1984, age 41-42

Themes and Events:
*  This is the year of the “yuppie” (Young Urban Professional). The “minivan” is introduced and quickly becomes a popular vehicle. Those of us old enough to know, see it as a reinvention of the station wagon.
*  Visa is the first to begin using holographic 3D images on its credit cards for security reasons. McDonald’s sold its 50 billionth hamburger.
*  Bell Laboratories announced the development of the 1 megabyte computer memory chip.
*  TheU.S.economy is having the best year since 1951, expanding at 6.8% while consumer prices (CPI) rise only 4%.
*  A crisis in the Savings and Loan and Banking industry looms on the horizon when the government rescues Continental Bank in Chicago from collapse with a $4.5 billion loan.

Buttons & bumper stickers:
*  I’m not fat I’m just short for my weight.
*  Are we having fun yet?
*  The computer is down.
*  El Salvador is Spanish for Vietnam.

A year’s supply in the pantry
For about ten years, Donna and I had been concerned with the possibility of a thermonuclear war and with the real increases in energy prices. As the years passed, we found that the world just puttered along with occasional ‘saber rattling’ and ‘brush fire wars’ on the periphery of the industrialized countries. During this time, we bought rural property, a home,  installed a huge garden, were raising livestock and finally reached the point we’d only dreamed of a decade earlier.

By January 1984, our Rear Addition’s  ‘food room’ reached its peak as a storage pantry.

Two years earlier, in 1982, our food storage program consisted of previously listed canned and dry goods, cases of freeze-dried foods, garden produce, and frozen goods in our freezer. Between that time and the beginning of 1984 we’d increased storage to include a years supply of various new items [1]. As we used items from the food room they were replaced with new similar goods, so that the quantity of supply remained static.

List of products bought and maintained in a year supply quantity:

Item Quantity Value Item Quantity Value
automotive oil 24 quarts $23.58 lye 4 pounds $4.00
Baggies 2 box, 600 Baggies $3.20 plastic wrap 7 box, 1400 ft sq. $9.10
canning salt 60 pounds ? razor blades (for shaving) 6 pkg. / 5 blades ea. $3.54
Colgate shaving cream 5 cans $4.85 scratcher pads 10 each $2.30
Comet cleanser 6 canisters $4.74 sponge mop heads 2 each $4.34
cooking oil 4 gal, 6 mo. supply $21.96 tin foil 3 box, 600 ft sq. $11.79
D & C cell batteries $22.50 tooth paste 4 large tubes $7.16
dish soap 4 lg. bottles, 8 mo. $9.48 tractor oil 5 gallons $17.30
floor wax $5.54 vitamin C 3 large bottles $11.16
light bulbs, various $9.00 wax paper 12 box, 1200 ft sq. $10.56
liquid bleach 6 gallons $4.74

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A new pickup truck
It had been ten years since we first bought our GMC pickup truck in Los Angeles.
In the summer of 1974, the truck pulled a small California One-Way moving trailer with all of our household belongings over the Rocky Mountains to Minnesota. We’d used the pick-up to haul firewood to our home in Rockwood Estates Mobile Home Park; we packed our canoe around central Minnesota; and pulled our Starcraft Tent Camper all over the state. We’d used the pick up truck to carry our tools out to our rural property when we were first taming the driveway and homesite; we’d driven it to work for years.

This last winter the truck developed a variety of problems: the clutch and transmission were going out, the brakes were worn, the heater no longer worked so we were on the verge of freezing while driving to work, the tires were worn and almost bald, and the body was badly rusted. We were having a difficult time starting the vehicle on cold mornings and it was only driving about ten miles per gallon gas.

This February we began pricing new trucks and found that Foley Ford had the best price on pickup trucks in the vicinity. We took a look at what they had on the sales lot and picked out a new 1984 tan-colored F100 Ford pickup, with a heavy-duty heater. The vehicle cost $5,400, less the trade in we received on our old GMC. We financed the truck with an automatic First American Auto loan installment plan and drove home that afternoon  in our new vehicle.
.

[Photograph: Our new F100 Ford pickup truck. Jessie dog laying in driveway. My ‘antenna system’ creation, consisting of: 1 Citizen Band antenna, 3 TV antennas, a wind gauge, bird houses, thermometer and rain gauge. The antennas were eventually removed and mounted on the rear addition roof.]

A couple of weeks after buying the Ford truck, we bought a light weight, tan colored camper shell to cover the bed of the truck and provide security for things we bought and were carrying about town on shopping days.

Our work schedule at Landy’s
Since Donna and I both worked at Landy Packing, we could have continued to get by owning one automobile;  however, our schedules were never the same. I started work at 6:30 AM and got off any time between 2:30 PM and 3:00 PM, occasionally having to stay until 4:00 PM – or later. Donna often started at 7:00 AM, but occasionally had to start at 8:00 AM; her shift’s end time varied correspondingly. One year she was required to take an hour lunch, another year she took a half hour lunch. When there were custom shipments of meat to Canada, she stayed at work until 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM to make sure the International Transit papers were complete. Generally, we could count on getting off at a certain time, but these times changed erratically, having two vehicles was somewhat a matter of convenience, but almost a necessity.

Employee grumbling and my wage increase
After the Meatpacker Union’s new wage contract took effect in December, many of the older employees lost their former pay brackets, some jobs were eliminated, others took severe pay cuts. Quite a few knowledgeable, long-term employees quit during January and February, which caused concern amongst management. Not only were the meat cutters quitting, but several key office personnel, including the computer programmer and credit manager sought employment elsewhere.

When “Quit Fever” reached a high pitch, I used management’s fear to my advantage.

I was earning a dollar per hour less than the City of St. Cloud employees who worked at the Public Utility’s waste water treatment plant. Knowing that I would be harder to replace than practically anyone at the company, because of my specialized job, I requested a raise in pay.

The request shocked my boss, Jim Landy, never-the-less, I had both logic and management’s fear of losing key personnel on my side. I maintained a humble, ‘good employee’ attitude while talking with him. He had to confer with his uncle, Max Landy, the company’s owner, and would get back with me. By the end of the day I had the full raise, a whopping $1.01 per hour.

Books read during the year
During the year, I read books on various topics, mostly whatever was either important in our lives at the time or of general topical interest to myself, including:

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain © 1979 by Betty Edwards – How to visualize and draw using the right side of your brain. 207 pages.
An Experiment With Time © 1927 by J.W. Dunne – An investigation into the nature of time and perception. 254 pg.
Awakening Intuition © 1979 by Frances E. Vaughan – The dreams. imagery, practicality and wisdom of intuition. 228 pg.
Mind Games: The Guide To Inner Space © Robert Masters and Jean Houston – A”how to” book of mental exercises for achieving altered states of consciousness without the use of drugs. 246 pg.
Teach Your Baby to Read © by Glenn Doman – Technique for teaching a baby to become familiar with and begin to read words.

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Jane begins traveling with the family
Donna was pressured to return to work at Landy’s in the middle of January, when Jane was about one and a half months old. We didn’t like the idea of someone else looking after our baby in either a daycare or babysitting environment, never-the-less, Donna interviewed several women and found a conscientious woman babysitter in St. Cloud, only a couple of miles from our work.

As the weeks passed, we took Jane with us grocery shopping, to the movies, out to dinner, where ever we went Jane went, tucked safely in her car seat carrier. We beamed with pride when people in the various stores would stop to talk to her and comment on how pretty she was.

Some babies are ugly as sin, and most are homely, but Jane had fine and cute features, she was a good-looking person as a baby and all through her childhood years. Nor was Jane a fussy baby, she slept well at night, her babyhood was a pleasure to both Donna and myself. (Xoxo to Jane)

The Castle Wall
The Castle Wall, a poem I wrote on March 26, to preface my Journal 2: The Realm: Of Dark Places and Castle Walls, Of A Looking Glass and A Crystal Ball, follows below:

THE CASTLE WALL
Out of the past, on a castle wall, I see their names written, great and small.
Each name is a life and a work of love,
whence I am a descendant of.
I hold my child and she holds hers,
And time itself begins to blur.
Out of the future they come to look,
And wonder at the life each ancestor took.
I too am here on this castle wall,
And beneath me is my child so small.
At the pace you read this print,
Past our lives seem to sprint.
The days, weeks, months and years,
The joy, tranquility and many tears.
They lie with us now, we are but names,
Though time and the world haven’t really changed.
So,
Love your child Give that youth your all,
Though this child be big or small
And we’ll cheer you on from the castle wall. lfp

Of books and guides
Writ preceding, Family Genealogy, from Journal 2, page 220. (see below)

“I stand gazing at the sun as it rises over the horizon.
Before me grows a forest, the trunks of the trees cut dark lines across this great orange rising orb.
And I feel joy at being part of this process of life.
The awesome sense of ‘Being’ I feel extends into the abyss of time on either side of me, and there I see fleeting images that come and go. For I am a living man, the son of a man, and we, the sons of men, are sons of MAN.
And from the earliest times, I have walked the Earth in my fathers and now they leave footprints through me.
 We have filled every niche between commoner and knight, to princes of the material and priests of the mind and soul; we are adventurers in time and sometimes, guides.
And you who are to come, the children of my children, and those beyond, know then that it has become my lot to be a scribe of the common.
From  these journals you will develop an understanding that will allow you to see fleeting images through time.
These journals will provide a historical backdrop and a guide, for herein lies human life: with its attending problems, choices, solutions and outcomes, all specific for me in these given moments, but whose general concepts are human and scalable for all, for you, in your own time.
And now, look back, across the form shaping field of which you and I are part, and understand the collectively similar memory style of our descent…for you now stand in the ‘life light’.”

Music [midi: Speed]

A terrible spring thunderstorm [4]
The most frightening thunderstorm we ever had, occurred on a Thursday night, April 26th.
Our skies remained dark and cloudy all day, the local weather forecast was predicting the possibility of severe weather in the evening.

About 4:30PM, when I arrived home from work, I connected our 5KW emergency electric generator in case there was a power failure while supper was being prepared. A while later, when feeding the ducks and geese, I noted that the southern sky had become quite dark and lightning flashes could be seen. Looking at the approaching dark line growing on the horizon, it was apparent that before long we would certainly have storm conditions.

About an hour later, Griz, who is afraid of thunder and lightning, began barking at the front door, wanting to come inside. I let both Griz and Jessie into the rear addition then hurried through the house closing all the windows as it was beginning to rain. As the dark and rolling clouds approached looking ever more ominous, I turned on the radio and found that there was both a Tornado and a “Severe Thunderstorm Warning” in effect for central Minnesota.

Donna arrived home from work a few moments after it had begun raining and exclaimed,” I encountered walnut size hail on the way home.’

Looking south toward Foley, we could see an amorphous, fuzzy gray, dark mass low in the sky moving our way. We then became frightened that some very dangerous weather was approaching and we were in a relatively fragile mobile home. We immediately phoned our neighbor’s Bobby and Arlene in regards to spending some time in their cellar. We quickly changed clothes, stuffed our small stash of five each one ounce gold coins in our pockets, covered Jane (now five months old) and ran to the pickup truck. Our dogs, sensing the weather and our behavior, wanted to go with us; Griz even went so far as to try to get in the front seat ahead of us.

Just as we drove out from the end of our property onto the county road, the storms squall line hit.
Immediately to our south, the clouds were low and churning. Within moments visibility reached nearly zero. I sped into our neighbor’s yard and parked near their back door. We scooted out one side of the truck and fairly ran down the stairs into the cellar. Donna was carrying Jane in the car seat carrier. Bobby and Arlene were still in the barn finishing up their evening milking chores. They waved at us out a window, then returned to their work.

Donna and I looked about at our unfamiliar surroundings in the cellar- storm shelter.
The room had low head clearance, dim electric lighting and a somewhat muddy, earthen floor. On the positive side, it had concrete walls, a very solid heavy-duty roof and a brick house built above. For the next few minutes we had pea size hail, then a terrible wind accompanied by hard rain.

When the wind and rain subsided, we hurried over to the barn to visit with Bobby and Arlene. After cleaning the milk house, Arlene took Donna and Jane back to the house. I stayed behind to chat with Bobby, who was feeding the cows. Just as he finished his chores, the rain suddenly increased and a second squall line hit us.

Our first warning that the storm was intensifying came with the rush and roar of a mighty wind. Seeing the severity of the wind, Bobby ran through the barn to turn off the lights in the  silo room which was attached to the southeast, back-end of the building. Meanwhile, I stepped just outside a partially opened sliding door on the north side of the building.

As I stepped through the doorway, my cap lifted straight up off my head. I looked up to see the cap spinning and moving in lazy circles as it gently floated straight up along the three-story high building. Nearing the roof, it instantly took off toward the northeast and disappeared into the darkness…as I stood there transfixed in a moment of awe, something else flew past over the top of the barn. Standing by the building I was protected from the roaring wind and driven rain which were coming out of the south-southwest.

At this time, I began seeing events occur in slow motion. I turned to my left and looked into the farmyard which was illuminated by a security lamp. There, I saw a heavy electric cable standing out horizontally as it extended between the out buildings. Sheets of rain ran past the side of the barn, they were moving laterally in staccato pulses, without any apparent downward motion.

I stepped backwards inside the barn and spun around looking for Bobby, he was still in the silo room. All of a sudden the barn gave two or three rapid, deep creaks and I realized the dangerous force that the wind must be exerting on the structure. Although the hayloft was still half full of bailed hay, I was sure that any stronger gale might collapse the barn. I yelled through the din of the storm, “Bobby? Bobby! Let’s get the hell out of here!”

I backed into the barn door turned and stepped into the aperture to look outside. Nothing had changed in those few moments, I was still seeing in slow motion. I tried to gauge the safety of walking over to the cellar in such a strong wind. As if in answer, the family’s wooden dog house, came sort of rolly-bouncing out of the dark and into the illuminated area. A few shingles were ripped from the roof of a shed next to the barn and flopped through the air across the yard.

I called for Bobby again, then continued peering apprehensively from the barn door. The dog house, which had momentarily stopped rolling, laid upside down fluttering in the yard. Suddenly, it came alive again and like a tumbleweed began rolly-bouncing toward the road. A few moments later Bobby and I briskly walked, through the momentarily subsiding wind and rain, to the house.

Once we were in the cellar with the women folk, we four adults each had a can of beer on our empty, nervous stomachs, all the while complaining about the “Shittin’ weather.” While listening to the local radio news and found that a tornado had hit Minneapolis, destroying a shopping center and a six block residential area. Wind gusts in St. Cloud had been clocked at sixty mph. A little later we found that the dome-shaped metal silo cover on top Bobby’s silo had ruptured at the seam, the elevator door on his grain room roof had blown away and flying roof shingles had broken several barn window panes. We had a nervous, late supper with the Bob and Arlene before returning home.

Coming up the driveway we were stopped by a fallen tree that forced us to leave the pickup truck down the driveway, about five hundred feet away from our mobile home. Donna covered Jane to protect her from the diminishing rain, while we made a dash for the house. We climbed over the tree trunk and hurried up the muddy driveway.

While Donna took Jane inside, I walked around the yard to see if we’d suffered any damage. Two dead trees had blown over. One blew harmlessly against another tree just behind our mobile home. A large dead tree east of the homesite had fallen across the yard fence, it’s upper limbs forming a “V” on either side of and just missing the dog house.

Laid off and ‘plugged up’ at the water plant [5]
In May, almost immediately after I received a ten percent (!) pay increase, Landy’s began closing the plant on Monday’s in what was apparently becoming an annual practice.

During the previous winter, Landy’s had begun buying offal from Robel’s Meat Packing (an equal sized packing house practically next door to Landy’s) and process it in their Rendering Plant. That provided full-time work for the Rendering Crew to retain their Monday employment, however, everyone else except the office personnel were laid off.

From late February through April, I sat home on Monday’s writing in my journal and working about the property.
Meanwhile,  the Rendering Plant was running full-bore and dumping its normal amount of effluent down the company drain. All those little pieces of organic material: blood, fat and grease went down the sewage line and accumulated in the waste water plant’s large underground sump, floating in a 3-4 foot thick layer on top the water,and 6″ to 10″ deep on the surface of the primary clarifier tanks.
Since neither I was nor the other operators were there to process the material, bottlenecks occurred which caused a breakdown in the plants automated functions. When the breakdowns became serious enough to holdup production on Tuesday morning’s, I was asked to begin working a half day (which amounted to 5-6 hours) on Monday’s.

(Chuckle) I knew from the beginning of the ‘lay-offs’ that the company would develop problems if they thought they could count on the so called, ‘automated systems’, to handle even a fraction of a days work load. I also knew that when Landy’s had it in their mind to do something, it was best to go along with them, anything less than absolutely full compliance would signal possible hostility, while ‘making excuses’ was seen as, ‘dragging your feet’.
So, like ol’ Brer Rabbit, I jus’ stayed home while dey throwed punches at da Tar Baby.

During this period, my chemical laboratory technician, Tom, left our employment. It took a month to find a decent replacement and another month to teach him the fundamentals of the job.

Anomalies at work:
When a Waste Water Plant position was being filled, I would run an advertisement in the St. Cloud Times newspaper, which typically resulted in my giving five or six job interviews.

One of the applicants for the position was a an attractive and lithe young woman of about 30 years old. While I don’t recall her resume or specific qualifications, I certainly remember the events of her interview.

I looked at the young woman’s resume and seeing that she did qualify for the job, decided to show her around the plant and discuss the type of jobs she would be expected to do, in addition to the lab work. Returning to the lab she asked if there had been other applicants, I replied that there had been. She emphasized that she was really interested in the job, and said, “I’ll do anything to get it.” She stared into my eyes, in an attempt to make a personal connection. Then she said, “If you have any other questions about my qualifications, you can come over to my apartment one evening and we can discuss them”. I gasped quietly to myself, thinking, what an offer. There were a lot of things wrong with the situation: I would never cheat on my wife,  what kind of person with what kind of problems would make such an offer, I would never jeopardize my livelihood for over a risky proposition, it all sounded unreal, like maybe she was a private detective, put up to the proposition by the Landy family to check my integrity. At the conclusion of our interview I thanked the young lady for her application and said there were several other scheduled interviews before a hiring determination would be made.

That story brings to mind another odd social interaction: The Waste Water Plant didn’t use a lot of different types of chemicals to treat the water, but what we did use, we used a lot of. Every couple of months I ordered a semi truck load (the big 16 wheelers) of Ferri Floc, and  three or four 55 gallon drums of polymer.

One day I received a call from a salesman. I think we’d tried his polymer once and were looking into a couple other polymers with slightly different chemical compositions and reactivity’s. The salesman wanted my home address so he could send me a gift. Immediately, I became suspicious. There was no reason to send me a gift and certainly not to my home address. Everything I did at work was professional, there were no private entanglements, just business. I wondered if the salesman was perhaps disgruntled that we weren’t using his product and was checking to see if I would accept private gratuities or again, maybe the Landy family was checking my loyalty and integrity. Anyway, I accepted the gift, but asked him to mail it to the attention of Max Landy at the company address. After the conversation, I told my boss, Jim Landy, about the call and that Max should be receiving a gift. I checked several times over the next few weeks, the gift did not come.

These two events occurred over a matter of several years. It’s just good personal policy to remain ‘above board’ in your professional dealings. People will, for whatever reason, occasionally appeal to you with petty offers enticing lust or greed.

Peaks, troughs and averages
During the period of extended layoffs, my net- taking home pay was $232. Once I returned to working  those ‘half day’ Monday’s, then had to put in a lot of overtime during the remainder of the week, my net weekly pay went over $300, which was a very good wage for the time and area. Actually, I was earning more money by working a half day Monday and putting in the required over time  than working my normal five day week with no overtime ($290), so I ended getting ‘paid back’ for several of the lost Mondays where my weekly pay had been reduced  to $232.

In late May, Landy’s brought in an ‘efficiency expert’ to help return the company to a healthy level of profitability. The expert didn’t walk around studying worker performance, but spent his time in the Conference room talking with the Landy’s and studying the company account books. I’d seen efficiency experts at work before, when I worked for Gregg Iron Foundry in El Monte,California. From what I heard and saw, an efficiency experts presence didn’t bode well for’ jobs’. I also recalled hearing from Donna several months earlier that the company had conferences with a ‘union busting’ lawyer.

The bottom line: Something was wrong with Landy Packing Company’s financial operations.

Water, water every where
June 1984 was the rainiest, wettest month I remember ever experiencing [6]. While June’s normal rainfall in central Minnesota is four and half inches, this month we measured a little over eighteen inches precipitation in our rain gauge. The two heaviest rains, separated by four days, each brought five and a half inches of moisture. Most of the rain occurred in the first half of the month.

During the middle of the month, while driving through the countryside to work, I noted a decidedly different environment than what I was use to seeing. Most elevated, bare, red clay fields looked so water-logged and muddy that the soil surface appeared shiny. More than a few forty acre fields were fifteen percent covered with standing water.  In the lower areas, there were several locations where runoff had completely filled the roadside ditch and part of the highway was submerged. In one place a shallow, inches deep, stream of water was flowing across a forty-foot wide section of road. All that could be seen of one field were the top three inches of the fence posts. A lone house above the banks of one small river was surrounded on three sides by a foot of water.

What also seemed unusual was to see flocks of ducks flying north at this late time of year, usually the migrating birds come through our area from late March through April. Adding to the odd weather was that Tower, Minnesota, located only one hundred seventy-eight miles northeast of Gilman, had a hard frost of 29ºF– on June 11th!

Emperor Weather, a poem
After a very wet spring and early summer, I was prompted by weather conditions seen about our community, and from news reports in locations around the USA, and world to write the  ‘tongue in cheek’ poem, that follows:

                        “Emperor Weather
We beseech thee, oh ‘Weather That Changeth Most Rapidly’.
Mercy onto those from whom thou hidest the continence of the sun.
Thou who destroyest our tenderest crops with an early hard freeze
And who buriest our fields with snow so early in the season.
Whose snow pack reaches above our humble door step, to our window sill.

And yea, thee Weather, wherest thy late winter be so warm that floods develop and mud becometh deep.
It is thy cloud that bringest moisture in such great quantity.
All hail to the thundercloud
Rain without beginning
Rain without end

Thy flood washeth away the roads, gardens and crops of the people and leaveth them poor.
Thy wet grass keepeth the home owner from his yard
where the grass overcometh his cutting blade.
Yea, and each part of thy yielding land has too much of a good thing.

I am buried in mud. My neighbor afar has a heat wave.
And another, violent storm after violent storm, after violent storm.
And yet another sees no drop of rain as the months pass by.
Another has a very late Spring hard frost.
Each area after it’s own nature
So receives he, more and more.

And the continence of the sun was hidden from the face of man by the angry weather.
And man learned to fear the rain, to fear the drought,
to fear storms and to fear the weather.
And a cry arose from MAN…and he cried
All hail to the thundercloud
Rain without beginning
Rain without end…Amen

And somewhere deep beneath a mountain, a great subterranean cavern filled with lava. Surface moisture began seeping into the caldera and turning to steam. Pressures built within the bowels of the Earth as the volcano prepared to offer yet a greater insult to the beautiful skies and turbulent weather and the lives of MAN”  lfp

The final layoff at Landy Packing [7]
Friday,  June 29, rumors were quick to spread, everyone knew something was wrong when the Swing shift workers were not given their paychecks at noon on Friday, as was customary.
Early that afternoon, when the earliest dayshift employees got off work, they were handed their paychecks, with a ‘layoff notice’ attached. During the next two hours, there was a lot of talk amongst employees, not even the salaried, supervisory employees were given their pay until their the end of their shift.  As each department finished work for the day, they were handed their pay with an attached layoff notice.

That afternoon, I received my notice too, which simply stated:

“YOU ARE BEING LAID OFF EFFECTIVE 5/29/84.”

I was apprehensive and concerned over the manner in which we were being laid off this time. In the past, we saw the company tighten its economic reins on expenditures and maybe a few new employees were laid off, before there was announced a general layoff.

This time was different, the lay off came as a surprise.

I phoned Jim Landy from the laboratory to find out to what extent I should close down the Waste Water Treatment plant. His answer exposed the fact that we’d be off work at one or two weeks, and maybe longer.

Besides my concern over our family’s cash flow, I felt a little betrayed, like I’d been treated like dirt. After working for the company for nine years they would get rid of me without so much as a “Good Bye”?! I wasn’t just a faceless rank and file union employee, but a supervisor who was in the main office discussing this and that with the Landy family at least twice a week. The thought that they might be closing down permanently, giving less than two hours notice, hurt.

When Donna arrived home, I found that the only people still working, included several office girls, of which Donna was one, the central computer operator, office manager, accountant,  and the Landy extended family.

The Crystal Ball, a poem
On July 1, I wrote the a poem (below) for the prefix page of Journal 2, The Realm: Of Dark Places and Castle Walls, Of A Looking Glass and A Crystal Ball.

THE CRYSTAL BALL
Out of dark places forms a crystal ball,
Suddenly I’m drawn down a darkened hall.
Then I become part of a scene,
The vision with wide eyes I am seeing.

Barely a second does elapse
And the warp in time begins to collapse,
But in that instant that the warp did exist,
To another time I was whisked.

Clocks have no meaning in hyperspace,
And distance is a pointless place.
From inside the crystal ball I did gaze,
And outside pass seconds, hours and days.

In that timeless moment I look,
What I see would fill a book.
Now for some tales as happened to me.
Some are recent, some are past,
Soon we’ll search for the Looking Glass. lfp
.

Jane takes swimming classes
On July 11, Donna and Jane began a ten session swimming class, for mothers and their babies. The half hour long classes were designed to provide a pleasurable water experience for babies and toddlers and prepare them for swimming later in their childhood years. Jane did not have any bad experiences in the class.  By the end of the course, Donna carefully holding her up, Jane would tolerate water up around her ears while she splashed about happily blowing water bubbles.

Unemployment Compensation Benefits
Monday morning, following my ‘lay off’, I went to the Minnesota State Unemployment Office in St. CLoud and registered for Unemployment Compensation Benefits. While waiting my turn to do the claim’s paperwork, I spoke with two other Landy Packing Company supervisors, who were also waiting. I was advised that, members of the Landy family had told them to, ‘look for other jobs’. Now it was starting to look like the plant would to be closed for a while; however,  I remained optimistic that it would reopen, in a couple of months.

Upon filing my unemployment claim, I found that I would receive $198 per week compensation for six months. Considering I’d been laid off work most Monday’s during the spring and still earned $232 net per week, my $198 per week compensation (a 15% reduction), for staying home, was more than adequate.

In a hurry to get my vacation pay
During the middle of July, Donna advised me to apply for my vacation pay, as it looked like the company was rapidly going broke. I immediately applied for the three weeks vacation pay that I had coming – a tidy sum of $982. Donna put my ‘vacation request form’ in with a few other vacation requests that she thought the company might still honor, and indeed, I was paid in full.

Actually, I was fairly certain that whether the company opened again or not, at some point they would want me to come back in long enough to ‘mothball’ the Waste Water Treatment facility. If they failed to pay the money owed on my vacation, I would not return to close the plant down. It would cost considerably more to hire several other people to figure out how to do that job.

Landy’s file for Chapter 11, Bankruptcy
On August 29th, Donna was instructed to type out a memo to Landy creditors and ex-employees, informing them that Landy Packing Company would reopen when market conditions improved. Landy’s immediately filed for protection from their creditors under the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy laws.
The next day, August 30th,  Donna telephoned home with a tinge of excitement in her voice, the company office was filled with angry creditors demanding pay for their products and services.
On August 31st, Donna was laid off work. On the way home, she stopped at the Unemployment Office and filled out the necessary forms to receive her weekly unemployment compensation. 

Music [midi: Lawrence of Arabia]

The Chronolog [8]
During the early days of September, I dug into the file cabinet and pulled out my old, Fingers Of The Future study. Although it had been almost ten years since the study was done (when we first moved to Minnesota), I found it a fascinating research project and read it every few years. With each rereading, I’d update  the predictions that had been made, in order to see what milestones of change America and the World were supposedly approaching.

During the late 1970s, I programmed the Fingers Of The Future text files into our first computer, P.A.M.E.L.A.
At the time, I dressed up the low resolutions visual presentation, wrote an introduction to each ‘time segment’ of predictions, and continued research into the topic’s of housing, land, population, war, economics, and how to prepare for the predicted future.

In early December 1984, I entered Fingers Of The Future into my journal, renaming it, The Chronolog. The following  paragraphs are the prefix statements for  each section in, The Chronolog (by lfp):

…THE CHRONOLOG
I am a collection of facts, ideas and projections regarding your ecology.
My purpose is to assist you in developing ‘thought and action’ processes that are on time in a world of rapidly changing international power, energy problems, cyclic economic factors and a diminishing resource base.”

…YESTERDAY
“Yesterday was a good time, things were simple.
Machines were really helpful and the world was peaceful, except for an occasional war.
Since you were born, things have gotten progressively worse.
Man’s appetite has run rampant in a diminishing world.
Man planted the seed of change — you are the instrument of this change.
Choose the time you wish to enter and see the tree grow and your world’s problems become aggravated.”

…TODAY
“The seeds we plant now are to change our world tomorrow.
For what we plant, is what we reap and as we husband today, so will we care for tomorrow.
Economy, ecology and energy become national rallying cries.
A scramble for the new wealth is occurring.
Secure your resources now.
For ‘they’ of the world have started to gain control of their resources, and the degree of control they have over your resources, will be their profit — and the lowering of your way of life.
Maintain a strong, but flexible position.”

…TOMORROW
“I look from the past, through the present and into the future.
The imperceptible forms out there in time seem to mix and swirl in apparent disorder.
Yet they are not disordered, only my dim vision and narrow-sightedness make them appear so.
Choose the time you wish to enter. May your tomorrow be happy and your children well fed.”

…BEYOND
“As each technical generation ages, it finds the world
much different than it was in their youth. Each
generation the changes come quicker
testing the fabric of man and his
institutions. Survival in the 21st &
22nd century will depend on
your ability to change
rapidly. Come and
see…”

“Come visit me again. Many such trips into the past and future are possible.
Let me be your guide as you choose a path between what was and what is to be.
Chronolog”  lfp

Donna takes Human Relations at SCSU
On Tuesday, September 4, just four days after Donna was laid off from Landy’s: We were at the kitchen table eating a light lunch of tomato soup, saltine crackers and milk, meanwhile talking about Donna’s chances of finding a job teaching. Donna reminded me that all she needed to receive her Minnesota Teaching Credentials was to take a specific six unit Human Relations course. As we continued eating our lunch and chatting, I recommended she phone St. Cloud State University to find out when the class was offered next.

A few minutes later, after several telephone calls, Donna told me that the class had just begun and that it was not too late to register for it. We agreed the Human Relations course should taken and the opportunity did exist to do so. Donna telephoned the University again and asked to be placed in enrollment.

The next day, Wednesday, Donna attended the Human Relations class from 4:00PM until 9:00PM.

During the next two weeks, we applied for jobs around the St. Cloud area. I applied for laboratory technician, supervisory, boiler operator, chemist and maintenance jobs. Donna concentrated on part-time substitute teaching, so she could attend her Wednesday night class and complete the required homework.

The scramble to cash Donna’s last paycheck
About a week after Donna was laid off from Landy’s, we received a note from our bank stating that her last paycheck had bounced due to insufficient funds in the company’s account. Donna phoned Landy’s and spoke with the office manager who said money was being wired from a bank in Texas, where it arrived she could cash her check. Donna kept checking Landy’s bank account in St. Cloud to find when the money arrived. A small amount of money was put in the account just before closing time one night. The  first thing the next morning, Donna and I drove to Landy’s bank in St. Cloud where she took her pay as cash.

Inventory and closing the Waste Water Plant
On October 1, I was called into Landy’s and asked to make a complete inventory of everything in the Water Plant laboratory and all items in the main waste water treatment plant, everything loose that was not considered operationally important equipment. At the same time, they wanted the water drained from the pumps and instructed that all the pumps and gear boxes were to be oiled, greased and cleaned up.
I spent the better part of three days doing the work.
[Image at right: The WWT plant Electric room with disconnects and VFD (variable frequency drive controls) in blue cabinet, an early industrial “computer control’]

It was very quiet and  eerie to be ‘at work’ when it was so still.
As I moved about doing my inventory, changing oil, etc., there were no sounds other than the scraping and patter of my boots  and the slight echoing ‘clunk’ and ‘tink’ of my tools; there were no trucks or other equipment passing, no telephone’s ringing or calls on the intercom. The familiar deep hum of motors and roar of my boiler, the occasional distant sounds of men shouting to one another, the indistinguishable sounds of various machines operating about the company had provided a continuous low-level background din, now there was dead silence.

Somewhere outside the waste water plant’s back door, a few birds chirped amongst themselves in the bushes.
[Photograph at left: Sludge removal: Large white tank on left and smaller white tank on right referred to as ‘grease tanks’ . The screw conveyor on extreme right was used to remove sand and other smaller particles to a dump truck.]

[Image at right: My sump pumps. Just inside the employee door, 20 HP pumps used alternately to pump water from the large subsurface sump, over the Hydrosieve screen and into the 80,000 gallon clarifiers for treatment.]

Genealogy and Journal 4: The Passage
During the previous several years, my Dad, Uncle Bill and I had been working together on our family genealogy.
Genealogy is such a broad topic of research that we were never looking for the same information on any one ancestor at the same time. We each followed what ever ancestors trail that we fancied, until we ran out of leads, then veered off to track another ancestor. When ever we found a new batch of data, it was shared amongst the others. As a result, each of our monthly letters (actually, 8-1/2″ x 12″ manila envelopes) contained varying amounts of information, photocopies, etc.

As the months passed, I noticed that the types of data we were finding consisted primarily of hard facts, i.e.: birth  dates, marriage records, death dates, burial location, other children’s spouses, etc. These facts are the bare bones of genealogical research, but they tell little about the people themselves.
I realized that, what a descendant, like myself, really would like to have, would be stories written by those ancestors. Just the thought of having a letter, journal or other written communication penned by ones long past ancestors would provide immense personal value and contact through those documents.

Since no journals or historical family writings ever have surfaced in the family, I thought the only way to remedy the situation would be for someone to begin the endeavor.  I’d had a modicum of experience completing three journals and began entertaining the idea of assembling the writings of many living relatives into one book, which would act as a base for future family members.

The hardest part is starting, because journeys into uncharted territory are largely explorations; it’s hard to start or tools to take  when you don’t know where your going.

I began Journal 4, The Passage, in early October, a book dedicated to the writings of other family members. I wrote a prologue and a couple pages of topical and formatting suggestions hopefully providing future writers a frame of mind and a broad idea of what to write about.

Over the years that followed, relatives who wrote into Journal 4: The Passage were:
•  Donna’s mother, Eulah Clara __ wrote about the ‘Early 1900s in Arizona’
•  Donna’s father  Donald Ray__  discussed ‘Living on the family farm as a child – 1920s through 1930s’
•  My uncle, William Glen Pierce wrote ‘Memories of my Parents’, about Elsie Grubb and Glen Kenyon Pierce, a story which has been included in the ‘Glen Pierce & Elsie Grubb’ genealogy post in this blog.
•  My elder cousin, Doris Irene (Grubb) Hughes wrote ‘Memories of Our Grandparents‘ about Anna Flora (Anderson) and George Grubb (the parents of Elsie Grubb)
•  Don, Donna & myself  wrote parts of ‘An Account of the Death of Eulah Clara (Roberts)_’, also, ‘Mother’s Farewell Gift’.

I sent the journal to my parents, in which to write some story of significance from their lives. Although I pointed out in a letter that there was no hurry to return the journal and to write at their convenience, Mom and Dad sent the book back with a note stating they were’ too busy to write’.

Jane exposed to the printed word
In October, according to the instructions that I read in the book, Teach Your Baby to Read, Donna and I began showing Jane printed words . I cut stiff white tagboard into five-inch high by twenty-two inch wide strips and printed one common word on each card, using a bright red ink marking pen. I then divided the words into sets of five. At each session, over the course of the day, we both showed and pronounced the words from a different set to Jane.

Each day one word was taken out of each set and a new word was added. Our times together looking at and saying the words were fun, for all of us.

Even though Jane couldn’t say the word, she’d laid there wiggling, smiling, cooing and paying attention as she heard and saw the bright red markings. All the while she was learning that the symbols had importance, which at that time in her development, was the only purpose of the exercise. :-)

Some of the words we showed to Jane during these sessions, were:

bottle ears hat mouth pan stove
bread eyes hot night pants table
cold fingers kiss no Porky talk
come floor legs nose radio wall
duck hand milk pajamas see yes

Discovering Afterlife in a dream
During the early morning hours, on Sunday, October 14, I awoke and went to the bathroom. Returning to bed, I had difficulty going back to sleep. As I laid there both, comfortable and quiet in the darkness, I recalled something I’d recently read in a book entitled, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
The book described a method for changing the mode of consciousness from one’s right brain hemisphere to the left brain hemisphere. The author claimed that if you attempt to draw a picture which had been turned upside down, that your eye-left hemisphere’s normal cues are bypassed and the complexity would be too great for the left hemisphere to handle. Because of the complexity, the job of drawing the unrecognizable picture, would be transferred to the brain’s right hemisphere, which normally deals with global, and holistic concepts. The right hemisphere’s mode of thought doesn’t deal with data, time, symbols and visuals, in the same manner as our left hemisphere’s mode.

As I attempted to return to sleep, I visualized a photograph of an imaginary person, turned upside down. I couldn’t make much sense of the reversed photograph, but that’s as it should have been. In my mind’s eye, I began to draw the photograph very carefully, by first making its silhouette.

I didn’t finish the silhouette, but awoke from a very unusual dream an hour or so later.

My dream had many of the common elements reported by people who’ve had a ‘near death experience’. In such an experience, people report looking down on their body from above, seeing the room or setting about themselves; they report going into a white light, down long white corridors, wearing white garments; of being met by other people, or guides; there are reports of floating; of being aware of one’s timeless condition; such experiences are also reported to have led to an increase in one’s holistic thinking after the person was brought back from the brink of death.

The dream
During the early morning of Sunday, October 14, I had a very unusual and realistic dream, which unfolded like this:
“In my bed, I closed my eyes to dream and in my dream I died, but I would not leave.
I knew my body was gone, but that did not matter. In a reflective moment, I noted how unimportant the body was after it had been left.
I turned to look at Donna and thought to myself, “Just because I’m existing in something other than life, doesn’t mean that I’m going to anywhere else. I’m staying here with Donna.”
But there was an unknown power or force at work cloaked all about me, which I could neither feel or see. Yet, I understood it’s purpose was to dissolve my view of the world and -or to erase my memory thereof so that I would move on to some specific other place — a place where the newly returned all gathered. The force of life had been strong in me so I was not immediately drawn away by the power at work about me.
In a peculiar form of sight, I still saw Donna, but the memory of living was beginning to fade. As I felt myself slowly slipping or being removed from the sight and place of my loved ones, I came to the realization of my Will.
Mind you, the place where I found myself, was in no way harmful or frightening, it was sensationless. I was either standing or floating in a dimensionless void and existed only as my self-awareness. There were no other life forms present. Exterior to myself, but associated with my self-awareness was a mind’s eye view of Donna as she moved about. The mind’s eye view provided scenes equivalent to views seen with our biological eyes, except that my new eyes did not focus, they did not look about, nor were they distracted.
Again, I sensed some invisible power at work about myself. I could not determine if it was the force that I felt before, but I knew that I was either submersed in it and it was attempting to carry me away, or it was growing inside of my mind at the same time erasing my self-awareness.
What ever the nature of the force, it was growing stronger. However, I had rediscovered my Will and tried using it to escape. Like a trapped animal, I instantly offered resistance, closing my mind’s eye to fight the force whose bonds grew about me. The nature of my resistance had the feeling like when a you tighten all the muscles in your body making it become rigid. I clenched my fists very tightly and tearfully exclaimed over and over, in a voice that was half scream and half growl, “I will not go! I will not go! I will not go!”
Moments later, I opened my mind’s eye to see, and could feel that the force had withdrawn, I was entirely free of it.
 And there below and before me was Donna. She was wearing a nightie and was propped up on the bed, on her left elbow. I floated down toward her from a position near the ceiling. As I approached her, I became aware that time had passed and continued to pass for the living, this was a bit of a surprise revelation, because I’d forgotten about time.
You should understand, it had been just a few moments since the unknown power had attempted to carry me away and only a few moments before that, since I realized how unimportant my body had been. In those brief moments, hours or even days had elapsed for the living.
Now beside Donna, I touched her shoulder and her naked leg and realized my touch was not corporeal as with fingers. What Donna felt was more like a localized warm draft or warm feeling. Looking into her eyes I could see her thoughts were far away from her immediate surroundings. I sensed her feelings. In a strange sort of way, she felt that I was there with her. She seemed to sense my touch, but there was that awareness one has in life which created an impenetrable barrier, that neither of us could cross.
I was a happy now, because I was with the person I wanted to be with.
Time passed for the living and I saw Donna seated at a restaurant. I could only see Donna and the table which she’d just sat down at. The table was well illuminated by scattered sunlight, which lead me to believe that this was a luncheon. Upon seeing the frilly lace tablecloth, napkins and the crystal glasses, I surmised that this was a fancy and expensive restaurant. From about the room I could hear chatter of people in conversation, the “tink” of silverware on plates and an occasional  muted “thunk” as a glass was set down.
Suddenly, as if in a blink of my mind’s eye, I was no longer observing Donna at the restaurant – they had caught me!
I found myself being escorted down a white hallway along with several other children.  The three or four tall, slim creatures that guided us were all dressed in white, tight-fitting suits that made them almost blend in with the glowing white color of the corridor. The guides stopped us before an open doorway. Inside the room were many more children.
I immediately realized that in this new place, where I had been whisked away to, that I was no longer a man, but had become a child of perhaps seven years old.
Although I have placed symbolic forms on the human like entities that guided us, making them adult like and myself childlike and short, I realized that this was a living system of thought and sight. I knew that I was not a little boy, but in relation to my guides, I was in effect a child. I initially thought the guides would be upset, because I’d refused to come to this place a few moments earlier, but they were not, they paid me no special heed.
After pausing for a moment at the doorway, the guides ushered us into the room. Inside the room were other guides or adults and more children. I looked about, but the room was so very white I could see no corners or determine its size. The guides were all dressed in white suits of uncommon design, we children were all dressed in silvery white suits.
Here and there I saw an adult having a serious discussion with a child and I realized the adults were counselors.
Near me, a counselor was discussing something with a child and the child began to sadly nod in agreement. I looked over the counselors shoulder and saw him holding a small hand-held instrument with a meter window on its face.
The meter had a scale which read “-” negative at the top, “0” in the center and “+” positive at the bottom. During their discussion, the counselor touched the child with the meter and I saw a needle on the scale waver back and forth over the “0”. With this the counselor turned and said, “She’s OK now.” I looked about trying to determine the significance  of what I’d just witnessed.
Then a counselor began talking to me. He was saying that by now I surely recognized that this was not life, but something very different. He touched me with the meter and the needle wavered above the “0” on the “-” side. The counselor went on talking to me in a soothing tone, but I did not hear him. For in a flash of insight, I recalled life and I knew what they were attempting to do here. This was a sort of debriefing room, the counselors were attempting to calm the souls of those who had left life. They were explaining a new reality to us, in preparation for our sojourn within this new plain of awareness and existence.
Again I closed my mind’s eye and stubbornly clung to my Will and recalled life. Clenching my fists, I became rigid and yelled that I wanted to go and be with Donna. The counselor touched me again with the meter and the needle jumped to the top of the scale, to the “-“.
Evidently they decided to leave me alone for a while. I became aware of again being in the long white corridor, where I first found myself after being whisked away from the restaurant. When I opened my mind’s eye, I was alone and floating along in the corridor. Here and there I saw other adults, but they were neither guides or counselors. After aimlessly floating about for some period, I came to a much wider hall, which reminded me of a lobby. There was a lot of activity in this place, adults were going this way and that, all preoccupied with what ever they were doing. I saw a baby wrapped in white laying on an elevated cart. The baby looked very tiny, which led to the realization that this baby had not yet been born. This was not a living baby, but was a soul baby. Once again, things were not as they seemed here. My symbol system made the soul look like a baby, but then I was a child too. This was not actually how things were, but how I understood them using life’s structured thought.
I asked a nurse, “How long until the baby will be born?”
“Pretty soon,” she replied.
Not satisfied, because something in my memory was beginning to stir, I asked, “How many minutes until the baby will be born?”
The nurse looked at me in a rather odd way, went across the hall and looked at a clip board that was hanging on a wall column. She turned back toward me and politely said, “The baby will be born in ten minutes.”
The memory I sought deep in my mind, came to consciousness. And that was, ever since I’d been in this great white place, I’d not thought about time. I had not considered how much time had passed for those who lived. While the nurse was still there with the clipboard in her hand, I asked her, “What is the date– for those who are alive?”
She replied, “August the fourth, twenty eighty-one.”
I repeated the date to myself with wonder and surprise,
“A u g u s t   4 ,  2 0 8 1?!”
I held up a hand and began to count the decades on my fingers. Donna had been born in the 1940s, the exact year was unimportant. I became sidetracked and had to begin counting again. As the count progressed, I began moving toward a door which I knew separated this place from infinity.
I never finished the count, because I knew that 140 years had passed since Donna was born into life and I knew she was somewhere beyond the door waiting for me.
I plunged out into the darkness, sobbing with an excited glee and cried out,
“Donna!”

I awoke and opened my eyes in the darkness of our bedroom, I felt the warmth of tears running down either side of my face and about my ears. A noise from nearby made me raise my head a little and look down our mobile home’s hallway. There I saw Donna carrying Jane, coming toward the bedroom. Donna laid Jane on the bed next to me, then climbed into bed herself and pulled the covers back over us. While tears from the dream dried on my face, we laid in bed making small talk and kissing Jane. I said nothing about the dream for several days as I needed time to think about what had occurred.

Analysis and conclusion
The morning after my dream, I had a converging insight regarding our brain’s left and right hemisphere’s, their differing modes of thought, public reports of ‘near death experiences’ and how this one dream could have accessed such symbolism.

I thought about the book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards,  knowing that recent exposure to its concepts and my experiment the night before had triggered ‘a right mode shift’ at the time I was falling sleep.

It seemed to me that our self-realization and primary mode of interaction with the world existed as relatively greater activity in our trained, left brain hemisphere. We typically go to sleep with our consciousness still attached to the symbolic forms of the left hemisphere. On the morning of the dream, I’d returned to sleep just after transferring my mode of thought into my brain’s right hemisphere. As such, I had locked my self-realization into what was an alternate mode of ‘sleep thought’; a mode of ‘sleep thought’ which I and almost all adults are grossly unaccustomed to.

Upon reviewing my dream, it became apparent that my holistic right mode did consult with my left mode for specifics: Firstly, for description and operation of the hand-held meter used by the counselors, and secondly, the realization and meaning of time’s passage. This was interesting, because it showed that whatever mode one is in when they go to sleep, that problem solving awareness does temporarily cross over into the other hemisphere for the specific kinds of information generated there. It also shows, that the mode you go to sleep in, will provide its over-riding method of definition for symbols and events that occur during any subsequent dreams.

I came to believe that our self-awareness was more comfortable in associating with the left hemisphere’s mode of thought, particularly when we went to sleep. It’s like, that little spark of our self-awareness is happy bounding about through our mind during wakefulness, when ‘all the lights are on’. But, when we reduce physical and sensory activity and drift off to sleep, our self awareness prefers sitting quietly in it’s dimly illuminated, comfortable and homey little shack  in the left hemisphere’s mode of thought, where conditions-pathways are familiar; where we can sort through the previous days activities in a direct and simply understandable manner.

I came to believe that we are in essence, feral children of the left hemisphere. The more we individually come to rely on our left hemispheric mode of thought for ordering the immediate world, the more difficult it becomes to access those holistic and timeless conceptualizations provided by our right hemispheric mode of thought.

Cash assets at the time of the layoff
At the time of our layoff from Landy Packing, we had $3,770 in cash assets, of which $3,200 was invested in gold and silver bullion coins and bars. If no jobs were found after our unemployment compensation benefits were exhausted, the liquid assets provided about fifteen weeks living expenses.

At the end of October, four months after my layoff,  we’d increased our liquid assets an additional $1,700 to $5,470, of which $4,500 was invested in gold and silver bullion coins and bars. During that period, we had a respectable, if not outstanding, $90 per week savings from our Unemployment Compensation checks! By then, our liquid assets could provide us with a full twenty-one weeks, a half a years total living expenses!

Don and Eulah visit/ Jane’s first steps [9]
October 19 was a big day at home for two very good reasons: Donna’s parents arrived for a visit and Jane took her first steps.

Don and Eulah flew out from Redding, California for a several day visit with us. During the early afternoon, when they arrived at the Minneapolis International Airport, Donna was waiting to bring them home in our pickup truck. She would have taken the Toyota, but the back seat  is so compact that Don wouldn’t have fit in comfortably and Eulah would have been likewise cramped. At the time, Don was sixty years and Eulah eighty-three years of age.
During the previous few weeks, Jane has been struggling to her feet while holding onto items of furniture. Usually, she would pull herself to her feet and just stand there wobbling, looking at us and smiling as we praised her new-found dexterity. We’d try and coax her to walk to one of us, but after a few minutes she’d sit back down with a ‘kerplunk’.
[Photograph at left: Jane with her maternal  Grandma Eulah and Grandpa Don. They greatly loved, Jane.  This was our last visit with Eulah.]

On the day while Donna was gone to the airport to pick up her parents, Jane took her first three step walk, with this turn of events she became, ‘a big girl.’

That day was Jane’s first meeting with her maternal Grandparents. At their first meeting,Jane cried from the uncertainty of being around strangers; however, after a few minutes, the  ‘Grandparent-Grandchild bond’ kicked in and Jane became right at home with them.

During Don and Eulah’s visit Jane continued to practice walking, and was of course, the continual center of attention — as it should be. Eulah mentioned on several occasions, proudly stating, “Jane is even prettier than her pictures.” Several times, Eulah said “I can’t believe how strong and active my Granddaughter is.”

As is usual, when ever we had relatives or close friends visit, we gave our bedroom over to our guests; Donna and I slept on cots in the rear addition. My relationship with the in-laws was interesting. Don was never particularly happy about Donna’s and my marriage. When we first met I wasn’t earning enough money, then we moved far away so visiting was infrequent. Even though I had made good money at Landy Packing, had been a high responsibility employee and a  supervisor, Don still had his reasons to feel I wasn’t up to par as a son-in-law.

Eulah acted differently toward me. Although she would periodically scold me for this or that, her complaints were never taken seriously. In fact, I often said and did things just to get a ‘rise’ from her. So, while I would pester her by word or deed, she’d scold me verbally or with facial or body language. We didn’t really talk to each other about anything important, but had a friendly, almost affectionate relationship based somewhat on teasing one another.

While Don and Eulah visited, we took them out to breakfast once and they took us out to dinner. We didn’t go anywhere special, everyone just wanted to spend our few days together visiting, in particular Grandma and Grandpa wanted to play with and getting to know Jane.

Exchanging ‘Good-byes’ with Eulah
Don and Eulah were scheduled to leave on October 23d, which was also Don’s sixtieth birthday[10]. It was a sad morning when they left, we enjoyed their company, and  soon they would be missing their daughter and grand-daughter.
Even though everyone had the ‘Goodbye Blue’s’ there was a momentary incident that burned into my mind.
As they prepared to leave, I walked out the front screen door. Eulah came outside right behind me, cautiously making her way down the front steps and walked over to where I’d stopped along beside our concrete pad walkway. Eulah looked up into my eyes. I saw a tearful glaze in each of her eyes. Very earnestly and warmly she quietly said, “Good Bye, Larry”. Eulah stood there for a moment looking into my face, then turned and slowly began walking away down the walkway. Eulah wasn’t just saying goodbye until the next time that we happened to get together, she knew this was the last time we would ever see one another.
A moment later, chatting gaily amongst themselves, Donna, who was carrying Jane, then Don with a suitcase,  came out of the mobile home and down the stairs. Both were oblivious to the brief conversation Eulah and I had, and its import.  I looked back toward Eulah as she slowly and carefully continued walking away, her body slightly bent over from advanced age. Small tears stung my eyes. I liked Eulah.

Beginning Journal 5: The Numina-Janus
On October 31, almost immediately after setting up a preface to Journal 4, The Passage for my relatives and descendants to write in, I began a massive undertaking for the next journal. The title of Journal 5, The Numina Janus refers to the two faces of one entity. I used the conceptualizing differences of the brains left and right mode of thought to write two major articles that filled ninety seven pages of the journal. [See following picture and associated poem].

The first article, exposing the brain’s left hemispheric mode of thought, is entitled, A Naive View Of Nuclear Conflict: A Twentieth Century Nightmare. It is a hard and analytic study of the concepts of international conflict escalation, nuclear war targeting objectives, the home fallout shelter, a variety of civil defense measures and post war reorganization. The article is almost inhumane in it’s omission of the real life, personal consequences and suffering that would ensue following a nuclear war, never-the-less this is the manner in which the concept was widely viewed.

The second article, Looking Glass, explored the brain’s right hemispheric mode of thought . Looking Glass started  with an essay concerning the idea that our minds are composed of a Primary and a Secondary Observer and discusses the different modes of observation each use. It continues with a description of the method I occasionally use to call up the Secondary Observer and elicit a rapt experience. Finally, the third essay compares our left and right modes of thought with a silhouette or ground view and an overhead view of a distant city. [See the Looking Glass section title page image, earlier in this post.]

The Eyes of Janus
by lfp (The text below refers to the image above. Inverting the picture shows a group of ancient humans sitting around a  small fire, just before sunrise; overhead, a flock of geese cross the face of the moon.)

And there beside me were windows, into which I looked, dimly seeing.
Now, on my right, I saw processes unfurl at a rapid pace. I saw continents cover the Earth’s polar regions, I saw the onset of a great era of cold. I saw people in caves, then in huts, then in cities. I saw their beliefs transformed, I saw their tools transformed. I saw and understood the nature of change. I touched infinity, then looked back into a dream world of little or no consequence. And there on my left, I saw the reflections of urgent space, with earth and stars, all things in place. A world of faces and machines and of clocks that run slow, where existed left, right, above and below.
Over my shoulder I saw my shadow disappear behind me into a past, where sunrise and sunset mingled over an evolving, changing landscape.
Turning, I was transfixed by a beautiful  sunrise, which I gazed at ever so long, until I became aware of activity under my feet.
How strange was this hard surface upon which I stood. For it was composed of particles which were continuously popping in and out of existence. I felt their transformations occur, as they came and went in their unusual way.
Eventually, I looked up and saw a beam of unknown energy issuing forth from a glowing chamber. The beam curled around and about, then ran back into a void before me. And the beam was a unifying force, for it was of a nature related to all things which existed beyond that window to my left.
Right before me was a great and long hall. Although I could see door behind door extending down this hall, I could see no other thing beyond any door, except the next door.
Beyond the window to my right there stood a long procession of lives ready to open the first door, but I knew it was my office to do so, and now it is yours.
Reading Journal 5: The Numina Janus, you now stand on this plane, before the doors, with windows to your left and right.
As you read the ensuing two major articles, you must create in your mind’s eye, pictures, to envision those things of which we shall speak. You must remain aware of the different kinds of feelings evoked by these articles. You must try and place yourself in a context where by you understand the thoughts and times which created such a horrendous state of organization amongst men that they deemed nuclear warfare a social, economic and political tool.
In a moment we shall see nuclear conflict as the epitome of those sights that we see beyond the left window. Then we will turn, look into and step through the right window, which is the “Looking Glass”. What we seek is a twofold understanding. And this understanding, is of the nature and the manner of presentation of what exists beyond the windows — which are your left and right brains higher functions.
Now, turn and look, then see.

Reading to Jane
From Jane’s earliest months, Donna and I both read to her from library books and from other children’s books in her small, but growing personal library. I read to her about thirty minutes daily, in two each fifteen minute sessions. Donna read to her on weekends and occasionally in the evenings.
When Jane was about a year old, we began to teach her to read. Donna brought several colorful, nearly completely illustrated pre-reading books home from the St. Cloud Public Library. Reading the books consisted of identifying objects in the pictures and carefully pronouncing their names and talking about them.  Jane was a fast learner and before long was pointing to previously identified objects in the pictures and trying to pronounce their names as well. (Das ist ein FränkenJane)

Disaster at Bhopal, India
On the morning of December 3, a cloud of toxic fumes (methyl isocyanate) escaped from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India and drifted through part of the city. Some 2,500 people were killed immediately, another 3,329 eventually died from inhaling the fumes and 20,000 people were injured, many of these permanently blinded, in what was the world’s worst industrial disaster.
American lawyers [11]  rushed to Bhopal in what accounted to over a $1 billion in claims against Union Carbide.
The disaster at Bhopal became the measure of a modern world run amok.

What’s on TV tonight?
My favorite programs in 1984.
•  Local Evening   News
•  National   Evening News
•  ABC, CBS or NBC evening movies.

Movies
Movies that Donna and I attended during the year included:
2010 with Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Helen Mirren, Bob   Balaban
Beverly Hills Cop with Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher
Children of   the Corn with Peter Horton, Linda  Hamilton, R.G. Armstrong
Dune with Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Jose Ferrer, Freddie Jones
Ghost Busters with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver,  Harold Ramis
Iceman with Timothy Hutton, Lindsay Crouse , John Lone
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan
Police   Academy with Stever Guttenburg,  G.W. Bailey, George Gaynes
Red Dawn with Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Ron O’Neal, William Smith
Revenge of the Nerds with Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Ted McGinley
Romancing the Stone with Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Splash with Tom Hanks, Dary Hannah, John Candy, Eugene Levy
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock with William Shatner, Leonard Nemoy
Starman with Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith
Supergirl with Faye Dunaway, Helen Slater, Peter O’Toole,   Peter Cook
The Karate   Kid with Ralph Macchio, “Pat” Morita, Elizabeth Shue
The Last Star Fighter with Lance Guest, Dan O’Herilhy, Robert Preston

[Photocopy: The Hydra, preface to Journal 3.  An early drawing.]

[1]  The purchase and storage of the type items listed in the ensuing chart were prompted by the book, The Alpha Strategy, read in 1981.
[2] edited
[3] edited
[4]  See  Journal 2: The Realm “A Spring Storm System”, page 156.
[5]  While Landy’s had a management problem, there were other factors at work in the market place that exacerbated the company’s problems. According to the April 30, 1984 issue US News and World reports, “Big Shift in American Diets” an Agricultural report showed that the per capita consumption of red meat was rapidly declining, the food being replaced by plant products. Per capita consumption of meat was expected to show a 3 pound decline between 1983 and 1984, while food from plants was expected to increase 5 pounds per capita during the same period. Between 1970 and 1984, US beef consumption had declined 8.1%, poultry increased 28.6%, while cereals and baked goods increased 5.6%.
[6]  See Journal 2: The Realm “Wet June: A Climatological Observation”, page 281. [Not a WordPress post]
[7]  See Journal 3, The Hydra, “Layoff at Landy’s”, page 330.  [Not a WordPress post]
[8]  See Journal 3, The Hydra, ‘The Chronolog’, page 365.  [Not a WordPress post]
[9]  See Journal 5, The Numina – Janus, page 724.  [Not a WordPress post]
[10] It’s incredibly hard to believe, but when I took this photograph, Don, at 60 years old, was considered an old man to me…now as I prepare this text for posting on during January 2012, I am 69 years old,nine years older than Don was. Alas, Don recently passed away…all our petty grievances are gone. What I would give to have Don and Eulah back with us, amongst the living. They remain here in the background, alive somewhere in a quasi environment of people and places that I haven’t seen or communicated with  in a long time, but for whom I have fond  personal memories.  Reading and recalling Eulah’s and  my last ‘good-bye’, caused a small  tear to form in my eyes. We are prisoners of our bodies and social fixations, but when all is said and done, the final thoughts and memories that remain between us are bonds of love.
[11]  There are now 490,000 lawyers in America — about the same as the population of Vermont.

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Filed under Autobiography, __4. Little House in the Woods- Beginnings: 1980-1987

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