Themes and Events:
* ‘MITS Altair’, the first personal computer, is announced on the cover of Popular Electronics as a kit for hobbyists.
* Atari Corporation brings out its first line of mass produced video games. Mood rings (green for stability, purple for ecstasy, etc.) sell by the millions. The “pet rock” becomes an extraordinary novelty item.
* Poor car sales prompt the automotive industry to layoff a record 274,380 workers during February. Auto makers begin using the “rebate” to tempt consumers into buying a new car.
* By year end, U.S. unemployment reaches 9.2%, the highest since 1941. As the recession entrenches, New York City comes close to defaulting on $450 million in notes; the White House arranges
for $2.3 billion in short term loans.
* As food prices soar, many Americans are prompted to turn to home gardening and canning. The government estimates American’s planted 6 million new gardens during the spring.
* There are now more than 4 billion people in the world.
Buttons & bumper stickers:
* Eat beans — America needs gas.
* Fast is fuelish.
* If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
* We’re all doomed, the world is not coming to an end.
Music [midi: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini-2]
Our first Minnesota blizzard
Six months passed since we first entered Minnesota, pulling all our worldly belongings in a small moving trailer. We had what the local residents described as an unusually cold fall and a month just a month earlier, Donna found employment at Landy Packing Company. It so happened that over the months, whenever Donna or I applied for a job, the interviewer would notice we were from California, then with a smirk, ask if we’ve ever experienced, “a Minnesota winter.”
By early January we were accustomed to both the winter temperatures and driving in snow; we agreed between ourselves, that the much heralded, “Minnesota Winter” wasn’t nearly as bad as it was cracked up to be. Unknown to us in this comfortable, new found smugness, was that our learning curve was about to turn up– sharply.
On Friday, January 10th, about 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon, it began to snow ever so gently. What began gently, slowly and unobtrusively, increased in vigor over the next few hours. By the time I set down my book and left the house to pick Donna up at work at 4:45 PM, drifts were already forming in the driveway behind our flat. In fact, so much snow had fallen during the previous four hours, that I almost got stuck trying drive out of the alley in a pickup truck!
Nearing Landy Packing Company, which was only a couple miles away, I found that only one lane was still open on the road. Though still relatively early, it was almost dark and snowing heavily, everything was white, as though the landscape were being erased. Cars were taking turns moving up and down the single snow banked lane. Several vehicles would drive one way down hill toward the plant, then others would drive in a group up hill. Several cars were stuck in rapidly deepening snow, thus closing down the other lane.
Everyone had to wait a turn, meanwhile it was getting darker and uglier outside.
After picking Donna up, we returned home only to get stuck trying to maneuver into our parking space. It took some shoveling and pushing, but we managed to move the truck where it belonged.
At 9:00PM, Donna and I bundled up in our new parkas, gloves and boots and took a several block, forty five minute walk in the storm. Our coats had fur lined, extended tunnel like parka hoods that protected our faces from the howling wind and blowing snow. After being outside for a few minutes, condensation in the snorkel’s fur lining began turning to ice. Snow had made the streets impassable to automobiles. We were surprised to find quite a few young adults out walking in the blizzard. Some were apparently inebriated; several yelled and waved at us, but their jovial message disappeared in the wind and soon their groups vanished in the darkness. We saw a few snowmobiles scooting about and one hearty soul was moving through town on a pair of cross country skies.
We waded down the middle of Division Street, there was no traffic. The traffic lights, like strict little robots, kept uselessly blinking through their timed sequence from green to amber then red, but now for only the occasional wanderer on foot. We stood in the middle of the road, the traffic lights directing traffic that didn’t exist. The night scene was flooded with the bluish — white light from the street lamps. Everything had become either black or white, there seemed to be no shades of gray. It was eerie and lonely. The snow drifts were deepening, snow was blowing across a rippled white landscape, at times it looked like the world was deserted.
Parked cars were being buried with snow. Automobiles left in the downtown municipal parking lot were almost covered. New Cadillac’s in a automobile dealership lot had become large white snowy ripples. By the time we returned home, our legs were cherry red from the penetrating cold, but elsewhere our bodies were warm.
[Photographs above: Blizzard of the Century, 1975. Top: First night, a lull in the storm. View from the window of our upstairs apartment. No auto traffic, wind sculptured snow, bitter temperatures.
Bottom: The next morning, two blocks from our flat, a row of six Cadillac’s sit buried in the snow in an automobile sales lot.]
Saturday morning, the radio news told that public transportation was closed until Monday, several hundred people were stranded overnight in the St. Cloud Civic Center, all hotels and motels in the area were filled to capacity by stranded travelers. Stores were closed, there would be no newspaper, no mail pick up or delivery. Civil Defense was watching rural areas where electricity had started going out seven hours after the storm began. People without electricity were putting blankets over doors to keep drafts down, some were wearing snowmobile suits to keep warm indoors. Meanwhile, the utility trucks were stranded and the snow plows were not going to be sent out until the wind stopped blowing the snow.
Saturday evening before going to bed, I opened the kitchen window to clean snow accumulations
off out outdoor thermometer. When I pushed open the outer storm window, I instantly felt an odd burning sensation on my arm. The outdoor temperature was -8ºF with a -60ºF Wind Chill Temperature. When opening the storm window I had exposed my arm to a heat loss 130ºF below our comfortable 70ºF indoor room temperature. This was surprising, because I had not expected exposed skin to react physiologically in the same way as it would to hot water–it was so cold there was only a sensation of burning.
Over the next few days, St. Cloudand central Minnesotadug out from the storm and life returned to normal. As the days passed and the severity and expanse of the storm became better known, it became known locally as, The Blizzard of the Century.
During the winter and into the spring, Donna and I attended short term adult evening classes at the Area Vocational Institute. The classes included: gardening, bee keeping, canning, and concepts in basic house construction– things to consider when having a house built.
The knitting machine
During our exploration of ‘back to the land’ technologies, we attended a class on clothing manufacture, using a knitting machine. Knitting machines were new to us; and I suppose, were having a surge in sales, due to the depressed economy and the ‘back to the land’ mentality that affected many folks.
We liked the idea of making some of our own clothing, so in the weeks that followed bought a Brother knitting machine, crochet needles and yarn.
While Donna met with a woman who taught her how to use the machine, I began crocheting; and over the winter made several scarves and pairs of winter mittens. [Internet image above right. A model that looks similar to the knitting machine that we had.]
Using the knitting machine, Donna made several sweaters, winter hats and pairs of stockings. The stockings were too course and thick to wear with our shoes; however, the entire process was a learning tool, bringing us together in our pursuits.
Using a 7 foot, 2″x2″ piece of lumber and wooden dowels, I made Donna a ‘yarn spool tree’ that would hold twenty six large cones of various colored yarn.
Also, with several lengths of 2″x4″s, 2″x2″ lumber, and wooden dowels, I made a rack that held 81 skeins of various colored wool yarn.
[Photograph at left: The yarn spool tree (standing at left) and the wool yarn skein rack (right) and that I made for Donna.]
The people downstairs
The couple living in the flat beneath us was about Donna’s and my age. The wife, Judy, was a decent, tall and slender lady with the behavior and dress of an ex hippie. The husband, Mark, was probably about my age, a little shorted and a bit stockier, he was beginning to bald and had a snotty attitude. If I had to characterize Mark, I’d say he reminded me of a snotty fat, old lap dog that snapped and barked incessantly at everything and everyone, never realizing for a minute that he was a tiny creature. We never got to know them on a personal basis.
Almost weekly, Mark and Judy had loud arguments. Their voices and her periodic yelps and crying carried right up to our flat. We’d hear yells as they moved back and forth through their rooms, then Judy usually went in the bathroom, slammed and locked the door. As they yelled back and forth through the door we could hear them quite well, particularly when our kitchen sink cupboard doors were opened (right above their bathroom) — which they were (chuckle) whenever the neighbors argued. :-)
Frequently, on weekend mornings, as we went down the stairwell to our entrance door, we could smell the unmistakable scent of marijuana seeping out from under the locked door that opened into their bedroom. I think Judy was the “free spirit” in their family, Mark was described above…
The end of Watergate
Early in the year, the chief three defendants in the “Watergate Break In” received short prison terms for their crimes. All spent their ‘time’ in a low security prison where doing time was more an inconvenience than a punishment. President Nixon had already been pardoned for any part he may have played in the scandal by his personally chosen successor, President Gerald Ford.
I had always thought that no man could rise to presidential power without having complicity in some illegal activities. Further, I never did understand why Congress and in particular, the news media, became so excited over the bugging of the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex. Yet this event became important enough to pull down the Presidency — Nixon’s complicity probably only included his knowledge of the affair and subsequent attempts to cover up that knowledge.
I think President Nixon got a bum rap and may well be disgraced by historians. Nixon brought the disagreeable Vietnam War to an end, after Presidents John F. Kennedy started it and Lyndon B. Johnson escalated it. Nixon also made history by being the first U.S. President to visit China. His act helped seal several decades of hostilities that had grown up between our countries, thus reducing the chances of war and increasing trade. Today we reap the benefits of the increased trade with China, but forgotten is the immense part played by President Richard Nixon .
[Hahaha. In retrospect: During the 1980s, when this chapter was origionally being written, the idea of increased trade with China was still being looked on with favor.
The ‘Fall of Saigon’
On the evening of April 30, we sat glued to our television sets watching Saigon, the capitol of South Vietnam being captured by the North Vietnamese. We witnessed a sad and tragic scene. We had not only quit the war with North Vietnam, having been essentially been defeated by a small country, but now the enemy were chasing the last of our people out in a humiliating way. We saw thousands,
maybe tens of thousands of desperate South Vietnamese citizens, who’d been loyal to the U.S.
and their government, attempting to flee. Between April 24 and April 30, as North Vietnamese troops over ran the city, the last Americans scrambled aboard helicopters and fled. A huge mob of people crowded a helicopter pad on top the American embassy. As soon as one helicopter was loaded and rose into the air, another would land to be immediately filled by frantic people. People were scrambling and climbing over one another to get aboard. Meanwhile, the Army of North Vietnam was entering the city, their artillery was shelling the airport, their troops shooting anyone who looked even the slightest bit offensive. There was panic everywhere. Everyone was desperate to escape. The American military, indeed, America, didn’t look so powerful that day.
One bill, then another
In order to economize, we purchased a used bicycle and in good weather Donna rode 1- 1/4 miles to work in the morning. Occasionally, Donna and another office worker from Landy’s who lived nearby rode their bicycles to work together.
During the late spring, we paid off our GMC pickup truck.
No sooner had we paid the pickup loan when the Government wrote, requiring Donna and to pay a $500 Federally Insured Loan she’d taken out in while attending college. We threw all our resources into paying off Donna’s loan. When we had that bill almost paid, the Government wrote to me, and I was required to begin repayment of my $1000 Federally Insured Student Loan,borrowed in November 1968.
There seemed to be some perverse form of symmetry at work: We were basically living on Donna’s wages and paying Federally Insured government school loans with money the government was giving me as Unemployment Compensation. We paid the last of the loans on December 8th thereby maintaining good credit. It still seemed odd, surreal if you will, to pay the government with the money the government gave us.
Garbage disposal at the house
While living in the upstairs flat, we initially threw our household garbage into used, heavy duty brown paper shopping bags that were set in a small, open “trash can” out of sight beside the stove.
The twelve inch wide by seven inch deep by seventeen inch high tough bags were used by grocery stores everywhere, to load the families purchases for transport home, they were easily folded and stored flat until needed to hold household garbage in the kitchen trash can.
After several days, when a bag had been filled- with bottles, cans, newspapers and raw garbage, etc., it is removed for disposal. Ninety percent of the time, we just carry the full trash bag outside to the garbage can. About one out of ten bags seemed to develop a problem; either the bag ripped from over filling or the bottom threatened to fail because some of the contents were wet. Not very often, but
occasionally a bag failed just as it was being picked up and so showered the floor with waste. The problem was compounded if there wasn’t another bag available to transfer everything into.
When the bag was filled, it was taken outside to our thirty gallon covered, galvanized, garbage can. Twice a week, on Monday and Thursday, the municipal garbage truck could be heard coming slowly down the alley, making its collections. The procedure was for the “garbage man” to hop off the back of the truck, saunter up to your can, look at your trash briefly, then glance at your house. He’d carry the can to the truck, hop it up over the waist high lip at the back of the truck and drop it a couple inches to loosen the contents. He’d tip the can upside down, give it a bang, raise it as the garbage slid out, then half carry and half toss the can back to where it had previously stood. As the truck crept forward to the next house, one or both of the “dumpers” would look into the trash just dumped to see if there was anything worth salvaging.
I’ve never met anyone who knew a garbage man, nor have I ever heard anyone talk to the men while they work. They are most often from the bottom of the social ladder, they are not often white, many are Negro and most appear in their mid twenties to early forties in age. When I was a child, I heard that “garbage men” were often ex convicts who were working their way back into society after a prison term.
Ever since the early 1970s, while we still lived in Los Angeles, there had developed a commercial fad described as, and called, “Do It Yourself”, which grew from the Hippie era. The “Do It Yourself” house repair and craft mentality was catered to by specialized hardware stores that were a cross between: a hardware store, small lumber company and a craft shop. These stores carried products and
instructions for doing your own interior decorating, wall papering, tile laying, house painting, furniture refinishing, soap making, candle making, small scale wood working, picture framing, etc. Of course such activities were always the prerogative of the home owner or hobbyist, but at that time they seemed to catch the public eye, while the products were brought together under one roof.
It was as a result of this “do it yourself” sentiment that over the previous two years we refinishing first an old desk, a antique radio, a pair of old dressers that were bought from Ted Haynie, and which led us to make our own soap.
Beginning this spring and continuing for about seven years, Donna and I made much of our own bars of hand soap. We got the initial instructions for making soap from a Mother Earth Magazine, while living in El Monte, California. After settling in St. Cloud we ran across another soap recipe, which called for the addition of various fragrances and abrasive materials to make specialize soap, i.e., adding oatmeal increased abrasiveness.
Since Donna and I saw Minnesota as not only a geographical location, but as a new way of life, we wanted to gain a new perspective on cost cutting and survivalist techniques. We set one day aside, deciding to spend it making a batch of homemade soap. After all, we reasoned, it would save a little money, allow us the use of our spare time, hands, eyes and brain to create something of value for ourselves.
Thereafter, at the rate of once every other year, we made up a double batch, or about eighteen pounds of soap, which provided seventy two bars. The process was quite easy and took about two total man hours labor. Once or twice we rendered bacon and fat drippings for the lard, another time we simply bought fresh lard. The lye used for each soap making session cost $2.00. Since commercial bars of soap
were selling for about 25¢ each, we saved about $16 every two years. Obviously this was more of a hobby interest than a profitable adventure.
If we hadn’t decided to pamper ourselves with a perfumed soap with better lather and use shampoos on our hair, we’d have continued to use the homemade soap. Never-the-less, in the early 1980s, we decided we wanted to have a more fragrant smelling soap, one that didn’t have a tendency to leave a film and one that washed our hair cleaner. When the last of the bars were used, we switched to commercial hand soap and shampoos. The experience taught us that you can easily make an effective soap, good for washing hands, body and hair, it was all a matter of taste. No pun intended.
Uncle Bill and Aunt Elizabeth Pierce visit
During the spring, my Uncle Bill and Aunt Elizabeth Pierce drove over from suburban Milwaukee for a visit. In a couple years Bill will be retiring from his position as chief engineer at A.O. Smith. They are thinking of selling their nice home in Whitefish Bay and moving to Sun City, Arizona. They are both tired of the cold winters, icy walking and driving conditions, yard work and are looking forward to living in a dry desert environment.
Aunt Elizabeth brought us root cuttings from her Shamrock house plant. The Shamrock was brought to America, from Ireland, by her grandmother when she immigrated here at the beginning of this century.
The plant has been in her family for an unknown period of time, yet it has been handed down and cared for by family members in America ever since about 1910
As this autobiography is written, twenty years later, in 1995 (and again in the years 2000, and 2008), I still have and cherish this delicate little green Shamrock with its tiny five pedaled pink flowers.
Our garden at the V.A. Hospital
During May, we registered for a fifteen by twenty foot garden plot at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in St. Cloud. Our garden was one amongst many on a two acre plot on the V.A. grounds. The acreage was plowed, disked and staked out. People who wanted to garden rented the small plots for $2. We bought a hoe, rake, shovel, sprinkler and a few other gardening tools, then picked up a variety of seeds. At the beginning of the season, we planted lettuce, bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, onions and pole beans.
[Photograph: Our first garden (center front only, freshly hoe’d area) at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital gardening area. Our garden was an experimental learning experience, a slight money saver and gave us the experience of raising and eating our own food.]
We drove across town to the garden every couple weeks to weed, water as necessary and follow the progress of the vegetables. We found that a garden requires more precise attention than every two weeks. When there is a particularly dry period, the garden needs watering every few days, while weeding is required following the rains.
The garden was fun to tend and a successful operation, nothing edible went to waste. We raised many more onions than needed so Donna diced the extra, packed them into several plastic storage bags and put them away in our the freezer for future consumption. Over time, the onions became components of homemade soup and hash.
I’m also hired at Landy Packing Company
During the first days of June, Donna came home with news that Landy Packing Company was going to begin construction of a Waste Water Treatment plant. She’d heard the plant superintendent, Herb Johnson, talking about hiring someone to learn the treatment facility from the ground up. Donna told Herb, that I’d been a chemical laboratory technician and supervisor in previous positions, so
arrangements were made for my interview.
I filled out a job application, which Herb looked over quickly, then we went into a private room for a chat. Herb said he’d try me out in the job, but that I should know from the beginning that I’d have to help build the building and assemble the equipment. The first year of the job would mean hard physical
labor which might not be what I had in mind; I assured him I was interested.
I was hired on the spot, with a starting rate of pay of a mere $3.50 per hour, considerably less than what I’d been earning working for Gregg Iron Foundry. However, from talking with Donna about procedures, I knew that Landy’s had a policy of starting workers off at a very low wage, then rapidly bringing them up to scale, when they proved their ability to handle the assigned job. I accepted this probability, knowing that once the Water Plant was in operation I would be well compensated for my low starting wages.
Landy Packing Company, 1st Ave. South& 16th Streets, P.O. Box851, St Cloud, MN 56301
Herb Johnson was right, there was a lot of physical labor involved with the construction of the waste water treatment facility!
As is so happened, Landy’s didn’t hire just me to learn the job, they hired six variously qualified men as laborers, to help build the plant, who ever stayed with the job and was most proficient would be awarded the ‘operators position’. During the first week, the first 1-2 fellows quit and over the first month or two our ranks narrowed until there was only me. Of course the fellows who quit were replaced, but by ‘temporary help’, common laborers.
As the work progressed, I learned to use a shovel, also learned how to mix concrete, install scaffolding, lay concrete block, lay reinforcement bar and smooth concrete. Working with the equipment manufacturer installers, I learned first hand about the operation of the water clarifiers and pumps. I learned structural painting with oil and epoxy. I became proficient working with the plumbers, measuring, cutting, threading, doping pipe, and installing various fittings. As time passed, management occasionally asked the professionals and the journeymen about my performance, asking if I was trustworthy, conscientious… “is he any good?”. They were given good reports.
Slowly, over the next year, the water plant went up; our young family was earning good money, we were setting down roots in Minnesota, things were good.
A new television
One thing we bought that made us ‘happy as larks’ was a 19 inch, portable color television. (see picture below). Color TV’s were not real common, as I recall, the mid 1970s was a time when black and white gave way to color TV. Donna and I had been using a old B&W TV I bought from Jerry Meyers in Arcata, we were happy and proud to have our own color television.
[Photograph: Our living room. With homemade driftwood stereo stand & stereo speakers, paintings, sand candle (all made in Arcata) and coffee table (just made). Refurbished: old chair & mirror.
Donna’s Anasazi pot. Our new color television at lower right.]
Evicted from our flat!
In early September, about a year after we moved into the upstairs flat of the Donlin rental, the old house was sold to Mark and Judy Theisen, ‘the people downstairs’.
Almost immediately, following the sale, we began finding evidence that the new owner, Mark, had begun to periodically enter our flat and snoop about while we were at work. When I confronted him of our suspicions, he claimed, “I was making fire safety inspections, which is my right to do.” I asked him to make future ‘fire safety inspections’, while we were at home.
Not long after that, we returned home to find a crossbow bolt pulled half way out of its quiver and a piece of refuse paper absentmindedly left on top the kitchen table. I immediately stormed outside to raise hell with Mark, whom I’d seen working in his small garden. I pressed up near him and while jabbing my finger at his face, threatened him with a fight should I ever find he’d been nosing about our flat again without my personal authorization.
Mark must have fumed over my threat for a couple hours, because that evening he telephoned us from downstairs and gave notice that he was evicting us, effective thirty days after the beginning of the next month. (grin)
Our four-plex apartment in S.E. St. Cloud
It didn’t take long to find a modern two bedroom apartment in the Woodland Hills Apartment complex, about one and a half miles from the 6th Avenue flat. What began as an irritation and extra labor from the forced move, eventually worked out to the good. We needed the extra space and enjoyed the newer facilities afforded by the modern and much larger living quarters.
[Photograph: Woodland Hills Apartments: We were located upstairs on the right side. As I recall, Donna was upstairs (inside extreme right window) cooking bacon and eggs for breakfast when this hotograph was taken.]
Our complex was bordered on three sides by other apartment buildings, all located in a high population density community, on the south east corner of Highway #10 and Hwy. #23, in eastern St. Cloud, MN.
Our apartment was located in a separate four-plex building, of which there were about ten each four-plexes in the complex. Each building was two stories high and contained four individual apartments, consisting of a central entrance, hallway, stairs and communal laundry room. The apartment housing was laid out with two units on the right, one upper and one lower, and two on the left.
Tenant automobiles were parked outdoors in their buildings parking lot, electric plug-ins were at each car stantion for engine ‘block heaters’ during the winter.
We moved into Woodland Hills during late September, although I don’t remember the initial rental fee, but by the time we moved out, circa April 1977 (one and a half years later), we were paying $176.00 a month.
By October 1st our address became: Donna & Larry Pierce, 322 14th Ave S.E., Apt#4, St Cloud, MN, 56301
The apartment’s door opened into a large carpeted living room. Beyond the living room was out well illuminated modern kitchen with lots of cupboard and shelf space. We used one bedroom as a combination office and storage space, for the freezer. The apartment provided about 650 square feet area, and was about 25%-30% larger than the 6th Avenue flat.
Cousin Bob visits and the big Christmas
Cousin Bob flew back to visit us for the Christmas holidays and learned something about the ‘famous’ Minnesota winter. When his jet taxied up to the terminal, the passengers exited their flight entering the terminal building through a flexible, heated concourse. Bob brought a mid weight jacket, figuring his warmest California coat would suffice during an upper Midwest winter. After picking up Bob’s luggage, we walked out of the building—only to be immersed by a strong wind and near zero temperatures. It was bitter cold, the air hurt Donna and me, and we were wearing our parkas, Bob simply stopped in his tracks and gasped. He and Donna waited by the doors, inside the terminal while I brought the car around!
That Christmas, Donna had the largest shopping spree ever. We spent about $800 (five months rent) on presents, but mostly, things needed about our home. Actually, we’d put off buying many material goods since moving to Minnesota, meanwhile, paying off school loans and deciding to have a huge Christmas.
Everything was wrapped in colorful ‘Christmas wrapping paper,’ with bows, and ribbons. There was so much, that Santa Claus would have had to make multiple trips to bring it all in the apartment.
Among the many boxes of goodies we opened Christmas morning were, a table top sewing machine, set of top quality Chicago cuttelry and wooden knife rack, skeins of yarn, winter clothing, steam iron and ironing board, bathroom scale, and other items which have been lost to memry.
We had so many ‘presents’ stacked up against a wall in the living room, that Bob shook his head in disbelief and made a few snide statements about our affluence.
What’s on TV tonight?
My favorite programs in 1975.
• Local Evening News
• National Evening News
• Happy Days
• Welcome Back Kotter
• Little House on the Prairie
• The Six Million Dollar Man
• Occasional ABC, CBS or NBC evening movies.
• Swiss Family Robinson
• Sanford and Son
• The Waltons
• The Night Stalker
• Space 1999
Among the movies that Donna and I saw this year were:
Jaws with Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss,Lorraine Gray
Man Friday with Peter O’Toole, Richard Roundtree
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest with Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield
Rollerball with James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck
Shampoo with Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Jack Warden, Goldie Hawn
The Four Musketeers with Oliver Reed, Michael York, Rachel Welch
The Great Waldo Pepper with Robert Redford, Bo Svenson, Susan Saradon, Bo Brundin
Three Days of the Condor with Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway
W.W. and the Dance Kings with Burt Reynolds, Jerry Reed
 By 2011, while editing the chapter for inclusion in my blog, about 25 years have passed and much of our industrial capacity has moved off shore to China. The US has become a Service economy living off increased credit and debt. Our cities are pockmarked with Walmart stores which have largely eliminated the smaller ‘mom and pop’ grocery, hardware and variety store across the country. China recycles the money we pay for their merchandies back into our national bonds, allowing us to spend and go still deeper into debt. So did Nixon do us a favor? I think he ment right, but at this time ‘free trade’ has cost us jobs and all the good social things that trickle down from full employment. In return for that loss, everyone saves a few cents on miscellaneous items on each visit to Walmart (China store
 Despite several close calls over a period of 34 years, the plant died in 2009.
2 responses to “Chapter 1975, age 32-33”
Larry, My name is Don Haggerty. I just happened to search for Landy Packing Co. in St Cloud wondering if it was still in operation and stumbled on to your blog. I worked at the Landy water treatment plant on swing shift from Sept 1977 to August 1978. I used to enjoy describing my jobs at the plant during that time. Trapped scum, shovel sludge, and doing a wet well purge. Also taking cooked blood and crax samples.
Those were the days! Good hard work. I always appreciated working for you and considered you an excellent boss and a person with integrity. I enjoyed reading your blog from 1975, remembering that big blizzard. I left Landy to attend school in Willmar MN. Settled in Madison WI in 1982 and raised my family here. Started a painting business in 1984 and still working away at it. Anyway, I enjoyed your blog and hearing about your life. I will bookmark it and check back from time to time.
Don, great to hear from you again; so many decades have passed by since our working together. If you follow this autobio forward over the next 8-9 years you’ll see some pics taken inside the plant and more of a discussion of the process, photocopies of our paperwork. Yes, at times it was a terrible and exasperating job! (chuckle) Now thinking about “the purges”, hydrosieve screen, top of clarifier #1, pumps jamming, and the sump pit… In the early 1990s, well after the company closed, I went back and took pics of the ruins, which are also included in these pages.
Larry –long retired, now living in east Texas