Passion and Love For Life

January 27, 2018

There is a passion among  my Family…for

Expressing…Giving …for Living….


My Grandfather on my mother’s side…only had an 8th grade education and was embarrassed to admit it…as when people asked “Paetz where did you go to college…” he would say The University of New York…he was born in Brooklyn…a poor German family that emigrated in the 1800’s…and yet he became Treasurer/Secretary of the Great Northern Railroad under the founder JJ Hill…back when West of Minnesota  was Quite lawless as the men laid rail….(what kills me is that men nor women talked of WHAT really happened…as you were expected just to accept your lot and suffer and laugh through it…I was too young as I sat in his jacuzzi at his apt  in La Jolla..he only would talk of the weather……… but do I have questions NOW…sorry Too Late…)


My father was a product of that age…he was born in 1914…his parents were burnt to death when their chauffeur driven car in Florida (where they wintered) hit a gas truck ahead of them due to a storm that had knocked down the power lines…. and blew up….Father was in his sophmore year at Carleton College at the time…


He went down…saw his father  who was barely alive and was in the hospital…his mother was dead … had been burnt to death….Father…who was a Super Jock entered a Ping Pong tournament down there as his Dad lay dying….and Won…got a Trophy…..


But none of us siblings ever heard him Ever discuss anything about his work…frankly we were not interested as we were having a hard enough time trying to figure  out Who we were……


He was in Army Intelligence during WWII then a Senior Adviser in  the White House under Eisenhower…was in the State Department…was in the CIA….


And Then what made me think of him …I saw the wonderful movie “The Post”….about Kay Graham…(her son Donald was in my class at STA)……(played by Meryl Streep)…which is about the Pentagon Papers….


and Father  was (as one of his books says)…in charge of “State Department, CIA, AID, USIA, Military Advisory in II Corps (in S Vietnam) from Feb 11, 1967 to June 2, 1968”


It was interesting to me as the movie opens Daniel Ellsberg ( a friend of my sisters) is asked to come up on the plane he is on to talk to Secretary of Defense McNamara…who is in First Class with Robert Komer…(Dad’s boss)…who had established in Vietnam….the “Pacification Program”…as the Guardian says :


“To quote the grim jest of the time, Komer set out to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese people, but ended up acting on the premise that if you grabbed their balls, their hearts and minds would follow.”


Dad in his book..talks about how Komer lambasted him for being so pessimistic…Father said Komer was Just TOO optimistic..and did not paint a true picture of the situation at the time…as is portrayed in the movie…and Ellsberg disagrees with him (Komer) and tells McNamara…who goes on to lie to the press as he gets off that plane….


I know Father could not talk about what happened in the CIA…or even before when he was in Intelligence for the Army…but today I wonder WHAT he REally felt as he entered Mauthausen Concentration Camp ..was the first in and saw all of those poor skeletons of people lying on those bunk bed racks…..


I know he disagreed with US policy in Vietnam…..and consequently retired from the US Government after so many years…..


But WHY could he not talk ..about all of this as we went on many a canoe trip in the Arctic North for many a year…and shared the same tent… no one else would travel with him as he was one to do it as Fast as one could …to beat the old voyageurs….


I think of all this as my memory is fading….about 10 years ago…I told my doc I feared I had Alzheimer’s…and he said well have you put your keys in the freezer and found them later..I said NO…he said well you don’t have it….they did an MRI scan of my brain…which they showed me …it was Flaming red in parts….but they said it was sorta normal…but Never explained it


Well just yesterday a pencil I was looking for I found in my tooth paste tray….


My short term memory is gone…my balance is not what it is was…..but I do not Give an F…


Am going to London in the Fall…..hopefully with a dear friend who shares a LOT of my feelings for the Magic of Life….


London IS my favorite city….I feel Soo attached to it…as my parents took me there when young….and Mom in her last years…


later in Life…I went with the dear partner of our antique shop…”Elizabeth’s Staircase” in the posh area of Sunset Plaza of West Hollywood…Elizabeth was a tad older but I loved her to death…and really would have married her..even tho we both knew I was Gay…she was THAT Wonderful.


….she was the Only person who could read my mind and finish my sentence….it was Spooky…she was Clark Gable’s sister in law…he told her he wished he had married her…she had these BIG glacial Blue Eyes that just knocked you off y0ur feet…I mean you were mesmerized….


I called her “Amelia”…after the lost pilot Amelia Earhart …as if Elizabeth said “Oh we go this way”…I learned that no we went exactly the Other way….as happened one day when we had been out early VERY early to shop for “smalls” at the Bermondsey Antique Market  that started at 4 AM…..


We both were laden with bags…and were quite tired…had to change trains….and as we trudged up one set of stairs to a bridge over the tracks where you had to turn right or left…Liz said…oh we go right…which we did…only to get on a train that Took  us exactly back to where we had started…..


Well I can not tell you…..we stumbled off the train with our bags..and were laughing sooo sooo Hilariously that Liz started to wet herself…..


We had such a Wonderful time …many a restaurant had a combo playing in the back at dinner time…we would get up and dance quite wonderfully ….she loved to dance as I do…and this is back in the ballroom dancing days that unfortunately for me are long gone


I will never forget the night we went to the theater….and came out to find out the heavens emptying their buckets….could not get a taxi…so thought what the heck….Liz in her sister Kaye Gables floor length mink (yes Peta did not exist back then)….well we ended up boarding a bus to take us back near our hotel…..


Liz looked like a drowned rat…but boy did we laugh when we got into the Hotel’s bar….


I will continue to dance on through Life….appreciating all of my  Partners…who give so soo touchingly


I was at the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival this past week and was Blown away by Shaka Senghor’s story….he was physically abused by his mother growing up….due to her addiction….and her own upbringing….


he left home at like 14 and entered the drug trade…was shot like 4 times one night…one bullet is still in him…he went on to kill another man accidentally….was sentenced to prison…for 15-40 years…got in trouble in prison and put in to solitary for 4 years…


He wrote the book called “Writing My Wrongs”…..


I went up to have him dedicate his book to a very dear friend of mine….and I cannot tell y0u…


To look into his eyes…is so soo Moving…you feel the pain…the strong protective caring  he has for his son and his fiercely attractive wife (who was there)….


It is a soft wonderful feeling….as you see not only his suffering but his Love and Passion for LIFE

2 Responses to “Passion and Love For Life”

  1. jan said

    your continuing journey and the stories you kindly spin for us delight me. Thank you, Rob!

  2. adelaidedonnelley said

    This is WONDERFUL R – hope they all end up in a book soon. I continue to learn about you – about our whole family! xxd

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