...You can't always get what you want..." The Rolling Stones
After two years in the Army – I was sworn in one week after our graduation- I enrolled at U.T., Austin. I graduated with a Plan II (B.A.) degree in 1974 with concentrations in economics and philosophy. I wandered around Europe for a while with a vague plan to study philosophy in France or Germany, but couldn´t get accepted to the universities there. I finally landed in Norway in January of 1975, where some friends I knew from Austin took me in while I learned the language and took my first course in programming, which was open to everybody. I finished a degree in computer sciences at the University of Oslo in 1982. I have resided in Oslo, except for the period from 1990-1997 when I lived with my family in Dallas.
“Former Vice President Richard Nixon says, that unless there is a substantial increase in the present war effort in Viet Nam, the U.S. should look forward toFIVE MORE YEARS OF WAR”... “The seven o´clock News/Silent Night” , Simon and Garfunkel 1966, ...[heard in a bunker, Di An, Viet Nam- early ´69]
When walking through Saigon as a 19 yr old G.I., I threw some chewing gum to some children, and they threw rocks back at me. I kept running into Vietnamese, who did not want us there, and who threw bigger things than stones.
One of my jobs was helping the Army's Graves Registry personnel at Ton Son Nhut A.F.B. unload body bags that were flown back from the division's base camps. Viet Nam fought for its independence from the French, the Japanese, the French again, and finally from us. They have been resisting Chinese domination off and on for a thousand years. There are other ways to look at that war, but for me, the desire for national liberation explains most of the story. Most Vietnamese, including the ones in the South, sided with Ho Chi Minh, and the kids throwing stones. The army itself was a rich experience, throwing me in with black, hispanic and Asian Americans – and one Mayan Indian. A big change from PHS at the time. Viet Nam was hauntingly beautiful, when you got past the mortars and bomb craters. I left with a fondness for street food – skewered chicken, phó and nuoc mam, – and an abiding scepticism towards politicians who continue wars long past when the original goal is forgotten.
“Standing in line with Mr. Jimmy [Love, PHS ´68] ...we decided to have a soda - my favorite color, Jelly Red”
After a miserable summer working for Jones Bros. Dirt and Paving in Odessa – putting hot asphalt down on dusty caliche gravel and dreaming of academia, I had earned enough to buy an old Ford pick-up with a camper shell. I drove to Austin, dessicated and thirsty – for beer, knowledge, and female companionship. The U.T. campus was not only a University of the First Class, but also a circus with the acid-rock scene, and chemicals, natural and synthetic, to delight the senses and expand the consciousness. Luckily, these temptations only delayed my academic career by a couple of semesters.
“I went down to the demonstration, to get my fair share of abuse”
I was active in Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in Austin, harrassed by Nixon's FBI, and saw my buddies' lives ruined by arrests and bogus charges in connection with demonstrations against the war. We learned later that this was part of the Huston Plan:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huston_Plan. I decided to leave for Europe to breathe the air of Freedom.
If you try sometime, you might find. you can get what you need.
What I have enjoyed most in my career in IT, is the variety of industries in which I have been privileged to work. After nearly 40 years, the list is long: ship building, hydroelectric power generation, local government, the national reserve bank, telephony (remember that?), retail, wholesaleand many more.
While living in Dallas, I was hired out to Wal-mart in Bentonville, and Northern Telecom in Mississauga, Ont. I found out I could safely smuggle Cuban cigars if I left Toronto after 6:00 p.m. on Friday. This made me popular with the other fathers in the PTA in Dallas. The doctor told me that it wasn't good for my lungs. Turned out he was a cigar smoker, too, and wanted my Habañeros.
I continue to work 2 days a week. I still enjoy coding, and working with young people in my field.
Picture of my sons birth
I had a good marriage, and I strive to be friends with my ex. We have two children. Ingrid lives in Berlin. Without any prompting from her father, she studied philosophy in France, and now is finishing what must be her third M.A. in Classical Arabic at Berlin's Freie Universität, where she earns her living by translating from Turkish, German, and French. Magnus lives with his Bosnian-Czech wife, Vesna, and my granddaughter in Stavanger. Note the name: Ella Evans is 3 years old, and entertains me with “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” in 3 languages. Magnus is an emergency room physician.
“I met her at the Reception, A glass of wine in her hand...”
Marija is a librarian from Kaunas, Lithuania. Many of you met her at our 40th reunion. We met working on an EU project for Nordic-Baltic libraries. She grew up in the U.S.S.R., dreaming of, but hardly daring to hope for, a free Lithuania. Needless to say, she is an ardent proponent of NATO and the E.U. She has a grandson, Ugnius (Indo-European for 'fire'), who has just moved with his parents to Norway and started school in August. Although she loves her native land, with its archaic language and tortured history, Marija is relieved to have her children in Norway, and far from the Russian border. Marija had always dreamed of visiting the U.S., and we have had memorable vacations in New York and New England, Florida, California, the Northern Rockies and the Great Lakes.
I am still amazed and grateful that Norway granted me work and residence permitsin 1975, and again when I moved back in 1997. I am a member of the Human-Ethics Society of Norway (http://human-etisk-samfunn.no) , the Norwegian Workers Party (https://www.arbeiderpartiet.no) , and the IT employees' Union.
We visitedold friends from the class of '67, David Gilles and wife, Yai in Bangkok, and Roy Baskin, and Roy's two charming daughters in Hoa Hin, Thailand, in 2014. Roy passed away a year afterwards. Last year, when I came to Odessa for J.R. McEntyre's 90th , I got to visit Walter Reneau and Cindy in Snyder, and Kenny Burnett and Georgianna on Lake L.B.J. Georgianna shared some recipes that even I can do.
I used the retirement gift certificate I got from the company to buy wax-free cross-country skis, and a rocking chair, where I can read in front of the fire, sometimes without falling asleep. It's a good thing Billy asked us what we had read. Otherwise, I might not have finished any books this year. I have read Phillip Roth's “The Plot Against America”, Bernie Sanders' “Our Revolution, Change we can Believe in”, and Charles Darwin's autobiography. Svetlana Alexievich, “Second Hand Time: the last of the Soviets” is on the night-stand. So far, the skis have mostly oxidized in the basement.
... with thanks to Richards & Jagger – still going strong, and blasting away for the Boomer Brigade. Blame it on the Stones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjRT-J8dPSA