O N E  M A N 'S  W I N D O W  O N  T H E  2 0 th  C E N T U R Y

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D. Thurston Griggs


The author welcomes all comments and criticisms


Copyright 2002 by D. Thurston Griggs




CHAPTER 1. Framework

CHAPTER 2: The Early Years

CHAPTER 3: The 30's

CHAPTER 4: The War Years - 1942-46

CHAPTER 5. UNRRA and the Foreign Service Institute

CHAPTER 6: An Unforgettable Adventure

CHAPTER 7. Academia

CHAPTER 8: The Mature Years


CHAPTER 9. Hitler Takes Germany

CHAPTER 10: China Diary - 1935-6 (Excerpts)

CHAPTER 11 The Great Outdoors

CHAPTER 12: Music

CHAPTER 13. Ideology - Motivation

CHAPTER 14. Drama, "The Play's the Thing"

CHAPTER 15: Parenting

CHAPTER 16: Self-characterization - Social Outlook

CHAPTER 17: Inventing a Talkwriter

A P P E N D I X:  I N V E N T I NG  A  T A L K W R I T E R


These memoirs appear in two parts, in two different formats. Part I, The Windowframe has a story-line perspective on the author's experiences through the century. It is chronological, like most conventional autobiographies, dealing with causes and consequences in narrative form. It gives the author's expectations and impressions - the frame for his window.

Part II, Glimpses – Topics. Like monographs, the Glimpses focus on subjects such as travels, inventing, acting and playwriting, teaching, music, etc. Readers can choose one or both Parts, or simply choose from the menu of topics in Part II. Help yourself!


CHAPTER 1. Framework

It would be cheating to pretend that I can tell you first-hand about the first part of the 1900's, because, since I was born in 1916, my own memory didn't kick in until 1920. What

I know about those first two decades came from being born 16 years after the family started; so, inasmuch as the family dealt with those years and talked about them, I have "borrowed" their impressions.

Big changes of those early years were: advent of some autos, illumination by electricity instead of gas and candles, phones, mechanization for mass production, and rise and legitimacy of labor unions. Before going farther I must acknowledge that I am already cheating, because my parents lived in China 1902-1907, where none of the above was true. Two years after their marriage they went to Peking (Beijing) as Presbyterian missionaries, my father being a doctor. My two older sisters were born there and spoke Chinese before they spoke English. I recall hearing my parents use Chinese between themselves on occasions where they didn't want younger children to understand. Around the house we had various Chinese oddities and of course Chinese rugs. Since we lived in Tacoma on Puget Sound where I grew up, missionaries en route to or from China who traveled through the port of Seattle often visited, to or from their furloughs. Dad and Mother tried to hire a Chinese house-servant/cook again and again; but at that time, all Chinese in this country were avoiding Tacoma because its early Chinatown had been wiped out and its residents forced onto railroad boxcars in 1885, shipped to Portland, Oregon.

My parents returned from China in 1907 because of my mother's health, and possibly because Dad had contracted typhoid fever there. They were determined not to return to the eastern seaboard but instead chose to settle in Tacoma where Dad set up general medical practice. They lived only four blocks from the general hospital, and he took the streetcar to make house calls. The second year, he bought one of the first motorcars in the city. It was a one-cylinder Reo; and at night when all was quiet, you could hear it when it was almost a mile away.

Early in 1908 my brother Joe was born. When he was only an infant, his two older sisters, while playing in the basement of our house, found some excelsior (shredded wood used for packing insulation) and a box of matches. They tried lighting it to see whether it would catch fire. Of course it did, and so did the entire house. Mother escaped with the baby in her arms, and the family was taken in by neighbors. Everything was lost.

The following year, after they had moved to J street, my sister Alice was born - making a family of six, and they moved to a large, new house on Ainsworth Avenue. I knew every inch of it.

People heated their houses either with coal or with wood. We burned "mill ends" and slabs from the lumber mills. Ice was manufactured by ammonia process and delivered by horse and wagon. The horse itself knew where to stop, from house to house, on the route. I recall seeing horse-drawn fire engines. Men worked six days per week and vacations were rare. Many worked 10-12 hours per day. Holidays were big - with people staying at home, with all stores and facilities closed.

Unless they were laborers, men wore three-piece suits; collars and cuffs that detached for starching; always a hat; and no open necks. Dandies wore spats. Women had no legs; just feet. Their dresses flared up from the ground to a narrowed, corset-restrained waist, and their arms usually were covered. Bathing suits were like one-piece underwear with arms and legs. Children wore button patent leather shoes. (You needed a button hook to get dressed.) There were hook-and-eye fastenings, and "snaps" - metal loops that fitted around a protruding knob, to hold up your stockings. Little boys wore undershirts and underpants plus a "waist" that had these fasteners attached. Most of us couldn't dress ourselves without assistance until we were four or five.

There were phonographs - first Edison's cylinders, then fragile record disks, with creaking renderings. People played cards and parchesi, or dominos; women were always knitting or sewing, or crocheting. The postman used to open our front door and put the mail on a table just inside. We never locked our front door unless we went out of town on a trip.

Construction work was done by gangs or men or by horses. I was impressed for my lifetime by the way workhorses would throw themselves into a hard pull - as when a digging scoop with a man steering it, would encounter a big rock during an excavation for a basement site. The horses welcomed the challenge and to want to demonstrate proudly their strength. To me it represented dedication and commitment: conquering life's handicaps. I wanted, myself, to be like those hard-working horses. And what did they get out of it? Contented munching from their nosebags during their infrequent rest periods. But they had a sense of achievement and doing their best.

People were polite and circumspect. Men tipped their hats to ladies. Some people occasionally bowed. There was a lot of concern for proper appearances. Most men smoked. No woman who cared about her reputation could be seen smoking. Women used perfume but no visible make-up. Men opened doors for women; treated them as if handicapped. Men spit: there were cuspidors (mostly-open pots on the floors) in the banks and in public buildings - big shiny ones. If you wanted to go somewhere, you walked or took a streetcar, or hired a carriage.

Big news events were announced by paperboys walking the streets, calling "Wuxtree! wuxtree! Read all about ________". Patriotism ran high, parades and Fourth of July; also the World Series and other sports.

The two big events of the 1910's were World War I and the flu. With outbreak of World War I persons with German surnames took special efforts to demonstrate their patriotism and loyalty in order to escape discriminatory ostracism. With Camp Lewis nearby, the town was filled with servicemen on weekends; and when navy ships were in the bay, with sailors on leave. Kaiser Bill was vilified. The local shipyard thrived, and other industries received their spurts.

Secondly, directly in the wake our going to war, came the flu epidemic. Hardly a family of any size escaped it. Deaths occurred by the hundreds between l917 and 1919. Dad was deeply

involved, often sleeping only four to six hours per night. Big brother Joe, then about 12, began driving the car for Dad between calls on sick patients, in order to give him some rest time of his own.

Yet another development at that same time was introduction of Prohibition: it came in Washington state a year before the Volstead Act by the Congress. Its emphasis on temperance suited the mood of a nation at war and a time when a plague of flu was striking people down. Dad worked hard for prohibition - partly because of what he had seen as a doctor, and partly out of religious zeal. Prohibition had a great effect upon my generation: I can recall seeing only five instances of intoxication until I was 19. Nobody in high school was known to drink alcohol. We didn't know about marijuana either. People at the end of this century would not believe that such a social environment could be possible.

Our family was Puritanical, Victorian. We were not allowed to look at the comics ("funny papers") on Sunday. Sundays we only went to church and read books. (But I used to go next door to read the funnies.) Outwardly at least, it was a society that condoned and favored this way of life.

Such were some of the impressions relayed to me, and residually observed, as the 1920's began.

Now I should characterize the family members who were all-important informants as to what things were like in the years 1901-1920 - and as prompters for my expectations, in tender years, of what it means to be alive in this world.

In physical build we siblings resembled our respective parents, though our complexions and temperaments varied widely. We three males were five feet seven and about 140 pounds; the three females five feet three and about 130 pounds. All were well-coordinated and agile, with facile hands and strong voices. The oldest and youngest of the siblings had red hair and freckles.

Martha, the eldest, had a special esthetic sense and a soft awareness that was distinctively hers. She seemed to be intimate with the world - and even sometimes with something even beyond it; and what she shared of that broad awareness was always on the constructive, or at least objective, side. She never clashed seriously with anybody; she was at home in the world, always with her own sense of direction and purpose. Everything she did was done well. In her high school class of about 250 she received a special award as best all-around girl. She was 13 when I was born; so when I was only 5, she went away to college. She lived to be 92.

Rebecca, a year-and-a-half Martha's junior, who died in her late 60’s, was quite different in temperament: a worrier, overly conscientious. She was full of second thoughts because she needed to make absolutely sure she was striving to stay on the right track. She could always be counted upon for devoted, selfless help and cooperation. Becca always seemed to feel the shadow of her big sister as if not knowing whether to take umbrage in it or to escape from it.

Joe Jr. three and a half years younger than Becca, was a sociable activist - sports, music, drama, books. He had a very independent mind. At times he was strongly iconoclastic; he was also strongly idealistic - a pacifist, a pioneer in reproductive medicine, nature-lover and conservationist. Joe was also a raconteur with a broad repertory of stories, folksongs and poems. In his adolescence, which was when he was quite close to me in my childhood, he was rebellious (wouldn't wear a hat; defied convention; thought "manners" were ridiculous); but he was adventurous and showed obvious leadership talents both in school and as a Guide in Rainier National Park. Joe always had lots of good friends.

Alice (who in college changed her name to Sally) was a year and a half younger than Joe, which made her 7 years older than I. She was gregarious, outgoing, participating almost intrusively in whatever was going on; entertaining, vivacious, original. In many respects she served as mother-substitute, because my mother by that time had worn thin trying to keep abreast of four energetic offspring. Joe and Alice were a pair - in many of their activities and with mutual friends: they were busy achievers. Both learned to play the Hawaiian (steel) guitar. Each of them had aggressive opinions about everything, including how I behaved and what I was supposed to know. Part of that influence was distinctive, but much of it echoed their parents' goals. One year Joe and Alice each had a horse to ride, on loan from the horse guides at Mt. Rainier. Alice became a teacher and later a comedienne in an amateur theater, CALIFORNIA'S FIRST, in Monterey.

Philip, born unexpectedly when Mother thought she had passed the menopause, was seven years younger than I. (He was not intended to replace George who had been my intended childhood companion. George became a SIDS victim at eight months, when I was two. George had been named after Mother's fond brother, and she grieved over the infant's death for five years, until Phil was born - she often took me to his grave at the cemetery and spent time with the dead baby's clothes and nursery things. As I saw it later, she felt guilty over having insisted on going out to a social event, to leave the baby with his 14-year-old sister as a sitter, at the time of his death. SIDS was not known as such, in those days.)

When a young child, Phil was sensitive and temperamental, given to tantrums. But he proved to be talented and versatile, a gifted classical clarinetist. I sympathized with him because he seemed like a disinherited waif - as it the harbinger of a family that was dead-ending; so I tried to play the role of solicitous big brother to him. Phil later mastered Sanskrit and became a swami in the Vedanta Order of Hinduism, called the "Episcopal" sect of Hinduism.

Now for the parents of this brood, and a bit more about its heritage:

Dad's medical practice leaned heavily toward obstetrics: kids at school each year would tell me that he had delivered them into the world. Dad had a religious dedication to his calling as a family doctor, and much of his practice was done as charity. His ethics were rigid. He put his patients ahead of his family - too much, I thought. In Tacoma, together with about five or six other medical specialists, he established and operated St. Helens Clinic, located across from the YMCA and the largest of the two city newspapers. He himself treated, on the average, close to 20 patients per day; and he regularly examined applicants for several insurance companies. Dad never discussed patients, nor revealed their medical cases within the family circle: no secrets were ever divulged. But from phone conversations at mealtimes, we all became familiar with acetylsalicylic acid, thiamin, potassium chloride, etc. and with "have the waters broken yet?', which I thought was a code term for a stage of some sort of laboratory process. Dad was well educated in various areas, and he kept abreast of current medical research. A pharmacist told me, after Dad's accidental death in 1932, that he had been among the first doctors in town to include vitamins in his prescriptions. Dad used to give his children flu inoculations each fall. He never missed a meeting of the local medical society. At different times he went to the Johns Hopkins Hospital and to the Mayo Clinic to update his medical knowledge.

Dad was bald and had a paunch; he weighed about 175 at the time I was born, and kept it. Like at least half of the men of his day, he smoked: a pipe or cigars; his deodorant was tobacco. (I didn't like that!) He liked caffeine, salt, rich food, and classical music. At age 52 he tried to teach himself to play the 'cello - only to find that it was too late to develop certain requisite muscles. He had a hearty laugh and a warm smile.

So Dad had some charm, and many patients depended upon his medical charisma as much as upon the pills. I suspect he used to offer to pray with some of his patients. At home however, Dad was not so out-going; he was stern and somewhat formal - possibly trying to emulate his own father as ruler of the house. He had only one usable eye - the left one, I believe - though nobody outside of the family knew it, because we children were told never to reveal that fact to outsiders because it could ruin his medical practice. Soon after he returned from China Dad had arranged that his bad eye be "tattooed" so as to match his good eye, to make it look normal; and fortunately his bad eye always appeared to be correctly in line with the good one. He wore pince-nez glasses with a trifocal lens that was duplicated even for the dead eye.

My father's reputation in our town was solid, both in his profession and as a good citizen. He did not hobnob with big shots, for he was too religious-centered to take part in politics or to engage in the playtime activities of the local upper class which his religious views placed off limits for him. His avowed models were Puritanical, classical and pietistic. But he also loved vaudeville, theater and jokes. Intellectually, he was a liberal. On the emotional side however, he was archly conservative. I never heard him use an off-color or profane word - even to himself.

Mother was different. She was 12 years younger than her husband, having married to him at 17. Devoted to, and wholly dependent upon him, she played a subordinate role except for the trump card of physical weakness, which she could finesse adroitly when needed. Mother had had a year at a "finishing school" for women. She was a gifted pianist and singer; she had read widely; she was well-trained in social skills, an ingratiating and versatile conversationalist. But her health was "delicate" - so much so that every once in a while she would have to take time out from the family, usually to go to a hospital to receive t.l.c.(tender loving care). For one thing, she had nervous bowel syndrome, and that was a social embarrassment. To us offspring she seemed to be a hypochondriac, though of course we were trained to take pains, inherently, not to imply that such might be the case. I suspect that her dependence upon medical expertise and solicitude had a lot to do with her marital relationship. It was necessary for us to have a live-in house-servant and cook at all times because, although she could mastermind the running of a household, she couldn't herself carry out the accompanying responsibilities and physical drudgery. Mother deferred to Dad in almost everything, but there were times when she successfully could soften his outlook; and occasionally could be an ally in keeping little secrets from him. Dad was utterly devoted to her until a latent and undiagnosed liver ailment toward the end of his life engendered such fatigue and self-concern in him that it was he, rather than she, who needed support.

Family life, for this hodge-podge of divergent personalities and egos, focused on mealtimes together. It seemed that everyone had a story to tell, urgent comments, a "vital" opinion, or some bid for attention or commendation. Silence could make it seem as if something might be awry - as if there was nobody in charge of the requisite and indispensable channels of thought. So, competition for possession of the rostrum often was intense. Lowest on the totem pole were the youngest of the tribe. But that created more chance to listen and learn. We concerned ourselves with one another's affairs; moral judgments abounded - though often tempered by humor or goodwill. Until I was about ten, once a week regularly we had family prayers at the dining table: Dad would read from the Bible; then, each kneeling at our dining room chairs, he would offer a spontaneous prayer of general nature. None of us children liked it and we knew that our friends did not do this in their families. That made it seem somewhat contrived and ostentatious. Did that please God? I used to wonder. It seemed that we did a lot of things "to please or honor God" that were more satisfying to our parents or ancestors than they were contemporary or sensible. But it was clear that having fun pleased God only marginally; and not having fun was more like what God wanted. The point was this: you can't achieve success, blest by God, if you don't follow the rules. Rules should always come before personal preference or self-indulgence. And our rules were pretty rigid - and pervasive.

I do recall one dinner-table incident that resulted in an awesome silence. Workmen had been putting in a new sidewalk past the house, and as a 9-year-old I had watched the process. "I think those workmen must be foreigners," I commented.

"What makes you think so?" Mother asked.

"Well, they say strange words that don't sound like our language".

"Those are probably just words that you don't know yet," commented Alice.

"No. They just don't sound like English."

"How do they sound?" Alice persisted. "Can't you imitate them for us?"

"Oh, like 'shit' and 'fuck'" [then words unknown to me].

There was a long pause while everybody looked intently at his/her food. Then Mother said, "Well, maybe that could be German." Turning to Dad as the usual authority, she asked: "Wouldn't that be German, Joe?"

With sudden enthusiasm Dad replied. "Yes; yes. It does indeed sound like German." Silence still prevailed for some time; so I figured this could have been one of the adults' tricks (bamboozlements).

Already the pattern of Anglo-Saxon Protestant traditions, perhaps even Scotch-Irish character, should be apparent. But not so fully was that so on Mother's side. Her maiden name was Van Gorder - Dutch, on her father's side, from New York via Ohio, but they were Protestants too. Cleanliness, my mother preached, was our major heritage from that source. Mother's mother, my maternal grandmother, named Wilson, had been the daughter of Pittsburgh aristocrats: her father had been mayor of Pittsburgh during the Civil War. That heritage also seemed to have a lot to do with our needing a household servant even in the 20th century. It had even more to do with shaping attitudes - regarding immigrant ethnic groups as laborers and how suitable Protestantism was for the privileged. Incidentally, no anti-Semitism was ever expressed at our house; I didn't even know that Hebrews and Jews were related until I was finishing high school. Nevertheless, at one point in the third grade when I made friends with David Spiegel, my parents told me to forget it, saying that his "church" was not the right kind. So it was religion, not ethnicity that was the problem. Dad had all kinds of patients including a few African Americans, and he took us children to visit them now and then. One of them had been a slave when she was a girl. She baked cakes for our birthdays, as gifts.

To compare Mother's background with Dad's, on his side there were both differences and similarities. Six generations back, the first Griggs had gone from England to Massachusetts - in 1632. That family line, mostly artisans and farmers, had intermarried with other Scots-Irish, but had always married late in life, resulting in long generations. My father's father, 5th generation in line, had graduated from Yale College early in the 19th century two centuries later, and then moved to Pennsylvania where in Pittsburgh he established a private academy of Greek and Latin. Subsequently his school was absorbed into the beginnings of the University of Pittsburgh; and Grandfather Griggs became the first Bursar of that University.

Its proved quite difficult to find out much from my parents about their origins beyond these facts, because we lived across the continent from our blood relatives, and in those days it took a letter 5 or 6 days each way to bridge the gap. But in Dad's case there was another reason: alienation had taken place between him and his two brothers. It was based partly upon his being younger and being bullied and teased by them, and partly because one of them had put out Dad's right eye by aiming at him and firing with an air rifle. Dad's mother, who had been able to tutor in French and Spanish, herself a physician's daughter, became deaf; so she couldn't mediate, nor follow the taunting and wrangling that occurred between the boys. Dad's older sister, who saw it all, often came to his rescue - and continued her guardian angel role from time to time by taking care of us children for him when Mother was "resting up" in the hospital. This "Auntie" was a dominant influence; and the heritage of Protestantism, Scottish tradition, character, and achievement emanated from her presence along with her good nature, her hearty laugh, and rigid instruction. She was also the family genealogist. In religion she was a Fundamentalist who wouldn't enter our liberal Presbyterian Church. We children enjoyed learning that when she took Dad with her to the fundamentalist First Presbyterian Church, she woke him up with her snoring.

CHAPTER 2: The Early Years

In the first years of the 20th century - and particularly after World War I - there was a conviction that change, progressing toward perfection, would lead up to utopia possibly almost within our own lifetimes. Change was synonymous with progress, which could move only in one direction: toward godliness and social harmony and prosperity. Lulled by the abundance of natural resources in this new continent and by enormous advances with power - steam and electricity - people thought American civilization was on an inexorable roll.

In school, in church, at home, in literature, we youngsters were being impressed with manifest destiny for our culture and sanctimoniously regulated capitalism as well as with our responsibilities and opportunities to perfect the world. Failure and defeat could result only from sloth or indifference. Mankind was conquering the environment and managing the world. Us kids in the 1920's were being briefed for leadership toward a paradise which, if we only strove and reached out hard enough, would yield to our touch and allow us to relish its advantages and blessings. Thus we were primed with idealism and zeal.

The world of finance likewise was caught in this upswing. Then came 1929 with its denouement when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.

Before we move this account forward into the years of the Great Depression, there is more to tell about the social atmosphere of the era that preceded it.

Women got the right to vote. Their status began to change to the things that men could tolerate - but only when codified suitably and whenever not in direct competition. Women began to drive cars. In fact on one occasion my mother made the front page of the local newspaper by driving her Model T Ford downhill across six intersecting streets when its brakes failed.

A few women started their own enterprises, usually home-based. Previously their employment opportunities were limited to being teachers, seamstresses, nurses, domestics, waitresses, secretaries or store clerks. Now beauty parlors were added; and telephone operators became a big thing. That women should cease their homemaking functions nevertheless still was not envisioned, and competitive salaries, except for a few professionally qualified women, were unthinkable. There was some minor, suppressed consternation when it became public knowledge that the highly competent, married pathologist at the General Hospital was not Allen, but Ellen. Of course she left immediately despite absence of a qualified replacement - leaving people buzzing about who had known about it all along, and why only in silence.

Labor organization thrived. Times were good; profits were good. Work hours were reduced, and wage rates improved. The standard of living was rising. Horizons for recreation - and supporting facilities - were expanding. It did indeed seem possible for a person to rise up economically by dint of hard work. Large corporations became larger; governmental agencies became more active. Child labor was reduced and schools were improved. Public safety was upgraded. Technological advances boosted productivity and convenience. Transportation moved faster, through ever-broadening networks.

Communism became anathema. This was because Communism elevated women indiscriminately, thus undercutting the family. Communism denied God; it appeared to condone violence as a political tool; it denied or compromised personal freedom; it eliminated free and open competition; it denied the right to amass and use capital under private initiative; it concentrated the power of the government. Communism opposed the very dynamics that appeared to make the American pattern succeed.

Then, as the l920's progressed, undercurrents of dissatisfaction and rebellion gradually began to arise: defiance of Prohibition, relaxation of sexual mores, increased divorces, strikes, graft, new social and religious ideologies, corporate ruthlessness, political indifference. But none of these trends was strong enough to endanger the vigor of capitalist economy - that is, until the stock market crash in 1929.

At first the crash was seen as only a temporary setback, or so people expected. But then, as commercial and industrial endeavors began to shrink or collapse, jobs were lost and the very real impact of the Depression began. Dad lost many thousands of dollars in the crash; but the bigger impact was new poverty among his patients. Various ones gave us vegetables or other things in lieu of paying for medical services. People moved away, or just disappeared, often back into the countryside or to live with distant relatives. In school the effects became apparent in the patched clothing and curtailed activities of my schoolmates. People were living by barter and by their wits, changing occupational skills and learning new ways. Opportunities came only through acquaintances, friends, or the grapevine. Large masses of men took to the roads, especially the railroads; men roamed cities and towns looking for odd jobs or for handouts of food. Women remained dependent mainly upon their relatives. It was not a time of lax morality however: just the opposite. And crime did not increase. During the Depression years, people adjusted to whatever they could - without losing their self-respect - by holding onto their integrity as best they could, and without rebelling or turning to violence.

By midpoint in the 1930's the picture improved when New Deal programs began to operate full-tilt. We saw the young men of the CCC working in the woods. The Public Works Administration was conducting projects of public worth; and employment of sorts was made available through the Works Progress Administration.

What had happened to the idealism and optimism of the previous decade, buoyed as it was by World War I's success? Strangely enough, it had become so much a part of people's outlooks that it seemed to carry them, in blind faith, through the depression years. The basic patterns of social and economic life did not undergo a drastic change; and under the phenomenon or gradual economic recovery that climaxed during World War II, the old patterns and outlooks were largely reinstated. Perhaps it happened so because winning the war made re-establishment of a flourishing capitalist economy and renewed social cooperation essential in order for the nation to survive.

CHAPTER 3: The 30's

For the family and me, the twelve years from 1927 to 1939 were crowded with pivotal events - my ages 11 to 23. Martha had married a Ph.D. Chemist, Henry Frank, whom she had met while at the University of Pittsburgh, and the two of them had gone to Canton, China, where he was teaching in Lingnan University. They regarded themselves as missionary workers, albeit in academic guise. They were to be there in Canton for more than twenty years, raising three children and surviving both China's war with Japan and then later, the Communist revolution of l949-50. Henry himself was imprisoned by the Japanese; later excoriated by the Chinese Communists when he returned to Canton after the war; and still later lavishly apologized to, and entertained, by them. He became Chairman of the Chemistry Department at University of Pittsburgh.

Rebecca, who taught also for two years in Canton, married and had a daughter. She married a brother of the wife of my mother's brother, her aunt by marriage - a cross-generation marriage. Joe finished his M.D. degree at the University of Michigan; began practice in a small Washington town; married a crusading activist on the summit of Mt. Rainier, and then moved to Claremont, Calif. Sally (Alice) taught French in public schools in Washington and in California, making her second marriage there, having one son. Mother, when she had become a widow of 8 years, sold the family home and moved from Washington state to Claremont, California. Phil was moved about from school to school and place to place. Thus did the family's entity seem to disintegrate.

Before that, during the 1920's, I switched from piano to 'cello at age eleven; became active in boy scouts at 13; then came church choir and church youth things, and sports after school. Between string quartet and orchestra and scouts, almost every evening of the week seemed taken.

Then in 1932 when I was 16, Dad died, at age 61. He had been worried about possibly having diabetes because something was wrong with his blood; instead, his death resulted from a fall down the basement stairs when he went down to the basement one morning to get wood for a fireplace fire. I was in math class in high school and heard the siren of the local police ambulance passing the school. Then the classroom phone summoned me to the office where they said he'd been in an accident, was in the hospital, and that I should go there. He had rapidly become unconscious from a brain concussion. Despite brain surgery, he died the next day.

With older siblings away, abroad or at college, I found myself in the position of being the man of the house, responsible for Mother and little brother. That responsibility was complicated by my guilt over having been disparaging of my father, whereas the community held him in high esteem as one of its eminent figures.

Upon Dad's sudden death we were left well off because of Dad's unusual preparations for that sort of eventuality, and because, being heavily insured with double indemnity coverage, we were left well off, financially. Dad had provided for Mother's and other family needs for years to come. It was those provisions that enabled her to send me to Europe alone in the middle of my senior high school year. That was a year later, when I was 17. (Because I had entered school at the half-year point, I could graduate either with the preceding, or following, class depending on credits accumulated.) It was to be an adventure abroad intended to "broaden his cultural horizons and elevate his intellectual aspirations". [Here the reader might like to turn to Part II, Ch. 9 "Hitler takes Germany", to see whether that happened, and why.]

Something intervened in the two summers after Dad's death however - something unforeseen that provoked motivation for the idea of giving me a European adventure.

During those two summers, when family members were able to assemble and when Martha returned on furlough from China with her three children, we went on summer retreats to a rustic island in Puget Sound, reachable only by boat, where time seemed to stand still. Sylvan, as it was called, was a sleepy un-mechanized cluster of old berry farms and summer homes with a dock and a country store, and with backwoods atmosphere. The big event each day was arrival of the steamship at the dock in front of the country store. On the narrow dirt road that led to the store and dock there had been built just before one reached a certain outlying house, a fence with a gate. One day when I was only five, Mr. Rasmussen had given me a ride on his wagon, way up on the front seat with him, behind the horse, and I was amazed to see him open the gate from his seat by pulling a rope that hung over the road. It was connected through pulleys and levers and gears, in a mechanism which lifted up the gate and put in down again to one side of the road so that we could go through. Then, even more marvelous, another rope on the other side, enabled Mr. Rasmussen to shut the gate behind him in the same manner! For several years (and still today) I wonder how it worked; but when we returned to Sylvan in 1932, that marvelous gate had disappeared when the road was widened for motorcars.

In actuality this quaint community served as a refuge for scrounging farming survivors, against their Depression hardships. It was picturesque, quaint, imbued with an aura of pioneer days. The family had vacationed there previously when I was 2-5 years old; and now we returned ten or twelve years later, to find that it had not changed except for the missing gate and widened dirt road.

Sylvan Lodge, a boarding house, its second floor encircled by open, sectioned-off sleeping porches, had been taken over by the Erickson family - refugees from the Depression, who were eking out an existence by dint of hard work and resourcefulness - which included taking in lodgers. There were two daughters my age. Ericksons' Sylvan Lodge had a couple of cows, cherry and apple trees, chickens, berry bushes, clams (including "geoducks"), salmon, and - best of all - warm hospitality. I was intrigued with the way the Ericksons coped: their resourcefulness, Ed's versatile skills, their indomitable spirit of cheerfulness - all of this in the face of economic hardship and near-disaster. I adopted Ed as a father figure and sought to learn from him as he allowed me to work with him at this farm and join him for maintenance chores. Ed gave me the Working Man's View of life and of the vicissitudes of being unemployed in a capitalist economy. New humanitarian goals emerged as outlets for the idealism that had been so carefully bred into me, and the cause of the working man seemed compatible with those religious precepts. I began to think that formal education could seem a vacuous frill compared to the way Ed confronted realities of the practical world. Why should I go to college? Where's the reality in this Culture stuff!?

Clearly such "heresy", as other family members saw it, would derail my achieving a refined intellectual or professional career. Sylvan had to be undone! - counteracted, at least. So it was arranged that I would accompany Martha and her husband to France and then take off on my own with $600 at my disposal, to absorb "Culture" in Europe for as long as I could make the $600 last. This proved to be three months, spent mainly in (then Nazi) Germany; I was away for four. (I had studied German for a year in high school and liked it; moreover, my classmates gave me a dozen names and addresses of pen-pals my age to look up in Germany.) En route, I attended the World's Fair in Chicago and met eastern relatives whom I had never seen or known.

As had been expected, my horizons broadened through foreign travel; so I returned reconciled toward college, willing to accept training toward a middle-class career. Medicine was what I had in mind; but soon brother Joe's complaints about "irrelevant" memorization in order to pass his Pathology course, put together with a poor teacher at my freshman zoology class, threw things off that track early in the game. I was interested in world politics, history and the arts.

President Roosevelt's New Deal program was then gaining momentum in a direction (one that would benefit Ed Erickson at Sylvan). Broader horizons and new hopes began to emerge at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Just at that point however, just after my European "enlightenment", came an opportunity for summer work at Mt. Rainier with the horse-guide group - back again to a working man's environment. We carried building materials on horses, from dirt-road dead-ends to the tops of five peaks where fire lookout towers were being built. I learned to shoe and care for horses; also how to conduct tourist safaris. It was different from working with Ed Erickson because scenic woodland made it an experience that had its own special aura. This experience later became the framework for the best play I have written, in my view - HORSEPLAY, SEVEN SCENES OF A SULTRY SUMMER ON THE RANCH.

The work that summer just out of high school made me late for registration at the University, so that only one elective course was left open to enroll in: a course on Chinese Civilization, which would fulfill requirements. That course turned out to be the most cherished one, for it alone went beyond what I already had learned in high school, and it was loaded with interest and challenge. Prof. Pollard proved to be an extraordinary person; he made the material come alive, and he made it part of my world. In consequence of his course, I applied for, and was accepted as an Exchange Student scholarship to spend my sophomore college year in China - at Lingnan, the University in Canton that had been founded as Canton Christian College, where my sister Martha, her husband and children were stationed! Classes were taught in English because textbooks were in English. Then, upon return to Seattle, it seemed natural for me to add Chinese Language to my program of study. [Next, consider looking at "China Diary" Part II Ch. 10]

Another important encounter also then evolved: the University YMCA at that time had a very active student program, together with the YWCA, focusing on world affairs as well as socio-economic domestic affairs. Pacifism was prominent. Discussions, lectures and study groups (institutes) were being promoted. Because I lived at the "Y" during my junior year, and because of my foreign contacts in both Europe and Asia, these activities fed my appetites until graduation in 1938. There were even occasional arguments with young fellow travelers of the Communist Party. Those travelers always favored more direct action than the rest of us thought wise. We met together on occasion because of mutual interests in internationalism and pacifism.

Actually, my liberal bent at college had begun right at the start, when, as a freshman I joined a cooperative housing program (like a fraternity with respect to housing but without exclusivity and fraternal embellishments). A musically talented high school friend, Bob Searles, and I roomed together; in this consumer-cooperative system, each house resident performed ten hours a week of work in exchange for reduced rates. There were seven such former frat/sorority houses operating in this plan, allowing inexpensive attendance at the university because charges were based on pro-rated actual costs. It was definitely a socialistic design and it proved highly successful. During the Depression years innovations of such nature were not uncommon in that part of the country.

During the summers of l935 and 1936 I worked in Mt. Olympus National Monument (soon it became a national park) at a fire lookout and then on a trail crew that camped out. We had two horses to carry our tools and supplies; and we built several miles of trails - the four of us - blasting cliffs and building bridges, as needed. I handled the horses and did the cooking also. Each night the horses were turned loose to graze, to be rounded up on foot the next morning. One time it snowed in August and one of the horses broke its leg on a rockslide. We had no gun; so we blew its head off with two sticks of dynamite. On another occasion in the summer of 1936 I hiked at night by flashlight, after work, over a couple of ridges to a ranger station. There I learned from a hiker who had just camped there, that my brother Joe had got married on the summit of Mt. Rainier three days previous.

It impressed me that the superintendent-ranger at Mt. Olympus, who had been raised a Quaker, never used government tools to work on his government-supplied property; he bought his own tools.

At University of Washington there were opportunities to hobnob with American Orientals, capitalizing both upon some language familiarity and upon having been in China and Japan. Some strong friendships developed from that. (The valedictorian of our high school class of 500 in Tacoma, Yaeko Izaki, was Japanese; she had been in the same German class with me; and I visited her in Tokyo en route to China in 1935 - and again in 1946 after World War II.) In line with my new Asian interests I also investigated immigration from the Canton area into the US, to find that much of it was illegal and that the Immigration people couldn't find ways, at the time, to prevent fictitious persons from entering by claiming US citizenship. As evidence that it was real, I met one of the Lingnan students from our dormitory after he actually came to this country in the guise of one of those fictitious identities. At that time the Oriental Exclusion Act of 1924 precluded immigration on the grounds of race; so phony citizens alone could gain entry.

As a graduate cum laude in General Studies and new member of Phi Beta Kappa, and having focused on Chinese studies (and 'cello), I was being encouraged to proceed further with graduate work on China, aiming toward an academic career.

The fall of 1939 was the time when I began three successive years of graduate study at U. of Chicago, U. of California at Berkeley, and at Harvard. Because war seemed possible, the nation appeared to be recovering from the economic depression as Roosevelt subtly moved it forward in a stance against the Axis powers. My contacts with my friends in Austria and Germany ceased because of the war there; and in Asia as well, where the Japanese had occupied almost half of China, forcing its Nationalist government into the interior. Sister Martha's husband attempted to follow her earlier escape from Canton, and had been imprisoned by the Japanese at Stanley prison in captured Hongkong. Both areas of my interest and familiarity abroad suddenly were in the throes of disaster. In Chicago I found Western Union delivery boys bringing news of the wartime deaths of volunteers who had entered the war in Europe.

The Roosevelt administration, surreptitiously I thought, was pushing the nation toward war in Europe, and maybe even against Japan. Our "national defense" program had stepped up. It was still hoped that the Japanese offensive would fall on its face and that somehow, China's national sovereignty could be re-asserted.

Of course the situation remained like that for three and a half years more; but it intensified steadily as was attested by start of universal conscription.

In Chicago in 1938-39 I was unprepared for two things: life in a big eastern city where ugliness, deprivation and degradation revealed themselves; and the detailed, narrow focus of academic specialization at the graduate level. That narrow educational focus precluded broad investigations and big pictures; study became technological; it verged on drudgery. Nevertheless there were some stimulating courses; and on the whole Chicago proved to be the most valuable of those three first years of graduate study. That was partly because of Robert Maynard Hutchins and the Great Books. Although I did not get along well with H. Creel, the China specialist I went there to work with (not many did), he recommended me for a fellowship under the American Council of Learned Societies which was encouraging Asian studies in academia at that time. I was awarded the fellowship and it took me first to the University of California, and then to Harvard, where I became a Course Assistant, researching instructional materials and grading papers. At Chicago early Chinese history was featured; at Berkeley it had been philology of the language and Chinese history of the middle periods (200 A.D. to l,000 A.D.); then at Harvard, the period after 1,000 A.D. got emphasis. At Berkeley I also had a semester of Japanese language.

Compared to other graduate students, my ability with written Chinese was weak: I did not have a photographic memory for characters. There was one embarrassing incident at Harvard to illustrate how much I could feel like a fish out of water. The Chinese scholar Hu Shih who soon became Chinese Embassador to the USA visited Harvard on one occasion, partly in order to spend some time with another notable Chinese scholar and linguist, Chao Yuan-jen. Seeing me in the Chinese library, Dr. Hu mistook me for somebody else, perhaps a faculty member, and in his cordial chit-chat impulsively invited me to Dr. Chao's house to have supper there, telling me what a marvelous gourmet cook Mrs. Chao was. I don't know at what point he discovered his mistake, so skillfully did he smooth things over - nor do I know who the eminent intended person was who got cheated out of a gourmet repast. But when the event came about, I found myself in august company, way over my head both scholastically and in the language. Part of the entertainment consisted of trying to say things backwards, not word by word, but sound by sound. Dr. Chao was really good at it. Because of traditional Chinese courtesy and hospitality, I was not shown up to be out-of-place by these important people; but I could clearly see that I should not have accepted the invitation, knowing who his excellency was and to whose house we were going.

At all three universities I participated in their orchestras and joined pacifist and international-emphasis groups. In Berkeley I lived at International House. At Chicago I did volunteer work at a Settlement House near the stockyards.

CHAPTER 4: The War Years - 1942-46

The United States entered into war in the fall of 1941, and, though registered under the draft as a conscientious objector, I was unsure when I would be called for Civilian Public Service. My brothers and I all were conscientious objectors. The fact that we all came from a seriously religious background was apparent enough; and in my case my friendships in Europe and in the Orient reinforced a conviction that I could not bear arms. "Humanitarian grounds" the local draft board termed it. I was also a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a national pacifist organization having roots in religious doctrine.

[A personalized, detailed account of what the author was doing during the war years appears in PART II Ideology]

As a graduate in General Studies and new member of Phi Beta Kappa, having focused on Chinese studies (and 'cello). I was being encouraged to proceed further with graduate studies focused on China, aiming toward an academic career.

In Asia World War II began early. Japan's conquest of China's three northeastern provinces - Manchuria - took place in 1929 when, under Japanese military might, Manchukuo was set up as a puppet regime. Japan's bombing of parts of Shanghai followed in 1931; and "extraterritorially" disguised maneuvers and aggressive moves by Japanese troops in north China intruded against a backdrop of warlord instabilities there. I recall seeing arrogant Japanese troops push around, intimidate, and manhandle Chinese civilians at a railroad station near Tientsin in the summer of l936. Two years later they were overrunning most of northeast China. And after only two more years came the Rape of Nanking, as Japanese troops occupied most of coastal China. They drove the national government of China out of two emergency inland relocations. At the time of Pearl Harbor, Japan controlled Hongkong, Singapore, the Philippines, present-day Indonesia, and parts of Malaya and Burma. Many of these Japanese conquests were brutal and ruthless; they were oppressive, unprofitable and highly destructive. It was imperial aggression at its worst.

Then in 1939, with tension growing in Europe as its war broke out, the world's best-armed countries naturally were focusing attention upon their own front-yards. Germany, at first in Sudeten Land and in Austria, had expanded without opposition. Statecraft, backed by military strength and heavy proportions of German-speaking residents, carried those coups. Then came expansion toward Poland and Czechoslovakia by blitzkrieg, still only falteringly opposed. Finally full warfare broke out - not only in the Balkans and eastward, but also to the west in a re-play of WW I strategies, again by quick blitz in each case. Next came German overrunning of the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Denmark. These strikes, because of their brevity, introduced warfare of more concentrated type, in combination with threats; diplomacy: they afforded less exposure to protracted suffering and to gradual strangulation. It was more like selective electrocution than prolonged mass torture. In that manner it achieved its political objectives with maximum efficiency, greater economy, and higher speed. It contrasted sharply to Japan's brand of aggressive war, seeming to be less ruthless, less inhumane. That might explain how Norway, Balkan states and parts of the Middle East more readily succumbed to German "diplomacy". Russia likewise - until Germany aggressively turned the tables against Russia as the new decade began.

Some factions in the USA thought that Berlin might become the present day counterpart of ancient Rome - political overlord of Europe: that European unification might benefit from German thoroughness and efficiency, while benefiting also from her technological know-how. But of course the other, dominant faction in the US regarded the Rome-Tokyo-Berlin Axis as wholly irreconcilable with democratic free-enterprise; it was totalitarian and hence was a danger to humanitarian social progress on the world scene.

So, how were things in the USA? For most of l942-3, USA was just gearing up. Meanwhile we bolstered Great Britain as best we could; we fought against submarines and we protected merchant ships in the Atlantic. Our military actions, however, mainly consisted of harassment and containment when and where possible without too great costs. For instance, no attempts were made to liberate Norway or Denmark. Not until 1944 were adequate preparations completed for the big strike, for the coup against the Reich and Italy - and with gradual pursuit of the Japanese Navy in the Pacific. In all of this, China had received little more than token attention: too far away; too impossible; too costly; strategically less urgent.

Regarding the war in Asia, I felt that China, because of it vastness and dense population, and because of its underdeveloped modernization, would survive Japan's occupation, and that Japan would have to pull back, even if left to her own devices. As for the European war, it seemed that Germany might bring about centralization and diminish the nationalistic enmities that seemed to breed wars in Europe. In order to achieve that role, German imperialism would have to backtrack. As I saw it, such eventualities would come through diplomacy and adjudication - through peaceful means - rather than through drastic, destructive warfare.

In view of what has just been said, we can readily understand how the war's impact upon Americans was being felt. War casualties, until 1944, were sparse and were widely scattered. The sense was that the war was less a matter of combat or peril than a spurt of industrial and economic rejuvenation that engaged the whole country. Many persons were being relocated arbitrarily but with a sense of inevitability and pride; many were finding relationship being broken up - some to their grief and others to their relief. The atmosphere was exciting: it was like competing in a race, or the thrill of playing a game for high stakes. What unexpected situation would arise next? There was also purpose. Commitment. Sacrifice. Drama. Importance. Responsibility. Advancement. Suspense. Nobility. This was all very different from the Depression, at last.

So the heavy casualties and costs did not begin to sink in until the summer of 1944, and even the cleanup in the Pacific in 1945 seemed anti-climactic. Ironically, problems of refugees and the homeless and of reconstruction in Europe coincided with important naval battles in the Pacific and the atom bombs' fiery Armageddon. To put it cynically, "toast the Japs but rescue the Europeans". Incidentally, when I looked up Yaeko Izaki again in Tokyo in the summer of 1946 on my way to China, her father's Christian church had been wiped out, and the family was celebrating her brother's return from maritime service amid ramshackle surroundings. They were sharing a single festive, rare, salted cucumber.

Except for some dietary shortages and rationed items, and except for reduced mobility because of gasoline rationing, Americans had prospered during the war years. Then we shared that prosperity, rebuilding devastated Europe. [Other details pertaining to my activities during the war years appear in PART II, Chapter 13 Ideology –Motivation]


CHAPTER 5. UNRRA and the Foreign Service Institute

When release from the draft came in February of 1946, two prospects opened up because of my specialization on China and familiarity with the language, and because of my interest in relief and reconstruction work there. Both opportunities involved moving to Washington, D.C,: first to work for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency, then five months later, for the Department of State on a special assignment in China.

The UNRRA job was only part-time and temporary. It involved serving as a housing receptionist at a D.C. facility for new employees about to go abroad in service - technicians, experts, specialists - many of them to China. Somebody thought that my previous preparation for medical relief work in China might make this a compatible and useful work situation - and it was. Some of the workers seemed to me rather unreliable and eccentric, ill-prepared for what they would encounter; but others looked like promising bets. There was a peculiar blending of opportunists on one hand and dedicated idealists on the other.

After several months a call came from the Department of State's Foreign Service Institute which operates training programs that prepare Foreign Service officers for what they might encounter in their foreign assignments. Henry L. Smith, who had been conducting a national radio program regarding regional dialects (listening to people talk as he interviewed them, then as a Linguist pinpointing where they had been raised), was in charge of the Languages Section. Was I interested in going to Beijing to conduct a new Chinese language/culture training program there? Six young Foreign Service officers had been hand-picked to do nothing else for two years other than to absorb this training. The U.S. military had previously operated a similar program there for certain intelligence officers, doing so partly in connection with a commercial Language School. Now that the war was over, some help or pointers might be available to me from remnants of that earlier program - if such could be found.

As it turned out, one of the Foreign Service officers who had been chosen for this new program, Ralph Clough, had also spent a year at Lingnan University as an Exchange student, also from the University of Washington, during the year after I had been there. (It had later proved to be the final year of such exchanges because of the Japanese invasion, 1937.) That was a happy discovery because Ralph and I had hobnobbed considerably in the past. Our new training program itself was to be supervised by the acting U.S. Consul in Beijing, Fulton (Tony) Freeman. Tony had been an exchange student at Lingnan the year before me and had distinguished himself for his facility in learning Cantonese, the local dialect. So it was an ideal situation for me.

Tony arranged for office and work space on one edge of the Embassy compound across the street from the French Hotel; it was behind a Peking wall gate that now has been torn down so as to enlarge Tienanmen Square. I set about hiring six native Chinese tutors, none of whom allegedly could, or would, speak English. Three of them were old-style gents who wore gowns, and three were younger men who wore western clothes. The regimen of instruction was for each tutor to spend time daily with each foreign student, principally working on language. Instruction in the cultural aspect would be done in occasional group meetings; but most of it would occur through osmosis in the course of interaction between the students and their tutors. All of this had to be arranged in Chinese, using Chinese materials such as I could devise or find.

By luck I found some paperback Civics textbooks in Chinese for middle school level at a local bookstore, and their vocabulary was particularly well suited to our students' needs. Next came Chinese school textbooks on economics and history.

Although priority transportation via US Air Force had been arranged and allowed me to take along a great many personal items, Chinese language textbooks and reference works were not included, presumably because it was thought they would be readily available on the scene. But they weren't, partly because of war's aftermath. That meant scrounging, and devising.

Tony found a place for me to live - a walled one-floor residence that occupying Japanese military officers had commandeered when they ejected an American Standard Oil representative several years before. Technically it was to revert to S. O. at a suitable point. (Now it has been swallowed up by the largest government-operated department store in Beijing.) It was located on an alley (hutung) just off the main business street. U.S. Marine drivers ferried me each day between that residence and work at the edge of the U.S. Embassy. They took delight in scaring "the kooks" by threatening to run them down; it was a process that was onerous to me because it looked like an echo of foreign imperialism and implied Western cultural arrogance. It was part of the post-war situation.

Tony also lined up for me a man-servant/cook/housekeeper and his wife, cheerful, stocky peasant types, who did the shopping and kept me informed about neighborhood situations. That included offering unsolicited information regarding the refugee Germans who lived about a block away, presumed to be of interest to me because they were former Caucasian enemies of mine. This housing unit included a gigantic bathtub with built-in water heater such as the Japanese find indispensable.

U.S. Marines guarded the Embassy compound, which housed very many buildings and extended for the equivalent of about four blocks by two blocks. Most of the marines were young recruits who, having arrived too late to for combat action or excitement, usually set about trying to create their own - which lamentably often included plaguing or exploiting native Chinese "kooks". As I saw it, they were undermining the war's lofty objectives.

It was nevertheless inescapable that Americans were the new top dogs: we had the real, hard money and we offered security. We had displaced the Japanese; we had bombed hell out of their islands and made them kowtow; we had a corner on the world's goodies. Whatever deference and debt the Chinese owed, we were its recipients; and we also guarded the path to survival, away from defeat and disaster. So we were privileged, cultivated, protected and nurtured; pampered; but we were also targets for petitions and favors.

One such petition struck me as out-of-the-ordinary: through my servant I was told about a certain Chinese composer of classical music who wished to present me the score of a symphony he had composed. Actually, it turned out that the score was not for me personally, but hopefully for a world audience - if I could take or send it for performance in America. The composer, originally a Chinese from Formosa (Taiwan) now in Beijing, wanted to visit me with this score. Now it happened that I had a phonograph from military surplus and some long-play recordings of classical music from the Armed Services radio network. I knew that this musician might like to listen to them. So I invited him to come to dinner. Later I learned that he had hocked most of his personal belongings in order to dress suitably for this event, that he had not eaten anything for several days beforehand - also that he had suffered gastric upsets for several days after eating an unaccustomed large meal at my place.

Jiang Wen-yeh (Japanese name Ko Bunya) had written the tune for the Japanese national anthem. The symphonic score he brought with him was "Springtime in Peking". He revealed, without pathos, that the Japanese had turned against him because he was an ethnic Chinese, and the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party now restored to power in China) rejected him because of his Japanese connections. And I could see that he would be rejected next by the Chinese Communists because of his Japanese connections and his being a native of Taiwan, as well.

Jiang listened intently to one of my armed forces records (they were unlabeled and lacked verbal identification as well) and said he felt sure this must be Shostakovich's new Sixth Symphony, which he was delighted to hear for the first time. We listened to two others; then he said he had to leave, but he hoped I would be able to find some conductor and orchestra in America that would give his work a hearing. Later I sent it to Leopold Stokowski, who, after a long delay wrote that he would perform one of its movements if I had the instrumental parts available. Unfortunately I did not have them, and at the that time I could not afford the expense of having parts copied from the manuscript. Two other conductors, Sergiu Commissiona and Robert Gerle, also have commended the score; but I still have it, and nobody but Mr. Jiang has ever heard it, so far as I know; and Jiang heard it only in his own head.

In Beijing I tried, briefly, to find direct traces of my father's five-year medical work, without success. The city was truly run down because of wartime abuse and neglect, but the Imperial City was still glorious, as were many of the capital's other famous landmarks. It was not safe to travel outside of the city because the countryside had been infiltrated by Communist commandos, whose eventual aim was taking the walled city itself.

Residents were pressed by staggering inflation: you paid for things in wads of almost worthless bill of enormous denomination. That hardship was imposed upon an already existing poverty; for many of the residents had sold most of their household heirlooms and possessions, or were trying to do so. Physical ruin was not apparent so much as low morale and resignation: how bad were things going to get with no end in sight!? A prevalent expression, those days, was "Mei-yu fa-tze" (there's no way out). The presence of US Marines on the trains was their only guarantee of getting through; and US airplanes seemed to bring in the only commerce that took place.

But there were operas and plays - in unheated buildings. I would return home with frigid feet that refused to warm up. Electricity, available only at 200 volts from limited outlets, was weak; and black-outs rotated through different sections of the city each night randomly for a couple of hours at a time, in an effort to ration whatever could be coaxed out of run-down, near-obsolete facilities.

The Embassy had phones, but the network was as weak as those we had back home in the 1920's, but compounded by other weird malfunctions.

The instructional program was working out well. Although one of the six, Jim Speer, asked for a change of duty after about four months, the five Foreign Service officers who remained became highly competent with both spoken and written colloquial Chinese within their first year. Besides Ralph Clough, they were Bob Rinden the only bachelor, Ed Martin, Larry Lutkins, and Alfred Jenkins. Their tutors were delighted; they loved their jobs. It was a pity that the Communist take-over seemed to be closing in on Beijing.

On one occasion I took the train down to Tientsin, to shepherd a shipment of personal household goods that was arriving by slow freight for two of the students' houses. (The four who were married had brought their wives with them.) Armed Marines were aboard the train and they tried their luck with pot-shots at farmers along the route. Then, as if to make up for it, whenever the train stopped, which was frequently, as children descended upon the train with open hands, they gave out gum, candy and cigarettes, with apparent generosity but also to see the kids scramble and grovel. It appeared to be standard practice.

At the warehouse in Tientsin on the Marines' compound, the freight boxes already had been broken into, and several items removed (turned out to have been mainly liquor).

Consequently I went to the Commandant to complain and ask for an investigation. He made note of the facts and suggested that I return a little later. As I left his headquarters and started looking around, I was approached by two marines, one of whom said, "Whatcha doin' here - snoopin' around?" And with that he punched me in the eye, drawing blood via a laceration from impact of something metallic in his hand. An attendant at the Marine infirmary stitched it, without anesthetic, of course. Then the commandant lined up a couple of platoons of Marines and asked me to identify the two who had accosted me. I couldn't - not for sure; in fact maybe it wouldn't have been safe to do so, anyway. Conduct by Marines in China stood in sharp contrast to its high quality and the excellent morale of military personnel that I had seen in MacArthur's Japan.

The Air Force C-47 flight that had carried me from Washington to Beijing had stopped over in Japan for a day after island-hopping across the Pacific - via Hawaii, Midway (which was only a narrow landing strip out in the middle of the vast ocean), Guam and Okinawa. In Tokyo I ran into General MacArthur outside an elevator in his Headquarters. The scope of devastation in Japan was, of course, no surprise. The thoughtful and somber mood of the Japanese and their deferential, almost worshipful and compliant attitudes toward the occupiers of their country, fascinated me. This attitude contrasted so sharply with what I had seen in Japan just before the war when they were ebullient, energetic, and bristling with a sense of destiny and self-assurance.

CHAPTER 6: An Unforgettable Adventure

To return to Beijing, in the winter of 1947 there occurred an unexpected adventure that involved further air travel. I had been hoping for an opportunity to revisit Canton in south China now that ten years and a war had passed since I had spent a year there. Tony knew about my wish and remembered. When the US Ambassador to the Philippines came to Beijing on an official visit in his assigned personal Air Force C-47 and Tony heard that the Ambassador intended next to stop in Nanking and Canton en route back to his post, Tony arranged that I go along for the ride. I would return from Canton to Beijing by commercial airline. It would mean taking a week of vacation.

The Ambassador was friendly - and inquisitive about our program. His entourage consisted of not more than four or five. We flew over the Great Wall on a slight detour, just be sure it was still there, and then headed south. It was striking to see how green the land was around the larger cities and towns where human night-soil abundantly fertilized growing things. Green-ness diminished non-linearly as each successive larger diameter of added distance from each center of habitation. And how numerous were the small villages! Yet oddly, I thought, there were no people, no carts, to be seen on the roads. That was because aircraft in the skies were, often as not, Nationalist warplanes with bombs seeking out Communist guerrillas. Were all of the tens of thousands of people we were not seeing, and who were hiding, Communist sympathizers, or guerrillas? If not, how were they able to, or would they want to hide manifestations of life as seen from the air?

The Nanking stop-over, just at lunchtime, turned out to involve only airport formalities for the Ambassador. I did not leave the plane, and half an hour later we were again airborne, again unavoidably terrorizing large segments of the countryside - that was, until we encountered heavy clouds and ascended above them. It turned out that with bad weather below, both at and Hongkong, we would bypass the rest of China and fly directly to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines.

It would take some extraordinary good luck for me to see Canton now, let alone return to Beijing!

At the Philippines the sky was clear, however: we could see the half-sunken hulks of many ships that had had been destroyed in the Allied attack on Manila harbor. Seen from the air, wartime desolation and destruction appeared far worse than in China: it was like Japan again.

At Clark Air Force Base the Ambassador and his retinue quickly disappeared and I was left alone to fend for myself. Since I was a white man and had official credentials and connections, I was free to roam around; nobody challenged me. Eventually I found a notice board that posted flight-departures. Way down the list, a C-46 with destination Canton was slated to depart the next day. It belonged to the aviation company that General Chennault had just formed. It was surplus property and was being ferried to China for use by China Aviation. Asking around, I located its radio operator, apparently the only crew member then on the base. After hearing a description of my plight, he said that I would need the permission of Chennault himself in order to hitch a ride. He added that the airline's manager happened to be in Manila at the moment, and maybe permission might be obtained through him. We got him on the phone. Sounding somewhat reluctant, he said o.k., but that was only after I offered to contact somebody in the U.S. Embassy as a reference. Shortly afterward the plane's pilot and navigator appeared, and the radioman told them I would be joining them the next day.

"Huh-uh," grunted the pilot, "not on your life".

"We just talked to Whitey Willauer," I insisted, "and he said it was o.k."

"Willauer huh? In Shanghai?"

"No; he's here; we just talked to him."

"Give me his number; I want to talk to him," he said to the radioman. That was done, and a lengthy phone conversation ensued.

Then the pilot said, "Willauer says you can come - tomorrow morning at ten." But he was clearly unhappy about the matter.

There was a small food-bar restaurant in the hanger, but there were no overnight accommodations. I had no local currency and no knowledge about where to go or how to get there. So I spent the night at the Base's infirmary on a gurney.

In the morning I was awakened at seven a.m. by the radio operator. "You still gonna go? Well, you gotta shake a leg then, because we're about ready for takeoff."

Indeed so. Engines were already revving. The radioman had come back for me when he realized they were intending to leave me behind - as if having forgotten about me. But as it turned out, they were remembering only too well.

This C-46 had seen better days: it was noisy; it creaked. There weren't any seats, even bucket seats, and there was a sizeable cargo of what appeared to be airplane parts in wooden crates. It occurred to me that perhaps the pilot had considered the plane overloaded even without an extra passenger.

After a couple of hours, we were nearing the China coast. There was rain in the clouds below us. The air was very bumpy. Unable to make radio contact with Canton in order to get them to turn on their beacon so as to assist us in making an instrument landing, the pilot seemed suddenly nervous. "We'll have to consider landing at Hongkong," the navigator suggested.

"Not in this weather. Not Kai Duk," the pilot said. Nevertheless he began circling in a holding pattern around the Hongkong beacon. "Maybe this overcast will break up," he muttered. Hongkong clearly was a last-ditch choice, with fuel running out, yet he ignored all recommendations from others that we land there. At one point he offered this salient explanation: "we got no clearance to land in Hongkong." To have landed there would have involved immigration, customs clearance, and possibly inspection or investigation.

So we flew back to Canton to see whether the weather had improved or whether radio assistance could help us to land there. Fortunately a small break in the cloud cover enabled us to descend to about 500 feet above the terrain, and the pilot was able to find his way to the tiny dirt landing strip he was seeking. The C-46 was met by a group of about nine persons despite the rain. Two of them were Occidentals, a man and a woman, employees of the air company, stationed at Canton. There were some technician-working-men figures, and inexplicably about four military men in Nationalist uniforms, apparently officers. All of them immediately boarded the plane with a direct interest in its cargo, but also to get out of the rain. I accompanied the Occidentals into their office building. They had not expected me and were immediately curious. They had many questions, particularly about what had been said in the phone conversations with Whitey Willauer, and listened intently to my briefing. I then discovered that this was not Canton's only airport. They expressed surprise that Willauer had o.k.'d my trip. My contacts with China and my previous interests in China seemed to interest them uncommonly. In their solicitous hospitality they offered to take me to the Lingnan campus.

The campus itself was little changed, though it seemed deserted, and some of the buildings needed refurbishing. Nobody was around who had been acquainted with the old days. Appearing to be in limbo, somehow it didn't even seem to evoke nostalgia.

I picked up a ride into Canton, which also seemed run down and deserted, (why was the Pearl River devoid of the thousands of sampans who used to be so thick as to almost close up the river itself?) At the commercial airport I was able to buy a seat on a plane back to Beijing. When the flight crew, composed of ex-American G.I.s, learned that I held a single-engine pilots license, they invited me into the cockpit, and after a while I was at the controls flying this commercial airliner in a manner that would have been impossible in the USA - or maybe anywhere. On a couple of occasions when the cockpit curtain was pushed aside, I could look back and see the long-suffering Chinese passengers unaware of the hazard to which they were currently being made victims. Some of them had already become airsick despite their ignorance of what was going on at the ship's helm. Yet fear is usually a component of motion sickness....

Two months later a small item appeared on the front page of the English language Shanghai paper. It said that so-and-so, a pilot on the new airline, had used a C-46 to smuggle arms to the Chinese Communists. Evidently that had been my free ride to Canton. But perhaps my adventure had been merely a practice run; nevertheless I thought it convincing enough to be the main event.

In the summer of 1947 when left Beijing, the NW Airlines flight stopped at the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, then at Onalaska, at Anchorage, and then Winnepeg. In Beijing the Chinese tutors had presented scrolls and a silver incense burner inscribed with a tribute and their names, in farewell. And, once back in the US, I wrote a piece about how the Communists were to take over, and how little hope there seemed to be for the Nationalists ever to re-establish a government over a united China. The piece appeared at a time when, out of political and ideological motives, the "loss" of China was about to be blamed on liberals in the State Department and left-wing pinkies. The editor of The Washington Post, which printed it as feature article in a Sunday edition, told me that Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Walter Lippman each told him it was the best thing they had seen regarding the contemporary situation in China. Two other articles also appeared in academic journals, one describing the Beijing training program we had conducted, and the other those curriculum materials that had evolved through it. As the Communists took over China, that program moved to Taiwan and it was taken over by Howard Sollenberger who had been raised in China the son of missionaries and whom I had recommended.

CHAPTER 7. Academia

In view of the post-war China experience, it seemed sensible to return to graduate school to get degrees and then go into teaching. Besides, a degree likewise might bring other possibilities within range. In the summer of 1949, partly because the China experience had been deemed successful, I was readmitted to Graduate School at Harvard under its new Regional Studies Program, China naturally being that region. It afforded renewed association with Prof. John Fairbank and Ben Schwartz who was soon to become my Ph.D. thesis advisor. Edwin Reischauer who had taught one of my courses earlier - on Tang Dynasty written Chinese - was then with the State Department, and very shortly he became US Ambassador to Japan.

A coterie of about a dozen students of Chinese affairs who had benefited from being on the scene either during or right after the war at varying levels of experience, were eager grad students; so there was plenty of stimulus for discussion and research. Many had studied Chinese while in military service; and we were joined by a similar group of Japan specialists. It was in 1949 that the Communist regime took over all of China, save Taiwan. The bamboo curtain of China's isolation and changed ideology began to cut us off from contemporary contacts and information; but that made it easier for us to concentrate on history and cultural analysis. For my Ph. D. thesis topic I chose "The Anti-imperialist Theme in Chinese Nationalism - 1919-1926" because it seemed that the Chinese Communists had played a significant part in determining the nature of Chinese ideology in that period. Just after that, in 1927, Chiang Kai-shek suddenly left their fold and turned against them as he took over leadership of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party). So 1927 had been the time when Communists were hunted down and killed. The fields of examination for my doctoral degree were Chinese Language, Chinese History, Russian History, and Social Anthropology. Reading knowledge of French and German also had been required.

How does a person without a fellowship or grant finance graduate study of this nature? Part-time work is part of it. Answering a notice asking for some aviation experience, I happened to team up with a novel enterprise just off campus. The Educational Research Corporation proved to be an association of professors who contracted their expertise mainly to the government for special projects. Through their academic reputations at Harvard, Tufts and M.I.T. they had first-hand connections with the feds and the Defense Department. Automation of training aids for naval and aviation use was one of their babies. They had just received a contract from the Civil Aeronautics Administration to research the validity of current requirements for keeping licensed instrument pilots (blind flying) competent. So they wanted somebody to sit in the back seat of their Navion airplane and check off what happened while various pilots flew the test course. The airplane was equipped with an amber windshield and side windows, and the pilot being tested would wear blue goggles. The combination of blue and amber blocked off his view of anything outside of the airplane, yet the safety pilot and I could see everything through the blue covering over the windows.

Arrangements had been made with airport towers for their cooperation in simulating an instrument landing for our plane - if it made it. Well, we flew from different local airports, and about two-thirds of our pilots did o.k; the other third.... well, we always stopped them in order to save ourselves, the safety pilot and me. Of course the end-result was an overhaul of requirements for additional flight hours in order to keep certifications valid. These were not commercial pilots we were testing. They were sometime pilots, charter pilots, private parties or executives who enjoyed flying themselves around.

An Education professor at Harvard was the man in charge at Educational Research Corp., P. J. Rulon, and his specialty was crunching data and filing reports. His permanent staff consisted of a secretary, an accountant, and a part-time attorney to monitor contracts. Specialists were hired by the job, as needed. After the instrument flight project ended, he put me to work on another project for CAA (now FAA). It was to design a more intelligible alphabet code for radio use in aviation and to slant it toward international use. "Able, Baker, Charlie" had been the military code, but quite a few of the letters sounded alike or failed to be understood. The UN's International Civil Aviation Organization, in Montreal, was to be involved. I devised acoustical tests, tried them out of various speakers and listeners, wrote up a report and recommended a new code which ultimately came out with the current "Alpha, Bravo" designations. Then we went to Montreal (P.J. for the ride and food, mainly) only to discover that politics rather than intelligibility was to determine the new code. The committee at ICAO was loaded with French- and Spanish-speaking bureaucrats who had absorbed very little from our report, but who wanted words they knew were familiar to speakers of romance languages (which languages are in truth, generically, the least distinctive of individual speech sounds. Anyway, as Rulon had promised, the food was good, the city interesting, and the atmosphere exotic.

After that, and based upon our international "success", we undertook a "Design for an International Language for Radiotelephone Communications in Aviation", which by intention and for genuine practical considerations, proved to be English. But various specific words were enjoined because they would not prove audible enough or clear or distinctive enough. At that point the project was dropped by the CAA. [See the APPENDIX for a follow-up to the above]

Between 1949 and 1952, during my studies, MacCarthy-ism emerged and grew. Under special attack were State Department employees and in particular its China specialists. Owen Lattimore especially, and, by their association with him, John Fairbank and certain other academicians. Within State and its Foreign Service those who knew China first-hand ducked for cover if possible - being highly vulnerable to scrutiny or assault. With but one or two exceptions, the young officers from our Beijing program took other foreign assignments so as to get out of the line of fire. Several brilliant and gifted careers were ruined as a result of unfounded suspicions or outright condemnations on the floors of the Congress and which the press magnified.

Would that, or did it, affect job chances for a person acquainted with and knowledgeable about China? Well, yes; it was a very tight job market. MacCarthyism cut off various government jobs because of suspicions by innuendo. But I did get a part-time temporary job for two years teaching a graduate seminar and advising a thesis writer at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Meanwhile I also took a full-time job at Drew University in New Jersey, teaching International Relations and Oriental History. It was a job that paid only $7,000 for nine months, and it was not an easy one.

Early in 1950 Betty Miller and I got married. She was a nurse and worked at Massachusetts General Hospital. After our son Stephen was born in February 1951, David followed in 1952. It began to appear that I could not support this family with only a teaching career; moreover Drew University wanted to drop its experiment with Asian studies at a small institution. I became a Technical Writer at Bendix Aviation. It paid adequately, was interesting and challenging; and working with engineers on matters related to aviation, about which I had some first-hand knowledge, was satisfying. I was at Bendix for three and a half years.

CHAPTER 8: The Mature Years

In 1959 I moved to Baltimore because of a family emergency involving Stephen and David. By that time MacCarthy-ism was no longer a great issue, though FBI men were still screening prospective federal employees by interviewing people who knew them, or who had associated with these subject persons. At the University of Maryland campus in College Park I went to see if I could teach about China in their well-established program. It so happened that they had just hired somebody in their on-campus program there. But there was an off-campus evening program there also, which I was able to join two years later, for about six years. In the course of my initial interview at College Park it came out that I had been working with engineers. Would I be interested in an opening for an administrative assistant in the Physics Department?

I took it, and it suited me to a "T". So I pursued it for the next 19 years as my major daytime work.

The Department of Physics, which added "and Astronomy" to its title just three years after I joined it, in 1959 had consisted of only nine full-time faculty members, all but two of them quite young. The Chairman, John S. Toll, a Princeton Ph.D. physicist, was dynamic, resourceful, silver-tongued, ambitious, dedicated, principled, and enormously tactful and considerate.

He was busily recruiting talented new faculty members, because he had realized how to make use of federal funding connected with, or spurred by Defense technology. We were conveniently located in the suburbs of the nation's capital; so John Toll capitalized upon that. Within the next six years the faculty grew to 40 instructional members and another 35 research-only members; the number of graduate students increased to 320; four new buildings and a cyclotron were added, funding for its research programs grew to millions of dollar per year. When I left the campus, retiring at age 62, Dr. Toll had become President of the University itself. When I had first begun however, 19 years earlier, I had found a mattress and some bedding in the attic of the main building. Suspecting it was being used illicitly and possibly immorally, possibly for profit, by a graduate student or students, I had disposed of it - only for find out later that it was Prof. Toll's overnight emergency snooze spot. He never said a word to me about its disappearance even though one of the other staff members told him what had been done with his missing bed.

My job involved setting up the class schedules and teaching assignments; trouble-shooting with respect to faculty members' needs; supervising recruitment of graduate students; monitoring their welfare (about one third of them came from foreign countries); publicizing the Department's programs; representing the Department at various meetings; handling parking permits; smoothing public relations when possible; taking phone calls of all sorts; facilitating travel; also facilitating various interdepartmental arrangements; hiring secretaries and some other employees. I truly enjoyed contacts with faculty, staff and students and could feel that my job was appreciated.

By observing John Toll I learned several cardinal precepts of administrative technique: never take sides openly. Say nothing derogatory that might be quoted. Talk with and listen to dissidents all night, if that is what they think they want. Always do your home work first and don't try to improvise on the spot. Be gracious and polite consistently, no matter how busy things get. Be kind toward inherent handicaps. With troublemakers, don't forget to voice their troubles for them. Look for factors or reasons that support your position that may have eluded your adversaries. When dog-work is required, set a good example yourself. Take and use whatever you get, and be thankful for it. Learn how to change the subject gracefully, or how to modify it even though at first that might appear to prolong it.

Taking advantage of a free-tuition provision for university employees in 1967, I took up first-year law school in the evenings. It didn't go too well - didn't match my temperament, and maybe perhaps I was not young enough. I had hoped it would enlighten me regarding custody problems within the family, and that it possibly might help with special kinds of administrative matters connected with the legal codes or with governmental procedures. In both respects the law-school stint proved disappointing.

In 1967 my colon cancer was removed by successful surgery. That involved a ten-day interruption at work. Several faculty members traveled to Baltimore to the hospital. Dr. Robert Buxton, Chief of Surgery at the Medical School, who had removed nine inches of the colon and reconnected it, charged neither me nor any other source for his services in the case. I thought he did so as a matter of interdepartmental professional courtesy; but apparently he did it often, on principle, as part of his professional calling. While on vacation in Yugoslavia the following summer he was killed in a vehicle accident.

Student agitation sparked by the Vietnam war came early in the 1970's. Howard Laster had succeeded John Toll who then had become President of New York University at Stony Brook, with Howard becoming Department Chairman and very capably meeting emergencies that arose at College Park, MD. Unfortunately the aftermath of the student demonstrations was not favorable; and academic practices and standards were challenged by students, both on principle, and with respect to specifics. Cumbersome committees that were composed of both faculty members and students pontifically reviewed, scuttled, revised, or replaced educational procedures and practices, or wasted a lot of time for both faculty and students by trying to do so. Their aim seemed to be to please everybody all at once, whether it made sense or not.

So educational standards were compromised; some were lowered in the interests of equal-opportunity programs. Instruction lost some of its intensity. Legislatures and administrations started to withdraw or curtail funding partly because higher education seemed to be spawning social unrest. "Maybe the colleges aren't doing what they're supposed to do."

A slump in educators' morale ensued. On the administrative side there was procedural confusion as changes were made in a frantic effort to make ends meet. We older employees whose salaries looked too high were urged to retire early so as to lower costs. Retiring the fossils also made room for hasty changes. Consequently about 1974 to 1978 the scope of my work had been cut down and began to seem somewhat vacuous. It was clearly to my economic advantage to retire early. According to those who nevertheless did stay on, conditions were slow to recover from the after-effects of the Vietnam upheaval.

I think the 1960’s were the turning point for the things I cared about in my world. I saw the Vietnam War as a distortion of values: geopolitics and destruction of Soviet ideology and practice took priority over realistic understanding of the ways, needs and patterns of Asian cultures – as if bombs could change people rather than kill them. The effect of Vietnam on the American public was disastrous. This was a vain and fruitless folly, with thousands being wiped out mainly for strategic (and theoretical) purposes. People lost faith in the nation – in authority, and in the processes of decision-making. Values went askew. Drugs swept into the USA directly connected with Vietnam and related activities. The sexual revolution exploded. And on top of everything there came the Whitewater debacle. Integrity and character seem to have lost their original meanings. Expediency and opportunism, leavened with skepticism and escapist fantasy, moved closer toward the center of American life. We could not accept the Vietnam mistake while were in its grip.

The 1970's were characterized by rebellion, by the AIDS epidemic, by group over-consciousness, by birth-control advances, and by narcotics. Crime began to climb. In the 1980's: a) burgeoning of computers and new graphics tricks; b) "get filthy rich fast"; c) by more crime and more drug consumption and political ineptitude. What was getting better? Money. And what was getting worse? ethics and morality; also lack of concern for the earth and for long-term survival of humankind. Then in the 1990's there came increasing helplessness of any individual almost regardless of where he/she was, to define and pursue sensitive goals against the interests of greedy souls and their entourages of social pressure.

A hopeless picture? No, not necessarily. The world looked pretty much like that a hundred years ago too - only with slightly different details, synthesized, or juxtaposed, in a different way. If we compare it to the way things were 300 or 400 years ago, undoubtedly we find ourselves satisfied with the here and now.

In my retirement years 1978-2000 five main interests prevailed: performing and listening to music; working on a speech-recognition invention; acting and play-writing; church work; and outdoor conservation and foot-trails. These were interests that seemed as important as being alive. Each of these activities in its own right was engrossing.

So, what happened to the idealism and zeal that had been imbued by schooling and family during childhood? It carried a person through; and it shaped how things got done: it was how one flowed along with the tides of time.

At high school we had a teacher of English who as a young man had fought in the Boer Wars in South Africa. He was a contributing writer in The Atlantic Monthly. He had contracted chronic malaria and often went to the back of the classroom to shiver or snooze while we "studied" some of our homework. On one day of exceptional alertness however, he posed this question: "You know how we teach children about Santa Claus, of course. Of course it's a lie. Why do we lie to them that way? Do we expect them to trust us after they discover the truth? So, are we teaching them trust? And what about other deceptions regarding truth - unbelievable fables? What good are they? And why do people do that?"

Of course there was a long silence as he looked into puzzled faces. What kind of answer did he have in mind? Did he really want us to give an answer to that question? Wasn't he just being rhetorical as if sharpening up a prospective article for the Monthly? "Well?" he repeated. I thought he was turning his eyes directly on me, and I thought I did have an answer.

"It's because children want Santa Claus. If we don't give them something to look forward to, if we don't have images of what is good, they wouldn't have a chance to know enough about what is good."

For B.K. Daniels that was good enough. He let the matter drop. But after class, he stopped me in the hallway. "You are going to have a useful life," he said, looking me straight in the eye and then quickly ducking back into his classroom.

I knew at once that I would get an "A" in English that semester. I also knew he was a confirmed believer in Santa Claus. As a matter of fact, in his own way, he was really trying to live as one of Old St. Nick's official helpers.


CHAPTER 9. Hitler Takes Germany


[This is a report on part of the author’s solo visits to Europe at age 17-18 that consists mainly of excerpts from his diary entries.]

France seemed dirty and run down; inhospitable and not particularly interesting; but that was only an impression from ten days' experience there. On the train in France I found two American students of college age, one of whom was from Tacoma, Carl Wood. He knew my sister Alice. Carl and Jack Holt were students at Heidelberg University and would be returning there shortly. When I told them I was coming to Europe for educational purposes, and perhaps to take music lessons, probably singing lessons, Jack suddenly perked up, slapped Carl on the shoulder and said, "Say, we know exactly the person to refer you to in Heidelberg, don't we Carl! Frau Butz; if anybody can make him sing, she can!"

This roused Carl enormously, and with great enthusiasm he wrote down her name and address and handed it to me. This seemed a real stroke of good luck to find needed arrangements so handily. What I did not know was that Frau Butz was the grass widow known to favor foreign students. It was a dirty trick done at my expense and to their glee. A few days later when I did look her up, introduced myself and explained why I came, Frau Butz, a blond in her early thirties, with a somewhat contorted face blurted out, "They said I could teach you to sing!? No, Mr. Griggs there is a misunderstanding; I do not teach singing. I must apologize that I live here in only this one-room apartment and I have only one bed here.... So has there been a mistake?" At that point I realized I had been the fall guy for a gag, and I tried to beat a polite and hasty retreat.

Also in Heidelberg, when I first arrived and was referred to a fancy, expensive hotel to be reported below in my diary excerpt, after I had found the three-room suite so lavish and costly, when I went to the concierge who at that moment was talking with a bellboy, I tried my German. "Das Zimmer ist zu gross fuer mich; denn Ich habe keine Frau" (The room is too big for me, 'cuz I don't have a wife/woman.) For some reason unknown to me, the two of them burst out laughing, repeating what I had said, as if it were the joke of the week. I had a feeling that some particular aspect of this humor was lost on me.

Diary Excerpts

The French-German border was very heavily fortified by the French, and the barbed wire, etc., made one think of the contrast between that and the U.S.-Canadian border. This leads me to the observation, which has been growing, that the French not only mistrust the Germans, but also fear them; now that I have come here, I can see it more clearly. Although German prices are low, the standard of living is much higher, and the people are better educated. France need have no fear of violence on Germans’ part (although many Germans have a deep hate for the French, because the Germans hate war. From this standpoint France looks silly, almost as though holding a machine gun trained on a priest. The French are subconsciously aware of the injustices they have imposed on the Germans in revenge, and they know, subconsciously, that Germany deserves a high place among nations; at least that’s the way I see it. As a result the French fear Germany’s desire to get back at them. I am inclined to believe that the solution will be the return of Germany to a first-rate standing; the return of the Polish corridor to Germany, and a plebescite, conducted internationally, of Alsace-Lorraine in sections, to see which ones will belong to which nation, with the condition that each section has a re-vote every ten years, or something of that sort. It is hard to believe that two nations as different in their cultures as France and Germany should exist peacefully side by side. To act as a buffer state, Alsace-Lorraine might join Switzerland; Alsace-Lorraine, being bilingual, could easily be Swiss. Furthermore, Austria could be united with Germany if she wants to: the people are the same in both Austria and Germany; I gather. But then, my ideas will probably change.

As soon as I crossed the border I noticed a change. The customs officers were much more polite and showed a personal interest: they showed a healthiness, a wholesomeness, which made one at home right away. I walked down the dark, deserted, but clean (in contrast to France) streets of Kehl until I found a small Gasthof (combination of tavern and small hotel). It was filled with evening beer-drinkers who eyed me carefully but not rudely. Here I got a clean, small room and had a good sleep.

I had to go without breakfast the next morning so as to catch the train. Unlike the other trains, this one had wooden seats instead of leather-covered. It passed through farm land which looked more orderly than in France; and the people we saw, including many more children than in France, had a wholesome, healthy look. We passed the edge of the Black Forest and could see snow in the hills. There were two silent women and a man in the compartment. Wasn’t that unusual – the silence, I mean? The man was a naturalized German-American now living in Germany. He asked me about Roosevelt and the New Deal, and we talked politics, in English

At Karlsruhe I stopped for lunch and missed the train again. The one I got later was a local, and I enjoyed watching the many country people who got off and on. The track followed the bottom of the hills which arose out of the Rhine Valley, and soon we were in Heidelberg. Heidelberg is a town of 70,000, situated on the Neckar River between hills on both sides of the town and river. On one of these hills stand the ruins of an old castle. The town has a much more modern aspect, in spite of she castle, than anything in France (except Paris); it has a home-like look. The people – a large part of them children of all ages – have that look of human interest and empathy that made me feel at home at once.

I asked the travel bureau in Heidelberg for a cheap hotel, and I was sent to a ritzy one where they speak English and wanted to charge for two rooms with bath, three beds, and a carload of superfluous furniture. I made them take back one room and two beds, and got a much more reasonable rate. After a bath in a tub that seemed to be lined with sandpaper, I went to look up Frau Busch, to whom I had written saying that I was coming. Having been given the wrong address, I asked the beautifully-uniformed policeman, who by the way, saluted me. So I found a typewriter shop with dwellings upstairs, but learned that Frau Busch wouldn’t be home until evening. Before dinner, then, I walked around looking at the town and talked to two boys who were earning tips by watching bicycles outside the post-office. They were about sixteen and one of them was an excellent talker. In the course of the conversation I asked, "Do the people here really trust Hitler as much as you say?"

"Natuerlich. Hitler is the spiritual leader of the German people," said one.

"But do you trust just one man?"

"Er ist nicht allein; he has many loyal helpers."

"Can a leader always be right - never make a mistake?"

"Everybody makes mistakes; we trust him because he is doing the right thing for Germany. We know that he is always right in big matters."

"Do you suppose that the French are afraid of you?" I asked, changing the subject.

"I don’t know. But we’re sick of war, and we ask only that we be left alone to carry on our national work, if we can’t have our rights. I hate the French."

In this conversation I found that the boys understood me well, even though I had forgotten many German words and threw in some French by mistake. I couldn’t understand the boys very well, though (Frau Busch later told me that there is much dialect here; and that makes it hard to understand.) During the conversation we were joined by a third boy, a little older, who spoke good book-English and had studied in the Gymnasium or high school three years. The boys wanted to know what I thought Americans thought of Hitler and Germany. Of course I couldn’t say….

Hitler is the ONE thing here. All the organizations, Boy Scouts, etc., have the swastika sign of the Nazis; and the emblem is just like our N.R.A. in popularity. Uniformed Nazis are everywhere. The Germans seem deadly serious in it – I mean sincere; and the Nazi regime marks the restoration of German’s national feeling. They are all happy in it, too. Everyone here glow with the kind of thing that makes one feel comfortable. When Hitler falls, Germany will fall, but not far, because he represents the best that they have in national life, and their unity as well – he will have done much in that latter respect alone. We should think more highly of him in America for this reason. Although he does some bad things, it has been for the greater good of Germany. It makes one envious almost to the point of hate to see such strong unity. It is in the German people and can’t be otherwise. They could have a leader who, with their backing, could ruin much that has been done; Hitler has not: he has a sense of honor and obligation – so the Germans think.

German women look queer with such unattractive clothes; and the girls here all wear their hair in two long braids.

After dinner I visited Frau Busch and found her to be very pretty, about 35 years old, very charming and well educated, and quite intelligent. She has studied English only l year and speaks it remarkably well. She gave me all kinds of information that I wanted to know about Heidelberg, and said that she knew of a house where two American students were staying, and had found that I could stay there, too. Frau Busch was very kind to me.

The next day I went to Schlossberg 10a, the house she told me about, and here I am staying. One of the two students, Carlton Wood is from my home-town, and even knows my brother! Carl is studying for his doctor’s degree in Political and Economic Science. He is rooming with a boy from Chicago, Jack Holt, who is a dandy fellow. We talked all afternoon, and they showed me where I could get meals cheaply at Christliches Hospiz.

As I write I am in a large room on the first floor of this immense house located part way up one of the hills on the side of the town, and looking over the old part it. The house is surrounded by a large shrubbery garden. The family, named Richter, owns it, and was at one time prosperous; they are well educated and consist of an elderly couple and a young man and woman. My room is too amply furnished and has a radiator. The house itself is really lovely. I have this room and breakfasts for just $14 a month. I am getting used to German speech now; it is like putting on woolen underwear - difficult at first and very irritating, but soon it’s quite comfortable. It takes a while to step into the German way of talking. As I write, I can hear the family conversation in the next room and find I can understand most of it. The bells are ringing eleven o’clock now all over town and the radio has just finished some beautiful music.

To understand the Nazi movement one must understand the German people. The press doesn’t. They are different from any other people; when one understands their emotional type one sees that the Nazi organization is The Thing with them. It gives vents to the feeling of unity without the use of militarism and devotion to a monarch. Germany is not a republic nor a democracy in feeling: it still has to have devotion to some person who represents as common ideal. That is why it is fitting that it should be a dictatorship. Contrary to French beliefs, the Nazis seem to be turning the country away from militarism by supplanting in its place the Nazi movement, which contains the good points of military training that the German need for their feeling of unity. Germany is going through a very good evolutionary transition, but one can’t prophesy the outcome.

November 5, 1933

I have just found out that there is another daughter in the family here; she looks to be about 23 years old. On my way to the bath three flights up the stairs in this mansion-like house, I stopped to talk to Carl and Jack the other night. They say that owing to the Jewish trouble and the poor exchange rates, the number of American students at Heidelberg has decreased from 75 to 20 this year.

I forgot to say that there is a cook at the house who prepares my breakfast of cocoa, buns and marmalade every morning, and a bashful rotund maid who polishes your shoes at night and does the cleaning. Breakfasts in Germany seem to be always very scanty. Lunch at 12:30 is a full-sized dinner; and the shops close from noon to 2 PM. We have to wait until 7:30 in the evenings to eat; and the stores don’t close until 7 PM. Many people don’t eat until 9. The evening meal is a large lunch, usually.

The only news I get is in mile-long German words in the newspaper posted on the wall of the newspaper building. Carl Wood and Jack Holt have a radio in their room, and if I hit the time right, I can hear news from England. In one turn of the dial one can get ten or more languages, and sometimes a Tower of Babel with three at once. The music that we get over the radio is better than in the U.S; of course there is more to select from here; but there is much more classical music on the air here. I have heard several popular songs in various languages though, the most popular being "Stormy Weather" which has taken Germany by storm. There is a semi-classical piece in German and French called Das Lied der Nacht or La Chanson d’une Nuit [Be Mine Tonight] which is very attractive and should find its way to America. The radio is another good way to get used to the way a language is used; movies are splendid for that, too. From the news, it seems that inflation seems to be a vital subject at home. Both in France and here everyone has spoken about inflation bitterly; in Germany if anyone suggests inflation there are a million or so people to jump on him. I think the French would help even the Germans to jump on such a German!

With regard to the Nazi movement again;: it is just like the Fascism of Italy. [This resemblance had not been pointed out appreciably in 1933] Four or five years ago the things that were being said about Italy are what is being said about Germany now. The movements, although different in each country, are essentially the same idea. That is one reason why Mussolini is anxious to quiet any fears of what Germany is doing. Did I say that Germany has had a "Forest Army" ever since Hitler came in? It was probably from Germany that Roosevelt indirectly got the idea for the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps).

One day I went to see the castle that stands on the side of the hill above the "old city". It dates back to 1400, and, although most of it is in ruins, there are several sections that are in perfect condition and give you the general idea of its layout. I thought that things like this castle were not going to be interesting, but this must be an exception. It is immense; I spent half a day seeing all I could, free, and now I hope to go back and see the dungeons and more of its interior, if weather permits. I have taken a couple of hikes into the surrounding hills and went to a place called Koenigstuhl, where, high on a hill, over a green forest, stands an old tower from which one can see miles and miles.

Since Carl and Jack speak German with each other and everyone else, I am starting tutoring on my German with Frau Busch. She told me today that before Hitler came, there were very few cities in Germany that were not bankrupt; and the percentage of unemployed in practically all of the large German cities was around 70%; Mannheim, near Heidelberg, had 60% unemployed, she said. There were 7-1/2 million unemployed in Germany when Der Fuehrer came, and now it has been cut to 4 million. I have also found the name of a singing teacher and I hope to study German songs for a while, because those one hears on the street are quite attractive, and they make one want to sing just the joy of it.

Every night, all evening, one can hear bands of Hitler Jugend (Youth) marching down the streets singing their folk songs and marching to the fife and drum; the young people and children have lots of cheap fun, that way. The girls however, are left out of it; the boys, from the time they can walk, are in it. Those who are in it, as well as those who are not, are outdoors more than American students are. We Americans are sissies compared to these German kids. They ride their bicycles all over; and on Sundays and vacation days when the weather is good, they take walks into the woods. Today being Sunday, there was a steady stream past our house toward the woods; not all of them young persons, either.

I am beginning to realize that the University is the center of things in this town. Many of the men have badly scarred faces, from dueling. The buildings of the university are most of them very old, but in good repair. There are two fraternities below our house, and last night, Saturday, they were going full tilt with splendid old college songs until the beer got the best of the songs and singers at a late hour. The family here was out last night, and nearly everyone dissipates on Saturday night because they work all day Saturday. On weekday evenings they stay at home reading. The drinking they do here is probably no worse for them than smoking is in the U.S.

One of the interesting things here is that some of the store windows have two floors of display levels: looking down from the front part of the window, one sees yet another display "in the basement, as well.

The Germans get more from their government than we do, and I think they pay less in taxes. Their railroads, telegraph, telephone, police, post office, inspections, and civic-utilities services are more efficient than ours and are done in better spirit. I’m trying to find out why that is. [Limited graft and political favoritism, partly concomitant with a one-party governmental system.] There are three mail deliveries per day in a good-sized German town.

November 6, 1933

I received in the mail a clipping of a newspaper editorial from an American newspaper about Hitler’s decree outlawing Mendelssohn’s music. I hadn’t heard about it here. It seems to be a minor matter when compared to the pride and economic stability of a nation like this. The act in itself has very little meaning, and the decree was probably made to pacify some extremists in the Nazi Party [At this time, and continuing into 1934, the American press carried reports of violence and unrest in various parts of Germany]

November 7, 1993

[After just a week in Germany I wrote the following letter to the editor of the Tacoma News Tribune; it was printed as follows:]


"A very short time in Germany has been long enough to show that no one can understand the actions of the Nazi movement without understanding the German people. Their traditions, their standards, their customs, and ways of thinking are not ours. Does it not stand to reason, then, that we make a great mistake by judging the Nazis with the standards we have for America, and not with theirs for Germany?

"There is a difference between not understanding a thing and misunderstanding it. It seems that the American people do not understand the Germans, and that the American press misunderstands the German people.

"For that reason I wish, first, to explain something about the German people, and second to bring to attention some points in favor of the Nazi movement. However, I would hate to try to defend some of the stupid things that the Nazi Party has done.

"The following facts help to form the yardstick for measuring what we hear about Germany:

    1. The German people are not the people for a democracy – at least not our kind of democracy. (The term, German people, means the great majority. It is a larger majority than we have ever seen.)
    2. The desire for unity under a leader is born in the vast majority of Germans. Consequently, a dictatorship is certainly not an imposition on them.
    3. The German people have been suffering from an inferiority complex since the war [WW I] , and the tendency in regaining self-respect is to swing a little to the other extreme.
    4. The country has had a depression worse than ours for 18 years, and now things look brighter for them, although it will be a tough pull uphill to recovery.
    5. The Germans are more dependent upon their government than we are, and they receive better service from it.
    6. The vast majority has one mind – and that is personified in their leader, Hitler.
    7. Nazism is a religion with them, and they are very sincere in it.
    8. Fundamentally, the Germans have an admirable sense of honor, and they are hurt that the world seems to doubt their sincerity….[Similarity of Fascisti to Nazis is here pointed out]

"I entered Germany feeling hostile toward Nazism, but I have found several points in its favor. Those points do not excuse the treatment of Jews, but together they are strong enough too minimize the importance of the Jewish question, to my way of thinking. [Discrimination rather than persecution - which began to be more drastic a year later.]

In other words, the "good" accomplished in Germany almost justifies the bad methods used to bring about the change (of course, I may be ‘all wet’.) These ‘good’ points follow:

  1. The type of government.; The people are behind Hitler, and he must please them in order to stay in power. The way they back him makes it look as though they are following him; on the contrary, his will is the will of a closely united people. He may have formed this will, but nevertheless it is the people’s will now, and cannot be ignored.
  2. The unity of purpose. There are times when unity would indicate a lack of individuality but this is a unity of individualists for a common purpose: "Deutschlands Ehre liegt in unsere Einigkeit" (Germany’s honor rests in our unity.) Their purpose is to build a better Germany. This means the improvement of a few regrettable internal situations and work for revision of the Versailles Treaty. (Perhaps a good example of their unity is the fact that this winter the needy are being taken care of through the Nazi organization by the contributions of all Germany.)
  3. Economic readjustment. With the nation so strongly united, economic readjustment should follow. The Nazis will work hard on this, and if they succeed, a stabilized Germany will help all nations in world commerce. Can they succeed without the world to help?
  4. Internal peace. Germany is now the most peaceful nation I have been in, including the United States. The bulk of the German people are happier than they have been in 16 years. There is but little civil disagreement now because those few who do disagree have sense enough too keep quiet, and wait for time. Exceptions are relatively few. Incidentally, the elections seem to be as fairly conducted as ours.
  5. Youth as the future. The active Nazis are mostly youths, some of them as young as four years old. A nation that recognizes the importance of educating youth is sure to be a strong nation in the future.
  6. A bloodless revolution. The Nazi advent can be called a revolution because it is the sudden turning over of institutions and ideas to fit them into a changing world. However, compared to the Russian revolution it is not a sudden change. Considering how great the change is, it has been a comparatively bloodless revolution.
  7. Preparation for world peace. This point needs better understanding. Their organization has several military features, but it is not military in purpose and doctrine. The Germans hate war; they want armaments equal to other nations’ only because they foolishly believe, as does most of the world, that armaments are signs of power.; As soon as other nations get rid of their armaments Germany will be glad to do the same. Also, Hitler is not a menace to world peace. The German people could easily have had a leader who would have done more sudden and violent acts that he has done toward repudiation of the Versailles Treaty. The Germans have been very patient under the treaty, and this patience, under their leader, is preserving the peace of Europe. How long this patience will last is hard to say, but right now Germany is martyr to world peace, and she deserves silent, but active recognition. This recognition is action toward revision of the war treaties.

"Nazism, then in spite of some bad features, has vital factors in its favor, and if it should stop now, it will already have accomplished a great work. However, if it fails, or if, because of Nazism, another bonfire starts in Europe, it will be because the U. S., Great Britain, and France have misunderstood the German situation."

November 14, 1933

I am getting used to being Heil Hitler-ed now. On entering the stores, on leaving, everywhere, all the time, it is "Heil Hitler". There are two salutes: the formal one is with the arm extended straight out and slightly upward from the shoulder like a railroad signal; the other one consists of merely raising the hand to the shoulder. I prophesy that in three years the Germans’ right shoulders will be three inches higher than their left. [I never saluted. I was once challenged on the street by a uniformed Nazi as a parade was passing; but I simply explained that I was a foreigner.]

Last night I read some of Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad. The firsts part of it, so far, seems to be about Heidelberg and is very good: probably more amusing now that I have been here.

The other day I was in the Hospiz eating (incidentally the Germans eat with their fork upside down in their left hand. So I automatically qualify for good manners here.) when somebody opened the door just to the point where it rings a bell and held the door there while she read a notice about hours of service just outside the door. Then, having thus announced her arrival to one and all, she came in and said to the waiter, "Ich werde einige Abendessen" or "I will become a few dinners." She spoke in a decidedly American voice, and I knew she was a student from her get-up. As she passed my table I said in German, "You speak English, don’t you?’

She replied, "Yes, how did you know?"

" I could tell by your accent."

"You’re German aren’t you?"

In English: "No, I’m American," I said.

I found that she was from the Pacific Northwest, like me. We had a greasy dinner together, and I found her to be rather cute. Since this was the night there was supposed to be a big rally in the city square, I left her early, with apologies.

[That rally came the day before Armistice Day which also was election day.] The young men, the University students, have been marching around town singing their songs for some time, and there have been posters everywhere, and pictures of Hitler. Lloyd George is quoted on most of the posters, advocating equal rights for Germany. All are urging the people to vote for "peace, freedom, and honor and Hitler for Germany" "Stimme mit Ja!" (Vote Yes!)

The election was held on Sunday, November 12th. (Not a bad idea, because they have time to vote on Sunday, and they’re in a peaceful and serious state of mind). On Friday Hitler spoke; all the streets were crowded and one could sense the anticipation. Flags were up on every House and remained there until Monday. The Nazi flag and the German flag both had the same places of esteem. At one o’clock in the afternoon Goebbels spoke. I could understand him very well. He is a smart man; he is responsible for the way the Germans back Hitler. I’d sooner follow him as a leader, than Hitler, myself. Following Goebbels came a few moments’ silence, equivalent to our Armistice Day’s one minute, but really observed in absolute silence, here.

Then, following the silence Hitler spoke. He spoke too jerkily for me to understand. Now and then he was interrupted by shouts of approbation, but they were serious short shouts, organized in unison; they were not like our jumbled yelling at a political convention. At the close of his speech the people sang "Deutschland; Ueber Alles" and the Nazi song, Horst Wessel Lied. I listened up in the house, over the radio, but we opened the window and could see the people gathered in the University square to listen to the loud speakers there, and we saw them all saluting in unison with raised arms as they sang these national songs.

That night groups of boys from four to sixteen years old marched through the town bearing banners saying, "We cannot vote; we ask you for our sakes to vote ‘Yes’". The next day, Saturday, von Hindenburg was to speak at seven in the evening. All day one could sense excitement…. Hindenburg’s speech was preceded by parades from various parts of the city, all terminating in the square as the loud speakers. All of the Nazi organizations were in uniform, marching, from the kids to the workmen. Yet it was not a show; it was a serious demonstration, in its tone.

Thousands of people stood in the city square and when Hindenburg’s voice sounded you could have heard a pin drop. The speech was merely generalities and platitudes for the most part. At its close, the national anthem " Deutschland Ueber Alles" and the Nazi Horst Wessel Lied" were heard. It was impressive to see these thousands of people raise their arms in silence and in protest to "oppression by war treaties". When these songs had been played once by the band, they were repeated, and all the people sang - with heart-felt spirit - these songs three times, then they quietly went home. On election day bands of students went through the streets shouting in unison to remind everyone to vote. They need no reminding, as results showed. I watched them vote. There was no pressure in the matter and it was fair.

Even the political prisoners were allowed to vote, according to the papers. In the prison in this state at Karlsruhe, called Kislau, eighteen of the twenty-nine prisoners voted "Ja". Imagine the people of the U. S. voting over 90% on any subject, if you can. The fact that there was a ten percent "Nein" shows that the election was not rigged. When one considers that a large part of the
"No" voters were communists or anarchists, the election has greater significance. Germany is socialistic. …Refugees [in the U.S.] aren’t talking about things since they left, because they don’t know how things are now. Another thing about the election: people were voting on two different questions: whether or not they sanctioned withdrawal of Germany from the League of Nations, and whether they sanctioned the Nazi Party. Results showed that the voters recognized two questions, and a slightly smaller majority favored the Nazi government. Still, a government with 90% of its people behind it is pretty likely to accomplish something.

American tourists seem to want American ideas and customs in Europe together with the picturesque-ness that is here; but the two don’t go together…..

…About dachshunds: they have a hard time scratching their backs. Mosquitoes use their tacks for landing strips. When these dogs buy too much beer they have to buy roller skates for their tummies. Several of them have been known to forget to get out of revolving doors and they’ve been stuck there with their tails in their mouths…

I got a copy of the paper and read Hitler’s speech just before the election took place. It has remarkably good common sense, and makes no un-fulfill-able promises. On the other side of the page are pictures of French, Italian, British, and American armaments, by way of press propaganda. It is interesting to note that the Germans are given only a limited choice in voting: do you like things as they are or do you want something else? They are not give a choice between the Nazi Party and a different, existing party.

Near the Saar, and Back to Heidelberg

Kusel is a small town on the other side of the Rhine River, right near the Saar Territory. Train passengers and I went across the flat farm valley of the Rhine from Heidelburg to Mannheim, where I purposely missed a train in order to take an hour to look around the city. Mannheim has 170,000 inhabitants, and is situated on the Rhine where the Neckar River joins it. It is largely a manufacturing city, land looked rather unattractive; didn’t appeal to me at al. Then Ludwigshafen was even less interesting than Mannheim, but of course I didn’t see all of each city. Gigli of the Metropolitan Opera was to give a concert in Mannheim that night.

The journey from Ludwigshafen to Neustadt was through more of the Rhine country. I went on the "Bummelzug", which means that it was a local train and didn’t tire itself out. From Neustadt to Kaiserslautern we traveled through beautiful mountains which were much like our Montana and Idaho mountains; it was the most beautiful scenery thus far. The presence of little villages added fascination as we went up the valley which was just wide enough for its small river. The trees were half-and-half evergreen and leafy; the leaf trees had shed their brilliant red leaves, and a beautiful red carpet on the ground contrasted with the leafy colors. At Kaiserslautern we left the mountains and entered rolling hills of farm land, with some quarries now and then. The car was rather full because many students from the high school had gotten in at Kaiserslautern. Every now and then I thought I heard some English words, but I decided I was fooling myself. Pretty soon I went into the next compartment to see if I could talk to some of these students, and then I heard one say to the other, "May I have some?" "Thank you." Here in this out-of-the-way place these German kids from 12 to 18, with their caps of different colors designating their respective classes, had been talking in English now and then! As soon as I told them I was an American they wouldn’t talk any more in English; but they asked me some questions about schools in America. We talked in German all the way to Landstuhl, where I left them. It seems that these places in Pfalz are out of the tourist path, for the boys said they seldom see Americans. Still, they study English from 12 to 18 years of age, if they choose that type of program.

One of these students who got off at Landstuhl with me asked for my address so that he could write to me when I got back home. He was a nice fellow, only fifteen years old, and had studied English for three years. I walked around the pretty country village with him for half an hour before we my train left for Kusel. It seems that these kids don’t speak as well in English after four years’ study, as I do German; but my German is pretty weak, yet.

Kusel lay at the end of a small spur-railroad branch line. The chief interest and work of the people is farming, and second to that comes stone quarrying. These stones are used for pavement, for houses, and for many things for which we use wood or metal. There seemed to be one main street paved in stone, and it seemed to be the one Miss Krieg lived on. The entire town is old. With the exception of one house, the whole place burned down in 1700, was rebuilt, and has remained that way ever since. The wagons on the street were mostly drawn by cows, just ordinary cows, with a strap across their foreheads. There were few automobiles or trucks. Everything was so simple that it was like moving back to early American farm days. However, everything was clean - even the streets (considering the cows and horses). These people are well-educated, but choose to live simply, partly because they are very poor.

I found Miss Krieg to be 16 years old, pretty, but unattractively gotten up (characteristically German) and very quiet. She had an unhappy expression most of the time, as did most of the people in Kusel. This is largely because of their struggles against poverty. The women here work twice as hard as American men, and they lead a dog’s life.

Mr. Krieg works iln a small cloth factory in Kusel; he is quite intelligent. Liesel, her parents, and a sister who was away while I was there, live in the downstairs part of a fairly good house. They insisted that I have my meals with them, and found me a place to stay with a recent widow whom they know. Liesel had studied six years of English, and could read pretty well; she was too shy about speaking it and understood only what I could have said in German, so I spoke German the entire time I was there. They didn’t know how to entertain a foreigner, so I played our minister’s game of entertaining people in their own homes.

They would have sat silent for a whole evening, if I hadn’t talked. Fortunately, these people will laugh at anything, and that made it easier. I found out that the French had occupied the town, Kusel, until 1929, and the people hate the French bitterly. Kusel was near the Front, and they could hear the guns easily; there was always a stream of soldiers to and from the Front, going through the town. The Kriegs and others said that the reason why they quit the war was that they didn’t have enough food. They barely fed me enough; so I’d hate to have been there during the war. I said that it was a mistake for America to go into the World War, and they said they thought so too – but from a different standpoint….

"And are people here strongly behind der Fuehrer?" I asked.

"Oh yes, of course"

"Do you believe, then, that he is an intelligent leader?"

"Indeed; for sure! There has been no one like him since Bismarck. You can see for yourself how proud we are of him."

I arrived in Kusel in mid-afternoon and they had tea for me. Then we visited until 7:30 when they had dinner around the kitchen table – wienerwurst, potatoes and salad. After dinner they took me to their widow friend who had a room (later turned out to be a veritable ice-box) which I could have with breakfast for one mark (forty cents) a night. This didn’t include running water, and the ice-cold air was free. However Frau Nussbaum was very kind, and she served me a gallon of cocoa and a couple of buns for breakfast. I found that she had a son who was twenty years old and worked in the city hall. She said he was the only one in town who played the ‘cello; he played the pipe organ and gave piano lessons, too. I looked forward to meeting him that evening. His father was supposed to have been an artist on the oboe.

On the morning of the second day I went walking around the town. The houses are two – and three-story buildings for from two to four families, built right against the sidewalks. After dinner (at noon) with the Kriegs, I walked into the country on the other side of one of the surrounding hills. The farmhouses were all clean, but each one had piles of manure around it and some families kept their pigs in the basement and their cows on the back porch. The farm country was; quite pretty. Farming methods are o.k. The farmers seemed to spend most of their time hauling, weighing, piling, shifting, moving, and spreading manure. The rich farmers have horses, and through that means, have better manure, and consequently raise better crops and can therefore afford to buy more horses; doesn’t that make a richer farmer a capitalist?

After supper that evening Richard Nussbaum came over to Krieg’s and I talked some more. He is about my age, but a little sissy-fied, but a good kid at that. After talking, we (Liesel, Richard, a friend of Liesel’s and I) walked several miles up and down main street back and forth until I was tired. That, on top of the trial of making puns in German and taking the three genders and four cases and six tenses and two moods of German, made even the icebox bedroom welcome.

The next day was Sunday and the celebration of Martin Luther’s birth. The whole churchgoing, non-Catholic crowd in town was out to fill the church. The Germans like to sing and do so remarkably well; these women sang better together than alone in solos.

After church I was invited by an English teacher who writes to my German language teacher in high school at home, to come for dinner at her house which was the one house that had been left standing after the fire in 1700. Her English pronunciation was pretty fair, and her vocabulary and knowledge of grammar were splendid; she was a very talkative person and thoroughly enjoyable. We ate chestnuts - which she pointed out were an unaccustomed delicacy. Her name was Hilde Butz, and she has a daughter Hilde who is 13 years old and speaks very good English, considering. Frau Butz has a boy, Otto, who is ten years old and has bright red hair. For his sake we spoke German during most of my visit. Frau Butz is a widow and has taught in the girls’ high school since her husband’s death six years ago. She lives very simply, but seemed contented and happy.

People in Kusel speak one of those German dialects which is hard to understand; but after four days I could get a little of it. The people all learn proper German, Hoch-deutsch, in school, and they spoke it when talking with me there.

After dinner Frau Butz, 50 years old, proposed a walk into the country four miles to see the remains of a castle dating back to 1100. All of the young people I knew in Kusel went along and we had a grand time. The ruins were unmolested by tourists, but there wasn’t much left, at that. Near the ruins was a shelter cabin for students’ hiking parties, called a Jugendherberge or something like that. I was pretty tired when we came back, but I had promised to go to a church gathering in the evening. We arrived in the gymnasium in which was held, too late to get seats. The program consisted of a sermon, music by the local orchestra, music by the choir, a speaking choir (Sprachchor), pieces spoken by little girls, and a lantern-slide lecture on places Martin Luther had lived. Altogether it lasted 3-1/2 hours; it was interesting, but I was dead-tired. They served beer at the church meeting on Sunday night!

At the church meeting they had three flags in the hall: the flag of Germany with a picture of Bismarck superimposed, the flag of the Nazis with Hitler’s picture, and the flag of the church with Martin Luther’s portrait. From what the minister said, these three men seem to be held equal in their esteem.

The next morning I went to Frau Butz’s school. There I spoke in English to a class which had studied three years; they understood remarkably well. I told them about our schools, the county fair, Mt. Rainier, our large trees, Roosevelt, differences between American and German kids’ interests, and they listened attentively. Then I spoke to a class in its sixth year of study, telling them the same things and answering their questions. They seemed to enjoy it. Among their question were these:

"What do Americans think of Germany?"

"Have you been in Hollywood?"

"Is America preparing for war with Japan?"

"Are there many unemployed in America?"

"How do American girls look?" [Are they really glamorous?]

"Are there many Indians in America?"

Its did me good to see the way Frau Butz radiated happiness at having taught them well enough that they could understand me. She was as happy as a child about it.

The school was small and dingy, and they had only benches. All the students stood up when Frau Butz came in or left the room, and they raised their hands in the "Heil Hitler" salut, in unison. Incidentally, Otto Butz, the youngster, belongs to the "Hitler Jungvolk".

Frau Butz took me to meet the principal of the school. "Heil Hitler. I’m pleased l to make your acquaintance," he said cordially. " I’m pleased to meet you," I replied. "I am glad to see what excellent English Frau Butz has taught the students. They understood everything."

"That’s fine; they all like Frau Butz. Do you like it here in Germany? He asked.

"I certainly do. The German people are so friendly, l and so wholesome."

He looked at me for a minute and then said, "You are the first American I have seen that I haven’t tried to kill."

That gave me the creeps, but I asked for an explanation.

"I was a sergeant in the war, and had to fight Americans twice," he explained.

I said something to the effect that those were terrible days, and he replied that the Americans had "fought bravely" – (whatever that means in war….).

By this time everyone in Kusel , even the cows, knew I was there. A man who was visiting Kusel from Darmstadt heard it and asked me to see him. He was a retired high school teacher, and had taught English to boys for 41 years. He said I was the first American or Englishman he had ever talked to. He had once heard a prisoner of war who spoke with a New England "dialect", but he couldn’t understand it. The teacher was 65 years old, but looking to be more than that, proposed a walk to the stone quarries two miles away. He, his wife and his older sister, my young friends, and I went together. He could speak excellent British English; but for the sake of the others we spoke German. It was a lovely walk, and we arrived at the quarry in time to see the blasts. Women as well as men work in the quarries; on the road we saw old women wielding picks and shovels with the men. They certainly don’t pamper themselves with the idea that they’re the weaker sex. Perhaps they work to keep in condition so that they can beat up their husbands.

In the evening of the last day in Kusel, Richard Nussbaum and I played music together, he on the piano and I on the ‘cello. He had never heard of the French classics that I play, but he knew German music backwards. A friend of his came in later and played the violin; so we played trios, then ate Apfelkuchen and drank cocoa.

I slept late in the morning but had time to say goodbye to the Kriegs. Frau Nussbaum invited me to a dinner which served as a farewell to Kusel. I was very sorry to leave because sthe people were so wonderful to me and so naturally kind. They begged me to come back if I could. As a result of the friendliness of Kusel I was very homesick on the way back to Heidelberg, and I don’t remember much about the trip except that I missed the train to Heidelberg at Mannheim by one minute and had to wait an hour.

* * *

Back in Heidelberg the next day Jack and Carl and I took a walk in the afternoon up the hill past Koenigstuhl to Kohlhof where we sampled an American mince pie that we will have for Thanksgiving. The restaurant at Kohlhof is merely a small inn in the middle of the forest; it made me think I was in Switzerland at first, because it was small, cozy, and isolated, up in the outdoors.

Yesterday was the 532nd anniversary of the founding of Heidelberg University. In the morning I watched all the dignitaries come in their old-fashioned garb and carriages. Three men from each corps, or fraternity, were dressed in uniforms and carried special flags, giving a very brilliant color display.

That night the student ball of the anniversary celebration was held in the city hall. Everybody that had ever had anything to do with the University in any capacity was there – all the dignitaries: students, faculty, and graduates. The people all came in their everyday clothes and the air was very informal. Each assembly room was open and had a dance orchestra playing in it. In the largest hall a military band played Strauss waltzes and Good Old German Marches which made everybody want to dance. These Germans dance around and around in circles. I went to the ball at ten o’clock and wandered through the crowd as it wandered through the building from one dance setting to another. I stayed until 12:30 and then people started to get happy. The affair was going on until 5:30 AM, I understand. It was unique and well worth seeing.

Heidelberg - December 1, 1933

Tomorrow I leave for Stuttgart where two girls, correspondents with school friends of mine in Tacoma, are expecting me. I am sorry to leave Heidelberg, but life here is a bit too lazy; I must see more of Germany.

In the next room, separated from mine by two glass doors, I plainly hear the family’s affairs. They meet for dinner at the sounding of a bell at 7:15. After dinner they drink Apfelwein (impenetrable cider) until they are happy. I hear their voices echoing in this room. I went in for a map a few minutes ago and the Mrs, fifty years old, was sitting on the floor playing with the dogs, who were all three sprinkled around the room. The two daughters were smoking (unusual for German women), talking about a social function that took place last week. The young man in his Nazi uniform was looking at an automobile magazine, and the Mr. was reading and slowly filling up the vast cavern situated at his midsection with Apfelwein. I forgot to mention earlier that he is the sales director of a steel factory, but works at home. The family doesn’t seem to know how to cut down its expenses to fit into the post-war period. Now the Mrs. is singing with the radio. She has a tremolo that would shake the Washington Monument; but just which note should be featured for that treatment is up for grabs.


The day after I returned from Kusel I went out upon Jack’s recommendation to see the town Dilsberg, which is up the river about 8 miles and which Mark Twaindescribes in his A Tramp Abroad . Rather than follow the river up to Dilsberg, I decided to take the trail through the Odenwald forest, for variety. It turned out to be a walking tour of Germany… I could see Dilsberg long before I was close to it, for it stands on the tip-top of a very good-sized hill (called "Mountain") here. From a distance it looks as though somebody had found this to be a good place for a city and had built so many houses on it that it had to have a stone wall around it to keep them from crowding one another off the hill. Dilsberg looks queer perched up in the air that way, walled-in. I climbed up the steep hill readily enough, to enter the city through a hole in the bottom of its wall, which somebody seemed to have left there by mistake; it served as the main gate into this town.

It is not very large; it took only ten minutes to cover the ground. It was dirty, and I believe hadn’t seen any change since 1700, except for the advent of electric wires strung from roof to roof. I was surprised, considering how unique the place was, that it didn’t show evidence of visitations from the outside world. The people seemed to be living just as they did centuries ago except for their clothing. I walked through the streets past the crowded graveyard to the remains, better to say ruins, of the castle. The people gave me the once-over, but outside of that didn’t seem concerned that I was there. From the ruins of the castle I obtained a marvelous view of the Neckar Valley and hills in this region; it was too beautiful a location for such a medieval town. The houses were made of clay, stone and wooden beams that made designs in the clay and stone walls of the houses. Because it was late, I hurried back to Neckargemund and took the interurban streetcar to Heideldberg. When I had returned, Jack and Carl told me that the I.Q. of Dilsberg’s inhabitants is famously low because there is so much intermarriage of such dumb people to start with. By the way, in the graveyard in Dilsberg I think they bury people in layers, one on top of the other because of lack of space.

Thanksgiving Day

On Thanksgiving we foreigners met at the University Platz at one o’clock. Some of the weaker pansies begged to go up to the Kohlhof, where we were to have dinner, on the inclined street cars . There were about 35 of us altogether, not all students, but half of us were English-speakers: the other half were our German or foreign guests. We started up the hill outside of Heidelberg and soon reached the snow. We walked in groups, and I talked to a German girl from Prussia most of the time. From the hill’s summit to Kohlhof was a pleasant walk on the level through tall trees laden with fresh, white show. It reminded me of paintings of the first Thanksgiving, with our party going in two’s and three’s underneath the trees in the snow.

The first thing to greet us at Kohlhof was an American flag. It looked pretty good to most of us. The Kohlhof is about as large as a schoolroom inside, and quite cozy. The Thanksgiving story was laboriously explained in both German and English; and it was announced that we Americans were pilgrims and the Germans were our Indian guests, all named accordingly. Before we ate, two of the American students proceeded to get drunk, which rather spoiled the spirit of the thing; but we had a good time anyhow.

A typical American Thanksgiving dinner was served and enjoyed by all. Unfortunately though, the pieces of pie were much too small. We were each given a small American flag, and we sang American songs. Who says that Europe is the only place with folk songs? (it is true however, that the only song we could think of to sing, at first, was "Show me the Way to Go Home".) After dinner the American contingent that spoiled the spirit of the dinner departed, and the rest of us stayed and enjoyed one another’s company. We Americans told some pilgrim history to the English girls who were there; they were interested in the various versions of the John Alden and Priscilla story – Pocahantas too. I left early with a Swiss student and talked with him about his homeland on the way back to Heidelberg.

Public Schools in Heidelberg

In Heidelberg I went to the Stadtschulamt (Board of Education) and was very cordially received by a red-nosed gentleman who said that he too had received a letter from the Ministerium to the effect that I was coming to visit. (A red nose seems to be part of the job of being a school authority.) He took me across the street to the Volkschule, or school for everybody from 6 to 15 years of age – like our grammar school. (However, when ten years old, the children may leave that school and start nine years in the Gymnasium or high school, Jr. High, and Jr. college, or in the Ueberrealscshule, or trade school, which covers the same number years, but with easier studies.)

The principal of the Volkschule spoke English, and he arranged for me to visit classes in German, Nature Study, History, Geography, Arithmetic, Drawing, Religion and Singing, in the 3rd, 9th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. I took three days to it, spending an hour in each class. Between each hour they have a recess period in which the kids and teachers walk up and down the halls saluting one another with the Heil Hitler, and chewing rye bread and German sausages. They go to school on Saturday too. In every classroom they all stood up and threw out their arms in the salute when the teacher or a stranger entered the room. (The English might call this "giving alms".) The boys and girls are in separate buildings, and the boys all had men teachers, and good ones too. The pupils sit two to a desk. Teaching methods are old-fashioned, and the classroom etiquette is oppressively formal. The teachers are permitted to use sticks or hands on the pupils, and they don’t hesitate to do so. The subject material all comes from the state, and it is full of healthy doctrine. The lesson material is the type that builds emotional Germans. The schools are very poor financially: they have only one small blackboard in each room. The students are all required to take Physical Training, Music and Art, whether they have an aptitude for it or not. The result is a fully rounded individual, supposedly, as opposed to our "specialized" type of education.

They are required to take Religion unless their parents object; very few do object. There are only two religions: Catholic and Lutheran. Visiting a Lutheran Religion class, I found that it is nothing more nor less than Sunday school where the church is established with governmental subsidy; this is probably an efficient thing in the schools. I doubt it would work successfully with us.

The children are made to learn long poems and to recite them in a stilted bravado way That is done for the sake of learning how to pronounce real German, for their dialect is quite different. These poems are excellent bits for poetry lovers, but they mean very little to these kids; nevertheless, the kids recite them with fervor, formality, and fortissimo. They love to sing, too. A room of twenty boys, eight years old, sang a folk-song so loud that my ears still ring. They sing excellently together and I was surprised at how they like to sing alone. With a stranger in the room, the teacher asked who would like to sing a solo, and twelve of hem just about burst their suspenders trying to attract the teacher’s attention – and it wasn’t because they wanted to show off. The children aren’t the least bit self-conscious or afraid of making a mistake.

After finishing with the Volkschule I went to the Gymnasium (10 – 19-year olds)… which was run on the same plan as the Volkschule, with hours the same, required subjects, except that the teachers were better acquainted with their subjects: half of them had Ph. D.s. For them, being a student is an art, and it has little immediate practical use. In the Gymnasium they are required to study nine years of Latin and six of Greek - an enormous waste of time. Going to a Gymnasium is like an endurance contest. I visited classes in Latin, History, Music, Physics, Mathematics and Gymnastics. The classes I visited had from 16-year-olds to nineteen years old, with the exception of Gymnastics. In all the classes the same etiquette and dry instruction were present. Many of the teachers knew their subjects so well that they talked ALL the time.

In Latin they study the same uninteresting things that we study, only with more added to it. It was very difficult for me to do the Latin because I had to translate and re-translate in three languages in succession, in order to follow the class.

The mathematics was way over my head, as was the mathematical part of Physics. In the Gymnasium they teach no modern languages.

I was interested to observe, in the gymnastics session, how all of the kids seemed to be enjoying it. The instructor was not a strong-man type such as we tend to see, but a healthy all-around person. (He played the piano for their exercises.) The exercises that he gave them were very simple, but carefully planned, to give every part of the body exercise. He gave particular emphasis to the legs and trunk however, explaining to me later that the trunk of the body and particularly the breathing apparatus suffers most from sitting over a desk. I was interested in the fact that none of the kids made any attempt to show off; and rather than encourage those who showed an aptitude, he would call on a backward student to demonstrate. When they played sports, the competition was not interpersonal, but team vs. team competition. The gym instructor explained: "You notice that the exercises are simple, aren’t they? That is so they will all be able to do them. When they can all do the exercise, each boy thinks he is worth something and has a place in the class. Those who have an aptitude can go on by themselves; the weaker ones need the attention and encouragement.

"They must all have a good time, and they can’t get the most out of it when they don’t all enjoy themselves. They must not feel that some are better than others; they must all enjoy building a good body."

What I saw in the gym class was a good example of what is happening in Germany as a whole. They are encouraging the weak –making them and everyone else, feel that he has a place in the world… I can’t help contrasting this system with our "democratic" system, where everyone is encouraged to go higher than the other fellow. As a consequence we have competition instead of cooperation – and we have a lot of disillusioned people who naturally failed to get to the "top".

Since I visited the schools, the kids stop me on the street and give me the "Heil" salute. The professors in the schools do the same. I feel well known. One little kid who lives down the street was in a Religion class in the third grade. Every day he stops me to talk; he is the friendliest, most refreshing thing! Also the merchants in whose stores I have been, remember me and greet me. I shall miss my cherub-faced, jolly little baker from whom I buy desserts after dinner.

Stuttgart and into the Tyrol

Stuttgart is about the size of Seattle [then ca. 300,000] and has just as many industries. The buildings here are very modern – more so than any I saw in the U.S. I don’t mean all the buildings of course, but there were more of modern-style, relative to the sizes of the two cities. So meet the two girls and the big city at the same time was rather complicated. Both of the girls had studied for years of English but can’t speak any of it. [Had they been the weaklings of their gym class?] Their names are Gerte and Maria. They, too, didn’t know how to entertain, so what entertaining was done had to be done by a very-much-confused me. I had asked the girls by mail if they knew of a cheap, but comfortable place to stay, so they took me to a hostel run by Catholic sisters, where I got a room for a dollar a day with one of these darned German beds and without running water. I could have done better on my own, but as long as it was only for a few days, I stayed. Anyway, I think it will be interesting to try out the Catholic hospitality; and it would insult the girls if I moved. Everything else is expensive in this city, so far….

The people here don’t prepare for Christmas as early as we do, but signs are appearing [Dec. 7]. One sees pictures of the German Santa Claus now and then, and evergreens find their way into store windows…. The girls suggested that we have coffee together. We met the sister of one of them in the city with her fiance and went into a beer-garden and eating place where there was an orchestra playing semi-classical music. Sister and fiance had wine and the girls had coffee; I had milk. We sat there for two hours and a half over one glass of whatever each of us had, and just took it easy, listening to the music or conversing now and then. The place was quite crowded. Whole families would come there and listen and talk. A little boy about five years old, with a red shirt and blue suspenders walked proudly but absent-mindedly up and down between the tables snapping his suspenders and nodding his head in time to the music.

Berte and Maria work in a clothes factory all day, and as a result were unable to see me again until evening. They invited me to the State Theatre (government ownership & management is quite in evidence here) to see and hear a light opera. It was remarkably well played. The music was excellent and the acting perfect. The piece was Lorzing’s "Czar and Carpenter". I couldn’t understand very much of it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was of special interest because it was the farewell performance by an old man, their chief comedian. He was an excellent singer and actor and seemed to have several more good years ahead of him.

The next day I took a couple of good walks up to the hills around here and got a good panorama of the city…. There I saw the first German soldiers in uniform that I had seen since entering Germany six weeks ago. I saw their barracks and couldn’t help contrasting them with those I saw in France: one would hardly know that they were barracks because they looked so posh….

…German houses all have the windows on hinges. This and the presence of shutters on the outside make the German city look different. The drapes behind each window are on a drawstring and work like theater curtains.

The Catholic sisters seem to be a little fanatical or inconsistent. I have only noticed it from the outside - there is no [proselytizing] pressure brought on me here. They are friendly, and by saying that they are fanatical, I mean their religion is church-centered, and it is the church that seems almost fanatical. They serve all kinds of liquors here in this Catholic place. When one sees some splendid people here drink a little it throws a different light on that matter. [The writer’s years had been lived under strictly enforced Prohibition of alcoholic liquors.]

Fulpmes, Stubaithal, Tyrol, Austria – Dec. 15, 1933

I left Stuttgart sooner than originally planned. The night before, the girls had come to say goodbye and we talked principally about Catholicism, which seemed to be their main interest… I made the train to Ulm with a minute to spare. An electric engine pulled the train up the long hollow to Ulm. It was long except for the last part, which was up a small canyon leading to a plateau on which stood the city Ulm. I arrived at noon, with an hour’s wait. So I went to the city, which was somewhat deserted - the streets, I mean, because of the cold and the noon hour. The town was picturesque and I imagine much like Nuremberg - with its old houses, which look as though somebody had squeezed them at the bottom so that their upper layers protruded. I followed the twisting streets under the protruding layers, to the Cathedral of Ulm. From an architectural and artistic standpoint it beats anything I’ve ever seen, including Notre Dame de Paris. It has a fine solidarity, and yet a finesse and delicacy that was lacking in France. It is very old, but is in excellent repair. Inside, it must be gorgeous but the outside was enough of a treat. I doubt whether pictures can give any idea of its size and the simplicity of its delicate ornamentation. To isolate the cathedral, those would be my comments; but on this day I found there was a fair in the square surrounding it; and that somewhat spoiled the impressiveness of the cathedral. There were side-shows, booths and amusements, and then there was a Sears-Roebuck - type of operation all around the church. A person could buy anything at all at remarkably low prices. I bought a candy bar - for lunch….

[In Austria, near Innsbruck, I chose Stubai Valley for my alpine experience because it could be accessed via a branch rail line. Innsbruck itself seemed like a "dead" town: evidences of poverty and depression abounded there. ]

On the branch line to Fulpmes one single train runs, up and back, only four times a day. This was a holiday, and hundreds of children and grownups were packed into the narrow-gauge electric train. All of them had their skis and wore ski boots. It was one minute before departure and there was a line of twenty more waiting to buy tickets.

I managed to squeeze my suitcase into a rack and then went to the crowded observation section, which was open to the outdoors. Skis stuck out of the windows and were piled on an extra flat-car at the end of the train. It was a traveling sardine can. Everybody was merry; they didn’t complain; they were out for a good time, and nothing could interfere. Soon the narrow-gauge train had made its way to where the snow lay more profusely and all the skiers left. Before long I had the entire car to myself… The alpine scenery was marvelous. We climbed onto the alpine slopes and could see far below how the river wound in its canyon. My feet were very cold all the way up, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment. Soon we were higher in the mountains where they rose from right beside us. At length we reached Fulpmes Village which seemed almost buried in snow.

After watching them shift cars in the station, I went into the village to look for a place to stay. I found several high-class pensions , but they looked too expensive. So I walked around on the icy paths that serve as streets running helter-skelter through the maze of houses, and tried one pension, only to find it that it is open only in summer. I looked at houses that had rooms to let, and there were plenty. Almost every one seemed to have such a sign. One house was well located but it had only standing cold water. I found another house so situated that it had a wonderful view of the mountains and also a sign saying running cold and hot water and central heating. I rapped on the door but no one came. Looking through the window, I saw a man with an Olaf Bull mustache, one of those double-jointed pipes, and earrings, sitting and reading a paper. I rapped on the window and he came to it motioning me around to the back door. There the woman of the house was working in the kitchen. She was buxom, but looked oppressed by hard work. She said that the rooms were good only in summer. In winter the central heating and hot water are turned off. She said that I could have a room with a stove that they would keep going, and I could have hot water from the kitchen when I wanted it. I asked to see the room and she said that she’d see: perhaps the young man was sleeping in it. He wasn’t, and it was a pleasant room. Out of curiosity I asked her about the young man. He was her eighteen-year-old son.

I wanted a room with running water though; so I tried other places including a pension in which the proprietor was asleep on a bench and could be wakened only when I shook him. None of the places pleased me and I was tired of looking; so I went back to Frau Mair, partly because I thought it would be interesting with the boy there. The room was very simple, but beautiful with lovely furnishings. Frau Mair did my laundry with the family wash the next day. It seems that these people do not bathe in winter, so I made arrangements for a bath at one of the neighborhood pensions, where I also ate dinner that night.

I have been here a week now, and it has been the happiest week of my trip. I am in the middle of the Tyrolean Alps… The Alps overflow profusely into Austria… it is much cheaper living here, rather than in Switzerland; and just as beautiful. It is true that the people here are not Swiss, but I met several Swiss students in Heidelberg and asked them about Swiss people. The Austrians are really German, although they speak a dialect that even the Germans can’t always understand in some regions. Basically, the language is German. The people, too, are German, and would like to be a part of Germany. They think highly of Hitler, and Dollfuss and his tea-party have a difficult time trying to suppress this growing sympathy for German actions. When Dollfuss goes, indirectly, not immediately, will come a form of unity between Austria and Germany. IF the other nations permit it! [Dollfuss was killed in 1935] If not, Austria will develop its own Hitler. Austria is poorer than Germany and the Austrians have no spirit of hope such as I saw in Germany.

In my week’s time the Mair family has taken me in. They are simple, hearty country people. They treat me as one of the family and I feel and I feel as though I belong. I have gotten much better control of the language in this way, and have practiced the informal, personal form of conversation. Although the family speaks dialect within itself, they all speak fair German with me. The benefit does not lie there, though, rather in the fact that I must use German; and when the two boys are with me, it is a real pleasure, for we joke a lot.

I can’t make out the father. He was once a strong, forceful character, having served in the Austrian Army in the war [WW I]. Whether that was it, I can’t say; but he seldom speaks, works long but slowly, and appears intelligent only at times. He is 54, but looks like 64. Mrs. Mair is a hard worker – as are all of these German women; and she is very smart, not quick, but a wholesome, friendly soul. There are two sons: Ludwig, 18 and Karl, 16. Ludwig looks at least 21, and is quite handsome. He has not had much education however, and is not very interesting. He has a good sense of humor though, and is good company. He is a cabinet-maker, and works ten hours a day. Then he comes home and milks the two cows. I forgot to say that Mr. Mair is a farmer, and in that regard he knows his "onions".

Karl looks to be about nineteen. He is a peach of a fellow, and is very smart. He has had an excellent education and his capacity is enormous. He is as big and strong as an ox and a darn good companion. He has an excellent sense of humor and laughs frequently. He goes to school seven-and-a-half hours a day, except for a half day Saturdays, and of course a whole day on Sunday.

Half of the house here is a barn – in the basement are two cows, an enormous pig, thirteen chickens, one rooster, and a cat. The entire winter these animals stay in a dungeon-like smelly place because it is so cold outside. (Last night it was –4 degrees Fahrenheit). Next week the pig will be butchered. The farmers here store up wood and hay in log cabins in the summer on the hillsides, and in winter they bring it on sleighs to the animals in the basement, and to their home- fires.

There are three people here who speak a little English. The woman who owns the pension speaks very little, so I always use German there. A girl who comes for milk here every night learned English in Italy (which is only a few miles distant) and speaks very well. I don’t have anything to talk with her about, so I don’t use it with her. The third person is a boy, a darn nice fellow, 17 years old, who is in Karl’s school. His home is in Germany (in Bavaria); but he comes here to school. He knows book English and I’ve had a good time trying to teach him some practical English. We always speak German though, except when he asks a question about English. His name is Engelbert [More about him later.]

After supper the first day, I went with Ludwig to the movies. Movies come only once a week here. They are silent films that are strictly censored. We saw an old-fashioned tragedy about an immigrant who had gone to America and had lost his son in the war, and had gone to prison for somebody else’s crime… I could read the lips a little (the titles were in German) and explained some things to Ludwig. A person must be eighteen years old by proof in order to go to this harmless village theater.

After a rather sleepless night spent chasing the feather-bed-clothes around the room, I awoke to see the sun rise at ten o’clock from behind one of the mountains. It was great to see the mountains on the opposite side of the valley lighting up first. The sun also sets behind mountains and one can watch the shadows creep across the valley over the glistening snow, as its rises and sets….

…I had a bath at the pension. I shivered in the tub and out; it was the worst bath I’ve ever taken. I think I was the only source of heat in the room, including the tub itself…I did decide though, that I was sick of cold feet, so I bought a couple of pairs of wool socks and a pair of real walking shoes… Also I found that Karl and Ludwig had skis and would be only too glad to lend them to me. The skis required real shoes too; so I bought a pair at a combination living-room and shoe-store, with the whole family there, helping things along. I’ve never seen such shoe service. Actually they sorely needed to make a sale.

Fulpmes is a manufacturing village built on a small mountain stream. The buildings are set right over the stream itself, and there are plenty of waterwheels. There are 1,000 inhabitants and they all work. They are a very self-sufficient folk, manufacturing all that they need with water-driven power and machinery. The methods employed are much as they were in 1840, I suspect. It was indeed picturesque to see the masters and apprentices working in their shops. The lanes were covered with ice; and men and horses pulled real jingle-bell sleighs over them. The village seemed to have an excellent balance between farmers and tradesmen. Everybody knows everybody else, and the place has a settled and contented atmosphere. The church here dates back to the year of Washington’s inauguration, and the churchyard is already full of graves… I found out that the Germans, earlier, found out about the beauties of this place and came in substantial numbers in the summer and at Christmas; but now they must pay $400 to enter Austria; so very few come any more. This has been hard on the village….

I took a sled which the boys loaned to me, one day, and tried a little sledding. I guess I looked funny on the two-by-four sled with my overcoat flying, for soon four or five children gathered as spectators, and to their great delight the sled went down without me, and I without it, in an ungainly fashion…. In the evening Ludwig came home and I watched him milk the cows; it amused him to hear about my own first attempts at milking, including having my liver poked. Mrs. Mair had been preparing something very interesting for supper in the kitchen, and I asked her if I couldn‘t stay for supper since I liked the two fellows so well. She said I could do that; but I’d have to eat lunch always someplace else because she wasn’t licensed to serve meals.

The family eats out of a frying pan on the middle of the table. I, however, have a plate to myself. They all dip into it and in remarkably short time the food disappears. Papa swallows his mustache with it but manages to bring the thing back in time to swallow its again with the next mouthful. Maybe he intends to train it so that he won’t have to feed himself! Their food is made mostly from milk and meal and is always cooked in a frying pan. I introduced chopsticks to them because I found a couple of round sticks, and they were greatly amused – had never heard of them. They asked me many questions about America and China; and I gave them a list of words in English which could be practical to use for renting out a room. Karl was reading a book of stories from the wild west, of Zane Gray variety, and he was interested in the answers to several questions he had asked. I have eaten with the family every night, and have spent most of my spare time in the kitchen with them; I don’t know why - just like it…. Every fifteen minutes the back door freezes shut, and papa chips it open from time to time. Last night I went into the kitchen to get my hot waiter and found him asleep on top of the stove with his head next to the water compartment…

The next morning I visited Karl’s school – a very practical trade school. They have half a day of schoolroom and half a day of shop work. Their shop is excellent: better than anything I’ve seen before. The school, not a large one, is run by the village, and something like $30 a year tuition is required. Boys from all of Tyrol and some from Germany come to it. It is the best general education - a little of everything – so that a graduate is equipped for whatever the world has for him to do. Of course it doesn’t create specialists; but it emphasizes what does need emphasizing – that a general ground work is important - and that a general education, together, make enjoyment of life easier.

[End of diary entries]

[My original plan had been to leave Fulpmes for Innsbruck, for operas and concerts there; but when I went to the train station the week before Christmas, having learned rudimentary skiing and having enjoyed the Mairs so much, I turned back at the last minute, to spend Christmas there with them in Fulpmes. ]

Christmas Eve was an even bigger deal that Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve the entire village was in motion, with creches on display in all of the houses, gifts and greeting being exchanged, prior to late service in the church. The variety of nativity scenes on display was remarkable. It was a specialty of this community. It is the presence of the Christ-child himself that gets recognized here, casting a spell of joy and radiance over the entire village. For it is the Christ-child who gives the presents here, rather than Santa Claus. Beautiful music in the church; mountains and snow. Memorable.

On one evening when Ludwig and Karl and I were talking, Karl suddenly stopped talking and looked serious. "Erdbeben"! he said: Earthquake! I had scarcely noticed it. But they seemed familiar with this phenomenon and awaited a possible aftershock. Fortunately it didn't come. On another occasion Ludwig was asking me about social practices in America. "Do they have children born from a different father? Bastards there?" Yes, I told him, but only rarely and there's stigma attached. Ludwig was serious and thoughtful. "Sometimes it happens here, too," he said. Then he confided that he himself had been born out of wedlock and that Mr. Mair was not really his father.

"And he knows it?" I asked. Yes, he knew it. And it was one reason why he married Mrs. Mair, Ludwig said.

"Then is Karl really your blood brother, or not?"

"Don't know. Doesn't matter," Ludwig offered matter-of-factly.

When I left Fulpmes I returned into the Bavarian part of Germany, skipping Culture at Innsbruck.

The Bavarian dialect was something different again. In the town of Peissenberg I visited the Schrazlseers whose son Engelbert had been in Fulpmes in Austria on a skiing holdiday. Like practically all of the Germans I visited, with but one exception, they were enthusiastic Nazi supporters. Here their religion was Catholic and their beverage was beer. For example: one day Engelbert got for himself a drink of water. His mother, watching, asked him is he was sick. Much of our visit was spent in the beerstube or dancehall. But Engelbert taught me a lot of colloquialisms.

At another town I visited a girl correspondant, Ellymaria Mueller, where her father taught in a private school. It turned out to be a Bruedergemainde, Brethren sect. Her father took me to give talks to his classes, mainly about life in the USA. That evening, he chose to follow up on my comments at the dinnertable. We got into a discussion regarding WW I, and when I said that people in the USA blamed Kaiser Wilhelm for starting that war, her father became very angry and pontifically and loudly proclaimed, "I find no fault with the Kaiser, then or now!" We changed the subject as daddy marched stiffly out of the room.

[During WW II Ellymaria had a daughter born out of wedlock.]

Next came a girl in Leipzig where they offered me a room at their place overnight. Annalies had a job as a waitress part-time, and she had connections with theater people, she said. Her parents were around only intermittently, and the atmosphere was urban. In the morning she came to me to awaken me, sat down on my bed and told me with obvious pride that she was currently serving as mistress to a well-known leading man at the State theater. I suspected that I was being propositioned because she lingered and lingered, preventing me from getting up. She even introduced some scatological verbiage which I had been curious about, anyway, and I was willing to absorb that information, giving her some American slang counterparts. I sensed that she was disappointed to find me conventional.

Next in the Rheinland near Dusseldorf I visited two young men who had visited my high school with a group of Wandervoegel - Wanderbirds, a youth movement - the preceding year. One of these young men, a particularly friendly chap, tried to get me drunk by buying for me a slug of cherry brandy. This he did upon hearing me declare thanks but I don't drink alcohol. He represented the brandy, through its German brand-name, as it if were a soft drink and relished the prospect of seeing me get smashed on it. But as soon as I tasted it, I knew what was up; so I just supped at it, despite his urgings that I should drink up!. Afterwards I learned that his mother, being Jewish, was suffering ostracism in the village; nobody would speak to her and it was beginning to affect this young man's security and future as well.

In Berlin I stayed with the family of a school principal for two days. His daughter, the correspondant, wanted to join the Hitler Maedchen with her friends, but dad was a Socialist, not a Nazi. I watched him always tip his hat in old-fashioned manner, instead of giving the Heil Hitler salute. Consistently he risked saying Guten Tag Hello instead of Heil Hitler! This man told me that in his opinion the Nazis had jumped the track. It is likely he became a Concentration Camp victim.

At another big city, my correspondent took me to the high court where accused Communists were being sentences, somewhat peremptorily I thought, for having led strikes. There was no jury, as is usually the way it is on the Continent of Europe. Three judges made short work of the sentencing.

Next I spent ten days in Denmark where my brother-in-law was pursuing research work in Chemistry at the Max Planck Institute. A distant relative of his there invited us to visit the Royal Danish Library to see manuscripts of Hans Christian Andersen's stories. I blandly responded with a casual and bored "I'm not much interested," much to Henry's embarrassment; but he covered it over with humor, saving my face; and I did go to the Library after all. That evening we went to a concert. Behind me was a boy of my age, and I talked to him, in English. He was studying flute and later became first flutist in the Danish Radio Orchestra. We corresponded with each other for several years and he visited me once in Boston. Poul Birkelund-Hansen invited me to visit him at Aarhus, the second largest Danish city, in Jutland, where a large cathedral entombs the remains of Denmark's kings. It was impressive; and I was glad I went.

As I was leaving Germany through Holland and Belgium after reentering it to play more music at the Hamburg home of a spiritualist who moved the table herself quite without realizing it but reveled in doing so, the train passed first into Netherlands. There a Dutch farmer shared the compartment with me. I told him I had just visited Germany for three months and had been much impressed with what I saw in Germany. Giving me a sharp look, he said in Dutch-accented German: "The German people have all gone nuts!"

CHAPTER 10: China Diary - 1935-6 (Excerpts)

[As an Exchange Student at Lingnan University, Canton (Guangzhou)]

My roommate is from Annam (part of Vietnam) but he is a Cantonese, his family having just lately moved there. He is rather dark-skinned: quiet, and has a great sense of humor. Wong Yew-yue is rather poor, and is being sent to school by a doting grandfather, against his father's wishes. He is a freshman of course (I'm in a freshman dormitory). Yew-yue came from a high school in Hongkong. His ways are Chinese and we get along splendidly. Our room is very small - only space enough for our desks, dressers , and beds. Toilet facilities are likewise quite crowded, in the mornings especially so. The dormitory is fairly quiet, particularly after 11 PM. I have gotten acquainted wth the Cantonese boys in the next room and find them quite interesting and very friendly.

Lingnan University – November 28, 1935

At the beginning of the year I wrote some generalizations that seem now to be inaccurate – now that I have become better and more intimately acquainted with some of the boys here. Their broadmindedness has been surprising, but more often than not it has been their reluctance to express an opinion on anything. This is especially true among the freshmen, who acknowledge ignorance and are reticent to be opinionated at any time. Exceptions of course do occur, and I am rapidly coming to realize what radically different people these Chinese are in their individualism. The best of chums may know absolutely nothing about each other’s backgrounds, homes, or about each other’s serious opinions. They have a remarkable faculty for being able to associate most enjoyably with one another and yet keep their individual personalities under the surface. It is surprising how little they say and know about one another. (I have asked three or four boys when they were born, and they have said, "I haven’t asked my mother." - age here being reckoned from New Years Day, of course.)

Another thing about these boys that I have just found out, is that when we foreigners ask a question that they consider impolite or un-tactful or too personal to answer, they will either become silent or, if pressed, will tell a lie in answer. This may explain my question about their birthdays. One of the boys wanted to have me correct a theme he had written for English. I was an autobiography. After I corrected, I asked him if some parts of it were really true. "Of course not,’ he said. Whether he was lying to avoid answering my question or whether he meant that one doesn’t reveal the facts of one’s life for general reading on paper, I don’t know.

The students here show very little interest in international affairs except for the encroachment of Japan in North China… and in local politics, where their interest amounts to a widespread condemnation of graft in office. Graft here is quite terrific. This is a definite contrast to the serious focus of American students on "world problems". The Chinese would rather enjoy each other and what they have, poor as it is. There certainly is a difference in outlook on things here among the students. Those who are truly Chinese have a chance to see how very, very deep the difference is between East and West, while the others from oversees or with various stages of contact with Western ideas form a marked contrast in that regard. One of the local boys, Fung, is quite outspoken in his criticism of Westernized Chinese. Chinese from Hong Kong he calls "Hong Kong creatures", but he says it in a humorous way and adds that he is prejudiced and obstinate, "just like my ancestors".

I was quite surprised the other day in the mess hall when suddenly a boy snatched up the salt bowl and rice bowl from his place and smashed the on the floor by his table. Then he threw a porcelain spoon at the waiter at his table. It turned out that the waiter had mixed the orders and given him the wrong dish. Adjustments were made by the head-waiter and the student body president, but the incident was not spoken about or referred to by any of the other students afterwards. It seems that most of the students in Lingnan come from wealthy families, and they are decidedly spoiled. They are very mean in their language to servants in general, but the servants and waiters seem to be used to it. The student who are not rich and who are supported in school by their families’ and villages’ combined sacrifices are somewhat different and more capable of appreciating the services given them. Our Exchange group shows the same tendency: of a person who has never worked manually or for someone else, or who has never had contact with working people.

Another characteristic, somewhat annoying to me, is that of interrupting. The boys seem to have no scruples about interrupting conversations anywhere, anytime. Many times when I have been in a room talking, another boy has burst in and started saying things without waiting for a moment to see what we were doing. I have now gotten used to it.

In general the Chinese boys are lighter in weight for their height than we are. This may be due to the slightly lower degree of nutrition they get from Chinese food; or it may be due to the fact that as students they neglect their bodies…. They don’t like to push themselves to the limits of endurance or strain themselves. I’m not sure that it does the boys a great deal of harm; but they might be better off with more exercise.

Most, in fact the majority of students have no use for organized religion. They call it superstition; and that includes Oriental religions. Many of them are followers of, or acknowledge the values advocated by the philosophies of the religions; but they have no use for them as institutions. Of course, the thoughts and actions of all of these analysts are largely controlled subconsciously by the heritage of Chinese philosophies – not known or spoken of as such. American movies are making a big change and they interest Chinese students now. As yet the movies reach only the rich who already have contacts with the West; but they don’t believe in or copy all that they see in them. Movies are still "entertainment", and almost that alone. American and English movies have given some Chinese a chance to see the West and to criticize and evaluate its culture. Chinese movies are very good and are made in large numbers, using both old classical and modern themes.

"City of the Dead"

There was an immense crowd in the hall and in its enclosure. I could easily understand how all three of the Exchange students had had their pockets picked. I made my way through the crowds out of the hall and into the smaller buildings in the rear. Here there were rows and rows of corridors lined with ancestral tablets and strips of cloth bearing the characters for dead ancestors’ names. Each tablet occupied a very small space – only 4" x 12" – so you can imagine the total number that would be contained in these long corridors. The corridors were filled with women squatting on the floor right in front of the tablets with their faces buried in their handkerchiefs, all of them wailing and sobbing at the top of their voices. Oh, what a din! It didn’t take long for the newcomers to go into this semi-hysterical state; but some of the people weren’t wailing, but were joking while their friends wailed. Would you like to hear a thousand women wailing sometime? Another thing that interested me about this affair was the modern means of fire protection: fire extinguishers, fire engines, etc., that were there – so unexpected at an affair that was wholly native in its other aspects.

On the way out I passed through the city of the dead, which is a section of old narrow streets lined with shops or stores (really storage houses) in which coffins with dead bodies are piled up awaiting a favorable [auspicious] time for burial. Some of the coffins remain unburied for as much as two years. The people live in these houses just as tough coffins were so much storage. I think that there might be some danger of disease; but of course the coffins are well sealed. It seemed queer to peer into a dark store through its doorway and see rows of coffins piled on one another inside. On the way out of this street I saw a beggar girl about ten years old in very advanced stages of sleeping sickness – the first case I’ve seen here. I understand that the number of cases of cases of disease that one sees on the streets has been greatly reduced in the last five years. One still sees lots of harelips and many blind or partially blind people; the number of people with one eye is surprisingly great. Pock-marked people (the first I think I’ve seen) are quite numerous, but that number is also becoming smaller.

The other day some of the Cantonese boys in the dorm took me into the city to lunch and to see the Civic Auditorium. While we were in the restaurant they read some Chinese papers that they bought there. "These papers are forbidden," one of them said, "because they criticize the government." They seemed to relish reading. Several times the boys have been using items or reading magazines, and casually remarking that these things were either bootlegged or smuggled. In China a law is still only a precept or just an idea. The boys at the table in the restaurant told me that the women of China have been granted suffrage. They see the incongruity of the situation (the fact that there aren’t any elections to speak of) but they don’t get excited over it.

One of the pathetic and revolting sights in canton is the sight of street scavengers poking around in filth and refuse piles for junk and even for food. The poorer scavengers, unsuccessful beggars, take up bits of discarded rot as food from out of filthy gutters. The rich/poor contrast is becoming more and more accentuated almost daily as Western "civilization" makes its progress in China, tearing away at the agricultural, village, and craftsmen’s lives. According to the student here, and according to what I have seen personally, many people are living in Canton in magnificent luxury – mostly officials. Such is China – and also parts of America.

In the afternoon we went to see the Temple of the 500 Genii, a hall located at the end of a narrow market street. In this temple there are 500 different figures sitting around in regular rows, each figure being a life-size Buddhist saint. Some of them were playing instruments, some were making poses with their hands, as if using sign language and some of them had special physical characteristics. There is a story about each one, and a reason for its expression or looks. Some of them were brown with incense smoke, some were a red-gold color, some wore yellow; but all of them were lacquered and exhibited shiny bodies. Among them was Marco Polo off in a corner with a European hat. He had an Oriental face but wore a cloak, and he was the only figure with a hat. When time came for us to leave, a priest asked us for forty cents each.

December 22, 1935

Most of the boys left the dormitory this Sunday to go to the city, but I know that there are at least three boys on this floor: they are gathered in one room, each with a musical instrument, and they have been playing all day. I now recognize one selection being repeated over and over as though in practice. One boy has a Chinese banjo, two stringed, tuned in fifths (when it's in tune). It is equipped with invisible castanets in its tummy somewhere so that by shaking it at the proper time you can be an orchestra. The keyboard is divided into a scale of notes of equal value, a whole-tone scale, but not the same as our whole notes, thus giving the impression of being out of tune. The second instrument is a Chinese violin that blares forth with no uncertain aggressiveness. Even the ancestors of the cats whose intestinal tracts are being tickled seem to be howling. Now I'm used to it, and I really like it. The violin looks like a broomstick with a beer mug at one end, held between the knees, and two "pine cones" at the other end, to tune by. The two strings, fifths again, are stretched over a bridge on a snakeskin, and they parallel the broomstick at a respectful distance from the bridge up to the pine cones. The strings are not pressed on a fingerboard, and the fingers slide up and down at will, producing weird but satisfying effects. The bow is located with its hair between the two strings; so that you play on one side of the bow for one string, and on the other side for the other string. The third instrument resembles a zither. It has three strings of wire for most of the notes, and each of those strings is divided by a bridge at about two-thirds of its length, and they are ingeniously arranged so that one has all of the notes in one limited area. It is played by hitting the strings with tiny ,delicate, bamboo clubs. It is the prettiest of the three, but could soon become tiresome. It sounds very much like a zither. [Cf. Hungarian cymbalum] Not long ago my roommate was in that room singing with the three as they played. Although Chinese music gets on many people's nerves, it doesn't bother me; in fact, I'm getting so that I actually enjoy it.

There is a toy here that consists of a spool which is whirled on a string stretched between two hand-held sticks, that gets tossed around, whirling, in a skillful manner. The northern Chinese use it more than down here. It makes a lovely whirring noise as it spins. Come of the artists can spin such a spool with only one knob.

One of the features of the last month has been a shortage of change. Before China called in the silver, there were silver dollars and 20-cent pieces; and when they were called in, there wasn't enough paper in circulation. For a while, the moneychangers would give only 80 cents change for a dollar. Although the situation is better now, we still have to plan very carefully to have enough change when we need it. Having no change has been expensive for many people, as well as embarrassing.

The other day on a trip into the city I jotted down two things: The children of the boat people - Hakka's - playing around on the street near the river, have a rope harness on many of them, to which a healthy chunk of firewood is attached. It dangles around their butts and is there for fishing them out when they fall into the river. It also keeps the body from sinking clear to the bottom. The children seem to pay no attention to the dangling chunks of wood, hindering though they are. The other item is that Oriental women carry their babies as old as three years, tied on their backs. This is really quite common. In a sampan the other night a baby began to cry and wouldn't be silenced by its older sister. It cried until its mother, while rowing the sampan, tied the baby onto her back. Then it went to sleep immediately and flopped around as she bent her body in rowing.

Another thing is the number of street dentists who do business with the boat people and others. Their establishments consist of a tea table with instruments, a plain chair with head rest, a mirror, and an umbrella. A few of them have drills for polishing, run by foot power treadle. Each street dentist has a heaping dish full of teeth that he has extracted, some of them quite recently. One or two of these dentists are equipped to give novocaine, but most of them merely do extractions. All of their equipment gets pushed around on a tea-wagon, or cart of equivalent size.

Some of the medical (?) establishments have show windows with wax models or pictures of disease cases, and a pile of empty hypodermic tubes at the bottom indicates that those tubes,at least, have legitimate labels....

Upper Class

Professor Lee of our class on Chinese Civilization took those of us who were interested into the city to visit the home of a wealthy Chinese - a typical home of a Gentleman. It was that of Chan Yeong, Secretary of the provincial government, whose daughter was in our class. The home was an estate, walled in, and consisted of many separate houses surrounded by gardens. We were shown through a garden that in Chinese style was made up of potted flowers all beautifully trained and in unique designs and in skillfully blended colors.

On the walls of the Receiving Hall were hung a few beautiful paintings on scrolls suggestive of their meaning in only such a way as subtle Chinese art can be. Bamboo and pines and mountains were the themes. On one wall was a long poem on four scrolls. The furniture was of heavy rosewood and the many-type chairs were arranged in three rectangles inside the room. In the center of the largest rectangle, in its middle, was a double reclining chair like a throne, upon which were some green velvet cushions, for officialdom. Around the room, in exquisite taste and delicacy were dwarfed potted pines, bamboo and other trees, and the outstanding furnishings were little porcelain Buddhas, ivory Buddhas, and rare pieces0 of pottery in little glass cases. Mr. Chan's hobby, it turns out, is collecting these choice Buddhas, and in reading poetry. We saw some wonderful art pieces there, and for the first time I was able to"feel" the satisfying beauty of Chinese culture. It is simple but potent in its ability to suggest and stimulate one's appreciation of esthetic values. A marble slab, for instance, found to have some irregular black blotches on white, suggests mountains rising out of mist. The longer you look, the more you see in it.

The weather, politically, has been less tense but the students of the government university staged a demonstration in Canton all last week protesting the Japanese Autonomy State in North China, calling a week's vacation from school. A mass meeting of Lingnan students was called Thursday, and the auditorium was packed. They were going to decide whether to demonstrate, to object, or what have you, about north China, also. Most of them were very tense; they all seemed to feel that it is a national crisis. Students from the high school were pretty hot-headed and wanted to demonstrate, but the university students were divided. The chairman, against demonstrating, through not acknowledging it, did a wonderful job of having the meeting end without a decision. He gave a very sensible speech outlining the government's policy and the University's goal of giving education priority; at least, translation from some of the boys gave me that impression. Then the chairman asked for comments. Well, they sat there for an hour and a half, most of the time in silence, because no one could agree on anything anybody else said. There were several debates between one dignified university student and an emotional high school boy. Now and then there was applause, also a few hisses. Several polls were taken, but nothing was conclusive. I wonder whether an orderly meeting of that kind could continue thus in an American university, with only a few saying anything whereas all knew their own minds, and voting only when required - and all this concerning the fate of their country. Many of the students left the meeting discouraged, especially those who wanted to "do something", to demonstrate, or stir up excitement. My roommate's remark was, "There were too many opinions there; we couldn't decide anything." My, how un-American!

The remarkable thing about the meeting was that its results might have been grave, had a mob gotten emotional, for they might very easily, under any one of twenty out of 21 other leaders, have gone into the city, had a fracas with the police, done damage to Japanese property, and gotten themselves hurt.

Logistics problems of a Foreigner

I want to mention the hectic trip down to Hongkong that I just made. My pen had been picked from my pocket, so had to buy a new one and also buy Christmas presents that I couldn't get in Canton. Other people had loaded me down with errands to do in my four hours in Hongkong; Martha gave me a grocery list of $115 to bring back. I left on the one o'clock train and arrived at 4:30. Having done all my errands and having had dinner in the prescribed 4 hours, I sailed in a fine cabin on the SS Kwang Tung at nine that evening. Upon wakening in the morning, I found that the boat was anchored in the river on the opposite side of the Island from the university, and a long way from Canton. The tide had been at fault for that. So the boat was almost 4 hours late getting into Canton.

The Kwang Tung does not dock even in Canton but anchors in the river. The few customs officers were swamped, but finally I found one who transferred me to a white man who could hardly speak English, probably a White Russian. He told me my duty on groceries would be HK$13.20. I knew that was too high, and I didn't have any more HK dollars; so I told him I would go ashore and to change money, then return. I intended to go ashore to Shameen and telephone to Henry at Lingnan and ask him what to do. I got a sampan from ship to shore at an exorbitant price and ripped my coat in getting onto the sampan. At the bank and got a man to phone to Lingnan; the line was busy for half an hour. Then he found that Henry was not available. Well, then I went to a moneychanger to change almost all of my money into HK currency to pay the Customs duty. I though I could complain about he price afterwards. I got another sampan to the ship, and found that the Customs men had left. Then I got a sampan woman to take the groceries from the boat to her sampan. Thus far I had escaped Customs.

To my surprise I found four women instead of two in the sampan taking me from the SS Kwang Tung with all the impedimenta. All the way we fought about price; it seems that two of the women had affixed themselves to my service beyond the original contract. Besides, there was the problem of my having insufficient small local money. When we landed I gave the two original sampan women their money but the other two who had been yelling for a dollar all the way in, were still yelling. I had told them I would pay $.30. When I got off without paying them at all, they quickly came to my price; but since I had no local change, I had to pay them in HK money, which made it more than they were worth.

Now I was about fifty feet away from, and about ten feet below, the street where the rickshaws could haul my goods. There were men there with poles who would logically carry the goods up to the street. The groceries weighed about 170 lbs. They wanted $.40 for taking the stuff that fifty feet. I told them I would pay twenty cents, which even so was too high. They refused to come down in price, thinking they had me over a barrel. Then I dragged the groceries myself to the place where rickshaws could take the load. I'm very stiff today. The waterfront men just looked on, and said nothing. One rickshaw coolie came to help me, but one of the waterfront men started to beat him up for doing so because he hadn't got the job. This made me plenty mad, and I broke out and swore at him in perfect Cantonese. I helped two rickshaw men load the groceries and after one last glowering look at the wharf coolies, I started down the Bund with three rickshaws, headed for Lingnan's wharf in Canton.

It was 11:30 and I hadn't even had breakfast yet. At the Lingnan wharf the coolies hadn't enough change, so I had to overpay them a little, and then I was swarmed upon by sampan people. I shook them off, and got the Wharf Man to help me part of the way with my stuff. Then he quit and I had to drag it myself down to the launch. At the Lingnan dock the launch man and a rickshaw man hauled the stuff up to Henry's house, so my troubles were over. Counting up my funds, I then figured out that I had insufficient funds to have paid Customs in the first place, even if I had had to pay.

Jan 13, 1936

Being in a new environment has already begun to show effects on most of the Exchange Students. Here we are free from family influence and the usual societal constraints, and we are able here to think things out for ourselves with a minimum of external pressure. Not only are we able to think, but we are more or less compelled to re-evaluate for ourselves. It seems to me that this radical change of environment is one of the greatest values in our being here in China. Of course it isn't going to make life any easier for many of us when we return.

Just before Christmas Jimmy (Y.C.) Yen visited our campus. I had heard of him in connection with the Mass Education Movement, and I was glad to see him, hearing him first at a faculty meeting to which we exchange students were invited. He is a young-looking man, quite handsome, of medium height, but rather thin. He is a fascinating speaker, has excellent English, but repeats a great deal. For the last fourteen years he has been engaged in a Rural Reconstruction Program which he founded. In his talk he pointed out that 90% of the Chinese are country and village people - almost as large a percentage as are illiterate. The great leaders of China have always come from the country, and many return there. The hopes and future of China lie in the education and development of country people and their resources. Jimmy Yen's Rural Reconstruction Program works like this: He selects a district in the countryside which is rather typical, well situated, and badly in need of development; then he secures the support of village elders, of the local government, the provincial government and the national government, to work in that district (ten such districts now); the governments turn over to Yen absolute control of the district; he establishes village schools for children and adults, reorganizes the district government, brings in young student carefully chosen by him and imbued with a spirit of sacrifice and service (the pay is minimal); brings in doctors, nurses, sanitation engineers, and students who have been carefully trained for village work; Jimmy emphasizes the sacrifice element to his recruits, and he is the kind of man running the kind of program that would appeal to unselfish, energetic, and patriotic students.

Fourteen years ago he started his first community, now famous Ting Shen, and one of Lingnan's most talented professors has left to join his movement. Dr. Yen had just returned from our neighboring Kwangsi Province, where he had been requested by the independent provincial government there, which he says is the most honest in China, to go and establish three communities of his program. Those will be the first in South China to join Yen's program. Yen knows that in our province, Kwangtung, the officials are corrupt; the city people live self-satisfied lives, and he does not anticipate anything immediate for his program here. Nevertheless he told the faculty what kind of training he wanted students to receive before they come to him, and he told them what kind of students he wants. The conservative Lingnan faculty was rather apathetic toward this, but I'm sure he expected that.

Two days later he spoke to the student body in Mandarin, arousing them quite as successfully as any one could. He is a wonderful speaker. He told them that life was such that we must plan to suffer, and the thing to do is to plan your suffering for the promotion of a common-sense cause. He said that Japan was challenging China to wake up and develop its country, to eliminate graft and to enlighten and modernize the country people: that is the way to meet Japan, he said. His talk kept them half-an-hour overtime but they didn't mind. It made a profound impression on a few of the boys, some of whom may join his movement. All of the students were impressed with the man; but it fell flat, on the whole, on Lingnan's wealthy students, particularly those from Hongkong and overseas. Dr. Yen knew this would happen, of course. Another discouraging thing was that the upper-classmen used his speech as a basis for theorizing and playing with ideas. Jimmy Yen has passed the theorizing stage, and has gone into putting things into action. Eventually his program may be welcomed here; and at present we are sure that he is pursuing a quality program with only quality materials.....I don't think I have ever known of a person who was so clear-minded, so practical, so shrewd, so far-sighted, and so great. He was here three weeks ago now and we hear hardly a mention of him or his program.

One of the interesting things to notice about my Chinese friends is their way of inviting and of handling acceptances. It seems to be done on the spur of the moment. Invitations seldom come early, and the host never seems to notice whether the guests come or not. An (un-tinged) un-Westernized Chinese will accept an invitation with gratitude, and then often fail to show up. His reason, if you are tactless enough to inquire, would be that he had too much business, too many things, to do. This is an example of their individualism. The idea, I suppose, is that the host makes it possible for you to go to his affair if you think when the time comes that you will enjoy it. The host wants you to enjoy whatever you enjoy most, and if you don't come, the host half-expected it and is not disappointed. No feelings are hurt. Excuses for things are not in order also, for they invite comparisons of values and they are seldom solicited.

Last Sunday a group of my friends came into my room and said, "Would you like to go to Chinese dinner with us?"

"Sure; if you would be kind enough to take me. When?"

"Right now. We will go on the bus to Honam. A friend of ours who is going to Japan to study asked us to go and we ask you to come. Do you go?"

I knew that this was a common thing - bringing a friend on your own invitation from somebody else, so I said "Sure". I also expected to see that the bus fares for the entire group would be paid by one student alone: they take turns doing that, even with paying for banquets, without keeping track of whose turn might come up next. In this instance we ate jointly around a round table (which is usual), sharing innumerable vegetables, lotus root, frogs, duck, fish, dirty rice, soups, and shrimps. I still am not sure what we ate. Toward the end of the meal three or four of the students suddenly disappeared and failed to return. Finally I finished and laid down my chopsticks. The remaining three asked me over and over, was I sure I had had enough. Then one student explained to me that in an informal dinner like this, one should leave the table immediately upon finishing, and take tea in the other room. With my big Western or gluttonous appetite, I had kept them there; it would have been rude for them to leave me there gobbling my fill, alone.

Returning from the dentist in Canton the other day, I saw a crowd gathered around a corner of the street. I shoved my way in and saw a poor man apparently suffering from a stroke. Two policemen were trying to calm him and make him comfortable; he seemed to have delusions about his head being cracked open or some such thing. The policemen made him lie down and tried to keep him quiet on the curb until a fine big ambulance full of attendants came. They had a difficult time getting the man inside and there was still some argument over it because he apparently didn’t want to go. They put him back inside and drove off down the street. The police took his basket into custody, but there was nothing in it but some rags, a toothbrush, and a tin cup. It occurred to me later that the man might have been an opium addict.

One night last week we noticed a healthy glow in the sky after dinner, and we knew it was a fire. I borrowed a bicycle and rode down the island toward the brilliant flames, but found that the fire was much too far away. In order to ride out there, I had used a path through the thousands of graves that dot this island. There is something particularly spooky about a Chinese graveyard with its mounds; and in this one there were many newly dug-up graves (either by grave-robbers or by relatives collecting bones so as to allow for new gravesites) so that the path was flanked by pieces of coffins, open graves, and piles of soil. In the red light of the fire I was glad to have a bicycle as company.

An Outing

Last Friday morning Dr. and Mrs. Frank, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace, Miss Stoley, Westburg and I started to spend three days at a monastery, Nam Wah, on the North River. We left with our lunches and some bedding just after sunrise, taking hired automobiles to the train station of the not-yet-completed Canton-Hankow R.R.. There was a line a block long in front of the ticket window, and when we arrived at the train itself there was just time enough to squeeze into a third class car which had no vacant seats, no luggage space, and no floor space. Since it was bitter cold, we didn't mind being packed in for the first two hours. Ours was a ten-car express which went almost 30 mph downhill, and a maximum of 20 mph on the level.

First we rode across the plateau, but soon we began to climb along the hills. On one grade the train went so slowly that it stopped altogether, and the conductors took that opportunity to force off some non-paying riders between the cars. One was actually led off the train by the hair of his head. Another poor man had his basket of worldly goods merely dumped off; he stood beside it mumbling resignedly to himself. The cars of the train, you see, are 1904 models, and they have open-air connections and platforms between them. That was where I rode most of the time, collecting cinders, but getting full benefit of the scenery. The engines were freight engines - slow. The track was very good though, and when they get their new rolling stock from England, they will have a fine railroad.. The cars they are using now have been in constant service for 30 years.

As we left Canton farther and farther behind, the villages grew fewer and fewer, and soon we were going through large spaces of bare countryside. Yes, China is not overpopulated, it’s just that the population is jammed into a few coast cities. The interior of China is wide open. At each station where we stopped, coolies swarmed out at the train, selling fruit and food, carrying the awkward bundles that constitute a Chinese traveler’s luggage. About ten miles from Canton I saw the first Chinese wheelbarrows, and from then on, they grew increasingly numerous. We could easily hear their wheels squeaking above the noise of the train. Chickens and dogs were abundant in all the stations. Occasionally the train stopped for water and once to be re-fueled by coolies carrying the coal in baskets. It ran on schedule, accurately, until we had to wait at a switch for half and hour for another train to pass. Each train had an armored car just behind its coal tender; and soldiers were there to protect the trains. It is not very necessary, for there are very few bandits in this province.

The railroad soon met the brilliant blue river and followed along the side of it through the hills that were rapidly growing to look like mountains. We remarked quite often to one another how it reminded us of Montana’s hills. There were some pine trees, lime rock formations, and some hills that were impressive. Everything seemed full of color: really first-class scenery. Beside the track I saw a Chinese pheasant in the hills.

At about noon the train entered a narrow, steep river gorge, and for half an hour we had marvelous gorge scenery equal to the Rockies, and even to Japan. We could look out and down on the deep blue river and see junks floating downstream. Outside of the gorge we could see ranges of distant mountains behind the clumps of bamboo beside the track. Yes, Chinese art is a fitting depiction of the interior of China, grotesque as it seems. At the next station they told us something was wrong with our car, so we went into the first and second class car at their suggestion, only to find that it was full of army officials. We crowded in, anyway. The rest of the train had lots of soldiers too, some of them wearing shorts, some barefooted, some with tennis shoes, and all with big straw coolie hats and the inevitable safety-pinned label of their I.D.s and rank.

We left the train at Ma Pa station, 130 miles from Canton. There were soldiers all around the station with WW [I] type helmets, machine guns, marching, bugle-ing, etc. The reason was that bandits had robbed a group of travelers in that district two days before us, and they were after their heads. We hired two carriers for our luggage, and we walked between bare hills for more than an hour ‘til we reached Nam Wah well soldiered, and the soldiers followed us around in great curiosity as we went from building to building there.

Like most monasteries, this one was built against a wooded hillside. We entered through an enormous, colorful archway building like the Arc de Triumph in Paris, in which there were four gigantic figures about 30 ft. high. They had varying expressions; but one of them held an enormous paddle in his hand. We passed on through a garden with immense trees, to another building in which there were several rows of gods, patriarchs, saints, etc. This second building was of ancient Chinese architecture, and had an elaborate system of delicate and artistic roof-braces consisting of crossbars and counter crossbars. It reminded us all of the famous temples in Japan [copied from early China]. Turning up a side court, a passageway flanked by mossy stone walls with ferns growing in the clefts, we went past a small courtyard full of plum blossoms. What a heavenly fragrance! Looking around, we could see the roofs of various monastery buildings, each having its own fascinating, characteristic configuration.

We were greeted by some clean-looking, bowing monks who took us directly to the guest house. No conversation – just took us in and made us comfortable for as long as we wanted to stay. We certainly received wonderful service from them. The language at Nam Hua was a peculiar mixture of Cantonese and Mandarin, and many of the monks spoke only Mandarin. The guest house was a new cement building on a hillock above the rest of the monastery. It had an open court, a large sitting room, and four plain, bare bedrooms with planks on sawhorses for beds. Everything was clean and we were given hot water to wash with.

At six o’clock we heard bells ringing and went to watch the ceremony of worship. It was just like Deng Wu except that here there were few monks, less monkey-business, and poorer chanting. The chanting was really pretty bad. These monks, however, seemed much more sincere than at Deng Wu; and in general these seemed to be in a higher type of order. Incidentally, they do their own work rather than hire it done by laypersons. [Deng Wu was Taoist, not Bhuddhist].

This Nam Wah monastery was founded by the sixth Buddhist patriarch, who is now a lacquered mummy enshrined here. He became a patriarch by tying a stone onto his back to make him heavier so that he could operate a treadmill to greater effect. Quite a story is attached to it. We took off our shoes and were led up the back stairs into a curtained shrine where, by candlelight, we saw the seated mummified body of the patriarch, coated in lacquer. None of us doubt that it is genuine. The monk also showed us some other lacquered sitting bodies, but they were less convincing. In the real one we could actually see folds in the skin at his neck. Upstairs we saw the patriarch’s thousand-year-old rice bowl, chopsticks L in a metal case), suttras, and the stone he tied to himself. The monk then took us to a tall, tall building in the second floor of which was hanging from an immense beam an enormous bell, two inches thick, twelve feet high and about seven feet in diameter. We wondered how they got it up there. I forgot to mention the patriarch’s shoes: they were pointed on the toes, as were all shoes at Nam Wah, and they had bells at the center of the thick soles to warn little creatures to get out of the way when the shoes were in use. Buddhists don’t believe in taking life, you know. We next saw the tall pagoda at the monastery and noted the hollow bamboo poles used as water pipes from the spring to the monastery.

We were served excellent vegetarian-Chinese food when we wanted it served, and each time, the cook came in and apologized for its being so bad; we of course told him the truth. Before going to bed we played a telegraph game in which the prize was awarded for the following telegram: "Patty (Mrs. Wallace) ran amok; chipped off lacquer and eloped with monk." That night the rats ran all around our rooms and jumped in and out of our wash-buckets. The following night we closed our doors.

The most surprising thing about monastery trips is that one goes to bed usually at 8 o’clock because everything is so dark and quiet, and sleeps the clock around. In the morning we climbed up to the top of the mountain behind the monastery and got a fine view of the adjacent mountain ranges and valleys. The valley below us was filled with rice fields that were skillfully terraced and used all available water and space. In the afternoon we went on a tour of exploration, in a gorge with precipitous sides and with as fair-sized clear-water stream rushing through over the jagged, bare rocks. Although there was no path, and really no entrance, we climbed up into the gorge for two hours, using all of our wits and muscles. In many places the rocks were impassable, and we had to climb up overhead through underbrush. It was grand scenery, and great fun.

On the way back we walked through the three little villages in the valley and saw how they grind and husk and pound their rice. The pounding is done with a six-inch wooden mallet beating into a round hole in a stone as tension is released from the then-falling mallet. Grinding to loosen the husks seems to be done by two circular disks of enormous size, one rotating on top of another, the surfaces being made of tough bamboo twigs, and these grind the rice between the disks on the exposed rough surface. The loosened husks then are blown away by a simple air blower. All of these devices are worked by hand where they can’t use waterpower.

Our second night at Nam Wah we were surprised to hear some chanting. After dinner, upon investigation, we found that the monks were gathered in the kitchen where a temporary altar had been set up. They were holding worship ceremony to the house-god or God of the Kitchen, who is supposed to rise to heaven on that night and report the affairs of the household. The kitchen, incidentally, was centered around two enormous stoves anchored in the ground so that they had to be fed fuel down steps into the ground. At Nam Wah they burned dry grass which they gather from the mountainside. At the close of the ceremony strings of firecrackers were lighted (behind our backs) by one of the monks to indicate the kitchen god’s entrance into heaven. We were all asked to go into the adjoining room, the dining room, where we found that tea and plates of cakes, peanuts, and water chestnuts had been set at the tables. We sat at a back table on sawhorse seats and soon the monks entered and were seated.

The tables were in two groups, one facing the other, and between the two groups at one end of the room was a table raised on a platform, and a monk with long hair (the others were shaved) and a long goatee of gray color climbed to the platform, tucked his legs up under himself and took the tea cup. Another monk came forward before the "throne" and said, "Please tell us a miracle story". He spoke in Mandarin, but Mr. Wallace could tell us that. Then the old gent told them to go ahead and eat, and told the servers to give them more tea. For a while at first the monks cracked peanuts, but apparently the story was a good one, for they soon stopped and just listened. The old man belched, cleared his throat, and spit vociferously during the tale, and I’m sure it was engrossing. When he had finished, he told the monks to wrap up the food that they hadn’t eaten and take it away with them. Whereupon each monk produced a handkerchief, wrapped up the leftovers and went away.

The next day Bill Westberg and I took our lunch and went for a long hike. We followed a trail through another small gorge and up a long, twisting valley with high mountains at the end of it. We felt as though we were entering an enchanted valley, and the farther we went in through the tall grass among the mountains, the more we felt as though we might as well be in Tibet. There were a few queer, unsociable villages across the river, and occasionally we could see people burning off the tall grass both on the hills and in the valleys. We had been told it was for protection against tigers, but didn’t believe it possible until we saw a fox skin and a wild cat skin being carried by a man we met on the trail In the center of a rather broad plain there was a village of prominent size at a commanding location on the stream. All over the valley, seemingly from nowhere, were appearing peasants with baskets of goods all heading for that village. It seemed as if nomadic mountain people were coming to a village bazaar. We actually felt as if we were a thousand miles away from the outside world. The village looked just like all others except that there was a minimum of writing and notices. At one side of the village was an open space packed with people setting out mushrooms which they had brought from the mountains in enormous gunny sacks. There were rows of crowded temporary restaurants, open stalls, meat markets, all set up tentatively. Silver was being used as money along with coppers and cash coins. Some of the items sold were: thermos bottles, needles, toothbrushes (with folding handles), flashlights, cotton cloth, woolen sweaters, all kinds of food, babies’ rattles, - in fact the most surprising things for a place like this so far away from railroad or highway. There were many gambling stalls in the midst of things; but we couldn’t figure how they were run. Artificial flowers, fancy-colored papers, etc. were being sold for New Year’s festivities.

We left Nam Wah the next morning at sunrise. The Franks, Miss Stoley, and Westberg went back to Canton directly, but the Wallaces and I went back down the railroad to a town called Pa Gong Hao where we got off the train and started for another monastery, Fei Loi.

The town Pa Gong Hao was jammed full of pre-New Years shoppers, and it was only with difficulty that we pushed our way through the throng in the streets. At the river we dickered for price, and just before we left in a large sampan to go down the river, one of the soldiers, apparently a captain, told the boatman not to let us take any pictures. Actually there was nothing visible to take pictures of, but the boatman said they were building something that was carefully guarded from sight - he said even the Chinese weren’t allowed to see it. People in canton say it is a munitions factory built by German technicians. We rode in the sun under the sampan roof down the small river and passed a small diesel riverboat stuck on a sandbar. We even managed to beat that motorized boat to Fei Loi. Soon after leaving Pa Gong Hou our small river emptied into the North river, very large; and we were soon going down the North River through a steep gorge. The river was very wide and quite deep; but it did not flow very fast. There were rafts of logs, large poles, and pine cuttings going down the stream very slowly toward Canton. The steep slopes of the gorge were absolutely uninhabited, and the towering mountain walls of the gorge seemed extremely high. We found out in conversation with our sampan man that he had lived in Singapore for several years. The men of Kwangtung province go everywhere.

Around a bend about three-quarters of an hour down the gorge we saw a group of buildings at the bottom of a draw in the side of the gorge and extending upward into the rocks. There, isolated in the river gorge, was Fei Loi Monastery.

We went up the stone steps from the clear river and were conducted by monks into some homelike guest chambers above the river. Fei Loi had a lazy, peaceful atmosphere, ideal for romance, and its location was gorgeous (what else?) We felt that we could stretch our lungs with plum-blossom-scented air, and sit and look at the gorge or wander peacefully through the rambling courtyards, forever. We received equally courteous treatment at Fei Loi, and we had a very restful night on our boards.

Late in the afternoon when we arrived there, I walked up the stone path past a beautiful waterfall, and past two houses that were actually nestled underneath overhanging rocks as one sees in Chinese paintings. Chinese painting, suggestive and grotesque as it is, does really convey the actual scenery of the interior of the country. I climbed on up the burned-over hills, making my own trail and doing some real climbing until at sunset I was at the summit of the mountains around the river. It rose as a jade-green ribbon lying flat at the bottom of the mountain-slopes. In the distant valley, over the other lower mountains, I could see Pa Gong Hao and the railroad. In the opposite direction, beyond the gorge, I could see the flat plateaus on which were the North and West Rivers. I could almost see to Canton, 50 miles away. It was a truly marvelous view.

We went to bed at 7:00 and more than slept the clock around. There was not a noise except the whistling of wind up the gorge and an occasional lapping of water when a boat slipped by. In the morning they brought us toothbrushes and tongue-scrapers.

Seeing rural China balances the crowding and cosmopolitanism at Canton. One sees how reliable the country people are and how firmly China’s life is rooted in the land. After seeing the country and country people, I have a feeling, growing ever stronger, that if China has a future it is as an agricultural nation. I am becoming more and more and more convinced of that kind of future for China; and I am surer and surer that Jimmy Yen is on the right path. The pity of it is that so few of the Chinese students realize this. I feel that they are making a mistake in trying to make China an industrial nation like all others. China’s strength lies in its rural life, and to me THAT seems to be the strength that has kept China alive for four thousand years.

The next day I started back for Canton, leaving the Wallaces with another day at Fei Loi. I left in the early morning sun with a pack on my back and walked down the narrow trail or towpath on the side of the cliffs above the river. I passed several men pulling boats with ropes as they trudged up the towpath. In many places the rocks had deep ruts worn in them where for centuries tow-ropes had worn their traces into them. After an hour, I reached another draw in the gorge wall, and I walked up the hill to another monastery, Chung Fa, near which is yet another one, Fei Ha. Chung Fa was high above the gorge in the woods consisting of little pines. Once again there was an atmosphere of tranquillity and serenity, a scent of plum blossoms, and a cup of fragrant tea. A monk there spoke little English but excellent French. I stayed for an hour resting and climbing around the rocks, then left for Pa Gong Hou. The country people wanted to converse, but soon found out how limited my Cantonese is. I had to cross the little river again to reach P Gong Hou, and I asked women washing clothes there how much it cost to go across on the ferry rowboat. They told me it was free, and also told the ferryman that I had asked. I was glad not to be gypped, as they might readily have taken advantage of my ignorance.

While I was passing through Pa Gong Hou, the train whistled, and I arrived at the station in time to see it disappear in the distance. It was the last train that day. The Wallaces had asked me to go back to Fei Loi if I missed it, but that would cost too much. I bought some cakes and oranges in the station for lunch. While I was deciding whether to sleep in the station or try to find a board bed to sleep on in Pa Gong Hau, a trainman came to me and told me that there would be a freight train in a few minutes. Happily enough, it came - with two passenger cars attached. I went into the baggage car, which was full of chickens, and by fraternizing with the trainmen I got a free cup of tea.

Approaching Canton, we passed a large cement factory and a modern sulfuric acid plant as well as many other factories. I arrived in Canton at six o’clock and found it full of people already gathered for Chinese New Year, which will be tomorrow. The crowd and the city is just as it was for the Double Tenth celebration. The government has jailed all of the pick-pocket suspects so that the holiday will be enjoyed more safely.

When I arrived home, I found that my roommate had a friend in my room (I had told him he might do so) and that friend had used my sheets, my face lotion, my shaving tackle, and my slippers and had "borrowed" some writing paper…. The idea is that you should not be selfish and should let others enjoy what you have, among friends. We foreigners are just too dumb to enjoy the things that others have – in return for what they take from us.

Yesterday I suddenly remembered that I had passed my 21st birthday three days ago and had forgotten it completely. I wonder how often that happens! ….

…Lei Po-meng, one of my freshman friends, took me into the city to his house in the afternoon. He lives in a semi-modern house in the nice old Chinese district of Sai Kwan. I supped tea and looked at paintings on the wall while we conversed. He had a 16-year-old brother and a 15-year-old sister who spoke a little English. All of the children were attractive, but particularly the 9-year-old brother. Their mother has had bound feet. She is very sacrificing as a mother, and is a fine woman. I talked with her only through translation, however. By chance the father was there, just returned from Hong Kong where his business is based. He is slightly dissipated and his only interest in the home is his Confucian ancestor worship and sufficient financial support for the wife and children. Lei Po-meng took me to a Chinese teahouse where we had sharks fin soup, Chinese dumplings, and other delectable treats.

Jan 28, 1936

Four days ago was Chinese New Years Day. The streets were jammed with people and business was humming as it does before Christmas at home; the atmosphere was festive - as close to our Christmas as the Chinese can come. Red drapes were hung on the riverboats, junks and sampans, while houses likewise were festooned with fine collections of New Years wishes at their doors. Shops were set up on the sidewalk, and the streets were a mass of color. Art curios were being sold cheaply, so that vendors could clear out their stocks and pay up their debts. New Years presents were being bought and people were hurrying around with pre-Christmas looks on their faces. Firecrackers galore added to the interest of this affair, and the place was like Fourth of July in that respect. Bombardments of firecrackers are still taking place, since the New Years celebration lasts a week.

Shuttlecock is extremely popular here: on the streets one sees all kinds of children, soldiers, and even adults kick the feathered shuttlecock from one to another keeping it in the air as long as possible with their feet. Another thing I may not have mentioned is the nice big black toasted beetles sold in Canton as food. They're very good I understand; and I may have eaten some already.

Two days after New Year Lei Po Meng took me again to his home, this time for lunch. All of the stores were closed, but the streets were sprinkled with families walking as units in their bright new long-gowns with children too, making their official New Years calls on relatives and friends. They were certainly handsome in their bright silks, all cleaned up. One little boy got car-sick on the bus, spoiling his little brother's new clothes.

Lei's mother and little brother were the only ones home, and Sam Lan, another friend who had been invited, failed to show up. Lei's mother cooked the meal for the two of us herself, claiming that the servant was too poor a cook. We had roast pork fried oysters, duck cake roasted, boiled chicken, a plate of mixed mushrooms and vegetables, and oyster-and-melon soup - a wonderful meal. After lunch we talked, and Lei's little brother drew pictures for us with his pencil, really quite good. His mother did not eat with us but stayed in background. During dinner I asked, "Is that little servant girl your servant's daughter?"

"No. She is a slave girl, mui chai."

"You mean she is a servant not related to the other older servant?"

"Yes. She is not related. But she is really a slave. When there is a famine in the country, the farmers will sell a daughter as a servant to keep the rest of the family from starving. My father bought this girl for $50 when she was a baby."

"Do you just keep her here to work without pay?"

"Yes. We send her to school and clothe her."

"Can her parents buy her back again?"

"Yes, when the famine is over, if they can pay $50. Of course she was only a baby when they sold her."

"Do her parents come to see her?", I asked.


"Do they know where she is?"


"Will she always be your slave, or will she be given her freedom?"

"Yes. We will arrange a marriage for her when she is 18."

As with any kind of slavery, conditions depend upon the buyer. In China conditions for a slave or Mui Chai are not very bad, except when they are sold to proprietors of harlot establishments. The "Door of Hope" mission in Canton is established and operating efficiently in its services to these Mui chai from the red light district.

Lei took me for a walk around the city. One of the first things we saw was a dead body being taken down the street to the undertaker by two coolies who had the stretcher suspended from a pole between their respective shoulders. The body was covered of course. We passed a large house with elaborate decorations in black and white on an enormous arch constructed over the doorway. Lei said someone had recently died there. Incidentally, Lei's house was not decorated with lanterns and bunting because they were in the three years' mourning period for the paternal grandmother, who had died two years ago. Lei said that he couldn't be married during those three years, even if he wanted to marry and were engaged.

Farther into the city we were surprised to see Martial Law Guards again, and soon some motorcycle cops cleared the street and an immense parade of automobiles all decorated and full of notables rushed by, escorted by policemen pedaling furiously on bicycles. In the middle of the parade was a large car with the blinds pulled down containing the personage of Hu Han-min whom they were welcoming back to the city. He has just returned from Europe; he is a native Cantonese, was one of Sun Yat-sen's co-workers and will soon be going to Nanking presumably to become Premier in place of Wang Ching-wei who was wounded by assassins. The parade seemed endless. The most humorous thing was the number of touring cars in which occupants of the back seats lit strings of firecrackers held in their hands, holding them out of the sides of the cars to explode as the cars went by. The Chinese certainly know how to handle fireworks first-hand.

Feb 13, 1936

Last night a report was given to some of the faculty by Mr. Taam, the Librarian, who went to Nanking representing the Lingnan faculty at a a conference of universities and high schools called by President Chiang Kai-shek. He had called the conference to bring about an understanding with the schools about the "National Crisis". It was hoped that he could stop student demonstrations and student strikes.

According to Dr. Taam, the representatives were hustled to the tomb of Dr. Sun Yat-sen for ceremonies in the morning, then taken to luncheon with Chiang on the first day. Only the faculty representatives, not the students, were present then. There were about 300 representatives and 200 detectives at the luncheon. For three hours various representatives spoke from the floor, about 30 in number, while Chiang and his Minister of Education took notes. Dr. Taam sat five detectives away from Chiang, he said; he looked pale, but active, and in good health. Dr. Hu Shih was the first to speak. He asked why Chinese troops had been withdrawn on the arrival of Japanese troops in the North, and no obstacles put in the way of the Japanese. Also, why the "secret" treaties concluded with Japan were not made public to Chinese. Also, what was the policy of the government in meeting the crisis?

After three hours of questions and speeches, the Minister of Education closed the meeting, inviting written comment from those who had had no chance to speak. The following day he said he had stayed up half the night reading those comments.

On the second day Chiang gave a luncheon to the student and faculty representatives, with the press excluded. He spoke from three in the afternoon until seven at night answering the questions of the previous day and outlining his policy. Although not what he actually said, the gist of it was this:

There have been no secret treaties with Japan; all agreements, when made, will be made public.

China is not quite ready to fight.

Compromise will be made with Japan without permanent loss of territory or rights.

If this is not possible, China will fight (soon).

Chiang trusts and has complete faith in all of his military officers, even in the North. [One year later General Chang Hsueh-liang of Manchuria kidnapped Chiang Kai-shek at Sian, holding him for a promise to fight Japan immediately; Chiang made a promise of sorts and escaped during a military seige.]

China's military strength is unbelievably great.

Chiang will take blame for and suffer the consequences of anything that should happen.

China is preparing to fight, but will not do so until sure of comparative victory, or unless it is necessary to fight.

In case of war, Chiang himself would go to the front and could be shot by any of his men if he failed to go.

The emphasis for the present is in strengthening and reconstructing and unifying the nation.

Eventually China wishes to take back Korea and Taiwan.

Chiang personally would guarantee the integrity of Manchuria.

Chiang needs the trust and support of the entire nation.

Next day the newspapers reported he had spoken on the New Life Movement. All of the delegates were impressed by Chiang's sincerity and executive ability. On the third day they were shown the military training schools at Nanking, the modern capitol buildings, and the military developments and training, which according to Dr. Taam are really unbelievably strong. In those schools whenever the name of the Generalissimo is mentioned, the students all stand at attention.

One hates to see China forced to such a position of intense militarism, and we hope that when the danger is over, the nation will quiet down again. It is unbelievable that China could duplicate Japan as regards the military, and even now, the masses are unchanged in their local points of view and their daily thoughts.

Something that I have felt for a while and can now express is the hopelessness of trying to carry on a satisfying serious conversation with the local boys. It leaves me with a feeling that I'm licked. They know what is in my mind long before I say - even when what I say is an attempt to conceal what I'm thinking. This makes me mad, for I have always thought I was good at this knack, myself. Then, when they already see what I really have in mind for discussion, and I try to draw them out into the open and into frankness, they refuse to come out, and it make me feel like a fool for wanting to be direct. Their speech is hinter den Blumen (behind the flowers), so to speak, and I am convinced of its superiority. The boys are naturally masters of human relationships and unexpressed understandings: it is almost uncanny. It pertains only to conversations and relations of a serious nature. It is the basis for that elusive Chinese characteristic of disposition, humor, and harmony in relationships. I hope to learn more of this quality of smoothness in human relationships. I describe what it is and can recognize it as a valuable trait closely connected with the secret of the strength of the Chinese social order.

The other night some of my friends were talking in a room, one of them telling a story in an animated way with intense focus. The others put in remarks from time to time and split their long-gowns with laughter most of the time. I asked them afterwards to explain what they were laughing at. It was about a patent medicine barker who was selling cough medicine, but who had such a bad cough himself that he could hardly "bark". They thought this situation tremendously funny, and then began enlarging on it, some of them suggesting ridiculous things that might be in the medicine. One of them said that he may have been coughing on purpose so as to make you feel sorry for him and to remind you of your own tendency toward coughs and your misery at that time. The boy who got the biggest laugh though, was the one who suggested that the barker was trying to give his cough to his prospective customers - just to let them see for themselves how effective medicine really was, another added. "Yes," another said, "the satisfaction over getting rid of that terrible cough would be worth catching it for."

Another Outing

Last week, just before the new semester, I decided I needed to take a trip in the three days before school started again. It was so late that I could find only three Chinese boys willing to go, and none of the Exchangers wanted to, because they had just come back from trips themselves. At nine o'clock on the night before I was to leave, two of the boys found they had failed in Mathematics and decided to stay for a make-up test. The third boy wouldn't go without the others. I had already bought cookies and sandwiches for four, so I chased down to the other dormitory and tried to get some other Chinese boys to go at the last minute. In one room there was a boy who said that he and three friends were planning to go to the same place on the same bus as I had planned to take. I hurriedly invited myself to join them and promised to meet them at the 7:30 bus in Canton in the morning. The place to which we were going was a large mountain, the highest in Kwangtung and Kwangsi, which had several monasteries tucked in the folds of it foothills.

I arose at 5 o'clock and after breakfast I took a sampan up the cold dark river to Canton. It was surprising how quickly the sampan people changed their boat from a bed chamber into a passenger boat for hire. At Canton I spoke the wrong tone to my rickshaw man, so ended a long distance away from the bus. After a great deal of trouble I reached it and the four boys just one minute ahead of time. The bus had a 1932 Chevrolet motor and a 1916 bus body with crowded seats for about 18. There was no back to the seat I occupied. As we left Canton into the hills, the road was swarming for two miles with marching troops of Chinese soldiers. Seven of the occupants of our bus were nice-looking soldiers.

The road was unpaved out of Canton, barely wide enough to two buses to pass, and had a washboard surface in spots. It climbed some steep hills, went through some excellent rock cuts, and over many temporary wooden bridges across which I wouldn't lead more than two horses. At the foot of the hills were rice fields, some of them plowed, with villages hidden occasionally by bamboo clumps. Once we passed a herd of black goats.

We made a short stop at the crossing of the East River where there is a large town, and watched the river junks pass under the concrete bridge. I got better acquainted with my new friends, and found that one of them was a Chinese from Singapore, one from the country near Canton, and the other two were Hongkong boys. They were very nice, not very westernized, and were good company. The boy from Singapore now living in Canton made a special point ot answering my questions and telling me about Chinese matters on this trip. All were sophomores.

We left the bus after a three-and-a-half-hour ride, getting off at the foot of the mountain. On our walk to the monastery (2 miles) we passed large earthenware pots sitting in the fields or reposing in niches in the hillside. They contain the exhumed bones of peasants' ancestors. I guess this shows that the Chinese urn their burials.

Chung Hui, the Taoist Monastery, was shoved into the woods at the foot of the mountain. Like Buddhist monasteries in appearance, with rambling halls, courtyards, and temple buildings reminiscent of a medieval castle, it offered lodging and food to travelers. It had the distinction however, of having a new guesthouse with clean wooden beds and bedding, and differed a little in that some excellent mural paintings of real art were on the upper parts of many of the walls. I was amused at the boys saying repeatedly how still and quiet it was; but when I considered that they never escape noise of some kind or another in the city, this was not surprising.

The Taoist monks were all old men with beards, Chinese length, their hair tied up into a knob on top of their heads. Their hats were of an ancient Chinese style. These Taoists have great freedom and the monks are all allowed to visit their families and wives whenever they wish. They are all roguish old fellows with a half belief in fairies, one of whom each of them himself wants to become, and they worship spirits.

In the afternoon we took a walk to another Taoist monastery, Paak Hok Chi, about three miles away around the base of the mountain. Although not so large as Chung Hui, it was essentially the same. But it had electric lights, as did an adjoining house or country villa belonging to an army official. We walked up a little stream in the ravine and saw a modern powerhouse with its little dam and water system. Going on up the bank above the stream we passed through some lovely scenery characterized by bold, round rocks sticking up out of the grassy and slightly wooded hills, individually and on top of one another. Such an effect can be seen in some Chinese paintings. Some of the rocks beside the trail had beautiful characters carved into them - bits of poetry or moral exhortations. Finally we reached a natural bridge - the first I've seen - which looked so natural as to seem unnatural. By that time we were in the clouds and the boys were tired, so we retraced our steps.

The main temple hall of the Taoist monastery looked much like a Buddhist temple except that the three images at the front of the room had beards, the drapery was cleaner, the hangings were of polished brass, and the altar more orderly. On both sides of the main altar were tables each containing four paintings, making eight altogether, each with its own little altar. As nearly as I could make out, they represented the spirits of the ocean, fire, rain, volcanoes, sun, moon, etc. The priests knelt before the pictures and recited the Tao Teh Ching in chant, with drums, symbols, bells, etc. as accompaniment. They did not walk around the room or kowtow as much as the Buddhists, nor did they sign with their fingers. The sense of rhythm seemed to be quite pronounced, and one or two of the monks twisted their bodies in rhythm as they chanted the classic. Probably the average visitor would not notice the difference between this and a Buddhist setting.

That afternoon a monk with a twinkle in his eye took us into the woods nearby to see the scenery. We followed the pine-trunk water pipes up the hill, and soon we were walking up a path through queerly shaped boulders and freak rock formations. One stone was perched precariously on top of a large rock and was said to have "flown" there. The monk had a tale about each freak rock formation, most of them dealing with fairies and immortals. There was a cave under a rock in which there was a black-faced idol contemplating incense before him. Another cave was said to have been smaller at one time and to have grain pouring out of it. A greedy farmer sought to get more from the cave to sell, but when he made the cave larger, the flow of grain stopped. Still another cave had its entrance half-covered by roots from small trees growing on top of its doorway. All the way up the trail there were pieces of poetry carved on the rocks, and my friends were continually stopping to read and admire them. They seemed to have a calm enjoyment of everything evidenced by their silent and leisurely contemplation. The few poems that they translated for me were choice bits. At one place there was a rock gateway through which the path led, called " Gateway of the Clouds". Beside it were characters:

"Each speck of dust will meet its raindrop;

each cloud from heaven at the cloud-gate stops..."

On our return we were shown a well at which a certain saint was supposed to have become a fairy after drinking the water. In our living room at the monastery there was a painting of Li Tai-po lying drunk on his lute, a wine jug beside him and the moon shining through the plum-blossoms.

We received very good food at the monastery: Taoists are not vegetarians - but the monk thought it queer that we refused his wine. We ate a lovely dish of something like caviar which was supposed to have turned another Taoist priest into an immortal fairy.

I must confess that that night I seemed very close to understanding the Taoist sensing of the supernatural, and I found it easy to understand how the country people can worship rocks and trees in their animistic beliefs. It seemed the most natural thing in the world at Lo Fau Mountain, and I almost felt that there might be something to this supernaturalism. What had they put into that heavenly food?!

The second day we went about seven miles around the base of the mountain to spend the night in Wang Lung Monastery higher up the mountainside. It was like the others in appearance, order, etc., but it was dirtier. The path leading to it followed the upper bank of a ravine, crossing and re-crossing from time to time the stream that made many lovely waterfalls as it flowed down from the maintain. Again the trail was lined with occasional carved messages on the rocks. At the back of this monastery was a small house where there were five or six nuns, chanting while we were there. Some local views hold that they are nymphomaniacs whom the monks are pleased to gratify.

We spent the afternoon climbing about the mountainside and looking at the monastery. I found that they were burning rice-husks to use in polishing brass; it seemed to be effective. We went with another quaint old monk to see a lovely waterfall about 100 feet high, but not running with much water. Nevertheless it was lovely to watch, and the Chinese boys sat looking at it for a long time. Near the waterfall were some bushes on which were located some nests like large birds' nests made of leaves. I had seen some of these being carried on poles in villages below. The boys said that they were ants' nests (I saw the ants) and that these ants kill harmful insects in the trees, and therefore the nests are collected and taken to orchards and gardens.

High on the mountain we arrived at a large cave formerly used by bandits, it was said. The cave was large enough to accommodate 50 people, and was formed by one tremendous overhanging rock. A small stream trickled down through one side of it. A Chinese cook-stove and an altar with a stone on it saying "Seat of the Gods" were the only things in this immense cave.

At this point I observed that, with few exceptions, the southern Chinese students and gentry have very little physical endurance and strength. Some of them have sports and normal play now; but those with a Chinese education are rather weak. They acknowledge readily an unfavorable comparison to foreigners, and attribute that difference to the higher nutritional value of Western food as compared with what the Chinese can get.

These boys became quite frank in telling me about the Chinese family system, social patterns, and about their homes. Apparently the Red Chamber Dream is an authentic portrayal of many traits of Chinese morality and the family system as it still exists in current tradition. Their morality is wonderfully high, and their restrictions tight. But the boys told of the autocratic, dictatorial power of their elders, about the conditions in their own families, and many other things I wanted to know. One of the boys is the second son of his father's concubine; says that the legal wife is jealous of his own mother and that she, his own mother the concubine, tries to keep peace in the household. Another boy is the third son of the third concubine; says the concubines' and legal wife's children live in different houses. Another boy say says his mother, the legal wife, asked the father to take a concubine, and they live in perfect harmony. The fourth has only legal relatives. All of these guys are given a liberal "Western" education by their parents and will be allows to select or approve of their own wives. They surprise me with their common-sense evaluation of their own Chinese social system and the changes it is facing.

I haven't mentioned the great Chinese custom of spitting whenever impelled. Cuspidors are placed within shoot-able distance from every section of a Chinese home, and where there are no cuspidors they use dirt floors. Several of the monks spit long and loud while talking to us.

I was surprised at the monastery in the evening to see one monk walk through with an opium pipe and an opium lamp. It is not unthinkable that he took it for himself, but it may have been for one of the guests. In the evening my friends admired the calligraphy shown them by the monks before we went to bed. Calligraphy is truly an art. That night we heard the booming of the gong, the beating of drums, and the tinkling of bells in droning rhythm as the monks did early morning pre-dawn prayers. It is an uncanny noise in stillness of the night.

I must relate the ceremony of going to the toilet in this last, or for that matter, in most any monastery. You apologetically whisper the magic words "Tai Bin" to a monk, who immediately shouts it loud enough to jar your teeth. Then the word is shouted down through the corridors in matter of fact way, "Visitor wants to do #2". The message is relayed vocally until the monastery resounds with it, then another monk ask you again, just to be sure you mean "now", and leads you to someplace in the dungeon or outback which is in many monasteries not only padlocked, but actually barred heavily. In this monastery a coolie had to be summoned to take down the bars. With an assemblage of escorts to see you in, one of them asks solicitously, "Have paper?" Then they go away.

The third day at Lo Fau Mountain it rained. So we decided to leave. Under borrowed umbrellas we made our way through the slimy mud to the village below to wait for the bus. In two hours it came, already fully loaded. We crowded in, standing up, but fortunately soon got seats as a few people got off. The road was hard but covered with slippery muddy soup. The bus went from 30 to 40 mph including curves. I thought for sure we would never reach Canton; several times we almost left the road, and once all of us were thrown onto the floor. I actually bounded six inches into the air from my seat at the back of the bus. Two of the windows in the back were gone, and mud from the wheels splashed up on my head and jacket. For four hours I hung on tight and watched the fellow passengers turning green. The bus seemed to use the passenger compartment as its exhaust pipe, and that, with the speed and bumpiness and twisting of the road made two of the passengers carsick: one inside, and the other next to me out through the back window just in time. It was a long trip as the bus slithered toward Canton. It still seems queer to see Chinese dressed in foreign clothes, looking at wristwatches, smoking cigarettes from elegant cases and lighting them with cigarette lighters.

Feb. 29, 1936

The Chinese boys are really marvelous at tennis. It is amazing how expert they are. That and Track are the most favored sports (because of the individualistic element) while soccer comes next.

The other day when I went to the Rice Hall for lunch, the waiter was careless about handling my order, and made no effort to get my food for me. Chan Kwan-man, the littlest boy at my table, grabbed a butter dish, marched up to the waiter, said, "Hey you!" and then conked him on the head with the butter dish, telling him to get my food for me. I was sorry that it happened, but it was really quite funny to see happen. I got my food, of course.

Many of the students and, in fact all literate persons in Canton spend time in bookshops. The idea of a bookshop here is that it is a fine place to go to read - everything within reach, and a great variety. Profit rides on an assumption that since there are no seats, the readers will get tired of standing to read their book, and will buy it in order to finish it, after they have become engrossed. It looks like a busy library; and besides, the system is a good check-up on what's is in stock, what is selling, and what is not. Strangely enough, people don't seem to walk away with out paying - probably because the literates are the rich who can afford to pay.

Three weeks ago when I went to the Canton Hospital to give blood, Dr. Thompson showed me all around the place and its new buildings. He has been made a General in the Chinese Army partly in recognition of his services to China and of his ability and skill, and partly so that in case of another war he will be obeyed by the officers who come under treatment. Dr. Thompson is a missionary doctor. He showed me the records of several interesting cases they have there now; told me about the feverish work they used to do in periods of civil strife, and told me about his intimate contacts with Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Canton Hospital (under Lingnan) is as fine and up-to-date as any in the States, for its size. They have some wonderful instruments and equipment. Western or scientific medicine has a long way to go to become known to China's masses, who still have native treatment or none at all. And too, even when known, Western medicine is a rich man's privilege.

The other day I came into a room where three of my local friends were laughing at an overseas Chinese boy in his attempts to read magazine advertisements written in Chinese. What he couldn't actually read he was improvising rather cleverly and getting lots of laughs. It seems that although he could speak Cantonese, he could read only third grade stuff.

The other night we had an interesting example of the slowness of old Chinese moral attitudes to adapt to modern trends. At an all-college mixer only one-fourth of the girls showed up, and most of them were overseas girls or girls with acknowledged boy-friends. The other one-fourth sat on one side of the hall, by themselves. Lawrence Lew-Kay (USA-raised) tried to get them mixed up with the boys by having a grand march not for dancing but for seating first a boy then a girl, in turn. At his announcement about 15 of the girls left the room, and when it came to the Grand March itself, none of the boys would step out and do it. Finally the westernized ones stepped out and after a sad and embarrassing delay, the feat was accomplished. About 75% of the girls here are never known to speak to, or to answer, a boy, under any but unusual circumstances; for in old China when a couple didn't know each other until marriage, acquaintance was regarded as the first and irretrievable step toward matrimony, or else as a sin - much as kissing and petting used to be monitored, with us.

In a bull session with some of my Chinese friends last week, we were comparing Eastern and Western notes, and somehow got to exchanging some personal information. As I have been doing until this last month, I told them frankly what the state of things was in my own bailiwick, but when it came time for one of the boys, Shen Lan to speak up, he didn't offer anything pertinent. I asked more questions trying to get him to respond in kind, whereupon he gave ridiculous answers which were supposed to be funny, but which made a fool out of me for asking such questions. Of course, I then realized I had been indiscreet in pushing him, but I was angry about receiving lies or evasions when I had told the truth from my side; so I told Shen Lan indirectly, through talking generalities to the other two boys, that I wanted truth for truth. I knew he was smart enough to hear a rebuke, and I thought the other two boys not smart enough to catch on. The effect was that he had been embarrassed by it, and if the other boys had understood my veiled reproof, he lost face. Later that night, in thinking it over, I realized that because of the cultural and national differences, I should not have expected him to answer my questions in an American way, and I began to be sorry for both my indiscretion and over having scolded him.

The next day both he and I felt that relations were not comfortable, and I invited those boys to dinner at Baxter House. Late that night Shen Lan, (who is a tall boy of northern Chinese ancestry) came to see me in my room. He told me I had been angry the night before because he didn't answer my probing; said he had not told me the truth in order to test me, for if I became angry when he lied, he would know that I had told the truth from my side; he said that his first responses were true, but when he saw that I was pressing and doubting him, he fabricated; he said that he doubted sincere friendship because of certain things I had said during the past month, and he was glad to "test me" and find a favorable result. I told him that the things he had doubted about me last month were my attempts to change from Western to a Chinese mode of acting. He had not understood the change.

That was his effort to patch up the misunderstanding; the Chinese don't seem to like misunderstandings. His way of doing it was very gracious; he lost no face, and I lost no face. Whether or not what he said in doing this, was true, I don't know; but the main thing was resumption of normal relations between us. He patched the thing up in a skillful way that I could not have done. In this sort of thing he has taught me much about the Chinese viewpoint and way of doing things interpersonally. He is a wonderful fellow, from whom I can and have learned much.

A few nights ago I invited the four boys who had gone to Lo Fau to Dr. Frank's faculty house to play games and chat. It was their first visit to a Western home. Two interesting questions were asked: Did we Westerners use our living rooms when we weren't receiving guests? and, Since Dr. Frank was a successful professor and a man of degrees, had he taken a concubine yet? I explained the Western moral, religious, and legal injunctions about marriage, about which they had known of course as ideals but about which they wanted to know the actual practice. They, like other Chinese students, have the Western monogamous family standard for themselves personally, but they just wanted to know more about actualities. We played "Pit", talked; and they ate banana cream pie, thanked us and departed.

Last Saturday I went with the Social Science Club to visit the Municipal Insane Asylum formerly under missionary supervision. They turned us loose in the place to look around as we liked. They had 440 women and about 600 men. Thirty percent of the insane were Chinese from overseas, and I heard some incredible swearing in English besides spirited tirades about religion, sex, politics, etc. Ninety percent of the overseas were syphilitics. Thirty percent of the total men were victims of opium; fifty percent, of alcohol. The harmless childlike ones ran around loose in the yards playing and jabbering. Some had their hands tied behind their backs. Others were kept in solitary confinement. Most of them slept in large rooms closely crowded together. They haven't enough funding to effect many cures or to do much more than keep the place clean, but they deal with the patients kindly, with Oriental patience. Very few cases seem to be violent; but some of the patients were kept in bed under wire screens. They didn't seem to be unhappy. They had medical treatment, baths; spacious grounds, good food. It was really quite surprising to see such an institution in existence here.

We also visited the Ming Som Blind School run by missionaries of very fundamentalist type. It was efficient, but sad.

The two movies Crime and Punishment and Les Miserables have been here within a week of each other. I took some Chinese friends to both pictures and was amazed to find that all of them liked Crime and Punishment much better. Les Miserables with its idealism was not suited to their practical outlooks. They though it good of course, but not so good as Crime and Punishment. Most seemed to think that Javert was right and that law is necessary; that he committed suicide partly to save his face and partly because he couldn't face up to all-evident facts; they thought Jean Valjean a fool not to shoot Javert when he could. But in spite of their failure to sympathize with the spirit of Jean Valjean, they remain kind themselves, considerate, benvolent, and honorable people. Strange, isn't it, how the "heathen" can be kind and so much our equals - in some instances our superiors - without having our precise emotional and spiritual ideals! Lin Yu-tang calls it common sense and the experience of centuries. I think I begin to see what Shao-chang Li meant when he said: Taoism is the kettle, Confucianism the fuel, Buddhism the water, and Christianity the flame. Perhaps to put it differently, Christianity is the steam that can make the Chinese engine go. Still, my impression is that the Chinese students, by and large, will remain uninterested in religion, and through their own methods and peculiar self-inspiration, will accomplish in the end what we accomplish with our steam.

I saw Dr. Thompson do a one-hour combination appendectomy and hernia with one incision under spinal anesthesia at the Canton Hospital - that is, the patient was under spinal anesthesia. Quite adept and successful! - as was another done on a child with an infected jaw, later. They use also intravenous injection of barbiturates for anesthesia.

April 8, 1936

I took a late afternoon steamboat to visit Macao, the Portuguese historical colony about three or four hours across the bay from Hongkong. Riding in crowded steerage, I was interested to watch the professional storytellers and the hawkers who were trying to sell patent medicines and other items. The myriad of islands around Hongkong in the sea all the way to Macao made lovely scenery. I talked to a Chinese boy who worked on the boat, and when we reached Macao he took me to a hotel, Chinese, where after refusing a prostitute, I spent a noisy night.

Macao (O-Mun in Cantonese) is on a small neck of land extending into the sea, surrounded by islands. Being on a peninsula that way, it is completely surrounded by the sea. It has a lovely waterfront, with business on one side of the peninsula and a waterfront drive on the other side. There are about 150,000 inhabitants, of whom about 2,000 might be called Portuguese, many of whom are Eurasians. Everything seems to be mixed except for the Indian Sikh policemen. The place has narrow cobblestone streets, European-style houses, Chinese style houses, villas, all mixed in a peculiar way. It reminded me of Europe, yet it was Chinese. The place has an atmosphere of calmness and lassitude and of mixed Chinese and Southern European ways that give it a kind of charm that is individually characteristic. I liked it much better than Hongkong.

Macao has for a long time subsisted on gambling, opium and prostitution. There were still plenty of gambling houses in the central district of town, which were operating anemically while I was there, and opium is all over the place. I was told that many suicides result from eating opium. Fumatorios are all over the place, but many of them are shut down for the present. The thing that surprised me was that no effort seems to be made to suppress or hide opium. In fact, I saw it being made at an office and factory, a very large one, in the center of town.

Lotteries flourish all over the place. The first night I got there I walked around through streets lined with brothels, two- and three-story houses with the girls and woman managers sitting inside the doorways. Half of the houses that I saw were closed, vacant, and I saw only one white man on the street looking for such a place. Of course they really do business. I was told that during the past year, business for prostitutes had fallen off so much that over half of the owners had declared their establishments bankrupt. That element may disappear from Macao completely in the course of a few years. There were prostitutes for the night in the room adjoining mine at the hotel.

But Macao has another aspect, which I saw the next day, and its charm exists above and in spite of the vice. There are about seven Catholic churches in the town and on one of the hills there is an ancient lighthouse, still in operation, and on another there is an old fortress plus the ruins of an old church. The place is full of both Portuguese and Chinese schools, and the crooked streets (which were clean in Macao) are full of children. I spent the entire next day looking around the town and was fascinated with it.

On the furthermost peak of the peninsula there was a new building, a radio station, to which I climbed. I found a young man, an American, who introduced himself as the Pan-American Airways engineer. We had a fine chat, and he told me they were ready for the Clipper as soon as political matters could be straightened out. He showed me their landing sheds below, and their radio station. Of course if trouble comes from the Japanese in Fukien Province just north of here, the planes may not come. [But they did - for about a year only]

It was amusing in my wanderings about the town, to speak to Caucasians in Chinese in order to be conversant. The front wall of a church is left standing in Macao which has a cornerstone with the date 1602. It was once a great cathedral destroyed during a typhoon. The ruined wall had a bronze cross on top of it until a few years ago, which is said to have inspired "In the Cross of Christ I Glory", a hymn written by Bowring who was a British diplomat posted here in the 1830's. The fortress on top of the hill, with its big ungainly cannons peering out through holes in the wall, dates back to 1629 and is still being occupied. Piles of big round cannonballs stand around - quite picturesque. A herd or goats and a flock of turkeys were on the hillside below the fortress, and below them lay the charming hybrid-city itself.

In the evening I went to try to find the home of Ng Sek-Kan, one of my Lingnan friends. I found the neighborhood, but didn't locate the exact house. In making inquiries I met a 21-year-old Portuguese , a very fine fellow, who spoke good English and perfect Chinese, who introduced me to one of his friends, told me lots about the city, and took me to a movie. They visited with me until time for me to sail. Both were Eurasians.

May 23, 1936

Last weekend we exchange students went for a "conference" to discuss what we'd done and hadn't done during the year, going to some hills a short distance from Hongkong, where a foreigner at the Theological School has a house that was kindly loaned to us. We went swimming, conferred, and had a good time in general, like a house-party.

Higher on mountains above where we were staying was a "Christian" monastery called Tao Fung Shan. It consisted of a fine group of new buildings in Chinese style on a beautiful location overlooking a valley, with surrounding mountains, and with a great view over the bay from the ocean which runs in like a fjord. This monastery, run by Scandinavian Lutherans, is open to all Chinese who are interested in religion of any kind. Dr. Karl Reichelt, head of it, is an extraordinary scholar of Chinese religions, and his talks with the religious men who come there seem to be the backbone of its work.

We went there for meals, eating in the dining hall with the four Taoist priests, ten Buddhist monks, one lama, and 12 Christian students from all provinces of China. All of them were young men - a very fine group. The atmosphere is one of fused Chinese religions: gongs, drums, hangings, rosaries, prayer mats incense, etc; but Christ's picture is above the altar in the chapel, and there is a pump organ for music. We attended their Sunday Service which was very Chinese in religious format except for Christian hymns (sung in Chinese scale) and the sermon, which was repeated from Mandarin to English for our benefit. The Scandinavians were devout people, and they knew Mandarin well. There were about 25 students and 4 Scandinavian missionaries there.

It was a different and significant type of mission. It is known to Buddhists and Taoists all over China. The students of religion and philosophy who come there are shown a Chinese form of Christianity, and most of them seem keen on it. Of course they confine it to sincere young men. The young men are encouraged, after their schooling is finished there, to go back to their homes and lead active Christian lives like ordinary laymen - unless they wants to be active in religious work. It is a truly remarkable enterprise, and just the kind you would expect to find Scandinavians involved in. The place had a special atmosphere, as its name suggests. This is a well-planned presentation, to China, of a form of Christianity that is easy for them to understand, capable of reaching people who are naturally religious and who lean toward nature, toward Buddhism or Taoist mysticism.

Yesterday I went back to Lik Kau village to do more investigation for a Sociology report. While I was there a flood arose, and by the time I left, I was wading through water up to my knees, carrying my shoes. The Chinese took it like everything else, calmly; although crops and other things were being ruined. I took a sampan back almost the entire trip to Lingnan through the orchards and over the path I had walked just four hours before. Very heavy rains for the past week and a high tide had caused this flood. Since the tide soon went down, relatively little damage was done, however.

[These Marble Hills in Guangsi have become "must-see" tourist attractions, developed as such in the Communist era.]

We then progressed to another hill where we visited some beautiful chrysanthemum gardens in a temple courtyard at the base of the hill. They train their chrysanthemums on short sticks so that they grow in geometrical designs in the pots. It was here that, in taking a photo, several from the group broke off some of the lovely and treasured blossoms. Glaring at us and breathing heavily, the gardener said nothing. One careless act like that can breed more ill-will than twenty Exchange Students otherwise could imagine….

At last, late in the afternoon, we went into the marble caves in one of the hills. They are really quite immense and are just as I had expected such a cave to be. The stalagmites and stalactites had made very grotesque figures. We took two little rowboats into the grottoes with kerosene torches and had a very educational as well as thrilling time. The caves aren’t used as tourist bait [1935] which is a relief after American ways….

Once back in the city, we invited our efficient and patient guide to have dinner with us and we had a real banquet on the top floor. Along with quantities of other food, our guest put away 6 bowls of rice and a pocketful of melon seeds! After dinner he announced that he wanted not 40 cents but a dollar for his services for the day. We had planned to give him eighty cents, but with this announcement we cut it to sixty cents. He tried to raise an awful fuss, but we reminded him, in the presence of the restaurant staff, that he had had two free meals and good ones, besides his pay. He still yelled for more and then we reminded him he had consumed six bowls of rice and three free cigarettes besides. The restaurant men had already begun to laugh at the absurdity of his demands, and soon our guide left, blushing over much loss of face. This is typical of economic relations here: everyone tries to get as much as he can, but won’t cry if he can’t. Bargaining and financial hassles are half of life over here, both for foreigners and for natives. For us it is very unpleasant, but for them it is a reality of life.

From our restaurant we looked down into a house across the street and saw two men smoking opium at a lower floor than ours. Later we walked around the streets, followed by crowds of about 50 to each of us, and at 10 o’clock got onto a riverboat to go back down the river by night. The beds on the boat consisted of two raised platforms, one on each side of the boat with boards separating one bed space from another. There were beds for 28 persons on each side of the boat, all in one room with each space crowded against the next one, and an aisle down the middle of the boat. We all flopped and unrolled our blankets, some of us successfully sleeping. The boat didn’t sail until 2 AM, and people went through our room shouting and talking all night; furthermore, the boat vibrated so much that sleep was a luxury only for those who were the most tired. I slept best of all, only waking ten or twelve times to kill insects or to try not to hear somebody talking a few feet from my head. In the morning early, the boat anchored back at Sam Sui, the railroad town. All of the sampan people came into the big boat to look at us on our boards. They brought all their "friends and relations", particularly to see the girls in our group. Finally they went away and we got up and took a sampan ashore. This was one of the most interesting nights I have ever spent. Once on shore, we got the train that left at dawn, and we were soon back in Canton where we hired (after 15 minutes’ bartering) 2 motorcars to take us back to the campus. It was the most interesting trip we have taken, also the most strenuous and longest. It made up for one month of classwork. It cost us $10 local money for the three days and nights ($2.50 US).

* *

Two days ago two German girls from Tung Shan across the river came over to the campus to listen to a radio program over the only short-wave set on the campus. The sister of one of the girls was to broadcast greetings to Lingnan University from Berlin. I spent the evening with the girls and had a good time in spite of the fact that they were typically unattractive as could be, except for their pure souls. One of the girls invited me to go with her to the German Club in Tung Shan on Sunday evening. Of course I went. The German Club is a building like a small country club, with tables, reading rooms, sports equipment, a bar, and lots of German literature. The Germans here are ardent Nazis, as one might expect; but they speak excellent English – all people in the Orient have to. These Germans, even out here, are obsessed with the idea that there is inferior mentality in all races other than white and yellow. I was glad that I could tell them a little that would make them less confident of that view.

Harold Fulkerson (Stanford) has had an infected leg ever since the 2nd of September when we left Japan. It hasn’t seemed to be able to heal. Several of the overseas Chinese boys have gotten malaria, but there seems to be little danger for us on that score, for we have screens on the windows of our dorms.

[end of China Diary]

CHAPTER 11 The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors was originally not part of my plan. Little precedent for it stood in the family heritage. Dad had been captain of his college football team in the 1890's,

but that had seemed irrelevant and unbelievable - because I had never seen him play games. For me to ski/climb/hike/camp in the Sierras, the Rockies, the Cascades, the Olympics, Nepal, Argentina, the Appalachians, the Austrian Alps, and to have hiked about 21,000 miles with a 30-pound pack for 84 months between ages 7l and 82, defied prophesy. It just sneaked up. National recognition later as a conservationist was a fluke!

There might be two explanations: first, growing up in the Puget Sound area of timber-harvesting and where sea and mountains met, where outdoor recreation was a big thing; and second, having a big brother who rode horses and also guided people to the top of Mt. Rainier (14,410 ft.) in the summertime. (He began doing guide work at 16, when I was 8.) No, there is a third reason as well: clouds - broken clouds in particular - always changing their appearance, never exactly the same, and seeming important as they moved resolutely toward their destinies. To me they were alive, and I loved the winds that connected us earthlings to their heaven-borne figures. For me all trees live as individuals, each with it own personality.

Physical Training as such, in school, was a pain, regimented and artificial, contrived devoid of adventure; it was a show-off opportunity for those who needed to score that way. One Saturday when I was ten, I got up early, fixed a bag lunch, and sneaked out to walk ten miles along a suburban trolley line to Steilacoom Lake where we had a summer shack, just to see if I could do it and how much fun it might be. If I were to weaken, I could just hop one of the trolley cars back home. It was wonderful! so I walked back as well: 20 miles total, arriving back home just before supper. I was bursting to tell about the exploit; but didn't dare do so lest I be reproached for foolhardiness. Then, three days later when I did bring it up, nobody believed me. The moral: with suitable timing, you can get away with amazing things!

In the summer of 1929 when I was 13, brother Joe became assistant leader of a boys-camp concept that had just been dreamed up by the private company then operating concessions in the national park. It called for boys 14 - 18 to be given a month in the park riding horses around the foothills of the mountain and thus encircling it on the Wonderland Trail; then spend a week at Paradise Valley, and climb to the summit of the peak after conditioning themselves first on the snowfields and glaciers. The cost of the entire package was very high - so high that in this, the first year of the stock-market crash, only a handful of boys enrolled. But promotional photos were needed for next year's brochure; so I was to be among some local boys who were recruited surreptitiously at bargain rates to facilitate advertising and to make the enterprise appear to "take off" successfully right from the start. Our picture, glissading on Paradise Glacier, is still on one wall of the lobby at Paradise Inn.

Also at age 13 it had been my fortune to join a very active boy scout troop headed by Scoutmaster Dr. Frank Madison, a Mormon from Utah whom Dad had just hired to join the staff of St. Helens Clinic. First aid instruction was superb. The troop made numerous outings, took backpack trips. Its senior boys really ran its program and they were eager to exploit the natural wonders of the area. We often went to a cabin that the Scout Council owned within the national park, and we older boys even went on a sea scout excursion where I got seasick as we tossed all night at anchor offshore while our leader took refuge fleeing by skiff to the shore.

I began driving the family car at 13 after practicing clutching to shift gears back and forth in the block in front of our house. In those days a hundred-mile trip could take a day: because there were few road signs, and stretches of paved road were few and short. In the early 1920's one might expect to have a flat tire in a 200-mile jaunt. With two-wheel, small-radius brakes, cars going 35 miles/hr could require 50 yards to come to a stop.

In 1929 we nevertheless went to Southern California on a five-day drive, and there, at 14, I got my drivers license, only to undergo my first fender-bender with my new license burning its hole in my pocket. Would the police come out of the police station where the license had just been issued, to reclaim it? No, it was cooler and less trouble for them to remain inside.

There in southern California another unsanctioned outing occurred. In those times, college students cleared brush to make configurations on the mountainsides - "L" for LaVerne and "P" for Pomona. I wanted to see what the valley looked like from the "P" and how big it actually was. So I took off cross-country, starting up a small canyon, bushwhacking my way along. Soon I was in a tangle of sagebrush, dwarf scrub oak, and chaparral.

My outer clothes were soon torn to shreds, and even for me to backtrack, having given up my goal, took every wisp of my remaining strength. It verged on panic. I had foolishly risked disaster. When I later surveyed the distance more realistically, and the obstacles intervening, it appeared just crazy to have attempted this feat. (Students knew how to get there by road.) Trying to hide the folly was likewise stupid because cuts, scratches, and shredded clothing told the story all too well.

In high school years, mimicking older siblings, I got into tennis, and enjoyed an occasionally wicked serve. Skiing and football, for a time, seemed to compete with my explorations on foot. And when I brought a three-speed bicycle with me from China in 1936, that broadened my range of exploration. I took a week off to ride across the Cascades to see the new Grand Coulee Dam 170 miles away in eastern Washington state - round trip - camping out near the highway or in sheds or on the porches of country churches, eating meals at roadside food stands. Three years later I rode the same bike from Chicago to Detroit on what was then the main highway, sleeping out in the same manner.

While at the University of Chicago I found the Sand Dunes of Indiana that later became a state park; at that time it was a patch of unsullied Mother Earth. Then at the University of California I enjoyed the tremendous recreational resources of Yosemite Park and the Sierras.

When searching for a place in Maryland to spend weekends with sons Stephen and David, I looked for a spot near or adjacent to a park or preserve, close to the woods. It took the shape of a house that had been built at the time George Washington had just been born - a 3-storey stone house with walls 18 inches thick, into which mice would burrow and occasionally die, necessitating incense inside. Actually I rented only the ground floor. The owners of this old house beside America's earliest railroad, were the Bruns family, descended from a Hessian deserter who had built this edifice. Larry Bruns was a part-time Naturalist for Maryland State Parks, living only across the tracks from Patapsco State Park. He and Miriam had two daughters close to the ages of Stephen and David. They had two canoes in their back yard, and they were very much outdoors people. They were also very active as long-time members of the Mountain Club of Maryland, to which they introduced me and my boys.

The Mountain Club of Maryland was one of the clubs of nature enthusiasts and outdoorsmen that had been founded to take responsibility for maintaining a section of the Appalachian Trail, in 1934. Actually, MCM was an offshoot of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club based in Washington (PATC); and MCM had been formed by resident Baltimoreans who wearied of travelling back and forth to Washington to leave for their work trips and outings. Each weekend they scheduled at least one hike or outing, year around. For me and my boys that was ideal. And it allowed us to explore opportunities for adventure that nature provided within a radius of 150 miles of Baltimore. Expenses were kept to a minimum and were shared; and the families and other environmentalists usually included some experts - and always dedicated conservationists. A more congenial and genteel set of companions would be hard to find.

As heritage from my scout days and western experience, this was an activity that I relished: adventure in nature, in particular building or repairing trails. My boys, for their part, liked overnight camping and backpacking. In time I took responsibility for maintaining the "poison-ivy" stretch of the Appalachian Trail that was in the middle of the 45-mile stretch of the A.T. that the Mountain Club maintained. Then I started work on the Tuscarora Trail in Maryland and Pennsylvania. With that kind of beginning, I became Supervisor of Trails and subsequent to that, President of MCM. Eventually within the next twenty years, bit by bit, as sections of the Appalachian Trail were removed from roadways onto newly protected tracts of land, I took part in relocating 26 miles of the A.T. itself.

One thing leads to another - another kindred thing more often that to something different. In Pennsylvania there is a federation of trail (hiking only!) clubs called Keystone Trails Association, and it is also concerned with the Appalachian Trail, in which I became active. Similarly, the Appalachian Trail Conference which is the umbrella organization over all Trail-maintaining clubs of that long trail itself. Its biennial meetings take place at different points along the Trail where a week is spent with meetings, policy formation, voting, and hiking. In 1972 I was elected to its Board of Managers and remained there until 1984, serving 4 years as its Vice-Chair for the Middle States, 2 years as its Secretary, and two more years as its Corresponding secretary, for a total of 12 years.

For about three years after retirement, I went to Harpers Ferry A.T.Conference headquarters weekly to write letters in answer to inquiries from persons who planned to hike either the whole Trail or parts of it. In those days we tried to send back hand-written, personalized responses to those letters of inquiry.

Unlike many other persons active in the trails movement, I did not set out to hike the whole A.T. from end to end. Instead, I hiked about two-thirds of it, in bits and pieces over the years. For one thing, at the time when I might have considered taking off four months or so to do it, more than 200 miles had been pushed onto roads as private landowners feared weirdo’s and hippies and withdrew permissions for hikers to use parts of their land.

In 1978 the National Scenic Trails Act of 1968 was updated and given funding by the Congress in response to an aggressive program of education and persistence on the part of the trail clubs. At that point the existence of a continuous, uninterrupted through-route for the Trail was seriously threatened, and the National Park Service was authorized to secure lands to protect it in perpetuity by creating a corridor from Maine to Georgia, for it.

By 1980 the National Park Service had geared up to meet this responsibility, and one of its first steps toward land acquisition was to try to handle it smoothly and with a minimum of conflict. Since the original A.T. route had been established through good relations with local landowners who respected conservationist hiking enthusiasts, NPS wanted to start with that approach pattern, using local and regional persons for initial contacts, rather than NPS's land-acquisition staff.

In the middle states, the largest block of privately-owned lands were those across the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania. It lay within the section that our MCM had charge of. My one mile of poison ivy (to which I am not reactive) was the only piece of Trail in that stretch that was not on a highway, because adjacent farm and residential properties always had precluded use of any actual trail. The NPS staff, having prepared detailed maps, had consulted us trail-workers as to the most feasible alternate routes in places where their land-acquisitions would afford permanent protection and a desirable route for a national scenic trail. As part of that process for the Cumberland Valley, Jack Mowll (a charter member of MCM) and I scouted out a route across the Valley that took advantage of a geological upthrust and hence was wooded and slightly elevated above surrounding farms and settlements. It coincided closely with where the Trail now has been placed.

The next step was for me to talk with landowners along the proposed route, alerting them to the national (and state) legislation that authorized and would pay the costs for this relocation of the trail, presumably requiring them to give up some land - in exchange for market price or better. Where relevant, I would mention possibility of an easement, of life estate arrangements, or of leasing back under permit for continued agricultural use - sharing the land.

I moved up to the Valley for about two months. Within about two weeks it became apparent that word was getting around to the effect that a government agent was picking up land with threat of condemnation. Whereas some of my first contacts had been somewhat friendly - I was invited to dinner at one house - at another I was also entertained but shown how much land this particular developer owned and how influential his connections were, both locally and in Harrisburg. And subsequent contacts went from bad to worse, because people did not believe I would be on the level; moreover they regarded me as an out-of-state intruder. At one point a group of men in two pickup trucks approached me as I stopped at one house and threatened to "carry you out in a box" if I didn't leave their Valley. Following that came organization of CANT (Coalition Against a National Trail) opposed to having the Appalachian Trail cross the Cumberland Valley unless on or along a road. Legislation meant nothing!

As things evolved, it took the NPS and the trail clubs twelve years to solve this matter. Four different alternate routes were considered - in order to relieve pressure that was coming from where the recommended route was located. One such alternative followed an abandoned railroad line, out under the sun for seven of its miles. Another alternative would implode on similar land with an even larger set of landowners farther west. A third was really not feasible from the viewpoint of a sensible trail route; also far too costly. Meanwhile a counter alliance of Audubon, Garden Club, Scouts, and other civic-minded citizens was formed; so that, with superior sustaining power, they ultimately could sway the swells of public opinion. Simultaneously NPS agents were concentrating, one by one, on various landowners with actual cash offers. They had learned which landowners would hold out, so they concentrated on the others. Together we altered the route here and there so as to avoid some of the main hard-heads. Word began to get around that financial benefit was to be gained; that adjustments of various kinds were available; and that the Trail did not threaten local welfare or safety.

In consequence to my work on this volunteer assignment I received a consolation citation from the National Park Service; also similar recognition from the Keystone Trails Association and from the Appalachian Trail Conference, which made me an Honorary Member.

Then in 1986 came a somewhat related new adventure, also involving government and the Trail. NPS's detailed "segment" maps of the A.T. were available to me, and they showed landowner identities and information that was less readily available on

state maps - and in greater detail. Having just been given a set of these maps for Maryland, I went to the Ranger-manager of the South Mountain Recreational Area where the A.T. lay, to ask a point of clarification. Jim Preston (JP) was delighted when I said I would leave the maps with him and get them replaced for my use. JP had joined the ATC and was quite familiar with the Trail Clubs: in fact, when he had been posted at state park adjacent to where I had lived, he had once joined MCM. JP was a great friend of trail hikers and of the A.T., known and renowned by most end-to-end hikers. He was a dedicated public servant.

JP told me he had hired a young man to patrol Maryland's 40 miles of the A.T. the preceding summer, and would I be interested in doing that job, becoming a "Trailrunner"? Last summer's young man hadn't proved wholly satisfactory because he lacked trail community information and because he had tended to use A.T. shelters for parties with his friends. I said yes, and that began eleven years of trailrunning, soon to be called ridgerunning. It initiated a subsequent program promoted by ATC for application to sections of the trail that were most heavily used.

As Ridgerunner working hourly part-time for the State, I had a radio and a uniform and wore an I.D., but I did not have police powers such as the rangers possessed. (They were akin to State Police) The Maryland stretch of the A.T. was heavily used by local scout and church and other camping groups during the spring and fall as well as in summer. It got a lot of local use, and it had several attractions that drew users or viewers in their own rights. Both JP and the trail clubs were intent upon keeping the area cleaner and safer; they wanted to confine overnight camping to certain designated sites, most of them at shelters. Availability of water and a toilet was the key. Beyond that, there was concern over trespass and vandalism, mostly of local origin.

At the time my duties began, there were about ten miles of the Trail in Maryland lying on portions - even tiny tracts - of private land intermittently, unmarked, and there were old woods roads that gave access if one knew where they were. My knowledge of these tracts and their boundaries, from the maps, was the thing that interested JP particularly. That made it possible for me to distinguish between trespassers and landowners when encountered in the woods. It also afforded knowledge of access points in case of emergencies.

In April I worked only on weekends; then full time until the end of October (busy month because of leaves turning color ); then weekends again until December. My responsibilities were to answer questions, to keep track of vagrants or eccentrics, to look for fugitives when necessary, to educate regarding proper use of the Trail and woods, to dish out comfortable PR, to report to the rangers situations that they would respond to - such as drug use, alcohol consumption by minors or in excess, trespass or vandalism. In compromised or uncertain situations that didn't call for the law, I could simply advise people what to do, or tell them what was wrong with what they were doing. I had first aid training and was supposedly available for such accidental emergencies; and I knew whom to call by radio. If I saw fires starting on a small enough scale I could put them out. If large, report them. I was to report to the trail maintainers obstacles or washouts that needed their attention. I was to check up on shelter use and to deter abuse or "partying" by non-hikers. If was a job rich with variety. Usually I walked with a pack and radio, ten to fifteen miles a day.

At first there were some run-ins with persons who had been used to doing just as they liked, or who claimed to have a landowner’s permission; there were motorbikes or 3- or 4-wheelers; there were hikers who wanted to camp just at their own convenience, leaving fire-rings and worn spots beside the trail. There were polluters. Loose dogs. Lost dogs. Lost children. Lost adults. Injured persons who refused treatment. Homeless persons. Separated groups. People who resented uniformed persons. People from all over the world engaging in this great hiking adventure.

A few incidents might be of interest. The most bizarre of these was when I encountered a middle-aged couple who were about to camp at an undesignated site. They said there was a weird man occupying the shelter they had intended to use, and they were afraid to stay there. On reaching the shelter, I found a bearded man dressed exotically and with feathers in his hair, preparing food on his small gas stove, to offer as sacrifice to two dolls that he had placed on an improvised altar at the opening to the shelter. Another man, also there but not with him, stood by.

Without mention of or reference to the dolls, I asked the eccentric what his destination was and what his plans were. Evidently he was used to being confronted: he pulled out his I.D. cards, showed me his money, conversed quite naturally, asked me how far it was to the nearest place where he could buy tobacco, and told me where he was from and where he was going. I could see nothing peculiar or worrisome about him except for his homemade religion. A few minutes later the other man who was there called me aside and said that he had the same impression of this eccentric. So I merely checked the next day to see if he had moved on. He had.

With regard to injuries, the worst case we had was an end-to-end hiker who slipped on rocks and broke both arms while checking his fall. Another through-hiker behind him helped him to bushwhack down the mountain to a road where a driver stopped to take them to a hospital. On those same rocks a woman of 74 also had fallen the year before while on a fund-raising hike on behalf of the Lupus foundation. A frail woman, she had abrasions on her head. I came upon her at the nearest shelter where she was sitting, having stanched her bleeding, but unnerved. "I’m supposed to meet my son this afternoon at five at Penmar Park," she said. "I don’t know if I can make it."

Sensing that ranger assistance with transportation was needed, I suggested she take some more time to recover. I didn’t want to tell her that help would be on the way, because that was not yet a certainty. I excused myself under pretext of looking for something I had dropped on the trail, but instead I high-lighted for a gain of elevation so that my radio message would assuredly get through. It did, and a ranger started en route in a vehicle.

Then upon my return to the shelter, the hiker had vanished! Had she gone away in confusion? Which way did she go? Fortunately I found a bloody Kleenex on the trail toward Penmar. So it was back up the hill to intercept the ranger and tell him to intercept her at the next road crossing on her route to Penmar. Presently he called: "Here I am. Where’s your subject?" Before I could reply, he was on the air again. "Oh, here she comes out of the woods, just now." She declined to be taken anywhere for medical treatment by us; so the ranger took her to Penmar to wait for her son. I saw her there two hours later, and she seemed o.k.

Historically, the most dramatic instance was when I met the man who three months later murdered a young man and a young woman at a shelter in Pennsylvania. That particular day I happened to be stalking the blind hiker and his dog, to be sure things were o.k. with him and the dog. This fugitive-to-be, coming toward us, appeared to try to hide at the last minute (since he was wanted also in connection with a murder in Florida at the time), having seen the dog in harness and me in uniform. But he did not elude notice. He had no backpack but had two duffelbags slung one on each of his sides, from his neck. "Hi," I said. "How are things going?" No response. "Where are you from?"

With reluctance, "North Carolina."

"Headed south? Where did you stay last night?"

After hesitation, "On the trail."

"Just camped out? It’s best to stay at a shelter. Where are you headed for? Do you need supplies?"

"I’m traveling back and forth between front Royal and Delaware Water Gap for a while." (Which proved to be true.)

"Where do you think you’ll be tonight?" I asked.

Muttering: "Don’t know yet." Three months later when I saw the artist’s sketch of the wanted man, I recognized the likeness immediately, ‘though the artist had given him a head of hair. He was apprehended about six weeks later when he crossed the bridge from Maryland into West Virginia at Harpers Ferry, cornered on the bridge deliberately. He had stabbed the young woman after first shooting her fiance, and is now under life sentence in Pennsylvania. The Florida case lacked adequate evidence to warrant prosecution there.

In the course of this work I developed a high respect for the ranger staff. They were always cooperative and prompt to respond when needed. They knew their business and were resourceful. They knew the importance of tact and courtesy even when confronting crimes and transgressions. An example occurred when it was discovered that a loaded pistol was in the pack of one malfeaser when he accidentally abandoned his pack and came back to claim it. I had been surprised at the courtesy and kindness extended by the ranger whom I had called because of this illegal fire and defiant partying, when obviously a citation would result. He was disarming the man verbally.

[part toward the end of The Great Outdoors – Ch 11]

There is nothing of particular note regarding adventures such as are common for others who also backpack, hike or work in the midst of our world's natural wonders - our national parks and national forests, or in the Alps or the Rockies. Each such adventure can be a story in itself. I have climbed Mt. Rainier, Mt.Wheeler in Nevada, Mt. Whitney in the Sierras, all 13,000 feet or more, and have trekked in Nepal and in the Andes up to 19,000 ft. Glacier country is pretty much the same anywhere on the globe. Weather is what matters most there.

Three experiences nevertheless seem distinctive to me. First, a year in the Nevada desert; second, a trek in the Himalayas in the 1960's; and third, an inauspicious adventure in the Andes of South America in the 1970's.

In the 1940's, performing work for the US Forest Service, I was one of six young men assigned to build cement watering-troughs for sheep that grazed under permit on desert tracts near Yerrington in western Nevada. Sheep ranchers paid for permits to graze their flocks seasonally, on government lands. Occasional water-holes could be found in the desert, and they could be developed with water stored in them for high demand when a hundred sheep might all arrive simultaneously to try to assuage their thirst.

The desert - not sand, but rocks and sagebrush - is, like the sea, an environment of its own sort, with some distinctive creatures and birds; but after a rain, a desert will have its own profusion of flowers. But like the sea, it can have the vastness of a deep void. The six of us lived for several months out in that sea of sage, in four trailer-houses arranged like a U: one was our cookhouse; one adjacent to it was our dining and lounging area; another was our bunkhouse; and the fourth was our shower and washroom facility. We never saw anybody except for our once-weekly trips to re-supply.

We made moulds, mixed and poured cement into them, coaxed water from unlikely little seepages into storage cisterns and on to the troughs. Among ourselves we came to know one another quite well. The one who cooked would take a little time off early (or late, mornings) from construction work. That was the setting.

One weekend when we were driving our stakeside truck 30 miles across the desert on its unpaved road, (each one of us chose to take such trips in order to feel reassured that the rest of the world still existed), we found ourselves approaching a small cloud of dust and an overturned vehicle. A woman, somewhat dazed, wandered nearby . She was incoherent but otherwise seemed unhurt. Inside the car was an unconscious man whose shoes had been knocked off. We pulled him out and laid him out on the floor of our stake-side; put the woman in the truck's cab; and took off as fast as possible back to the village we had come from with our supplies. She was unable, en route, to give us any helpful information. The man did not stir.

At the village there was a doctor who had an infirmary of sorts attached to his office, a young man. Examining the injured man's eye pupils, he remarked, "Well, I can sew up his cuts: the undertaker will appreciate that." At this point the woman seemed to become somewhat more alert, and wanted to use a phone. But she could remember no useful numbers to call. It seemed that she was not related to the man except casually, or extra-maritally. She showed no interest in identifying the man either for us or for the doctor. He seemed wise to the situation; maybe he knew more about it than he felt we needed to know. Sensing that this might be so, and feeling as though this had become a dead end for us, we left - but with quite a bit to talk about besides ourselves, for a change.

Next, the Nepal trek. It took place within ten years after the US team had conquered Everest, and it was arranged through Lute Jerstad who had been on that expedition. At that time the usual approach corridor toward Everest was becoming swamped with visitors; food was getting scarce; wood & trees were scarce; and a bazaar atmosphere was in the making. So we did not approach Everest. Instead, our trek was westward along the Himalayas toward Annapurna.

There were six - two women and four men. We had a staff of five Sherpas and from 10 to 13 porters depending upon how many could be recruited for their agreed stints. Some walked barefoot; each carried on his back, suspended from a strap across his forehead, a load of about 120 pounds. The Sherpas guided and cooked and set up camp each night. Our route was from Trisuli Bazaar north and west, through scarcely visited areas - lots of agricultural valleys, miles of stone-paved stairways and terraced hillsides, and quaint and varied inhabitants. Rather than the Buddhism of Tibet, we were encountering animism, Hinduism and Mohammedan villages and temples.

Our group did not reach more than 15,000 ft. elevation but in ten days, we saw some of the best mountain vistas in Asia. At 15,000 ft. one of our party began to get pulmonary edema, so we descended promptly. That person had a lingering cough for six months after that. This trek indeed was off the beaten track. One man in the party developed gout in a big toe rather early in the trek but hung on despite absence of relief from his continual pain.

Third, an expedition in the 1970's that wanted to climb the highest peak in the New World - Aconcagua in the Andes. Although I was almost 65, four young men invited me to join them in a climb not by the "easy" trail usually used, but by climbing to the top of the mountain via its Blue Glacier. Nobody spoke or understood Spanish; but I had tried to cram for it for a month before we left. (Actually I used German to greater effect there.)

Loaded down with climbing gear, we flew to Buenos Aires in Argentina, then went by bus to Mendoza in pampas country. Then again by bus to a chalet near the base of Aconcagua - close to the border between Argentina and Chile. At Mendoza we had obtained clearance from the climbing clubs representative who had examined our equipment, and we sought final clearance from the military, to make the climb. An American climbing group from Los Angeles, it happened, had just had a calamity in which one man died and another was seriously injured on Aconcagua. The military office said NO. "No more Americans this year!" Helicopter rescues were expensive and a nuisance. But we decided to go on up to the mountains and try to get permission locally.

The chalet proprietor, who knew the local military people and was eager to help us, tried his connections - but to no avail. They said we could climb anyplace else in the Andes other than Aconcagua. So we decided to try a jaunt to the south, up a little-known route that the proprietor knew had been explored some twenty years earlier. But maps were poor, and proved inaccurate. Our host suggested we hire two horses, to get started.

The horses took our gear about 15 miles up a river valley, and we camped on the moraine of a glacier where lemmings were all over the ground. The next day we moved up about two-thousand feet to a high camp adjacent to a steep snowfield. After that we started climbing up another two thousand feet, using ropes, to about 19,000 feet. At that level we hoped to be able to see a peak we could conquer; but instead we found we were on a ridge that became an isolated island surrounded by glacial valleys. At that altitude our judgment was adversely affected by lack of oxygen: it is very tricky, because one gets an utterly false sense of elation and well-being. I first became aware of it when a chunk of rock as large as my head hurtled down from above the snowfield and passed just six inches above the top of my head. So we admitted weakness and insufficiency and began the trek back.

But this time we had no horses, and we still had all of our gear. We wound up carrying about 120 pounds each - even after abandoning climbing boots and other precious gear so as to lighten our loads. It was a grueling grind back to the chalet - except for the final few miles when we were able to hitch a ride on a maintenance pickup truck.

By way of sequel, the boys went back to Buenos Aires, selling their gear in order to sustain themselves, while I went on over the Andes into Santiago, Chile. My impressions in Argentina had been that it had a Fascist regime, repressive and extortive, and that opportunism was rampant. Santiago, Chile seemed to present a pleasant contrast.

From Santiago I flew to Lima, Peru, finding it to be a dirty and chaotic place, with native Indians appearing segregated. Then came La Paz, Bolivia, at that time somewhat unsettled by rebellions but presenting a remarkable cameo of high-altitude development amid llamas and Indians. La Paz was where a woman in the hotel dining room fainted for want of oxygen and they had it right handy on a dolly at one side of the dining hall. From there I visited the ruins of Huanacu near Lake Titicaca where there is remarkable and fascinating stonework from the Aztec era or before. After that came Cuzco, Peru, where my pocket was picked despite forewarnings, and my wallet taken. When I went to the police to report it, they charged a fee. "But how can I pay it; everything was taken. I have travel tickets and hotel reservations including dinners and breakfasts; but that's all I've got!" They said to come back in two days and it would cost nothing. Well, those two days would allow me to use my prepaid reservations at Machu-piccu.

But another misfortune loomed. By mistake I took a local train - which proved colorful and adventurous - but which put me in the vicinity of Machu-piccu after dark. It evolved that there was a local stop called Machu-piccu which was not where the tourist buses are, and locals on the train told me to get off there. So I had to carry my baggage a few miles in the dark on the railroad tracks to the next station. It proved to be utterly out in the sticks. Some local boys were playing at the station however, and when I told them I would walk up to mountain to Machu-piccu even though I was too late for the bus, because I had reservations at the Inn, they said it would be too dangerous to walk up there in the dark. I said I would do it anyway. One of the boys gave a few centavos out of sympathy over my having been robbed in Cuzco! Very shortly a vehicle appeared on the switch-backed road, stopped for me, and offered to take me up without cost. "To be safe." The next morning I almost had all of the ruins at Machu-piccu to myself, before the day's influx of tourists.

Back again in Cuzco, the police gave me a statement about my loss, for insurance purposes, free, as promised. Then I met a Canadian and told him about the pick-pocketing racket and how it works. He then loaned me ten dollars because "even though you have air fare prepaid and one hotel reservation left, you need something for lunches".

Throughout South America I felt concerned about the Indians and the gap between their way of life and the encroaching capitalism that seemed to be controlled by interests other than theirs.

Beginning in 1988 ATC and the trail clubs sought to take over part of the responsibility for training and financing the Ridgerunner program in Maryland; and in 1992 the program was expanded to certain sections of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia. In 1998 when I left the job, the State of Maryland dropped its financial support, and the program was reduced to three summer months under the PATC Trail Patrol program. In essence the ridgerunner program is a precautionary, preventative function or an early warning system; and it focuses mainly on public relations.

In that regard, we can note the program’s effect in Maryland. Gradually as word got around, instances of vandalism and trespass dropped off appreciably; hikers came to understand the state park rules (which ware not always applied similarly at other sections of the Trail; hikers and visitors could expect to see a patrolman; better order was established. All of this came about in part because there was publicity about the ridgerunner’s presence, in local newspapers. Before that publicity appeared, I had on occasion run into couples celebrating human nature in the wild, in primitive attire. But after that fact appeared in print, such activity declined appreciably – probably because people realized somebody might be around….


CHAPTER 12: Music

This pertains to classical music.

Mother was an excellent pianist and soprano singer. Her repertoire included pianoforte works by Schubert, Brahms, Chaminade, Liszt, Schumann, Chopin, Debussy. She sang in the Ladies Musical Club, but she never performed at the keyboard in public: she preferred to day-dream that she was on the concert stage. We had a large collection of phonograph recordings, mainly of concert artists' performances and of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Stokowski. I memorized most of those records in my mind.

As just a kid, I went to concerts given by Paderewski, Kreisler, and Rachmaninoff. Pakerewski was grandiose and graceful, Kreisler a bit impish, and Rachmaninoff bored but fully competent. Rachmaninoff kept giving encores of pieces other than his Prelude in C-sharp Minor until finally looking angry and belligerent, he launched into it - as much as to say, "there you are, you saps: I wish you'd never heard it before. I hadn't; so what are you going to produce?"

Later I heard cellists Piatagorsky and Emanuel Feuerman. At Feuermann's concert with the Chicago Symphony I sat in the first row right in front of him and was amazed to see how heavily he sweated as he played. I saw George Gerschwin play his Concerto if F with the Seattle Symphony just a few months before his death. He had just returned from a vacation in Florida and was deeply tanned. I sat just ten feet from him. Piatagorsky was a giant who draped himself around his 'cello - a 'cello which is now played by his grandson, Evan Drachman, who played with us (as a teenager) in the UMBC orchestra.

Later on, with Harvard's Pierian Sodality orchestra, I played 'cello in the premier of Aaron Copland's A An Outdoor Overture, with him conducting - through we had been rehearsed by somebody else so that his gestures would not prove weird to us.

In Oakland, California Stravinsky came to a rehearsal of one of his compositions that we were about to play. Unfortunately he was drunk and boisterous and had to be conducted out.

When I compare the quality of performance that we hear at the end of this century with earlier efforts - particularly by less than top artists - it is amazing not only that there are so many high-caliber performers today, but that the quality of interpretation and technical competency has risen enormously. That is partly a result of a richer source of supply - a larger population is certain to produce a larger number of prodigies; but it is also because people have been hearing, throughout the century, more and more and better and better renditions through high fidelity and broad bandwidth transcriptions. Technology and greater availability of fine music have combined to boost its betterment.

When it comes to composers however, maybe the 20th century has not advanced of the preceding two centuries. With the possible exception of Mahler whose productivity extended over into the early 1900's, only a handful of recent composers have reached the heights of the classicists. With respect to semi-popular and light classics however, including movie scores, we have been more fortunate.

I began with piano at age 7, under a teacher who was not highly gifted and whom my Mother favored out of pity because that woman had a clubbed foot. At age 9 I had had enough and wanted to switch to organ. Then my father bought a 'cello and tried to teach himself to play; but because of his age, 55, he could not refine the specific muscles needed in his bowing arm; so he gave it up. Then when I was eleven, he persuaded me to take it up - which I was willing to do because carrying it around, at my size would be a spectacle before the public, as well.

So I carried the 'cello half a mile to the streetcar and back, for my lessons. They were given by a nervous woman whose playing was by no means inspirational to me. After two years Dad arranged for me to get one afternoon each week away from school to go to Seattle for lessons at Cornish School in Seattle, which involved streetcar transfer in Seattle and a bus ride for an hour each way, from Tacoma. He said I needed a non-nervous man-teacher. That proved to be Kolia Levienne, a white Russian emigree and a first-rate artist. He and his violinist associate in their concert trio, Peter Meremblum thought that if I were to enter a contest in British Columbia I would win, on the basis of tone quality and expressiveness. But I wasn't interested that much in becoming a 'cellist in those days, at 15.

At that point, at Dad's insistence, we had formed a string quartet in Tacoma. Its other members were all from the other high school: Harold Whelan was first violin (he became concertmaster of the Tacoma Philharmonic Orchestra that same year); Bob Dezell was second violin; Don Course first and then Kenneth Keighley who played viola after Don took up French horn. Don became so good at French horn that soon he was first horn in the Philharmonic; and one time he played the entire Brahms 2nd Symphony by memory, having left his music at home by mistake.

Several musicians from our high school orchestra were selected to go to Spokane for all-state orchestra. We played Glinka's Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla among other things. We were housed at the courtesy of various residents, and I stayed at one of the local funeral homes. There I developed an earache. Learning of that, the hostess asked the nurse who worked at the undertaker's for assistance; she washed wax out of my ear with a syringe and that fixed the problem. I wondered how the syringe otherwise would be used at that place.

Fortunately I have escaped one of the hazards that orchestal

players sometimes face: deafness. At a recent performance of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony in Baltimore, almost half of the players used earplugs, I understand, as protection against prolonged excessive decibels, particularly those players seated immediately in front of the percussion and brass players.

At 14 I began voice lessons under the choir leader who sought to build up the choir by giving free lessons. With a baritone voice but without any tremulo, my voice was o.k. for choral purposes, but I did not solo much. Our church choir presented Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers in which I sang the Duke of Plazo Toro; and in the high school's performance of The Desert Song I sang the role of Ali-ben-ali, keeper of the harem. (The boys taunted me by saying I was the only one who could be trusted in the harem.) I sang in the Boys Glee Club too; but with operas usually I was needed in the orchestra.

During those school years one episode stands out: an unexpected success story. In the eighth grate a new boy entered our home-room class, Hugh Thompson. He was the son of Oscar Thompson who was editor of the NYC magazine, Musical America. Oscar had married a Tacoma girl who had died young, leaving three small children close in age. Oscar brought them to Tacoma to live with their grandparents. Hugh was the eldest. He had been living in Europe, travelling around with his father and siblings. We made friends quickly. Hugh told me that his greatest desire in life was to be an opera singer, in particular to sing in Die Fledermaus which he had just seen in Austria.

Soon our junior high school presented an operetta, The Pioneer's Papoose, and Hugh sang the leading role, still using his soprano voice. Then in high school he became active in dramatics. When we presented The Desert Song Hugh was cast as General Birabeau, a non-singing part. Clearly he was disappointed. Then I was asked to sing a solo in high school assembly. I declined and suggested that Hugh be asked to do it. Hugh later told me that singing at that assembly gave him the determination he needed to pursue his goal.

Four years later Hugh was a top-rank operatic performer at the MET in NYC. He had voice-trained at Julliard, had some corrective surgery that improved the resonance in his voice, and he had become the Met's leading baritone. I had looked forward to hearing him on the Saturday afternoon Met broadcasts, particularly during the war years. Next I knew, he was concertizing around the country after the war, but no longer singing at the Met. Why? I wondered.

In a letter some 35 years later, Hugh explained. When he was at the top at the Met, Composer Richard Rogers had heard him and approached him saying, "I'm working on an operetta South Pacific which has in it a role I'd like you to sing." (Emile LeBec - "Some Enchanted Evening") Hugh signed a contract for Broadway performances. But when Imressario Bing heard about it, he told Hugh that if he sang on Broadway, that would be the end

of his Met career: it had to be exclusively the Met.

Hugh passed this information back to Rogers, who said in effect: "O. K. I'll let you out of the contract if you can find another met singer in your stead." Hugh then recommended Ezio Pinza because he knew Pinza was having difficulty with high notes recently. But Bing would not forgive Hugh Thompson for having "defected".

As a 'cellist, I played for three years in the symphony orchestra in Tacoma, and on one time in Seattle; at University of Chicago where we played once for Hindemith one of his new pieces; then Oakland, California; then Harvard (where my stand partner in 1940 was Andy Rice, who unexpectedly turned up again as we played together 58 years later in the Columbia Orchestra in Maryland). In Maryland it was the University of Maryland at Baltimore County's orchestra for 30 years and the Columbia Orchestra for 10. In orchestras I have played at second or third stands. Except occasionally, it has not been for pay. I never joined the union. My sense of rhythm is not so good as with many musicians, and sometimes I have difficulty counting. When living in New Jersey in the 1950's I had the good luck to join with the New Jersey Symphony and to play quartets and other chamber music with some very fine amateur musicians, not for public performance, but simply for our own satisfaction.

Through the years my tastes among classical composers have shifted. For a while Mozart was favorite, then Bach, then Brahms, the Mahler, then Bruckner, then Dvorak. Most of Beethoven has seemed ostentatious and bombastic - with some outstanding exceptions. Beethoven is fun to play because of the quirks and challenges present in his craftsmanship; but I usually feel that he has composed for effect or for self-satisfaction more readily than he has composed for audience enjoyment.

One concluding comment: in the last fifteen years of the century there seems to have been an unheralded contest between recording orchestra to see which one can play compositions fastest and most showily. It seems to me all the notes of the scale were intended to be heard as each composer wrote them, not sloughed over; not as many artists, and ensembles, can perform at rapid speeds, glissading or simply hinting at sequences of notes rather than lining them out, trying to make an than impression, or just so that the conductor can make the performance sound brilliant and stunning.

[Another incident relating to music and involving a 20th century composer appears in PART I "Chiang Wen-yeh"]

CHAPTER 13. Ideology - Motivation

Here, "Ideology" includes beliefs, convictions, aspirations, outlooks, religion, motivations, goals.

Much of it, in youthful years, was simply inherited, consisting of formulated opinions, creeds, dogma. It was as if the family had overspecialized in such things. We were great at being able to explain and justify where we stood. It seemed that the "brighter" you are, the more aggressive can be your assertions; hence the more secure and assertive you can be.

But way back in Sunday School I always had misgivings about what seemed to be exaggerations, fantasies, or dreams. Somehow, I could not accept symbolism - translate from symbols to realistic counterparts - for each realm seemed to have its own differing entourage of relevancies. I couldn't conceive of God as having the attributes of person: that wasn't enough. And if God was beyond being human, upon what should our knowledge of God be founded?

As a child, therefore, I think I more or less put God on hold. But there was no denying that people around me acted and talked as if there was reality there. One had to accept that fact, and it didn't seem to do any harm; in fact, in some ways, especially at Christmastime, it seemed to do a lot of good.

Social conscience - a sense of obligation toward the society and a need to conform to code, so as to preserve social harmony and cooperation, that conscience was clearly valid and indispensable. Such recognition did not need to come from religious indoctrination; it had plenty of sanction in historical land contemporary realities.

When I reached 14, I concluded, at first privately, that God exists in all of us - that each of us has a piece of God within us. At that same time I decided that Jesus was an historical figure who had been deified by humankind out of desire and needs

of their own. When I expressed these views to my Dad, it shocked and upset him. I was talking Humanism, denying spiritual values, he said; and for him, that was reprehensible: it was heresy. He and I never did get back on the same wavelength: we never discussed any religious concept further. And, as for codification of morality, such formulas were abundant just in our cultural environment. Kipling's IF for instance, which I mounted on the wall.

Then when Dad died suddenly two years later, and when I could see how greatly he had been esteemed in the community, my thinking took a different turn. Not that I came to believe in his immortality - or anybody's, for that matter; it was simply a matter of feeling remorse and guilt, and of feeling an obligation to try to achieve and to be successful: life's values had to be taken more earnestly to heart. So began two to three years of

devout attention to my ideals. I attended church religiously and became active in church youth-group and other activities. Representative of that phase in my life, perhaps, was an incident at summer church youth camp at Seabeck on Hood Canal. Some of the girls, seeing my seriousness and conscientious rectitude, set me up with a date to take a walk toward dusk with a girl who acknowledge herself to be experienced and eager, only to learn from her that apparently it was not just a pose on my part.

Virginity was part of the righteousness code.

I think I took devoutness from religion and applied it to my own sanctity, of course wholly without realizing that this is what was actually taking place. Social morality however, which had sanctions both in the religious heritage and in the intellectual realm, particularly in those idealistic times, remained solid and real. Would compromises become possible?

Phase 1

As regards ideology, the university's intellectual atmosphere threw a new light on everything: so much was new! Particularly the sages and philosophers of ancient China. Confucius himself had addressed directly one quandary: "be respectful to the spooks," he had said, "yet don't get buddy-buddy with them". (Free translation here.) Taoism gave voice to iconoclasm - which in turn could be offset by Buddhist mysticism. China's early altruistic Mohists, and later her Legalist philosophers, together had infused social dynamics and patterns for society that were different from those of our Western world. Group morality rather than individual initiative was the nexus of human culture.

Concern over a program to advance world peace took highest priority in youth group discussions at the University YMCA. After the European adventure (see PART II, Hitler Takes Power ), all of this was welcome fodder for thought and earnest endeavor - even more so, of course, after the year in China.

So discussions about international and interracial relations, and about labor rights and social justice, - these became the fulcrums of our crusades. I joined movements; wrote letters to newspapers and to congressmen; spoke up in meetings; attended rallies. This was a new and more specific focus for religious convictions. It was the atmosphere at the time, and it seemed likewise to grow out of national efforts to move beyond the Depression, into a new era.

Our crusades for pacifism and economic reform characterized all of us as 1930's "hot-heads". And in my situation after returning from China exchange student year, with many new Chinese friends, discrimination against Orientals, then engrained on the West Coast, became personal anathema for me.

Conventional religion seemed content with itself and hardly concerned over socio-economic changes; in fact such changes were rued as threatening to true Faith. Certain liberal leaders however found in religion not variance from, but support for their aims and programs. Among the pacifists the Fellowship of Reconciliation, which I joined, was out in front. But it was not a worship group, and its program was overtly political.

Fundamental to my beliefs and goals was a faith in youth and in education: knowledge would mean power - power to make changes for the good; thence came a commitment to higher education as a career. I could not foresee how graduate school, with its intensive pressures to master details and to look at all sides of every situation, would become seemingly unsuited to my ambitious goals. Then when the time came and the nitty-gritty of graduate school specialization imploded, it was simply a chore that had to be carried out with patience over the time it took.

In consequence of my earlier pacifist connections, when actual, declared war broke out in the fall of 1941, I volunteered to assist Quakers of the American Friends Service Committee, in their ministry to urgent needs of resident US Japanese who were being displaced from the west coast. Some were being imprisoned because they belonged to certain patriotic Japanese social groups, such as war-veterans. Others, even American citizens who had been through school with me, were ordered to report for evacuation, leaving behind their property and most of what they owned. It was hard for me to believe that blanket racial discrimination was being carried out thus by the US government.

Evacuation started first with Terminal Island in Los Angeles harbor. An unused school elsewhere in Los Angeles was used taken over by the Quakers to provide someplace for the evacuees to hole up, pending their being impounded in concentration-type camps inland, mainly in desert areas. For six months I helped operate this refuge L.A. for mainly women and children; only a few men. All of them, in panic, had quickly sold all of their possessions and property for a small fraction of its real value.

We ate Japanese food: kelp and seaweed; turnips and pickles; and I lost weight. Occasionally FBI military people came in to remove a man or small group of men. On one occasion fisheries people came to interview one man whose calling had been to dive for a particular kind of kelp from which agar-agar, now vital with respect to the war effort, was obtained. They wanted him to tell them how it is done. Naturally he cooperated.

After the American Japanese were interned in their camps, the Quaker workers and I visited Manzanar and Poston, located inland on deserts, bringing to the internees news and encouragement and trying to bolster morale behind the barbed wire. It was sad to see young couples deprived of privacy. It seemed anomalous that some of these young men were being drafted.

Drafted myself in June of 1942, I began four and a half years of Civilian Public Serve. I was 26, a pacifistic idealist with beliefs reinforced by three successive years of graduate education in three of the country's prestigious institutions: University of Chicago, University of California at Berkeley, and Harvard, a year at each, successively. I had become an idealistic, humanistic liberal - or a self-styled semblance thereof.

Civilian Public Service was the alternative to military service. It was for those who wouldn't even serve as "meds", unarmed. It was like the CCC, mostly manual labor in backcountry camps, usually for the Forest Service. The camps were operated by the three pacifist religious sects - Quakers (Society of Friends), Church of the Brethren, and Mennonites; and there was no pay. We received allowances of $7/month. Leave was infrequent. "Liberals" or "non-affiliates" were sent to Quaker camps partly because the Quakers would accept them more openly; but also because their presence there might prove less disruptive of pietistic traditions. This CPS program segregated the objectors, making them less visible to, and less interactive with the public at large; it gave them no privileges nor income; and it forced the avowed pacifists to get along with one another in circumstances of stress. It was brilliantly conceived and carefully supervised by General Lewis B. Hershey whose Pennsylvania familiarity with pacifist religious sects equipped him admirably for this kind of assignment.

In the case of us idealistic crusaders and would-be paragons of virtue, with ideas as how everything should be done, this was poetic justice - putting us all together, in competition with our own kind. Would-be saints can be a pain....Consequently the CPS years were bound to serve as cooling-off time.

I was first assigned to the Quaker camp at San Dimas National Forest in the Los Angeles area. The Quakers traditionally require, in business meetings or group decisions, that a meeting not be adjourned until there is an absolutely unanimous consensus on something. Achieving that goal often involved a lot of sitting in silence. But the speeches and viewpoints were often even longer than the silences. We weren't nearly so compatible nor flexible as we had imagined ourselves to be; nor were we all like-minded nor fully congenial. Those who were not Quakers were opinionated; those who had been raised as Friends had learned to guard carefully their earnest and sincere convictions. They could sit in stubborn silence for long, long periods of time. One thing we were learning for certain: keeping the peace means putting up with a lot.

We rotated assignments: cooking, washing clothes, cleaning, making repairs, and well as changing job assignments. The food was adequate but frugal and monotonous. Work was arduous, difficult, and routine, for six days a week, 8 to 5. At San Dimas much of my work was with other college graduates, where we processed data at a forestry research lab at 5,000 feet in the mountains.

Already in the Sino-Japanese war scene in China, the Quakers had an ambulance unit of their own in operation, clearly a peace mission with a religious underbelly. The Quakers were trying to get General Hershey to allow selected CPS draftees to serve in that overseas unit instead of in the CPS camps. In the summer of 1943 that looked possible, and, with my background of Chinese studies, naturally I applied and was one of about 15 chosen. But it so happened that the China service arrangement fell through after about four months, probably because of concern over how the public might look upon pacifists doing deeds of heroic nature.

For three months in the summer of 1943 nevertheless, I was in training first in Pennsylvania at the Quakers' Pendle Hill Institute and then at Yale University. It had been arranged that Fred Riggs and I - he having been raised by missionary parents in China - would take a special stepped-up course in Linguistics that was being given, to selected military personnel about to go overseas, by four of the country's best-known academic Linguistics authorities Block, Trager, Sturtevant, and Bloom. After that course, Fred and I went to Ellis Island and practiced teaching English to Chinese seaman who had been rescued from allied ship victimized and sunk by submarines. They had no activities, incarcerated; and this was a service the Quakers thought to provide them. While Fred and I were living in NYC that month, we met a young man from the Merchant Marine who told us what radar is and how it works - information that at that time was not known to the public at large.

When October arrived, exotic duty such as Fred and I had had, was ruled out. I returned to a CPS forestry camp east of the Sierras, as reported elsewhere in this account. But that summertime escape to Pendle Hill and Yale and Ellis Island, into the real world, had stirred me up, and I began to feel that CPS camp was more of a treadmill than a living testimonial or an ardent crusade. So in l945 I asked for transfer to work in a mental hospital. (Many CPS units by that time were not in the woods but were staffing institutions for retarded and impaired persons.)

For a year I served as an attendant-nurse at the Infirmary of Byberry State Hospital in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia - challenging and demanding work. The hospital was understaffed and under-funded. As I recall, it had about 2,000 patients. Some CPS men worked in Building "A" where a hundred semi-nude men were housed together, hosed down periodically; others worked in Building "B" where eighty "violent" patients interacted in one large day room. There were a few doctors to handle injuries, with only two having had enough training in psychiatry to serve as diagnosticians - to handle the paperwork.

I was assigned to a ward of 48 beds, the "terminal" wing of the infirmary where chronic cases were sent to spend their final days. We worked in teams of two. One third of our patients were restrained to their beds; the others wandered around or just sat. There was usually about one death per week. Occasionally there were scuffles or fights. Some patients would decorate themselves or the wall with feces. A few were contorted into pretzel-like configurations from having spent years curled up in fetal position. Besides us CPS men there were occasional worker-patients from other wards, clear-minded enough, most of the time, to be useful and to help out during the day shift. The situation was not totally bereft of humor however. As a rule, deeply psychotic patients do not talk to one another, but I recall one senile man at the far corner of the ward, imagining that he was in dire peril, calling from his bed, "Oh save me! Quick, come and help me, before I fall in!" Then from the opposite end of the ward came a voice, from another bedridden senile man, "Hold on, now. Hold on tight! I'm coming, and I'll save you! Yep, I'm on my way!"

"Oh thank you! You're gonna be a hero. God bless you. I hope you can stand for being a hero. Where are you now?"

"At the corner of Olive and 32nd st; but don't worry, I'll get to you; I'll save you. So hold on."

"Well, don't dally or fool around; get here as fast as you can or it'll be too late."

"I'm coming; yup, here I am! Now aren't you glad?!"

"Gee, thanks. Oh boy. There that feels great; but what took you so long?"

"I'm still coming. Just hold tight."

We changed beds (not enough clean linens available half the time), hand-fed patients, changed dressings over chronic wounds, showered, emptied urinals, distributed limited medications. Very few drugs were dispensed in our ward because its patients had already been adjudged terminal and most of the insane had become accustomed to suffering silently.

At Byberry (which improved significantly after the war), I began to think that my absolutist pacifist stance might have been a mistake. It had isolated me from what everybody else was involved with; and why should I have thought myself to be something special? Certainly I had not got far toward crusading successfully for my beliefs in the world; no, in fact the world had ignored me and gone its own way. Why should I be left behind? I asked my mother for money to take flying lessons at the nearby local airport, and she came through.

WW II came to a complete close while I was still at Byberry, but my release from conscription did not come until winter of 1946. The Quakers by that time were fielding not only another ambulance group, but a rural rehabilitation team - perhaps to be sponsored and financed under UNRRA (U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Agency, then headed by Mayor LaGuardia from NYC). So I went with a team of other pacifists to a training program regarding tractors to be used in rural rehabilitation. Unfortunately that program got delayed; but out of it came different work connected with UNRRA in D.C. Hopeful that it might lead to actual relief work in China, I accepted a job as receptionist at a housing facility for UNRRA trainees who were being briefed as to what to expect when they got to China. These were professional specialists - engineers, sanitarians, educators, social workers. Then came the State Department's call to China which is reported in detail in PART I.

Phase 2

What influence would two years of intensive psychotherapy (akin to psychoanalysis) have on the ideology (beliefs) of an intellectual in his early 30's? In 1947, upon return from China, I got the chance to find out. Having already tempered some of my altruistic drive, and feeling a bit at sixes and sevens socially, I dove into two years of skilled treatment which was financed by working simultaneously as an attendant in an extraordinary psychiatric sanitarium. I found out that it was not so much that ideals and goals change, as do one's attitudes toward those particular ideologies and how one applies oneself to them. Instead of those particular drives being in charge, a new innate personal responsibility takes control and exercises those drives with better discrimination and with better-considered discretion. Thus it is one's internal personality that changes; it is not a change that can occur without a special, on-going therapeutic relationship. That is so because one is never willing to give up something familiar and habitual without first facing fully what its loss might entail. One has to be pushed into that; and only then can one discover what will take the place of what will have been reluctantly at first, shunted off. All-important is the requirement that one must be able to have confidence in how faithful, ultimately, the therapist is.

That sanitarium was Chestnut Lodge at Rockville, Maryland, on the outskirts of Washington. Between 1947 and 1950 it had a staff of a dozen psychoanalysts who were treating schizophrenics and others by psychotherapy without shock, without lobotomies, and without mind-altering drugs. We had about 40 in-patients and maybe as many more outpatients. Treatment usually took 2 to 4 years and of course it was extremely expensive, partly because of the excellent facilities and because of the large supportive staff of medical and occupational therapy specialists and assistants. Some well-known and very importantly connected persons were patients there; and some unusual results were obtained. (The book "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" describes the situation.) Directness and frankness were key moods at the Lodge. I had the chance to observe some highly skilled therapists at work with their patients, and much that transpired on the wards provided fodder for discussion with my own therapist - vis-a-vis my own situation and outlook. One of my co-workers, a brilliant young man who played French Horn and Piano, committed suicide before he could complete his therapy there. One of the resident patients had, during WW II years, set out to be the busiest whore in Washington, achieving thereby a very broad reputation. At the end of her treatment she married Mike, one of the attendants - and not under arrangement by the staff.

Respecting therapy, the prevailing approaches were those of two internationally known gurus: Frieda Fromm-Reichman, who stressed interpersonal interdependence, and Harry Stack Sullivan who emphasized the social implications of all behavioral stances and interrelations. My own therapist was being supervised by Sullivan. It seemed to me that he absorbed the best that Sullivan had to offer, plus a unique Inquisitional style of treatment that was of his own devising. These therapists got to know you inside out. You got mad at them; you got depressed; you agonized; you had to grope for possession of your own soul. The end result was to put a more solid perspective upon everything - so that you trusted yourself, with confidence, when that was all that was left to you. It did not depend upon what you believed, nor upon hoping for the external world to change. You didn't just take pills; and it wasn't magic.

Following Chestnut Lodge came marriage; and with marriage and children one tends to accept and value conventional situations, such as church membership, voting, club affiliations, etc. So I went back into the Presbyterian fold, and entered community affairs: wrote articles and edited little periodicals;

joined community organizations, attended neighborhood events.

It seemed there were plenty of organizations or movements that needed support. I campaigned for and supported certain selected election candidates - Democrats as it happened - and the ones I have supported have had long and fruitful terms in office.

Locally, on the fringe of our Relay, MD community we discovered that a certain research lab facility operated by Martin-Marietta Company had buried toxic wastes underground (some of them surfaced in somebody's back yard). We took the issue to the EPA, and I made a trip to Philadelphia on that account, only to discover that the EPA was swamped with violations of that nature nationwide, with a 20-year backlog; and the local authorities didn't want a hassle with an employer so well placed.

Another local campaign related to how reading is taught: the Dick-Spot-Jane method that produces almost illiterate handlers of the language. I taught my three boys to read, easily, at age 5, before they met Dick and Jane; and they've each separately expressed their thanks. In trying to get the professional Educators to see the problem, I wrote a "Syllabic Workbook" for remedial use by Dick-and-Jane victims, or to assist the phonics approach; but nobody would publish or promote it.

My new, more modest crusading impulses later found two main outlets: nature conservation & trails; and social justice concerns. Nature and trails has been dealt with in detail elsewhere in these annals, with one exception. It has sometimes seemed to me that I have specialized in lost causes, and here is one sample:

The original National Scenic Trails Act that was passed in 1968 during the Johnson administration authorizes a "Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail". Dreamed up by a zealous bureaucrat, the proposed trail was to extend from the C & O Canal eastward along the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay – and on both sides of the river, no less; westward along the Potomac and over the Alleghenies to join the existing Allegheny Highlands Trail SE of Pittsburgh. No federal money was to be appropriated, and because of Senator Byrd's alert and protective cover for coal and timber interests, none of the Trail was allowed on West Virginia soil. In the mid-1980's a National Park Service employee whose desk held the relevant documents, asked me if I would scout out actual possibilities for such a trail, since it was being carried on the NPS books, and because, if feasible, it might work out to be a great thing.

I spent six years, between other things, covering much of the ground, talking with landowners, conducting explorations with hiking-club members, mapping various alternate routes. Others meanwhile had determined that it was no longer feasible to consider anything along the river east of Washington because developments there had become too thick: there would be no way to establish and preserve a trail right-of-way that would be continuous and unbroken.

Westward out of Cumberland, however, where the C & O canal stopped, there were possibilities. Two of them were blocked by the County Commissioners at Cumberland however; several others by Garrett County Commissioners who didn't want to see any kind of new Trail in their domain. Behind these blockages were coal companies and timber companies who didn't want to have to make any kind of accommodations to anybody.

At one point we thought we could get an easement to use an abandoned Western Maryland Railroad route between Cumberland and Frostburg, and with the Mayor of Cumberland, the NPS agent and I negotiated an easement. But it didn't go through because the State of Maryland was restoring that particular section of the track for a scenic tourist route, with steam engines. I found a more scenic hiking route between the two cities subsequently, most of it on State land, but part of it depended upon verbal agreement with one landowner of 80 acres of mountain-slope and winding dirt road. We did get permission, but the tract was up for sale and soon might be lost to us.

Finally, after three years of exploration and effort, I was able to establish a through route about 60 miles long, depending upon verbal permissions from four different landowners parts of whose land the route crossed. We mapped it and we prepared a small guidebook for the route, and I put up markers at critical junctions. As far as I know, it was used by only three groups subsequently. Moreover, there were no hiking clubs in the area which might, or could, maintain the trail - in spite of long stretches on State forest lands, jeep trails, and cleared power lines.

Meanwhile county and commercial interests in Pennsylvania began to push a different route for the advancement of tourism and business, using the right-of-way of the former Western Maryland Railway - despite its long tunnel and dilapidated bridges. At first they tried to call it "Potomac Heritage Trail" thereby hoping to gain status and possibly governmental assistance. Vehicles and horses were to use it. NPS told them to call it something else, since it was not a route in which NPS wanted an interest. Moreover, one section of the old RR track north of Frostburg was being used by a coal-mining company that showed fierce determination to keep it. So it remains an intercepted route even today at the end of the century.

Thus the Potomac Heritage trail evolved into a drawing-board fiasco; but I felt I had carried it farther than it had ever deserved.

Social justice refers to my having spent several senior years with certain members of Presbytery of Baltimore's Peace and Justice Committee. We made monthly visits to our Maryland Senators and sometimes also to Representative in Washington, each time with one of two major concerns that were founded on positions taken by our national deliberative body, the General Assembly, which meets annually. Those pilgrimages, however, were not graced by altruism alone, because I relished what the Senators would tell us about inside maneuvers, and similarly what we would learn from two-hour briefings by the Presbyterian Washington Office as to what was happening inside the Beltway.

In the late 1960's the eminent Theologian Paul Tillich visited the University of Maryland campus and elaborated upon his references to God as "the Ground of all Being". I found it impressive - as was the man himself. Regarding church-going over the last 30 years of the century, two things stand out. The village church at Relay was fortunate to have as its second pastor William Aldridge from Alabama. Aldridge had just completed his theological doctorate in Switzerland, under the eminent Theologian Karl Barth. Bill was with us for two years, when we were only about 40 aspiring lucky Christian souls. Bill's message, most assuredly ecumenical, was that God is the embodiment of grace, openness and inclusiveness; and if God is not that, forget all else. It was a message as big as the Universe!

That local church soon had to merge with a neighboring Presbyterian Church, to worship over there. At first we had two different congregations, habitual clusters, using the same worship but not really keen on fraternizing or collaborating on a one-to-one basis. At that point a new pastor, the first Presbyterian woman pastor in the Baltimore Presbytery, entered the scene. She was neutral of course, which was helpful; and her friendly and inclusive and attentive manner eventually brought cohesiveness to the new congregation of one single church. Her Gospel was one of social congeniality and relaxed friendship. It was not strong on theology, which was somewhat surprising because she had graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary. In those days, late 1960's however, the Princetonians didn't expect their few women students to be preaching and teaching: more likely they were husband-hunting, having a preference for men of the cloth. Actually our reverend mother did marry a Presbyterian man of the cloth after all, and they had two young giant basketball-playing sons.

The old church building in Relay, then unused, was made available to a group of Roman Catholics who were forming a congregation with ties to the new University of Maryland campus ministry, in an ecumenical endeavor. These were strongly liberal Catholics, considered to be almost theological renegades from set orthodoxy, who continued to rent the church - and who worshipped jointly with the original Presbyterians at regular intervals even after buying the old church building in 1998.

One thing I learned during Phase 2 is that a truly spiritual realm can be approached only in meditation or prayer, because it is contingent upon becoming detached from more immediate, lesser pre-occupations; and it must be devoid of pre-conceptions, for it must be totally receptive, even to disappointment, should that eventuate. Ideologies, in contrast to that, can inflate us with a false sense of importance - or make us believe that strategies alone will supply all of the answers.

CHAPTER 14. Drama, "The Play's the Thing"

I was always an eager theater-goer but a very critical one.

Besides, there was hardly a first-rate movie film between 1925 and about 1980 that I did not see. That included documentaries travel and foreign films as well. As to taking part myself, I acted on stage in junior high school and in my Senior Class Play at high school; and in my teens I also had lead roles in a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta and in Romberg's "The Desert Song".

In later years I acted again in movies and in TV commercials, and again on stage.

As an audience member I tried to attend plays whenever I could, whether professional or amateur. But beginning in the late 1970's, after our social revolution following Vietnam which brought us drugs and increased sexual promiscuity and lax language, plays deteriorated sadly, in my opinion. Sensationalism seemed to have taken over. Of course by that time NYC's Broadway had become so heavily commercialized that it no longer appealed to thinking people - because commercially advantageous tastes turned vulgar. New plays that reached the top tended to be sensational and junky; and works of quality could find no outlet - save sometimes in local towns. I thought it odd that stage plays deteriorated in quality before movies did. Probably economics determined that. Perhaps the same applies to television.

Anyway I became very unhappy about dramatic offerings, both name plays and lesser new plays. I actually began to believe that I could write better ones myself than those I was seeing. There was precedent for me to try: in 1957 I had written a play about a mental sanitorium using people I had known at Chestnut Lodge as models for its characters. It was a heavy tragi-drama and it revealed a lot about psychotherapy. Most people's first attempts at play-writing tend to have large elements of autobiographic material; and so too it was with this play which I called "Never Say Die".

Strangely enough, Never say Die almost made it. At least what happened was that I sent it to an NYC impresario who liked it and recommended that I rework some parts of it. That I did. But then l heard nothing for some time. When I inquired by phone I was told that my play had been set aside because "Sweet Bird of Youth" by Tennessee Williams had arrived and taken priority. That was the end of "Never Say Die". I revised it somewhat in 2000, but it has never been performed.

Then, 22 years later when a local theater group had just started giving stock plays at the Relay Town Hall, I not only got involved in acting some key roles, but began to write plays that this company might conceivably perform. Most of them were comedies, and about a dozen such plays evolved over a period of ten years. I was convinced that plays should make people in the audience feel something, and make them think about the play afterwards; they didn't have to be sensationalistic, preposterous or coarse. Only one of my plays was produced, receiving 12 performances in Catonsville. "Horse Play: Seven Scenes from a Sultry Summer at the Ranch" was well received. It was based on experiences I had out west at 18 working with the horse-packers. It was so earthy that when I took a bow after the final performance, people in the audience stared wide-eyed that a person my age would have written it.

For ten years in the 1980's and 1990's I have been connected with the Baltimore Playwrights Festival under which from three to seven small local amateur theaters fill their summer venues with plays that win productions in competition. That has put me in contact with contemporaries in the community of amateur theaters, which in Baltimore is sizeable and full of talent. For the past seven years I have been critiquing the plays submitted, and have served as a judge, for competition of productions of the chosen plays. We have had from 50 to 90 plays submitted each year, and each time I have tried to read all of the submissions - missing a few each year however. Reading the submissions and seeing the kinds of mistakes and shortcomings writers sometimes show has been a real education for me respecting how to write plays.

I was on stage also, even at age 80; but had trouble remembering lines as age advanced - particularly if the lines seemed awkward, unconvincing to me, or unnatural. I have noticed that some of the best amateur actors, in addition to the stringent pride they take in their work, are capable to become, temporarily, the very character they portray; and in some instances their own natural characters are either bland or exotic. Isn't everybody? Yes. But most of us lack ability to switch into another character completely, in and out. I suspect it is also a characteristic that can affect their ability to memorize lines quickly and accurately.

Stage acting also gave an opportunity for me to make a bit of cash as I starred in several medical training films and in TV commercials - as a victim of cataract, heart attack, depression, hypertension, and as a pharmacy customer. These stints could be fun: for instance in one film at a nursing home I had to throw a bedpan at a nurse. Work before the camera is time-consuming, highly repetitive, fragmented and somehow unconvincing - almost as if entirely phony. I acted in only three big-screen movies, but without speaking roles.

I have abandoned about four of my plays and have rewritten the rest at least once. Trying to get plays considered, accepted, and produced calls for a special knack. It often depends ultimately on who knows whom and who trusts whom. I have had no luck with promoting plays, because I don't know how to do it.

It would be unfair to leave the theater window before telling you about two incidents that occurred in community theaters in Baltimore in closing years of the century.

At Vagabond Players (which boast to be the oldest continuous playhouse in the country, starting in 1916) a drama more real than was expected, and more diverting, broke out when one of the characters on stage was attacked by somebody in the audience. It was not the drama's realism that provoked it; no, something totally different. One of the actors had noticed that a particular member of the audience seated close to the stage had brought into the theater something like a crowbar and a bottle, stored under his seat. This actor tried to get word to somebody backstage to check on it, but before he could devise a suitable exit to do so, the man had stood up, loudly denounced his targeted actor as a "son of a bitch betrayer!" and thrown the open bottle and gasoline onto the actor. He was then intercepted just as he was about to ignite the gasoline with his lighter. It was a personal feud that had intruded into the play, apparently over the break-up of an intense relationship. Police and the law took over, and the crowbar was not used.

Another incident occurred in 1996 when I was onstage at the Fells PointCorner Theater in "Nothing Sacred". Written by George F. Walker, a Canadian, it is based on Turgenev's novel FATHERS AND SONS. In our cast the father and the son were in real life father and son, both first-rate actors, yet, as in the play itself, of different minds and dedications. The generational gap embodied here in two different eras, so to speak. The play climaxes with a pistol duel between father and son in which, on the second exchange of shots, the son is mortally wounded. I was playing the old family retainer who dispensed the pistols and counted the paces as the father and son faced their fate(s). Well, one night, for some strange reason, the father's pistol failed to fire the shot that was supposed to wound his son. Only click! Whereupon the son turned his pistol on himself, suiciding instead of being shot. We carried him out as usual, and it slightly changed the exact thrust of the play; but nobody in the audience seemed to catch on, I guess that's the real essence of theater, after all: make them believe what they see! The young man's final deathbed scene could proceed - thanks to the actor's presence of mind.

A real tragedy did occur however, because a year later this young actor died of a drug overdose. When that happened, his father was playing the role of the William Jennings Bryan character in INHERIT THE WIND, and despite the personal tragedy of losing his son during the show's run, he didn't fail to give outstanding performances. Hardly any of us in that large cast knew about his loss. A few of the father’s lines were halting on one particular night....

CHAPTER 15: Parenting

Why does "parenting" appear here as a special topic? For most people, parenting is a natural process, one that gives tremendous satisfactions, but disappointments as well. It appears here because in this instance it became complicated.

There were two marriages and three sons were born. There were two divorces, and two of the sons I did not raise and one I raised alone. That happened because both mothers met with misfortunes. Attorneys and judges were involved; doctors as well.

Betty Miller (Carter) became my wife in 1950, when I returned to Harvard to complete my higher academic degrees. She moved north from Maryland where we had known one another, and worked together for two years. An experienced and adept psychiatric nurse, she quickly got a job at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Stephen, a blond with blue eyes, was born in 1951; and David, with dark complexion, was born a year and a half later.

Betty was quite disappointed because she had wanted a daughter. She seemed not to care much about David, though she didn't neglect him completely. In 1953 we moved Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, not too from NYC. Unable to work because of keeping house and mothering, Betty was restless. Our finances were extremely tight. Betty seemed to lose faith that things boded well for us. Then suddenly, when Stephen was 5 and David 3-1/2, she announced that she was returning to Maryland, taking the boys with her, and it became clear that she no longer felt that she was married. I hoped that her decision was only temporary and that after she had been away a short time, she would return; but no. Then I found out that since she went out of state, I could not repossess the boys. Advised by a friend who had deserted three husbands, she went to court in Maryland and sued for support and custody.

This cut deeply because I was very close to both children: I had taught Stephen a lot of his vocabulary, and I gave David much special attention to make up for the times his mother ignored him. Both were quite attached to me and to our New Jersey home. At the hearing before Judge Anderson in Rockville, I was able to get rights to visit the boys on alternate weekends, driving back and forth from New Jersey. Judge Anderson remarked to Betty's attorney that "this is a case that never should have been brought to court".

A year later Betty had a psychotic episode and was cared for by staff personnel at Chestnut Lodge. At that point she phoned asking me to "come and get the boys". They seemed happy to be back in New Jersey, and we got set to enter Stephen into school. But after six months of special care, Betty was back in court again suing for custody and maintenance, which she again won. Then began three years in which I ferried back and forth, renting facilities in Maryland for weekends with the boys. Once again, at the close of that period, Betty was again hospitalized; and this time, in 1958, I moved from New Jersey to make a home for the boys and myself at the rented place in Maryland.

Betty had never wanted to talk about her background, and it wasn't until we'd been married about two years that she told me how she had come to be adopted by the Millers at age nine, from the orphanage. When she was five, she and a younger half brother had seen her own mother shot to death by a man who was not her father, because of a new infidelity. Her blood father had already remarried and moved to Massachusetts; he was not interested in caring for her. Other relatives, outraged over the scandal and murder, shunted her around briefly and reluctantly got about a year before finding space for her in an institution. She had had no good breaks until the Millers took her in.

Betty went to court again, with the same result. But two years later, in 1960 I remarried and this time I did get custody with hopes that at last there would be a unified and nurturing family atmosphere. It lasted a year this time before Betty went to court once again, well after a divorce action that I had filed in 1956, and she had custody of the boys from then until they finished high school. During two of the summers I was able to have the boys for two months at a time and took them across the continent and on various outings.

The custody matter was complicated by its costs. Lawyers' time was not cheap. But beyond that, with a second marriage in the offing, it was like trying to support two households. Besides, my payments to Betty were sustaining her way of life and irregular expenditures, only a small part of which appeared to directly benefit our sons - actually to the contrary.

The second marriage was to Joan Johnson, a schoolteacher who had recently taught servicemen's children in Germany. whom I had met through her sister. We married in 1960 and son Martin Pierce, another blond boy, was born in 1961. Sometime before his birth I had noticed some hallucinating but thought it might simply be an attribute of pregnancy. Six months later it became apparent that such was not the case. Joan was taken to the State hospital after an episode of violence and remained hospitalized for three more years. I had learned meanwhile that she had been institutionalized on several occasions previously and had received a large quantity of shock treatments.

Stephen and David were back with their mother, and I found a neighbor woman whose fifth child was the same age as Martin, who was willing to take care of him when I was away at work. Trying to find competent and desirable housekeepers, as I learned during all of these struggles to take care of the children, was virtually an impossible feat. Mrs. Andersen was ideally suited to give Martin good and loving care.

One day however, a neighbor called me at work 20 miles away, with word that Joan, then released from the State hospital into the custody of her brother in California, had just appeared with her relatives to take Martin from Mrs. Andersen. They had left immediately with the boy, for California. Two weeks later I had hired an attorney who was a Yale graduate, and expensive to represent me in a habeas corpus action to get Martin back, and off I went to California. It was just before Christmas.

In Los Angeles County the case was heard by a new, temporary judge who was filling in, Judge Bernhart. I sat in the otherwise empty courtroom first, with his honor reading papers at the bench. Then, as he had arranged, Martin was let into the courtroom alone, and over his glasses Bernhart observed whether Martin went right to me and what his reactions were. After that, the nitty-gritty details were processed, after which I took Martin to the train where, confident of the outcome, I had already arranged for a bedroom for the two of us.

Then I found a housekeeper, Mrs. Nell Miller, a widow whose boyfriend would arrive every Saturday to take the two of them to the horse racetrack(s). Mrs. Miller was not a warm person by nature, but she competent. She stayed until Martin was old enough for school.

The foregoing had proved stressful for me, and a cancerous tumor had started to grow in my large intestine (where my maternal grandmother had a similar tumor. My problem was misdiagnosed by three different physicians however, before that was corrected two years later. Meanwhile all three sons would occasionally join me on Mountain Club hikes and overnight excursions. Joan and I divorced four years after Martin had been abducted. She was able to work subsequently and she continued her psychiatric consultations.

Betty was hospitalized intermittently and ultimately thought to be an Alzheimer's patient. She was in a nursing home for more than twenty years. In 2000 the postman handed me her ashes one day at the door.

Now we turn to the sons. Stephen was a brilliant student and won a scholarship to Beloit College in Wisconsin. He also won an internship at a youth-school in Germany; then he taught in private schools in Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania, favoring the fifth grade level but specializing in German, Latin, English, and computers. He was strong on outdoor sports, horseback and outings. In high school he had acted important roles in two Shakespeare plays. Unfortunately for me he lives in another state and his contacts with me are rare and few.

David had problems concentrating in school, possibly partly because he was loaded up dilantin and phenobarbitol. He slithered by with mostly D's, but played clarinet in the school band. He showed little interest in becoming an achiever. Upon graduating, he worked as a roofer in a company owned by a friend's father for two years, then chose to move to Baltimore to live with me. There he worked for a year as a security guard and then in the Maryland House of Correction as a guard at the state's Jessup prison for eleven years. After he moved out to live on his own, he met with a series of reverses including a furnace fire that burned down his house. He had become a first lieutenant in the National Guard, but he lost that connection when, because of alcohol he lost the prison job, too. He was homeless for a time and was incarcerated for over a year. Nevertheless he rehabilitated himself successfully and took a locksmith training course by correspondence.

Martin Pierce, the third son, was the one that I raised alone, from eight months of age.   Serious by nature, well coordinated, but not particularly warm in disposition, He became a strong hiker and outdoorsman.  His high school class featured him as its valedictory speaker. He won a full scholarship at Johns Hopkins University, choosing it from among other offers.  He was mathematically talented.

In his second year at Hopkins, when he moved into group housing and began taking his dog to classes with him, he told me he would take Chinese language.  “Aha,” I thought, this will be another of his investigative, curiosity-satisfying moves, because I’ve never given him a push in this direction, and wouldn’t, (because, for me, it didn’t provide first-line, steady employment.)  “He’ll dabble with it for a semester and then move on to something  else, particularly when he find out how hard it is.”  But he stayed at it.  At the end of a year of colloquial (easier) Chinese, he came to me with an eighteenth-century manuscript he had found in our attic, written in classical Chinese without punctuation (a true challenge), describing various ethnic tribes in China’s remote western Gueizhou Province.  “Let’s translate this,” he said. (It was a wooden-bound manuscript my father had picked up in Peking sixty years before, at a market stall - presumably because it was a hand-illustrated.)

“Okay”,” I said, not wanting to be uncooperative.  I got out my reference dictionaries of names of places, names of persons, and calendar conversions.  To my amazement, as we worked down the columns of characters, the boy was able to read right along, translating expertly as if from some innate capability that was totally beyond my reach.  I had studied classical Chinese written language for at least five years, yet there he was outstripping my capabilities in an amazing way!

Therefore, it was no surprise when Martin Pierce continued his China interest.  He got a scholarship for graduate study at the University of Chicago. During his ten-year candidacy for his Ph.D., he spent two full years in China and three full years in Japan. In China he was admitted to classes in Beijing University. He became orally fluent and facile with Chinese, truly with the gift of a born interpreter and translator.  Back in Chicago again, because of shifts in faculty strengths there, he was attracted to Japanese studies.  He switched from emphasis in Chinese history to Japanese history.  He spent a year in Japan absorbing written and spoken Japanese and collecting thesis materials.  On his return to Chicago, he married a graduate student in Physics from China, Dai Wei-shen.  After another year, when she had obtained her doctorate, the two of them went to Japan for two more years, she under an international exchange fellowship.  It thus became about that both of them as fluent as natives not only in Chinese but also in Japanese, and of course they both had polished American-idiom and academic English.

Wei-shen, although she had a small son, decided to add medicine to her biophysical qualifications.  She entered medical school at the University of Chicago.  Pierce finished his doctorate there but was unable to find academic employment.  And, because his wife was Chinese, he was not eligible for federal jobs where his skills could be used.  With respect to the Orient, he found himself in competition with Orientals themselves whose English was polished; and, in academia, he was also in competition with women candidates, whom it cost less to employ.  So, returning to an earlier knack of his, he sought an advanced degree in cyber technology.  In that area, he hoped to be able to get an income, using his innate translational capacities.  Pierce appeared to face a handicap of being too self-sufficient.   

 So, parenting proved difficult. It took a lot of effort. My unfortunate marriage situations - why those? It seemed to come with the terrain, partly because of the turbulent middle part of the 20th century and partly because of distinctive features of my social heritage: cultivated saints can have trouble over affection, both receiving and giving.

CHAPTER 16: Self-characterization - Social Outlook

Where do I stand on the scale of human dispositions or temperaments? In what way(s) am I like everybody else; and in what way(s) am I distinctive or different? For adolescents these can be haunting questions. Apparently my own adolescence has been a prolonged one, in some respects still incomplete, because in this area I am still finding answers - even in the closing years.

The family heritage takes a peculiar stand regarding sociability as a handmaiden for individuality. It ingrains Anglo-Saxon reticence regarding intimacy - physical intimacy in particular. We are not a touchy-feely sort. Maybe we don't fully trust one another not to try to steal something from one another. Would mutuality threaten that distrust?

Anyway, physical affection in the family abjured sentiment: it tended to be formalistic in substance. We didn't really trust our innate impulses not to sweep us away in a flood of passion that might deny us our intellectual controls. Of course nobody ever explained this, partly because you can't talk about what passion is without getting somewhat close to it. But the message of avoidance was there, hedged with almost sacred mystery.

Under the Victorian codes, people were supposed to approximate paragons or saints, at least outwardly; and physical intimacy was carefully regulated whenever possible. Sex should not exist - why? Maybe because angels and deities, being supernatural, were above that sort of thing. It was to be considered simply sub-human.

Social intercourse operated under fixed rules. When puberty hit me at age eleven (as it did with both of my brothers), the only thing I knew was that babies did not just appear as if from heaven, and that was something I had figured out for myself. I had had no inkling that seeking pleasure could be partner to the procedure of procreation. Dreams gave broad hints; but not until after I turned 12 did neighborhood boys show me the true secret - which, because of the Heritage, I immediately considered sinful. But it was unavoidable; this precious secret called for experimentation and exploitation. But what about girls and women? Weren't they free from this sort of dilemma? Everything I knew and had seen seemed to be convincing of that fact. Women only became involved in order to get babies. That was their sole motive: to get married first and then to have a baby.

Interaction between people, between sexes, was publicly regulated, codified. All social and cultural activities operated in such a way as to support this code. How come I didn't fit into it, or it to my apparent needs? So this new, important, very personal aspect of my existence had to go underground.

In retrospect I have come to realize, belatedly, that my early puberty indicated a hefty endowment of glandular over-development - a very vigorous prostate. Sex was pervasive and irrepressible. I could masturbate three or four times a day in adolescence, and erections were a continual problem. As far as girls were concerned, I felt I had to avoid them or at least avoid interpersonal closeness with them, otherwise --. Objective platonic relations were o.k., but that was all.

Meanwhile I learned of course, through more relaxed interaction with other boys, that some of them faced problems similar to my own, as we compared notes and kidded around. But that was at an infantile or animal level; it didn't count, except as education or entertaining diversion. At that time there were two social worlds: the formal, significant, adult, real world of grown-ups, and the more relaxed and changeable world of those who had not yet been initiated into the adult world. In this second world you could be yourself; whereas in the adult world you played a role that took over some responsibilities that hitherto had been avoided.

Gradually as adolescence progressed I observed how the adults dealt with this matter: how some of them retained in secret the allures of personal privacy and independence even while conforming - even if somewhat superficially or half-heartedly - to the adult code. As regards females, I remained a virgin until an episode with a prostitute at age 19. That didn't clarify anything, nor was it satisfying: it was simply mechanical. I began to conclude that a more appropriate outlet for impulses of lust would be with persons similar to myself and therefore without emotional involvement and within a framework of adventure rather than one that involved intimacy of personality. Then I discovered that such liaisons were possible also with similarly inclined females - though I could never be sure that they would not want to cling, or blame, or claim.

Aware of this upsurging dynamic in my private life and its social implications, I sought medical advice - at each graduate school's health service, for example - and I took a year of hormone injections, which seemed to change nothing; I also interviewed with Dr. Alfred Kinsey for the Kinsey report on sexual practices and habits (which was somewhat reassuring).

Even after my two marriages - both of which were satisfying to me regarding physical intimacy in every respect - I did not realize for years and years that probably I could be classed as bisexual - or, as I prefer to term it, ambi-sexual. During my married years, incidentally, sexual urges were fewer but greatly enjoyable; they were in the proper social context for human beings. I had found out quite early in the game that I couldn't stand confirmed homosexuals who practiced sex, particularly those who wanted interpersonal, lasting love relationships. No, promiscuity was closer akin to my sexuality - except with persons I really cared about enough to want to live with like a relative in a family setting. The ideal relationship was physical intimacy accompanied by intellectual and emotional compatibility such as marriage nurtures. In other respects one can have recourse to lustful episodes that are merely temporary substitutions, readily forgettable gratifications of an itch.

In the final analysis the thing that counts is the way we interact with others - in humor, in stress, in conflict, in mutual joy, in creative efforts, in simple companionship: the way we listen, encourage, criticize, share, help, instruct, sympathize, empathize, contribute, - even complain.

In my sexual ventures I have always tried to be careful not to hurt another person - at least not by intention - and by good fortune that has usually been the case. But some episodes in the past were not wholly discriminating and did become known - and talked about - and held against me, particularly when it was thought that I might be out-and-out homosexual, impelled by predatory motives. (This is an understandable discrimination, because one element in most sexual liaisons can be an exploitation of the weakness or vulnerability of another person. Sometimes it arises out or vengeful motives, but it can also arise from envy - from a desire to find in some other human being something that one desires to find within oneself. Low self-esteem is a high component of this.)

I think that homosexuality is not helpful to society. It is relatively fruitless behavior. Bisexually inclined persons can sometimes make a choice in that regard; it has happened again and again both in past generations and in our times. But certainly I do not find myself in position to criticize - and certainly not discriminate - against anybody whose sexual outlets, however distinctive, do not harm or denigrate other persons' self esteem. It is particularly important to protect young persons from being exploited in their inexperience and vulnerability.

In this century we have seen a cycle from Victorian perfectionism and abstemiousness to full open license regarding sex, to the point of an AIDS epidemic and battles over contraception. Population control has become a must.

It is tempting to consider that maybe the two most significant single developments of this century have been atomic energy and birth control. Second to that, perhaps, enhancement of the transfer of information.

CHAPTER 17: Inventing a Talkwriter

[Explanatory Note: Toward the close of the century an automatic dictation device with a broad vocabulary of print-out words was marketed for the first time. In essence it was an elaborate computer program coupled to certain high-powered computational device. You could dictate a memo to it and watch it print out the results as you went along. Thirty years prior to that, using the term "talkwriter" which I coined, I had set out to try to design a device of that nature, and seven patents resulted, in time - but without a finished product.]

Characteristics of the marketed product were:

a) it first had to memorize for each speaker's voice the various distinguishing ways that he/she enunciated, in context, some 35 different speech elements - an exercise that took at least 25 minutes for each voice, only one at a time;

b) with running-speech (no artificial pause inserted after each word so as to separate it from others around it), it depends upon techniques developed for strategic intelligence needs in picking out individual words (e.g., names) from bodies of spoken material; so it needed contextual background. Consequently it instead of yielding results word-by-word in real time, it dishes out phrase by phrase; that was because it needed context in order to find the right words in the right sequence. It didn't work too well with words in isolation. Under those limitations, at deliberate, careful dictational speed, an accuracy rate of 97% is claimed.

My design called for somewhat less precision of print-out. Intended for instantly transcribing first drafts, and using a few occasional phonetic transcriptions that would allow a reader to reconstruct what had been intended, this device would accept input from about 90% of the potential users after only 20-30 seconds' adjustment to voice traits for each new voice. It calls for slow but not disconnected speech; and by improving the quality of their diction, users can get better results: the machine will "learn" to give better results as the user find out how best to enunciate for it. Since its design involves elaborate phonetic details to a greater extent, and a phonemic analysis of the language, it will be more versatile at using different voices, and will be more word-dependent on the oral side, than the marketed devices are. The Talkwriter will yield a more precise representation of what was said, whereas the new commercial devices will yield more polished written texts. A print-out capacity of 100,000 words comes with the newly marketed versions, whereas the Talkwriter offers about 20,000 of the most commonly used words, with phonetic spelling for others; but specialized vocabularies and addition of new words could be added.



[The following is an account of my failure to become an innovator and entrepreneur,

appended here because it is too specialized and detailed for most readers. In 1967 when the writer was suffering with undiagnosed colon cancer and had just given up law school at night, he thought he could develop – and possibly market – a device that could convert

connected-word (running) speech instantaneously into written print-out. That endeavor took up his spare time and eventually exhausted a family inheritance. It was an effort that lasted over a span of thirty years but fell short of success. Meanwhile, a different kind

of approach to that sort of invention was marketed by other established commercial enterprises and approaches –despite the author’s seven patents.]

It will help first to distinguish differences between the commercially available devices that are now marketed cheaply and the kind of "Talkwriter" that I designed and partially developed as a prototype. The closest commercial rival to my Talkwriter approach has the following characteristics:

it is a computer-connected program: it operates only with a p.c. (personal computer). Its aim is to achieve near-perfectly-textual, visual read-outs – with 97% accuracy,

based upon an exhaustive dictionary of printout words.

it can handle only one speaker’s voice short of needing half an hour to adjust to another voice. It has to distinguish and memorize, for each speaker’s voice, the distinctive was he/she enunciates some 35 different elements of speech, doing so in the context of natural talking.

With running speech (no artificial pause inserted after each word so as to

separate it from others around it), it depends upon techniques developed for strategic intelligence needs in picking out individual words (e.g., names) from bodies of spoken material; so it needed contextual background. Consequently instead of yielding results word-byword in real time, it dishes out phrase by phrase; that is because it needs context in order to find the right words in the right sequence. It doesn’t work too well with words in isolation. Under those limitations, at deliberate, careful dictational speed, an accuracy rate of 97% is claimed.

My Talkwriter design called for somewhat less precision of print-out. It was intended for instantly transcribing first drafts and,using a few occasional phonetic transcriptions that would allow a reader to reconstruct what had been said, that device would accept input from about 90% of the potential users after only 20-30 seconds’ adjustment to voice traits from each new voice. It calls for slow, but not disconnected, speech; and by improving the quality of their diction, users can get improved results: the machine will "learn" to give better results as the user finds out how best to enunciate for it. Since its design involves elaborate phonetic details to a greater extent, and uses a phonemic analysis of the language, it will be more versatile at using different voices; it also will be more word-dependent, orally, than the marketed devices are. The Talkwriter will yield a more precise representation of what sounds it heard, whereas the new commercial devices will yield more polished written texts. A print-out capacity of 100,000 words comes with the newly marketed devices, whereas the Talkwriter offers about 20,000 of the most commonly used words, with phonetic spellings for others; but specialized vocabularies and addition of new words could be included in the Talkwriter.

What happened with the Talkwriter idea? Here’s the story….

a) The Concept

b) Problems and Objectives

c) The First Design and Initial Quest for Acceptance

d) The Two Tier Method

e) Conflicts and Potential Conflicts

f) Joint Partnership and Other Efforts

g) The Carnegie-Mellon Assessment

h) The Funding Quest Continues

i) Development Work at RELA in 1987

j) Continuation after RELA

k) Terminal Blind Alleys

"Talkwriter" refers to a device that can convert spoken words into written ones automatically and instantaneously – seemingly a magic microphone that listens to and renders in writing what it hears; or, it can direct action in obedience to what it hears, serving as ear for a servile device. A talkwriter thus appears to recognize or comprehend speech. It seems to take the meanings that speech intends and translates them into either commands for mechanical responses, or into equivalent expression in writing.

This art has been given the name "speech recognition", and the talkwriter device is a specialized instrument for implementing it.

The Concept

The term "speech recognition" is in some ways misleading. Supposedly it means mechanical identification of spoken words – to extract meaning from what is uttered: a form of mechanical perception. But "recognition" is a poor term because the

"-cognition" part is a human accomplishment that involves interpretation. As such, it cannot be wholly mechanized – not unless we use robots to handle that.. Mechanized speech "analysis" would be a more appropriate term, because that describes what is being attempted without stressing interpretative results. The person who reads, or who seeks to understand, will always be the ultimate interpreter of speech.

One trouble with speech "recognition" as a name for this technology is that it implies there can be perfect conversion or equivalence between oral information, for one thing, and data to be revealed at the other end, including writing. The real substance of communication, actually, is semantic in its nature – as sign language shows us. Concepts are involved, and comprehension is in some ways a creative process. We perceive sometimes all, or sometimes less, of what is intended for us, depending upon how well we grasp what is being conveyed.

Words are symbolic representations, whether in speech or in writing. Spoken language is one system of formulation, and writing is another. Both systems of course have many things in common; but their details and their conventions are rather different. Both convey and embody meanings for us, so we think of them both in the same light; and, since we are always looking for meaning, we either minimize or control whatever distinctions exist in each system different from the other. We forget, for example, the years it took us as children to learn to read. It has been already learned; and once that has been done, we don’t want to re-learn it whenever we need to use the skill. We want comprehension to be as instantaneous as possible; we don’t want to wait; nor do we want to work too hard to achieve it.

Since speech consists of phonetic sounds, and since our written language does not have perfect phonetic spelling, to go from speech to print takes some translation. It is the kind of translation that includes some of the skills we had to use in learning how to read and write. Although it would be possible to provide a direct phonetic transcription of what a voice is saying, such writing would not be immediately readable without new, special training.

So, if we want a direct conversion from speech to readable, regular writing, without wasting time, instant translation of some kind or other, must occur. This means that, where our "recognizer" sits, some sort of processing will be needed before recognition can take place effectively. The usual practice is that we get meaning from context, through experience and through quick judgments on our parts. Straight phonetic equivalence will not afford all such advantages. Even when there is good phonetic representation, it will not give us perfect automatic comprehension.

Another problem lies within the spoken material itself. How intelligible is it? Can it be understood without repetition?

If a machine is to be made to listen, it will have to use certain standards in order to differentiate similar sounds one from another. It will need to distinguish and identify specific speech features as being distinct from the others, as does the human ear. Moreover, those particular features that it distinguishes must be the ones that prove distinctive within the language being used – not just as between different voices. Those features must be the ones that will be recognized universally as being distinctive for the language, regardless of the speaker.

Our alphabet, of course, started out as a very ingenious attempt to distinguish such features and to represent them visually. But today’s alphabet and spelling constantly are deviating more and more widely from today’s speech. Consequently, analysis of speech sounds is far more complicated than simply to look for equivalence to letters of the alphabet. The translation process that will bridge the gap between written and spoken material, and that will identify each of the word elements that are present in it, first must "hear" crucial features of the spoken language being used.

A further complication is that, unless word entities can be detected in speech as it progresses (it issues forth as a steady stream of sounds broken only where a speaker breathes), words will be lost and comprehension by machine will be laborious or impossible – certainly not instantaneous.

Like any other labor-saving or time-saving concept, the idea of being able to convert spoken words into writing directly is not new. To get an automatic direct response to verbal commands by mechanical means long has been a common wish. The first patents issued for devices that hopefully might accomplish such objectives appeared in the 1930’s; they were designs for mechanical "ears" and voice-driven phonetic printers. None of them worked to a usable extent.

Then in the late 1970’s devices that could do the reverse – convert written materials into their oral counterparts –first appeared; and that aroused new hopes. Simple inversion of the process does not work however, partly because the written input materials are always quite specific and "pre-worked"; moreover, one standard, artificial voice is what gets put out. In the opposite direction, of course, speech-to-writing, varied voices and pronunciations and dialects complicate the inputs; besides, ordinary speech confuses the separation of words from one another; finally, spelling requirements complicate the printout. So speech recognition, though much desired, from the 1960’s to 1990, alternately rode the waves of hope and despair.

A dictation machine that could produce standard business letters, with punctuation and paragraphing and appropriate capitals, for instance, doing so directly in response to dictation would have an enormous ideal market, even if it could perform only when tuned to the voice of each speaker separately. Short of that, could any other kind of speech recognition technology succeed commercially? Most investors and enterprisers concluded, on a large scale, that it could not.

Then what about a machine that could identify only certain words and respond to those, and then build upon that? Fine. But then, which voice or voices? Which words? Can those words be recognized when adjacent to others? What kind of accuracy? No, it appeared that speech-to-writing could be achieved no more readily by concentrating upon the speech sources than by working on the printout, to make it fast and accurate enough. Different problems lay at each end of the proposition.

The best that could be done, perhaps, was a) to get delayed, limited-voice transcriptions that were not easily readable; or else b) get speaker-dependent conversions limited to 1000 or less pre-selected words. Developmentally, such was the situation that had evolved by the late 1980’s.

Problems and Objectives

Given marked variations between voices and pronunciations, and given problems of finding precise word-equivalents in the two different mediums - the spoken and the written – what kind of bridge would it be possible to build, and what kinds of traffic could use it? Indeed, would there be sufficient traffic to warrant having any kind of bridge at all? But if so, what kinds of adjustments or compromises could accommodate the largest amounts to traffic on that bridge?

First assumption: conversion or translation from speech must be instantaneous, in real time, word-by-word. There must be no time lost between printout and the original input. This will also allow speakers to see their mistakes, or their progress, or needed corrections, immediately.

Second assumption: the printout must be directly readable without special training: it must include as much regular spelling as possible, so as not to delay reading.

Third assumption: the input speech must be fully intelligible: it must be of adequate quality. Phonetic features that are salient for the language must be enunciated so that they are phonetically distinctive and identifiable.

The composite results, with these three assumptions, could be a verbatim, immediate display or representation of what was spoken: it would be a "first draft", readable by anyone, that could be edited, stored, or used verbatim. It would not be polished orthography perhaps; but whatever is gained in sacrificing some conventional orthographic features and esthetics, to the eye, is TIME. It could prove a viable trade-off.

At the speaking end, an arbitrary ceiling on speed of input may have to be lowered, so as to enhance clear diction. A deliberate speed of about 120 words per minute – usual dictational speed – would be required, because beyond that, too many sounds become clipped, truncated, elided, or omitted, which makes words incomplete for a machine that hears them through built-in precision. So the ceiling is imposed for the sake of intelligibility. Users benefit from feedback by the machine as to specific vocal shortcomings in their diction, if any. The degree of intelligibility is reflected by how distinctively the various speech sounds are pronounced. A careful speaker is rewarded by a more complete and more accurate transcription.

With respect to getting widespread commercial use of such a device, the most important assumption is to render it multi-voice instead of speaker-dependent. It must be a versatile machine; it must not waste time adjusting to the characteristics of each different voice before it can do its job.

Definition of intelligibility is closely linked to multi-voice capability, because intelligibility lies inherent in contrasts within the structure of the language, regardless of traits in individual voices.

The ultimate assumption is this: instant, readable printout from multi-voice inputs at dictational speed will constitute traffic heavy enough to warrant constructing a talkwriter bridge. It will be a bridge that will convey at least eighty percent of the traffic that might wish to traverse it. Though that might not completely close the gap, there will be, nevertheless, functional conversion of speech into its readable counterpart.

By the beginning of the 21st century two somewhat different applications of speech recognition were available commercially. One was a narrow bridge across the gap between voice and visual representation of it, and the other was a wider bridge. The narrow one worked for only a limited number of words and/or phrases, so its uses were restricted. It could be made to accommodate various voices (i.e., it was "robust" on the vocal side) but it was quite limited as to how much it could hear. Automated phones use it for schedule information, for place names, phone numbers, stock-answers, or short and standard inquiries – all within limited contexts, and situationally.

The wider bridge will take you through the whole dictionary, with benefit of grammatical structure and prosodic aspects of the language included. Its aim is to offer the robustness, inclusiveness, and precision of a perfectly written, printed text. It is expected to hear anything whatever. However, it can do that only voice by voice, person by person, one at a time, with half-hour readjustment required for each change of a speaking voice that start to cross its bridge. So, rather than being a consistently wide bridge, it is in reality narrow at the vocal end and wide as the sky at its "hearing’’ end.

That sort of wide bridge is achieved by storing up an exhaustive bank of word-models from the whole dictionary, together with the grammar patterns of the language, in a bank of "templates". [Footnote: Templates characterize various clusters (sequences) of phonemes, or of word-spellings, for each word, wherein a "match" is sought when the major features of the cluster are predominant but the minor features don’t count; that is, patterns match or superimpose when the highlighted features coincide as superimposition takes place.] The character of these patterns has been determined from cumulative samples of different voices saying the various phoneme sounds of each word, and, for matching, the spellings that correspond. The dictionary sits there, at the wide end of the bridge, awaiting pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to come across in appropriate shapes, one by one, in the proper sequence. Appropriateness of the phoneme patterns in the dictionary (recipient component) was determined by experiments with a multitude of voices. That is how the 35 key phonemes were pin-pointed and stored up as bits within the templates.

Now here comes a speaker - a user – with a voiced input. In order to match what he/she has said against the stored bank of word-models, we have to be able to pick out, among the 35 phonemes, just which ones are present, and in what order. That must be done instantaneously land in the right sequence. So, in order to accomplish that, we need to know precisely how a particular voice shapes and utters each of the phonemes – also how they will be influenced by the sounds adjacent to each of them (transitions from one sound to the next one). That is where the half-hour of voice analysis that was required of each user comes into the picture – having already been done. Such is the narrow end of the bridge, when using that particular method.

The Talkwriter approach also relies upon phonemes – pretty much the same ones - but not in the same way. Although it also stores word-models in templates at the hearing end, before it gives to them inputs of voiced phoneme strings, it pre-groups those strings into presumed word shapes, AND in that process also refines the input in such a way that differences between voice traits become secondary. To put it in other terms, it employs its analysis (337 classes of word shapes) to define the relevant clusters of phonemes that are suited to match the waiting ears at the other end of the bridge.

In short, the Talkwriter method handles phonemes with greater sophistication. That is how it offers a consistently wide bridge over the gap between spoken words and the way they get identified (i.e., the way the dictionary templates are matched by their voiced input counterparts.)

The First Design and Initial Quest for Acceptance

Early in 1988 about eight months of work still was needed to be done to complete the first operational prototype of the Talkwriter; and about $150,000 was needed in order to complete that prototype. The first model as to be suited particularly for speech therapy and to train hearing-impaired or speech-handicapped persons to speak more accurately. It would of course also show instant readable printout from varied voices without having to be lengthily tuned for each voice. It would demonstrate that the Talkwriter design is capable of handling automatic dictation that would yield instant first drafts.

By 1988 efforts to bring development to that point had cost the inventor about $125,000 of his own funds; he had obtained seven relevant patents in the US and abroad; about 85 companies and seven venture capitalist groups had been solicited; and an attempt to form a limited partnership had been made; applications for three small business grants had proved unsuccessful – the Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Education, and support had been sought in vain from the Veterans Administration and from the City of Baltimore; also


Serious thought about designing a talkwriter began in 1967, but I did not coin and use the term "talkwriter" until about two years later, after the design had been drafted. The concept germinated innocuously when my son David then in middle school asked about "phonetics". His father recalled a conference in 1952 on speech phenomena and their mechanization, held at M.I.T. Some papers had been read and discussed there regarding progress in speech recognition: views had been optimistic. (At that time I had been working on some studies of intelligibility of radiotelephone messages in aviation on behalf of the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization, under contracts let by the U.S.Civil Aeronautics Administration.) Here, fifteen years later, the schoolboy’s question seemed to suggest looking into reasons why speech recognition appeared to have languished. Mechanical speech recognition had seemed to be a plausible concept; so why hadn’t it moved ahead? In those post-war times, certainly it was not for want of funds.

Some quick library research failed to reveal exactly why there had been no success as yet; but it did disclose what was being done and what the main problems appeared to be. Engineers and acousticians were working with timing and frequency measurements, assisted by spectrographic diagnostics, and they were trying to isolate and identify reliably the various speech sounds. Their best efforts identified isolated sounds only, with reliabilities from 83% to 95% depending upon which phoneme it was (a phoneme is any speech sound that is used distinctively from the others in the language – e.g., akin to alphabetic letters and some combinations of some of them). But they were having less than 70% success in the case of plosive (stop) sounds p,t,k,b,d,g, Except for those, such results looked encouraging. But wait! – all of the sounds were being uttered alone, without anything preceding or following them, and always by the same (identical) voice in each case. When those same sounds were sought within words or with different voices, they could not be caught. Such identifications of speech sounds furthermore were accomplished not in real time, but retrospectively, after lengthy analysis. A time-consuming process was being required. One of the main problems seemed to be wide variations of frequencies that shifted erratically with speakers’ voice traits.

Why should the differences between voices with respect to the same sound be so critical? If one whispers, the same sounds are intelligible regardless of the speaker’s voice. Previous studies nevertheless had hardly considered what whispering is. That suggested that perhaps whispering could provide a common denominator for the characteristics of each speech sound, independent of voice differences.

So, some spectrograms were made at the Johns Hopkins Hospital using a male voice, a female voice, and a child’s voice. That started the multi-voice approach. But the path proved not to be straight, because whispered sounds, when analyzed spectrally, showed as much variation as did voiced speech! Moreover, the difference between f and v, s and z, sh and Zh, b and p, d and t, g and k, when whispered, seemed less clear than in normal speech! So whispering was not the answer. But it did point to certain generic differences between the various phonemes and to a certain significance in the scope of their common characteristics.

Of course there were other problems as well that would have to be solved in order to get a dictation machine that would produce readable text instantly. Other researchers were apparently assuming that if phonemes could be tracked and identified successfully, conversion from speech to text would result almost automatically. But wasn’t that one of their handicaps? It seems there were five other difficulties as well. The first was how to print out words as rapidly as they were being spoken. In 1967 fortunately the Selectric typewriter appeared, followed soon by other rapid-print devices; so that requisite already was being met. The second problem was how to print out the phonetic data inherent in speech in readable form. The third problem was how to separate and identify word-units from within the stream of speech sounds being uttered continuously – a most imposing challenge. The fourth was how to reconcile male and female voice differences – how to discriminate and identify speech sounds within a wide pitch range. The fifth problem was how to detect and differentiate the various components of speech (the phonemes) in REAL TIME – actually during their transitory presence, before the next speech sound appeared. It seemed that nobody else was addressing each of these questions seriously, nor in relation to one another. In 1968 IBM in N. Y., and Bell Laboratories in Whippany NJ and Nutley NJ, were the only ones professing to be applying themselves, with specialists, to matters of speech recognition; and they were focussing on phonemes exclusively.

Late in 1957 I hit upon a method that could solve spelling and word-separation in one blow. From an analysis of the phonemes of the language and how they combine in recurring sequences, it seemed that if one took four categories of the phonemes, there would be 377 distinguishing patterns which combined in various ways to make up virtually all the words of English. We would look for those patterns, build upon them to define word-structures; we would analyze their constituent phonemes, and from that, determine whether there were matches against patterns of that same kind that we had pre-stored, word by word. Connected to the stored word-patterns would be the conventional spellings, also coded, so as to be released when that particular word was identified (matched) by the oral input. Any speech sounds that did not fit into words, would appear in phonetic spelling in their proper places between otherwise identified words. That way, nothing would be lost, and words not spelled properly could be sounded out by readers. The rubric of 377 sequences and the stored combinations of them, in sequence, also simplified word look-up: it was not necessary to scan an entire vocabulary in order to match a voice input against spellings. This real-time operation was essential to success of the overall design.

Once that method for handling lexical and parsing tasks became available, only two problems then remained: 1) identifying phonemes in real time, and 2)doing so regardless of speaker. The answers would have to lie in careful study of spectrograms, which were then the only available detailed visual representations of speech. Study of them, together with study of articulations in speech, disclosed that certain potentially valuable information did not show up adequately on spectrograms: it was distribution of peaks of power within the spectrum, which spectrograms only hinted at by their almost imperceptible intensities of shading. A study done at Bell Labs fifteen years earlier had taken measurements in another way however, so those, together with other values derived from spectrograms, served to set up boundaries for determining which speech sounds were which. From that evolved the talkwriter’s bandwidth-amplitude comparison technique that became essential to the multi-voice aspects of the talkwriter’s design. It also made possible double identification of each sound – which was also an aid to accuracy. To further facilitate real-time operation, all identification circuits were to be open simultaneously at all times, enabling identifications to occur sound by sound, in sequence. Various distinctions between silence and breaks that were parts of certain speech sounds, between simple vowels and compound ones, and between voiced and unvoiced speech sounds likewise were provided for.

That method for phonemic analysis of speech inputs completed the design by solving the two remaining design problems in one coordinated process. It was necessary only to connect that operation to the already designed lexical print-out in such a way as to make further allowances for timing and phrasings. The lexical (and printing) operations would be digital, and the phonetic analysis done by hardware.

At that point, in 1967, with an integral design for a dictation machine falling into place, criticism or acceptance next seemed in order, so I wrote it up and sent it off, hopefully to be published. Just at that same time however, the editors of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America announced that they were closing down their section on speech recognition because research in that area, like alchemy, was misleading: only the human mind could accomplish what proponents of speech recognition aspired to do.

So, academia evidently no longer had an interest in proposals for speech recognition. Scientific American also rejected it. Notwithstanding, it was possible to obtain a patent on the talkwriter design. That application was filed in 1968. Even if it seemed unbelievable to some, it could be made proprietary – patented. Since what had evolved seemed to be the only sensible way to make a dictation machine, chances were that eventually somebody else would do it also, pretty much in the same way, and might claim to be its inventor. Another consideration was that to patent it was one way to publicize what had been done.

A patent puts on record the existence of an invention, showing how it can be produced, and in exchange for showing how, an inventor receives exclusive proprietorship of it for seventeen years. No need to submit a working model: feasible concepts alone also can be patented, so long as instructions are provided such that a qualified craftsman could follow them to brings it into being. Then, an actual device, so made, can be marketed exclusively; or given to others to do so, by the patent’s license. A patent also spells out in stated claims just which aspects are new.

Deciding to patent the Talkwriter concept was a critical matter. In academic and scientific circles it had disadvantages, because patenting could be regarded as selfish, particularly if the idea had broad ramifications and varied applications: one does not usually "pre-empt" findings that could broaden scientific activity. Moreover, researchers in industry look to scholastic researchers for discovery of principles that they can simply turn into competitive products at their discretion. Proprietary ownership of a broad new technique is, to many, just not cricket. It appeared that patenting thus did stigmatize the talkwriter regardless of its subsequent merits, because it would become an exclusive product when it succeeded. On the other hand, without being patented, the concept appeared doomed.

U.S. Patent #3,646,576 "Speech controlled Phonetic Typewriter" was issued Feb.29, 1972, containing sixteen claims. Its most significant features were:

Use of generic categories of speech sounds – both to identify phonemes and to parse words.

Use of bandwidth-amplitude comparisons to identify certain phonemes and phoneme-groupings.

Provision for up to 12,000 conventional word-spellings (using templates)

Real-time processing of all speech utterances.

Algorithms for processing lexical outputs word-by-word in real time.

Provisions for punctuation in the printout.

Identification of patterns of phoneme-sequences within English.

A brief announcement of the patent appeared in The New York Times and was followed by a call from a large investment firm recommending that it be allowed to arrange for a Talkwriter Company to be organized and to go public with sale of stock. Meanwhile however, during the three years it had taken to process the first patent application, a few details of the design appeared to need correction, and I wished to carry development to a more advanced level before allowing investment by the public. For example, the first patent called for both a throat microphone and a regular microphone in tandem; but meanwhile, by 1970, a single regular microphone became desirable; in fact, a patent for it had been applied for (L #3,846,586 Nov 5, 1974). That patent also included better detection of stops (plosive sounds). Still other improvements in detecting and identifying diphthongs (compound vowels) also had been made in 1970 and were covered in patent #3, 808, 371 April 13, 1974. Those supplementary patents had not yet been issued when going public was proposed. More development work was needed.

A design for a viable product nevertheless seemed to be at hand, and it needed development and sponsorship. Between 1968 and 1974 consequently, a program of letter-writing and telephoning ensued. An invention of this sort, an expandable new technology – having tremendous market potential, it seemed - should interest large companies, particularly those firms already working with electronic advances such as semi-conductors.

Within that period of five-and-a-half years, approximately 85 different firms were contacted, particularly those working in related areas and those that already were looking into speech recognition. There was no response whatever from about two-thirds of them - sometimes despite phone calls. Most of the large companies that did respond required signing of an agreement that would acknowledge they might be developing internally something parallel or similar and that the extent of an outsider’s protection did not exceed the scope of whatever patents might be involved. Such companies seldom revealed what they themselves were doing along related lines. Of the 85 companies, only six responded by openly leaving room for further discourse. Another twenty-two who responded either said "no" without explanation, or said that they were not in a position where they could consider an investment of time nor of funds. Hewlitt-Packard, G.E., Texas Instruments, IBM, RCA, Xerox, and Westinghouse rejected it.

The six who opined that the design had merit and should be pursued – but who said they themselves could not fund such development – were: Arthur D. Little Co., CALSPAN, Knowles Electronics Co. (Chicago), Atlantic Research Corporation, Battelle Development Corporation, and a researcher in the British Postal Service. One endorsement came from a researcher in the Defense Department’s (then) Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).

In 1973 the 3 M Company sent an executive to look at the talkwriter design, and a discussion was held in Minneapolis also, regarding possibility of a $500,000 project for one year, to develop a prototype. Should it prove unsuccessful,3 M would write it off as a tax loss. We did not reach a point of determining what 3 M’s ultimate interests might be; for, just at that point 3 M produced microfiche and diverted its resources in that direction instead.

The early talkwriter years, 1968 to 1973, were dark ages for speech recognition generally; it was in ill repute, seemingly at a dead end. Until 3 M in 1973, hardly anybody would approach speech recognition with anything but skepticism. Its problems were regarded as being beyond solution by techniques of current know-how. So, one task that could be carried forward without outside help would be to encode the actual vocabulary words. That would ready them for computerized processing; it would carry forward development of the lexical end of the talkwriter - work with the orthographic templates, without financial sponsorship. It was the inventor’s work and did not require staff nor funds. That began a laborious year of work in applied linguistics – which proved enormously rewarding.

At that same time, in 1974, pattern-matching techniques using templates had been discovered by other engineers and researchers – aided by techniques attained by new high-speed computers. Whole words, not just phonemes, could be matched. A revival of speech recognition ensued and restored its respectability. Various small companies were being formed, and some large ones also set up new operations, again hoping to achieve effective mechanical conversion of speech into its written analog. Did this mean that those others would achieve their goals ahead of the Griggs talkwriter? Perhaps. The talkwriter’s hopes were for success through its superior linguistics and keener understanding of the problems. In that context and spirit, work on lexical analysis and its formulation proceeded.

The Two-tier Method

Unfortunately an alarming difficulty presented itself. The method of parsing that had been proposed in the first patent proved imperfect in its mode of implementation. Although its essential processes seemed to be correct so that it could fit in as intended, it wouldn’t accommodate the words without making some changes. The fault was that my original analysis had been based upon the written language, upon ITS syllables, rather than upon those of the spoken language. It evolved that the spoken language has no inherent syllabic distinctions: it was not possible to reconcile phoneme groupings in spoken form to correspond to syllabic entities in the written medium!

Quit at this point? No. Look deeper into the problem. How about arbitrarily designating certain sequences within the spoken language so that they would serve as counterparts to syllables in the written language – even though not wholly equivalent? Doing that led to discovery of certain patterns of stress in the spoken language, and to recognizing how various sounds became altered depending upon their positions within various special sequences. When systematized, this concept showed about 338 sequence patterns for the oral language instead of the 377 patterns that exist in the written medium.

It also showed that, in the spoken language, there are about 6,500 distinctive word-patterns comprised of various combinations of the 338 sequences. That discovery put the talkwriter project at the threshold of its two-tier method for identifying words of the spoken language in their own right, which meant consequently being able to convert spoken words into their counterparts in the written medium. In the midst of the A’s of the chosen vocabulary when it was being encoded, it became apparent how well this tactic worked. Then in quick succession, other advantages began to appear. The two-tier method would allow for omission of unessential features in various spoken words; would allow for their distortion by a speaker, yet usually the word still could be differentiated from other words in the language. It also provided a way to handle stressed and unstressed parts of words. That meant it could also accommodate some dialectal variations. Beyond that, the two-tier method made it possible to encode different versions of the same word, so that it would be recognized from any one of several kinds of inputs – i.e., from different kinds of voice traits.

Thus the two-tier method - which focuses on processing the spoken input – evolved and was applied, in 1975, to encode a vocabulary of about 12,000 words. Not only was it significant as a new technique in its own right, but it had saved the talkwriter design and strengthened it as well. Encouraged by that prospect, I again approached 3 M and others who had been interested earlier, to let them know about this advance. There was no response. Either the engineers couldn’t understand the two-tier method because of its linguistic ramifications, or everybody had been diverted in excitement over template technology. Despite all such excitement however, nobody else was yet able to convert speech into written words.

Between 1976 and 1980 some efforts were made to find out whether the Griggs talkwriter technology with its two-tier approach would interest certain of the small companies that were flush with enthusiasm for using templates. Obviously they had all obtained funding somehow and were energized to make a conquest of speech recognition. With the small companies, as with the larger ones, the very fact that the Griggs process was patented whereas theirs were not, made them wary and reluctant to correspond, to acknowledge receipt of anything or to hold oral discussions. The reason: their operating with computers and digital programs, which, at that time, were not patent-able under any circumstances. They all believed, or hoped, they would be able to achieve speech recognition through their own efforts (that was before the limitations of templates became fully apparent), and in confidentiality, without obligation to anyone else’s inputs or involvement.

Study of the difficulties with templates and the kinds of results they yielded between 1977 and 1979 revealed to the inventor another weakness of detail in his original patent. What templates were failing to do, for one thing, was to measure adequately bursts of energy in narrow bands. That suggested a need for a new and better scale of measurement regarding bandwidth-amplitude values than the one that had been offered in the original patent. The earlier values a weren’t sufficiently accurate, - not clinical enough. Furthermore, the Bell Labs data from twenty-five years before had been misinterpreted, and "average" values among some 85 voices had been misconstrued as being definitive for an entire classification, whereas the actual values varied so much between individual speakers, that they would not prove effective without being better defined. That applied most particularly to vowels. So new parameters were needed for differentiating vowels, in order still to ensure multi-voice capability.

To determine those new vowel boundaries and to re-check other bandwidths and

amplitude values so as to make them suitably precise, would require laboratory experimentation and hiring a staff. Funds would be required. It was an impasse; and there was a thought that others working on speech recognition now might indeed stand a chance of getting there first.

By that time, in 1979,Exxon was entering the field; Xerox was pursuing it; IBM vowed that its work was going strong; Texas Instruments was talking about voice-operated computers. Various smaller companies were marketing speaker-dependent voice-controlled devices. Still, nobody yet could show an output of written text. DARPA (Defense Dept. Research) was said to have a device that could find about 2,000 particular words when picking them out of random speech. All other processes were either speaker-dependent or in slow time, or were limited to about one hundred carefully chosen words.

Using family funds in 1979, I hired the part-time services of an electrical engineer, an electronics technician and a physics researcher, and set about to revise experimentally the talkwriter’s boundaries between oral phonemes. I retained the method of using broadwidth-energy comparisons that had been disclosed in the first patent. Analytic studies were done using a home-computer to get Fast Fourier Transform representations instead of spectrograms. (FFT’s are complex mathematical calculations that can measure the amplitude of vibration at a particular point (time) at a particular instant.) Four voices were used: two male and two female. Normalization was accomplished by making all values relative to the total input amplitude of the entire spectrum. Doing so was also a feature of the original disclosure. The result was that

new values were derived for definition and identification of all of the phonemes as well as of their generic classifications. An apparatus to implement certain of these as example tests, was built in hardware. It proved to be designed so well that it worked perfectly after less than an hour of final tuning.

With the bandwidth-amplitude comparison method validated by results with that apparatus, the new boundaries were made part of a new patent application in 1980. It covered both the phoneme-detection improvements and two-tier method for handling lexical processes for word identification, word separation, and spelling. The algorithms needed for such lexical work were included in the patent because a recent Supreme Court ruling on patents allowed including computer programs that converted data from one medium to another medium. The patent was issued as #4,435,617 March 6, 1984 "Speech Controlled Phonetic Typewriter or Display Device Using Two-Tier Approach", with 28 claims. By way of continuing the project, it cited the preceding patents.

Conflicts and Potential Conflicts

In the course of the patent search (to clear the application for the 1984 patent), it was discovered that in 1976 a patent had been granted to a NASA employee, on its behalf, for a method of differentiating and detecting speech sounds and displaying them for hearing-impaired persons. The method was allegedly speaker-independent, multi-voice, in real time, and it used comparison of bandwidth amplitudes as sensors. Donald Lokerson had obtained the patent, and NASA was offering it for license either exclusively or non-exclusively. (Lokerson subsequently took it exclusively and formed a company which dissolved in 1987).. In 1982 NASA offered to license it to me; but because there was a mutual overlap of certain of its claims with similar ones in the earlier Griggs, patent, I felt the NASA patent was not needed. Nevertheless, Lokerson, proud of his device, loaned it to me for study. It had three fixed bandwidths and used varying ratios between them to identify phonemes, whereas the talkwriter’s method used multiple bandwidths with fixed ratios for each phoneme. The NASA device was indeed multi-voice capable, and it did distinguish, in real time, certain vowels and the nasal phonemes. Lokerson held that it would handle other speech quirks as well; I thought not. Degree of loudness could distort the NASA device’s performance, and it lacked a means of normalization. Still, some adaptation of it might result in simpler delineation of vowels. In a preliminary way, Lokerson and I discussed teaming up to take advantage of their similar approaches and to get funding and to form a company; but such an arrangement did not materialize because each party though his method superior and more inclusive. Lokerson had acknowledged that there was overlap in the claims of the respective patents; there was no interpersonal conflict over that.

As the time came in 1981 when the two-tier patent was granted, the patent work had been taken to a new patent firm – one that had been recommended by the part-time talkwriter engineer for whom it had also done some work. At that point, of course major capital was needed as well – about $500,000 to complete a talkwriter prototype. This new firm of patent attorneys, Fleit and Jacobsen, said they knew an investor who might be interested in supporting the talkwriter project. He was another client of theirs, a millionaire who was Vice-President of a local firm that markets modems, and he was looking for a new venture. Merrill Solomon, this prospectively interested venture capitalist, got into the initial tests of the talkwriter’s new phoneme detector. He was eager to learn all about speech recognition technology, full of questions, probing for the distinctive factors, apparently reluctant to believe that the trick was to be found in linguistics rather than in engineering.

Solomon arranged for a long conference with the patent attorneys and me, pressing as to the validity of the talkwriter patents - whether they were really solid. In the course of six weeks, Solomon became well acquainted with the part-time engineer that I had hired; he also made a trip to Boston and to the west coast and elsewhere, surveying what was being done to recognize speech on the part or other researchers. He intimated that he expected to invest in the talkwriter and its two-tier approach, but never committed himself as to the extent of his involvement nor as to what he would expect in return for providing venture capital, if and when he did so. Finally he said he wanted to bring me together with Dr. Victor Zue of M.I.T. Apparently he did not know that I had been in touch with Zue independently, earlier, through other channels. Zue indeed did know about the talkwriter design, for, in view of certain similarities of Zue’s approach L which used linguistics), I already had asked Zue to appraise the talkwriter’s merits. (He did not do so.) Before Zue could reply, Solomon reached him, supposedly representing a proprietary, or near-proprietary, interest in the talkwriter, and trying to make arrangements to support Zue’s research as well.

Then Solomon, without revealing it, established Voice Processing Company, in Delaware. Privately he made arrangements with the talkwriter’s erstwhile engineer. Solomon then invited me to be Vice President of the new company (established for intended collaboration with Zue) under terms that were not spelled out to me. I then declined, and told Fleit and Jacobsen he would hold them co-responsible for any damages that might result from infringements of the patent. Their staff member who had been handling the Griggs two-tier patent application then quit their employ, and through him, independently, the two-tier patent was subsequently obtained. My personal attorney wrote to Solomon warning him that he would be held liable for any patent infringement. In 1987 Voice Processing Inc., still was working on speech recognition nevertheless. It abjured any kind of visual print-outs; and it shortly ceased to exist.

Why did Solomon attempt to appropriate the new technology in disregard of the inventor? Was he simply following a venture capitalist pattern? Probably it was because he saw prospect of profits in the talkwriter concept and a leading role for himself as well. He was looking for a whole enterprise that could be bought – one that he could take over and operate himself; proprietary rights may have seemed secondary to those objectives – or was he trying to appropriate them for himself…?

Solomon regarded speech recognition as engineering only; and his failure to understand the linguistic nuances handicapped his company. For if his company should move deeper into the talkwriter’s design, it would soon run afoul of the two-tier patent.

So there were entrepreneurial weaknesses in Solomon’s scenario. On the technical side however, Solomon’s move toward Dr. Victor Zue was an astute one, because Zue, out of all engineers researching speech recognition, alone knew and used phonetics. Zue could read spectrograms quickly and accurately almost as if they were newspaper headlines; his familiarity with the characteristics of speech elements was phenomenal among engineers, and his methods for mechanizing recognition of them indeed looked promising. Zue’s expertise with speech sounds, if combined with features of the talkwriter design, might well have resulted in definitive speech recognition. But Zue did not see the talkwriter design as offering anything particularly advantageous. The fine points of the two-tier method are not easy to grasp, for anyone. Zue accepted financial help from Solomon in order to pursue his own approach, regardless. For my part, I knew that spectrograms lack certain information, even in the field of phonemes where Zue was king. Zue also showed little propensity to analyze the particular aspects of linguistics upon which the two-tier method is based.

Academics and business people alike were seeking a technological breakthrough that would come about through research projects involving teamwork among their own groups of colleagues. For an independent inventor to accomplish the same, was implausible. Of two possible courses which would be the easier for him?– to penetrate engineering with linguistics concepts, or to convince investors and business people regarding the merits of the talkwriter idea? With patent coverage available now, the latter course looked best. The most urgent need was to complete a workable prototype in order to convince both researchers and investors that the talkwriter design would work. To find a way to build a working model therefore became more important than any sort of promotional effort. It seemed crucial.

Joint Partnership and Other Efforts

On the technical side, we had built, by 1982, in an attache case, an apparatus that showed how certain speech sounds could be detected and identified while they were being spoken, regardless of speakers’ voice traits. There was also a coded vocabulary of about 12,000 spellings that could be displayed instantly when triggered by appropriate phoneme indications. To complete the process for all speech sounds, and to put it all together, would cost about half a million dollars. Filters, timers, and comparators, with their circuitry, would be used to recognize the remaining speech sounds; and a small, dedicated computer would parse the sound-analogs into writing – into words and/or phonetic indications. The finished prototype when assembled would be the size of a two-drawer filing cabinet.

When Solomon took his money elsewhere, the question was how to continue. For one thing, it would make sense to implement the print-out process by computer, making use of the large vocabulary that had already been coded. To do so would show the merits of the two-tier process and would demonstrate the versatility of word look-up and lexical capabilities of the design. If we were to just simulate inputs of phonemes – as though from a fully developed phoneme identifier – in sequence - we could show how words would be separated from one another within continuous strings of phonemes of normal connected speech; and we could show how quickly those words would print out. Doing so would call for computer programming. To hire even the part-time services of a programmer over a period of one or two months would strain available resources; but, short of $300,000 of effort, it was the only way to continue.

On the university campus I then found a computer specialist who was capable of programming the word lookup, but he did not have time available. He suggested two others, one who was just establishing his own computer business after having helped to establish yet another business; the other, a close friend of his, who was budget officer at the university. Those two, Walter and Mark, proposed forming a joint partnership, a talkwriter company that would have three principals. That entity would be floated through the Mercantile Trust Bank in Baltimore, seeking either $200,00 to $300,000, or $400,00 to $500,000, whichever could be attained, to underwrite a joint partnership venture. The Bank began printing brochures and it designated an agent to handle the promotion.

Walter meanwhile reviewed carefully the talkwriter design. He concluded that the entire process could be carried out in software – entirely digitally. Not only would that reduce its size – to that of a table TV – but it would also enhance accuracy and adjustability. It would be simpler and cheaper and it would perform more reliably. Computer chips, which then were just coming into use, could make it all possible.

Walter set up a telephone line to his computer, and we stored the coded vocabulary on a disc. Walter then devised a demonstration of the Talkwriter’s lexical process, using a limited vocabulary, such that simulated phoneme indications of spoken sentences could be released by key, in sequence, all at once, and the words that had been in the sentences would appear, separated, suitably spelled, on the computer screen as fast as they could be read.

We then demonstrated both the computerized word display and the phoneme detection attache case, pointing out that further expanding both and connecting them to each other was all that would be required to complete the prototype model. That dog-and-pony- show was presented to three different groups of venture capitalists and about a dozen other prospective investors, including professional financiers and various other professionals. Some were enthusiastic; some were taciturn and non-committal; others were skeptical or even agnostic, believing that undefined pitfalls lay ahead. After about 6 weeks, only about $100,000 had been committed, partly because the bank agent changed jobs; so the entire effort fell between cracks and no partnership was formed.

Venture capitalists were looking for a finished product. Marketing is what they wanted to finance: "Bring it to us when it is completed". Other reluctance to invest stemmed from absence of accreditation or authoritative endorsement; from resistance to

novelty; from doubts about the demand for such a thing; and from skepticism that it could really work, after all. Maybe they thought it looked like the Three Stooges. On the practical side, there was also resistance to unconventional spellings for homophonic words (brake-break; lode-load; thyme-time).

Walter and Mark thought it was just bad breaks – such as the bank agent’s preoccupation with finding himself a new job; general atmosphere in financial circles that year; depressed investment activity generally in the wake of inflation. They then got a free-lance entrepreneur friend of theirs to try contacts with the large computer firms, with a view toward working up a joint enterprise together with them. Their friend was to get a percentage, as finder’s fee. Only one firm WANG, proved to be interested. So we took our demonstration to WANG in Massachusetts, showing it to a group of employees who had been chosen to work on speech recognition there. WANG was favorably impressed; and we felt assured that it soon would spell out details regarding some kind of joint enterprise. A few days later however, Xerox approached WANG recommending that WANG join Xerox in supporting Kurzweil’s Applied Intelligence Corp. (Boston), which was promising to deliver speech recognition perfected, within two years. (it flopped.) WANG pursued that angle.

Kurzweil himself, a dynamic young man, had successfully marketed a breakthrough device that could orally sound out printed matter, and he was flush with confidence that he could achieve the reverse of his process. But with speech synthesis like his (creating artificial speech) input is always from only the 26-letter alphabet - it is standardized; and so is he vocal output. Recognition of speech variations is a far more complex matter - as Kurzweil’s people soon learned; it is much more difficult to work with highly diversified inputs. From voice to writing is far from just the reverse: making writing hearable is a snap.

So the joint partnership with Walter and Mark never materialized Walter withdrew from the effort in order to concentrate on developing his own computer business; and Mark, having fiscal management skills only, was not needed.

It was then 1983. Despite considerable hype, nobody was yet marketing a dictation device or speech recognition product that handled the language as a whole. A potential market of billions of dollars per year nevertheless was being postulated - by market analysts who were professionals. Only a few speaker-dependent, limited-vocabulary gadgets and toys and some specialized devices were being marketed. Voice-command for sorting mail and for use on assembly lines had been tried and found to be either unsatisfactory or uneconomical because of voice-trait dependency, environment noise, inaccuracies, or operational weaknesses.

To return to the quest, the Department of Defense neither returned phone calls nor acknowledged letters. Most other federal agencies’ budgets faced cuts or already had been drastically reduced. The Veteran’s Administration?

V.A. headquarters in Washington, it turned out, had not yet been cut, and was interested. They recognized that the talkwriter could be a useful tool for speech therapy and for working with hearing-impaired persons. There were questions about its efficacy and design, and about its cost, however. An audiologist on the staff of Ft. Howard Veteran’s Hospital in Baltimore was asked to study it – a man who later remarked he is called upon by headquarters to screen and to deal with various hairbrained eccentrics and their ideas. After considerable time and more than one conference, he made phone calls to other experts whom he knew, received opinions that the approach used in this design could be feasible, and then hired an expert technician from a neighboring university to determine how much it would cost for the V.A. to develop the talkwriter’s prototype. By that time several months had passed, and the VA, like other agencies, had suffered budget cuts too; so the project could not be done unless its cost was low. The technical consultant’s estimate was between $200,000 and $300,000 to carry out the design experimentally, digitizing it throughout. That would be three times what the VA budget could allow; so, that ended the VA possibility.

In the spring of 1984 the two-tier patent was issued, but it had no perceptible effect. Had anybody seen it? Had anybody understood it? After trying again to get various large companies to give new responses – now that development had proceeded beyond initial sketches - and after finding no interest - I responded to an invitation from the US Patent Office to participate in its annual National Inventors Exposition. Held in Washington early in February of 1985, it exposed the talkwriter concept to perhaps five hundred or so persons. A brochure was distributed telling what the device was, how it worked, its uses, how it contrasted with other speech recognition devices, and a little about the history of its development. The attache case was made available for visitors to speak into and see the lights respond; posters were displayed, and on a computer screen there appeared a simulated display of a print-out that progressed in synchronization with a tape with voices alternating, so that the ultimate functioning of the talkwriter could be seen, simulated to be sure, and labeled accordingly.

The demonstration was busy all day, and it showed how well the attache case responded to different voices, one after another. Seven contacts resulted from the

Exposition. Unfortunately only three of those warranted follow-up. One was a referral to the Baltimore Economic Development Corporation, a quasi-official institution, which indeed was followed up. Another was a small business owner, an attorney as well, who contemplated forming a joint enterprise. But his wife did not fancy the idea. The third was a micro-processor engineer who wanted to work on the project; but there was no way to hire him.

Baltimore Economic Development Corporation sent a man to learn about the talkwriter, and he concluded that he might be able to help with development if other support could be found as well; BEDCO, that year, might consider matching somebody else’s investment, he said. (He provided a list of venture capitalist firms in the middle-Atlantic area; and I wrote to most of them and received only one acknowledgement out of 18, and it was a flat negative.)

The Carnegie-Mellon Assessment

Credibility was a major problem for this talkwriter approach. For one thing, speech recognition by machine had become an engineering matter, dubious of accomplishment. In times of expensive team efforts and corporate achievements moreover, and with massive expenditures to solve outstanding problems of technology, if results could be obtained, the "system" itself would do the job: a solution could not pop up from a single, unknown or unaccredited source of from an isolated inventor who, for all that anybody might know, could be another crackpot. After all, if IBM couldn’t solve the problem since 1968, nobody could.

Endorsement was needed, from established authorities, because patents had not done it. The best authorities in 1985 – most prestigious – were Victor Zue at MIT and Dr. Ron Cohn at Carnegie Mellon University. To get their time and attention would cost something, but it could well be worth it. The Department of Defense already had recognized Zue’s reading of spectrograms as significant, and the research group at Carnegie Mellon had just been given a five-million-dollar grant to try to mechanize the reading of spectrograms, in order to achieve speech recognition parallel to Zue’s approach. It was an approach that had much in common with the talkwriter’s; it was not devoid of phonetic and linguistic overtones. These academicians were directing the most sensible almost-commercial approach, as compared to others in the field; they had prestige, moreover; and they were also in a better position to see the advantages of the talkwriter approach than were conventional engineers.

I then wrote to Zue offering to pay him for an assessment. Zue wrote back that he was no longer available to consult, since he had his own company (Solomon’s? – he did not say so.

Dr. Cohn gave a similar response, saying that "a conflict of interest" precluded him from obliging personally; but he did recommend two of his academic colleagues who might be willing, Brannon and Phillips. They consented. So I spent a morning going over the talkwriter design, and then the two of them spent the afternoon jointly composing a letter of assessment. They recognized that the talkwriter’s lexical aspects were more advanced than any they knew about; they said that the approach was reasonable and plausible as an integrated method. But they fudged a little regarding phoneme detection using FFT amplitude measurements; perhaps that was because they were just beginning to look at FFT’s themselves there at CMU; and they still were skeptical. They thought the Griggs approach to phonemes was too simple; it appeared to bypass much of the work that Carnegie Mellon was doing. The Phillips-Brannon assessment nevertheless afforded a stamp of respectability for the talkwriter design. That should make it less easy to dismiss, out of hand. The talkwriter now was accepted in the race for eventual speech conversion. The letter’s implications however were that the real merits of the talkwriter method related to future levels of development – to levels achieved only after phoneme detection would have been perfected. Phillipps and Brannon did not see that several difficult problems of phoneme recognition were being compensated for, or resolved, in the two-tier approach.

The Carnegie-Mellon endorsement consequently proved less helpful than had been desired. Although perhaps it may have facilitated certain subsequent contacts, it was not strong enough to impress or convince skeptical investors. The nub of the matter really as that Zue and the Carnegie people – and G E’s expert in England as well – all believed that, until it was possible to pinpoint with precision the identity of every single speech phoneme uttered (or presumed to be there), it would be impossible to proceed to the next step – of delineating and identifying words. With what they had, they couldn’t yet make it work. From that point of view it was either impossible or pointless to look for words without X-raying the speech spectrum.

The Funding Quest Continues

The Carnegie-Mellon assessment showed how difficult it was to understand the two-tier method; even the specialists themselves had trouble over it. Was it best to try to make it comprehensible to the academics and researchers so that they could promote it? Or would it be better to shelter its advantages somewhat, like a trade secret, so that an investor would benefit from that, and so that the patents would be that much better protected? Since my immediate search was for an investor, I decided to shield the two-tier method; and I did not promote or advertise it in areas where potential competition might benefit from, or use it, as stimulus to work along related lines.

With those considerations as guidelines, the quest for funding continued. In 1985 one contact with a large company got a response the Dictaphone Corporation sent a committee of technical persons to look into the talkwriter. During their two-hour visit it was not clear whether they had understood the linguistics aspects – particularly the two-tier method’s full advantages. Dictaphone said it was not interested. They had probably concluded it posed no immediate threat to their existing business interests; they did not believe it would work soon.

At that juncture no further development work could be done because it would require specialists and special equipment – unavailable without funds. Early in 1986 an audiologist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr John Heinz, studied the talkwriter design and declared he believed it could be made to work. Heinz, both an engineer and a phonetician, was well known in his field of expertise but he had no access to funds himself, nor could he suggest a source. He offered to serve as Consultant for further development work, and has done so since - but with quite limited opportunity.

The BEDCO suggested trying the government’s program of grants for small business – the SBIR program. In its programs for 1986 appeared a slot for devices used to educate or train handicapped persons under a possible U.S. Dept. of Education grant. An application was submitted and subsequently reviewed by three judges. Two of them gave the talkwriter some commendation and scored it 87% and 90%. The third reviewer, a statistician, rated it only 35%. So, despite an administrative review, it failed. Possibly the statistician was himself also a member of the Education Department’s bureaucracy.

If the inventor might sell his house, that would provide funding to carry development one further step. In 1986 what could be done with $75,000? And by whom? Expensive overhead charges of the kind that private industry and universities charge, would cut in half the work that could be done for that figure. Most important, however, was to decide what steps would best show off the merits of the talkwriter concept. Development of word-selection by the two-tier approach, it was determined, should come first: show off the entire stored vocabulary. To do so would cost $20,000 if part-time labor were hired to do it. Skeptics nevertheless would still find such a presentation only partly convincing, and it would lack accompanying proof that actual voice inputs would be able to drive it. So, some degree of phoneme recognition also would have to be linked to the printout so as to show that the entire process could be come effective, able to separate words in real time, responding to actual spoken inputs. To develop digital identifications for a few, rather than all, of the phonemes perhaps might meet that purpose….how about fifteen phonemes representing all classes of sounds, so that all the various processes that were proposed, would be demonstrated? Of course it would be possible to get printouts for only a small number of words that contained those sounds alone. Actually, when fifteen such phonemes had been chosen, they would allow 330 different words to be fulfilled – and quite a few sentences. Those 330 words would then appear on a screen regardless of when they appeared in any sentence or context. In addition, each of the fifteen sounds should appear on the screen whenever each of them occurred as part of another word.

With respect to the rest of the large vocabulary, in order to demonstrate its scope, phoneme signals for all phonemes, simulated, could be inputted by key. That would

demonstrate completeness of the vocabulary, and it would show instant word-identification and word-separation, as well. The costs for such development steps should be less than $100,000 altogether.

Where could it be done? In the Baltimore-Washington area were two small electronic development firms that could handle special project such as this. The closest one had proved dilatory and negligent when asked to draw up a cost estimate; besides, work attitudes did not give promise of adequate performance. The other one was run by a former , long-standing employee of venture-capitalist Solomon, who "would not be available to work for the Griggs talkwriter," he said.

Another possibility might be to hire, on a moonlighting basis, qualified experts employed at companies engaged in defense work near Baltimore – underwater acoustics, microprocessors, etc. at Westinghouse or Martin Marietta. But no, they were too busy with their government workloads and it would cost many times what was available to divert them from that, or to add to their work, likewise. To compete with Defense outlays was out of the question: Westinghouse and Martin Marietta were tried directly; they were too busy with defense work and therefore would be much too expensive, even if willing.

Then there came a phone call from Colorado, from a hearing-impaired engineer in a computer company. He had learned about the talkwriter from a national institute that aided the deaf, where I had unsuccessfully sought funding earlier. That engineer took the talkwriter design to his company; but they decided it called for a broader range of engineering expertise than they had, nor could they take it on because of their small size. Their engineer then recommended another firm in Colorado that was better suited to do the work, he said, if willing. The firm proved willing, and the cost appeared to be within range. A working prototype appeared to be in prospect! But that hope proved premature.

Development Work in Colorado in 1987

One significant impediment to the talkwriter’s development in Colorado proved to be the inventor’s lack of formal training in engineering. That impediment became a perceptible handicap in 1987 when an engineering firm was trying to develop the prototype and needed expert guidance. The five-year-old firm named RELA, in Boulder, had entered the business of bringing products from a design stage to production. It now proposed to develop a mainly-software device that would detect and identify fifteen phonemes in real time from multi-voiced inputs, and to connect them to a read-out that would show words comprised using sequences of those particular phonemes – both proceeding in real time, together. The device also would embody a stored vocabulary of 12,000 word-spellings that could be activated from a keyboard, using all 42 phoneme-like indications. The cost estimate was $72,000, and the time estimated to be just a little over five months. Billing was to be biweekly, of actual costs only. One of RELA’s six engineering teams, consisting of four workers, was assigned on a part-time basis.

During the first six weeks, progress was hardly perceptible because of troubles with getting a suitable chip to handle FFT calculations. But a portable Toshiba T1100+ computer was obtained, into which to load the encoded vocabulary and to display it.

The word-look-up algorithms, implemented digitally, were to be transferred from a central VAX to that Toshiba, later. Some unanticipated problems arose over transfer of the vocabulary from previous computer discs to the systems being used at RELA, but those were surmounted. Some mistakes we made in programming the word-parsing method; but the worst of them were remedied by the fourth month. Word-parsing then worked satisfactorily except for short words of less than four phonemes, which occasionally would not parse correctly. Results nevertheless were good enough to demonstrate satisfactorily that readable textual print-outs would appear – at rates as high as ten to twelve words per second. That was far faster than speech, and almost too fast for the eye.

Work on phoneme identifications, on the other hand, did not move well. Although the design for a suitable, flexible device, versatile in application and capable of adjustment and expansion, was made by RELA, it failed to operate as designed. Such failure became apparent only at the beginning of the fourth of the five months.

Did the fault lie with the values the inventor had set earlier, despite the fact that they worked well in hardware (in the attache case)? Or was the difficulty caused by engineering errors at RELA? The researchers at RELA then adapted the apparatus to analytical mode, using spectral displays, in an effort to locate the source of trouble. I then discovered that RELA had not ascertained all of the conditions under which the previous parameters had been obtained. Last-minute efforts were made to get RELA’s digital device to perform suitably. I tried to devise new parameters suited to its characteristics. But it would operate only speaker-dependently – like most other speech recognition devices. Had they simply used the cookbook? Even though speaker-dependent, moreover, it operated less convincing than did the hardware attache-case apparatus from six years before!

Had they been twiddling their thumbs? Were they actually not competent for this area of engineering expertise? The RELA workers now began to suggest a wide variety of solutions, some of which called for almost a re-design or different approach.- as if they had not fully grasped the nature of this project, from the start. Perhaps that was why their foreman had divulged so little about their work - as I meanwhile was busy with lexical matters. By this time his $72,000 had been used up. Was the problem with trying to digitize the concept? RELA said "no", and RELA continued its work, proposing that it would find venture capital and would contribute some sort of investment of its own, in order to continue development work on a second-stage project, against which the cost overrun of the first stage then could be charged. In the sixth month RELA held a design review session participated in by ten of its top engineers. They concluded that the design was solid and correct; but various new things needed to be tried in order to supplement the design and make it work. Some of their proposals made sense to the inventor and some seemed not to be fully relevant. Was RELA mainly hoping to cash in on what had appeared might become a bonanza for it?

At that point I left RELA, uncertain where the specific problem lay – and with a cost-overrun of about $20,000 which had to be defaulted. RELA had not been a complete waste however, because some usable results could be seen in the Toshiba’s demonstration of lexical tricks that the talkwriter could perform. Ill will was evident nevertheless because RELA had expected to pursue a second-phase program for the talkwriter and had located local venture capital with which to do so. Notwithstanding that fact, I felt it necessary to tell even the venture capitalists there that, in my opinion, future work with RELA would not prove advantageous.

Continuation after RELA

The RELA failure was disastrous. Not only had time been lost in a race against possible competitors who might themselves happen upon a process similar to the two-tier method, but also the inventor’s resources were gone. The talkwriter concept could evolve no further unless investment or sponsorship could be found for it.

So it was urgent to find out what went wrong with RELA’s work – whether the problem lay with the original concept, or with digitizing, or simply with the specific steps that had been taken. I then borrowed $5,000 and hired a recent engineering graduate from the University of Colorado to work for two months during that summer, to answer the question. As a result of computerized studies, the answer was: RELA’s error lay in determining the wrong size for a window aperture that viewed and measured the speech spectrum. It was a simple, careless error that resulted from overconfidence and from inadequate investigation into how it had been done previously; but it proved to be a costly mistake. At RELA the project supervisor had never dug into details of the project: he had been more interested in making it an enlargement of his own professional achievements. The work atmosphere at RELA was relaxed and casual; everybody was happy and nobody worked under pressure of time or urgency. The level of academic achievement was not outstanding. RELA’s proposal for the second stage was for about $100,000 additional, for another five months, to finish the first prototype.

Meanwhile, parallel to RELA’s engineering efforts, two other talkwriter developments pertaining to funding were taking place. First, the inventor was preparing two new SBIR proposals at the time RELA started its work. Both proposals were to Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Each grant would be $50,000, and if only one of them became available, development at RELA could continue beyond the initial five months already contracted for. With BOTH grants, not only could the original talkwriter work be pursued, but advances also could be made in its efficiency and performance qualities, moving it closer to marketability.

One of the defense proposals responded to a solicitation for a device to advance the extraction of speech features (certain words) mechanically. That was already in line with current talkwriter efforts, and we regarded our method to be superior to all others. The other proposal responded to a solicitation calling for a device that would extract intelligence (meaning) from oral materials that were of conversational or casual nature (radio or phone materials). I thought he saw how that could be done with a new adaptation of the talkwriter design and with a new infusion of the two-tier methodology. It would be a method that could extract the gist of what is being said, – but with less-than-verbatim transcription of it. Because work under both grants would fit in with the RELA project, RELA asked to participate in preparing the SBIR proposals, and did so. Both proved unsuccessful however, as was learned in April. That news came at the very time weakness in the RELA development work was coming to light. Although there was no direct feedback as to why the SBIR proposals to Defense failed, a plausible explanation appeared early in May. It went back to Lokerson, the NASA engineer. The two proposals to DARPA had pointed to kinship between Lokerson’s method and the talkwriter’s bandwidth amplitude comparison methods; it had recommended making use of such techniques. Meanwhile having come upon reference to "Loker Systems", I had written to Lokerson to ask if he had a company that was marketing speech devices. In reply, Lokerson said his company had suspended operation despite having received an SBIR grant the previous year from DARPA which, he said, had not been renewed or extended. . So DARPA people apparently had concluded that Lokerson’s method fell short of what they wanted. It would be logical for them also to conclude that, since the Griggs method might be headed in a similar direction, it should not receive consideration toward getting a grant.

The DARPA proposals were completed in the sixth week of RELA’s work. After that, RELA sought to find an additional way to finance continuing talkwriter work, because RELA knew the inventor himself lacked further resources. RELA’s first move was to introduce a young entrepreneur with recent experience in reorganizing and refinancing faltering enterprises. He wanted to be CEO of the new talkwriter enterprise, confident about raising the needed capital to make it viable. He was between positions at the moment and was ready to move ahead, perhaps somewhat overzealously – maybe because he had recently remarried and wanted to stay in Boulder. I checked on his previous record and talked with two persons who had been associated with him previously, then concluded that he was not the right person in any case, regardless of his proposals, and told him that.

The next man, head of a small technological company, was not interested in the talkwriter at all. The third man represented a local venture capital firm. Very much interested, he offered flexibility as to the kind of support he would arrange. His company, in fact, became the one venture capital group that I felt I could trust; and it was also the one that RELA later, with some reluctance, was willing to turn to for help when phase one was faltering and expiring without other prospects on the horizon. It was a firm, however, that never did spell out how much it would invest, nor what it would expect in exchange. It was a local Boulder group.

The fourth RELA financial introduction meanwhile took place. It was a member of RELA’s Board of Directors who represented a venture capital firm in Denver. Captivated, along with a colleague, and excited over prospective marketing possibilities for speech recognition, he moved fast – so fast that I felt left behind. Only RELA and the capitalist seemed to be involved in the new plans.. Immediately, the venture capitalist got in touch with Xerox. Xerox then phoned me asking me to show talkwriter developments to some men from Kurzweil’s Applied Intellligence (which Xerox was subsidsizing). With an explanation that Xerox and Kurzweil both had previously cut him off from the WANG opportunity and that I had my own proprietary interest to protect, I declined. (Kurzweil had never responded to an earlier letter in which Griggs had suggested a collaboration.) I then wrote both to the president of RELA and to the board-member venture capitalist, reminding both of them that proprietary rights must be considered before any moves take place regarding the future of the talkwriter’s technology.

The first finance man who had wanted to become CEO then returned – this time with a proposal that he try to find a large company that might agree to a joint venture or to some kind of sponsorship. He would make such a contact for a finder’s fee of five percent of the transaction. (Meanwhile he had found another situation for himself and was moving away from boulder.) He said he had a very large company offer a starter – one that had an eight-billion-dollar-per-year business. It proved to be U S West, formerly AT&T in the western states. In consequence, one of U S West’s executives visited RELA accompanied by a highly qualified speech-recognition scientist, Dr. Kalyan Ganesan, who had formerly worked in the Exxon speech endeavor. Both men were optimistic about what they saw, despite unsuccessful attempts by RELA’s people to gloss over phoneme deficiencies.

The specialist was particularly perceptive as to the merits of the approach. The two visitors recommended that U S West pick up and continue development work at RELA, sending from U S West one or two of its own staff to supervise the work. Great news! Clearance with U S West was needed, procedurally; but then it evolved that funds for 1987 were already tied up. Subsequently a U.S. Court decision precluded U S West and all AT&T remnants from engaging in out-of-house projects such as this project at RELA. U S West nevertheless was proceeding with speech recognition projects of its own that were suited especially to telephone requirements, doing so in house. Until 1989 at least, U S West would not have sufficient resources to pursue the Griggs talkwriter in house; but it wished to be kept abreast.

RELA, having learned that U S West could not proceed immediately, turned to the third venture capitalist firm, in Boulder, as last resort. By that time, the failure to achieve phoneme recognition digitally, had become difficult to conceal; and I thought that RELA’s representations to the Boulder firm were not sufficiently candid. So, despite success with RELA’s presentation to that firm and consequent prospects for continuing the project there, I left RELA and told the venture capitalist why he felt it necessary to do so. Particularly bothersome to him was the idea of passing on to the venture capitalist the cost-overrun of the first phase. In his view, RELA alone should be responsible for that overrun. But I also was dissatisfied over failure of the venture capitalist firm to give figures as to the extent of its support and what it expected as equity for it.

The would-be-CEO, now-turned finder then produced another possible avenue of support after the break with RELA. It was a prestigious NYC venture capital firm, which proved to be well versed regarding speech recognition efforts. Its representative came to Denver and, sufficiently satisfied with what he saw, proposed that his company would support a joint enterprise between Griggs and researchers connected with Carnegie-Mellon University – with Dr. Ron Cohn and/or his associates – if they proved interested. Their know-how regarding phonemes, combined with the talkwriter’s two-tier technology, this man felt, would make for an enterprise worthy of support. He arranged a conference by phone between Griggs, Cohn and himself. But Cohn was not interested and could not be persuaded to pursue the matter further. Thus ended Warburg Pincus’ interest - except that Warburg-Pincus suggested making inquiries at a new firm, Speech Recognition Systems, in Buffalo. It was simply a friendly suggestion.

The president of SRS (which was already being subsidized by several venture capitalist groups) carefully read the talkwriter materials and patents. He then praised the patents and spoke of the talkwriter as being a worthy competitor in the race for ultimate achievement of speech recognition; but he implied that his technology was totally different (probably new neural network techniques), so that talkwriter technology would not interest his SRS.

In the Boulder-Denver area by end of summer, several researchers had become aware of the talkwriter approach; and it even looked as if a development team might be contemplated there. An audiologist on the research faculty at U. of Colorado was eager to participate, and another faculty member who had been trained at Carnegie Mellon also was interested, In Denver itself, at the Center for the Performing Arts, which is well endowed and where speech research already was in progress, a doctoral staff member likewise was interested, A part-time visiting staff member at the Center, from the University of Iowa, also expressed some interest. The Center, it so happened, was where U S West would be collaborating on behalf of its in-house speech recognition program. But how would it be possible to get funding that could bring together a group of such variously affiliated experts to establish a project there? It was no longer possible, after the split with RELA, to use the local venture capital that RELA had lined up for its own advantage. An additional problem was shortage of space at the Center: there wasn’t room to add more staff, and work space itself was insufficient. An outsider with no local base and no resources could not possibly take advantage of the expertise and interest that otherwise might have been used, for lack of funds.

Terminal blind alleys

In Pittsburgh considerable expertise for speech research could be found – and venture capital besides. But a regional distinctiveness or local pride handicapped the talkwriter there. In the Baltimore-Washington area however, a similar effort to nurture and attract new industries had just been funded by the State of Maryland; and fortunately the talkwriter concept already had its roots there. An "incubator" program had been established at the University of Maryland, and a new program of industrial partnership between the University and the private sector also had been established in the fall of 1987. If development work could proceed under that aegis, it would have to be as a nascent business enterprise, - one that would enlarge so as to generate local employment opportunities. At that point, therefore, a corporation was formed, and to it were assigned the talkwriter’s U. S. patents. Collaborative interest from the University’s faculty came from Dr. Shihab Shamma in Electrical Engineering, himself a specialist in speech recognition. A grant of $50,000 from the State, if awarded, would provide two graduate students to work on the project under Dr. Shamma’s part-time supervision. After one year’s work, it was hoped to complete the first prototype.

Knowing that work could proceed much faster if additional funds could enable a larger team to work and obtain more of Dr. Shamma’s time, I applied for a grant from a new program under the Social Security Administration. He proposed completing a talkwriter prototype especially suited for use in training deaf and speech-impaired persons to speak, and to afford immediate, direct communication to the hearing-impaired. Social Security was soliciting proposals for grants up to $150,000 for devices that would improve employment prospects for handicapped persons; and the talkwriter seemed to meet such objectives.

The Social Security proposal of 1988, although recommended by an external panel, failed because it did not appear to be a demonstration project of sociological or rehabilitative nature. It did not fit into the conventional pattern of projects funded by S.S.A. So work with Shamma and two graduate students, available by itself, would not be enough to warrant pursuing it. Consequently, later in 1989 I returned to inquire at a private institute that promotes telephone devices for the deaf; and its deaf director referred him to a deaf businessman who operated a small engineering firm. Since his firm was not large enough to undertake Talkwriter development, he in turn referred me to a researcher at Gallaudet College in Washington D.C. Gallaudet then referred me to another deaf person who manages a rehabilitation R&D operation in the U. S Office of Education; Dr. Dick Johnson. Johnson then referred me to two possible program centers familiar to him, either or both of which might take an interest in the Talkwriter, and which Johnson thought might assist with funding for pursuing that interest. One was a private industrial research institute that already was working on a project jointly with Gallaudet. The other was the Education Department at the Johns Hopkins University. The Head of Education there then referred me to its laboratory at the Maryland (state) Rehabilitation Center in Baltimore. That Center for Technology and Human Disabilities is operated jointly with the State of Maryland’s Department of Education.

Still other leads that had evolved along this pathway through the community of the deaf also were pursued but did not materialize.

On December 7, 1991 I exhibited the word-separation and parsing aspects of the Talkwriter design as semi-finalist in the National Search for Computing to Assist Persons with Disabilities – PA, DE, DC, MD, VA WVA section. One of the other exhibitors, Dr. Arthur Kaufman, who had worked on medical vocabulary for Kurzweil, told me that he had seen in Pittsburgh a speech recognition device that had been developed at Carnegie-Mellon. He said it is on the market for $38,000, and that it performs in real time from an input of connected speech, speaker-independently He said performance is impressively accurate.

That culminated the Carnegie-Mellon methodology, which began with phoneme recognition and then moved more in the direction of recognizing features of the stream of speech such as appear in the 1990 Talkwriter patent for fast speech. Patterns that represent various sequences of speech sounds inherent in words of the language apparently have been classified so that they correspond to its written-word components. In the dictionary compartment stored corresponding patterns are scanned for matches, word by word. Evidently the matching is performed rapidly enough, probably with the aid of semantic and stochastic refinements and formulations, to provide word-by-word recognition of the spoken input. This would mean that the lexical or dictionary processes are indeed extensive. Capability to handle multi-voiced inputs results from judicious tracking of the right features of vocalization when using a matrix of appropriate criteria. The high price of the unit reflects its complexity and the multiplicity of its calculations.

Two advantages that the Talkwriter method would have over the Pittsburgh device are portability and significantly lower cost.

In late summer of 1991 I learned that the Institute for Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (of NIH) had grant funds available. Accordingly I submitted a modification of his proposal submitted earlier to Social Security. Owing to a change of personnel, I did not succeed in getting specific endorsement from the Maryland Rehabilitation Center. In order to qualify as applicants (1) one must submit the application in the name of the Corporation; (2) and, because Westinghouse declined to be considered as its subcontractor (despite its lack of defense work and layoffs), I had to propose the APL of JHU – but without specific budgetary figures and without allowing any funding whatsoever to the corporation. As regards cost figures, APL, though interested in doing the work, could not under the terms of its charter perform the work unless asked to do so either by a government agency or by some department of JHU; and so, it declined to provide precise cost figures, otherwise. I asked John Heinz of Audiology at the Kennedy Institute of Johns Hopkins Hospital to help to arrange for such sponsorship. A presentation of the talkwriter, attended by Heinz and some people from APL and from the Computer Engineering Department of the University then took place – inconsequentially.

In a final promotional move, I gave a presentation at the Johns Hopkins Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering where some speech-recognition work was being done, financed by a sizeable contract for half a billion dollars for five years, from the National Security Agency (NSA). I hoped they would then recommend his project so that APL could conclude its arrangements to be his sub-contractor. I showed Dr. Moise Goldstein, Dr. Andreas Andreau and some graduate students the word-parsing process and delineation of speech sounds, generically, by hardware. Surprisingly, instead of recommending the project for APL, they were interested in it for their own pursuits, there at JHU. When such a project at JHU was further defined, it was assigned to a faculty member who was a specialist on miniaturizing devices; and that person was intent upon applying his own field of expertise without first understanding the acoustical and lexical problems that remained to be worked out in the Griggs design. He assumed that’s it was workable in every respect, as is, and only needed to be miniaturized.

Consequently I decided that this arrangement was unlikely to prove fruitful. That was the point at which his interest in promoting the talkwriter decided waned. I had been there before, in Colorado.

However… about two months later I learned that the U S West expert, Dr. Kalyan Ganesan, was then living only thirty miles away, knew how to revise the talkwriter design, was eager to undertake doing it on a part-time basis, but could provide no funding. At that point in time, the p.c. speech recognition program, "Naturalspeak" from Dragon Systems in Massachusetts, could be purchased for about $25/unit, and, with its operational requirements, was not selling like hotcakes, however.

A final anomaly was that the son of one of my nieces had been living his adolescent years – unbeknownst to me - in the household of one of the senior designing engineers at Dragon. That was the engineer who had written Dragon’s rejection of the Griggs proposal for joining forces or collaborating. The boy’s father was his close colleague in the work at Dragon. Nobody can allege family favoritism!

So . . . although the aim had been to design and promote a universally available, cheap, dictation machine for instant first-drafts, for broad use, the market instead came out with a somewhat different product intended for more specialized applications.

In this were three ultimate ironies: 1) patenting had not helped – on the contrary, it appeared to have hindered; the patents had not afforded protection against this outcome.

2) the analogous commercial product that WAS marketed sells for under thirty dollars.

3) this has become an age of industrial pre-eminence; so single inventors are anomalous.

* * *

I still believe that the two-tier Talkwriter approach – which concentrates upon oral inputs, using "word-envelopes" and superimposed "word-skeletons" – when augmented by an initial speaker-voice adjustment from a call-up sentence - could serve 95% of English-speaking persons: a) for producing first drafts instantaneously; b) for speech therapy; c) to orally command servo mechanisms that perform various tasks. Using the technology of 2001, it is entirely possible. No p.c. (personal computer) dependency required. Unit price under $300.

[F I N IS]