remaining fish (154) were crappie, blue gill, white perch, snake head, and catfish.
This year (2014) I have only caught 28 bass, 23 catfish, 10 yellow perch, 15 white perch, 10 blue gill and 94 crappie. Oh, I forgot to add in the 18 pound carp and the 15 pound snake head.
How do I know these totals? I keep a fishing diary that not only counts all the fish I catch, it also keeps track of how much I spend on fishing gear and up keep of the boat and motor.
Hopefully, 2015 will be better a better year fishing and health wise.
I wish to extend a big THANK YOU to Charles Christian. He sent me several stories to help me keep this publication going.
We also have a new author, Rudy Garcia. Thank you Rudy for your story contribution.
By Charles Christian
Here in this senior complex I have been associating with a Bob Sauer at the daily coffee club and at special party events; a big guy who was also born in 1932. He was an army infantry Captain in Korea and was in combat. He was born in Chicago.
Who Are You?
I had noticed he had an unusual slight accent that I thought was a Chicago accent.
Not so according to a long story I heard this morning. His father was German and his Mother English. His Dad was a newspaper man and had been a Berlin newspaper foreign correspondent in Chicago in 1932. He was scared that with WWII looming in 1937 that he might be interned here, so he decided to return to Germany and took Bob with him, while his Mom stayed in Chicago.
In 1939 WWII started and the two of them disappeared to Mom for nine years. His Dad was very critical of the Nazi regime and wrote so in his reporting. As a result the paper fired him in Berlin.
He went to Vienna where he had relatives and was able to quickly find adequate work.
Three months later came the Hitler annexation of Austria. He and Bob went to his ancestral home in Alsace-Lorraine, as it was in France then.
Again proper work was soon found.
WWII started and the Germans seized that part of France and again brought it into the territory of Germany as it was prior to WWI when they lost it to France.
Now they go to Vichy, France, which was under the supervision of Germans, but not occupied by them.
The Marshal Petain ran Vichy, France until it was taken over by the Germans in 1944.
Bob's Dad was now arrested and probably going to be executed. His Dad was given an option of joining the German Army, as he was still a German citizen.
He was made to work in a bomb disposal unit and was stationed in Hamburg.
In 1944 he and two others were killed when a bomb exploded they were disarming.
Bob went to live with his grandparents near the Yugoslav border of Austria. He went to school there.
When the war ended the area became part of the British occupied area of Austria.
People were not allowed to travel more then ten kilometers from home. Bob's school was 15 kilometers from home. He took the train and was allowed to pass, as only adults were checked on the train.
One day they check the kids too and he was taken into custody and taken to a Captain for interrogation. The Captain spoke fluent German as Bob did not remember English by this time. The officer sees he was born in Chicago and has an old letter from his Mother in his coat that had only 20 words asking about him and his Dad. The letter had been sent via International Red Cross.
The British phoned Salzburg where Americans have set up a Displaced Persons Relocation Center of some sort and he found out they had a letter from Bob's Mother that she had sent to them.
Bob was soon on his way to Chicago via the troop ship, USS George Washington, a big passenger liner.
I also had a talk with a little old lady at coffee who was from Leipzig. Irma, a Jew.
She had to be in her 90's? They fled Germany in 1937 when the ability to do so was fast ending for Jews. You may remember no country really wanted them. They were able to flee to China where they stayed until the end of WWII. I used my bad German with both along with two other German ladies.
By John Lemandri
Our Ambassador to Turkey was an 81 year old senior career diplomat who served in that position for eight years. His dog, who accompanied him nearly everywhere he went, was even older. The Ambassador's secretary usually received a heads-up call early in the morning whenever the ambassador arrived, then made his way to his second floor office, one stair at a time, while his sidekick dog trudged along beside him, one paw at a time. The entire process took ten minutes, although most of us could have sprinted the distance in 15 seconds.
TDY in Khartoum in 1986
I had been at post nearly a week, and had not yet met the ambassador, when early one morning the door bell rang in my communication office. I opened the top half of the door, looked out, saw no one and went back to work. A half minute later the bell rang once more. I again opened the top half of the door whereupon I heard an ummm, ummm, ummm. I looked down to see a frail old man looking up at me and demanding to know in a somewhat raspy voice,
"Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?"
A bit taken aback by his sharp questioning and not knowing who he was, I replied, "I'm the Ambassador. Who are you?"
He hesitated for a few seconds as if to reassure himself, then cried out in desperation, "I'm the Ambassador, I really am." He was, and he let me know it.
By Rudy Garcia
One of the posts I was sent to while serving as an AF/EX IRM Rover was Khartoum, Sudan. I was to go there around April 1986 for a couple of weeks to fill in between CPOs. Khartoum is one of three cities where the two main tributaries of the Nile, the Blue Nile and the White Nile, meet. To the north of the Blue Nile is Khartoum North; to the south is Khartoum; and to the west on the other side of the White Nile is Omdurman.
Humor, I hope!
The outgoing CPO met me at the airport and brought me to the Taka House (nicknamed Tacky House), a cheap and very basic local hotel. The room had a bed and not much of anything else. Breakfast was strong coffee, hard fried egg and a chunk of bread. The dining room was near the common toilet and hearing all the hacking and other noises did not lend to a hearty appetite.
I moved to a slightly better hotel, the Acropole Hotel, run by a Greek family. There were two buildings (the hotel had since been bombed and current status is unknown to me), the annex being the larger. I was on the roof in a converted bathroom that had a bed; at least I had a private bath/toilet. The main building was near a stream and one could see people beating the laundry that was spread out on the rocks. I gave my jeans for its annual wash and got back jeans that were at least six inches longer. I guessed someone in the hotel was wearing a pair of Capri jeans. I ate most of my breakfasts at the embassy cafeteria and on a couple of occasions DCM Shinn joined me for conversation unrelated to work.
On April 15, 1986 the U.S. carried out a series of bombing raids on Libya in an operation named El Dorado Canyon. This was in retaliation for the bombing of the discotheque in Berlin. The effect in Khartoum was that Libyan agents started attacking U.S. Embassy personnel, shooting at us when they could. One such incident was the attack on one of our first-tour SCO (IMS) after his return from the Hilton Hotel, in Khartoum North, where he had bought a cake for his girl friend. There was a huge pothole near the housing area and, as he slowed down to negotiate this hole, the car behind him pulled up and shot several times into his car, hitting him in the head with one of the shots. He was subsequently medical-evacuated to Frankfurt via Nairobi; my TDY was extended to three months.
All non-essential personnel and dependents were evacuated a couple of days later travelling in a convoy in the middle of the night. I monitored the radio during that time and at one point they were stopped for a few minutes leading to some panic by one of the MSGs guarding one of the buses.
The RSO wanted to gather all U.S. staff into groups to better protect them, so I moved in with a friend with whom I had served in Cotonou. His wife was one of the evacuees. He graciously lent me his motorcycle, a dirt bike, while he used his bicycle. We went through the market place to work, figuring no one would imagine U.S. "Diplomats" would ride bikes through the market to work. There were always gatherings of Filipinos who had been working construction in the south but were now safe-havened in Khartoum. As a cover I would sometimes mingle with them although I didn't speak Tagalog. I'd see many of the Filipinos at church on Sunday evenings. After the evacuation I started seeing many of our U.S. staff attending mass as well. It was hilarious when a selcal signal would go off and half the congregation would start fumbling through their purses, packs, or belts to see if it was theirs. As in many small hardship posts, the church seemed to be the gathering center in times of stress or for Christmas camaraderie.
We had several TDY'ers providing assistance during this time. One particularly fair skinned person arrived and was really paranoid because his paleness made him stand out. He wanted to see the dancing dervishes in Omdurman when they gathered at their mosque every Friday evening. I offered to take him and told him just to keep saying "Achtung" or "Jawohl" loudly to try to pass off as German... I don't think he thought it was funny but we went to see the dervishes and also watched the Sudanese wrestling matches in the adjoining field before returning back across the river. I was very interested in the British Raj period and went to the museum to see what it had to offer. They had a wooden car, the first to be brought to the African continent. They also had items from the Mahdist War when Britain fought against the Mahdi and the fuzzy-wuzzies (term taken from a Kipling poem that praised the Hadendoa Beja nomads' martial prowess). I also saw Kitchener's old gunboat, the Melik, rusting in the Nile. There were several interesting sights in and around the city.
Ambassador Horan (rip) used to come up to CPU (IPC) at least once or twice a day to broadcast the latest status or changes in the situation over the VHF net. We would sometimes converse, after his broadcast, on no particular subject; he was down to earth. At one point the broadcast kept breaking up and someone on the net yelled out "They're jamming us, they're jamming us!" I told the Ambassador I thought it was the repeater malfunctioning and would check on it after his broadcast. The repeater was in the USAID building a half-mile or so away. It was installed in a small cabinet in the telephone operator's room and they piled books and other materials on top of the already hot repeater. To exacerbate matters, the operator was cold because of the air conditioning and had a heater going full blast. I removed all the material from the cabinet, turned off the heater, blew out the dust in the repeater housing and finally got it cooled down enough to operate without breaking up.
A security wall did not surround the embassy. We had two demonstrations during my TDY. The first consisted of about 600 people who managed to get to the front door of the building before the riot police beat them back. The second demonstration numbered about 3,000 but was kept a block away by the riot police. To add to the period of excitement, one of the buildings in the university across the street burned down with flames over 30 feet high. Due to the high heat (around 130F) planes would arrive at night. The courier, who we met planeside, arrived around 2200 hrs and sleep on the CPU couch until about 0200 when we brought him/her out to board for the onward trip. A secretary on an excursion tour as a courier was the first to arrive after the brief termination of courier operations just after the evacuation. Although in high heels, she pulled her share of WT bags into the chancery. Then she tried to give me a tip! As I spun the dial to open up the door, the dial came off in my hand. I called in my friend to work on the lock while the courier and I dragged the pouches to the basement secure storage.
All in all it was an exciting TDY.
I kept renewing my exit visa (good for only 2 weeks) to be ready to leave if/when my replacement arrived. I have several pages in my passport filled with these stamps.
I seem to recall I was sent to Kampala shortly after this tour, right into the middle of Museveni's siege of the city.
Puns for Educated Minds
1. The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye-doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
3. She was only a whisky-maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber-band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
9. A hole has been found in the nudist-camp wall. The police are looking into it.
10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'
13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
17. A backward poet writes inverse.
18. In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine.
21. A vulture carrying two dead raccoons boards an airplane. The stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.'
22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, 'Dam.'
23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
24. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, 'I've lost my electron. 'The other says, 'Are you sure? 'The first replies, 'Yes, I'm positive.'
25. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root-canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
26. Then there was the person who sent ten puns to friends with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.
Take care and be safe!
See you next quarter, if I get some new stories to publish!