Memories

I spent about 15 years traveling throughout the world for the US Government, starting with the nastiest of locations, Kandahar Afghanistan, located just behind the testicles of the World. Then followed by two other sites in Afghanistan, then Moscow, Russia and then many points beyond.

In 2007, I remember leaving out of Texas with all possessions stored away, wondering what it will be like when I do return to the States to start anew. As would expected, most of what I had was pretty much worthless.

When I hit the ripe old age of 65, the Government booted me out, but I collected the best part of Brazil to take with me, a young spirited woman.

We are now in Texas (tGCoE), and have begun to unpack memories of the past 15 years that were scattered at four locations on the earth. This includes at least 150 boxes of all sorts of items. I forgot how many coffee cups I had which always caused a time consuming choice. “which cup should I use … ?”

The list is exhaustive and includes many works of art from Afghanistan to Brazil. Several antiques are in this collection which now includes Pop’s grandfather clock. Research shows that it was built by a technician named A.Haberer for the German company Matthias Bäuerle in the late 1920s. The clock actually shows it to be from the company EmBee, but research shows it is just an abbreviation for MB. (Matthias Bäuerle)

Additionally, there is a P.116 stamped on the back to show the pendulum is 116cms in length. With the Internet, it is now possible to research from the comfort of my office.

I have also uncovered from the Texas dust several antique radios. One particular radio was given to me by my Aunt Iny, and I listened to it many hours in my youth. I created a post back in December 2013, titled The Quiet Hum in the Darkness.

I actually found the same radio listed on eBay. I have three other radios and I am planning to get two of them operational. There is one that is an old Philco model from 1929 that originally sold for $129.50. I copied an image off https://philcoradio.comI was able to locate a missing vacuum tube on the Internet and I will have to replace the volume control, which is coming also. In looking at the schematics for this thing, I find the volume control is part of the antenna instead of the audio circuit! Yeah, I know…. TMI.

Trains. Remember all the trains we had while growing up? I have a trunk of them that I have yet to dig out, but I do remember one of them was one of the Macy’s Special trains. It had an old wood burning engine with passenger cars and a mail car.

Many years ago, I received a cool trainset for Christmas that had two “figure 8” tracks imbedded together, and two small cars with propellers in the back for propulsion. The track had four intersections which caused the two units to collide at times. I still have those two units sitting on my desk as I type. One of the problems with that set, was I didn’t get to play with it until days later when my older brothers went to play with something else. When I think of times like that, I can sometimes hear the violins of compassion for me and the tears from others splashing on the floor.

But all these things are just a part of it all. I have hundreds of books, several from our ancestors in Germany that some aunt sent to me. I have about a dozen rugs that are antiques, mostly from Iran, back before the Shah left. About 3 or 4 came from Turkey. One from Uzbekistan. I have a typewriter no one else wanted that according to MotherDear was either from my grandfather or his father. One of them was a writer of letters.

I came across a heavy dark blue coat that my father gave me. He told me it was the first thing he ever bought himself with his own money. He was 19.

I found this picture of him wearing it on Micah’s Flickr site with many other old photographs. I suggest you go and look them over.

It is very warm and made of wool. Unfortunately, (or fortunately), I will not be wearing it, because in a few years I hope to never live in a cold climate again. I did enough of that in my years. I don’t know what I will do with the heavy coat, perhaps give it to a son or grandson. But compare his purchase by what we have today. I buy things on a whim, thus all the collectables and artwork from the world. This money had greater value to him than mine does today. That is the reason he had jars of copper pieces of electrical junk in his shop when he passed away. Those pieces had value to him.

I find it fascinating what all there is in the world. It seems the more you see, the more you find. One of these days, Dani and I will have our own large house and I can display the hundreds of small items and artwork that means something to me. Won’t move others, but they will move me with memories of what all there is in the world.

 

 

 

 

The General

When I worked in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I had four local guys working with me. The oldest was Ayten, who had four last names. In Ethiopia, your name comes from your father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc. As many as you want. So, I would be Dwaine Quenton Theodore Charles. I don’t remember who my further paternal ancestors are.

We called Ayten, The General, because he was a high ranking member of the Ethiopian army. I don’t remember what he was, but he was highly regarded. He often told my boss and I, that he was the best ladder carrier we ever had. And he truly was. I loved the little guy and before we left Ethiopia to go to Turkey, he gifted us with a butchered lamb. He presented it to us in a box on a pair of dollies, and the box was still dripping blood. The thanked him profusely and donated it to our local guards.

I don’t remember how many years he worked for the US Government, but after about 20 years, he was granted a SIV (Special Immigrant Visa) from the US, so after he retired he moved to the States and found work.

A few weeks ago, I heard from my boss I had in Ethiopian, that the The General passed away. I don’t know why, but it struck me deeply as I loved this little innocent man with four last names, who was the best ladder carrier we ever had. A number of years ago, I took the picture below. He is sitting with Solomon, and just before I took the picture, Solomon said, “Ayten is my father. Hence the look on the General’s face.”

I hope all is well with his family, because he was loved by many people.

Let’s talk about memories next.

Success!

I know a pretty Brazilian lady who always wanted to get into Jujitsu when she was young, but her mother told her that it was a man’s sport. After an altercation with a brother one day, her mother agreed. So she went to the gym where they practiced but she didn’t have money. So the gym decided they would allow her to clean the gym in exchange for the lessons, and then eventually she became the gym receptionist. That was seven years ago. Now the video below took place on Thursday, Nov. 11th. It may take a few seconds to load.

She graciously interpreted what her master was saying and added it to the video. She is one very happy woman!

Cardboard

When we were posted in Ethiopia, we were fascinated by the small carts pulled around by men and many young boys, who would go through the trash and retrieve things of value.  In the years that followed, we also saw the scene in Turkey and now I see it in Brazil.

Once I arrived in Brazil four years ago, I had unpacked all my shipment and had to flatten and store my boxes into a bathroom until I could figure out how to get rid of them.I contacted the Consulate to change out some furniture and when the delivery guys saw my stack of cardboard, they asked if I wanted them to haul them off. I said “sure”. In a matter of minutes, the cardboard was gone and the guys were all smiling. I realized cardboard collections bring in money.

So, that explains all the guys pulling carts around the city, digging into trash bins to collect anything of value, especially cardboard. I see many of these collectors in the streets near our apartment. Here is a mess of pictures collected of the collectors. Mostly from the balcony. The guy in the back of the truck is flattening the boxes as they drive along. I have watched many of these guys throughout the city and I sometimes find myself a little envious of them. There are some that have their families that walk with them, and sometime I see their children riding in the cart. But to be able to roam where you want and pick up things of value, seems pretty low stress. These guys have command of the streets. When they want to cross over, they just start crossing, sometimes diagonally across an intersection. Cars are forced to stop. When the weather is nice as it is most of the time, it’s mild exercise with somewhat fresh air. When it rains, they stop the cart and sit under it for a spell. No bosses, no HR departments, no taxes to pay, no overhead costs, etc. I told Dani that we may just stay here in Brazil and I will collect cardboard. She just ignores me.

A Harrowing Tale of Halloween

When I was a young innocent boy in the first grade, my family lived in the desert hole of Battle Mountain, Nevada. This was probably ’61 or ’62, when the state was in the rough era of whiskey, women and gold mines, which makes sense in my mind that they should go together.

I strongly remember the Halloween of that year, when three of us went on the “Trick or Treat” campaign. I remember my older sister was there, and either an older brother or a younger sister. I distinctly remembering seeing a house, that although did not have the porch light on (to tell kids we have candy for you), it did have a light in the window with noise from a TV or radio inside. So, common sense would be, there is someone in that house, thus candy.

I remember knocking on the door and standing back to wait. No one answered. Stepped forward again and knocked harder, then stepped back. Still nothing. Tried once more, and the door creaked opened.

We gleefully announced, “trick’er treat!”

Standing before us was the silhouette of a man that filled the doorway, and by the words he spoke, he was not happy.

Here is what he said. Read it the way he spoke. Slowly, one word at a time.

“You woke me up. I ought’a switchboard yo’ ears.”

We really did not know what to say, other than to repeat, “Trick’er treat.”

There was a moment of silence, then the silhouette moved his hand into his pocket, withdrew it, and reached out and dropped a silver dollar in my sister’s hand. The door closed and we turned away. I don’t remember if we continued to add to our collection of candy, or if we made a direct line back home, because we were now filthy rich.

Once home, it seemed there was a delay of several days trying to decide how to divide 1 silver dollar evenly between the three of us. I knew, even at my young age, that each would get 33 cents, but somebody would get one extra. To this day, every Halloween, I wonder what happened to that extra penny. Did it go to my oldest sister? Did my mother keep it as a service fee? My worry is the penny went to one of my older brothers who didn’t deserve it, because none suffered through the harrowing ordeal.

I realize it is one of those things I will find out upon my demise and entrance into Heaven. Whichever of you guys got it, I will find out.

 

The Produce of Brazil

One thing that stands out in any country I have been in, is the differences in food.  Ethiopia seemed to have an affection for jalapeños.  In everything we ate, we had to open it up and remove them.  Turkey loves its yogurts and its breads.  Russia has very flavorful eggs and strong onions with lots of flavor.  And they have wonderful breads and plenty of vodka.  Brazil has so many differences, it is an amazing thing to experience.  Look at this star fruit below.  It has a very subtle sweet taste.

Below is Papaya that is very popular in Brazil.  It is also common in parts of the US, but not where I am from, so I posted it here.  Brazilians call it, mamão papaia

Here is the Brazilian melon called, Melão.  It is the same taste as the Honeydew melon in the US.

This is a Brazilian grapefruit according to Dani.  It is not the same as the melon above.

This is the Brazilian orange.

The fruit below is Chuchu. It is cut up into small pieces, boiled and eaten after it has chilled. It has a light taste and seems would be better if cooked, then salted and eaten while still warm.

This thing is called Inhame, which translates to “yam“. It is a root that is cut up and cooked.

While we are here, I will continue posting any produce from Brazil that I come across. Until then, eat well, which does not include McDonald’s.