March 19, 2008
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Santa Ana Mountains (Santiago Peak)Music: the Chambers Brothers' "Time Has Come Today" (1967)
The tour zone
Going down Trabuco Canyon
Trabuco Creek Crossing (Live Oak Canyon Road/Trabuco)
Trabuco Oaks/Trabuco School
Looking around from on high (observing Plano Trabuco)
Up Live Oak Canyon
The Monastery Road (compound 1st built by Aldous Huxley and pals)
Big left turn
Lambrose Canyon Road
Up and over—down to Cook’s Corner
Toward Lake Forest (Saddleback Church!)
The big overview
Back into the mountain
Friday, July 29, 2011
Annie and I were born in 1954-5.
By 1958, the family was living in Vancouver, B.C. But, from the beginning, Manny and Edith sought to live, not in Canada, but in the U.S.
Based on a conversation taped on Thursday, July 28, 2011:
U.S.A. TRIP #1 (1958)
|First leg of the 1958 trip|
Manny: The first time was in 1958. The plan was to take the northern route across the country, all the way to St. Catharines (a city near Niagara Falls, Canada), where Omi and Opa had their farm. They hadn’t seen you kids yet and they wanted to see their grandchildren.
So off we went. We had everything with us, including a double –bladed axe, which I still have! At the border, the guy asked me, “What the hell you gonna do with that?” I explained: “where we come from, you sometimes find that a tree has fallen across the road, and if you don’t want to wait a week, you just get out your axe and deal with it yourself.”
So we went across the border into Washington State and headed toward the Grand Coulee Dam, which was pretty barren then. We stayed overnight there[?].
Manny: we’d drive along these roads to the east, and, at least by the time we were in Idaho and Montana, we’d come across these grain elevators, where the road would suddenly turn right, then left, then left, and then right—to get around the elevator. The first time we came upon one of those “detours,” we nearly didn’t stop in time. There were no signs, no warnings!
So you didn’t want to be driving along thinking the road would keep going straight forever. Because it wouldn’t.
|Santa Monica, c. 1960|
The route we were on tended to follow the railroad. We just drove and drove—through Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota. –Mostly following these grain elevators.
One time, a cop pulled me over. I asked, “officer, is something wrong?” He said, “I just wanted to see what a British Columbia license looks like. Be on your way.”
Our plan was to take the U.S. northern route, visit in St. Catharines, then to catch Route 66 all the way to Santa Monica, CA.
On our way east, we went through Chicago then Cleveland. Along Lake Erie, the traffic congestion was terrible.
Anything memorable about Chicago?
We somehow ended up in black neighborhoods, and those areas were strange, with fruit crates and apple crates used for furniture. Broken windows. People walking in and out as though they were all related. But then they’d have a fancy car in front of the house! We didn’t understand that at all.
Anyway, I got lost. I was looking for the Calumet Skyway. A black guy rolled up beside me and said, “You're lost?” I said that I was. I told him I was looking for the skyway. He said, “I’ll take you to it.” And he did. He drove us there. I said, “Thank you sir,” and that was that.
We spent a day cruising around Chicago. We drove along Lakeshore Drive, which had these strange “absolute” speed limits. If you were in the fast lane, you were to go 50 mph. If you were in the next lane over, you were to go 40, and so on. But it was funny, ‘cause, when we were there, nobody was going any speed. We just sat there in this horrible traffic, goin' nowhere.
I remember that Lake Erie seemed to go on forever.
I remember Cleveland, Ohio, where I got lost again and wound up at the city dump.
Edith: Eventually, we stayed in a bed and breakfast—one room in one of those private homes along the lake. We had breakfast with the owners. I think it was in Cleveland. It was on the lakeshore. The North end of Cleveland. The lake seemed to go on forever. And the road was miserably slow. It was a weekend, and we could see lots of people fishing.
|Luise Bauer (Oma/Omi)|
Annie: How’d they have the money for that? Manny: Probably Opa/Oma helped. My parents held the title to the property. It was on their land.
Manny: Before 1963, when the Parcel Act was enforced, things were pretty informal. You could just go down to the registrar with a map and some land marked out with a ruler. That caused lots of problems, and so they made changes. Pretty unpopular at first, but it’s clear that the changes were necessary.
Edith: At the farm, I was put to work, mostly cooking. Omi had bought a big chest freezer, and she wanted to make food for the coming months and keep it all in this freezer. So, in the morning, she’d announce, “Today, I’ll teach you how to make Maultaschen,” and then she made me cook a month’s worth of the stuff.
And the beds! My God. The mattresses were these hideous things in which springs would poke through to your skin. And they’d squeak badly if you moved at all. So you didn’t dare move all night.
And was it ever hot! And humid! And it wouldn’t cool down at night. And then there were the mosquitoes. We stayed about a week, and we were glad to get out of there.
From there, we went south through Buffalo and then towards Route 66. (For a list of cities along Route 66, see Route 66 cities.)
On the way toward the west coast, we kept maybe 50 miles to the south of Chicago, because we didn’t want to go through there again.
I remember that the bugs were a nightmare! We stayed in St. Louis, and the bugs were really bad during the day. We figured they’d go away during the night, but they only got worse. Much worse.
Edith: We made dinner on our cheap Sears stove, which is like a Coleman. I had brought along elk that we had canned ourselves. (Everyone hunted in B.C.) We’d cook that to make a stew and eat it with noodles.
When it got dark, the mosquitoes got worse. The headliner of the car (our 55 Ford station wagon) was actually dark from them.
And there were other bugs. The street lights wouldn’t give off much light because they’d be covered with these things. It was amazing.
We got out of there. We had already paid, but we just left. As we drove off, we opened everything in the car and tried to use the rushing air to blow all the bugs off the ceiling and everywhere. “Chase ‘em out!” we’d say, and you kids did that.
|In Kansas along old Route 66|
Edith: We went to one place that I’ll never forget. It was a cowboy bar in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We got there at night and walked inside. It was loud, with lots of people and loud cowboy music. They had this challenge: if you could eat their big three-pound steak (with all the fixins), it would be free, but nobody could do it.
I think maybe that is where we bought this little “chuck wagon” lamp. It was a little wagon with a bulb inside the wagon, which was covered with some kind of varnished canvas. [Annie and I remember it well.]
Edith: I remember that chuck wagon. We didn’t spend much money, but we bought that.
Annie: Roy and I would argue over who would get to turn it on at night!
Edith: I loved that bar. And when we left, we were pretty excited about the cowboys and everything. Pretty jazzed about it. We drove off and then found ourselves on top of this big hill. You could see the city of Albuquerque, with all the city lights below. It was amazing, a great experience.
Manny: at the time, Roy was 3 and Annie was 4. Annie was no trouble at all. “You were good kids,” says Edith. [I think that Manny was about to say that I (Roy) got sick or had some kind of condition that created some inconvenience.]
Edith: We were in this one motel—probably in Albuquerque—that was full of cockroaches. They were everywhere, including the ceiling, and, in the bathroom were the weirdest creatures I’d ever seen. I screamed when I saw them. They were huge.
|Albuquerque, New Mexico|
And I remember the “petrified forest” (in northeastern Arizona). In those days, petrified wood was still abundant, and people would pick it up and take it home with them. We did that. But there was so much souvenir-taking that, finally, steps were taken to protect what was left.
[Edith and Manny engage in a brief dispute about whether we took pieces of petrified wood. Yes, but how big were the pieces? –We’ve still got ‘im, I’m sure.]
I asked: do you remember Tulsa? Oklahoma City?
Manny: I only remember that it was kind of God forsaken.
Edith: we arrived in this cowboy town, nothing but cattle. It was lunchtime, but we couldn’t find a restaurant that wasn’t full of cowboys. We looked so out of place as immigrants, as a family. But we got pretty hungry, and so we went into one of these places. They all stared at us. Not terrible friendly. Unfriendly people.
Our "old Ford," c. 1957-8
We stayed in a hotel there, I think. It was relatively high in altitude. It was cool, not hot.
We went to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. That was interesting.
Were you impressed by the deserts and the mountains?
Edith: I liked the desert, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Too barren for me. Too dry. It looked just the way the movies portrayed it, I think. Still, it wasn’t for me.
Manny: When we crossed the California border, we were in desert still. Pretty surprising. Yes, it was like in the Grapes of Wrath. We were expecting something far more fabulous. Not desert.
Edith: That was the first time I uttered, “I don’t want to live here. It’s so barren!” It was just outside of Palm Springs. [I guess they took a detour re Route 66.] We were approaching the city. It was just a big desert without trees. Not even palm trees.
Manny: When we arrived in Canada, independently, we dreamed of heading to California. And so we went down there exploring. That’s what we were doing in ’58.
Edith: I had ideas about California. It definitely wasn’t what I expected.
Manny: After Palm Springs, we drove down through the mountains into San Bernardino, where we encountered the orange groves for the first time.
[Manny and Edith dispute over whether they crossed a pass before descending into San Bernardino.]
We went from there to Hollywood. We stayed pretty much on Route 66, since it was a clear shot.
We drove all over Beverly Hills. We had a map. We were not sophisticated enough to get a guide. We had this printed guide. We used it to find (actress) Debbie Reynolds’ home. She was married to (singer) Eddie Fisher at the time. We waited and waited outside her house for her to come out. She never appeared.
Manny: We stayed in a motel on the Sunset strip. We’d wait outside places to see the movie stars. I’d fall asleep, and Edith would shake me: “Look! I think it’s Elizabeth Taylor!” I don’t think we ever saw anybody famous.
We’d stay outside of nightclubs. All we saw were these furs going in and out of the building. We didn’t know who any of these people were.
We stayed somewhere on the Sunset Strip. I don’t recall where we stayed next.
Edith: we probably stayed somewhere on Sunset Boulevard.
Manny: she made us go to the Glendale Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Edith: We went to Disneyland. We likely did that first, since the trip was so rough on you kids. So we probably stayed somewhere close to Disneyland.
We visited the film studios, the Hollywood Bowl, visited during the day. There were musicians practicing there. They let us in for free.
Manny: We visited the San Fernando Mission. We took the 101 north to Santa Barbara. We were amazed as we drove north: there was nothing there.
We checked out Marineland in Pales Verdes.
Eventually, we drove straight up the coast back to Vancouver. The whole trip lasted maybe a month.
U.S.A. VISIT #2 (1959)
Edith: then Manny decided that we’ll move to California. I said, “The only way I’m going down there is if you buy me this hat. And I want furniture: perfect furniture all over my house.” He said, “Yes, OK.”*
Edith: the problem was that I thought that Southern California was too barren, too dry. But Manny knew that there would be more work opportunities. He preferred the climate. And he felt that immigrants were treated better there. [Also, there were far better educational opportunities.]
When was the second trip to the U.S.?
Edith: maybe a year later. In 1959. We drove straight down to California that time. We went with these people we knew—the Stolls. And when we got down here, we visited these German friends, Brigitte and Helmut Stolp, who were living in Fullerton.
I recall that their littlest kid, Mike, misbehaved. He actually came up and kicked Manny in the leg. Manny sort of kicked him right back. [According to family lore, this was a good and right thing. I'd have to agree. Of course, I've met Mike.]
On the way down from Vancouver, we’d stay here and there. We would have three meals a day at restaurants.
Do you remember any towns?
Edith: Grants Pass, Oregon. We didn’t stop at San Francisco, we drove by it. We may have stopped in Santa Barbara. [Something about a big tree.]
Was the point of the second trip to figure out just where you would move to?
Edith: yes. We had to live close to the [electrical] union hall [IBEW]. There was one in, not Long Beach, but close by there. The plan was to mover down here for good, maybe rent a house for a year. During that time, we’d sell our Vancouver home and then buy one here.
But it didn’t work out that way. [Not sure what Edith is alluding to. I know that they did not sell the Vancouver home until many years later.]
THE MOVE: DECEMBER 19
|On Academy St., Anaheim. Check out the incinerator!**|
We rented that place in Anaheim on Academy Street for exactly one year. [It was very near Knott’s Berry Farm. Annie and I attended "Albert Schweitzer Elementary School."***][UPDATE, March 20, 2013: I looked up the date of the opening of the stretch of the "Newport Freeway" (the 55) running past our neighborhood in Orange. It opened on January 18th, 1962. (See LA Times article.) I recall--and I'm sure Manny and Edith recall--living at the Topaz address significantly before the freeway construction. This means we would have moved into the Topaz house at least some time in 1961, not after. And since we lived in Anaheim, on Academy St., for a year, we must have been living there by early 1960 or earlier. Hence, it could not be that we embarked for California in December of 1960. It must have been December of 1959. Manny now tells me that it was mid-February, 1960.]
|Date on stamp: Feb. 27, 1960|
The first morning we woke up there, you kids were busy with your Easter baskets, and we heard this plane. We went outside and saw this crop duster doing its thing on the orange groves around us. We were amazed.
[I (Roy) seem to remember seeing that plane myself. I even recall seeing it dive down into our housing development, touching or nearly touching ground on the street behind our house. A very distinct memory.]
We didn’t have fences yet. And the neighbors would come around and welcome us. This one family came over and our dog Prince went crazy. Bit right through the screen door. Luckily, the little girl pulled back, and that saved her face. [The Supran family. I later went to school with their kids. Susan and Collette?]
We’d go for walks, the whole family, w/ Prince, our German Shepherd. He always wanted to go into the orange grove to eat oranges, but that was forbidden. But he managed to get these oranges anyway.
I remember the time we drove into the mountains and stopped at Modjeska Grade (we have film of this; it is very close to where they live now). This might have been during one of the earlier exploratory trips to California.
|1957 N. Topaz St., Orange, CA|
Oma was driving me crazy. Absolutely crazy. [Oma would have been 52 years old. Edith would have been 28.]
I asked: was there open hostility between you two?
Oh no. I was raised to be very respectful of parents and elders. I was always very polite to the old bat. I practically curtseyed.
But she came home one day—I was pregnant with Raymond—and she announced that she and Opa would be going to work, and I would stay home to take care of the house, do the cooking and washing.
I couldn’t believe it. I went to Manny and said, “I’m leaving. That’s not going to happen!”
It would have been different if she had been nice to live with. But she was hell to live with. There was no way I was going to go along with this arrangement.
(So, as usual, Manny had to deal with it. He always took Edith’s side. Could see her point.)
Edith: It all came to a head one day, when Oma was going to work, and Edith felt the need to warn Oma of some problem with her, um, dress. So she did that and then Oma went crazy. She started screaming: how dare you speak to me in that way! Opa was pretty freaked out too, but mostly about Oma’s sloppiness.
Edith: Opa always liked me. I never had a problem with him. The problem was Oma.
Well, anyway, they then announced that they were moving out, and so they did. They moved in with Ruth and Fred (ha ha), who had found a place of their own by then.
They lived somewhere just down the road—behind “Pattens Market,” which was on Katella and Tustin. (So said Annie. This is about a mile and a half away.)
After a while, the Kallishes moved to Oshkosh St. in Anaheim (I remember the name; we used to mock it.). Later, they moved to Villa Park. The Kallishes' maintained their electrical maintenance business--the absurdly named "Debonaire Electric"--but got into speculative stock trading on the "mercantile" exchange.
|Chicago, 1958: Calumet Expressway, near completion|
*Evidently, this has been a sore point ever since. To this day, occasionally, Edith will complain that she never got that furniture. (She doesn't refer to the hat.) It is clear that Manny and Edith come from (as they might say) "different worlds" and Edith occasionally refers to the de facto embrace, by the family, of Manny's "ways." One might explore the perception of Swabians in (especially German) popular culture.
**Clearing the Air in Los Angeles
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN October 1993
…In 1958, at the recommendation of the Beckman committee, backyard trash incinerators were banned despite opposition from the public and some waste-disposal managers. More than 300,000 families owned such incinerators, and many were unwilling to give up the convenience and cost savings. But slowly attitudes changed; today most residents of Los Angeles would consider it shameful to burn their trash and subject their neighbors to the smoke and smell.*** Roy: At Albert Schweitzer, I attended Kindergarten, though perhaps not for the full year. I remember the playing of Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy"—my memory of music is generally very good. (Of other things? —Not so much.) I remember being on the floor a lot. Vaguely positive memories. Annie: I remember that I did not understand the teacher who, of course, spoke English. I recall kids sitting in a circle, singing songs that were unfamiliar to me. I was given a tambourine, I remember. I liked the music. But I was pretty confused. Roy: I recall being driven by a neighbor to some sort of Sunday school, at least once. I recall, on that occasion, hearing the "Chipmunks" song on the radio. (See.) I was quiet. I said nothing. Roy: it has always seemed to me that, during my early childhood (and perhaps beyond that), I said virtually nothing. I observed. I was very timid. But I do not recall being overly fearful.
Waste-disposal managers objected to the ban for a different reason. These analysts realized that the economical alternative to burning trash was burying it, and therefore they correctly predicted that although replacing incinerators with landﬁlls would reduce air pollution, the additional landﬁlls would create other types of environmental problems. For example, as rain has seeped through the landﬁlls and carried away soluble materials, it has contaminated the local groundwater. Southern Californians are now working to clean up the ground water, but the long-term plans are, ﬁrst, to decrease the volume of trash through recycling and, second, to reduce further groundwater contamination by improving the management of landﬁlls.
The ban of backyard incinerators generated relatively little public resistance when compared with attempts to clean up industrial sources of pollution. Historically, the control of industrial emissions has been challenging because of the need to balance the region’s environmental interests with its economic needs…. [Inventor & entrepreneur Arnold O. Beckman settled in Newport Beach and became a player in OC politics.]
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Last night, we took a "guided tour." We walked up the canyon a mile and a half and then, about when it got dark, we walked back to the car.
Tonight, we drove up the road to a little past the end of the pavement. Took pics.
Annie and our guide. Nice guy. He works on computer software all day long.
Didn't want to take my big Chrysler too far up the dirt road.
Sun going down: the magic "hour"
|Here it's almost August and the creek is still running. The hills are lush.|
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Based on a conversation with Manny, Edith, and Annie, July 25, 2011
The Beach Boys, 1965:
I recall that you [Manny and Edith Bauer] went to a Beach Boys concert—some time in the 60s. I vaguely recall your departing and returning one evening.
Manny: yes, we sure did. It was at Melodyland in Anaheim. We loved it. Maybe about 1966. [Probably 1965.]
(NOTE: I checked, and it seems that the Beach Boys appeared at Melodyland exactly three times: (i) on Monday, April 5, 1965 (w/the Munsters Singing Group, Pat & Lolly, and the Vegas Trio), (ii) and twice in 1968: Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28—w/ Grassroots and Sweetwater. After inquiring further I have come to the conclusion that Manny and Edith likely saw the earlier concert. They received the tickets as a gift from Manny’s employer, but it appears that Manny did not work for that employer in 1968. He likely did in 1965.)
Edith: not sure about the year. When Melodyland was still in operation, that's when we saw them.
Did you like the concert?
Oh yeah. Loved it. Morey Amsterdam (a vaudevillian known for his role on the "Dick Van Dyke show") did a stand-up. Yeah, he was OK. Sometimes these guys get raunchy, but he wasn’t too bad. A bit scatological. Not very classy.
Did the Beach Boys play their own instruments?
|Melodyland: across from Disneyland, c. 1963|
Edith: They sang all of the songs in their repertoire, I suppose. Yes, the audience seemed to really like it. It was an evening concert.
Did you ever see them again?
(Edith wonders aloud whether they went with another couple. “Who did we go with?” Possibly Marianne and Hermann Eggers).
Why did you see the Beach Boys in particular?
Manny: Well, they were famous, we liked their music, their melodies. [Later, Manny remembered that he received the tickets as a gift from his employer, a contractor. And since they liked the Beach Boys, they decided to go. They sat near Manny’s employer at the concert.]
Wasn’t the audience younger than you?
M: Yes, that’s always the case.
Do you remember anything about the concert?
E: I really enjoyed it. We didn’t get out much, and this was a nice outing. It was a shame when the religious organization took over Melodyland. [That happened in 1969.]
(NOTE: About Melodyland on Harbor across from Disneyland: it was So. Cal’s first “theater-in-the-round.” Had 3,200 seats and a 40-feet circular stage. Opened with “Annie Get Your Gun” on July 2, 1963. It was purchased by the Rev. Ralph Wilkerson in 1969. The building was demolished in 2003.)
R: I was a big fan of the MBs for several years—was nuts about their 1967 album “Days of Future Past”—and I used to play their music a lot at home. And, as I recall, this led to the family going to a MB concert at the Inglewood (LA) Forum, maybe in 1971 or 1972. (It was my practice, as a young man, to attempt to persuade my parents that the music I listened to was good. I attempted to win them over to it.)
Edith: I loved [the concert]. I liked one guy in particular. Don’t remember who it was. (Annie speculates: Justin Hayward, the tall, blond singer? Maybe.)
Edith: We had medium quality seats, on the left.
I (Roy) recall that, while we waited, over the speakers, they played songs from Carol King’s “Tapestry” (1971)—I think it was “It’s too late baby”—and maybe Gilbert O’Sullivan one hit, “Alone again, naturally” (1972). I’m pretty sure that one of their albums had just come out—the one with “The Story in Your Eyes” (Every Good Boy Deserves Favor), 1971).
(Annie speculates that it was later, since she didn’t attend—perhaps she had married and moved north. But her reasoning might not take into account her relationship with Dave Kook in the two years before her marriage.)
Everybody: Edith, Manny, Ron, Ray, Roy. But Annie wasn’t there for some reason.
Manny remembers “Nights in White Satin.” (As it happens, the song was re-released in 1972—it had been released in ’67, but it ran too long for the radio formats of the day—and this may be why Manny remembers it. On the other hand, it was one of Roy’s favorite songs, which he’d often play at home.)
Edith: We never had a babysitter, aside from Annie, Roy. So I don’t think we left Ray and Ronnie at home.
Do you remember kids smoking grass, that sort of thing?
Manny: sure. The lights went out and the whole place lit up.
Roy: I remember the Forum didn’t have a good reputation for acoustics. But it was a big venue. Manny remembers factoids about the owner of the Forum. A Canadian.
He also recalls our driving in and around the Forum. We got pretty nervous there. “So close the windows,” said Manny. It was a black neighborhood. We drove up to a gas station and they had police dogs everywhere!
(NOTE: When was this concert? I’ve done some research. It appears that the MBs appeared only twice at the Forum in ’71 and ’72:
Sept 28, 1971 LA Forum, w Charlie StarrThat I distinctly recall the playing of Carol King’s music (“It’s too late baby”) suggests that it was 1971 (“Tapestry” was released in January of 1971). And the hit MB song that I remember (“The story in your eyes”) was released in 1971, not 1972. On the other hand, that Gilbert O'Sullivan song wasn't released until 1972. I'm not very confident but I do think that we went to the 1971 concert, but it could have been the 1972 concert.)
Nov 1, 1972 LA forum, w Albert Hammond
You [two] saw Elvis, right?
Tell me about the first time.
Manny: It was at the [LA] Forum, both times. Second time, he made fun of the audience, and we didn’t like that. We weren’t going back. This was late in his career, maybe a year before he died (August 1977).
Edith: He seemed to be bothered by something, but he shouldn’t have shown it.
I remember that he’d wipe the sweat off his face and then throw these handkerchiefs into the audience. The girls squealed.
The first time we saw him, the concert was really good. It was a positive experience.
(To help identify the year, I mentioned that Elvis had a comeback, maybe in 1969. There was a TV special in which he went back to his musical roots, played with a spare band in a kind of boxing ring. Does that ring a bell? [Actually, the “comeback” special was aired in December of 1968.] All the big, stupid Vegas stuff came later.)
What was that first concert like?
The seats were not great. But you could see everything, and he was very sweet, nice. He had a big band like always. It was great.
Manny remembers girls throwing their underwear at Elvis. I mention that that seems to be a Tom Jones’ thing. Or his Jones' fans' thing.
Edith: When did he die? When we moved here, you guys (the three boys) went on a trip to visit Annie (who was living in the Bay Area). It was about then, 1977. The concert we went to, the 2nd one, was maybe a year before he died (so maybe 1976).
Manny: he seemed to be drugged; he tried to pull himself together, but not enough. Pretty obnoxious. He showed contempt for the audience. He thought we were stupid and he was an immortal.
Did you go to any other concerts?
Nana Mouskouri just after we moved to Trabuco Canyon. Maybe 1978. Long Beach Auditorium. It was very good. She sang lots of traditional songs.
Edith: We saw Tricia Yearwood at the Las Vegas Hilton. This must’ve been just before she married Garth Brooks. Maybe 2004. We were looking for a concert to go to and hers was all that we could come up with. We’ve seen many singers in Vegas over the years.
Yearwood wasn’t that great. She had backup singers and she challenged one of them—a black guy with whom she had done some recording—to match what she was singing, and he could do that a more. I don’t think she expected him to be so obviously better than her. It didn’t leave a positive impression.
We’ve always wanted to see Willy Nelson [pronounced "Villy," according to longstanding family practice], but something always seemed to get in the way. One time, in Vegas, there was a union strike. It’s always something.
Edith: I recall we once saw a singer who was part of a sister act that played in Nashville at the Grand Ol' Opry. She had been a child prodigy. Anyway, we went to see her and we brought along Manny’s sister Ruth.
We took Ruth [Manny's sister] to Vegas lots of times. Maybe six or seven times. We felt sorry for her. She was alone; she had lost her husband, Fred. She was very nice on these Las Vegas trips. We paid for everything except for her room.
One time we went to the Hilton with Ilse [Edith's sister] and [her husband] Franz. Saw somebody. Don’t remember who.
We attended one concert that featured a wild cowboy band that did a lot of clapping and jumping and hollering, and so did the audience. They stomped their feet, and it seemed like the whole building was gonna come down. We were actually scared.
Edith: I saw Tom Jones once(?). I saw him with Connie [Fesler, an older neighbor]. He is just a blowhard. He thought he was hot stuff. He moved around all the time, dancing and jumping. Don’t know how he does it, a man his age. But he has the most amazing actors and singers around him. They perform with him.
Manny: they’re pretty young.
Blowhard? How so?
He’s so sure of himself. He obviously thinks he’s the best. He made Elvis what he was, that kind of thing. He claimed that Elvis learned his moves from him.
(I suggested) Maybe you’re thinking of Wayne Freakin' Newton?
Wait a minute, it wasn’t Tom Jones that Connie and I saw. It was Wayne Newton! Yes, he’s the one who claimed to teach Elvis his moves. He wasn’t very good, kind of average. But very tall. I remembered him as a little fat-faced kid, a Pillsbury Doughboy. Then out comes this tall guy moving around the stage like some kind of Elvis.
It was Tom Jones, though, who did all the jumping around. Yes, I think I've got that straight.
Manny: the last time we saw Tom Jones, it seemed to us that he was trying to recreate his youth. Edith: I don’t understand his sexy reputation at all. Manny: he's an asshole.
The David Copperfield Affair:
Copperfield sometimes performs in small theaters, does a more intimate show. But he also performs in a big, fancy place dedicated just to him and his show. The little shows are fine, but the big shows are spectacular, awesome, with flames and elephants and a veritable cornucopia of extravagance.
So this was one of the big spectaculars. I remember, we were all dressed up. He was great.
Edith: During the first intermission, it was dark. Suddenly I felt someone touching my shoulder. I turned my head and I saw that it was David Copperfield! He suddenly announced, “This is my mom, everybody!” (He likely does this routine each night.) And so I got up and he walked me around a bit. The whole thing was projected on this huge screen there in the theater. David Copperfield and me! He showed me around as his mom, and I went along with it. He kissed me on the cheek or something, and that was it.
Tina and Berndt were amazed. Dumbstruck even. This was maybe about 1986, after her mother (Ilse) had visited (in about ’84).
Copperfield invited us backstage. So we went. He gave us pictures of himself, etc. We spoke with him. He was friendly, sitting on a stool. Most of the people there were his friends. He signed autographs and gave me one. “That was quite exciting" says Edith.
Manny: at one point, he brought in an elephant up to the stage. There was a bang, and the elephant disappeared before our eyes. And Copperfield and a tiger appeared suddenly across the room. I know it was just an illusion, but it was still amazing.
Edith: We went to see Chris Angel once, and Annie was along. He wasn’t bad, but he’s no David Copperfield [plus he's got that lisp].
We've seen lots of lesser known artists. Lots of singers. We saw the Judds one time. Every darned one of them. The daughter who doesn’t sing [actress Ashley]—she sat right in front of us in the audience (immediately before the stage). The Judds were awesome. They were nice. The mother [Naomi] is very attractive. Yes, the daughter, Winona, has the talent, but the mother looked great. Sang great harmony. This was just before they “broke up,” maybe four years ago. [The cycle of breakup and reunion actually started in 1991.]
Ashley, the actress, was in the row in front, and her mom sat at the edge of the stage and spoke with her. She was right there. And gorgeous. (Manny agreed. He noted the excellence of her breasts.)
The Golden Bear:
Manny: We went to see cult hero Leon Redbone at the Golden Bear. He was awesome. He would be so laid-back and sophisticated in his patter; then he’d sing these risqué songs about making love at the beach. He looked old back then; now, he looks exactly the same, no older!
Ron saw him there. We didn’t.
Manny: We took Ronny to Fullerton Community College once to see Andrés Segovia, the Spanish classical guitarist. We drove him there—it was a Saturday afternoon—and then came back later to pick him up.
|Golden Bear, 1984|
“Yes, we saw him.”
Edith: Barbra Mandrell, we saw her too. She spent hours telling us how great she was. She brags about herself. We didn't like that.
We saw Mandrell in Vegas. We didn’t have good seats. I was struggling to see past the big head in front of me. I did that so much that the person behind complained about me! She talked about herself endlessly.
When she was small, she was a magic child. A prodigy with the steel guitar.
We saw Crystal Gayle in Vegas. Her sister is Loretta Lynn, but she has a less well-known sister, and that one performed with her. It was at the Orleans. [Manny interrupts:] “If you want to see beautiful breasts, that’s the place to be.”
Edith: She always sings that one song: “Don’t it make my brown eyes blue.” She can definitely sing that one.
We saw several artists at the Mirage. We saw all the Cirque du Soleil shows. Annie went with us to see one of them: “Zumanity.”
There's a riot goin' on: Annie's concert experiences
I recorded all of this after lunch with Edith, Manny, Annie and me. So I asked Annie about her concert experiences:
Annie: Dave and I went to the Oakland Coliseum once. The experience was so bad that I swore it would be the last large venue I’d ever go to. It was some kind of Leon Russell concert involving other artists.
We were in the audience. Way to my right, some guy got pissed off out of the blue at some guy wearing a Raiders T-shirt. He broke the top of his bottle of whisky and started stabbing the guy in the back with it. Then everybody started to run.
After a bit, that settled down. Then there was some panic out in the field, and they were trampling over each other. This must have been about 1979. I was with David.
We got away from that scene. The artists on the bill attracted a mixed crowd: rednecks, rock and rollers and the middle-of-the-roaders. They didn’t seem to be a good mix somehow.
The cops came in. We were standing on the edge of the balcony—we had awful seats. People were pissed off that we were there. But we couldn’t move. The cops were blocking the exit. There was some mayhem out in the field. We were in the nosebleed section. Couldn’t even see the faces of the band members, we were so far away from them. They were ants.
We saw people freaking out. Some people were panicking because it was too crowded. They crushed toward the front of the stage. The stage broke, and the piano fell through the stage floor. Somebody got hurt.
What was your first concert experience with Dave?
The first concert was in Long Beach, a Leon Russell "revival." It was recorded for an album. 1972 maybe. This was before we were married.
It was awesome. At the Long Beach Convention Center. We were up against the stage. It was so bad. It was hot and there was a threat of being crushed. And so Dave put his arms straight out and held us away from the stage. I did the same, and we were pretty strong. That gave us some space to avoid being crushed. But it didn’t look promising. Dave suddenly said: “at the count of three, jump for this whole under the stage!” So that’s what we did.
There we were, sitting under the stage, away from the crowd. It was horribly humid and hot. Someone then opened a hatch on top of the stage. There was a big fat lady that Russell performed with—I heard that she was married to him once, but I’m not sure. She’d dance with a rolling pin. She opened the hatch and gave us water. “I’m so sorry, this is crazy” she said. Yeah, we took the water. We were horribly hot and sweaty. She said, “If I could pull you up, I would.” But the hole wasn’t big enough. She was very sweet and nice. Sweet Emily—that was her name. She even gave us a cucumber sandwich.
Any other concerts?
We went to a series of concerts up at Saratoga (north of the Bay Area), a blues series. A couple of years. We went to tiny venues to hear pretty obscure people. Blues, bluegrass. Nothing very big.
We saw Muddy Waters. One time, I saw Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. That was at San Jose State University, maybe 1975. It was a concert series by the fountain on campus. I heard about it and decided I had to go. I even cut a class, I think.
So I showed up, but I was nearly the only one there. Nobody else came, except for one or two students.
So it was just a couple of us sitting at the feet of these two old guys. One smelled of smoke, the other smelled of alcohol. They had that ashen, dusty, old black man look. They were dying on the vine, basically.
Anyway, they played their acoustic music. There was no support or amplification. It was pretty bad.
I saw Buckminster Fuller [a 60s idol] at Orange Coast College in 1973. He was pretty addled. He could barely speak. People asked him questions, and he would mumble about the mathematics of geodesic domes. He studied the eye of a fly. He’d examine desiccated plants, study their symmetry. “The framework,” he said, “is reflected in the geodesic dome.” He took his best work from nature, he said.
That’s all I got out of it. Mostly I didn’t know what he was saying.
I mentioned the infamous lecture series put on by Gordon Liddy and his pal Timothy Leary.
Yeah, Dave saw that. He loved that kind of stuff. He was always inspired by it.
Roy: perverse reflections
School Boys in Disgrace” (1975). The band was good, but I began to get a clearer sense of what it meant to be in show business. I fixed on the discrepancy between the audience experience and the artist experience of concerts—how the artist is doing a routine, something done night after night, something that would surely inspire contempt for audiences and hatred for the road. I couldn’t just sit there and know that. It made it hard to care about concerts, at least the big ones.
During graduate school, I went to two or three of the Long Beach Blues festivals. In those days, you could still see John Lee Hooker, BB King, artists of that rank. I’d go with Gary Watson, one of my prof mentors at UCI. (He now teaches at UC Riverside.) Nice guy. He’d bring his great old dog. His name was “Otis” or something similarly fitting.
Somehow, going to these blues concerts with Gary always depressed me.
I recall going through a phase in which I’d see the likes of Laurie Anderson, who is pretty "avant-garde," I suppose. I saw a show of hers at USC, I think. It was the tour supporting the album “Big Science” (1982). I went with a student friend of mine, Mike something. Adelle? I was still at UCI.
It seems like a million years ago. It was.
|The Golden Bear|
Monday, July 25, 2011
[Toward the end of his life] Dave would call me often—at least once a week, sometimes three times.
Two months before he died, he called and he was very quiet, gloomy. He said that he wasn’t happy. He also said that he regretted what he did to me (they had broken up in ’87; Dave’s infidelity was a cause of their breakup). This did not sway my heart. He was trying to say he was sorry. But I was deeply hurt, and I wasn’t gonna be won back.
He said he had a loveless marriage, a marriage of convenience. But he didn’t want to go through a divorce again. He also said he hated to live alone.
He told me that I was the love of his life, and he was very, very sad. “I just want you to know that I love you,” he said. Well OK.
Well, I knew he was flying. He would rent this plane at a local airport. He had always been interested in stunt flying. I remember one time we went to see a show and he actually cried just thinking about how, maybe, he would be able to fly like that some day.
Well, that’s just what happened. Eventually, he hired one of the stunt fliers he admired to train him. By the time he died, he’d go out for practice once a week. He was very good.
One day in June he went out to eat his lunch. He was sort of a tightwad. He always had the same lunch: an avacado and munster cheese sandwich, eight tortilla chips, four Medjool dates, and one apple or banana. That’s all he ate for years.
So he went to eat his lunch and then go flying. He rented the plane as always, and off he went. But he didn’t come back.
Pretty soon, his pals Steve Leach, Gary Schuldheiss, and a couple of others went into the hills of San Jose, driving, hiking, looking for the plane everywhere.
They couldn’t find him. As it turns out, he crashed underneath an oak tree on the side of a hill, and that caused a landslide, and the tree fell on top of the plane wreckage, obscuring it from view. So, for a day, they just couldn’t find the plane.
Well, eventually, they did find it. They examined the site. They found his body, but not his head. For some reason, they needed to find his head.
So the search continued.
Cathy Crosgrove, the secretary for the Bay Area cat fancy society—well, her husband knew Dave and he was devastated to hear about the crash. He joined in the search for the head.
He found it. It was on top of a building. Nobody could figure out how the head got there. The building wasn’t that far from the crash site, but too far to roll over to it. And, besides, it was on top of the building. The only thing anyone could figure was that possibly a series of predators moved the head. Perhaps the last of these was some raptor that brought it to the top of the building. Very strange.
Another peculiarity of the crash was that the crash site itself was within the borders of a sensitive area owned by the feds. It was guarded because secret things went on there. Who knows.
But why did he crash? (I asked).
I had a boyfriend who was a pilot, and he got me the official report. According to that report, the crash was caused by “pilot error.”
Naturally, in doing stunt flying, a pilot experiences high g-forces, and they can cause blackouts. It’s well understood by such pilots that you can’t take certain drugs while doing this kind of flying. But, as it turns out, the day before his flight, Dave took some antihistamine that was known to make a person more susceptible to blackouts.
It appears that Dave was doing a complicated maneuver that involves flying straight up, stalling, falling straight down backwards, correcting, then zooming toward the earth and then pulling the plane upward. It was a kind of “J” maneuver. So, as the plane approaches the ground, the pilot is supposed to level out, and then he's supposed to climb straight upward, completing the “J.”
According to the report, all was well until he got to the bottom of the J where the g-forces were greatest. That’s where he blacked out—probably because of the antihistamine. And so his plane did not climb; it went straight into the hill. If this is correct, he was lucid until the bottom of the J. Then he blacked out; a second or two later, he was dead.
They did find his body, sort of. They found a bloody goo of bones and blood. They found a hand still holding the yoke or control stick. And they found the skin of his chest draped over the steering mechanism. This happened in June of, oh, 2002. (No, it actually occurred two years earlier.)
At the time, he worked for Zircon International. He was a Vice President. Zircon manufactures measuring instruments for construction, including a well-known stud finder.
When he first got that job with Zircon, he was tasked with finding one thing to improve the sales of this stud finder. He was stumped. I suggested to him that the product’s packaging really sucked. I advised him to follow the pattern of Sony products such as their pager (which was about the same size as this stud finder). So he did that, and the change really worked. After that, the company followed the lead of Sony products in packaging.
(I [Roy] recall news of Dave’s death. Annie called me. She was pretty upset. We talked for a while. But she seemed to be OK.
(I always liked Dave. He was smart, interesting, thoughtful. I had no idea of the difficulties and peculiarities in Annie and Dave’s relationship until years after the fact. It’s clear that he was pretty messed up about women. Naturally, I took a very dim view of the things he did to Annie that led to the divorce. But, aside from that, I’d have to say he was a very nice and very interesting guy.)
Fatal Airplane Accident Claims Zircon Senior Vice President Dave Kook
CAMPBELL, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—June 20, 2000
Mr. Kook, an avid pilot with hundreds of hours of flight time, was found Friday morning, June 16, inside the wreckage of a Bellancia [sic] Decathlon that had taken off Thursday from a South San Jose airport. The cause of the accident is still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.
"Everyone in our company is completely shocked and saddened by this tremendous loss," said John Stauss, president of Zircon Corporation. "Dave was an extraordinarily talented engineer and manager, having built Zircon's product development capability up from nothing. His team was responsible for dozens of high-tech products and innovations, many patented, that benefit homeowners and professional tradesmen around the world. He was a true pioneer in the construction technology industry. A consummate leader, Dave's professional legacy is a strong research and development team that will allow Zircon's product development initiatives to carry on."
In a statement to employees, Stauss said, "Dave made enormous contributions to Zircon during more than twelve years with the company. Those contributions pale in comparison to the personal benefits Dave imparted to all who were fortunate to work with him over the years. Truly, we are all better people for having had the privilege of working with Dave Kook, knowing him, or being his friend."
Mr. Kook was 53. He had been at Zircon since 1988, starting as a senior mechanical engineer, advancing to vice president of product development, vice president of engineering and then senior vice president of product development. Zircon, which manufactures electronic hand tools, allowed Mr. Kook to combine his extensive knowledge of engineering with another of his passions, building. He lived in a house in Los Gatos, California, that he built on his own.
Prior to joining Zircon, Mr. Kook spent 15 years at Hewlett Packard as a project designer, the lead mechanical engineer in the logic test section, a project manager and an engineering consultant. Before Hewlett Packard, Mr. Kook worked as a designer and a machinist for RCD Engineering.
Mr. Kook was universally known and appreciated for his sense of humor and unpretentious nature, shunning the trappings of Silicon Valley executives. He drove a 17-year old car, dressed and acted unassuming and worked in a jammed office that wasn't much larger than a closet. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the California Polytechnic University in Pomona, a Master's Degree from Stanford University and studied as a guided missile systems analyst with the United States Air Force.
Mr. Kook is survived by his wife Chris of the Los Gatos home, a son Donovan and a sister Barbara. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Founded in 1975, Silicon Valley-based Zircon uses patented technology to design, develop, manufacture and market one-of-a-kind hand tools that perform critical, everyday jobs, saving users time and money. Among its products is the StudSensor(TM) family, the original and best-selling line of stud and joist finders.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
|See red box|
The following is based on a conversation with Manny (Günther) Bauer, July 21, 2011
I. Manny's grandparents
I told Pa (Manny) that I wanted to focus on his family. We started with his two sets of grandparents:
Let’s start with your mother’s parents, the Bucks: Karl Buck and Sofie Buck (né Rapp).
“Karl Buck’s hobby was the breeding of birds, especially chickens. Evidently, he was successful and respected in this line. His daughter Rosa told me about this. It seems that none of his children (except her) knew about his interest in poultry breeding. Odd.
He was from Schafhausen, which is slightly to the west of Böblingen. We have some odd documents from Shafhausen. We need to study them, figure them out.
Recently, I told you about this odd practice of bumping one’s butt against the wall of a house. This was something people did. Could be malicious because you could get some serious harmonic waves going and cause some real damage. He once did this as a show of affection for his wife-to-be, Sofia.
He was a red-head and he had a bit of a bad temper.
I have no recollection of his having served in the military. People tended to show photographs of that sort of thing. So Karl Bauer, Otto’s father, had those kinds of photos on his walls. But I don’t recall any military or war photos at the Bucks’.
I asked: was he kindly toward you?
“He wasn’t particularly kindly or mean. Concerning the military: he did have a son, Karl, who died in France. A very handsome fellow. We have pictures of him.
Werner was the other son. He survived. He was only two years older than me. We were pretty close, but he got too wild even for me. We went in different directions.
Karl Buck (senior) was a member of the Nazi Party, but he never participated in it. He was a Mittleufer (?): “going along with.” Karl didn’t get involved with the Nazis. In fact, he would sometimes sing, changing lyrics to call Nazis “asses” (Arsch). People would sing at occasions, such as an important person’s birthday, a military victory, etc. Lots of singing.
Edith breaks in: “whenever there were special events in my town (Bärwalde), there’d be singing with military bands in the park. This would go on all the time. Hitler’s birthday was always celebrated. All sorts of things.
Back in Böblingen [says Manny], there was no enthusiasm at all for Nazism. Karl Bauer would always ridicule the Nazis.
His wife was Sofie Rapp. She was overweight, lazy, selfish. Werner and Ruth—when they came around, she’d splurge and give them the finest cold cuts (Aufschnitt). Everyone else just got the usual stuff. Werner would slip the good stuff to me.
That’s just the way she was.
Did people understand this about her? “Yes.”
Did these two have a rocky marriage? “No. They each did their own thing. His thing was the birds. Hers was being the matriarch, giving orders. She was very much like my mother (Luise) in a lot of ways. Bossy, overbearing.
Did Sofie treat you well? “Well, she treated me just like she treated everyone else.
They had seven children: Luise, Frieda, Rosa, Hermina, Anna, and two boys.
Werner is still alive. He is a true red-head, with freckles.
Karl, the other son, served in the “gray SS.” If you were physically able, you could end up in the gray Waffen (fighting) SS. It was considered an honor to join; something like our special forces here in the U.S.
They had a practice called “hardening.” When the enemy were dropping bombs and attacking, these guys would stand together at attention, motionless. Naturally, some of them would be killed, and that’s what happened to Karl. He died in France, likely in late 1944. The practice seems crazy, but the guys who survived tended to think they were invincible, untouchable. That has advantages, I suppose.
I asked: weren’t the SS affiliated with the Nazis? A: “No, just the army.” [All texts I can find tell us that the SS were essentially connected to the Nazi party, though perhaps the “gray” Waffen SS were some sort of exception. I have found no reference to a group of “gray” SS. I’ll keep looking.]
Karl (Jr.), the soldier, was nice. He was likely drafted early on. I was very young when the war started, and so I don’t know what happened early on.
Karl Buck was always complimented what beautiful daughters he had. Luise was the oldest. Luise, Frieda, Anna. Then the others.
The sisters got along pretty well, but they called Frieda “Schäfchen”—little sheep—because she’d always follow. Also, when she married, she and her husband (Herr Ritter) didn’t want children, which was considered outrageous at the time.
Was this husband the guy who died in Russia? Yes. After he died, she married a country policemen. Then a tailor. She was engaged to a guy from Virginia, I think. An American G.I. He left for home; a “dear John” letter awaited him when he got there.
Rosa was a very kind lady. She didn’t make any trouble, but she could be tough. When Frieda was attempting to have Werner “disinherited” (who had died?), Rosa stepped in and made sure everyone got an equal share of the inheritance.
Hermina was the goat: stubborn, ornery.
They all stayed in the area of Böblingen/Sindelfingen. Anna lived just outside of Stuttgart.
Werner also worked for Daimler. It was nepotism, of course. I could have worked there, too.
Do you recall anything about Karl Buck’s parents? “Once, I worked there [Scharfhausen?] for a few days, plowing a field. They needed someone, and they sent me. I operated a plow. Had an old ox who was pretty tired. You had to goose him a little to get him to move.
(GREAT GRANDFATHER) KARL RAPP:
|Luise Rapp (Gmähle)|
Karl, I have a picture of him on his deathbed; and another where he is wearing a sweater and smoking a pipe. Karl Rapp. He died maybe 1936 or 1937. His wife’s name was possibly Catherine, but I’m really not sure. (Sophie Luise?)
She was born just a little north of Calw (a town just to the west of Böblingen). Babette was born just south of Calw.
Now Manny’s father’s parents: the Bauers, Karl and Babette Bauer (né Schwenker).
“Karl Bauer: he worked as a winemaker and a cooper (maker of barrels). That’s all that he did. He was about my height.”
(We've discussed Karl previously. He served in W I. See Karl Bauer's military career: documents.)
How did he treat you? “He was pretty gruff. Once, I was helping him seeding in his garden. I lost my balance and briefly stepped onto the bed of seedlings. He threw dirt clods at me. Pretty pissed off. I remember that he had an old barrel, half chicken shit, half water. Great fertilizer, but very stinky. Very stinky.
Their marriage was similar to the Bucks’.
This was before the Karl Bauer marriage. When Otto visited Germany in the early seventies (right after Luise’s death), he was with his sister Maria and, one day, she told him, “OK, Otto, let’s go see your brother.”
“I already saw him yesterday!”
“Not that brother. The other brother!”
Opa told me about it later.
As a young woman, Babette was a domestic with a Jewish family. All the girls did this kind of work to prepare them for running a home. So, somehow, her employer impregnated her, and she had the baby. The whole business was kept secret. Opa didn’t know about it until the seventies. I asked Willy, Otto’s [nephew?], about it. He had never heard about it.
For a while, I worked at a lung sanitarium, and so I was really exposed to TB. (That’s why I still test positive for it.) The place was built around 1900. There was a lunchroom down in the half-basement. I found Babette and Karl’s pictures there; they had been involved in the construction of the place. And this means that they were together by about 1900 and so this secret child was produced earlier.
I asked: So what happened when Otto met his mystery brother? “Don’t know.” I asked: did this man run into trouble being half-Jewish during the Nazi era? “No. He was just a German. I guess they kept his origins very well hidden. It worked.”
Did Babette keep in contact with this son? “I just don’t know. But he was still alive in the early seventies. She lost twins in 1902. She likely had just gotten married then. So I figure that the first son (half brother) was born in about 1898. Karl was born in 1905. Otto in 1907.”
Do you suppose Karl Bauer, Sr. knew about this earlier episode? “Seems likely.”
“Babette favored me over all the others. We had a special connection: I liked her and she liked me.
Karl, Otto’s brother, had no kids. Frieda had three. Maria had two. Otto, of course, had two: Günther (Manny) and Ruth.
Did Babette also favor Ruth? “No.”
|Günther (Manny), c. 1943|
Did she offer opinions about your mother? “No. No doubt there were words spoken, but I have no knowledge of it. She was very opinionated.”
Because Karl was a vintner, their place was virtually a speakeasy. People would come by and get a glass. Mostly, people drank beer in the day, wine at night. But some people came by to drink wine even in the day.
I recall, once, there was some heated discussion among the “customers.” Someone said, “shut up old woman, we don’t need your opinion.” Her oldness was stressed. Next thing, she came back with a rope. “You have a choice,” she said. “You can hang yourself now, so you won’t have to worry about getting old. Or you can just shut up.” She handed him the rope.
One time, she had made pancakes for lunch. She always wore this thing on the front. It was open in the back. She spilled some pancake batter on this apron thing and my grandfather, in his usual gruff manner, complained about it. She picked up a heavy ladle and then said, “One more peep out of you and you’ll get it.” She meant it. He shut up.
She was an extremely short woman. Very small.
She didn’t particularly have a reputation as a fiery person. I don’t really know. They lived in the old part of town—just inside the walls of the old fortress.
She was still alive when I left.
Otto’s siblings were Karl (the Communist), Maria, and Frieda. That’s all. And the half-brother.
Moving on to other family members:
Otto (Manny’s father): Was Otto, your father, already into dogs before the war? “He was pretty busy prior to the war. He was building a house on the side. After the war, he did more with dogs. Either he had the time or he took it.”
YOUNG MANNY AND HIS GRANDPA KARL BAUER:
For how long did you do that with your grandpa Bauer? “I was shuffled around a lot, so it’s hard to say. I would be with him off and on from age 2 on. I remember he had sweaty feet. I’d be on the floor and couldn’t walk yet. He’d say, ‘go and smell my feet!’ I’d say ‘no!’
Maria was very kind to me. She’d take me to see movies, “Dick und Doof” (Fat and Stupid = Laurel and Hardy). There were movies too about race car drivers, racing. Mercedes Benz was very successful in racing—and lots of people worked for them in our town. They finally stopped in about 1955, after that terrible crash.
BUSY WITH OTHER THINGS:
What was Opa (Otto) like when you were little? “Mixed. He was changed in some ways, not in other ways, by the war. Originally, he was a wild one like Raymond. He’d do stupid things and then realize half way through that it wouldn’t work. Still, I thought he was pretty sharp. After the war, his mind seemed to be out of sinc.”
An example? “The way he perceived women. He had a pretty negative view of them. My mother and sister were somewhat promiscuous. Maybe that was a reason.
MANNY AND RUTH:
I got handed around a lot when I was young, but I also took care of my sister. The person who took care of her, day to day—that was me. People would say, if you see Ruth, you’ll see Günther.
Ruth was about 15 when you left Germany (in 1951). Was she already kind of wild? “Yes, I think so. Fritz [her second husband] was one of her boyfriends. And there was this guy who drove a hearse (a Kutsche). His name was Meyer, so we called him “Kutsche Meyer.” He wanted her to come back to Germany. But she got involved with Fred, got pregnant. She was pretty wild.
“She was kind of a lost soul, but she kind of created the situation that she was lost. I felt sorry for her. I remember just before Fred died [in the seventies], we’d go to Sunday dinner with them just so we could get Fred and Ruth closer together. We gladly did it. We thought it would help.”
So what was she like as young girl? Was there tension between Ruth and your mother? “My mother had tensions with everyone. She’d create it if it didn’t exist.”
Did people attribute this trait of hers to her family? “Well, Anna was very bossy. Frieda was kind of….” [We are interrupted.]
“When Ruth was little, she was not especially talkative. We got along fine. We had no difficulty together whatever. In some ways she was the opposite of Otto.”
II. Life among bombs and bullets
There’d be bombing and even fighters coming down to shoot at us. The first bombing was in the nighttime, the British. Later, the Americans bombed in daylight. At night, the “black angel” would come. Parachutes with burning magnesium or something. Those things would allow the bombers to see their targets.
The fighters would accompany the bombers? “Yes. They’d sometimes come in and strafe people.
The French ‘redtails’—American fighter planes painted red in back, flown by the French—they came separately just to strafe and bomb civilians. One time, a bomb went off. I could see the plane as a profile from the front. The wing was just a line.
What kind of plane? “A single-engine fighter. Don’t know what kind. There was this attack, and I managed not to get hurt, but there was someone on a bike just four feet from me. He was just pulp smashed against a wall. The bomb must have gone off just above ground, hitting a steel pole. This guy on the bike must have been on emergency leave. He was just about to get off the bike. Then he was just mush. The two ladies from the store came out with newspapers and covered him.”
Do you remember what kinds of bombers bombed your area? [Manny describes what must have been B-24s, with their relatively boxy and inelegant look.] “The difference between German and English bombers, on the one hand, and the American bombers—the Americans built fortresses, but the Germans and British just flew these tin cans with engines and bombs. There wasn’t much protection. Except for the fighters.
“This stuff—the bombing and strafing—was nearly daily near the end. You could hear the hum before they arrived.
So, often, there was no school.
So what was the invasion like? “Moroccans and Algerians came in, with French officers commanding them. There was a certain amount of rape, but nothing like the Soviets. I always thought it was pretty bad, but then I heard about what the Soviets did.”
Exactly what happened when the soldiers arrived? “There was still some fighting at the end. There were some German soldiers on a knoll and they dug themselves in. They held off the French for a couple of days. But then they had to pull back. The allied soldiers came in. So we were under French rule for about a month. Then came the Americans.”
Was there any shooting when the French troops came in? “There was very little fighting when they came in. But I would harass them. I’d take 22 shells and shoot them into the air with a sling shot. Sometimes, they’d land among the allied soldiers and sometimes they’d even go off. Boy would those guys scatter.”
Did you do this sort of thing with others? Or was this your private war? “No. I did it alone.”
Did they ever catch you? “No way. I was fast, and I could hide quickly. The soldiers might run into me later, asking me if I saw anything. Nope.”
How professional were these allied soldiers? “The soldiers were professional, more or less. Nothing like the Red Army.”
Did they first go into houses, checking them out? “When they first came, we were in the bunkers in the dark. A Frenchman came over, looked down. Saw all these dirty, unwashed civilians.
They pretty much left us alone. Then the Americans came in. They were the ones who went house to house, looking for something to steal. They loved to take radios or firearms. Anything they could send home. We’d take tubes out of our radios so the Americans wouldn’t steal them.
About rape: the German army didn’t tolerate that sort of thing, but it did happen among these soldiers. Not a lot.
The Americans seemed to be cowboys. Not terribly professional. One guy was black (there were few blacks), and he was very eloquent. He must have been speaking German to us. We listened to him. I remember he took great delight in showing me that the inside of his hand was as white as mine.
I recall visiting Opa (Otto) when he was wounded and sent home to heal up. We went to this hospital in some abbey. There were English officers there too who had been shot down. The only guy guarding them was some old guy with a gun and a really old WWI helmet. He had to go to the bathroom, and so he asked the ‘Tommy’ to take his gun, which he did. The old soldier would take a shit and then come back, get his gun, and continue his job.
The kids would sneak in there to see what Englishmen looked like. These English guys would smile and wink.
Once, we went to visit some relatives: Luise’s godmother. There just happened to be a funeral going on. It was for a British airman who was shot down. He received full honors. Shots in the air, that sort of thing. Lowered the casket. It was all done by the book. In my experience, that’s how the Wehrmacht behaved.
Were people very relieved when the bombing stopped? Or did they just replace that worry with worry about the invasion? “They were glad the bombing stopped. They didn’t dread what came next.
I remember when my grandfather Karl Bauer was talking loosely with his friends. He’d always be saying terrible things about the Nazis, about Hitler. He turned to me and said, “You’d better not repeat any of this, or I’ll be dead and you’ll regret it.”
III. The end of the war
We were happy that the killing was over. But when it comes to the things you need to live, the hardest time came after the war. There was food in 1945. There wasn’t much in 1946. We got some corn, but it was so rotten that we had to use it to make whisky. You couldn’t eat it.
People depended on their gardens. We would dig up scrawny, little potatoes. We were very hungry.
Did people have hatred for the occupying soldiers? “No. They were just soldiers. We had German soldiers, then we had American soldiers. Some were assholes. This one guy shot at me one time with a 45. I ran like hell. He hit a peach on a tree very near my head. I was out of there.
I think it was the 101st airborne who came in. The cavalry. Those were fighting soldiers. Then the Signal Corps arrived. Because they’d never experienced fighting, they were assholes. Soldiers who experienced combat were always better. Not a problem.
You were 13 at the end of the war? “Yes.”
A year later, I was confirmed; then I went into apprenticeship. Things looked up for me when I started that. I was not so easily riled anymore.
I would be moved around a lot when I was younger. Always somebody thought they could kick me around. I’d get into fights. But not so much after apprenticeship.
Did you have a best friend? “Yes, Werner [mentioned above] for a while. But he got too wild.
For a while, he was my best friend. But not by the time I left, though we were still good friends. I guess my best friend was Detlef Griesebach, who was helpful when I went to Canada. We were very close.
Another guy—his last name was Tsier. He wanted us to do everything together, to be inseparable. But I had other ideas. I was leaving for Canada.
I didn’t meet much resistance about leaving. I wanted to go to America, but that was impossible, since I had no sponsor. Next on my list was Canada, then Australia, then Argentina. [Edith breaks in:] “We thought about the music. If there was good music, that’s where we wanted to go.”
Manny: “Most of my friends thought I’d be back soon. But not so. We wanted new horizons.
Edith explains that she even thought about applying to Norway and Sweden. But Manny says: they essentially had the same system as Germany. What’s the point?
“In the old world, everything has a lid on it.”
We change subjects:
“When I reflect back, most of my friends in Canada were Canadians, very decent people, you can’t take that from them. The system, though, was unfriendly to us. We needed to go to the U.S.
Ma mentions a friend in British Columbia, a woman. She was married to a Jewish French-Canadian. “We were such good friends. He was a security guard. But he was nice. Her name was Lydia Erickson.” [Manny:] “She was very close to Edith. Roy would play with their little boy. He [or his son?] joined the Canadian Air Force and Bugle Corps.” [Edith:] “Lydia would say, ‘my husband, he’s different, but he treats me very well.’ She later died of cancer, still young.” [Manny:] “I wired Lydia’s place. To thank me, she gave me a sweater that she knitted. It was way, way too big, so I gave it back to her and asked her to adjust it. She was so pissed, she never gave it back to me.”