My family left
Ridgewood sometime in August for the drive to Cornell at
Ithaca, New York.
There are two possible routes:
One north to Albany and then west to Syracuse via
the NY Thruway and then south to Cornell
Or, the second route northwest to Binghamton and
then on to Ithaca.
We took the second route.
We made a stop probably somewhere around Binghamton to get
something to eat at a small local restaurant. That
restaurant had the best cheeseburgers I had ever had
before then and possibly up to today. While at the
restaurant, I met a girl named Nancy Reisner who was with
her mother. They were also on their way to Cornell. She is
the only girl I remember dating my first year. More about
Cornell University is spectacularly
beautiful. It is located on 'the hill' overlooking the city
of Ithaca and Cayuga Lake. Cayuga Lake is one of the
Finger Lakes created by glaciers during the Ice Age.
Those same glaciers also gouged out two beautiful gorges, on
on either side of the campus.
located on 'The Hill' overlooking Lake Cayuga
Gorge with Cascadilla Trail (on the right)
Our schedule was to get
me moved in to my freshman dorm in plenty of time to show
up at orientation.
is University Hall which is located at the bottom of
a rather steep hill, called 'Libe Slope' we had to
traverse to get to the main campus.
My Freshman dorm was located in a building behind
University Hall which has since been demolished to
make room for new buildings.
My freshman dorm roommate was Art Harron
who strangely enough also graduated from Ridgewood High
School in 1959. Art was also on a full NROTC
scholarship. Art was entering the Statler Hilton College
of Hotel Administration. He was a starter on the
Ridgewood High soccer team.
This was the Libe Slope Hill which challenged us at least
looking up toward Willard Straight Hall and the
looking down toward
University Hall and the Freshman Dorm
Orientation was held in Barton Hall.
Barton Hall was a cavernous space where many indoor
sports such as basketball and indoor track and other
large events such as guest speakers were held. I
was present for a speech by President Dwight D.
Eisenhower which was held there. I spent a lot of time
at Barton Hall as it was where the NROTC Unit was
located and all my NROTC drills and classes were held.
Most of my classes were held in buildings
on the beautiful College of Arts and Sciences Quadrangle
(Arts Quad). My Geology related classes were held
in McGraw Hall which was located in the middle on the
left of the Arts Quad image. Willard
Straight Hall was the Student
Services Center where the cafeteria was located and most
club activities where held. After eating in the
cafeteria in the winter, we would often take a tray and
use it to slide down the Libe Slope.
Sciences College Quad
This is a photo I took of McGraw Hall on
the Arts Quad
Freshman Year Academics: Fall Term
Introduction to Reading and Writing
Freshman writing course taken by freshman in most colleges
goal was to get a B in my relevant courses for my Geology
American National Government
Lectures by Clinton Rossiter. See note below
Analytical Geometry and Calculus
75 Accelerated course
for math and science majors
NAV S 101
NROTC courses helped my grade average in most cases
mean grade average for the College of Arts and Sciences was
was one of my best professors at Cornell.
surveyed the basic concepts of a federal republic as
expressed in the Constitution and explained by
Madison and Hamilton in the Federalist papers.
Professor Rossiter also described how the power of
the American Presidency was developed from the
original founders (Washington, John Adams, Thomas
Jefferson, and James Madison) through Andrew Jackson
and Lincoln on to the 1960s.
of course is one of the reasons why Cornell is such
and outstanding university. GOVT 101 is an
introductory course taught by a true scholar.
Someone of Professor Rossiter's fame would only
be available to Government majors and grad
Freshman Lightweight Crew
summer, I was considering what sport I might try at Cornell.
I came up empty with any reasonable choices. But,
during Orientation, I found some students at a table in
Barton Hall who were providing information about
rowing at Cornell. I found out that there were two
types of men's crew: men's heavyweight and men's lightweight
(there was no women's crew at that time). The typical
heavyweight crewman was about 6'3" tall, weighed about
210lbs and had 38" arms. I was 5'11", weighed about
165, and had 33" arms. Not a difficult choice. I added
my name to the list for a lightweight meeting the next day.
There were about 125 guys at the first meeting.
The coach reviewed the difficult fall and winter
training schedule and that we would have only a limited
amount of time actually rowing on the inlet and would
have no competition in the fall. Only about 25 students
returned the next day. The second day the staff
covered the training table requirements (low carbs, low
fat, no fried foods), described indoor training facility
(The Tanks) located in a facility on the hill, and
arranged a bus tour the next day. The tour
consisted of touring the boat house at the bottom of the
hill on the inlet. We also got our schedules for
training in 'The Tanks'. We were expected to check in at
'The Tanks' every day and record our runs for the day
(three to five miles, six days a week) and then check in
for our tank training that day if scheduled.
(indoor training facility)
(similar to this one)
Inside the Boat
| This is a
picture I took of the inside of our boat house in
Tank Training: The speed of the
water in the trough next to the rowing positions could
be increased or decreased as desired by the coach who
could position himself next to each rower in sequence
making observations and corrections. The running was not
a problem for me as I was in good shape and had
excellent endurance. Also, running was a great break
from going to class and studying. After a few weeks in
'The Tanks' though, it was clear that I had to increase
my strength and significantly improve my rowing
technique if I wanted to be competitive. I had no crew
experience while most of the other guys had rowed on
their high school or private school rowing teams. There
are basically three groups of rowers in an eight man
shell; the two strokes in the stern 8 and 7 had to have
excellent technique, the next four ( 6, 5, 4, and
3 were the power rowers), 2 and 1 in the bow had
to have excellent control of the oars particularly in
choppy water. An eight man lightweight crew had to
average 150 lbs at weigh-in prior to a race. The
power four would be at 155, so 7, 8, 1, and 2 had to
average about 145. It soon became clear that I was
not going to be competitive four the power four and it
was unlikely that I could beat out the stokes; Bob
Blakley at 8 and Felix with four years experience at
Exeter at 7. So, my only chance was for one of the two
positions at the bow. But, I worked very hard and after
Winter Break it looked like I might be able to complete
with Felix for the number 7 starboard stroke. By the
time the ice melted on the inlet, I was #7 and Felix was
toward the bow. I was surprised that I beat out Felix
because at the time of the move, Felix had just been
selected by the Chi Psi fraternity and the coach, a
graduate student was a Chi Psi.
In the Inlet
On the choppier
The spring racing
season only lasted about eight weeks. It started on
the inlet with races between about four colleges. We
were able to race on the lake at the end of spring.
We had several away races at Harvard, Princeton and
the IRA Regatta. The winning crew member received
the shirts from their opposing number from the
losing crews. I think I only was handed one
group of shirts. The weigh in before a race was on a
Friday afternoon. I usually had to make it down to
145 so the power four could make it at 155.
After weigh in, we ate a lot of steak, had
several milkshakes, and drank a lot of water to
rehydrate. By race time on Saturday, the
average weight was about 165 per man. Before
the race just before we put the shell in the water,
we each took a couple of some kind of pills
(probably salt tablets) and passed a quart of honey
from bow to stern; the coxswain got the dregs. The
coxswain's job was to get as much out of the crew as
possible during the race by giving us power 10s to
get caught up or hold a lead as required. A power 10
was not to increase the rowing rate but to increase
our effort by a factor of 10 in 10 strokes. All
Cornell crews were considered power crews as opposed
to high rowing rate crews. We lightweights
usually started a race at 36 to 38 strokes a minute
but settled down at about 34 for the body of the
race. A lower stroke worked better in rougher
water. The coxswain didn't
do his job during a race if at least one oarsman
didn't pass out at the finish line.
is a picture of the 1959 Freshman Heavyweight crew
not the 1960 Freshmen Lightweight crew that I was
part of. I have a picture somewhere of our
crew and will post it as soon as I find it.
Our race shirts were the same though!
crew certificate for 1960
Freshman Year Social Life
There was not much time
for a social life during my fall Freshman semester due to
the amount of time I had to devote to crew. Also, I was not
supposed to drink alcohol as part of the lightweight crew
training table standards. So, most of my time was spent
either going to class or studying (We were expected to spend
four hours studying or reading for every one hour in class).
I tried to get at least six hours of sleep at night. I
didn't spend much time "drinking with the boys" because I
simply didn't have the time. Many Freshman from states
with a drinking age of 21 went a little overboard when being
in a state with a drinking age of 18. I didn't have
that problem because I had dealt with it when in high
school. I did go to a bar down the road from the dorm on a
couple of occasions for a few beers.
What little time I had for dating was spent with Nancy
Reisner on study dates at the library. Walking her from
Risely Hall (Freshman girls' dorm back then) to the library
and back was our only time to get better acquainted. She was
a terrific hand holder. We might have enjoyed some kissing
but that was it. The closeness of our relationship
increased though and was significant enough that she invited
me to meet her parents during Winter Break.
The presidential election was held
on November 8th, 1960. John F. Kennedy
defeated incumbent Vice President Richard M.
Nixon. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the incumbent
An interesting and historic aspect of this election
was that, JFK's running mate was Senate Majority
Leader Lyndon Johnson who Kennedy had defeated for
the Democratic nomination. To get a better
understanding of the Democratic party politics of
that time involving Senate Majority Leader Lyndon
Johnson and the Freshman Senator from Massachusetts,
John F. Kennedy, I recommend you read Robert Cato's
biography of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4, "The Years of
Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power".
I was not particularly interested
in that election. I was too preoccupied with my
academics and participation in crew to have time for
politics. I considered myself a moderate Republican
who respected General Eisenhower. But, I knew
little about his Vice President, Richard Nixon. I
would have most likely voted for JFK though if I had
been old enough to vote. I knew that he was
Harvard graduate (1940) who had joined the
Naval Reserve and served admirably in PT Boats in
the Pacific during World War II. In my
opinion, JFK was a "breath of fresh air"
compared to Nixon and Johnson. I would change my
view of Richard Nixon later in 1972 when as
President, he ended the war in Vietnam.
Richard Nixon, despite his paranoia concerning
national politics, proved to be a gifted
international politician who understood the role of
the United States in the world balance of power.
understand President Johnson's life and political
motivation, it is helpful to read all four volumes
of Robert Caro's
biography of Lyndon Johnson.
Volume 1. Johnson's
early years growing up in the high country of
Volume 2. Johnson's life as a Congressman and
his relationship with Speaker of the House,
Johnson's life as a Senator and his relationship
with Senator Richard Russell.
Volume 4. "The Passage of Power".
President Johnson's goal of passing "Great Society" legislation
difficulty in coming to terms with his
role as Commander in Chief for the
understand President Richard Nixon's role as
Commander in Chief during the Vietnam war, I chose
to review it through the eyes of his National
Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger in his book "The
White House Years".
President Nixon understood
that the way to limit Russian and Chinese
support to North Vietnam was through bilateral
negotiations with Russia through things like the
SALT talks and through Nixon's eventual
expansion of our relations with China through
his visit to China in May,1972.
home in Ridgewood in December after fall semester was over
and the last crew training session was completed. I
don't remember having any "homesickness" during my first
semester in college. Perhaps since I was used to
moving so often during my childhood, I was less affected by
going off to college than the kids who had lived all their
lives in the same place when they were young. But, I
really enjoyed coming home for the Christmas season and
seeing my parents, Barbara, my paternal grandmother, Ma Mo
and Jeff if he joined us from Dartmouth. We had a
tradition on Christmas Eve of gathering around the upright
piano while my mother played and we all sang Christmas
carols. I don't remember what I did on New Years Eve that
sure of the date in January; but I visited Nancy Reisner and
her parents on Long Island. I clearly remember that Nancy
Reisner's father, Judge Reisner, was watching either the
north/south or blue/gray all star football game on his color
TV in his den/office. This was the first time I had
seen a color TV. The color was primitive and the focus
imperfect. I had little time to talk with Judge
Reisner before he made the following statement: "You seem
like a nice fellow Mr. Smith but, I want you to know that my
daughter will not marry a "Gentile". He was pretty
clear that it was a waste of my time to continue to pursue
his daughter. I guess I didn't have the motivation to
challenge Judge Reisner and continue on with Nancy. I
can't remember how we ended our relationship. I hope on good
terms realizing we both had plenty to concentrate on rather
than trying to change her family's objection to our
dating. Or, it might have just faded as we both
entered the fraternity/sorority rush season in the spring.
Freshman Year Academics: Spring Term
Introduction to Reading and Writing
Analytical Geometry and Calculus
for math and science majors
Seapower and Orientation
NAV S 102
71.6 *Note: Impact of
crew and fraternity rush
Even though I only had low 60 grades in the Government 101
and 104, they were two of the best courses I took at
Cornell. When I purchased a copy of the" Federalist Papers"
later in retirement, I chose an edition that featured an
Introduction written by Professor Clinton Rossiter.
Note: The mean grade average for the College of Arts and
Sciences at that time was about 78. My grade average of 71.6
was about the 30th percentile for my class; not all that
terrible considering the academic skill level of Cornell
students. I decided that my grade goals would be 80s in my
Geology courses and high 80s or 90s in my Navy Courses so
that I could afford mid 70 grades in my electives. I decided
to take challenging and interesting electives even though I
didn't have the time to devote to those courses to get
grades in the 80s.
Fraternity Rush Season:
Rush season began my Freshman year during spring term
sometime about March. Prospective pledges for
individual fraternities/sororities were invited to social
gatherings at each house. I don't have any idea how each
fraternity or sorority get their initial lists. But
each fraternity and sorority has an idea about what they
were looking for in a prospective addition to their "house".
I ended up pledging Phi Kappa Psi. Phi Psi is a large
national fraternity. But that wasn't the reason I
pledged Phi Psi. I liked the fact that Phi Psi at Cornell
was very inclusive. Inclusivity was not necessarily a
politically correct concept back then. But Cornell was a
very diverse student body and some fraternities and
sororities reflected that diversity. Others did not.
There were fraternities that were 100% Jewish. There
were fraternities and sororities that were 100% Caucasian.
There were some fraternities that reflected private school
student sources rather than students that came from public
schools. Phi Psi wasn't like those. Phi Psi had
students from all the colleges, stressed academics and
participation in intramural sports. There were fraternities
that favored athletes from particular sports such as
football players at Delta Upsilon. Phi Psi had one football
player. Phi Psi had it's share of crew, lacrosse, and
wrestling athletes. It wasn't by mistake that students from
these sports liked Phi Psi because Phi Psi had a great cook
who provided a training table optional menu. My freshman
roommate and friend Art Harron pledged Sigma Chi another
great fraternity nationally and at Cornell. Another
fraternity popular with crew athletes was Chi Psi. All these
fraternities had a good balance between social and academic
Rush week was time consuming but I found it to be an
enjoyable experience in that you met lots of upperclassmen
and other freshmen you wouldn't ordinarily cross paths with.
Once you had been selected by your fraternity, the rest of
the spring term required a lot of time going through the
process of pledging. There were fraternity Greek related
rituals to learn and some hazing. The pledges also found it
mandatory to conduct a few pledge raids to places like
Risely Hall, the freshmen girls' dorm and even our own
The Phi Psi house back then was located on
312 Thurston Avenue on the opposite side of Cascadilla
Gorge from the main campus.
This is an old
faded snapshot of the Phi Psi house on Thurston Avenue
I took back then.
This is an attempt to colorize the
image using Photo Shop Elements 2020
Phi Psi moved
from 312 Thurston Ave. to a location below Libe
slope after I left Cornell. The old house was
replaced by the Thurston Court student apartments
you see here in this image.
There was also
a beautiful trail along Cascadilla Gorge.
There was a
suspsension bridge nearby the house over the
Cascadilla gorge. It provided a beautiful and exciting walk,
especially when it would swing in a high wind.
accepted as brothers in the fraternity after the pledging
period was completed. We began eating most of our
lunches and dinners in the fraternity but continued to live
in the dorms. The acceptable dress for meals was informal at
lunch (button down shirt, crew neck sweater and jeans) and
coat and tie for dinner except Wednesday and Sunday dinners
when a three piece suit was required. Guests and dates were
invited on Wednesdays and Sundays. Drinks such as Manhattans
and Martinis were served prior to dinner and a special meal
was always prepared by the cook. On one Wednesday a month,
we had a 'Book and Bowl' dinner which involved inviting
faculty members and dates to dinner with discussions
afterwards with brandy and cigars or pipes. I especially
enjoyed those 'Book and Bowl' discussions. We each had a
"Big Brother" who monitored our progress through pledging
and during the remainder of the spring term. We each
recognized his help by making a pledge paddle. Here is
a picture of the one I made for my "Big Brother", Dave
Shanks, who was a member of the varsity heavyweight crew. I
still have it hanging in my home office. The pledge
traditionally keeps his paddle after presenting it to his
We made our living arrangements for our sophomore year
before we left for the summer. The sophomore class lives in
My Freshman summer was exceptionally busy. I really can't
figure out how I fit it all in. That summer consisted
primarily of three significant events; a week or
two at Cape Cod camping at Nickerson State Park, going on my
Third Class Midshipman Training cruise onboard the USS Essex
(CVS-9) aircraft carrier, and an extemporaneous hitch hiking
trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Cape Cod camping vacation trip at Nickerson State Park:
I know we went on a camping trip at Nickerson State Park on
Cape Cod because that is when I carved my pledge paddle for
my Phi Psi 'Big Brother', Dave Shanks. I know that for
sure because I cut my index finger on my left hand quite
severely while carving the paddle. It bled a great deal and
I had to have several stitches to close the wound. The
carving chisel actually bounced off inside of the knuckle
bone. You can still barely make out the scar almost sixty
years later. Jeff states that he was not with us on this
trip but I'm not certain whether Barbara was with us or not.
I suspect she might have but I'm relying on Barbara
telling me more about this trip after reading this.
Midshipman Training cruise onboard the USS Essex (CVS-9)
NROTC midshipmen were required to spend four to six weeks
after their Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior years as part of
the scholarship program. The Third Class training
(after Freshman year) consisted of going on an active US
Navy ship learning what it was like to be an enlisted person
on a navy ship. We lived in an enlisted berthing
compartment, ate our meals in the enlisted mes hall, studied
the Fireman and Seaman, and Airman (if on a carrier) course
books, and stood watches appropriate each of these
ratings. Some midshipmen were assigned to destroyers.
Luckily, my assigned ship was the World War Two aircraft
carrier, USS Essex (CVS-9). CVS stood for Aircraft Carrier
Anti Submarine. A CVS had anti submarine aircraft and
helicopters in its deck load of aircraft. I say luckily
because I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to go to
flight training after I finished Cornell and was
commissioned an Ensign.
I reported onboard USS Essex (CVS-9) at Pier 34 (I think) on
the west side of Manhattan on the Hudson River probably in
early July after our short camping trip to Cape Cod. . That
was very convenient because my parents were able to drive me
from Ridgewood across the George Washington Bridge and down
the Westside Highway (AKA the Henry Hudson Parkway) and see
their son off on the first cruise of his navy career.
purpose of the cruise was to acquaint the midshipmen with
the responsibilities of various enlisted rating specialties
and their associated watch standing duties aboard the ship.
The Essex was a steam powered ship so the engineering
ratings included Boiler Techs in the boiler room, and
Machinest mates in the main engineering spaces including the
steam turbines, shaft spaces, etc. We also learned about the
various jobs of the Boatswains on deck including the
anchors and anchor windless, refueling at sea, the
ships' boats, etc. We learned about the ship weapons
systems and ordnance handling. We stood deck watches on the
bridge such as the helmsman, lookout, bearing takers etc. We
observed the operation of the flight deck (catapults,
arresting gear, and flight and hangar deck aircraft
management) and the meanings of the various colored shirts
worn on the flight and hangar deck; yellow- director,
white-safety, green-maintenance, brown-plane captain,
purple- fuels, and red-ordnance.
Our working uniform consisted of the standard dungaree
enlisted uniform of that time; blue chambray long sleeved
shirt with white T shirt underneath, seafarer dungarees with
dark navy web belt and silver belt buckle, and either black
leather shoes (office) or leather boots (engineering and
flight and hanger decks), and the traditional "dixie cup"
Except that our Midshipman cap had a 1/2 inch navy
blue stripe on the rim.
We also wore the midshipman service dress khaki uniform with
or without the jacket consisting of: khaki long sleeved
short, jacket and pants, black leather shoes, midshipman
collar devices, shoulder boards with one 1/4" gold stripe,
and either the fore and aft cap or traditional officer hat
with a 1/4" gold chin strap and khaki cover. For important
social occasions we wore the service dress white uniform
(AKA 'Choker Whites')
consisting of high colored white jacket with 1/4" gold
stripe on each shoulder board, white trousers, white shoes,
and white officers hat with 1/4" gold chin strap. We also
brought some civilian informal clothing for wear on liberty.
We had one liberty port; Halifax, Nova
The star shaped structure on the hill in picture on the
right was called the Citadel. The area in the upper middle
of the picture where the white ships are in the picture was
the pier area where the Essex was located when we were in
Halifax. This was my first experience in a country other the
the USA. But, there were more similarities that
differences. The Canadians I met were very interested in our
American politics; maybe even more interested than the
average American. There were two standout events events that
I remember very clearly about Halifax.
First was that they held a Tea Dance
for the midshipmen and available young ladies from the
Tea Dances were popular in the 1950s and early 1960s. They
were rather formal affairs and traditionally featured
ballroom type dancing. But by 1959, the bands were usually
'Brass Bands' that played both slow and swing type
music. We midshipmen were wearing our "Choker Whites".
The young ladies wore nice cocktail type dresses. The
amazing thing was that the mothers and fathers of these
young ladies were very interested in their 18 year old
daughters meeting a fine young navy midshipman.
I met Averil Peers at the Tea Dance. Averil's home was
Halifax; her father was the Harbor Master for the port. But
Averil spend most of her year in Toronto at the Royal
Conservatory of Music there. She lived with a fine family
who owned the local Baldwin Piano distributorship in
Toronto. Averil was an accomplished classic pianist.
But that night at the Tea Dance, she was out for a good
time. And, she got it from me. It was a special night for
both of us and we spent the rest of the port visit doing
things together; going to the beach and just hanging out.
When Essex departed Halifax, the citadel was covered with
women (some from Montreal, ladies of the night who had come
to meet sailors) and other young ladies their families
(Averil's included) who were waving goodby the the
midshipmen they had met at the Tea Dance. We midshipmen were
in formation in our Choker Whites just in front of the
flight deck island for our grand departure. Just as we
moved away from the pier, we felt the flight deck "shake" a
bit. It was only our second experience getting away from a
pier, so we didn't think much about it.
Averil was a terrific correspondent. I think she wrote a
letter to me every day. These were not brief notes. They
were usually about ten pages long and were full of great
descriptions of her emotions and news of what was
going on in Halifax post Essex visit. The first shock
was in her first letter. It contained newspaper clippings
with photographs describing the damage incurred by a
building pier side as the Essex starboard front corner of
the flight deck cut through a corner of the
building. I guess that was the 'shaking' we felt while
we were in formation. Luckily, there were no injuries
as that portion of the building was not occupied.
Our correspondence continued that summer and I promised that
I would come to Toronto the first chance I got after
returning to Cornell. I had thought a lot about
Averil as our training was coming to an end on Essex and we
were returning to New York City. I had decided not to wait
to to the fall to visit Averil. I decided to visit her
in Halifax before she left for Toronto. My parents picked me
up at the pier. I told them about Averil and my plan to
visit her in Halifax. They couldn't believe that I was
serious. But, I was!!
Hitch hiking trip to
Halifax, Nova Scotia
I think I only hung around Ridgewood for a day or two before
leaving on my adventure. My father bet me $20 that I would
be unsuccessful and I would return home with "may tail
between my legs". I left early the next morning
wearing my service dress khaki uniform; took the train from
Ridgewood to Grand Central Station in The City, took a train
to Providence, Rhode Island, hitch hiked to Quonset Point
Naval Air Station where I got a ride on an navy cargo
aircraft to Brunswick, Maine. I got to Brunswick in the late
afternoon and hitch hiked to Bar Harbor, Maine arriving just
before sunset. I spent the night at a quaint hotel. The
daughter of the woman who ran the hotel was impressed by my
uniform and kept me company. I got up early (new underwear
and socks) still in my service dress khakis and took to Blue
Nose ferry from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
I arrived in Yarmouth late morning and after a short ride
from a minister, I lucked out and was picked up by a woman
and her high school aged son. After hearing my story, they
altered their route and drove me all the way to Halifax.
They dropped me off in front of Averil's house just before
sunset. The time elapsed from Ridgewood to Averil's
front door was about 36 hours. I had not told Averil of my
plans to visit her in Halifax in case I failed in my
endeavor. So, she nearly passed out when she opened the
door. Her parents were not at home and would not be for a
couple of days. I stayed with her and we had a fantastic
time but we were quite proper, separate rooms and all.
We spent our days at the beach or going on hikes to places
like the lighthouse above. Her parents arrived back home and
were impressed that I had pulled off the trip to visit their
daughter. They were quite pleased actually. I
gave Averil a midshipman collar device and she was
officially my new girl friend. Her father, as the
Harbor Master of Halifax, was able to arrange passage for me
on a cruise ship from Halifax to New York.
in New York harbor
The cruise ship was the Queen Frederika from Athens. It was
full of prospective college students from Greece and Italy
(mostly girls) and their families. I was the only college
aged American male on the ship. The three day/two
night trip to New York from Halifax was more than a lot of
fun. I've never seen people eat so much in my life. The
dinner meals in tourist class went on for hours followed by
dancing. I had called my parents from Halifax and they met
the Queen Fredrika when we docked in New York. My father had
my $20 ready for me.
I only had a few days in Ridgewood before I had to drive to
Ithaca. I dove my new (used
car), a 1951 Studebaker coupe. My sister retained use
of my 1950 Ford (The Blue Bomb). Sophomores were allowed to
have cars as long as they parked them at their
fraternity/sorority/dorm. Underclassmen were not allowed to
park on campus; (and are still not allowed).
My 1951 Studebaker coupe was similar to the one
pictured here except mine was a darker gray color;
Psi, we had two man study
rooms and each of us had a bed in the third floor sleeping
dorm. My roommate was Dick Gibson. Dick was from Rochester,
NY. He was a member of the lacrosse team and would go on to
be an All American center mid fielder. My bed in the
sleeping dorm was opposite the door ut to a porch off the
roof. The sleeping dorm was not heated and the this door had
to open at all times. In winter, the dorm was very cold. My
bed was vulnerable to snow that could blow in through the
door. Electric blankets were unwise if you wanted to avoid
electrocution! Lots of layers was the key.
Surprisingly, almost no one got colds sleeping in this
environment. In fact, most people experienced excellent
sleep in the dorm.
Sophomore Year (September 1960 to May 1961)
I decided over the summer not to return to compete for a
position in the varsity lightweight crew. Crew was a
great experience. But, I decided that I didn't have time to
participate in crew and accomplish my academic goals.
I also was interested in trying out for the Cornell
Men's Glee Club and Cornell Chorus.
Cornell Men's Glee
Club and Cornell Chorus
The Cornell Men's Glee Club was founded
in 1868 as shown in the logo. I tried out for the
Glee Club to renew my interest in singing and because
they had a great reputation and were planning a tour of
the Soviet Union.The Director of the Glee Club was
Thomas Sokol. He was the Director from 1957 through
1995. We practiced in Sage Chapel (pictured above)
and gave local performances.
Academics: Fall Term
*Inorganic Chemistry. Professor Michell Sienko (he was my
5 hours of verbal French (small class), one hour of French
grammar (in English)
N SCI 201
For Physics and physical science
69.25 (must have been averaged up to a 70 because I
was not put on probation)
Professor Sienko was the co-author of the Chemistry Textbook
(Sienko and Plane). Many colleges used this textbook for
their Chemistry majors' introductory
courses. Professor Sienko's course integrated inorganic
chemistry with solid state physics which was perfect for a
geology major. I happily waited in line for a chance
to talk with Professor Sienko during his office hours. As he
was also my academic advisor, I saw him one on one more that
most students. What a privilege! He was also my guest
at Phi Psi for one of our Book and Bowl' Wednesday dinners.
Although I didn't do well grade wise in my two physics
courses at Cornell, I learned a great deal which provided me
with an excellent understanding of how nature works; ie.
energy, motion, density, gravitational force, fluid dynamics
etc. Understanding these concepts well enabled me to do well
in aerodynamics in navy flight training, thermal dynamics in
a ship's main engine turbine system training, and most of
all in the fluid dynamics involved in all three phases of
Earth Systems Science; the Earth (geology), atmosphere
(meteorology), and the ocean and streams.
Hans Bethe left Germany before WW2 and came to
Cornell. He was the creative force behind the
excellence of the Cornell Physics Department from
1935 until his retirement in 1975. He won the Nobel
Prize for Physics in 1967 for his work on energy
production in stars.
I was privileged to sit on several Hans Bethe
lectures during my Physics 107 and 108 courses.
French turned out to be very difficult for me. The language
requirement when I applied to Cornell was that you had to
take a 6 hour course for two semesters of a foreign language
and then take the SAT 2 in that language and get a score
greater than 650. If a student passed the two
semesters but did not get a score of >650 on the SAT 2,
the student had to take a remedial course, in my case French
191 and pass. While I was enrolled at Cornell, they changed
the graduation requirement requiring a student to pass the
remedial course and then score > 650 on the SAT 2.
I did not score >650 on the SAT 2 so they said I couldn't
I wrote an appeal to the Dean of the College of Arts and
Sciences arguing that I should be held to the language
requirement which existed when I agreed to enroll and not
held to a more stringent requirement put into effect while I
was at Cornell. The Dean granted my appeal and I got
Sophomore Fall Term Social Life:
Most of my social life my sophomore year centered on parties
at my Phi Psi fraternity. However, there were two
significant events that dominate my memory:
1. Going to Toronto to meet up with Averil Peers:
Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I didn't waste much time seeing Averil Peers again. Sometime
early in the fall, I drove to Toronto on a Saturday
morning after my 8:00 am French class in my 1951 Studebaker
coupe via Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Averil was a concert
pianist studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music.
She was living with a very well to do family in
Toronto I arrived at their home about 7:00 pm to pick
up Averil. We were planning to go to a movie. The
father of the house wanted to know what sort of place I
planned to take Averil to dressed so informally. I was
wearing khaki pants, loafers, an oxford button down shirt
with a crew neck sweater; quite adequate in my mind for a
movie; but not his!! He made me feel awkward but not
inferior. What a pompous a__! . Despite the poor
start, Averil and I had a good time. I think we skipped the
movie and she took me to a club she knew about. I promised
to invite her to attend a big weekend at Phi Psi. I
don't remember the particulars. But, I know Averil was
planning to come to Cornell for a weekend and bring a girl
friend. But, it never worked out and I didn't see Averil
2. Fall Weekend: Major party weekends such as Fall
Weekend and Spring Weekend usually went like this; The
"imported" girls from other locations would arrive on Friday
afternoon; they must have skipped their Friday and Saturday
classes if they were from other colleges. We split the
house; girls on one side, brothers on the other. There was a
staircase by the kitchen that only the girls could use. We
had designated chaperones (usually parents). One of their
jobs was to monitor the girls'' stairs.
The fraternity provided all meals.
Friday night: There was a major party on Friday night
featuring a rock and roll band usually from New York
City. We had quality bands like Joey D and the
Starlighters (Peppermint Twist fame), Fats Domino etc.
Alcoholic beverages were legal as the drinking age in New
York was 18.
Having sex with your date in the fraternity house was a
violation of Phi Psi policy. If you did so and were caught,
you would receive a significant fine from the fraternity
because your conduct was subjecting the fraternity to being
put on social probation for at least one semester by the
university. Social probation meant that the fraternity could
not host any social affairs including dates over for dinner,
"Book and Bowl" type events with faculty and dates, and No
Parties. If you wanted to have sex with your date, you had
to ask one of the brothers who had an off campus apartment
for permission to use his apartment.
Saturday: Surprisingly, to some from other colleges, taking
your date to a Saturday class during a major party weekend
was not unusual. The College of Arts and Sciences offered
very interesting classes on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
at reasonable hours like 10:00am to 11:00am, and 11:00am to
noon which were "date friendly" such as Clinton Rossiter's
American Government, Dennis Healy's British Literature, and
philosophy and psychology classes. The professors of these
classes were aware that dates were there and were on their
game. You didn't skip these classes. They were too
good to miss. After the class, for Fall Weekend, we
would go to the football game and in the Spring to a Glee
Club concert or other activity. Math and physical science
classes were usually scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays, and
Fridays. I skipped my 8:00am French class Fall Weekend!
Saturday Night- Ditto Friday night ..a rock and
roll band usually from New York City (usually the same
band). If there were going to be a chance for things
to get a bit out of hand, it was going to happen on Saturday
night. On occasion, a"congo line" might wend it's way from
the main party room up the girls' stairs, into the sleeping
dorm, out the door on to the roof etc.
Sunday afternoon- Sunday afternoon was the "Milk Punch
Party". The same band was there, the furniture of any
value was removed and stored elsewhere, and the only drink
available was "milk punch". Milk Punch was sort of like
eggnog with a high % of alcohol. Everyone, eventually was
slipping around on the milk punch covered floor. It seemed
like a lot of fun at the time!
Winter Break: The
Men's Glee Club tour of Western Europe and the Soviet
The tour started in early
December and lasted until mid January. We had about 80
Glee Club members, The Director of the Glee Club, Professor
Thomas Sokol, and the University Provost. Robert A. Plane
(my Organic Chemistry professor Spring Term)
Robert A. Plane
We had received several briefings from the US Department of
State before the tour because this was the first tour of the
Soviet Union by a music group in connection with a political
cultural exchange initiative resulting from an agreement
between President Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev. We had
several briefings by officials from the State
Department. They wanted to make sure that we didn't
"screw it up". They wanted to make sure that we understood
that the Russian sense of humor was different than ours.
More on that later. It was advertised as a tour of the
Soviet Union but it was really a tour of two western Russian
cities; Moscow and Leningrad. We did make a unplanned stop
in a Soviet Union "satellite" nation Poland which I'll
explain later. But from here on, I'll describe our
tour and our Russian tour.
We traveled by bus from Ithaca to Syracuse where we boarded
a propeller passenger plane for the planned direct flight to
Moscow. I don't know exactly how long we were in the air,
but it was a very long time; probably about 24 hours.
But we didn't make to Moscow. The weather in Moscow
was bad, so we had to divert to Amsterdam. We arrived
at the Schiphol airport about noon.
We were allowed to deplane and go in to the terminal for the
expected three hour delay. Most of us were in dire
need of orange juice for some reason. Next on our list was
the chat up some dutch girls working at various stores and
snack bars. I expected all the dutch girls to be
blondes but I met a very nice brunette. My best friend
and constant companion on the tour was an upperclassman and
fraternity brother, Bruce Harris. After spending some
time with my brunette friend, Bruce and I went back to the
airplane to continue on to Moscow. However, when we
got back on the plane, the Provost announced that the
weather was still bad in Moscow, so we were going to stay in
Amsterdam and to check in to the Hotel Polen where we would
be staying overnight in two man rooms. The Provost had
barely finished his announcement, when there was a rush to
leave the plane and get back in to the terminal. Bruce and I
met up with my brunette friend and arranged a date.
She told Bruce that he would be very happy with his blind
date and that they would meet us at our hotel lobby.
Bruce and I went to the hotel probably by bus with the rest
of the tour group, checked in and took a nap. We got
up late (about 7:00), dressed quickly and walked down the
stairs to the lobby. There was a lot of noise coming from
the lobby. We found out why when we saw Bruce's blind date,
probably the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. We
claimed our dates and they took us to the night club
district. We went to a jazz club called the Diamond
Club. We sat at a large table with other customers listening
to jazz great, Charlie Byrd. After awhile, we learned
that one of the guests opposite us at the table was Gerry
Mulligan, the famous jazz sax player, who had come from
Paris to hear Charlie play. After leaving the club
about midnight, the girls treated us to some coffee
(strained with toilet paper) at their apartment. We were on
our way back to the Polen an hour or so later. What a great
way to kick off the tour!
next morning, our plane took off but it was a
short trip. Shortly after take off, they announced
that the weather was still bad in Moscow, so we
were diverting to Copenhagen. I don't
remember the name of the Copenhagen hotel. But,
here is a picture of us checking in.
I do recall two aspects of our one night
stop in Copenhagen that are difficult to forget!
First, we went shopping in the
afternoon. The stores were full of beautiful Danish
girls home from college who were shopping for
Christmas. They were very willing to try on clothes
that we told them were prospective gifts for sisters or girl
friends at home. The beauty of those Danish girls was
breathtaking. I bought a seal fur hat for myself to
wear in Russia. I still have that hat.
Second, Bruce and I decided to attend a performance of the
Royal Danish Ballet that evening. We thought that
since we would be associating with the Bolshoi Ballet
in Moscow and were scheduled to see the Royal Ballet in
London, this was an excellent opportunity to get exposed to
another ballet company in Copenhagen. Ballet was new
theater venue for both of us.
We went back to the hotel and changed in to a coat and
tie. When we got to the ballet, it was obvious that we
were over dressed. It turned out that the particular
ballet that night was similar to Shakespeare in the old days
in that it was intended for the general public, not the
elite. Also, it was almost X rated. The dancers wore
flesh colored costumes and performed very sensational
choreography. We were uncomfortable and the Danish attendees
found that humorous. It was definitely not The Nutcracker.
next day, we took off for Moscow and almost got there but
the airport was fogged in so we turned back and landed in
Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw was a big change from Amsterdam
and Copenhagen. First of all, we were restricted to a
non public portion of the airport and would sleep in
whatever chairs we could find. The only Polish people we saw
were employees who avoided us while they were cleaning and
doing other maintenance.
Professor Sokol got us up early and he conducted a
rehearsal in a small room in the airport of the
music we were planning to perform in Russia.
We practiced Orthodox Russian Christmas music in
Russian, folk music in Italian and French, some
gospel music, "Gee Officer Kruptky and other music
from West Side Story, some Cornell songs and also
some traditional western Christmas carols in four
After the rehearsal in the room, we continued singing some
of our music in the airport. As we sang, Polish folks
started coming out of "the woodwork"; first a few, then
more. Quickly the number increased to twenty or so;
eventually finally several hundred. It was incredible!
The response to our singing by our Polish listeners was
enthusiastic and at times extremely heart
warming. Many had tears streaming down their faces as
we sang the Christmas music. The State Department had told
us that Roosevelt dimes would be well received as gifts
during our tour. Many Roosevelt dimes were handed out
snowing and very cold on our arrival. We had no custom
delays because the political nature of our cultural exchange
involved no customs searches coming or going. My
physics professor at Cornell had given me an envelope to
give to a specific professor at Moscow University. No
one checked it. I don't recall the specifics of our
hotel in Moscow but it was clean but very simple. As always,
Bruce Harris was my room mate. It was about December 18th so
we had about 5 or 6 days in Moscow before going to Leningrad
on Christmas Eve.
Sorry that the article is unreadable.
I included it to document that we
actually toured Russia and that is not just a story!
Guides and hosts: We were provided with a group of
"official "Touriste" guides both in Moscow and in
Leningrad. Most were about 25-30 years of age and
spoke exceptionally good English; some even used colloquial
western English. These guides were very friendly and
Early on, our primary guide, Nina, asked why we
were so quiet. They had expected us to be
more enthusiastic. We thought about our
State Department briefings about keeping it low
key. Then the guide remarked "Don't sweat it
guys, it will be real cool". We lightened up after
We also had "hosts" at at all our concerts and tours. These
hosts were generally Western History or English Literature
majors, probably graduate students, from Moscow University
or the University of Leningrad. There was little to no
flirting by either side. The social scene was
very different in Russia. There were plenty of cases
of middle twenty somethings, male and female, walking hand
in hand in the street. Normally, dating did not begin until
the late twenties or thirties at that time in Russia. As a
result, all (or most all) of our social interaction was
about music, ballet, culture etc. There was very little
discussion about politics. Our primary mission was to
perform our music and let the Russian people see who we
Nina is explaining what the plan for the day is
outside of our Tourist Hotel where we stayed.
That serious looking fellow on her left with the hat
is another "guide" Fred was there to keep a close
eye on us, I think.
Our Tourist Hotel
|Our hotel rooms
were sparce but serviceable.
workers enjoyed the concert we gave them.
The Tchaikovsky Conservatory Hall was the
location where Van Cliburn won the piano competition at the
International Tchaikovsky Competition for piano 1958.
We spent a lot of time at the Tchaikovsky
Conservatory. We were privileged to hear both the
Soviet Academic Choir and the Sveshnikof Boys Choir perform.
We also performed some of our material for them. The
Director of the conservatory remarked to Professor Sokol
that our basses were the best he had ever heard. We
had an opportunity to talk to members of the faculty and
choirs about their aspirations and goals.
|The Sveshnikof Boys Choir
The Bolshoi Ballet
We not only enjoyed watching a performance
watched a performance of our official
cultural hosts, The Bolshoi Ballet, but we
also had opportunities to talk with the dancers
(as in the picture to the left). The Bolshoi
Ballet company had traveled widely including the
United States so they knew the reality of western
culture outside of Russia. Many Russians we
met in the street thought that pictures of the New
York City skyline were art and not reality.
The Bolshoi knew differently. But like most
Russians, love of "Mother Russia" and it's
cultural heritage were deep in their souls.
The University of Moscow
We also spent a lot of time performing and watching
performances at The University of Moscow. We felt
their appreciation of our music especially the Russian
Orthodox Church music we sang in Russian. It was Christmas
and although the church was not part of Russian politics, it
was still alive especially with the older Russians. The
crowds went wild for the "Westside Story" music, especially
for the songs "Maria" and "Gee Officer Kruptky".
|One of our
practicing one of his solos
||John Sweeny gets
some make up
receptions with our audiences after most of
Occasionally, we ended up singing to one of
the more attractive young women at the
Exchanging commemorative pins
was very popular.
I am getting "pinned" by this nice young
Russian woman after one of our tours of a
school I think.
We always wore tuxedos for our cncerts but
often wore our Russian Tour blazer for visits.
Gymnastic Demonstration at The
University of Moscow
We were privileged to be able to watch a
gymnastic demonstration at The University of
The athletes we watched were exceptional. I
don't know if they were Olympic caliber
gymnasts or not but they put on a great show
This is a picture of the Glee Club's TV
performance at a Moscow television station.
I don't know how many Russians had the
opportunity to watch it. But, I hope it had a
highlight of our Moscow performances was when we
shared the stage with world famous Russian
violinist, David Oistrakh. He was a
perfectionist. During rehearsals, he would refuse to
start until the hall was perfectly quiet. We would
perform with other other world renown violinist,
Yehudi Menuhin about ten days later in London.
The University of Moscow
I did make a side trip to take the package
from my Cornell Physics professor to the intended
office at the University of Moscow. The professor
there gave me a package to take back to my
I wonder what was in those packages!
Cathedral in Red Square (Kremllin on the left)
(Gum Department Store in background)
Lenin's Tomb in
front of the wall of the Kremlin
(He was still there in 1961)
Red Square with St. Basil's Cathedral was magnificent. The
large square had some shops and many benches. We also
took the opportunity to talk with the Moscovites who
spoke English. There
were some questions about racial riots in the United
States (ie. Little Rock) and lots of interest in why
did the United States find it necessary to fly spy
planes over Russia (Francis Gary Powers' U2
reconnaissance plane was shot down over Russia by a
Guideline SA-2 missile in May 1960). I enjoyed
learning what the average Muscovite thought about
we did not have to wait in this long line to visit
Lenin in his tomb. Our Touriste guides had
permission for us to go the the head of the line.
That was as close as we got to the Kremlin.
(Inside during New Years/Christmas 2014)
Department Store was primarily a display only store when we
were there. Few Russians could afford the goods that were
The subways in Moscow were spectacular.
Statues and murals decorated the stations and the
stations were very clean.
|But, the subways
in Moscow smelled terrible. All Moscovites smoked
these foul smelling cigarettes. You really had to be
concerned when you no longer could smell them
because you knew you smelled bad too.
The food in Moscow in December 1960 was terrible.
There was a shortage of meat and fresh vegetables; even for
consistently best food we had in Moscow was Borscht with
bread and Vodka. The red borscht is made with beets
(vegetable). The borscht on the right is made with
cabbage. If they had any bits of old beef, they would add
that. It was cold in Moscow. So, the hot borscht and
vodka hit the spot.
Leningrad on Christmas Eve
We took the famous "Red
Arrow" overnight train from Moscow to Leningrad (now St.
Petersburg) on Christmas Eve.
We traveled with our guides in standard cars. I don't know
where Professor Sokol and the Provost were; probably in a
sleeper (Pulman) car. We spent the night sitting on the
velvet benches and on the floor in groups. The discussions
varied from "were our Russian guides really aethiests or
not", the evils or benefits of rock and roll music, jazz;
you name it. It was an indicator that things would be
different in Leningrad; more relaxed honest discussion. Even
first day in Leningrad (with no sleep) was amazing! We
checked into our hotel upon arrival. I don't remember
anything about the hotel. Our guides wasted no time in
introducing us to the WW2 history of Leningrad with a visit
to the Hermitage Museum.
The Hermitage Museum museum contains the art and cultural
history of western Russia and Europe. Every room
inside the Hermitage is spectacular. There is room
after room of European art. Much of the art displayed
was most likely captured from German troops during the end
of World War 2 (WW2). But the Hermitage also displayed the
suffering that the people of Leningrad endured during
Hitler's siege of Leningrad in 1941. During our visit,
the outside walls of the Hermtage still showed the pits and
holes of artillery and machine gun shells that impacted the
walls during the siege; not the nice light green walls in
Moscow was all about Russia in 1961. Leningrad was all about
the suffering during the siege of the winter of 1941.
Dinner at The Astoria Hotel
After returning to our hotel for a brief rest and some
rehearsal, we went to the famous Astoria Hotel for our
The Astoria Hotel wasn't just any hotel. It was the hotel
that Hitler said that he would have his Christmas dinner in
after taking the city after the siege. What was on our menu
that night? It was the same menu that Hitler had
published for his Christmas dinner. Talk about making your
point! It was our luck though as that dinner was the
best meal we had during our entire stay in Russia. We
were seated in a large U shaped table arrangement during our
meal. After finishing eating, we extemporaneously began
singing Christmas carols, Cornell songs, and selections from
our performance repertoire. There were several non
Christians in our group but everyone was in the holiday
spirit. It was sort of an impromptu rehearsal but also our
This is a snap shot of the room and the U
shaped table arrangement we had for our dinner.
There was a loud party going on in the room next to
our room. But, as our singing continued, the music in the
next room stopped and people from that room began coming in
to our room. It was an incredibly moving experience; right
up there with the Warsaw early morning
rehearsal/concert. Music is definitely a
common denominator. I guess that was the whole idea behind
President Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev's cultural
The University of Leningrad
We were accompanied by student hosts from the University of
Leningrad during most of our performances and tours. The
atmosphere had changed from one of interest but formality in
Moscow to more relaxed in Leningrad.
gave a concert at The University of Leningrad.
And we were treated to a fantastic
performance of The University of Leningrad Chorus
At receptions after concerts and visits in Leningrad, we
found that the students in Leningrad were very interested in
what the western Rock and Roll culture was like. The
"official Russian government policy" was that Rock and Roll
was an example of "decadent capitalism! But, most of
our student hosts had backgrounds in music so were curious
about our experiences in Rock and Roll. We, of course,
were ready to participate in this interesting and fun
dialogue. Jazz was becoming a underground culture in
Leningrad while we were there.
Many of us found ourselves invited to small basement private
jazz clubs. Because we were Americans on a cultural exchange
tour, we were considered experts in jazz. Perhaps we
were! My experiences in high school hearing Duke
Ellington and Dave Brubeck at the Basin Street East club on
58th Street East and Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Krupa and Cozy
Cole at the Metropole Cafe in Times Square certainly gave me
a few stories to tell. And, sitting with Jerry Mulligan at
the Diamond Club in Amsterdam listening to Charlie Bryd play
the week earlier was also of great interest to the Leningrad
These opportunities also presented chances for more
personal/social interaction with our hosts. I didn't
experience anything out of the ordinary on these occasions.
But, others did.
We also, made several visits to schools.
We visited numerous schools in small groups.
I particularly enjoyed visiting this girl's primary
school. The teacher and the students spoke some
English so we had a great discussion.
After we visited the classroom, the girls gave us a
concert. They were excellent.
also, made several visits to war shrines in
Leningrad. Remember that WW2 was over only 15
years before our visit.
the Russian cruiser Aurora.
The Aurora was the headquarters for the
counter-revolution in 1918.
A discussion with a Russian Army officer after
of our Leningrad experience was a tour of a factory with a
subsequent performance and reception. I don't remember what
they were producing. But, this was a significant event
because it was the first and only time we were officially
exposed to the Russian "working class". Previously,
almost all of our personal contacts were with musicians,
artists, professors, and students; all of which considered
themselves as part of the "elite class". This was
especially evident at the reception after our concert as the
factory workers and our student hosts `came in contact. I
met several attractive twenty something female "workers",
all of whom seemed to be named Natasha. They were much
more forward than our more reserved hosts. I recall
one event specifically as I showed some distress when one of
the Natashas whom I had been talking with left to talk with
another group. One of the Leningrad students who was
part of my group said to me "Don't worry about it, she's
just a factory worker". I met and spent quite a bit of time
with a very attractive young factory worker at the
reception, named Natasha of course.
Concert and Reception after a Tour a Factory
This is a picture of Natasha and me at the
I met up with that Natasha after the
reception. Although she didn't speak
English, she made it clear that she wanted me to
walk her to her tram station.
Our discussion was in Russian and French.
But somehow we got it done and we left together
into the snowy Leningrad night.
This is not an exact representation of our snowy
Leningrad night. But, its close. Natasha's tram stop
was on the edge of an area of shops, restaurants,
and bars. The tram stop itself was pretty isolated.
After walking over a small bridge from the shops
area, we were looking down a deserted street in the
direction of the expected tram.
and I stopped on the small stone arched bridge before
continuing the thirty or so meters to her tram stop. On the
bridge, we agreed on two things. One, that the Russian word
for moon was luna and two, that she would kiss me when she
got on her tram. Pretty exciting eh! Well it got even
more exciting when a small group of Russian soldiers joined
us at the tram stop after a few vodkas back at one of the
It was obvious that I was an obvious American (by my hair,
shoes and Harris Tweed overcoat). I was about to be
kissed by a young beautiful Russian girl. How would they
feel about that? I hoped that they didn't realize that I was
an American Navy Midshipman Third Class. Well, we were about
to find out. Here comes the tram. Not a problem, it will
probably be a peck and she'll be on her way. Not so, she
was really in to that kiss. I didn't want to
let her go and be harassed by the jealous soldiers. She
finally got on the tram and I turned around obviously
concerned. Rather than go on the attack, they applauded my
accomplishment, took me by the arm back to their bar for a
few vodkas. Phew, what a night to remember.
Flying from Leningrad to London
Our flight (that old prop airplane again) left Leningrad on
December 30th. Despite the fact that we had five great days
in Leningrad, everyone began to celebrate when we were
wheels up. We were leaving snowy beautiful Leningrad, but we
were on our way to real food!
London: (December 30th to about
January 3rd or so):
We stayed in the Berners Hotel in
My fraternity brother, Bruce Harris was once again
my roommate and accompanied me on most of out
The Berners Hotel was a beautiful old style British hotel in
the Soho District of London. We had a spacious bedroom
and spent a lot of time in the Berners Tavern. We were
not scheduled to perform until January 2nd. So we wasted no
time in having a great time.
New Years Eve Party
One of our fraternity brothers, Chris Berry, was from
England. His girl friend, Trina, lived in London so we made
contact immediately. Tina invited us to a New Years Eve
party which was probably the best New Years Eve party I can
remember. Trina's roommate Janet kept me company along
with Bruce and Trina!
We started off in a party in someone's London flat and moved
on in a Land Rover driving around London.
Square is spectacular at night;
especially at Christmas.
Trafalgar Square was packed with party
goers. We parked a few blocks away and
wasted little time getting into the pools
around Lord Nelson's statue.
Bruce and I got back to the hotel about dawn
in time for a few hours sleep before rehearsal
in the afternoon.
1st, 1961 Rehearsal
We had an important rehearsal New
Year's Day afternoon. We had several
major visits,and concerts during our few days
Royal Albert Hall was the location for our
rehearsals and one concert.
Singing in Westminster Abbey was
amazing. The acoustics were fantastic!
|Royal Albert Hall
|Royal Albert Hall-
Most of us managed to get in some touring and
shopping. We visited Bond Street where
some of the best tailors are found in the
world. The cost of wool suits was so low
that many American businessmen could afford to
fly from New York to London and buy a few
suits for the price of the suits alone in the
"The City". I didn't get a suit. But, I bought
a pair of leather Bali formal shoes that I
still have today (almost 60 years later)!
snap shot of downtown London- Jan 1961
snap shot of a red London bus- Jan 1961
Bruce, Trina, Trina's roommate Janet and I
hung out some during our visit to
London. One of the places we went was to
Hyde Park to hear the various speakers try to
convince the crown that their position was
American Embassy on Grosvenor Square
performance was on January 2nd, 1961 as part of the
opening ceremony for the new American Embassy at
Embassy on Grosvenor Square
The American Embassy on Grosvenor Square
opened January 2nd, 1962. I would visit
again in January,1973 when I reported for duty
as a student at the Royal Air Force Staff
College in Bracknell, England.
Grosvenor Square is being redeveloped
today because the American Embassy is
moving as of January 18th, 2019 to a new
location in Vauxhall.
The old embassy location will be occupied by a
were joined for our performance by the wife of Ralph
Vaughan Williams, Ursala Vaughan Williams. This
was particularly relevant since we were performing a
couple of pieces by Ralph Vaughan Williams. He was
born in Gloucestershire, England in 1928 and had
recently passed away' in August 1958. His
orchestral and choral music were popular word wide but
especially in England and the United States.
We were privileged to share the stage that night by
world famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin.
Yehudi Menuhin was a stark contrast to David
Oistrakh in Moscow. They were both world class
violinists, of course, but Yehudi Menuhin was
much more relaxed during our rehearsal.
Watching both of these violinists perform was
a particular pleasure for me as I had spent
some time learning to play the violin and
viola at the Eastman School of Music in
Rochester during 7th and 8th grades.
We left London the next day for our long flight back to
Syracuse on our trusty old prop airplane again! We had a few
weeks to rest up before the spring term. I don't
remember, but I expect I spent that time at home in
Ridgewood. Jeff Lapic was probably in Ridgewood then as it
would of given us some time to plan my trip to Dartmouth in
February for their Winter Festival.
Year Academics: Spring Term:
Organic Chemistry (Plane)
60 5 hrs
immersion French, 1 hour grammar (in English)
NAV S 202
Term Year Social Life
Winter Carnival/Animal House:
In February, I went to Dartmouth in New Hampshire
to visit Jeff, meet his Alpha Delta Phi fraternity
brothers, and attend their Winter Carnival.
Alpha Delta Phi
Carnival at Dartmouth is famous for it's beautiful ice
"Big Weekends" were famous for wild parties. The
movie "Animal House" with John Balushi was based on
parties at Alpha Delt. Chis Miller wrote the screen
play for the movie. Chris was Jeff's roommate in the
sophomore class at Alpha Delt. Many college
graduates during that period have claimed that Animal
House was based on their fraternity. NOT. I will not go
into any details!
you want to get an idea of what the real story is,
"The Real Animal House;
The Awesomely Deprived Saga
of the Fraternity that Inspired
the Movie: A mostly Lucid Memoir"
Written by Chris Miller
(Available at Amazon.com)
Camp Massawepie Canoe Trip
During spring break, I took
three of my fraternity brothers on a canoeing and
camping adventure at Camp Massawepie. My father must
have used his connections with the Boy Scout council in
Rochester to arrange the trip.
We took two canoes from Camp Pioneer to
what I have indicated on the map as the Voyager
Peninsula. We set up camp on the peninsula near a
beaver house on the edge of the lake.
We took hiking and canoe trips from there. It was just
after the spring thaw, so the weather was cool but
bearable and there were lots of animals about. We had
numerous encounters with deer, the beavers and other
small animals as well as with one black bear who tried
to get at our food supply one night. We had
anticipated this possibility and had our fresh food in a
bag suspended from a tree limb. So, the bear was
unsuccessful. But, it provided quite a
bit of excitement.
Spring Term Softball: A highlight
in the spring for me was participating in Intramural slow
pitch softball with my Phi Psi team. I was an average player
except for the final game of the competition. In this
instance, I hit the game wining home run (barely over the
left field fence) with a man on base which resulted in Phi
Psi winning our division.
Midshipman 2nd Class Summer Training: My Naval
Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) sophomore summer (2nd
Class Midshipman summer training) was three weeks of
Underwater Demolition Training (UDT)/Seal team type training
at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek Virginia and
three weeks of aviation training at either Naval Air Station
(NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas.
We stayed in an open bay enlisted
barracks at Little Creek. A typical day during the week
started at sunrise with calisthenics in front of the
barracks. After working out, we went to breakfast at an
enlisted mess hall. Typical days included running the
obstacle course, field weapons training, and lots of
workouts with the "rubber boats" pictured here. We
ran many miles with the boats hoisted over our heads.
The training required physical strength and endurance
and lots of positive motivation. The point of the
training was for us to meet the physical fitness
standards while introducing us to the team cohesion
required in combat operations. The final exam was to
successfully participate in an amphibious landing from
Landing Craft Units (LCU) with subsequent platoon size
maneuvering on the beach toward an objective. It was
There was a"Tea Dance" for us midshipman and local ladies at
a pavilion on the beach at Virginia Beach. For the second
summer in a row, parents encouraged their daughters to get
to know a midshipman. I was part of a group of guys
who rented a beach house near the base at Little Creek for
weekends. The beach house not only gave us a break from the
training, but also gave us the opportunity to socialize with
the girls we met at the "Tea Dance". There was lot of
beer consumed also.
This is a picture from a newspaper of my good friend
Midshipman 3rd Class Jeff Lapic.
Jeff did his Little Creek training at the same time
We had a great time together especially at the beach
house. Our group there consisted of guys from
Alabama (Al Thomasson) North Carolina (Ed Sockwell),
Jeff (Dartmouth), and me (Cornell).
I don't remember when Jeff did his aviation
training. But, it must not have been at the same
time as me or he would have been with George Hibbard
and me hitch hiking from Little Creek to Corpus
Hitch hiking from Little Creek to Corpus
After Little Creek, a fraternity brother (George
Hibbard) and I hitch hiked in our Service Dress Khakis
from Little Creek to Corpus Christi. Most of the trip
was routine for hitch hiking which was popular and safe
in those days. However, one day was particularly
memorable. We were in Birmingham, Alabama and it
was raining. A car with several young girls in
it pulled up to pick us up at the same time as an
older couple in a yellow Cadillac. For some weird reason
(we needed to keep on schedule), we got into the
Caddie. The girls made a180 degree U Turn turn and
shouted out that we had just missed the time of our
lives. Oh, well. The the old couple noticed that
our uniforms were soaking wet and got a hotel room for
us to get some rest while they had our uniforms dry
cleaned. After a few hours rest and wearing our dry
clean uniforms, we were driven all the way to Corpus
Christi. Military personnel hitch hiking in
uniform always got a ride in those days!
Training in the TF9F Cougar
Corpus Christi, we moved on to NAS Kingsville, Texas. We
asked directions from a local guy. He said, stand up on
my tail gate and look southeast and you can see the
tower. That part of Texas is real flat!
We took the short ride from Corpus to NAS Kingsville for jet
training. We each got a couple of flights in the TF9F Cougar
swept wing advanced jet training aircraft. The TF9 was
the training version of the AF9 which was a carrier based
fighter during the Korean War (AKA conflict). My flights in
the TF9 Cougar sealed the deal for me. I decided that my
goal was to get selected for Navy flight training after
graduation and qualify for jet carrier aircraft out of
pre-flight training at Saufley Field in Pensacola.
As at Little Creek, we stayed in
enlisted open bay barracks and ate in an enlisted mess
hall. We would not get officer accommodations
until our First Class Summer Training.
Our typical day during the week were were at "Corpus"
started with breakfast followed by classroom training.
We did not get as much physical training as at Little
Creek but did get a lot of swim training. The
classroom training consisted of navigation, jet aircraft
engines, aircraft systems, and preparation for the
Nuevo Lauredo, Mexico: One weekend, I visited Nuevo
Laredo Mexico just across the border from Lauredo, Texas.
Nuevovo Lauredo was known for its dirt roads, bars, and red
light bordellos. I made the trip with a Cornell guy from a
different fraternity named Larry Sharp. Larry and I got
along very well and established a friendship which continued
for the following two years at Cornell and through
pre-flight training at Pensacola. We had too much rum and
too much fun at Nuevo Lauredo. Larry gave one of the
girls he met his Cornell coin purse, one of those plastic
kind that opens up when you squeeze it. (More on that later)
Junior Year (September
1961 to May 1962)
For my Junior year, I
moved out of the fraternity and lived in a third floor
garret apartment in a house a few blocks behind Phi Psi. I
rented it with my friend Larry Sharp whom I had met at
Kingsville. The apartment was fantastic. After
walking up the two flights of stairs to the third floor, you
arrived at a large landing with beautiful double polished
mahogany doors with cut glass panels. The apartment
had two sleeping garret alcoves each with a double bed, two
desk study areas, a living room, a kitchen and one bathroom.
Junior Year Academics: Fall Term:
Elements of Surveying*
CIV E 131
I found my niche in my major with this
NAV S 301
valuable to subject that would be important in my Navy
Note: I was performing better academically (Of course it
helped not to have those six hours of French at 60/63)!
I particularly enjoyed my academic schedule in my Junior
year fall term. Professor Healy's British Literature and my
Naval Machinery courses were excellent. My Structural
Geology and Mineralogy courses were essential in my
Geological Science major. Mineralogy combined my knowledge
gained in Professor Sienko's Inorganic Chemistry
course with phase chemistry (Bowen's Reaction series) and
crystallography. My Mineralogy professor was excellent and
if I had been able to continue my education at the graduate
level, I would have tried to continue to work with him. The
math required was algebra, trigonometry and solid geometry
all of which I had gained a solid background in Ridgewood
High School. I have continued my interest in mineralogy to
this day. For the first time at Cornell, my grade average
was better (79.6) than the mean average (78) in the College
of Arts and Sciences.
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile
Crisis of October, 1962
was a significant event in my life. Up until
then, politics was not
an important factor.
I was politically independent. Most of my ideas were
on the moderate conservative side of
the middle (such
as favoring small rather than large
federal government which only was
involved in our lives as limited by
the Constitution. Of course, I
favored a strong well equipped
military. After all, I was at Cornell on
a full Navy scholarship. As a
I wore my uniform on
campus on Wednesdays which
were our "drill days" at
I ignored the snickers
expressed by the
ultra liberal SANE
nuclear policy LSD
drug protesters on
That changed on October
22nd when President John Kennedy gave his
televised speech to the nation October 22nd !
I believe it was an Monday
night. I remember watching it on our small round
TV at Phi Psi. President Kennedy outlined the
confrontation with the Soviet Union about their
construction of short and intermediate nuclear
ballistic missile sites in Cuba. He announced how US
Air Force and Navy photo reconnaissance aircraft had
provided "unmistakable evidence" of the presence of
the sites. He announced how he had instituted a policy
that US Navy ships would intercept and escort any
inbound Soviet ships and prevent them from entering
Cuban ports; essentially establishing a blockade to
prevent any further nuclear site supplies from
entering Cuba. He challenged Soviet Chairman Nikita
Khrushchev to halt this threat to world peace. Nikita
Khrushchev backed down by destroying the missile sites
under construction, returning any missiles to the
Soviet Union, and turning around any inbound ships
carrying missile supplies.
The political environment on campus changed
dramatically after Kennedy's speech; no more
disapproving looks by the crazy protesters. We even
observed some applause on the following Wednesday when
we wore our uniforms to drill session at Barton
Hall. That lasted about a week or so and then
back to the disenfranchised attitude of the average
Cornell students. But for me, it was a significant
event. US Navy aircraft had participated in the
crisis. Perhaps in a few years after I had completed
flight training, I might get involved in similar
Junior Year Fall
Term Year Social Life
Besides the time I
devoted to my academics, I spent a lot of time with the
Cornell Chorus preparing for our performance of Beethoven's
9th Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by
Eugene Ormandy. The Cornell Chorus was a
mixed chorus consisting of the Men's Glee Club, the Sage
Chapel Choir (women), and other participants from the campus
and community. The Cornell Chorus had one major performance
each year performing works such as Verdi's Reqiem and
Walton's Belshazzar's Feast with symphony orchestras my
sophomore and junior years. However, the highlight of my
time with the Cornell Chorus was during my senior year when
we performed Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Philadelphia
Orchestra; more on that later.
In spite of this, I managed to have an active
social life at Phi Psi.
My sister Barbara started her Freshman year at Alfred
University a their College of Arts and Sciences (English
Alfred University is nestled in the
Allegheny hills of central New York just a short drive
She came to Cornell for a party at Phi Psi
during that fall. She met one of my fraternity
brothers, Bobby Lee and had a good time.
During the Fall term, one of my fraternity brothers, Phil
Grieve and his wife Marty set me up with Judy Scott Smith
who was a student from Syracuse University. Judy was
intelligent, very independent, and a lot of fun (a bit on
the wild side). She was my date for Fall Weekend and we had
a great time. We were able to spend time getting to know
each other at the fraternity and my apartment.
Toward the end of the term, Judy told me that she was
pregnant but that I was not responsible. I did my best to
help Judy get through the stress of her pregnancy. I
arranged counseling with a Catholic priest at Cornell.
She eventually left Syracuse to have the baby. I lost track
of her at that point.
I returned to Ridgewood
in December as soon as the fall semester was over. As always
I enjoyed coming home and seeing my parents, Barbara, Ma Mo,
and Jeff if he visited us from Dartmouth. I know that
Gigi was still alive; but, I don't have any specific stories
Junior Year Academics: Spring Term:
Great course, again; Professor
American History since 1865
NAV S 302
to subject that would be important in my Navy career
Junior Year Spring
Term Year Social Life
The most significant
thing about the spring of my Junior year was that I met my
future wife, Mary Emerson. Judy Scott Smith was no
longer around and I was happy to concentrate on my academics
and the Men's Glee Club and Cornell Chorus. My roommate
Larry Sharp and I continued to get along great and we had
some small parties in our apartment on occasion.
One weekend early in the term, Phi Psi was having a bigger
than usual weekend starting with a Friday night bash and a
Saturday night party. I didn't have a date that weekend so
was in my apartment on Friday afternoon when a fraternity
brother, John Hughes, came into the apartment with his date,
Mary Emerson from Sarah Lawrence College.
Sarah Lawrence College was and is located in Bronxville, New
York. It has exceptionally high academics standards
and features a non traditional independent curriculum on the
Oxford/Cambridge format. It was a woman's college until 1968
when it became coed. Sarah Lawrence attracts students
interested in a fine arts and a creative curriculum. Sarah
Lawrence has an impressive list of well known graduates and
some attendees who did not graduate. Barbara Waters and Yoko
Ono '57 were a couple before Mary attended. Carly Simon '65
was a classmate of Mary's. Juliane Margulies graduated from
Sarah Lawrence and Carrie Fisher attended there but left to
star in "Star Wars". Mary's academic interests were in the
humanities and creative writing.
On that fateful Friday afternoon, academics were not on the
schedule. Shortly after John and Mary came up to the
apartment, John announced that he had an errand to run and
asked me to look after Mary. After a few hours, John hadn't
returned. I suggested that we might as well go over to Phi
Psi and join the party. John never showed up on Friday or
any other day that weekend. I don't remember where Mary
ended up staying that night. But, I don't think it was my
apartment. We met up the next day and she joined me at
Professor Healy's British Literature lecture. She and I went
to the Saturday night party and she may have stayed in the
apartment that night. But, I'm not sure. What I am sure of
is that we both had a great time.
Before I continue on about Mary, I want to tell you a little
bit about John Hughes. John was probably the most brilliant
person I have ever met but he had a lot of social
baggage. He was a graduate of the Bronx School of Math
and Science. His father was associated with the Tammany Hall
political organization at the end of its existence (late
1960s). I remember his parents' visit to Phi Psi on one
weekend. They showed up in two black limousines. In addition
to his parents, there were about four other men.
Everyone was dressed in black suits and wore sun glasses.
They looked like they were mobsters. John was a Engineering
Physics major and was at the top of his class as a Freshman
when he joined Phi Psi in my pledge class. But, sometime
during his sophomore year, John decided that he no longer
needed to take exams. He was dropped from Cornell and
attended the New School in Greenwich Village. But John
wanted to go back to Cornell. So, he had an interview and
was accepted to the College of Arts and Science with a full
scholarship as a Philosophy major. Once again, he started
well getting great grades. But, by the time he showed up
with Mary that Friday, he was 'on the skids. He had started
writing erotic essays. He thought himself as another D. H.
Lawrence of 'lady Chatterly's Lover' fame. John disappeared
from the Cornell scene late in our junior year or early in
our senior year. The last I heard from John was in
1967 when I received a letter from him that listed a group
of people targeted for assassination due to their
participation in the Vietnam War. I was on his list. He
signed the letter, Fraternally
But to on to Mary and me. We had a great time
that first weekend. I went to Sarah Lawrence to see Mary for
some kind of a "mixer" with one of my fraternity brothers or
perhaps Larry Sharp. I don't remember. I do remember
asking a Sarah Lawrence upperclasswomen for directions to
the Freshman (or Freshwoman dorm!). Her response was
that we should forget about the Freshman dorm because she
and her friend could give us a better time. We ignored
her advice and showed up to the mixer. I don't
remember much about the mixer. But, I must have had another
good time with Mary, because I invited her to the biggest
party of the semester, Spring Weekend.
For some reason, I had
invited my parents to be the chaperones at Phi Psi for the
weekend. Their primary job was to make sure that only
girls used 'the girls only' stairs. My parents ended
up giving Mary and her friend a ride to and from Cornell for
the weekend. My parents had a terrible time being
chaperones. Everyone was crazy and out of control. My
parents survived it even the ride back with both girls being
overly talkative and soaked in milk punch. But, Mary
and I had a great time!! I guess her friend did too but I
don't remember anything about her.
Junior Summer 1962
My junior year summer consisted of two important events.
One, I met Mary's family, The Emersons, and stayed with them
for a couple of weeks in their home in Duxbury,
Massachusetts. Two, I attended a Geology summer course which
was a requirement for my major. Because I attended this
course, I could not participate in the Midshipman First
Class summer training and had to make that up after I
graduated the next summer.
The Emersons and
can see from the map, Duxbury is located southeast of Boston
about half way to Cape Cod. The "D" of Duxbury is located in
Plymouth Bay. On Route 3 under the first "u" in Duxbury is
First a little bit about Mary's parents and paternal
grandfather. Mr. Emerson (Cherry) was the founder and
President of Emerson & Cumming, an innovative
electronics company. Mr. Emerson was from Atlanta. His
family had a farm which was on the same land where Lenox
Square Mall is now located. Mr. Emerson completed his
undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Emory. He earned his
PhD in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) in Boston. Mr. Emerson's PhD advisor
at MIT was Dr. Warren K. Lewis (often considered as the
father of modern Chemical Engineering). He was the first
Dean of the College of Chemical Engineering at MIT.
Dr. Lewis was an important chemist for the Manhattan Project
in the 1940s which developed weaponized nuclear
fission (the atomic bomb). He is also famous for developing
the procedure for Standard Oil Company of New Jersey of
extracting the last 20% or so of crude oil from the
ground called the Houdry Process (AKA the Secondary
Oil Recovery Process). The Secondary Oil Recovery Process
was the basis for today's fracking. Mr. Emerson lived with
Dr. Lewis in the Newton Highlands section of Boston while
completing his Doctorate. While there, he met Dr. Lewis'
daughter who became Mrs. Emerson.
The Emerson home in Duxbury was modest for the President and
CEO of a large company. Mr. Emerson poured most of the
profits from his company back into growing the company and
by providing benefits for his workers. His company was
never unionized because he provided benefits such as
providing matching funds from the company for college
tuition for children of the company workers. Mr. Emerson did
not join the local country club even though he was an avid
golfer. He didn't want to exhibit a lavish life style.
He drove an Oldsmobile, not a Cadillac. His one
indulgence was a clay tennis court beside his house. I got
along very well with Mr. and Mrs. Emerson and Marys sisters
Kathy and Laura and brothers Billy and Warren.
The Geology Summer
I took my Geology summer
course from the University of Illinois. The course started
on June 18th and was completed on August 11th.
Students from several colleges met up at the University of
Illinois. The course was actually taught in Sheridan,
Wyoming. We drove to Wyoming in a caravan of red Ford
station wagons followed by a truck loaded up with the gear
we would need during the course. We drove northwest from the
University of Illinois through Iowa and in to South Dakota.
We made several stops in South Dakota which were relevant to
our geological studies.
is composed of columbs of granite porphyry. We
collected samples of the porphyry from a trail
around the tower. Devil's tower is a very popular
spot for climbers.
was on our way from Devil's Tower to the Black
Hills. So, we had to stop there to marvel at this
Gold and Silver
were discovered in the Black Hills of South
Dakota. This is the Homestake Gold Mine in the
The original treaty between the United States and the Crow
Native American tribe provided that their reservation would
be in the Black Hills which was sacred ground to the
Crow. However, when gold and silver were discovered in
the Black Hills, we forced the Crow out of the Black Hills
into a barren portion of land in northeastern Wyoming where
it remains today. We visited the Crow Reservation
later in the summer so I'll continue with more on that story
Our Base Camp
Our Work Site
We slept on cots in the gymnasium of Sheridan Community
College. Most of our time during the week was spent in the
meadows and hills of the Big Horn Mountains surveying the
topography, measuring the strike and dip of the rock layers,
and gathering rock samples. The objective of the course was
to learn how to construct a geologic map. It was hot
difficult work. Our 'uniform' was a chambray long sleeved
shirt, levi jeans, boots, and cowboy hats. The hats kept the
sun off our necks and were handy to scoop up water to drink
from the streams flowing down from the mountains to the flat
land next to the mountains.
One of my stories about this trip is about one of the times
I drank water from my hat. It was a particularly hot
day and I needed a drink! There were numerous streams that
flowed from the mountains into our work area. The water was
very cold. Well, I found a stream, crouched down, filled my
hat with water, took a drink and poured the rest over my
head. After I was refreshed, I walked upstream toward
the mountains and found a half decomposed calf in the water.
We did our work
from the lowlands up into the lower parts of the
Big Horn Mountains
Pronghorn Antelope on the lowlands. The pronghorns
could easily jump the 10' fences that separated
We saw many Big
Horn Sheep as we worked in the high country. They
are less plentiful today.
We had to crawl
through thickets to move laterally along the edge
of the mountains. We were vigilant to look out for
these guys, the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
proved to of most concern was when we encountered
the Palominos which had been released for the
summer to feed on the grass of the meadows. They
got wilder and more dangerous as the summer went
August we ere able to observe the Elk rut in the
high mountains above the tree line. The Elk racks
were incredibly large.
Another one of my stories involved an
encounter I had with two Western Diamondbacks. I was
crawling through a thicket pulling along a surveying pole.
In the middle of the thicket, I ran into two Diamondbacks in
the middle of the small animal trail. I could not turn
around. So, I pulled the surveying pole up toward me and
thrust it at the snakes. That's when I noticed that the
snakes were attached. They were mating. The male snake
pulled away from the female so violently that his male
genitalia were severed. He raced away as did the female and
I got to the other side of the thicket without a problem.
We worked Monday through Friday. Then we hit the town of
Sheridan hard on Friday night, rested and worked on our
projects in the gym on Saturday, and were back in town in
Sheridan, like many western towns, consisted of a
main street and another parallel back street. To
pick up girls, you drove down the street holding a
six pack out the window and then continued on a U
pattern until you were successful.
If unsuccessful, which was most of the time, there
were plenty of western bars. It was not uncommon
to see customers armed with their favorite hand
gun. We never had any problems with these guys
One problem, at
least initially, was to get used to the fact that
the bars did not accept Federal Reserve Notes,
only Silver Certificates. So, we always had a lot
of Silver Dollars in our pockets.
We had one serious incident during our
course. One of our course mates
disappeared while we were hiking in the Tensleep area of the
mountains. We always hiked with a
partner. The cardinal rule was that you were not supposed to
loose sight of your partner. The guy that got lost worked in
the library at the University of Illinois and was the least
fit among our group. Up in the Big Horns, there are large
blocks of the Tensleep Sandstone Formation. The Tensleep
Sandstone was deposited horizontally but broke into large
blocks during the mountain building process.
|The area where
the hiker got lost was in the area pictured in the
upper right in the image. He had jumped out and down
a few feet from one block to another. He discovered
that the block he had landed on was on was an
'island' of rock. He was stuck because he
could not jump up at out to the original
block. The tree cover there was thick so sound
did not project well. So, we did not hear any
replies to our shouts looking for him. We
searched until dusk. A large search party went
out the next day and found him. The search
party had to use ropes to get him across the space
between the blocks as it was about a thousand foot
drop. He still had half
of his sandwich and most of his orange left. He was
tired and scared but otherwise OK.
We made several field trips during the summer. The first one
was to the Custer's Last stand at the Little Big Horn. After
visiting Custer, we moved on to the Crow Reservation.
This is the hill site of Custer's Last
Over 1,000 warriors of Chief Sitting Bull and
Crazy Horse's Lakota tribe along with several
other tribes gathered in the valley to
end Custer's assault. (upper
left of the image)
The Crows were forced to leave their sacred lands
in the Black Hills and were relocated to the these
flat lands in the northeast corner of
Wyoming/southeast part of Montana.
lands were desolate. But,during our visit in 1962,
we noticed many of these pools of oil
scattered around. The Crow may have lost access to
the gold and silver of the Black Hills but they
more than made up for it with this Black Gold.
Under the flat lands of most of Wyoming, are
thousands of feet (over a mile) of oil shale. While
the oil here was not capable of being exploited 65
years ago, the fracking process makes them available today.
These types of deposits make the US and Canada totally
independent of middle eastern and Venezuelan oil. We are now
capable of being exporters of oil rather than importers.
Exporting oil and natural gas to Europe gives them the
capability of being less dependent on Russian natural gas
and middle eastern oil.
On our second field trip, we crossed
the Big Horn Mountains, and visited the Grand
Tetons, Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone Park.
We camped on
the shore of this lake with a spectacular view of
This is the
town of Jackson, Wyoming which is also known as
and valleys very scenic and a great area for
camping and hiking.
Just to the west of the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole is the
Yellowstone National Park. We visited Yellowstone primarily
to observe the geology.
This is the
Yellowstone River. There are numerous hot springs
along the bank.
These are the
Yellowstone Cliffs. They are composed of
alternating layers of basalt and obsidian. These
deposits are of volcanic origin and are igneous
sedimentary rocks deposited by geysers and pools
of hot water. They are called Travertine Tuffa.
We participated in the
Miss Indian American pageant in Sheridan the first weeks in
ative Americans of the Sioux Nation came from as
far away as Oklahoma.
There was a major parade and a talent competition.
We were invited to escort the contestants during
There was a
rodeo. The highlight of the rodeo was the wild
horse race. Horses that had been out to pasture
for the summer were brought in for the race. It
The local men declined to be escorts. There
was a lot of bias in the 1960s in that area toward the
Native Americans. Guys who were part of our group and who
were from Louisiana had no problem with escorting the Native
American women. I guess they didn't see any parallel
with their own biases toward black Americans!
The Miss Indian American pageant marked the end of our
course in Sheridan. We loaded up our red Ford station
wagons and headed back to Champaign-Urbana. Many of
our station wagons had gigantic elk racks tied to the top.
Summer Course Grade
Geology Field Trip Rocky Mountains*
8.0 credit hours
The Drive back to Ridgewood:
I had driven my trusty Studebaker from Ridgewood to
Champaign-Urbana. On the return trip, I had two guys
from the course with me; one from the University of
Pennsylvania. the other from Brown. We decided to drive all
the way without stopping at a motel. I drove until I got too
tired to keep on. So, I went in the back seat while one of
the other guys drove on. The old Studebaker had begun
to burn a lot of oil so I had a spare gallon of oil in the
trunk. Before, I went to sleep, I told the driver that if he
heard any 'ticking' to stop so we could top off the oil.
Well, he didn't stop until the engine quit and wouldn't turn
over. It quit just before the exit (on the Pennsylvania
Turnpike) to Levittown.
It turned out that the guy from Penn lived in Levittown. So,
he walked down the turnpike, out the exit, and found a gas
station to call home (no cell phones in those days). While
he was gone, the guy from Brown and I unpacked the car and
removed the licensee plate. Soon the guy from Penn showed up
with a car. We loaded it up and drove to his house. I guess
my Studebaker might still be there!
I called my dad and he drove from Ridgewood and picked us
up. Quite a trip. Quite a summer!!
Senior Year (September, 1962 to June,
have much time in Ridgewood because the Cornell Chorus was
coming to Ithaca early to begin rehearsals for our scheduled
performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the
Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia in October. I didn't
have a car but I can't remember how I got up to Cornell. Not
having a car at Cornell wasn't a big problem though as I
usually walked around campus and I could get a ride with
Bruce, my fraternity brother. He had a nice green Austin
We didn't sing a note for the first couple of weeks
of rehearsals of Beethoven's 9th. We spent hours in
Sage Chapel learning how to properly pronounce the
words in German.
Professor Sokol was going to make sure that Eugene
Ormandy would not accuse us of butchering the
Academics: Fall Term:
I spent a lot
of time in McGraw Hall on the right with my
Geological Sciences courses
Mineral Deposit Metals*
Great course (see note)
Philosophy of Religion
Important course (see note)
NAV S 301
GEOL 461-My Mineral Deposits
Metals course (Geology 461) was particularly interesting
because it utilized the knowledge gained in Sienko's
Inorganic Chemistry Class and my Minerology classes to
understand the types of mineral deposits including metallic
sulfides, oxides, silicates, and carbonates. It also
included the order of deposition of mineral compounds
according to the Bowen's Reaction Series.
PHIL 322- The most important aspects of this course
were learning how to structure an argument using logic and
how to express an argument using brief clear language.
I got better at this toward the end of this, my first
Senior Year Fall
Term Year Social Life
Most of my time was taken
up with my academics, the Flight Indoctrination Program, and
rehearsals for Beethoven's 9th. Larry Sharp and I
continued to live in the same great apartment as junior
year. Mary came up for a few weekends including Fall
Weekend. She normally stayed with me at the
apartment. Our relationship flourished.
The Flight Indoctrination Program: The Flight
Indoctrination Program (FIP) was available for students who
were planning to go to Navy (including the USMC), Air
Force, or Army flight training. It paid for 40 hours of
flight time (20 hours in the J-65 Piper Cub and 20
hours in the Cessna 172). The concept was that is was cost
effective to expose potential military student pilots to
flying in relatively inexpensive cost per flight hour civil
aircraft for their first flying experience rather than in
more expensive military training aircraft.
J-65 Piper Cub
|The J-65 Piper
Cub had a 65 horse power engine, tandem seating (for
and aft seating), and a tail wheel. The
student pilot flew in the front seat when an
instructor was in the rear seat. If flying solo, the
pilot controlled the aircraft from the rear seat due
to maintain a safe center of gravity.
The training consisted of basic VFR flying,
navigation, and landing practice.
Most students soloed after four or five flights so
completed about ten solo flights five or six
practice landings (touch and goes) before moving on
the the Cessna 172.
The Cessna 172 had a more powerful engine and had
side by side seating (two seats across). With side
by side seating, the instructor could give detailed
Again, most pilots soloed after four or five
The purpose of the Cessna 172 training was to
demonstrate that the student pilot could fly and
navigate the plane cross country, involving a fuel
stop at a larger airport.
The FIP training was conducted from a small airfield on the
south side of the end of Cayuga Lake not far from the crew
boathouse. Our airport was similar to the one in the
image. The airport had a single hangar about halfway
down the runway on the opposite side from the hangar area in
this image. Our airport had a single runway about 1200 feet
long (probably about the same length as the one in the
The J-65 Piper Cub training was conducted
during the fall term. The Cessna 172
training was conducted during the spring term. It was
excellent training and successful completion of the training
provided a high level of confidence t the start of military
Chorus' Performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony with
October 9th and 10th, 1962
There were buses provided to get the chorus (almost 200
singers) to Philadelphia. But, we were permitted to
drive ourselves if we wanted.
I drove with Bruce Harris in his Austin Healey. We had to be
there to start rehearsals on Wednesday for the first
performance on Friday night (October 9th). I don't remember
the name of the hotel we stayed at but it was within walking
distance of the performance hall. My roommate was
Bruce, of course, and several of my other friends in the
Glee Club were on the same floor.
Philadelphia Orchestra with Chorus
Rehearsals- Eugene Ormandy, the orchestra,
and the four soloists were terrific during rehearsals.
We worked hard but Mr. Ormandy was upbeat and supportive
throughout the rehearsals on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
afternoon before the Friday night performance.
Nightlife- We all enjoyed our time off between
rehearsals. We did some touring of Philadelphia,
enjoyed some Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches, and did a lot
of partying in the hotel bar and in the rooms. We were
careful not to overdo the drinking though and got enough
sleep to be 'on our game' for the rehearsals.
Friday Night performance- The Friday night performance went
very well. There was a full house. It was great just
enjoying the orchestra and soloists during the movements
before our part, the Ode to Joy. Some of the sounds created
by the wind section of the orchestra were amazing. We
executed our Ode to Joy section well but there was room for
improvement. The audiences reaction was very positive.
Saturday matinee performance- Mr. Ormandy made some comments
for adjustments for the orchestra, the soloists, and for us
before the performance. We had an enthusiastic full house.
The performance was spectacular. Mr. Ormandy actually
stopped conducting about halfway through the Ode to Joy, put
his hands to his sides and sort of stared up toward the
ceiling enjoying the performance. We received an
enthusiastic standing ovation from the audience.
Saturday post matinee rest. We all had a good dinner and
some rest before returning to the hall before the evening
performance for our pre-performance meeting. Mr.
Ormandy was jubilant. He told us, the orchestra,
soloists, and our chorus that the afternoon matinee was the
best performance of Beethoven's 9th that he had ever
heard. Our morale was sky high.
performance- Another full house; another outstanding
performance; another enthusiastic standing ovation. Mary and
her parents drove down to Philadelphia for the evening
performance and dinner.
There was an LP (Long Playing large disk) recording made of
one of the performances. Unfortunately, it has been lost
over the years and Cornell no longer has it available!
Bruce and I drove back to back to Cornell on Sunday as we
were expected back in classes on Monday.
Mary broke the news
that she was pregnant sometime during the time between
Thanksgiving break and Winter Break
She told me that I was the father.
I had a big decision to make. First, my upbringing and
the culture at that time required that if you made your
girlfriend pregnant, you were expected to marry her. Or, at
least offer to marry her. Second, my NROTC scholarship
required that I be unmarried. The rules were that if you got
married before you received your commission as an Ensign,
you could be dropped from the your scholarship and would
become an enlisted man. These were the same rules which
applied to Naval Academy midshipmen. It never occurred to me
to have a paternity test taken to be sure that I was the
father. I took Mary at her word and that was it. I asked her
to marry me.
I'm not sure what order
things happened or if I made a trip to Duxbury to discuss
the situation with Marys parents or not. But somehow, the
decision was made that Mary and I would get married on
January 19th, 1963 at the First Presbyterian Church in
Ridgewood and that it would be a small informal ceremony
with only immediate family members present. Except, Jeff
decided that he wanted to make it a double wedding in that
he and his girlfriend Stevie would also get married at the
same ceremony. But Jeff later decided not to marry Stevie as
he did not want to take the chance that he might loose his
NROTC scholarship and commission. (Stevie was
and I were married on Saturday afternoon, January 19th,
1963. I wore a suit. Mary wore a pale blue two piece
silk dress with a flared skirt. Mary's sister Kathy
was the Maid of Honor. Mr. Emerson gave the bride
away. Jeff was my Best Man. I think the witnesses
consisted of Mary's mother, Mary's other sister Laura,
Mary's brothers Warren and Billy, my parents, and my sister
Mary and I drove to
Cornell the next day, Sunday so I could begin classes on
I'm not sure exactly when we bought the 1963 VW Bug. But it
was sometime after we got married. It was not a gift. I got
a loan to buy it with a monthly payment of $30 (a killer for
our budget for the next year or two)! I'm not sure how
we arranged it; perhaps during the Thanksgiving/Winter
Break. We also had arranged to rent an apartment in 'College
Town" at Cornell.
Senior Year Spring Semester:
College Town' is located
next to the 'Engineering' side of the campus. It consists of
restaurants, stores, bars, and houses (many offering
apartments). Traditionally, only upperclassmen and graduate
students live there. We rented an apartment from a very nice
lady who was confined to a wheelchair due to having
polio as a young girl. It was located conveniently to the
campus; a nice walk across a small gorge through the
Engineering quad and on to the Arts quad where I had three
of my classes. It was also close to Barton Hall where
my NROTC class was held.
Academics: Spring (Final) Term:
Satisfied Foreign Language Graduation Requirement (see note)
Great course (see note)
NAV S 402
PHIL 313- I really improved my ability to
structure an argument using logic and how express it with
brevity. There were no exams in this course, only
papers. My papers were normally three to five pages
long. Most of the other students in the course used ten or
more pages to present their arguments. As a
result, I did very well in the course and learned a skill
that served me well throughout my careers as a naval officer
and educator. Mary was a big help during this course. She
went to most of the lectures with me and proofread my
papers. She had many excellent suggestions on how to
simplify my writing style.
Note- Completion of French 191 satisfied the foreign
language requirement which existed when I enrolled at
Cornell. While I was attending Cornell, the College of Arts
and Sciences increased the requirement by adding that a
score of >650 was required on the French SAT 2. As I did
not meet the new requirement, I was initially denied my BA
in Geological Sciences. But, I appealed this decision
to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. I argued
that I should be held to the requirement which existed upon
matriculating not to the increased requirement. The Dean
approved my appeal.
The Cessna 172 portion of the Flight Indoctrination Program
was flown during the spring term.
I used aerial photography as part of my Senior Thesis which
was about the geology of the southeastern shoreline of
Cayuga Lake. I was able to accomplish the aerial photography
by having Mary or another student take pictures out of the
right side from the back seat on a couple of flights with a
box camera. An instructor was on board during these flights
so it was legal.
Avoiding Discovery by the NROTC
concerning my marital status:
It was not a problem.
Mary had been around campus on many occasions during my
junior year spring term and my senior year fall term.
She had met my primary NROTC instructor, Lt Ed Keasler and
his wife Meg on several occasions. I don't know if
they noticed that Mary was around more often during my
senior year spring term. It was sort of a don't ask don't
tell situation. Once I had been selected for flight
training, we all talked about what to expect in Pensacola.
The Keaslers just assumed we were going to get married after
Mary''s Miscarriage: Sometime
early in the spring term (maybe late February or early
March), Mary made a trip go visit her friends at Sarah
Lawrence. During that trip, she had a miscarriage. Although
it was tragic to loose the baby, it certainly made it easier
to not show up for flight training in Pensacola with a new
Graduation: Although I
graduated from Cornell in June 1963, I was not able to be
commissioned as an Ensign upon graduation like the rest of
my classmates. Because I had not completed my First
Class summer training after my junior year due to my Geology
summer course, I had to complete my First Class summer
training after graduation before I could be commissioned as
Summer of 1963
First Class Midshipman Training
My First Class Midshipman
summer training cruise was on board the USS Constellation
(CVA-64) in the western Pacific. We were flown by
commercial aircraft to the NAS Cubi Point at the Subic Bay
Naval Base in the Philippines to meet
Subic Bay Naval
Base on the right and Naval Air Station (NAS) Cubi
Point on the left in the Philippines
Because I had already graduated from college
and was on my way to flight training in September after the
cruise, I was not required to complete the Midshipman First
Class summer course requirements. Although I did stand
officer bridge watches and engineering watches, I was
assigned to a squadron on board because I
was on my way to flight training.
I lived in a junior officer compartment with the other
midshipman but I spent most of my time in the ready room
with the squadron pilots.
I was initially assigned to Heavy Attack
Squadron 10, the Vikings. The Vikings flew the A3
Skywarior (AKA the Whale).
The pilots of Heavy 10 were very nice to me. But, I let them
know that I was interested in flying fighter jets not heavy
attack aircraft. So, they arranged for me to be reassigned
to the 'Pukin Dogs' of VF- 143. VF-143 flew the new F4
Phantom fighter aircraft.
I spent a lot of time with the VF-143 pilots
in the ready room and watched flight operations from an
island catwalk and from Primary Flight Control (PriFly).
Flight Operations from Primary Flight Control
Personnel on the flight deck wore different colored
vests according to which function they performed on
the deck. Plane Captains wore brown shirts. Aircraft
and catapult and arresting gear troubleshooters wore
green. Aircraft directors and flight deck officers
wore yellow. Flight deck junior sailors whose job it
was to carry chocks and push aircraft around wore
blue shirts. Ordncemen wore red. Fuels, purple.
Safety observers wore white.
I also spent time in Flight Deck Control
where the movement of aircraft on the flight and hangar
decks was controlled.
Handler controls the movement and placing of
aircraft on the flight and hangar decks. This is a
very challenging job and smooth flight operations
are dependent on how well he and his crew do their
moved between the flight and hangar decks by
The hangar deck
is where aircraft maintenance is done. Aircraft
undergoing long term maintenance must be moved out
of the way of aircraft completing maintenance and
about ready to move to the flight deck.
These are FA-18 Super Hornet aircraft
We had lots of time underway operating in the
western Pacific from the Philippines to Okinawa and up to
Japan. I had a lot of opportunity to learn not only about
flight operations but also to about how an aircraft carrier
bridge works and ship steam engineering. I latched" on
to one particular VF-143 F4 pilot with the nickname
"Blackie". Blackie was a Ltjg and on his first (nugget)
cruise. He took me under his wing and was exceptionally
helpful. He even accompanied me to Primary Flight Control
(PriFly) during day operations and to CATC (Combat Air
Control Center) to watch aircraft land.
At night, aircraft carrier airplanes orbit in a holding
pattern at bout 15,000 feet called the marshal pattern. They
time their orbits to reach their individual assigned
approach times exactly on time each 60 seconds. Each
aircraft flies a carrier controlled approach (CCA) instead a
shore based GCA (Ground Controlled approach). Pilots only
receive control directions when they are out of position.
Otherwise, they fly their own approach until they can see
the Fresnel Lens which shows them the glide patch and the
centerline lights which show them their line up.
|The Fresnel Lens
is located on the port aft part of the flight
deck. The pilots job is to keep the meat ball
(the center yellow lens) lined up with the green
horizontal lights while flying a prescribed airspeed
(angle of attack). The Landing Signal Officer (LSO)
who is standing on the "Platform" next to the lens
can blink the green lights if he thinks the pilot
needs a bit more power or flash the red vertical
lights to "Wave Off" the aircraft if he thinks the
situation is dangerous.
We had three liberty
ports during the cruise; Subic Bay and the infamous town of
Olongapo, Sasebo Naval Base in extreme southern Japan
near Nagasaki and Heroshima, and Yokosuka southeast of
The Midshipman Program had numerous "official" events during
In Yokosuka, we toured the base facilities and some of the
World War 2 tunnels.
In Sasebo, we toured the hot springs in Beppu
and the Japanese Naval Academy in Etajima south of
Heroshima. We had a formal reception outside with some of
the Japanese Naval Academy midshipmen and their instructors.
It didn't occur to me then, but at least some of their
instructors were probably active duty in WW2 and perhaps
participated in the Battle of Midway!
But not all the liberty was part of the
Midshipman Training Program. In my case, at least, Blackie
not only "showed me the ropes" underway, but he and some of
the VF-143 buddies also showed me "the ropes" of how fighter
pilots conducted liberty in WESTPAC (The Western
Map of the
The town near
the Yokosuka main gate
What I learned about liberty in 1963 in the
western Pacific was there were basically two objectives:
1. Enjoy playing golf, buying stuff at the Navy Exchange,
and visiting shrines etc, and
2. Have a good in the Officer's Clubs and out in town!
I would visit all three of these liberty ports for the next
almost thirty years during my naval career. I will
explain in more detail as the story goes along.
I learned the aircraft carrier flying is an exciting
but can be a very dangerous business
Toward the end of my time on the "Connie",
the ship experienced a horrific
accident. An F4 Phantom was involved in a landing
accident. The landing was fine but during about
half way of the arresting gear run out, the arresting
gear engine purchase cable broke causing the cross
deck pendant (see image) wire and part of the purchase
cable to whip across the flight deck severing many
legs in the process. Unfortunately, the F4 was
too fast to stop on deck but not fast enough to gain
flying speed even with both afterburners engaged and
the nose pitched up. The F4 settled into the water and
exploded killing the pilot and the back seat Naval
Flight Officer (RIO in the F4- Radar Intercept
I was watching the recovery from a catwalk on the
flight deck side of the island about the 010 level
(just below PriFly) about mid deck when the accident
occurred. I saw legs (sometimes both legs) severed and
shipmates take off their shirts using them as
tourniquets to try to stop the bleeding. The injured
were taken below decks for emergency surgery. The
"smoking light was out throughout the ship" due the
using ether for about three days. Most of the injured
were saved. I watched the F4, a VF-143 F4 go off
the angle deck light the burners and rotate the nose
in a attempt to fly. I was horrified to watch the F4
explode when it entered the water.
Only small pieces of the aircraft were recovered
including one small piece of the pilot's helmet with
name Blackie Blackwell on it. I learned a sad lesson
that week that a good friend could be there one day
and gone the next. An aircraft carrier is a dangerous
place and demands your total concentration to keep you
safe. But, even then, as in Blackie's case, sometimes
an accident can occur that is not the result of an
error of your part.
The accident occurred off the coast of Okinawa. The
Captain brought the ship into port at anchor. The
morale on the ship was too fragile to safely operate
the ship for about a week. We midshipmen were off
loaded to Kadena on Okinawa to catch flights back to
When I got back, Mary and I went back to
Cornell for my commissioning as an Ensign United
September 5th, 1963. Ed and Meg Keasler were there.
of an Ensign
on my 'gold' bars and I traded in my midshipman combination
cap with the 1/4" gold chin strap for a 1/2" gold chin strap
of a naval officer.
S "Bo" Smith Ensign, USN
By my calculations, Mary must have been about five months
pregnant with my first daughter Heather at the time.
She must have not been 'showing' or Ed and Meg Keasler
didn't make any comments if they were suspicious.
Next, I think we spent some time in Duxbury. I got to know
Mr. Emerson better. We played some tennis on his court and
he took me to Canton outside of Boston to tour his research
and development facilities. I played catch with Warren. I
got to spend some time around the dinner table after
breakfast on a Saturday with Dr. Lewis and all the kids as
he asked unanswerable questions and then proceeded to answer
them him with detailed history about the question he has
presented. When was the last
time armor was used in battle was atypical
question? The history of technology
was Dr. Lewis's thing. This may have been the time I
heard the George Eastman story.
After Duxbury, we spent some time in Ridgewood. I
think we met Jeff there. He was still with Stevie at that
point. Jeff had a cool Triumph Spitfire which he drove
to Pensacola. He entered flight training about the
same time I did but he might have been a bit ahead of me
because his date of rank was in June. Mine was September
Eventually, Mary and I drove our 63 VW Bug to Pensacola for
flight training. I think we arrived in October sometime and
found a place to live while waiting for Pre Flight training
. There was a backlog.