U.S. Symbol
Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement
Issue 51March 2000Volume 5 - Number 4

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

Cat's Corner

In the past few days, another e-mail addresses has been returned as invalid. If you have a valid e-mail address for Chuck Fleenor, please send it to me.

Foreign Service Day

May 5, 2000

The 35th Foreign Service Day will be observed Friday, May 5. A number of speakers will present interesting and informative talks on current affairs issues.

A luncheon will be held in the Benjamin Franklin Room at noon. Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired, will host its traditional evening reception Thursday, May 4. The American Foreign Service Association will hold its customary brunch Saturday morning, May 6.

To register, send you name, address, and telephone number to: Foreign Service Day, PER/EX - Room 3811, Department of State, Wash, DC 20520-2810.

DEATH OF Gus Karris

It is with sadness and deep regret that I inform you of the death of another retiree, Gus Karris.

Gus died in England this week and was buried on February 24.

I am sorry to say, I have no further information, nor do I have any address for his wife so you may send a card of condolences.

The above information was furnished by Bob Surprise.

Didn't your momma tell you not to play with matches?
by James C. Norton

Jim Steeves "destruction" topic suggestion in the February newsletter has sparked memory of old common burning methods.

During my Coast Guard days in Puerto Rico, the mid-shift Radioman had destruction responsibility. We would take assembled burn bags of Teletype paper, torn-tape, and copy machine residue to open barrels near the shore of San Juan harbor. A frequent middle-of-the-night contest was making the tallest fire. Our fun with torn-tape induced flames shooting high in the sky came to a halt one evening when a passing ship made a distress call via radio that the Coast Guard Base was on fire. Somehow, the Base Captain was not amused by the subsequent Semper Paratus response.

How would you explain burning a Consulate down? My first Foreign Service tour (Paris) took me TDY to Marseille in support of vacationing, USUN Ambassador Jean Kilpatrick. There were dozens of accumulated burn bags already in the vault, consisting of over a year's worth of used off-line key tape and Teletype paper residue. Taking it upon myself to clean up this security mess, I dutifully dragged the bags to the basement, after-hours, and fired up the old incinerator. After diligently stoking the fire for some time, I discovered the Consulate full of smoke. A quick check of the facility revealed that the stack had rusted out between the attic and roof. Hot ashes and glowing embers flying around the dry attic were extinguished, the incinerator shut down, and a rather sleepless night ensued awaiting the wrath of superiors the next morning. Consulate personnel took it in stride by working all day with open windows to air out the smell. The incident was quickly forgotten when I volunteered and subsequently installed their brand new and only "007 Shredder," that had been sitting in a box for almost a year.

I believe that the burning practice in Paris was snuffed out in 1980, when a neighborhood movie star complained about our interesting evening Embassy smoke. Evidently it didn't mix well with whatever he was smoking.

When closing the Sinai Field Mission in 1982, CPO Roger Cohen and myself enjoyed setting off all of the emergency destruction, Sodium Nitrate, Burn Barrels. This inclusive base activity (entertainment was cheap in those days) turned to some worry when the intense heat of one barrel near a radio tower had begun to melt coax cable on our primary VHF link. Fortunately, the center conductor never touched the shield. We did not want to climb that monster tower to replace coax cable, with only two days left before deserting the entire compound.

Life is more environmentally civilized now. The only burning I get to do is a well-done hamburger on our family BBQ.

Retiree's Report

On January 26, an e-mail message was received from George Loines confirming his membership in the CANDOER Retirement Group. George's bio may be found on in the Pen and Ink section and in the Member Directory on the Web site.

On January 27, an e-mail message was receivedmessage from Don Lachman confirming his e-mail address.

On January 27, an e-mail message was receivedmessage from Will Naeher. He and Doris are now Wintering in North Fort Meyer, FL. No change of e-mail or snail-mail address is necessary to reach them.

On January 28, an e-mail message was received from George Sura announcing a new e-mail address. His new e-mail address may be found in the Pen and Ink section, on the last page of this and future issues, and on the Web site.

On January 30, an e-mail message was received from Ron and Linda Steenhoek. They are spending the Winter in Florida and are back on the air. Their e-mail address may be found in the Pen and Ink section, on the last page of this and future issues, and on the Web.

On February 7, Walter Abbott sent me a new e-mail address. This new address may be found in the Pen and Ink section, on the last page of this and future issues, and on the Web site.

On February 9, with an e-mail message, Hal and Gertie Gerwig joined the CANDOERs. Hal's bio and e-mail address may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site. His e-mail address may also be found on the last page of this and future issues.

On February 10, in an e-mail message, Roy McCabe became a member of the CANDOERs. Roy's bio and e-mail address may be found in the Pan and Ink section and on the Web site. In addition, his e-mail address may be found on the last page of this and future issues.

On February 10, in an e-mail message, Bill Ford notified me of a change of address. Bill is now assigned to IRM/ITI/SI/IIB. His new address and telephone number may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site.

On February 14, in the U.S. Mail, I received and application for membership from Don Goff. You will find Don's bio in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site. In addition, you will find his e-mail address on the last page of this and future issues and on the Web page.

On February 15, in an e-mail message, Dick Kalla informed me that he has moved into a new home. He is using the same phone number and e-mail address. His new address may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site.

On February 21, I received bio information from a new member, William D. Hylton. Bill retired in August 1998 and heard about the CANDOERs from Rush Lantz. Bill's bio information may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site. His e-mail address may be found on the last page of this and future issues and on the Web site.

On February 22, I received bio information from a new member, Joseph J Duffy. Joe retired in February 2000. Joe's bio information may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site. His e-mail address may be found on the last page of this and future issues and on the Web site.

On February 22, I received bio information from a new member, Joseph J. Duffy. Joe retired in July 1997. Joe's bio information may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site. His e-mail address may be found on the last page of this and future issues and on the Web site.

On February 22, I received bio information from a new member, Alan R. Haydt. Alan retired in February 2000. Alan's bio information may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site. His e-mail address may be found on the last page of this and future issues and on the Web site.

Luncheon Log

In attendance at the February luncheon were the following people: Gary Alley, Paul Bofinger, Cal Calisti, Bob Catlin, Denis Combs, Al Debnar, Paul Del Giudice, Charlie Ditmeyer, Tom Forbes, Pete Gregario, Charlie Hoffman, Joel Kleiman, Mel Maples, Tom Paolozzi, Bob Rouleau, Val Taylor, and John Tyburski.

The Night The Beans Blew Up
by Will Naeher

When we built the ATS, we installed a comfortable "break room", including a fully equipped kitchen with a sink, stove, and a refrigerator. One night, one of our off-line teletype operators, Rubin Rodriguez, put a can of chili and beans in the oven to heat, and went back to work. A short time later, a very loud noise was heard. When the break room was checked, they found chili and beans splattered on the wall. The oven had nearly an inch of chile and beans baked on all sides.

Rubin had forgotten to open the can!

When I came to work the next morning, my eloquent Administrative Assistant, Grace Bagley said, "Boss, Guess What? A can of chile and beans exploded in the kitchen last night and is baked about an inch thick on the inside of the stove."

We ended up having to replace the inside of the stove and scrub down the walls of the break room.

Another crisis in the activation of the ATS.

DC/T Alternate Communications Site
by Joe Lea

In the early 1950s, as the cold war heated up, it was determined that an alternate communications site was necessary for the State Dept. As I recall, this subject has never been addressed in the CANDOER News, so will do so now.

I doubt that many of the newer CANDOERs know that we had such an installation, and I will be naming persons that most of you never heard of. Nevertheless, maybe this will jog the memories of the old-timers. Not having the slightest idea whether or not information on these sites has been declassified, I will not name them. I will only say that at each site we had a complete communications center, manned by three shifts, sending and receiving official telegrams, classified and unclassified.

At the time, I was supervisor of evening shift operations which included the code room, editors, acceptance desk, and message preparation. Earl Newton was head of DC/T. He selected Larry Fraser to be top banana at the alternate site. Others selected were Dominic Cerato, Mason and Jennie Payne, George Markland, Norman and Opal Hall, Carl Turney, Bill Hornbeck, Bob and Libby Smith, and Louie Aikin.

Of the above group: Larry Fraser later entered the Foreign Service, eventually retiring and, the last I heard, lives in Warrenton, Va. Don Cerato later married Mary Era, who then transferred from the Department to work with Don at the alt site. Don passed away last year.

Louie Aikin also is deceased and by the way, his son Barry became an ATS programmer in the late 1960s and still works for the Department. Bob Smith also is deceased. Mason Payne also joined the F.S. and I do not know the whereabouts of he and Jennie, nor do I know anything about Bill Hornbeck. The others I will cover shortly.

I joined the group in early 1958, found it a quiet and peaceful place to live and work, with a group of people who were just like family.

In the early 1960s, we moved to another alternate site, closing down the original. In 1963 I was reassigned to the Department and about a year later the Department decided that a manned alt site was no longer useful. Of the remaining personnel, one or two retired, some transferred to the Dept of Defense, and four of them returned to the Department.

Of the returnees, Carl Turney served at CCO on the midnight until he retired, George Markland served as a Tech Controller until retiring, and Don and Mary Cerato served in the Off-line section until they also retired.

I have kept in touch with several, the Ceratos, Markland, also Norm and Opal Hall.

It was quite an interesting episode of my career.


Some Important Lessons Life Teaches You

First Most Important Lesson.

During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely, this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello.'"

"I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Second Important Lesson: Pickup in the Rain.

One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."


Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Third Important Lesson: Always remember those who serve you.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now, more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied." The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies - You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

Fourth Important Lesson: The Obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand.

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

Fifth Important Lesson: Giving when it counts.

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

You see understanding and attitude, after all, is everything.

An Accidental Career
by Pete Gregorio

I always thought I would earn my living at photography. I got interested in photography at an early age and worked at part-time photography-related jobs --- primarily darkroom lab work --- during high school and college, as well as during summer vacations. At one point, I passed the examination and held an official civil service rating (for the state of Louisiana) because of work I was doing for the LSU School of Medicine. In those days, we still had Universal Military Training, and all able-bodied males could look forward to a few semesters in military service. Anticipating this inevitability, I left Tulane University a couple of months into my senior year (but that's another story) and enlisted for a three-year hitch in the U.S. Army. Then, as now, enlistees were enticed into joining by being guaranteed specific training and/or assignment to a specific geographic area. I really wanted to get into the U.S. Army Signal Corps' Still Photography school in Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, but apparently so did a lot of other enlistees. All slots were filled for the foreseeable future, and I settled for a guaranteed slot in the Photographic Equipment Repair course (MOS 401.10) if, of course, I survived basic training.

Those of us recruits from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama were loaded on trains and sent initially to Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas. At Ft. Chaffee, I was privileged to get my hair shorn in the same barber chair in which, two weeks previously, Elvis Pressley had been similarly shorn. After initial processing, including testing (where I was encouraged to switch specialties and opt for work in Personnel, but declined) we were told that Ft. Chaffee could not accommodate us and we were herded upon DC-3's and bumped our way over the Rocky Mountains to the 9th Infantry Division in Ft. Carson, Colorado, where we were to try to survive for the next eight weeks. Most of us had seen only traces of snow in our lifetimes, so Colorado in February was quite a shock. Those of us who survivedCnot all did (but that's another story)Cjust looked forward to getting the hell out of Colorado, regardless of assignment.

True to its commitment, the Army sent me to Ft. Monmouth for my long-anticipated training. I very much enjoyed the experience, and became familiar with the insides and working mechanisms of all the still camera equipment in the Army's current inventory. Training was competitive, with the top student getting a (gasp!) choice of areas of assignment. Since my best buddy, a huge German-born, technically-trained mechanical expert, seemed to have a lock on the top spot, I didn't feel any pressure. (Incidentally, my friend's service number was only four digits from mineCwe'd both enlisted in New Orleans, apparently on the same day, but had never met before.) It came as a surprise at the conclusion of the course that I had beat him out by a few points. Two Army Areas were offered, and I chose to go to the West Coast.

My first permanent assignment was to the 124th Signal Battalion of the 4th Division stationed in Ft. Lewis, Washington. Ft. Lewis was a great post and I very much enjoyed the time I spent there. Unfortunately, there happened to be a glut of qualified photographic equipment repairmen, so I was assignedCthe Army strikes againCto a Class A Photo Lab as a photographer/lab technician. We also had a lot of photographers, so I took over the lab operations. In those days, the 4th Division was a rapid-deployment unit, and we were expected to be able to deploy to any place in the world in 24 hours. For this reason, our "lab" was a transportable hut mounted on a deuce-and-a-half (2-1/2-ton truck). When in permanent quarters, water hoses were connected to outside taps and we plugged into the base's electricity. When deployed, we were self-contained as far as electric power, and could drop pick-up hoses into any available water source (e.g., drainage ditches, etc.) and special filters would condition the water for photographic use. Since I had many years of lab experience, the unit's commanding officer pretty much left me alone as long as the work was produced on time and up to the quality expected. We all got along well until the unit's Sergeant was replaced. As I was to learn, nothing good lasts very long in the Army, and the new Sergeant was a total idiot and we took instant dislike to each other. Taking advantage of the Commanding Officer's promise to release us any time we wanted out for any reason, I asked to be transferred and for a few months was assigned to a Telephone Support section. When we were all asked if we wanted an overseas assignment, I readily volunteered. In those days, locations of military APO's were sometimes closely held, so when I received an assignment to the 4th USASA Field Station, APO 843 NY, my colleagues congratulated me on my "European" assignment ... might be Germany ... or Italy ... maybe Turkey. When we were finally issued orders, I found out that I had been assigned to Asmara, Eritrea (which was a part of Ethiopia at that time). Well, I was/am a stamp collector, so I knew where Eritrea was, but what I couldn't figure out was what was the Army doing in Eritrea?

As I recall, it took about 42 flying hours (jet transport, of course, was not available in 1959) to reach Asmara. The first leg of this long journey was from Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, to Hamilton AFB in Bermuda. We were treated to a meal at the AFB mess hallCwhere the airmen ate on china plates and drank from real glasses and then off for the second leg to the Azores. Out of the Azores we lost one of the four engines and were escorted by fighter aircraft into Wheelus AFB in Libya. Our layover in Wheelus was long enough for us to get some rest (if we could sleep with aircraft constantly taking off and landing) and to get the engine repaired. From Wheelus we crossed the Red Sea to Dhahran where we boarded another C-54 fondly named the Desert Rat for the final trip back across the Red Sea to Asmara. Naturally there were no slots open for a Camera Equipment Repairman by the time I got there, the person I was supposed to replace had decided to extend, so how would I like to run the post's Motion Picture Film Exchange? My predecessor quickly explained the job to me and showed me how to run the 16 mm projectors and I had found a home. Up until then, I had never been able to discover what the "4th USASA (Army Security Agency) Field Station (Kagnew Station)" was doing 7,500 feet up in the Eritrean mountains. I soon found out; and the Army wasn't alone, there was also a Navy detachment keeping us company. In those pre-satellite-communications days, Asmara was an ideal location for all kinds of HF radio operations. Those who were assigned to "operational" duties didn't talk about what they did, and we didn't ask. But we knew. I "extended" in Asmara, serving there from 1959-1961, enjoying every minute. But that's another story. As the end my enlistment neared, I "like all of the rest of us" was enthusiastically urged to reenlist. Some did. While, as I say, I enjoyed my Army time immensely, I just could not see earning $122 a month for the next few years of my life, so I had to make alternate plans. Sometime during my last year in Asmara, information for after-service employment was passed around and one of the government agencies offering possible employment was the U.S. Department of State. The implication was that since the personnel at our location already had security clearances, we might already have an advantage in regard to possible employment. I clearly was not qualified for some of the open positions described, so I applied for employment as a "General Clerk" and promptly forgot about it, completely unaware that the State Department really did not have "General Clerk" positions. After discharge, I had intended to enjoy 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, but boredom overcame me and I went back to work for a high-volume portrait photographer in New Orleans. Imagine my surprise when I received a call from Washington offering me a position as a "Communications Clerk" (whatever that was). Apparently the State Department recruiters at that time made a couple of mistaken assumptions: (1) Since I was assigned to an ASA location which employed a lot of communicators, I must be a communicator; and, to confirm this false assumption, (2) Since I was in the Signal Corps, that should confirm I knew something about communications. Of course, both assumptions were wildly incorrect, but, heyCin those days, any job was a job. I was instructed that in order to qualify for the position, I had to pass a typing test at my state employment office, which was a breeze since I had learned to type at the age of twelve. When my tester saw my State Department application, he caustically commented: "...another $20,000-a-year man...." Needless to say, his appreciation of my pay was off the scale by about $16,000. I was eventually hired and directed to report to Washington, D.C. for training; my annual salary was to be a princely $4,010 (FS-13), plus allowances. I thought for sure that I would be subsequently rejected when the State Department realized that I had no communications experience, but to my immense surprise "and relief" I was given ten (10) weeks of "Communications Training" and assigned to Lima, thinking, "...this will be a good way to spend a couple of years while I decide what I really want to do...." Twenty-six years later, I was still trying to decide what I really wanted to do ... but that's another story.

The Gaijin Dog
by Roy McLaughlin

I heard the Gaijin Dog before I saw him.

We had moved from the Embassy in Tokyo to what was called the T.O.B. (temporary office building) and I was finding a new walking route to my apartment at Harris House. I went right onto one street; took another right into a small cobble stoned alley/street, making a shortcut to what used to be called "D" Avenue. As I eased along, noting what lay along this unknown territory, I heard the abrupt sound of a heavy chain, which directed my attention to the right, where I observed a huge hound dog flying through the air toward me. He was perhaps three feet off the ground and four feet from me. No bark, no growl, mouth open, and evil in his eyes. My heart stopped, as did the Gaijin Dog's forward progress. He was yanked rudely backwards as he reached the end of the chain that was attached to the front porch. I would later observe that the whole porch shook from his efforts to "get the Gaijin." On subsequent trips down the alley, I would keep way to the left as the dog monitored my movements with his head on his front paws. Japanese could pass through, what I called the danger zone, without any response from him. But let one Gaijin enter that zone and he would make his mad terrifying leap. Because of this idiosyncrasy, he was latter dubbed "The Gaijin Dog".

I introduced my friend Steve Ondrus to the Gaijin Dog by keeping him on my right and hip-bumping him into the danger zone. Sure enough, as expected, there was this hell-raising attack, Steve's screech, the abrupt stop and the shaking of the porch and the shaking of Steve. Due to my thoughtful bump, he had gotten closer than I had to the dog. In the months to come, we would joke about "The Gaijin Dog" to the uninitiated or newcomers but would never explain. When anyone, who fell into either of those categories, walked home with me via my shortcut, as we approached the attack zone I'd manage a little hip-bump at the critical moment. What the hell, what are friends for? It was sort of like "Candid Camera," "Smile, you just met the Gaijin Dog."

Bonn and Germany Review
by Jim Steeves

Part III of III

An Impossible Task?

I know of no country that has ever embarked on such an enormous undertaking as that which Germany has thrust upon itself after the fall of the Wall. That the German people were split into two opposing camps of ideology by communist rulers for four decades is history; how to combine them again into one people is a lot easier to describe than it will be to do but the process has begun. In history I doubt that any nation has come back together after several generations of having its former capitol city surrounded by over a hundred miles of enemy territory. This latter fact was the reason for which the then West German government maintained at extraordinary cost the viability of the city of Berlin through special tax plans for citizens and businesses. Any one of these factors would absorb a huge portion of a large country's budget. I list those of which I am aware below but quickly also add the note that on top of all this, Germany paid heavy reparations to many other nations while Austria has, as far as I am aware, paid none!

a. Clean up the polluted former communist lands in the east, which now constitute five states of the German nation. Anyone who knows anything about the "super fund sites" in the U.S. will realize that it can cost many millions of dollars to clean up just one. In the forty odd years of communist control of East Germany, there was almost no environmental concern whatsoever. It's not surprising that massive pollution problems developed. Now, the only Germany there is, is dealing with it.

b. Replace inefficient factories and factory equipment.

c. Teach the work force how to work efficiently. This can be another massive undertaking since for generations communist rulers boasted of full employment while neglecting to say they had five workers for every job and none of the workers was inspired to give a damn if they got anything done or not since the reward for hard work was the same as that for little or none.

d. Bring the salary of workers in the east up to the standard found in the rest of Germany. It was considered unfair to pay a worker in Dusseldorf 20 marks an hour to do the same work for which a worker in Leipzig got five marks an hour. Who would argue with that?

e. Equalize pensions. As workers in the western part of Germany had paid into pension plans all their working lives, the German government, however, rightfully decided that it was not the fault of those in communist lands that they had virtually no pension system. The workers in the east hardly CHOSE communism! On the contrary many risked their lives to escape that horrible system. Anger is expressed by some western workers who claim that they paid into their pension systems and now they see their savings going to pay an equal pension to people who paid nothing into it.

f. After WW II, in the western part of Germany, French, British and Russian occupation armies "liberated" manufacturing equipment from German factories (since the Luftwaffe had done a good job of destroying factories in Russia, Britain and France). Now the German government must invest heavily in restoring the factories, highways, and telecommunications systems in the east as they started doing forty years ago in the west. Of course it only makes sense to do this with the latest equipment and technology. As a consequence, the entire economic infrastructure is being upgraded to a point which exceeds the standard in the west. This situation, of course, creates bad feelings among the average German in the west as they feel that it is their hard earned tax money that pays for it all.

g. Then, there is the move of the capitol. Awesome expense has gone into making Bonn a modern capitol of a great nation but a truly mind boggling undertaking is ongoing: moving it to another city! The number of government employees who will move to Berlin, and those who will leave Berlin and move to Bonn is stupefying. On top of that incredible dislocation, all employees who go to one place or the other will have free travel back to their original location every second week. This also applies to those who go to Bonn from Frankfurt or wherever. Additionally, highly subsidized Government loans for the purchase of new homes in the new city are provided to civil servants. This is yet another massive expense that the average tax payer is unhappy about.

Animosity directed at the other side of the country exists in some areas of the east and west. Animosity that expresses itself already in the names people call each other. The east Germans call the westerners, "Wessies", the west Germans call the easterners "Ossies." Hotheads and trouble makers take any opportunity to create trouble and there is plenty of opportunity today to find targets in the other side. I have heard one "wessie" say that he and others in the west would like to see a new wall go up. He'd let "them" have what they've got from the rest of Germany but since the "Ossies" show no gratitude for what they've received from the west, they should now go their own way. It is also true that rapacious "Wessies" went into the east to set up businesses and are responsible for many east Germans loosing their money and/or their business. Slick western claims to great financial reward in the face of unreality remind one of the saying "If it seems too good to be true ... " etc. Those in the east, after decades of communist rule, were sitting ducks for such schemes. Many former residents of the east returned to reclaim ownership of houses which they abandoned during the communist occupation. Strife develops when those living and paying for these homes are told by the person who abandoned a house years earlier to get out. Fortunately, German courts do not, in most cases, reinstate the former owner, but instead provides them with a financial compensation. Nevertheless, these "Wessies" have done a lot of damage and hold a big share of the responsibility for the "Ossies'" animosities against the "Wessies." Where monetary compensation is found by the court to be correct, the tax payer gets it in the neck once again.

h. Finally, worthless east German currency was exchanged on a one-to-one basis with German deutschmarks. Many in the east had money in banks since there was little to buy. This, among all the other costs to the western tax payer, is almost too much to comprehend.

I think former Prime Minister (Chancellor) Kohl embarked on a correct but impossibly courageous course. It will be generations before we see how it works out but I can find no serious fault with any of the undertakings. Still, I'm not sure that switching so many people between Bonn and Berlin makes a lot of sense. It will be interesting to see how history treats this man who held office longer than any other elected national leader. To have been in office at a time when his country became one again and to chart a successful course of action would call for someone with pretty big shoes.

The Salisbury Incident
by Mike McCaffrey

There's something about my life which smacks of the "square peg in the round hole" phenomenon. Take, for example, the notorious: SALISBURY INCIDENT.

I was working a Saturday day shift in the Bonn Embassy, one very cold day in the winter of 1977, when I noticed a TDY request come in for the then Salisbury, Rhodesia. It was addressed specifically to Bonn, and I was the next one on our standing TDY list. I called Joe Acquavella, the CCO of BAX, and asked him if any of his people were in the running for this one, and he told me it was all mine. After the usual running around on Monday morning in Travel, etc., I had plane tickets in hand and was getting a visa stamped at the Rhodesian Embassy that same afternoon. I departed the next day for Zurich, switched planes, and departed for South Africa in a blinding snowstorm. Deplaning in Jo'burg, it seemed like 200 degrees outside. I had a "day room" at the local Holiday Inn while awaiting a flight some six hours later for Salisbury. Taking advantage of this, I changed from winter garb into something more appropriate for summer wear and shortly headed back to the airport for the Salisbury flight.

I arrived in Salisbury around 1500 that afternoon. There was nobody in sight to meet me at the airport. Knowing the tenuous situation with all the fighting going on in preparation for the upcoming elections, I was a bit apprehensive. Finally, I saw a porter-looking type walking around with a sign bearing a name that was just about my own, and I figured they must have just slightly misspelled the last name. I approached the guy, identified myself, and he assured me, over/over, that it was indeed ME he was there to meet. He grabbed my suitcase and told me to follow him. We exited the building and I noticed a VERY LARGE black Cadillac limo just outside. My immediate thought was that some big-wig was arriving. To my amazement, the guy with my suitcase led me to that big limo! He opened the trunk, put in the suitcase, and opened the back door for me to enter. I asked him again, was he SURE it was ME that he was meeting. He was most adamant: yes, of course it was me! I entered into a cavernous passenger section. I could stretch my legs out completely and still not hit the driver's seat in front. There was even a sliding window behind the driver to separate his section from the passenger enclosure. He asked, through the sliding window, if I would like a cold beer or other type drink. Being very hot there, I replied affirmatively. He pointed out the little bar in the back, and I withdrew a very cold beer from a pretty fair selection. Riding along, I thought to myself: "Man, these people (at the office there) sure do know how to impress visitors!"

The first hint that something just might be slightly askance was when we pulled up to a huge white mansion with a long winding driveway. The mansion was surrounded by a small wall with a wrought-iron fence on top. There was an entranceway guarded by two British Marines. The Caddy pulled up to the Marines and stopped. One approached, spoke to the driver for a few seconds, and came up to the passenger door. He asked for my passport, which I promptly produced. With a VERY smart British military salute (the type you always see in the war movies), he handed back the passport and told us to proceed. We went up that long winding driveway to the main entrance. The driver exited, as did I, withdrew my suitcase from the trunk, and told me to go on up, THEY were expecting me. I went up the stairs to the main door, which was open. As I peered inside (greeted by a butler), I could see huge chandeliers all over the place, a huge ballroom filled with people wearing very formal attire, and ALL staring at ME! There I was, in my not-so-formal Hawaiian shirt, aviator sunglasses, working on a pretty good approximation of a "handle-bar: moustache, and mortified.

After some seconds of COMPLETE silence, a big guy came through the throng laughing. He was Jeff Davidow, the head of the four-person Salisbury Liaison Office. He said I must be who indeed I was and asked how I arrived at that particular house. I pointed to the big limo and he roared with laughter. It appears there was a Codel at the airport, the Congressman bearing a name very similar to mine, who were stranded out on the hot tarmac. The Congressman was making lots of pointed calls to find out where his transportation was! Mike McCaffrey, FS-8 Communicator from Bonn, had usurped the Codel! I loved it!

The big limo was sent back to the airport, and I was shuffled off to the REAL office in a dinky little junk local taxi. Sure was good while it lasted, though.


How Many Do You Remember?

50's & 60's Memory Test

1. "Kookie; Kookie. Lend me your _______."
2. The "battle cry" of the hippies in the sixties was "Turn on; tune in; ___________."
3. After the Lone Ranger saved the day and rode off into the sunset, the grateful citizens would ask, "Who was that masked man?" Invariably, someone would answer, "I don't know, but he left this behind." What Did he leave behind _________?
4. Folk songs were played side by side with rock and roll. One of the most memorable folk songs included these lyrics: "When the rooster crows at the break of dawn, look out your window and I'll be gone. You're the reason I'm traveling on ____."
5. A group of protesters arrested at the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968 achieved cult status, and were known as the _______.
6. When the Beatles first came to the U.S. in early 1964, we all watched them on the __________ show.
7. Some of us who protested the Vietnam war did so by burning our ______.
8. We all learned to read using the same books. We read about the thrilling lives and adventures of Dick and Jane. What was the name of Dick and Jane's dog? ______
9. The cute, little car with the engine in the back and the trunk (what there was of it) in the front, was called the VW. What other name(s) did it go by? _____ & _________.
10. A Broadway musical and movie gave us the gang names the _____ and the ____.
11. In the seventies, we called the drop-out nonconformists "hippies." But in the early sixties, they were known as __________.
12. William Bendix played Chester A. Riley, who always seemed to get the short end of the stick in the television program, "The Life of Riley." At the end of each show, poor Chester would turn to the Camera and exclaim, "What a ____________."
13. "Get your kicks, ________________."
14. "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed ______."
15. The real James Bond, Sean Connery, mixed his martinis a special way: ______.
16. "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, ______________."
17. That "adult" book by Henry Miller - the one that contained all the "dirty" dialogue - was called _________.
18. Today, the math geniuses in school might walk around with a calculator strapped to their belt. But back in the sixties, members of the math club used a _________.
19. In 1971, singer Don Maclean sang a song about "the day the music died." This was a reference and tribute to _____________.
20. A well-known television commercial featured a driver who was miraculously lifted through thin air and into the front seat of a convertible. The matching slogan was "Let Hertz ________________."
21. After the twist, the mashed potatoes, and the watusi, we "danced" under a stick that was lowered as low as we could go in a dance called the ___________.
22. "N-E-S-T-L-E-S; Nestles makes the very best ... ______________."
23. In the late sixties, the "full figure" style of Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe gave way to the "trim" look, as first exemplified by British model ___________.
24. Sachmo was America's "ambassador of goodwill." Our parents shared this great jazz trumpet player with us. His name was _______________.
25. On Jackie Gleason's variety show in the sixties, one of the most popular segments was "Joe, the Bartender." Joe's regular visitor at the bar was that slightly off-center, but lovable character _____________. (The character's name, not the actor's.)
26. We can remember the first satellite placed into orbit. The Russians did it; it was called ______________.
27. What takes a licking and keeps on ticking? ____________.
28. One of the big fads of the late fifties and sixties was a large plastic ring that we twirled around our waist; it was called the ______________.
29. The "Age of Aquarius" was brought into the mainstream in the Broadway musical ________.
30. This is a two-parter: Red Skelton's hobo character (not the hobo) was _____. Red ended his television show by saying "Good night, and ________________."

The Answers

1. "Kookie; Kookie; lend me your comb." If you said "ears," you're in the wrong millennium, pal; you've spent way too much time in Latin class.
2. The "battle cry" of the hippies in the sixties was "Turn on; tune in; drop out." Many people who proclaimed that 30 years ago today are Wall Street bond traders and corporate lawyers.
3. The Lone Ranger left behind a silver bullet. Several of you said he left behind his mask. Oh, no; even off the screen, Clayton Moore would not be seen as the Lone Ranger without his mask!
4. "When the rooster crows at the break of dawn, look out your window and I'll be gone. You're the reason I'm traveling on; Don't think twice, it's all right."
5. The group of protesters arrested at the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968 were known as the Chicago seven. As Paul Harvey says, "They would like me to mention their names."
6. When the Beatles first came to the U.S. in early 1964, we all watched them on the Ed Sullivan Show.
7. Some of us who protested the Vietnam war did so by burning our draft cards. If you said "bras," you've got the right spirit, but nobody ever burned a bra while I was watching. The "bra burning" days came as a by-product of women's liberation movement which had nothing directly to do with the Viet Nam war.
8. Dick and Jane's dog was Spot. "See Spot run." Whatever happened to them? Rumor has it they have been replaced in some school systems by "Heather Has Two Mommies."
9. It was the VW Beetle, or more affectionately, the Bug.
10. A Broadway musical and movie gave us the gang names the Sharks and the Jets. West Side Story.
11. In the early sixties, the drop-out, non-conformists were known as beatniks. Maynard G. Krebs was the classic beatnik, except that he had no rhythm, man; a beard, but no beat.
12. At the end of "The Life of Riley," Chester would turn to the camera and exclaim, "What a revolting development this is."
13. "Get your kicks, on Route 66."
14. "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent."
15. The real James Bond, Sean Connery, mixed his martinis a special way: shaken, not stirred.
16. "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight."
17. That "adult" book by Henry Miller was called Tropic of Cancer. Today, it would hardly rate a PG-13 rating.
18. Back in the sixties, members of the math club used a slide rule.
19. "The day the music died" was a reference and tribute to Buddy Holly.
20. The matching slogan was "Let Hertz put you in the driver's seat."
21. After the twist, the mashed potatoes, and the watusi, we "danced" under a stick in a dance called the Limbo.
22. "N-E-S-T-L-E-S; Nestles makes the very best ........... chooo-c'late." In the television commercial, "chocolate" was sung by a puppet * a dog. (Remember his mouth flopping open and shut?)
23. In the late sixties, the "full figure" style gave way to the Atrim" look, as first exemplified by British model Twiggy.
24. Our parents shared this great jazz trumpet player with us. His name was Louis Armstrong.
25. Joe's regular visitor at the bar was Crazy Googenhiem.
26. The Russians put the first satellite into orbit; it was called Sputnik.
27. What takes a licking and keeps on ticking? A Timex watch.
28.The large plastic ring that we twirled around our waist was called the hula-hoop.
29. The "Age of Aquarius" was brought into the main stream in the Broadway musical "Hair."
30. Red Skelton's hobo character was Freddie the Freeloader. (ClemKaddiddlehopper was the "hay seed.") Red ended his television show by saying, "Good night, and may God bless."


See you next month.

Issue Index   Issue 52