Oct. 14, 2015
I suppose that even those of us that associated ourselves with the Beat Generation thought that we were, somehow, unique in our lifestyle as we sat in the Sticky Wicket and discussed the viability of a socialist government. After all, we were only 30 some years away from the Great Depression, when Socialist, Norman Thomas was a presidential candidate. He was a conscientious objector and didn't agree with war as a solution for anything.
The Korean War was discussed by us, at the coffee house, as exploitation of a country that had already been occupied by Japan, and then by France, and was just a war for profit by the Industrial War Complex. .
We thought we were pretty coool, as we submerged ourselves in poetry. philosophy, and jazz...Coltrane, Miles Davis, and in another venue...Lightning Sam Hopkins. Maybe it was a kind of exceptionalism that we were indulging in and that coolness was of the essence in being hip to the haps. Living in Santa Cruz, in those days, was just about as free as I have ever been...Hanging out at the 17th. Avenue beach, drinking Rex Beer, and body surfing was where I was when I was off work. I had many and varied places of employment...Lumber mill, wire factory, Safeway, ..I actually had to do a formal application there. My favorite job was a small factory that made paper mache' hats, flower pots and Jack o lanterns. Around 1960, I took a test for Junior Engineering Aid for the County of Santa Cruz, and was hired on as a chainman on a survey crew, worked there 5 years, and passed my junior engineer test. The job was for a field position, but I was informed that I would be working in the office, so I told them I was going fishing in Alaska. My friend John, had already bought a boat, so off we went. I came back that fall and went to work as the sole employee for Norman La Bar a land surveyor...lucky i guess, but finding a job was different in those days.
Long story short, Norm called me up one night and said...Do you want to go to Saudi Arabia? Uh,,,stutter stutter dunno...three minutes later...Yeh I want to go. Norm and his friend, an engineer won a bid to subcontract a job for Food Machinery Corp. for doing a topography survey for an agricultural project.. It was a 20 mile long wadi near Dharan that was being developed for irrigated crops... This was in the fall of 1964.
Needless to mention, I have strayed off subject, which is the book that I brought along. It was titled "The Ugly American".