Saturday, December 17, 2016

SURPRISE INSPECTIONS and THE ROVING STILL

   SURPRISE INSPECTIONS and THE ROVING STILL

     It was always a wonder, not only to me, but the rest of the crew.  We would leave port, be at sea for a couple of days, and all of a sudden, a disturbance would take place on ship; usually a fight between two who were obviously drunk.  It would end up with the Master at Arms putting them in the brig, followed by a Captains Mast finding them Drunk and Disorderly with a sentence of so many days in the pokey on piss and punk (Bread and Water).  Not only that, but it was always the same people, just a handful of course, but you could count on it sure as all get out.  The question always was the same:  Where did the booze come from?  When asked by the Captain, they would naturally say nothing.  So from time to time, unknown as to when it would happen, a surprise inspection would take place.  But first, let me give you a little history.

     Naturally, drinking liquor on board ship was against Naval Regulations.  That is not to say we didn't have beer aboard.  A supply ship would send over what the Jamestown would be entitled to, and we would have a working party bring it on board and stored in the storage area.  Say we were entitled to 400 cases.  An officer with a tally sheet would take inventory as it left the supply ship and put on a barge for transport alongside the Jamestown, then again, the inventory count would take place as it came aboard, each case taken by one of the working party, and transported to the storage area when again an officer with a tally sheet would count the cases and store them.  But it wasn't uncommon, and it happened more than once, that the last case would come on board, but when it arrived at the storage area, the tally sheet of the inventory was never 400 cases.  There was always be a shortage of one or two cases. The officer on the barge couldn't explain it, nor could the officer at the end of the trail in the storage area. Naturally, the Captain was pissed off to say the least.  But no one would own up.  Well the two drunkards would never admit to the heist of the beer, but it would explain why they were drunk.  However it was a mystery never solved. 

     We would from time to time be allowed to go ashore for rest and recreation and a ration of three cans of beer were allotted for each crew member.  Those of the crew who didn't drink, and there weren't many, were still entitled to their three cans.   That opened up the opportunity to barter the three cans for cigarettes perhaps, or to outright sell them for cash. But it did make it possible for someone to consume more than his allotted three cans.  That being the case, the recreation party always came back to the ship with someone who was obviously under the weather as it were.  But his being drunk could be explained.  Consuming more than three cans was not looked upon kindly and they tried to control it, but someone always came back drunk.  Always the same people were involved.  You have to realize, the crew was made up of all kinds of people from all walks of life and I am sure we had people on board who were heavy drinkers long before they arrived on the Jamestown.  I have seen some guys who actually drank Shaving Lotion for its alcohol content.  I am sure it wasn't a problem that only the Jamestown had to put up with.

     Coming back to the ship drunk after a recreation party beer bust was understood by the command.  But being at sea for a few days, and all of a sudden we have a drunken brawl was disconcerting to the Captain to say the least.  What to do?  The answer: A Surprise Inspection!

     He would start at the bow of the ship and work his way aft.  Looking at every nook and corner for the stash he knew was on board someplace.  And he wasn't looking for beer, he knew there was a still brewing away somewhere on his ship and he was going to find it. 

     What the captain didn't know was, sure enough, there was a still brewing away.  Don't forget, we were a Motor Torpedo Boat Tender with torpedoes that we supplied the torpedo boats with.  They were driven by a propulsion system that used 140 proof alcohol, but it was under tight control, so he didn't suspect it came from that source.  But what he didn't know was the resourcefulness of the guys who did have a still brewing away.  As an example, we would from time to time have apricots or prunes which was printed on the menu of the meals the commissary steward was required to publish on a weekly basis.  You have no idea how much these guys were willing pay for your ration of prunes.  Get enough prunes together and under proper care you can come up with some real Kickapoo Juice.  Just about any fruit will ferment into alcohol if you know what you are doing.  And these guys were good, so the still was on board alright, but where?  The Captain would scour the ship from stem to stern, and he did this on more than one occasion.  But he NEVER found the still.  The question always on my mind, and I'm sure it drove the Captain crazy as well was, how did they maneuver the still around him as he performed his Surprise Inspection of the ship?  No one would ever admit to having the still, and the Captain NEVER found it.  Another mystery at sea never solved.  

I was on the USS Jamestown over 4 years, and it never failed that after leaving port and being at sea for a few days, someone would show up drunk.  Don't ask me where the still was, I didn't drink then, and drink very little now, but those drunkards on ship made life interesting from time to time. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Death Of My Father and Taking The Blame.


The Death Of My Father and Taking The Blame.


When my father passed away, I was lost. The finality of his passing was something that I couldn't quite fathom. It's as if I expected that something would happen to change what I was experiencing, and somehow he would be back in my life as if nothing had happened. It's hard to accept that a person who is so much a part of you, will never be again. For a youngster, it's the height of denial. To begin with, it's incomprehensible. But I remember clearly that morning that my mother had gone to the hospital to be with my dad and I decided that I would go to the hospital myself. The hospital was very close to where we lived and in no time I was there. I arrived to find my mother crying and when she saw me, she grabbed me and held me tight as she said, "Wallace, your daddy is dead, kiss your daddy goodby." In my minds eye, I can see him just as plain as if he were before me right now, lying on the bed, his eyes closed, and very still. The main thing I noticed was that he wasn't breathing. He just laid there, still. I touched him and felt his warmth. He had just died before I came into the room. I bent over and kissed him as my mother had told me to do. Getting no response from him, it was then that the reality of it hit me, and I knew he was gone.

That wasn't my first experience with someone who had passed on, but the previous occasion was back in Havana, Cuba with the passing of my grandmother, and although I loved her dearly, my loss didn't compare to the passing of my father. My father dearly loved all three of us, but for some reason, I've always felt that I was special to him, which I now understand is not uncommon thinking. For a long while, my dad not being around just didn't fit in. We take people for granted, never giving thought to the possibility of their not being around. He was always there when I needed him, and to accept the fact that his love and counseling would no longer be available to me was just something that I couldn't accept. I was in total denial, and it affected me to the core of my being.

Things would flash through my mind about him. I recall, as a child while living in Cuba, he would depart our home and I would follow him to the front yard. There I would look at him as he walked to the refinery grounds and to work. I would yell at him "Bye Daddy" "Bye Daddy" and he would turn around every time and yell back "Bye Son" I don't know how many times I would yell at him saying my good byes and he always turned and called back to me. This would go on till he was just a small dot in the distance and could no longer hear me. This was a ritual that took place every morning and I can see it plainly now as if it happened yesterday. Another thing that stands out in my memory of him was something of a ritual in the home. I was always getting into his lap, especially when he was trying to read his paper. Although he had hair on the sides and on the back of his head, he was somewhat bald on the top of his head. I also remember that he had very large veins on his scalp which fascinated me. I would run my index finger along the veins which were so prominent on his bald head pushing the blood along with my finger, and it would be like I was in a car on a road which was weaving back and forth. For some reason, I got great pleasure doing that and would giggle at the fun of it. I know I was a bother to him, as he tried to read his paper, but not once did he ever complain. He really was a patient man.

It's funny how you recall certain things. When it begin to sink in that my dad was really gone and would never return, I started to wonder to what degree I was responsible for his not being there. As a grown adult, I now know that children quite often blame themselves for the loss of a father or mother. I was no different at the time. I would recall, that my father had a saying "You kids are going to be the death of me yet." This statement was an aside to some activity his kids were up to which he didn't approve of, and it was said due to something I had done on more than one occasion. It just goes to show you how important little things can add up to. It's natural as I said, for a youngster to try to figure out if the death of a parent was in any way something he might be responsible for. Those words of his came ringing back to me at that time, and it bothered me something awful. I just knew that I had something to do with his death and was somehow responsible for it. It was very difficult dealing with that guilt, and I am sure that it affected me at the time in ways emotional. Those days were very difficult for me, and as I said before, I really don't know how I would have made it had it not been for Mr. Duggan, the kind gentleman who looked after the family, Ms. Smith, my home room teacher, and Ms. Norris, who was my music teacher. There were many more, but they stick out prominently right now, as the people who most were responsible for my transition as a young juvenile into the stark world of reality. They helped me grow up fast. I began to see my world the way it really was. The year 1935 was a rough year not only for me, but for countless others. I saw I was living in a world capable of boundless abundance, and yet poverty surrounded us all. The depression was hitting us hard.




Wallace A. Johnson MBA
Apollo Project Test Pilot 1964

Commander  Spaceship DEWAJ
Senior Navigator Test Pilot

The Birth Of Spaceship DEWAJ.

THE BIRTH OF SPACESHIP DEWAJ

A "DARING ENTERPRISE WITH A JOURNEY"

As a former Test Pilot on the Apollo Project, I have always dreamed what it would be like if I could have had my own Spaceship. Through the medium of the Internet, I can now fantasize. This Blog will be part of that fantasy and will tell you how Spaceship DEWAJ came to be.

SOME PERSONAL HISTORY

At the age of 91, time flies and the days shorten. Widowed, and without children, I can see that those who through the years have asked me to put into words, my rambling thoughts, inspirations, ideas, mistakes, adventures, travels, etc. have a point. Not that anything I might say will change much, for I don't think that anything I might say will have that much influence, but in fact it has been in the back of my mind for some time now. So here it is at last.


I'm one of those who live in California that was actually born here. My birthplace was Taft, Ca. and my birthday is 18 April 1925. Taft, California is oil refinery country. My father worked for Standard Oil Co. and before I was six months old, my father returned to Havana, Cuba, where he had formerly married my mother. As the Superintendent of the Beloit, refinery in Havana, we lived on Standard Oil Co. refinery grounds. I had a brother Willis, and a sister Wanda, who were born there. We lived well, and my childhood memories are those of a loving father and mother who doted over their children, especially me. However, those of you that remember your history will recall a revolution took place in Cuba in 1932. With Cuban soldiers bivouacked on our front lawn to protect the refinery, it didn't take my father long to decide that the safety of his family was paramount. So in late 1932 we returned to Houston, Texas.


Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire! The depression years were upon us, and times were rough. This was especially the case, when due to an accident at the refinery my father had an untimely death. That left my mother alone, with no skills other than being a good wife and mother with three young and quite often hungry children. As I said, times were rough.  

Many people throughout my life have had an impact on me culminating in the person I am today.  The input of these individuals worked in a synergistic way and the result is a number greater than the sum of the individual parts.  I am therefore a greater man because of the help and influence of others, to all of them I am grateful. 

I Flight Instructed with the business name of DEWAJ Flying Service.  DEWAJ stood for "Doris Elisabeth & Wallace A Johnson".  When I decided to start my journal, I called it my Spaceship DEWAJ with the acronym now standing for a "Daring Enterprise With A Journey."   So far, the journey of my life has gone on for over 91 years, and although I am in remission fighting the "Big C". (Stage IV Melanoma) and Prostate Cancer, my hopes are high, and with all good luck I intend to hang around a few more years.  You are invited to join me on my journey.

My logo says 12 Infinity With Synergy. Let's go from One to Infinity With Synergy on Spaceship DEWAJ.  Welcome Aboard!





Wallace A. Johnson MBA
Apollo Project Test Pilot 1964
Commander Spaceship DEWAJ

Posted by Wallace A. Johnson MBA @ Wednesday, December 14, 2016. comments

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night!

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night.

     "It was a dark and stormy night" is an often-mocked and parodied phrase written by English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton in the opening sentence of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford. The phrase is considered to represent "the archetypal example of a florid, melodramatic style of fiction writing," also known as purple prose.  Nevertheless, he became famous by using the phrase in the first sentence of his novel.   I'm not trying become famous or anything of the sort, and although his novel was fiction, I assure you this is an actual event I played a small part in.  Here are the facts as I remember them.

     It WAS a dark and stormy night.  I was on the bridge of the USS Jamestown AGP-3 (Motor Torpedo Boat Tender), as the duty signalman on the night of October 17, 1945.  The ship was laboring under heavy sea conditions, visibility was low with a low overcast as well.  Lt. K. W. Prescott who was our Executive Officer, was Officer Of The Deck, and except for the extremely bad weather, everything was routine.

     We were underway heading for Borneo if my memory serves me right, when all of a sudden out of no-where, a Billy Mitchell B-25 flew right over the ship.  He immediately made a steep turn and returned to pass over us once again at extremely low altitude.  The captain was informed and we all realized that the planes actions clearly indicated he had no desire to leave us.  All attempts at radio communications were to no avail.  If a plane was ever in trouble, it didn't take much thinking to agree this one had a problem.  The question was, what to do?

     We were operating under complete blackout conditions, and there wasn't much we could do.  But we decided to try and help the stricken plane by visual means.  Among the many things which we as signalmen used for communications between ships ie. Flag Hoist, Semaphore Flags, was a devise called a Signal Gun.  It was about two feet long, and about four inches in diameter, and it contained a very bright light bulb.  It was basically a rifle that emitted a very narrow beam of light.  Pointed directly at the receiver of the light, it made it possible under blackout conditions to use a bright light at the exclusion of anyone other than the person it was pointed at.  In that way, you had a degree of security from disclosing your presence to any possible enemy which might be in the area.  It worked well under normal conditions, but if you weren't exactly on the target, the narrow beam would make it difficult for the recipient to see it.  Adding to the physical restrictions of the Signal Gun under proper use, throw in the fact that you are trying to fire the light at the cockpit of a fast moving plane.  On top of that, we were in heavy seas with the ship rolling and pitching intensely, which made matters worse.  The Captain ordered me to send the magnetic heading from our position at the time, to the nearest port of Zamboanga, Mindanao.  I know that part of the flight training given by the military is the requirement to be able to read the International Morse code.  I am positive that the pilot of that ill fated plane, 1st. Lt. Austin C. Fitzgerald U.S. Marine Corp. was really glad he paid attention during his flight training class when he was taught the Morse Code.

     I very slowly but surely sent the Morse Code of the magnetic heading to Zamboanga.  I repeated it over and over.  All the time, the plane kept circling and circling the ship.  It was decided that another visual aid might be of aid.  The captain ordered we turn the ship almost 270 degrees and take up the magnetic heading to Zamboanga.  That pilot immediately realized that we were using the ship as a pointer and he flew the plane directly over the center-line of the ship and disappeared into the dark horizon ahead.

     Many things transpired during my tour of duty on the Jamestown during the four years I was a crew member that caused me worry, but nothing compared to my worrying for the crew of that plane.  The weather was terrible and I knew they were in trouble.  I didn't hold much hope for them. 

     Imagine our surprise a couple of days later, while at anchor in Borneo. when a B-25 Billy Mitchell came out of the blue and started buzzing the hell out of us.  We knew immediately  that it was the same Billy Mitchell B-25 that we had seen a few nights earlier.  It was evident by the actions of that bird that it was a happy one.  Let me explain something.  You have to understand, since I am a pilot myself, that airmen are a breed apart  from the rest of humanity.  First of all, when you fly a plane, the pilot becomes a part of the plane as he maneuvers it through the air.  It's as if the mass of metal turns into a living thing responding as a living entity responding to the subtle kin-esthetic inputs of the pilot.   It isn't a case of a plane with a pilot in it, nor is it a pilot in an airplane.The plane becomes the pilot and the pilot is the plane  It's a metaphysical thing that only pilots understand.  That plane was showing its exuberance at being alive as well as the crew was.  I cried inside myself with the joy of knowing they had made it after all.

     I have often wondered what ever happened to those valiant and brave airmen since that fateful night in October 1945, and I prayed they made it to the end of the war safe and sound.  I have always felt bad about the fact that I didn't follow up in trying to locate that pilot and crew, but at a subsequent re-union of the USS Jamestown, Lt. Prescott (Now Captain USNR) who was the officer of the deck that night was quite surprised when I showed him one of my WWII mementos.  I am duplicating them verbatim for all of you  to share with me. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



USS JAMESTOWN (AGP-3)

AGP-3/F15                                                                                                       28 October 1945

From:                                                  The Executive Officer
To:                                                       JOHNSON, Wallace Albert, SM1c  USN 360-47-98
Subject:                                              Letters from Port Director Zamboanga, Mindanao
                                                             Dated 21 October 1945.

1.      The subject letters are forwarded to you in a much as this command believes that your performance as duty signalman the night of October 21st. was instrumental in giving the pilot his "steer home", and should therefore give you great pleasure in the realization of a job well done.

                                                             K.W. PRESCOTT,
                                                             Lieut., USNR.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                            21 October 1945

To:                                                      The Commanding Officer,  U.S.S. Jamestown AGP-3.

1.     The enclosed message was left with us for delivery to you after your departure last night.  We were unable to effect delivery because you were out of voice range and therefore take this means of doing so.

                                                            Lt. (jg), MAC BAIN SMITH
                                                            Officer of Port Director
                                                            Zamboanga, Mindanao.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     On Wednesday October 17, 1945, while flying on a routine local hop, all of my Radio and Radar gear burned out and the weather closed in completely in this area.  With 2 hours Gas left and no idea where I was, I fortunately sighted you and was able to get a steer home.  On behalf of my crew, we tried to contact you to have you all over for dinner, but missed you twice.  If you are ever in this area again please come up to Marine Bombing Squadron 611.  There is nothing we won't do for you.  God bless you all.  

                                                            AUSTIN C. FITZGERALD,
                                                            1st. Lieutenant,
                                                            U.S. MARINE CORP.

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   Wallace Johnson MBA MCEC
      Apollo Project Test Pilot  
       (The Lunar Landing Mission)    
         Commander Spaceship DEWAJ     
     http://spaceshipdewaj.blogspot.com
   http://spaceshipdewaj.com
    http://IHaveLiftOff.com
     Crew Member USS Jamestown (AGP-3)
   Cell: 510-541-6154
   Skype:spacemandewaj

Saturday, December 10, 2016

RESOURCE


Resource:

Wallace A. Johnson MBA, Commander of Spaceship DEWAJ, was a Test Pilot on the Apollo Project working for North American Aviation in Downy, Ca. during the 1960's.  Now at the age of 91 this April 2016, he has his own spaceship and is offering many programs of interest to all. Many items are available for the taking.  He is encouraging Guru's to participate with Joint Venture possibilities. The main thrust is to enlist the aid of others in a manner which will ensure that Spaceship DEWAJ remains in orbit long into the future.  Currently Free Lifetime Charter Memberships are offered.  At the age of 91, the Senior Navigator Test Pilot's time is short and his Spaceship DEWAJ will be his legacy to his family, friends, and the Internet.  The Commander requests you consider joining him as an Associate Co-Pilot on his Spaceship DEWAJ, a "Daring Enterprise With A Journey." Welcome aboard.

Senior Citizens, Computers, and The Internet.

Saturday 10 December 2016.

Senior Citizens, Computers, and The Internet.

For the Senior Citizen in his Autumn years, there are too many tales repeated about how  hard computers are to master and how difficult it is to navigate the Internet with them. This is especially true for those who think that they are "Too Old to learn  new tricks." Unfortunately, there are too many true stories about scammers who prey on Seniors. Those scammers are just waiting for the innocent wanderer on the cyber highway of the internet to be picked on and fleeced. True, one has to be careful regardless of age, but with proper mentoring and guidance, these pitfalls can be avoided and a senior citizen can easily participate in the technological revolution that is taking place.  For the Senior Citizen, the experience can be most rewarding with many benefits to those in their twilight years.

One of the most common mistake made, is that you immediately start wondering how you can start making money with your computer. You soon learn that if you have questions, answers are readily available.  However, quite often, the answer has a dollar cost to it, and once acquired, the answer leads to more questions, so you fall for it with its ensuing cost, and the next thing you know, you are in a Daisy Chain going round and round, not unlike a dog chasing its tail and getting nowhere fast.  In no time, you are completely lost, heading for a Black Hole in the Cosmic Cyberspace Superhighway called the internet.

It is disheartening to say the least,  however, it doesn't have to be this way. This article, and those that follow, will let you in on some of the secrets that the author encountered while searching for the solution to making money on the Internet.

The most perilous mistake one can make, is trying to do it alone. You must have a mentor of sorts, if for no other reason than to realize that learning by making mistakes is the worst way to learn anything.  Another problem, is scattering your shots all over the place, in the hope that you will hit something. You chase after one thing, then another, spending money each way possible, and in the long run, never get anywhere, all because you failed to focus on one thing at a time. Staying focused is difficult, but is of prime importance. The author speaks with experience in this regard and future articles will point out where these pitfalls are and how to avoid them.

There is no reason for thinking that age is a detriment to mastering those skills necessary to be successful. Whether your effort is merely to use the Internet as a hobby, keeping in touch with family via E-mail, or deciding to supplement ones income, all are possible with proper guidance. In future articles, I will endeavor to give you the necessary information and skills, which will give you the confidence to take on the internet without fear of failure. As a former Test Pilot, I will help you navigate through the maze to insure safe passage and the completion of a successful mission.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Wallace_Johnson/32370

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/172117
Posted by Wallace Johnson MBA at 3:27 PM No comments: Email This Blog. Share to Twitter.  Share to Facebook.  Share to Pinterest.


Wallace Johnson MBA
Retired Military (USN), Former Test Pilot Apollo Project. Research Engineer, Member of the Technical Staff, North American Aviation, Builder of the Apollo Spacecraft.

Wallace Johnson MBA MCEC 15616
Apollo Project Test Pilot 
(The Lunar Landing Mission)
Commander Spaceship DEWAJ
http://spaceshipdewaj.com
http://IHaveLiftOff.com
http://spaceshipdewaj.blogspot.com
dewajdailyincome@gmail.com
testpilotdewaj@gmail.com
testpilotwallacejohnson@gmail.com
dewaj@pacbell.net
Home: 510-521-1025
Cell: 510-541-6154
9 to 9 PST Only

The US Navy and The Banana Caper. Where There Is A Will, There Is A Way.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The US Navy and The Banana Caper. Where There Is A Will, There Is A Way.

I graduated from Dow Jr. High and enrolled in Sam Houston High School which was downtown and was accepted into the Debating Society and into the School Band.  Previously I played the Cello and Violin, but this time was assigned the Base Viol.  I didn't mind as long as I could participate in the music program. High school was a complete change scholastically, but I applied myself and in short order was making friends and doing well with my studies.  Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, I soon found myself in a pickle.

Houston has its schools assigned by wards, you had to go to the school in the ward where you lived.  Mother was forced to move into a ward that required I go to San Jacinto High School and that meant I had to change schools.  Up to that time, I had never had a problem with social Interaction with my peers. At Dow and Sam Houston, my friends and their families were in the same financial circumstances as I was experiencing. My clothing attire was in keeping with the rest of my peers and my mother saw to it that I was always neat in appearance, although I did have in my prized possession, a pair of black and white wing tip shoes, and a too large hand me down suit given me by my uncle.  I wore the whole get up  for special occasions such as music recitals etc.  Regardless, it was obviously not tailored to me.  But in those depression years, people made do, and I wasn't the only one wearing hand me downs. People, specially the teachers, understood.

San Jacinto High and Sam Houston High were rivals in all things. Students at San Jacinto were saddled with the pejorative term "The Tea Sippers" due mostly to the fact that the school was in a Middle Class ward where the families were much better off financially. This was reflected with students who drove their own cars, and wore seersucker slacks. On special occasions, students shirts had cuff links. I was always neat, but the best I could do for special occasions, was my hand me down suit. I was a site for sore eyes, and I knew it.  But not all students lucky enough to live a high middle income life style are pretentious snobs, and in short order I was included in the "Inner Circle" as one of the guys. As a Sophomore, I befriended one student who was a Senior.  He was in the debating class with me and was  one of the students who drove his own car. As an aside: (He became an extremely successful lawyer in Houston after WWII. If I were to mention his name, you would recognize it immediately because he was nationally known).  But get this picture.  He would invite our small group to pile into his car and go to Prince's Drive In where short skirted car hops would roller skate out to the car with trays that attached to the windows. On the trays would be hamburgers, malted milks and cokes, with abundant potato chips.  At the time, I was working for Western Union after school hours and on weekends, and I always had a few pennies in my pocket, but as was generally the case, not enough. I could go the malt, or the hamburger, but not both.  My friends knew this and quite often I would be the recipient of a treat.  But I could never accept without a sense of guilt or that I was somehow mooching.  It made me uncomfortable to say the least.  I knew it had to change.

On September 3rd. at 4 AM, I was waiting for the Houston Press to release what anyone with any grey cells in their brains, knew that war was coming.  Neville Chamberlain the British Prime Minister with his famous umbrella had just returned from Europe to proclaim that "We Will Have Peace In Our Time."  This, after getting a promise from Adolf Hitler, that he would not invade Poland.  Shortly after, Hitler broke his promise, and we headed rapidly into hostility. The rest is history, but for me, it was a momentous occasion. I  was given 100 of the extras "England Declares War." and off I went to hawk those extras which sold for a dime and which I made four cents from. Four dollars for a kid 16 years old was a lot of money, that and the twelve cents an hour I was paid as a Western Union Messenger Boy kept me in spare change, but not enough to keep up with my "Tea Sipper Friends."  As I said, something had to change, and so I set out to bring that change about.

That summer, I had tried to join the CCC's. (The Civilian Conservation Corp." but I was too skinny and frail to pass the physical. Reflecting on it I now realize how lucky I was they didn't accept me. Those guys in the three C's were given hard work to do. Fighting forest fires among other things comes to mind.  I would not have lived through it for sure. So I gave that up and decided the answer was to enlist in the military, and  I chose the Navy.

I remember talking to the recruiter, a Navy Chief Petty Officer (which later I would become myself), that I was 17 years of age.  He responded that I needed permission from my mother and a statement authenticating my date of birth.  I rushed home, and of course she refused. I remember getting on my knees with my hands clasped in sublimation pleading for her to sign. I cried out to her, and explained how unhappy I found myself to be, and she cried along with me. She had experienced sadness and grief as well and saw I was sincere in my pleas and why I was making them, so I prevailed and she signed the note I had written.

The recruiter showed surprise when I returned in such short order and I now think he never expected to see me again, but he accepted the signed statement, put me on a scale and said that I could not pass the physical because I was too skinny.  For my age and height I had to weigh in at least at 111 pounds, and I only weighed 110.  I asked if he could make an exception, and he said "No Exceptions." He replied "come back in six months and if you weigh 111 pounds you will qualify."  I left the recruiter pondering what to do.  I am absolutely sure now, that he was pulling my leg all along and was just trying to get rid of me. He probably guessed I was not in fact 17 and as for the weight thing, he used that as a ruse to get rid of what I am sure to him, was an annoying kid.

Not far from the recruiting office, there was a farmers market.  I would pass it every day going to and from while attending San Houston High, and would on occasion, buy a single banana. While living in Cuba as a child, bananas were a daily staple, inexpensive and abundant, and I happened to like bananas. I came upon a plan to pull one over on the chief recruiter.  I bought what must have been at least a couple of pounds of bananas and proceeded eating them in short order. It took some time, but I got them all in and promptly returned to the recruiter. The look on his face told me he was surprised to see me, and I said to him, "If I weigh 111 pounds, will you take me?"  He said sure, and when I stepped on the same scale that I had used only a few short hours back, with the same clothing attire and no visible means of cheating on my weight, I weighed in at just over 111 pounds. He looked at me with a bewildered look on him face, smiled and said "You Are In Kid."  

On September 30th. 1941, I was sworn in to the service of the US Navy having pulled off the "The Banana Caper."  To this day, I still like bananas.

Posted by Wallace Johnson MBA at 10:06 PM No comments: Email This Blog. Share to Twitter. Share to Facebook. Share to Pinterest.

FOREWORD

FOREWORD: My logo is: 12 Infinity With Synergy. It stands for "One To Infinity With Synergy". Now you understand. But why did I chose that? Let me explain. My blog tries to give you a glimpse about the journey I have been on since the day I was born on April 18, 1925 in the small town of Taft, California. I am 91 now in the year 2016, and to be frank I never expected to live to the year 2000. But it was a goal of sorts because I wanted to live to the ripe old age of 75 and bring the millennium in. To my surprise I not only made it but I'm still going strong! It is said, you come into this world alone, and you leave it alone. I don't know whether that is true or not, but I do know this. I have accomplished and done many things these 91 years, but I did NOT do it alone. My life has been blessed because from my early recollection, other human beings influenced me or changed my environment in some way that ultimately but surely molded my thoughts and actions such that the person I am is the result. I will attempt to describe this journey and point out those with whom I have interfaced with and how they influenced my actions at the time. So I see my life as the culmination of a team effort using a Synergistic approach. Many contributed and the end result is a sum which is greater than the summation of the individual parts. I am who I am because so many played a part in this Saga of which I am proud. I am tying to my current effort of chronicling this journey by cohesively putting together my thoughts ending with I Have Lift Off and Spaceship DEWAJ (a Daring Enterprise With A Journey). Be my Co-Pilot, join me on my journey from One To Infinity With Synergy. 



Wallace A Johnson MBA Apollo Project Test Pilot (The Lunar Landing Mission) Commander Spaceship DEWAJ Home: 510-521-1025 Cell: 510-541-6154 Skype: spacemandewaj Posted by Wallace Johnson MBA at 9:21 PM No comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A MODERN DAY TRAGEDY

Dear Friends, Since I am a resident of Alameda living on Shore Line Dr. I became aware of the drowning of Raymond Zack in short order. Dr. Jeffrey Lant is an avid article writer who has given his dealers or Worldprofit of which he is the CEO, permission to use his articles in our newsletters and blogs. I immediately notified him about Rayond Zack and he asked me to do some research so that he could write and article on the matter. I contacted Mr. Zack's Foster Mother, and I subsequently passed the information on to Dr. Lant. The following article was given world wide attention when the article was made available for publication by the Dealers of Worldprofit, of which I am one. I wrote letters to the editors of the local newspapers, but none were published. When I reflect on that happening, I am still bewildered t\by the events that took place. Although the dereliction of duty that transpired has supposedly been corrected such that it will never happen again, still there is the knowledge that the one occurrence should never have happened. I am glad that there are people who are doing whatever is necessary to remind us all of this tragic loss of life. There is a forthcoming documentary entitled "Shallow Waters" produced by Jaime Longhi that will remind us, lest we forget. Wallace Johnson MBA Apollo Project Test Pilot (The Lunar Landing Mission) Commander Spaceship DEWAJ http://IHaveLiftOff.com/lp/ http://IHaveLiftOff.com testpilotdewaj@gmail.com 510-521-1025 9 AM to 9 PM PST ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The short life and appalling death of Raymond Zack, an avoidable American tragedy. by Dr. Jeffrey Lant Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda, California is the kind of place you come to breathe and shake off life's trials and tribulations. The panorama is just what you think the Golden State should be...a place of possibilities, not inhibitions. Here the air is superior to any French vintage... the chill waters are bracing and playful.... Here the very birds fly higher because they are contented at such a place... and in the distance, clearly seen, is the great structure of one of mankind's signature triumphs the Golden Gate Bridge... which sends every spirit soaring... It was here that Raymond Zack came to die... and where the people charged with protecting life assisted Raymond take his, to the astonishment, wonder and outrage of the world. Raymond Zack, born July 23, 1959. Raymond was, like so many millions of us, a son of America's great heartland; Ohio born and bred. His life moved to the rhythm that is so quintessentially ours... He was a product of Columbus' Catholic schools... where he learned good manners, the importance of being a good man and valuable citizen... and where he glimpsed, at the hands of his dedicated instructors, the reality of God Everlasting. At 6'3" tall, this giant of a boy excelled at track and baseball... people saw him above the crowd and, with a wink and nudge, said the boy had talent. He went, and went proudly, to Ohio State.... as American as any educational establishment in the land. It was here, upon graduation, that he entered the community of educated men and women... And where he decided to answer Horace Greeley's great exhortation "Go West, young man, Go West!" And he did, attracted by the dazzling sunshine and even more dazzling possibilities of California, the pot of gold at the end of America's rainbow. But California life, for all that the sun was radiant, gave Raymond Zack more than his share of life's troubles. His family life was turbulent, confusing, never restful though he was the beneficiary of his foster mother's affectionate care and unceasing concern. He weighed 300 pounds now and, like millions of his countrymen, was challenged by the complexities of food and the clear and present dangers of overindulgence. Chagrined by his bulk, Raymond, bit by bit, withdrew from the body politic and faced the secret sorrows of isolation and loneliness, the abiding reality for too many of his countrymen. His mother died in November 2010... and though there had been confusions and disappointments there, still she was his mother... and her loss magnified his burdens. Then, in the midst of a great recession, where California's profound promise was tarnished, Raymond lost his job at the St. Vincent de Paul Free Food Distribution Center where, along with Mrs. Dolores Berry, his foster mother, he had helped everyone who came. Now the man who had helped so many... was himself in need of help. This, too, was, quintessentially American for too many... Raymond, with a "God helps those who help themselves" attitude, tried hard to do what he'd been taught to do; to keep his chin up and a stiff upper lip; to do what he could... to stay cheerful in the face of adversity. But bit by bit, like so many, his resilience and hope were worn away. Raymond's dark days were nigh... In the still of the night... We shall never know where Raymond's anxious forebodings carried him, alone at the midnight hour. At such a time a man may turn to booze, women, any dissipation to dispel the gloom... but Raymond seems to have faced his great matter alone... and in profound despair. This, too, is reality for millions of the dispossessed and fearful. At some irrevocable moment in his profound human misery Raymond decided the game was not worth the candle... and that it was time to move again, out of very life itself. Thus, on May 30, 2011, while his countrymen were celebrating the sacrifices made by others to the benefit of all, Raymond Zack decided to make a sacrifice, too -- of himself, since living life was just too painful and without hope. And so he waded into the chill waters at Crown Memorial State Beach, about to be the venue of muddle, confusion, bumbling... and death. A great American tragedy was about to commence... unnecessary, scandalous, an event that enhanced no one and left Raymond Zack, floating face down, his life's work at an end. Seen by many. Remember, Raymond Zack was a big man, 6'3", over 300 pounds. He moved slowly, deliberately in the shallow waters. He was clearly seen though his purpose, at first, was not. Still, as Raymond walked into deeper waters, residents were concerned; a 911 call was made... alerting police and firefighters that some kind of incident was underway. In just 4 minutes help was at hand... and at hand help stayed... but without lifting a finger. And here is where an avoidable tragedy morphs into disbelief, reproach, scandal, and incomprehension. Not one of the many lifesaving professionals on the beach, not a single one, did a single thing to forestall the tragedy that could so easily have been prevented. Later these officials, pummelled by an incredulous world, worked overtime to manufacture excuses they hoped would appease, mollify and cover. Fire officials said that because of budget cuts no one knew the necessary rescue procedures. But this excuse was quickly blasted... when it was shown the department had money, but no sense. Other officials said rescue policies did not cover the case in point. A police spokesman said officers stayed out of the water because Zack was suicidal and posed a possible threat. A boat was requested to take officers to Zack... but those requesting it never indicated the matter was pressing. In short, at every moment where judgement, help and assistance were required... the professionals at hand, our honored paladins, were without judgement, help and assistance. And so, in full view of the world, in full view of his hysterical foster parent, 86 year old Dolores Berry, who unsuccessfully begged for celerity and assistance, Raymond Zack died... In the way of these things, everything the system could have provided Raymond in life only emerged when he was dead... in such ways does America expiate its negligence. Now there are flowers on the beach where he died, a crowd gathers daily to reflect and wonder; bishops make Raymond the subject of their learned lamentations. Municipal officials investigate and dismiss the inept. All this is good, right and proper. But we must not forget the man at the center of it all, Raymond Zack, dead too soon at 50. He meant us well, each and every one of us. Now, prematurely, he rests in the bosom of the Lord; may he find the peace there he never had here. About the Author Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc. , providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Republished with author's permission by Wallace Johnson MBA http://IHaveLiftOff.com.

Friday, January 28, 2011

LIFE CHANGING EVENT III. THE 1960's (THE APOLLO PROJECT).

Life Changing Event III. The 1960's (The Apollo Project ).
By
Wallace A. Johnson MBA
Commander Spaceship DEWAJ

I don't know who said it, but some wise sage is credited with saying that in one's lifetime, one goes through five important life changing events. I have given that some thought and I have decided to make those events the five major entry points for my blog. I have put them down as follows:

Event I. Growing Up In Havana, Cuba. 1925 to 1932
Event II Returning to USA. The Deppression years. 1932 to 1941.
Event III. Retiring From The Military and Joining North American Aviation. The Apollo Program. 1960 to 1970.
Event IV. Joining Litton Industries 1973 to Retirement 1992.
Event V. Current: Retired Living The Good Life.

This Article Covers Life Changing EVENT III. The Apollo Program. 1960 to 1970

When I hired on with North American Aviation, I was put on contract to the Strategic Air Command. I had a Top Secret Clearance and was acting as a civilian in-flight Inertial Navigation Instructor flying in B52's flying out of Columbus AFT, Mississippi. My duties taxed me physically and mentally. It was a very important job and I was proud to have been chosen to perform it. Keep in mind, although retired military, I was still considered a civilian, and I was flying 13 hour missions that covered much of the globe's geography requiring in-air refueling from KC135 tankers. All the while, the B52 had live nuclear weapons on board, and our training missions would take us from Mississippi to Chicago, Ill, where we would in a simulated strike, destroy the city of Chicago. We would then fly to Miami, destroy it, then fly out to the Gulf Of Mexico, refuel, fly to San Francisco, destroy it, then Seattle, followed by In-air refueling again, destroy Houston, then go back home to Columbus AFB, Mississippi. It was a responsible job that needed to be done, and I was qualified to fill that role. But the realization that should some adversary decide to attack us with nuclear weapons, finding us at war, knowing that the attack profile under those circumstances with a B52 which I was flying in, with a certainty of 100%, that I would never return home, made me realize that at any moment I could be experiencing a Life Changing Event for sure.

Imagine how pleased I was to realize that the Company I worked for had won the Apollo Contract. I can still hear President Kennedy making his speech to the Congress and saying "First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish." Imagine my mind racing at the thought. As important as my present job was, what could compare with the possibility of being involved with such a noble endeavor. I immediately went about the business of finding out just how I could somehow get involved with the program. I put in for vacation and flew out to the West Coast where my home was in Long Beach, Ca. just a few miles from Downy, Ca. the home of North American Aviation. I ultimately met Dr. Joel Canby who was the department head of the Human Factors Group who were working on the Apollo Program. It took me about four months, but ultimately, Dr. Canby had me assigned to his group and I transferred back to Downy and started the most amazing Event of my life up to that point.
I had the pleasure of meeting and closely working with the "Original Seven Apollo Mission Astronauts" chosen for the Lunar Landing Mission.

Group members
* Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr., USN, (1923–1998)
MR-3 (Freedom 7), Apollo 14
* Virgil Ivan (Gus) Grissom, USAF, (1926–1967)
MR-4 (Liberty Bell 7), Gemini 3, Apollo 1
* John Herschel Glenn Jr., USMC, (born 1921)
MA-6 (Friendship 7), STS-95
* Malcolm Scott Carpenter, USN, (born 1925)
MA-7 (Aurora 7)
* Walter Marty (Wally) Schirra Jr., USN, (1923–2007)
MA-8 (Sigma 7), Gemini 6A, Apollo 7
* Leroy Gordon Cooper Jr., USAF, (1927–2004)
MA-9 (Faith 7), Gemini 5
* Donald Kent (Deke) Slayton, USAF, (1924–1993)
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

All of these men were very close to my age at the time and now that I am 85 myself, many of them have made the transition which we all will eventually make, leaving these earthy bounds and becoming once and for all part of the Cosmic realm.

Wallace Johnson MBA MCEC
Apollo Project Test Pilot
Commander Spaceship DEWAJ
http://spaceshipdewaj.com
http://www.IHaveLiftOff.com
http://blog.IHaveLiftOff.com
testpilotdewaj@gmail.com
510-521-1025

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR

TWINKEL TWINKEL LITTE STAR HOW I WONDER (WHAT) YOU ARE.
FOR THE APOLLO
HOW I WONDER (WHERE) YOU ARE
By
Wallace A. Johnson MBA
Commander Spaceship DEWAJ

In the early days of Apollo studies we knew that the Lunar Landing Module would separate from the Apollo Command Module and descend to the surface of the moon with two men aboard. The Command Module would remain in orbit around the moon waiting for the return of the Lunar Landing Vehicle. One of the problems we anticipated which caused some anxiety would be the ability to make visual contact one with the other when they would rendezvous and dock. It was decided that some kind of a flashing light on both craft would take care of the matter. But that sounds a lot easier than it sounds. In the first place, was there a time restraint which had to be adhered to, ie, did we have only so many minutes to correct any miscalculations in the rendezvous such that we had to come in visual contact a soon as possible? If so, what luminosity in candle power would this light require? What color should it be? Is there a color that's better than pure white light? At what rate should this light blink? Is there a frequency that is preferable above all others? All kinds of questions come up related to finding a small object in the blackness of space. What to do?

The answer was found in a Planetarium. North American Aviation leased the facility of the Griffith Park Planetarium where we set up a mock up of the interior of the Command Module windows. We then were placed in a precise location such that we had a restricted view of the star field which was visible to us out of the windows we were looking out of. Then in the total darkness of the planetarium mixed in and hidden among the star field, a flashing light would start blinking. As a pilot subject on that study, it was my task to find the blinking star and identify its location. We had no idea what the blinking rate would be or its location in the star field. You would think it would be a easy task, but those of us who know how to search in total darkness for the slightest thing and are acquainted with what goes on with our eyes had an advantage. For we know that to get maximum capabilities from the use of our eyes at night, we know that you must never focus on the object you are looking for but rather look 10 degrees above, below, to the right, or left of the focus point. There is an explanation to this. There are two cells in the eyeball. Cones which can discern the colors of the spectrum but are not very sensitive to light and therefore of little use at night, and Rods which are color blind but very sensitive. There is only one problem, there are NO RODS in the focal point of the eyeball which is called the Fovea, only Cones are located there, and if there isn't sufficient light to activate the Cones you must rely on the Rods to pick the object up. So prove it to yourself in a real dark room, look directly at the object your are trying to see and then shift your line of vision about ten degrees and sure enough you will see the object better. If you look directly at it, it may disappear only to reappear if you look slightly off the ofject. I don't know what the data of that study proved. But I know that whatever they are currently using in blinking frequency, candle power intensity, color etc. is the result of that study. It give me a good feeling to know that I played a small part in it. To me the rhyme goes "Twinke, Twinkle Litte Star, How I wonder "Where" you are. Now you know why.

Wallace A. Johnson MBA MCEC
Apollo Project Test Pilot
Commander Spaceship DEWAJ
http://spaceshipdewaj.com
http://www.IHaveLiftOff.com
http://blog.IHaveLiftOff.com
testpilotdewaj@gmail.com
510-521-1025

THE TRAGIC FIRE OF APOLLO 1

THE TRAGIC FIRE OF APOLLO 1
27 JANUARY 1967
BY
Wallace A. Johnson MBA
Commander Spaceship DEWAJ


I had been involved in writing the procedures for removing the double hatch required for extra vehicular activity. At first the NASA insisted on an outside hatch opening to the space environment. The inner hatch would have to be removed inwardly into the command module after decompression allowing the vacuum of space into the capsule. The NASA wanted this double hatch concept because it offered a sense of redundancy in case the outer hatch experienced some kind of pressure failure. They figured correctly that the internal pressure of the capsule would be a pressure against the inner hatch which would insure the hatch would not fail with a leak. They were correct of course but our engineers were of the opinion that the single hatch would offer sufficient safety to circumvent a decompression failure to the capsule. The NASA won the argument, but imagine this scenario. When deciding to have extra vehicular activity, the capsule had to be decompressed. Then the inner hatch had to go through the procedure of rotating latches and then bringing the hatch into the capsule and storing it under the center seat. This was the task that Ed White the center seat astronaut had on his hands when the fatal fire broke out on the pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Unlike the Russians who had an exotic mixture for their internal atmosphere, ours was 100% oxygen. When you supersaturate any matter with 100% oxygen, It makes little difference what the kindling point is, the result is a ferocious burning and consumption of the material. In short order, due to a spark in the wiring in one of the lower compartment areas, a fire broke out. It was followed by a fast build up of pressure internally that make it impossible for Dave White to break the inner hatch from its seals. In fact, the internal pressure built up so rapidly that it actually ruptured the capsule. The command module had turned into a pressure cooker. It happened so fast, nothing could be done, with disastrous consequences. I and two other test pilots worked round the clock simulating the procedure and capturing it all on film. We were trying to determine what the time-line was to get out of the restraining harness, decompress the capsule, and retrieve the inner hatch. I am in personal possession of the 16MM film given me by North American Aviatin on my leaving the company. It is only one of many mementos I have which bring back both sad and happy memories. Ultimately, our engineers won the battle about the single hatch and I was given the responsibility of writing the actual words ;ut on a stick on placard which were ultimately put on the inside of the outer hatch on how to open it in preparation for extra vehicular activity. Talk about synchronicity. I served on the USS Hornet CV12 just before my retiring from the Navy. The Hornet is now here in Alameda, Ca. as a floating museum and believe it or not there is an Apollo capsule on board that was actually picked up by the Hornet. It's a small world, and we never know at what moment we are doing something that we think is mundane and of no consequence. How wrong we are. Every moment is precious and every second of our lives is of paramount importance. Nothing happens by chance. Don't ask me to explain it, but I believe that to be true. There is no explanation for those things metaphysical and I am not about to try and explain them. I merely accept it as a cosmological law.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opIQKrKHke4

Wallace Johnson MBA MCEC
Apollo Project Test Pilot
Commander Spaceship DEWAJ
http://spaceshipdewaj.com
http://www.IHaveLiftOff.com
http://blog.IHaveLiftOff.com
testpilotdewaj@gmail.com
510-521-1025

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

WAS I A BAG LADY FOR THE MAFIA?

Wallace A. Johnson MBA
Apollo Project Test Pilot

CDR Spaceship DEWAJ
Senior Navigator Test Pilot



You know, there are cigars and then there are cigars! I mean REAL cigars. I have never smoked, but I did go thorough a pipe smoking phase way back in 1946 that lasted three months I think. The darn thing was more trouble than it was worth, and like one of our presidents, I never inhaled either. All l have to do is put a cigarette in my mouth and without inhaling at all, I start levitating and in no time I’m higher than a kite in a brisk wind. Now, why am I digressing from my journal which on the last account was way back in 1939?

Well let me explain. As you know, I grew up as a young boy in Havana, Cuba. As I was saying, there are cigars and then there are REAL cigars. I’m not a smoker, but I know a real cigar when the aroma of one comes across my sensitive olfactory nerves. And unless you have had someone light up a real Cuban, hand rolled cigar, and caught a whiff of it, you won’t know what I’m talking about. Just ask any current resident of Miami who is a Cuban and he will immediately tell you that the only cigar that is a REAL cigar is one that is hand rolled from leaves that are grown on the Island of Cuba. And although illegal to currently bring to the states, it is said that our own president Kennedy, who knew a good cigar, would on occasion fill the oval office of the White House with the aroma of his Cuban cigars. I wonder how he got them. But again, I digress.

Delivering my newspapers in Houston, Texas gave me the opportunity to meet some rather interesting characters. One was a swarthy plump gentleman to whom I would personally hand the newspaper I delivered at his address. Sitting in front of his business establishment, (A used car lot), he would rock back and forth in his rocking chair, every afternoon waiting for me to arrive, all the while, blowing smoke rings that emanated from the biggest cigar I have ever seen in my life. Not only was it big, you could tell that it was not a cigar that came from some assembly line by the hundreds, but rather a cigar that was hand rolled for sure. A perfect example of a hand made Cuban cigar. There is nothing worse than second hand smoke as far as I’m concerned. Smoking is a filthy habit I’m glad I didn’t get hooked on. But, I have to admit, provided that it doesn’t hit you full force, there is something about a Cuban cigar that’s different. And l can understand why there are private haunts where gentlemen meet to this day in their exclusive clubs with their own private humidors which contain of all things illegal Cuban cigars. They say rank has its privilege and so does money, which I guess explains a lot, from President Kennedy on down. Anyway, I would hand him the paper and he would blow me a perfect smoke ring. Quid Pro Quo I guess. This was a routine that followed day after day come rain or shine. He seemed like a nice enough guy but all the time I sort of felt that he was just a little different. I wasn’t too worldly for my age when it came to know human character perhaps, but I wasn’t stupid either, and for some reason I just didn’t feel comfortable when I was in his presence. He was too slick I thought. And now that I look back on it, he reminds me of that old character actor Edward G. Robinson, voice and all. But I was too young to fully grasp the meaning of the whole thing, and on one particular day, he asked me to come back to his place of business, because he wanted me to do him a favor. Upon completion of my appointed rounds with the newspaper route, I returned to him as he asked.

The favor he was asking was that I take a package about the size of a shoe box to an address in an area of Houston which was crime ridden and harbored some rather unsavory characters. My instructions were to deliver the package to a person in the hotel, whereupon he was to call the cigar smoker that I had arrived with the package, and he then would then pay me $5.00. Now $5.00 in 1939 was big money and although at the time I was too naïve to realize that something wasn’t just right, accepted the money gladly, but I knew that the people who lived in this hotel weren’t exactly the kind of people I should have anything to do with. There were Chinese and Latino men there and it smelled to high heaven of marijuana and liquor, accompanied by a pungent odor which I have only smelled in the orient which I now believe was opium. Suffice it to say, that when the cigar smoker asked my once again to be his errand boy, I declined saying I was told by my parents not to go into that part of Houston, he didn’t press the issue, and I was glad.

That $5.00 was easy money to come by, but like all easy money, there were strings attached, and I wonder to this day just what was in that box. I now know I was being used as a bag lady. Was it narcotics I was transporting? Or cash for dope, I don’t know, but in retrospect, I shudder at the thought of the real mess I could have been getting myself into. I know this; whatever was in that box was illegal as Hell. I want to think that it might have been a box of Cuban cigars, but I know better. You see, I know what a Real Cuban cigar smells like.