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 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.
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Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062
Tel: Home (301) 283-6549 --- Cell - (301) 535-9263
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We had a weird summer here in Southern Maryland. Temperatures were as low as 65 and as high as 98. For the last six weeks we have had very little rain. December came along and it was more like October. We had temperatures a lot of days in the 60s and more rain than we had all year. Mattawoman Creek has been running higher than normal tides. This has made fishing rather slow. Even with the high tides I have been out fishing in the boat over 50 times in the last three months. As the temperatures dropped in September and October the Crappie start moving out of the deep areas and into the shallows, which made Crappie fishing great.
He Said What?
I finally put the boat away for the winter on December 7.
By John Lemandri
One of the benefits of having a wife who is multi-lingual is that she would translate for me whenever we went for dinner in another country. Our first night out after returning to the States, we stopped at a Washington, D.C. steak house where the waiter exalted the specialties of the day.
On the beach at Waikiki 1937-39
Without missing a beat, I looked at my wife and said, "What did he say?"
Nearly a minute elapsed before she realized we were in America and I could fend for myself.
By Charles Christian
In the 30's and 40's my father was Chief Steward on one of the four white liners of Matson Lines that plied the Pacific between California and Hawaii, and on the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia.
He was on the Matsonia, nee Malolo, until 1937, which with the Lurline did the California - Honolulu run and the Mariposia and Monterey would go to the South Pacific on their voyages. As my father had the same amount of time off in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Honolulu we decided to alternate among the three ports for our home over the years. We lived in Honolulu for two years 1937-39.
We would go to Waikiki beach often. Matson owned the only two hotels there, the Royal Hawaiian, the Moana and the cottages across the street from the Moana.
Our last home there (we moved twice) backed up to the cottages which I could see through the fence, along with the Moana across the street. As I was six years old I could now walk alone the several blocks to get to the main street in front of the hotels and check in with the chief beach boy (family friend) at the next door Royal and take a spot by the water on the sparsely inhabited famous beach.
On Sundays, the 1935-1975 Hawaii Calls radio, and later TV show, would do its half hour nationwide radio show to the states on 750 stations. All they had then was a large green wooden platform raised up about six feet above the sand which held the band, singers and the announcer, Webley Edwards. He was the initial producer and announcer for 37 years. He died in 1977, two years after the last TV show. The show was financed by the Hawaiian Tourist Bureau. They got their money's worth by the large number of tourists in the states who would be listening/watching in the cold, ice and snow of winter by their radios or TV. They would hear that the air and water temperatures were both about 80 degrees. Folks would call their travel agents and book passage for a vacation to the islands the next day. Of course, until the 50's, they had to book on Matson and stay at a Matson hotel as there were no other alternatives back then.
Another time and another era with the joy of the ocean voyage and the limited number of tourists you had to rub shoulders with during your Hawaiian vacation.
No more passenger ships. Fly or swim. To get a taste of those days go to YouTube and enter: Hawaii Calls TV show 1965 on the beach at Waikiki.
By Rudy Garcia
Sometimes, edited narratives lose their intended meaning. When I arrived here in Colorado Springs a reporter asked me to submit “My Story”, which I did. There was one particular edit that completely changed the point. I told of a time at Kruger Park when an old cow-elephant charged me. I had no time to turn my Suzuki “Jeep” SJ413 around. I shifted to reverse and gunned it backward, outrunning her after 50-60 yards. The story was to show my Suzuki could outrun in reverse an old elephant although it needed a hill to get to the advertised 60 kph capability. The reporter simply stated that I was “charged by an elephant.”
These are some good things to think about!!!!
Recently I attended a Denver-area AFSA lunch and we were asked to submit a bio. I wrote the family immigrated to Switzerland from the Philippines. Six months before we were eligible for Swiss citizenship my father was offered a job in the Baluchistan area of Iran. We lived in Iran for eleven years; six of which I spent at boarding schools in England. My submission was changed to “I immigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. via Switzerland and Iran.” Not the same thing.
The condensed story of our trip to the U.S. from Iran follows:
When our immigration visa was approved in 1967 we were in Tehran. We planned for half the family to go by car to Europe and the other half would meet there. Together we'd go overland/sea to New York City, except for my older brother who was over 21. We had an old Opel Olympia station wagon (1960) that we bought in Belgium in '64 and drove to Tehran. My mother had also made a round trip from Tehran to Rabat, Morocco to interview King Hassan II for the USIA magazine “Iran Today”; my older brother drove. So we were not particularly worried about the trip but for the load we planned to take in the car. We had a local blacksmith hammer out a spare leaf spring to carry with us. We left late November 1967 and promptly had our first flat tire on the highway to Tabriz, as it was not a paved highway back then.
At the border it took us six hours to process our documents and cross into Turkey. Our route was west through Agri and then northward to the Black Sea. The weather changed as we neared the mountains so we installed the rear chains as we reached the snow. The snow on the mountain roads reached two feet in areas, with drifts on the shoulder higher than our heads. At one town, Bayburt, the engine wouldn't turn over as it had frozen due to the extreme cold overnight. A local, who was smoking while watching us, took his chair and smashed it against the wall, poured some kerosene on it and lit it on top of the engine block. But that didn't loosen the pistons. Finally the army garrison commander ordered his men to tow the car up and down the avenue until the engine cranked. The route was supposedly dangerous due to highway bandits. Army officials recommended vehicles go in convoys from town to town. We left by ourselves. When we approached steep inclines we would get out and walk, as the car couldn't handle the load. At one point we met a German family going the other way so we brewed some tea in the middle of the road and exchanged information; it was that desolate. We didn't meet up with any bandits but did hear the howling of wolves throughout the trip along the mountainside.
The Black Sea was a welcome sight as there was no snow there. We went along the seaside from Trabzon to Samsun and down to Ankara, west to Istanbul where we had minor repairs done to the car. We crossed into Greece and took a ferry from Patras into Brindisi, Italy. Had my first Cappuccino on board the ferry; delicious! One of the rear springs finally broke just outside Naples, where we had the spare installed. We continued up north to Milan and into Switzerland, passing through the St. Bernard Pass and, finally, Fribourg. It was as cold there as it was in Bayburt, negative 27F. We rented an apartment there until the rest of the family arrived.
When we were reunited we went through the last medical requirements and shots for immigration. We set off for Cherbourg, France, where we boarded the QE I just after the New Year. On the sixth day we entered New York City harbor, plowing through the ice while standing on deck, our baggage in hand. A typical movie scene of immigrants arriving by boat in the winter, passing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. We stayed a couple of days in the Times Square Motor Hotel (what a dump) while processing more documentation. Finally we drove down to Falls Church, VA, site of the head office of the company my father worked for, Melpar.
We had the car two more years; I took my driver's test with it. Finally I sold it for $25.00 after the third cycle of its odometer.
This, and other travels, may help explain why I joined the Foreign Service.
The below was received from Rob Robinson:
1981 Coup Gambia
1. Your shoes are the first thing people subconsciously notice about you. Wear nice shoes.
2. If you sit for more than 11 hours a day, there's a 50% chance you'll die within the next three years.
3. There are at least six people in the world who look exactly like you. There's a 9% chance that you'll meet one of them in your lifetime.
4. Sleeping without a pillow reduces back pain and keeps your spine stronger.
5. A person's height is determined by their father, and their weight is determined by their mother.
6. If a part of your body "falls asleep", you can almost always "wake it up" by shaking your head.
7. There are three things the human brain cannot resist noticing; food, attractive people and danger
8. Right-handed people tend to chew food on their right side.
9. Putting dry tea bags in gym bags or smelly shoes will absorb the unpleasant odor.
10. According to Albert Einstein, if honey bees were to disappear from earth, humans would be dead within four years.
11. There are so many kinds of apples, that if you ate a new one every day, it would take over 20 years to try them all.
12. You can survive without eating for weeks, but you will only live 11 days without sleeping.
13. People who laugh a lot are healthier than those who don't.
14. Laziness and inactivity kills just as many people as smoking.
15. A human brain has a capacity to store five times as much information as Wikipedia.
16. Our brain uses the same amount of power as a 10-watt light bulb.
17. Our body gives enough heat in 30 mins to boil 1.5 liters of water.
18. The Ovum egg is the largest cell and the sperm is the smallest cell.
19. Stomach acid (conc. HCl) is strong enough to dissolve razor blades.
20. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day and while you walk, SMILE. It is the ultimate antidepressant.
21. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
22. When you wake up in the morning, pray to ask God's guidance for your purpose, today.
23. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
24. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, broccoli, and almonds.
25. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
26. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
27. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
28. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
29. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Forgive them for everything!
30. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
31. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
32. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
33. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
34. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
35. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years will this matter?'
36. Help the needy, be generous! Be a 'Giver' not a 'Taker.'
37. What other people think of you is none of your business.
38. Time heals everything.
39. However good or bad a situation is it will change.
40. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
By Erick Moran
Rudy Garcia recently wrote about the Coup in Gambia in 1981, so I thought I should tell my story.
A poem I received from Dennis Nelson:
The President of Gambia had departed country to attend the royal wedding of Princess Diana to Prince Charles. A group of Marxist decided it was a good time to take control of the country.
Gambia is a lovely, quiet little country tucked into the west coast of Africa. The beaches are wonderful and they even had a nice little Micro Brewery in downtown Banjul, with a German restaurant. I had been to Banjul a few times before so I was familiar with the city. As a CEO-C Technician my duties had me traveling in that region and I was told to drop what I was doing and go directly to Dakar.
The Embassy staff in Banjul had been at work when the Coup started and so they secured themselves at the mission. The rebels had cut all communications to include telephone and telex, so the only means our mission had to communicate was with VHF Radio. They could only communicate with our mission in Dakar, as their HF Radio was also out of order. Although I was a Crypto Technician, Joe Cecile and Gil Cortez had trained me on the basic fundamentals of HF radio repairs and I carried some of the vacuum tubes with me.
I was asked to go into the country and see if I could restore communications for the Mission. The only issue was that the fighting was still in progress and the borders were still closed. Mr. Leonard Shurtleff, Deputy Director for African Affairs, was in Dakar and he was to accompany me on this adventure. Mission Dakar provided us with a driver and a vehicle to travel to the border. Banjul was on the other side of the river and transportation is normally accomplished via a ferry, but due to the Coup the ferries were not operating. That meant that once we got to the border we had to hire a Pirogue to cross the river and hope we were not caught. I had a VHF radio with me so I could talk with the Mission in Banjul and let them know our location and that we were going to cross over. The Mission Chief, Ambassador Larry Piper, assured us that we could cross and he had his people at the river to help us make it from the river to the mission. We had asked the mission if there was anything that we could carry in to help them out inside the mission, and the said some scotch would be nice. I therefore also carried in two cases of Johnnie Walker Red.
Once in country I had to remain until law and order was restored and I had to obtain a visa so I could depart the country. I stayed at the Embassy to assist the communicator until Gypsy Bergman, one of the best rovers we had in Africa, came in to relieve the assigned Communicator, (if I recall she was Barbara Burk).
I caught hell when I got home and my wife learned of my adventure. She reminded me I was a father and husband and had responsibilities at home.
I remember the bologna of my childhood,
And the bread that we cut with a knife,
When the children helped with the housework,
And the men went to work not the wife.
The cheese never needed a fridge,
And the bread was so crusty and hot,
The children were seldom unhappy
And the wife was content with her lot.
I remember the milk from the bottle,
With the yummy cream on the top,
Our dinner came hot from the oven,
And not from a freezer or shop.
The kids were a lot more contented,
They didn't need money for kicks,
Just a game with their friends in the road,
And sometimes the Saturday Flicks.
I remember the shop on the corner,
Where candies for pennies were sold.
Do you think I'm a bit too nostalgic?
Or is it.... I'm just getting old?
Bathing was done in a wash tub,
With plenty of rich foamy suds
But the ironing seemed never ending
As Mama pressed everyone's 'duds'.
I remember the slap on my backside,
And the taste of soap if I swore
Anorexia and diets weren't heard of
And we hadn't much choice what we wore.
Do you think that bruised our ego?
Or our initiative was destroyed?
We ate what was put on the table
And I think life was better enjoyed.
Be safe and enjoy life!
See you next quarter.
KEEP THE STORIES COMING!