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Our Lady Of The Blues

Book I, Clip 2

by

R.E. Prindle

Our Lady Of The Blues: Book I, Clip 2a. Posted 6/08/12

He even swam in the fountains in the yard afterwards, and though he did not get very wet, that night his eyes were moist at the thought that the best part of his life was at an end.

Thus Ordway describes the ‘happiest time of his life.’  So it was lived in the politest of societies.  But there still came a time in his life when the ideals he had been taught as a child came into conflict with the ideals of an older broader corrupt society.

Cabot was asked whether he was moral to which he answered yes.  He was then held under until he learned to answer ‘not more nor less than anyone else.’  In other words he descends to a lesser level of morality and he is corrupted by a lower standard.  The question then becomes who determines the level of corruptness and how low do we go.

In American society at large the Judeo-Italian notion of criminality had been lowering the standards of society for six decades.  American society had been unprepared to deal with the level of corruptness brought into American life by the immigrants.  The country had neither laws nor attitudes to resist this incredible degree of criminality.  Indeed, the politicians demanded that society turn a blind eye to this behavior lest Jews and Italians be offended.

Even the greatest crime buster in the history of the world, J. Edgar Hoover, Chief of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation, leader of the G-men, denied the existence of organized crime until after this period.  The renowned crime fighter had built his reputation on defeating lone cowboy desperadoes like John Dillinger, Lester Gillis alias Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd and the Barker Gang, but he did not have one single achievement against  the urban Judeo-Italian gangs.  Even the arrest of Lepke Buchalter of Murder, Inc., had been arranged by his fellow gangsters to get him out of the way.

In a couple of years the Kennedy family would employ Mafia muscle to swing the presidential election to themselves.  Thus, in sixty years the vilest criminal elements had come to an accord with the US government.  Further the US government would employ criminals in a plan to assassinate the man who had dispossessed the mob of their criminal enterprises- Fidel Castro.

Thus the descent into corruption from Ordway in 1921 to Kennedy in 1960 was incredible.  Obviously at the time of this story the lowest elements of the underworld were determining the moral level of the United States.  If it was OK for them, if the law would tolerate the murderous crimes of the underworld, then would the rest of the people of the country expect less for themselves?  No.

While Ordway was of a very privileged class nevertheless Dewey Trueman and the majority of his shipmates had enjoyed a variation of Ordway’s life until his dunking.  But now the adjustment the crew of the Teufelsdreck would have make to their dunking was much greater.  The gangland focus was shifting from Havana to Las Vegas.  Boomtimes in the desert with its gambling, prostitution and corruption would undermine morality in the fleet.

As Dewey lay with his back to his shipmates attempting to deal with the homosexuality and crime that he intuited aboard the ship his mind reeled.  What was he to do?  Could he let them duck him and come up saying he was no moral than they?  Should he accept the conditions and ‘go with the flow’ which might cost him all of his self-esteem or resist, fight the corruption, and suffer the consequences of his ‘arrogance.’

Could he endure as someone who couldn’t respect himself?  Dewey already suffered from low self-esteem inflicted on him in his childhood.  It was recovering this self-esteem that was the central battle of his life.  Rather than sacrifice his own identity on the altar of conformity, of ‘going with the flow’ in whatever direction that might lead he had better resist.  Better to be battered shapeless than to knowingly assume the position.  Thus, when he awoke the next morning his will was armored for a fight to the finish.  He would attempt to sink no lower than had Ordway.

Mustered the next morning Dewey was given a work assignment.  Life aboard ship began in earnest.  Having just returned from an Asian tour of duty the ship was in deplorable condition.  It appeared that no work had been done for at least six months.  It was as though they were beginning from scratch.  Yet the miracle was that this bunch of uncaring misfits would have the Teufelsdreck shipshape within ten days attributable to the genius of Navy organization.

Dewey was assigned to repair damage to the peeling numbers on the bow.  He and an old hand, Lester Peebles, were assigned the task.  Peebles was to be transferred shortly so there is no need to give his description except to say that he was short, weasel faced, slovenly and of low moral order.

Dewey, young and naïve, believed it was his duty to work as fast and as well as circumstances allowed.  Peebles, who had been around, knew that one worked as slowly as possible and caused as many obstructions as possible.  He knew that the standard was that a four hour job should take a minimum, a bare minimum of two days.  He accurately reflected shipboard standards so it was also his job with a new man to condition him to reality.

You will see how brilliantly the Navy organized to overcome this inherent sabotage which could not be avoided.  Central to the Navy’s success of course was that the work force could not walk off the job and quit.  Without that coercion even the Navy must have failed.

The bow of the Teufelsdreck was about fifteen feet above the waterline thus one man would work over the side while the other tended him.  The roles alternated  after lunch.  Dewey as new man was the first to go over.  A wooden board called a stage was lowered over the side to stand on.  At the lowest point the stage was only inches from the water.  The bow curved out at the top so the stage was three or four feet away from the side at the bottom.  There are several metal rings welded to the bow of a ship if you look closely.  A smaller line passed through a loop, snugs the stage up close to the side to facilitate work.

Even so work is not easy.  You have to hold onto a stage line with one hand and paint with the other while balancing on a wobbling board.  It can be done however.

Dewey went over the side and slid down the stage line.   He snugged up, examined the numbers up close and took his wire brush out of his back pocket to begin to scour the numbers clean.

Up to this point the process had consumed the whole morning so Dewey climbed back up the line to go to lunch.

Lunch over at one, it took Peebles till one-thirty-five to find his way back to the fo’csle.  It took him another full forty-five minutes to get over the side.  This was quite clearly a four or five day job.  It took seven.  Like Penelope unweaving the work of the day at night, Peebles managed to undo what Trueman had done so that Trueman had to do it over.

Over that period of time Peebles filled Dewey in on shipboard gossip.  He preferred to speak to Dewey when Dewey was on the stage.

‘Yeah, Descartes is a pretty good old boy.  He’s a man’s man.’

‘Isn’t that pronounced Day Cartes?”

‘Is it spelled Day Cartes?  Peebles looked at Trueman suspiciously.  Seemed pretty clear cut to Peebles, nor was his logic wrong.

‘Yeah, but it’s French, like Rene Des Cartes.  I’ll bet he pronounces it Day Cartes himself.’

Peebles had dropped out school in the ninth grade.  He had no way to even follow Dewey’s argument.  He spelled the name out in his mind and could find no other pronunciation than DessCartes.  He looked down hard at Dewey wondering how stupid or troublesome the guy would be.

‘Uh, doesn’t matter.  You call it what you want and I’ll call it what I want.’  Peebles tried to regain his thought.  ‘Anyway the Captain is an alright guy.  He understand how to manage men.’

‘Right.  How’s that?’

‘He doesn’t try to enforce silly rules.  You know, if something important comes up and you can’t get back to the ship for two or three days he doesn’t even give you a Captain’s Mast.  You don’t know Stan Casien but he’s been gone three weeks now.’

‘Three weeks?  Isn’t that AWOL?’

‘Will be if he doesn’t come back.  But, that’s just it, if he doesn’t come back then he must have a good reason.  The Captain will understand that.’

‘Well, don’t you think he would have to be tried for desertion?’

‘Not if he’s got a good reason.  You see, Captain De…the Captain would understand that.  That’s why he’s a man’s man.’

In fact Capt. Descartes was not only tolerant he was lax.  He so desired the esteem of the men that, in certain cases, he let them get away with so much and ran such a loose ship that he was about to be transferred to shore duty.  When Stan Casien did return after more than a month AWOL Capt. Descartes scandalized the squadron by giving him only seven days restriction although, contrary to Peebles’ expectations, he did give Casien a Captain’s Mast.

The lenience of the sentence was such that discipline aboard the Teufelsdreck evaporated completely.  The lack of order nearly drove Trueman mad.

‘You met Bent Cygnette yet?’  Peebles asked giving the stage line a twitch which sent the stage swinging wildly as Dewey overcompensated to regain his balance.  His brush swiped wildly smearing the white of the number over the gray of the side.

‘Come on, Peebles, knock it off; you made me smear the paint.’

‘Yah.  You’re pretty clumsy.  Ha ha ha.  Ah, just a little extra work that’s all.   We’ve got plenty of time.  You do understand that don’t you?  We got all the time in the world.  Keep your cool.  Cygnette?  Know him yet?’

‘No.  Who is he?’

‘Gunner’s Mate.  Seaman.  Gonna be Third Class before too long though.  Real tough nut, him and his sidekick, Kunkle.

‘Oh yeah?  Real fighter, huh?’

‘Don’t say I said it ‘cause I don’t want no trouble but I kinda wonder about his reputation.  I mean, you know, a lot of his fights are done this way.  He and Kunkel go to a bar.  Cygnette picks a fight, Kunkel goes outside first, Cygnette leads the guy he picked a fight with outside.  Kunkel waits beside the door, then pops the guy as he comes out and then Cygnette lets him have a couple.  Fight’s over.’

‘Not a fair fighter, huh?’

Let’s just say he likes to have the percentages on his side.  A real follower of Casey Stengel.  He’s a good puncher though.  Good man.  I don’t want to get in his way.  I seen him once coming back from liberty.  There’s this drunk sailor in a phone booth.  Cygnette hauls him out and whales on him.  I think he’s tough alright but all his fights I heard of are like that.  Got everybody on board scared though.’

‘Oh Yeah.  Bent Cygnette.  Hmm.  I’ll look for him.’

At the end of the seven days orders came for the Teufelsdreck to put to sea for gunnery practice.  By this time the ship, although not shipshape had been pretty well cleaned up.  As Dewey looked about it was possible to take some pride in the steel beast.

Gunnery practice was one of the highlights of shipboard life.  Here was high fun on the high seas.  When a ship had gunnery proficiency it was allowed to paint a large white E on the smokestack to announce to the fleet that a crackerjack crew was on board.  If awarded your efficiency grade for two or three years in succession a hash mark was painted below the E for each year.  The Teufelsdreck had a bare stack when it left port but on its return the old bucket was entitled to wear an E.  Hashmarks would be awarded for the two successive years.

Exercises for the four ship squadron were held day by day so for four days the Teufelsdreck steamed out every morning to return every evening.  The ship was reassigned from the Naval Station to the Buoys.

There was always a war going on in Dewey’s mind between the forces of Dark and Light.  In other words he had a split personality or, in still more other words, he did not have an integrated personality.  It is highly doubtful whether he was more or less disintegrated than those about him but as he was not interested in impressing them, as they were with each other, he did little to conceal his disorder.

He would have expressed matters in the light that he was exploring the parameters and trying to rectify the situation, in other words, integrate his personality.  On the good ship, the Golden Vanity, everyone is his own prince thus Dewey’s shipmates tended to see themselves as the epitome of perfection while all others were wallowing in the slough of despond.  Dewey understood that his will and actions were not correlated which he saw as a deficiency but at the same time he saw no one better off.  His pride was offended when others treated him, as they did, as less than themselves.  Or, perhaps, he was over sensitive and tended to project his deficiencies on others.  He knew that his perception of reality was off center.

Patient virtue must suffer so he dismissed everyone else as irrelevant.  Nevertheless his depression sat on him as the great Alaskan Depression swirls around that gulf and never leaves.  His sunny days were merely a relaxation or shift in the depression.  But even though always under a low pressure system he could see and appreciate the glorious light of the adjoining high pressure system.

Thus even as the Deck Force gathered on the fo’c’sle to cast off the lines, each member trying to increase his own stature by bringing the others down, Dewey contrasted their dark presence with the radiance of the glorious Southern California sunshine.

During the preceding week the Naval characters of the seven sailors had solidified.  Tidwell was darker and more withdrawn than ever.  Dennis La Frenniere had been thoroughly terrified into the character of Frenchy.  He now spoke with a terrible French accent addressing everyone as Meeshur.  Brand and Dant formed a close Damon and Pythias solidarity and bore up rather well with each other’s support.  Kind of a little Memphis Mafia.

‘Cracker Jack’ Driscoll, who was a real cracker from Waycross, Georgia, while responding to Trueman’s cynicism  was gradually realizing he had found a real home in the Navy.  Driscoll had been thoroughly beaten down in his home town.  He had been denied any prospects whatsoever, tormented at school, denied on the streets and belittled in his home.  He had been forbidden to have aspirations.  The only prospect before him had been degradation and inferiority.  There would have been no way for him to rise from the bottom of the barrel had he stayed in Waycross.

Driscoll was a very good looking kid.  His face was a cross between Clark Gable and Sam Ketcham.  Six foot, exquisitely proportioned, his intelligence had it not been inhibited by his emotional turmoil would have been more than adequate.  His will, while not paralyzed was so severely inhibited that the Navy appeared to him the only way to realize any dignity in life.  For him the Navy was a giant step up.

His self-esteem and will had been so severely depressed that he never thought to seek a rating with quicker advancement possibilities and more dignity.  He was a cracker and he could only have cracker ambitions.  He would merely apply himself with deep intensity to being a Bo’sn’s Mate.  The rating was closed but by superhuman effort, the good will of the Petty Officers and the manipulation of rules and regulations he would actually attain the rating of Third Class Bos’n’s Mate within two years.  This was almost, heck, it was unheard of.

Our Lady Of The Blues: Vol I, Clip 2b

Trueman’s own malaise and rebelliousness had drawn the attention of the Petty Officers to him.  Handled correctly he might have been as bright an addition to Deck as Driscoll.  But Dieter and Parsons and Castrato were but ordinary deck types and responded to problems in ordinary ways.  Driscoll was eager so they rewarded him appropriately in opposition to Trueman who was angry and rebellious so they sought to break him.  Had they tried to understand him and bring him along they would have had a second jewel in their crown.

By attempting to break him, which it was vanity to attempt, they only aroused his ill-will.  Trueman’s powers of will and resistance were only aroused by persecution.  Trueman’s powers of will and resistance were greater than theirs of persecution.  In addition he was not stupid.  He was the brightest and the best on the Deck Force.  He understood the futility of bashing your head against a brick wall thus his resistance would never be so open as to give them a legal hold on him.

Trueman’s resistance was to men and not to things.  This was a trait he shared with Negro culture.  Thus while others showed their disdain for authority by malingering and destroying property Trueman showed his by insulting authorities and doing quick good work and respecting the ship and its accoutrements.

Now, as the ship was casting off Dieter took the opportunity to harass Trueman by giving him peremptory and conflicting orders.

‘Trueman, come up to the forward bollocks.’

‘Aye, aye, Daddyo.’  By calling the Chief Daddyo, which was in no way so disrespectful as to warrant censure, Trueman craftily undermined Deiter’s authority and safely showed his contempt for him.  Dieter, not being a fool, understood Trueman’s intent and method.  At the same time he didn’t know what a Daddyo was.  He was not only of a much earlier generation but the Navy insulated him from social change.  He had no notion what made these younger men tick.

No sooner had Trueman taken a place by the forward lines than Dieter ordered him to go back to the aft lines and stand against the bulkhead of the boat deck.

‘Aye, aye, Catman.’  Dewey said cheerfully as  he stepped back to the aft lines.

Dieter was as mystified by Catman as he had been by Daddyo.  Lest he allow himself to be cursed surreptitiously  he turned to Pardon.

‘What the hell is a Daddyo or Catman?’

Pardon mused for a minute before replying.  He was naturally a kind hearted man who sought his repose in all things.  He didn’t want any problems to get out of hand.  Things got so messy and unpleasant when they did.

‘Ah, Chief, It’s just the way these kids talk nowadays.  I don’t think it’s insulting.  Actually, it’s kind of complimentary.  I mean a Cat is a real cool guy that’s gone in every way, as they would say.  So, really, Trueman is just being familiar.  I don’t think he understands your position yet.’

‘Well, I think I can help him understand that, right now.’  Dieter said, trembling with rage lest even Pardon was putting him on.  Nevertheless, the Chief was all-Navy so he behaved in an all-Navy way.

Concealing his anger as best he could he descended on Trueman.  Assuming a standard authoritarian pose he placed his right foot on a bollock, placed his elbow on his knee, placed his left hand in his right and addressed Trueman thusly:  ‘Listen, Trueman.  It’s like this, you can call me Chief or Chief Dieter in any combination you choose and I will respond.  But, don’t ever call me Sir, I’m not an officer, and also, unless you are looking for trouble, don’t ever call me Daddyo or Catman.  Am I clear?’

‘Oh sure Chief Dieter, I just though you were a real cool cat gone in every way  but if you’re not, you’re not.  If I was wrong I admit it.  I apologize.  I’m big that way.  Please accept my apologies, Chief Dieter.’

Dieter sensed that there must have been half a dozen taunts in Trueman’s brief respectful reply but if so he would have had to sacrifice his dignity to reach them.  You don’t get to be a Chief by being caught out so easily.  Dieter nodded sagely and retired.

The lines cast off, the squadron steamed slowly West in the bay turning North to steam past the Broadway Piers into the channel.  There were four ships in the squadron.  In addition ot the Teufelsdreck their was the USS Deviant, DE 667, The USS Purverse, DE 668 and the USS Desade, DE 669.  The Deviant was the flagship with the Commodore aboard.

The four ships made a beautiful sight as they steamed past the buoys with their big Tenders.  Then they moved into the narrow channel that separated the mainland from North Island.  The channel was barely wide enough to let two Destroyers pass each other.  A constant topic of conversation in the fleet was that all an enemy had to do to trap the fleet in San Diego harbor was to sink a barge athwart the channel.  Probably would have worked; the channel was not very deep either.  Aircraft Carriers couldn’t enter the Bay.

Out of the channel the squadron turned West and made for the open sea.  It was a day of days.  The weather was, of course, perfect and the sea was nearly as smooth as glass.  There were no little choppy wavelets disfiguring the great flat swells.  At times the bottom was clearly visible.

About thirty miles out the ships hove to waiting for the targets.  The Deviant was the first to fire as a concession to the Commodore.  Nothing ever happens on schedule in the Navy so it was about three before the drone and sleds showed up and the klaxon for battle stations was sounded.

Dewey, who had been introduced to that marvelous institution, the Watch, was on Port lookout when the alarm went off.  Now, when the alarm goes, you literally drop everything and race to your battle station.  If your pain brush was in mid-stroke you actually dropped the brush on the deck and took off.

Dewey, not realizing this, was standing around waiting to be relieved when the Officer of the Day admonished him.

‘To your battle station, Sailor.’

‘Uh, well, I’m waiting to be relieved Sir, don’t want to abandon my post.’

‘You are standing in someone else’s battle station, Sailor.  Don’t wait to be relieved.  Get to your battle station.’

From his position on the bridge Dewey could see everyone else’s response so he dropped his glasses, scurried down the ladder to the boat deck running aft into the gun tub of the forties to which he had been assigned.  The containers holding the Mae Wests and helmet had already been broken open.  A set found its way into his hands.

Donning his helmet and cinching his Mae West was fairly exciting stuff straight out of the comic books,  Don Winslow and all that.  When all were properly attired they all stood looking at each other.  As the Deviant was up, there was time to distribute the tasks.  One half of the crew was new to the forties.  The necessity for drill in the Navy never ceases.  The constant changes in personnel always means tasks have to be reviewed.

The forties required ten men.  One to elevate and lower the barrels, one to rotate the platform, four loaders and four ammunition handlers.  The guns were manned by Deck and Gunnery combined.  The Gunners naturally took the most prestigious tasks but then it was their job, they were entitled to them.

Bent Cygnette took the task of elevater while his sidekick, Art Kunkel, rotated the platform.  Two Gunners and two Deck were loaders while four Deck were handlers.  Dewey was a handler.

The loaders stood on the platform and rammed the shells into the breach.  The shells came in a clip of four.  The handler passed a clip up to the loader who dropped it into the hopper.  Only the first clip had to be rammed, that is pushed down into the breach.  After that firing was automatic.

The clips were kept four to a canister, The canisters lined the side of the tub.  The handlers grabbed a clip and passed it up.  The expended casings were ejected out on the deck of the tub.  Thus, after a hundred rounds  or so had been fired off, the roll of the ship combined with a flooring of round casings made the task exacting to say the least.

Tasks assigned and explained, nomenclature cleared up, the crew settled down to watch the Deviant in action.  All DEs are named after enlisted heroes.  Thus one ship was named the Sullivans after the famous brothers who all went down to Davy Jones locker together.  No histories were extant of the four remarkably named men, Teufelsdreck, Deviant, Purvurse or Desade.  It’s probably just as well.  They were probably four of the biggest foul-ups in the fleet.

The squadron was put into sort of a line as the Deviant prepared to exercise its guns.  The forties were always exercised first and then the threes.

‘There it is.’  Someone shouted as they spotted the drone.  The drone was an unmanned airplane that towed a sleeve the size of a fighter plane.  The gunners were expected to put a few holes in the sleeve.  After the run the sleeve was pulled in and the holes, if any, counted.

The firing began by the crew of the Deviant’s forties underscored once again the need for constant drill.  The drone flew by.  The gunner depressed the barrels as far as they go instead of elevating them.  The sea was spattered by forty millimeter shells.  Another couple inches and the gunner might have sunk his own ship.  They were not in a straight line; the Teufelsdreck was ahead of and turned at an angle to the Deviant.  All of a sudden it seemed possible that the Deviant could just as well have opened up on the Teuf.

Everyone swallowed hard as they realized that gunnery practice could be serious.  The Deviant wasn’t going to get an E for Excellence for that barrage.  The sled was brought up for practice with the threes.  A sled was a barge with a tall sail on it.  The idea was to hit either the barge or put a shell through the sail.  The sled is pulled by a harbor tug on a very long leader.

Boy, you know, when you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll.  The Deviant’s three inchers opened up on the tug by mistake.  Fortunately for the tug the Deviant’s three inch gunners weren’t any better than those on the forties.  Nevertheless the tug boat crew returned to port properly relieved and several pounds lighter.

In addition the entire crew of the Teufelsdreck were so amused they couldn’t stop laughing all the way back to port.

The Deviant, being the flagship, had the honor of tying up to the buoys first which was a tedious job.  The other three ships nested next to her with the Teufelsdreck on the outside.  For reasons that were never clear the Teufelsdreck was considered the bad boy of the squadron.

What made it the bad boy was unknown.  The ship and personnel obtained the only E in the squadron and held it for three successive terms.  The seamanship of the crew was better than the rest.  For whatever their faults the two captains of the Teufelsdreck were better commanders than the others.  The Chiefs were sharper, the crew was more effective.  They were no worse at inspection than the other crews.  Maybe the officers, crew and ship looked too good and did things too well.  Whatever the reason the ship and crew were kept at a distance.  Of course, most of the crew were bad boys, unorthodox, rebellious; things happened on the Teufelsdreck that didn’t happen elsewhere.  Serious things.

Exercises were finished late in the day.  The cruise back into the harbor would end about seven when liberty would be declared.  Hence dinner was pushed forward a little bit while the crew cleaned up preparatory to donning their dress blues.

Dewey had not been ashore since coming aboard.  He hadn’t wanted to combine the stress of acclimating himself to shipboard life while undergoing the additional stress of finding his way through a strange city.  This night he decided he would to look San Diego over.

Although standing naked before twenty-five or thirty men was repugnant to him, he was determined to stay as clean as possible.  He, therefore, swallowed his pride and trooped up each night for his shower.  Not all men did, some were conspicuous by their absence; some managed on the Saturday night rotation.  One could always be sure of seeing mostly the same group of men each night.

Conspicuous by his presence was always the queer Storekeeper, Paul Duber, who made showers the social event of his day.  He, with a couple others could always be seen lounging on the fore side of the showers, the line forming to the aft.  While in reporting these things everything is stark and clear, at the time Paul’s presence was not understood by everyone nor with shipboard tolerance was there any reason to be overly critical.  This night as all night’s  he stood leering in penis and ass heaven wisecracking and making knowing comments.

Duber spotted Trueman when he entered the line.  He stood waiting for him.  Most everyone in line stood around self-consciously trying not to  appear that way.  The indignity of it tore at their minds as well as at Dewey’s.  Dewey never could suffer in silence; he had to spout off.  He had to visit his own humiliation on someone else.

One of the great masters of complacency was a Fireman by the name of Ragnar Ock.  This man was, or had been in civilian life, a body builder.  He was a very fine specimen of the art, although a trifle short at 5’ 8” and a bit too square. But he was not overbuilt.  He was quite perfect.

Like all body builders he reveled in his appearance; indeed, why would one go to all that bother if one didn’t?  Also like all body builders he was exceedingly mild in manner.  No intellect but a very pleasant guy.

While most men held their towel in the middle drooping from the right hand like a rag, half stooping to conceal their embarrassment, Ragnar stood erect and tall with a far away dreamy unconcerned look in his eyes.  Unlike the others he very neatly draped his folded towel over his right forearm which he held level like a waiter taking orders.  His soap dish lay in an upright palm at the end of his straight wrist.  Well, you know, it was a very legitimates solution to the problem.

Dewey found it indescribably funny.  His own shame and torment was visited on the docile, mild mannered Ragnar Ock.  Dewey was offended both by the man’s build and his towel.  Neither could be attacked directly.  Indeed, discretion was of the essence.  Dewey didn’t transgress the bounds but he trotted right down on the line.

Dewey hated to be spoken to as he stood there with his dong hanging out be he didn’t hesitate to speak to Ragnar Ock.

‘You must be a body builder.’  Dewey stated with perhaps more admiration than he acknowledged to himself.  After all, Dewey had read the Charles Atlas ads in comic books for years.  He was a skinny little kid who got sand kicked in his face on the beach.  He had even sent for Atlas’ body building kit.  Ragnar had achieved what Dewey secretly yearned for, Trueman didn’t think anymore of him for that.  Envy.  One of the few times in Dewey’s life.

Our Lady Of The Blues: Vol. I, Clip 2c

  ‘Yes.’  Ragnar replied with becoming modesty, flattered by the attention.  ‘I work out, or did, in Los Angeles.’

‘Oh, wow!  Muscle Beach?’

‘I’ve been there, but I don’t hang out there.  I have to work for a living so I’m afraid I haven’t been able to develop myself to that extent.  Also I want only to look strong and trim.  I don’t want those huge muscles.’

‘Well, you look huge enough.’  Dewey said, once gain his admiration getting the best of him.

‘Thank you.’  Ragnar replied with an appreciative blush.

‘How are you going to maintain yourself aboard ship?’  Dewey asked with feigned innocence.

‘Oh, I go ashore and work out at the gym every night I have liberty.’

‘Well, yeah, but when we go out to sea that’ll be hard to do.  What then?’

‘I guess I won’t be able to work out then.’

‘No. Well, what happens when you don’t work out?  Does everything just turn flabby and sag?’  Dewey asked with inexcusable cruelty.

That was a very unpleasant thought for Ragnar.  It excited fears he tried hard to repress.  His countenance clouded.

‘Well, I hope that won’t happen.’  He said miserably.

Throughout the conversation Dewey noticed that Ragnar spoke with a faint accent.  He spoke slowly and deliberately but correctly but Dewey who had a keen ear picked up faint traces of a Swedish accent.

‘Uh, you speak very well, but it seems that you have just a trace of what?  A Swedish accent?

Ragnar brightened up again.  ‘Yes, I’m a Swedish citizen, but I’m living in Los Angeles.’

‘You’re a Swedish citizen?  Why are you in the US Navy then?  What jurisdiction does the US have over Swedish nationals.?’

‘Well, I was drafted so I had to go.’

That didn’t make any sense to Dewey nor did he think it likely.  He was searching for a possible question when Ragnar volunteered:  ‘Yes.  I was drafted in Sweden too and had to do two years in the Army.’

Dewey was thunderstruck at the injustice of being drafted twice.  It mattered little to him where else one might have been drafted; one disruption of one’s life was enough,; two tours was incomprehensible.  Dewey stood actually trembling in sympathy with his mouth hanging open.

‘That’s not right.’  Finally escaped from his lips.  ‘You oughta complain.  Wow, I’ll help you.  We’ll go see the Captain as soon as possible.  It isn’t right you should have to go through this twice.’

‘No.  Thank you.  But it’s alright.’  Ragnar said with engaging forbearance.

‘No it’s not alright.  It’s criminal.  We’ll complain, get you out of here.’  Dewey exclaimed imagining that everyone would be as indignant as he was.  He envisioned the whole crew petitioning the Captain.

‘No. It tell you it’s alright.  It’s just the way things are.  One has to accept  these things, do as one is told.’

Heresy, heresy screamed through Dewey’s mind but Ragnar was so firm that Dewey had no choice but to desist.  Still, he never had respect for the man again.  The idea of accepting things without fighting against them was foreign to Dewey.

By this time he was at the head of the line where Paul Duber stood waiting for him.  Duber stood with some two or three other men who hung out naked around the showers every night.  Some three or four other regulars lounged in the wash room where some other men were shaving preparatory to going ashore.

Duber and his buddies had been quietly discussing the equipment of the various men as they did every night.  They loved it.  They were kind of like potheads who, while they are toqueing, run through mental catalogs of all the grass they’ve smoked comparing the virtues of each.

The Teufelsdreck had an exceptionally good looking crew.  With the exception of a few old sods like Paul Duber, fat and out of shape, the men were young, slender and well proportioned.  Some were sturdy, some Apolline, some lean and willowy like Dewey.  Looked at from a homosexual perspective there was reason for Duber’s gravid mouth, inflamed lips and thick stiff tongue.

‘This is great stuff…’  Duber was saying for the umpteenth time.  ‘…but you know I’m enraged there aren’t any big ones.  They’re all smallish like on those Greek statues.  I mean, where are those big honkers you read about?’

‘Well, they’re all flaccid.’  Peter Grinch, a Second Class Disbursing Clerk replied.  ‘Ya can’t really tell about a dick unless they’re hard.  I remember one really remarkable transformation…’

‘Pssst..  Here he is.’

Duber looked hard at Trueman.  Duber thought Trueman had really violated etiquette on the previous occasion by disdainfully walking off.  According to Duber’s rules men were required to engage in badinage with him in lieu of sex.  If you can’t screw ‘em in the ass you get to screw ‘em some other way.   Homo rules.  The other two men had spoken up for themselves, only Trueman hadn’t.  What was wrong with him?

Duber had felt humiliated and rejected.  For Christ’s sake Trueman might just as well have come out and called him a queer, he thought.  He now wished to visit his own failure on Trueman.  Although Duber’s intentions at the head of the line were vaguely understood by most and clearly understood by a few, Duber could not be open in solicitation or could others openly censure him for perversion with out risking raising the ire of the Homo Mafia.  There was an unwritten rule that homos were to be tolerated so long as they stayed closeted.

The homos kept up a constant pressure to be allowed to function more openly, while heteros kept up the pressure to make them contain their libidinous desires.  A ship is a self-policing entity.  Everything is kept in check by the knowledge of one’s own limitations.  Fights were prevented only by mutual consent.  Theft was rampant but would have to be flagrant to merit censure.  To openly condemn homosexuality would be to incur the wrath of homosexuals.  If you were outspoken things would happen to you.  Letters might be withheld, packages smashed, laundry disappear, slander and backstabbing; all the things that went on anyway but organized and intensified.  There was always tension and an uneasy truce.  Woe to the wary straggler.

Thus while Duber wished to pick a fight with Trueman he couldn’t mention his real reason, that his homosexual sensitivity had been violated.  He had to select a specious reason.

‘Ha…’ He snarled.  ‘…so you’re the wise guy who’s so dumb he thinks that Capt. Desscartes pronounces his name Day Cartes.  Huh?  That you?’

Dewey was taken back by the man’s violence.  He hardly thought that a difference of pronunciation was a cause for such vituperation.  Dewey was unaware of Duber’s true motivation.  He looked at Duber like he was crazy.

‘Well, pal, Descartes is French.  The French philosopher Rene Des Cartes is pronounced Day Cartes so I see no reason that Capt. Descartes isn’t too.’

‘French philos…hey…you got a college education?’

‘No, but I’m not stupid either.’

‘Don’t go putting on airs with us, Trueman.  You’re just like us.  You ain’t got no college education so don’t go talkin’ over your head or we’ll put you in your place.’

‘It may be over yours but it’s not over mine.  So I guess you’re already in your place.’  Dewey said with sullen resentment.  He was supremely sensitive about his educational status.  With or without a degree he considered himself the equal of any college graduate.  If he hadn’t studied he at least considered himself as intelligent as anybody.  He was not about to be censored by some queer buffoon.

‘Oh yeah?  Well listen smart ass…’  Duber was now pushing his luck, not only with Trueman but the self-policing sentiment of the crew present began to take sides in Trueman’s favor.  ‘…you didn’t happen to see the name of the ship just forward of us today, did you?’

‘You mean the Deviant?’  Dewey asked with unconscious humor.  He hadn’t paid attention to which ship was in front of them.

‘No, I don’t mean the Deviant, Mr. College Professor.  I mean the DESADE.  I suppose you pronounce that Day Ade, huh?  Well, that ship is the Des-ade.  Anybody here will tell you that.’

‘Oh, for Christ’s sake.’  Dewey said stepping into a shower stall.  ‘That’s not even comparable.’

‘Not comparable.  Listen to this asshole talk.  Not comparable.  Nobody talks like that.  You mean, it’s not the same.’

Duber appealed to the crewmen for their support with that statement.  He was met by cold stares and stony silence.  He had over stepped the bounds.

‘What do you think of that?’  He roared at his pals.

‘Aw, you’re right, but forget it Duber.  The guy ain’t worth it.’

‘The guy ain’t worth it.  That’s for sure.’  He roared in Dewey’s direction.

‘Go suck an orange.’  Dewey snapped stepping out of the shower.

‘Oranges ain’t his favorite.’  Came a laughing voice from the washroom.

Duber turned to look,  In the interval the situation passed.

Cleaned up and anxious for liberty Dewey gathered on the foc’sle with the rest of the Deckapes to tie up alongside the Purverse.  Fortunately for the crew of the Teufelsdreck the Commodore demanded preference for the Deviant and that vessel was given the more unpleasant task of securing the ship to the buoys.  Lines had to be secured both fore and aft to prevent the nest from swinging around a single buoy.

The task of dropping fenders to keep the Teufelsdreck and Purvurse from bumping directly against each other and passing lines back and forth was easily accomplished.  As they were at the buoys there was no reason for the Deviant to put up rat guards.

By the time Dewey changed into dress blues and got to the Quarterdeck the number of sailors going ashore was huge.  The method of transport from ship to shore was by landing craft.  If you’ve seen movies of Marines storming the beach of some tropical Japanese held island in WWII the craft was identical to that used by the Marines.

There was a large space for about thirty men to stand.  The sides of the craft were six feet high to conceal the occupants from enemy fire.  The landing craft were provided for both the Deviant and the Teufelsdreck so each outside ship transported the sailors of two ships.

There was no hope of crowding aboard the first craft and not much for the second.  By the time the craft returned the third time to load the sun was very low on the horizon.  It would a short liberty.

The ride took a short fifteen minutes as the blunt bow of the craft did not exactly cleave the waves.  It was flat bottomed and stable.

The craft pulled into a slip at the Broadway Piers.  Rather than fight to get up the ladder Dewey preferred to wait until everyone was out and he could get up at his leisure.  As last man he bid farewell to the pilot turning to get his first glimpse of San Diego.

Stepping past the phone booths that were crowded with sailors anxious to make calls Dewey emerged into the fading light.  In those days Highway 101 was the most fabled highway in America along with Route 66.  Both highways figured large in the imaginations of American youth.  Looking out Dewey emitted an amazed laugh.  It seemed impossible but he was standing on the dead end corner of Highway 101 and Broadway.  He might as well have received a five pound box of chocolates for his birthday.

The vision was one that completely went beyond his imagination.  This was the actual location, the very spot that 101 began.  You had to turn left off 101 and go down Broadway, right to head up to LA.  Dewey turned to look up Highway 101.  It was really a beautiful sight.  In those days before maniacs with bulldozers sculpted and shaped the land to their insane specifications, in those days before concrete was used to fossilize their ideas and encase both nature and the human in rigid straight-jackets things were left more or less in their natural state.  There was some room to move.  Things were real and not totally artificial and phony.  There is a space from the bay to the first range of hills of about a mile.  This is all sandy.  In those days the builders didn’t cut into the landscape to form the roadbed  but just laid the bed on the land following the natural contours of rise and depression.  Highway 101 with its sandy shoulders looking all natural, lovely and mysterious began its northward journey to the Canadian border.  Dewey himself all new and young seeking mystery and adventure gazed up the road in open mouth wonder as though at a miracle.

‘It’s just a highway.’  A voice beside him said dispelling his enchantment with its lack of wonder.

‘I suppose so, but it’s still Highway 101 and this very spot we’re standing on right here is where it all begins.’

Dewey looked at the shoulder patch of the man who spoke to find he was from the Teufelsdreck.  The insignia told him the man was an ET and his chevrons read Seaman.  His face showed him to be decent and intelligent, if unimaginative.  He was about 6’2”.  He appeared OK to Dewey.

‘You’re an ET on the Teufelsdreck?’  He stated rather than asked.

‘Um hmm.  I’m Dart Craddock.  I was on the cruise to the East.  You’re a new deckape, aren’t you?

‘Yeah, name’s Dewey Trueman.  I’m from Michigan.’

‘Oh yeah?  I’m from Idaho.  Coeur D’ Alene.  First time ashore?’

‘Yep.  First Time.’

‘Welcome to San Diego.  What a dump.’

‘Well, I don’t know.  Just got here.’

‘You’re not going to like it.’  Craddock said as they began the walk down Sailor’s Row into town.  ‘This place has got a bad name.’

‘Well, it looks alright.’  Dewey said complacently ignoring the offensive sailor dives lining lower Broadway.  ‘If you’ve ever seen Philadelphia this can’t be all that bad.’

‘What were you doing in Philadelphia?’

‘Receiving Station.  That’s where I was introduced to this bilge.  Saddest day in my life, then it just keeps getting sadder.’

Craddock laughed.  ‘I know what you mean.  But at least it’s only a temporary contact with this crap.’

‘Temporary contact, permanent damage.’  Dewey retorted in a disgruntled but philosophically resigned manner.

Craddock was impressed with Trueman’s discourse.  It must be remembered that Deck was the most despised division aboard ship.  Even Wipers in the engine room borrowed some dignity from the machines they wiped but Deck’s chores were considered menial.  The other ratings raided Deck for any men of promise.  The ETs were already eyeing Tidwell.  Craddock looked approvingly at Trueman.

Our Lady Of The Blues: Book I, Clip 2d

‘Philadelphia was that bad?’ 

‘Even worse.  I don’t see what’s so bad about San Diego, weather’s a lot better than Philly.  Doesn’t look so old and dirty.’

‘I guess I’m prejudiced for personal reasons.  My grand pop was tortured here, almost murdered, just barely escaped with his life.  Had scars he could show.’

‘Oh yeah.  What’d he do rob a bank.  Why was he tortured?’

‘No.  He was an honest man.  It was done for political reasons.’

Dewey was stunned.  This surely couldn’t have happened in the American history he’d been told about, freedom of opinion and all that.  Of course, childhood history never told of anything but the heroic exploits of the Revolution, War of 1812, Andrew Jackson and the Civil War.  Oh right, let’s not forget Mad Anthony Wayne.  Dewey had never been in a history class that got beyond the Civil War, wouldn’t have mattered if he had, some things are too embarrassing to mention.  He’d read Huck Finn with its tarring and featherings but had only understood it through the eyes of a child and that was as close to the mention of torture he’d gotten.

‘Tortured?  Nobody in America’s ever been tortured.’

‘You child, you.  That’ what you know.  If you were from Idaho you’d know better.  You probably don’t know Coeur D’ Alene but we’re way up north on the Canadian border not far from Spokane.  That’s across the State line in Washington.

We used to be a big mining area, you know, at the turn of the century, and those mine owners were cruel men, sons-of-bitches.  They didn’t just want your labor for nothing, they wanted your blood for free.’

Craddock’s voice trembled as though he had actually lived through those times.  All this had been so impressed on him by his grandfather that the memory was more real than anything that had happened to himself.

‘The men tried to organize, formed the Western Federation Of Miners, but the mine owners fought them with guns, goons and dynamite.  When my grandfather and the men fought back with guns and dynamite the mine owners called in the Pinkertons and the State called in the Army.

Who they didn’t kill, they crushed.  We had to go to work for them like slaves, just to survive.  We had some good leaders like Big Bill Haywood and they got Governor Steunenberg who betrayed his own people.  They arrested them but we got Bill Haywood off, too.  They thought they had him good but they couldn’t find a jury in the State of Idaho that would convict them.  Besides they didn’t really have any proof of who got Steunenberg anyway, they just wanted to hang the leaders of the WFM.

Then Big Bill formed the Wobblies.  The IWW.  The Industrial Workers Of The World.  Ever heard of ‘em?’

‘Not unless they fought in the Civil War.’  Dewey joked.  But finding his joke inappropriate, no doctrinaire has a sense of humor about his hobby horse, Dewey quickly covered:  ‘No.  This is all really new to me, Dart.  I never heard of any of this before.’

‘Well, it’s all true.  Anyway, when my granddad helped form the IWW that really scared the daylights out of all the bloodsuckers in the Northwest.  West Coast.  They slandered us terrible, told lie after lie.  All we wanted was a fair wage and human dignity.  Was that too much to ask?  Hell yes, from them.

After doing every single thing they could do to destroy us finally in Spokane they told us to get off the streets, we weren’t allowed to even recruit members or tell our grievances.  Well, we set up soap boxes anyway and harangued anyone who would listen.  Then they started arresting us because we were speaking our minds.  In America, the land of free speech, just for saying what we thought.

Well, Big Bill put out an APB and called in Wobblies from all over the country.  We descended on Spokane by the thousands.  They couldn’t arrest us fast enough.  They had to improvise new jails.  And we still kept coming, speaking and singing our minds.

Damn ‘em.  In the middle of winter they turned off the heat in those jails and turned fire hoses on those men, and some of ‘em was women, people froze to death, murdered by the bastards, and lots more were completely broken in health, total wrecks, never the same again.

But, we won, damn ‘em, we won. They had to let us say what we wanted.  That gave us courage, confidence, then we thought we could make ‘em back down on the entire West Coast.  We did it some other places.  But they treated us like enemies even though we were as good a citizens as themselves- better, like we was an invading army or something.  They even made a pact in Portland that the police could brutalize us at will and no lawyer would represent us in court.

Well, some of us were miners and a lot us were migrant workers.  In those days we harvested the crops but when no White man would suffer the indignities those SOBs put on us why they sent and got Mexicans who would, that’s why the crops are all harvested by braceros today.

Well, we came down to help out the harvesters and invaded Fresno.  There was another terrible struggle there but we won that one too.  The next place we were going to break was San Diego- Imperial Valley out here, you know.  By that time they had enough experience with us and they were mean enough and criminal enough to take us on.  Before the main guard got here some guys tried to speak right here on this street.  Those guys were dragged off and beaten.  Then others chained themselves to these lampposts right here with chains so they couldn’t be dragged off.  They’d have been further ahead to let themselves be dragged off.

All the Wobblies rode the rods.  That was the way they traveled.  So they knew we’d be coming in on the freights.  There was only one line into San Diego and that came down from LA.  They knew exactly where we’d be.  Well, the bulls let us board in LA, told them and they was waiting for us.’

Craddock’s emotions overcame him.  He stopped in his tracks, his legs trembling beneath him.  His voice broke but he recovered his emotions enough to check his sobbing.  He continued his narrative but with a look in his eyes as if he had actually been there.  Dewey was amazed at his apparent ability to relive events that happened to someone else and fifty years before.

‘Well, the guys came off the top, spilled out of the cars and slid of the rods boiling up from beneath the cars all confident and exuberant when they were met by an army of men with baseball bats and steel pipes.    The San Diego bastards laid into them without restraint or mercy.  There was nothing the Wobblies could do.  If they defended themselves they would be arrested for resisting arrest.  If they didn’t they’d be killed or worse.  What could they do?  They had to eat shit.  They broke and ran, hightailed out of San Diego County and dept running until their legs collapsed under them.

Not everybody escaped.  Some got caught my grandpa among them.  They weren’t going to jail us because it cost too much money.  Nearly broke Fresno to house and feed us.  That’ why they gave up.

First they just beat the hell out of everybody with their bats then they took the men out in the fields where they had fires going.  They were heating branding irons in the fire.  They made the men strip then they branded a big red IWW right on their ass.’

Dewey gasped.

‘If that wasn’t enough,’ Craddock’s voice went surly, ‘If that wasn’t enough then they tarred and feathered them.  Put tar right over my grandpa’s burn.  The they hit ‘em another couple times and told them to get the hell out of San Diego county.

They had to run barefoot and hurting for a long ways until they could slow to a walk.  There was my grandpa with this big brand, naked under his tar and feathers, no clothes for when he got it off.  He either doesn’t know what happened after or he won’t tell.  He didn’t go insane but he might as well have.  He was never the same forever after.  He never got over it.  Used to tell me about it all the time.’

‘You’re not kidding me?  They actually branded him with a red hot iron like a cow?  IWW, wow.’

‘That’s right.’

‘Wow oh wow or double wow.  I can’t hardly believe it.  Right here in America?  San Diego?’

‘That’s right.  Everytime I hear them talk about the Nazis like they’re some kind of unique devils I just have to shake my head and wonder.  The way I see it anybody who has the power to enforce his will on his enemies will do so and in whatever violent way appeals to his imagination.  This is no innocent nation.  I didn’t mean to rant to you but every time I even think of this place I get angry.’

‘O boy, no problem.  I never knew these things before.’  Dewey said politely.  He still didn’t know about these things.  His prejudices formed by his schooling precluded such things ever happening in America.  While he didn’t necessarily wish to call Craddock  deluded he thought that he had probably been victimized by his granddad who undoubtedly told a good story.  But Craddock had it right.  That’s the way it happened.

‘Yeah, wow, well I guess we didn’t have any Wobblies in Michigan.’  Dewey said innocently.

‘Oh sure you did.  Wobblies were all over the country.   We were trying to organize industrial unions, you know, as opposed to the Craft Unions of the AFL.  We wanted everybody in an industry to belong to the same union, then all the unions would syndicalism into one big union.’

‘Sounds like the CIO.’  Dewey mused.  He was no union man and despised the CIO and UAW member. Walter Reuther.

‘Exactly.  A Congress Of Industrial Organizations.  When the Wobblies were destroyed in WWI people changed their tactics a little, changed the rhetoric and kept working.  Then with Roosevelt and the Wagner Act we got the break we needed.  With the government behind us changing the rules in our favor we were quickly able to bring the really big industrial organizations like auto and steel to their knees.’

‘Oh yeah?  UAW.  Those guys are all Commies aren’t they?’  Dewey said becoming suspicious of Craddock and his Wobbly tales.

‘No. No. They aren’t.  the Communists are something entirely different.  They’re a foreign organization trying to impose a foreign ideology.  We’re Americans and we want American justice for the workers of the world.’

Dewey picked up on workers of the world and became wary of Craddock?’

‘You’re not Reds then?  Huh?’

‘Well, they call us Reds but we’re not.  You know how it is, they call everybody that won’t be industrial slaves Reds.’

‘Oh yeah.’  Dewey said, but still polite.  He believed that all unions were controlled by Reds or Mafia.  ‘So, how about IWW in Michigan?’

‘Hmm.  OK, there was a splinter IWW in Detroit.  You see, the big industrial car plants in Detroit were ideal for industrial unions so the IWW was very active in Detroit.  You may not know this but Henry Ford only doubled wages to take the wind out of our sails.  We were doing great in his plants until he did that.’

The idea boggled Dewey’s mind.  ‘How’s that?’

‘Well, we were working hard to organize Detroit, and Ford too, and then old Ford doubled wages and really set us back temporarily.  We taught him a lesson, though.’

Dewey had never heard anything like this and being anti-union he didn’t approve.  Craddock’s Wobbly hard luck story was being undermined by what looked suspiciously Red to Dewey.

‘How’d you take care of him?’

‘Well, like I say, Ford was the first company the UAW tried to organize.  That guy wasn’t going to tell us what to do, we were going to tell him what to do.  But earlier, it took us a few years but by 1920 we had sown enough dissent in the workplace to make life damn hard for him, the old bugger, work slowdowns, sabotage, things of that sort.  He dropped all that altruistic bull roar pretty quick.  Trying to pass himself off as some kind of friend of mankind.  We exposed him.  After we got through with him he was just like anybody else.  Turned him hard and erratic.  Ruined his mind.’

‘Just a minute now.  You implied that you were involved in that Commie march on Ford where they were going to occupy River Rouge and smash the machinery?’

‘I don’t know nothing about that.’  Craddock who had been very well informed a moment before backtracked.

‘Yeah, well, when that Commie Reuther and those rats marched on Ford, in 1935 or so, right?, they weren’t after worker rights they were on the way to take over the government.  Those guys are always dumb enough to think that workers can rule the world, they’re so dumb they thought they’d start with River Rouge.  Now, what do you say the Wobblies had to do with that?’

‘Well, we were fighting Communist influence.  I told you they were foreign and we’re American.

Dewey had listened attentively.  Craddock’s later statements undermined the sympathy he had created with his grand father’s misfortunes.  Dewey had a difficult time separating the Wobblies from the Commies.  Comparing the march on Ford with the invasion of San Diego he now thought that the San Diegans had acted in self-defense, although if what Craddock had said was true, with unnecessary violence.  They had indeed repelled an invading army that meant them harm.  Still, he was insufficiently informed of what Craddock was talking about.  Rather than say anything more he nodded sagely, filing this information away in his mind for future reference.

‘Well, you certainly are well informed.’

‘Oh, with my granddad around I should be.  He’s got quite a library of stuff and besides they hurt him so bad that he’s always pulling his pants down to look at that IWW brand.  So what do you want to do?’

By this time they were all the way downtown across from the El Cortez Hotel.  Everywhere you looked there was an ocean of blue with bobbing white caps.

‘Geez, I don’t know.  What is there to do?  I mean, I’m not old enough to drink.  Are you?’

‘No.  I’m just going to turn twenty.  You’re still eighteen.  Hmm.  Well we could go to a movie.’

‘Yeah.   I suppose we could always do that.’  Dewey said without enthusiasm.  ‘What’s playing?’

The two of them walked up a side street to a decent if not first run theater.

‘Hi, hey, look.  Brigette Bardot.  She’s hot.  What do you think?’

‘I don’t know.  What’s the second feature?  ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man.’  Looks like some kind of science fiction thing.  Probably something mutated by atomic vapors.  Sure, OK.’

‘Boy, that Bardot is something isn’t she?’

‘Yeah, something else, hot enough for me.  Man that scene where she was in bed and tucked the sheets between all her private parts right up to her box!  Wow!  Not much of a movie otherwise.  I really think it was immoral.  The Incredible Shrinking Man was better.  What a concept.  The guy goes through a cloud of atomic vapor and it reverses his growth so that he starts shrinking.’

Our Lady Of the Blues, Book I, Clip 2e, posted 6/13/12

‘Aw, who’d ever believe that.;  Craddock said with the lack of imagination that characterized those ideological enthusiasts even though what they believe is even more preposterous.

‘Yeah, but just imagine the guy’s anguish as he gets smaller and smaller and finally gets so small he just falls between the molecules of dirt and disappears to the center of gravity.  What a trip, huh?’

‘Yeah, well, it just couldn’t happen, that’s all.’

‘Sure.  It’s impossible, but you know it’s kind of like being put in the orphanage where you get pushed further and further back in society until you become so inconspicuous that nobody notices you and you just kind of disappear.’  Dewey said making a personal connection that was not very obvious to anyone else.

‘What?  What are you talking about?  I’ve never been in an orphanage.’

‘Maybe some one else has.’

‘Who?  You?  Have you been in an orphanage?’

‘Oh gosh, I don’t know.  I’ve been so many places I have trouble remembering where I’ve been.  Well, this is one exciting liberty.  Hope they’re not all like this.  I mean, I like movies, but…’

‘If you want some real excitement you can spend a night there.’  Craddock said laughingly pointing with his thumb at the YMCA, another ‘hotel’ on Broadway.

‘What?  The Y?  How do you spend a night there?’

‘That’s a hotel too.  They’ve several floors of rooms.’

‘Cheap?’

‘Oh yeah.  Dollar and a half.  ‘Course all the toilets are common and you don’t want to have to use one of those at night.’

‘Why not, how’s that?’

‘Nearly everyone that stays there is queer.  After midnight they take over the halls and if you aren’t one of them you’ll get initiated real quick if you leave your room.’

‘Aw, you’re kidding me, that can’t happen.’  Dewey drawled.  He began to doubt Craddock’s Wobbly stories now.

Arrived back at the Broadway Piers they had to wait an hour for the landing craft which they had missed by a minute before turning in to await another day on the firing range.

Casting off from alongside another ship was an unmitigated delight.  As easy as a cream puff.  The Teufelsdreck led the squadron out to sea, The Deviant bringing up the rear.  The Commodore shepherded his flock after the Deviant’s humiliating performance on the preceding day.

The sea was choppier with medium swells as was the norm off San Diego.  As they steamed out Dewey received the port watch again.  Out at some distance, say ten miles, an aircraft carrier surrounded by its Destroyers was drilling its pilots on take off and landing.  The planes were thrust off the bow by the catapults into the wind, circling and landing again.  Dewy was breathlessly enthralled keeping his glasses glued to his eyes.

As he watched a pilot came across the bow on his return who seemed a little high to Trueman.  Sure enough, the pilot missed the wire but rather than roaring off he just plopped down rolling toward the stern.  Reaching the stern he just kept right on rolling and plummeted into the ocean, making Davy Jones richer by millions.

‘Wow, did you see that?’  Trueman asked the bridge in awed tones.  ‘Did you see that?’  The guy missed the carrier and fell in to the ocean.’

Captain Descartes leaned over the divider separating the bridge from the lookouts.

‘What’s that you say, Port Lookout?’  He asked dryly.

Dewey became more restrained.  Holding his glasses in his left hand he pointed in the direction of the carrier.  ‘The pilot just missed his landing and fell in the ocean, plane and all.’

‘What carrier would that be, Lookout?’

‘What carrier?  Why that one right over there.’

‘Right over there.  As port lookout it is your duty to report any sightings you might make to the bridge.  I don’t recall that we’ve had the pleasure  of hearing you report any aircraft carriers to the bridge.’

‘Well,’  Dewey said in his naivete.  ‘It’s right over there, anybody can see it.’

‘That isn’t the point, Sailor.  I might be preoccupied or involved in something else consequently missing it.  We all have our tasks here.  In your present capacity yours is to watch and report to me.  Mine is to receive not only your reports but those of everyone else, collate the information, make the requisite decisions and keep the ship on an even keel.  That’s a pretty good system, don’t you think?’

‘Oh, yes Sir.  I certainly do.’

‘Well then, Lookout, do your job.’

‘Yes, Sir.’

‘Well?’

‘Well what, Sir?’

‘Report what you see.’

The Carrier was direct abeam so there was no need for Dewey to consult his compass but in his nervousness he preferred to read the numbers.  ‘Uh, aircraft carrier and Destroyers at 270, distance, uh, two miles Captain.’

‘Thank-you Lookout, I noticed its presence some time ago but it is nice of you to call it to my attention.  Be a little more prompt in the future.’

Descartes droll manner sent the bridge a tittering.  They had a good laugh on Dewey but he learned his lesson.  One might even say he learned it with a vengeance.  Like so many things that happen to us we do not respond on the moment but the insult or indignity or whatever festers in our subconscious to erupt at a later date.

Dewey was beginning to relax in his task when the battle station klaxon sounded.  He did not hesitate as he had the previous day but dropped his glasses, dropped down to the boat deck and scampered back to the forties.

The Purvurse was up today so the forties crew assumed their stations and lolled around the gun tub.  Dewey was still excited by the jet dropping off the end of the carrier.

‘You should have seen it Frenchy.’  He excitedly exclaimed.  ‘The pilot missed the wire and just rolled off the stern.  The DDs immediately put out boats but it didn’t look like they found him.  Wow, think of that, the guy kills himself and dumps millions of dollars worth of plane into the ocean and it’s only practice.’

‘Gosh, no kidding…’   Frenchy began.

‘Aw, that’s nothing.’  Happens all the time.’  Bent Cygnette sneered from his perch by the gunsight.  He sat there legs crossed sneering down at the gun crew.  He came across as a real obnoxious tough guy but in fact he wasn’t.  He was a real marshmallow inside, which is not meant as an insult, so to conceal his own insecurity he adopted a tough guy persona to get by.  He was very successful; everyone on the ship, officers and all, treated him with deference.

‘Baloney.’  Dewey retorted.  ‘If it happened all the time there wouldn’t be that many planes on the carrier.’

‘Happens all the time.’  Cygnette reaffirmed indicating his displeasure at not being acceded to.

‘Oh yeah?’  Dewey challenged not wishing to be cheated of the wonder of the thing.  ‘How many times have you seen it personally?’

‘Lots.’

‘Bull. How do you see it?  You don’t stand lookout.’

‘Hey, listen Trueman, or whatever your name is, you may be new but you watch how you shoot off your mouth…’  Bent was beginning when he was interrupted by the sound of the Purverse’s forties erupting.

Eyes shot up to the clouds in search of the sleeve.  The Purvurse was able to keep its shots out of the water but as it turned out the Deviant had better success hitting the water than the Purvurse hitting the sleeve.

The gunners of the Purvurse were sadly out of practice because the three inchers had even less luck with the sled.  With two out of three ships out of the running a current of confidence ran through the gun crews that the Teufelsdreck would win that E.

‘You going over, Dewey?’  Frenchy asked.

‘I don’t know.  Maybe.  You going?’

‘You’re not going, Trueman.’  Al Spirin, an old hand, soon to be transferred, barked.

‘Oh yeah?  Why not?’

‘Check the bulletin board, dunce, you’ve got the twelve to four.’

Dewey looked at Spirin coldly but thought he’d better check the board.  The bulletin board was in the passageway in front of the head and across from the ship’s store.  Rather than push past a line of naked men waiting for showers, Dewey exited by the after hatch using the outside deck to enter above the showers.

He stepped up to look at the watch list as the Yeoman, Teal Kanary, was posting information about the next day.

‘Darned if I don’t.’  Dewey reflected.

As he turned away his and Kanary’s eyes met.  There was an audible crackle on both sides.  Dewey saw ‘toady’ written all over Kanary while the latter read ‘nice ass.’  Neither spoke.  Dewey brushed past Kanary to return below to clean up at his leisure, hop into his bunk and wait for his eleven-thirty wake-up call which came soon enough.

Yale Cataloge, a First Class Radarman was Petty Officer of the Watch.  He was nearing the end of his first enlistment but satisfied with his lot he intended to ship over.  He accordingly was assuming an Old Navy persona.  Since he had signified his intentions he was admitted to the ranks of career men.  He had adopted the knowing, condescending way of Old Navy.

The manner, done properly, was very attractive.  Cataloge was a very decent guy, one might say he was born to the manner.  As he was possibly only a hair away from being a Chief there was no need to befriend him but he and Trueman  always had a very cordial relationship.

The other member of the watch was Dart Craddock who Dewey had met the previous evening.  Craddock gave Trueman a good introduction to Cataloge so that the two got off on the right foot.  In the course of the conversation Trueman asked who the Officer of the Day was.

‘Lieutenant Junior Grade Bifrons Morford is OD.’  Cataloge replied, his elaborate sarcastic introduction proclaiming his distaste for the officer.

‘Bifrons?  His mother named him Bifrons?’  Dewey queried.  He had already met Morford as he was the Operations officer.  Morford had questioned him about a couple details of his record, as short as it was.  The Yeoman’s Shack was under his supervision.

Well, I guess his mother was classically oriented.’  Cataloge said with a little smirk.  ‘In Latin it means two faced.  Suits him too.’

‘Just like the god Janus, face in front, face behind, no taking him by surprise.’

Cataloge raised his eyebrows.  Knowledge of Janus might be considered useless knowledge in Deck and subject one to ridicule but such learning merited respect in the forward compartment.

As they were talking Dewey looked out over the bay to see the landing craft approaching.  Alone, standing in the middle of the craft he saw Bifrons Morford.  The Lieutenant had all the appearance of having had an extended tete a tete with Jack Daniels.

Dewey was shocked.  ‘Isn’t that Lt. Morford there?’  He asked Yale Cataloge.

‘Yeah, sure is.’  Cataloge drawled back.

‘I thought you said he was OD.’

‘I did.’

 

‘Well, that looks like he’s coming back with a little lubrication to me.’

‘The good Lieutenant explained to our predecessors that as there was no need for him aboard ship that he would be stepping ashore for a few minutes.  A few minutes seems to have turned into a number of hours.’

‘He can’t do that, he’s on duty.’

Yale gave Dewey a long suffering look of the magus to the neophyte.

The craft maneuvered alongside.  The Teufelsdreck didn’t have a captain’s ladder, the Teuf just suspended a metal ladder over the side.  Morford had had such a long and friendly chat with JD that he missed his grasp tumbling back down into the craft.  He managed to pull himself up on deck on his second attempt.  Dewey and Dart moved over to tie up the craft but the pilot waved them off and immediately pulled away.

All three men of the watch were totally offended by Morford.  None was more offended than Dewey who was quite puritanical in certain matters.  None of the others were prepared to be quite as self-righteous as Dewey.  They threw up a feeble half-hearted salute per regulations but Dewey stood judgmentally  with is thumbs hitched in his guard belt.  It is impossible to describe the look of hauteur that clutched his countenance.

Morford would have been much further ahead to have ignored the slight, he almost did, he had already turned to walk away when the affront to his dignity as an officer and drunken gentlemen penetrated his alcoholic haze.

‘Get your thumbs out of your belt, Sailor, and salute your officer who is come aboard.’

‘Ah, that’s alright, you won’t remember tomorrow.’  Now, according to Navy regulations there was no excuse for Dewey’s insolent and impertinent reply.  However there were more than two witnesses to Morford’s patent breach of regulations not to mention his obvious drunkenness on duty.  Considering himself to be of overpowering manhood Morford decided to brazen it a little further.

‘What’s that Sailor?’

Morford had transgressed all the bounds of responsibility in Dewey’s mind, as he had in fact, so Dewey was not inclined to give an inch.

‘I say when you go tilting at windmills it’s better to tilt them than to be tilted.  Ha ha ha.’  The little laugh at the end did not dull the edge of the riposte.

Morford had felt the affront and now the unrepentant insolence of Trueman tore  at his sense of dignity, such as a man in his condition could feel.  A cold rage rose in it.  JG Morford checked it in the nick of time; he was not so inebriated that he had lost his own sense of danger.  He struggled to form a retort that would put Trueman in his place.  He seized at the reference to Don Quixote.  Like all the officers but in an exaggerated manner Morford thought all enlisted men were a different species from the officers.  They allowed them only animal skills considering intellectual endeavors beyond them.  Assuming Trueman had not read Don Quixote he said:  ‘You bear a great resemblance to a certain half of Don Quixote’s fair mistress Rozinante.’

 

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book I

By

R.E. Prindle

Books V and VII have already been published on reprindle.wordpress.com

If fortune has removed you from the foremost position in the State, you should nevertheless stand your ground and help with your words, and if someone stops your mouth you should nevertheless stand your ground and help in silence.  The service of a good citizen is never useless; by being heard and seen, by his expression, by his gestures, by his stubbornness and by his very walk he helps.

–Seneca:  Tranquility Of Mind

Prologue

The Sins Of Satan

     A lonely young man sits on his seabag at the head of the pier.  He sits contemplating a ship.  The Ship was a Destroyer Escort.  The Ship was the USS Teufelsdreck, DE 666.  The young man had been assigned to serve aboard it.

The young man thus sat because an Old Salt had told him that as he was about to spend an undetermined time aboard it that he should take time to evaluate it so that he could confirm himself as to its character so as to make the best of the time he must serve aboard it.

The young man sought to follow this very good advice although he had none of the skills requisite to use as this was his first tour of duty.  Nevertheless he sat and stared.  As he did elements of his fate were coming together.  Other young men assigned to the Teufelsdreck were picking their way across the Naval Station toward it.

Two other men stood on the port wing of the boat deck idly observing the young man on his seabag.  The drama was about to begin.

The Navy

     The Navy may be the last surviving feudal organization in the world, along with the other branches of the military.  This is that society in equilibrium that certain social historians waxed eloquent as the perfect social structure in which the competitive anxiety of modern times was replaced by the bliss of everyone knowing a place and knowing where his was.  And, one might add, be quite content to stay there.

If those historians really believe that let them explain the hyper-violent reaction called The French Revolution  In the Navy most men just took their discharge papers as soon as they were able and walked away.  Only a certain type of person could endure it.

As a practical society based on voluntary, if temporary, association the Navy was a truly amazing organization.

It would be very easy in the author’s hatred of it to merely revile it.  But that would be to willfully fail to understand an essential and admirable unit of society.  As the Navy must exist it could exist on no other basis.

Unlike a business enterprise the Navy had unlimited access to money whether it succeeded or failed.  The chiefs of staff realized that they would never have access to the best and brightest.  They would have to recruit from the least successful ranks of society.  But, they had access to unlimited manpower.  One must also bear in mind that this was the military; in times of war any unit was subject to sudden depletions of manpower.  In manning ships this had to be taken into account.  Thus at some time in the past all tasks had been reduced to their minutest component elements.

Even though one man might be able to perform several elements by himself a man was assigned to perform each segment.  Thus, where a crew of three might suffice, ten were employed.

The tasks were devised in such a way that a man of minimal intelligence or experience could perform them without stretching his mind.  While this was brilliant organizational strategy it also reduced the quality of men who would tolerate such stultifying tasks.  Career men tended to be the dullest of men.  In fact men who couldn’t make it on the outside.

Bu, now, notice a curious effect.  The Navy was an alchemist which could turn men of lead into men of gold over a period of twenty years.  In the first place after twenty years at the young age of thirty-eight you were discharged and given a life time pension of half your wage.  And then, these men, mostly released as Chief Petty Officers, were eagerly sought after by employers as great catches.  Thus men who were unemployable twenty years before became especially desirable.  Amazing, huh?  Believe me they weren’t any smarter twenty years after than they were twenty years before.

The organization of the Navy was of the simplest.  At the top was the Captain of the ship.  He was a king, there was no disputing his word.  He was the law.  There was a code he had to follow but the rule was do as you were told first, complain later.  Later it was a moot point so the code was ineffectual; the captain was the law.  Theoretically if he told you to jump over the side you could be court-martialed for disobeying the order.

The ship belongs to the captain.  He spoke of the ship as ‘my ship.’  He spoke of the crew as ‘my men.’  He wasn’t wrong either.  His executives were his fellow officers aboard ship.  Each was assigned a single task that left them thirty-eight hours of leisure during a forty hour work week.

Below Captain and Officers were ‘the men.’  They are the backbone of the Navy.  All a ship needs to function is a Captain and men.  The officers were a superfluous caste whose only function was as a training ground to become captains.

The ship was run by the Chiefs.  They alone had the knowledge to make it function.  They alone had the time in rank to understand the tasks.  The officers in training who were ignorant of how things worked were forced to defer to the Chiefs almost as equals, although the Chiefs were still enlisted men.  If a division officer couldn’t get along with his Chief he was in deep trouble.  Thus once again the Navy turned inferiors into superiors.  The Chiefs knew everything but did nothing.  Except for certain formalities and emergencies their time was their own.

The First Class Petty Officers actively supervised the men with the assistance of the Second Class Petty Officers.  The title ‘Petty Officer’ means exactly what it says; they were minor officers but without executive status.  Being minor they had no real dignity.  Neither First nor Second Classes actually did any work but it was their duty to instruct.

Third Class Petty Officers and Seamen did the work.  One entered the Navy as a Seaman Recruit and issued forth from boot camp a Seaman Apprentice.  One took a test to become a Seaman but it was in reality a mere formality.  For payroll purposes these ratings were styled E (for Enlisted) 1-7.

By rotating Sailors every couple of year or whenever it suited the Navy the Regulars became familiar with many different ships, each other and most contingencies.  Although it was possible to spend one’s entire enlistment on Tin Cans, that is say Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts with breaks of Shore Duty, by the time you were on the way out you had been around the Navy.

At this time the difficulty of Navy life was compounded by the division of the fleet into Regular Navy and Reserve Navy.  In 1955 the Naval Reserve Act was amended.  Up to that point a Reserve signed on for eight years with no obligation to go active.  After August of 1955 the term was reduced to six years but you were obligated to spend two years on active duty.

Most men joined the reserves in high school.  It then made sense to take your two years of active duty directly after high school.  So beginning at about this time the Navy had a surfeit of eighteen year old recruits.  The fleet was very very young.

Also at this time the Old Guard which had served way back before the Gods were born during the Big One were leaving the service.  Their psychology, formed in the teens and twenties was quite different from the psychology of the Reserves, both officers and men, formed in the forties and fifties.  Thus not only did the old timers have expectations which the Reservists couldn’t understand but the Reservists were despised as not being Regular Navy thus creating a serious dichotomy in the souls of the boys in blue.

The frictions were intense.  What interest the Reservists might have had was destroyed by the attitude of the old timers and Regulars.  They said things were falling apart; the Reservists thought the Navy was stupid as it had nothing to do with them.  The result was disintegration.

It should also be borne in mind that the men came from the least successful segments of society.  They came pretty much from the lower half of their high school classes.  It might be an unpleasant fact but it is true, they no visible prospects outside.  There were many intelligent men amongst them but on the whole they were not the best and brightest.  Many were fleeing from unpleasantness at home.  Perhaps a pregnant girl friend they didn’t want to marry.

At the time it was the custom for first offenders to be offered the alternative of jail or the service so not a few of the men were criminals on the lam.

The differences between the expectations of the Officers and the Men were so pronounced that the officers, who were supervising only the dregs of society, where not unwarranted in mis-believing they were gods among mortals.  They acted like it, especially those who were Reservists, and they paid for it.  At least aboard the Teufelsdreck.

The Ship

     The Teufelsdreck was in 1957 fourteen years old.  Commissioned during the war it had survived a number of campaigns out among the islands.  It was no longer young but it was still a grand old specimen of the shipbuilders art.

It was not only no longer young but was now obsolete.  The march of progress and rendered it nearly useless.  This time was the cusp of the transition from the armaments of The War to modern rocketry and electronic warfare.  They would try to update the old ship but it was just too small for the upcoming modern Navy.

The Teufelsdreck was an example of the smallest warships afloat.  It was only three hundred six feet long, twenty-five at the beam.  It wasn’t even big enough to assume life, to develop sinews, or circulate the life blood of the small ship it was.  It had no majesty.

Its bigger companion, the Destroyer at four hundred twenty five feet, assumed the real majesty of a man of war.  The DE was just a toy ship.  Its whole purpose was to intercept torpedoes destined for the real ships.  When the flotilla was on the Main it rode the waves in three rings.  The carriers which needed all the protection they could get were in the middle.  The Destroyers flanked the carriers while out on the perimeter the DEs flanked the Destroyers.  Enemy subs flanked the DEs.

The main armament of the Teufelsdreck was it K-guns and Hedgehogs, both powerful anti-submarine weapons.  The K-guns lined both side of the fantail, while two long racks were positioned to drop depth charges off the end of the ship.

The K-guns were K shaped mortar-like devices designed to throw a depth charge a hundred or three hundred feet or so from the ship.  The depth charges could be set for depths up to several hundred feet before they detonated.  Whether they sank a sub or not they destroyed all marine life within a couple hundred yards.  It was really something to see big fish boil up from the depths exploding from the bubble into the air.

The Hedgehogs were on the forward boat deck.  They were so named because they were placed in a bank of three rows of five grenades each.  They were a contact explosive.  The grenades, much like the WWI German hand grenades in form, were like a gallon wine jug set on a stick.  Placed on electric prods they blew out in a pattern a hundred feet across.  If they hit anything on the way down they exploded.  Woe to any passing whales.

Legend had it that a DE fired off its Port bank, then, turning under the barrage nearly had its bow blown off.  But, then, that may have been only apocryphal .  It hardly seems possible; but, then, the Navy had an amazing ability to foul up.

If you’ve seen old WWII movies, and who hasn’t, you’ve seen twenty millimeter guns in action.  As part of modernization the twenty millimeter guns had already been removed from the Teufelsdreck.  The twenties were those big shoulder harness machine guns you see in the movies where the valiant sailor appears to have two barrels poking out of his chest as he tries to bring the Jap planes down.

Thus, as you looked at the beautiful contours of this man made wonder the first gun tube was empty.  Behind it was the gun tub of one of the two three inch guns.  The other was on the fantail.  The three inch was the last caliber fired in the open air.  The next size up, the five inch, required a protective turret.  The five inch also had a separate bullet and propellant.  The  three inch was a single shell over two feet long.

The forward mount was considered the prestige battle station.  Both the Bos’n Mate Chief and the Gunner’s Mate Chief supervised its action.  The First Lieutenant supervised the Chiefs.  There was quite a crowd up there.

All the guns were great fun but the three inch was a sight to see.  It required a rammer and four loaders in addition to the complement of overseers.  The loaders took a shell out of the storage bin, cradled it in the right arm holding the base in the left hand.  They ran around the tub under the barrel to hand the shell to the rammer.  This prestige job was the prerogative of the leading seaman.  As the gun fired, the recoil brought the breech down exposing the barrel tube.  The shell was then rammed into the tube with the heel of the hand to release the breech which snapped into place with incredible force ready to fire.  You had to watch your fingers.

The report of the three inch was incredibly loud and sharp.  Even with ear plugs if you were passing under the barrel when it went off you were jerked off your feet flying a foot into the air, feet splayed.

In the last few months of its existence the Teufelsdreck was outfitted with automatic threes.  The sound was so intolerable they couldn’t be worked.  Plus they tore up the decking with their rapid recoil.

The final little bit of armament, the jewel in the lotus, was the quad forty millimeter gun mount.  Ah, now there was a toy.  In the movies they are the four barrels recoiling at different times in a remarkable rhythm.  God loved the forties.

The sailors, those who had the capacity, always wondered why the structure above decks was called a superstructure.  Super is merely the Latin, meaning above, that structure above the structure.  This was the boat deck and the bridge.  Altogether a very stylish ship.

Book 1, Clip 1b. Posted 6/04/12

The Locale

     There are three magnificent land locked seas on the West Coast; Puget Sound on the Canadian border, San Francisco Bay midway between Puget Sound and the southern terminus on the Mexican border, San Diego.

Puget Sound is home to the naval base at Bremerton.  San Francisco has Mare Island near Vallejo, Hunters Point dry docks in South San Francisco, Treasure Island , an artificial fill adjacent to Yerba Buena Island and the Alameda Naval Air Base and docks next to Oakland.  There is, or was, some trifling Navy at Long Beach and then you have the true home of the Pacific fleet in all the complexes of San Diego.

The Pendleton Marine Base was just north of San Diego.  The West Coast boot camp was in San Diego.  San Diego Bay debouches to the North between a narrow peninsula and the main land.  Entering the bay North Island Naval Air is on the west side while the San Diego airport was on  the east.  Jets took off and landed constantly on both sides all day long.

Further up the bay on the main land were the Broadway Piers, a long row of moorings, since gone I’m sad to say.     At those you would step off the ship and be in downtown San Diego at the terminus of Highway 101.  These berths were given for good behavior and ostentatious purposes.  Much more visually impressive was the long string of buoys in the middle of the bay.

At some were the massive Destroyer and Submarine tenders.  Huge floating machine shops with dozens of lathes and other tooling equipment.  They were six hundred feet long with a fifty or sixty foot beam.  They sat high out of the water with many decks.

Nested next to those were four or five Destroyers or Escorts.  Half a dozen submarines were along side the Sub Tenders.  Strung out along the other buoys were dozens of Destroyers, Escorts and other ships of the line.  Ships were coming and going at all times.  The sense of power and majesty was overwhelming.

Turning East up the bay the north side was lined with Naval establishments for miles.  Row after row of berths.  Huge traveling cranes, gigantic buildings.  The transition from 1900 when the area was virtually undefended to the present huge Navy was a remarkable transformation.

The Navy was everywhere.  It is not unfair to say that at the time if there had been no Navy there would been no San Diego.  San Diego belonged to the Navy.

Paradise was an armed camp.

From the Grapevine to the Border is what is known in California as the Southland.  The land of Disney Girls and Playboy Bunnies; golden haired surfer boys with shaggy, shaggy hair and fantasy land movie hopefuls.

The sun never stops shining.  It never gets so cold you need more than a T-shirt.  So long as you’re near the water the temperature is always between seventy and eighty with a pleasant inspiring breeze that is better than any artificial stimulant.  As soon as you’re away from the water you’re in an unbearably hot desert.  If you’re not sensitive to heat it still isn’t bad.

The coastal areas from San Diego to LA provide the finest climate in the world.  The only tragedy is that so many people realize this truth.  In 1958 the population density was tolerable.  There were enough people so that you were rarely alone but not so many that you felt oppressed.

This area from San Diego to Los Angeles was all Navy ground.

The Times

     There has never been a time when America stood still.  Change has always swept through the country like a tornado through Kansas.  There has never been a time to stop, look and evaluate what was happening.

In order to deal with the cascading torrent of events America has always resorted to convenient lies.  Americans became pious liars.  Unpleasantness was glossed over or denied.  Facts were rearranged to suit desires.  An official version was given that was perilous to deviate from.  But any structure based on false premises will sooner or later become top heavy and come crashing to the ground.  There is no use to lie and so I won’t.

The generation coming of age had been brought up on a fabric of lies since they were born.  Deceit and hypocrisy had been all they had known.  They would begin a generation long revolt against hypocrisy that would be severely suppressed and punished by their elders.

The problem lay between the contrasts of the ideal and reality.  We were all made to believe that our elders were inherently good and decent people.  The rest of the world was corrupt but our clean, decent and honest parents were above all that.

Contrasted to that was the situation in Havana.  There in Cuba a Communist named Fidel Castro was attempting to overthrow the government and expel the American influence.  They wanted to oust the American criminal cartels that had taken over Havana establishing a regime of degeneracy, gambling and prostitution.

It is nearly impossible to describe the vile entertainments devised to amuse the American tourists.  Dirty, foul sex acts, real degeneracy that befouled the imagination.  True, we were encouraged to look down on the Cubans who provided this perverted entertainment but who were the people paying for and enjoying this filth.  Our parents.  Those same people who had created the purest Republic in the world.

And who were these American gangsters.  Shhh.  This is part of the big lie that no one of us is supposed to acknowledge.  They were part of the ‘wretched refuse of Europe’s teeming shore.’  The quote comes from the plaque placed on the base of the Statue of Liberty written by the Jewish poetess, Emma Lazarus.  The quote referred to the Jews arriving from Eastern Europe.

Nothing is more distorted by historians than the history of immigration.  It may be appropriate to point out that this gift of the French people, the Statue of Liberty, was originally built to place at the Caribbean side of the projected French enterprise of the Panama Canal.  It was to have been entitled ‘The Statue of Commerce’ in that capacity.  When the Panama Canal company went bust the statue was redundant.  The French, with no hint of a smirk sent it to America as the ‘Statue of Liberty’.  The Jews affixed the plaque welcoming their nationals and the statue, plaque and all, became an expression of the ego of America.

When these immigrants reached American shores they blamed their defects on the United States and arrogated their virtues to themselves.  The criminals operating in Havana were all Jewish and Italian.  Their claim was that conditions in America made them criminals.  They said there was something in the American air that bred criminality.  If so this air had not influenced the English, Poles, Germans and what have you to the excesses displayed by the Jews and Italians.  Not that every people doesn’t have its share of crooks but we’re talking about systematic, organized criminality in which murder forms an essential element.  A concept of crime that sought legitimation for criminal behavior as just another business activity.  They sought to make it just another economic activity.  Thus, not only was Havana developed as a criminal and degradation center by these two nationalities but they conspired to undermine morality on American soil by spreading the blight of gambling, prostitution and degradation to Las Vegas and from thence back to New York City and its environs.

Thus, as Castro closed down Havana, Sin City in Nevada a couple hundred miles from San Diego was beginning its tremendous corrupting influence.  The degradation of Havana moved north to the Big Apple.

Organized crime, the direct product of immigration, cast a pall over the world view of the generation.  We were all expected to accept responsibility, guilt, for American criminality which was in reality the activity of two immigrant nationalities.  At the same time we were forbidden to declare our innocence because to do so was to cast obloquy on Jews and Italians which was taboo.  One’s mind churned, madness bubbled up.  Do you wonder why crime has spread to be such a problem in America?

This problem was added to the race issue.  No generation can be responsible for the actions of those who came before.  The sins of the fathers do not belong to the children.  But because previous generations had enslaved Negroes and then forced them into a Jim Crow existence, the Negroes, finally emerging from their subordination expected our generation to recompense them for what had happened to earlier generations of Negroes.  It was not enough for them to be equal, they in their turn wanted to subordinate Whites.

This is not an unexpected psychological reaction.  Nothing could be more normal.  But because they desired it is no reason it should be done.  True, it was a difficult psychological problem that they would have to be helped to get over but that was no reason to punish an innocent generation for the actions of their forefathers.  Nevertheless the entire generation was brutalized for the acts of their fathers.

The brutalization was done in some interesting ways.  One was the reverence for the Negro culture.  America has no sense of culture so this reverence was introduced from England that does.  Rock and Roll traveled from America to England where it was combined with Negro Blues music to form British Blues.  This music was adopted by America and expanded into White Blues.  Thus a people raised on freedom adopted the mentality of slaves through the medium of song.  Real conditioning.  It was a remarkable transition to watch.

The race problem was compounded by the Atom Bomb.  As we all know the Atom Bomb was dropped on Japan.  This fact was portrayed, never mind the Japanese attacked us first, as an act of blatant racism.  Somehow the act of using the A-bomb transformed Americans into vicious aggressors.  All the lost American lives were forgotten when we dropped the Big One.  Some of the Japanese survivors were brought to the US for medical treatment as though they had been innocent victims.  It was forbidden to celebrate our victory over Japan.  Our victory was portrayed as a regrettable act of racism.

Combined with the A-bomb had been the removal of the Japanese in the Western Defense Command of the US to detention camps.  Anyone who has studied the issue knows that this was warranted.  But it was portrayed as another example of White bigotry.  Another load of guilt for White boys.

At one and same time we were expected to be perfect Americans who had brought to the world the only light it has ever seen while having perpetrated the only crimes the world has ever known.  The attitude would be epitomized a few years later by the Jewish writer Eugene Burdick in his novel ‘The Ugly American.’  Mr. Burdick assured us that although we were giving away millions of tons of food the natives despised us because we misunderstood the spirit of giving.  Having been softened up for years Americans went for the image hook, line and sinker.

Also savaging our minds was the great social revolution being led by the Communists.  Publishing is controlled by the Reds then as now so criticism of the Revolution has always been discountenanced.  Never mind the savage repression of liberty in Russia, we were told it couldn’t happen here.

Well, there were many of us who did think it could happen here so we fought valiantly to make sure it wouldn’t.  From 1917 to 1954 the war was waged in open terms.  The last wave of resistance went down to defeat in 1954 when Joe McCarthy failed us all.  He did manage to take the old Red apparatus down with him.  So in the period of 1957-59 the New Left was regrouping, forming a coalition that would be known as Political Correctness but it was only the Revolution having adapted to American ways.  They just changed the name from Communism to Political Correctness.

There was the amazing hedonism of Hugh Heffner and Playboy to be dealt with; the silliness but social destructiveness of Walt Disney who was now to so profoundly alter American consciousness.  Everyone was about to become a Disney boy or girl,

All these psychological challenges ripped the minds of the young.  All required decisions to be made.  Is it any wonder that America turned to drugs.  Unsure of who they were or what was right or wrong or what was expected of them the young of America turned to popping pills for relief.

Drugs were not a problem that developed in the late sixties  Drugs were a problem that became obvious in the late sixties; that is to say the problem couldn’t be denied any longer.  The problem developed in the late forties and through the fifties.  The chief problem was not marijuana, cocaine or Heroin.  The chief problem was the endless supply of pills turned out by the American pharmaceutical industry.  Uppers and downers were and always had been America’s drug problem.

By 1957-59 drugs were endemic in the Navy.

These were the major problems we all wrestled with at the time.  Some didn’t wrestle, some gave in and ‘went with the flow.’  But some of us wrestled.  We were called social misfits.

The Man- Dewey Trueman

     A man expresses the truths and myths that he holds of himself in the ephemera of his life.  It is by way of songs, the snatches of poetry, street doggerel, sayings, movies, TV shows, novels and stories, slogans and folk images that a man characterizes himself to himself.  It is through the archetypes of song and legend that he fits himself into the scheme of things.  Having adopted a persona a man usually lives up to it.  America has always been the home of the ‘Ramblin’  gambling’ , man.’

For many men that is the only self-respecting role they can find for themselves.  ‘The Roving Gambler.’

I am a Roving Gambler,

I’ve gambled all around,

I’ve gambled out in Washington,

I’ve gambled over in Spain,

Now I’m on my way to Georgia

To knock down my last game.

     The Roving Gambler archetype formed a substratum in Dewey’s psyche.  The self-destructiveness of the role was such that Dewey had to fight to suppress it or transform the image into something manageable.

The main image by which he perceived himself was found in another old American folk song titled ‘Nobody’s Child.’  The song quite literally encapsulated a phase of his life, a phase that formed his identity.  The child of the song is an orphan.  One verse was identical to a situation of Dewey’s:

Oh yeah, they say they like my

Curls of gold.

Oh yeah, and they like my

Eyes of blue.

But they always take

Some other child,

And I’m left here

With you.

Book I, Clip 1c, posted 6/05/12

Dewey, too, had been in the orphanage.  He had had hair of gold and eyes of blue but those qualities which society says it admires so much were a curse rather than a blessing.  Rather than joy they brought him pain and sorrow.  He was, also ‘A Man Of Constant Sorrow’.  Rather than a reason for acceptance they became a cause of rejection.

This image which was to stay with him for decades was also as negative and self-defeating as that of the Roving Gambler.  Dewey had a lot of psychological detritus to remove.

When he left the orphanage it was to spend eight years in an insane home environment.  Dewey had been what is known as a good boy.  He had always been honest and obedient.  These qualities known by society as virtues brought him only scorn and revilement.

Unappreciated at home and relentlessly persecuted at school because of self-assertion against the ruling clique in kindergarten, Dewey had had his self-confidence slowly crushed out of him.

But as the husk is intact the man lives on; he cannot die or levitate himself to a better existence.  By the time Dewey had been driven from his home town he had nothing to keep himself on his feet but inertia.  Except for the fact that life says:  ‘Keep on, keep on, keep on moving.’  Dewey would have been a shapeless heap of rubble by the roadside.  His identity had been compressed into a dot no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.

What we see sitting on his seabag at the head of the pier then is a man faced with the daunting task of remaking himself from less than nothing into something which he can admire and respect.  The dot will have to decompress itself in such a subtle way that like one of those tiny sponges contained in a capsule it will expand into a complete entity.

Dewey will not complete the transformation in this volume.  This volume is only the beginning of the rebirth of Dewey Trueman.

Part One

Permission To Come On Board

     Dewey Trueman sat on his seabag eyeing the Teufelsdreck.  His advice had been good.  It was a wise thing to take the measure of your new assignment.  Dewey was inexperienced.  He had no way to evaluate the ship.  This was the first one he had ever seen.

What he did see was not very promising.  The Teufelsdreck had just returned from an Asian tour of duty.  The ship, even to an inexperienced eye, looked like a wreck.  The ship was dirty, paint was peeling, even the numbers were disfigured, the men were loose and unkempt.  The ship appeared to be devoid of discipline.

“How am I supposed to fit into that?’  Dewey thought with a sinking feeling.

As he sat watching he too was being observed.  Lt. Bifrons Morford stood leaning on the railing of the boat deck talking to his Yeoman, Teal Kanary.  Both were new to the 666.  Indeed half the old crew was being transferred.  Dewey was one of seventy new faces coming aboard.

‘What’s wrong with him?’  Morford asked idly, unaware of Dewey’s good advice.  Good advice often seems ignorant to uninformed minds.

‘Must be afraid to come on board.’  Kanary joked.

‘Well, then he’s not totally lacking in good sense.’  Morford jibed back.

As Dewey sat and Morford and Kanary joked a number of seamen were wending their way across the Naval Station in search of the Teufelsdreck.  Just then a bright eager face hove into Dewey’s view.

‘Hi!  Are you going aboard the Teufelsdreck?’  He cheerfully asked Dewey.

‘Uh, yeah, I am.  You?’  Oh yeah?  My name’s Dewey Trueman.’

‘Hi, Dewey.  I’m Dennis La Frenniere.  I’m going to be on the Deck Force.’  He said with evident pride that betrayed his ignorance of what that meant.

‘Yeah, me too.’  Dewey replied as another sailor named Don Tidwell showed up to join the party.  They were joined by others swelling the party to seven.

Soon they were all joking and laughing.  You couldn’t find seven merrier guys.  They were such a jolly group and so pleased with each other that each figured fate had done them a neat turn.  Laughing and shouting they moved down the pier past the peeling numbers of the 666 by Bifrons Morford  and Teal Kanary to the gangway across which was the quarterdeck of the USS Teufelsdreck, DE 666.

It would have been better had Dewey ignored his good advice and gone on board alone.  He would have slipped aboard more inconspicuously.  But now this shouting laughing mass of recruits only aroused the antipathy of the ‘old hands.’   Many of them were only awaiting replacements so they vented the frustrations of their long Asian tour on the new men.  There was nothing serious but it set a tone among the new men that was to last.

Morford, who was Officer Of The Day, came down from the boat deck to examine them more closely.  Jack Cornford who was the Petty Officer Of The Watch collected the papers and directed the recruits, who were all deck hands, to First Division quarters.

‘Welcome aboard.  Capt. Descartes is only to happy to have you.  I’m sure we’ll all get used to you too.’

Cornford pronounced the name Dess Cartes.  Blaise Descartes had been captain for fourteen months but the crew still didn’t know how to pronounce his name.  Unfortunately for Dewey he did.

There was a little sign hanging on the bulkhead that announced that the Teufelsdreck was under the command of Blaise Descartes.

‘Does he pronounce the name Dess Cartes or Day Cartes?’  Dewey asked giving the name the French pronunciation and the same that Descartes himself used.

Cornford tapped the sign.  ‘Read it, Sailor, if you can, that is.  DESCARTES, Dess Cartes.’  Cornford looked at Trueman sharply thinking him completely stupid.

‘Yeah, but in French that’s pronounced Day Cartes.  Like the philosopher Rene Des Cartes.’  Dewey said apologetically.

‘Uh huh.  Well, in case you ain’t noticed this ain’t France.  These here are the United States Of America.  You are aboard the USS Teufelsdreck, DE 666.  It’s pronounced Dess Cartes.’

‘Oh yeah?  What did they do, suspend the law of gravity on the Teufelsdreck as well as the rules of pronunciation?’  Dewey tried to joke while maintaining his position.

Cornford wasn’t having any of it.  ‘You got a…what’s your name?  Trueman, uh huh…you got a college education there Mr. Trueman?  No?  Well then you’re just like us so don’t get smart with me.  Alright now, Sailors, go back to the fantail,  Back there in that direction there’s an open hatch, go down the ladder there and you’re in the First Division.  Take this wiseguy Trueman with you too.  Savvy him up a little.’

The incident was trivial enough.  It could have been righted quite easily by someone with a little social sense.  Dewey didn’t have social sense so he inflated it to mega proportions.  He thought he was ruined.  All his fears and anxieties coalesced around this incident to form a giant core of resentment in his mind.  He developed a bad attitude that he was never to lose.

The next few days of transition into the society of the ship was extremely difficult both for Trueman and the rest of the new men.  The cheerful laughing group of men who had requested permission to board the Teufelsdreck in a spirit of high adventure would all sour in one form or another.  The spirit of the new men was converted to a seething, sullen mood of rebellion.

Once below deck the new men were subjected to the hazing of the old crew.  Simple requestd for information were treated as occasions for abuse.  The simple act of locating a vacant bunk was turned into excruciating torture that lasted for over an hour.

Dewey finally obtained an upper bunk on the inboard side of the starboard hatch.  Even that cost him a certain diminution of respect.  The bottom bunk in the row had been available.  Most sailors prefer the bottom bunk but  Dewey wanted the top bunk.

‘That bottom bunk’s taken, sailor.’  Some voice commanded even though the bunk was made up as empty.

‘I don’t want it anyway, I want the top bunk.’  Dewey replied as civilly as he could to the bestial snarlings.

‘I said you can’t have the bottom bunk.’  Was offered  as a non-sequitur.

‘You’ve got it big fella.  I don’t want it.  Keep it.’  Dewey replied firmly.

Probably Dewey should have replied with a blunt:  Because this is what I want.  Socially the Navy is only a step up from prison.  If this had been prison the sailors would probably have resolved the situation by making him fight or go under but prison rules were modified to a more orderly method in the Navy; fighting was not allowed.  As usual nonetheless Dewey made the mistake of being civil.  Civility in American society, as has been often remarked is interpreted as weakness.  Real men eat raw meat and spit it in your face.

‘If you’re on the bottom you always have to get up to let people use their lockers; if you’re in the middle you’ve got someone above and below, if you’re on top you’re above everyone.’  Then Dewey threw in:  ‘Is that simple enough for you?’  just to show he was tough.

The old hands interpreted the remark as disdain which they resented rather than toughness.  Dewey’s English was also too good for them.  They didn’t want anyone putting on airs making them think they were inferior.  They wanted you down in the hole where they were.

‘Above it all, huh?  Up there is where the fart smells go.  Haw, haw, haw.’

‘Aw, Christ this going to be fun.’  All seven new men thought as they lifted the lids to the lockers to stow their gear.

Dewey stood up from time to time in disgust.  A sailor’s personal space aboard ship was a three by three square two feet deep.  Everything you owned had to be stashed in there.  Of course every time you moved all your possessions had to fit into your seabag.  A seabag over fifty pounds was a real burden so it behooved you to stay light.  As Dewey would find there was more than room enough.

As he stood contemplating his gear he looked around to orient himself.  There were six tiers of bunks stretched across the compartment.  Each tier was three bunks doubled end to end.  All told there were about sixty bunks in First Division with those located in nooks and crannies included.  The lockers were beneath each tier.  There was a hatch on each side leading forward through the Engineering compartment and another aft leading to after steering and the barber shop.

First Division was composed of the Deck Force, Gunner’s Mates and Sonarmen.  In the hierarchy of intelligence Deck was at the bottom.  The Gunner’s Mates next to the bottom preferred to look down on the Deck Apes.

In the old Navy this might have been true but every man coming aboard was a Reservist.  They raised the tone of the whole Navy let alone the Deck Force.  In the rapid fire banter going around Dewey quickly picked up the drift of things.  Not only was his English better but he had a sharp mind with a well honed edge.

After settling in and having a dinner of rudely cooked and evil tasting food Dewey climbed into his bunk.  If he couldn’t organize his new reality in a day perhaps he could shut it out by a trip to dreamland.

Six o’ clock reveille and the routine began.  Dewey once again was revolted.  He grabbed his douche bag to go up and wash.  What a sight.  There were nine wash basins for over a hundred men.  Since about ten men never washed the ration was actually a little better.

The place was jammed with men fighting for basins so Dewey decided to eat first.

The mess hall was forward underneath the bridge superstructure.  Dewey got in the line which extended up the ladder and out on the deck.

‘Better get used to it buddy, this is the way it is.’  A resigned friendly voice said noticing Dewey’s impatience and irritation.

Dewey turned to look at the voice.

‘Hi.  I’m Kerry Maclen, Sonarman.  I just came aboard eight days ago when this bucket got back from Wespac.  I haven’t been here much longer than you but I’ve got some things figured out.  One of ‘ems it doesn’t get any better than this.’

Dewey calmed down and began chatting with Maclen as the line moved slowly forward  through the hatch, then standing on the steps of the ladder.  Finally grabbing a tray, mug and silverware he started moving down the line accumulating a tray full of what passed for food.

The stuff looked bad and tasted worse.  Prison fare was probably better.  Dewey looked at the tray as he realized that he wouldn’t be gaining any weight aboard the Teufelsdreck.  He couldn’t eat that ‘chow.’  At least the Teufelsdreck had the sense not to refer to the crap as food.  He couldn’t even stand to look at the ‘chow.’

In desperation he grabbed four slices of bread, looked for mold and checked to see whether the spread was butter or oleo.  Thankfully the Navy thought enough of the men to provide real butter.  As they were not so thoughtful as to provide jam Dewey carefully spread a thin layer of mustard over the butter.  This was to be his breakfast for the next three months until he had a reaction to the mustard.

Our Lady Of The Blues Book I, clip 1d, posted 6/06/12

‘Quite a breakfast.’  A voice seated next to him commented.

‘You don’t expect me to eat that garbage, do you?’  Dewey replied contemptuously.

‘Plenty good enough for me.’  The other gruffed stuffing his face.

‘I guess I haven’t been deprived of food long enough like you.’  Dewey said popping the last piece of bread, butter and mustard into his mouth as he got up to go wash up.

As he threw his douche bag on the ledge above one of the sinks and thrust his face into the mirror the half-crazed demon possessed reflection that stared back at him made him realize that he had made the mistake of his life.  Not that he hadn’t realized it much earlier.  Not that he hadn’t had misgivings when he stood in line with fifty other suckers to be sworn in.  Also it wasn’t that the Navy didn’t realize that every sucker in line would repent of his oath.

The Navy had experience, and how.  They knew all the objections; they countered all the arguments.  The Navy knew who they were dealing with too; they weren’t delicate.

‘If you show up later and say you didn’t move your lips, forget it.  There is no mental evasion or reservations that will do you any good,  It’s all been tried before.  It won’t work, you’re all sworn in.’

How Dewey resented the fact that he hadn’t stepped out of line and left before the oath was administered.  As he thought back he was sure that he hadn’t raised his right hand but there was no way to prove that now nor would it matter if he could.  He was in.

He knew he had made a mistake when he had obediently bent over and spread his cheeks so the Navy MD could study the fine sight of his asshole.

God, what a spiffy job; spend your whole life walking down lines of buttocks deciding on that basis whether a man could be a sailor or not.  There were a couple of men excused from service on the basis of failing the asshole test.  Even then the Navy doctor was so stupid he passed three out of ten he shouldn’t have.  Thirty per cent of the guys aboard were queers.

Dewey heaved a sigh, oh, lord,  he didn’t heave a sigh, the life’s breath fled out of him but he couldn’t die; he was in the Navy.  In?  In big.  His wild staring eyes studied the reflection that he would see for the duration.  His sink was the middle one on the left bulkhead.  Three sinks aft, five sinks port bulkhead, three sinks forward bulkhead.  The smell of over a hundred men assailed his nostrils.  Over a hundred had been there before him this morning as they would every morning for the duration.  The stench of a hundred urinating, shitting, stinking men.  Four pissoirs, four stools, four showers, eleven sinks.  Dewey dry retched into the sink.  Jesus Christ! What had he done?  The only thing worse could be prison.

Having sworn in had been bad enough but then being a Reserve and having already completed boot camp between eleventh and twelfth grades, the Navy had sent him to the Receiving Station at Philadelphia.  Lor’ what an education that had been.  Already better than half crazed by his home environment he had blown through the bottom; under every seeming basement there is yet another depth.  He had blown through the bottom of the bottom; hell, he had found new depths that had never been explored.

Every new man at the Receiving Station had responded to that new and hostile environment better than he had.  Dewey had entered a limbo that it is surprising that he survived.  A reality he had never suspected became an unavoidable apparition of disgust.

Caught somewhere between a free life and a prison environment Dewey had not known how to respond.  The homosexual threat was rampant.  Unprepared to respond to such open aggression on the part of homosexuals Dewey had responded by only showering rarely and then only at times when the showers were unused.  Even then gayboys showed up to check the action, stand and inspect his dick.  His timidity hadn’t gone unnoticed.  Always preying on the ignorant and timid he had been assailed in the showers and had had to fight his way out rather than submit.

As he looked over at the shower stalls on the starboard side an involuntary shudder went down his spine.  Three more fucking years of this shit!  He thought.

The criminal degradation of the Receiving Station had truly blown his mind.  The thievery was incessant.  The cons and cheating were all the time.  Drug addiction!  Dewey had never seen it before.  Then, at muster they lugged a First Class out on a stretcher.  He was ‘sick.’  He was suffering from a heroin overdose.  As they carried this son-of-a-bitch past Dewey the bastard shot out a projectile of vomit all over him.  The horror  of it was more than Dewey could stand.  He brought both fists down on that sick degenerate bastard’s stomach, knocking one of the bearers aside and spilling that idiot First Class out on the pavement.  Dewey moved in to stomp that ignorant bastard to death but was quickly restrained by a couple sailors who got some of that diseased puke all over themselves.  Several hours passed before Dewey regained a semblance of composure.

‘Jesus,’ he thought, ‘What is this?  What is this?  Is there no refuge?’

In truth there wasn’t, neither on the base or ashore.  Who knows who they were but everywhere he went it seemed he was being followed.  The Navy was on tight security because of the Cold War, but was it necessary to follow a sailor when he wandered down to look at the mothballed Cruisers or was it just some queers on the make.

It seemed like everybody was out to tear every other body apart in one way or another.  Every way he turned faggots were waiting to batten on him.

Standing in the subway one night at one in the morning he looked across the tracks to the top tier of that multi-tiered structure to see some faggot staring at him as the queer masturbated at his sight.  ‘My god,’  he thought, ‘Don’t these guys have any self-respect.’  If the truth were told, no they don’t.

Another night he was walking down Broad to the base, avoiding the subway, when a worker type pulled up offered him a ride back to the base as he was going that way himself.  Naively Dewey believed him.  Seething with anger Dewey had finished his walk back to the base after having repulsed the queer’s advances.  Back at the base the Marine sentry was giving him a bad time mistaking what Dewey thought was politeness for timidity.

The face looking back at Dewey reflected the horror of all these incomprehensibilities.  He had been assigned  West.  Somewhere between Philly and San Francisco or, perhaps, after his visit to the Navy dentist, he had toughened up, put on a hard face, a mean face, a face that said:  ‘Up yours.’

The dentist had been a lunatic, a madman.  He did more damage to Dewey’s mouth in an hour than the A-bomb had done to Hiroshima.  Dewey learned his lesson; he never visited another Navy dentist or doctor during his enlistment.  He’d rather pay for good attention than be mutilated for free.

Dewey looked in the mirror again and found that he was panting.

“Yeah, I don’t like it either.’  Came from a voice from across the area.  ‘Nobody does.  But there’s nothing we can do about it now.’

Dewey focused on the present to see a sailor fourth sink, port bulkhead shaving and watching him mirror to mirror.  Shaving!  Aaaargh.  Dewey let out a long anguished mental scream that still seemed to emit from the face in the mirror.  Shaving!   Shaving was a private act.  It was between you and the mirror.  Only faggots watched other men shave.  Guys invited hopeful conquests  into the head to watch them shave.  Bulls showed off for catamites in that way.  Now, here was some guy speaking to him while he shaved.

‘Yeah, this is pretty hard to get used to.’  Dewey replied rather than get a reputation for being difficult but still hoping not to encourage further conversation.  Fortunately the other guy was finishing up, it was getting close to muster and he left with a hurried:  ‘Keep it together.’

‘Keep it together?’  Dewey was already blown apart.  He would have to bring it together.  He not only had to organize and overcome his childhood traumas he would have to survive this new madness.

Still, there was no way out but deeper in.  He would have to go out the other side.  He threw his douche bag- douche bag- Jesus Christ- into his locker, squared his hat, passed through the Engineering compartment to climb the ladder to the main deck, stepped through the starboard hatch into the light to see the men of First Division lining up for muster.

The line that separated Dewey from insanity was the physical world.  Having stepped from the encasing steel of the ship, the delightful climate of waterfront San Diego embraced him.  The strong sun enveloped him.  The fresh invigorating sea breeze wafted around him wrapping him in sensual delight.

Then his eyes fell on Chief Dieter, First Class Gunner’s Mate Emmanuel Ratman, and First Class Bos’n’s Mate Blaise Pardon.  They were eyeing him with idle curiosity as the last arrival.  In his state of mind he took it as hostility and snarled back.

Muster!  He saw two lines of sailors standing at parade rest.  He walked down to the end of the line and took a place.

‘You there.’

‘Yeah?’

‘You’re Deck, right?  Back down in this group.’

Dewey noticed there had been a break in the line.  He had apparently lined up with the second group- the Gunner’s Mates.  He moved back down the line to the other end to take a position in the back rank.  He extended the line by one person.

‘Step forward to the front rank.  Looks better.’

Dewey stepped forward, but his teeth ground.  He knew he had to obey the order but as he looked at the three Petty Officers he felt innately superior to them.  He was.  Ratman, the Gunner’s Mate, was an illiterate stupido.  He was even incapable of reading the muster.  How he had ever been able to pass the written tests to become a First Class was open to conjecture.  The Navy takes care of its own.  They probably read the questions to him pointing to which box to mark after he gave the his answer.  That he had been in eighteen years and hadn’t made chief told against him.

Ratman had a brownish open pored complexion and eyes that betrayed neither intelligence nor stupidity.  They were just kind of blank and unseeing.  Nothing seemed to register.  He had the habit of holding his mouth open and flicking his tongue up and down, projecting it in and out.  Rats might not have the same characteristics but the habit seemed to fit his name.

Blaise Pardon, the First Class Bos’n’s Mate, was a decent sort.  He was only interested in getting through the day with the least conflict possible.  That was a positive virtue.  He was another eighteen year man but Deck was a closed rating, the fact did not count against him.  It was nearly impossible to advance your rating in Deck.

As the rating was the least demanding in the Navy and as it was much more secure than trying to earn a living on the outside more career men were in Deck than anywhere else.  Even the Gunner’s Mates was relatively open compared to Deck.  You were guaranteed to make Chief in twenty.  Even a mutant like Ratman would be given his Chief’s outfit as a gift on his way out.  Maybe he even deserved it, who knows?

All of the ratings that required intelligence were wide open.  To take Electronics Technicians as an example.  A man could easily make First Class within a four year enlistment.  This was actually too fast on a cultural basis.  There were cases of ETs making Chief within four years.  This was absolutely destructive to Navy morale.  There may have been no question that the man had learned his rating that well; however he had not absorbed Navy culture to any extent.  He was not yet Navy.  He had no investment in the tradition, no esprit de corps, no veneration for the career.  Most of them became ego maniacs destroyed by their rapid advancement.

Angus Dieter, the Chief Bos’n’s Mate was everything a career Navy man should be.  He had been in seventeen years.  He wore his uniform with all the assurance and aplomb of a man born to the station.  He was overweight but by just the right amount.  His bulk was actually magnificent in his dress blues and in his khakis, which he wore during work hours.  He certainly distinguished his uniform.  Even his hat seemed as though it had been molded expressly for his head.

As the guns of the Teufelsdreck didn’t warrant a Chief Gunner’s Mate Dieter was Chief for the entire First Division, which he relished.  It gave him additional  importance which he wore well.  He was especially resplendent in the golden sunshine and the soft caressing uplifting air.  Dewey still didn’t like the way Dieter had commanded him to step forward.  The war was on.

After the names had been called and all found present the day’s tasks were assigned.  The two Sonarmen, Maclen and Hubie Blake, left for the Sonar shack below the Mess Hall.  The old hands were sent off to their tasks.  The seven new men were taken on an orientation tour by Pardon.  This would ordinarily have been done by the Second Class, Norm Castrato, but he had gone to sick bay that morning along with the Second Class Gunner’s Mate Lion Ratfield.

Before the tour Dieter delivered a talk about nomenclature.  Nomenclature is, of course, important but perhaps Dieter in his attempt to establish his authority was a bit overdone.  The seven reservists had all been developing hostile reactions since they had first stepped aboard.  Everything about shipboard life repelled them.  They would all display their repulsion in different ways but a little wave of revulsion greeted Dieter’s speech.

‘Now, I know you boys come from soft family backgrounds where you’re used to having your own way.  Well, you’re in the Navy now.  There’s only one way in the Navy and that’s the Navy way, no ifs ands or buts.  Screw with us and you’ll never see the highway again.  If you don’t want to do it our way there ain’t no way you’re going to enjoy your sojourn among us.  Do I make myself clear?  Alright.

Now, in the Navy all the things have different names than in civilian life- learn them or else.  For instance your are not standing on the floor- you are standing on a deck.  That why you are called Deck Hands.  That behind you is not a wall, that is a bulkhead.  There are no walls aboard ship, only bulkheads.

That thing with steps you see there attached to the bulkhead is not a staircase, it is a ladder.  That thing on the fantail leading below- not downstairs- below- is also a ladder even though you might think it looks more like stairs than a ladder.  The opening in the bulkheads you go through are called hatches.  All such openings are hatches whether as in the officer’s quarters they look like doors or not.  You do not go to the toilet or washroom you go to the head.  On that note, I’ll leave you where you belong, in the head.  Ha ha ha.  Pardon will show you around the ship.  By the way, you may call me Dieter or Chief or Chief Dieter at your discretion.  Do not call me Sir, Angus or Hey You.  I am not an officer and first names do not exist in the Navy.’

Our Lady Of The Blues Book I, clip 1e posted  6/07/12

‘Also call you asshole‘ seemed to arise from the seven but I doubt if a tape recorder would have picked it up.

Pardon then took them in hand and conducted them on a tour of the ship in much the same manner as you were introduced to it in the  prologue with the addition of details that will appear later.  This tour destroyed any illusions the seven may have had.

Dennis LaFrenniere, who was from Tempe, Arizona was taken back.  His illusions about a big adventure had been completely destroyed  There was an unforgiving brutal reality about the day that bore him down.

‘What did you think of it, monsieur?’  He civilly asked Dewey.  Trueman had taken to Dennis immediately and like what appeared to be a carefree devil may care attitude.  He was surprised by the somber depressed manner of the question.

Dewey was unaware of the edge the day had given to his own attitude.  He was resentful and agitated as Dennis was somber and depressed.  He realized only too well that, as Dieter had said, it was the Navy way or no way.  Trueman’s teeth were on edge.  The Navy would have to give to get what he had to offer.

‘I don’t think this is going to be any fun at all, Dennis, but we’ve got to get through it.’

LaFrenniere turned his troubled distraught eyes to the deck.  He couldn’t face it as himself.  A future of days like today was quite beyond his mind to handle as himself.  A film closed over his mind as he began to leave Dennis LaFrenniere aside and assume the identity of- Frenchy.

For the rest of his tour he would answer only to the name of Frenchy.  He would retreat into that identity and not come out until he was discharged and safely back in Tempe.  He became temporarily insane.

Dewey passed Don Tidwell coming back from evening chow but Tidwell’s gloomy withdrawn lips passed by without a word.  Tidwell, too, had taken a dim view of Navy life.  He was from Phoenix, Arizona.  Like Trueman and LaFrenniere he had a high score on the General Intelligence Test.  He took his score more seriously than he should have.  He had come from a literate family too, thus feeling himself above, not only everyone in First but everyone on ship.  He retreated within himself into a blue funk from which he would never emerge until he took his discharge papers in hand.  Even then his life’s outlook had been altered for good.

Dewey sat in mess hall looking at what it pleased the Navy to call food on his tray.  He couldn’t eat it.

‘Whatsa’ matter?  This is pretty good chow.’  The man next to him said, looking at him curiously.

‘Oh god, this stuff is garbage.’  Dewey said in disgust.

‘I’ve eaten a lot worse, I can tell you, when I could get it.’

‘No kidding?’’  Dewey replied incredulously.

‘You can bet on it.  I’ve gone without supper many a time.  When you’ve done that, you’ll eat anything.’

‘Hmm.  Well, I haven’t ever done that and if I had it wouldn’t make any difference to me.’  Dewey said, picking up his tray and shoving it through the opening into the scullery fully loaded on his way back to Deck.

Passing out of the port hatch he had to step around the cook who was blocking his way.  Bocuse was a First Class Cook, that is his rating was First Class.  He was slovenly, unshaven, dirty and fat.  He was an alcoholic who was never sober.  He was dirty minded, mean, lowdown and hateful.  He could cook better than he did but he was venting his ill-will toward humanity on the crew of the Teufelsdreck.  He was inventing a new cuisine; he was turning edible food into garbage.

‘In your way?’  He snarled at Dewey.

‘You the chef?’  Dewey replied, noticing his dirty apron.

‘I’m the cook, Navy doesn’t have chefs.’  Bocuse snarled.

‘I stand corrected.’ Dewey snarled back.

Bocuse didn’t get the insult until breakfast next morning when with he start he flipped an egg off the overhead.

‘Gonna do something about that son-of-a-bitch.’   Dewey thought as he entered the compartment.

The horrors of showering in Philly he hoped were behind him.  Dewey, as well as the other new men, was a modest fellow.  None of them saw any reason for walking around in the nude.  Hence Brant Crowson and Dant Ralston and Dewey went up to the showers together.  Crowson and Ralston were from Memphis.  They all put on their shoes leaving their undershorts on, carrying their soaps and towels.

As usual they were greeted by a long line.  As they took their places at the end they were greeted by sniggers and hoots.

‘What now?’  Ralston asked, resentful of being in the ‘wrong’ again.

‘Oh god, I don’t know.’  Trueman grimaced, waiting for the news.

‘Well, what have we here.  Three prima donnas?’  Came a voice from up ahead somewhere.

Dewey. Brant and Dant looked at each other unwilling to ask the obvious question.

After a repeat of the taunt and a pause Dewey turned to the man in front of him asking quietly  hoping for a quiet answer:  ‘What’s happening, man?’

The man was considerate:  ‘It’s your undershorts.  Look around.  Everyone’s nude.’

‘Yeah…but…so what?  Does this mean we all have to do it?

‘Well, it’s the way things are done. See?  You have to go with the flow.’

Dewey turned to Brant and Dant:  ‘Uh, none of these guys has underwear on.  I guess we aren’t supposed to either?’

‘Why not?’

‘’Cause that’s the way they want it, I guess.  We’re supposed to ‘go with the flow.’

The three of them returned to their compartment and took off their shorts.  Still unwilling to let it all hang out they independently adopted the same expedient; they wrapped their towels around them.

Trooping back to the end of the line they were greeted by the same voice:  ‘What do we have here now; three girls in skirts?’

They bowed to the inevitable removing their towels to stand immodestly displaying their wares for those who were most interesting in seeing.

‘How do you keep from getting athletes foot standing in those dirty showers?’  Brant asked.

The next guy in line offered the suggestion:  ‘Well, you see, you get a pair of these thongs…’ He said holding up his foot for the three to see.  ‘…and then you don’t take them off.  You shower with them on.’

‘Oh yeah?  Where do you get those?’

‘You can buy a pair at the ship’s store tomorrow.’

‘Yeh.  Where’s the ship’s store?’

‘It’s the compartment right ahead of the showers.  The door opens on the passageway on the other side of the hatch.’

‘Oh yeah?’

‘Yeah.  Good prices.  Cigarettes and candy are cheap.  No taxes.  They only have essentials.’

‘Oh, thanks man, we appreciate it.’

‘No problem.’

The new men inched up the line.  As their turn came up the voice grabbed a shower stall to check out their ‘hardware’ as he called it.  The voice was Paul Duber.  He was more or less openly known as a queer.  He was of a certainty, but in Navy etiquette unless you openly chose to be a queer, in which case you would be discharged, no one would dare to openly challenge you.  Duber was the least discreet of all the queers aboard.  He acted manly but did his best to let you know he was available.  He was actually criminal in his desire.  He drew a very thin line between seduction and rape.  He was the leader of the homosexual contingent that set the tone of the ship.

The first men into the showers in the evening turned the showers on.  They ran continuously until the last man left.  Thus, as you entered you only checked the temperature to make sure your predecessor hadn’t left you a scalding joke.  A good share of the men were vicious and delighted in hurting others.

The four stalls were arranged in pairs opposite each other.  Duber grabbed the rear forward stall so as better to ogle the new men.  There is nothing so exciting to a queer than a dick.  They study each one as a rare work of art.

‘Don’t drop your soap, honey, I might not be able to control myself.’  He snickered from his corner.  He jested but his jest carried an actual threat.  There was no disguising his meaning.

‘If you want my bar, here it is.  Jam this up your ass.’  Brant said insolently.

Duber was delighted.

‘O, he he.  A guy with a sense of humor.  I like that.  How about you two too.’

‘Here’s my bar, too.’  Dant said.

‘Awright.  How about you?’  Duber said leering at Trueman.

‘Go sit on an anchor fluke.’  Dewey replied with overflowing disgust.

‘Say, what’s wrong with your friend here.  Talks like a real tough hard ass.’

Dewey who was wasting no time gave himself a final rinse and stepped out of the shower without another word.

‘Goddamn those queers.’  He muttered beneath his breath slipping into his shoes, grabbing his towel, stalking off drying as he went.

Memories of Philadelphia flooded his mind causing indescribable pain to him.  Maybe others had greater facility in going with the flow but in Dewey’s darkened psyche the queers presented an insurmountable problem.

His mind was in angry agitation as he self-consciously pulled on his shorts  feeling the other men’s eyes on his ass.

‘Say, I’d be a little more careful bending over like that in front of us.  You might get a surprise.  ‘Course you’d probably like it.’  One of the old hands said hopefully.

‘Pretty skinny little ass.’  Came with a laugh.

‘Kiss it.’  Dewey snapped.

‘Ooh, hoo hoo.’  Came back with jeers and guffaws.

Dewey angrily hauled himself into his upper bunk, pulled his blanket over his head and turned his back on the others cursing them under his breath.  He wasn’t good at mental adjustment.  The Navy life was going to take some real mental adjustment.  Dewey could have made it a lot easier on himself with a more pliant attitude.  None this had to be so serious.  But, locked in the cage of his experience Dewey was quite incapable of moving out of himself a little to adapt to these new challenges.  His response were definitely inadequate.

As in all unstable social situation the lowest elements of society were able to grab a disproportionate share in shaping the morality of shipboard life.  Creating the flow, as it were.

To an experienced hand the process was simple.  You had to oppose the lower morality and impose your own higher morality.  This was not as simple as it seemed.  But by your level of opposition you at least prevented an actual criminal environment from developing.

The same thing happened in high society as well as in low society.  The Teufelsdreck was definitely low society.  Let me quote- or, actually reproduce in its entirely- a little book by one Samuel N. Ordway, Harvard Class of ‘21 entitled ‘Little Codfish Cabot At Harvard.’  Ordway at least liked his environment while few except the lowest liked the Teufelsdreck but the process of shaping the mind to the new environment is the same.

Little Codfish Cabot was born into the precincts of the Harvard Yard.  His father was a Cabot and his mother was a Cod.  The fish part is generic.

While still very young he was sent to a New England Church School but not before he had been soaked with atmosphere- which left him a little fuzzy because he was so young.

At boarding school he learned to weather teasing- and to fight- and not to be shocked by naughty stories and swearwords- and to be a man- and to play baseball.  The boys all called him Cod and he had to go to Chapel twice every day.

But he did not learn anything.

So he had to go to the Widow’s where he was crammed through the examinations and practiced living in the way he had learned at school life should be lived- when you get the chance.

Thus Codfish Cabot became a Freshman at Harvard.  His class was welcomed at Phillips Brooks House by Dean Briggs who spoke on ‘College Life.’

He persuaded his father to give him an automobile in which he drove chippies riding on the river bank; and, when he grew tired of that, to Revere Beach.

Once or twice he went to a Friday Evening.

He bought Rabelais and Boccaccio, and two weeks later paid thirty dollars for James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’.  It was a bargain.

He went with a Sophomore whom he met in English to a Copey’s Monday Evening.  Later, he took the Freshman from Passaic who lived across the hall.

He shot on the Freshman Rifle Team because he like to be considered an outdoorsman- and made the business board of the Red Book by getting ads from his father.

He took Miss Holland Saltontail to the Freshman Jubilee and because he told her that Boston Society must not show itself inferior to New York they both got drunk.  It was Miss Saltontail’s first experience.

Cod was no cad, and in his Sophomore year they elected him to the Dickey.  After stripping him to the waist and running him through the mill they slid  him into a tank of water and asked him if he was moral.

When he said he was, they ducked him for a liar.

Not because he wasn’t a cad, but because he was a Cod they elected him to the Porcellian.

Thereafter he got on probation and lived like a normal Harvard student.

His father gave him some more ads, and by receiving two permanent full pages, he became an editor of the Lampoon.

They made him lean out of the window on the corner of Plimpton Street and the Gold Coast at midnight and yell ‘Help, help, help, – don’t shoot-  I’ll marry the woman!’  (That is what you have to do when you make the Lampoon.  It is perfectly proper.)

Because he also made the Phoenix, and the Stylus, and the Hasty Pudding, and the Liberal Club- the last to show he was democratic and an independent thinker- his father had to double his allowance to pay dues.

He went to all the mass meetings and smokers- and always lent his voice in the defeat of the Eli.

He ceased going to Brattle Hall dances.

He learned to refrain from donning his hat prematurely in English 2.

After three and a half years, he had attended one of Prexy Lowell’s teas, – and had eaten once at Memorial Hall,- when he decided to leave Harvard and go into business.  (After going to chapel three thousand, two hundred and sixty times in six years at school, he had not attended since, nor pursued the Bible further; there was now no time to acquire needed knowledge for divisionals.’

But this did not preclude his taking part in the Class Day exercises with his class, nor becoming engaged to Miss Holland Saltontail on that day.

The R.E. Prindle New American Songbag

Welcome to the R.E. Prindle New American Songbag

     In 1927 Carl Sandburg published his  volume of  songs titled The American Songbag.  That was limited to what he thought were Folk Songs.  They mostly dated from the turn of the twentieth century.

   Things were on he move, changing. Before radio news songs were released via sheet music and the music hall.  This was a long slow process.  Then radio was introduced and turned into a commercial entity during the twenties.  Phonograph records were made commercially viable by being placed on a flat disk.   Record companies began combing the South for native music.  In 1928 the talkies came to Hollywood increasing the demand for songs.  Radios became universal during the thirties and forties while Television became commercially viable in the late 40s. Records were improved first by the vinyl 45 and then Hi Fi in 1954 followed by Stereo in 1958.  Phonograph records were stirring to become a big business.  TV destroyed the radio networks so that by 1955 all music radio was the norm.   The The Top 40 format required a massive infusion of new artists and songs.   It was the creation of teenagerism.

     Songs being ephemeral while new generations of teens flowed on it has been inevitable that songs have either been lost or unremembered except by a dwindling few.  This is my attempt to bring attention to some of the more noteworthy songs and artists to keep them in the common memory.  While I intend to concentrate on songs from 1950 to 1980 I will also post older songs dating back to the turn of the twentieth century.

     Due to the wonders of the internet versions of any or all of these songs are available for your listening pleasure to match the song with the music and performance. I encourage you to give them a listening.  Ask your favorite DJs to play them.  There’s some great listening here.  I lead off with Johnny Tillotson’s Talk Back Trembling Lips.

1.

Talk Back Trembling Lips


Talk back trembling lips
Shakey legs don’t just stand there
Don’t let her know that she’s getting through to to you
Talk back trembling lips
Burning eyes don’t start crying
Heart don’t let her know that your breaking in two

Every day our love’s a battle royal
Dear it seems that fighting is all we do
But if i let you know how much I love you
You’ll do things to me you shouldn’t do

So talk back trembling lips
Shakey legs don’t just stand there
Don’t let her know that she’s getting through to to you
Talk back trembling lips
Burning eyes don’t start crying
Heart don’t let her know that your breaking in two

Every time you up and hurt my feelings
I pretend it couldn’t matter less

John D. Loudermilk Writer

I’m just hiding all of my emotions
Behind my broken heart I guess

So talk back trembling lips
Shakey legs don’t just stand there
Don’t let her know that she’s getting through to to you
Talk back trembling lips
Burning eyes don’t start crying
Heart don’t let her know that your breaking in two
Heart don’t let her know that your breaking in two

2.

Marriane

Written And Performed By

Terry Gilkyson

And The Easy Riders

Marianne, Oh, Marianne, Oh won’t you marry me?
We can have a bamboo hut
and brandy in the tea,
Leave your fat old Nanna home,
She never will say
yes.
If mamma don’t know now,
She can guess, my, my,
yes.

CHORUS:
All night, all day, Marianne,

Terry Gilkyson And The Easy Riders

Down by the seaside
sifting sand.
Even little children love Marianne,
Down by the seaside
sifting sand.

When she walks along the shore,
People pause to
greet,
While birds fly around her,
Little fish come to her feet.
In her
heart is love, but I’m the only mortal man,
Who’s allowed to kiss my
Marianne,
Don’t rush me.

(CHORUS)

When we marry, we will
have
A time you never saw,
I will be so happy,
I will kiss my
mother-in-law.
Children by the dozen, in and out the bamboo hut,
One for
every palm tree, and cok-y-nut, Hurry up now.

(CHORUS)

3.

“Moments To Remember”

Words and Music

Stillman And Allen

Performed by

The Four Lads

(January to December)
(We’ll have moments to remember)

The New Year’s Eve we did the town
The day we tore the goal post down
We will have these moments to remember

The quiet walks, the noisy fun
The ballroom prize we almost won
We will have these moments to remember

Though summer turns to winter
And the present disappears
The laughter we were glad to share
Will echo through the years

When other nights and other days
May find us gone our separate ways
We will have these moments to remember

(The drive in movie where we’d go)
(And somehow never watched the show)
We will have these moments to remember

Though summer turns to winter
And the present disappears
The laughter we were glad to share
Will echo through the years

When other nights and other days
May find us gone our separate ways
We will have these moments to remember

 

A Contribution To The

ERBzine Library Project

The Beau Ideal Trilogy Of

P.C. Wren

Beau Geste~Beau Sabreur~Beau Ideal

Part II

Review Of Beau Geste

by

R.E. Prindle

Contents:

Part I:  Introduction

Part II:  Beau Geste

Part III: Beau Sabreur

Part IV:  Beau Ideal

At the present time our actions are largely influenced by our theories.  We have abandoned the simple and instinctive mode of life of the earlier civilizations for one regulated by the assumptions of our knowledge and supplemented by all the devices of intelligence.

-Charles Howard Hinton, Scientific Romances

     Nothing presents a greater contrast between the ‘simple and instinctive life of the earlier civilizations; than that of the scientific European civilization.  The contrast in the Beau Ideal trilogy will be between the science of Europe and the simple instinctive beliefs of Islam.

     P.C. Wren, the author of this marvelous trilogy was a contemporary of Edgar Rice Burroughs born in the same year of 1875 although dying  in 1941.  He too was one of that favored generation that saw the end of the horse and buggy era and the development of the machine age.  One marvels that Burroughs witnessed the disappearance of the white spots on the maps of the world  while experiencing jet propelled fighter planes shattering his windows with sonic booms at the end of his life.

     Wren was born in England becoming a school teacher in the Raj of India.  He left India in 1917 when it was claimed that he did a five year stint in the Legion which means he would have been discharged in 1922.  There seems to be some doubt of any service in the Legion, heightened  I should think by the fact that he published two books during that period.  He had published some 14 titles between 1910 and 1924 when he hit the jackpot with Beau Geste.

     It seems much more likely that he acquired his FFL ideas from a 1910 volume, In The Foreign Legion, by a German writer named Erwin Rosen.  The Rosen book can be downloaded from the internet which copy is the one I read.  One can easily pick out the passages that form the whole of the FFL content of the Beau Ideal trilogy.  Wren may have spent some time touring the bulge of Africa but even then there is no scenery described that couldn’t have been written by Edgar Rice Burroughs who never left his own sunny shores.

     As Wren is supposed to have spent the rest of his life in England one wonders where he picked up his amazing knowledge of American and Hobo slang.  His two American characters, Hank and Buddy, seemed true to life to me.  Their home in Texas was probably also borrowed from Erwin Rosen’s early days as recounted in In The Legion.

     Wren, somewhere along the line read some Burroughs while it seems clear that Burroughs read the Beau Ideal trilogy being influenced by it.  This is fairly clear, for instance, in Tarzan Triumphant.  In that book Tarzan battles some desert nomads while one compares this passage from Beau Geste with the lost ribes inside Burroughs’ volcano.  Beau Geste, Lippincott, First Edition, 39th Impression:

     After riding for some three or four hours towards some low rocky mountains, we reached and approached a narrow and lofty pass.  This we threaded in single file, and coming to the top, saw an endless plain out of which rose a gara, an abrupt and isoalted plateau, looking like a giant cheese, cliff sided, with a flat top; the whole, I suppose, about a square mile in area.

     Apparently it was quite inaccesible and untrodden by the foot of man, or even of mountain sheep or goats.  Only an eagle, I imagined, had ever looked upon the top of that isolated square mile of rock.

     I was wrong, however, the place proving to be a gigantic fort- a fort of the most perfect kind, but which owed nothing to the hand of man.

     Circling the cliff-like precipitous base of the mountain, we came to a crack in the thousand foot wall, a crack that was invisible at a hundred yards.

     Into this narrow fissure the sheikh led us in single file, and squeezing our way between gigantic cactus, we rode along the upward-sloping bottom of a winding chasm that was not six feet wide.

     Suddenly our path was cut by a deep ravine, some three yards wide, a great crack across the crack in which we were entombed…

     So, adapted for Burroughs’ purposes one has a major portion of Tarzan Triumphant.  As we will see Wren borrowed prfusely from other writers including Rosen.

     Wren does an interesting thing.  While the time frame is rather loose, the time frame seems to be from, say, 1888 to 1910.  There is no mention of the recent Great War although the Bolshevik Revolution is hinted at.  The first volume, Beau Geste, which means Good Deed, is written in the style of the mid-nineteenth century.  The story is divided in two parts with a framing tale, the prehistory of the Geste Brothers in England and the events in the Legion Etrangere.  Beau Geste could have been written by Trollope or Ouida.  It does bear some resemblance to Ouida’s Under Two Flags.  The second title, Beau Sabreur shades into the pulp style while the third, Beau Ideal is full blown pulp and then some.  Thus while contrasting scientific and mythopoeic civilization Wren literally transits from mid-Victorian to pulp writing styles.  The banter of the characters also changes from the English style of the young Gestes to the hobo slang of Hank and Buddy.  Very nicely done.  You have to read the trilogy in sequence though to get the full effect.

     Wren has been influenced by Conan Doyle as he specifically says that Beau Geste is a mystery story a la Sherlock Holmes.  He might as well have added, based on Wilkie Collins’ Moonstone.

     But, in many ways, his story is overridden by his obsession of the Beau Ideal.  His point in the opening chapters is to establish the high moral character of the Gestes.   In this  he is relentless almost to the point of being dogmatic.

     While the novel is set, perhaps, in the late eighties or early nineties it was published in 1924 after the Bolshevik Revolution and the Red challange not only to high ideals but ideals of any kind.  With the Communists it was the ends justify the mean, with Wren it was a code of honor, a sense of fair play, of Marquis of Queensbury rules, of chivalry, in two words, of a Beau Ideal- a beatiful ideal.  A utopian hope equal to that of any H. G. Wells and the Communist myrmidons.

     Wren, along with most English and Americans would have been brought up in that great compendium of Western values- the stories of King Arthur and high chivalry.  Few people other than specialists would have read more than Mallory’s Morte D’ Arthur although a steady stream of contemporary interpretations was produced in the nineteenth century including Tennyson’s Idyls Of The King and Howard Pyles’s four volume rendering  published from 1903 to 1910.

     Pyle’s work was very likely read by Edgar Rice Burroughs but likely not until after he began writing  or perhaps the 1903 first volume earlier.  Traces show in some settings but more especially in his reversion to Pyle’s Arthuring phraseology, especially ERB’s clumsy and bothersome use of the word an for if.  Much of his stilted dialogue can probably be traced back to Pyle.

     Pyle’s Arthur is part of a neo-Romantic movement that contrasted highly with the scientific views of both ERB and Wren.

     The Arthurian stories are quite frankly the longest fairy tale in the English language expecially in the Pyle verson.  His books are all magic and enchantment in a land of Faerie.  I’m sure Burroughs would have been drawn to the work because of Pyle’s work as an artist and very famous book illustrator.  His version is very beautifully and charmingly illustrated by himself.  One can compare Pyle’s Arthur with L. Frank Baum’s Oz series as an influence on Burroughs.

     So, Wren, I believe, viewed the desert tribes in the light of the earlier Faerie world view that was embedded in the English and American mind, through the lens of science that made a sharp distinction between the West and the primitive desert tribes.

     Wren introduces the main protagonists in their English Arthurian setting.  The three Gestes, Isobel, Henri de Beaujolais and Otis Vanbrugh.  Otis, the American, is visiting relatives when he meets the Gestes, Isobel and Claudia.  He falls in love with Isobel worshipping the ground she walks on in high chivalric manner.  Wren spends pages on banter before getting to the crux of the matter, the theft of the jewel, the Sapphire called the Blue Water.

     Michael, or Beau Geste, is the personification of the Beau Ideal.  Thus when the jewel is stolen by Claudia, which only he knows, he chivalrously assumes the guilt leaving for the Legion Etrangere.  His brother Digby confesses to throw doubt on Beau’s guilt also heading for the sands of Africa.  John Geste who has just discovered his love for Isobel and become engaged also leaves it all behind disappearing into the night.  Otis goes back home.

     John assumes his brothers have joined the Legion so acting on that assumption alone he goes to Paris and does so also.  From his joining in Paris to Fort Zinderneuf the account of the Legion closely follows Rosen’s account of his adventure in his book, In The Foreign Legion.

     John Geste joins in exactly the same manner, has exactly the same adventures en route to Africa and aboard ship across the Mediterranean.  If  Wren had actually been in the Legion there would have been no reason for him to hue so close to other’s experiences so I think it’s clear that he himself was never in the FFL.

     By luck John finds Beau and Digby in Oran where all three are assigned to the same company posted to the Legion city, Sidi Bel Abbes.  This company is then marched to Fort Zinderneuf somewhere in the South either in the actual Sahara or in the Sahel but toward Nigeria.

     The rumor of what is referred to as the diamond gains currency and the brothers are thought to be jewel theives.  A number of people are conspiring to obtain the jewel.  In fact Beau does have the Blue Water.  I’m not going to get into the story of the stone, it has nothing to do with the Beau Ideal.  If you’ve seen the movie, Beau Geste, you may remember, if not, if you wish to know you’ll have to see the movie or read the book yourself.

     Once on station disaster strikes, the troops mutiny just as the Arabs attack and the entire contingent save John is killed.  As the men die the Sergeant sets each one at his post to give the appearance that the fort is fully manned as the survivors race from port to port firing at the Arabs.

     The mystery, of course, is that when the relief column arrives under the command of de Beaujolais, the Arabs have fled leaving a fort manned by dead men.  Wren here introduces the Communist villain Rastignac.  Hank and Buddy who were in the Geste’s company had been assigned to other duty which was with de Beaujolais.  They arrive in his column.  All three of these characters, four with de Beaujolais will figure largely in the two sequels.

     For now Rastignac refuses an order to enter the fort whose eeriness is unsettling.  Doing his duty de Beaujolais fires point blank with his pistol which misfires saving the traitor’s life.  The bugler who is Digby Geste volunteers to enter the fort promptly doing so.

     He discovers the dead Beau and the Sergeant who has Beau’s bayonet in his torso.  Digby also disappears so the mystery of the fort intensifies as de Beaujolais enters to find the mysterious sight of Beau and the Sergeant with the walls lined with dead soldiers.

     Skipping to the essentials, Rastignac rouses the men to mutiny while they are about to do when a fire breaks out in the fort saving de Beaujalais’ face.

     So the main story ends.

      Wren then has to set up the sequels.  These involve de Beaujolais, John Geste, Hank and Buddy and Rastignac.  Otis Van Brugh is temporarily not in the picture.  Wren also wants to set up his notion of the Beau Ideal.

     John Geste has already slipped over the back wall.  Digby now follows him.  Buddy and Hank are selected to slip through the imagined Arab lines to bring help.  All four meet behind the fort.  Wren had read Rosen, who he follows closely, so he knows it is certain and gruesome death at the hands of the Arab women to be on foot in the desert.  Hank and Buddy already have camels so two more are procured.  The band then sets out for the desert.

     They disguise themselves as Arabs experiencing various adventures like errant knights of Arthur.  Here Wren displays his seeming near total lack of experience on the burning sands.  His mountaintop encampment appears to be a combination of Burroughs and Verne’s City In The Desert.  Digby is killed in a battle with Arabs while John Geste comes down with fever being taken back to Nigeria by Hank and Buddy from whence he returns to England.

     Buddy had been lost on the burning sands so as part of the loyalty of the Beau Ideal Hank goes back in search of him.  And so Beau Geste ends.

     The mystery of Fort Zinderneuf will be explained in the sequel.  John feeling guilty for failing his friends in the tradition of the Beau Ideal will return to look for them.  Otis Van Brugh shows up in Africa with his sister Mary.  De Beaujolais becomes an agent of the secret police of France a la Tarzan but as an officer of the Spahis, a different force than the Foreign Legion.

     Wren then cleverly and amusingly builds on Beau Geste in the two remaining novels but in a different story.  Overall, nicely done.

     The review of Beau Sabreur follows.

A Novel

Far Gresham

Volume II

Youth

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 2

     The big plan had failed but the boys compounded their guilt; they couldn’t even admit that I was good enough to win a fair fight.  Law said that I hadn’t pinned Cahallan.  I countered that he was immobilized and couldn’t wrestle.  Law replied that didn’t count.  I countered that then I would just stand there holding Cahallan’s knees until gym was over.  Cahallan was nearly in tears.

     At that the other boys turned and said to put Cahallan down;  my hold wasn’t legal.  Well, I had won, and said so.  I refused to go on.  Pennydreamer was called again.  Well, I could beat Cahallan at will, although in fairness to him his guilty conscience interfered with his will.  My victory was not going to be allowed so we rolled and tumbled endlessly until somehow I got on my back with Cahallan astride my middle.  I could have bucked him off but I knew that if I did my shoulders might touch the mat and Cahallan would immediately be declared the victor.  But guilt had taken possession of Cahallan’s mind; he was nearly paralyzed.  I could see the anguish on his face as he was near tears with his mouth already distorted into a sob.  I could see that he would never be able to force my shoulders to the mat.  I determined to wait it out in that position.

page 511.

     The other boys were now cheering Cahallan on but to no avail.  Finally Law just said:  ‘Okay, Cahallan wins.  You lose, Gresham, you puke.’

     ‘No, Law,’ I snapped back, ‘I win, you cheated.  But the only way you guys can win is by cheating or going six on one.’

     Law and the rest were stung.  They had merely redoubled their guilt but, dishonest to the core, they tried to deny it to themselves.  Thus they redoubled their hatred to me foolishly thinking that they would be able to expiate their guilt by humiliating me.  As Puck said:  ‘Ah, what fools ye mortals be.’

     Cahallan knew better.  He tried to apologize to me but my contempt was so strong I wouldn’t allow it.  For the next two weeks he walked around with his head hung in shame and guilt in real mental distress.  Then he couldn’t take it any more.  He had his parents transfer him to the Catholic school:  Lacramae Sacrae.  I never saw him again.

     But during this gym hour, having failed to reduce me, my enemies went into a quick conference as to what to do next.  They made an immediate decision.  Having failed with both the boxing and wrestling matches they thought they could hammer me into submission in the showers, thus proving my inferiority and expiating their guilt.

     The locker room and shower was a long narrow room placed beneath the bleachers.  The room was fifteen feet wide.  The lockers jutted out twelve feet, leaving about three feet between the locker ends and the wall.  The shower was in the middle of this long room.  The more ‘in’ you were the further down the room you could select your locker.  The smaller or less popular boys naturally had to give way to the bigger boys in the narrow passages between locker ends and walls.  The room had been subconsciously designed to give maximum play for manhood tests.

page 512.

     I wasn’t big and I wasn’t ‘in’.  I always found a locker in the first bay where I would only have to shove my way past one locker end.  Many boys were passing through puberty this early.  I did not enter puberty until the end of the seventh grade.  Thus incipient homosexuality was rearing it ugly head.  Boner Law and some few others were homosexuals, along with, I might add, Pennydreamer.

     In those days there were many forbidden topics.  There were still some few girls who modestly admitted to lower limbs rather than legs.  It was still considered improper to use the world sweat in proper company.  Perspire was the accepted word.  Thus homosexuality was not discussed as a topic either in the home or in magazines and newspapers.  Furthermore I never heard the word homosexual used; it was always ‘queer.’

     There was no one who was blatantly queer.  There were very few effeminate men.  Just like in the armed forces the toughest acting guys were usually queer.  Homosexuality had to be carefully concealed.  Thus it is quite possible that in the seventh grade Law and his friends didn’t even know their horseplay was homosexual stirring.

page 513.

     I never liked horseplay.  I had no inclination to wrestle nude in the showers.  If one failed the horseplay test, of course, the torment of the shower was exquisite.  I could hear them calling me to come take a shower.  I was not aware of it but they planned to haze me unmercifully until I submitted, but Green Gage who was lockered next to me said:  ‘Don’t do it.’

     I understood him.  I didn’t know the tricks or ropes yet but I intuited them.  I knew that the game was still:  I lose, they win.  I could hear the towels snapping.  If I went in and broke down I would be completely humiliated and totally defeated.  I would either have to submit as having defamed myself or be an object of contempt.  I wasn’t aware that Louis Schriver, who had been present at my rape had told that story so I would probably have been a dead duck.

     If I had survived the towel snapping and taken it in good form, I would have come back the next day and begun snapping them.  At that point they would have derided me for childish behavior and called Pennydreamer to reprimand me as a troublemaker.  Pennydreamer had short eyes.  I didn’t want to stand there in the buff before him.

     The same would have happened if I tried to defend myself and maybe defeated them.  There was no way to win.

     ‘You get in here too Gage.’  Came a voice.

     ‘Idon’t have to.’  He shouted back, adding as a reason, ‘I don’thave to, I’m too young to smell bad and I can take a bath at home tonight.’

     Good enough excuse for me too.  As I was leaving I heard:  ‘Yeah, well it won’t be that way in high school.  We’ll be waiting for you.’

pp. 514-515

5.

     A major change happened between grade school and junior high.  People began to be forced out.  Not only was a social caste definitely taking shape but there appeared to be targets against whom a great deal of pressure was being brought to force out of school.  What the enmities were, whether between students or between parents with the students as agents I have never been able to determine.  Some few kids never made it from grade school to junior high.  Some few were so hopelessly behind, either from neglect or lack of aptitude or application that there was no reason to go on unless they had been tutored to bring them up to par.  I know that in Mrs. Murphy’s class there were a couple of kids way in the back of the class who merely sat there without instruction of any kind all year.

     I was one of the targets but a life saving neurotic distortion of reality prevented me from seeing things in their true light.  I thought there were just some people who didn’t like me.  Actually I didn’t really feel the hatred of my enemies so much as in gym or the shop classes, or at the very least I sublimated it into something else.  Aw shucks, there were people who liked me, I had friends, but in my memories their value is far outweighed by my enemies.  Whatever advantages they afforded were by far offset by the depredations of my enemies.

page 516.

     Henry Ford had made a tremendous impression on Michigan.  Not only had he revolutionized industrial capitalism but he had a significant effect on education.  Whatever he was personally, the effect on education was anti-intellectual.  People believed that he had never read a book.  People believed that he despised the liberal arts.  He actually built a school which was a sort of trade school, a tinkerer’s heaven where tools were more important than ideas.  He built an entire museum village dedicated to tools.  His lead was followed by General Motors which develped the GM Institute to train atuomobile engineers, or at least, mechanics.  Ford took students who were still of high school age whereas  GM took only high school graduates.  Ford was in Detroit.  The Valley was a GM town.  GM was God.  To go to college was the apex of Valley aspirations but to get into the GM Institute was considered a plus for a ‘working class’ boy.  The favored class almost respected the achievement.

      Consequently the school board in the Valley recognized that not all boys would be going on to college.  To prepare the failures for a useful life making things for the successes we were all required to take a series of shop classes in the seventh and eighth grades.  Metal and woodworking shops in the seventh grade and printing and mechanical drawing in the eighth.  When the Angels get through with Ford may they send him to hell for a while for having made me go through the purgatory of shops.  A man should be more careful with his reputation and not endorse every silly idea that comes into his head.  Soybeans were bad enough.

page 517.

     In the academic classes we were insulated by having our own seats.  In shop we had to commingle nearly as much as in gym.  Every effort was made to discredit those of us who were targets.  We were hampered in the use of tools and materials, our work was interfered with or defaced or mutilated when possible and we were made to appear as incompetent as possible.  Metal shop was taken the first semester.  I had no aptitude for it nor did I wish to acquire any.  My work was perfunctory to say the least.  Still I smuggled a B out somehow.

     I quickly learned to work with an eye over my shoulder to minimize sabotage of my work.  I also realized that the teachers knew what boys were and made allowances for the harassed.  This must have been true or I couldn’t have gotten a B.  My stuff made even me laugh.

     One of the targets was driven out of school during metal shop.  I was unaware of the deeper implications of the behavior of the elite groups, ignorant of the layers of animosity.  I don’t know what Dubscek may have done; probably nothing, in the sense that I had done nothing.  I was aware that Jerry Dubscek was harassed as much as I was.  In metal class the school had to provide the tools.  The tools were kept in a wire cage to the side of the instructor’s office.  The job of toolkeeper was passed around to different students on a weekly basis.  The Eloy wanted to establish the notion that they were better of more competent than the ‘lower classes.’  Thus when they were in charge of the cage they all cooperated to make sure it was run properly.  The rest of us were thankful that there was peace.  When one of their favorites was in charge they didn’t harass him.

page 518.

     Most of us were in shop because we had to be, not because we liked it.  We did what we had to do and left.  We had no interest in disturbing tranquility.

     For some reason my name never came up as toolkeeper.  But when Jerry Dubscek  put in his week, his tenantcy was used against him so successfully that he was suspended from school.  The toolkeeper dispensed the tools, kept track of them and made sure they were returned at class end.  If tools were missing, the toolkeeper hadn’t done his job.  Most of us minded our business but members of the Eloy marched into Dubscek’s cage to remove tools rather than checking them out through Dubscek.  Dubscek was zealous, besides he knew the Eloy didn’t like him and reciprocated.

     The Eloy, like all elites, acted like the rules didn’t apply to them.  Dubscek defended his turf.  He could expect little or no help from us.  He was harassed for two or three days before he, quite justifiably but unadvisedly, lost his temper.  An Eloy burst into the cage in the officious manner of a nerd, seized a hacksaw, which he had no intention of returning, and turned to leave.  Decker grabbed his arm, the Eloy tore loose and left the cage, barking an insult at Dubscek in the process.  Dubscek grabbed a wrench and menaced the Eloy.  the hackswas was quickly taken by another Eloy while the first threw up his hands in supplication shouting: ‘Help, help.  I’m being attacked by a madman.’

page 519.

     By the time the teacher came out of his office the hacksaw was back on the hook while Decker was still standing  with the wrench raised.  This was a very serious looking menace which couldn’t escape a severe reprimand.  Some of us offered an explanation.  The Eloy naturally called us liars.  We reciprocated.  The evidence of Dubscek’s hostility remained a fact.  How can any judge possibly understand the circumstances when he wasn’t there.  They must make their decisions on appearances.  They must make their decisions upon characters as they appear to them.  The Eloy all came from ‘good families.’  Jerry Dubscek didn’t.  He was expelled for a week and never came back.  The Eloy all patted themselves on the back for a job well done.  The lesson sank into my wondering mind.

     The Eloy had not counted on the fact that they were establishing a reputation among us.  We began to become wary of them.  Thus no matter how wealthy their fathers were they became a mere clique, to be avoided but worthy of no serious respect.  They failed as leaders if that had been their intent.

page 520.

     The Eloy were elated by their success in having embarrassed  Jerry Dubscek in metal class and having actually driven him from school.  this success convinced them both of their ability and their virtue.  In their eyes Dubscek had been dumb enough to fall for an old trick and he had admitted his inferiority by not coming back to school.  they now concentrated their thoughts once again on me.  I had neither submitted to them nor had they been able to prove my inferiority.  They knew they had cheated in the wrestling match.

     The fall had been metal shop, the spring semester was devoted to wood shop.  Wood shop was taught by Mr. Murphy, the husband of Mrs. Murphy of the sixth grade at Robinson.  He had much experience with boys.  He divided his classroom into quadrants with his desk occupying the pivotal position in the center so that he could keep track of everyone at once.  Each quadrant was occupied by cliques or groups of friends to old down quarreling.  Michael Hirsh, Boner Law, Lous Shriver and the Eloy occupied the left front quadrant.  The back wall was occupied by two other groups, while I was in the right front corner with boys who were unafilliated.  Ward Sonderman was in my group.

     As we filed into class Boner Law hissed to watch out because I was next after Decker.  The Eloy clique sat giving me many malevolent looks.  It was as though I dominated their entire attention.  Word was spread that I was a target.  As all the groups were subordinate to the Eloy they looked on with excited anticipation to see what would happen.

page 521.

     Mr. Murphy explained his procedure.  We were each to select a project on which we would work all semester long.  Our entire grade would depend on the project.  He also explained that no one would fail, a D would be the lowest grade.  I heaved a sigh of relief because I hated woodworking.  I had done no work at home, my hands had never even held tools before metal shop.  Many of the boys were already fairly capable craftsmen.

      My natural disposition would have been enough of a handicap if it had not been reinforced when Boner Law informed me that even if they couldn’t hinder me while I was working, which they couldn’t because of the way Mr. Murphy arranged the room, they would damage my project before it was presented for a grade.

     There was no use arguing with them.  They were going to try to make me conform to their low opinion of me.  If I got a D that would demonstrate my innate inferiority, thus proving their thesis.  My dilemma overwhelmed me.  Even if I did excellent work, for which I had neither inclination or training, it would be destroyed.  I was in a veritable quandary.

    Many of the boys selected very complex projects.  Some bit off more than they could chew, but the level of achievement was astonishingly high.  I chose the simplest project there was.  A mere silhouette of a cat cut from plywood with a triangle of wood at the back to make it a doorstop.

     I foolishly didn’t try to excel.  I should have realized that if I had shown a superior piece of workmanship that had been deliberately disfigured that the onus probably would not have been on me.  Besides I was to set my own grade.

page 522.

     My mind was not so unclouded.  I wasted the entire semester dinking around or inspecting everyone elses work.  Everyone ribbed me for not minding my own business, several chid me in kindly fashion to get to work.  the specter of the Eloy was always at my back but that was no real excuse.

     Now the moment of truth had arrived.  The semester was over.  We all sat with our projects in our hands waiting to be graded.  All of a sudden the folly of my behavior hit me.  I sat in my chair looking down at my pitiful effort.  Ward Sonderman had made a magnificent box.  He had constructed it with wooden pegs instead of nails.  It was sanded smooth, stained impeccably and shellaced and polished ot perfection.  I glanced around at the the work of the other boys.  My project wasn’t even worthy of presentation for a grade.  I realized shame but now I was beyond hope.

     My cutting was sloppy, the wood was very nearly unsanded, the stain was uneven and the finsh was virtually nonexistent.  I hadn’t thought to sand and shellac the little triangle of wood nailed to the back.  I looked out the window, trembled and began to curse myself.  I knew Murphy wouldn’t give me an F, he had already said he wouldn’at flunk anyone, but Hirsh, Law, Shriver and the rest would have a field day at my expense.  I didn’t see how I could escape a D.

     I tucked my hands up under my armpits, knitted my brow, stretched out my legs to await the inevitable, when what did my wondering ears hear.  It was Mr. Murphy.  He was saying that he was going to award self drading.  He was going to give us whatever grade we thought our time had been worth.  I had actually forgotten that he had told us this at the beginning but then he hadn’t said ‘what we thought our time was worth.   That was a different story.  Wasn’t God good to me!

page 523.

     I looked down at my project.  My project was only worth throwing in the trash.  I didn’t try to fool myslef.  But I also thought of the pain and suffering of enduring shop.  Murphy hadn’t said the grade our project merited, he had said what out time was worth.

     I looked at Sonderman’s magnificent creation which he was turning over and over in ;his hands, studying it as though he were trying to find a way out.  I looked at Ward and wondered.  He considered himself elite and yet he, like me, was an unafilliated loner.  What might have happened to him to put him in that box.  I asked him what grade he was going to ask.  I was incredulous when he said a C.  ‘Oh no, Sonderman, oh no.  That box is terrific.  That’s beautiful, don’t ask for anything less than an A.’

     He gave me a contemptuous look which told me that my opinion meant nothing to him and to mind my own business.  Incredibly Sonderman asked for a C and got it.  Now, I really thought everyone but me had done terrific work.  I was pretty impressed, but student after student asked for no more than a B, most settled for a C.  Some were even so stupid that asked for and got a D.  Mr. Murphy raised some but lowered none.

     Law had taken a C, Shriver the same while Michael Hirsh asked only for a B.  I was last to be called up.  I had been wrestling with the problem of the proper grade to ask for while the others presented teir great projects for As Bs and Cs.  I looked closely at my miserable production Unsympathetic and gloating eyes were fixed on me as I rose to present my thing to Mr. Murphey when my name was called.  It was eithr an A or a B.  I had thought hard about it.  He hadn’t lowered anyboyd so I though I could definitely get away with a B.  Then I though about how the creeps had damaged my project in metal meaing I had wasted valuable time there.  My time was worth a lot.  More than any stupid A.  I thought he might stick at the A but when you ain’t got nothin’ you got nothin’ to lose.  If he gave me the A I knew  the Eloy would be after me.  They were already after me. 

     ‘Well, Greham, what grade was your time worth?’  Murphy asked turning my wretched project over and around with disdain evident on his face.

    ‘An A.’  I shot back firmly and without hesitation.

     Mr. Murphy gasped, while an audible hum of dismay arose around me.

     Mr. Murphy scrutinized me closely.  ‘An A?’  He said.

     ‘Yes sir, it’s an A.’  I replied firmly.

     For some reason Murphy held the cat up to show the Eloy clique.

     ‘He thinks this is worth an A.’  He said disparagingly.

      The Eloy were on their feet leaning toward Murphy’s chair in the center of the room with his back toward them.  There was dead silence as all the boys held their breath in anticiaption of Murphy’s rejecting my absurd claim.

     Murphy gave me a wondering look and siad:  ‘Alright then, I diad I’d give you the grade you asked for; an A it is.’

page 525.

     Well, alright them.  I got out of that hole with an A.  Boner Law nearly lost it while the other Eloy stood up denouncing me, gesticulating wildly.  Others stared at me in disbelief, the quality of my project was no secret.

     ‘You’ve got a lot of nerve, Gresham.’  Sonderman said as I sat back down.  ‘That cat isn’t worth an A.  How could you get two grades better than me when my work is so much better?  He snarled contemptuously.

     ‘Sonderman,’ I said patiently, ‘your box was worth an A.  I told you so.  Murphy said he would give us any grade we asked for.  If you undervalued your work don’t blame me.  I know my project wasn’t A quality but the time I had to waste in this class was worth an A.  The way I see it an A was the best I could get.’

     Sonderman met my explanation with rage, pushig me away from him.  Others who had heard me set up howls of derision.

     ‘You all know what you’re worth too.’  I turned and said to them.

     I made similar answers to others while out of the corner of my eye I saw the Eloy fuming.  Their disappointment was boundless.  They thought that my humiliation would be complete and total.  I had denied them their vindication.  they would have to continue to walk in shame.

      They were waiting for me to leave.  I didn’t know what they wanted but I didn’t want to find out either.  I had to dodge around a couple of guys ahead of me when I heard Law sulpurously say:  ‘Hey. Hey, just hold on for one second, Gresham.  We want to talk to you.’

page 526.

     ‘Yeah, well I don’t anything to say to you , Law.’  I replied.  I made the mistake of turning around to say it.

      Law and Eloy rushed up against me, slamming me with a loud bang into the lockers.

     Law was livid.  He was really disappointed.  He had taken a C but he had anticipated me getting an F.  He had counted on it even though Murphy had said that he wouldn’t give less than a D.  His day, his whole semester had been predicated on my failing.  He hadn’t liked the way I had talked to him when he had refereed my wrestling match.  He had planned a whole string of insults for me, now.  His disappointment was deep and bitter.  The way he saw it, I had cheated him of just retribution.

     He was raging both internally to himself and externally through posture and gestures to his clique of Eloy.  Yet my offence, apart from thwarting his expectations was unclear to him.  He had no convenient handle to seize.

     ‘Hey, Gresham, you didn’t get what you deserved in there.  You cheat.;  He deplored.

     He and the other Eloy crowded around me pressing me up against the lockers.  Michael Hirsh hung sullenly back, his head held down.  Many of the other boys stood around to watch what was happening.  I was indignant.  These guys had said that no matter what they were going to disfigure my project so that I wouldn’t be able to get a good grade, now they had just retribution in my eyes.  My indignation weakened by a certain petulance which had been bred in my by denial.

     ”Yeah, I know.’  I asserted.  ‘I deserven an A just for being in the same class with you jerks.  You got what you deserved and you asked for it.’

     My answer flabbergasted not only Law but everyone standing around who all thought they had been short changed since I got an A.

     ‘Ha…you…an A!’  Law practically screamed.  ‘You and your cat are a joke.’

     ‘It wasn’t meant as a joke,’ I said apologetically.  ‘But Murphy didn’t say what our work was worth, he said what our time and effort was worth.  My time and effort were worth an A an I got it.  My craftmanship in my project didn’t deserve a grade, but that isn’t what he said.  You got the grade you asked for your time, you know what time is worth and I agree with you.  Personally I think you got more than you deserved.’  I thought this was a very accurage explanation if an explanation was called for.

     ‘Yeah, well, I’m telling, you cheated, Gresham…’

     ‘Watch who you’re calling a cheat Law.  You guys’ , meaning the Eloy, ‘said you were going to damage my project so I couldn’t get a good grade and you got Dubscek thrown out of school last semester just because you’re jerks.  You cheated me when I was wrestling with Cahallan.  So think twice before you guys call anyone esle a cheat.’

     An emphatic cry of ‘That’s right.’ came from the crowd behind the Eloy followed by a couple of ‘Yeahs.’

page 528.

     Law heard and looking over his shoulder thought he had a better reply:  ‘Decker was crazy.  You saw how he went after Sid with that wrench.’  A groan from behind.

     ‘I saw how you guys violated his duty and forced him to defend it.  I saw how you put the hacksaw back and made it look like he was attacking Cohen for no reason.  Lie all you want Law, but tell it to someone who doesn’t know.  Tell it to the judge.

     The same voice which now took on a threatening tone said ‘Yeah, that’s right Law.’  Followed by another couple of ‘Yeahs.’

     I was bounced off the lockers again but Law’s attention was behind him, it was a though his eyes were trying to look around his head without turning it.  Perhaps Law and the others really didn’t think they had set Dubscek up; maybe they justified themselves in the manner that Dubscek just kidn’t know how to play the game.  But, in the manner of a judge that weighs the appearance of the parties before him rather than the evidence, Law weighed the antipathy against him because of the Eloy’s treatment of Dubscek against his antagonism toward me.  In like manner he refused to answer me in the spirit but switched to the letter:  ‘Your project was a piece of trash and didn’t deserve an A.’

      This was greeted by a universal ‘Hear, hear.’  A lone voice straggled in comically; ‘Shoot, if I had known it was that easy I’d a got an A.’

     Everybody looked around to see who spoke.  As they did so I pushed through the Eloy to escape.

page 529.

     ‘You should have. ‘  I said making the mistake of insulting everyone instead of just Law and the Eloy.  ‘If you guys were too stupid to ask for better grades, which Murphy told you he was going to give, you’ve got nobody to blame but yourselves.  You’re all stupid.’

     I turned to walk off as boys who might have been my allies but for my imprudence said:  ‘Hey, did you hear what he just said.  He thinks we’re all stupid.’

     As I increased the distance a ‘You stik, Gresham.’  flowed around me, probably from Law, maybe even Hirsh, or another of the Eloy.  It was a barb that stuck in my back.  I shot another ‘Oh hea, Well, I’m not stupid.’ over my shoulder which stuck in their breasts and which they would never forgive nor forget.

     It had been a painful experience, another that I suppressed immediately.  I was developing the habit of suppressing whatever was painful to me.  I not only suppressed incidents but the memory of all the people involved.  As I walked away I forgot everyting.  When I next saw Law I wouldn’t know him.  I would know that he was a bad guy, or in other words, that I didn’t like him, but I wouldn’t recognize him as Boner Law, nor would I speak to him.  As Law and the Eloy believed themselves better than me, they wouldn’t speak first, thus I ignored them and they viewed me with contempt.

     What they considered my effrontery of getting an A became a topic of converstaion among them all summer long.  They had only a vague notion of why they hated me before, but wood shop gave them a fresh cause.  this incident had the effect of  unifying the Longfellow, Robinson and Cub Scout elements.  Life would be tougher next year.

pp 530-531.

    6.

Wising Up The Guys- Crime In America

     I have a difficult time reconciling the commonly held belief that the fifties were a placid boring time with my own experiences of living through the period.  There was so much happening, so fast, it was incredible.  Change was then and everywhere.  American has never been static, never been placid.  the developments of technology have always gone on at a dizzying pace.  Combined with the introduction of the immigrants into Anglo-American society, the two by the fifties had completely unsettled the Old Guard.  America had moved and changed so fast that the Old Guard was forced to become reactionary.  We youth emerging into the new conditions adoped, assimilated and homogenized all the technological and ethnic influence that we were subject to into something which the Old Guard had never seen; a people blended from the all the strains of immigration.  The America they had known slipped right out from beneath their feet.

page 532.

     Unable to assert themselves against the immigrant natinalities and the rebelling Negroe they would turn their wrath against we youth and the American culture the Old Guard had created but couldn’t understand.

     The decade in the minds of most people is represented by a strict conformity. the buttoned down, grey flannel mind.  Diversity was not encouraged.  On the surface there may be some truth to this; nevertheless it is also true that that is what we wanted but couldn’t have.  We all wanted to balance differences with the need to be alike.  But those who wanted to be different feared the reaction, so they accommodated themselves to the prejudices of the time.  So what’s different?  Those prejudices were much less severe than those associated with the current form of conformity or orthodoxy called Political Correctness.  We had much greater freedom of conscience.  Censorship was much less employed than it is currently.

     After 1953, short hair, the Crew Cut, was de riguer.  If you had hair long enough to comb it took real courage, even obtuseness, to wear it that way.  Most didn’t have that kind of courage or obtuseness.  A compromise called the Duck-tail was worked out where the top was cut flat while the sides were very long, combed back and parted down the middle of the back of the head.  This style was worn by rebels, or generally considered of the hoodlum class.

page 533.

     The urge to conformity was partly due to the Communist menace.  No one wanted to be suspected of being disloyal.  Mainly though, conformity was the result of immigration.  No one wanted to display national differences.  No one wanted to be identified as an immigrant’s son.  Poles, Italians, Jews, Germans, Eastern Europeans, those from Dixie, all looked, dressed, talked, thought and acted alike.  On the surface of course.

     Beneath the surface the old differences were forcing their way to the top.  Cultural influences were varied and strong but at this time all differences were submerged beneath a surface conformity.  Several kid I knew with long or hard to  pronounce names had them shortened to avoid national identification.

     We youths were the wave of a possible future; our fathers and grandfathers were still fighting the immigrant wars.

     Of the immigrants, anyone born in 1890 to 1900 was still a man of only fifty or sixty; a whole immigrant generation familiar with and constantly reliving their European heritage and immigrant experience.  They fought to impose themselves and their beliefs on their new environment.  Some promoted the view that immigrants built America; a great many were trying to impose themselves in other more irregular ways.

     During the winter of 1950 and the spring and summer of 1951 Senator Estes Kefauver conducted his sensational  senate hearing on crime in America.  He and his committee went from city to city putting the leading criminals on the stand for examination.  The startling thing was that these men were not just being accused of being criminals; they were prominent, known criminals operating openly as criminals.  None tried to deny it.  These hearings were broadcast in their entirety into our homes for us to witness.

page 534.

     The Warden’s hadn’t been the first on their block to put one of those funny antennas on their roof.  The block was already adopting that appearance so characteristic of the fifties when every house sported a ten foot multi-pronged aluminum mast on its roof.  Christmas 1950 a TV set appeared in the house.  The Wardens had entered the space age.

     The hearings were in every way sensational.  Skippy had always been interested in crime and criminals, so that, through him I was probably more aware of the existence of an organized crime syndicate than some others, like the FBI.  Yet even at the Children’s Home I had been made aware of the influence of crime.  Many of the fence perverts were criminals recruiting both for their sexual pleasures and for criminal accomplices.  Boys who were small enough to get through tight places.

     I once boldly asked some question about thow things were done.  The man began to explain the techniques when he suddenly realized he might be instructing the wrong person.  He turned to a couple thers and asked:  “Hey, is this guy wise?’  The others looked at me expectantly; the choice was mine.  I said that no, I wasn’t wise and didn’t want to be.  I was therefore not inducted into the criminal point of view.  The perverts thenceforth distrusted me.  Still, I was around when they regaled the others with stories of Murder, Inc.

     Thus, if the Syndicate was common knowledge along the fence it must have been common knlwledge to the authorities.  It is alleged that they were given reasons to avert their eyes.  It must have been true.  The power of the Syndicate was such that it was not officially acknowledged.  the confirmation of its existence, since it was not offically ackenowledged even after the hearings, burst like an atom bomb over America.

page 535.

     Anyone with an eye could have seen crime developing in America over the previous five decades.  Certainly criminals had not cared to conceal their intentions under Prohibition and through the thirties.  They had even left the bodies lying in the street for all to see.  The movies portrayed gangster activities and methods with a realizm that indicated intimate knowledge.  Why couldn’t the authorities with their massive spy systems  know the same things?  It is the oddest thing in the world that a labor organizer couldn’t conceal his activities for a moment, but the Communists and criminals went about undetected forever.

     Now as gangster after gangster paraded to the stand to defy, to literally give the finger to, the Committee of the Senate of the United States of America, the country seemed to be aghast at the revelation.

     Skippy and Cappy and I rushed home after school to sit spellbound before the TV.  Skippy was already familiar with a lot of the names and the gangs they represented.  He kept up a running commentary.  It seemed like all the gangsters had been operating for thirty years or more; they all appeared to be wealthy, some even fabulously wealthy.  The Committee knew them to be criminals, they didn’t deny it.  Kefauver even knew of their crimes and their methods.  Thus, the lesson was that the law had known and had done nothing or, worse yet, been unable to do anything about them.  The criminals seemed to have been protected by prominent citizens.  The criminals seemed to us to be more powerful than the law.

page 536.

     The criminals were not intimidated by Kefauver and his investigators.  They gave defiant answers in contemptuous tones    They got up and walked out when they became displeased with the proceedings.  No one tried to stop them.  We expected the police to grab them at the door and bring them back, but they didn’t; they stepped aside and let them walk out.  The three of us sat and gaped in wonder.  These were not the criminals of the comic books and movies who qualied before the G-men.  these guys had never been touched by the police and seemed to have no fear of being so.  Compared to the Senate Committee they appeared as Olympic champions to Caspar Milquetoasts.

     Further there was a racial confrontation going on.  The Committee was Anglo-Saxon natives  while the criminals were all Italian and Jewish immigrants.  The immigrants showed up pretty well against the WASPs.

     It also became apparent to me that these criminals were not good men turned bad guys because they’d gotten a few bad breaks.  These guys had a criminal philosophy; they had a criminal point of view.  They thought that we were saps and they were wise guys.  They thought that the difference between us and them was that they were in the know and we were stupid.

page 537.

     Americans were incapable of understanding the noiton of crime as a way of life.  They couldn’t understand it as alternate view of reality.  They really believed that criminals could be rehabilitated.  They were blissfully unaware of the battle between legitimate and criminal ideals that was going on.  they had no idea that their refusal to recognize the problem allowed criminal ideals to corrode legitimate ideals further every day.

     Furthermore it was and is a criminal philosophy that could be and was justified from the pages of that most Holy Bible.  The Myth of Adam and Eve could be interpreted rom more than one point of view.  The world of light and dark, good and evil, God and the Devil exist side by side in the Good Book.  The French Revolution is the crucial event through which previous history passed as though sand through the narrow part of the hour glass to be transformed into modern history.

     The French Revolution was the focal point of the great change from Medieval to modern times.  The French Revolution was the opening European volley of a much more comprehensive event known as the World Revolution.

     The World Revolution was anti-Monarchical, anti-Catholic in the narrow sense and anti-Religious in the larger sense, and anti-Social in character.  The Revolution projected a complete reorganization of society along political, religious, propery and sexual lines.  Those goals were to be undertaken irrespective of any minority wishes.  It was and is a totalitarian movement.  If and when complete the Revolution will have eliminated all distinctions of religion, rank, race, nationality, education, or, very importantly, morality.  The pre-Revolution slogan of Do What Thous Wilt, oras more recently expressed: If It Feels Good, Do It. shall be the whole of morality and the law under Revolutionary government.

page 538.

     The Revolution through 1945 was composed of many strands all leading in the same direction but with different goals.  The participants were obscurantists who sought to disguise their motives and means.  They functioned below the level of open politics hence they were secret and secretive societies.  A phase of the history of the Revolution ended with the final rounds of the European War.

     The anti-Monarchical side was successful by 1917-18 when the Czar, Kaiser and the Central European monarchies were terminated.

     The anti-Religious and anti-Social sides continue.  Catholicicm, a major target, is to a large extent neutralized.  The Protestant sects are demoralized or infiltrated.  The Stalin era of the Bolshevik Revolution demoted or attempted to demote the Jews from an exalted opinion of themselves to merely another nationality among nationalities.  thus the trend of the Revolution is to reduce all religions to inconsequence. Neither the World Revolution nor History can tolerate the concept of Semitism or anti-Semitism.  The aim of the Revolution is the ‘brotherhood’ of  men, the elimination of all distinctions into what they consider the ‘natural’ state of mankind as it existed before the first step toward civilization.

     While it will be and has been necessary for me to comment extensively on the Jews, one should not consture any comments as ‘anti-Semitism.’  As the drunken poet said:  The moving writes, and having writ moves on; nor all your piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all they tears wash out a word of it.

     What has been done, has been done.  Absolutely nothing can change it.  Sorry doesn’t count, no explanations can change the facts.  We must all stand by our actions.  I make no judgments, I take no sides.  Man is man.  It would make no matter where I to view with revulsion, it would be of no consequence to chide a lack of morality when all the participants are equally guilty.  Given the chance they will all commit the same follies again, as you will yours.  My only intent is to understand and explain how and why I am what I am and we are what we are.  As the estimable Harry Truman once repeated:  If you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen.  Close the book and walk away.

Page 54o.

A Novel

Clip 1

Far Gresham

Volume II

Youth

Tales Of The American Melting Pot

Contents

I.  The Skids Are Greased

II.  Rocket Sled To Hell

Once when I began to think about things that are and my thoughts soared exceedingly high, and my bodily senses were held down by sleep like people weighed down by overeating and weariness, I thought I saw a being of vast and boundless magnitude coming toward me, who called me by name and said, “What do you wish to hear and see, to learn and know?”

“Who are you?”  I said.

“I am Poimandres,”  he said, “the mind of absolute power.  I know what you want and I am with you everywhere.”

“I want to learn about things as they are, their nature, and to know God.”  I replied.

“I know what you wish, for I am with you everywhere.  Keep in mind what you wish to learn and I will teach you.

=Hermes Trismegistus.

1.

The Meaning Of Bigotry In America

     The summer of 1950 was one of those watershed years.  I was to begin my apprenticeship to adult life.  My childhood was behind me, I was entering youth.  I had failed to make the transition from the Orphanage mentality to middle class mentality, although I was unaware of it.  The Orphanage was behind me; I existed on the periphery of society like a sperm trying to bore into the ova.  I would never be able to penetrate the shell.

     Excluded from associations I became a voracious reader.  I read the newspapers and magazines of the Warden household.  I developed an interest in politics and the American social scene as presented by mass circulation periodicals.  My world might properly be said to be constituted of their content rather than personal affiliations in the Valley.

page 460.

     A major portion of the content of these publications dealt with national identities and racial matters.  The topic is central to what is laughingly known as American civilization.  The attempt was to reconcile the great potpourri of peoples to one another in the hope of creating a unified whole.  The object was to denounce bigotry.  My mind was mystified, not so much by the term as by its application.  All of the evils denounced as bigotry were precisely the evils suffered at the Children’s Home at the hands  of Anglo-Americans and the very minorities the articles said were oppressed.

     My name was Gresham.  I had been and was being raised in Ango-American houses.  I knew my mother had been Polish but I still thought like, acted like and considered myself an Anglo-American; one of the ‘privileged’ class.  I was so thought of by my classmates.  Yet when I read of the horrors endured by ‘minorities’ I found I had experienced as bad and worse at the Children’s Home.  Yet I was expected to dismiss this treatment because I was, what later became known as a WASP.

     The magazines recounted as horror stories the inhumanity of Europeans when, early in the nineteenth century during the Hep Hep riots in Germany Jews were stoned on the streets and compelled to use alleys and sidestreets.  Yet only two or three years earlier, right here in the good old humane U.S.A., we orphans had been stoned and beaten off the streets into the alleys because those same peoples didn’t want to see us on ‘their’ streets.  Some of those people were the very Jews descendents of those who had suffered so heinously in Germany.

page 461.

     Between the wars in Poland Jewish children  had been forced to sit on separate benches along the wall.  At the beginning of the twentieth century Japanese children in San Francisco were sent to a separate school from Whites.  All this was depicted as the greatest of injustices inflicted by ignorant vicious bigots.  As I read it on my hands and knees on the floor the shock of recognition was such that I straightened up in wonderment placing my hands on my hips while staring down at the magazine in stunned awe.

     Why were these things terrible when they happened to Jews and Japanese and Negroes but dismissed when they happened to me?  Why were the people who had done these things to me not bigots?  I had stopped telling people about our having to sit along the wall at Longfellow or when we orphans had to sit on a bench at recess while the others played, for lack of sympathy.  They said I probably deserved it.  The Wardens just guffawed and said I had it coming, but they neither could nor would say why.

     A sense of indignation welled up in me.  I went to the dictionary to recheck the word bigotry.  I reread and found my original understanding correct but as I sat pondering the meaning I thought to myself:  Something is wrong here.  This isn’t really what society means by the word bigotry.  For society had turned the definition of bigot and bigotry around from a general term to a specific meaning that apparently applied to only one nationality in America- the Anglo-Americans.

     I began to wonder how that definition of bigotry came into existence in America.  the problem is one that is central to my character and for the proper understanding of my story and those involved with me.  The peculiar nature of American socity can be traced by the interaction of the various belief systems as they entered the country layer by layer.  Throughout, all the various interpretations of the Bible form the woof and warp of the fabric.  The design impinted on the fabric comes from a different souce.

     That source is the European Enlightenment.  The Enlightenment took definite shape ater 1700.  The principal streams of English immigration took place prior to that occurrence when the Bible was the strongest basis of socity.  The early English immigration came from two sources.  The Puritans emigrated from New England under pressure from the royalist side.  After Cromwell and the Puritans deposed the crown the royalists, in their turn, emigrated to Virginia where they were known as the Cavaliers.  Both were biblically oriented to the point of being theocracies.  The two groups form conflicting strands of American consciousness although both are firmly rooted in the Bible.

     Interposed between the Puritans of the North and the Cavaliers of the South was the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam which name, when the colony fell to the English was changed to New York.  Thus the pivot state of New York developed differently than the purely English colonies.

     The fact that America was founded by the English is more significant for subsequent historical development in the New World than might first appear, for a third interpreter of the Bible, the Jews, were and are a significant addition to the demographic stew of the potpourri of peoples that forms the United States.

page  463.

     On the European continent there had been perpetual enmity between Europeans and Jews for thousands of years.  When Jews first landed in New York in 1654 govenor Peter Stuyvesant wanted to refuse them permission to stay because of this age old enmity but he was overruled by his board of governors which already had significant Jewish membership.

     In England the Jews had been expelled three hundred sixty years before colonization began.  English society had been the only place in Europe that was Judenrein- in other words had no Jewish population.  Prior to 1066 there had been no Jewish community in England.  Jews came to England only in the train of William the Conqueror.  The first English encounter with the Jews was brief, violent and bloody.  The English reaction to the continental people was one of repulsion.  The rate of violence grew until the Jews, under physical attack, were expelled in 1290.

     Thus the English, unlike Europeans, had no contact with Jews for hundreds of years before the Puritans fled England.  During the first part of this long span, England, like the rest of Europe had been Catholic.  Catholicism does not encourage Bible reading, nor does it encourage individual thought or opinion.  Catholicism rules by dogmas.  Then a national church arose in England.  Coinciding with rise was the invention of the printing press with movable type.  The first book printed was both testaments of the Bible.  The Old Testament, some find it the actual world of God, became available to all who could or would read it.

page 464.

     The impact in England was immense.  The attraction of the notion of a chosen people was as glittering as gold.  Actually the notion of the English as a chose people extended back to the Arthurian epics but devoid of contact with or religious competition from the Jews, the English could fancy themselves as the actual Chosen People, the new Israelites, which they did.  A  legend developed that the English were the descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel.  While on the continent there was bitter warfare between Jews and Europeans, the English developed the notion of patriarchal Israelites.  The ‘Jew’ as the European knew him did not exist in the English consciousness.  The ‘Israelite’ took his place.

     The Jews were offcially readmitted to England by the Puritan, Cromwell, but their influence was still but lightly felt during the period of colonization.  The English took the romanticized notion of the Israelite to America.  Thus the descendants of the settlers had had no experience with Jews from 1290 to approximately 1880.

     During the first 150 years of colonization revolutionary forces were at work in England and on the continent.  A tremendous social upheaval was brewing.  The medieval world was about to disappear and modernity take its place.  There were many strands to the revolutionary forces but they were led by a combination of Freemasons and Jews, as the various anti-social strands were too anarchic to organize to begin the revolution themselves.  This was the beginning of the World Revolution of which the American and French Revolutions were only the opening volleys.

page 465.

     For obvious reasons the Jews wish to deny their participation in the World Revolution, for reasons that I cannot fathom, so do the Freemasons.   The beginnings of the World Revolution were anti-Monarchical, anti-Biblical and anti-Civilization in character.  Both Jews and Freemasons had reasons to destroy the ruling houses.  Jews attributed their suffering to them while the Freemasons were democratic in philosophy.  The hatred  the Jews felt for Catholicism no human tongue can tell.  They extended their animosity to Christianity in general.  All of their hatreds coalesced into one overriding hatred of European society.  Numerically inferior the Jews had known few triumphs in their two thousand year conflict within Europe.

     The Freemasons were not only anti-Catholic in sentiment but anti-biblical.  The Freemasons do not appear to have been active participants in the anti-Civilization aspect of the World Revolution, leaving that aspect to the Jews and other anti-Christian sects.

     The intent of the Revolution was and is to destroy monarchies as institutions and Biblical authority in general while atempting a jejune return to a ‘natural’  hetaeric organization of society.

     The pre-Revolution’s leading exponent, Voltaire, was anti-biblical, which is to say that it was impossible for him to be anti-Catholic without being anti-Jewish.  The Jews, with their peculiar sensitivity, characterize Voltaire as an anti-Semite, but this is only because they are incapable of admitting the superstitious beliefs that characterize Catholocism and Judaism stem from the same biblical source and are equally nonsensical.

page 466.

     The European Enlightenment was anti-biblical not just anti-Christian.  Its goal was tolerance of all humanity without the need for creeds.  No reasonable man has ever been in favor of intolerant creeds.

     An imitative Jewish enlightenment, breaking up medieval Jewish attitudes, existed side by side with the European Enlightenment.  The European Enlightenment was led by the Freemasons.  Both groups were significant contributors to the American as well as the French Revolution.

     Freemasonic principles were the guiding philosophy of the American Revolution.  The ideas of the European Enlightenment were enshrined in the Constitution of the United States.   Thus the presence in America of the Freemason Lafayette and the other European Freemasons was less a simple desire to help ‘oppressed’ colonists than to hammer out the first rung of the World Revolution, the establishment of the first Enlightened State in the world.  This they did.  They also established the conditions that contributed to the meaning of Bigotry in America.

     The Enlightenment was a reaction against biblical authority.  It denied all creeds.  Its notion was that all men were created equal with regard to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That is Europeans were created without distinctions of caste.  Aristocracy was a to be a thing of the past, all men were entitled to have a chance to share in the good things of the world.  Or as the anti-Civilization Revolutionaries were to nonsensically put it:  From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.  The Constitution enshrined a tolerant all-embracing belief system.  The belief system was conceived so equitably that the Americans believed that immigrants would abandon their own bigoted belief systems to embrace freedom and liberty.

page 467.

     But America had divorced itself from a realistic appreciation of  European belief systems.  All belief systems with the exception of the Freemasonic/American must of necessity be intolerant and bigoted.  Each of the belief systems believes itself in possession of absolute truth, which means of necessity, that all other belief systems are false and pernicious.  Thus there was no little irony when the invading European belief systems labeled the enlightened Americans as bigots for resisting their attempts to re-impose their belief systems in the New World.

     In Europe the Freemasons had been anathematized by the Catholic Church.  From Catholicism’s point of view, held with great accuracy, the Freemasons sought the destruction of the Catholic Church.  Early immigration to America had come from the dissidents to Catholicism.  Those Protestants came at a time when there was sharp discord between the two belief systems.  Masonic ideals had subsequently permeated American Protestantism very thoroughly.  The Masonic order in American was larger than any church, but, for some reason, semi-clandestine.  It was a secret society.

     After 1800, immigration to the new United States was largely from Catholic countries.  Catholicism, directed from Rome, retained its anti-Masonic strictures.  Thus incoming Catholics were forbidden to become Masons.  The Masons were perfectly willing to accept Catholics, contrary to popular belief, but received no applications.  Thus a dichotomy was created not by bigoted Americans but by bigoted Catholicism. Catholics formed their own Knights Of Columbus lodges.

     The Catholic Irish came in their millions.  In addition to their ardent Catholicism the Irish held a centuries old antagonism to the English and things English.  They did not embrace Enlightened attitudes the moment they set foot on American shores;  indeed they perpetuated both antagonisms in America.  A conservative reaction sprang up which was overruled by the spirit of the Freemasonic Englightenment.  In an absolutely stunning turnaround the dissident Americans were labeled bigots while the great oppressor of freedom in Europe, the Catholic church, was considered liberal.

     Wow!  Catholicism is not tolerant, nor can it ever afford to be.  If it or any other belief system is to survive or conquer it must suppress all others.  Catholicism is an international organization centered in Rome. It, in fact, was the counter-revolution incarnate.  The incipient World Revolution, with its anti-religious bias, had no greater enemy.  Catholicism could not be expected to be any more tolerant of Freemasonry in the New World than it was in the Old; nor could Freemasonry cease its antagonism to its arch-enemy Catholicism.

page 469.

     This fact was recognized by intelligent Americans and a resistance was put up to what was, in effect, the Catholic invasion of America when placed within the proper historical context.

     In Europe the Enlightenment considered Catholicism the mother of bigotry.  Voltaire’s cry had been to crush the monster- Ecrasez l’ infame.  A casual reading of the literature of the nineteenth century America demonstrates that Catholicism’s intent was to impose its belief system, yet Catholicism was able to portray Americans as bigots.

     The tolerance, or lack of separation into creeds, of the Masonic belief system was turned back on it as wave after wave of intolerant belief systems entered America to demand recognition of their creed in preference to all others.  When Americans attempted to proffer their own Enlightened belief system they were pushed back as bigots.  The Americans took their beliefs as granted.  The immigrants knew what they believed while the Americans were hazy on their own.  Americans began backpeddling and have continued to do so to this very day.

     A faction of the anti-Social wing of the World Revolution had developed into Socialism and from thence through Karl Marx into Communism.  After the abortive 1848 rising of the World Revolution Socialists and Communists fled Europe for the United States bringing their intolerant anti-Civilization creeds with them.  Thus an antagonism was created that was to last for a hundred fifty years into the present as Socialists, Communists and Americans fought it out.  The anti-Civilization creeds were so antagonistic to American beliefs that no accommodation was possible on the part of the Americans; they would not backpeddle for the anti-Civilization revolutionists.  Communism was compelled to give way, yet even this most intolerant of belief systems continued to portray Americans as bigots.

——————–

 page 470.

     The great fallacy of immigration is that the immigrants came to America in search of religious freedom.  This notion was especially fostered by the examples of the Puritans and Quakers but has little application to subsequent immigration.  I have little sympathy for political dissidents.  Oppression is part of the human makeup; only weaklings flee.  Almost all of the later immigration was made up of political dissidents or those seeking greater economic opportunity.

     The country was sparsely inhabited.  Economic resources appeared to be inexhaustible.  In order to get at and turn these potential riches into money faster the finance capitalists actively recruited laborers overseas.  These laborers were exploited ruthlessly although millions returned home with their savings to live among their nationals in comfort.

     Foremost among the birds of passage were the Italians.  Italy, which was and is a poor country, had been unable to support its population for some time.  Throughout the nineteenth century Italian labor had migrated into Europe to work for the season while wintering in the South.  With the advent of steamships, which provided speedy, reliable, safe ocean travel, the Italians extended their migratory routes to Argentina and South America and then to the United States and Canada toward the end of the nineteenth century.  Of the Italian immigrants entering the United States about half as many returned each year as arrived.  Many came and went on a seasonal basis.

page 471.

     It was not their intent to abandon either their Italian nationality or culture.  Nor was it Italy’s intent to abandon them.  The Italian governments made strong efforts to maintain the Italian identity of their migrants.  Italian governments made efforts to interfere in American affairs to protect and guide their nationals.  The ties were close; Italian men were drafted from American shores to serve in the Italian army during the Great War.  Indeed, Mussolini attempted to return disabled Italian soldiers to the United States for medical care.  The Fascist government of Mussolini itself attempted to preserve Italian citizenship and identity of the migrants through the twenties and thirties.  Most Italians didn’t reconcile themselves to the United States until after the end of WWII, that is the late forties.

     Generally speaking the North European immigrants were absorbed with less difficulty than the South and East Europeans but this too is much exaggerated.  No serious attempt to Americanize the immigrants occurred until the Great War forced Americans to evaluate the nature of immigration.  They were appalled to suddenly discover that the immigrants had not discarded their European beliefs and wholeheartedly embraced American ideals.  The Irish and Germans came over in the millions.  So many that great colonies could be established that not only allowed the preservation  of the culture but retarded development along American lines.  In 1920 Chicago had the sixth largest urban population of Germans in either Germany or America.

page 472.

     As the Germans arrived in large numbers during the 1840s, 50s and 60s there was talk of forming a German State somewhere in America, perhaps Missouri.  Germans, with the pride of language, steadfastly refused to learn English and abandon German.

     But the people who were to most profoundly change the basis of American society came from nowhere and everywhere.  They were an international people who had interposed their creed wherever they settled while refusing to assimilate with anyone.  They were the Jews.  Their European background was very complex and must be examined in some detail because no other nationality is surrounded with such a halo of protective prejudices that prevents objective examination.

     Their history and cuture developed in slightly different manners depending upon the culture in which it was embedded.  At the time of the French Revolution they had only recently been readmitted into England while still being officially forbidden France, Spain and Portugal.  Many of the German principalities excluded them also.  Where they did live in Germany they existed on sufferance.  Yet it was these German Jews that were to bring the Jews of the East from the Middle Ages.

     The great body of Jewry resided in the East, in Poland, Lithuania, the Ukraine and the Eastern provinces of the Austrian Empire.  These were called Ostjuden by their fellows.  The Eastern Jews or the Russian Jews of the Pale of the Settlement.

page 473.

     There was a basic incompatibility between the belief systems of the Jews and the Europeans.  It is wrong to assume, as we have all been taught, that the Jews were the innocent victims of the Europeans.  The Jews have never been innocent victims.  The incompatibility does not mean that the Europeans were at fault.  It means that both belief systems where strongly held and they were incompatible.  However as the Jews were pitiably few in number they had been the chief sufferers, although not moreso than the general European populace.  Jews were never Serfs, which is say slaves, as were the native Europeans.  Western Europe had been very inhospitable to the Jews.  The Jews had been expelled from England, France, Spain and Portugal.  Their lot in Germany had been trying.

     During the tribulationsof the Middle Ages large numbers had drifted East into the Polish-Lithuanian kingdom.  They had been stopped at the door of Great Russia.  Thus the main body of European Jewry lived in that vast relatively unpopulated area that would be institutionalized as the Pale of Settlement after the Russian conquest of the eighteenth century.

     A semi-autonomous Jewish nation had grown up with the loosely administered state of the Poles.  The Polish State at that time included Lithuania, White Russia and the Ukraine.  The Jews were allied with, or under the tutelage of the Poles.  Yet they had an independent existence with their own language, their own courts and their own religion.  Many towns were wholly Jewish while others were predominantly so.

     Jewish religion may be found developed in its purest state among the Ostjuden.  There it developed and there it remained at or below the intellectual level of the Medieval Catholic Church even as the Ostjuden emigrated to the United States.  As the German Jews abandoned the medieval concept of Judaism for the Jewish Enlightenment, the Ostjuden became a source of social embarrassment to them.  Yet, the Ostjuden rose above the German Jews in the United States to become the guardians and propagators of the true Jewish spirit.

page 474.

     The Russian State coalesced only in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; but it came together with enormous expansive force.  The Russians moved with amazing rapidity East across Siberia, into Alaska and even establishing an outpost in California above San Francisco on what is known as the Russian River.  They conquered South into Central Asia and the shores of the Black Sea, West into Polish Europe, North to the White Sea.  Just as the English had had an unfavorable encounter with the Jews, so had the Russians.   Thus the Russians closed off their State to the Jews almost before the State was formed.  They had rigidly enforced the ban.  However, as they expanded Westward across White Russia into Poland the Russians acquired the largest body of Jews in the world.

     The Jews had been semi-independent; they now became, along with the Poles and numerous other nations a conquered people.  One must not confuse the Jewish conflict in Russia as solely a religious difference.  The Jews are incapable of accepting the government of any other nation.  Being the ‘Chosen People’ means that they are subject only to God and they contest that.  They can never submit to any other government.  The assertion is repeated over and over in Jewish historians from Josephus to the present.  There is nothing more fundamental to the Jewish character.  As the Poles were both Poles and Roman Catholics as opposed to the Russians and their Eastern Orthodox religion, so the Jews were a national group practicing Judaism.  The Jews were thus a Stateless nation.  The Russians wished to impose cultural uniformity on their newly acquired dominions.  Among others the Poles and Jews rejected Russian cultural supremacy but the Poles had a national territory for security while the Jews were distributed throughout the Russian Empire, now including Great Russia, as an exclusive people.

     The Russians were intolerantly of the Russian Orthodox system, the Poles were of the intolerant Roman Catholic belief system, and the Jews were intolerantly Jewish.  None had any special claim, other than might, to assert the dignity of their belief system over the others; all wished to survive and rule.  There was absolutely no room for discussion or compromise.  One belief system or the other must prevail.  The prospects of the Russians appeared best; the Poles might expect to recover their independence; the plight of the Jews appeared hopeless.  Yet it is to be noted that by 1917 the Jews had wiped the name of Russia from the map.

     The antagonism between the Russians and the Jews began slowly after the conquest until the warfare took definite form after the assassination of the Czar in 1881.  The Jewish situation was somewhat analogous to that of the Huns in Euorpe after their leader Atilla died.  The Huns could no longer hold their own against the Europeans.  Unlike the Jews who were trapped with no apparent retreat open to them the Huns retreated back into the steppes to accept their fate there.

page 476.

     The Jews had no place to go in Europe where they were welcome.  But, by the late nineteenth century, the developing nations of the New World, from Argentina to Canada, opened their areas to receive them so that a retreat opened to them in those countries.

     Immense Jewish fortunes had been made in Europe in the wake of the French Revolution; these fortunes were now enlisted to assist the Ostjuden in their flight from the Pale of the Settlement.

     Thus this essentially primitive people, steeped only in the inane knowledge of the Talmud, increasingly radicalized and made vicious by their war with Russia, which had been transmuted in their minds to a personal struggle between the Czar and themselves, were dumped on the United States where they formed numerous and large colonies.

     Through the centuries, as a semi-autonomous people the Ostjuden had lived in constant friction with the surrounding peoples.  The tradition of hositility combined with their own intolerant religious temperament had formed a character charged with resentment, hatred, fear and the need to assert the dignity promised them by their God of the Bible.  They had acquired a curious mixture of arrogance and servility.

     While the German Jews immigrating to America in the nineteenth century had been more cosmopolitan in outlook and had migrated throughout the United States the Ostjuden conditioned by fear of their neighbors tended to huddle as it were on the very beach on which they had landed.  They initially huddled on the Lower East Side of New York City, a mere few steps from their landing.

page 477.

     Contrary to popular understanding, conditions in the New World did not create the Jewish mentality in New York.  The Ostjuden brought thier own customs and habits from the Old Country and merely adapted them to their new environment until their appreciation of their new situation began to act as a solvent.

     The crowding together in the New World was merely a duplication of the crowding of the old.  In the Pale a room was often divided into corners.  A family, that’s right, a family inhabited each corner, or quarter, of the room; hence the expression:  He hasn’t got a corner to call his own.  As the Ostjuden came in their millions they literally piled up in stacks in the few blocks of the Jewish quarter until their quarter had the highest population density in the world.  The crowding was not imposed on them by conditions in America but was a mere continuation of Jewish customs in the Pale of the Settlement.

     The Jews in the Pale had a very highly developed political organization which operated both openly and clandestinely.  This organization was transported whole and entire to the United States.  It should always be remembered that the Jews did not emigrate individually but as a nation.  The efficiency of the national organization was further abetted by the German Jews, who, in effect, had been pioneers for the Ostjuden.  The German Jews had been in the United States long enough to have acquired considerable fortunes, although nothing like the Jewish fortunes in Europe; these fortunes were now turned to assist the Ostjuden in establishing themselves in America.

page 478.

     The readymade clothing industry that developed after the advent of the sewing machine had been the province of the German Jews.  From 1880 to 1920 the industry was a fabulous growth industry as people switched from homemade to store bought clothing.  The Ostjuden were now absorbed into this huge and growing industry to the exclusion of other peoples; the industry became an autonomous Jewish national economic system.

     America, regardless of the condition of unskilled laborers, was a very prosperous country.  Money was to be made easily by anyone with a will.  The Ostjuden quickly acquired the means to oust their erstwhile advisors, the German Jews, from the garment trades.  They bought the tenements the Ostjuden lived in; they developed Brooklyn.  At no time were the Jews exploited by Anglo-Americans, as is commonly supposed, the Jews were only exploited by each other from their entry into the United States.

     Because of their experiences with the Russians, the Jews in America were both aggressive and very sensitive to conflict with others.  Always bear in mind that the Jews consider themselves subject only to their God.  They can never nor will they ever give allegiance to any other government.  As God, or Jehovah, does not exist, this is tantamount to saying that the Jews consider themselves an Imperial people superior to all others.  They could not conceive of the American government in any other terms than the ones in which they conceived the Russian government.  The American government was unconcerned with Jewish nationality hence Jewish autonomy was established immediately on arrival.  Hence a host of ‘defense’ organizations, analogous to the Jewish Brotherhoods of Russia, sprang into existence as soon as their numbers justified them.  The Jews believe that a good offense is the best defense, hence they tend to confuse aggression and defense.  They consider an unprovoked attack on a potential enemy as a pre-emptive measure.  In other words, if you treat a neighbor as a potiential enemy and eliminate him before he realizes that you are his enemy and has a chance to defend himself, that is a pre-emptive strike.

     As they put it, one must build a fence around Torah.  In the defense of the Law the fence is pushed further away from Torah to provide greater security.  During the approach of the European War, for instance, Franklin Delano Roosevelt first pushed the three mile ocean limit to twelve miles, then a thousand miles. Next American territorial waters were pushed out to Iceland; then Roosevelt issued orders to shoot at German vessels on sight.  All this was during peacetime without a declaration of war.  It was even said that America’s frontier with Germany was on the Rhine, definitely Jewish influence in the White House.  This frontier might have created some problems as it incorporated England, France, Holland and part of Germany.  but the example gives the nature of what Jews mean by defense.  Offense and defense become blurred; the one becomes indistinguishable from the other.

      Henry Ford objected to this very attitude.  Many Americans feared and claimed that the Jews were unassimilable.  They were vague in the reasons for their opinion but they were absolutely correct.  The Star of David rises over all other governments in the Jewish mind.

page 480.

     The first truly successful Jewish Brotherhood in the United States was the Order of B’nai B’rith.  Freemasonry had fallen into temporary disrepute about 1828.  The Order was under great pressure.  Membership declined.  Bereft of the Masons, Jews formed B’nai B’rith in 1843 to fill the void or to keep the Jewish spirit intact.  The Order prospered and grew, by the time of the great influx of Ostjuden it was an international organization.  In 1913 it developed further when the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith was formed.

     The American Jewish Committee, which took on Henry Ford, was actually the first of the ‘defense’ organizations.  Founded in 1906, it was autocratic formed along German lines by the American German Jews.

     As the Ostjuden arrived in numbers an attempt was made to f0rm an international government centered in New York.  When the Kehilla was formed along the lines of the Russo-Polish model, American soil was either not propitious or events had antiquated the model.  The Kehilla had to be abandoned.  The American Jewish Committee did however function as part of an America wide and international Jewish government.

     The very strong Jewish reaction to criticism combined with their very active projection of Jewish desires gave definite form to the notion of bigotry in America.  Jewish writers immediately set about revising American history in a Jewish Biblical cast.  They cleverly grouped all immigrants into a coalition which combined with American Biblical elements achieved power when F.D. Roosevelt was elected.

page 481.

     The American public was not only ill-informed about Jewish antecedents, Americans have never understood the Jewish role in history.  Jewish propaganda characterized the Russian experience as one of religious persecution to fit in with American prejudices.  This characterization went unchallenged until Henry Ford began his exposes in 1920.

     But as the old Americans were of English extraction their attitude toward Jews was mostly one of awe and wonderment at Israelites.  Having had no experience with Jews for centuries they could only interpret them through the pages of the Old Testament.  In the Old Testament the Jews refer  to themselves as a nation of priests.  They attribute to themselves a character of purity which cannot be found in the annals of their history.  Americans, then, tended to defer to Jews as a holy people, as the descendants of the Patriarchs who were considered the epitome of the Holy Man.  Americans not only believed the Bible to be the very breath of God but there is, further, something distasteful to Americans in even mentioning the word ‘Jew.’  They prefer Israelites.  It is a sensitive area.  The word Jew can only be uttered with a twinge of embarrassment and apprehension lest the holy people be offended and even that God might take direct action against you, such as a lightning bolt.

     Thus the horror when Henry Ford tackled the issue head on in the pages of his newspaper.  Thus his crushing defeat by his own fellows as opposed to the Jews.  Ford’s efforts even supported Jewish contentions that ‘anti-Semitism’ was rife in America.

Page 482.

     Prior to 1920 the Jews had had to invent anti-Semitic issues.  After the anti-Defamation League was formed its officers issued a plea to movie producers to cease making anti-Semitic films.  Now, the movie industry was in Jewish hands.  If any anti-Semitic films were being made they were being made by Jews.  Carl Laemmle, the Jewish head of Universal Studios, obligingly issued a statement that Universal would no longer make anti-Semitic films.  Ford was a blessing in disguise.

     By 1920 the bulk of the European immigration was completed.  The panicked Old Americans had slammed the door but a group of self-assertive intolerant bigoted belief systems were already opposed to the liberal Freemasonic conception of society.  The theocratic Biblical underpinnings of American society now formed an alliance with those forces in oppostion to ‘bigotry.’  The official position of ‘minorities’ on bigory in American was formulated by the Jewish writer Gustavus Myers in his ‘History Of Bigotry In The United States.’, which carefully attributes all conflict as the bigoted behavior of Americans against immigrants.  In a curious reversal of attitudes the liberal comprehensive views of Freemasonry were depicted as bigoted while the narrow parochial tenets of the the opposing Biblical systems were characterized as liberal.  Strange world, strange thinking people.

     The immigrants from East and Southern Europe with their first or second generation offspring now represented half of the American population.  Due to language and cultural differences they had been unable to assert themselves in the first decades of the twentieth century.  During the twenties and thirties they began to acquire the skills to make their presence felt.  They deeply resented the indignities they had suffered as new immigrants.  In lesser numbers their complaints would have been but the grumbling of those unable to adjust to their new chosen environment but in their great numbers they could vent their wrath on their hosts; they could beard the lion in his own den.

page 483.

     The Russians tried to impose their culture on indigenous peoples and failed.  The indegenous were too strong on their home ground.  The immigrants had attempted to retain their languages and customs but the extablished American culture had prevented it being too strong on its home ground to permit the immigrants unadulterated retention of national customs and religions.  The benefits conferred on them by the United States compared to their expectations in the their native lands had been incomparably great.  Yet they converted the unavoidable pain of imigration into an unreasonable resentment of their hosts.  Unable to retain their individual cultures, in combination they were able to exact punishment on the Anglo-Americans.

     The Great War had done much to dissolve the European nations’ attitude that their nations were merely overseas citizens.  Yet the Italians attempted to maintain national identity while after the victory of the Nazis in Germany, an attempt was made to rouse Germans into a Pan-Germanic sympathy.  Both failed.  However the Jews had succeeded in maintaining an international Jewish indentity.  They could and did think in terms of French Israelites.  English Israelites and Israelites resident in America, as well as Jews of the developing  Jewish state in Palestine.  They were still attempting to achieve an international government functioning on a  parity with or, superior to their host States.  There is absolutely no evidence to deny that the Jews could or did influence the foreign affairs of each nation with the exception of Germany.  This influence was accomplished through a number of fronts, chief of which was the Communist Party.  The Jews of all nations always aided and never attacked Communist efforts; any dissenting Jewish voices were ineffective.  However the Jews failed to detect the change of direction in Russia under Stalin.  They remained sympathetic to the Soviet Union throughout the war and immediately after until the truth hit them.

page 484.

     Thus they believed, and Hitler certainly thought, that they had Germany isolated and surrounded.  After Germany began the war, they, the British and the Roosevelt administration were eager to bring the United States into the war on the side of the Soviet Union.

     The United States had absolutely no interests or anything to be gained by inerfering in the war in Europe.  As Charles Lindhberg pointed out, the war was merely another stage in the evolution of European society.  the Europeans, he thought, should be left to work out their own destiny.  The majority of Americans were opposed to the entry of America into the war.   The opposition to entry was vocal.   The foremost advocate against intervention was the America First Committee.  A terrific smear campaign led by the Roosevelt administration and the Jews defaming the non-interventionists was undertaken.

page 485.

     The Jews through the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League maintained an espionage unit independent of those of the United States to spy on, hinder and discredit anyone who was vocally opposed to the entry of the United States into the war even though they were guilty of no offense but a different opinion.  The Jews published a book containing the purported results of their investigations called ‘Undercover’ written under the pseudonym of John Roy Carlson.  The book denounced men and women innocent of anything but Patriotism as Fascists or Nazi sympathizers.  The book made no mention of Communists, nor were Communist denouncers spared.  Martin Dies of  HUAC, who had been forbidden by Roosevelt to let the committee investigate Communists, wrote a book called ‘The Trojan Horse In America’ which denounced Fascists and Communists alike as un-American.  The book sold through its first printing.  Its publisher was notified that if he reprinted it he would begin to have great difficulties.  Dies himself was deprived of his seat in Congress as punishment for pursuing Communists.  ‘Undercover’, the Jewish book, was permitted to go through dozens of printings.

     To be opposed to the war made one, in Jewish eyes, not only Fascist but Nazi.  The line of reasoning was thus:  In September 1941 Charles Lindhberg, the pilot, and chief speaker of America First made a speech in Des Moines.  The speech was described as ‘frankly isolationist’ by the Jews as though that were a crime.  Because the speech was isolationist and  opposed to American entry into the war it therefore furthered Nazi interests and thus was pro-Nazi and hence, anti-Semitic.  Lindhberg thereby became an actual Nazi in Jewish thinking.  In other words any policies contrary to Jewish interests were ipso facto pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic.  Any individual advocating such policies became an enemy to be destroyed.

page 486.

     These dissidents to Semitist interests were pursued to the ground.  Their careers were destroyed, they were denied jobs and where possible turned out of office.  The definition of bigotry in America was given definitive form.  To lack sympathy for the Jewish program was bigotry.  The American patriots were treated worse than the Communists in the fifties but no voice was raised in their defense.  The origins of Political Correctness were based on acceptance of Jewish dogma.

     The wars had done much to mix, if not homogenize, heterogeneous national attitudes.  One language emerged from the Wars, there were no longer accents.  The pre-War culture and humor as depicted in the movies had disappeared.  Specifically Irish tenors, Jewish self-parody and ethnic humor were disappearing fast.  We youths did not approve of what we couldn’t understand.  The market had evaporated as the types disappeared from the streets.  Young people could no longer identify the sources of the humor.

     Curiously, at the same time, different nationalities began to romanticize national cultures that were generalizations of the past.  No such national cultures had ever been universal.  But, as the Fourth of July became a festival of fireworks and national diversity rather than a glorification of the War for Independence and the Civil War, ethnic celebrations sprang up.  Italian day, Greek days and whatever else.  The participants wore colorful ‘national’ costumes that were nowhere evident among the drab suits in the photographs of the incoming immigrants.  Pretty phony I thought.

page 487.

     English culture began to be displaced.  Ethnic food and restaurants began to replace the wood paneled, beef oriented restaurants that had been the standard.  When I first first heard the Dean Martin song ‘That’s Amore’ I thought he was saying:  ‘When the moon hits your eye like a big piece of pie…’  instead of pizza pie.  I hadn’t yet been introduced to that dish.  The English way was becoming anathema in America.  ‘Minorities’ began skirmishes of persecution against English America.  The Anglo-Americans became ‘bigots’ when they flaunted their culture.  It began to be demanded that they abandon their culture in favor of the immigrant’s.  The immigrants began to demand that Anglo-Americans adjust to them, to abandon their culture for the immigrants’.  Failure to do so was politically incorrect.  those who knew their Anglo identity were labeled bigots and became beneath human consideration.  They, we, became strangers in our own land.

     The Italians, the Slavs, the Jews had never heard of King Arthur; the cycle was not part of their culture.  He was part of the ethnic heritage of the English.  He had been the model of American ideals since the foundation of the colonies.  Camelot was now removed to the periphery to make room for other traditions.

     None of us, or at most very few of us, had any idea of what was happening, but this was part of the social environment which was forming my character.  Thus my ancestors had abandoned the playing field.

page 489.

2.

Camptown Race Track Five Miles Long

     The conditions of the twentieth century in America made for a terrifically exciting environment.  Not  only was the social enivironment stimulating, to say the least, but scientific and technological innovation kept us open mouthed and wondering.  The electric light, phonographs, movies, cars, planes and trains were fantastic.  Just as fantastic and as all enveloping was the develpment of radio in the twenties; make that Radio.  Radio as much as anything else formed my generation.

     The auxiliary to Radio that made it so important to us was the phonograph record.  The auxiliaryto the phonograph record was the spectacular assortment of song writers, singers and musicians that made the sides that made our day.

     Radio developed further along in the twenties as a commercial reality; by the thirties the great networks of radio stations had come to maturity.  NBC, CBS and the Mutual Network ruled the airwaves.  Prior to television radio competed with the newspapers, hence the rise of the Radio Commentator.   The news was delivered through distinctive voices and how, even eccentric voices, voices that no one had ever used before, or since.  Radio was also viable on its own as an entertainment medium.  Comedy, mystery, and drama shows saturated the airwaves.  Plus the programmers, ever anxious to shove culture down the throats of Americans, filled hours with classical music and opera.  The fact that few people wanted to hear it did not deter them.  Little time was devoted to popular music and that at the least listened hours.  This was radio prior to the its metamorphosis after the introduction of television.

page 490.

     The record industry began as the voice of the people and remained so.  You can program music no one will listen to on the Radio but if you want to make money with records you have to give them what they want.  The industry would always subsidize classical and opera but it would always produce what sold regardless of style.  Of course there were always the professional songwriters.  There was a lot of money to be made turning out ephemeral hit tunes.  The royalties were only in pennies but every a piece of sheet music sold, a record  sold or was played on the radion or featured in movies the pennies rained down.  Tin Pan Alley in New York where the music publishers were centered even commemorated the phenomenon in a little ditty that became quite popular:  ‘It isn’t raining rain you know, it’s raining pennies from heaven.’  There was gold on the streets of America.  There was money in the air.  Yes, indeed, a man with song in his heart could make a fortune- a penny at a time.

page 491.

     Making records was cheap.  A company could break even on a few hundred copies and make money on a thousand.  Now, when immigration was cut off in 1920-24 the industrial cities still had a voracious apetite for laborers.  Thus internal migration began.  The biggest untapped labor pool was in the agricultural South.  Recruiters went South after them.  It was at this time that Negroes were induced to migrate North.  In addition to the Blacks, White Hillbillies and poor whites, or as they were uncharitably known in the South, Poor White Trash, moved North in numbers also.

     The movies, music and the stage were all controlled and dominated by immigrant Jews.  Thus, with the exception of Cole Porter and a few others, commercial American culture was filtered through the minds of Ostjuden immigrants.  The South was as old American as any section could be.  There were few Jews in the section.  The musical tradition of the North had always been influenced by the musical traditions of the latest immigrants.  Thus German oom pah, Irish tenors, and Black jazz had preceded the Jewish interpreters.  An entirely indigenous musical tradition existed in the South, derived from the musical traditions of the Scotch-Irish settlers.  Two strands developed; The hill music of the Whites and the blues music of the Blacks.  Just as the European immigrants had brought their traditions with them to America, so the Southerners took their traditions North.  Southern music began its evolution under Northern influences.  The Black Country Blues began its metamorphosis into Big City Urban Blues while Hillbilly Music formed an alliance with a distinctive Western Music influence to become ‘Country Music.’

page 492.

     These musical forms produced tunes that were more expressive of the cultural identity of their composers and hence were less ephemeral than Tin Pan Alley tunes.  They also were of what became know as ‘subcultures.’  Records to fill the subcultural tastes were required also.  Thus, what were known as ‘race’ records came into existence.  Records tailored strictly for the limited markets of Blacks and Hill Folk.  They didn’t sell tremendously well, but they didn’t have to, they were cheap to produce and they made money even in limited quantities.

     A great body of little known tunes developed beneath the mass culture.  In the thirties under the Roosevelt administration Federally employed researches plodded through the Southern hinterlands with tape recorders to obtain evidences of Southern or Negro culture.  A large number of names and tunes, shouts, rags and hollers was added to the body of unheard music and ignored musicians.

     The Depression and the Dust Bowl also added much folk music inspired by those tragedies.  After the Wars Tin Pan Alley went into decline; its musical wellsprings, largely plundered from classical composers were exhausted.  But race music continued to evolve among the Blacks and Hill people in the North.  This was to evolve into Rhythm and Blues and Country and Western.

     At the same time Folk Music, as opposed to Tin Pan Alley commercial ditties, began to evolve on a popular basis.  Folk Music included various international strands was well as selected songwriters and tunes from Blues and Hillbilly Music.  Thus Black artists like Charley Patton, Robert Johnson and the greatest of the blues singers, Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbettor became formative influences in American culture.

page 493.

     Television, in addition to reshaping print publishing had a devastating effect on Radio.  Sight and sound ws so much more effective for the presentation of entertainment that Radio soon found itself unlistened to and began to flail around for different programming before it had to cease transmitting.  There was little of it to turn to but broadcasting records twenty-four hour a day.  To its complete surprise this programming was marvelously successful.

     The creation of musical attitudes and a body of songs was the precondition for the great change in music during the fifities.  The technological side was just as important.  Disregarding the early cylinders on which music was first recorded, records had always been ten inches.  Seventy-eight revolutions per minute, shellac discs.  The maximum time per side was three minutes.  Thus all popular music composed was of three minutes duration or less.  Multi-record albums were sold for classical music and some popular artists.  The steel needle used as a pickup was huge and wore out after only a few plays.  Sound reproduction was horrible by current standards while the shellac records broke or shattered easily.  Seventy-eights disregarding all their disadvantages still sold well but they were frequently broken before one got them home.

page 494.

     By 1948 modern record pressing had been perfected.  A tiny saphiere or diamond tipped stylus that lasted from three hundred to one thousand hours had been perfected.  With a smaller needle  the grooves could be pushed closer together and micro-groove recordings were born.  Improved technology allowed the records to be played at slower speeds.  Sound quality on 45 RPM records was better than on 33 RPM records but the 33s played longer.  At the same time producers switched form shellac to vinyl.  Vinly was more durable and for the truly gullible could be advertised as unbreakable.

     The 45s used for popular music were so durable that the improvement over the seventy-eights was as the difference between the Wright Brothers and a jumbo jet.  Now, as 33s retained the ten inch size they could only contain four songs per side, and the sound quality was still primitive.

     By 1954 the manufacturers improved the sound quality with the introduction of High Fidelity while simultaneously increasing the size of the album to twelve inches or six songs and up to twenty minutes per side.  Home entertainment had taken a step into the future.

     The country had feared the return of the depression, but the depression hadn’t come back.  The country was very prosperous.  For the first time kids- teenagers- had money.  They, we,  I couldn’t get enough of popular music.  At the same time the various strands of Race and Folk Music under the tremendous pressure of urban realities evolved into one form of popular music called Rock and Roll or another term- the Devil’s Music.  The post-war world had arrived.

page 495.

     In 1950  the fusion into Rock and Roll was still a few years away.  but  Michigan is part of a great flat area of the Middle West.  Radio waves travel for immense distances unimpeded by any natural obstructions like mountains.  Thus late at night the more powerful stations from Texas, Shreveport, Waterloo and Cincinatti could be picked up on our little radio receivers.  These stations transmitted  Hillbilly music that sounded like it came from another galaxy.  Plus there were more powerful stations transmitting across the Rio Grande from unregulated Mexico.  Blues, Rhythm And Blues and horrible Jazz muic could be picked up from the great Black populations of Detroit and Chicago.

     I spent many a night when Skippy was out, twisting the dial of his radio to see what station, with what weird music I could pick up.  Meanwhile the racial situation in the Valley was developing.

     Blacks and Hillbillies were present in numbers.  Blacks, who had been first brought up during the Wars, were increasing in numbers rapidly.  They had been compelled to live in the oldest, and, I think most beautiful part of the Valley, the First Ward.  By 1950 they were bursting the Ward seams.  Their attempts to spread out had been resisted.  Population density in the Ward had increased to spectacular levels.  Centrifugal forces pushed them from the Ward.  They were refused permission to cross the River which held for some time.  They had therefore no choice but to expand East and South-East.  The North was blocked by the huge Chevy Grey Iron plant and beyond that were swamps that loggers had apparently forgot to fill in with sawdust, or perhaps they ran out of sawdust.

page 496.

     Thus the Blacks were all on the East Side.  As they spread East and South-East toward downtown they drove the Whites out.  The areas adjacent to the First Ward were inhabited by poor Whites.  As they were driven out some of the older well-to-do areas fell to both Blacks and poor or improvident Whites.

     At that time there were two high schools in the Valley.  Valley High on the East Side and Melville on the West.  Valley High and the East Side Junior Highs thus had a very high proportion of Black students.  Many parents, even if their neighborhood had not yet fallen to Blacks refused to have their children attend mixed schools.  Thus there was a major exodus of Whites to the East Side opening new areas to Blacks..

     Had this not happened my old enemies, Michael and David Hirsh and the Eloy would not have come West to cause me trouble.  In Junior High, as most of them were from affluent families, they moved out  into the new developments in the Southwest Side from which they were funneled to Masters.  I was in the Lindsay district on the North Side.  The dividing line between the two districts often ran down the middle of  the street.  Thus, if David Hirsh had bought a house on the other side of his street Michael would have attended Masters rather than Lindsay.

     Masters was the newer school with a magnificent campus on the South end of town near Wigwam Rd.  Lindsay was the older school on the North Side of town.  It had been built about 1890 in the institutional style of the Children’s Home only much larger.  It had the identical floor plan.  A grim brick front faced Huxley Ave. while two end wings trailed back to Spencer.  The central portion of the building contained the furnaces and gyms.

     Linday had formerly been Gotthold Lessing Junior High, reflecting the very large German population of the Valley.  In the aftermath of the Great War coupled with the rise of Hitler its German namesake had been repudiated and the more Anglo-American one of Vachel Lindsay substituted.  While Masters had a terrific campus with playing fields, Lindsay sat on a square block of concrete.  We played no field sports.  Our recreation was in the gym.

     During the fifth and sixth grades at Robinson I had been free of direct pressure form David and Michael Hirsh and the Eloy.  This was now to change.

page 498.

3.

     My life had been completely compartmentalized.   There was no continuity, merely a series of fragments.  Not even a series, only a jumble of incident, with the key incidents suppressed into my subconscious of which I could make no sense.  From birth to my mother’s divorce, life at my grandmother’s, the Smith’s, the Johnson’s , the Children’s Home and now the Warden’s had been one jarring dislocation after another.  As I had been taken from one environment and placed in the next, that segment became a sealed psychological unit.  Most of my memories were so painful that I just blacked out the other people.  I could recall events but names and persons meant nothing to me.  Thus while the Eloy remembered me very well I could not recall them, nor did I want to.

     But as they remembered me, they expected, not unnaturally, some acknowledgment of themselves.  Because they thought themselves my superior, they thought of me as their ‘nigger’, they expected or demanded that I speak to them first.  When I didn’t they interpreted this as sheer arrogance on my part.  The more so because I was of the Orphanage whose members had been driven off the streets and compelled to skulk down alleys.  I had no rights in their minds, I wasn’t even really a person; I was a charity case existing at their sufferance.

page 499.

     The two or three Eloy from the East Side quickly formed an alliance with the boys from Robinson into whose company of the first study class I had thrust myself.  They returned what they considered my obstinance with a steady glowing hatred.  Still, because I wouldn’t speak first, the warfare was conducted at arm’s length.

     Seventh grade had been in session for a month when the Hirshes moved to the West Side.  It was in gym that Michael Hirsh and I recognized each other although my recognition was as though by an alter ego emanating from my subconscious.

     Nor were the Hirshes any longer in control of their faculties.  Our confrontation in Flint had had a very disturbing effect on the mind of both David and Michael Hirsh.  The promise of David’s early life was fast vanishing.  The notion of the eighty black years fastened on his mind.  As he traced the decline of his fortunes his mind dwelt on my confrontation with Michael in kindergarten in 1943.  I was the cause of all his misfortunes.  Prior to Flint he had felt in control and thought he had been tormenting me.  Now his mind reevaluated the matter, he fumbled mentally to adjust his behavior and it seemed to him that I had been pursuing and tormenting him.  The cause of his actions switched from the thought of a  justified revenge to one of self defense.  By some perverse mental contortion he managed to reverse the roles and so maintain his purity.

page 500.

     All of the intolerant belief systems are so convinced of their rectitude that they believe that all opposition is pernicious, based on a willfully perverse wrongheadedness and therefore is evil.  Since they think they represent God’s own, or the ultimate truth, they believe that they are entitled to win and never lose.  When their will is thwarted they never attribute the loss to tactical or strategical  errors of the their or superior skill of their adversaries but to the criminal, evil or diabolical means of their opponents.  David Hirsh attributed means to, what was now, a twelve year old boy that would revolt you.  I was no longer an adversary but a potent enemy.  True, I was young but apprarently I was aided by occult forces.  I must be stopped before I assumed adult powers.  His and Michael’s injuries must be avenged, not only on me but on the evil anti-Semitic powers emanating from the fringes of the universe.

     On Michael’s part the events in Flint had crushed him.  I had, as far as he was concerned, triumphed over him.  I had blunted his manly force.  He was no longer game to confront me.  He was beaten.

     Amongst the Eloy the notion was propagated that I had willfully ravaged Michael.  As an orphan I had committed an offense way out of my social caste.  Lazarus had assaulted Dives at his own door.  This was turned into an affront that I could never be forgiven.  I must be put in my place.

page 501

     As I now saw Michael, his former splendor had departed him.  As our outer appearance reflects our inner raiment, Michael depicted a despairing disheveled appearance.  His countenance was no longer clear and confident.  The colors of his clothing had changed from bright to dark.  He no longer wore them with the crips aplomb of former years.  He put them on carelessly, his buckle was not centered exactly.  He proclaimed to the world that he was forlorn.

     When our eyes met, a glimmer of hope that I would finally capitulate died aborning.  I spoke first and with an unwonted insolence, but through the veil, as it were, my eyes did not exactly see him.  There was a sharpness to my voice that I was not aware of, for Michael recoiled slightly as I spoke to him, as though he had seen a ghost.  Indeed, he had every reason to have a guilty conscience.  He relaxed somewhat before my apparent familiarity but remained apprehensive, or perhaps resentfull.

     Live is full of funny coincidences.  Acton Burnell, who had witnessed my rape in the fourth grade and subsequently rescued me from oblivion with his good advice, chose this moment to avenge himself on the Hirshes.  I have no idea from when or from whom the offence came, whether it was committed against him, his father, some member of his family or whether he just thought that the Hirshes deserved it.  David Hirshe’s affairs were unsettled, any injury Burnell could give him would be doubly effective.  As so often happens prominent men are assailed through their offspring rather than directly.  As the Bible puts it, the sins of the father shall be visited on the son.

page 502.

     Acton Burnell was a bit of a busybody, what he hadn’t seen himself he had learned from others.  Burnell, who had been instrumental in making sure I went to the West Side was very familiar with my whole history with the Hirshes.  I had been defenseless before them, the details filtered through his mind and the result came out.

     Burnell was as Christian as anyone.  He too knew that the Bible says that the sins of the father shall be visited on the son, he knew David Hirsh believed it.  Burnell chose Michael as his victim to make David feel his wrath.  Burnell strained the point a bit but t his method was meant to convey to David that someone knew of Michael and Eloy’s crime against me.  His simile was probably too labored for David to apprehend it.

     One day, shortly after Michael had transferred to Lindsay he showed up at scholl with every bit of head and face swollen to immense dimensions.  He had obviously been beaten very badly.  We wondering boys gathered around him to demand the story.

     He had been walking down Melmoth Ave.  Just as he was in front of Rivers Of Blood a car sqealed to a stop beside him.  Six high school boys emerged from the car.  They pushed Michael up onto the grass, surrounded him and began punching him.  Each punch turned him enough for another boy to punch his fact and head.  This treatment continued fast and furious for two or three minutes.  Michael was constantly pummeled.  Confused by the suddenness of the attack, disoriented by the pain and overwhelmed by numbers Michael could put up no defense or even offer a verbal protest.

page 503.

     As he was hit on one side of the head he put his hand there to cover himself.  It again he put his other hand up, then moved them from place to place as he was hit.

     Uknown to Michael, Acton Burnell was standing before a basement window in River Of Blood popping raisins into his mouth as he quietly watched.

     The beating was a terrifying experience and he had been thoroughly terrified.  Completely dazed and when he had given up all hope of the beating ever ending, one of the boys soothingly said:  ‘Oh gosh, o hey, guy that looks like it really hurts.  Here, fella, let me see that.’

     When Michael obligingly and thankfully removed his hands the boy treacherously punched him as hard as he could, knocking him down.  Michael’s fall broke the spell.  The boys leaped into their car letting loose a peal of demonic laughter as they drove off.

     Acton Burnell popped his last raisin into his mouth.  Chuckling with satisfaction he turned and walked out of the church to where Michael lay sobbing.

     ‘You aren’t hurt too bad, are you son?  Six on one is pretty tough odds.  I think you did the best you could though.  It wasn’t much, but I think it was your best.’

     Then he helped Michael up and turned him down Melmoth in the direction he had been heading, giving him a little shove to start him on his way.

page 504.

     As Michael told his story, the horror of his experience sank further into his consciousness.  It wasn’t so much that his voice actually quivered as his mind constantly recoiling from his painful memories projected a quiver; he didn’t actually shake, het I could feel a quiver in my stomach muscles as I watched his tension grow.  The memory glowed vividly in his mind and would for some time.  Had he been in the second grade he would have been able to suppress the memory, but at twelve he had to deal with it directly.

     His mind had turned inward as he related the details of his story.  As he finished he once again looked out into the world; as he did, his glance fell on me.

     I don’t know what he saw, perhaps Acton Burnell had triggered the memory of the fourth grade and his guilt overwhelmed him, but when he saw me he inadvertantly turned stiffened and turned quickly away.  I though my expression reflected wonderment and sympathy but, perhaps, Michael perceived a hint of pleasure and satisfaction.  Perhaps my own feelings had inadvertantly risen to the surface; if so, I wasn’t aware of it.

     Perhaps Michael did subconsciously connect the similarity between his rape of me in the fourth grade and his beating because from that day forward he avoided me.  Whether he made an association or whether he resented being beaten while I wasn’t, a remarkably similar circumstance occurred to me shortly thereafter.

page 505.

     I was sitting in the bleachers in gym when six boys came up behind me, one hitting me in the back of the head with the flat of his palm.  He accused me of beating up his fourth grade brother while he was on the way home from school.  It wasn’t true and I stoutly denied it.

     ‘Oh yeah?  Well, my brother said:  ‘Take that from Far Gresham.’

     ‘Don’t be stupid.’  I said.  ‘If I were going around beating up little kids I wouldn’t identify myself.’

     The guy blinked at me once or twice, then, apparently satisfied with my reply, surlily said:  ‘Yeah?  Well, make sure you don’t.’

     Michael had been tormented by his beating.  the humiliation dwelt in his mind and threatened to destroy his equanimity.  He didn’t have the mental resources to rationalize the incident.  His father was no help to him, David blamed the incident on anti-Semites.  Thrashing about in his agony Michael did what most people do in the same situation; he tried to pass it on.  Following the princible of the turkey shoot he picked a younger boy who couldn’t defend himself.  Having thrashed the kid he then avenged himself on me for Flint by using my name.  Thus I got hit in the back of the head by the boy’s misinformed brother.  If hadn’t been able to justify myself I would have been severely beaten by the brother and his five friends.

      Michael would then have been able to smile at me as I described how I got my bruises, enjoying the extra pleasure of knowing that he caused them without my knowing it.

     Whether Michael was disappointed or not is not within my power to  tell, although from that time forward Michael never acknowledged my existence.

pages 506-7

4.

     The more one ages the greater the burden of the past one must carry along one’s path.  As with everyone, I had to ingest a voluminous amount of experience and information to digest as well as I could based on my past which past became my notion of reality.  My youth, inexperience and lack of amilial guidance interfered not only with my understanding but my ability to make right decision unaided.  I was saved from the most egregious errors by a strong sense of right and wrong.  Ironically this sense of right and wrong had been acquired in Sunday school.  I had had no difficulty accepting the justness of this morality.  In doing so I became a bit of a fool, for none of my contemporaries heeded that morality at all.

     My past had become not only my burden but part of the past and burden of toehrs as well where they shared it.  The onerous and vile experience of my past combined with my present and visible future prospects naturally colored my interpretation of matters; yet I was singularly free from many vices which besotted my contemporaries minds.  Envy and viciousness were completely foreign to me.  I was content with my own, I neither lied nor stole.  It was not necessary for me to disturb another’s happiness out of resentment of their good fortune.  I wqas also free from the guilt of having consciously done someone wrong.

page 508.

     The members of the elite at Robinson as well as those members of my old Scout troop, which overlapped, had meant by their blindfold fight to beat me into submission.  They thought I would beg for mercy and accept admission to their circle on the most disreputable terms.  However I had given them the lie.  By storming away and never returning I had left them holding a bag of guilt.

     They had tried to rationalize their guilt but to no avail.  no matter what they told themselves a gnawing anxiety remained.  Still they felt the need to expiate their quilt.  They refused the honorable method of apologizing to me as this would elevate me in their minds to their level.  They would never be able to endure this, as they believed I was of a much lower class then themselves.

     Up to this point no opportunity to expiate their guilt on a level proper to their self-esteem had presented itself.  But in gym they thought they had found a way out.  They formed a plan; it was a good plan; there was only one flaw, it was based on fair play.  Besides they had so neurotically distorted my character that they had completely miscualculated their chance of success.

page 509.

     Shortly after school began and after Hirsh’s beating, perhaps his peating inspired their choice, some mats were thrown down on the floor and a series of wrestling matches took place.  John Cahallan, who had been my adversary in the boxing match, was in the gym class.  A match was oardered between Cahallan and I.  My hatred and loathing of Cahallan, who I blamed for the toxing episode, was such that I refuse because I didn’t want any physical contact with him.  From my point of view wrestling was merely homosexual love making.

     Mr. Pennydreamer, the gym teacher was summoned.  He ordered me to wrestle or fail gym.  How many people do you know who ever failed gym?  I had no choice.  I was still very small, only four eight and under ninety pounds.  As luck would have it Cahallan was just my size.  the match was as fair as a match could be.

     During all the other matches all we boys had sat around and watched.  Now the other boys went off to other games with exception of six or so ofhte Eloy, Robinson and Cub Scout boys.  They stood with their backs to Cahallan and I discussing, perhaps, their navels.  It was a pointed insult and I got it.

     I was reluctant to wrestle, while Cahallan was wrestling with a very troubled conscience.  He had wronged me and he knew it.  I wasn’t worried but I still hung back reluctant to begin.  I had recieved their insult and I wasn’t anxius to accommodate them.  Boner Law, who had been selected as referee, finally shoved me against Cahallan and we engaged.  I didn’t have any experience wrestling so I knew no holds.  Fortunately neither did Cahallan.  We rolled and tumbled in loathsome physical contact without leading to any resolution when I got the idea and opportunity to seize his legs which I proceeded to do.  Thus I got between his legs, wrapped my arms around his knees and stuood up thus immobilizing Chahallan.  I claimed victory.

page 510.

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 15 and End.

     The two made a terrific team during the turbulent sixties and the degenerate seventies.  Guy was known as a hanging judge while having a somewhat disreputable style.  Meggy balanced that off magnificently with her seeming rectitude.  Either alone might have been a bit too much  but together they were a terrific combination.  Many women having such relationships with judges adopt the appearance of a kept woman, I almost said prostitute, while having a number of psychologically dependent young women attached to them.

     Meggy had a cadre of loyal young women to scout and research any rumors but any rumors about her and Guy were definitely false.  Carrying her psychic scars from her accident Meggy inadvertantly aided and abetted Judge Pascal’s social hatreds which were directed against the Anglos.

     Notwithstanding Top Cop Hoover’s protestations to the contrary the Mafia and organized crime did exist and right there in theValley.  Whatever motives the Top Cop had for denial, every schoolboy understood the influence of the Mafia.  During WWII when the Mafiosi had refused to serve this ‘great country’ those connected had all the gasoline and restricted commodities they wanted while law abiding Anglos and others dutifully went without.  Naturally the wiseguys considered themselves ‘smart’ while others were stupid.  Today, at least, they have the self-respect and decency to gloat over their success rather than resort to hypocrisy as the Anglos do.

page 1961.

     Their wartime successes made them bold too.  When the government went to the incarcerated criminal, Lucky Luciano, to ask his help on the NY waterfront from prison, mind you, to facilitate shipping from the Mob controlled docks of the East, Italians knew they had it aced.  With the end of the war they issued forth from their Little Italies in force.  The Mafia divided the country into zones just like the post office divided it into area codes.

     I don’t know if they gave the zones numbers but the Pasquales got the Valley from below Flint to Bay City.  It was like there were two different governments non-Italians had to deal with.  You had the legally constituted authorities on the one hand and the illegal Mafia on the other.  One could crush you legally while the other could break your legs with impunity.  Officer De Cicco of the VPD might not be interested in pursuing Sicilian buddies while Officer Walker knew better than to.

     These were the days of Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters who were adjuncts of the Mafia and Sam Giancana and the Chicago Outfit.  For some reason reason Northern and Western Michigan seemed to be Chicago territory rather than Detroit’s.

     These guys were arrogant.  When they were in town you got out of their way.  Hoffa and the Mob used various locales in the Upper Peninsula as hideouts for hot lamisters.  When they were in town life was uncomfortable for the locals.  More than uncomfortable, unpleasant, it was like sewage that you daren’t clean up had infested the town.  Top Cop Hoover boasted that he gunned down John Dillinger while Al Capone ran Chicago but I would rather sit down to dinner with a John Dillinger than share the same public john with Al Capone.  Apparently a Top Cop felt differently.

page 1962.

     The Pasquale clan was connected with the Giancana led Mob of Chicago.  Jimmy Hoffa was unpleasant enough but Sam Giancana was terrifying.  In dark glasses and pulled down hat with that contemptuous smile on his lips he exuded evil from the seventh level up.  In the years after 1958 he was coming into his own.  With the rise of the son of the old mobster Joe Kennedy Sam Giancana thought he was to have a lifeline to heaven.  Joe Kennedy played Sam just right to get his son Jack elected president.  It seems fairly clear at this point that Sam spents lots of plundered money on Jack while stuffing Illinois ballot boxes to swing the election to JFK.

     After his election in the year of Kennedy’s victory Judge Guy himself had been introduced to the Mafia chieftain.  Sam knew how to treat a paisano on the Bench.  He regaled Guy with the tales of how he fled the Federales through the brambles and woods of Appalachin in 1957 when ‘proof’ of organized crime was made evident to everyone except J. Edgar.

     Sam, who had been raised on the concrete of Chicago laughingly asked Guy if he knew that wet leaves were slippery on a downslope.  In his mad flight from the cops Sam hadn’t taken that into account having fallen on his ass a couple times as he ran.  He still got away but he couldn’t get over how slippery wet leaves were.

     He confided the inside story to Guy about how the Chicago Mob got Jack Kennedy elected and the terrible doublecross when Bobby Kennedy turned on the Outfit.  But, he said, the Outfit still had an in with Dick Nixon so that the Sicilians were going to be in with the In Crowd; hang in there.  And then after that there was Ronnie Reagan.

     Guy had been flattered to get the inside scoop directly from one end of the horse or the other.  He had his own sources that indicated the growing power of Sicily through crime.  He turned the screws on Anglos brought up before him.

     First the Mob brought the dope into the Valley, then sold it to the Anglos;  then the cops busted the Anglos for possession of a joint sending them up before the hanger, Judge Pascal.

     The judge with Meggy’s approval gave Draconian sentences of five, ten and even fifteen years in the penitentiary, the Big House, for the possession of one joint.  The Penitentiary!  Not even the county farm, the Big House.  True, marijuana was illegal but to criminalize a whole generation and more for the uncontrollable situation was unconscionable.  It wasn’t like the Mafia wasn’t importing heroin and whatever by the ton while escaping prison sentences altogether.

     It wasn’t like the Pasquale clan wasn’t the biggest importer of grass into theValley.  They were.  But Judge Guy, that impartial soul, was in a position to punish or favor.  He chose to favor his Pasquales while taking vengeance for Giangiacomo’s humiliation on the Anglos.  Having inside information he could in most cases warn his family.  If arrested when they came before him, the legal fiction of the name Pascal versus Pasquale was maintained to appear impartial.  He found some technicality to get them off.

     Marijuana was profitable but when cocaine came in Judge Pascal, as well as many another judge and cop, improved his standard of living materially.  People wondered how he could manage so well on his salary.  ‘Private investments.’  Judge Guy explained.  ‘Private investments.’

     Meggy Malone saw all but she closed her eyes to Judge Guy’s peccadilloes so long as he let her have hers.   These were changing tumultuous times on the personal level as well as the social.  The feminism Meggy ingested in Mrs. Hicks’ class became institutionalized in the years following the publication of Betty Friedan’s ‘Feminine Mystique’ in 1964.  Meggy saw herself as the Fulfilled Woman.  The notion of the Matriarchy which came to dominate the sexual theory of the times gave a focus to Meggy’s notion of men.  She had always intimidated the men in her life but after her accident she dominated them to the point of emasculation.  Her feminism all but made them impotent in her presence.

     This dovetailed nicely with her relationship with the Black miscreants brought up before Judge Pascal.  They farmed the Blacks just like they had segregated them and look out for its physical manifestations.

page 1965.

     The Whites had successfully kept the Blacks on the East Side.  Melville had remained White.  The Whites had come up with all kinds of maneuvers to keep schools segregated.  Rightly so in my opinion but the Urban Aristocracy thought differently.  Meggy was now an important member of the Urban Aristocracy.

     Thwarted in their aims to mingle the races the Aristocracy now sat down to come up with the insane plan of busing  Black students to White schools and White students to Black schools.  If  ‘bigoted’  Whites thought they could thwart the desires of the Aristocracy they were wrong.  Democracy be damned.  No vote was taken but now long lines of buses traveled from the East Side loaded with Negroes to attend Melville regardless of what anyone thought, White or Black.

     As usual the Aristocracy paid no attention to the evolution of Black psychology.  It was no longer 1958 when they began the busing.  Black ball players had been shaking their roots in the face of White America for a decade and nothing happened.  The Honkies sat respectfully and sucked it all in.

     LA had gone up in ’65 and nothing happened.  The Steppin Fetchets of the thirties and forties had become more militant.  They were more angry.  By the time of busing they were seething.  These militant angry young Black men were turned loose in high school hallways of White America while White Americans were told they would go to jail if they offered the least defense of their rights.

     Violence escalated in the halls.  Weapons developed from knives and spring blackjacks to pistols, machine pistols, machine guns and bombs.  The Urban Aristocracy just shook their heads over kids nowadays.  The only way to stop the violence, they said, was to eliminate any vestige of liberty, a total lock down of the Whites.  The schools must be run as concentration camps.  By eliminating freedom for Whites you restored order.  Anyone who read the Protocols of Zion will recognize the game plan.  Thus spake the Greatest Generation, the men who had fought the arch demon, Hitler,  to make the world free.  Free?  They only made it over  into the image of Hitler’s concentration camps.

page 1966.

     You’d better go along if you want to get along was their motto.

     On her feminist side Meggy exaggerated the integrity of women.  Like all feminists she believed that women could do no wrong, they were always in the right.  Since she used her influence and power to crush the manhood out of any men she knew she could only despise them for being effete.  Reminiscent of the young sailors aboard the Teufelsdreck who thought that college men and officers were too mentally developed to be good sex partners Meggy thought that only men with no attainments had real sexual drive.  Driven by her male desire which she had inadvertantly clothed with a ‘low class’ image she could only find sexual release in what she considered the lowest of humanity.  At this time she would have slept with Dewey Trueman, her archetype of low class had he been there and willing.

     Sex is where Meggy went wrong.  Judge Guy over the years had watched her anxiously from the bench.  Pascal was a very jealous man.  If Meggy was to give it to anyone he had better be first in line or there would be hell to pay.  Judge Guy hadn’t wrestled with his X chromosome and come up triumphant yet.  Meggy was not so discreet that her sexual activites escaped the watchful eye of the Sicilian judge.

page 1967.

     There was only one bike club in the Valley.  The Valley Varmints.  As they are quite primitive fellows in their social relationships that directness appealed to Meggy.  Low class, violent and sexually charged.  Meggy went for the gold.  She insinuated herself into the club as a part time mama.  She would spend a weekend with her boys from time to time.

     She had gained her introduction through her job when one of Dalton Dagger’s cousins had been brought up on dope charges.  The evidence had conveniently disappeared from police storage.  Some said the cops sold it but Meggy had discreetly let it be known that she had been responsible.  Devon Dagger had taken it from there.

     Judge Guy Pascal quietly raised his eyebrows.

     A woman of Meggy’s importance was eminently useful so the club treated her as she liked excusing her the worst abuses with which bikers treat their women.

     Meggy should have known that secrecy is impossible in our society.  What secrets you don’t have people will invent for crying out loud.  The eyes of envy soon ferret out all secrets.  After all the bikers had to get their dope through the Pasquales.  How sharp did Meggy have to be to think of that?

     It was never clear that Judge Guy Pascal ordered the raid that precipitated Meggy’s humiliation but it is certain Meggy’s doings came to his attention.  Guy Pascal had made passes at the ‘fast Mick broad’ which she had rebuffed with offended purity.  Nothing offends a man’s amour propre more, especially a powerful self-important man like Judge Guy Pascal.  More especially when his outrage was created by the excesses of Meggy’s doing.

     When word reached him of Meggy’s proclivities he was not only insanely jealous but shocked while at the same time being disgusted and pleased.

     The raid came as a complete surprise to Meggy who was usually apprised of everything.  Sometimes things even Judge Guy didn’t know.

      When the cops burst into the biker house they found Meggy naked on the floor surrounded by bikers waiting their turn while Fat Tony Frankenheimer was pumping oil from her well at 78 RPMs.

     She didn’t know, nobody could have guessed, but this was the result of ‘summoning’ Dewey Trueman to her bedside twenty years earlier.

     Meggy was a justified sinner.  It was impossible to besmear her own notion of her purity.  The mind is a strange thing.  Meggy did not ‘believe’ astrology but like the rest of us she read the newspaper column regularly and sometimes bought the Virgo booklets at the grocery store check out stands.  For Meggy was a Virgo, the Virgin.  Now, in the Olympian Zodiac Virgo is ruled by Demeter the mother of terrestrial growth.  Her daughter is Persephone the wife of Hades and the symbol of the virgin growth of Spring.

page 1969.

     Meggy had studied her Greek mythology in the feminine branch of Mrs. Hicks’ instruction.  With the girls Mrs. Hicks had paid special attention to the goddess myths.  The most important of all women being that of Hera and her ability to restore her virginity.  Meggy couldn’t have articulated it but she had put together the meaningof Virgo-Demeter and Aqarius-Hera.   Thus no matter her sexual adventures she always remained a virgin in mind and hence in appearance and attitude.

     Given her position in the courts her embarrassment never reached the papers but because the records showed the cops bagged a ton of amphetamines, cocaine and marijuana Judge Guy Pascal thought it wise for Meggy to resign her position in his court.

     It is true that the bikers insisted that the house was clean, which in fact it was, but when the representatives of the law say they bagged the dope on the premises who’s going to believe a bunch of greasy bikers?  It was a good joke but the bikers weren’t the ones laughing.

     Just as Meggy was always a virgin she didn’t need any proof to know that Judge Pascal was behind the whole raid.   Vengeance, you know, the Lord…people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  Meggy’s people believed Meggy’s protestations of innocence.  Judge Guy should have kept his in his pants too; he had messed with the wrong party.

     Meggy Malone knew some secrets of her own while she knew people who continued to think very well of her on the force and in the DAs office.  Those guys always know more than they’re telling too.

page 1970.

     A shipment of cocaine to Rocco’s Pizza Parlor was intercepted at the back door.  Rocco’s was a distribution front for the Pasquales so the whole clan was now exposed as the city’s premier dope dealers.  Documents found their way into the hands of the police and DA as well as the Valley news which clearly implicated the austere hanging judge, Guy Pascal.  It was now ‘discovered’ that Guy Pascal was really Guido Pasquale.

     Several of the Pasquales found their way to the State pen while the Judge who was able to evade conviction left town to begin a new legal career for the Outfit in Chitown.

     Satisfied that she was avenged Meggy followed on his heels out of town unable to bear the wagging tongues of gossips.

     Meggy’s first move was down to ‘Bama.  But those Southern Whites have no love for Northern carpetbaggers.  Meggy’s advocacy of Blacks did little to endear herself down in Dixie.  She found actual contact with the race less pleasant than her long distance affection for them.  Unable to live with the Whites with her attitude but unable to move in with the Blacks Meggy had no choice but to move on.

     Her next choice was Bozeman, Montana.  This was not her final destination.  After a couple years she left for Boise.  She didn’t like life in the desert.  She heard the hills calling so she packed her bags again for her final destination, Coeur D’Alene.

     She had at last outrun the rumors but time had taken its toll on Meggy’s psyche.  Her troubled mind drove her in predictable directions.

page 1971.

     The demon who governed her dreams changed his character.  He became a real Rider On The Storm.  Her dream changed so that she rode on a bad motorcycle behind the devil in colors.  They were racing down a long bowling alley at ninety miles an hour toward eight foot chrome plated steel pylons shaped as penises which formed the ten pins.  Meggy with her arms tightly around the devil’s neck flapped in the breeze behind him to the cracking of bones broken so long ago on that icy Motown street.

     She never hit the pins but the very notion of sleep became such a terror to her that she could no longer go to bed.  She sat up night after night recalling herself from dozes lest she dream that terrible dream.

     It was then that she began to seek some form of penance.

     Penance for what what she wasn’t concious of but her subconscious knew and showed her the path.  She began to search for some hillbilly beau with whom to form an alliance.  Her path happened to cross that of Dart Craddock.

     When Dart had been sent to the brig at the beginning of  ’58 in Guam he accepted his fate with resignation.  He received his discharge in 1959 at which time he returned to Northern Idaho.  Dart was really a raw mannered guy.  In the environment of the Navy where everyone came from the other half some really raw manners passed unnoticed in the general milieu.  Dart wasn’t really raw in the sense of basal crudity but he come from mining stock which had fought the wars of the hard rock miners around the turn of the century.

     As noted earlier his grandpop had been with Big Bill Haywood and the Western Federation of Miners.  I suppose Big Bill is pretty much forgotten now except with specialists but his autobiography is worth reading.  Coeur D’ Alene had been a terrific battleground where the hard rock miners of the WFM put up a stout fight.  The memories of those days still lived on in the Idaho hills.  The hard feelings still existed.

page 1972.

     When Big Bill Haywood had been run out of the WFM he became part of the Industrial Workers Of The World.  Dart’s grandpop had followed Bill into the IWW.  The biggest battle of all Wobbly battles had been fought in Spokane a few miles to the West.  Then the battles raged down the coast until grandpop had gotten the IWW branded on his lower cheek down in San Diego.

     Dart still carried the chip on his shoulder from that the same as he had in San Diego.  As Meggy’s subconscious adjusted her conscious mind to her new perspective Dart Craddock became exceedingly attractive to her.  Especially when she learned that he lived out of town on a mountain hillside in what was close enough to a hillbilly shack to suit her psychic needs.

     Dart was already a two time loser; he didn’t see the need to take a third hitch.  Meggy thought it over a little and decided to humble herself by showing up on Dart’s porch with her suitcases in hand.  She set the suitcases down to look imploringly in his eyes.  Dart gave her a hard serious look for a few mintues then opened the door to admit her while he picked up the suitcases and placed them inside.  Meggy had found a home.

     She became a real mountain mama, bought herself some combat boots, a couple Ma Kettle looking outfits for the winter and Daisy Mae cutoffs for the summer and settled down in her own personal little Dogpatch.

     The life was good for her too.  Dart thought he’d acquired a real lady.  He didn’t know about Meggy’s biker days while she projected eternal chastity of sorts.  Dart was a big fellow by this time.  His six-four frame having filled out to two hundred sixty pounds.  This was the kind of bull Meggy’s male need wanted.  She was more than happy with her hillbilly beau.  Thus it seems to be true that there is a boy for every girl and a girl for every boy.  Sometimes the way to each other is a little roundabout, that’s all.

     As she settled into this hillbilly existence as penance, over the months much of her guilt was allayed so that her dreams became manageable.  She could sleep once again.

     She and Dart went to town on a Saturday night in his old beat up pick up truck; the kind she wouldn’t have gotten into back in the old days.  She sat as proudly beside him as though he were driving a Mercedes-Benz.  As they drove back of an early Sunday morning after a night in the honky-tonks the lights of Dart’s truck as they turned the corner shown on the street sight that announced:

TOBACCO ROAD.

The Man Who Had Life Made At Twenty

     Dewey’s caustic treatment of Meggy Malone in the hospital confrontation had grievously offended LeBaron Briscoe.  It was inconceivable to him that someone who,  from his point of view, had barely been tolerated in his own group should even attempt to defend himself before a girl of the stature of Meggy Malone.  He should have taken whatever abuse she offered him.

page 1974

     Briscoe was familiar with the Hirsh side of the details of the situation in kindergarten and second grade.  Nearly everyone involved had given the details to each member of the eating club in their campaign to discredit Dewey before his fellows.  Briscoe wouldn’t have excused Dewey if he thought he had been wronged back then which he didn’t.

     Meggy was Meggy and Dewey was Dewey.  She had value and he had none.  Briscoe had even gratuitously clued Dewey into McDonald’s and Dewey hadn’t even enough sense to grasp it.  There was no way a guy like that could insult Meggy Malone and get away with it.

     Briscoe had called Buzz Barrett to lament in shocked tones how Dewey had treated Meggy.  Buzz had been one of the members of Dewey’s eating club as well as Briscoe and Denny Demwitter.

     Because of the kindergarten and second grade incidents involving Dewey in which Meggy participated Hirsh/Yisraeli had determined to destroy Dewey.  The registration of Dewey at Melville Trade and the attempted expulsion from Mrs. Hicks’ class are an indication of the extremes which Hirsh was willing to employ.

     When Dewey established himself as a social presence in the eleventh grade with his eating club Hirsh had at first scoffed.  By the end of the eleventh grade however the eating club was challenging Michael Hirsh’s circle for preeminence.  Something would have to be done in twelfth grade.

page 1975.

     Various attempts were made to discredit Dewey but he survived them all.

     Then Hirsh got Michael’s friends to badmouth Dewey relating to the incident in second grade in which they depicted Dewey as a coward who timidly obeyed orders.  Dewey’s group listened but between groups of boys they refused to act lest they appear to be doing other boy’s bidding.

     Then Hirsh got Meggy to work using LeBaron Briscoe, who worshipped her, as a lever.  With only six other members in the club of which half were loyal to Dewey she had scant success obtaining only the votes of Briscoe and Buzz Barrett.

     As Dewey was searching for three new members to round the group out to ten, Hirsh determined to undermine the club by getting members of his own choosing.

     Dewey had known better than to include hs secret arch enemy and neighbor Ward Sonderman in his club.  At Hirsh’s instigation Sonderman formed a city league touch football team which included every member of the eating club including Dewey.  Thus by December  Sonderman had been selected bringing in a tenth member selected by Hirsh while Dewey brought in the ninth member.

     Hirsh, Meggy and the others now had enough latitude but the year was too far advanced for Dewey’s expulsion to mean anything so as graduation neared the club just fell into desuetude.  Dewey was spared the humiliation of being expelled from his own club.

page 1976.

     Nevertheless the deed had been consummated in the hearts of seven of the other nine members including Demwitter, Briscoe and Barrett.  Dewey’s replacement had even been hanging around the club ready to slip in.  He was a fellow by the name of Jerry Kramer.  Dewey had wondered why he was always about but never figured it out.

     Meggy had woven in and out of this situation.  They all thought she was top drawer.  Indeed because of the hatred felt toward Dewey by the elite most the club was associating with people far above their social status which they found most flattering.  Dewey could not be allowed to insult Meggy without a response.

     Buzz Barrett hung up after talking to Briscoe immediately calling Denny Demwitter to discuss the situation.  Although he had been too busy to have anything to do with the man who had been his closest friend in high school Denny now found time on the twenty-third for he and Dewey to call on Buzz.

     Denny and his girl friend picked up Dewey for the drive to Buzz’s home.

     ‘When’s the last time you saw Buzz, Dewey?’  Denny asked.

     ‘Oh gosh, I don’t know.  When did we have our last dinner?  March?  April?  Maybe at Klutz’s graduation party if he was there.’

     ‘Yeah.  All three of us were there.’

     ‘Must have been it, then.’

     Dirk Klutz had been the tenth member admitted to the eating club.  As Hirsh’s appointee he had been hostile to Dewey from the start.  As the newest member he had been the last house at which they were to have eaten in April.  He had refused to honor his obligation thus bringing the club to an end and Hirsh a small triumph although April would have been the last month anyway.

page 1977.

     Klutz had had a graduation party to which he invited the club to make up for his lack of observance for which he did come under criticism.  Dewey was not invited but told as an after thought that he could come if he felt like it.  He had swallowed his pride and attended only to find himself being ridiculed by the whole Hirsh crowd.  He fled in confusion with visions of the second grade dancing before his eyes.

     ‘Boy, Buzz has really got it made now.’  Denny enthused.

     ‘Oh yeah?’

     ‘Yeah.  He got married eight months ago.  First one of us.  Beautiful girl.’

     ‘Ya?  Anybody I know?’

     ‘Probably not.  She went to Lacramae Sacre.  Did you know the Catholic crowd?’

     ‘I knew some of them in grade school and Junior High but once they dropped out of public school they always thought they were getting a better education than us so we never talked.  What school did you go to, Carol?’  Dewey asked Denny’s girl.

     ‘I just moved to the Valley a year and a half ago.  I went to Grand Rapids Catholic Central.’

     ‘Anyway, like I was saying about Buzz, he’s really got it made for life.  You remember the deal he had with Mel Larsen, don’t you?’

page 1978.

     ‘Sure.’

     Mel Larsen had been the owner of Larsen’s Sporting Goods  downtown.  Like a lot of store owners do to stabilize their employees he had made a deal with Buzz when Buzz was only a part time worker in high school in tenth grade that if he would stay and work hard Mel would will him the business when he died.  Buzz had been easily seduced by the offer.  He had worked well and hard for Mel for what was now five years.

     ‘What do you think happened?’

     ‘Mel got on that train bound for Glory?’

     ‘What do you mean, train bound for Glory?’

     ‘Mel died.’

     ‘Yeh, he did.  How did you know?’

     ‘Guessed from something in your manner, Denny.  So he really did leave the business to Buzz.  That’s almost impossible but I suppose it does happen.  I was sure Larsen was leading Buzz on.’

      ‘All the details aren’t known yet but Buzz knows for sure that he’s mentioned in the will.  Here we are.’

     Buzz’s wife Melanie opened the door.

     Buzz was seated on his sofa in the attitude of the grand seigneur ready to greet his vassal.  At the age of twenty he had come into the fullness of life.

      They hadn’t planned how they were going to chastise Dewey for having been rude to Meggy they just thought that some general humiliation would ensue.

page 1979.

     ‘I guess you heard the news, Dewey?’

     ‘What?  You mean about Larsen?  Denny said you were mentioned in the will.’

     ‘That’s right.  You remember how you used to laugh at me because you thought Mel would cheat me in the end?’

     ‘I didn’t laugh at you Buzz.  I just don’t think Mel’s word was worth relying on.  I still don’t.  I still think you should have quit him and gone to college since you could have.’

     ‘Well, I think it’s clear that you’re wrong now, hey Dewey?’

     ‘If it turns out well I’m really happy for you Buzz.  I just don’t think employers keep their word on these things very often.’

     ‘Yes.  Well, you went in the Navy and just look at you now.  I took an honorable man’s word and now I’ve got it made for the rest of my life and I’m only twenty years old.  I’ve got everything and what have you got, another year to go?  Look, my wife Melanie here.  What do you think of this couch?  It’s mine.  New.’

     Dewey saw a repulsive overstuffed couch that he wouldn’t have sold his soul for but he complimented Buzz on it.

      ‘What do you think of my new combination TV/Stereo in genuine simulated Walnut finsh?’  He said pointing to a huge piece of furniture against the opposite wall four feet away.

     Dewey couldn’t believe his ears.  Did Buzz say ‘genuine simulated?’  Dewey thought back a couple years when he and these guys had been the coolest heads around, or thought they were.  How they had laughed at old folks who had been sucked in to flim flam like ‘genuine simulated.’  And now here, a mere two years later one of his group, hell, throw Denny in too, had fallen into a trap they had all despised.  Dewey said nothing but Buzz and Denny slipped over the edge of his earth.

     ‘Mel an I are going to get a genuine reproduction of a Renoir to put above it.  Every hear of Renoir?  French expressionist artist.  Know what a stereo is?  Mel, put the demonstration record on to show Dewey what a stereo is.  New.’

     Mel put the record on the changer and let the tone arm drop.

     Dewey smiled at the sound of the ping pong ball being slapped from left to right and back again.  The effect was something you never really got over.  Almost beat the hell out of the Sputnik.

     ‘Amazing isn’t it?  Ever heard anything like that before?’  Buzz demanded while Melanie took a seat on the arm of the sofa draping herself around Buzz giving a vacuous but beautiful smile to Dewey.

     ‘I was at a party maybe a month and half ago in Oakland, that’s in California, Buzz, and the guy had the same demonstration record only he had a setup that makes your combo look primitive.  He had a whole professional radio type setup with a control room and everything.  Half a dozen speakers.  Then there were these couple of guys there with bongos who got this multi-phasic rhythm going with the ping pong ball which had an absolutely mesmerizing effect.  You shoulda been there.’

     Both Buzz and Denny involuntarily drew their chins in at this unexpected display of knowledge.  They not only didn’t know what bongos were but they didn’t understand the word mesmerizing.  They let the latter pass.

page 1981.

     ‘What’s bongo?’  Buzz asked.  Apparently bongos hadn’t yet made their appearance in the Valley.

     ‘Bongo drums?  Well, they’re these two little drums attached to each other, one bigger, one smaller.  Sort of like upsided down tambourines that you play between your knees.’

     ‘Oh, bongo drums.  Why didn’t you say bongo drums I would have understood.  Just bongos I didn’t catch.  Heard anything from Jerry Kramer?’  Buzz asked referring to Dewey’s projected replacement in the eating club.

    ‘Jerry Kramer?  At West Point?  Me?  No.  Why would I have heard from him, we weren’t even friends.’

     Buzz was just trying to hurt Dewey because of Dewey’s knowledge of stereo  thwarting the intent of Buzz had been received like a slap in the face.  Buzz was relying on private knowledge about Kramer between he and Denny to return the slap.

     After the last question things lapsed into a prolonged embarrassed silence.  They all stood staring at Dewey with him staring back at them.

     ‘I’d probably better go Buzz.  Leave you and your lovely wife, sofa and combination TV/stereo to your Christmas.  All this stuff didn’t leave room for a Christmas tree I guess.   Good luck with the will and take care of that genuine simulated walnut finish.  Bye Melanie.  you want to drive me back, Denny?’

     ‘No. You go on ahead.  Carol and I have something to talk over with Buzz and Mel.’

page 1892.

     ‘You making me walk home alone?’

     ‘There’s the phone.  You can call a cab.’

     ‘I’ll walk.’  Dewey said with a glower.  ‘See you guys around.’

     The closest he came to seeing any of them again was when Denny and Carol drove slowly by him as he walked back to Grandma’s house in the ocld.  Denny politely tooted the horn in acknowledgment as he passed.

     Mel Larsen’s will was opened and read.  The good news was that he had left the business to Buzz.  The bad news was that he also left it to four other employees.  He had made each the same promise enjoining each to secrecy.  Strangely none of the five suspected the outcome.

     Mel’s profit divided five ways was a nice addition to their income but hardly enough for Buzz to have it made at twenty.  Besides that, as  businesses can’t be run by five equal partners, somebody had to be in charge.  After a year of constant bickering the store burned down in the middle of the night.  The insurance was split five ways.  Now without a job Buzz received his share bitterly.

     The year since the reading of the will had been a humiliating one for Buzz now left without a means of support.  He was devastated.  He did feel that he had been put upon by Mel Larsen.

     Buzz sat and drank and brooded for a month then divorced his lovely wife Mel for no other reason than that her name reminded him of Larsen.  He had to gag every time he used his wife’s name.

page 1983.

     Shortly thereafter the house he was living in burned to the ground along with Buzz’s sofa, combination TV/Stereo and the genuine Renoir reproduction that hung above it.

     Then Buzz packed his sorrows in his old kit bag and moved far far away.

     For Dewey as he walked back it seemed that he could hear doors being slammed behind him all over town.

That Sad Old Wintry Feeling

     Baffled by the cold treatment by guys he thought of as his best friends Dewey stepped out the next morning to take what he knew would be his last stroll around town.  The only door that still seemed to be open was the exit.

     As happens when the subconscious takes control Dewey’s steps led him to the corner where Susan Doughty lived.  In the manner of the subconscious it blocks out all detail irrelevant to its needs.  Dewey was unaware of where he was standing so he was suprised when a voice behind him said:  ‘I turned you in.’

     Dewey turned to look into the eyes of Susan Doughty.  He was astonished that she wasn’t wearing a coat.  Unaware of where he was he didn’t realize she had just stepped out her front door.  Had he any consciousness at all he might have looked up to see the Spider Woman watching him from the dining room window.

     It had been a little over a year since he had seen Susan on his leave of the summer of ’57.  Life had been so densely packed with adventure since that time that he had forgotten that she had been back.  Or, rather, he had been so distanced that he hadn’t had time to think about it.  As he had digested nothing of the time he had only disjointed and isolated memories of it.

page 1894.

     He remembered how she had invited him to that party and gotten him drunk.  In his resentment his reaction to her was very, very cold.  She didn’t notice as she felt no warmth toward him.

     She, on the other hand, remembered the last time they had seen each other on the porch after returning from the swimming party in the Bay.  She thought he had been rude but he had only shown more backbone than either she or her mother had expected.

     ‘I turned you in.’  She repeated.

     ‘Turned me in for what, Susan?’

     ‘For those rapes.’

     Dewey looked at her closely.  He was mystified.

     ‘What rapes are you talking about Susan?  You aren’t saying I raped you, are you?’  He said inquisitively, searching hopefully for some attempt at humor.

     In fact, she did think he had raped her.  When he had walked off the porch in disgust his rejection of her in her mind had been translated to rape.  She had mentally converted his reaction into images of rape.  Subconsciously she knew he hadn’t touched her, but she wanted him punished for outraging her sensibilities anyway.

     ‘There was a guy reported in the newspaper who brutally raped four innocent girls in a row six months ago then disappeared.  I know it was you.  So I turned you in.’

page 1986.

     ‘But, Susan, I wasn’t even in town six months ago.  I was in San Deigo.’

     ‘Doesn’t matter.  I don’t know how you did it but it was the kind of thing you would do to innocent girls like me.’

     Dewey looked Susan in the eyes.  He wondered how he could ever have had a crush on her.  Memories are always synthetic.  The synthesis always supports one’s own point of view.  The fact that Dewey considered himself OK was irrelevant, in her own way she was right.

      He had shown a great deal more interest in Susan than she had for him.  An impartial observor would have testified that in his ardor Dewey had forced his attention on her.  He had been sixteen, she had been fourteen.  She had said no she didn’t want to see him.  She didn’t have the know how or impoliteness to drive him away.  So they had had a very cold unpleasant relationship.  She had grounds to claim that Dewey was her misfortune, still, he was the only boy who had ever seen worth in her.

     When she did turn Dewey away in the eleventh grade she had done so in such a brutal unfeeling way that Dewey had been crushed down below where the lilies grow.  Oh boy, did he remember that; even score, or least.  Since he was vaguely aware of how much she had always resented his attentions he bore her no grudge but he insisted on a clean break.  She had violated that condition by approaching him in the summer of ’57.  He no longer felt any obligation toward her.

page 1986.

      Life isn’t that clean.  She obviously couldn’t get him out of her mind.  Thus Dewey was unaware of how painful his presence had been to her for her to have converted his love for her into a series of rapes.

     ‘What did the police say, Susan?’

     ‘They said they thought it was impossible.’

     ‘I should think so.’

     Dewey wanted to say something cruel but all he could remember was the vision of loveliness that had appeared before his eyes on this very corner, indeed, this very spot, what? only four years previously?  Only four years in a world without time, a clock with no hands.  The vision must have taken place on another planet in a different universe, far away beyond the thick dark veil of space.  How could time have so little coherence?

     How could Dewey remember everything but none of it have any meaning to him.  Susan had existed but not in the flesh and blood.  To him she was like ‘Pinkie’ a portrait in a gallery lined with pictures on both sides stretching toward infinity.  Each picture had some relationship to his life but distant and drawn by others.  He could walk the gallery admiring the portraits and pictures relating intimate details that only he knew but they meant no more to him than that.

     There was no organic connection.  He was he and they were they.  He had lived each scene from the outside with no closer involvement than as a patron in the gallery.

page 1988.

     He sat down to Christmas dinner a stranger at the table.  Gone were the big family gatherings of past years.  Some were dead all had dispersed  the year he graduated.  He had been the glue that held them all together in some mysterious way.  His grandmother was no more than a cutout cardboard figure.  His half-brother ate silently beside him.  He finished a second piece of pumpkin pie, got up, put on his hat, grabbed his bag and walked out the door to the bus station for the return trip.  Neither his grandmother nor his brother said goodbye to him nor did he say goodbye to them.  He merely walked down the front steps and out of the picture.

     The last door slammed shut behind him.  As he boarded the big Grey Dog he rode away from a past of which the back cover of the book closed behind him.  He now knew no one.  His course was all his own.  His youth was fled.  The rump end was nine remaining months in the Navy before he could begin his new life.  Actually his new life had already begun.  All else was memory.

     Like Salvador Dali’s brilliant painting, The Persistence Of Memory, handless clocks melted across branches of leafless trees while the luxurious landscape he had known faded into a bleak desert punctuated by the decomposing corpses of old memories.

     In compensation Dewey created a fantasy of high school that would last for twenty-five years.  The more unpleasant realities took shape in his dreamlife where they formed a stable of nightmares that was also to last for twenty-five years.

     He looked back but the last buffalo had fallen on the plane of consciousness never to rise again.  The future lay ahead.  A future dominated by Dr. Queergenes whose story begins in Vol. IV of City On The Hill,

If they gave gold statuettes

for tears and regrets,

I’d be a legend

in

my

own

time.

-Don Gibson.

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

Clip 14

by

R.E. Prindle

     Rather than being awakened to a grim reality Dewey slept soundly until Sunset.  Then, opening his eyes to Darkness while still exhausted he wove in and out of consciousness the night through until daylight brought the world back.  It wasn’t fun but it was unavoidable.

     He had to take three baths and shave twice before he felt clean.  He had no time to reflect on what had been a momentous experience for him.  Each segment of his trip was seared across his memory but the scars were too fresh for examination.  It would be very late in life before he made any attempt to understand.

     For now he was only interested in, as the saying goes, carpeing the diem.  Having finally ggotten back he wanted to get out and relive his past.  Unfortunately the past can only be relived on paper such as this.  His past in any real sense was gone forever.  He now learned that you can never go home again.  I forget who said it but they said:  The past is a foreign country.  They do things different there.  How true.  Not only do they do things differently there, like puppets they can be made to form any pose, assume any attitude, express any opinion and then change them completely when viewed from a different perspective.  The truth is hard to capture but whatever is captured is part of the truth.

     It was at this moment that Dewey, how shall I say, intuited the fact that the past was a sealed book.  What had happened had happened; what had been done was over.  It was all over; the fat lady had warbled.  He didn’t think about it; he didn’t understand it but he knew it.

page 1911

     Still worn out he sat around all day trying to think of where to begin.  As he thought it seemed that his last leave had all but severed his relations with anyone he had known.  He had walked out on Denny Demwitter, still he didn’t know who else to call.  Denny naturally was at work.  His mother said he would call back.

     Louis on return from school had stopped by Caterina to pick up the mail.  There was a letter from Red Hanrahan.  Dewey tore it open and fourteen dollars fell out.  The loan had been paid along with a sanctimonious note adving Dewey of the evil of charging interest.  Dewey pocketed the money throwing the sentiments in the trash.

     Denny returned his call that evening.  He advised Dewey that this was Christmas; he had a girl and their plans were set but he would see if he could include Dewey in something.

     That was that as far as Dewey was concerned.  Now he had to figure out what to do with his remaining days.

Social Dynamics

 

     He got up the next morning with a feeling of despair not knowing what to do.  Coming back for Christmas now seemed the least wise thing he could have done.  Feeling lackluster he decided to wander on down to Trinkow’s Drug to look over the pulps and magazines as in days of yore.

     The days of yore were just that.  The pulps had all but disappeared, a victim of the TV screen.  The number of interesting magazines was thinning fast too.  Since his mohter’s house was locked up he couldn’t even get his civilian clothes.  He was condemned to walking around in his sailor suit which displeased him greatly.

     As Dewey idly searched the magazines he was noted by John Dickman who also was standing around.  Dickman didn’t have a steady job.  He considered a steady job for fools only.  He didn’t want one.  He had been able to put his busybody proclivities to economic use which made his habits legitimate in his eyes.

     He earned an adequate amount of as an informant or sort of researcher cum private eye for a number of attorneys.  He could always immediately provide some background on nearly anyone in town while being able to come up with an in depth report within a matter hours.  When every you talked to him you were providing him with valuable information.

     Trueman knew who Dickman was from seeing him at Melville but he had never spoken to him during those three years.  He wouldn’t have recognized him now.  Dickman accosted Trueman:

     ‘How…uh…how do you know the Daggers.’  He asked carefully avoiding using Dewey’s name as he considered himself better than him.

     ‘How’s that?’  Dewey asked turning to meed him.

     ‘I asked how you know the Daggers.  That’s simple enough isn’t it?’  It was simple; it was also rude and vulgar but since Dickman considered himself above Trueman it was imperative to speak down to him.

page 1913.

     ‘Who are you and what are daggers?’

     ‘You remember me.’  Dickman said softening a little at the truculent tone of Trueman.  ‘John.  John Dickman.  I went to school with you.  Don’t be coy.  The Daggers from Bay City.  One of them was in here yesterday looking for you.’

     Now Dickman was giving out valuable information rather than receiving it which he was always loath to do.

     Dewey stared at Dickman hard.  He understood.  ‘Duelin’ Dalton Dagger was in here looking for me?’  He said, concealing his alarm.

     ‘Yes.  He seemed to know you very well.  He wanted to know where you lived.  I took him over to your parent’s place but you weren’t there.’

     ‘You…took…over…’  Dewey began and stopped.  He wondered how or why this guy he barely recognized knew where he lived and how he knew Dagger.  Dewey looked at him again in one intense but brief study then without answering turned and walked out.

     ‘Geez, what a busybody.’  He thought, flushed from a haunt where he had intended to stay for a couple hours.  Now secure in his mind that Dagger wouldn’t be able to find him Dewey still had the full day before him.  He decided to wander over to Melville to relive old memories.

Darktown Strutters Ball

     One says he decided to wander over but in fact Dewey was compelled to revisit the scene of his failed hopes and spoiled dreams.  He was drawn to this scene of ruined expectations.  His mind lowered istself into a half conscious, half subconscious state where his motivations were separated from his volition.

page 1914

     He loved this vale of regrets, this Herman Melville High School, but it was a love built on sadness.  The solidity of the old pile impressed him as he approached.  There was a sense of dignity in the old building so unlike the frivolous nature of modern construction.  The grandfathers had built it with the reverence due to a temple of learning.  Its traditions were the traditions of modesty yet with the merited pride of achievement.

     His familiarity with this temple of learning on Bercilak as entered was as fresh as the day he left it.  He had no idea what he was going to do as he entered but the old wounds ever fresh from his subconscious directed his steps to the second floor wing containing Mrs. Hicks’ classroom.

     His arrival coincided with the change of classes.  Just as he reached the second floor landing the bell rang releasing the charging streams of students.  There was a changed quality in their manner from his day.  Back then he remembered that they had strolled, emerging cockily and moving leisurely like young lords of the manor down the hall challenging anyone to do something about it.

     These students seemed to run from class scurrying down the hall as though in a mad dash for the safety of the next classroom.  This year’s Seniors had been sophomores the year he graduated so he might possibly know but few of them and none of the Juniors and Sophomores.  As luck would have it, sticking out like a sore thumb in his uniform, nearly everyone he did know saw him.

page 1915.

     Ange, his first sweetheart, turned to scuttle away so as not to be noticed.  Susan Doughty, her replacement, saw him from a distance and went the other way.

     His brother, Louis, spotted him, coming over to say a few words with shining eyes.  Dewey was troubled by rising subconscious motifs so he was not too communicative.  While they were bandying a few words Diane Dever came rushing up.

     Diane had had a crush on Dewey ever since he had delivered papers to her door in eleventh grade.  She had desperately tried to stay in touch when he left for the Navy.  Dewey had written to her during his first year but having no real affection for her he had discontinued writing when the Teufelsdreck went overseas.

     Besides he had been so beaten down by his enemies, so reviled and belittled that he couldn’t see how any girl could love him.  He didn’t feel he could hold his own against his fellows so he didn’t want to be humiliated in front of any girl he might love.

     From Diane’s behavior now her cruch seemed to be true love.  Her plans for Dewey had seemed realizable when he had been writing to her but then he had just stopped answering her letters.  Perhaps, she thought, it was something she said.  Perhaps she had been trying to impress him with her virtue too much.  As with many women who aren’t getting the attention they want she thought she could win Dewey with sex or perhaps in her desperate love she threw caution to the winds hoping to get his attention with promises.

page 1916.

     she rushed up excitedly overjoyed to see him.  The halls were thinning as she spotted him.  Melville had been all White when Dewey had attended but he noticed the presence of Black Boys in the crowds as they came out of the rooms.  Now he understood why the Whites had all seemed to be running to the safety of their next classroom as the Black Boys took up threatening positions in the middle of the halls, somewhat like hall monitors, to harass White stragglers.

     As Diane greeted Dewey she subconsciously straddled his leg rubber her vulva up and down.  She may have meant nothing but a mating call but she caught the Black Boys attention.  Nothing their looks Dewey quickly said he would call her, which he never did, but she was satisfied and scurried off in that scooting run now characteristic of White students.

     Louis gone, Dewey drift4d down the hallway toward Mrs. Hicks’ room with the intent of looking in.  HIs memories were conflicted further by the sight of the Black Boys eyeing him wonderingly.  Two years earlier and there would have been Whites leisurely jousting their way down the halls but now with two full minutes to go before classes only an occasional straggler came down the hall closely hugging the lockers along the side so as to get the greatest distance between them and the Black terrorists in the middle of the hall.  It was a form of respect the Black Boys could appreciate.

page 1917.

     Some half dozen Blacks were in Mrs. Hicks’ class which caused surges in Dewey’s mind that, while he couldn’t have explained them, would have been impossible to explain had he been fluent rather than inchoate.

     Ah, discrimination.

     None of these Black Boys had experienced the discrimination he had.  It made Dewey angry when people spoke of discrimination against Blacks when he had experienced worse and without the comfort of sympathetic fellows who felt as he did.

     As related in the Sonderman Constellation when Dewey had left Junior High Hirsh/Yisraeli had secretly enrolled him at Melville Trade School rather than Melville High so as to get him out of the sight of son and friends.

     When Dewey showed up at Melville for tenth grade he was told that there was no place for him, he should trot over to Trade School and assume the position.  Dewey had refused, sitting around the office for three days until Hirsh and the administration capitulated.  After all the Law required that all youths be given the opportunity for a high school education, Black or White.

     Next Dewey elected for college prep courses.  Hirsh and the administration refused, wanting to put him in the Business Curriculum.  They told him he wasn’t entitled for what he was asking.  He had to brush aside their objections that he would never be going to college.  How they knew what he might or might not do was anybody’s guess but as Dewey looked at these Black Boys in Mrs. Hicks class he smilingly wondered how many of them would be going to college except on an athletic scholarship in which intellectual abilities might be a liability.

page 1918.

     In a truly desperate attempt to intimidate him into taking the less prestigious business curriculum, while showing their hatred for him, he was assigned to Mrs. Hicks’ college prep class which contained Michael Hirsh as well as most of his friends.

     Evaline Hicks had been the instructor of the elite of the Valley since the late thirties when she arrived from State.  She had a spectacular aura of respectability about her as well as being a top notch scholar.  She epitomized all the Western Civilization hoped to be.

     When Dewey presented himself in her class the Hirshes as a body rose from their seats to force him back driving him back by main force out of the room into this veryhallway on the very spot he now stood where his subconscious steps had led him.  Then several girls from the Business English class across the hall came out like the sirens of Greek mythology to entice him with sexual promises, I did you not, into their classroom.  Whoever came up with the notion that girls were chaste in the fifties must never have been there.  Perhaps it is the same girls speaking now as mothers trying to impress their daughters with their former virtue.  It’s not like they weren’t wonderful just the same.

     Informed once again that he would never go to college he replied that he would and fought his way back into the classroom.  After Mrs. Hicks had restored order he was grudgingly allowed to take a seat.  How’s that for discrimination?

page 1919.

     None of the Black boys in Mrs. Hicks class would ever go to college but they were now given seats in her sacred grove on a silver platter that they could not apprecieate.  Dewey laughed to himself as he watched them wondering what a sailor was doing in school as these memories and comparisons surged around his subconscious.  Animosity and hatred glowed from their eyes as the last White straggler scurried past them protected y the presence of Dewey.

     The Whites had learned their lesson well and quickly.  A full thirty seconds before the bell rang there wasn’t a White fact to be seen in the halls.  Much different than when Dewey had attended Melville.

     A few Blacks had attended Melville the past year as clumps of Negroes breached the Eastern Defenses crossing over from the East Side into Carroltown Township, just North of the Valley, that fed into Melville.  Larger numbers had crossed after N-Day so now there were now two or three hundred Black students out of twenty-eight hundred.

     The Blacks were unwelcome across the River, just as Montagues would have been amongst Capulets.  Think social rather than racial.  The defense lines would be reformed forcing them back across the River to the East Side during the year.  They were told to stay on the East Side.  Melville would be White again the next year.  For a while.

     No one understood how the Black population grew so fast.  The flood of newcomers moving North from the South was an unrecognized fact.  The Valley News never tried to explain or acknowledge it.  They didn’t understand either.  the subject then as now was taboo.

page 1920

     Originally contained in the First Ward until the ward was literally bursting the Blacks were now spilling out into the adjoining wards on the way to taking over the Northeast and Central East Side.  The Whites were pushed South and further East reclaiming swampy lower ground where they were joined by the incoming White hillbillies hoping for the same unskilled factory jobs as the Blacks.

     Much has been made concerning the low scores of Blacks on the Scholastic Achievement and IQ tests but the scores were pre-ordained.  It should be noted that West Side White scores were also consistently higher than East Side White scores.  The tests were culturally weighted toward an upper class White standard.  West Side families were more likely to have magazines and books in their homes than the factory workers and Hillbillies of the East Side.  Melville also sent a much higher percentage of its students on to college than Valley High of which the West Side was very proud.

     The Blacks simply had not come into contact with the achievements of Western Civilization while actually despising them.  Mrs. Hicks class was a model of the problem of educating Blacks to White or Western Civilization standards.  Western Civ quite naturally excluded all things Black from discussion.  Education was a White world; Whites had made the world from the fifteenth century on.  Just a fact.  They now had to be made ashamed of their achievement ‘to redress the balance.’

page 1921.

     A surprising number of teachers at Melville had Masters degrees.  Mrs. Hicks not only had onee but she was only a few credits from obtaining her PhD.  As per the discussion between Dewey and Terry Gaste in the De Soto Mrs. Hicks was a serious scholar.

     She was not exactly a feminist or perhaps Feminists were not yet known by that name but she took her Sex seriously while also having lesbian tendencies.  She was well developed in all areas of English literature.  She was deep into Medieval studies.  Her accomplishments were such that it must be said that the West Side was repaid handsomely for whatever salary they gave her.

     She was in advance of her times by giving a slightly different course of instruction to the girls over the boys.  The girls were privately instructed in the Romance of Tristan and Isolde with its stress on platonic love.  Perhaps in our misguided coeducational fantasy it is necessary to somehow impart the duties, hopes and aspirations of each sex apart from the other.  Co-education may be a fantasy.  Anything would be better than the smutty environment we’ve created now.

     Now, as to the psychology of the Blacks.  You don’t have to read a lot of Black literature to find what is missing in Black education.  There are no references to White literature or history in Black literature.  From Richard Wright to Iceberg Slip you are given a picture of reality devoid of literary references.  Apparently Blacks don’t read White literature.  Their lack of interest in White matters is part of their inability to respond to White education.

page 1922.

     This is not a question of money.  Those Blacks who had grown up in theValley attending grammar schools, Junior Highs, and High Schools had as much money spent on them as White kids.  Black kids migrating from the South didn’t but there was no difference between these two Black groups in scholastic achievement.

     The problem was not one of money but culture.  In their daily lives the Black kids did not spend a lot of time reading anything.  They were all functionally illiterate.

      The layering of psychologies was such that Blacks had the burden of a couple layers of psychology than Whites.  Both groups had to deal with their personal psychologies.  They had to maintain their self-respect vis-a=vis their communities.

     That done the Whites faced integration into a White society in which they were more or less accepted and knew their way around.  The Blacks had to relate their personal and community psychologies to the structures of the alien White community, a community that traditionally had rejected and supressed them on every level.

     This led to the development of different possibilities and ultimately a completely separate and antagonistic culture.  What goes in Black Culture may be a crime by White laws.  Conversely what may be seen as a crime in Black eyes might not to White eyes.  There is a terrific conflict in standards.  Also irreconcilable.

     This is nowhere more evident than in the relation between the sexes.  The Pimp was a culture hero in the Black world.  In the White world he had no status.  In the Black he had money’; he knew how to shine.  Thus Black men tended to look on women as a means to wealth.  Nor was this different than their situation in Africa.  When they saw a woman they saw a potential prostitute or in their slang a hole or ho.  John Lennon of the Beatles was indeed very rude to ask how many holes it took to fill Albert Hall.  If you had a few holes in your stable you were set up.

page 1923.

     This attitude was reflected in their music, which is say, everyday psychology, in such songs as ‘Shake Your Moneymaker.’  If you don’t know what a ‘moneymaker’ is it’s that ‘thang’ between a woman’s legs; ‘Jimmy Mack’  is another name for a pimp.  Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee.  When Little Richard burst onto the scene screaming ‘Long Tall Sally sure likes to ball’ you may be sure that not one in a hundred White Folks knew that ‘to ball’ was not a verb meaning ‘to party’ but one meaning ‘to fuck.’  Thus Little Richard was screaming, if you’ve never heard Little Richard I mean he was actually screaming: Sally sure likes to fuck.  Probably for money.

     It didn’t take long for fast Whites to learn what that meant.  Now imagine a little five year old girl who had heard the song on the radio shaking that ‘thang’ as she shouts:  Long Tall Sally sure like to ball.  It happened, my friends, and her parents thought she was cute.  The cultural differences were immense.  Blacks and Whites used the same words but didn’t speak the same language.

     Now, imagine a corps of young Black pimps released into a White hen house where the girls had never even seen a prostitute, Black or White.  Consider that these girls had been raised on the ideals of virtue as contained in the Romance of Tristan and Isolde.  ‘Tight ass White girls’ as the Blacks would say.  It will be seen that their defenses agains Black ho recruiters were minimal unless the distance between the two cultures was maintained.  Instead they were told that there were no cultural differences between Blacks and Whites and that they were evil if they ‘discriminate’ against Black Boys.  In those days Black men ran Black stables of holes; today they are mixed.  Pimps aren’t nice to their holes either; read Iceberg Slim’s book ‘Pimp.’

     In those days the pimp was a Black culture hero, today the role is shared by White men acting Black.  In the year 2000 Hollywood produced an animated cartoon in which one character was a tow headed White seven year old pimp.  What was the cute little guy selling?  His sister or mother?  What a difference forty years makes.

     Then there was the racial warfare to take into accunt.  Except to the blind it was already evident on the playing fields of America.  Let’s face it.  Blacks had to be careful or they might be beaten without recourse.  Blacks attending Melville had to traverse the entire White West Side.  In those days students were not routinely bussed to school, although it was around the corner, only the rural students were.  Everyone else had to find their own way.  thus the Blacks had to walk across town or pay for the city bus.

     Whether they were set on or not the apprehension was real.  Blacks felt in physical danger at Melville which they countered with a pre-emptive terrorism of their own on the principle that a good offense is the best defense.

page 1925.

     Coming from the East Side which was economically inferior the Blacks had to traverse the whole of the West Side which was forbidden to them at all other times.  Dewey had grown up without ever seeing a Black face on the West side of the River and very few South or East of the First Ward.  While the physical appearance of the rest of the town wasn’t significantly different from the First Ward it contained all the mysterious wonders of the White world.  the true differences in life styles was heightened in the Black imagination.  There were White women in those houses.

     These supposed splendors were also joys and delights that were seemingly forever denied to them and that on the unfair basis of color, as opposed to what?  Social caste?  Weren’t they treated as dogs.  Dogs.

     The arrogant Urban Aristocracy was either cruel or inexplicably unaware of the consequences of their actions.  Weren’t they after all educated people?  They treated their orphans worse than they treated the Blacks.  When Dewey was in the orphanage the children would occasionally be taken to the home of some well-to-do ‘benefactor’ for lunch.   There they saw all the things money could buy including the luxurious mansion and acreage.  When they were taken back to the orphanage the house mothers carefully explained to them that they would never be allowed to enter such a desirable life style.  Such was only for their ‘betters’ and betters was heavily emphasized.  Orphans too were ‘niggers’ who were to be forever denied.  What is discrimination?

1926.

     The effect on Blacks was much the same.  If it wasn’t said it was understood that they would never be allowed to live int he same style much less among the Whites.  If you don’t think Blacks and orphans experienced some bitterness, you’re mistaken.  The big difference and this caused Dewey some bitterness too was that the racial lines allowed Blacks security as a group while the orphans were isolated individuals within the White society without support.

     Still the orphans were not cut off from education by color discrimination, just discrimination.  Once the Blacks entered the classrooms their minds had never been prepared to digest the material presented to them while they believed it was impossible for them to participate as social equals.

     White minds had been prepared in varying degrees to ingest and digest the material while at the same time they knew or hoped they could apply apply the material by assuming places of stature in society where the information would be useful.  Class lines couldn’t stop the demand for educated workers in an expanding economy.

     At least for some of the Whites.  The Whites had already been divided into three classes.  Those Whites destined to be useful to the Urban Aristocracy by making things for them had been separated out and sent to Herman Melville Trade.

     Those not destined for the manual trades and been organzied in the Business Curriculum which was inferior to the elite of the College Prep Curriculum in which those destined for success were enrolled.  The elite of the College Prep was assigned to the most prestigious English teacher, Mrs. Hicks.

page 1927.

     The second division of the elite went to the class of Miss Mattie Crump.  Miss Crump was an adequate teacher but she had none of the flair and imagination of Mrs. Hicks.  Evaline Hicks, by the way, had never been married.  The Mrs. was as honorary a title as a Kentucky Colonel.

     Once in Mrs. Hicks’ class you were usually there for the three years of high school.  Dewey had braved his way into Mrs. Hicks’ tenth grade class; Hirsh in a rage had him exiled to Miss Crump’s class in the eleventh grade.

     Dewey had immediately recognized the difference in quality.  He had appealed to Mrs. Hicks to be transferred back to her class but she was either unable or unwilling to do so.  She promised to take him back in twelfth grade which word she honored much to Hirsh’s chagrin.

     Thus while Dewey fully appreciated Mrs. Hicks’ skills he had been discriminated against, kept from her class in the eleventh grade  by prejudice.  Now these Black Boys who completely negated the talents of the teacher, who were unable to appreciate what she could have done for them where given preferential treatment over the likes of the White Deweys.  The sailor could only sneer at the Whites and laugh at the Blacks.

     So the Urban Aristocracy treated the Blacks as a unit the same as they treated the Jews as a unit.  the two ‘minorities’ were given defferential and preferential treatment outside and independent of the class distinctions of the Whites.  Every Black and every Jew who was willing and able could have a shot at the Golden Ring as adjuncts of the White elite while two thirds of the Whites were placed beneath Negroes and Jews and the lower half of that over at Herman Melville Trade being taught to be useful servants.

page 1928

         The Jews knew what to do with their boon while the Blacks would take decades to make any progress at all and that was given to them on a silver platter hand fed with a silver spoon.  For now these angry Black kids were incapable of competing with the Whites except on a physical basis.  Hence they emphasized the physical.

      Now came the great change in so-called American education.  The shift was from education to inculcation.  As the Blacks couldn’t increase their abilities fast enough the Whites had to be brought down to their level in the interests of  ‘equality.’

     The notion of education as a bringing forth as explained by Terry Gaste had to be discarded.  Mrs. Hicks having a classical education naturally taught the same.  Learning don’t come easy.  Doesn’t matter whether you’re Black or White learing is work.  She had set herself the task of drawing fortth her students step by step so that they could decipher for themselves what had previously been undecipherable.  After all the learning process is a continual pushing to enlarge the envelope.

     In Dewey’s time, as before his time and after for a while, Whites had to struggle through the Greek ;myths, the Song of Roland and excerpts from Mallory’s Morte d’ Arthur in the fifteenth century dialect.  Talk about stretching your mind; it hurt.  There were many Whites, even then, who objected to learning the antiquated language.

page 1929.

     In the intellectual climate of the times the only relevance of the Greek myths was as didactic pretty stories used as figures of reference in literature.  Showed you were educated if you knew a bunch.  Thus it helped to know who Apollo was to understand what was meant when some guy other than yourself was being described as a real Apollo.  It always seemed to be the other guy, too.  There was nothing too intellectually challenging there, just some memory work.

     Roland and Arthur while being more linguistically demanding were still in the realm of  fairy tale therefore not really challenging except for the language.  By the time you got to Shakespeare, that’s where your heartaches began.  The Whites had to study and think to have their intelligence drawn out while the Blacks just shined it on.  Fuck it.

     This transition from Ghetto to Melville was more than a few miles; it was the transition from the limitations of the Negro dialect to the full glories of the modern English language.  The two peoples were nearly speaking two languages.  The Whites used English the Blacks had never heard while the Blacks used words and phrases like ‘to ball’ that had no or different meanings to Whites.

     Besides the very word ‘English’ stuck in the Black craw.  The Blacks hated the English by which they meant their old owners.  If you have listened to Harry Belafonte on his Carnegie Hall LP you will get a very genteel feel for the hatred and anger the Blacks have against the ‘English.’

1930.

     The transition from Black Culture to White Culture was difficult to impossible for the Blacks which none of the Urban Aristocracy educator took into account.  The Blacks were now asked to deal with a despised twice or thrice removed foreign English Culture as an ideal expressed in terms five hundred years old or more.  I mean, for Whites a gloosary is real hand if not essential to understanding Shakespeare.

     Imagine Black or teen Whites presented with these examples of the Bard’s artistry:

…the Sun ariseth in his majesty;

Who doth the world so gloriously behold

That cedar tops and hill seem burnish’d gold.

Venus salutes him with this fair good morrow:

‘O thou dear god and patron of all light,

From whom each lamp and shining star doth borrow

The beauteous influence that makes his bright…

or

The senat house of planets all did sit,

To knit in her their best perfection.

or

Be Mercury, set feathers to they heels,

And fly like thought from them to me again.

     Kind of makes you wish you’d paid better attention to those Greek myths, eh?

     The strangeness of the the Shakespearian idiom compared to the Black idiom infuriated Black Folk.  The polite disdain of Harry Belafonte was joined by the rage of the Southern Negro Preacher, Jesse Jackson.

page 1931.

     The Blacks sat in the class dumbly, angry at the Whites who seemed to hand the material so easily although they were struggling to learn the material themselves.  Even Mrs. Hicks didn’t know  what ‘The senate house of the planets all did sit’ really meant.  She and Smyrna Gaste, Terry’s mother, whould have had to have been friends for her to learn that.  Freedom on conscience has its limits.

     In retaliation for being made to feel really stupid the Blacks disrupted the class.  ‘Charlie Brown, he’s a clown’ as one popular song put it.

      Mrs. Hicks’ favorite book for tenth graders was George Eliot’s ‘Silas Marner.’  How much George Eliot’s being a woman writing under a man’s name influenced her decision can never be known but it seems that there is a concealed feminism there.  The idea of George being a woman created a minor sensation in Dewey’ class.

     She lost half of Dewey’s elite alla White class with old Silas while half of the half hacked their way through Eliot’s choppy jumpy class conscious style.  The last quarter of the class claimed to enjoy the book.  The phone country dialect was a real treat as Eliot subdivided class from class to arrive at the bottom of the social structure which was, however, above that of the Blacks.  Even Thomas Hardy was exasperated by her style while Anthony Trollope thought there was little chance of Eliot’s books surviving time.  You never can tell.  No one was ever assigned a Trollope novel to read even though he is far superior to Eliot.

page 1932.

     Two years after Dewey there wasn’t a Black guy in class that even cracked a book.  They just sat seething and getting angrier and angrier while feeling more inferior each session.

     Harry Belafonte’s mild rejection would burst forth in an angrier denunciation a few years later when the volitilce Jesse Jackson, successor to Martin Luther King, Junior stood up at Stanford University and shrieked in that emotional Southern Black churchy manner:  “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civilization has got to go.”  Niftly little phrase maker he; he wanted to throw out the baby and the bath at the same time.

     Strangely enough in that bastion of the Urban Aristocracy’s elite his White listeners agreed with him.  Mencken was right after all.  they chucked the likes of Shakespeare and George Eliot out the window embracing the semi-literate, half educated Black psychologist from Martinique, Frantz Fanon.  Fanon was passed off as ‘French.’

     But by then the ‘e-ducere’ was a thing of the past as educators pounded all kinds of  inferior literature from William Golding’s puerile ‘Lord Of The Flies’ to Chaim Potok’s racist ‘The Chosen’ into the heads of  their charges.  The idea was no longer to educated students but to inculcate them with the prevailing prejudices.  Theprocess was much the same as the conditioning given the Jews over the Haman shriek.  You either responded correctly to cue words or you were excommunicated from the flock, kicked out of school and denied employment that might lead to influence.  THEY called you a bigot.

page 1933.

     The Whites had so lost the ability of intellectual discrimination that they embraced the ephemeral fruit of Fanon’s novel ‘The Wretched Of The Earth’ as though it were the Holy Bible.  Once can understand a Black Panther like Huey Newton walking around with the book in his pack pocket but required reading for the Urban Aristocracy at Stanford?

     Made to feel inferior in the classroom the Blacks turned to aggression in the halls; and what agression.  Rapes and beatings escalated the level of violence to unheard of proportions.  Even in the post-Blackboard Jungle days when White Boys attempted the same things the crimes were not allowed to become institutionalized.  The administration had moved to break up the White gangs.  The Black gangs were immune because of their race.  The administrators sat quietly in their offices with their hands folded; to discipline them would have been an insult to the Black race.  ADL, NAACP, they were all hoping to create an incident, get involved, make things happen.

     So the test scores just continued to drop.  The Blacks didn’t any smarter; the Whites just dumbed down.  The Blacks got bolder; the Whites put more time into evasive measures than study.  Tricks were turned in the toilets.  Twenty years later the streets would be filled with ‘the homeless’ who didn’t even exist in 1958.

     Black influence functioned much as the influence of the barbarian Germans functioned in ancient Rome.  The Germans flooded in surveying Roman marvels that they had no ability to understand.  The difference in capabilities was such and so insurmountable that the Germans just destroyed rather than trying to emulate.

page 1934.

     So with the Blacks.  Just as they felt they were being defaced they defaced the physical plant at Melville.  Nearly pristine after forty years of use by Whites things began to be chipped and broken just like at Black dominated new Valley High.  Unable to understand the English of the classroom the Blacks invented a script that was incomprehensible to Whites and scrawled it as grafittie over every blank surface.

     The Urban Aristocracy never did catch on and hasn’t to this day.  the notion of Blacks having a distinct psychology is just as foreign to them today as it was then.

     Just before the bell rang, the Whites, who learned the new guidelines quickly, had flet to class leaving Dewey and a file of Black Boys eyeing each other.  As Dewey looked down the line he reflected that each and every one of these children of supposed poverty were dressed better than he had ever been.  they wore expensive slacks and costly shirts.  Their belts were not ordinary leather.  they wore their clothes well too.  Unable to compete intellectually they could at least look better than their White counterparts, if anybody could look better in that shade of green pants.  Just as in the Navy, they looked sharp.

     Dewey was older and in uniform so they fidgeted restlessly unsure whether to harass him or not.  Finally their minds made up they began a show of power by strolling past him with one of their peculiar walks which are meant to show how cool they are.

page 1935.

     They hip hopped toward Mrs. Hicks’ door with a walk so leisurely that Dewey would have fallen over unable to balance himself at such a slow pace.  The entry was delayed by a full three mintues as they increased the volume of their noise as they pomped through the door with a contemptuous smirk at the Whites.

     Another full five minutes were taken to seat themselves.  Remember that photo of that cute little Black girl in the pink pinafore being escorted down the walk by those big White National Guardsmen in Little Rock a scant year previously?

     There was no establishment photographer around to catch this shot of her big Black Northern brothers.  Nor would such a photograph have been published.  The last ‘blood’ to enter stopped with his back to Mrs. Hicks.  Facing the class he coolly unzipped his fly spreading his trouser tops ostensibly to tuck in his shirt.  He was wearing no underwear.  Being sure to give the White girls a sight of his shaft he smirkingly zipped up then hip hopped to his seat.

     Willie had stuck it in the face of the White Folks just as his counterparts in professional baseball were doing every time they stepped to the plate.  Jackie Robinson in 1948 had been instructed to be humble, to endure whatever insults the Whites might give him.  Ten years later the table were turned.  Every Black player who stepped to the plate reached down to grab his root and shake it in the face of White America.  Back to their roots.

     White Americans sat respectfully and watched the Black ballplayers shake that thang.

page 1936.

     Not to be outdone in Mrs. Hicks’ class another North of the Ohio Emmett Till leaned over to a White girl, who was just as cute as that little Little Rock pink pinafore, saying loud enough to be overheard:  ‘Say, honey, you too beautiful to be walking around in those rags.  Let me teach you how to shake that thang, put that money maker to work.  Man, you go with me and you be walkin’ around in silks and furs.  Don’t give me no answer now, think about it.  Dig you later.’

     The White girl sat paralyzed not so much from fear as from being unable to respond properly for fear of being called prejudiced.  Black Boys and Girls tittered and giggled pleased at their unopposed success at putting a couple over on the White Folks.  Emmett Till laughed from his river bottom.

     The flower of Western Civilization sat grimly behind her desk watching the degradation.  All that wonderful education had come to this.  Another couple years and George Eliot would be chucked out in favor of that obscene parody of literature written by an arrested adolescent:  The Lord Of The Flies.

     Thus while not only disrupting the class the Blacks incited disrespect for discipline which the White Boys would quickly learn to imitate.  If it’s good for a black gander it’s good for a white one.  The standard of education disappeared as mere indoctrination replaced it.  Test scores sank and sank year after year.

      What did you think was going to happen?  There were other ways of handling the situation but the Urban Aristocracy wouldn’t hear of them.  Society would accept their point of view or else.

     You won’t read any of this in history books which are censored to eliminate it because to merely relate the truth is bigotry to these ‘democrats.’

     The memory of these momentous events to Dewey became a compressed pellet if information in his mind as he walked out the door indisgust, shame and fear for his people.  He knew what he knew but he couldn’t tell it.  Decompressing the pellet into its elements so he culd express what he understood would take decades.  Even then it was forbidden knowledge.

Detroit City Once Again

     When Dewey graduated form high school in the recession year of 1956 about half the men in his class went into the service.  of the other half about half toughed it out at home while the remaining quarter of the whole trekked off to college.  About half of Dewey’s eating club went to college.

     Among those was LeBaron Briscoe.  The University and State were the favored home State colleges.  The third most popular college in the State was Wayne State University in Detroit.  Detroit was in Wayne County.  No doubt it was named after Mad Anthony Wayne the famed Indian fighter.  An early day Custer if I remember correctly.

     LeBaron attended Wayne State with a Melville alumna by the name of Meggy Malone.  Meggy had been in a terrible car accident the week before finals which had broken most of the bones in her body.  she was laid up at Wayne State Hospital.  Several girls from the Valley were attending her around the clock.  People had seen Dewey enter town.  A news of sorts, the information was learned y Meggy’s attendants, from them to her as gossip.  For reasons to be explained she expressed a desire to see Dewey.

page 1938

     Meggy knew all the members of Dewey’s eating club quite well.  She was an especial friend of LeBaron Briscoe who had been in Dewey’s eating club.  LeBaron agreed to drive Dewey up to Detroit to see Meggy.  So a request was make to Denny Demwitter who called Dewey to inform him that he had found something for Dewey to do.  How would he like to drive up to Detroit with Briscoe?  Alright with Dewey.

     LeBaron Briscoe picked Dewey up at eight for the long drive to Detroit.  The drive was only a hundred miles but it took a lot longer to get there than it did between San Diego and LA.

     The morning was a frosty 10 degrees above zero.  LeBaron and Dewy had known each other well without ever becoming close friends or even real friends.  In a way the trip was a means of getting to know each other.  Dewey was discussing the changes to the Dixie Highway as the road to Detroit was called.  In Dewey’s day it had been a two lane road but was now four lanes; what they called a freeway in Michigan but the cars stopped to enter the highway rather than having on ramps and integrating themselves into traffic as in California.  Dewey was chatting about this to LeBaron’s uncomprehending ears when the highway before them to the extent of a mile appeared as a solid sheet of ice.

page 1939.

     Not being a driver Dewey was unaware of the extent of the danger.  LeBaron who did exercised what caution he could but he was on the ice before he could slow down; there was no longer a chance of applying the brakes.  Then in the middle of the sheet a strong wind gusted across the highway.  Fortunately the wind pressure was equal the length of the car so it didn’t spinout nor did they break traction but the car drifted eerily from the slow lane into the fast lane.  The lane was empty but then a fresh gust pushed the car out onto the divider toward the oncoming traffic.

     There was no barrier, the divider wasn’t even built up; the sheet of ice ws level into an adjoining field.  LeBaron was adept.  He kept the car headed forward which required great skill.  Dewey became a little panicked demanding that LeBaron pull back across the highway.  In his anxiety he came close to breaking LeBaron’s concentration.  The car continued to slide toward the oncoming traffice but then the gust died down allowing LeBaron to pilot the big sled back into a lane just as they reached the edge of the ice sheet.

     Dewey’s breath exploded outward in relief as the tires hit concrete.

     ‘What did you get so exicted for Dewey.  What did you think I could do?’  Lebaron asked.

     ‘Geez, Bare, I’m sorry.  I don’t know.  I don’t have a driver’s license and it never freezes in California so I mean, I’ve never been in anything like that before.  I’m glad you stayed so cool, kept your presence of mind.’

page 1940.

          When they got to Detroit LeBaron drove Dewey to a McDonald’s hamburber stand for lunch.  McDonald’s was brand new at the time; Dewey had never heard of it.  The sign said that only three million had been sold; that’s how new the chain was.  The first three million had been sold Without Dewey noticing a single one. 

      ‘Let’s stop and get a bag of burgers.’  LeBaron said.

     ‘Yeah, sure.’  Dewey replied wondering why LeBaron said a bag rather than ‘a’ or a couplc.

      They pulled into a rather grotty parking lot.  Dewey sat there waiting for the carhop.  Up to that time all drive ins had means of taking your order from the car.  They either had female carhops wearing funny demeaning sexual uniforms or a speaker phone on a pole like at drive in theaters.

     ‘C’mon, let’s go.’  Lebaron said.

     ‘Go where?  Where’s the speakers so we can order?’

     ‘We have to go up to the window to order, this is different.  Better.’

     ‘Not only better but more inconvenient too.’  Dewey quipped.

     The little dump was busy, long lines stretched back from the two windows into the cold.  There was no indoor seating just lines of people at the windows buying hamburgs.  The stand was pretty grungy looking too.

     ‘Two hamburgs and ries, mustand and onion only.’  Dewey ordered.

     ‘There isn’t no mustand and onion only; they come with everything.’

page 1941

     ‘Just hold the rest of everything and give me mustard and onions.’

     ‘If you don’t want to order just get out of line and let the other people up.’

     ‘They only come one way Dewey.  Just ask for burgers and fries.’

     This was the beginning of the American tradition of our way or the highway.  Dewey did order but he wasn’t happy.

     Back in the car Dewey opened his bag to take out two quarter dollar sized tidbits.

     ‘What are these, bite sized?’  Dewey asked puzzled.

     ‘You should have got a dozen like I did.  They’re small but they only cost fifteen cents.’

     ‘Yeah, well, so what?  It looks like ;you end up with a lot of bread and ‘everything’ but little beef.  Why don’t they make ‘em for sixty cents and give you something to eat?’

     ‘McDonald’s is the coming thing, Dewey.  They’re going to have thousands of these everywhere in the country.’

     ‘Not if they don’t make their hamburgers bigger they won’t.’

     ‘Oh yes they will.  They’ve researched the market carefully and I’ve researched them carefully, McDonald’s is going to be big.  I’m buying stock as soon as it’s offered.’  LeBaron said with that gut wrenching tone that says you’ve made a momentous decision with life and death consequences.’

     ‘Stock?  You mean shares like on Wall Street.  You mean this dump is listed?’

page 1942.

     ‘It sure will be.  A thousand shares that’s what I’m buying.’

     ‘A thousand shares?  Look at this dump Bare.  You can’t even go inside.  This is just a stupid little hut that could blow away in the wind.  They don’t even sell anything but these stupid dinky little jerkburgers, fries and  Cokes.  Where’s that at?’

     ‘And milk shakes.  You’re missing the fine points, Dewey.  I’ve really studied this.  Look at the arches on either side of the building.

     ‘Yeah.  Bigger than the building.  Hot stuff.’

     ‘See, but at a distance the arches form an M for McDonald’s.’

     ‘Wow.  They still got dinky hamburgs.’

     ‘That’s the beauty of psychologically.’  LeBaron said with breathless fascination at the immensity of the idea of tiny hamburgers.  ‘You think you’re getting a lot for just a little money.  Promotion is more important than the product.  I’ve taken a few classes.’

     ‘I didn’t.’

     ‘You’re not representative of the sample, Dewey.  Take my word for it this is going to be big.  If you’ve got any money buy stock now.  You’ve got enough for a couple hundred shares don’t you?  That’s all it will take.’  LeBaron said throwing two tiny burgers into the hopper at once.

     ‘Well, if the price will be what you say I could buy a hundred, but jeez, Bare, look at this dump.  These things aren’t even going to be worth anything.’

page 1943.

     So much for Dewey as a financial prognosticator.  Had he bought he would have more than doubled his money by the time he got out of the service.  LeBaron did all right over the next forty years with his thousand shareds.

     ‘I appreciate your financial advice, Bare.  But you didn’t come up to Detroit just to show me this dump did you?’

     ‘No.  You know who’s in the hospital.  Margaret Malone.  We should drop over to see her.’

     ‘Who’s Margaret Ma…you don’t mean Meggy Malone do you?’  Dewey asked in horror.

     Dewey remembered  Meggy Malone from high school where he had despised him. constantly interfering with him.  Dewey didn’t remember her from kindergarten and second grade but she was on of the group of Michael Hirsh that had given him his central childhood fixation, nor did he know of the influence she had had onl his eating club.  Dewey thought she hated him but he didn’t understand why.

     ‘You know Meggy Malone, Bare?’  Dewey asked astonished.

     ‘Sure.  Margaret’s one of the most terrific people I’ve ever known.  If any of us are ever going to amount to anything she’s the one.’

     ‘Really?  I didn’t know that.  Did you know her in high school?’  Dewey asked who realized for the first time that there may have been a lot he didn’t know about his friends.

     ‘Oh yes.  Our families were very close.’

    ‘No kidding?  Well, you know, Bare, Meggy and I didn’t get along very well at all.  I don’t have any choice but to go with you but if I’d known you were going to see her I wouldn’t have come so when we get there I’ll just wait in the car.’

page 1944 

     LeBaron started the car with a smile heading in the direction of Wayne State.

     Dewey looked back at the arches to see whether they mad an M.  They did.

     ‘I still wouldn’t waste my money.’  He thought.

The Ballad Of Meggy Malone

     There is a school of thought that says there is no such thing as an accident.  As a categorical the notion must surely be false; however in the general psychological sense it must be true.  Nearly every ‘accident’ in my life could have been avoided by either forethought, conscientious attention to detail or awareness of  other people’s intent.  At anytime the subconscious take over you may be sure the action was directed.

     Had LeBaron not been intent on avoiding an accident, had he been the least bit suicidal, the ice slick might easlily have been the death of them both.  On another level even driving in those conditions was to ‘invite’ an accident.

     Meggy Malone would never have admitted that she had caused her accident to happen.  Caught in a miasma of depression her subconscious sought an accident in an attempt to avoid a painful reality.  To have taken that curve under freezing conditions at the speed she did was deliberate death seeking.  Her story varied until she got it right.  At first she said she absent mindedly took the turn at that speed but it all came out the same; she oped to crash and crash she did.  She headered into a metal light pole as she skidded off the road and rolled the car three times down the embankment.

page 1945.

     Thrown under the dash by the crash with enough force to crush several bones the successive rolls finished the job.  She had to be torched out of her near coffin to be rushed to Wayne State Hospital which was nearby the campus.

     It took several days to straighen out a number of multiple fractures while toward the end those which were already knitting had to be broken again.  Now with her conscious mind in control she felt ‘lucky’ to be alive.

     Psychologists would have described Meggy’s pre-accident state of mind as ‘complicated.’  The only thing complicated abut it was that the psychologists would have lacked all the pertinent details to evaluate it.

     Meggy wasn’t complicated at all.  She had simply been brought up to believe the world was her oyster and that she was the knife to crack it open.

     Her parents and their circle of friends were intellectual leaders in the Valley.  They thought highly of themselves while they all wanted their children to exceed them.  This would prove that excellence was not a personal achievement but a genetic superiority that placed them above their fellows.

     Unknown to Dewey, LeBaron and Meggy’s families had been very close.  LeBaron’s father was head of the Social Studies Department at Melville while Meggy’s father was recently elevated to Superintendent of Schools in the Valley.

page 1946.

     Financially inferior to the business types the families nevertheless enjoyed greater prestige.  Within this tight circle of very proud people Meggy’s parents had relentlessly developed the notion that Meggy was to be treated as the crown of creation presumably because her combination of genes was superior.  Within that restricted environment Meggy was equal to the task.  By the time she reached high school everyone within the elite deferred to her.

     Backed by her parents attainments she believed herself to be a superb intellect because of her genes and this treatment.  She wasn’t stupid but she wasn’t all that bright either.  Some more discriminating eyes would have noticed a few genetic deficiencies.  Still, she graduated with a 4.0.  The grade was nevertheless specious.  On more than one occasion Meggy had received a B or even once a C.  On each occasion she had indignantly stormed up to the teacher to demand that her grade be changed to an A on the basis that she was an A student, always received As and if she hadn’t this time there was something wrong with the teacher.  In each instance the teacher had changed the grade to an A.

     Dewey had watched her do this the first semester of tenth in Mrs. Hicks’ splendid English class.  Dewey had drawn a B which infuriated the Hirsh crowd.  He snickered as Meggy stormed about being an A student.  Meggy had fixed a hateful eye on him exclaiming:  ‘You aren’t even supposed to be in this class.  You Hillbilly.’

page 1947.

     There probably was some basis for her belief is his origins because a this time Dewey had a raucous vocal style in an attempt to gain attention.  Mrs. Hicks explained the importance of modulating his voice to him.  He always respected the teacher so he learned to speak in more even tones.

     Meggy in her way insisted that he had cheated in benefiting from Mrs. Hicks’ instruction.  She was even more unrelentling in her persection of him after that.

     Still, she did graduate with a 4.0 while being the cynosure of the class and hence the West Side.  She prepared to enter the wide world to repeat her success after graduation.

     A student of Meggy’s apparent stature should have selected the most prestigious University over Wayne State.  The subconscious knows what the conscious mind rejects.  Perhaps Meggy’s confidence had been undermined by one too many temper tantrums to obtain an A.  Perhaps subconsciously the fear of failure gnawed at her confidence.  Not that Meggy feared flunking our but in the big pond of the U she knew she could never be more than a small fish.

     She sensed that without the support of her circle things would not be so easy.  At any rate her worst fears had been realized in her first term.

     She didn’t draw a 4.0 nor could she intimidated anyone into changing here Bs and Cs into As.  She wasn’t the cynosure of the university nor was it possible for her or anyone else to be.  She also realized that after college if she did realize the fantasy of who she thought she was the effort would take years and years during which she would have to struggle as a non-entity.  Meggy was no Amazon warrior.

page 1948.

     As her Junior year began she experienced a continual sinking in her stomach, a swooning sensation in her head as her subconscious drove hom her fears.  A persistent depression sat in as she sought a way out.  Quitting was impossible as was flunking out.  An apparent suicide was disreputable.  An ‘accident’ was possible but it would have to be so serious that if she didn’t die an aborting of her ‘future’ was possible.  That way it wouldn’t be quitting, it wouldn’t be suicide and it wouldn’t be her fault.

     Thus Meggy lay in bed in hospital over Christmas having missed first term exams while she would be laid up long enough to be unable to finsh her Junior year on schedule.  Full recuperation could be stretched out to two years.  Meggy could return home to resume her life as cynosure without a sense of shame.

     Even attended by her coterie of maidens a la Isolde she felt low.  She needed to talk to someone beneath her to levitate her spirits.  when one of her maidens had scornfully told her that Dewey Trueman was in town she had a girl call her dear friend and admirer LeBaron Briscoe.

     LeBaron sincerely worshipped the ground on which Meggy trod.  He would do anything for her.  In her despaire at Wayne State he had counted on LeBaron for that unstinting admiration which he alone at the college could give.  Thus he pulled into the hospital parking lot with Dewey aboard.  What a coincidence that Dewey should return on leave just after Meggy had her accident.  Life is funny that way.  It couldn’t have been planned.

page 1949.

     Dewey had been nervous all the way from McDonald’s to Wayne State.  He couldn’t remember that Meggy had been on of Michael Hirsh’s friends who had trapped him in that semi-circle in second grade which had afflicted him with his central childhood fixation.  He didn’t know how Meggy had been trying to have him thrown out of his own eating club; in fact he had no specific memories of Meggy because he blocked all that unpleasantness out but like a dark shadow he knew she had been behind a lot of unpleasantness toward him.  He knew she hated him.

     ‘Listen Bare, you go on up alone.  I’ll just wait here in the car.’

     ‘Oh no,m Dewey, you’ve got to come up.  Margaret want to see you.’

     ‘Meggy Malone wants to see me?’  Dewey asked incredulously.  ‘How long has she been calling herself Margaret.’

     ‘Ever since we started at Wayne.  Come on, Dewey.  It’s the polite thing.’

     ‘That’s what you think.’  Dewey muttered under his breath.  Then:  ‘Bare, me and Meggy never got along.  She despises me; she called me a hillbilly in tenth grade.  She was always in my hair at Melville.  Always belittled me.  I can’t believe she wants to see me.’

     ‘Dewey, Meggy is the most wonderful girl I’ve ever met.’  By which LeBaron meant that it was an honor for Dewey to be despised by Meggy.  ‘I would ask her to marry me except she’s too good for me.  I only wish I was worthy of her.  You’ve got to come up; I promised her.  For the sake of the dinner club if nothing else.  Come on.’

page 1950.

     Dewey drew in his breath, compressed his lips and flipped the sun visor up and down a couple times.

     ‘She’d better be decent.’  He said getting out of the car.

      They do things so much differently in the big city.  The hospital was disguised to look like a spiffy new ranch style building even though four stories tall.  The upper floors were set back from the front line of the building giving it that neat clean construction that made Americans feel that they had solved all life’s more difficult problems.  That confidence is gone now.  Now buildings all have a fortress like quality.

     Meggy had a swell new private room.  If you had to be laid up this was the right place.  She was immobile on her back arms and legs in casts.  She was able to move nothing but her neck and head and she had to be careful about that.  Any other movements sent racking pains beyond the limits of the painkillers to kill.  She still had bruises and inner injuries.

     Meggy was secure in her prejudices.  She thought Dewey shared her opinion of him.  She thought he accepted the position of imploring inferior.  She though Dewey would consider it an honor that she had asked for him.  She had projected that feeling on her maidens who snickered playfully as Dewey entered, prepared to fun him a little.

     Dewey caught their mood flinging it back at them while he grasped Meggy’s projected understanding of their relationship with contempt.

page 1951.

     As LeBaron and Dewey entered the room Dewey gasped as LeBaron went down on his knee beside Meggy’s bed.

     ‘Please don’t shake the bed, Lee.’  She said sweetly at this sign of obeisance.

     She called him Lee.  In a flash Dewey realized that so did the rest of the guys in the eating club except when he was around.  Crushingly Dewey realized his own crowd had always treated him as an outsider.

     ‘Oh gosh, Margaret, I’m so sorry to see you this way.’

     ‘These things happen, Lee.’  She said magisterially.  Then looking at Dewey she asked regally as thought Isolde to her serf:  ‘How have you been, Dewey?’

     Dewey’s mental teeth ground as his stomach rolled over in revulsion.  How dare this woman who got grades by demanding them act superior to this ‘hillbilly.’

     ‘As good as can be, Meggy.’  He said between his teeth.

     ‘It was good of  you to answer my summons.’  She said with maternal condescension.

      Did she say ‘summons’?  Dewy thought as he watched her haughty mien seconded by the giggles of her maidens.  ‘Does she think I’m a peon?’

     ‘Well, uh, Lebaron had to come up to Detroit and he asked to come along so I did.’  Dewey replied sotto voce as thought twisting his hat in his hands.

     LeBaron was commiserating with Meggy’s condition when Dewey decided to ask for a point by point description of her accident.

page 1952.

     ‘Well, I was driving along just off campus when the accelerator got stuck.’

     ‘You mean that the gas pedal jammed down by itself somehow?’

     ‘Yes, if you wish to put it so crudely.  Then it continued to accelerate until the car was out of control.  The car was speeding when I went into the turn.  Then the car went out of control and it hit the lightpole.’

     ‘Then what happened?’

     ‘The force threw me off the seat under the dash which was painful enough but they told me it saved my live.  If I had remained in the seat or been thrown out of the car I would be dead.  I’m lucky I guess.’

     ‘The gas pedal stuck all by itself?  How come?  I’ve never heard of that before.’  Being ‘summoned’ plus the preposterousness of the story rankled Dewey.

     ‘I don’t know how it happened, it just did.  I don’t know that they have explained it yet.’

     Dewey’s plan cleared in his mind.  He had warned LeBaron of his relationship with Meggy while Meggy certainly knew before she ‘summoned’ him.  Dewey started cracking one liners.  Meggy tried to restrain herself but she finally had to start laughing.  Her laughter ground her broken bones together which sent her well past the threshhold of her painkillers.

     Dewey let it settle down.  Just as he was preparing a second barrage LeBaron caught Meggy’s eye signal suggesting they leave.

page 1953.

     ‘Come on, Dewey.’  LeBaron said deprecatingly taking his arm.

  Dewey was more than willing to leave while he had no intention of saying goodbye.  Meggy could have let it lie but as LeBaron and Dewey approached the door she said icily:  ‘It won’t be necessary for you to come back to see  me again, Dewey.’

     Between being summoned and dismissed Dewey found it more than he could bear.  His seething hatred caused by subconscious memories and the conscious memories of the demeaning manner Meggy had used toward hi  in school burst through with the vengeance felt by a Richard Speck.

     ‘Do you see this uniform I’m wearing, Meggy?’

     ‘Yes.’

     ‘Well, this uniform means I’m in the Navy.  If the Reds start shooting I’m there to protect even you.  I’ve got another three days of leave.  If you had any smarts you’d know it wasn’t necessary to say anything.  If I had nothing to do I would still have better things to do than visit you.  I don’t know why you ‘summoned’ me anyway because you never liked me.  I’m real sorry you got hurt so bad.  I hope you’re not crippled for life.  Goodbye Meggy.  I don’t think you’ll ever see me again because I’m not coming back to theValley when I get out and if I ever do I won’t look you up.’

     Meggy’s maidens gasped slapping the air at Dewey while LeBaron eyed him mournfully and reproachfully.

    ‘What did you think was going to happen LeBaron?  I told you she didn’t like me and I’d wait in the car.  Is that what you brought to Detroit for?  To answer Meggy’s summons?  then take me and show me where she had her accident.’

page 1954.

     Strangely LeBaron was only too willing to show Dewey this consecrated tragic spot.  He had sat gazing at it mournfully on a couple occasions.  As I said they do things on a different scale in the big cities.  In the Valley this stretch would have been merely functional but in Detroit at the great Wayne State University this avenue that led into the University was quite grand.  The roadbed was immense.  While ostensibly only four lanes generous aprons made it seem very large.  As Dewey suspected Meggy must have been driving at a suicidal speed, seventy or eight, to force the accident.  He didn’t believe the gas pedal story.

     This time he kept his mouth shut.  The two men had little to say to each other on the drive back.   They parted never to speak to each other again.

     Meggy was not so lucky.  Had she known the consequences of ‘summoning’ Dewey into her presence she would have shuddered at her folly for that summons became a pivotal point in life.  Perhaps she had been seeking to triumph over Dewey in the second grade at Emerson when in answer to Michael Hirsh’s and her set’s request she had taken part in Dewey humiliation.

     she had been proud to march out of class with the feeling she was part of a powerful group.  When she stood in the semi-circle around Dewey, second from Michael Hirsh to the left of his keystone glaring hatred at Dewey she had felt the power and the glory.  When at Michael’s command Dewey had begun his step forward and frozen in mid-step at Michael’s further command she had had a prepubescent climax.  When Dewey remained frozen in that position for the entire recess she had giggled and giggled with electric pulses at the joy of humiliating another.

page 1955.

     She little knew that the scene had been so humiliating that Dewey had blocked her and it out of his consciousness.  But the Shadow knows.  In her way she had sought to repeat the situation to alleviate her misery on his hospital bed.  the Shadow of the Past in Dewey’s mind had risen to crush her in her folly.  ‘Summons’ indeed.

     The mind is an amazing thing.  Acts of arrogance or vengeance have serious consequences for the perpetrators.  ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’, and ‘vengeance is mine, saith the Lord’ are excellent maxims.  Mind your own business.  The conscious mind thinks it can handle the situation in an objective manner but the subconscious mind knows that subjectivity controls the microcosm.

     Meggy’s accident was too fresh in her mind for her subconscious to have digested it.  When, three year later, her subconscious had constellated the incidents associated with the accident her encounter with Dewey had most unfortunate results.

     The contellation included bits and pieces ofher past only related circumstantially with the accident.  Her mind brought up guilt for the second grade induced by the pain caused by her summoning of Dewey.  It was too late.  Both situations constellated as the central motif of her accident.  One of guilt and one of fear.

page 1956

     Subconsciously Meggy had caused the accident in order to retreat from a most painful reality.  In typical female fashion she refused responsibility insisting that the accelerator stuck increasing ‘the car’s’ speed.  Her subconscious refusing to accept responsibility grasped for another explanation so it passed responsibility to Dewey Trueman.

     Now the female subconscious is XX.  As both chromosomes are X they must be clothed by females.  But the longing for the missing y chromosome is translated into a longing  for the male; particularly his penis or ego.

     Thus when the contellation was completed and took its final form in the dream life of Meggy Malone three years later she relived the terror of the accident in this way:  As she was driving a male demon’s foot came down on top of hers forcing the pedal to the floor.  As the ends of her broken bones clattered together causing her to relive the pain she hurtled toward a giant open mouth representing the maw of death.  Just before she entered the mouth snapped shut exposing concrete teeth.  Just before the crash she would awake screaming falling out of bed.

     She no longer recognized Dewey, of course, but the demon assumed the low class hillbilly characteristics she projected on him.  This dream was only the beginning, verse one of the Ballad Of Meggy Malone, as it were, as her interesting sequel will show in verse two, same as the first.

     Meggy went back to the Valley where for two years she recuperated.  The events of her accident constellated in her subconscious while consciously she brooded about how she was to realize the expectations of her childhood.  It wouldn’t be right to say that she didn’t want to marry but she just couldn’t find anyone who merited her favors.  Not only had her parents exalted her beyond human limits but the notions of chivalry and Tristan and Isolde she had picked up in Mrs. Hicks’ class made her yearn for a knight in shining armor who just didn’t exist.

pare 1957.

     During her convelescence from 1959 to 1961 the racial scene continued to heat up.  Meggy was always on the right side.  Now that the right side had clearly shifted in favor of Blacks Meggy was wholeheartedly in sympathy with the Negro plight.  She didn’t bother to learn anything about the distince Black psychology, the existence of which she would have denied, but she knew what was right.

     Her new attitude required a revisdion of her past history and beliefs but that was done without effort on the plane of consciousness.  She simply turned the past inside out.  Whereas Dewey had been punished in second grade for interfering with his group’s social policy toward Negroes in kindergarten she merely changed so that Dewey was justly punished for having discriminated against the Black kids that year.  The solution was simple and neat nor would she have been able to be budged from her new story; it was set in concrete.

     Having absolved herself from her part she turned to her future.  She needed a job but the employment, as she referred to it, would have to increase her dignity while allowing her to help ‘the poor Black people.’  It also had to carry its own prestige to elevate Meggy from her depressed conditions.

page 1958.

     The years of inactivity had benefited Meggy’s appearance rather than hurt it.  She gained weight but she gained it the right way.  From a rather spindly girl she became a solid square built woman whose appearance alone commanded respect.  As her face filled out her homeliness rounded into a kind of beauty.  Her weight was evenly distributed on her torse; square shoulders and nicely rounded hips.  Even her skinny legs added the weight right.

     Having a tasteful conservative notion of dress her clothes and manner as she looked in the mirror just before leaving to apply for the job gave her a pleasant surprise.  This was the Meggy who always should have been.

     She had settled on the Law courts as the scene fromw hich she would do good in the world.  She didn’t want to become a legal secretary to an attorney because an attorney to her was a mere moneygrubber.  She decided to become a secretary and legal aide to a judge.  There, withher ability to project soldity and integrity, she was accepted at her own valuation eventually assuming an almost judgelike preeminence.

     She was attached to the court of a newly elected judge by the name of Guy Pascal who was beginning what was a long and seemingly illustrious career.  This appointment was not to be entirely fortuitous for either party.

     Judge Pascal had been born Guido Pasquale.  As this sounded too Sicilian for him he dropped the final E and changing the QU for a C while shortening Guido to Guy he became ‘Americanized.’  Guido Pasquale when he left for the U, he returned as Guy Pascal.

page 1959.

     Guido Pasquale was the son of Giangiacomo ‘Jack’ Pasquale.  For those of you who have read Vol. I of the City On the hIll Jack Pasquale was the man Dewey had seen harassed for being an immigrant on a street corner in 1947.  One of the boys harassing Jack had been Dennis Malone who was Meggy’s older brother.

      The past has a way of rearing its head.  Jack Pasquale was not a forgiving man.  Vengeance was part of the way of life to the Sicilian.  Jack memorized the name of each of the boys who had harassed him vowing eternal hatred.  He damn well meant it, too.

      As the leader of a large family Jack inculcated his hatred into this numerous progeny.  Now some twelve years later Guido had insinuated himself into a position to take vengeance no only on the Anglos as a whole but on the Malone family in the person of Meggy.  He would.  It would cost him his position and reputation but he would do it.  One should always understand vengeance belongs to the Lord; let him have it.

     Now when it come to ‘discrimination’ the notion only applies to Anglos.  It is forbidden to Anglos to use terms like Wops and Micks but it is not forbidden for ‘minorities’ to have such feelings and use such terms.  The Italians indulge themselves.  Read the literature.  The Italians really like fast Mick and Polack girls.  If you’ve seen some of those Italian mamas you can understand why Italian men may marry them but they don’t want to sleep with them.  Guy sought to make Meggyhis mistress from the start which in itself would be vengeance on the Malone clan.  He soon found out she wasn’t fast but was morally stout as a brick wall.  She rebuffed him with all the dignity of a medieval queen to an upstart admirer.  Guy was put in his place where he was to stay for the duration.  However he vowed that if she ever gave it to another man she was going to get it from him one way or another.

page 1960

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 13

     Now, Leda gave birth to two eggs.  The other egg contained the female twins, Clytemnestra and Helen, she of Troy.  Thus the two women represent Spring and Autumn, or the Equinoxes, while the males  represent Winter and Summer or the Solstices.  Helen, of course, is Spring the ever beautiful while Clytemnestra is the hag at the end of the year.

     These four  divisions were obvious facts.  The cross in the circle represents the four turning points of the year. The problem was to know exactly where you were in the year so you could regulate farming or take advantage of the migrations of animals.

     The answer is really quite simple. All you need to do is establish a starting point and begin counting. Of course, you have to learn to count first.  The easiest point is to determine the shortest day of the year on December 21st.  Once you have determined that then all you have to do is count the days till it returns.  So, except for the puzzling phenomenon of Leap Year you know exactly how long the year is and where each day will fall.  So mankind had located itself in relation to a complete cycle of days.  Yes, there were competing systems. 

     I believe that the Atlanteans discovered the principle of the solar year over one hundred thousand years ago.  It is also impossible that language for transmission of the idea should have been very advanced that long ago.

     The next question is how do you retain the knowledge or, in other words, pass the information from generation to generation when language is so primitive.  First you need a group of scholars or priests whose function is to keep the archives.  They pass the information on as a story in pictographs.  Hence the story of the year was created; it was entitled the Zodiac, at least by the Greeks, the ancient title or titles we cannot know.

page 1861.

     But we do know that the story had been fully developed for tens of thousands of years simply because the celestial Zodiac which must have developed after the terrestrial was established when the disruption in civilization occurred during the Age of Leo as is proven by the Egyptian and Mesopotamian evidence as well as the modern scientific evidence of the ending of the ice age.  All at the same time.

     The Greek Zodiac divides the signs into quarters of three related signs as well as symbols outside of, but related to, the Zodiac such as Castor and Polydeukes and the Hydra.

     The Dioscuri represented each half of the solar year while the twin girls represented the Equinoxes.  We will disregard the Equinoxes.  The two most important signs of the Zodiac are hence Sagittarius and Cancer.  Each sign concerns itself with a solstice or turning of the year.

     Sagittarius the Archer of December twenty-first is shooting an arrow.  It is not obvious where the target is but it must be the heel of Cancer in the person of Polydeukes the Sun King, who begins his boxing exploits on June twenty-first.  The arrow is as fleet as the horses of which Castor is the master.

     The next sign, Capricorn, represents the return of hope as the waters of northern rivers begin their rise.  In the Olympian Zodiac Capricorn is ruled by Hestia, the goddess of the hearth as families cluster around the central fires for warmth.

page 1862.

     Half goat, half fish the meaning is probably that the goat represents life as he is often seen in Mesopotamian mythology nibbling the leaves of the tree of life.  The fish no doubt represents the repletion of the finny denizens which provide a food supplement through the lean months.

     After Capricorn Aquarius the water bearer brings back the purifying and fructifying waters of life that irrigate the fields preparing them for virgin growth.  Thus it is that Hera can be matron and virgin at the same time.Thus Mary bears Jesus in virgin birth.  In the Olympian Zodiac Aquarius is ruled by the Earth goddess Hera.

     The water bearer is thought by many to be Ganymede the cupbearer of Zeus.  Why Ganymede isn’t clear.  Other than the most peautiful youth on Earth who so appealed to Zeus that he was  translated to Heaven on the wings of an eagle, as the sign is ruled by the Earth goddess Hera it would make sense to associate him with Attis, Adonis or any other of the Great Mother’s annual consorts.  Ganymede’s ascension is associated with Troy.  That war was fought between the Matriarchal and Patriarchal points of view.  Aphrodite, as Great Mother, was the patroness of the Trojans so with the defeat of the Matriarchy at Troy the Eternal Youth may have been abducted into the Patriarchal scheme to emasculate the Matriarchy, so to speak.   Without a male consort the Great Goddess must wither away.

     At any rate Ganymede is obviusly fertilizing the Great Mother for another annual cycle.

     Next Pisces reprented by twin fish swimming in opposite directions, male and female represents the fecundity of the coming Spring season.  The symbolism of the Male and Female going in opposite directions but still connected may represent the fact that while men and women are very different they are still phyiologically connected.  Christian mythology should be considered seriously in this context as Pisces is the sixth ‘king’ since the deluge.

page 1863.

     Aries the Ram butts the budding plants from the ground.  First growth seems very slow so it needs encouragement.  Another Greek image is that of Persephone rising from the underworld while gods with hammers and tongs crack away the crusted earth to bring her forth.

     Taurus who is ruled by Aphrodite in the Olympian Zodiac is nearly as self-explanatory as Leo.  The Great Mother and her greatest consort, the immense raging bull.  Having been released by Aries the crops burst forth with wild energy.  Compare the lusty look of the Rose as it shoots.

     Gemini, the next sign which includes the end of May and the first two thirds of June, is a very orderly sign.  Placed after the wild excesses of Aries and Taurus it is followed by the torrid destructive signs of Cancer and Leo.  Gemini is appropriately governed by Apollo whose mottoes are:  Everything in measure and Nothing in excess.

     Castor and Polydeukes reappear as the twins or Dioscouri passing the year from one of dearth to one of plenty.

     Cancer, which follows, is one of the two important axes of the year.  The Unconquerable Sun reaches the apex of its power on the first day of Cancer but then begins its slow decline.  the mythology of Cancer the Crab is especially rich.

     The arrow shot by Castor or Sagittarius now comes to Earth lodging in the heel of the valiant Sun King, Polydeukes.

     In the earlier traditions in all probability the Sun King was not able to cut off the immortal head of the Hydra.  The Greeks in mortal combat with the Matriarchy implausibly have Heracles, who they substitute for the Sun King, succeed in killing the immortal head of the Hydra.

     The Greeks added a lot of complications to the story but I will attempt to eliminate them with Heracles only in his role as the Sun King.

     The Hydra, which dwelt in the Lernean swamps near Argos in Greec, was a monster with seven heads.  Six were mortal while the seventh was immortal.  The battle had to be fought anew each year.  Heracles, in legend, was said to have killed the immortal head of the Hydra but this is not borne out by the subsequent history of the world nor, indeed, was it possible.

     The six mortal heads are quite obviously the six months between the two solstices which the Sun King destroys one by one until he victoriously passes the torch to Castor on December 21st.

     Like the axis of the Unconquerable Sun in the December position the seventh head of the Hydra represents the opposite axis of the solar year and cannot be destroyed.  Indeed, no sooner does the Sun King cut off the mortal heads than the Hydra grows six more.

page 1865.

     The meaning of the Crab isn’t entirely clear but the Crab is thought to walk backwards or sideways which it does.  Thus by seizing the Sun King by the heel it drags him slowly back into the swamp causing the days to shorten.  Probably it was felt necessary to cause  the Sun King to be drawn back as he destroyed the six monthly heads.

     Thus Sagittarius and Cancer fully explain the two halves of the year.

     The sign of Leo is self-explanatory.  The raging lionof the heat of mid-summer lays waste the fields returning them to their virgin condition.

     Hence Leo is followed by Virgo the Virgin to lie fallow until Aquarius reimpregnates the Earth.  The myth was told of Hera that she knew of a secret spring in which she bathed once a year to restore her virginity.  This is another way of saying that the Earth is renewed each year by the Spring rains.  Virgo and Aquarius are the meaning of the myth.   The Virgin Mary is probably associated with the myth also.

     Libra bearing the scales of justice marks the fall equinox when the seasons tip from the third quarter into the fourth quarter.  She is the balance between the two halves of the second half of the year.

     Scorpio is not clear to me except that scoprions get into the sandal and bite the heel.  The heel is a convenient symbol of death in Greek mythology.  As Scorpio is governed by Ares in the Olympian Zodiac the notion of senseless killing is reinforced.  Ares was a violent thug who fought and killed for the pleasure of fighting and killing so Scorpio may represent the mad assassin of the old year.

     That brings us back to Sagittarius when the Unconquerable Sun triumphs and the Archer fires off the arrow for the new year which lands we now know where.

     In relation to Scorpio it is signficant that Sagittarius is facing toward the new year rather than back toward the old.  So Scorpio may in fact represent merely the death of the old year.

     The symbols are of recent Greek origin but the story must have been formulated early in ante-diluvian times.  Especially so since the Zodiac has only a celestial existence in Greek mythology but not a terrestrial one.  At what time the Zodiac was translated to the sky can probably never be known for sure but I think we may be sure that the six kings previous to Leo had alredy completed at least one full circuit.

     Logically it must be true.

     Now, the question is, who formulated the Zodiac so long ago.

     For want of a better name it could only have been the people of the land the Egyptians called Atlantis.

     All the evidence points to the existence of a civilization antecedent  to the Great Flood.  The Flood was the point of discontinuity.  Thus the Flood and Atlantis may represent the same event.  After the Flood the world entered a long dark age emerging only with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

page 1867

     But, while the evidence of the earliest known civilizations, those of Egypt and Mesopotamia survive, the question is why not the remains of this earlier civilization.

     In Egypt the flooding of the Nile is a blessing so they could not consider a flood disastrous.  However earthquakes occur in the Delta causing submersion of coastal lands so the Egyptians depicted the disappearance of Atlantis as falling beneath the waves because of a great earthquake.  Floods were less benign in Mesopotamia so a Great Flood submerged the previous civilization.  Both versions agree that the big event occurred during the Age of Leo and involved submersion.

     Well and good.

     Now, modern science postulates that a great ice age existed prior to Leo that had endured for something like a hundred thousand years.  During this ice age so much water was impounded that ocean levels dropped by several hundred feet.  I quote science.  Thus the entire continental shelves of the world would have been exposed and habitable.  Huge areas of the Asian Pacific would have been exposed.  Scientists say that the Bering strait was several miles wide.  Most of the Mediterranean Basin would have been above water.

     One assumes that prior to the onset of this Ice Age that those same shelvings had been under water.  Thus as the waters receded it follows that flora and fauna, including man, would exist where they had never existed before.

     Emigrants are usually those least able to compete successfully at home.  The successful are quite content to remain in possession at home.

page 1868.

     Those displaced persons who are faced with new challenges often come up with new answers.

     There are many drawbacks, or unsolved probelms, with the theory of evolution.  More adaptable variants of the same species often exist in competition with less adaptable variants.  But the less adaptable may have more physical vigor than the more  adaptable leaving the latter at a competitive disadvantage.  For instance you and I might be more adaptable than Jack Dempsey but in a fist fight with him we’re going to get lumped and not him.

     Thus Neanderthal man may have existed side by side with Cro-Magnon man but in primitive technology he had the upper hand.  Thus as the shelves became available for habitation it is probable that the weaker Cro-Magnon moved away.

     At any rate the shelves must have been inhabited.  These weaker but more adaptable people used their intelligence to create a civilization rather than using mere brawn to wrest a living from Nature.

     In the Mediterranean the Southern shelf opposite Malta and Gozo would have been an excellent place to found a city state.  The upland ranges surrounding the Basin must have been an astonishing sight of rivers cascading down from the uplands.

     The islands must have been imposing awe inspiring sights towering out of the water as mountains.  The coastal Atlantean undoubtedly learned to build boats to cruise the placid waters of the long narrow sea.

     The majesty of the Nile cascading from what would then have been the first cataract at Giza to the sea in full flood must have been unimaginably awesome as also the mighty roar of water descending from the Black Sea.

page 1869.

     And then, apparently within a couple hundred years the ice caps melted returning the seas to their former levels.  The achievement of this civilization disappeared beneath the waves as the flood rose, yea verily, even to the mountain tops or as the Egyptians put it, fell into the sea.  The evidence of this civilization disappeared beneath the waters.

     However there is no reason to believe that the waters rose so fast that the people were destroyed also.  No.  They undoubtedly fled the rising waters scattering to the margins of the sea or to the uplands of the world.

     Some undoubtedly fled into sub-Saharan Africa where over the course of a few centuries they became melanized blending in with the native population.   Some formed the Berber tribes.  The similarity of Negro mythology to Mediterranean mythology is not accidental but a result of diffusion.  The similarity was added to  in later centures when exploratory parties from Libya crossed the Sahara.

     Man is and always has been an inveterate traveler.  Various other bands of Atlanteans penetrated into the uplands of Europe, Asia Minor and the Nile Valley.  Some traveled to India and some farther afield to China.

     By far, most settled on the margins of the new sea level around the Basin.

     Agriculture began simultaneously in every part of the world.  Are we to believe that yokels all over the world individually decided to farm at the same time or was the notion diffused by the forcible ejection of farmers from the same area?  I leave it to you to make your own decision because argument is useless; nothing can be proven at this time.

page 1870.

     My own opinion is that agriculture must have been practiced by the Atlanteans and was diffused in their flight from the inundation.

     The largest part of the displaced Atlanteans quite naurally retreated up country to the African littoral occupying that coastal strip incuding the developing area of the Nile Delta where they became known as the Libyans.

     The Libyans were always extremely intellectually well developed being ahead of both the ancient Upper Egyptians as well as the later Greeks.  Lower Egypt before the unification must then have been an Atlantean kingdom.  Where else could the legend of Atlantis come from?  Certainly not from the land bound Upper Egypt.

     There is an example of attempted agriculture in Upper Egypt at this time but it was abandoned.  Why?  Certainly not because the proper conditions were lacking.  I surmise that a colony of Libyans made the attempt.  I think that the novel concept of plowing the ground so outraged the Upper Egyptians that they either killed or drove the Libyans back to the Delta.

     It is possible that the Atlanteans developed a system of writing which is reflected in Egyptian hieroglyphics.  The followers of Edgar Cayce believe that an ante-deluvian deposit of books lie beneath the paws of the Sphinx in some subterranean passageways.  I don’t know that it is true but I don’t find the notion absurd.  It is quite possible that the Atlantean priesthood fled with all their sacred writings, if any.

page 1871.

     At the same time they most likely carved the image of Leo on the rock outcropping where it sits in a manner akin to Mount Rushmore.  So matters stood while the ‘kings’ changed posts in the sky until the Delta Libyans were conquered by the Upper Egyptians about thirty-three hundred BC.  The Upper Egyptians remained dominant through the first three dynasties.  Then a Libyan dynasty succeeded to the throne.  The Red Crown of the Delta was triumphant.  Immediately the pent up energies of several thousand years exploded in a building frenzy which we call the Pyramids.  The Pyramids must duplicate some notion of the world order of the Atlanteans.

     Actually the Pyramids are only the half of the world order that has survived.  Just as important as the City of the Dead was the City of the Sun or Heliopolis or the Holy City of On across the Nile to the East.  Its monuments were less durable than those of the West and have been all but obliterated by the religious jealously of  later Asian conquerors.

     Someday it will be found that the whole complex is a great bit of magic meant to preserve earth from another disaster like that which happened to Atlantis.

     How do you like that for a strange notion, Dewey?’

     ‘I never heard anything like it.’  Dewey said for the words had blown through his staggering mind like the Boreas from the North Pole, making the same impression.  The notion had little relevance for him as his mind was unprepared to receive it.  The requisite foundation of knowledge was not there.  Mental preparation is the key.  However he was still alert enough to check the logic of the story.  There was nothing absurd in the presentation of facts while Gaste seemed to be informed on his subject so he saw no reason to take objection.

page 1872.

     ‘I have thought a great about what I have just told you, Dewey, and while I have no proof that academics would consider incontrovertible yet something did happen for which no explanation has ever been offered.  All lines of inquiry lead to the edge of the water whether Egyptian, Mesopotamian or modern science.  You are the only person I have ever told this to.  I would never present it to a body of educators.  It’s always best to be careful about introducing new and unusual notions that no one has ever heard before.  Even J.G. Frazer who was a very careful academic using tried and true methods was attacked.  I couldn’t endure that.  I couldn’t stand the way my mother and I were treated because of her beliefs.  I mght ultimately be proved right on my main theses but I would be attacked on details that couldn’t be verified.  I would rather have less honor than to be totally reviled.’

     ‘Sure, but if everybody thought that way I don’t know how progress would be possible.  If Galileo hadn’t advanced the theory that the Earth went round the sun where would we be?’

     ‘Well, exactly where we are, but yes.  Galileo paid a heavy price for speaking in advance of his times.  And that price wasn’t in ephemeral fruit either.  Ha, ha, ha.’

page 1873.

     ‘Yes, but I think Mrs. Hicks was right.  I’d rather be Galileo any day.  I mean, what’s this society going to be like after a lifetime of football, baseball and sports and TV shows that don’t have any logic?’

     ‘You mean you don’t think there’s anything of value in American culture?  You think it’s all ephemeral fruit?’

     ‘No.  I think some things of value are happening but because they have value, because they are substantial fruit they have to slink around in the shadows where only outriders of ephemera can find them.  You gott be out there riding those fences.’

     ‘OK.  Where’s that?’

     ‘Well, you know, I make the midnight run up to San Francisco most Fridays and back again on Sundays.  They only let them play silly love songs on daytime radio.  But at night you can pick up stations with really maverick outlaw DJs that play some real good music with some real cutting edge meaningful social criticism.

     Now, don’t get me wrong, because I think they’re really good and it shows what a high wire balancing act they’re doing but the Kingston Trio gets on daytime radion because rather than criticism they make wry or cute observations.  The Kingston Trio have the real genius, don’t get me wrong, but songs like Tiajuana Jail like all pop music is meant to  please everyone and offend no one.  ‘Tom Dooley’ the same way.  They take out the social criticism and give it the real folk ballad flavor and it almost cuts it.  You know the Kingstons are biting their tongue though.

page 1874.

     At night you get the real stuff, after midnight, by guys like the Chad Mitchell Trio and Tom Paxton.  Guys with sharp eyes and witty tongues.  So they keep them off daytime radio and these guys are actually lucky to be alive.  If it weren’t for freedom of speech you’d find those guys floating down the river.’

     ‘What?  Are you serious?  This is America.  You can’t do that.’

     ‘Oh, yes you  can.  It’s done all the time.  Look at this.  They didn’t have any room for me in the Navy when I wanted to join.  I had to wait seven months for a place to open up.  but they make a spot for Elvis Presley just to destroy his career.  Then they assign him to the tank corps.  How long do you think he’s going to last when the Russkies charge over the line?  I think the estimate is seven minutes..

     I mean they’re destroying Jerry Lee Lewis.  And Little Richard threw all his Jewels in the ocean, gave up rock n’ roll and took to the minstry to escape persecution.  I think they would have killed him if he hadn’t.  Black or not.’

     (In just a couple months Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper will be killed in a small plane crash, the favored form of assassination.  Thus the first wave or rock n’ rollers was decimated.  the rest of them got the hint.)

     ‘Who’s this ‘they who’re doing this?’  Gaste asked with the tinge of contemptuous disbelief that people show when they find something distasteful.

page 1875.

     ‘Oh, you know, Barry Goldwater, John Tower, the John Birch Society, all the social reactionaries that fell out of the McCarthy thing.’  Dewey had no cause to mention McCarthy or even the Conservatives; the reaction to Rock and Folk was very broadly based and included large numbers of so-called Liberals and educated people.

     ‘Yes, they’re a pretty nutty group.’  This was a strong political opinion for Terry Gaste to express but as a Liberal he considered Conservatives as Neanderthals living in the nineteenth century at best.

      ‘I wouldn’t go that far.’  Dewey protested.  ‘Conservatives are usually right while Liberals are always wrong.’

     Terry Gaste scoffed.

     ‘You bet.  I’m a Conservative but I”m younger than the guys who fought the war for ‘freedom’ but can’t accept the consequences so I can accept modern tastes as natural where they think it’s evil, like, for instance, rock n’ roll.  But since they reject the inevitable they’re just old and in the way.  They’re still defending the old ideals in an antiquated obtuse way.

     When Mighty J…um…McCarthy went down…’  Dewey almost committed a social faux pas by treating McCarthy as a valid person and not a demon but corrected himself in time.  After all Freedom of Conscience has its limits even in America.  ‘…these guys were all turned out in the Wasteland.  They were overwhelmed, they don’t know how to get there from here; so they persecute anyone who dares to criticize their point of view either explicitly or implicitly, friend or foe.  They would kill these folksingers if they weren’t college graduates and they thought they could get away with it.  They’re destroying their careers already or, at least, trying to inhibit them.’

page 1876.

     (Barry Goldwater would actually force Chad Mitchell out of the business because of a very funny parody of him called ‘Barry’s Boys.’  Anyone with a conflicting opinion walked on gilded splinters.)

     ‘Well, we Liberals aren’t wrong on the ideal.  But Conservatives agree on the ideal.  After all there are reactionaries allied to the Conservatives just as radicals go hand in glove with Liberals.  Reactionaries and Radicals disagree on what should be done; Conservatives and Liberals disagree on how it should be done.

     There is no question that Blacks have not been given equal opportunities  but that is all they’re entitled to.  The question is at bottom a social question not a racial one.  White guys from the other side of the tracks have been denied equal opportunity too so the problem is how to take down the barriers for everybody not to keep sanctions on the White underclass while releasing the Blacks.  That’s what the Liberals want to do.

     What will happen is that discrimination won’t end it will just shift.  You Liberals will make the White guys from the other side of the tracks pay the whole price of integration and call that fair.  You will take from them to give to the Blacks but you won’t give up one smidgen yourselves.  Even then you completely reject Black culture.

     You say you can’t understand the lyrics of Little Richard because he doesn’t articulate but really you can’t understand him because he speaks in the Black idiom.  You will admit only those Blacks who will play your game by your rules, adopt your styles and manners, your way of talking.  They ain’t no ghetto eight rock ever gon’ be admitted to polite White society.  So there’s going to be a big blow up.’

     ‘I think you’re wrong there.  Black people want what we want.  I think they’re intelligent, decent people who will find it is their best interest to adopt better manners and improve their speech and they will do so.  I see a smooth assimilation.’

     ‘Won’t happen.  It’s not in the interest of Blacks and guys from the other side of the tracks to play your game because you control the game and your rules are always you win, outsiders lose.  You will only give on humiliating terms.  Therefore Blacks will have to riot to get any respect at all.  Has to happen.  Trouble coming every day.

     Besides, nobody’s saying that Blacks are stupid or mean and nasty.  Liberals always assume that if you don’t believe exactly as they do that you believe the opposite of their views.  They demonize you into beliving all kinds of atrocious things.  You guys all think that your beliefs are virtuous and that you are therefore virtuous.  Anyone who disgrees with you is not.

page 1878.

     Besides, it doesn’t matter whether Blacks are intelligent or not; that’s just one of  your smokescreens.  My point is that you won’t accept them unless they imitate you and abandon Black culture.  They have to become off color White to pass among you.  Some will do that.  But they’re going to be an awful lot can’t or won’t know how or want to.  Then it is inevitable that Conservative or reactionary Blacks will reject the whole notion of becoming intellectually White anyway.  They’ll probably come up with some such slogan as ‘Black Is Beautiful And White Isn’t.’

 

     Needless to say the trends Dewey was percipient enough to anticiapate had been developing in the Black community since they migrated from the South to Harlem and Chicago.  They would lead to some very interesting twists on the ‘minority’ scene.

     The discontent expressed in the ‘Back to Africa’ movement of Marcus Garvey in the teens and twenties would go through many transformations and end up as the Nation of Islam which was the conservative direction Dewey knew must happen.  The process was already happening although Whites didn’t understand it or report it properly in their newspapers and journals.

     Looking ahead, in the eighties and nineties the movement was headed by Louis Farrakhan.  He was a decent sort who took the right approach of trying to put things into an historical perspective.  Education for Blacks in short.  The Black perspective must necessarily step on White Folk’s toes.  They simply must interpret their history in their own way regardless of White people’s opinions.  Something in the Constitution about freedom of speech.  One can only assert oneself at someone else’s expense.  As Farrakhan was organizing an independent Black analysis of history he was naturally rejected by the so-called Liberal community.  One of those ‘anyone but him’ type things.

page 1880.

     In 1958 the word ‘bigot’ was rarely used.  ‘Prejudice’ was more usual but understanding the difference is essential to understanding the temper and tone of subsequent decades.

     Traditionally a bigot was one who had an unreasoning belief in the rightness of his own point of view.  Thus during he Enlightenment Catholicism was always referred to as bigoted because it wouldn’t, and still can’t, tolerate another religious point of view.  this is true of any faith whether Judaism, Nazism, Comunism, Moslemism or what have you.  Infidels, unbelievers, anti-Semites, the part of the world that is not of your faith can be despised and reviled.

     Beginning about this time, 1958, the word ‘bigot’ began to take on a different coloring.  It began to mean a White Christian who was unwilling to  bend the knee to other races, religions or creeds.  In other words, a Christian could a bigot but a Jew couldn’t; a White could be a bigot but a Black couldn’t.

     It was not enough for White Christians to be tolerant; one was compelled to assert that all other races, creeds and religions were more worthy than your own and more pointedly, you.  ‘Hey, hey, ho,  ho, Western Civilization has got to go became the war cry.  One was constrained to accept such absurdities as voodoo or fetish worship as respectable religious expressions.  People even demanded that animal sacrifices be legalized.

page 1880.

     Thus the freedom of religion clause of the Constitution was used to overturn reason.

     In this conception of bigotry two groups, for certain, claimed exemption from bigotry, the Blacks and the Jews.  Vis-a-vis White Christians (which includes the Scientific Consciousness) this could cause no problems as Whites were willing to abdicate their identity to Blacks and Jews.

     Then the unthinkable happened.  The minority coalition turnout to be not so monolithic.  Analyzing their history the scholars of the Nation of Islam began to say uncomplimentary things about their erstwhile allies, the Jews.

     In reviewing history Louis Farrakhan and his Minister of Culture found that Black Folk had been exploited by the Jews.  The Nation of Islam declared this and were promptly branded as infidels or, anti-Semites.

     What now?  How to deal with intra-minority conflicts in the Haven of the world?

     In 1870 there were not many Jews in the US.  Then the transfer of the Jewish population of Eastern Europe began.  By 1920 there were four million Jews in the US.

     The Jews have always blamed America the Beautiful for the transformation of Jewish culture that apparently happened on these shores.  In truth there was no transformation.  The changes already begun in the Old Cuntry were accelerated.

     The International White Slave Trade was the first unit of organized crime.  That business was called into existence by the wholesale emigration of Europeans to not only the United States but to all of North and South America, South Africa, Australia and diverse points, Shanghai for instance.  There were millions of men without women.

page 1881.

     The Jews rushed to fill the void by supplying the women.  This in turn created gangsterism as we know it.  Jewish gangs were thus not a creation of the New World but had already developed in the Pale even as they now dominate Jewish society in Israel.

     When the Jews emigrated to New York, the home of the scientific consciusness, they already had a history of socialism and gangsterism.  The loss of traditional values was only exacerbated by the opportunities to be found in the New World.

     Jewish gangsters dominated the New York criminal scene giving the city a criminal tincture epitomized in the movie ‘Guys And Dolls.’  These criminals were no lovable Nathan Detroits either.

     One of the most notorious was a psychopath by the name of Arthur Flegenheimer who as a nom de guerre assumed the name of Dutch Shultz.  Flegenheimer was of such a social disposition that in the course of a conversation he inserted the barrel of his pet .45 into the mouth of his acquaintance and pulled the trigger.  Oh sure, the gun was loaded.  Whether you took it as a joke or not depended on which end of the barrel you was at.  Flegenheimer laughed.

     Foibles such as this can make a man’s reputation.  The boy’s act was so much admired that you see its replication in movie after movie today.

page 1882.

     This Flegenheimer was in the numbers racket.  He worked Harlem.

     Now, Harlem from the turn of the century until a few years before 1920 had been a Jewish colony.  In anticipation of the rush uptown from the Lower East Side Jewish developers had outsized the rush by a large number of excess apartments.  You see, immigration was a very large industry, considered to be a growth industry by some.

     The growth was choked off by the Great War placing the developers in a position developers don’t like to be in.  Bankruptcy loomed.  The internal migration of the Blacks which began about then was a godsend.  That’s why Harlem is Black.

     The Black Folk migrated from the Deep South where they had a rural existence.  They were bumpkins in the White sense.  They had also been held in political subjection, denied education and economic opportunity.  Thus Black Folk faced a terrific psychological dilemma.  They not only moved from one State to another and from one culture to another but from one era to another.  Their migration South to North was actually the equivalent of moving from Europe to America, from the nineteenth to the twentieth century.  Even their language was different.

     Not only was there geographic displacement but they moved up a couple ratchets of time ways into a burgeoning technological twentieth century that even the Whites who were creating it didn’t understand.  Whites were desperately trying to acclimatise themselves to this new environment; Blacks were a good generation and a couple light years behind.  In addition Blacks were still treated as subhuman in New York.  They were still denied equal opportunities but their expenses climbed dramatically.  Only the lowest jobs on the ladder were open to them.

page 1883.

     In those days Whites could exhibit their racial pride in ways that are no longer open to them.  No one is any longer accorded the scope of referring to Blacks as monkeys, apes or subhumans.  Flegenheimer and Jewish gangsters were children of their times.  They did refer to Blacks in those terms as they fleeced the poor devils of the hard earned by the numbers racket.  Just because you win don’t mean you get paid.

     We’ll probably never know how many Blacks were murdered for complaining and similar offences to their betters.  One may assume that a real guy who was capable of inserting the barrel of .45 automatics into mouths during the course of a normal conversation was not overly nice in running his complaint department.

     These were real injuries suffered by Black people as a race at the hands of the Jewish people.  Mr. Farrakham according to the mores of our times had a right to request an apology as well as a cash indemnity of a substantial size from the Jews.

    Oh, but the Jews, it may be argued, can’t be condemned as a whole people for the actions of one man.

     Here’s where we get into some real hair splitting: this is where the faithful and the infidels separate.

     Well, but, Mr. Farrakham might argue, according to Jewish rules you can.  Certainly the German people by this logic could not be held responsible for the actions of this individual named Adolf Hitler.  But the Jews do say the whole of the German people are responsible.  Postwar Germans have sent billions of dollars in reparations to Israel, a State the did not exist during the Second World War.

page 1884.

     Certainly the Jews of New York were well aware of Flegenheimer’s activities; they were splashed across the front pages of every New York daily.  Mr. Farrakham might easily have demanded a few hundred millions indemnity from Israel to the Nation of Islam neither of which had been in existence in Flegenheimer’s time.

     Logic, naturally enough, has nothing to do with faith.  An act can easily be right for oneself but wrong for another.  I don’t know what principle of law that might be applied but I’m sure one can be found or created.

     Now, here’s an interesting point.  Jews had suffered in Europe.  Blacks had suffered in the United States.  Thousands of Black had been killed since Emancipation; Jews never had.

     Blacks had suffered at Jewish hands; Jews had never suffered at Black hands; not only in Harlem.  Jews had been the dominant people in the slave trade.  Jews had ridden out with the first Ku Klux Klan.  It is possible to quantify Black suffering.  Blacks were psychologically defenseless.  They had been stripped of all security on coming to the New World.  So much of their abuse had been on the psychological level.  Blacks were compelled to accept the White opinion of themselves that they were stupid, shiftless and no account.  Denied the right to decent employment and the self-respect that brings, perhaps the conclusion was inescapable, even to themselves.

page 1885.

     Black women were less of a threat than Black men so Black men suffered the double injury of being comparatively less effective than White men while being subjected to their women who found it easier to get work.

     Hence what appears to be a bizarre psychological reaction by Black men to difficult if not impossible circumstance.  Liberals of Terry Gaste’s stamp cannot even begin to understand the Black man’s place in American society.

     The ability to assert one’s identity has to come from within it cannot be enforced by an assumed attitude.  For that reason Louis Farrakham organized the million man march on Washington.  The march had a salutary effect on the pride and self-assurance of Black men.

     The idea was not unreasonable but the reaction to all those Black men gettig uppity was.  Efforts were renewed to discredit Farrakhan.

     Now, the Jews had never suffered oppression in the United States.  They were more offending than offended against.  The Jews glory in a four thousand year history of oppression.  Judaism never forgets nor can it make a reasonable allowance for its own reprehesible actions.

     Young Jews go through an intense psychological indoctrination.  The notions are not a matter of education but inculcation.  They are stamped into the brains of the youths.  About twenty-five hundred years ago a man acquired a very bad reputation among the Jews.  That man was called Haman.  He was a man who became a symbol.  During one of the Jewish holidays a story is read.  At every mention of the name Haman the congregants break out into a wild orgy of hate filled screaming and shrieking.

page 1886.

     Receiving this Pavlovian training against Haman at the mere mention of the name an automatic reaction is conditioned.  Thus if it were said, as it was, that Henry Ford was another Haman every Jew could and did turn toward him with concentrated hatred beaming from their eyes.  Louis Farrakham became the Black Haman.

     The question became which minority was going to have to bend the knee to the other.  There could be only one group of champion sufferers.  Which was going to be the top sufferer?  The Blacks had been suffering for only three hundred years in the United States; the Jews, not the same Jews as in the United States, but the generic entity called Jews, had been suffering for four thousand years, sometime, somewhere in the world.  That’s a pretty good record for suffering, still if you’re going to get sentimental abut suffering one can negate the Jewish claim and say that suffering is the lot of mankind. If you’ve got a higher trump, let’s see it.

     The Jewish organization was more powerful than the Nation of Islam.  Louis Farrakham and his Minister of Culture were held up to ridicule as anti-Semites.  This powerful and authentic voice of his people was driven from the counsels of his country.

     The President should have had tete-a-tetes with him for he represented a formidable component of American minorities, which is to say, all American peoples.  But Louis Farrakhan is called an anti-Semite.  He is therefore considered subhuman.  Now we’re back to Arthur Flegenheimer and the apes.

page 1887.

     What will come of this?

     Historically no very promising results are in the offing.

     The Jewish role in history has been one of appalling destruction.  The Jews always claim to be innocent victims while the rest of the world are savage beasts.  They have been quite successful in convincing the world it is so.  Don’t hate me for being a dissenter; after all truth is on my side, not faith, but truth.

     Take it back to that allegory of Jesus on the cross.  Apart from modern theorizing, what the story says and what the world has always believed is this:  J.C. comes bringing the light of love into the world.  As the son of God he brought a new Dispensation from God invalidating the Old Dispensation between He and the Jews.  Travel or something like it had broadened God’s view.  Formerly the tale had been told that God especially loved his chosen people the Jews.   But it is now written that God so loved the WORLD that the sent his only begotten to redeem not the just the Jews but everyone in the whole world.  He’s got the whole world in his hands.

     This notion was a frontal attack on Judaism.  Had the Jews accepted the notion they would have been no more than any other ethnic component of the world.  For in rendering unto Caesar that which Caesar’s and unto God all that was God’s all national distinctions would have been erased.  One world, one people.  Pretty communistic, eh?

page 1888

     Threatened in the worst possible way by what they considered a false messiah their religious authorities complained to Caesar, denounced Jesus as a criminal thus rendering to Caesar that which was Caesar’s.  I think there’s actually a joke in there.  In terms familiar to the Catholic Church which derives its basis from Judaism the spiritual authorities tried Jesus first, finding him guilty of heresy.  In a term of the Catholic Inquisition they then ‘relaxed’ Jesus to the civil authorities for execution.

      The religious are supreme hypocrites.  They do not kill on their own account they ‘relax’ victims to be killed by others.  By this means they think to wash their hands of blood guilt.  Thus Pilate washes his hands of the blood of Jesus as a pointed gesture to the untainted hands of the religious authorities.  His hands will be no bloodier than theirs.  The Catholic Church employed this method from beginning to end of the Inquistion.  The concept is a very important one which must be understood.

      On this principle the Jews can say with a certain plausibility that the Roman killed Jesus and not themselves.

     The result of the execution of  Jesus was the horrible wars between Jews and Romans that shook the foundations of the world.  The Jews were nearly exterminated while the Empire began its decline.  This sort of provocation and result has continued down through history.

     A quite similar occurrence took place in the United States in 1953.   The Jewish Rosenbergs were accused of having given the secrets of the Atom Bomb to the Soviets, which they had.  As with Jesus the Rosenbergs were tried in a Jewish court of law.  They had a Jewish judge and a Jewish prosecutor and were defended by a Jewish lawyer.  None of the officials operated independently of the ADL and the AJC.  So, one may say the Rosenbergs were tried by the Sanhedrin- Jewish spiritual authorities.

      Found guilty they were condemned to death, just as Jesus had been, then ‘relaxed’ to the American civil authorities for execution.  Today the Jews can and do claim the Rosenbergs were unnecessarily and unjustly executed by Americans in a wanton display of anti-Semitism.

      An age old principle finds its way down through the ages into modern times.

     So, this brings us down to Haman Louis Farrakhan who has been tried and condemned by the Jewish spiritual authorities as an arch anti-Semite.  They demand he be placed outside the Pale, cut off from human society.  Whether Jewish, Catholic or any other faith the heretic must be denied communion with the faithful.  He must be placed ouside the law.  That’s what outlaw means.

     But, Louis Farrakhan is the leader of a very numerous ‘minority.’  A minority which is essential to both the physical and spiritual well being of the United States.  After all they are ‘native sons.’  Whereas the President ought to be conferring with Mr. Farrakhan about the problems of Black Folk he is spurned by the White House.  It is certain that were he invited the Jews would begin the Haman shriek disturbing us all.

page 1890.

     This is unjust.

     What is Mr. Farrakhan to do?

     What he has done is hold conferences with the arch enemies of the United States such as Saddam Hussein.  This is regrettable even deplorable.  However he has been declared an outlaw in his own country by his own people.  He has been politically lynched as an anti-Semite.

     There are forty-five  million Black folk dispersed throughout the United States.  Acts of Islamic terrorism have already occurred in America.  What if, by a union of Arab and Black terrorists, the United States is turned into a bloody battlefield?  What if America’s enemies destroy America from within as, say Iraq, was destroyed from above?  What good will stealth bombers do against domestic terrorists?

     What will the Jews who will have brought this situation about say then?  Farrakhan had been ‘relaxed’ to the civil authorities and the result was America’s own fault and not theirs.  What is worse the Government who listened to them and heeded or themselves?  Thus the Government elevates one ‘minority’ over another.  This is sort of like Congress establishing a religion which it is forbidden to do.    

     Is this the result of a liberalism that will accept Negroes only on its own terms?  Dewey had every reason to believe that Conservatives were more practical in their understanding and resolution of problems.

page 1891.

      ‘I don’t think it will happen that way.’  Terry mused.

     ‘Liberals are always wrong but time will tell.  Besides, Terry, Blacks don’t have any idea what the game is or how to play it.  They’ve always been kept so far outside that the rules don’t make sense to them; they’ll have to make their own.  Then you Liberals will feel betrayed.  The problem is just too difficult for an easy resolution.  There has to be trouble.  Watch out.

     So Conservatives understand problems as well as Liberals do but Conservatives have an accurate understanding of the issues, human nature and results and Liberals don’t.’

     ‘Humph.’

     Although he disagreed with Dewey down the line Terry Gaste found this conversation more gratifying than Dewey’s earlier discourse on his love life.  Now that they were getting close to Benton Harbor he began to be concerned that Dewey still intended to hitchhike across Michigan.

     ‘You know, you really ought to think about taking a bus from Benton Harbor.  There is almost no traffic at night.  You’ll have a very difficult time getting a ride and it’s so cold.  You might freeze to death, literally.’

     Dewey’s resolve to hitch collapsed at Gaste’s  words.  He caved in.  He’d been out there much longer than those forty-eight hours he’d planned on.

     Gaste was kind enough to drop him at the Greyhound station in Benton Harbor even though he would have to drive back to St. Joseph.  As chance would have it Dewey arrived just as a bus was about to leave.  A few minutes later Dewey was bouncing in a near empty bus across the last stretch into the Valley.

page 1892.

Ain’t No More Cookies In This Cookie Jar

     Seated on the bus vague shapes seemed to pass before his eyes in the sepulchral darkness until the dull light of the northern winter entered his eyes as the bus passed through St. Charles.  Rosy fingered Dawn was hidden behind the low thick clouds.

     Dewey was very, very tired by this time, worn out, mentally exhausted by his last effort at conversation with Terry Gaste.  His mind wasn’t wandering or anything of that sort but it had no fixed point of concentration.  Terry’s words seemed to ricochet through his mind without making an impression.

     As tired as he was, nervous energy was driving him as though he were in the pink of condition.  He had now been on the road with no sleep for five days.  Had he taken the bus in San Diego as intended he would have arrived forty-eight hours earlier.  That was when he’d told his mother he’d be there.  He had forgotten to tell them he was going to hitchhike or, rather, he believed he would have been there in forty-eight hours.  It would have been a surprise.

     Now, groggy from hunger and lack of sleep on the bus his mind had slipped.  He believed he was on his original plan.  Thus as he stepped off the bus he expected to be met.  His disappointment was bitter.  He never did realize why no one was there and he never forgave them.

page 1893.

     He had carefully arranged himself, clothes, face and attitude on the bus.  He was not an effusive guy but now he planned a warm greeting.  He planned to throw his arms around his mother- it was Christmas.

     He wore a silly little smile on his face as he stepped off the bus.  He kept it there for several minutes as he walked around the small bus station looking for her.  Rather than keep his despair to himself he walked over to the ticket window to ask the attendant if anyone had been waiting for him.

     “Has anyone left a message for Dewey Trueman?’  He asked hopefully.

     ‘No. No one.’ The attendant said looking up briefly with the wry smile of someone who’s been through this before and hopes the answer will suffice.

     Desolated, Dewey accepted the answer.  Then he noticed how cold it was.  Ten degrees Fahrenheit, but above zero, thank god.

     Along with the atmospheric cold enveloping his body, psychological cold enveloped his mind.  The demons of the past oppressed him.  Perhaps coming back hadn’t been such a good idea; perhaps he should have hung around Lake Arrowhead.

     He would have to walk home.  The walk didn’t bother him, walking was what he did best, but he felt  the taunting eyes of his enemies staring out from windows or driving by with silent smiles.

     He needn’t have worried.  Over half his class in the recession of 1956 had gone into the services.  None of them were around and if any were they were on leave themselves, too busy to concern themselves with him.  Some classmates had hightailed it out of town at their first opportuniy in an attempt to escape the oppression.  Those who had gone to college were either not home yet or not coming home.  Nevertheless his progress down Melmoth Avenue was noted; the busybodies are never still.

1894.

     As he walked he began to grow visibly weaker.  By the time he reached the house on Caterina he was clenching his teeth.  He wanted to go to bed.  Usually the back door was unlocked but when he turned the knob he found himself locked out.  He pounded on the door although he knew no one would be home, searched for a hidden key.  No answer, no key.  He went around to the front door hammered and rang the bell.  No answer.  He rang the bell unmercifully in wild desperation.  Still no answer.

     He walked around the house a couple times like the moron in the story who, having found himself locked out, ran around the house until he was all in.  Finally in desperation he was standing in the back yard with his hands on his hips glowering angrily at the windows of the back porch turning to a truly desperate frame of mind.

     Big boys don’t cry.  Dewey was too exhausted to cry although a tear tried to form in either eye.  As he stood thus in the freezing air not knowing what to do and incapable of examining his alternatives Alicia Ikestead stepped out of her back door the second lot over and called to him:  ‘Dewey, Dewey.’

     Dewey looked over.  He was horrified that he would have to speak to an Ikestead.  The ends of his mind were already flapping wildly, snapping in the hurricane of disjointed emotions released by his abandonment.  Now the demons contained in the right side of the brain in that dead spot above the ear were partially released blending with the shame and fear of the blighted hopes of the past.  Visions of mortifications danced before his eyes like stars caused by a concussion to the back of the head.

page 1895.

     His breathing, if breathing it was, came fitfully and hard against the frigid air or was suspended while he struggled for control of his being.

     The Ikesteads, for no fault of their own that Dewey had ever been able to discover, had always been the most despised family on the street.  No one would ever have thought to speak to them.  Dewey, against all the principles he held sacred, had acquiesced in this prejudice.  Indeed, as he had sought to secure his own self-respect against the batterings of society he had kept them beneath him to ensure his own sense of worth.  Even then his self-esteem had been badly shaken.

     The Ikesteads, like all those held in contempt, had turned their rejection against themselves.  Tormented by others, feeling the pangs of worthlessness they had in turn mercilessly tormented each other.

     As a justification of Dewey’s contempt for them he always remembered that Alicia had chased her brother out this same back door from which she was now addressing him brandishing a carving knife.  He alone had witnessed the scene but he projected knowledge of it on everyone.  As he knew of nothing else to soundly establish their inferiority the scene had been the cornerstone of his contempt.

page 1896.

     If the Ikesteads were held in contempt it was also true that Tuistad and his mother, he and his brother were held in little regard.  This was a matter of deep chagrin for in Dewey’s inner sanctum he held himself in high regard and rightly so.  His home life under Tuistad and his mother had been very distressful and unhappy reinforcing the unhappiness of his life in society to the point of insanity.

     At one dinner, which was always the focal point for creating frustration in him by Tuistad, he had laid his fork down to exclaim to the infernal gods:  “Life can’t always be this bad.’ but it always was or worse.

     Louis, his brother, suffered all plus bore the brunt of Dewey’s despair.  Thus in one of their ceaseless fights Louis grabbed a knife and chased Dewey out the back door.  The scene had been witnessed.  The effect had been catastrophic on Dewey.  The interface between he and the Ikesteads had been breached.   Dewey’s self-respect was jeopardized.

     Shortly thereafter he witnessed Daryl Sonderman chase his brother Ward out of their house kitty corner to Dewey’s.  Daryl had been wielding a knife.  Dewey’s arch enemies, the Sondermans, had witnessed the same scene between himself and Louis and were parodying or ridiculing Dewey as he had felt toward the Ikesteads.

     They made a mistake.  For while Dewey recognized that they were attempting to ridicule him their parody could be taken at face value;  Dewed did so defusing their joke.  The Sondermans in their hatred unconsciously made Dewey a gift of his self-respect which they would never have done consciously.

page 1897.

     As the Sondermans considered themselves part of the elite the effect was that Dewey could raise himself considerably.  The effect was also one of obliterating the basis of the contempt of the Ikesteads that he held.

     Dewey had never ever consciously thought of the three incidents but as his contempt of the Ikesteads had been breached by the incident of the Sondermans he was able to speak to Alicia now.

     Dewey didn’t even know the girl’s first name.  Startled he turned with his customary contempt to see what she wanted.  Thoroughly beaten down Alicia did not question or appear to resent Dewey’s unjust attitude.  He had been gone for two years; he would never again be part of this scene.  As by a miracle all those prejudices were dispelled from his mind.  He softened his contempt then let it fall from him as no longer relevant.  He suddenly saw his former attitude as an evil that had been forced on him by the contempt of others for him.

    ‘What…what is it?’  He elided a crab to a coo.

     ‘Well, Dewey…’ Alicia said very pleased to have an excuse to talk to someone she considered superior.  ‘…your mother asked me to tell you that they’ve gone to Waukegan and won’t be back till after New Years.’

     Dewey was stunned.  Twenty-five hundred miles, five days on the road, dirty and exhausted and he was now less at the end of his journey than when he began.  His exhausted weary mind flapped in the North wind.

page 1898.

     ‘Gone to Waukegan?’  He croaked.  ‘In Illinois?’

     ‘Yes. Your father’s gotten a promotion.  They’re going to move there.’

     Dewey’s mother hadn’t seen fit to tell him.  This was news.  Dewey’s tired mind was unable to rationalize his situation.  His conscious and subconscious minds were comingled while the right side of his brain released a steady stream of demons sometimes also known as voices.  All his repressed thoughts and emotions shot up into his conscious mind which was unable to digest or control the molten lava of his soul.

     ‘They gave a message to me.’  Alicia said stringing out her information so as to prolong the delicious sensation of talking to someone other than her family.

     Dewey just stared at her dumbly unable to form a sentence in reply to her.

     ‘They said you were to go over to your grandmother’s and she would take you in.’

     She would take you in.   The words caromed around Dewey’s brain amid the centrifugal and centripetal explosions of his mind whirling end over end inside and outside his brain.

     She would take him in.

     How many times would his mother put him out to foster homes?  This was the last.  He would give her no more opportunities.

     At least he had some idea of what to do other than head back.  He thanked the girl with as much civility as he could muster.

1899.

     He gathered his remaining wits about him, picked up his bag and trudged off through the cold to grandma’s house.  She wasn’t even his real grandmother; she was his step-father’s mother.  She had given him no reason to care for her and now he developed an unreasoning dislike of her.  Both she and his mother not to mention his mother’s mother.  What a group of cold unloving women they were.  There was nothing of the mother about any of them.

     This was the final rejection by his mother that he could take.  First she had put him in foster homes, then into the municipal orphanage.  After that she had driven him into the Navy.  Now, she didn’t even have the decency to inform him that she wouldn’t be home when he got there.

     Perhaps Alicia Ikestead had not used her exact words but maybe she had.  Maybe that was exactly what his mother meant.  He was not of her; his grandmother would take him in.  Twenty years of fobbing him off on other people and now his grandmother would take him in.

     And then, my god, she insulted him by using the Ikesteads to tell him.  What kind of calculated insult was that?  Did she hate him so much that she chose someone he considered beneath him to tell him.  Since when had she spoken to the Ikesteads?  Never in his memory.

     Was she telling him that that twenty year old girl she had been when she gave him birth had resented her pregnancy so much that she could not cease punishing her child?  If so, he didn’t think much of her either.

page 1900.

     Dewey neither hated nor resented he only condemned.  He now condemned his mother to the seventh layer of hell as coldly and dispassionately as any judge in court.  He struck her from his mind, so to speak.  She was no longer among the living.

     Walking along, breathing heavily as he labored against his fatigue he worked up what little rage he could.  then, like an arrow shot in the air in California on a trajectory seemingly designed to hit him here the memory of Dalton Dagger pierced his mind.

     Dagger said he would find him in the Valley.  Dewey knew he would try.  Dewey wasn’t afraid so much but he did want to avoid unpleasantness.  He didn’t want to give Dalton the twenty dollars that he thought he expected but if you called the police on a guy like Dagger who had no fear of consequences, if fact, didn’t recognize them, there was no telling what he might do.

     So Dewey’s mind drew on the tangled skein of emotions as he covered the fifteen blocks to grandma’s house.  Finally he stood on the sidewalk before her door.

     ‘She’d darn well better be here.’  He spoke out loud in audible despair.

     In truth he would have collapsed on the spot and frozen to death if the door hadn’t opened.

     His brother Louis opened the door.  ‘Dewey.  Boy, what took you so long.  We expected you a couple days ago.’

     ‘Yeah, well, what a trip.  I came up route sixty-six.’  He said savagely, angry with himself for the debacle of the last five days.

page 1901.

     ‘What happened?’  Louis asked excitedly astonished at Dewey’s appearance.

     ‘I’ll have to tell you later Louis.  I haven’t had any sleep since San Diego and I’m really tired.’  Dewey had lost track of time completely.  He had no idea how long exactly he’d been on the road.

     ‘By the way if someone named Dalton Dagger comes to the door don’t open it.  Tell him I never showed up.’

     Dewey staggered upstairs.  As there was no room for him in the sacred room formerly occupied by his step-father and his step-uncle and his aunt’s room was occupied by his brother an army cot was set up in the hallway for Dewey.

     Too tired to protest he wrapped a blanket around his clothes and all and fell into the army cot asleep.  As he flopped down his hat fell off rolling across the floor.

The Green Green Grass Of Home

     While Dewey slept Dalton Dagger rolled into town.  He was only four hours behind Dewey.  In fact if Dewey had elected to hitchike from Benton Harbor Dalton would have overtaken him to roll up alongside him in the dark.  Had that been the case then Dewey would most probably have been found at the bottom of a ditch when the snow melted.

     When Dewey had disappeared into Oklahoma Dalton’s interest had immediately shifted to his car.  In his peculiar thought processes he believed that the Amarillo mechanics owed it to him to fix his car at their most reasonable rate.  It was the same as his belief that Yisraeli owed him the balance of Dewey’s death price whether he killed him or not.  Likewise Dalton believed that Dewey belonged to him because he had a contract on his life.  Dalton was very good at forming indissoluble unilateral bonds.

page 1902.

     Thus the intensity of his demand that Dewey ask the Darrels to give him a ride had been so compelling that Dewey had acted against his own will in the matter.  Yisraeli had still to learn that the man he was dealing with was not as disposable as a pair of infant’s diapers.  Thus when Dalton strode back into the garage grounds the mechanics gave him all their attention.  Wisely so.

     When I say Dalton strode I mean that he walked with the assertive self-confidence of a man who had shown the Marines what one of the few good men really looked like.  There was definitely no diffidence in his walk; John Wayne would have gotten out of the way.  He had the confident walk of a lion who was not to be denied.  As the poet put it:  The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold.

     The mechanics still thought they had the upper hand but they were mistaken.

     ‘Alright fellas, how long is it going to take to fix up my car.  I’ve got to get back on the road in a hurry.’

     ‘Well…’  Saul Grampas the owner and chief mechanic began in that drawling manner that betrays that the mechanic has no intention of telling you the truth about anything and is going to steal every dime he can.   ‘…we can’t be sure how bad the damage is, you know, the block is sure to be cracked.  Radiator’s definitely shot.  I don’t know how long it’ll take us to find one for this…what is this?…’53 Olds, uh huh.  If we can’t get a new one and the dealer might not have one in stock anyway, might have one, might not, you know, it might take, oh I don’t know, maybe three or four days to get one down here from Denver.’

     ‘You’re full of shit, man.  You can fix this thing in a couple hours.  If you don’t have a radiator here you can get one right away or youcan jury rig another one.  I have to be on the road right away so stop jawing and get the cork out.  I’ll help you.  Come on, hurry up.  That other stuff can wait.’

     ‘Now, just a minute, fella.’  Saul said stepping forward intimidatingly.

     ‘Uh uh, no just a minute.’  Dalton said stepping into Saul and raising his fist with a look of conviction on his face that said Saul was a dead man.

     Saul’s assistant, Slim Weazel, picked up a monkey wrench and glared at Dalton.  Slim lacked the concentrated force in his gaze that was needed to give his actions conviction.

     Dalton seized a four foot iron bar that was leaning against a stack of tread bare tires, held it before him grasped in the middle so he could thrust or club.  Dalton was a very formidable guy.  At six-two he was still compact and sturdy as a statue.  That combined with an eager demonic light that came into his eyes made the mechanics who were less committed to a savage set-to quail.  Saul didn’t take a step back but he rocked on his heels.  As he did Dalton gave a nearly imperceptible sardonic smile and, while without actually moving, intimated his intent to smack Saul with the right end of the iron bar.  Saul’s eyes involuntarily fixed on it.

page 1904.

      ‘I can call the police?’  Slim said shakily, involuntarily making it a question, his eyes fixed on Dalton’s iron bar.  Put into this form of a semi-question the statement confirmed Dalton in his conviction that he was the winner.

     ‘Go ahead and try.  You’ll never reach the phone.  Both you guys’ll be laid out here.  Besides what’re you going to tell them?  You’re trying to cheat me out of my car?’

     ‘If you hurt us you’ll go to jail.’  Slim said wealkly, capitulating.

     ‘So fuckin’ what?  I just got out.  You’ll still be dead.  Is my going to jail worth that?’  Dalton replied with a fiendish grin.

     Dalton’s bravado worked.  When he showed no fear of the consequences of violence Saul thought it best to just fix the damn car and get this lunatic out of there.

     With Dalton’s help they did.  Dalton even remembered to put anti-freeze in this time.  Thus in two hours Dalton was back in shape.  He even cut his own deal on the repair bill forcing Saul to settle for half of what he asked.

     Then hunger and drowsiness overtaking him, he first had a good substantial T-bone then holed up in a motel for some rest.

      At twelve-thirty in the afternoon as Dewey lay sleeping he entered the Valley.  Dalton and his family were known quantities to certain people in the Valley even thought the Daltons were from Bay City.  their character was feared and despised.  Dalton did not know he was that well known so unbeknownst  to him the rules of the road changed to the rules of reputation.

page 1905.

     Anyone with intelligence might have found it difficult to locate Trueman’s address not knowing his parents’ name.  But Dalton knowing Dewey lived on the West Side using a certain illogic that worked obtained directions to the major intersection of  Court and Melmoth.  Once there he went into Trinkow’s drug store and loudly demanded if anyone knew where Dewey Trueman lived.

      His method may appear crude but his results were concrete.  As it happened a busybody named John Dickman who had been in Dewey’s class at Melville was present.  He looked up.

     ‘Dewey Trueman’s not here.  He left town two years ago.’  He said eyeing Dagger with curiosity.  Without necessarily being famous the Dagger family was notorious to those who dealt in histories of this fashion.  The majority of the residents in the Valley had never heard of the Daggers yet they were very well known in certain circles, the police for instance.

     As noted Dalton was of a species of savage wild man.  The family was not unknown within prison walls.  There was usually at least one member of the family inside at any given time.  Dickman, as a busybody, knew many arcane facts about many obscure people.  He cherished any story that brought another man or woman below his level.  He lived to despise others.  He was not unuseful to the authorities.

page 1906.

     ‘Yeah, he is.’  Dalton grunted, menacing the world before it menaced him.  ‘I’m a Navy buddy of his.  He’s on leave and I’m supposed to meet him here.  I lost his address.’

     Dickman thought itover quickly as he sized up Dalton.  He had never seen Dagger but with sure intuition he guessed who he was merely from his manner.  Dickman bore goodwill to no man; they all fall sooner or later as he put it.  Dickman had pissed on the best of them.  He craved excitement at the expense of others.  He thought Dagger might provide some amusement for him.

     ‘His family lives not too far from here.  Here let me show you.’  The guy had the instincts of a natural born reporter; first on any scene.

     Dickman led Dalton to the house on Caterina St.  Fortunately for Dewey they only went to the front door.  Had they gone around to the back there is no question but that Alicia Ikestead would have helpfully sent them to grandma’s house.  They would  have been at Dewey’s door.

      No one answered nor was any movement visible inside so Dalton dismissed Dickman.  He didn’t thank him; he dismissed him, much more than Dickman deserved.

     Dalton, who now thought Dewey owed him two hundred dollars for the expenses incurred in Amarillo as well as his life hung around town until six-thirty when he went back to the house a second time.  Disappointed again he drove on up to Bay City intending to come back on the weekend.

page 1907

     Dalton was not a man to waste time.  At eight-thirty he was on the phone to Yehouda Yisraeli.  Yehouda was stunned.  Like all men who think they are clever he thought everyone he dealt with was stupid.  He believed he was dealing incognito with Dalton because of the aliases and blinds he had put up.  Dalton had his own file on Yisraeli, including his phone number.

     There is a criminal network too.

     ‘Where’d you get my number?’  He stammered incautiously.

     Dalton ignored him.

     ‘Alright, the job’s done.  I fulfilled my end of the deal so get my twenty-five hundred wired to me immediately, first thing.  I’ll pick it up at Western Union, twelve sharp, tomorrow.  It had better be there.’

     ‘You’ve fulfilled the contract?’

     ‘That’s right.  Send the money.’

     ‘How do I know?’

     ‘Because I said so.  Send the money.’

     ‘I have to be sure.’

     ‘Well, I can come back there and plant you under the same cactus, Alligator.  You dig that?’

     There was a pause then Yehouda said firmly:  ‘Alright.  The job’s done, the money will be there.’

     ‘It better be if you know what’s good for you.’  Dalton threatened slamming down the receiver.

     Yisraeli believed Dalton.  He rejoiced that his enemy was dead.  He had no intention of sending Dalton twenty-five hundred dollars.  Yisraeli was shrewd.  Being from the Valley and having been influential there he was able to place Dagger firmly when the latter was back in his home environment.

page 1908.

     ‘Oh, those Daggers.’  He said to himself.

     He reasoned that Dalton had just gotten out of the brig, took pride in his dishonorable discharge, and violent as he undoubtedly was it wouldn’t be long before he was back in jail.  He mused a while about what it would take to set  Dalton off.  Just shorting him would do it but the crafty Yisraeli wanted to make sure Dalton would do something drastic.

     He decided to send only five hundred dollars thinking that would unbalance Dalton but give him enough money to tie one on.  Yehouda’s hopes were more than justified.  Angrily looking at the five hundred dollar check he went into a towering rage.  He was spoiling for a fight.

     That night he and a couple friends drove out to the Hillbilly Heaven roadhouse near Mt. Pleasant.  If you’re looking for a fight there is no better recommendation than a hillbillybar.  This particular bar was frequented by a bunch of guys for whom no outing was complete without a fight.

     Dalton got his fight.  His rage at Yisraeli was so great that he actually killed his man.  Stomped him to death.  Thus after only a few days home Dalton was downtown in the can awaiting trial for manslaughter.  He got five years, which was a lot for those times when first degree murderers might only serve three.  He would have been out in the early sixties but he was a very troublesome inmate.  His release was delayed until 1969.  At that time he was once again a free and roving man.

page 1909

     Yehouda when he heard the news felt entirely justified in withholding the other two thousand.  Dewey knew nothing of it but when Dalton didn’t show up at Grandma’s house the next morning his apprehensions for the future were allayed.

     Yehouda in his excitement passed the word to Kanary that Trueman was dead.  Kanary spread the word aboard the Teufelsdreck.

Days Of Future Passed

     How many of us really know what’s going on?  The Field is vast, we are small.  Historical motifs affect us.  Economic motifs affect us.  Political motifs affect us.  While Dewey slept now soundly, now fitfully the drama of Duelin’ Dalton Daggers swirled around his existence.

     Trueman’s mother had not informed him she would not be home.  She had done him a disservice and a psychological injury but had she been in town what might have been the result?  She and her husband Tuistad would have been at work.  Louis would have been at school.  If, groggy from being roused from his weary sleep Dewey had been confronted by the madman Duelin’ Dalton Dagger at his door what might have been the result?

      It is one of those questions that can never be answered.  Suffice it to say the result would not have been pleasant for Dewey.  Thus by a peculiar twist of fate Dewey avoided the necessity of a Response to what would have been a very difficult Challenge.

page 1910.

    

 

 

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of  The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

 

     The Souls of Black Folk had taken definite form when Bert Williams captured the essence  in his magnificent song: ‘Nobody.’

When life seems full of clouds and rain

And I am filled with naught but pain,

Who soothes my funkin’ bunkin’ brain?

Bert In Blackface

Nobody.

And when winter comes with snow and sleet

And me with hunger and cold feet,

 Who say: Yars a quarta boy, now ya’ll go and eat?

Nobody.

Refrain.

Now I ain’t never done nothin’ to nobody

And I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody

no time.

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

Well, I don’t intend to do nothin’ for nobody

no time.

Then summer comes all cool an clean

And all my friends see me drawin’ near,

Who says:   Come on over  here, man, and have a beer?

Nobody.

Last Christmas Eve, ’twas about daybreak,

I was in that railroad wreck.

And who pulled the en-jine off my neck?

Not a livin’ soul.

Now, I ain’t never done nothin’ to nobody

And I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody

no time.

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

Well, I don’t intend to do nothin’ for nobody

no time.

     An excellent version of the song is available by the musicologist Ry Cooder on his disc: Jazz.

page 1810.

     Williams’ lyrics accurately portray the despair of the maltreated Negro in the heart of the Jim Crow period.  The formation of the psychic block that forms the ‘hole’ in the Black soul is also apparent in the frustration of being abused without recourse.  Dewey knew what Williams’ was talking about; he suffered from the same problem.

     The intense anger which could not be safely expressed during the era is suppressed and sublimated into a festering resentment.  At the end of the Jim Crow period and the beginning of the Self-Wareness Period this hurt, anger and resentment erupted in the Black revolt of the Long Hot Summer of ’67.

     Politically the result took the form of Affirmative Action:

And I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody no time

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

Well, I don’t intend to do nothin’ for nobody

No time.

     Thus Affirmative Action is an attempt to get somethin’ from somebody at the expense of someone else.  It is important to deprive a White person of something for no good reason to compensate Blacks for being denied and deprived for no good reason earlier.  As the slang has it:  What goes around, comes around.  But the resulting injury created against Whites will have to be compensated by Blacks later along.  What goes around just keeps coming around. So, hey, hey, baby take a whiff on me.

page 1811

     On the social level the attitude is reflected in the phenomenally high crime rate among Black  youth.  Rather than work which would be doin’ somethin’ for somebody, most likely White employers, a large percentage of Blacks prefer to do nothin’ for nobody no time.

     The problem considered in the abstract is, however quite different than dealing with it in the concrete.  Actual personalities are much differerent than hypothetical situations.  Whoever said:  In order to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs was not talking about his own eggs.  One only talks so blithely about breaking eggs when they belong to someone else and you’re going to eat the omelet.  The question was a serious one for White women who lived down along the interface where they were prey to Black men.

     ‘All those Black bastards want is our women.’  Black Jack thrust in demandingly while Dewey searched for an approach to an answer.

     Dewey had had little experience with Black people, and that all bad, as he had been fortunate enough to have been brought up in an entirely White environment.  this was so even though just across the River at Valley High the juxtaposition of the two races caused innumerable conflicts.  In many ways there was open racial warfare.

page 1812.

     A girl he had known and had a crush on in Junior High had transferred to the East Side where she had been raped by a Black guy and had his baby thereby destroying her life. Society looked at it as her fate as an inevitable sacrifice, especially as the egg broken wasn’t one of theirs.  But, you know, omelets.  That’s the way it goes.  Dewey had taken it personally.  Society forbade him to mention the race of the Black guy but his subconscious was not so easily intimidated.  You can shut a man up buy you can’t keep his brain from working.

     Dewey was not an integrationist.  He was opposed to miscegenation.  His notions on these issues were separate from his notions on equal opportunity and fairness.  His talents had been shunted aside to provide greater opportunity for the elite.  Even among whites the Aristocracy favored itself over the Other Half.  Fairness was not a concern of the Aristocracy.

     Thus Dewey did not oppose denying the Negro opportunity.  The reason d’ etre of the United States, officially at least, was fair play.  But you had to know how to get it.

     On the other hand any advance of the Blacks could only be done at the expense of Whites.  In order to raise Blacks Whites would have to be denied opportunity.  And we know which Whites.  The Aristocracy would not have to pay.  All the expenses would be borne by the Other Half of the social order where both Dewey and Black Jack Davy were.

     Dewey understood how Black Jack felt.  His mind went back to that dance at Castlemont when he had seen and overheard the girls talking.  The riots and battles down South had their effect on him.  While the Blacks might be fighting for ‘justice’ they were also creating injustice.  Affirmative Action meant that they would be given preferential treatment over Whites who had worked hard to prepare themselves and would now be denied.

page 1813.

     Dewey didn’t know the answer but he saw no reason to offer up his body as a sacrifice to appease Blacks and gratify the guilt of the Urban Aristocracy.

     ‘Well, I know it’s a problem out in California.  I spend a lot of liberty time in Oakland which is almost half Black.  I know that in high schools like Castlemont any girls that don’t clear out immediately after school are considered fair game for Black guys who scour the halls looking for the late ones.  The girls don’t even complain if they do get raped.  It’s just assumed they were asking for it or they would have cleared right out.  Boy, I don’t know what to do about it.  The best thing you can do is get as far away from the Black areas as possible.’

     ‘That may be the only answer.  They pull knives on girls in Chicago.  You have to watch out all the time so they don’t get the jump on you.  I know a couple girls who got the big thrill while a knife point was buried in their throat.  Cops won’t listen to you in Chicago either; at least not where we live.’  Dixie Darlin’ said matter of factly while she comtemplated the card of the Hanging Man.

     ‘That’s just it.’  Black Jack said.  ‘There’s a double standard operating here.’

page 1814.

     ‘Yeah, I know.  This is a country of double standards, triple standards, heck, quadruple standards.  Everything depends on who you are; there’s nothing honest in America.  What’s a virtue in one case is a fault in another.  No consistency.  Some go to jail some walk.  One guy kills somebody, he walks; another guy kills somebody he gets the chair.  Lots of duplicity all the time.  Doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with money either.’

     Black Jack didn’t want to drift from his theme so he brought the conversation back.

     ‘The Second Coming Of The Golden Dawn deals with all those problems.  It’s a modern religion for modern times.  It  won’t be too long before we’re more important than the Catholics.  We’re going to revitalize and rejuvenate America; bring it back to the ideals that made it great.  And you’re going to be in the middle of it as my lieutenant.

     Dewey was about to frame a reply when Black Jack spotted a wreck on the highway.  The crack up was a fairly serious one.  One car must have wandered over the meridian hitting  the other head on.  The cars were really nothing more than twisted metal.  The bodies lay around on the ground in sickening postures.  A number of cars had stopped leaving groups of people either milling or standing around.

     Dewey hoped that Black Jack would just drive through as the sight of mangled and torn bodies had no appeal for him but as a minister Black Jack thought his services might be needed.  The three Chicagoans bored in close to get a good look.  Dewey hung back disgusted and revolted.  Two Black men and a woman stood not too far away.

     ‘Say man.  You dig who that White guy in the plaid jacket is?’ One man asked.

     ‘I know him.  Tha’s that crazy peckerwood who’s walkin’ around the Stockade in black face, ain’t he?’  The other said.

     ‘Black face? Wha’s he do that for?’  The woman asked.

     ‘Nobody kin figure it out.  Funny dude, man.  Acts like we don’t know he’s white with burnt cork on.  Shit, he so dumb he even put blacking on the palm of his hands.’

    ‘No.’  The woman said laughing.

     ‘Shit yes.  Nobody kin figure what he be doin’.  He be tryin’ to get funny stuff on us he better be careful or the laugh is goin’ to be on him.’

     ‘I don’t know what else he kin be doin’.   Kin you?’

     ‘Hell no.’

     Dewey’s chest heaved as he suppressed the laughter welling up inside him.  He got back in the car where he could laugh in safey.  If those Black Folk had known the real reason they wouldn’t have known what to think.  Black Jack in black face; Dewey giggled away.  Then with a masterful effort he suppressed his laughter as Black Jack and the girls came back to the car.

     ‘I just can’t believe it.’  Black Jack lamented.  ‘I just can’t believe it.  A terrible crash on the highway like that and I didn’t hear nobody pray.’

     ‘Didn’t hear nobody pray?’  Dewey asked thinking that the last thing he had thought about.

     ‘No.  there was whiskey and blood mixed together in the glass where they lay but I didn’t hear nobody pray.  I was the only one who had the sense to call down the mercy of the Lord on those poor mangled souls.’

     Mercy of the Lord on those poor mangled souls.’  Dewey repeated in wonder at what mercy those poor mangled souls could expect.  They’d had little mercy in this world and in the next they were on their own.

     ‘Amen, brother.’  Black Jack intoned.  ‘We’re going to get along just fine.’

     Then Black Jack and Dewey came to that old fork in the road.  Black Jack said:  ‘Now, right up here we have to turn left to go into Chicago; if you go straight that will take you up into Gary.  Like I say:  I need you in Chicago to build the Second Coming Of The Golden Dawn and save America and probably the world.  What say, are you made of the right stuff?’

     ‘Uh, no, Black Jack.  I can’t.  I’m in the Navy.  I have to get back or they’ll courtmartial me.’

     ‘They can’t courtmartial some one who isn’t there, Dewey.  What’s wrong with you?

     ‘Sure, Black Jack but it would ruin my life.  They would come and get me.’

     ‘Oh, sheez.  No one’s going to come after you.  They wouldn’t even know where to begin looking.  You’d be like that A-Bomb in Darktown.  Why would they think you were in Chicago?’

     ‘Because it’s the center of the country?  Aw, come on, Black Jack, when I get a driver’s license or apply for jobs they’d get me right away, besides, let me tell you something you don’t know;  Chicago is no California.

     ‘Just change your name…’

     ‘Aw, Jesus, change my name!  I’m not going to Chicago with you Black Jack.  Now, let me out here.’

     Black Jack was a very disappointed guy because he had convinced himself that Dewey had been sent by God to be his lieutenant.  Providence had failed him or, perhaps, he had misinterpreted the signs.  Dewey’s wanting to depart seemed to Black Jack a betrayal on the order of the kiss Judas gave Jesus.

     He continued to half remonstrate with and half excoriate Trueman as he got out of the car.  Dewey took it all in good measure because, after all, he had been given a handsome and entertaining ride and besides, as screwy as he considered most of Black Jack’s ideas he liked him.

     Dewey knew what longing and frustration were.  He knew what it meant to be reviled and rejected for no good reason.  He took Black Jack’s raging as just the raving of an injured psyche.  If the wounds were aggravated then society would just have to pay the price of its sins whatever that price might be.  That was only just.  If the wounds were allowed to heal then Black Jack would probably be a pretty decent guy.

     In fact, Black Jack, or rather, Derek Drainsfield, as he did resume his original identity, turned out straight.  He was able to move away from the Interface as Dewey suggested.  As his women were no longer in danger from Black predators the pressure on his psyche decreased and as his mind cleared he once again realized that fear and revulsion were not bases for religion.

page 1818.

     He turned to a gospel of love and wealth.  He shed most of his repulsive majick elements of his approach leaving Aleister Crowley behind while miving closer to Rosicrucian Christianity.  he remained a preacher.  He was seeking to be respectable.  He attained his goal.  He had a congregation that varied between five and six hundred.

      They were well satisfied with him while he was content with tending his flock.  Circumstances required him to take a compassionate stand on race relations which he did but the misgivings he had acquired down on the Interface never left him.  As, why should they?

     ‘Good luck finding that A-Bomb, Black Jack.  Good bye Dixie Darlin’- Belle.’  Dewey said politely shutting the door.  ‘Thanks for the ride.’

     More hurt than angry Black Jack drove away muttering about the guy’s ingratitude under his breath.

Hitchhiking Is No Picnic

     ‘Christ, it’s cold.’  Dewey thought as the heat from the car left him.  A cold blast of wind whistled down across Lake Michigan to rattle his teeth.

     ‘Oh, not again.’  Dewey said to himself as a cop car pulled to a stop in front of him.  There was Navy on the Great Lakes so he wasn’t such an oddity to the Illinois State Police as he had been to those in Oklahoma.

page 1819.

     The cop was one of those tall big men of limited mental resources who really like to lord it over other men.  Maybe he was just amusing himself.  Taking Dewey’s leave papers and ID he sat for fifteen minutes in his car leaving Dewey to shiver in the cold.

     He got back out offering a few sneering comments then dropped Dewey’s papers to the ground and drove off.  That good strong North Wind caught Dewey’s leave papers sending them off like an eagle taking wing.  There was little sense in chasing them so Dewey stood watching as they wafted back down the highway.

     ‘Oh well, I probably won’t need them anymore.  Boy, cops must all be cut from the same mold.’  Dewey thought as his resentment against the police grew.  ‘And they wonder why everybody despises them.’

      It’s not so much that they receive the same education in police academies as that they all do come from the same mental approach to life.  They’re just bullies with badges made safe from retaliation.

     The sun was going down.  The temperature was dropping.  Once out of his face Dewey had other things to think about than coppers although he was acquiring a bitter understanding of the attitudes of men like John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd the Outlaw.

     A couple rides later he was dropped off in front of a service station in Gary, Indiana.  Named after Judge Gary.  Night had fallen on the lakeside city.  A superb lake effect snowstorn was in progress from Gary up to Benton Harbor from which point Dewey intended to shunt East across Michigan to the Valley.

page 1820.

    Gary was not yet the Black town it would be.  Eventually it would become another East St. Louis.  For the present Dewey was safe from racial harassment.

     He took up a position under the lights of the station sign where he could really be seen.  It was a pitiless night.  No one would stop.  Every time a semi went by, which was every other vehicle, the big rigs swirled the snow wildly burying Dewey in the rearranged drift.  The hours passed.

     Finally a big rig pulled to a stop.  The tractor was a nice new cab over but the driver was crossing over to Cleveland.

     The driver seemed decent enough, tried to explain to him that there would be no traffic heading North.  He told Dewey that it would be better to cross over beneath Detroit and go North from there where there would be a lot more traffic.

     Dewey feared Detroit for a number of reaons of which race was one, while the time involved crossing then heading up the Dixie seemed excessive.  That coupled with the fact that his mind was slowing from lack of both sleep and nourishment determined his decision.  He had no idea that the highway would have less traffice than the Claremore road if possible.

     Without being aware of it Dewey had become quite dehydrated.  Suddenly his thirst hit him.  He looked over to spot the Coke machine in the gas station.  Really discouraged he walked over and drained five bottles of Coke in a row.  They were the old 7 oz. size.

page 1821.

     This gave the attendant who had been watching him an excuse to talk to him.

     ‘Wow.  You must really be thirsty.’

     ‘Yeah. I was anyway.’

     ‘How come you didn’t take the ride that trucker offered?’

     ‘Oh, he was going East to Cleveland.  Offered to drop me off below Detroit but gosh, that’s several more hours and I’ve been on the road forever.  This was supposed to be a forty-eight hour trip.’[

     ‘How long you been on the road?’

     ‘I don’t know.  I started last Thursday.’

     ‘Where you going?’

     ‘The Valley in Michigan.  Thought I’d cut over at Benton Harbor.’

     ‘Oh man, that’s a tough one any night.  Very little traffic.  In this storm there probably won’t be any at all.  Sunday night too.  You should have taken that trucker’s offer.  Tell you what I’ll do for you.  I’ll ask any driver going North if they’ll give you a ride.  You can stand out there if you want.  I’ll call you over if I find someone.’

     Dewey thanked him kindly but was so discouraged he forgot about it immediately.  He was digging himself out of the umpteenth snow bank when the attendant called to him.

     ‘Hey, hey Sailor, come on.  I’ve got a ride for you.’

     Dewey couldn’t believe his ears but he stepped smartly over.

     ‘He’s going to St. Joe.  Says he’ll give you a ride.’

     Dewey thanked the attendant but didn’t offer the tip he was obviously expected to give and hopped in.

Four Strong Winds

     As the saying goes:  Dewey was running on empty.  There weren’t even any fumes left.  He was going simply because he was going.

     There were several towns they had to pass through on the way to Benton Harbor not to mention the good sized city of South Bend but all Dewey would ever be able to remember was big white snow flakes falling from a patent leather sky and the blazing white snow banks illuminated by the headlights.  The night had the surreal aspects of the Hopper picture ‘Nighthawks At The Diner.’

     Terry Gaste, the driver, was the first respectable looking person Dewey had seen for days.  He was a pleasant looking man of about twenty-seven.  Plump, even quivering with baby fat, delicate, well dressed, well groomed, impeccably mannered, he was meticulously cared for.  Every hair of his dark head had a well defined place for which it occupied.  He looked like he had just shaved.  He had an air of refinement.  In fact, he was a high school English teacher at Benton Harbor.  Even out in the boonies Benton Harbor had more cachet than its twin city St. Joseph so Terry Gaste lived in St. Joe where rents were cheaper.  Hard to believe.

page 1823.

     If Dewey hadn’t been grappling to keep his grip on reality he would have thought that Gaste was a very creditable guy.  Having been five days on the road he mainly noticed that Gaste seemed very effeminate.

     ‘I offered you a ride because in this terrible weather I thought I might need your help if I got stuck.  You would help me if that happened wouldn’t you?  You wouldn’t just abandon me?’

     ‘No.’  Dewey said.  ‘That’s a very fair exchange.  This is a lot of snow.  We don’t get snow like this up in the Valley.  Cold, but no snow.’

     ‘We get a lot of snow here.’

     ‘I always noticed that.  There’s a strip right across Southern Michigan that always gets a lot of snow.  I mean look at these snowbanks, four or five feet high.  Couldn’t have been any worse than that storm in Flagstaff.  What are you doing out so late in this weather?’

     ‘I’m returning from Chicago.  I live in St. Joseph but I teach English in Benton Harbor.  My girl friend lives in Chicago and I visit her every weekend.  I make this trip every week.’

     Dewey’s mind was about to go free form.  It was about to take the same relationship to his body that the Milky Way takes to Earth.  Fortunately he still had enough control not to express an unasked for opinion of Terry Gaste.  His own thoughts were that Gaste was gay but he had enough sense to stay in the closet in Benton Harbor.  Dewey thought that he probably went to Chicago on weekends for sex.  Heaven was merciful to Trueman; he kept his speculations to himself but converted his opinions into a series of malicious comments.

page 1824.

     ‘Wow, that’s a long way to go to see your girl firend.’

     If Dewey’s mind had been functioning he might have reflected on that statement.  Gaste was driving only two hundred miles round trip.  Dewey thought nothing of an over night jaunt from San Diego to LA which was about the same distance.  He regularly traveled twelve hundred miles round trip to San Francisco on a weekend.  And then he had to hitchhike more often than not.  But in Michigan a hundred miles seems like a great long trip.

     ‘I don’t mind.  We’re in love.  She’s worth it.’

     ‘Really?  I don’t know if I could do that.  I’d get a girl in Benton Harbor.’

     Then Dewey egan to talk about things that, had he been rested, he wouldn’t have mentioned.  But under that patent leather black and white environment of shimmering snow flakes and dazzlingly white snow banks an inchoate fear seized his vitals causing unnamed specters to be released from the right side of his brain.  Perhaps his subconscious flooded his conscious mind.  No, that wasn’t it.  It was the right side.

     ‘I’m quite happy this way actually.’  Gaste said trying to edge off the subject.

    ‘Boy, I’d be afraid she’d be cheating on me.’

     ‘Oh no.  I have absolute trust in her.’

     ‘Oh, I don’t know.  Do you call her weekdays.’

     ‘Yes.  We talk.’

page 1825.

     ‘Is she always there?’

    ‘Well, no.  Not always.’

     ‘See.’

     ‘See what?  She can’t always be home.  That doesn’t mean she’s out with someone else.’

     Dewey’s emotional development had been arrested by the sharp break in his routines caused by entering the Navy.  He still had a teenage notion of fidelity.  Thus his fears now amounting to a panic kept him on the subject even though he could see the discomfort he was causing Gaste.

     He liked Gaste and could see his error but he couldn’t get his mind out of its rut.  He insisted to the point of being obtuse.  Gaste, who was kind and considerate to a fault was being driven to his wit’s end.  Perhaps for that reason his concentration wavered.  The car lost traction and slid up against the snowbank.

     Gaste couldn’t regain traction.  The tires spun uselessly.

    ‘I think you’re going to have to get out and push.’  Gaste said tersely fearful that Trueman wouldn’t keep his end of the bargain.

     ‘Oh well.  Nobody rides for free.’  Trueman replied with mock ruefullness, thankful for the intrusion into his feeling of nauseating panic.

     Pushing was out of the question.  Gaste’s De Soto, the marque of the car wasn’t mentioned but his was the last model year of De Soto, ’58 if I remember correctly, blue and white, was a heavy car but even had it been lighter Dewey’s feet would have slid out from under him.

page 1826.

     Dewey had no intention of being stranded for hours, there must be a way out.  He noticed that as slick as the road was and as high and firm as the snowbank was it was possible to perhaps wedge himself between the snowbank and the car and push the car sideways back into the road.

     ‘There’s no way I can push it, Terry.’  He ssid speaking rhough Gaste’s open window.  ‘This road’s too slick.  But we can try this.  I’ll wedge myself in between the car and the snowback, when I shout  Now! give it the gas and I’ll push sideways with my foot.  That might get it out of the groove it’s in and back in the road where the wheels won’t be in slick ruts.’

     ‘You don’t think you will hurt my car, do you?’

     ‘What do you mean?’

     ‘If you push with your foot on the fin the metal might cave in.’

     ‘Terry, in a contest between me and steel I’ll bet against myself every time.  You should too.’

     ‘Well, I suppose it’s worth a try.’

     ‘Sure it is.’

     Dewey got into position and shouted to Gaste to give it the gas.  Belying his apparent timidity Gaste gunned the engine mightily.  Dewey pushed.  Almost perfect; the DeSoto left the ruts and shot out into the middle of the road straight as an arrow as Dewey slid down the snowbank with a painful bump.

     There was a moment of anxiety for Dewey as he feared Gaste might drive off without him.  Such was not the case.

     1827.

     In the first place Gaste was much too decent a guy to even think of abandoning Dewey even though Dewey’s chatter had him running up walls.  Also if he spun out once he could spin out twice; why take chances, still he thought Dewey might have dented his car.

    ‘You didn’t dent my car.’  He asked Dewey as the sailor, smiling at his success, slid back in the seat.

     ‘No.  It worked perfectly, Terry.  We’re even pointed straight down the road.  I was afraid it might to into the opposite snowbank.  Let’s go.’

     ‘I’m going to check.’

     ‘It’s alright Terry, don’t check.  Let’s go before we lose traction again.’

     Gaste hopped out  to run around the car like a ferret to check Dewey’s word.  Finding the fender without a dent he got back in the car much relieved.  Easing the car forward slowly they regained traction.

     In the time he had been able to divert Dewey’s rattling chat Dewey had revealed some rather remarkable details of his journey.  He wasn’t aware yet of the effect of the trip on himself but Gaste was amazed even horrified at the details Dewey had given him.  The motorcycle ride with Rodeo Frank had made quite an impression.

     Now determined to keep Dewey off subjects offensive to himself, Gaste had a line of converstaion ready when he got back in the car.

page 1828.

     Dewey himself had had a transformation out in the cold.  Still obsessed with the legendary snowstorm in Flagstaff he could hardly  believe that that storm was worse than this one.  He therefore dismissed the story as some writer’s hyperbole thereby putting to rest a piece of ephemera that had bothered him for years.

     The combination of white snow and black sky blew through his mind like a gale.  The extreme black shininess of the deep browed sky seemed to him like Mother Space while the cold white flakes came down like bits of bone white death.

     The reason that the car had slid was that a snow plow had preceded them turning the road into a white carpeted path of packed snow which added to the sharp contrast accentuated by the ricocheting light from the headlamps.

     Dewey’s mind was overwhelmed by the white and black as he half slid and half skated back to the car.

     His despair caused him to conceive his situation as one of death in life.  A quiet panic festered in his mind.  His fatigue began to swirl his mind as though it were the center of four strong contending winds, like the great swirl of the Milky Way sliding backwards from the center of the Big Blast through space.  The white and black seared his mind.

     As the conversation developed Dewey made connections and expressed opinions that would have been blocked by a rested and conscious mind.  He expressed opinions and analyses he never knew he had.  He could never have repeated them on the spot nor could he have remembered them after rest.

page 1829.

     Meaning to seize the initiative Terry Gaste used the key that opened Dewey’s mind to a flood of opinion that Gaste had not expected.  There had been nothing said to this point that gave any indication of Dewey’s intellectual depth.  Indeed, his pimpled face and cold staring expression indicated just the opposite.  Gaste had expected to toy with him and dazzle him with his brilliance.

     Gaste was impressed by the idea of Dewey having hitchhiked all the way across country from San Diego.  Like many others in his class Gaste repressed such desires but greatly romanticized them.  He had also read Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ that had been out for over a year now.  He imagined there was some similarity between Kerouac’s and Trueman’s experience.

    ‘Have you read that new book ‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac?’  He asked expecting that Dewey had never heard of it.

     ‘Yes.’  Dewey replied.

     ‘You have?’  Gaste said raising the pitch of his voice in surprise.  Before he went on he sought to know how as he imagined not without reason that Dewey would have been cut off by Navylife from more recent literary developments.  ‘Umm, do you read a lot?’

     ‘Actually quite a bit.’  Dewey replied.  ‘That book you mentioned was one they passed aound.  I had to read it, as it were, I didn’t like it but it has made a terrific impression aboard ship.  They talk about it all the time.’

     ‘You had to read it?  Why’s that?’

page 1830

     ‘Well, being aboard ship is a pretty peculiar way to live.  There’s a whole big difference between what is called the  ‘officers’ and the ‘men.’  I’m obviously of that part called ‘the men.’  Being in the Navy is like being in the orphanage or in prison.  They don’t allow for a lot of individuality.  It’s very easy to be thought weird.  They don’t want you to know anything they don’t.  If you do that makes them feel insecure and inferior.  They don’t want you read, become familiar with literature like, oh say, Victor Hugo or John Dos Passos, so certain books are passed around that you are expected to be familiar with or not.  They don’t care if you don’t read the books; they do allow for greater ignorance than theirs.’

     ‘What kind of books?’

     ‘Well, mostly they’re kind of dirty, soft corn porn, you might say.  Although some have a quite serious side and even have a backhanded moral or, at least, lesson you have to a fringe person to get it.  One of them was about a guy who got knocked over the head, had amneisa, and becomes a criminal under an assumed name, naturally, as he can’t remember his own.  Happened to me I’d use the name of the guy who lived kitty corner from me, mess up his reputation.  His wife goes in search of him.  In the pursuit she becomes a prostitute because, even thought this course is repugnant to her, she believes this is the only way to find her beloved.  It goes on like that.  Some guy cornholes her and we get a description of  her patting her rectum back into shape.  Stuff you need to know to get through life.  In the end the boy gets his memory back but instead of being angry with his wife he cherishes her because she made this great sacrifice of her virtue just for him.  So crime is kind a natural part of life is the moral.  It kind of keeps your mind off the stars and in the muck so you don’t get to thinking you’re better than the scum you live with.  That’s what the French call ‘egalite.’

     ‘Do you mean as in the slogan of the French Revolution: Liberte, egalite, fraternite?

     ‘That’s it.  What egalite means is than anyone who tries to excel is put down.  Therefore egalite cancels liberte  and makes fraternite impossible because who would want to associate with such a bunch of bums.  Ha ha ha.’

     ‘But what was the moral of this book about the woman who became a prostitute?’

     ‘The argument goes that you would forgive your wife if she became a prostitute to save you, wouldn’t you?  Of course you would, is the correct answer.  And then, by extension, that if you would forgive her for screwing other guys to save your life then it is ridiculous to be jealous of your wife if she is screwing other guys for pleasure.  So you should just let anybody who want to screw her screw her and just shut up.  Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so, see?  My argument was that it may work well when you’re screwing the other guy’s wife but you aren’t going to be so tolerant when it happens to you.  I asked if they thought I should be jealous if any of them were screwing my wife, should I have one,  and they said no.  Then I asked how they would they feel if I were screwing their wife and to a man they said they would stomp my ass into dust.

     Anyway if you approve prostitution or promiscuity for one reason then it can’t be wrong for any reason.  So the tendency of these books including ‘On The Road’, seems to be in inculcate a tolerance for criminality.  Besides which all these guys are all hypocrites.’

page 1832.

     ‘Do you know how these books are selected?  Who does it?’

     ‘Not exactly.  But control seems to be coming from the midships area.  I tried to get a couple books inserted in the rounds but they were coldly rejected so I have to believe the books were selected for a political purpose.  Pretty undemocratic censorship, hey?’

     ‘What books did you try to insert?’

     ‘Well, from the content of the books I’ve seen passed around it wouldn’t do any good to try for books you English teachers think are literature, but, you know, there is much more pertinent writing than guys like Mailer, Roth or Herman Wouk going around.

    I mean they even gave a Pulitzer prize to that piece of crap, ‘The Caine Mutiny.’  What an impossible story.  I doubt if  Wouk was even ever aboard ship.  But then other stuff doesn’t get a chance with major publishers.  Actually ‘On The Road’ is an exception.  That book is outside the acceptable tradition of polite literature, what you might call ‘outlaw.’  It’s about the same mental caliber as this book called ‘Junkie’ that was passed around.

     There’s a couple of very interesting publishers who put out this kind of stuff in Kerouac’s style.  One’s Ace and the other is Gold Seal.  Ever heard of them?  No?  You’ve probably seen them on the paper back racks.  One despises them because they only come out in paper back, no hard cover.  Turned up your nose and walked away, eh?  I had to get over the prejudice myself.  Broaden out, it won’t hurt you.

page 1833.

     Gold Seals’s got one, out of several I’ve read, that’s particularly interesting called ‘I Am Legend.’  I tried to get this one in.

     (This book was later made into a distorted movie verson that completely betrays the impact of the novel, called ‘The Omega Man’ starring Charlton Heston.  This story was converted into a version acceptable to the Revolution.  It was again released as ‘I Am Legend’ after the turn of the century as the story of  Black and White race issues.)

     It’s about a world in which vampires start out as a small persecuted group, somewhat like the early Christians or present day Commies, but gradually enlarge in numbers until there are more of them than us.  Finally there is only one regular guy left, everyone else has been turned into a vampire.  Technically the vampires cannot suck each other’s blood without dying out as there is no fresh blood left but if that were allowed, no story.

     Finally there’s only one guy left.  He goes around by day killing as many vampires as he can find.  they turn around and persecute him by night.  They assault him in his impregnable, apparently fire proof wooden fortress all night long.  Never could figure when he got any sleep, must have been a bundle of nerves.

     There’s a real stalemate until the vampires learn how to survive in daylight.  Then they put on tanning lotion, must have been left over on some drugstore shelf, on the most beautiful of their women.  In my book she must have been fair of face, 40D, 25, 38.  Like them proportions?  But the author was vague.

page 1834.

     She infiltrates this guy’s lair, betrays him and he ends up being on the gallows.  The last sane man left alive, hence he is legendary.

     I don’t know why my shipmates rejected it unless it was resistance to the end.’

     That was part of it.  The book was interpreted as an anti-Communist allegory.  Dewey was correct in sensing that control of the books came from midships.  The Revolution’s agent on board was Teal Kanary and the Yeoman’s office was midship.

     At this time the Navy was very sensitive to Communist infiltration.  All swabbies were supposed to be on lookout for Communist agents and report them.  The Navy only understood the problem in terms of espionage not as social attitude.  The Revolution accordingly disparaged the notion of espionage but Russian agents did exist.

     The author was once stopped at gunpoint on Treasure Island because he had inadvertantly strolled into an unmarked restricted area at night.  The Navy didn’t post warnings so that attention wouldn’t be called to the area.  The Russian spies adopted the perfect camouflage; they were among the officers supervising the area.  Navy arrogance was such that they thought officers could do no wrong.  Any such spies were above suspicion.  It was ‘the men’ you had to look out for.

     The Communist Party was only the political arm of the Revolution.  the Revolution exists on many different fronts.  It is wrong to assume that the Revolution is interested only in armed revolt.  That method will succeed only under very special conditions which have been present merely two times in the last three hundred years: 1789 and 1917.  The better method is to bore from within.

page 1835.

     The Revolution takes place more effectively in literature, movies and records where White standards are systematically undermined and replaced by Red ideals.  Hence the books passed around the ship were subversive to White morality.  ‘I Am Legend’ was subversive or Revolutionary objectives.  Thus, the book was thrown back in Dewey’s face.  So much for the slogan of liberty, equality and fraternity except as double speak.

      ‘Well.’  Terry said, trying to get back on ground he understood.  ‘But, didn’t you think ‘On The Road’ was a terrific read?’

     ‘It bothered me.  I saw just a bunch of petty grifters involved in theft, drugs and illicit sex.  Have you heard of this guy Allen Ginsberg?’

      This was getting onto ground forbidden to Terry Gaste.  It might be OK to have heard of Ginsberg amongst the academic community but certainly not to be familiar with his work.  Ginsberg had after all used the word ‘fuck.’  In these antediluvian days before Lenny Bruce had made the seven forbidden works commonplace the use of the f word was enough to disqualify anyone from consideration.  Gaste had read Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’, even recently, but the knowledge was carefully concealed by the high school English teacher.  However here in his car with the heater going in a freezing snowstorm with Dewey he felt safe to talk freely.  He didn’t think Dewey would ever be able to turn him in.

     ‘You mean the poet who wrote ‘Howl?’  Terry said with awe of both Ginsberg and Dewey who he would never have thought would have ever heard of the ‘poet’ Ginsberg.  Terry didn’t seem to realize that the poem was directed at precisely the social class of Trueman and not at polite culture.

     ‘Poem?  Oh yeah, maybe.  I think the title, Howl, is the whole message.  He could have skipped the verbiage.  This guy is supposed to be the poet type guy in ‘On The Road.’  He was Kerouac’s friend.  He’s the model and in Howl he has this line about how he has seen the best minds of his generation driven insane of something to that effect.  If these guys in ‘On The Road’ are the best minds of his generation I think we should all check into the asylum right now.’

     In fact, one of the best minds, Neal Cassady, model for Dean Moriarty in the novel, had set up a major marijuana smuggling operation in San Francisco surpassing that of the Kreskins.  He, however, had been caught.  He was at this time undergoing trial and about to be sent to San Quentin.

     ‘You feel that strongly?’  Terry said, feeling disappointed. 

     ‘Sure.  the book is just another example of ephemeral fruits to my way of thinking.’

     The term was so unexpected in this little capsule inching along the frozen slippery path in the snowstorm behind the snow plow which they had overtaken but couldn’t pass that Gaste had to laugh.  ‘Ephemeral fruits?’

pare 1837.

     ‘Yeah.  It’s like so much happening today.  It doesn’t have any intellectual value.  I mean, they got this guy in San Francisco by the name of Lenny Bruce whose whole pitch is dirty words.  I mean, you know, his whole act seems to be to introduce the words Fuck and Cocksucker into parlor conversation.  The guy’s disgusting yet he’s a hero to some of these guys aboard ship.  I mean, that’s really something to strive for, isn’t it?  Really betters humanity, doesn’t it?

     All the things we’re doing, filling our minds with, are just shallow entertainment so-called, perhaps entertaining but actually demeaning.  After all a mind has only so much time a day for something to be put into it.   When all that is put in is nothing but stupid movies and crusades to say Fuck in normal conversation, that’s not very intellectually nourishing, don’t you think?  We’re just gorging ourselves on sterile information.’

     ‘What do you mean by ephemeral fruits?  Is this a term you’ve conceived.’

     ‘Who me?  No.  It’s something I picked up in Mrs. Hicks’ English class in twelfth grade.  Stuck in my mind.  I like the sound of it:  Ephemeral fruits.  You should know it being an English teacher and all.’

     ‘Evaline Hicks at Valley Melville?’

     ‘Mrs. Hicks is all I know.  One doesn’t inquire into the first names of old broads and English teachers; but yes, I went to Herman Melville in the Valley.  Valley Melville as you guys down here refer to it.’

page 1838.

     ‘Yes.  Now what about ephemeral fruits?’

     ‘Well, it comes from a Greek myth, she was big on Greek myths, King Arthur, Roland and all that, where the monster Typhon takes on Zeus, beats him up, takes out his tendons and leaves them in a sack somewhere.

     Then to help out Zeus in his exremity some nymphs feed Typhon with ephemeral fruits that look good but contain no nourishment so that the more Typhon gorges himself the weaker he gets.  you see the comparison I’m making, right?’

     ‘Yes, I do.’

     ‘Yes.  Well, Mrs. Hicks had this theory about Typhon.  She didn’t call it a theory, I think she said it was an hypothesis.  You have to take responsibility for theories but you can get away with hypotheses.  It’s kind of like a  joke.  Anyway, you’ve heard of the island of Thera?  Exploded some time way back when?  Bigger than Krakatoa, bigger than the H-Bomb to hear people talk who weren’t there.

     So, she figures if this happened that it would make such a huge impression on everyone that it would have to be mentioned in Greek mythology, but it doesn’t appear to be.  But, she says, it has to be.  So she thinks that maybe the story of Typhon and Zeus is a mythological account of the explosion of Thera.  but, uh, I don’t know.’

     ‘I’m sure I don’t either.  Evaline, uh, Mrs. Hicks has been injudicious enough to mention her, uh, hypothesis at a couple conferences I’ve attended.  I think she’s a delightful lady but she lost credibility over this issue.’

page 1839.

     ‘How’s that.’

     ‘Well, no one’s ever heard it before.  There’s no authority for it.’

     ‘Well, yeah, but she only said there must be a reference to Thera and I think there must and that Typhon might possibly be it.’

     In fact as subsequent events have shown the author, there is every reason to believe that the explosion of Thera is accounted for by the myth of  Hera, Zeus and Typhon.  Let us consider it a moment, especially as the myth would eliminate Thera as a place for Atlantis.

     At one time Zeus ingested the goddess Metis but found her not entirely digestible.  She gave him a great headache.  This was relieved when he gave girth to Athene through his forehead.  This birth without female aid made Hera very envious.  In a fit of rage she gave birth to the monster Typhon without the aid of a male.  Typhon had roots deep into the earth while his head touched the stars.  Great wings sprouted from his shoulders which hid the sun.  His name has been interpreted to mean stupefying smoke or hot wind.  He was said to emit great boulders from his mouth as well as belching fire.  Sounds like a volcano to me.

     There are some who say the thrashing of his tail roused great tidal waves.

     Zeus stared bugeyed when he realized that this giant was invading his realm of the sky.  The earth monster of the Earth goddess Hera was attacking the Lord of the Sky.  The Great One was not keen on battle but to battle he must.  The skies flashed and roared from Zeus’ thunderbolts as he hurled them against the wasting hot breath of Typhon.

page 1840

     The mighty monster brought the Great One down, crushing him as though a matchstick.  Zeus being immortal could not be killed so Typhon stripped the body of the tendons rending Zeus immobile.  Then Typhon put the tendons in a leather sack which he hid in a cave in Cilicia, a nation on the coast of Anatolia.  The body he chucked away leaving Zeus an immobile hunk on the ground.

     Typhon would have emerged triumphant except that the great gods Hermes and Pan located the sinews and restrung the inert Father of the Gods.  As they were doing so the Fates fed Typhon with basket loads of Ephemeral Fruits.  The more the monster ate the weaker he got, thus Zeus returning to battle was able to defeat Hera’s creation returning the cosmos to normal.

     The myth on the surface of it appears to be merely a pretty tale.  When Herodotus, the father of historians hence a father of mine, was in Egypt he told the priests the story of Phaeton and Helios.  The priests advised him that the myth undoubtedly concealed an historical event, as in their opinion, all myths did.

     The myth of Phaeton concerns his desire to drive the horses of the sun across the sky.  He approached his father Helios who reluctantly consented.  Phaeton was unable to control the great beasts so the sun wobbled in its course coming so close to earth that the resulting fires nearly destroyed mankind.

     One would have been hard pressed to give a natural explanation to that one until the Summer of 2000 when a scorching heat wave in Greece drove the temperatures up to 120 degrees igniting the dry brush into great fires burning out of control.  Such a season might be described by people with meager meteorological knowledge as the sun wobbling off course close to earth.

page 1841.

     Let us suppose the ancient Egyptians to be right.  Let us suppose that the myth of Hera and Typhon is based on an actual event.  The myth is, of course, undated.  It merely happened once upon a time.  The myth does however perfectly describe the eruption of a specific type of volcano.  Thera was a dormant volcano of the type of Krakatoa, St. Helens and Mazama.  Both St. Helens and Mazama are in the Cascade Range of the Western United States.

     World famous Crater Lake is located in the crater created by Mt. Mazama when it exploded in prehistoric times.  Mazama was a big one of 12,000 to 14,000 feet which is apparently about as big as the type of volcano gets.  The mountain of Mazama was bigger than the island of Thera.

     The author was present when Mt. St. Helens exploded in the 1980s.  He was about sixty miles to the South in Portland, Oregon.  The rupture occured nearly at the summit.  The explosion sent rocks flying for miles as though hurled from Typon’s mouth.  The hot pyroclastic blast of gases rolled down the Northeast slope flattening tens of thousands of acres of forest.  The volcano vented gases and ash for two or three days which rose billowing up to 40,000 feet or better until they flattened out like a thunderhead drifting with the prevailing wind which was a Zephyr.

page 1842.

      The falling ash blocked the sun in Yakima, Washington about fifty miles East where ash accumualted to a depth of about eighteen inches.  A terrifying situation even when you knew what was happening..  Spokane, three hundred miles away received several inches.

     Mt. St. Helens was a nine thousand foot mountain before it exploded and about 6000 after the eruption.  The missing three thousand feet was not blown away by the explosion but worn away the venting ash and gases.

     St. Helens and Thera appear to have been about the same size so there is no reason to believe that Thera was a more cataclysmic disaster than St. Helens.

     People who imagine a fantastic disaster say that Thera exploded with a force of hundred hydrogen bombs.  This is so much nonsense.  St. Helens didn’t go off with even the force of one hydrogen bomb.  Such a disaster is geologically impossible.  What must have happened at Thera was what happened in Washington State in the nineteen eighties, a very impressive eruption but nothing equating a hundred hydrogen bombs.

     Hera being an earth goddess was assigned the parentage of Typhon because she represented Gaia, or Earth.  The eruption must have been terrifying to people without knowledge of volcanic causes so the event was interpreted as Hera challenging Zeus, the sky god, through her creation.  As Zeus’ sinews were hidden in a cave to the East of the eruption that means that the Zephyr was blowing the ash East at the time.  The great billows of ash would be interpreted as blocking the sun.  The thunderhead would interpreted as the head of Typhon reaching to the stars.

     There is no chance that the ash covered Greece to the West or Egypt to the South.  The ash would have streamed East in a fairly narrow band.  Thus Cilicia would have corresponded to Yakima in Washington State.  Further to the East the Hittites have a myth quite similar to Hera and the Typhon.  Their relationship to the explosion would have been approximately that of Spokane, Washington so their myth lacks the terror of the Greek myth.  The Hebrew Yahweh may also be based on the eruption.

     Initially the Sky God was overpowered hence his sinews were deposited in a cave in Cilicia where the ash fall was undoubtedly the heaviest.  Caves are representative of Gaia, so one may say the sinews were buried in the Earth.

     The Fates feeding Typhon Ephemeral Fruits merely means that after a couple days the repressed gases were vented and the vented ash had worn away the mountain sides creating present day Thera, or Santorini.   The ash stopped and Typhon died.

     Mrs. Hicks’ hypothesis cannot be conclusively proven although as indicated above it must be true.  It must also be true that there is a thick layer of ash in Cilicia that can be dated back to 1600 BC or so when Thera erupted.  Comparatively however the eruption of Thera could not have been of greater magnitude than St. Helens.

     Dewey added to the explanation of Mrs. Hicks’ theory:  ‘But I don’t know whether she’s right or not.’

     ‘I’m sure I don’t.’  Terry assented.  ‘I think it was very foolish of Evaline to give voice to her opinion in public; that is something that can’t be done.  All people are hypocrites on that score.  Any crowd of people can find comfort only in a trite acceptable explanation of something.’ 

page 1844.

     Gaste cast a sideways glance at Dewey who was so exhausted his eyes were spinning.  Terry thought to himself that now was the time to vent all those opinions boiling inside him that he could confide to no one without risking his reputation.  He was positive that what he had to say would never go beyond the confines of his car.

     ‘I don’t mean to say that I personally thought ill of Mrs. Hicks for having a controversial opinion but I certainly had to side with the majority to protect my career.’  Terry cleared his throat.  ‘I’m certainly familiar with controversial opinions; I have one or two myself which I wouldn’t dare mention in public.’

     ‘I guess I was right all along.’  Dewey said to himself preparing to push Gaste’s hand off his knee without offending him so much that he would make him get out into the swirling snowstorm.

     ‘First, let me give you a little background on myself so you will know how I come by these opinions.  I was born in Battle Creek and grew in up in Grand Rapids.  Of course I have a sound academic education from Wesleyan but my real education began, as it were, at my mother’s knee.’

     Dewey relaxed.  It was clear to him that Terry was not going to approach him.  As the English teacher appeared to be off on a long explanation Dewey put his brain in overdrive just letting Gaste’s story flow around his mind like the the light from a distant star around our own sun.

page 1845.

     ‘My mother was almost, well, she was really an obsessed woman.  She drove my father away when I was five when she declared to me that I would be the little man of her life; a man who would never leave her.  Strange that we no longer speak, wouldn’t you say?

     We were inseparable.  She took me along with her everywhere.  She made me her assistant and trained me in her researches at a quite early age.  She was obsessed with Astrology and by reference to the so-called Occult.  the Occult is merely a counter religion without its own pope; there is nothing inherently evil about it.

     She actually supported us in relatively decent tyle by casting horoscopes.  You would be amazed at the number of people who use Astrology.  Wealthy successful people too.  I was never able to develop the gift of gab that is necessary to be successful as an Astrologer but my mother could reel off these incredible analyses that were quite often correct: past, present and future.

     She wouldn’t admit that she was superstitious so she clothed her interest in scientific dress.  She learned enough about Astronomy and mathematics so she could pinpoint one’s natal horoscope.  She became quite learned in Greek, Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythology and consequently so am I.  That’s why I’ve always liked Evaline so much.

     My mother’s patter as a consequence of this really substantial learning was very impressive.  Her clients really got their money’s worth.  She astounded them with revelations of their past and present which gave credence to her predictions for the future.  You might think that she researched her clients but she didn’t.  She had a remarkable ability to read a person’s character from their appearance.  She used to say that a person carried their whole history about them in their physiognomy, posture and dress.  Every fold of the clothes, every drape, every gesture and twitch, every line of their face tells who they are and what’s happened to them she used to tell me.   Vocabulary and speech patterns also give one away, the tone of the voice.  She was as remarkable in her way as Sherlock Holmes in his.  I once saw her identify a man as having gradutated from Ohio State on verbal clues which have always escaped me and I still think about it almost every day.

     She considered herself a genius but she couldn’t differentiate between academic standards and Occult methods.  She was always hurt because the academics not only rejected her but wouldn’t even listen to her.  She was right in thinking she was more learned too.

     When we were in Grand Rapids she cultivated a relationship with Cornelia Steketee Hulst.  Have you heard of her by any chance?  No.  Well, she was a very learned woman in Ancient History, gone now, but she lost her academic standing when she sided with an out of favor group of scholars who believe that a period of Matriarchy preceded the Patriarchal society in which we live today.  They are opposed and derided by the controlling Patriarchal academics who take a very narrow view of Greek history and mythology.

page 1847.

     They project a vision of the Greeks which fills their emotional needs but isn’t supported by the facts.  They willfully disregard many salient points so as not to damage the fabric of their beliefs.  But being numerically superior they succeed.

     At any rate Mrs. Hulst no longer had official standing.  Her very intelligent studies were published by what amounted to her private press ‘dedicated to freedom of speech.’

     My mother and I learned a great deal from her.

     So, now you know how I know what I know.

     Now I’m going to lead into a very controversial subject through the story of the Great Flood.  This is strictly my own opinion.  It has little relationship to the thought of either Mrs. Hulst or my mother.  As Mother was into Astrology I had a lot of time to study and think about the Zodiac.

     No. No.  I know Astrology as a means of predicting the future is a lot of hooey but, remember, the Zodiac is a historical fact having had a great influence on hstory as I hope to show you.  Poor old Mother couldn’t even get the academics to admit the Zodiac was an historical fact.

     The question is, did the Flood really occur and, if so, how and when did it happen.  I’m not talking about the version in the Bible but about the earlier Sumerian account on which the Bible story is based.  Have you ever heard of that?  No.  Well, the story is related in an epic poem called the Gilgamesh.  It precedes the Biblical story by thousands of years.

     My researches have led me away from a riparian explanation.  Scientific studies tell us that the planet was in the grip of an ice age that ended something like ten thousand years ago.  During the ice age the seas are thought to have been several hundred feet lower than they currently are when untold millions of tons of water were stored in glaciers and ice caps.

page 1848.

     Back in those ante-diluvian times it was said that a civilization existed that was known as Atlantis.  No. No. Please, just listen.  This civilization was referred to by the Egyptians and hinted at by the Mesopotamians.  The myths of the Greeks and Hebrews do not share this ancient tradition but merely reflect it as they are much too recent on the stage of history to have authentic traditions.    

     I hesitate to mention some of these things because some of the people who hold some of these views or views like them have been so discredited.  But my Mother was influenced by people like Edgar Cayce and Madame Blavatsky.  You know the names but that’all…well, they were privy to a lot of knowledge which is not academically accessible or acceptable.

     I say this confidentially, but in the light of our present knowledge of evolution and such matters if you compare the discredited Madame Blavatsky with an academic scholar like J.G. Fraser I think you will find in certain areas that Madame B. was light years ahead of Fraser and he was on the academic cutting edge, barely acceptable in his time.

     Madame B’s ‘Isis Unveiled’ came out thirty years before Frazer’s ‘Golden Bough’ but her understanding of the the meaning of Genesis is so much more profound than Frazer’s that she sounds modern while he sounds archaic.  Reputations are such that the two roles will never be rectified.

page 1849.

     As I say, my Mother was exposed to opinions of which very very few people are aware.  There are people who actually believe that the Sphinx was carved during the Zodiacal Age of Leo.  At the time the Greek legislator Solon was in Egypt the priests told him that Atlantis had existed some nine thousand years previously.  That would be under the sign of Leo the Lion.  The Sphinx was carved in the form of a lion.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  But let us go over to Mesopotamia and examine some of their legends.

     I don’t know how much knowledge you have Dewey but some of the names I’m going to mention may be unknown to you.  If they are don’t let that bother you.  You won’t need specialized information to understand the import of what I’m saying.

     Now, in the Gilgamesh epic of Sumer Gilgamesh lives during the reign of the Fifth King after the Deluge circa two thousand BC.  We have tended to disregard such information as mere fancy or fable.  If that were true it would mean the Ancients were just talking from the backs of their necks for no other reason than to amuse themselves.  I don’t think that’s true.  I think they’re talking sense but we just don’t know the frame of reference.

     The fifth king?  What can that mean?  Well, if we interpret each Age or Sign of the Zociac as a king and move back four signs from the Age of Aries which was just dawning in the period of Gilgamesh one finds Taurus, Genini, Cancer…and Leo.  So the Egyptians say that Atlantis disappeared under the sign of Leo and the Mesopotamians say that the Great Flood occurred during the reign of King Leo.

page 1850.

     This means that the Zodiac as a means of time reckoning is very old indeed.  It also indicates that the system had an existence before the Flood being inherited from a predecessor people.  it is interesting that the Mesopotamians said that the Gods existed before the Flood.

     The Gilgamesh epic itself on one level depicts the transition from one ‘king’ to another.  The transition is from the Age of Taurus to the Age of Aries.  The mind of man depicts the transit as one of conflict between the two signs.  For instance, Gilgamesh rules in the guise of Taurus while his successor, Enkidu, although the story seems garbled by later redactors who didn’t understand, is named a Wild Man living beyond the pale of civilization who is drawn into civilization where he serves his apprenticeship as a shepherd, a function of Aries, before going to Ur to challenge Gilgamesh, the representative of the old Age in a wrestling match.  There are differing outcomes to the match but I’m sure the version that has Enkidu triumphing is the original.

     In fact, after becoming friends, Gilgamesh and Enkidu combine their efforts to kill the ‘Bull of Heaven.’  What can this mean but that the Age of Taurus has been replaced by the Age of Aries.

     Thus a shepherd ushers in the Age Of Aries the Ram just as Christ ushered in the Age of Pisces becoming a Fisher of Men.

page 1851.

     Consider Greek mythology.  We know that Zeus did not always exist.  We are given the details of his birth.  We are further told that he will not rule forever but will be replaced by one of his sons.

     We know that Zeus did not survive the transition from Aries to Pisces.  When exactly was Zeus born?  It must have been two thousand years earlier.  In other words Zeus was an Arien god who could not survive the transition into the Age of Pisces.  A different age requires a different archetype.  He had replaced his Taurean father, Cronus.  Being immortal Zeus merely slid back a notch in the Zodiac until Aries returns twenty three thousand years later. 

     The period around two thousand BC was also a time of troubles in Egypt.

     The Jewish god, Yahweh, was also an Arien god.  Is it a coincidence that in the transition from Aries to Pisces that Jewish religious fanatics believed that the ‘End of Days’ was transpiring and that in the new world order they were to come into their own?  Is it possible that the terrible Jewish wars were based on Astrological motives?

     Why the Jews should have become so inflamed at that precise moment is a question to be investigated as it appears that no other people took the changing of the Ages quite so seriously.

     Judaism therefore is a survival of an Arien religion into the Age of Pisces and will even survive into the Age of Aquarius.  This makes the religion an anachronism and a real curiosity.  Could Jewish problems in the Age of Pisces be related to their refusal to accept the archetypes of the New Age?

page 1852.

     The rest of the world accepted the Piscean gods but not without travail.  By the time of Constantine the Piscean religion of Jesus the Christ had triumphed.  We can look for a major change in relgious outlook when the Aquarian archetypes replace the Piscean ones of Jesus and Mary.

     May I be so bold as to offer a prediction as to the nature of those archetypes?  The character of Jesus is a strange one.  He is curiously effeminate.  He is also a god of bread and wine as is indicated at the Last Supper when he offers the disciples a wafer as the flesh of his flesh and wine as the blood of his blood.  By that act he associates hemself with the rites of Eleusis, hence connecting himself with the Greek god, Dionysus.

     In later years the wine god Dionysus was connected with the rites of Eleusis where he was associated with the bread of Demeter.  Jesus is related only to the gentler effeminate side of Dionysus who was nearly half man, half woman.  Thus only half of Dionysus was associated with the Piscean incarnation of Kyrios Christos.  the other orgiastic wild nature side of Dionysus was absorbed by the Medieval creation of the Green Man.

     The Green Man is eternal resurgent nature.  Now, Aquarius is the the water bearer.  His rule in the Olympian Zodiac is Hera the goddess of Earth.  The Age of Aquarius is almost upon us so I predict that when the archetypes of the Piscean religion are replaced by the Aquarian, those archetypes will be the Green Man and Hera in the person of Gaia.  Remember, you heard it here first.

page 1853.

     But I digress.  Nor was the influence of Astrological beliefs, as distinct from the Zodiac, limited merely to the replacement of Aries by Pisces.  As you may have noted if you read the astrological column in the newspaper the sign of Pisces is two fish facing in the opposite directions connected by a cord.  One is male, one is female.

     Now, this is really extraordinary.  The first thousand years is ruled by the male, Jesus, while rulership reverses in the second half of Pisces to the female, Mary.  This actually happened.  Beginning sometime after the year one thousand the importance of Christ in the Catholic Church was superseded by Mary so that during the last half of Pisces the female spirit has been uppermost.  This is most extraordinary.

     Does this make sense to you so far?’

 

     (Terry, while adept in Greek mythology and astrology was not versed in Arthurian lore.  If he had been he would have noticed the supersession of the male principle in even more dramatic form.  Merlin, who had been the magician of the first thousand years of Pisces falls in love with Vivian, The Lady Of The Lake.  She induces him to transmit his lore to her.  Merlin knows what his fate is to be but he makes no attempt to avoid it.  When Vivian has obtained the lore, she imprisons Merlin in the female Earth under a great rock where he remains today, alive and expecting release.  One may assume that he may be assimilated to the Green Man and that his release will occur during the Age of Aquarius, the seventh king from the deluge.

page 1854

     There are probable other evidences of this remarkable change in direction in mid-Pisces.  What is outstanding is that the course of history is being influenced by subterranean currents which are not visible and do not appear to be directed by known secret societies.

     Further the entombment of Merlin was recorded by Church figures.

     This mystery is not imaginary but actually occurred and continues into the Age of Aquarius.  Ask yourself why the song ‘The Dawning Of The Age Of Aquarius’ was placed in the musical ‘Hair’ which song heralds the actual dawning of the Age of Aquarius.  Consider the relatively intense interest in the Green Man who appears to be emerging as the male archetype of the Age.  Consider the emergence of the cult of Gaia who is the female archetype.  The days of the Piscean archetypes are indeed numbered.  Who directs or how such movements are directed is a mystery and well worth investigating.)

 

     ‘Sure it make sense but I’m sure I don’t have enough knowledge to judge whether it’s true or not.’

     ‘I’m sure I don’t know whether it’s true nor not either but this is where my thoughts are leading me.  Now, Mrs. Hicks’ notion of Thera being accounted for by the myth of Hera and Typhon is satisfying because it eliminates Thera as a possible site of Atlantis.  There is no need to have two myths do the same thing besides which the myth of Atlantis is not integral to Greek culture.  The myth only makes its appearance in Greece from six hundred to three hundred BC when Solon brings it back from Egypt and Plato popularized it.

     Besides Thera couldn’t have made an impression so far South as Egypt.  There is no evidence of the explosion in their mythology.  At least I haven’t found any.

     If we accept the evidence of the Sphinx and the idea that the ‘five kings’ of Mesopotamia represent astrological ages then it follows that the Zodiac was operative before the Flood.

     Some other people or civilization devised it.

     The Mesopotamians also list epochs of thousands and tens of thousands of years before the Flood.  Because of the influences of the Hebrew Bible with its absurd chronology these epochs have been dismissed as hyperbole.  Folk myths.  As I think the notion of the five kings makes sense as Astrological ages then probably too do these eons which add up to about a hundred thousand years.

     What happened in those hundred thousand years?  I reason that the Zodiac originally represented the story of the terrestrial year.  After all the signs mean nothing in the celestial Zodiac but the signs accurately represent the progress of the terrestrial year.

     Now, the celestial Zodiac is imagined as a belt of astral constellations that surround the horizon.  what it means when we say that we are in the Age of Pisces is that the constellation of Pisces is in the due East position of the Zodiac so that the Sun rises in it.  When the year two thousand or so arrives as a result of precession Pisces will appear to have moved back while Aquarius will appear to slide into the sun position.  Thus as the Age of Taurus was slain by the Age of Aries, Aquarius will flood out Pisces.

page 1856.

     Yes.  Precession.   The Precession of the Equinoxes is a term that describes the effect of the Plane of the Ecliptic.  Yes.  The planet is off center or tilted by about twenty-three and a half degrees.  On the vernal equinox one might expect the sun’s ray on the equator to strike the same spot every year.  This is not the case because of the ecliptic.  The ray actually strikes several hundred yards behind the previous year’s place so that  a period of twenty-five hundred years or so passes before the Sun’s ray strikes at the beginning point.

     This immense period is known as the Great Year.  The notion with the Ancients is always as above, so below.  It therefore follows that as the Zodiac applies to the terrestrial year so also must it apply to the Great Year.

     The Hermetic philosophy is a belief system that evolved out of the collapse of the Egyptian belief system after the Persian conquest.  Its characteristic saying was as above, so below and vice versa.  Thus the concept of as above, so below may appear to be much later than the origin of the Zodiac but just as the embryo contains the individual from birth to old age so every idea man has or ever will have is contained in the seed of his origins.

page 1857.

     As a teacher we are taught that the word educate is from the Latin term ‘e-ducere’ which means to lead from.  thus every idea leads from or is developed from its seed at the beginning of time and can be traced back to it.  It may be that no Atlantean ever used the words as above, so below but the translation of the Zodiac from Earth to the sky proves the concept was in his mind.

     Where was I?  Oh, yes.  The celestial Zodiac progresses backward or counter-clockwise through the Great Year.  A circle is of three hundred sixty degrees now as then so that it takes seventy-two years to pass through a single degree which would be scarcely noticable to the small number of priests who lived as long so I don’t believe any one priest was so quick as to note one degree of movement, extend that out to the whole process and formulate the concept so that his fellows could accept it, understand it and pass it on.  That’s rubbish.

     So I think the phenomenon of the Great Year had to be observed at least four times.  The first time to notice it, the second to formulate it, the third to prove it and the fourth to establish it.  That amounts to about a hundred thousand years which coincides with the Mesopotamian dates.

     The purpose of the celestial Zodiac was obviously as a counting and mnemonic device.  By noting the position of the celestial Zodiac immense notions of time could be kept.  Before writing, events of importance could be associated with each degree of an age while previous ages were visible with their memories attached.  For instance, the Flood is said to have occurred five ages back.  Had it happened in the previous Great Year it would be said that it happened seventeen kings back.  Twelve plus five.  Or, alternatively, thirty-five thousand years ago.

page 1858

     So much for the origins of the celestial Zodiac.  The signs we use to represent the ages of the Zodiac go no further back than the Greeks.  Still the notions behind the signs are undoubtedly identical to the notions of the originators.  As the embryo grows in form it changes but the genetic identity remains the same.  Do you see what I mean?

     Science has always been present in the world but its idea has to be drawn from point to point in sense of e-ducere.  That’s why it is ridiculous to compare the nineteenth century views of primitives with Mediterranean mythology.  The Med mythology is an education of a hundred thousand yeawrs in the most active speculative area on Earth with results obtained no where else.

     Idea after idea was drawn from previous thought in the clash of opinions leading to intelligence.  In backwaters like Australia there was no real means of advancing thought so the society stagnated.  One might think of e-ducere as cross fertilization.

     The discovery of fire was not scientific because as the Ancients say, it was the ‘gift’ of the gods.  Fire hardening a stick to make a spear is science no matter how primitive.  However the greatest scientific advance of  early man was the development of the ability to measure the length of the actual solar year.

page 1859.

     Possibly early man used the moon as his first calendar.  If so, however long it took him to discover it, he learned much more quickly that the moon had little value as a timekeeper.  He needed something better which he recognized in the solar year.

     Once again I am extrapolating Greek mythology back in time.

     The first thing man noticed was the two halves of the solar year.  In one half the days lengthened with his hopes while in the other half the length of the days diminished increasing his fears.  Thus in Greek mythology you have the myth of Castor and Polydeukes or by his Latin name, Pollux.

     In the Greek myth Zeus coupled with an Earth goddess named Leda when he assumed the form of a swan.  Leda then laid two eggs.  Out of one emerged the two halves of the solar year, Castor and Polydeukes.  Castor was mortal while Polydeukes was immortal.

     Castor who was a trainer of horses represents the first half of the year from December twenty-first to June twentieth.  He is probably associated with horses because one has the impression that the first half of the year passes so quickly and horses are so fleet.

     Polydeukes rpresents the second half of the year as a boxer.  He was a boxer because, as I read it, he fights the shortening of the days while battling against the Hydra to prevent the Unconquerable Sun from being extinguished.

     Castor is mortal because his half of the year is terminated when the days begin to shorten.  Polydeukes is immortal because in his battle to defeat the Hydra he is successful in that the days begin to lengthn at the end of his term.

page 1860

 

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