Friday, December 22, 2006

This little remembrance was contributed by Col. D.A. Wininger, USAF, Ret.


There is one story I forgot to ask you about--so I will tell you how I remember it--if it's not true--too bad--I've been telling it now for years.

Remember back in the fall of 1972, we had American History with Ted Russ as our instructor. During the Presidential campaign, we had to take one of the candidates and do a political speech on why they should be elected. You and I were in different classes, but we both ended up having to support George McGovern--We got together sometime during the week before the class to talk about our mutual assignment. I remember you saying something like, "McGovern doesn't have a very good platform, so I recommend we play up this Watergate incident. We should emphasize that the activity was illegal, and that a full disclosure should be made-- then President Nixon should not be re-elected, but should resign instead." I remember thinking, "this is kind of crazy, but what else do we really have?" So I remember arguing that point.

Of course everybody thought we were crazy--but less than two years later--as I was in Basic Cadet Training at the Academy--they brought us into a big auditorium to watch President Nixon's resignation speech. I remember laughing, and they guy next to me asked me what was so funny--I told him, "Almost two years ago, a friend of mine said that Nixon should resign because of Watergate--we used it in campaign speeches--and now it has taken place!" It was one of those 'Nobody will ever believe me moments.' Do you remember that?

Dave Wininger


Here's what I remember about it.
1.) It was my mom's idea. She had an extreme dislike for "Tricky Dicky"
2.) We lost the general election by a landslide.

You and I may have been the only two votes for McGovern in the whole school.

Sam McCormick


So it was your mom's idea. That is so cool! The only other thing I remember about McGovern was that Byron Orton was in college in South Dakota at the time and he was a big McGovern fan--used to talk a little bit about it around the baseball field. But like you said, there were not many of us.

Dave Wininger

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Well, that was fun. We're going to take a break for the Holidays. Next up is Loose Ends the memoirs of K.A. McCormick, 1929-1959.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Antarctic Journal of a Young Man

August 25, 1975: Monday

The World is Flat! I have been up there and have seen it! Spreading out from under the plane (my first, United Flight 799, a 727) like a giant hazy pancake. Fields of brown and gray-green check their way in infinite variety towards the horizons.

It is hard to tell variations in elevation. The ribbons of dark creek valleys and the unevenness of the country roads are interpreted as hills. Our part of Nebraska is flat. A far different picture of the state than we had when we hitchhiked. (“What’s beyond the next hill?” Another hill.)

We fly low from Lincoln to Omaha. I can see Highway 6, and Ashland, and Ceresco, and Ithica, and way off in the foggy blue distance is Wahoo. In fifteen minutes I’m 10 miles closer to Auburn and 50 miles farther from L.A. Oh, well, it’s my first jet flight and it’s over territory I know and understand.

The Lincoln airport is built like one of the cabins at Cedar Creek, a large two-story sort of A-frame. It looks like a pavilion at Six Flags. It only has four gates and no paperback copy of Centennial. I met Mrs. Treves, Mr. and Mrs. Barnes, and Dr. Treves’s two boys. They’re wearing Operation Deep Freeze T-shirts. Cal says I’ll find out where they come from.

We say good-bye. It was terribly unemotional. Cal’s been down before. I made two mistakes in the news story. This is only Dr. Treves’s ninth expedition and we’ll go from New Zealand to McMurdo by plane, not icebreaker. Oh, well. I’ve forgotten three things: a watch, air-mail stamps, and a duffelbag.

Epley is a lot bigger than the Lincoln airport. But Omaha’s a lot bigger than Lincoln. On the way back I can follow the Platte into the Missouri (gee is it muddy) and follow the Missouri as it snakes down the state. It’s hard to visualize that one side is Nebraska and the other Iowa, but that’s easy to do on the ground. I can see Cedar Creek, and Springfield, and Louisville, and Manley. Over in the corner of the world, where the misty blue horizons meet the Pizza that is Nebraska, I think I can see the City. But you can never be sure, they only come out at night, you know.

Nebraska is an east-west, north-south state. The mile roads intersect uniformly in all directions, like a quilt. It’s comforting to know that the land surveys look so nice from the air.

I can follow Highway 6 to Hastings. I look for the College where Deb will be on Wednesday. Then the Platte comes into view and we must pass right over Kearney and I miss my chance to wave at Joy. Shelby was on the wrong side of the plane.

Marilyn was right. You can see the circles of green that center-pivot irrigation makes on the section or quarter section. I get sort of lost after Kearney. I think I see McCook, but it might be Julesburg. Who cares? I think we cross into Colorado when the pattern of sections and country roads becomes only sketchy. The pilot announces our descent into Denver, 75 miles out. We fly much higher than we did to Omaha. Off in the distance I can see the Front Range rising above the purple haze. We get a snack.

Denver is bigger than Omaha, at least it looks bigger. It’s much bigger than Lincoln. Lincoln from way up looks like Waverly from close down. The Capitol is hard to spot because of the shadows. But Memorial Stadium stands right out, an oval of green in gray.

We get off in Denver to wait to reboard the plan. We stand around and watch people in the terminal. There must be some correlation between city size and airport size. I haven’t run across anyone I know yet, which is unusual. But then, I haven’t tried hard.

Back on the plane a young lady sits next to me and talks to the lady on the aisle. Dr. Treves tells the man next to him where we’re going. He takes it calmly.

I think I spot the Great Divide. At least all the valleys on one side go one way and the valleys on the other go a different way. The timber line is very evident. Changes in elevation are much easier to spot. The pilot is friendly and tells us where we are, which helps because I’m not familiar with the area.

I eat lasagna for supper. The girl beside me asks what state we’re over. She’s dressed in green and has eyes and hair like Brenda Holding. She has that “I know I’m pretty” air. Close up she’s full of make-up. She’s reading The Bible and History: Do They Agree? Or something like that. I read parts of it. The arguments are weak and typically half-hearted, religious, “It is because I’ve told you so.” Even though I agree with the book, I don’t respect it.

Clouds have flat bottoms! The little marshmallow ones do, anyway.

Coming into L.A. (from 35,000 feet up), we travel through the clouds. Above the clouds it’s bright, with shadows, and the sky above is a purple-blue-black. I hope it’s really thin air and not tinted windows. Down below the clouds it’s sort of murky. The built up area just goes on and on and on. I’m totally confused about where the individual cities are.

At the airport we met Cal’s cousin, her son, and Cal’s grandmother. We travel by bus to Golden West Airlines to fly to Oxnard. It’s dark, now, and one young marine comes into the building and says, “That was a dramatic entrance, wasn’t it?” He sounds like Tom Triptow, but doesn’t look like him. California people are strange.

Now I know where all the people who aren’t driving around Dallas and Houston are. They’re all at Los Angeles International Airport. Our flight to Oxnard is canceled because of weather. Everyone’s mad because we have to take a bus. Sit in the lobby and right post cards to Joy, Marilyn, and Cathy. The bus driver gets directions from the guy at Golden West. We drive on the Santa Monica Freeway, Interstate 10, and California 1, through Malibu, the cliffs on our right and the Ocean on the left. I can’t see it. Oxnard is 50 miles away, to the north, which is the direction I’m going. I doze as we travel around the cliffs.

We get out at Ventura County Airport. We must have been on Ventura Highway. We get a cab (my first) with a guy going to the “base.” Back to the Oxnard Lodge, which we’ve passed once. Go to the bathroom and go to bed.

Today’s Expenditures:
$0.48 ....Post cards
$0.50....38¢ worth of stamps
$0.15.... Orange pop

Friday, December 15, 2006

August 26, 1975: Tuesday

I’m afraid my idiosyncrasies are more noticeable than Dr. Treves’s or Calvin’s, oh well, my shower (with my bath robe) and all my odd personal things (diary, travelers cheques, hat, jacket).

We eat breakfast at Keely’s, seventy-four cents and a dime tip. Walk down town. They have this neat mall, kind of like Gateway, but on an old street. Oxnard reminds me of Miami, but only more so. We pass a Mexican diner. “We ate there last year, remember?” Dr. Treves says, “Yeah, it was warm.”

We watched a John Wayne-Roy Rogers-Walter Pigeon western. I knew Roy Rogers couldn’t be a bad guy all the way through. It was about Cantrel’s Raiders. The good story line was not enhanced by the corny dialogue. John Wayne, in his J.W. accent, saved the picture when he turned to Walter Pigeon and said, “Sure.”

We ate back at Keely’s about 2:30. This time it was spaghetti (two dollars and five cents). The tip was a dime and the pennies in my pocket. The food was good and portions small. Gee, I sound like Peter Citron. “I’ll give the movie an 84. Who for? Gary Clark, Saturday night, and a bag of Dorittos.”

I mailed the post cards. Should have sent one to Nancy and Ann. Oh, well. We took a cab to Point Mugu Naval Air Station and waited three hours in the air terminal for the jet. Once we took a walk down to the N.E.X. cafeteria. It was closed. I took a picture of the mountains. I think it was illegal.

There was an officer (Navy, wore white duds) with a broken leg. Also some oceanographer from Scripps had come early. He’s a real freak with chin whiskers (scanty) and one earring.

The Navy officer asked me to get him a Coke. The machine wouldn’t work. I got him an ice cream sandwich. He looked like Wes Ebler and was on standby to Hawaii. Another officer and his two oriental-looking sons ran the place, checking in the Naval and NSF personnel that arrived. The plane came in, a Northwest Orient D.C. something or other. The check-in went quickly, but we were first in line.

I meet Emmett, the Holmes and Narver representative. He remembers my name when he introduces his wife, daughter, and her husband. There’s another Holmes and Narver guy who’s going to Winter Over (Dave, or Mike, perhaps). Also meet the NSF bigwig. He’s young with a beard. A cross between Mr. Falter and the Music Teacher. He acts governmental important. I forgot his name.

The plane takes off in the dark and I am completely lost. I think I spot Antares. We must be heading west-southwest. We get a chicken dinner. I doze and have fitful sleeps. It’s cold.

I feel a change in engine noise. We are descending into Honolulu. Gosh is it pretty. Lights all over the place. Beautiful.

We have to get out at Aloha airport. Just like on “5-0.” The plane has to be boarded by a staircase instead of one of them tunnels. It’s beautiful. The climate is delightful, at 11 o’clock, anyway.

I buy Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. Had trouble deciding between it and a Forsythe or Michner book. When I discovered he wrote “Coventry” and Starship Trooper I had to get it.

We watch the crazy brown Flight Board and go back to reboard. They search us for everything. I got caught for a belt buckle.

Today’s Expenditures:
$0.74.... Breakfast

Thursday, December 14, 2006

August 27, 1975: Wednesday

Read awhile, back on the plane. It’s dark and we fly very high, 39,000 feet. Berzel’s read this book. It’s very funny, I think, in our way. Witty, I guess. I sleep and look out the window. I see Orion and Sirius. I judge we cross the equator when Sirius goes out of sight above the window.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

August 28, 1975: Thursday

Somewhere we cross the International Date Line and Wednesday was very short.

I dream a weird one about a lady who thinks we are derived from photons being quanticized across the universe. Life is a particle of light following a titration curve path. Billy Graham speaks against her. This all takes place in central Missouri and I have to take secret pictures of it. The airplane taxis down the highway and crosses a big, steel-girdered bridge to get to a high school, where this all happens.

I awake for breakfast. Then read. Then snooze. Dinner is roast beef. The sun is coming up. We are flying farther southward than I had thought. Sunrise is nice. I think, “Sun arise, come every morning.”

The clouds stretch out below us in all directions. In the distance they look like the hills around Auburn, covered with snow and devoid of trees and buildings. Peaceful, calm, and inviting. We descend into the clouds and they are gray and swirling, but not threatening. I have lost directions.

We come below the clouds. New Zealand looks like a Nebraska flooding spring. It looks gray, through the rain, and homey. I was afraid the plane’s 150 passengers would double Christchurch’s population, but it’s as big as Omaha.

We land. They spray some sort of aerosol that makes us gag. Then we de-plane. I get stuck having my baggage checked. Cal says it was my long hair. But I have an honest face, don’t I? They checked everything, but missed my quartz crystal. The lady had a flat face. She spoke with a Scottish-English accent.

I get 55 N.Z. dollars plus one Florin (20 cents). All for 60 dollars, American.

We got a cab. The driver was a lady, very friendly. She drives on the wrong side of the road, with a car that has its steering wheel on the wrong side. Of course, my directions are 180º off, too.

The Town Hall Motel is somewhere between Quaint and Rustic. Our room has three beds. Across the hall are two. We share a living room, kitchen, and bath. It’s cold. The space heater is spacey and the radio is even wilder. T.V. doesn’t come on until later. It’s only 10:30, after 9 hours and 50 minutes of flying from Hawaii.

We meet our two roommates. One’s a wide open Freak. The other looks like a Frat Rat. We talk. I learn about Antarctica. They’ve been before. The NSF guy’s name is Dave. They don’t respect his dignity.

The Freak had trouble with the inspection, too. They took a dog near him. “Come on, boy! Smell something! It’s got to be there! Sniff, boy! He’s a long-hair! Find something!”

We took off for lunch, walking through the rain and the streets. All the houses have walls around them, secluded, reserved. Dr. Treves says the British think New Zealand’s quaint and the Australians think it’s backwards.

Downtown is rows and rows of shops. Most of them are tiny one-family operations. Lots of produce, meat, bakeries. Almost frontier-like. Fifty-four cents for fish and chips; it was very hot. We huddled outside the door, protected from the cold and trying to stay warm.

The gutters run full of water and it splashes when you walk. Cal, Dr. Treves, the Frat guy, and I go looking in stores. I enjoy rain. Always have. And shopping in the rain. It’s just a pleasant feeling. Ninety cents for post cards. The Frat’s name is Doug. He’s all right.

We walk over to Canteberry Museum. It’s free and not bad. Learn things about Captain Cook and Moas and Maoris. Fifteen cents for tea. I could get to like hot tea. Very British.

We walk back to the motel. We see two Chevys. Cars are real out of sight here. Over $4000 for used cars. We sit around and talk and tell stories. It’s all right. I wish I could remember the stories.

Tim (the Freak) comes back and we’re reminded it’s time to eat. I write nine post cards. I still have to write Andria and Mom.

It’s bitterly cold out. We talk to the manager. She’ll get us an extension cord and another space heater. She introduces us to her husband. She remembers our names.

We walk back downtown, briskly, to keep our circulation going. Tommy is showing at the State Theatre. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. Christchurch is like pictures of London, with the long streets intersecting each other at haphazard angles, shops wedged in the triangles. Things are painted gray with gold lettered signs in the windows. Hardly any neon signs. There are only a few new buildings over three stories tall. It is all so delightfully old-fashioned. We pass a shop with an alarm ringing. There’s not a policeman (constable?) in sight. We walk (shiver) a block farther, past more curious squares (the city is full of Monuments, Statues, Plazas, and pleasant things), shops, and cars, turn left, and there is the Shanghai Café. The interior is the same size, shape, and color as Marie’s Café, but it doesn’t have a counter or calendars on the wall. The man at the table in front of us looks half black, half oriental. Maybe he’s Maori. He enjoys his food noisily and gets the very last drop. He has not a fine set of teeth, but the waitress does not find him offensive. He gives a kid a shilling (10 cents) or a florin (20 cents). I’ve found those out. Everyone (except us) in the place looks so typically English. I mean you couldn’t mistake it. I feel like I’m inside Quadraphenia.

I eat shrimp soy something for $1.90. It’s very, very good. Another first for me, a Chinese meal. Pay when served. No tips. The waitress could be very pretty, if she tried. The girls walking about at night seem nicer, prettier. I wonder if that means anything.

Doug got a huge steak for $2.50.

We walk, I mean hurry, back to the motel. There are some Constables (Bobbies, perhaps?) at the alarm scene. Still don’t see anything inside. It’s 6:30, dark, rainy, cloudy, cold, wet, windy, and thoroughly enjoyable. They tell more tales about what McMurdo is like. They have a diffractometer there. I am very anxious to get to work.

We get back, fool around with wholly inadequate electrical connections, watch a British soap opera, “M*A*S*H,” and part of a “Streets of San Francisco,” the one where the guy’s son is killed by a deaf burglar and he goes after him himself. That’s a confusing sentence, ain’t it. Oh, well.

I read another chapter. I like the way Heinlein’s story line is going. It’s the way I would have done it.

We talk about McMurdo. It has a radio station, FM. Whoever wants to play records and isn’t busy can go ahead and do so. This might be fun. I must not rush things and act awed, respectful, and eager to get my hands on it, but in a polite way. Unfortunately it isn’t KOOL, but there’s four months ahead of me.

Boy, am I an ambitious one tonight.

Hurrah for electric blankets.

What I Spent:
$0.54....Fish and Chips
$0.90....Post cards

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

August 29, 1975: Friday

Got up once to go to the bathroom. I’ll never get used to the toilets here. They’re very deep, with hardly any water. The other part is way up on eye level. The flush thing is a device that looks like a key on an old cash register. It releases an absolute torrent of water.

I get up early, shower, have trouble getting the water hot. The controls need getting used to. Breakfast is corn flakes in a cup, bread with jam, and tea. It’s free.

We blew a fuse and are out of electricity ‘til the electrician gets us more.

We take a taxi out to get our clothes. I buy some shampoo and soap after we get our P.X. passes. Didn’t need it to get the stuff, though. Mailed the nine post cards with nine ten-cent stamps. That’s air mail.

My clothes are all right. They look official, like I know what I’m doing. We dress and take inventory in a cold drafty cement-floored room. It reminds me of football, especially Rock Port, sitting in longjohns, lacing up heavy shoes with tube socks, and funny pants on.

I feel dumb, having to copy everything Dr. Treves does. But it’s the only way to survive. I ask dumb questions. I can’t see the purpose of the actions we have to do, but finally I understand what’s going on.

Lunch is in the Non-Com cafeteria. One dollar twenty for pork chops and stuff. I’m eating more than I ever have in my life down here, without getting full. It’s unusual.

Dr. Dick (PhD, Wisconsin) and his assistant need blood samples to see what kind of germs we’ll infect the Winter Over people with. I gave my share.

We go to the NSF headquarters and meet Mr. Jack Hoffman and Mr. Bob Thompson, important people with the New Zealand Antarctic Program. We talk about the problems at McMurdo, look at a map of the drill sites and make provisional plans and ideas for alternatives.

I’m learning more all the time. There’s a big map (three dimensional) of McMurdo. Cal shows me where everything’s at. I get used to the place, because it looks all right. Sort of what I expected, only more sophisticated.

We go to the airport, catch a bus, and walk back to the motel. I wish I could remember the funny things Dr. Treves says, but they’re just throw away lines, playing on the conversation and being only funny at that specific moment.

McMurdo is on Ross Island with Mount Erebus.

Calvin got bumped by a biologist and has to go down on Wednesday. I wonder if he wonders why I (as having least seniority) wasn’t the one demoted. I feel it an honor to be on the first-day flight.

We ate at the Shanghai Restaurant, again. A dollar ninety-five for sweet and sour pork. We went window shopping. It was almost like Christmas shopping with the cold and the happy feeling. We wanted to see a movie. We looked at The Night Porter and I suggested Tommy. I hope they liked it and don’t blame me if they didn’t. I feel guilty about forcing them to do something they didn’t enjoy.

It was a buck fifty, plus all sorts of commercials and a Newsreel about the Queen Mother, Margaret. I told them that seeing Tommy twice was cheaper than buying the album.

We returned home. Wrote to Kay. Why am I putting off writing to Andria? I want to be in the write mood. I must contemplate tonight, grokking her fullness. I like Stranger in a Strange Land.

Today’s Expenditures:
$1.20....Lunch (pork chop)
$0.75....Soap and shampoo
$0.50....Bus ride home
$1.95....Chinese supper

Monday, December 11, 2006

August 30, 1975: Saturday

Rise and shower. The same breakfast, except the toaster works. Big discussion with Doug about rugby.

After reading awhile Cal and I go to the Botanic Gardens. Gee, the place is nice. Lots of vegetation and people enjoying the warm winter sun. There’s this Paradise duck, which is an unusually friendly, nicely colored thing. This New Zealander gave us a bunch of bull about the bird, about us, and about Antarctica.

We get back to Cathedral Square where Dr. Treves is eating fish and chips. We go get some while he gets some stamps. A dollar two for fish, chips, and scallops. We get something to drink while waiting for the bus to New Brighton.

They guy in the Hot Dog place hassles me about what size Coke. I get a 38 cent one. It’s a 750 ml bottle. Cal gets a small one. I need a cup. Cal ends up with another Coke. And I’m self conscious about my accent. The hopeless feeling gets worse, especially when connected with my fear of not knowing how to get on buses. The driver tells me to get rid of the bottle (one quarter full) and I have trouble communicating what size ticket I need to get to New Brighton, mostly because I don’t know myself.

Feeling down. Brighton’s the place in Quadraphenia. But here the day is bright and the sea roars onto the beach and all is peace and inner thoughts prevail. The Pacific and the land around reminds me of a puzzle. It’s all right.

We look in the New Brighton stores and reboard a bus (40 cents, round trip). The driver makes Cal throw away his ice cream bar. Finished my first roll of film.

We walk back to the motel and I read. I keep liking the book more. The Martian’s notions remind me of the way I feel towards Cathy. I must grok this carefully.

Cal and I go to Wino’s Pizza, while Dr. Treves naps. The pizza is made with Cheddar cheese, and it’s a bit soggy. Two dollars is all right, pricewise. Some old lady gives some bull about a lady she knows who fixes pizza on New Year’s Eve. I tell her we’re going to Antarctica to drill holes in rocks. Cal laughs. You have to say that line with a straight face. I’m feeling more confident, now.

We walk around looking for something sweet. I buy a nickel candy bar for eighteen cents. Dad would be ashamed. We walk home to watch T.V. and read. We get flight schedules. Dr. Treves and I have to be at the airport at 11:15 p.m. tomorrow night. The landlady hassles us about getting out tomorrow by 10:00, but not leaving the place. Dr. Treves tells her we’ll just pay for an extra day.

$1.02....Fish, scallops
$0.18....Candy bar

Sunday, December 10, 2006

August 31, 1975: Sunday

Up early again. Gee I picked up a nasty habit this summer. Shower, shampoo, and breakfast. Read and talk. We argue with Doug and Tim about Politics and Social Liberalism. We win. They’re suitably impressed by our Nebraska values. We eat fish and chips. Eighty-nine cents. Oysters this time. They’re O.K. We decide to go to the soccer match. Meanwhile we take a stroll on the Avon. I know why I enjoy the visit here. It’s late winter, the sun warming the cold ground, the coming of spring. A happiness, one of my favorite times of the year.

We return and I read. The book is bogging down in religious fal-do-ral and the totalness of sex. Which, I’m sure is true, but is none of my business.

The soccer match affirms my belief that the sport is purposeless. It lacks any sort of strategy. But for eighty cents, what can you lose. Besides, it’s fun to watch people. The bus is twenty cents out and back. The stadium is deteriorating plastic.

We eat at Shanghai, again, one dollar and ninety cents. Back home, I think this cold, drafty toilet needs an electric bun warmer. We talk about what we’ll be doing on the ice: collecting things to test their chemistry, dredging for sediments. Dr. Treves mentions that the three of us will probably publish a paper on the shallow water sediments. I wonder if that means me, him, and Cal, or three important people. If it’s us, I’m scared. I’ve had things printed before, but nothing that people have to take seriously.

We wait to go out to the airport.

I listen to, really, K.C. Kassom’s American Top Forty. That’s right. My life is now complete, listening to him no matter where I go in this old world. And on, get this, Radio Avon - 1290. Right on.

After paying our bill we taxi out to the airport and get dressed.

The wool shirt and parka are appreciated.

I have to follow Dr. Treves, again. And again feel like a fool because I don’t quite understand what’s going on. But I learn about what you need for hold and hand held. I decide to leave the bag full of good clothes in security storage at the airport.

Dr. Dick and Dan the lab man need to ask us if we have a cold or a fever. I have some symptoms. Dr. Dick asked Dr. Treves if he was sick.


“That’s too bad.”

We go over to the cafeteria and get breakfast for seventy-five cents. After that we wander over to the barracks lounge. I read The English People up to the Tudor Kings. It’s a brief sketch of English History. Very interesting.

Days Debts:
$0.89....Fish and chips
$0.80....Soccer match
$0.75....At the airport
$20.00....Motel (receipt

Saturday, December 09, 2006

September 1, 1975: Monday

About one o’clock we wander back to get our hand held luggage. We sit around the warehouse manager’s office (nothing like good ol’ Stephenson’s) and listen to the first plane rev up it’s engines. A few minutes later the phone rings.

“Uh huh. I see. O.K. What about accommodations?” Whitney (the manager) informs us the flights have been canceled. Fog and fuel problems. It’s back to the motel at 3:00 a.m.

Say good-night, Calvin.

We wake up at 11:30. Because all our clothes were packed last night, I get to wear my long underwear, jeans, wool shirt, and tight work shoes.

Calvin has gone motoring to the Banks Peninsula. Dr. Treves and I walk down to Fish & Chips and have lunch (54 cents). We sit in the Cathedral Square and listen to some Jesus Freaks preach. The day is warm and lots of people are out shopping. Go to Whitcoumbs and browse. I buy Ivanhoe for 75 cents.

When we get back to the motel, John and Jeff (two oceanographers) invite Doug and Dr. Treves and me to ride down to Lytleton Harbour for some sight seeing.

I grab the camera and we’re off (one dollar for gas). There’s this neat castle-looking tea house. We snoop around. And a hill that gives a commanding view of the city.

The Harbour is in a volcanic setting, absolutely marvelous. We wander around and end up on a farm trail and get some close shots of sheep.

Back home, I finish reading the book. I got a little bored with the proposition of his theological views and will not ask Cathy to read it ‘cause she might take the “growing close” wrong.

Someone, Cal (who’s back), Steve (the guy with the ring in his ear), Dr. Treves, and I eat at the Coffee Pot Café, mutton. Tastes like sweet pork. Two dollars and sixty-six cents, part in American, part in New Zealand. We walk around for awhile and head back.

I take a short nap. Then it’s the same routine as last night, except we get off the ground.

Days Expenditures:
$0.54....Fish and chips
$0.75....At the airport

Friday, December 08, 2006

September 2, 1975: Tuesday

I find it hard to believe, sitting sardined on a C-130 “Hercules” (you know, the wings way above the body and the tail that angles sharply up with an all-glass cockpit, that kind), that I’m off to the Southlands. It gets bad, close, cramped. Fanny fatigue and tiring. In short, an eight hour roaring “Herc” trip. Fitfully sleeping in odd positions is an ordeal.

Finally it’s light out and below us you can see pack ice, cracked and tossing in the sea. My heart races.

The pilot informs us that the airfield is in a whiteout and we have to circle. More agonized waiting. We find out later he was off-course most of the way down. Then without warning we bump, bounce in the air, and bump to a landing. In zero visability, we taxi three miles to the airfield. I think the pilot was lost, but we couldn’t see anything to be sure.

Now, with all my Antarctic gear on, we step forth onto the Ice Shelf. As we step out men wave and direct us to follow the fellow in front of us. The wind is at 30 knots. It’s just like any Nebraska blizzard. Nothing different. We get in a truck and drive up to a shack. It’s crowded with men, smoke, and Playboy centerfolds. I eat two donoughts. They were real donoughts.

Sidebar: I think there’s something wrong with doughnuts.

We get back into the truck and drive to McMurdo. My impression is of eastern Nemaha County in the winter. Snow filled ruts and what look like plowed fields. Traffic in both directions. Telephone poles along the hills and stuck trucks with a junkyard on the outskirts of town. The relief is very steep.

McMurdo looks like a warehouse district in Nebraska City, or Fremont, maybe.

My roommates are Dirk (whom I‘ve only shook hands with), Pete (with two telephone calls to his girlfriend and a pith helmet, reminds me of Humphrey when he talks), and Steve (with the ring).

We get oriented in the officer’s lounge. We’ll only be in the big building (Navy barracks and mess) until the station opens up. Then we’ll move into the USARP Hotel. There’s no use getting settled. I start to beat Pete in a game of darts.

Then we go try to get our luggage. It’s not off the skid yet. So Mike takes us on a tour. We end up in the place that outfits campers. I meet Jim. He reminds me a lot of Dunbar (mannerisms, hair, and speech patterns). He seems to be the only sane Winter Over person. The others would be classified as loony back home.

Dr. Treves wants to check out the Earth Science Lab. We spend some time trying to get it open and then walk back to dinner. We get a maintenance crewman to go unlock it.

The lab is adequate. Lots of thin section equipment. Oh, boy. I get to learn something. All the cabinets are locked. We can’t find the keys. I don’t understand exactly what I’m going to do. Just follow Dr. Treves, I guess.

Doug stops by from the Cosmic Ray Shack. He’s got a twenty-minute-a-day job. The Winter Over physicist is missing things. He wanders around, spacey, and stares at a lot of walls.

We stop by Jim’s again. There’s a party going on. We stop. I meet Bio-Bob, another sane Winter Over.

Dr. Treves talks about what we’re going to do. Next week we’ll go out to check the ice. We’ll be out there a couple of days without coming back. I feel cold already.

Meet a Russian. Dr. Narcissus Something (Nartsiss Barkov). He’s from Leningrad. Pete tells him his life story. His girl works for the FBI.



“Like the KGB.”

He’s a super nice guy. I could have put the bull on that man all day. But Doug and I get very tired. Return home. I square things away, sort of. Shoot some pool ‘til someone comes in. Then go to bed.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

September 3, 1975: Wednesday

I have a hard time keeping track of the days. Time is ephemeral. Only meals count towards time.

All morning we look for keys. We find the ones to the cabinets in the Bio-Lab. Boy is that a nice place. It’s huge, with lots and lots of sophisticated equipment. Cathy and Janet would like it here. We look for a microscope down there. Can’t find it, either.

I like the Earth Science Lab, even though it is way up on the windy ol’ hill. It reminds me of the Newspaper Shop, the way the lights softly hum and there is hardly any noise and the gray metal desks and the cloudy gray skies, and the sort of used-but-needed smell. I like it.

After lunch we get our pick-up truck. A four door Dodge that won’t engage third without sputtering out. The foot-feed sticks and it won’t idle.

Jack, the mechanic for Winter Over is lost (gone, perhaps). He wears a field jacket with a plastic flower in the lapel and a CAT baseball cap, out in the snow. He took Dr. Treves in a ride in the Cushman Trackster. Up and down hills, over dale, and up snowbanks. It was wild.

We went over to look at the diffractometer in storage. We get some water jugs and three sleeping bags for our little trip (traverse, as they call it down here on the ice).

We go back to the lab. I find a star chart. It’s not very good. I try to figure out longitude and latitude, 77º 51’ South is close, but I vary from 166º 35’ East to 166º 45’ East on different charts.

There’s an Auroral Observatory around here somewhere. It’ll have a nice dome.

At supper we hear on the radio, KGRI, Grand Island. That’s strange. I’d found the Armed Forces Radio studio, but it was all locked up. Jim was trying to teach Dr. Barkov about credit cards. Dr. Treves thinks that’s the way communism will fall. Give ‘em BankAmericard.

Dr. Barkov got some magazines on Soviet Life, the Black Sea Area.

“Bikinis, beaches, and good oil!”

“Ah, that’s just propaganda,” from Jack.

“Sure, a little,” from Barkov.

They’re friends.

Pete has a tape player. Tea for the Tillerman, Dark Side of the Moon, and Venus and Mars are All Right Tonight.

All right!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

September 4, 1975: Thursday

In the morning we go up to the lab and wait for Calvin to arrive on the plane. I found a couple of O.K. astronomy books. I take my camera and set it up on a tripod. Some New Zealander comes and talks about our traverse. Cal comes up to the lab. We talk a bit and go eat. Steak. I’ve gained seven pounds.

After lunch we go up to the lab. I write a letter to Kay. Cal writes home, too. We walk down to the Post Office, $2.60 for air mail stamps. We go get Cal’s luggage and go square away his room.

He brought along a tape player for the lab. He’s got Layla and Abraxas and some Simon and Garfunkle and some classical.

We walk up to the lab. Dr. Treves has gone to check into the traverse with Dave and Emmett at the Chalet (NSF HQ).

I go out and take some panoramic pictures of McMurdo, Bowers Piedmont Glacier, the Royal Society Range, and Mount Discovery.

At 2:30 we go down to Jim’s and get the key to the security locker, plus two able bodies, and Dr. Treves. We have to move seven skidoos to get to the door. Inside are six microscopes, a copier machine, a 1500 pound x-ray diffractometer, a roll away accessory attachment, and four boxes of parts. We wiggle (with great effort) the machine onto the back of a lift-truck. (Careful, can’t tip it ‘cause it’s full of oil.)

Driving up the hill is scary and jiggling the machine into the cold room and down the hall is hard work.

We get everything into the proper rooms, check out the microscopes (good ones), and try out the copier. It doesn’t quite work right because the rollers won’t roll the paper on out. After much unscrewing, poking around, and lifting so the funny noise goes away (but comes back when you let go), Dr. Treves pounds on it with two screwdrivers. A metal tap slips into its niche and it works.

We go eat.

After lunch Cal and I go up to the lab. We decide to have our own offices, the two rooms in the back, next to the thin section saws. Mine is on the left. We both get electric typewriters. He gets an electronic pencil sharpener. Tomorrow I’m going to get out another battery clock for mine. One clock is over the door to the hall in the front room. If there was a descent bathroom, I wouldn’t mind living up there. I think I’ll bring up the desk stuff tomorrow. It’ll look official. Took a lot of cleaning to get things in order after the last guy left in a hurry. Hope I didn’t throw anything out that was valuable.

On the way back we stop by the Bio-Lab.

I talked to Bio-Mike. (Bio-Bob’s gone home. He was an O.U. man.) He’ll let me use the darkroom. We have to develop some prints off an ERTS satellite transparency for Ross Island and the Dry Valleys.

All my pictures developed, except for a couple of shots in the middle of the first roll. They’ll print O.K. The transparency was a bit thick. Besides that, it’s a negative print.

I think I spotted the Magellenic Clouds. If I did, they’re huge.

Dirk has some tapes, including Chicago Transit Authority and Son of Schmillson.

Days Expenditures:
$2.60....Stamps, air mail

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

September 5, 1975: Friday

Boy, am I glad I learned how to drive a truck at Stephenson’s this summer, because I sure wouldn’t want to learn here, with all the poles and ditches and snowbanks and cold, cold weather. Especially our pick-up. I killed it four or five times whilst Cal and I were picking up provisions for the lab. Bio-Mike took my jacket, so we had to go down and trade him. It took close to thirty minutes to get up the hill. Dr. Treves told me to take it down to Jack to get it fixed. Backed her out of the drive and couldn’t get it started. Boy, was I unsure of myself ‘cause I thought this whole mess was my fault because I didn’t plug the truck into a block heater.

I told Dr. Treves I couldn’t get it started. He just sent me down to get help. Sam Morgan climbed into an emergency truck and gave me a jump. He and Jack went to work on the carburetor, points, and foot-feed.

In the afternoon, I almost fell asleep listening to Billy Taylor jazz. Fortunately Cal and I had to go find our lab cameras, which we got. The rest of the afternoon we spent giving tours. Met Leon, head of the drillers. Jack and Sam Morgan were suitably impressed by everything, especially thin sections in crossed nicols, and my quartz. I’d brought it up, with the pen holder and letter holder. Makes the office look used. I wish I new what to do in that office. The last two hours we sit around and talked about teaching, geology, and field camp. I listen carefully and feel that I’m not doing too bad. Everyone makes the mistakes I do. I got out Rocks in Thin Sections for a review. I need it.

They’ve got a machine here called a Freshen-up with Seven-up Machine. It dispenses, for twenty cents, either Coke or Miller’s. I read Ivanhoe and drink Miller’s. Then I wandered down and taught Pete, Bio-Mike, Ed (a bioperson, Chicano, I think), and Dan (the health joker) how to play darts the way Clark and I play. Told ‘em it was “collegiant rules.” Then Dan and Ed and I play “Round the World” (one, two, three…). I lose both times.

Days Output:
$0.20....Beer, Miller’s

Monday, December 04, 2006

September 6, 1975: Saturday

It started out like a Saturday. We vacuumed the rug in the lab. I almost fell asleep before lunch. In the afternoon I started a little project with zones on the astronomical chart.

The water truck came late in the day. We got everything all hooked up except that there is a leak in the system. No water ‘til tomorrow.

Gee, am I tired. Went to bed right after supper.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

September 7, 1975: Sunday

I slept 14 hours. Pretty good.

Went up and finished the star chart.

I tried to get a phone patch home but no one was around. I was awful nervous about it. Don’t really know why.

We had a meeting to make plans for our traverse. Us three, Jim, Jack, and Jim Newman (a Kiwi, as they call New Zealanders). We’re taking two trucks and lots of things to keep warm.

There’s a bench, right outside the front door of the mess hall, with some plastic ferns stuck into the ground next to it. A sign reads, “McMurdo City Park, keep off the grass.”

It’s across the street from the Penguin Power & Light Company.

Dr. Dick gave a talk on his work in tracing infections of viruses. He’s a short man, gray hair, thin, growing a beard. He talks like Orson Bean. His talk was like a lecture, writing on a blackboard all the unimportant concepts. I ask some dumb questions, which is a hobby of mine.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

September 8, 1975: Monday

Today we got ready for the traverse. We’re taking a Nodwell and a Scott Base vehicle. I get to ride in the Nodwell.

The Nodwell is a track vehicle with a flat bed in back and a two seat cab, which is wide, wide! It works like a tank. To turn it, you have to brake on one side or the other. No steering wheel, just a lack of motion in the direction you’re not going.

We have to take along barrels of gas. But first we have to rummage around the junk yard for empty barrels. It takes a long time to fill four fifty-five gallon drums of gas. Almost five hundred dollars worth of fuel! Berzel and I would be kept in heaven for a long, long time with that much gas.

Sam Morgan helps us. He talks like Goober Pyle, but he’s shorter. To look at him you’d never think he had a twelve year old son. He’s a nice guy, but he looks like the devil, with a black Van Dyke beard and dark, dark eyes that look out from under his parka hood like he’s looking into your soul.

We load into boxes all kinds of tools, saws, gasoline cans, kerosene, sleeping bags, foam insulators, pouches of food, stoves, tents, and accessories.

We (Cal and me) get to try out the new type coats. Gee are they nice.

I play Pete in chess. No contest. Got to find someone else, or he’ll end up being another Clark.

Friday, December 01, 2006

September 9, 1975: Tuesday

Surprisingly, I’m awake at five a.m. Had a rough night’s sleep, too. Karen Aufenkamp and Greg Berger and their class got caught on the other side of a breaking away glacier. Karen was sweet.

We sit around waiting for the other vehicle to get their last minute details. It’s a snowtrack, a Volkswagen on tracks.

I get to sit in the middle of the Nodwell behind the engine and overlapping the gear shifter. I get to sit on a five-gallon bucket. It takes almost a half hour to figure out a comfortable position to shift in. It takes a good deal of physical dexterity to shift with me in the middle. But Cal’s too big to sit there.

We head out for the tip of the Dirty Ice. I thought it was southwest of McMurdo. It’s northwest. Oh, well, so I’m confused a bit. The Nodwell (R-41 as they say on the radio) is slow, but sure. The sea ice at the Tip is only 2 or 3 inches thick, so we have to go up on top of the Ice Shelf, which takes for ever because it’s rough. On the other side the ice is thick enough and we go chasing penguins, three of them. Emperors. Jack chases one and catches him. I stand out in the middle of them, looking like Harry Nillson amongst the fiddlers, while Cal takes a picture. You know, little Penguins, three feet high, carrying trays full of drinks and calling you “Guv’ner.”

It’s an endless ride towards the Blue Glacier. Another misconception, the Blue Glacier is on the right, not on the left. Distances are deceiving on the map.

I look for a mountain to name. The one hovering over the Blue Glacier is nice. It forms the bowl for the Hobbs Glacier (the one I thought was so pretty, it must be the Blue Glacier). Anyway, I don’t know if it has a name or not, and we don’t have a map.

At the next stop (the snow track gets way out ahead of us and has to wait for us to catch up), I look at the map, point the mountain out to the group, remark that it doesn’t have a name, and proclaim, “Hence forth and forevermore it shall be known as Mount Debrushka.”

I guess I’m just a helpless Romantic.

A sidebar: On the map its 1340 meters tall.

The mountain, twin spired and majestic, looks down upon the weathered Piedmont and the frozen Sound, glaciers on the left (the graceful, curving Hobbs, in delicate light it glows blue with a small silver cloud echoing its beautiful descent) and glaciers on the right (the Blue, in rushing torrents it cascades down to the ice). Between the spires, in shadowed light, a snowfield, gray, nestles its head against the second spire.

Alas this second peak may have a name. The map is ambiguous. The photos shall tell.

As we move on up the coast, the mountain is viewed sideways, instead of head on, the two peaks, side-by-side and slightly rounded. I think something obscenely remindful of Debbie’s figure and how adequate the mountain is. Debbie would blush, but be proud. I won’t mention it to her. She’ll probably see for herself (and bring it to my attention). She has a dirty mind.

I try to think of ways to make it official and get the name on the map. This will take some doing.

We continue our endless journey passed the Stranded Moraines (huge piles of ground up rubble left behind by a retreating glacier) and through New Harbour. I fell into the Ross Sea through a crack in the ice. Got my boot wet.

We stop at an iceberg and get samples for Dr. Nartsiss. I think it’s the strangest scene I’ve ever been in. Standing on a frozen sea, chipping ice from a towering ‘berg, bundled up in fur, wearing white “bunny” boots, and standing next to a snub-nosed tracked vehicle painted like a Coke truck (with out Coke®).

I trade places with Jim, who has frost bite and needs to keep his fingers warm. The snowtrack is bumpy.

We finally get to Marble Point, our destination, 65 miles from McMurdo and an eleven hour drive. Marble Point has a collection of abandoned road equipment and gouges in the rock where roads were trying to be made.

The village itself has a marker for mapping purposes, a hut with a heater, a blown over Wannigan (hut on skis), two Jamesways over the hill, and several dozen barrels of DFA (drilling fluid), which is what the heater runs on. We clean things up (plenty of food in the hut, even a pot with ice in it), pull over the Wannigan, and set up two tents. The hut is six by six with six people in it. The Wannigan is full of snow and old lumber. Jack sleeps in there. I’ll sleep with Jim Newman (the Kiwi).

We eat Long Range Patrol Rations, called lerps. They’re a self-contained meal in a pouch. All you do is pour in hot water. They come with a spoon and a candy bar and either coffee or cocoa. Spaghetti and Beef with Rice are O.K., except they both come with coffee. I look through all sorts of packets, but never get cocoa.

I go to bed.