Friday, August 30, 2013

the first thing that I'd like to do

Woodward had taken time out --------- [book excerpt] ------------ to watch John D. Ehrlichman's appearance on ABC-TV's Issues and Answers.  On TV, Ehrlichman resembled a snarling prune, he thought, one eyebrow cocked high, the other low.  He was saying that everything in the papers about the Nixon campaign's program of political espionage and sabotage involved "a lot of charges, not much proof, not any proof. . . ."  He suggested that the McGovern campaign was somehow responsible for the allegations which people were reading in their newspapers and hearing on television.

Reminding the audience that the election was only three weeks away, Ehrlichman said this was the "mud month," when political charges would be thrown around.  He was not personally aware of any campaign of political espionage mounted by Republicans in or out of the administration, he said; certainly nobody in the White House had known anything about Watergate in advance.  He couldn't "affirm or deny" the charge that Chapin was involved with Segretti.  But, he added, it was important to distinguish between the Watergate bugging, which "involves a crime," and such activities as "finding out what the other fellow's schedule is."  Political pranks, said Ehrlichman, that kind of thing, "has been in American politics as long as I can remember."

Woodward and Bernstein concluded that Ehrlichman was perhaps the only high White House aide clean enough on Watergate to be safely trotted out before the TV cameras.  Haldeman sure as hell couldn't be sent out -- not after the Chapin story.  Both felt certain that Ehrlichman's appearance signaled that he was clear. 

Maybe Deep Throat had been wrong when he said Ehrlichman had ordered Howard Hunt out of town. ...

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til Eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
that you're the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them

I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
through time with

{book excerpt:  All The President's Men.  Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  Copyright 1974.  Simon & Schuster.  New York, New York.}
{song:  "Time in a Bottle" -- a hit single, singer-songwriter Jim Croce.  On the 1972 album, You Don't Mess Around with Jim on the ABC label.  Also included on the 1974 greatest hits collection, Photographs and Memories.}


Thursday, August 29, 2013

glad to see you get out

Chasing from office to office ------ [book excerpt] ------ after Time's work on this one was less than fun.  Bernstein got nowhere and took a cab back to the office.  Dejected, he stepped into the elevator in the Post lobby and suddenly felt his arm grabbed and then his body being pulled back into the lobby.  He started to struggle, then heard a female voice.

"Boy, am I glad to see you!"  It was Laura Kiernan, a young news aide who had recently been promoted to reporter on the local staff.  "There's a guy upstairs in the newsroom with a subpoena for you and your notes.  Bradlee doesn't want you up there to get it.  He wants you out of here, fast."

Bernstein dashed to a stairwell at the end of the lobby, then up seven flights of steps to the accounting department.  Closing the door of an office with an adding machine on the desk, he dialed Bradlee's extension.  Woodward was off for a few days in the Caribbean, but they had long before agreed on what to do if they were subpoenaed.  Turning over notes or naming sources in either a grand-jury proceeding or a judicial hearing was obviously out of the question.  There would be plenty of time to fight that in court.  The first thing to do was move their files to a safe place.  Bernstein told Bradlee where the files were.  They would be moved immediately, he said.

...Bradlee told Bernstein he couldn't find the Post's lawyers and he didn't want him served until he'd heard their advice. 

"Get out of the building," he said.  "Go to a movie and call me at five o'clock."

Oh Rapid Roy that stock car boy
He's the best driver in the land
He say that he learned to race a stock car
By runnin' shine outta Alabam'

Oh the demolition derby
And the figure eight
Is easy money in the bank
Compared to runnin' from the man
in Oklahoma City
with a 500 gallon tank.

Oh Rapid Roy that stock car boy
He's too much to believe
You know he always got
an extra pack of cigarettes
Rolled up in his T-shirt sleeve.

He got a tattoo on his arm that say "baby"
He got another one that just say "hey"
And every Sunday afternoon
he is a dirt track demon
In a '57 Chevrolet....

{book excerpt:  All The President's Men - Bernstein, Woodward -- copyright 1974 -- Simon & Schuster, New York}
{song excerpt:  "Rapid Roy (That Stock Car Boy)" -- Photographs and Memories album, 1974, ABC.}


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

the burglars have their own counsel...

Woodward ---------[All The President's Men excerpt] ------------learned from Lewis that the suspects were going to appear in court that afternoon for a preliminary hearing.  He decided to go.

Woodward had been to the courthouse before.  The hearing procedure was an institutionalized fixture of the local court's turnstile system of justice:  A quick appearance before a judge who set bond for accused pimps, prostitutes, muggers -- and, on this day, the five men who had been arrested at the Watergate.

A group of attorneys -- known as the "Fifth Street Lawyers" because of the location of the courthouse and their storefront offices -- were hanging around the corridors as usual, waiting for appointments as government-paid counsel to indigent defendants.  Two of the regulars -- a tall, thin attorney in a frayed sharkskin suit and an obese, middle-aged lawyer who had once been disciplined for soliciting cases in the basement cellblock -- were muttering their distress.  They had been tentatively appointed to represent the five accused Watergate burglars and had then been informed that the men had retained their own counsel, which is unusual.

Woodward went inside the courtroom.  One person stood out.  In a middle row sat a young man with fashionably long hair and an expensive suit with slightly flared lapels, his chin high, his eyes searching the room as if he were in unfamiliar surroundings.

Woodward sat down next to him and asked if he was in court because of the Watergate arrests.

"Perhaps," the man said.  "I'm not the attorney of record.  I'm acting as an individual."

He said his name was Douglas Caddy and he introduced a small, anemic-looking man next to him as the attorney of record, Joseph Rafferty, Jr. 

Rafferty appeared to have been routed out of bed; he was unshaven and squinted as if the light hurt his eyes. 

The two lawyers wandered in and out of the courtroom.  Woodward finally cornered Rafferty in a hallway and got the names and addresses of the five suspects.  Four of them were from Miami, three of them Cuban-Americans.

Caddy didn't want to talk.  "Please don't take it personally," he told Woodward.  "It would be a mistake to do that.  I just don't have anything to say."

... How did you get into the case?
Caddy pivoted and walked back in.  After half an hour, he went out again.

Woodward asked how he got into the case.

This time Caddy said he'd gotten a call shortly after 3:00 A.M. from Barker's wife.  "She said her husband had told her to call me if he hadn't called her by three, that it might mean he was in trouble."

...At 3:30 P.M., the five suspects, still dressed in dark business suits but stripped of their belts and ties, were led into the courtroom by a marshal.  They seated themselves silently in a row and stared blankly toward the bench, kneading their hands.  They looked nervous, respectful and tough.

Earl Silbert, the government prosecutor, rose as their case was called by the clerk.  Slight, intent and owlish with his horn-rimmed glasses, he was known as "Earl the Pearl" to Fifth Streeters familiar with his fondness for dramatic courtroom gestures and flowery speech.  He argued that the five men should not be released on bond. 

They had given false names, had not cooperated with the police, possessed "$2300 in cold cash, and had a tendency to travel abroad." 

They had been arrested in a "professional burglary" with a "clandestine" purpose.  Silbert drew out the word "clandestine."  ---------------------[end excerpt]

("Drew out.  Dr-r-r-re-e-e-w-w-w-w out.  The word "clandestine."

As well he might. ...)


Photographs and memories
Christmas cards you sent to me
all that I have are these

To remember you

Memories that come at night
Take me to another time
Back to a happier day
When I called you mine --

But we sure had a good time
When we started way back when
Morning walks and bedroom talks
Oh how I loved you then.

Summer skies and lullabies
Nights we couldn't say good-bye
And of all of the things that we knew
Not a dream survived....

Photographs and memories
All the love you gave to me
Somehow it just can't be true
That's all I've left of you --

But we sure had a good time
When we started way back when
Morning walks and bedroom talks
Oh how I loved you then

{book excerpt:  All The President's Men, written by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.  Copyright, 1974.  Simon & Schuster.  New York, New York}
{song:  "Photographs and Memories" - Jim Croce.  You Don't Mess Around with Jim album.  recorded 1971 - 1972, The Hit Factory, New York City.  Released April 1972.  Label:  ABC.  The song "Photographs and Memories, included on 1974 compilation album, Photographs & Memories - His Greatest Hits, ABC Records.}


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

pocket for fun

------------------ Liddy's suggestion had been dismissed out of hand on grounds that he was either crazy or kidding. ----  [excerpt, All The Pres. Men -- Bernstein, Woodward] ----
> > The Watergate story had stalled, maybe even died.  The reporters could not understand why.  Bernstein's administration contact, the former official, was also unable to get any useful information and joked -- or so Bernstein thought -- that the White House had "gone underground."

Bernstein, protesting, was shipped back to Virginia politics.  Woodward decided to take a vacation.

On July 22, the day Woodward left for Lake Michigan, the Long Island afternoon paper Newsday reported that a former White House aide named G. Gordon Liddy, who had been working as a lawyer for the campaign committee, had been fired by Mitchell in June for refusing to answer FBI questions about Watergate.

> > [[ notes typed on a typewriter by Woodward while Bernstein reads them, with a Rachmaninoff piano concerto playing, because Woodward's source says his place may be bugged -- it's information being given in a "conversation" on a manual typewriter...]]

::  Mitchell started doing covert national and international things early and then involved everyone else.  The list is longer than anyone could imagine. ::

:: Caulfield threatened McCord and said "your life is no good in this country if you don't cooperate. . . . " ::

:: The documents that Dean has are much more than anyone has imagined and they are quite detailed. ::

:: Liddy told Dean that they could shoot him and / or that he would shoot himself, but that he would never talk and always be a good soldier. ::

:: Hunt was key to much of the crazy stuff and he used the Watergate arrests to get money . . . first [$100,000 and then kept going back for more. . . .  :: [[end the Typed Notes]]

> > "Are you kidding?  Lang's so dumb that the Monday after the bugging he called everybody in finance together to say that we had nothing to do with it.  And then he asked Gordon to say a few words to the kids.  At which point Gordon Liddy got up and made a speech about how this one bad apple, McCord, shouldn't be allowed to spoil the whole barrel."

Bernstein asked the sister for another cup of coffee and tried another name.

"Never.  The White House got him out because he didn't like to do all the crazy things they wanted."


"Right under Mitchell," the Bookkeeper suggested.

Bernstein tried LaRue and Porter.  She didn't respond.  He tried again.
What evidence did she have that Mitchell's assistants were involved?
"I had the evidence, but all the records were destroyed. . . . I don't know who destroyed them, but I'm sure Gordon did some shredding."

> > "What obviously makes this a Mitchell-Colson operation is the hiring of Liddy and Hunt.  That's the key.  Mitchell and Colson were their sponsors.  And if you check you'll find that Liddy and Hunt had reputations that are the lowest.  The absolute lowest.  Hiring these two was immoral.  They got exactly what they wanted.  Liddy wanted to tap the New York Times and everybody knew it.*  And not everybody was laughing about it.  Mitchell, among others, liked the idea."

* The Los Angeles Times had reported earlier that Liddy had suggested to White House colleagues that the New York Times be wiretapped to learn how it obtained the Pentagon Papers.  According to the L.A. Times account, Liddy's suggestion had been dismissed out of hand on grounds that he was either crazy or kidding. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ He's got a custom Continental; He's got an Eldorado too; He got a 32 gun in his pocket for fun, He's got a razor in his shoe

ba-domp ba-DOM
and he's bad, bad....

{book excerpt:  All The President's Men, written by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.  Copyright, 1974.  Simon & Schuster.  New York, New York}
{song excerpt:  "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" written and recorded by Jim Croce.  ABC Records.  Number One pop hit.  1973 Life and Times album.  Included on Photographs & Memories - His Greatest Hits, 1974 compilation album, ABC Records, released after Jim Croce's death in an airplane crash]


Monday, August 26, 2013

"Que pasa" and "I don't know"

I overcome the blow,
I learned to take it well,
I only wish my words
could just convince myself
That it just wasn't real...

"There was another occasion when Mr. Mardian was at a big meeting in Mr. Krogh's office with Liddy, Hunt and three or four people I didn't recognize," Chenow said.  "And David [Young] used to talk to John Mitchell . . . I don't know what about; I don't know how often."

{    space    in the text     }

He asked about the telephone listed in the "stipulation."

"That was Mr. Hunt's phone.----- [All The President's Men excerpt] ----- It was put in for me to answer and take messages for him.  Mr. Barker always called on that phone; he as about the only one who ever called.  It rang an average of once a week, sometimes two or three times a week."  Hunt and Bernard Barker "were always chummy on the phone:  Mr. Hunt would usually say 'How are you?  What you been up to?' . . . Sometimes when he talked to Mr. Barker he spoke Spanish; he apparently liked to speak Spanish for some reason. . . . No, I don't speak Spanish. . . . I remember Mr. Hunt calling Mr. Barker and his [Barker's] wife -- nobody else.  Sometimes Mr. Liddy might have used the phone to talk to somebody Mr. Hunt had placed a call to.  I guess it was Mr. Barker.  Most of the phone calls were from August to November.  The phone was taken out March 15; by then it hadn't been used in ages."

Bernstein asked the obvious.  Why would a telephone in the White House complex, which had the benefit of the most sophisticated communications system in the world, be listed in the name and address of an individual in Alexandria?

"That's a good question," she replied.  "They apparently wanted it in my name because they didn't want any ties with the White House -- for what reason I don't know."


Operator, could you help me place this call,
You see the number on the matchbook is old and faded,
She's living in L.A., with my best old ex-friend Ray,
A guy she said she knew well, but sometimes hated.

Isn't that the way they say it goes
But let's forget all that,
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell her I'm fine,
And to show -- I overcome the blow,
I learned to take it well,
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn't real --
but that's not the way it feels.

Operator -- could you help me place this call,
'Cause I can't read the number that you just gave me,
There's something in my eyes,
You know it happens every time
I think about the love that I thought would save me.

Isn't that the way they say it goes?
But let's forget all that,
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell her I'm fine
And to show -- I overcome the blow,
I learned to take it well,
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn't real --
But that's not the way it feels,
No, no, no, no, that's not the way it feels

Operator --
let's forget about this call
There's no one there I really wanted to talk to
Thank you for your time
You've been so much more than kind.
You can keep the dime.

Isn't that the way they say it goes,
But let's forget all that,
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell her I'm fine
And to show --
I overcome the blow,
I learned to take it well
I only wish my words
could just convince myself
That it just wasn't real --

but that's not the way it feels.

{book excerpt.  All The President's Men, written by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.  Copyright, 1974.  Simon & Schuster.  New York, New York}
{song:  "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)" -- written and recorded / Jim Croce.  Released Aug., 23, 1972, second single released from You Don't Mess Around with Jim album.  Included on Photographs & Memories - His Greatest Hits, 1974 compilation album, ABC Records, released after Jim Croce's death in an airplane crash}


Friday, August 23, 2013

nice evenings

"My mama told me
You better shop around, aah-ah
You better shop around

Try to get yourself a bargain, girl
Don't be sold on the very first one
Good-looking guys come a dime a dozen
Try to find you one who's gonna give you true lovin'..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Summer when I worked as a Summer Girl in The Suburbs, one of the things I had thought about, or wondered about, was if I might meet any nice -- a Boy Who Likes Me...

I didn't meet
working there.

Well that's not true -- I met -- people.  Some.  Who were three years old.  And 31 years old.  And 50.  And -- later on in the summer, 63 and 64. ...
Although one day, out in the swimming pool, it was the mom and two little girls and me, and two guys who were related to the children's dad, who were in their early 20s.  A little older than me, but not so Much older.  And a couple of other women were there, too -- friend and relative of the children's mother...after swimming, back in the house, I went to the laundry room to hang up some wet suits, and one of the young men was in there, and he started talking to me.

He was asking questions about the town where I was from.  He had heard I was from a really really small town (but more interesting than this suburb, I can tell ya that -- but I didn't tell him that) and he starts asking me questions angled toward the idea that if the town is that small, then there's nothing to do, and so what do people -- do -- do they go -- out -- parking?  Do you -- go out -- ...

ALL RIGHT -- All right -- I AM just about as naïve as I look,
but even I know the difference between

a Boy Who Likes Me
a Guy Who's Out To See What He Can Get...

OK just -- let me make sure I understand this, your idea of how to be charming is to conduct a

Sex Interview --

a Sexual Experience Interview --

in a Laundry Room -- ???!!?!

of course I didn't say any of this, just created vague, cloudy non-answers to his questions.  The children's mother came in, saw him looking at me, and tartly "shoo"-ed him away ...

= = = = = = = = = = = Some of the summer's fun times were when the couple I worked for socialized with their friends.  Once they had another couple and their little kids (and Summer Girl) over to "our" house for dinner, and once or twice we all went to the home of one of their friends.  It was all --

parents - children - summer girls

Those seemed like happy times -- people smiling, laughing, talking -- a sort of upbeat, "fizzy" atmosphere....When the couples said good-night when guests were leaving, the husbands would hug and kiss-on-the-cheek the wives in the other couples.

People where I lived didn't do that.
I wondered if it was a Suburban Thing, or a Jewish Thing...custom.

----------------- All summer long up until August, the mother had talked of her relatives coming to visit, from Chicago -- an uncle-and-aunt, her parents, and her best friend, her cousin Ilene.  They all came in, toward the end of the summer, a few at a time, and the atmosphere in the house seemed to lighten and become happier.  There were social times in the day-time, social times in some of the evenings, going-here, going-there; sometimes I went along, other times I wasn't included in the trip and I was glad to have some free time / space, at the house.

When Mrs. K., the children's grandma -- the mom's mom -- came in from Chicago, she spent time at the house.  One morning the children's mother was in her fast-focused-intent-and-intense Mode, per the usual, and her mother starts bossing her around..."You're eating too fast, now just slow down, there's no need for--"  And then when the mom proceeded to take a spoonful of cereal and chew even faster, her mother turned away in exasperation, lamenting,
"Oh! -- Just like a -- machine!"

===================== That was a whole shift in viewpoint....

One day, later in the summer, the mother told me I was invited to a dinner and an Evening Off with a group of Summer Girls who were working for her various friends around the area.  I was a little bit -- sort of, What?  Because I didn't know any of those girls.  Maybe I had met one, at one of the social evenings.  Anyway, this Evening for the summer girls had been planned for us, by these parents we worked for.

I was surprised, and maybe inside not enthusiastic because -- I don't really know what it is, or what it's going to be...but -- then how bad could it be, and I said Well -- okay...
(what.  ever.)
Either the parents I worked for drove me there, or someone picked me up, can't remember, and a ride back "home" at the end of the evening had been arranged.  Everything was planned & arranged.

And I have to say after a jillion years of not thinking of this at all, when I remember, now, I know that was a really fun, nice evening.  One of the families had gone out for the evening and taken their children -- vacated their house! -- so we summer girls had the place all to ourselves.  We made a spaghetti dinner, complete with garlic bread and whatever else....(One of those mothers, along with her summer girl, had done some planning -- not to mention bought some groceries -- to make sure we had a project to do, a dinner to enjoy, and hopefully a good time. ...)

I imagine, now, that the idea came up because one of the parents, or one of the couples had started saying,
"Listen, these summer girls work hard for us, but they're kids, remember, and let's face it they never have any fun.  No one their own age..."etc.  "These young ladies are languishing -- there's nothing for them to do, here, that's fun for them."

[[ You got THAT right! ]]

The woman I worked for might have spoken up:  "I dropped my summer girl off at a mall during her first day off."

Answer:  "A mall?!  What could she possibly buy?  You know what we're paying these people!!"

=================== The summer-girl Evening was a kind, sweet gesture, and a great success.


One evening at the house, all these relatives were over -- it was the most people we'd had in the house all summer.  A circle of ladies was gathered in the family room and the three-year-old and I came in so she could say good-night to all of these admiring, adoring aunts, cousins, grandma...In their enthusiasm a sort of competition began, calling the little girl's name and saying, "Come and kiss me good-night!" 
"Oh don't you want to come to me?"
"No, she wants to hug me!"

(Oh come on, don't press so much, or she's not going to go to anybody, I was thinking) -- and then of course the only thing worse, the kid looks around the circle of relatives and runs straight to me.

I had a bus ticket to ride back to the town near mine, where my parents were to pick me up, near the end of August.  Only a couple of days before my departure date, the children's mother's father, Mr. K. had arrived.  And when it was time for me to leave, he drove me to the bus station. 
I was surprised at his offer to do this -- he didn't know me, I had only just met him.  But he wanted to help out, and maybe he wanted to drive.

Out of the residential area, on the highway, he said Let me show you Cruise Control

I had no knowledge of cruise control.

He showed me how it worked.  He was into it.

He was one of those affable people -- just easy, relaxed talk, back-and-forth, not too much talk, just regular.  A Chicago businessman of some kind.  (I must have known, then, what business he was in, but can't remember now...)

When we arrived at the bus station, I expected that he would -- "drop me off."
Stop the car and wait while I got my bags, and then he would drive back to the suburbs, while I carried my things into the bus station and waited.

Instead of that, this man I had only met two days before, and was never going to see again in Life, parked, carried my bags for me, and when we got in there --
(I thought now he will set the bags down and leave, and I'll wait -- I've got a book)
but no -- it was Another "instead"...Instead of that, he sat down and waited with me, talking about stuff -- cities, and buses, and travel, and Nothing -- and he waited until the bus came, and my bags were on, and I was on.

He was from that World War II-era generation, and I guess it just was not his style to drop a young lady off at the bus station and then drive away. ...

When the bus came and the bags were taken care of, before I got on, he hugged me and kissed me on the cheek.  ("OK," I thought, "it's just like at those picnic-parties -- this is what the city people do....")  I was really surprised by that.  He was a nice man.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

all the neat houses, all the nice streets

CRAACK!--Thwap, BONK!! 

Something had slammed down in the Impressive Entry of the house where I baby-sat and house-helped in the Bicentennial Summer...

First -- is anyone hurt?
Second -- what's broken?
it was the unusual, exotic, somewhat intimidating statue that was part of the interior design scheme of the entry-way...the cute little One-and-a-Half-Year-Old had -- I don't know -- toddled into it, grabbed hold of it, something.

Thank goodness it only broke into three pieces, and we didn't have 16,000 death-dealing shards of sharp something-or-other pitched across that hard stone floor...

The mother had been getting ready to drive somewhere -- (the store?), bringing the little girls, and I was going along, to help -- so we were in that Step-by-Step, Chore-By-Chore Focused Push To Get OUT THE DOOR when we heard the crash-smash in the entry.

And when she rushed to see what had happened, she was immediately very distressed.

Was the statue that important?
Or was it just that it was One More Thing?
She was a pretty intense young mother who wanted everything perfectly clean, and to do everything perfectly right, and -- you know -- it's a lot of pressure that people put on themselves....

She started having a little bit of a mini-meltdown:  scolding the children,
"How could you?"
crying out to the expressionless universe --
"I -- Can't -- Have -- Anything!"

I was feeling the pain, thinking  ("Oh please don't be upset, no one's hurt, and -- and -- it's -- a thing...")
of course could not say a word...
I looked down,
patting one of the children, and a thought came to me and filled up my mind before I had any chance to edit, refine, design, define, or shine it up at all -- and it was
that statue was ugly
and the Impressive Entry was well rid of it. ...

[It felt like a subversive thought....]

======================  That was one of the -- I guess you could call it -- misadventures of the Summer.  One Saturday night when the parents were both at The Restaurant and the two children were asleep, I kept hearing noises -- the house was still unfamiliar, and so were the noises.  Sitting in the kitchen, writing and reading, I kept getting up to check the Impressive Entry, and the family room, to make sure no one was trying to sneak in.

Got tired of running back and forth, and still felt nervous, so I set some kind of
Burglar - Trap / Warning. 
I wish I could remember exactly what it was that I created -- I put stuff in front of the front door in the Impressive Entry and also in front of the family-room door leading out to the garage.

What was it?  Think it involved chairs, string, a couple of large plastic bottles of Coca-Cola which would not break or spill, but would roll....(why did I not study Engineering in college?...)...after that whole statue-fracas, I made sure it was stuff that wouldn't break, but it would --
1) make noise to warn me
2) startle and discombobulate the burglar / maniacal-killer so that maybe he would get scared and run away.

When the mom and dad got home that night, the
intensity of the mom and the
remoteness of the dad
slipped, just a little, because they thought it was funny -- when they -- walked in on all that stuff....

= = = = = And of course, one day, the baby (1 & 1/2 years -- the Enemy Of Ugly Statues) got down to the pool by herself....the parents didn't know the little one could open the sliding door to the patio -- seeing her down there alone was a stressful way to find out..
stress - fuss - hubbub

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ And -- that pool!  Honestly -- one day both parents were home -- the mom was doing something in the house and watching the littlest one, while her husband had taken the three-year-old out to the pool; the mom sent me out, to be out there with them.

The dad was wearing his swimming trunks, and sunbathing on a deck chair with a magazine.  The little girl had gone in at the shallow end, wearing a life-preserver over her swim-suit and I think she may have had the round, air-filled ring around her, too, while she played on the steps, and by the edge.

It was bright and sunny and quiet, until suddenly the child started to whimper and then a whole crying - screaming thing erupted pretty fast, because -- she had drifted - floated out away from the edge of the pool -- she wasn't in danger of drowning, she was perfectly upright in her life preserver and float-thing, but she was scared, because she couldn't touch the bottom of the pool with her feet, or touch the side of the pool with her hands...

I waited just a few seconds -- looking over at the dad, I thought he would want to be the one to go into the pool and pick her up -- but -- couldn't see any movement over at that pool-chair, so I just walked into the water, in my clothes and shoes, and got her.

Up on the patio, fuss from Mom:  "Now, you're OK!  You're not afraid in the water!  Look you made the summer girl get her clothes all soaking wet...!"

["She was scared don't scold!"
So many sentences left unsaid.  I was such a diplomat (crazy person)...]

~~~ === ~~~ === ~~  And one time, that summer, in the late afternoon it was Mysteriously Scary...The three-year-old, accompanied by me, went next door to Jimmy's house to see if he wanted to come out and play. 

There was Robby across the street,
and Jimmy next door,
and these little ones had gone back and forth to each other's houses and yards occasionally, off and on, all summer, always with Hovering-Summer-Girls.

There was nothing different about that day when we went over there -- I was not "Expecting any Trouble" -- it was small charge rang the doorbell; after a few moments Jimmy opened the door; when invited  to come out, he said something like, "I don't know, I have to see" and left the heavy inside door open, with the screen-door closed.  The little girl and I standing outside.

...Minute or two later his mother came to the door at a fast pace and
yelled at us
a lot.

It was completely unexpected, and therefore unsettling. 

I certainly cannot remember now What she Said -- there was nothing to say -- we hadn't done anything wrong...She must have been upset about something else, God knows --

It really shook me up.  One thing I was so thankful for, anyway, was that "my" Three-year-old was pretty unfazed -- I guess if it was terror she couldn't understand, it didn't penetrate her awareness too much -- it was, maybe, "white noise" between two adults, far above her head, peripheral to her consciousness. ...

and it's a good thing, because I was scared enough for both of us.

We went home.

Now, recalling that incident makes me remember a scene in the film All The President's Men -- reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are on their way to interview Hugh Sloan; they're walking in a quiet residential neighborhood.  They're walking away from the camera and you hear their voices:

Bernstein:  "All these neat little houses on all these nice little streets.  It's hard to believe that something's wrong in some of those little houses...."

Woodward:  "No it isn't."


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I have more power

"They must be very rich!" was what I imagined about my new employers when I was a "summer girl" in 1976 ("Play That Funky Music, White Boy"), when I first came into the house, and met the children and their mother.

I sort of knew, on another level, that this was actually the upper end of middle class -- I guess I knew the difference between a house with a swimming pool, vs. a palace, or something. 

Still I was very impressed, on an imaginative level -- partly, perhaps, because I am a person who LOVES to be impressed -- I don't know why -- and partly because when I first knocked on the door and entered, I came into an impressive, sort of cavernous was a split-level house, and only in the front-door entry-way area was the ceiling placed way high up, at the maximum height of the -- house....

Like, to the left and right, were -- the family room, and stairs leading up to a big living room next to the kitchen (and maybe a dining room behind that....)

Bedrooms and baths on upper level, a few more steps up, out of the kitchen.

So all those other rooms were just -- rooms, with regular-level ceilings, not particularly high....but that Entry-way was Impressive because the air-space extended up so high, overhead, and because of the cool, dark, stone floor -- squares, under your feet, and the décor.  Can hardly remember, but maybe a distinctive light fixture overhead, with some kind of imaginative, directional lighting, and something on the wall -- and on the floor, I think a plant in a pot, and a sort of pot or jar holding nothing, and also some kind of statue...exotic or strange....

The way that entry was built, and accessorized, made it instantly impressive when you walked in the front door.  It was the Impressive Entry.

The in-ground swimming pool was the other thing that sort of said,
"Big money."
"We are rich."

Or at least it said that to me, and to my possibly overactive imagination.
("So we crashed the gate, doin' 98, I said Let-them-truckers-roll-TEN-four...")

When I told some of my high school classmates what my summer job was going to be, they said,

Why does the mom need a live-in baby-sitter?  Does she work?

No, she stays home full-time with the little kids.

..................... My friends assumed, along with me, then, that those people must be "rich."

Having your own swimming pool in your backyard, however, is a "double-edged sword" -- or maybe a tide that washes both ways...(?) -- I ask myself now, (having only slightly more real-estate savvy than I had at the age of 17...) if

an Impressive Entry, and

an in-ground swimming pool

are advantages that add to the "value" -- get-able buying price -- of a home, or ...not?

Looked at from a practical perspective, undazzled by the Beverly-Hills-like sparkle of having your own pool -- my goodness, when you factor in

1)  the maintenance (fuss) of the pool
2)  the risks and hazards

you start thinking maybe when a property has a pool. then that -- 

must --

knock a couple hundred-thousand-dollars off the price....? !

----------------- Looking it up...Forbes on-line, in an article, "6 Things You Think Add Value To Your Home -- But Really Don't" it says
1.  Swimming Pools.
Swimming pools are one of those things that may be nice to enjoy at your friend's or neighbor's house, but that can be a hassle to have at your own home.  Many potential homebuyers view swimming pools as dangerous, expensive to maintain and a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Families with young children in particular may turn down an otherwise perfect house because of the pool (and the fear of a child going in the pool unsupervised).  In fact, a would-be buyer's offer may be contingent on the home seller dismantling an above-ground pool or filling in an in-ground pool.------------------- [end Forbes excerpt]

...there we go....
And there we were, in Summer of '76 ("Country Boy--You Got Your Feet in L.A."), with a swimming pool and Two Little Kids!!
two girls -- one three years old, and
the toddler, 1-and-a-half years... The mom and I would take them into the pool with life preservers on, and a round ring thing that's filled with air, and the child can be in the middle of it...

They never had the neighbor children over to be in the pool, I don't think -- don't know if I can remember...

====================== I discovered satisfactions in the "summer girl" work mostly, I think, by problem-solving -- finding patterns of behavior and figuring out how to direct them, while letting them think it was their idea, & also having an unexpected situation where had to think on my feet....

One day little girls and I were outside in the front -- parents both gone -- and a man and woman approached, carrying pamphlets.  They were from one of those religions where they go door-to-door.  Wondering how to dissuade them, I let them give their intro, and then said,
"Well, my father is a Congregational minister, and -- the people who live here are Jewish, so..."

(I had hand gestures to go with it -- hand below neck, fingertips touching collarbone,
"My father is a Congregational minister, and --"
hand extended in the general direction of the house behind me, palm-up,
"...and the people who live here are Jewish, so...")

And off they went!  I didn't even get stuck with any of their literature.
(Jews!  Ministers!  Aaaaauuuugggghhhh!)

(It was the first time I had "Used Religion" to "manipulate" people. ...???)

= = = = = I never told the children's mother about that, because -- I got to know her style pretty quickly, and I just kind of knew that if I presented her with any information where --
there was no action to be taken
she wasn't there at the time it occurred...
she might start looking for something to fuss about.

My summer became "All About" Avoiding The Fuss.

I also never told her about the time the Three-Year-Old's little friend from across the street -- Robby W., who was also 3 -- locked the front door against his summer girl Lisa, and me.

"You can't come in!"

I said come on, we'll go in the garage and through the family room, quick before he remembers the other doors....
His three-year-old brain had not expanded to a Master Plan....locking out the summer girls by locking the One Door (in the Impressive Entry) was a Major Brainstorm and Act of Rebellion, and he was still glowing with the thrill and flush of that Big Step, when Lisa and I came into the Impressive Entry through the family room door.

"My" 3-year-old was unsurprised to see us, but Robby was gobsmacked.
He was just -- absolutely -- awestruck and frustrated.
(Where had his plan gone wrong??)
He stared up at me with milk-chocolate eyes so big his face almost could not contain them, and demanded, in his little voice,

"How did you get in here...?"

I bent down and said to him very seriously and calmly, "Summer girls can be everywhere."

We started organizing and moving the caravan of tots upstairs for coloring or a snack or whatever-it-was, and suddenly I felt a sort of "scritching" on my left leg.  Looked down, it was Robby tugging at the hem of my shorts.  When I leaned down to listen, he said,

"I have more power than you."