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A hundred and a half. . . .

September 2, 2021
curmudgeon

September 2, 2021

Feeling the sting of not writing in more than a week.  I wondered what would happen.  Not much.  Frightening?

Olivia just came in;  She finished her fourth day of school at 3 pm, and is eating snacks to get ready for an hour 45 minutes of swimming at the Y.  A high school kid’s athletic schedule.  Billings Senior High School has no swimming pool.

(Reminds me of a dilemma I had in 1969 in Marine basic:  Each of us recruits was issued a “cover block,” consisting of a 24” by 6” piece of 1/8” plastic with a screw and wing nut to fasten it into a hat-size cylinder.  This device came flat, so we had to bend it into shape to hold our hats so we could brush on much starch.  A starched cover looked much sharper than the flaccid cotton we started with.

My cover block had a screw without threads.  No.  The wing nut had no interior threads, but the screw was fine.  No matter how I tried I couldn’t block my cover to starch it.  I needed a replacement wing nut-screw assembly.

That evening I walked to the hut where our instructors had their office.

I reported correctly to my senior drill instructor in his office.  “Sir the private requests permission to speak, sir!

“Go ahead.”

“Sir the private’s wing nut ain’t got no threads, sir.”

I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination for what happened next.  I mean, I knew it would provoke derision from the instructors.  I wasn’t worried, and I can honestly say it wasn’t terribly painful, but I got no satisfaction, hardware product-wise.  

In the end, I think I rigged up a clothes pin to starch my cover.)

Those are not my fondest memories.

Yesterday:  I heard back from someone in my distant past:  Gerry Berry, retired person living in Florida.

In 1971 Penny and I had Todd, newborn, and we lived in military housing, some old strip houses across Red Hill Road from MCAS(H) Santa Ana, California, 92710.

Our modes of transportation were a baby buggy and a bicycle.  I’m sure many can identify with that.  We lived in the orange orchards surrounding Santa Ana in Orange County.  I worked part time cleaning a Xerox facility.  It was the Regional office.  One of the things I liked best was cleaning the offices of the various vice presidents on up to the president of the Region himself.  Here’s what I noticed:  The pipe tobacco was Balkan Sobranie in the president’s office.  No.  It was Black Malorie.  I remember Peter Koch telling me back in 1969 about Black Malorie.  Finest tobacco anywhere, he said.  It was not attainable.

Black Malorie was the tobacco in the office of the president.  Balkan Sobranie was in the vice’s.

Amenities tended upward in the chain of command.  President had his own shower and dressing room.  Vice president had a large waiting room, but none of the other stuff.

As we worked down the hallway from the apex, a curious phenomenon:  Number of staples in the rug increased exponentially. We picked them out with needle-nose pliers.

In those days (1970s) computer work meant cutting 80-col key cards.  For some reason staples held the cards together, sometimes.

I tried to find work in Anchorage, Alaska, back in 1969.  Most of the secretarial-clerical (stuff I hoped I could find a job doing) work had to do with those keypunch cards.  In fact the word “keypunch” seemed to be everywhere.  Typing would have been a good enough skill to do “keypunch.”

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