Autobiography of RICHARD PACKHAM
|1933||Born in Pocatello, Idaho|
|1939||Started school in Blackfoot, Idaho|
|1946-1950||High school in Blackfoot|
|1950-1954||At Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah|
|1952||Married Elaine Kirby|
|1953||Daughter Laura Jane born|
|1954||Son George born|
|1954-1955||At Northwestern University|
|1955-1957||Teaching at Ben Lomond High School, Ogden, Utah|
|1955||Son Kirby born|
|1957-1960||Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore|
|1960||Divorced by Elaine|
|1960-1961||Fulbright year in Munich, Germany|
|1961-1964||Teaching at University of California, Berkeley|
|1964-1990||Teaching at City College of San Francisco|
|1965||Married Janet Riggs|
|1967||Son John born|
|1970||Moved to 363 14th Avenue, San Francisco|
|1970-1974||Law studies at University of San Francisco|
|1972||Son David born|
|1974||Admitted to California bar|
|1974-1984||Part-time practice of law in San Francisco|
|1990||Moved to Roseburg, Oregon|
|1991-1994||Worked at Crawford & Associates (attorneys)|
|1992||Admitted to Oregon bar, began practice of law with Crawford firm|
|1994||Elected director, Douglas Soil & Water Conservation District, four-year term|
|1994||Appointed by county commissioners to Douglas County Museum Advisory Board (resigned 1998)|
|1995||Retired completely from practice of law|
|2001||Founded The Exmormon Foundation, served two terms as president|
|2005||Drama critic for News-Review (local Roseburg newspaper)|
|2005||Began column "View From The Hill" on alternate Sundays for News-Review|
I was born in Pocatello, Idaho, on September 21, 1933, as the first child of Howard Packham and Delmar Lucille Walton. I was named Howard Richard Packham, after my father, but was never called Howard. (I was called "Dickie" until I started school, when I insisted on being called "Richard", and have been called that ever since. Until 1974 I signed my name "H. Richard", but gave up using the "H." when I started practicing law.) My father was a college student at the University of Idaho, Southern Branch, and my mother had just graduated from high school in Pocatello. He was the youngest son of a large farming family at Groveland, outside of Blackfoot, Idaho, and had just turned 21. (He had been born July 30, 1912, when his parents lived in Pleasant View, Weber County, Utah. She was an only child, adopted at birth. (She had been born September 9, 1915, in a home for unwed mothers on 25th Street in Ogden, Utah. Her biological parents are unknown.) Her family were all railroad people, on both sides. My parents lived with my mother's parents, whom I called "Ba" and "Nana" in their home on Lincoln Street, on the hills at the western edge of town.
My sister Jane Ann was born not quite two years later, on July 19, 1935. Since my father had a family to support, and it was the depth of the Great Depression, he worked at several successive jobs, but the most permanent one was as an apprentice undertaker at Hall's Funeral Home in Pocatello. Soon the family moved to Blackfoot, where my father also worked at several jobs, but finally worked permanently at the Brown, Eldridge Company, which was a combination furniture store and funeral home. He got his embalming license and worked as an embalmer and sold furniture. For a while we lived in an apartment above a store at the corner of Broadway and Pacific, but then my parents bought a small wood-frame house at 556 N. University Avenue. It had a large yard, a shed and chicken coop and a small garage. The cess-pool had to be dug out and recovered, and the garage had to be extended to fit the car, but it was a home. Jane Ann and I shared the front bedroom, after it had been calcimined. Mom had to cook on a coal stove for a while, but eventually she got a new electric stove. Dad also enlarged the cellar, simply by digging a bigger hole. The entrance to the cellar was a large trap-door in the floor of the back porch. The heat for winter was a large, brown enameled coal stove, which was set up in the living room when the weather got cold, standing on its special metal plate, but stored away in the summer when we didn't need it.
There were a lot of deaths in the family while we lived in the "little gray house" on University. Grandpa Packham was killed in a farm accident, Uncle Austin Packham died (Aunt Phyllis had died not very long before), my mother's father ("Ba") died of kidney disease, Great-Grandpa Hickenlooper died, and finally Grandma Packham died. The loss I felt most was Ba. He left Nana no insurance, only her house, which she had to rent out to have any income at all. She got rid of all her furniture, rented the house for $55 a month, and moved in with her parents- in-law, Grandpa and Grandma Walton in Pocatello, with extended visits to us and to her sister Aunt Dee in Logan. (Aunt Dee's real name was Lillie Paull Johnson, married to Christian Hilman Johnson.)
In 1939 I started school in the first grade at Central School, in Miss Bell's class. There were two first grade classes at Central; the other first grade teacher was Mrs. Grimes, and she looked mean. I was very happy to have Miss Bell, who was a cheerful and attractive young woman. I was very disappointed when I learned that, even though she was a teacher, she did not know the answer to every question I might ask.
In third grade I had Miss Smith as a teacher. She was a friend of my grandmother's somehow, and she took a special interest in me. When I finished third grade, she arranged to have me promoted directly to fifth grade, skipping the fourth grade. She felt that I could do it, and that the only thing I would need to learn that was taught in the fourth grade was the multiplication tables. So I spent the summer drilling the multiplication tables with Nana. I had no trouble with the schoolwork, but it was very difficult being the youngest kid, by far, in the class. I did not have any close friends at school, and it was not really until my last years of high school that I came to be accepted.
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and life changed for all of us, even though no one in my immediate family had to go fight. Rationing of strategic materials began immediately, first gasoline, then sugar, then shoes, then all food. Anything made of metal or rubber was no longer available. Standard brands of many things were no longer available, such as Hershey chocolate, Kleenex tissues, Log Cabin syrup, and substitutes appeared on the market that were not nearly so good.
Many kids saw their dads drafted into the military. My best friend and neighbor, Donny Williams, with whom I often played, spent the war with his dad in the Navy while his mom took over his father's job of managing the dime store. But my dad was considered to be in an "essential" occupation, namely, undertaker, and there were only two in the whole town. So he was deferred from the draft.
About 1942 Mr. Peck, who managed Brown-Eldridge (and he might also have been an owner - I don't know) joined with my dad in a partnership to open their own funeral home. Brown, Eldridge closed for good, and my folks bought an old boarding house at 288 North Shilling Avenue, just a few blocks from the house on University, at the corner of East Alice Street in Blackfoot, with the idea of remodeling it into a funeral home with living quarters upstairs. I think they paid $3200 for the house.
We moved into the house in the summer of 1942. It was a larger house than we could fill, with one bedroom on the main floor and five bedrooms on the second floor. Jane Ann and I each got to choose a room of our own upstairs. The folks took the downstairs bedroom so that they could be close to the telephone. We had an entire room to keep our toys, and two of the bedrooms were just closed off.
Construction materials were very hard to get, and very expensive, because of the war effort, but remodelling began late in 1943 or early 1944. No sooner than the work began, I got scarlet fever, which meant that we were quarantined. Jane Ann was sent to Pocatello to live with Nana, and I spent weeks in bed on the first floor in the living room while the carpenters pounded away upstairs. I listened to soap operas on the radio and learned to knit and crochet. The cost of the remodel was so great that we could not afford to build the bedrooms in the attic, as originally planned, so the apartment had only two bedrooms, one for the folks, and one for Jane Ann and me (and for Nana, when she was staying with us). The attic bedrooms were not built for another couple of years.
My little brother Dean was born January 8, 1945. I was very happy at the prospect of having somebody to play with. He was a very beautiful baby, but very fussy; it seemed he always had colic. Jane Ann and I often babysat.
The war ended finally in 1945, and the nation's life began to go back to normal. Blackfoot was in the national news when the Atomic Energy Commission decided to build a major reactor in the desert west of town.
In 1946 I entered Blackfoot High School. I enjoyed English, math, history, Latin, Spanish, and public speaking. I did not like science or physical education. In fact, I did not ever enroll for P.E., even though it was required. I also did not take any music classes, even though I enjoyed music. I had started piano lessons in 1940, after I had finished the first grade, and continued with them for about six years, even going once a week to Pocatello on the train or in a car pool for lessons. I was allowed to quit for a year or two when I became very bored, and then took lessons again for a couple of years while I was in high school from Gaylord Sanford in Pocatello, who taught me popular music, harmony, and playing by ear.
In the summer of 1947 Dad bought a new funeral coach and decided to take delivery at the factory, which was in Lima, Ohio. Mother was pregnant, so Dad took me. We took the Union Pacific's train "City of Portland" to Chicago, where we stayed with relatives of friends in Blackfoot. I had a wonderful time sightseeing (Museum of Science and Industry, Morrison Planetarium) and shopping (Marshall Field). From Lima we drove home. It was a long trip because the new engine had to be broken in by staying under 35 mph for the first 1000 miles. Although Dad was anxious to get home, I convinced him to take a different route going home so that we could see different country, so we drove through northern Missouri, Kansas and Colorado to Salt Lake. I think it took us six days to get home.
Michael was born September 17, 1947.
In high school I was active in speech and, in my senior year, in debate. I participated in the state speech tournaments every year, in dramatic reading, oratory, retold story, radio drama and other categories, always getting an "excellent" or "superior." In my senior year in 1950, my partner Larry Elison and I were the state champions in high school debate for the State of Idaho. We went on to become the Northwest regional champions and thus eligible to compete in the national high school debate contest, held that year in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The school did not have the money to pay for our trip, so we used our savings and took the bus to Kenosha, just north of Chicago. Bud Miller also went, since he was the state champion in another speech category. We tied for seventh place in the nation in Kenosha.
I started to earn money in 1946 when I got a job delivering the local newspaper, the Daily Bulletin. My route was on the far side of town, where I didn't know the streets and sometimes the streets were just gravel and difficult to negotiate on a bike. I earned about $3.50 per week, and hated the job. After a couple of months I looked for something else, and was hired at Jay's Drugstore, in the Eccles Hotel building. Jay Bramwell was the owner. I was stock boy, janitor, and soda jerk, as needed. I don't think I was a valuable employee, even though I earned only about $8.00 per week, at 35 cents an hour, working after school and on Saturdays. After a year, Steve Clayton, who had the same job at Nixon's Drug Store, and whose parents were friends of my folks (who were also friends of Mr. Nixon), quit, and Mr. Nixon offered me Steve's job. I told Jay that I had been offered another job, and he was very cheerful, paid me what he owed me, and didn't even ask for time to find my replacement. I worked at Nixon's all through high school, from 4 to 7 in the afternoon, every Saturday and every other Sunday afternoon, earning about $12 a week, at 40 cents an hour. In the summers I worked full time.
My ancestors on both sides had been Mormons, for several generations back. My family was always very active in the Mormon church, but especially after my father was called to be Second Counselor to the Stake President, about 1943 or 1944, when President Williams succeeded President Duckworth, who had died. We were all quite surprised, because Dad had not really held any other important positions in the church, and was relatively young.
About 1942 or 1943 the two Blackfoot wards were divided. The First Ward was divided into the First and Third Wards, and our ward, the Second Ward, was divided into the Second and Fourth Wards. We ended up in the Fourth Ward. The Second Ward church building was kept by the Second Ward, and our new ward (and the new Third Ward) had to meet in the Stake Tabernacle building. The Third Ward got to meet upstairs, in the main meeting hall, and we got the basement, which was ordinarily used only for dances, plays, dinners and other recreational activities. Since the times were not good for building new church buildings, we spent about five years sitting on folding chairs in a drafty, echoing rec hall. The only organ was an old pump organ, which I learned to play quite well, first as Sunday school organist and then ward organist.
My high school had about 400 students. I did not make many friends in high school until my junior year. I knew almost everybody, of course, but I was younger than my classmates (and, until I was a junior, than almost everybody else). Also, it was so easy for me to get good grades and perform well in class that I was considered odd. My nickname, used by almost everyone among my classmates, was "professor." It was not intended to hurt; it was just what everybody called me. During my four years of high school I got one B (in biology, because I refused to do a "project") and one C (in geometry, for cutting up in class, as all of us did in Mr. Pipheny's classes). All the rest were A's. I graduated as class Valedictorian.
The summer before my junior year the Kirbys moved into our Ward. Mr. Kirby was the new cashier at the sugar factory. His daughter Elaine was entering the high school as a freshman. I got to know her a little at church, where we were in the same Sunday school class. When school started, each day on his way to work Mr. Kirby dropped Elaine off at the corner of Alice and Shilling, and she would walk the few blocks to school. Sometimes I would walk with her. That fall Elaine was asked to play a piano number for church, and Mrs. Kirby invited me to play instead a duet with her. I pedaled my bike several evenings out to the end of Alice Street and then out North Asylum Lane to the Kirby house to practice the duet with Elaine, and we performed it in church. In November there was to be a "Sadie Hawkins Day" dance, based on the comic strip Li'l Abner, where on Sadie Hawkins Day each year the single women were allowed to chase the single men, and any man who got caught had to marry the girl who had caught him. For this school dance, the girls invited the boys, and Elaine invited me. We started dating very regularly. She was the first regular girlfriend I had ever had, not counting a couple of childhood infatuations. During my junior year Elaine and I went everywhere together and spent as much time as possible together. At the end of the year, though, the Blackfoot sugar factory closed down permanently and her father was transferred to the sugar factory in Garland, Utah, just across the state line.
During my senior year I was much more accepted as an equal by the other kids in my class, and I also dated other girls, even though I was still very fond of Elaine and missed her very much. She and I wrote to each other a lot, and I sometimes took the bus to Garland (or she took the bus to Blackfoot, or to Idaho Falls to her older sister's) and we would spend a weekend together.
In September 1950 I entered Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, as a freshman. I lived in the men's dorms, which were just a row of seven surplus two-story wooden army barracks on the campus, with another wooden building a block away to serve as the cafeteria. Rent was $17.50 a month for a single room, $15.00 per person for a double. My parents were generous and got me a single. That included one clean sheet and pillowcase each week. Meals were simple but hearty. At BYU I learned to enjoy a large breakfast, with oatmeal, eggs, bacon, toast, juice and milk. I don't remember what a monthly meal ticket cost (about $35?). Tuition was $50 per quarter.
When my parents took me to BYU for my freshman year, Mother was pregnant again. She wanted a girl very much, but didn't think her chances were good, after the two boy babies. I told her I thought she would have a girl, and made a bet with her that if it was a girl I would get to name her. She had a baby girl on January 12, 1951, and I gave her the name Suzanne, which Mother modified to Susan.
The very first college class I ever attended was Photography, at 7:45 a.m., which I took as one of my required science courses. The new Science Building had just been completed, and many of my classes were held there, including the foreign language classes. I wanted to take second year college Spanish, to continue my high school Spanish, but as I read the catalog, it said that second year language courses were "upper division" courses, and freshmen were not allowed to take upper division courses. So I took beginning German, a "lower division" course, which I immediately liked. I completed one year of German, and took the second year of German in an accelerated summer course the following summer. So by the beginning of my sophomore year, when I found out that the rule about upper division courses did not apply to foreign languages if you had had them in high school, I was further advanced in German than I was in Spanish. In my sophomore year I took third year German and second year Spanish, and realized that I liked German better.
I enjoyed college very much. Except for the first quarter, when I got a B-minus in English (that was to be the worst grade I got at BYU), I did very well. I met a lot of other students, and I no longer had to suffer the prejudice of being younger than everyone else. I dabbled in some extra-curricular activities such as drama and radio, and started working on my family genealogy. I found it inspiring to be surrounded by Mormon students and Mormon teachers, who could relate every subject studied to the Gospel.
Soon after starting college I looked for a job, and got work at the university's photography studio, which did all the university's photo work, including all the portraits for the yearbook. I worked there all through college, starting in the print darkroom and eventually becoming a portrait photographer. I enjoyed that work very much. Because there were generally about three portrait photographers, working about the same hours, about a third of all the BYU yearbook class portraits were taken by me during the last three years I was there. During my last two years I also worked in the BYU Press, which published the yearbook, as a layout man.
During my sophomore year I moved out of the dorm and into a nice private home, where I shared a room with Var Lindsay, who was about four years older than I. I knew him from Blackfoot, where his family also lived in the Fourth Ward. He had recently returned from a mission for the church, and was studying agriculture to be able to run his family's farm. We did not have a lot in common, but we became very good friends because he had a wonderful sense of humor, a deep faith, and a sincere consideration for others. There were four fellows sharing two rooms on the lower level of this nice but small home, with beautiful patio and view out of our windows. The house was actually surrounded by the campus, so that it was like living on campus still. We still ate at the men's cafeteria.
It was Var who suggested that Elaine and I should consider getting married. I had assumed that once I was out of college, if Elaine and I still felt the same, that we might get married. I didn't think that we could get married while I was still in school. Elaine was just graduating from Bear River High School in Tremonton. But the more we talked about it, the more it seemed a wonderful idea. My parents seemed pleased, primarily, I think, because they were worried that otherwise we might get carried away and get ourselves into trouble and become "morally unclean." And so we got married on August 27, 1952, in the Idaho Falls Temple. My parents gave us a beautiful 1950 Studebaker as a wedding present, costing $1500, so that we had a car.
Elaine and I moved into a small basement apartment near campus, for $50 a month rent. It was a dingy place, with concrete walls and tiny windows near the ceiling. Our furniture was cast-offs from our families. My parents promised to help us by paying our rent, although they actually helped us a great deal more. Elaine enrolled one quarter as a freshman, but the second quarter she only took one class, I think. By that time she was pregnant. We were quite surprised. I guess we thought that the ordinary laws of reproduction did not apply to us.
Before we had been long in the basement apartment, the old refrigerator we had bought stopped working, and we decided to look for a new apartment. We found a nice one-bedroom apartment at 344-B North 1st West, for $65 a month, in a small four- apartment brick building. It was much nicer, and on June 27, 1953, our baby Laura was born. On the previous Mother's Day Elaine had woke up with terrible abdominal pains, and her appendix had to be removed. Being as far along in her pregnancy as she was, it was frightening. But the baby, Laura Jane, was born just fine, about 2 a.m. on a hot summer night, and I was able to watch from the door to the delivery room, which they had had to leave open for ventilation.
My Spanish professor had organized a small three-week tour of Mexico for the summer of 1953 for about a dozen students. There was still one place unfilled, and he offered to let me go on the trip for $100, for everything: transportation, hotels, and meals. Since he knew that I wanted to be a Spanish teacher, and had no first-hand experience in a Spanish-speaking country, he urged me to go. I had a week before the departure date to decide. I asked my folks for the money, which they sent me, and Elaine took the baby to Garland for a visit while I was gone. The trip was wonderful, educational, and great fun. Two carloads of BYU students, with the professor's Mexican-born assistant as guide. We drove through New Mexico to El Paso, along the Rio Grande to Laredo, where we crossed into Mexico, to Monterrey, then to Mexico City, from which we made many day-trips to sights nearby. Everything was new and exciting. We had good hotels, fine meals, and visited all the cultural and historical monuments. It was a wonderful trip. We returned via Guadalajara and Chihuahua.
When I went to Garland to pick up Elaine and the baby, I learned that Elaine had wrecked her dad's car, and Laura had somehow been caught or thrown so that both the baby's legs had been broken, and she was in the hospital, with her legs and lower body in a cast. Elaine had also been hurt, but not nearly so seriously. It was terrible. Fortunately both healed soon.
Elaine never drove a car again as long as we were married.
Poor Laura also had to go through another ordeal as a baby. She had been born with a large red blotch on the skin under her chin, and it had to be removed chemically, or she would have had that large birthmark on her neck.
Laura was still a baby and Elaine was getting used to being a mother, when we learned that she was pregnant again. George was born on June 17 just after I graduated from BYU, in 1954.
I had majored finally in German, with minors in Spanish, English and Secondary Education. I had qualified for my Utah teaching certificate, and in my senior year had done student teaching in English at BYU high school (the laboratory high school for the university's teacher training program) and at Provo High School, where I taught Spanish. Provo High needed a Spanish teacher, and I was asked to take the position without pay, but with student teaching credit. That year I was taking a full course load, teaching at both BYU High and Provo High, working at the photo studio, at the BYU Press, and also at a privately-owned printing press in Orem that was printing the Provo High School year book. It was a busy year.
I had applied for graduate school scholarships in German at several schools, and was offered two: at Washington State in Pullman, Washington, and at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Because the offer at Northwestern did not require my furnishing any services, as did the one from Washington, but was a cash stipend plus tuition, we took the Northwestern offer. The scholarship was for $1000. My parents again offered to pay our rent, and we figured that we could cover our other expenses with the scholarship money. My parents sold the Dodge limousine which they had bought for the business, I learned later, in order to be able to finance my year of study. I got a ride with some people who were driving to Chicago that summer so that I could look for a place to live. It was very discouraging. Housing was still scarce, and very expensive. The only thing I could find was in a large apartment house just off Howard Street, where Chicago and Evanston adjoin, in a crowded, run-down neighborhood, unlike any place I had ever seen. It was $110 a month, for a living room, bedroom and kitchenette, and I leased it for 10 months.
Elaine and I packed our things into a large rented trailer, put our two babies in the Studebaker and set off across the plains, pulling all we owned behind us.
At Northwestern we were very cordially welcomed into the German Department. I had difficulty keeping up with all the readings in German, because my German had not been practiced much. But the faculty was excellent, and I learned a great deal. Most of my courses were with Professor Jantz, but I also had courses with Professors Goedsche, Spann, and Leopold. The latter was the linguistics expert. I was the only Mormon, and it was a new experience for me. One of my classmates, Arthur Adams, who became a very good friend, was a devout Lutheran. Another was a devout Catholic. Those two often had at it over religion, and they only joined together to have a go at the Mormon. It was all very stimulating and challenging. I realized that I didn't know nearly enough about my own religion to defend it adequately, and I particularly felt my lack of knowledge about the history of the Mormon church. I had never been interested in the history of the church - it had always seemed to me of secondary importance.
But now I was challenged to find answers, and I knew that if I could only find those answers I would be able to defend the church and perhaps even convert some of my friends. I discovered that the university library had an excellent collection of materials on the Mormons, including some of the anti-Mormon material that my friends had obviously got their incorrect information from. I realized that I would have to read those false reports in order to know what to refute. I had no doubt that these anti-Mormon books would be so clearly the work of hate-mongers and spiteful people that their fallacies and lies would be easy to expose to the light of reason and fact.
I found it not so easy as I had expected.
When the school year ended in 1955, I received my Master's degree in German, with a straight A record. My parents took the train to Evanston for the commencement, and took the babies back with them on the train, to make our drive back easier.
Professor Jantz had urged me to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship for the following year, so that I would have a chance to spend some time in Germany and improve my German. I was hesitant, and perhaps a little frightened. I think I felt that I was getting in over my head. All I really wanted to do was to teach high school, not get a Ph.D. At his urging I filled out all the papers for the application. As soon as I dropped the application in the mail box, I regretted it, and immediately went home and wrote a follow-up letter withdrawing my application. Instead I wrote applications for teaching jobs at places in the West. I received a telegram from the Ogden City Schools, asking if I could take a job teaching English, German and Latin. I responded that the only Latin I had had was high school Latin. The superintendant replied that he would offer me the job if I could just keep a chapter ahead of the students. I accepted, for a salary of $3300 per year ($100 extra because of my Master's degree). So we moved to Ogden.
We found a nice little house with two bedrooms, garage and a large yard at 598 Chester Street, in a very nice residential area just off the main street in the northern part of town and about five minutes from Ben Lomond High School.
Ben Lomond was a brand new school, only a few years old, and a very nice school to teach in. I had one German class (a combination of first and second year), one first year Latin, one second year Latin, and two tenth-grade English classes. I enjoyed them all. I made many friends among the faculty. Ogden being a town with a large non-Mormon population (one of the West's major railroad hubs), some of my best friends on the faculty were not Mormon. Fabian Giroux, who taught history, had, in fact, converted to the church, served a mission for the church in Czechoslovakia, and then left the church to become a devout Roman Catholic! I continued my studies of church history, and discovered some of the off-shoot sects of Mormonism. At that time the Journal of Discourses was just being republished privately (the church had not kept it in print, and had, in fact, tried to keep copies out of the hands of the public), and I considered buying a copy, but it was very expensive, so I did not.
Since Ben Lomond was a relatively new school, it was working at establishing its traditions. During my second year a contest was held to select a school hymn and a school anthem. I wrote the lyrics (to the melody "The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond") that won the hymn contest.
Another reason that I was not anxious to take my little family to Germany was that we knew that Elaine was pregnant again, and Kirby was born on November 26, 1955.
In some ways the two years in Ogden were very happy. We had a nice house. We were able to get a piano. I liked my job very much. We were just close enough, but not too close, to our families. I taught one quarter in the evening at Weber College, and earned $275, which we spent on our first television set (with built-in record player). In other ways things were not so good. Elaine had three little babies to take care of, and she was often stressed. We had fights and disagreements. I made a feeble attempt at suicide after one of them, for which Elaine was very angry at me.
To make some extra money during the summer, I tried selling encyclopedias door-to-door, but was a complete failure. I also worked one summer as an assistant playground supervisor for the city of Ogden, which required that I learn to drive a school bus to take kids on outings into the canyons above town.
During our second year in Ogden I received a letter from my former professor Dr. Jantz, who had accepted a position in the German department at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He had arranged for Arthur Adams to follow him there as his research assistant, but Arthur was going to give up that post (a research assistant could only serve two years), and he wanted to offer it to me, if I would be interested in pursuing a Ph.D. after all. Of course I would also have tuition paid, and he would guarantee me scholarships sufficient to finance my completion of the degree. Although I had been very uninterested before in getting a doctorate, this seemed to be an offer that I could not refuse. I gave notice at Ben Lomond and we began to make arrangements to move to Baltimore.
I asked my friend Arthur to find us a place to live, which he did. Again we packed our furniture into a rented trailer and towed it off toward the East behind the Studebaker in late summer of 1957.
The trip was uneventful until we got to southern Pennsylvania, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, where the turnpike turns northeastward toward New York, when we were supposed to be headed due east and south toward Baltimore. We left the turnpike and immediately were on a narrow two-lane in Pennsylvania's Appalachian Mountains, starting down a long, steep downgrade. I immediately realized that the brakes were not allowing me to keep a reasonable speed - the trailer was pushing us faster and faster. We were gaining speed so fast, and there was no end in sight to the long downgrade. I was having more and more difficulty maneuvering the curves. I realized that I had to stop, somehow, or we would all be killed. The brakes by now were smoking and useless. The only thing I could think of was to edge the car over enough so that the friction of the right side against the mountain would stop it. It did, helped by a culvert that we hit on the right side of the road. When we caught our breath, we realized that Laura was missing. She had been thrown out of the car somehow. But no one, not even Laura, was injured, not even a scratch. The car was damaged, of course, but I couldn't tell how much.
A couple of fellows in a truck stopped and took us to the next town, McConnellsburg, at the foot of the hill about five miles further down. It was a quaint, lovely Appalachian mountain village, almost unchanged since Civil War days. The largest building, on the only street in town, was the hotel, a large, two-story white frame building with a porch the whole length of the front. We checked in, and I arranged with the local garage to have the car and trailer towed into town.
The garage owner told me that the car could not be repaired, but he would buy it for scrap, which would cover the towing bill. He had a shed that I could store the trailer and our furniture in until I could get to Baltimore and arrange to pick it up.
We took the bus into Baltimore and stayed a few days in a dreary hotel until I could rent a truck and drive back for our things. Our new home was on Woodland Avenue near the corner of Pimlico road (a few blocks from Pimlico race track) in an older middle-class neighborhood of Baltimore "row" houses, where the houses were wall-to-wall. It had a living room, dining room and kitchen on the main floor, with a porch the width of the house, three bedrooms and a bath upstairs, and a full, empty basement. It was old and dingy, but livable, and the rent was reasonable at $75 a month. The Koritzers were our landlords, and they and their nine children had just moved out into a larger house a few blocks away.
I began my graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University, where I was the research assistant and secretary to Prof. Jantz, and had a desk in his office in Gilman Hall on the Homewood Campus, a lovely collection of classic brick buildings with broad lawns and walks between. Johns Hopkins was proud of being the first American university to offer advanced degrees and to have patterned its graduate studies programs after the German university model. I was disappointed that the chair for German linguistics had not yet been filled because the brilliant young German professor who had been apppointed to that chair had not been able to leave his responsibilities in Germany yet. So I took some German literature courses, Sanskrit, Old English, Greek, Ancient Philosophy and other courses. The second year the new professor still had not been able to come, so I took Romance linguistics, Gothic, Middle English, Icelandic and more German literature.
Arthur Adams had also followed Professor Jantz to Hopkins, and he was one of many friends among the other graduate students. We all had carrel desks in the library stacks, and I spent many hours among the wonderful collection of books in the library, which was accessible through a door (to which I had a key) just across the hall from my office.
For a few months I had to take the bus to the university, but then I was able to buy a used 1950 Chevrolet for $100, and could drive. Not only did it make getting to school easier, but it also allowed us to get to know Baltimore and some of the country around the city. We visited Gettysburg, Rehoboth Beach, Washington, Annapolis and other historic places.
My research duties consisted primarily of cataloguing Prof. Jantz' collection of German Baroque and Renaissance literature, and then his collection of 18th and 19th century German Americana. He was a world-known authority in both fields, and had one of the finest private Baroque collections in the world (It was later given to Duke University, when he moved there).
One summer he got me a research grant from the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia to research the history of their German members. This meant that I had to make frequent trips by train to the Society's headquarters in Philadelphia to work in their archives. I was able to identify several of their early German members and shed some light upon its early relationships with German scientists.
It was during my second year at Hopkins that I became very frustrated trying to rationalize what I had been learning about church history with what the church was teaching today. It just did not make sense, and suddenly one day in the library stacks it struck me that the only way everything I had learned about the church could be explained was to view the church as a creation of Joseph Smith, not of God. I had never before even considered that as a possibility. But once I did, then everything fell into place, and a great cloud seemed to lift, allowing the sun to shine clearly on everything. I went home and told Elaine with much enthusiasm that I had learned that the church wasn't true. Instead of being as happy as I was about my discovery, she stomped up the stairs and refused to speak to me.
I tried at first not to let my discovery have any effect on my daily life. I continued to wear my temple garments, to keep the Word of Wisdom, to say the blessing before meals, to go to church and to participate in church activities. But there was definitely a strain on my relationship with Elaine.
During the summer of 1959 Elaine took the children on the train back to Utah for a visit. I had been finding it more and more difficult to keep the outward trappings of Mormonism, and during the summer I bought myself some ordinary underwear and got rid of the garments. I also sampled martinis and wine, and decided I liked both as an enrichment to life. When Elaine came back to Baltimore, things were more strained.
My last year at Hopkins was also different academically. My research assistantship was replaced by a teaching assistantship. I got an office in the attic of Gilman Hall. And finally the long-awaited linguistics professor arrived, Prof. Joachim Bumke from Berlin, who spoke no English, and who was only a few years older than I. I took Middle High German from him and he tried to get me started on research for a dissertation. I chose as a topic the development of the periphrastic perfect tenses in German.
Prof. Bumke also encouraged me to apply for a Fulbright scholarship, which I did, and was accepted for the University of Munich. Prof. Jantz also arranged for an additional scholarship from Hopkins to support us while in Germany. The plan was that I would continue my dissertation research in Munich, and hopefully write it, with Bumke directing me from Baltimore. At the same time I could take a few courses at the University of Munich and be immersed in the German culture and language.
I believe that Elaine was frightened by the prospect of going to Germany with me and the distance from the members of her church and family. She was unable to accept me unless I was a good and faithful church member, and was trying to get me to come back to that status. In the spring I came home from the University one day and she and the children were gone. I assumed that she was in a snit and was spending the night at a Mormon girlfriend's. When I called the friend the next day, she told me that Elaine had taken the children and gone by train to Utah. I became very depressed and very panicked, since Elaine had told me about a friend of hers who had left her husband without telling him, but simply sold all the furniture one day while he was at work so that he came home to an empty house and a process server. I called Elaine long distance, and she was noncommittal about everything. I got the impression that she wanted a divorce, and so I consulted an attorney, who drew up separation papers. I sent them to her to sign if she wanted a separation, but she refused to sign anything. I felt very vulnerable. Somehow I finished the semester, and immediately took the train to Idaho. Elaine was staying with her sister Harriett in Idaho Falls, and when I got there she had a process server waiting for me with Idaho divorce papers.
I had come to Idaho hoping that I could take my family back with me, but that now seemed impossible. I decided to stay in Idaho for a couple of weeks to be able to visit with the children a few times, and then go back to Baltimore to finish my duties at the university, close the house and leave for Germany.
An old high school friend, Marianne Harward, was also in town, also back home from a marriage which had just ended, and we went out to dinner to commiserate and reminisce about high school days. Marianne's family had lived just a couple of blocks from mine. She had been in my high school class and her younger brother Jon had been in my sister Jane Ann's class, and Jane Ann had always liked Jon. Marianne and her boyfriend (and now her recent ex-husband) Ray Terrell had even double-dated a time or two with Elaine and me. She had just left Ray after a long and unhappy marriage and three children, and was living with her grandmother in Blackfoot and working at the atomic plant out on the Arco desert. We immediately hit it off, primarily because she was the first person who was not pointing an accusing finger at me for the terrible thing I had done. She had always been a lively, witty, cultured and attractive girl, and I spent most of my time in Blackfoot with her. We soon decided that we should stay together, get married when my divorce was final, that she (and her youngest daughter, Victoria) would come to Germany with me (her mother agreed to keep the older girls for a year) and we would be happy forever after.
We did get married as soon as my divorce was final, and I left to finish my duties in Baltimore, with our plan being for Marianne and Victoria to come East in time to catch the ship for Europe. I gave up the Baltimore house, sent Elaine half of the furniture and lent the other half to another graduate student, John Bohi, to help furnish his apartment, in exchange for letting me be his roommate for the few weeks left in the summer.
I was soon getting letters from Marianne, begging me to let her come and spend the rest of the summer in Baltimore with me. She was certain she could find a temporary job to make up for giving up her job in Arco. She was so insistent that I couldn't say no. I then had to find a small apartment for us to live in for the rest of the summer.
We sailed from New York for Bremen on the S.S. Berlin in September 1960. The crossing took 11 days. We arrived in Munich and moved into a small pension while I looked for an apartment and Marianne looked for a job. The fact that she spoke no German limited her search to American government agencies. It was very frustrating. While in Baltimore we had contacted various agencies in Washington inquiring about jobs in Munich, but they all told us that hiring was done abroad. In Munich, however, they told us that Americans had to be hired in the U.S. Money was running out, and tempers were getting short. Marianne and I disagreed about how to spend money (or not spend it), about how to discipline Victoria, and a number of other things. Marianne decided after just a few weeks that she wanted to go back to the United States. When I reminded her that we had no money for a ticket, she said that she could get the money from a man she had been dating at the atomic plant if she would promise to marry him. So she called Philip Wall long distance, and he was very happy to send her the money for a ticket, and with my last $200 she and Victoria took the train to board the M.S. Rotterdam back to America. (Marianne did marry Philip Wall. They stayed together for over 25 years until he died in the late 1980s. Marianne finished her education and became a teacher, and now lives in Seattle.)
I was now alone in Munich. I found a nice small furnished room in the apartment of Dr. and Mrs. Hirschberger at Ludwigstrasse 31, just a few doors from the university, right at the Siegestor (Victory Arch). The rent was 150 marks a month. I was receiving 400 marks a month as the Fulbright stipend, so the rent was relatively high. The exchange rate at that time was 3.75 marks to the dollar. During the year it went to 4.10 marks to the dollar. My stipend from Hopkins was going entirely to paying the child support payments to Elaine.
The Hirschbergers were very kind and interesting people. Dr. Hirschberger's father had been court physician to the Bavarian royal family (the Wittelsbachers), and he had grown up with all the princes and princesses, and remained on intimate terms with all the members of the Wittelsbach family. Though technically a republic and not a monarchy, Bavaria's people preserved a deep fondness and respect for the royal family, which had ruled continuously for longer than any other royal family in Europe. Dr. Hirschberger was a dentist, and treated his patients in his apartment, in a room set aside for that, just across the hall from my room. He had served with the Bavarian army in both world wars, even though he had been anti-Nazi. He had also been a friend of Eva Braun, Hitler's mistress, before she had become involved with Hitler, and had also been her dentist (he showed me Eva's dental chart). The first postwar Bavarian government had been set up by the occupying Americans and prominent Munich anti-Nazis at a meeting in the Hirschberger apartment.
I registered at the University and began attending classes. I could not get my mind on research, and the German library system was not very easy to use. I made little or no progress on my dissertation, other than general reading. I found that my textbook German was inadequate at first, but I soon began to gain fluency. I met some students in classes, but the students I found myself spending time with were the other American Fulbrighters, and that bothered me, since I wanted to learn the German language and German culture.
I got the idea of putting up an ad on bulletin boards at the University, offering English conversation practice in exchange for German conversation practice. It was a very successful idea. I had over a dozen responses, and through people who answered my ad I met many others, and soon had a very active social life, with very few Americans.
I had very little money, and so lived frugally. I had breakfast in my room; Mrs. Hirschberger always made extra tea for me and left it on a table in the hallway outside my door (for some reason they drank tea for breakfast, not coffee). I bought fresh Semmeln (rolls), butter and strawberry jam, and that was breakfast. Sometimes I would also buy oranges, apples or bananas. Lunch and supper were at the student cafeteria, which was just across Ludwigstrasse. Lunch was 1.25 marks, and supper was 50 pfennigs. It was pretty poor, but it staved off starvation. (I found, however, as the year passed, that I lost both weight and hair.) Marianne had been a smoker and had got me started smoking, so I also had to set aside enough money for cigarettes. The German cigarettes were not very good, but only cost one mark a pack. American cigarettes were 1.75 marks. Some days I had to decide if I would rather do without supper or cigarettes.
I became very fond of some of my German friends and was able to keep in touch with them for a number of years. Frau Osterbauer and her 12-year old son Johannes, who became a doctor and made his mother so proud, and then died; Annegret Kirn and her cousin Vreni, both of whom fell in love with me and competed for my attention (Vreni later married and had children and then died a slow and agonizing death); Gudrun Schoefer, who was 17, and also fell in love with me and wanted to come back with me to America (I saw Gudrun later - more of that below); Gunther Schleicher, a refugee from Halle during the uprising in the East, whose mother practically adopted me as another son; Angela Freytag, whom I fell in love with, but who never wanted to be anything more than a pal to me, and who spoke American without an accent, who desperately wanted to be an American, and who very soon did so, living in New York and in Los Angeles as a free-lance writer.
I saw much of Germany during my year. The Fulbright commission took us to Berlin for a week (my first commercial airline flight) where we met Oberbürgermeister Willy Brandt, who later became the first Social Democrat chancellor of the Federal Republic. I took numerous day excursions with the AStA (Associated Students), to Oberammergau, Schloss Neuschwanstein, Linderhof. Through a woman I met from my conversation ad I was invited for several trips to the village of Kreuth, near the Tegernsee. During semester break (March-April) I took a 10 day trip to Salzburg and Vienna with my fellow Fulbrighter Sid Timmerman, and then I took a four-week trip by myself to Italy, visiting Sicily (Palermo, Agrigento, Taormina), Paestum, Naples, Pompeii, Rome, Florence, Ravenna and Venice. I stayed mostly in youth hostels, travelled by rail pass, and carried only a knapsack. The four weeks in Italy cost me exactly $100. I had not really been interested in Italy, but an American friend in Munich, Joan Beadling, whom I had known when she was a graduate student at Hopkins my first year in Baltimore, had just been to Greece and southern Italy, and insisted that I had to go there to see the Greek ruins. Since I really didn't want to go to Greece, I compromised on Sicily and southern Italy. Then I had to learn Italian. The Hirschbergers were pleased when they learned I was going to go to Italy, since they vacationed every year in Italy and spoke fluent Italian. I spent four weeks with a teach- yourself-Italian book (in German, of course!), and got on the train south.
When the university year ended in July 1961, I took another couple of weeks to see some of northern Germany as I travelled back to Bremen to get the ship home. I saw Nürnberg, Regensburg, the Rhine, Cologne and Hamburg. It was very sad, boarding the M.S. Berlin again. I had come to love Germany very much.
I had not completed my dissertation, but had applied at a number of American universities on the strength of my having passed my oral examinations and having a dissertation in progress. I had been offered (and I had accepted) a job as Acting Instructor at the German Department of the University of California in Berkeley, at a salary of $5500 per year. It was a wonderful opportunity: a top-notch university, a good salary, and an exciting city. I visited my family in Idaho, then took the bus for Berkeley, in the fall of 1961. I had only been in California once before, in 1951, when a friend of mine took me and Elaine on a quick trip to Los Angeles to drive his girlfriend home to Anaheim.
I quickly found a furnished studio apartment at 2525 Durant Avenue, just one block from the south entrance to the campus, half a block from Telegraph Avenue, on the first floor of a pleasant but old apartment building. The bed folded up into the wall during the day. The rent was $75 a month. I had no furniture. Jon Bohi had written me in Germany that he had had to give up his apartment, and so had sold everything I had lent him. My books and personal belongings he had boxed up and given to Mrs. Koritzer to store in her attic. I arrived in Berkeley owning nothing but the contents of five suitcases, one typewriter, and the books in the Koritzer attic. I began to learn to cook and bake, since I had my own kitchen for the first time. I wrote to Mrs. Koritzer several times to get her to send my books, but with no response. I tried phoning, but with no result. I finally wrote to a friend in Baltimore and asked him to see what he could do to get my books, and he went to the Koritzers and found that the children had played in the attic, broken open boxes and torn and scattered the contents, mice had gotten to them, and they were in such a state that Mrs. Koritzer had not been able (or willing) to deal with it. He took upon himself the responsibility of boxing my books and sending them to me.
My mother's uncle and aunt, George and Olive Phillips, had lived for years in Berkeley, near the city hall, and mother urged me to contact them. George had been retired for years, but was an amateur woodworker. He offered to build me bookshelves. They were very kind to me while I lived in Berkeley.
George was actually a first cousin of my grandfather E. Albert Walton, and the Waltons and the Phillipses as young marrieds had shared living quarters to save money. Neither young wife was successful in getting pregnant, so both couples decided to adopt babies. They put their names on the waiting list at a home for unwed mothers in Ogden, and Olive got the first baby. Laura and Olive took the train together to Ogden, and Laura met the mother of Olive's baby (Olive didn't want to see her). Six months later they went down to get Laura's baby, and Olive met the mother. She said that she was "a lovely, dark-haired young woman." Olive's baby Dorothy did not remain an only child, because Olive soon became pregnant and had two more children. Dorothy began to have mental problems in her late teens, and spent her entire adult life in a mental hospital.
I spent three years at the University, teaching German, trying to finish my dissertation, and trying to learn to live alone. I made many friends. My best friend was Dick Sheirich, who was about my age, was just finishing his dissertation, and was also recently divorced. Although I was technically faculty, most of my friends were from among the graduate students in the department, since I was closer to their age. I did become friends with Blake Spahr, Fritz Tubach, and Kathleen Harris, who were younger faculty members. The first year I did not have a car, but that was no problem, since everything in Berkeley was within walking distance.
I taught second-year German, third-year grammar and composition, and German translation for scientists. I shared an office on the fourth floor of Dwinelle Hall with Clair Hayden Bell, who was retired and rarely came to the university.
I was having a difficult time emotionally, with frustrations from being separated from my children, being unable to get ahead financially, being unable to make progress on my dissertation, being unable to form any romantic attachments.
In the spring of 1962 my grandmother Laura Walton became seriously ill, and I bought an old Plymouth and drove to Idaho to see her. She died the day after I arrived.
In October 1962 I became very depressed and took an overdose of sleeping pills. I was hospitalized for three weeks at the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco. When I was released I began weekly psychotherapy at an outpatient clinic in Berkeley. The therapy lasted about a year and a half, and helped me greatly to deal with my depression and frustration.
In the institute I had become friends with a woman who was also a patient, and much worse off than I. She invited me several times to visit her and her husband in San Mateo. She introduced me to a neighbor of her parents in San Francisco. The neighbor was an attractive young woman, Pat Wenzel, divorced with a little girl. I liked her immediately very much, and began to see her regularly. I soon was very much in love with her, but in the spring of 1963 she told me that she wanted to be able to see other men, and my heart was broken again.
I had learned that I could fall in love and have my heart broken and still recover to try again, and it was an important lesson. There were many attractive young women in Berkeley, and attitudes and inhibitions were loosening (it came to be called "the sexual revolution"), and I was living a full and pleasant life.
In the spring of 1963 one of the graduate students, Rolf Panny, undertook as a seminar project to stage Artur Schnitzler's play "Reigen" in German. I tried out for a part and was cast as "Der junge Herr," (the young nobleman). It was a very nice and professional-quality production, and I learned a great deal about acting and theater from Rolf. We were sold out for three performances.
After two years in the apartment on Durant Avenue, I moved in 1963 to a charming two-room apartment at 2341 Ellsworth Street, just a few blocks away. It occupied the second floor of a small frame house, the entrance being up a narrow stair at the back of the house. It had lots of windows, a tiny kitchen, a very tiny bathroom, but lots of character. I lived there two years, paying $77.50 per month. I found it through George and Olive.
My dissertation was not making progress, however, and the department chairman informed me that they would not be able to hire me for a fourth year without my having the Ph.D. I was very jealous of Philip Glander, who had been hired at the same time and in the same situation (dissertation unfinished), but who had been able to complete his dissertation, and would be able to continue at U.C. Berkeley. (Ironically, five years later Glander was given a similar message, since he hadn't published enough scholarly articles. He applied for a position we had open at City College. We interviewed him, but he was not the best candidate and was not offered the job. He got a job teaching high school in San Francisco, where he spent the rest of his career.)
Fortunately my friend Tubach knew the senior German teacher at the City College of San Francisco, Eric Moeller, who was looking for a German teacher, and the Ph.D. was not required. I told him I was interested, and was hired to teach 18 hours a week of first and second year German starting in September 1964.
I was glad to have a job, but I did not want to leave Berkeley, where I had spent three very exciting years. So for a year I commuted every day across the Oakland Bay Bridge. Fortunately the freeway had just been completed that summer from the bridge to the college, so that my commute only took about 30 minutes.
Just before the school year ended in the spring of 1964, a friend of mine told me that a Berkeley travel agent was looking for a person to accompany and supervise a group of college-age tourists on an 11-week tour of Europe. I checked it out and was offered the job. No pay, but a free trip, including meals and spending money. After one afternoon of briefing by the travel agent, Harry Andersen, I flew to New York with 33 college girls on Andersen Tour #642, carrying travel vouchers and $15,000 in travellers checks. It was a marvelous experience. We flew to Dublin, then to England, toured England, crossed the channel to Holland, where we met our continental bus (German driver), which took us to Amsterdam, Ghent, Paris, Poitier, San Sebastian, Madrid, Barcelona, the Riviera, Florence, Venice, Rome, Athens, Belgrad, Vienna, Munich, the Rhine, Goettingen, Berlin, Copenhagen, and then by ship and train to Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen, and Edinburgh, and back to London from which we flew home. In Germany I saw Gudrun Schoefer again. She was studying at the university of Giessen, and came to Goettingen to see me. After we had been together for just a few hours it seemed a shame to part. She had changed from an awkward teenager into a charming woman. I invited her to accompany us to Berlin, which she did. There she met Harry Andersen, who invited her to stay with us until Copenhagen, as his guest. Unfortunately Gudrun resented my not being able to devote myself exclusively to her because of my responsibilities in seeing that the tour ran smoothly, and we began to bicker. I was not sorry to see her board the train in Copenhagen to return to Germany.
In August 1964 Elaine married Ellwyn Stoddard, who was a good Mormon but whose wife had divorced him. They moved to Des Moines, where he was teaching college.
With the dissertation no longer hanging over me, as it had done for seven years, I felt free and optimistic. I enjoyed teaching at City College. I was also teaching German evenings for the university Extension, which gave me some extra money. I was making friends among the college faculty, and I still had friends in Berkeley.
When the spring semester started in February 1965, one of my beginning German classes had only two female students, and one of them was a very homely redhead. The other one, though, was very attractive and pleasant. I immediately realized that this young woman named Janet Riggs would be the only possibility of making the teaching of this gang of men tolerable. Unfortunately, after just a few days I received notification that she had dropped the class. Contrary to my usual practice, I telephoned her at home to ask her why she had dropped. She told me that she worked nights at the University of California hospital, that she realized she might not be able to keep up with the work I was demanding, and that therefore she had dropped. So I asked her for a date. After two dates we were seeing each other constantly. In a couple of months we were engaged to be married the following September.
I had been asked by Harry Andersen to take another group to Europe for him during the summer of '65, and Janet was worried that if I went to Europe with 30 girls I might change my mind about marrying her. She got very upset while we were having dinner at a nice French restaurant on Polk Street on a Sunday evening, June 6, and so in desperation I suggested that we drive immediately to Reno and get married. We did, arriving in Reno about 1 a.m., where we discovered that although you can get married at any time of day or night in Reno, you have to have a marriage license, and the only place to get a marriage license 24 hours a day is in Carson City, 50 miles away. We drove to Carson City, got a license, roused the people at one of the 24-hour wedding chapels in Carson City, and were married about 3 a.m. on June 7, 1965.
Janet moved into my apartment on Ellsworth Street in Berkeley for the remaining couple of weeks until I had to leave for Europe, and then she spent the summer with her sister Carol Bauer in San Diego. I repeated the Anderson tour, except for the Norwegian and Swedish part, flying home from Copenhagen. During the trip, as a thank-you gift, the students in my group presented me with a zither, which I taught myself to play when I got back home.
We moved into a large flat in the Mission district, on the third floor at 1024 Sanchez Street, just off 24th Street, for $140 a month. We spent most of our combined savings buying used furniture to furnish it. Much of what we bought we are still using, except that now it is "antique" furniture.
About a month after we moved in, Janet said she would like a dog. She used to have a dog, which her parents had made her give up, and she had always wanted a dog. I asked her what kind of dog she wanted, and she said "a Doberman pinscher." So we bought a puppy and named her "Schaetzel von Ahrtal." The "von Ahrtal" was because many dogs in her pedigree seemed to have that as part of their name. Only later did we learn that we had committed a faux pas in the dog world.
Our first Christmas together included a visit from Laura, George and Kirby. It was a lovely Christmas, except that we spent so much money that Janet had to go back to work. We also sold her car, which had been her first car and which she loved very much.
Schaetzel was a good dog and quickly learned to fetch the paper as soon as the paper boy pushed it through the mail slot at the foot of two flights of stairs. However, the landlord, who lived in the flat below us, did not like having a dog upstairs, and gave us notice that he was increasing the rent because of the dog.
We decided instead to look for a small house with a yard, and found one, very near the college, at 1 San Gabriel Avenue. Because we had a yard, it seemed a good idea to get another dog to keep Schaetzel company. So we found Thor, a red male Doberman. They enjoyed the yard, but made a mess of the little bit of landscaping we had done. Janet thought she would like to try raising registered Doberman puppies as a way to make a little extra money, and so she became interested in meeting other Doberman breeders, and started to go to dog shows.
While we lived on San Gabriel John was born, on April 7, 1967, three days after we had had a litter of puppies. Because Janet's kidneys had been severely damaged by chronic infection when she was younger, she was very closely monitored during the pregnancy by the staff at the University of California medical center in San Francisco. She was not able to complete the pregnancy normally, and the baby was taken by caesarean a full six weeks prematurely. He only weighed three pounds, and was kept in an incubator attached to monitoring instruments for about a month. He became part of an extensive study on premature babies done by the university, and was examined by the university every year until he became an adult.
The following summer (1967) we had a visit from Laura, George and Kirby.
Janet had quit her job, and stayed home to take care of John. She raised a couple of more litters and sold them, but soon we had a total of three dogs.
My teaching was going well. My assignment was 18 class hours per week, usually two sections of first semester German, one section of second semester, and one section of third semester "scientific" German. Eric Moeller, the other German instructor, liked to take the early classes, starting at 8 a.m., so my schedule usually started at 10 and ended at 2. He and I shared an office in the recently-built Arts Building, room 203B, which was really just a cubby-hole in 203, where about a dozen teachers had offices.
I soon got to know some of the other instructors on campus, even from other departments, partly because Eric introduced me into the faculty coffee-room in the Science Building, where teachers from business, science, math and English would sometimes spend their time between classes. Many of the people I met in the coffee room became close friends.
I also joined the union, the American Federation of Teachers, which was the smaller but more active of two faculty groups, the other one being the NEA affiliate. I soon became quite active. At that time the college was a part of the San Francisco Unified School District, and was governed by the same board that was in charge of all schools in the city. In 1968 the AFT went on strike, for the first strike in the history of the school district, and it was a very emotional time. The NEA teachers opposed the strike, primarily because they were opposed to anything so "unprofessional" as a strike (the NEA has changed their policy in the meantime). We won some important improvements: our workload was reduced from 18 hours to 15; we got dental and prescription insurance paid by the district; we got payday shifted from the 10th of the month to the first; and some other minor gains. About this time I was elected to be the vice-president of the union local, under president Jim Ballard, who had been the executive secretary.
At about this time the state legislature authorized community colleges to form Academic Senates (or Faculty Senates) and required the governing boards to "meet and confer" with them on academic issues. Our faculty had a number of meetings and drafted a constitution, and I was elected a member of the 15- member executive board for a two-year term, and served one year as secretary under President Al Tapson, who was one of the most influential union members in the city.
In the late 60's I also made the first weak attempt at getting the college involved in overseas education, and made a proposal to the administration. But nothing came of it. They weren't interested.
One older couple from the City College faculty who had befriended us was Norman and Catherine Johnson. They informally adopted John as a grandchild. Norman had spent many years in the merchant marine, and finally bought his own boat, an old motor sailer, on which they sometimes took us out on the bay for an afternoon. We became interested in sailing, and I took the Coast Guard Auxiliary course on boating. We finally bought our own sailboat, a 26-foot Ericson, which we berthed in San Rafael (no berths were available in the City) and used for day-sailing. We kept it about two years, and then realized that it was an expensive luxury we couldn't afford. I had come to love sailing, and was sorry to lose our boat.
To earn some extra money, I got a summer job working as a Gray Line bus driver in 1969. I got about a week's training learning to drive a 45-passenger GM diesel bus, and learned to be a tourist guide for San Francisco and the Bay area. I worked three summers at that job.
In 1969 Janet wanted to look for a house for us to buy. We had met a nice real estate agent named Laurie Foglia (she had bought a puppy from us) and Laurie was anxious to help us find a house. Laurie and Janet went house-hunting almost every Sunday for about a year, going to hundreds of open houses. If they found something that might work, they would have me look at it. I looked at a lot of houses. We were somewhat at a disadvantage because we didn't have much money. We finally found a lovely old house at 363 14th Avenue, with lots of room and charm, at a price we could perhaps afford. We bought it for $39,000, with monthly payments of $232, which seemed like an astronomical sum. Laurie even had to lend us the closing costs. We moved in April, 1970, helped by a crew of ex-convicts Laurie's husband had hired from a half-way house.
At a New Year's Eve party at the Foglias (December 31, 1969) I got talking to a man about my age who was in his second year of law school, studying law at night. I had always been interested in the law, having been a debater in high school, and at that time had even considered becoming a lawyer rather than a foreign language teacher. But since BYU did not offer any pre-law program, I went into teaching. I had always wondered, though, if law might not have been a more lucrative choice. This man encouraged me to try it - even if I only took the first year, and never practiced law, he said the training would be invaluable. That got me to thinking, and I found that I just had time to register for the next LSAT test, which I did very well on, and so I applied for admission to the night law schools at University of San Francisco and San Francisco Law School. I was accepted at both, and registered in the fall of 1970 at USF, with classes four nights a week.
The next four years were very busy. The first semester I was at the head of my class, but I was not able to maintain that lead. I resigned my union job and my academic senate post. I arranged my schedule so that I had all my classes between 8 a.m. and noon, so that my afternoons would be free for studying.
In 1972 David was born, on July 27, also by caesarean. George had come to live with us that spring. Things had not been going well for him at his mother's in El Paso (where his step-father taught at the university), and they did not go well for him in San Francisco, either. After a few months with us, he moved out, and after a few months living on his own in San Francisco, he went back to El Paso. Kirby also lived with us for a short while a year or two later.
In trying to give myself every advantage in my studies, I taught myself shorthand so I could take notes faster. In 1972 I also read several books on self-hypnotism, with the idea that I might be able to use it to improve my memory, and I found it to be very useful. On a whim I also thought I would see what effect it might have on my cigarette habit, and I was truly amazed to find that after a single session, lasting about an hour, I had permanently lost all desire to smoke.
In June 1974 I graduated with my class, 9th in a class of 41, and a member of the honor society. My whole family came to the commencement exercises: my parents and my four brothers and sisters. I spent the summer studying for the bar examination, which was held in late summer.
In August I was contacted by John McGuinn, an attorney whose wife Renee had taught German part-time at City College. He was a partner in the two-man firm of Lewton and McGuinn in the Jackson Square area, at 220 Jackson Street. His wife worked part-time as a secretary in the law office. John offered me a job, as a law clerk until I passed the bar, and as an attorney after that. I arranged my schedule so that I could continue teaching full-time with a morning-only schedule, and working afternoons at the law office. By the time I had worked a year for Lewton and McGuinn I had been able to earn enough at the law to replace all the money that it had cost for the four years of my legal education.
Fortunately I passed the bar exam successfully, and was sworn in as a member of the California bar (and the Federal bar of the Northern District of California) in December 1974.
While working at Lewton and McGuinn I had to get to work using public transportation, because it was impossible to park downtown. That was the year that the subway tunnel was completed under the bay to Oakland, and I rode the train beneath the bay to Oakland on the first day the tunnel was in service.
After almost a year at Lewton and McGuinn I asked for a raise, and they decided they wanted a full-time attorney, so they let me go. I rented a tiny office in the Monadnock building on Market Street for $110 a month, and continued to practice part- time, but never very successfully. After a couple of years it became apparent that I was not going to make a lot of money practicing law. I did not enjoy it, either, and so I gave up the office and cut back my practice even more. I continued to handle a few small cases, write wills, write nasty letters for friends and give advice, but finally gave up entirely in 1984 by going on inactive status with the bar.
The San Francisco schools were so poor that we hesitated to send John to them, so we applied for his admission to Town School for Boys, a very presigious and expensive private boys' school in Pacific Heights. Janet went back to work to finance his schooling there. While there he associated with some boys from very wealthy families. When David was ready to start school, we realized we could not afford the continued expense. Fortunately we had heard in the meantime that our neighborhood elementary school was not so bad, and so both boys entered the public schools.
In the late 70s the college was separated from the unified school district, and at about the same time the state legislature passed a law which authorized public school teachers to elect a collective bargaining agent and required school districts to bargain with the elected agent. The American Federation of Teachers won the election, and has been the bargaining agent for the district ever since.
At about the same time I was asked to run for the Academic Senate again, and was also elected to be the president of the senate, which post I held for a year. During that year my duties included meeting weekly with the president of the college, attending the monthly meetings of the board and of the college administration, as well as representing the faculty in all academic matters. During that year the president of the college, Dr. Kenneth Washington, was evaluated by the board to enable them to decide whether to renew his contract, and I was one of a committee (including several college officials hired from other districts for this purpose) appointed to conduct the preliminary evaluation for the board.
In 1979 I became interested in learning to fly, and began to take flying lessons at the Oakland airport, flying in a Piper Tomahawk. I took lessons about once a week, and enjoyed it very much. I soon was flying solo, and I passed the written exam with a high score. I checked out for my solo cross-country, but then the strike of the air traffic controllers temporarily halted general aviation, and by the time the strike was settled my instructor had changed jobs, and I became discouraged. I never got my private license.
Late in 1980 I was invited by the director of the Goethe Institute in San Francisco to be the guest of the German government and attend a seminar for American German teachers to be held for three weeks in December in West Berlin. It was very interesting and educational, and I enjoyed being back in Germany, especially at Christmas time.
In the spring of 1982 we answered a classified ad looking for exchange of a German boy with an American boy for a year. John was going to be going into the 10th grade, and so we thought it would be a nice opportunity for him to be able to live a year in Germany. We worked it out, and so we got Kai Flache, from Hamburg, and John went to live with Kai's father and brothers in Hamburg. It was not altogether successful. We became concerned about John's health and the lack of parental supervision in Hamburg, and Kai was making no effort to learn English, to make friends or to become a decent human being. When we learned that Kai was causing unacceptable problems for David, we called the whole thing off, brought John home and sent Kai back. John had become very fluent in German, of course, which was the one plus from the experience.
In 1981 I began to become interested in the possibilities of using computers for foreign language instruction. I attended several workshops, but did not learn much. My only direct experience with computers had been at U.C. Berkeley, where I had had some help from a consultant in the computer department about using the university's computer to analyze data for my dissertation. I had even received some research money to hire a student to punch all my data onto cards. The consultant then lost the cards. At that time I had also taken a class in Fortran programming, but had not completed it.
In the spring of 1982, however, the college began a faculty development program where they would lend faculty members a small Sinclair Z-80 computer to take home, if they would promise to complete a home-study course. The Z-80 was very tiny, about the size of a small keyboard. It plugged into a television set for a monitor. The only storage was an external tape recorder. It had 4K of memory, and had BASIC built in. The study course was really an introduction to BASIC programming. I brought it home, completed the course and thoroughly enjoyed using it.
We began investigating various computers available then, with the idea of buying one. The Apple II was the most popular, but it had numerous shortcomings. The Apple III was just coming out, and we almost bought one, but then we were persuaded to buy one of the new computers which had just come out from IBM, the IBM Personal Computer (or PC). It came with DOS version 1.1, BASIC was on a chip, built in, with cassette storage and 16K memory. We paid extra for expanding the memory to 128K, which seemed to be twice as much as we would ever need. We also got it with two disk drives, an amber monitor and dot-matrix printer. This was to be our Christmas present for 1983. It cost $5,500. So that the boys would not want to use our computer, we bought them a Texas Instruments computer for about $200. I began teaching myself how to use the computer, and became an avid convert.
In 1982 I had been appointed chairman of the foreign language department. I installed a computer terminal in the foreign language department office and eventually developed programs on the college's mainframe computer that could be used by foreign language students to help them learn foreign languages.
I also began working again to develop some interest in a foreign studies program. Because of this work I was given a scholarship to attend a seminar of foreign language department heads being held in Los Angeles in conjunction with the annual Modern Language Association Convention, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania.
I also was awarded a scholarship to participate in a junket for American German teachers sponsored by the Austrian government, to visit Austria for a week in February 1983 to inspect locations for possible summer foreign studies programs. I have always loved Vienna, and it was a pleasure to be able to return. The group visited schools in Baden, Mistelbach, Zettl, Melk, and saw much of Lower Austria.
I resigned as deparment head effective the end of 1983. I had held the position for a year and a half, but was very frustrated by the job and did not like anything having to do with administration. I did not like working with the new college president, Dr. Ramirez, and wanted to return to the classroom full time, and when it became apparent that my efforts as department head were not being appreciated by the administration, I submitted my resignation, even though my appointment had been for three years.
In the mid-80s foreign language enrollments at the college had been dropping in the day classes. The size of the department had jumped tremendously about 1981, however, when all of the adult evening classes in foreign languages were transferred to the college from the adult education division. As a result, our department had about 12 full-time day faculty and about 60 part-time evening faculty. Day enrollments in foreign languages (especially German) were declining, and the administration was trying to find something for us to do. In 1976 I had already been assigned to teach one section of Spanish for one semester. Now I was given the course in the court reporting program on general law for court reporters. The two other full-time German teachers were assigned to teach one section of English as a Second Language (ESL). We also were each assigned to teach evening classes as well as the day classes. About 1986 I was also offered an assignment to teach one section of beginning BASIC programming in the computer science department, which I accepted, and I continued teaching in both the foreign language department and the computer science department until I retired.
I also became active in the faculty development program, and developed several short courses (one to four sessions) for faculty to introduce them to the use of computers in instruction. I gave four or five of these seminars every semester until I retired.
About 1984 I became acquainted (electronically, through the Compuserve computer network) with a German professor in Massachusetts who was starting an international translating service. I began working for him occasionally, doing German translations. He would receive the original document by computer network from Germany, transmit it to me via Compuserve, I would translate the document and send the translation to him, again via modem, and thus we could do translations with only a few hours' turn-around time. In 1985 he invited me to attend a translator's workshop in Fort Lauderdale, which gave me a chance to visit Florida.
About 1986 Janet was offered a part-time position as accountant at the University of California with the Radiology Research and Education Foundation, a private, non-profit foundation. The director of the foundation wanted to get the staff "computerized," and hired me as a part-time consultant to train the staff in using PCs and to do some programming for their needs. I continued for several years to work occasionally for the Foundation as a consultant. It was very interesting and lucrative work: I was paid $50 per hour.
Through the 70s and 80s Janet had become more active in the dog world, breeding and showing. Beginning about 1969 we began to exhibit every February at the two-day Golden Gate Kennel Club show held at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, one of the few benched shows left in the United States, and the only one where the dogs had to remain on display for two days. Janet's first puppy to become a champion was about 1976, and we celebrated with a big party at our house. It became a tradition for some time that each new championship called for a celebration, and some of the parties were tremendous. For one pair of championships we had a sit-down dinner for two dozen people at the Fairmont Hotel. By 1990 Janet had produced 15 champions, and had become well- known for the quality of her Dobermans. She learned from Dr. Tully of Los Angeles how to crop ears, and from that time always did the ear crops on her puppies.
About 1985 a friend of Janet's named Colleen Topacio, whom she had met through the dogs, was having trouble with her husband, and wanted to leave him, but had no job and no place to go. Janet offered to let her and her three children stay with us until she was able to get a job and find a place to live. They lived with us for about two months, and she found work. But she loved animals, and wanted to work with animals. At the Golden Gate show in 1986 a flyer was distributed advertising a boarding kennel for sale. It occurred to Janet that Colleen might be good at running a boarding kennel. Janet began looking for a kennel to buy, with the help of a friend who was a real estate agent and who had bought a dog from us. They located a small kennel in Novato, on five acres in Marin County, that was for sale as part of an estate, and we bought it. The price was $250,000, and Janet was able to finance the purchase with no money down. There was a small house on the property, Colleen moved in, and after considerable clean-up and repairs, the Atherton Acres Dog and Cat Kennel reopened. It was the first time that either of us had had anything to do with running our own business. Janet continued to work part-time at the radiology foundation, and operated the pick-up and delivery service for the kennel. It was a very busy time, and she spent many long days. Colleen ran the kennel for about a year, and then quit suddenly. After that we had to hire live-in help and hope for the best.
At about the same time we bought a 26-foot 1968 Airstream trailer for $5000 so that we could travel around to dog shows and stay on the grounds instead of having to get a motel. We kept it for a year and replaced it with a slightly larger 1984 Airstream, for $17,000. We kept the trailer parked at the kennel, since there was no room to park it in the city. We traveled all over the West in that trailer, mostly to dog shows.
In 1986, on John's birthday, we were burglarized. I had driven the Volkswagen to school, and about noon, when I wanted to go home, I discovered that it had been stolen from the faculty parking lot. Because it contained an electric garage door opener as well as the registration papers with our address, the thieves were able to get in through the garage and load the car up with whatever they wanted. It was a terrible experience finally to get home and realize your home had been violated. They took the television, VCR, all the mantle clocks but one, the handguns and our jewelry. They did not take cameras or computers. The saddest loss was heirloom jewelry of Janet's grandmother and my grandfather: her grandmother's diamond engagement ring, my grandfather's (Ba's) ruby ring, gold pocket watch, cuff links and other items. The thieves were caught because of the handguns, which were the only items recovered besides the car.
My experience with self-hypnotism and the results of techniques I had learned at a couple of seminars on "super- learning" had impressed me with the untapped powers of the mind, and in May 1989 I attended a four-day seminar given by the Jose Silva organization and was greatly impressed with the training I received. I began to incorporate much of it into my teaching, I believe to good effect. In August 1989 I attended the Silva convention in Laredo, Texas, taking the opportunity to visit Kirby and his family in Provo, Laura's family in Omaha, and George and Ali in Austin, Texas.
The house at 363 14th Avenue had been a fixer-upper when we bought it in 1970, and through the years we worked on it a lot, scraping the paint off the woodwork and returning it to a natural stained finish, building shelves, repapering, replastering, landscaping, but it was still far from what our vision of it was. We never had quite the time or the money, and we always had other things to think about. We tried to furnish it with antiques, and Janet had become very good at picking up bargains at the Butterfield and Butterfield auctions. It was a great house for dinners, parties and guests.
As the 80s came to a close, we realized that San Francisco was changing, becoming not nearly such a wonderful place to live as it had been for the 20 years we had been there. We began to realize that I would be able to retire before much longer. (Actually, I qualified for retirement with the minimum pension when I had reached the age 50 and served 20 years. I turned 50 in 1983 and completed 20 years in 1984.) We considered several possibilities, such as building a house on the five acres at the kennel, or moving completely out of the San Francisco Bay area, preferably to country property. We toyed briefly with North Carolina, the California Mother Lode country, Montana, and Oregon. At first the most attractive possibility was building in Novato, and we even had plans for the house drawn up. The plan was that we could build the house, move into it, and I could continue to teach in San Francisco as long as I liked, as Janet continued to run the kennel.
In 1989 our attention was drawn back to Oregon when an acquaintance at the college mentioned that he had just bought property in Roseburg. Roseburg had always seemed an attractive area to us. We had spent time there on several occasions because there had been an annual series of dog shows at the fairgrounds there. This acquaintance praised the area highly and emphasized the great bargains that could be had in real estate. We decided that we should go to Roseburg and look around, and made a trip there in July 1989.
Our initial plan was at most to buy a piece of property that would be inexpensive enough for us to be able to afford it, and that we could then rent out and make payments on it until we finally decided to retire there. When we saw what was available, however, and how little it cost, we calculated that we could retire at once, if we liquidated our California property, namely the house on 14th Avenue and the kennel. We found a piece of property outside Roseburg, about 260 acres of mostly timber, with two modern houses and outbuildings, in excellent condition, priced at $475,000. We made an offer contingent on our selling our house, came back to San Francisco and began the process of shutting down our life as we had known it. I applied for my retirement to be effective at the end of the school year, and Janet put the kennel up for sale. We also began a thorough remodel of the house, since we had been advised that we would be foolish to try to sell it as a fixer-upper.
The kennel was sold within a week, on very good terms, for $610,000. I undertook to teach as much overtime as possible, since the amount of my pension would be based on my total earnings my last year. One of the other German teachers, Sid Timmerman, had become very ill, so I took over some of his classes. He died in the spring. (I had first met Sid in Munich, where he was also a Fulbrighter, and I had been influential in getting him the City College job.)
In October we were notified by our realtor in Roseburg that our contract to buy the property had been breached by the seller, who had already sold the property to someone else. He was very upset, and so were we. We decided that we would just have to find something else. We made another trip to Roseburg and found a beautiful 320 acre piece of timber and pasture land, completely undeveloped, on Melton Road. The sellers, Jeanne and Ben Melton, were already negotiating with a potential buyer, but we learned that the adjoining 320 acres was owned by relatives of the sellers and that it might also be available. Our broker advised us to make offers on both, contingent on our getting both, which would force the sellers to pressure each other to accept our offers. It worked, and we ended up buying not only those two parcels, but a third 66-acre adjoining parcel across the county road and an additional adjoining 13 acres from still another member of the Melton family.
In San Francisco the great earthquake of 1989 struck in October, destroying much of the Marina district, flattening elevated freeways, and collapsing a section of the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge. We had just begun work on the house, and some walls had already been torn out. The earthquake toppled furniture and lamps, dumped all the books onto the library floor, crashed pictures, cracked walls and gave us a good scare. We were able to get government earthquake loans to repair the damage, which was work which was going to have to be done anyway for the remodel.
The year 1989-1990 was very hectic. I was working long hours, we were living like campers, with the construction workers in the house with us (after January we had no kitchen). We were trying to move things to Roseburg into storage, driving up loads in the van when we could. We were trying to design the house for the Roseburg property and arrange to get power, water, telephone and septic systems installed. We considered buying a small house in Roseburg itself to live in while a house was being built on Melton Road, but decided instead, when the time came, to move a mobile home onto the property to live in for the few months until a house could be finished.
John was in school at the University of California at Davis, studying animal science with the goal of becoming a veterinary doctor. David graduated from high school in January, and in April the mobile home was set up near the homesite and the systems were put in. Janet and David moved in May, and I came when school ended in June, 1990. The mobile home was only 12 feet wide. David's room was 8 x 6 feet, and he had to stand his mattress on end during the day if he wanted to walk around. We had no room for a regular table, so Janet and I ate sitting on stools at the small 3 x 4 kitchen work table and David ate sitting at the kitchen counter. We didn't complain because we assumed we would only be in such cramped quarters for six months or so.
The remodel cost much more than we had anticipated, and the contractor claimed that we owed him $75,000 more than we had already paid him. He sued us for it, placing a lien on the house. The lawsuit was finally settled, but it delayed the sale and cost us almost as much in legal fees, bond premium and settlement as what he had originally claimed.
The residential real estate market had also dropped drastically in San Francisco from the time we had first decided to sell, and we were unable to sell the house as soon as we had planned nor for as much as we had hoped. Because of this, we did not have the money to start construction on the new house. Janet and I both had to find work, and we postponed start of house construction.
I found a job as a law clerk in the law office of Thomas W. Crawford in Roseburg in January 1991. Janet worked for several months in the Douglas County Housing Authority, but she had also started a small cattle operation, and realized that she could not take care of the cattle and hold a job in town. David was attending school at Umpqua Community College, intending to go into computer science.
Janet was finally able to arrange a loan for us to build the house, and construction began in the summer of 1991. David hired on to help with framing and other work. The house was completed in September 1992, and we were finally able to sell the mobile home, which we had lived in for almost two and a half years.
In 1991 I attended the 40th reunion (they held it a year late!) of my high school class in Blackfoot. It was sad to see how old we had all become.
I soon realized that I was going to have to continue working, and that I would earn much more as an attorney, so in October 1991 I applied to take the Oregon bar examination the following February, which I did, and was admitted to the Oregon bar in April 1992, and worked then for Crawford as an attorney, with much better hours and at a much higher wage.
Janet began to work at building up a herd of registered black Angus cattle, and through careful breeding and some purchasing increased her herd from four cows and three calves in the fall of 1990 to a hundred head in 1994. In addition she assumed the management and development of the timber on the property, and supervised several thinning operations, the construction of numerous ponds, and the laying out of an extensive road system.
In 1992 John got engaged to a classmate, Andrea Shook, and they both graduated from U.C. Davis in animal science in June 1992. They married the following August 22. They were both disappointed at not being accepted to vet school. John got a job as a biologist with the Baxter pharmaceutical firm in Sacramento, and Andrea spent a year completing her master's degree in animal behavior.
David completed as much education as he could at U.C.C., and in 1994 was accepted at Oregon State University (Corvallis), where he intended to study agriculture. When the time came, however, he decided that he would rather help run the ranch, and did not register for the university.
In Roseburg I became interested again in amateur theater. I had acted in several shows in high school. I had had a part in a melodrama at BYU, and then the German play in Berkeley. But it had been over 25 years since I had been in a play when in September 1990 I saw the announcement that the local community college drama department was holding auditions for Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit." I tried out, and got the male lead part of Charles. I later acted in "The Majestic Kid" (1992) and "And a Nightingale Sang" (1993). In 1994 I directed "The Belle of Amherst."
We joined the Douglas County Livestock Association, the Farm Bureau, the Oregon Small Woodlands Association and several other organizations. In 1993 I was elected to the county Farm Bureau board of directors and in 1994 became its vice president. In 1993 I was also appointed by the county commissioners to a three- year term on the Douglas County Museum advisory board. In 1994 I ran in the November election for a seat on the Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District board and was elected to a four-year term with 60% of the votes cast.
In September 1993 Mother became seriously ill, requiring round-the-clock care. All the children came home to help care for her, hoping that a few days or weeks, with all of us helping, might see her through safely. She had been diabetic for many years. But now she seemed unable to formulate a thought, to stay awake, or even move. She had been briefly hospitalized in Idaho Falls, but her doctor had said that there was nothing they could do for her in the hospital and she could be cared for adequately at home. He then went on vacation. After a few days Dean and I insisted that she be checked by another doctor, and she was immediately hospitalized by him. Jane Ann arrived that day, and we truly thought that Mother would possibly die during the night. Once she began getting proper treatment, with close supervision of her drug intake, she began to get better, and within a short time was fully recovered.
Music has always been an important part of my life. In addition to the piano lessons, I had about a year's worth of voice lessons while I was in high school, and in Ogden I had some organ lessons on the Ogden Stake House organ. I had also picked up how to play such simple instruments as the mouth organ and the ocarina. I learned the ukelele when I was at BYU and Mother gave me her ukelele. I then got the banjo the Ba had brought back from England, which had been made by a relative of his there, and I learned the banjo. While living in Germany I bought a beautiful chromatic Hohner harmonica. In 1965 my tour group gave me a zither, which I then learned to play, and that was also about the time that we were able to buy a used baby grand and a used Espey reed organ with two manuals and a pedal keyboard. I also became interested in the recorder about this time, and we ordered a tenor and alto recorder from Germany. In the early 70s Janet gave me an Italian mandolin and a concertina, which I learned to play. I later bought a used accordion and learned to play that. In the 80s I bought a used guitar at a garage sale for $7.50, and learned classical guitar. About 1985 I wanted to try the violin, and bought a used one and learned to play it well enough to enjoy it. In 1989 I bought a used flute at a hock shop, but I never took the time to learn to play it until years later.
I have never been good at playing music with other people, or for other people (other than when I was an organist in church), but I have mostly used my music for my own enjoyment and peace of mind. I can enjoy simply sitting at the piano (or organ, or whatever) and just improvising. I have also enjoyed writing songs. I also had some private students in 1991-1992, in piano, guitar, mandolin and voice.
I also enjoy cooking and baking, especially sourdough breads. I enjoy computer programming, playing cards, reading, shopping at thrift stores, and being alone in the silence of nature. My interests in reading are history, biography, popularized science, psychology, philosophy, the occult, and well-written fiction. I love books and can sit for hours simply browsing in an encyclopedia. I like to shop for books in thrift shops. I have never wanted expensive or stylish things and, probably because for so many years I did not have much money, I have always tried to spend my money carefully.
After I no longer believed in Mormonism I occasionally attended church services at more traditional churches: the Unitarian Church in Baltimore, various Catholic churches in Munich, and the Congregationalist church in Berkeley (a few times), but it was more for the entertainment or social value, as one would attend a concert or a dramatic performance. In Munich some of my German friends and I had become interested in the Ouija board and got some very interesting and astonishing results. Over the years I did a great deal of reading in magic, sorcery, witchcraft, ESP, reincarnation, Buddhism, Lamaism, astrology, the Tarot, yoga, out-of-body experiences, UFOs and all kinds of other occult and esoteric subjects. I also read a great deal in popularized material about nuclear physics, astronomy, quantum mechanics, anthropology, and Einstein's theories, especially as they deal with time, space and the nature of the universe (all in books written for the layman, of course). As a result of my experiences and readings I came to realize how little we know and how little we are aware of the universe we live in. I came also to believe that we greatly underestimate and - contradictory as it may sound - overestimate the powers of the human mind. I think that probably all our society's traditional notions of "God" are quite far off the mark. I also have no fear whatsoever of death or whatever may come.
I have been very fortunate to have had a generally happy life, filled with good fortune. Neither I nor anyone in my family has suffered great tragedy, misery, unbearable loss or been forced to live an intolerable life. We have all enjoyed relative prosperity, largely from the good luck to have been born (this time, at any rate) in a place and at a time when it is not a rarity for human beings to be able to live in comfort, peace and happiness. We have enjoyed good health, largely, I believe, through good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have enjoyed moderate success in the things I have set out to do, and my failures have been tolerable and, in the last analysis, valuable learning experiences.
Update - July 2012In 1997 my father died, and my mother followed nine months later, in 1998. I gave the eulogy at both his and her funerals.
In 1997 the local theater group produced my original play "Red Roses, White Roses", based on events in my parents' family, which ran for twelve performances and received excellent reviews. After my first appearances on the local stage, I continued to act. In addition to the plays already mentioned, I had the following roles:
To help me learn lines for parts, I wrote a computer program that allows me to "run lines" without help from another person. I called it "Prompter."
- 1995 The Man Who Came To Dinner - Sheridan Whiteside
- 1996 Hay Fever - David Bliss
- 1997 Barefoot In The Park - Mr. Velasco
- 1997 Three Viewings - Emil
- 1999 Prisoner of Second Avenue - Mel
- 2001 Cat On A Hot Tin Roof - Big Daddy
About 1997 we got Internet access. In browsing the web I discovered other people who had left the Mormon church. A group of them were gathering once a year in Las Vegas, and I attended in February 1998. I realized that I could be useful to people leaving the church, and so I became quite active in the exmormon Internet community. The group was very unorganized, however, so in 2001 I took it upon myself to set up a non-profit organization, The Exmormon Foundation, which has continued to hold an annual convention each year, usually in October. I served two terms as its president, and have given several presentations at its conferences.
David finally decided in 2001 to return to college, to pursue a career as a veterinarian. We therefore sold off most of the Angus herd, keeping only about 20 head. He completed his bachelor degree at Oregon State and was accepted into the veterinary school, but had difficulty maintaining the necessary grades, and did not complete the program.
In 2005 I was invited to write the drama reviews of local stage productions for the Roseburg newspaper, the News-Review. A few months later I also began writing an opinion column for the paper, "The View From The Hill," appearing on alternate Sundays. I gave up the theater reviews in 2009, but as of this writing I still do the Sunday column.
© 1998, 2012 Richard Packham