|EAST CAROLINA MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION|
|ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW #206|
|Mr. Horace Twiford|
|March 15, 2001|
|Interview # 1|
|Interview Conducted by Dr. H. A. I. Sugg|
Mr. Twiford, how do you prefer to be addressed? Mister? Captain?
No, I'm not a captain. I'm just Horace. That's adequate.
Okay. Horace, that will be fine. Now let's see how you came through before we go any farther [refers to correct functioning of the tape recording device]. We both came through fine. Where were you born Mr. Twiford?
I was born on Roanoke Island--that's Dare County. That's where the first colony was--where the first white child was born, Virginia Dare--on the north end of the island. I was born at a place called Mother Vineyards, which is the oldest grapevine--scuppernong grapevine--in the country. At that time it was a big vineyard. Now it's just the trunk of the vine, which is still maintained there but it doesn't cover a very large area. All the farmland has been developed into housing now. I was born there at five thirty in the morning, May 30, 1923.
And you grew up there on Roanoke?
I grew up on Roanoke Island, yes.
Where did you go to school?
I went to Manteo High School.
When did you first go to sea?
In June 1941 I got my seaman's papers in Norfolk, Virginia. Later on I went on the VIRGINIA Pilot Boat, on the Pilot Boat VIRGINIA, and I stayed there until the Coast Guard took it over in September 1942. Then I left there and went to Baltimore to see . . . well, shipping at that time was dead still because they had stopped all shipping on the east coast while they organized the system of convoys and everything else. There was just a period in which nothing was really going on.
Except for a few that tried it and got sunk.
Anyway, I sailed the entire war unscathed. I never had a scratch.
What ships did you sail in sir?
Well, mostly it was freighters. Then when I got my license I sailed tankers. One of the first jobs I got as third mate was with Standard Oil out on the S.O. CAMDEN. The first one was with Standard Oil and I stayed with them about a year and a half. I was kind of a screw-up when I was younger. My main problem was booze and I had a tendency to overreact to it I think. Shipping was good. I could really be independent and I just set a pattern that I followed the rest of my life I think--because I never really stayed on any one ship for any length of time. So I was just sort of a maritime bum, so to speak.
You served aboard tankers then in the later part of the war?
Yes. I was on the S.O. CAMDEN when I was in Okinawa, the large bay behind Okinawa. I forget the name.
Yeah, I forget. There's White Beach there.
Yeah, right. The way we came in there was on a picture. We didn't have a chart of the area, but the chief engineer, his wife had sent him a picture of the area while we were in Manila. We got it in Manila when they first went into there, so we went from Manila to Okinawa. We were at anchor there, discharging, when they dropped the atomic bomb on Japan.
Well, I can understand navigating that way, because I navigated to Sidney, Australia, on a National Geographic chart or map.
Well, you got there to White Beach all right. Were there any kamikaze attacks while you were there?
No, several months after the war was over I got a one-hundred and twenty-five dollar bonus for an attack and I don't even recall being in an attack. So, it is a huge area there.
Where did you go from there? Did you stay with that ship for a while?
Well, when we got back from the states I paid off in Albany, New York. I went from there to one with Panama, under the Panamanian flag with Standard Oil. They had American officers with crews from all over the world; people drifting around with no papers, no identification or anything. So we had a crew and we'd hit Aruba and you'd have to go round them up. As the third mate, it was my job to do that. Well, the first
time I went ashore to do that I got drunk with them. The old man just laughed and said, “You'll learn.” From then on I got the Dutch cops to get them.
Those Dutch cops will do it for you won't they? And get you back, too.
You don't know how rough it is until you see it.
How long did you stay aboard that S.O., which one was it?
S.O. CAMDEN. I think I was on it from May 1945 to about the later part of October or maybe November. I don't really recall.
[On your previous ship you came back through the Panama Canal. Did you make liberties in the town . . . Coln?
No, I've been through there many times but never bothered to, never there long enough to go ashore. I think the most memorable time going through there, I was delivering an oil rig for Reading and Bates out of Dallas, a catamaran that the oil and rig went down between the two hulls and the position was maintained by friction wenches to keep the position. We delivered it to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. We had a lot of crew on there. The crew--most of it in the steward's department--were German, English, Swiss, a couple of Swiss. The deck crew was mostly roughnecks from the wilds of Louisiana. Boy, they were the wildest men I've ever seen anywhere; but they were good. Any job that come up, they could do it perfect. Any sort of welding, it was just like laying out a piece of toothpaste. They couldn't do a bad job. You would tell them to do something and they would jump right to it. Just like that. But they went ashore in Coln. We carried some divers, too. They were kind of a goofy bunch, also. That's kind of high tech--you've got to be careful. They are the ones that connect the Christmas trees on the
. . . if you are familiar with the Christmas trees. But those Panamanian cops, they made Christians out of them.
Well, I think they were used to--they had a lot of practice doing that.
Oh, yeah, they weren't amateurs.
You say you went to Guam. Were you going to Apra Harbor?
Well, yes, I've been there several times.
And from there you went on down to Australia?
No, I didn't go to Australia that time. It was many years . . . the trip I made to Australia was just before I retired. I'd been in trouble. I'd got off . . . . It was 1967, and I made a trip during the Vietnam War and I was on the MALLORY LYKES. At that time they were replacing the Lykes fleet, but they kept the old ships so they had two MALLORYS--an old MALLORY and a new MALLORY. The new MALLORY was a fast ship and she was running to Vietnam. I was on the old MALLORY and was going to the east coast of Africa. I'd hit Walvis Bay and then roam around on the east coast of Africa to Mombassa. But, I mean the reason I had to run like that was because I protested the Vietnam War. I was dead set against that. I saw it happening. I saw it coming, building up. I'd been in Vietnam in the early 1960s and I could see it coming on.
I know in the 1950s when they had that Dien Phu and the French were in there and they were bringing the Foreign Legion over to go fight in Vietnam. They were jumping off the ships in the Arabian Sea to avoid going, because it was the same as signing their death deed. You don't hear a lot about that but I know because I was sailing Navy tankers at that time with a Marine Transport Line. The run was from ? to Nuer (?) to Inchon. That was a hell of a run. I've been to Inchon many, many times and never
went ashore there. I mean you would discharge submarine pipelines. There was a hell of rise and fall of the tide there.
Well, let's go back to the S.O. CAMDEN. After you left that what did you do?
Well, I sailed several Standard Oil tankers. And, I'd get off the Beacon oil because we had a load of bunkers for a power plant there in New Haven, Connecticut. That was a real trip. You know the navigation, the navigating compass on any ship, of course, is the standard compass, but we had a standard compass on there that was so bleached out you couldn't even read it. The emergency steering . . . she was a ship that was built in the First World War. The emergency steering was set up just like a sailing ship. You would port your helm to go starboard. A lot of times the steering would go out and we would go back to the emergency steering.
Oh, did you have a big tiller aft?
No, it had a regular wheel but it was . . . the steering used to be that on steam ships until they corrected it. Passed the laws. Right rudder was right rudder--you go to the right. It used to be . . . I knew about it so I was able to steer it, but I wasn't an officer. They'd put somebody else back down to steer it and mess with it. We were coming into Long Island Sound. If you've ever been there . . . Now it is a piece of cake, I mean you've got radar, LORAN, and everything else. But then, in the wintertime, the water is warmer and then the cold air hits it, it just steams and its like water vapor and you can't see your hand in front of you. And we are trying to convince the old man to get a triangulation from shore to get exactly where we were there. We were lost. We had a hand-led line and we could have found our way. I mean we could tell when we got up to the various curves and have followed them down, how to expedite things, but . . .
Anyway, to make a long story short of how I got off, I was on there and I would get to drinking. I think everybody else had took off. I was left on the ship with the pump man who had just finished discharging and I just said, “The hell with it; I quit.” I picked up my gear and left. The next thing I knew I was on a damn train going to New York with nothing but my sextant.
But I was third mate on that rig. When I got back to New York I figured, well, I'm canned. And they put me on the S.O. BAYONNE. Well, I stayed on her a while. With a fellow by the name of Captain Kelly. He was a character. Anyway, I think I depict that certain age in American history--that first industry in a lot of things that tolerated a lot of incompetent foul-ups and things. They could get away with it at the time, because we had all the shipping, the manufacturing of goods. We had the lock on the market on everything so industry didn't care. So when they started building new construction of American ships they paid us--I'm kind of talking in circles I guess--they paid us more wages but the conditions on American ships were terrible. The Scandinavians started turning out tankers and new ships, air conditioners and individual rooms. But they didn't pay the wages so for a long time they compensated conditions for wages. American ships paid more but the conditions were terrible. Just imagine being on a victory ship or any of the ships in the Red Sea with nothing to hold the side of the ship. Like I was the second mate on a victory ship, with overhead sun beating down on you and go to India, to the Red Sea. It just gets intolerable. Well it's not intolerable, since I lived through it. But the thermometer in my quarters read to one hundred and twenty. One of those little . . . I don't know what the highest was, but it got a lot hotter than that. But, that's one thing the human race is endowed with, too--they have a
tendency to forget the bad things and remember the good things. I think that's one reason why it's hard for people to really understand a seaman and his philosophy on life. If he has one. I developed one, I suppose, without any intellectual thinking that I sat down and figured out--an empirical deal. It just happened as I lived through it. I think that that's something that the history of that particular age of the United States ought to be written about . . . all this stuff they used to put [out that] the Japanese are getting ahead and they are doing this. Well anybody that knew anything . . . I'd read enough material on ships to know that the Japanese and the Germans all together--their output is nothing compared to what this country can do. This country can out produce, out-do, anything. To say that anything is a threat to us is kind of ridiculous, really. Of course, we have to do that, I suppose, to get people to . . . well, what I'm getting into is another sphere of thought.
No, that's alright, I was just making sure my machine was still functioning.
Well, if I get off base you just guide me and get me back to reality here. I have a tendency to gas off a lot.
Well, you know George Santiano, who was a great philosopher said that something to the effect that he who forgets history is doomed to repeat it and I think he was absolutely accurate because we keep forgetting history.
Do you ever read Will Durant's History of Civilization? Man, there you got it! That's it! So, but that's the trouble with . . . like I didn't even finish high school. So, if I have any education, it is completely undisciplined. And that's one of the tragedies I'd like to . . . I could have remedied but I never had the will power to concentrate to develop the discipline to study or have any particular goal on anything. I just dabbled in one thing and another. Right now I got this course on the history of music. It's really fascinating
but I found out that going through the history of music you also get the history of other things that goes on in the world. I found out just reading--like I remember in 1958 I was in the hospital, in the Marine hospital in Galveston, Texas. They had a tome in there about that thick put out by the agriculture department in 1912: The History of Transportation in the United States. Now, that was a real eye opener to me. That's the first time I ever heard of the Trail of Tears. They didn't tell it as whether it was good, bad or indifferent. They talked about it as a matter of fact what had happened. Then I find out that a lot of the trails and things that all the hardships they went through. It might not been as hard as we been led to believe. This interesting book put out recently by Timothy Silvers of Appalachian State University--1993 I think it was or 1994. I've got a copy of it here. It's called The New Face on the Landscape: 1500-1800. It tells the research in the brochures that are still extant in London. They sold the land here the same as any other real estate deal anywhere in the 1500s, or the 1600s. The Indian population had been decimated by smallpox. I mean there was smallpox, measles, syphilis, but most of it was smallpox. There was whole town sites cleared and roads going to and from them and all the people had to do was resettle it. Go in and reestablish the roads and, hell, you are in business. Did you ever read a book called the Sea and the Jungle? Did you ever hear of it?
I've heard of it; I've not read it.
If you ever get the opportunity read that. That too was written in 1912.
The Sea and the Jungle.
The Sea and the Jungle. I mean that is--every person should read that who is at all interested in how things developed in this world.
Well, you stayed afloat then for quite a few years?
I've probably got more sea time for the time I went to active seaman than most anybody else here because I spent the money on booze, horses. I didn't stay ashore too long or I was flat broke. So, I'm not what you would consider an upstanding citizen.
Did you keep your license?
Yes. Never had it challenged. I guess the closest I came to losing it was for desertion in 1967. That's when I got that oil rig to Australia, the lawyer told me you better get the hell out of the country until things cool down a little bit. What they come to find out when it finally went to trial--the Coast Guard exonerated me. The Lykes Brothers said they wanted nothing to do with it, but the federal government in Houston, the federal judge in Houston said he don't want anything to do with a goddamn deserter and so still legally I am signed on the MALLORY LYKES.
That's a long time to be signed onto a ship, isn't it?
Well, I've never officially signed off!
Is there still a MALLORY LYKES operating?
Well the Lykes Brothers more or less folded up. I don't think there is a MALLORY LYKES. They built a new ship in the sixties, but she would be an old ship now. I know I was on the AIMEE LYKES, on her second voyage, and she was built in 1963 and I know just a few years back--you might not remember it but--they were bringing her in a tow from Newport News or somewhere to Jacksonville and she broke away from the tow. They flew a captain here from New York to drop the anchor off of Frying Pan Shoals here. The captain was a woman and she dropped on deck and let go of the anchor.
Well, that was quite a change, isn't it?
Oh yeah! That's quite a change in the ways--but really in a modern, technological society, it is my observation a woman can do most of the things and much more efficient than a man can. A man is not made for that sort of thing. I don't see why a woman on a modern ship couldn't be just a good or perhaps even better than a man.
Well, we are getting them now, even in the United States Navy, which is about as old-fashioned as you will ever get. We have skippers of destroyers that are women.
Well, it's probably their service to society and everything else is probably better for that. I got involved in the women's movement. I went to the Million Women March in Washington. I think it was 1992 or 1993. It was while Bush--the original Bush--was in office. Now that was a real experience to be in a march like that in Washington with all those people in it. Of course, I'd been caught at a riot in New York one time before, but that was in 1946 during the strike there in 1946. We rented a hall on 52nd Street, a nightclub, and as we came out of the nightclub different factions of other unions attacked us and just started--of course, I was a young man and didn't know what the hell was going on. It was just like a river flowing right down 52nd Street. On 8th Avenue it stopped the traffic, but I got side tracked in a kind of eddy--like between these drug stores. There wasn't nothing but a stanchion up here and then on both sides there is main door right here. I got pushed into that. So I didn't get out on 8th Avenue. They stopped traffic both ways.
There used to be some mighty good clubs on 52nd Street.
This was a big one. I forget the name of it.
You were on the run from on the Red Sea around to Vietnam and then later you said you were protesting the Vietnamese War. Where was that and how did that come about?
I was running to Korea, not to Vietnam. Korea was the one I was talking about--I was running to Korea--that was after the war was really over but they were still running in there to . . . I think the war was over in 1953. 1954 was Dien Phu. Right around that time the Foreign Legion started jumping off the ships in the Arabian Sea.
Dien Bien Phu was in 1954 or there abouts. That's an incredible thing for a presumably competent Army officer to set up in the damn bowl with the heights above.
Yes, that looks like it would be an elementary deal in any school, war college.
The same way with the Bay of Pigs, you know? The plans were to land these Cuban forces on the beach there and take the high hills overlooking it.
Well, the thing is the Bay of Pigs would have been--they didn't expect to do anything with that anyway. They thought that the people would probably help them. In a way, I was kind of involved in that. I won a two-hundred-dollar bet that Castro wouldn't be overthrown. Because they were selling . . . the first assistant on the ship that I was on that was running into Deep Water, New Jersey, at the time--the first assistant was married to a Cuban woman. They were selling what they called “Cuban Bonds,” and he knew all about that and a fellow--I think his name was Peterson--was going around getting all these old wrecks and was going to take off from Honduras. I think if everybody knew about it, Castro was bound to have known about it. It was such a makeshift deal. They weren't really serious about invading anyway, I don't believe. They thought the people would come in and the Navy, with their air supply, would support them.
But, I think, to me, Castro is one of the great men of the twentieth century, I think. I mean his accomplishments are really outstanding considering all the things he had against him. He is one of the few leaders that has been able to run a revolution and then govern after. Even today they have better medical care there than we have in this country. He eliminated illiteracy. He absolutely obliterated that by the 1980s. I think in 1983 National Geographic had a deal on it--what they were doing for the hospitals and the houses they were building. But what we did to them was terrible. We cut off all their supplies. If you were ever in Cuba, you know that their money was American money and everything owned there was owned by Americans. So it was just a puppet state. If you go into the history of Cuba, they could have made it a state easily if they wanted to but they figured more money could be made out of it if it was independent. So it's a lot of things that's more than meets the eye on anything, I believe. I think all of that is pretty well-documented anywhere in our own archives.
Yes. If you want to read it.
Yes. Well, I mean who wants to? It's just yesterday's news. People are . . . it's just like the Declaration of Independence says, people are prone to suffer as long as things are sufferable, as long as . . . you can promise a man jobs or something and he'll . . . I know I got involved in the Union Reform Group. Man, when things were tough, you had backdoor shipping and other things, men were with you. But just as soon as they gave them a lousy job they turned against you. It's the same thing when I got involved in the environmental movement after I retired. I soon found out that that's a real farce. Because, the way, this is an amazing efficient way we have of running people--the way this government was set up. I mean we do it to ourselves and you don't have to have
somebody . . . Starting at the local level and right on up the way it operates. Say you start an environmental organization and you are gung-ho and you do this and you get people to donate money and you build it up. Then you go out to get a grant so you can really get going, but the grant . . . “After two or three years then we'll let you have this after a certain time--we'll let you have a hundred thousand dollars, but you have got to raise a hundred thousand yourself.” So then you have to hurry people in to get to do it. Are you familiar with the North Carolina Coastal Federation?
Do you know Todd Miller?
Do you know Todd Miller?
I know the name. No, I don't know any of the people.
A man, a young man--highly intelligent--his integrity I wouldn't dispute it, but I think that when you analyze his career. He organized that organization at the beginning of the 1980s. The Synthetic Fuels Corporation was going to set up a plant in Washington County using peat as fuel. At that time you could generate electricity and by law the government had to buy it from you. So the government set up what they call a synthetic casing who at that time, I forget what he was in the government--secretary of state? He was one of the main shareholders, big wheels in the government. Of course, the environmentalists got credit for killing it. But that wasn't the case at all. What killed it was when the price of oil dropped, they quit funding it because there was no way you could recover anything on it. Nobody could make money.
I remember that peat business.
Right. But they got out of it. First Colony Farms--they were the big--they gave the soil to the Land Conservatory. Of course they wrote that off on their taxes for giving it to them. Then the Land Conservatory sold it to the government and they made the alligator fish and wildlife deal out of it.
The Natural Conservancy or something like that.
Yes. Anything you can dream up to get around it, they can figure out a way to get around it. You know, I belong to the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1960, I was the first chairman of the city of Houston of investigating police brutality. Mainly because I had gone to a meeting [where] they were talking about all this police brutality. I said, “Well let's not talk about it, let's do something.” They say, “Well that's fine--you're the chairman.” That always happens. It didn't take me long to figure out that there isn't much I can do about this. I was going to get my busted.
That was a big problem there in Houston.
And elsewhere for that matter.
Oh God, the things that they do to people. They had a ranger there called Cleveland Hayden (?). Well, even Harris County had to put bars up on the ninth floor of the courthouse because people had a tendency to--for some reason, when he was interrogating them to--jump out the ninth-story window. So they put bars on it to keep people from committing suicide.
How long were you with the ACLU in Houston?
Well, I left Houston in 1969. I am an active member of the ACLU now. I belong to it. I don't belong to any particular branch. I'm just an at-large. Well, I'm just . . . to
tell you what I am, I'm an atheist. I belong to the, I'm a member of the Unitarian Universalists of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
I've never figured out . . . is that a church that's going to get some money under this faith-based . . .
Well, I would think so because it's one of the oldest religions in the United States. Well, its older than most of your Protestant religions. I'd say you would have people that are more capable of administering something like that in . . . Have you ever had anything to do with the Unitarian church?
Not directly. I have a couple of friends who are members.
I guarantee you that they are fine people.
Oh, yes. They are indeed.
I'm not saying that I'm a fine person. But I'm saying that they are. I'd almost be willing to bet on that. Now, here's the plaque here that I got from the little village I live in. When I first--I don't know that you can read it--I'll take it down if you want?
No, let me see if I can read it. That's really a fine plaque.
Well, that is like most of the places here in--down east--the people are really religious and they take their religion serious. I was gone for thirty-two years. My mother was from Stumpy Point originally and I spent quite a bit of time there in my youth. So a lot of the people there are my relatives. Nobody else could have got . . . So when I went there people started to come see me and wanted me to go to church naturally. That's going to happen. I said, “Well, I'm willing to discuss religion if you will start off with the premise that Jesus Christ had an Oedipus complex” and then they would say, “What do you mean?” I finally said, “He's a motherfucker.” That is the biggest mistake I ever
made in my damn life. It took me twenty some years--the biggest surprise I had in my life was when I went to a meeting. They had a surprise birthday party for me and I went there. I didn't know what they usually . . . They had written letters to the governor, to the commissioners, anything I had said to represent them. We got involved in environmental things. I would go to all the meetings at Stumpy Point and I became quite famous for a lot of the things that they passed. One resolution in particular that I am particularly proud of--I've got a copy of it here if you want to see it. I thought, “Oh you all are going to have a meeting to eat my ass out or something.” So I went there and they had this plaque for me. And the old retired schoolteacher there--they all know that I'm an atheist--and she got up and recited “Abou Ben Adhem.” That really got me. They said, “Say something.” I just stood there and they all laughed like hell. They said, “that's one damn time you didn't say anything.”
“Ole' Ben Adam.” Let's see--“May his tribe increase, awoke one night from a sweet dream of peace” and so on and so forth.
Yeah, well this lady recited the whole thing. And I tell you, I was in a state of shock, really.
Well, Stumpy Point is better for you having been there, right?
Well, I don't know about that but they have got--if you ever go by there--at the entrance you will see a painting of the Peaceful Kingdom. Edward Hicks painted them all over Pennsylvania in the 1840s. He's a prominent painter. But it's from Isaiah six, seven, and eight. I've got a picture here of it somewhere but you are familiar with it. But I've also put it on my website now. I'll show you if you want to look at it.
What's your. . . ?
This is your website or your email?
That's my email.
htwiford at what?
And you have a website you say?
Well, maybe that's not the word for it. But it's something that comes with my signature when I send a message and it's a link. While we are talking I'll just put it up there [on the computer].
All right, you want to go back on the record now?
That really has nothing to do with my seaman, but indirectly it does because I would have never done it if I didn't go to sea.
What is your main research now? You said you were using it for research.
Oh, I just got about everything . . . Did you ever hear of the HAB theory? That's one of things I've been looking into.
What theory is that?
I'm not familiar with that.
Well, when you send me your address, I'll send you some information on it. We don't have time to go through it. It's a theory on the Earth, what has happened through the years. It wobbles and the HAB theory is that periodically the equator has dropped down to about fifteen degrees latitude and it changed a lot of things.
Horace Twiford. . . . What's that your family genealogy?
No, this is mail that I've sent. There is a letter to the editor I sent. Let's see what that's all about. Oh, this is something I wrote November 28. Can you read it?
I don't know whether you agree with it.
I read a lot of things I don't agree with. But it enlarges my ignorance as I was telling you before.
Oh, just tell me when and I'll click it down.
Okay. When. You think the republic is going to survive?
Well . . .
Was it Benjamin Franklin that said, “The republic will survive, madam, if we make it.”
When the smoke clears the loser will congratulate the winner and the country will survive until the circus arrives again in 2004. Our country is a guiding light to the rest of the world. One of the most diverse peoples on the face of the earth and the most stable politically. That's a contradiction in itself but we are.
Yes, that is true.
In the entire world the only enemies we have to fear is ourselves. That's an old adage but that's the truth. Or that's the truth as I see it so let's not be carried away by our rhetoric of accusations. Our leaders are not stupid and our business leaders are all world-class and don't forget it. We did not get to the top of the heap by being ignorant. Relax, be patient, and let the system work out the differences.
That's a good letter.
That don't have my website on it so I'll have to go back.
I see your email address down there at the bottom.
Oh, this is some interesting stuff I got from the BRILLIANT. I don't know if you are familiar with that, but I got all the letters and I lugged them sailing from the States to Africa. . . .END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A
What ship was the BRILLIANT?
She was in that tall ships race. She won in her class.
That was a beautiful ship. Is that still?
Oh yeah. She is working out of Antigua now. She is leaving there in April to come up back to Mystic. She is out of Mystic Seaport. They own her.
That tall ships project and the race afterwards is certainly a great thing. Horace Twiford, optimist.
See there, I don't have the website I want to get into. There it is but I can't lock into it. The Vatican says you can get that. You know that's the statue out there. Are you familiar with the history of that?
I know something about it, but I'm not familiar.
Well you can raise that on your own if you want to get the history of it. Of course it was put up there, the present one was put up there in . . . well, I'll just go ahead and get it. Well, you've not got that much time to spend on all of this stuff. Well, it won't go into that. Its been up there so long its kind of . . . the link is . . . it stopped, I'm not going to bother it anymore.
Now you've got it in French?
I don't want that. A five-year-old child . . . he was missing for several days and they were frantically looking for him and they found him and that's the uncompromising position he was in when they first saw him. So he immediately commissioned the local sculptor to make a statue of him and have it placed up there and it stayed there for three hundred and some years. And in 1619, the mayor of Brussels commissioned one of the leading sculptors of the area to replace it and it's been there ever since. It tells the story of it. It has six hundred and some uniforms. People come from all over the world to look at it and there are all kinds of replicas. But most people don't understand it. Like in this area I've had fun trying to point out to people that what it depicts is the innocence of childhood. But people automatically take the . . . “Oh, that's terrible to see someone urinate.” I mean . . . good god almighty. You know as far as . . . in a lot of ways as far as sophistication is concerned, a damn stevedore on the docks in Mombasa is more aware of what is gong on in the world than the people in this country. It's amazing what the people here don't know, but you go to other parts of the world and hell, you find working people that are really up on what the hell is going on in the world.
Of course, seamen stay pretty well up.
Some of them do; some don't. Some of them go to sea their whole damn life and, hell, they get drunk and don't know whether they are in Buenos Aires or Naples or Yokahama. I'll never forget I was in Sasebo one time . . . and this story was on a tanker. The terminal office was back a little bit on down on the pylons and I saw a fellow come slowly walking down the ladder and walk over towards the ship. He wanted the officer on watch. He says, “Officer on the watch, you are wanted on the telephone immediately. It's an emergency!” So I went and dashed over there and got the phone and it was a
“Coonass” Viper (backwoods fellow) on there--you know in the wilds of Louisiana. I got him and I could tell that boy gave a sigh of relief and said, “Mate, where am I?” I'll never forget that.
There are some pretty nice places up on the hill, on the harbor there, as I recall.
Yes. Later on I wound up at a shipyard for three months. I really had a ball there. It's a nice place. Overlooking the harbor there and the little streams. It also had a sewer right behind there but its . . .
. . . very pleasant.
Oh, what the hell was. . . god almighty. . . a famous place there, a barroom, a little tiny barroom, everybody went to when they were catching the ferry over there or the launches. Susie's in Sasebo--my god almighty--it was about half as big as this place. And Susie had a trapdoor that she slept over on top. She had to move it over and do a little gymnastics to get up there. Well, I'm not accomplishing much here.
Well, all right. I told my wife I would be home this afternoon so I think I better get started. I have your email address. Let me confirm that.
All right, but a lot of times when I send this to somebody. . . .
[End of Interview]
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