|Issue 18||June 1997||Volume 2 - Number 7|
Welcome to the CANDOER News. Suggestions as to what you would like to see in the CANDOER are welcome. Letters to the editor, articles consisting of general information, feature articles, G-rated jokes, or poems, written/submitted by retirees or OC/IM employees, past or present, will be published, unedited. Material may be submitted on a 3.5" floppy disk (disk will be returned) using WordPerfect Version 6.1 or earlier (if it contains graphics), on a plain sheet of paper (if it has no graphics) or via e-mail. The deadline for submitting material is no later than the 25th of each month. Material received after that date will be published in the next issue of the CANDOER, space allowing. Please, restrict articles/submissions to two single spaced, typed pages. No hand written submissions, please.
The snail-mail address for submissions or letters to the editor is:
Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
Publisher/Editor CANDOER News
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062
On May 8th I received the following note and generous donation to the CANDOER funds from Bob Caffrey:
I expect to be traveling to Washington frequently. I will coordinate the trips to coincide with luncheons. Joe Lea's and Jim Prosser's writings are terrific. Thanks to you for making it happen. CANDOERs are all welcome in New Mexico, we have lots of room.
/s/ Bob C.
On May 20, I received the following e-mail message from Jim Prosser:
I'm sitting outside, in the yard, under the shade of a thorn tree (as Livingston was when Stanley found him) but with my relatively new IBM lap top and have now found time to compose a bunch of stories for you and CANDOER. My servant brings me tea (or a gin and tonic) when I tinkle the bell on the table. Perfect writing conditions. No one to bother me, except a pair of dogs who love to play.
One can get E-mail access in Kenya for private use, but it is such a hassle and unreliable service, that everyone here recommends against it. A friend has it, but he is only allowed access during two three-hour periods daily; 0500-0800 and 1900-2200 local. Not exactly accommodating.
Even CompuServe, which has nodes in just about every half-way decent sized city in the world, has by-passed Kenya. No Prodigy or America Online, either. For their directory, under Kenya CompuServe, they list a telephone number of the Nairobi postal administration. I contacted it. The person answering said, "Oh yes, you can have E-mail access to CompuServe. Just bring your computer down here, and we will connect it to a special access line. Of course, there will be a $5.48 per minute hook-up and usage charge!"
Imagine! Bring my computer down to the postal administration building to send/receive E-mail! That will be the day. So getting rid of this will have to wait until sometime later. CompuServe has nodes all over South Africa and I will be there in May. I might try then.
I have finally found a place to plug in at a very reasonable cost so I can send E-mail. After sending this I will again be incommunicado for at least two weeks while out on safari, again in the bush.
Everyone in their lives has had one or more of what I would call a "defining moment"; i.e. something of extreme importance happens which enables one to remember many years later with utter clarity exactly what they were doing at the given moment. For example, Pearl Harbor Day, or the day President Kennedy was assassinated.
Why don't you invite readers of CANDOER to send you short stories of what they, as communicators, were doing that fateful day of November 22, 1963. There certainly have to be some very interesting and unusual ones. You could publish a synopsis of them (or individually if worthwhile) in the November issue of CANDOER. I will kick this off with my own submission.
/s/ James F. Prosser
For those of you who do not get the State Magazine via snail-mail and would still like to read it, if you have Internet access, you may wish to sign on the Department's Web site. The Department's Web site may be accessed at: http:/www.us-state.gov/. You may access the State Magazine site from here or you can go directly to the State Magazine site at: http:/www-state.gov/www/about_state/statemag/ This site has a lot of the features that are presently in the magazine itself. It does not have a list of the promotions, retirements, reassignments, etc.
The May issue was distributed to 110 people. The June issue, as of the time of printing, was distributed to 115 people. Using my HP DeskJet 600C printer it takes me approximately 22 hours, including collating, to print 115 copies of a 16 page issue. I can have it printed and collated by Staples, including the driving time to and from, in about three hours. Because they charge 24 cents for each page with color graphics, I print page one, two, and the e-mail addresses page myself and get the remaining pages printed and collated by them.
I now have an e-mail address for CANDOER activities. If you are sending e-mail to me in my capacity as Publisher/Editor of the News you may use: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are sending e-mail to me personally, use either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. All three e-mail addresses will get to me, but in separate mail boxes at IICS. This service was added for me at no additional cost. I am also talking to IICS about a Web site and what the cost would be. I hope to have this information by the next issue.
This issue starts a series of short stories about a little silver haired Poodle called Samson. I have titled these short stories "The Samson Sagas". I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.
I concur with Jim Prosser's idea of printing stories from CANDOERs about what they were doing the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Please submit your stories to me and I will publish them in the November issue of the CANDOER News.
Silver poodles are born as black as the ace of spades. Samson was no exception. We got him from a fellow Embassy officer in Madrid, Ed Milburn, whose dog delivered her litter just a few weeks before they had to leave Madrid on transfer to Mexico. We had the pick of the litter and followed someone's advice to get the largest pup in the litter. The biggest one couldn't walk very well but Ed said that was normal; he'd eventually figure out that he had four legs and learn how to use them. I'll never forget the squall that little guy put up in the cardboard box as I drove him the few blocks to our apartment and the pitiful wailing all night long the first few nights we had him.
We had selected a name for him that we could remember (his pedigreed name resembled a paragraph in Spanish) but I admit stealing the idea from Kathy Emmons, who, a few years earlier, had a poodle named Plato. We thought it would be a cute and unusual name for such a little creature.
Until Sampson was able to hold his water for at least ten minutes he was confined to the part of the apartment that had tiled floors - a large kitchen, pantry, laundry room, and two small bedrooms - most of which constituted the maids quarters in the days when people could afford a live-in maid. On the one hand it was really heart-breaking to hear him cry because, instead of snuggling up with his fellow pups and his mother all night, he was in a gigantic room in that same box and a blanket. On the other hand, by the second night I thought seriously of throwing him off the balcony but my wife said she'd throw me off too. Able to follow that simple logic, I accepted the alternative which was to stumble around like a zombie during the day and wait for the little bugger to settle down. He did, in about a week but not without an hour's racket each night just to remind us that he still had problems with sleeping alone in the kitchen.
Since we got him several weeks before he was weaned, we decided to feed him Similac for a while. He was happy with Similac, but he had a heck of a time getting use to it. He was so small that his tiny pads couldn't get a grip on the tile floor. We poured Similac into a cut-glass ash tray that was much bigger and heavier than he was. He'd take a few slurps but, unable to get a grip, one leg would slide one way, another would go in a different direction and he'd lurch one way, then another and eventually fall over. We had to hold our sides from laughing so hard watching him devote 100% of his attention trying to drink and none at all it seemed to keeping his balance. After a few seconds of amusement, one of us would hold him so he could really go to it. The funniest time was when he was on his own and both front paws slid out from under him. He fell forward into the Similac, did a somersault over the ashtray and landed on his back on the other side. He was covered with Similac but immediately got up, glanced up at us as if to say "Thought I'd try it from this side." and got back to his supper.
The following 18 people were in attendance at our May 13 luncheon at Phineas in Rockville: Bob Berger, Bob Campopiano, Bob Catlin, Ralph Crain, Al Debnar, Paul Del Giudice, Don Denault, Charlie Ditmeyer, Leroy Farris, Ken French, Jim Gansel, Charlie Hoffman, Harry Laury, Mel Maples, Will Naeher, Nate Reynolds, Bob Scheller, and Doc Sloan.
In addition, we had one new member who joined the CANDOERs this month and also attend his first luncheon, Joel Kleiman. A big CANDOER WELCOME to Joel. May we see you at many more.
On April 28, 1997, I received the following note from Yvonne Sobien:
Thank you very much for your kind expression of sympathy. It was thoughtful of you to write and it was much appreciated.
I have received many cards and letters from Bill's colleagues and friends in the U.S. - some I've never met but I have heard the names. I think I've replied to all, but perhaps through your Newsletter you could show my appreciation and thanks to the many CANDOERs for their cards and notes of sympathy.
/s/ Yvonne Sobien
On April 30, in an e-mail message, Richard Kalla furnished his Bio. Dick is assigned as the IMO at Caracas. His Bio may be found in the Pen and Ink section.
On April 30, in an e-mail message, Joel Kleiman, who retired in July of 1996, furnished his snail-mail and e-mail addresses and requested information about the CANDOERs. His Bio information is furnished in the Pen and Ink section.
On May 1, in an e-mail message, Ed Wilson furnished his new e-mail address. Ed also said he is now detailed to DOD. His new e-mail address may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the last page.
On May 3, in an e-mail message, Bob Kegley furnished a snail-mail address for Lyle Rosdahl. I wrote to Lyle and informed him of the activities of the CANDOERs. His address may be found in the Pen and Ink section.
In an e-mail message received from Bob Kegley, on May 5, he furnished an address for Dave Noack. I wrote a letter to Dave informing him of our Luncheon Group. His address may be found in the Pen and Ink section.
On May 6 I received an e-mail message from a former IM employee, Margery Benson. Margery sent me the message in response to my letter to the editor published in the April 1997 issue of the State Magazine. Margery is now working for the International Visitors Program at USIA, as a Program Officer. I e-mailed her information about the CANDOERs.
On May 9, Rey Grammo furnished an address for Jim Engelhart. I wrote a letter to Jim informing him of our Luncheon Group. On May 21, I received a donation and a Personal Data Form from Jim. His bio information may be found in the Pen and Ink section.
On May 16, Phil Blanchard, in an e-mail message furnished his new e-mail address. This information may be found in the Pen and Ink section as well as on the last page.
In addition Phil asked me to correct a mistake I made in last months issue, under the Retiree's Report. I left a line out of Phil's note about his new job. The information should have read as follows: .....Rust Caterpillar (locally). Rust is providing power systems to the Kuwaiti's for their Patriot missile systems.
On May 16, in an e-mail message, Bob Reed expressed his wish to become a CANDOER. Bob retired in 1986 and is living in Pensacola, Florida. His bio may be found in the Pen and Ink section.
On May 17, Ed Ferry notified me that he had changed Internet providers. Effective immediately, Ed has dropped AOL and subscribed to EROLS. His new e-mail address may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the last page.
On May 21, Phil Hendrix sent me a note requesting information about the CANDOERs. I sent him a letter informing him of our activities. His address may be found in the Pen and Ink section.
On May 21, I received an e-mail message from Joe Lea. Joe asks, and I second the suggestion, that those of you who worked with Chuck Drinkwater for so many years, please drop a note to Nelda to give our support to her, the caregiver. She is going through a lot right now in taking of Chuck. The below letter, from Nelda to Joe, explains what we are talking about.
This is a midnight note while Chuck is sleeping. I can't hear well enough to call --- words become strangely garbled! I want to thank you for your interest in Chuck, and for letters from former co-workers. Also, I feel the need of informing you that Chuck is terminally ill and Hospice has taken over. He has a brain tumor, diabetes, Alzheimers disease, and inoperable, untreatable lung cancer, with less than a year to live. The doctor put him in a nursing home on March 19th, but he was unable to understand why. He thought he had been confined (jail) and nobody would tell him what he had done or how long he would be locked up. When I learned this, I brought him back home so fast the nursing home is still in shock. He has responded beautifully. He walks to the table and feeds himself, where as I was having to roll him down halls in a wheelchair and spoon feed him.
His illness is a devastating experience. He remains sweet and uncomplaining, but I have been warned that can change. So far he has had no pain, but that could also change. The Hospice people are blessings beyond description. They have our cups overflowing --- constantly reaching out and helping. In fact, in case of any emergency I am to call them even before calling 911.
The months ? ahead are in God's hands and will, where they belong!
Thank you for your concern --- it is appreciated.
Their address is as follows:
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Drinkwater
611 Linden Drive
Waycross, GA 31501
On May 22, Dennis Sweigart called from Reading, PA requesting information about the CANDOERs. I sent him a letter informing him of our activities. His address may be found in the Pen and Ink section.
On May 22, I received a call from Babe. He reported he is doing well, but freezing his butt off. He said subtract 10-15 degrees from the temperatures we are having and you have the weather they are having. Regardless, of the weather he is enjoying himself. He does not expect to be back into the area before the last week of July or the first week of August. If his house sells before that, of course, he will be back for the settlement.
Teaching a 3-day-old calf to drink milk out of a bucket is quite an experience.
When a beef cow gave birth, we left mother and calf together until they wilfully had nothing more to do with one another, usually when the calf was about 3 months old. The cow had enough milk for the calf, but no more. She had milk for just about that same 3 months.
With the dairy cow it was different; she had several times more milk than the calf could possibly use. She needed to be milked on schedule, twice a day, not nursing her calf. So after 3 days, cow and calf were separated, the calf penned up and the cow free to go to pasture or whatever. This generated a lot of bawling by both mother and calf, but they got over it. Meanwhile, the calf had to be fed and it had to be fed milk. I watched Dad take care of this when I was young, but soon it became my turn.
The calf knows from nothing about drinking, but it knows how to suck. So you put some warm fresh milk in a bucket, straddle the calf's neck and hold the bucket under his nose. Dip a couple of fingers in the milk and offer the fingers for the calf to suck. The calf has smelled the milk and you have 75 or so pounds of calf who is gung ho, jumping and bucking, without the slightest idea of what is going on, except that he wants that milk.
After the calf sucks the milk off your fingers a few times comes the next step. While he is excitedly gumming your fingers you slowly push his head down into the bucket until his nose and mouth are submerged in milk. This usually results in the calf giving a big snort, milk flies everywhere, but you continue. Maybe after three or four snorting episodes, he catches on and actually begins to drink; and then again maybe not. But by the next feeding time this is one hungry baby and without fail will be drinking on his own. I never remember one going hungry through two feedings.
As soon as the calf has learned to drink, vitamins and other supplements were added to the milk and continued until the calf was weaned from milk in, what else, about 3 months.
- Wednesday, July 17 -
After another night of good sleep, Larissa woke everyone at 0500 local time for our disembarkation at Irkutsk. The train arrived at 0615, right on time! Considering I had been under way four days, experienced some delays and traveled 5,191 kms, that was impressive. I suspect there may be some fat built into the schedule.
The mystery of the dining car remained unsolved. The gigantic piles of boxes covered with sheets and tarpaulins remained undisturbed as we first saw them after departure from Moscow four days ago.
I bid Larissa and the other crew members farewell for they continued on to Vladivostok, from which they were to return to Moscow the same night of their arrival there. They get no time off in Vladivostok, so in effect are working 15 days straight. But they do get a week off in Moscow before going out again.
It was a bright, cool day in Irkutsk with a fresh morning breeze blowing through the station.
The station was almost deserted. There were no porters. I carried my baggage down stairs, crossed under several tracks and then up stairs through the station waiting room and outside where I found private taxis awaiting. The Irkutsk station had recently been completely refurbished on the outside to its original beauty. It is adjacent to the swift flowing Angara River. I could see my Hotel Intourist directly across, but it was about a two kilometer taxi ride.
Irkutsk is the capital of Irkutsk Ooblast in Russia. It is situated in southern Siberia, 60 kms from Lake Baikal. The city has a population of 640,500. It is named for the small Irkut River, which enters the Angara here. Irkutsk is one of Siberia's largest cities, situated on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and serves as a supply base for the development of Siberian resource areas to the north.
The city's industries produce transportation equipment and machinery for gold mining and other extractive industries and process mica mined in Siberia. Power needs are met, in part, from a hydroelectric station built here on the Angara River in 1956. One of the largest consumers of power is an aluminum plant at Shelekhov, just southwest of Irkutsk. The city's university (founded in 1918) and many research institutes train specialists for the development of Siberian resources.
Irkutsk was founded in 1652 by the Russian Cossacks, who conquered the local Buryat people and used the town as a base for their expansion into eastern Siberia. Many members of the Decembrist Movement of St. Petersburg were exiled here in the 19th century for their attempt to overthrow the Czar and Romanov dynasty. With their commercial acumen and skills, Irkutsk prospered because of its position on the trade route between Russia and China, and its importance increased when the Trans- Siberian railway was built at the end of the 19th century.
Check-in procedures at the Hotel Intourist are the same as in 1974 for Russian hotels. You give your passport to the main desk. Your floor matron controls everything else. I found mine to be very cooperative and congenial. I was surprised to see that there is either a restaurant or bar on each floor at the North end of each corridor. The hotel even has a business center with the latest telephone/FAX /computer/printer/reproduction and secretarial facilities plus a resident dentist to serve hotel guests exclusively! My, things have changed in Russia!
breakfast I came across some American tourists who had already been in Irkutsk a few days. They had come by train from Beijing. After hearing I had arrived on the Trans-Siberian they reported seeing the "Orient Express" train in a station "somewhat east of Irkutsk" and thought it was Ulan-Ude. The Orient Express was heading in a southeasterly direction pulled by a Russian electric locomotive.
One of the party, Jack, was able to visit it and provided a bit more information. The Orient Express is a privately owned (Swiss) and operated luxury train which makes one or two round trips a summer between St. Petersburg and Beijing. It is made up of elegantly refurbished rolling stock from the Compagnie des Wagons Lits, all of which pre-date World War II. It is staffed solely by western Europeans. On board there was an Intourist guide with a Russian railway conductor. It is the same train which otherwise operates between England and Venice at other times.
Interestingly, the Orient Express is stored in Moscow during the winter months, when not in use, as an economy measure and to have any major maintenance work performed.
After breakfast, Intourist arranged a three hour tour of the city for me with their guide, a young man named Alexei. His English was excellent as he is a student at the local language technical institute. I wanted him to accompany me on my tour to Lake Baikal.
The initial stop was on the right bank of the Angara River on the city's northwest side. Before Alexei could begin speaking, a huge Russian cargo plane, the Antonov (equivalent to the U.S. C-5), came in low directly above us for a landing at the nearby airport.
We went to a cluster of four churches. The first was the Savior church with a grand fresco of St. John the Baptist on the exterior of the tower. This is most unusual for a Russian church. It had been used as a school and later a meeting place. Now it is being restored and renovated in preparation for returning it to the Orthodox church. Across the street is the Church of the Epiphany. On the opposite corner is the Gothic Roman Catholic (Polish) church of St. Francis. Just a few blocks from these is the Church of the Holy Sign. The last three are operational churches.
Alexei then took me on a short drive through older parts of the city which were never destroyed in the various fires that are bound to occur when all structures are built of wood, and close together. The wooden filigree on many of these very old wooden structures show the former glory and beauty taken in their construction. To many of them however, time has not been kind and their owners or occupants have seriously neglected their upkeep. We did find a few that are now undergoing reparations. It is to be hoped there will be many more in the immediate future, according to Alexei.
We drove through the central shopping district, market area and past several Decembrist homes which are now museums open to the public. Then we drove across the hydroelectric dam in the Angara River. When it was completed in 1956, it caused the level of Lake Baikal 60 kms away to eventually rise 35 meters! In another major railway construction project, the original tracks of the Trans-Siberian railroad had to be raised more than that amount along the steep hillsides of the lake's southern and eastern shores while the others were pulled up or abandoned below to the rapidly rising waters.
Back at the hotel, I was fairly hungry by now. So I went to one of the restaurants inside for lunch and got some rest as well. It was rather poor fare and in retrospect, the least desirable of the meals I had in Russia, including those frequently partaken at stand up kiosks.
I now made my first attempt to arrange tomorrow's Lake Baikal activities with the Intourist travel service bureau in the hotel, but the young lady in charge was rather difficult, to say the least.
I explained to her the Intourist bus tour to Lake Baikal was much too brief. Plus, I wanted to at least take the hydrofoil boat to or from Listvyanka in one direction and bus in the other, leaving Irkutsk first thing in the morning and returning via the last mode of transportation in the late afternoon. I also wanted to have Alexei along again as my guide/interpreter. No. She was inflexible. It was do it her way, or it wouldn't get done.
She also explained she would not be on duty tomorrow and perhaps her replacement could help in the morning. This was unacceptable to me. I explained I paid a lot of money to come this far to visit Lake Baikal and a five hour Intourist escorted tour would not allow me to accomplish everything I wished to do. I needed to arrange everything today. Seeing she was not getting anywhere with me, she said "come back before 2000 and would see if there was something they could do."
I spotted guide/interpreter Alexei in the lobby and explained my predicament, and said I wanted him to accompany me tomorrow regardless of what developed with Intourist. I told him I planned to leave the hotel at 0830 to catch the 0900 bus to Listvyanka. He agreed to come along, but first had to check with Intourist, even though he was not their employee. It seems the former hierarchy still exists.
By now it was mid-afternoon on a most pleasant day. I walked across the street to the river and 400 meters away spotted a tourist boat tied up. I went to it and arranged to have a tour on the Angara River. A lot of young children shortly joined me with their parents for the excursion. Snacks and beverages were sold and l had a delightful afternoon cruising.
Because the Angara River is always cold 10C (50F) maximum, the breeze likewise is very cool, but appreciated on a sunny day like today.
Returning, I walked straight towards the center of the city along the Karl Marx shopping street. Some communist associated names still remain. Lenin street has reverted back to its former appellation, Amurskaya, but only half of the street signs have been changed. That can be a bit confusing to strangers walking about. According to Alexei on this morning's tour, the city council ran out of money for more signs. Besides, it has more urgent need for the funds, like repair buildings, trams, tracks and streets.
Finding an ice cream parlor, I stopped inside for my daily "fix" of morozhnoye. I had to use the toilet, so I saw a sign in the corner and door nearby. There is no toilet. It's just a room with a hole in the floor and another large one in the wall, but it certainly smells like an outhouse we used on the farm back home 60 years ago!
Now came round II with the Intourist travel service bureau. It was about 1900.
It was obvious the clerk had not had a good day. She politely explained that while Intourist would like to accede to my special request, they could not because there would be no bus available the first thing tomorrow morning to take me to Listvyanka and drop us off. I asked what about Alexei accompanying me privately? She said he had departed for today and unfortunately did not have a home telephone.
I thanked her for her efforts, but had one other requirement to be taken care of. That was to have onward reservations on the Trans-Siberian for Sunday reconfirmed. After reviewing the tickets and vouchers, she said it wasn't necessary as Intourist had taken care of that in Moscow.
To verify the new departure time I noted she pulled from her desk a copy of the June 1, 1996 complete Russian Railroad timetable! I asked if I could borrow it to copy the few pages involving the Trans-Siberian. Saying that this was the only copy in all of Irkutsk, she was very apprehensive about loaning it for even five minutes. "Not even the Trans-Siberian headquarters here or the Irkutsk station master has a copy!" she said. Whereupon I offered her my passport and camera as collateral until I returned the book. She reluctantly agreed.
What a coup! Until now, I had been unable to obtain a complete and correct schedule of the Trans-Siberian trains No. 1 and 2 either in Moscow or on the train!
it was now 1930 and I still hadn't gotten to first base on any arrangements for tomorrow's trip to Listvyanka and Lake Baikal. But my guardian angel was looking out for me! Since arrival this morning, I had become quite friendly with the lady in the hotel information booth in the lobby, finding her to be extremely helpful. I explained to her my predicament.
Amazingly, in less than five minutes she: a. advised me to take the 0900 country bus to Listvyanka; b. how to get to the country bus station by tram; c. the time of the last hydrofoil departure from Listvyanka to Irkutsk, and d. the hours of the Liminological Institute! Amazing! Why hadn't I asked the questions of her sooner? A lot of hassle and wasted time with Intourist could have been avoided.
At 2000, by now starving, I walked about three blocks away and ate at a Chinese restaurant recommended to me by some Australian girls with whom I had a chance meeting. It was excellent. The service by Russian waitresses was impressive. They spoke Chinese, no English, but responded quite well to my sign language.
After dinner, at 2215 I adjourned to the park benches on the river in front of the hotel to watch the sun set and bring my journal up-to-date. Too much was happening to let notes slide.
A day without sunshine is like night.
A funny experience enroute to the party.
Madrid was a city of over three million people when I arrived there in the Spring of 1971 to start a three-year assignment, unhappily, unable to speak a word of Spanish. As luck would have it, I found an apartment almost immediately, but would have to wait three months to move into it. It was a beauty and nicely located so it was worth the wait. In the meantime, I moved into a hotel that provided cooking facilities, etc. A few weeks after arrival, I received a dinner invitation from the General Services Officer, Dorsey Andrizzi. Now, those who knew and remember a bachelor's existence in the Foreign Service, will also remember that we never passed up the opportunity to eat a home-cooked meal, thus we never refused an invitation to dinner.
On this occasion, I got "home" from work; cleaned up, dressed and was ready to go but, at 6 p.m. in Spain, it's way too early to go anywhere. I had not yet become accustomed to the late eating practice in Spain. Even in a city as big as Madrid, only a few tourist hotels served food before 8 p.m. So, I wandered down to the street level and entered a bar to sample the local beer. Since you can never be sure with just one beer, I actually sampled several beers and took careful note of the consistent flavor of the body, head, hops and all that stuff.
An hour later, enough sampling accomplished for the evening, I walked outside and hailed a taxi. I had written the Andrizzi's address on a piece of paper and figured it might take half an hour or so to drive to wherever they lived.
The driver immediately said something to me after he read the address, but, as noted above, I didn't know hosta la veesta from mucho garcia so I didn't understand what he said. I spoke to him in English, German and French and he spoke to me in Spanish. Amazingly, as our voices rose in volume, incomprehension reigned. In resignation, I fell back in the seat and gestured again to the piece of paper. The driver shrugged his shoulders and took off. He made two left turns and pulled up to an apartment building entrance on the opposite side of my block.
Since it was too early to arrive anywhere for dinner I walked back to my side of the block and resumed the beer sampling. One minor footnote: I cannot honestly claim that all the beer passed the test for I didn't drink it all.
The early 1960's were a scene of utter chaos in the Congo. Independence had taken place in 1960 and since then the country had deteriorated into anarchy with rebellion everywhere. Simba rebels in the northeast of the country had conquered the provincial capital of Stanleyville and imprisoned more than 800 people, including the staff of the American Consulate, with its three communicators.
The post normally had two communicators, but through an unfortunate twist of fate, Dave Parks, the new communicator had just arrived to replace Jim Stauffer and serve with Ernie Houle (RIP). His second day at post everyone was captured and incarcerated.
Tortured and kept in deplorable conditions (total darkness, no furniture or latrine, little food or water in oppressive heat, frequent beatings), it is amazing they survived their ordeal of 80 days.
The United States and Belgium decided immediate military action had to be taken to save the lives of several hundred people held by the Simbas. Under great secrecy, several battalions of Belgian paratroopers were airlifted to Ascension Island in the Atlantic in U.S. Air Force C-130's.
Communications support in the Congo for this operation fell to the American Embassy communications center. The normal staff of 14, including radio operators and technicians for 24-hour operation was supplemented by 15 others on TDY from places as far away as Japan, South America, Europe and Washington.
For the TDYers, we had newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications, John Coffey, to thank for his prompt responsiveness. His first trip abroad in 1964 was to visit Leopoldville, because the horrible events of the day were splashed over all the U.S. papers. He knew intimately what we were going through.
The communications center was swamped with upwards of 800 messages a day (on-line and off-line encrypted), and the days leading up to the paradrop, over 1,200 messages were being handled.
One C-130 came to Leopoldville to pick up Walt Hunter, one of our radio technicians, and take him and a completely redundant shortwave radio station to Stanleyville. Being in the first plane on the ground after the Belgian paratroops "secured" the airfield his mission was to have the station operating within minutes for the accompanying military and political officers.
Upon landing Walt scrambled with his KWM-2A radio package over to the control tower base and installed it in the entrance. Then connecting the antenna coaxial cable to the radio, with the coil of cable and hand tools he scaled to the top of the 60 foot tower, affixed the antenna and climbed back down. He was astounded to find the coaxial cable cut and the KWM-2A stolen! Now, that's fast thievery, even in a war zone! Fortunately, Walt did have the second KWM-2A back in the aircraft to install.
The heart pumps blood into the arteries and through the circulatory system. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. It is measured in the arteries and is recorded as two numbers, such as 122/78.
Systolic pressure is the top, larger number. It is generated by the heart's contraction.
Diastolic pressure is the bottom, smaller number. It is the pressure in the arteries while the heart is filling and resting between beats.
Medical scientists have determined a normal range for blood pressure. People whose blood pressure is consistently higher than this norm are said to have high blood pressure or "hypertension."
High blood pressure means the heart is straining to pump blood. This is unhealthy because:
- The heart can become enlarged (Congestive heart failure).
- The arteries can become scarred and less elastic. Hardened, narrowed arteries may be unable to carry the amount of blood the body's organs and tissues need.
- Blood clots may form or lodge in a narrowed artery. Blood clots are one of several causes of heart attacks and strokes.
- 1.5 million Americans suffer a new or recurrent heart attack every year, and about 487,000 of them die.
- 500,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke every year, and more than 154,000 of them die.
In about 5-10% of cases, the cause of high blood pressure is unknown. Although the specific cause is not known, there are contributing factors.
Age - The older a person gets, the more likely he or she is to develop high blood pressure.
Race - Blacks have high blood pressure more often than whites. It also tends to occur earlier and be more severe in blacks.
Heredity - A tendency toward high blood pressure seems to run in families.
Sex - In general, men are more likely to develop high blood pressure than women, but this varies by age and among ethnic groups.
Obesity - Obesity is an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity and blood pressure are clearly related. That is why all obese hypertensive adults should try to get within 15% of their desirable body weight for height and gender.
Sodium Sensitivity - Reducing sodium (salt) consumption can lower blood pressure in some people.
Alcohol Consumption - Drinking more than one ounce of alcohol a day may increase blood pressure in some people.
Oral Contraceptives - Women who take oral contraceptives may develop high blood pressure.
Physical Activity - A sedentary lifestyle contributes to obesity.
High Blood Pressure Usually Has No Symptoms
Many people have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, etc. The only way to tell if someone has high blood pressure is to perform a quick painless test using a sphygmomanometer. This device consists of a gauge, and a rubber cuff that is placed around the arm or led and inflated.
The most common treatments for high blood pressure are:
Losing weight (in the case of overweight people)
Reducing intake of sodium (salt)
Medication is usually prescribed in moderate-to-severe cases. A trial period is often required before the best medication r combination of medications is discovered. It is extremely important to follow instructions exactly whenever medication has been prescribed.
Statistics on high blood pressure:
52% of people with high blood pressure are not on therapy (special diet or drugs).
27% are on inadequate therapy.
21% are on adequate therapy.
.....continued in July issue.