THIS AMERICAN FLAG

My name is Patrick “Rick” Stanfield.  I live in Seattle, WA.  I’m helping to bring closure for my brother-in-law, Dr. Karl L. Voegtlin, M.D., retired, who has been in possession of this unique American Flag since his father, LCD Walter L. Voegtlin, M.D., died in 1975. 

(Voegtlin is pronounced Votelyn).

PROPOSAL

On behalf of Karl we are requesting the following:

To reactivate Karl’s proposal to the Curator of the Valor of the Pacific Memorial, that the Valor of Pacific honor this flag by accepting it on behalf of an unnamed seaman from the USS Arizona.  And to recognize CDR Walter L. Voegtlin, MD, for caring for this flag at the request of that badly burned and dying young sailor.

This flag needs to return to where it rightfully belongs.  We owe it to the US Navy, the people of Hawaii and to those lost on the Battleship the USS Arizona.

Isn’t it is time we put this American Flag its rightful place of honor and help bring peace to the Voegtlin’s?  They have done the right thing by protecting this US Navy and WWII treasure for over 70 years.  

We ask the Curator to consider our offer by accepting from the Voegtlin family, this flag, in a memorial style display case, with a 6” x 8“, brass plate, engraved with the following:

In Recognition to

CDR Walter Lyle Voegtlin, M.D.

1905-1975

For the Safekeeping of this Flag

For an Unnamed Seaman from the

USS Arizona

PROECT SCOPE

The project is not bound by any timeline, but there is no stopping until this flag is home in Hawaii.  Research is our responsibility.

We are offering what we have regarding this story about a flag, and the man who had been entrusted to protect it.  We will look into Walter Lyle Voegtlin, the husband, father, military officer, medical doctor, inventor, writer and scientist in order to recognize his true character for having protected this flag.

CDR Walter L. Voegtlin, M.D., life accomplishments, achievements and rewards came to him not because of privilege but from just being smart and working hard.  He took his request to save a flag, and while doing so he dedicated himself to and created a process that has helped countless people deal with chronic alcoholism and improve our diets, too.  He was a great man to have protected this treasure, because it was the right thing to do. 

We want to do the right thing and we ask for your approval to return this flag.  The flag is not only a story; it’s an obligation to do the right thing.

RISKS

I asked to get involved and try to help Karl provide evidence this flag is real.  I asked for and accepted the challenge to document that this flag and an additional item (omamori) in the Voegtlin’s possession are authentic. This is where the proof is on us to provide evidence of what had happened at Pearl Harbor, is real, and to disprove that this story maybe more of “folk lore” with many versions of it in circulation.

After speaking with the acting curator, Stan Melman, of the Valor of the Pacific Memorial in October 2018; then hearing from Katie Bojakowski, Ph.D., Chief of Cultural and Natural Resources, via e-mail in late November, we have renewed hopes that we can go through the authentication process to reactivate Karl’s request to display the flag and recognize his dad. 

We are approaching this project with the understanding that the “Navy” or any military branch, regularly receives authentic to dubious offers to donate or sell questionable war relics.  Adding to the complexity: this flags story is over 70 years old and many of the players who knew it for sure are all deceased. 

We know that trying to identify a seaman is not going to be easy.

RESEARCH PROCESS

We have contacted the following organizations for help:

  • Arizona Memorial Museum
  • Naval History and Heritage Command, Underwater Archaeology Branch, Naval History & Heritage Command
  • CINCPACFLT Public Relations
  • National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO., to identify if anyone of the 24 who died between the 7th and 10thof December, 1941, Criteria included:  coming from the USS Arizona, ranks of Quarter Master and Signalman
  • Flag Manufacturers Association of America (FMAA) and Annin Flagmakers asking for their help to see if they could identify brand markings, learn who supplied the flags to the US Navy prior to WWII, or in this case, when the USS Arizona completed its comprehensive modernization in 1929–1931
  • Not the last thing, we will try to locate where the records are kept for the Pearl Harbor Hospital and do some research on who may have been processed through them during and after the attack
  • Searches with reference to flags and the USS Arizona and have found one credible reference:  the flag on display at the Arizona Memorial Museum believed to have been on a motor launch on board the USS Arizona.1
    • 1See appendix for story regarding Arizona Memorial Museum

FLAG DIMENSIONS

Dimensions in Inches

  • Width Overall:                      68.0”
  • Height Overall:                    45.0”
  • White Boarder (one side) 01.50”
  • Blue Box Width                    29.0”
  • Blue Box Height                   23.0”
  • 48 Stars                                  02.0”
  • 13 Stripes (7 Red/6 Blue)    03.5”
  • 7 Stripes Width                    39.0”
  • 6 Stripes Width                    66.0”
  • 2 Brass Grommets               0.75”
  • Triple Stitched Seams

Identifying Characteristics

  • Top right hand corner frayed
  • 9” stain on bottom white stripe front and back
  • 1.25” stain and 2 punctures on second from bottom white stripe on backside
  • On white boarder next to the top grommet what appears to be a manufacturer stamp
Dr. Karl L. Voegtlin, Retired
Brand?

Omamori

  • 3 1/8” x 2 3/8
Taken from dead WWII Japanese Fighter Pilot at Pearl Harbor

FACTS FROM THE STORY OF A SIX YEAR OLD

  • At the time Karl’s father, was LT Walter L. Voegtlin, MD
  • Reassigned from reserve duty to active duty in the US Navy
  • Sent to the Pearl Harbor Hospital, lived in officers’ quarters in Aiea Heights
  • Voegtlin parents and Karl’s little sister, Carol, were home, morning of the attack on Pearl Harbor, 12/7/1941
  • Karl was six years old, on 12/7, he would turn seven, only five weeks later
  • He heard a commotion over the sugarcane field across the street and saw several Japanese planes flying low
  • He said he was so close to the plane that he waved to one of the pilots. That pilot looked and gave him a quick one handed solute before doing a 90 degree turn, diving into his bombing run
  • Karl’s father gathered his family and their neighbors, and secured them safely under a culvert or trestle, before heading to the hospital during the attack. 
  • LT Voegtlin, was one of the first to arrive at the Pearl Harbor Hospital and took charge as he and the few nurses on duty that Sunday morning, began to triage sailors as they streamed into the hospital. 
  • Karl added the hospital was unprepared to handle the incoming wounded.  If anything, what he thought was called a hospital could have been a medical infirmary for Navy personnel and their families
  • His father and the duty nurses identified priority and severity of the wounded seamen, by using a tube of lipstick, they marked foreheads with a letter:  M meant morphine, as an example
  • When he finally returned home, he brought the flag and the story of a young seamen from the Arizona who related he had removed the flag from a storage locker at the start of the attack and subsequently abandoned ship severely burned where he was picked up by a launch and brought to the hospital
  • Karl’s father attended to that unnamed sailor, he couldn’t remember if he had even been triaged
  • From his burns he knew that he was not going to make it through the night
  • He was placed on morphine
  • LT Voegtlin knew that both the sailor and this flag were from the USS Arizona
  • The sailor asked him if he could do something for him.  “Can you take care of this flag?  I’ll come back to get it when I’m better.”
  • Karl’s father knew that

It seems possible, that if the seaman was conscience, once the morphine took its effect, he would have been able to talk.  And, it seems ironic while a Navy doctor, doing his duty, attempted to save an unnamed, badly burned sailor’s life while the sailor was trying to save this American Flag.

EFFORTS TO RETURN THIS FLAG

  • Approximately, in 1960, Dr. Voegtlin failed at giving the flag and the omamori to the Naval History and Heritage Command
  • 1975 when he died, the flag was found, inside his desk at his home
  • 2010, a second attempt by Karl when he met with Mr. Daniel Martinez, Director of the Valor of the Pacific Memorial who was impressed enough with his story that he wanted to see this flag
  • 3/6/2010 they met at the Turtle Bay Resort
    • Martinez videotaped the 50+ minute interview/conversation with Karl
    • Martinez met on a few more occasions with Karl and he introduced Sterling Kale, a 94 year old, retiree, “Navy Pharmacist Mate”, who volunteers at the Memorial
  • Karl left this flag with Martinez, with a proposal asking that:
    • The Valor of the Pacific accept the flag to be displayed at the USS Arizona Memorial, and, to recognize his father CDR Walter L. Voegtlin, MD for caring for the flag.

A couple of months had past when Karl connected by phone to Martinez.  He noted that Martinez’s enthusiasm was gone, and he said that not much had happened with this flag.

  • The Curator didn’t doubt his story, but, they couldn’t prove it, either
  • Karl was given the option
    • this flag could be donated to the Valor of the Pacific Memorial
    • it would not be displayed
    • nor would Karl’s father be recognized
  • Karl rejected the offer and was afraid that he’d never see the flag again
  • Martinez mentioned this flag would probably end up going off in box to be stored somewhere
  • Karl asked for and received a flag back

2See appendix for document on recording session.

3See appendix for second request (a transcribed copy) of Survivor Questionnaire submitted to Scott Pawlowski, Curator, Valor of the Pacific.

RECOGNITION FROM NAVAL STATION EVERETT  

Naval Station Everett, Pearl Harbor Remembrance, 71st Anniversary, 7 December, 2012.  Honored guests include Karl L. Voegtlin, M.D., retired, and survivor and son of survivor, CDR Walter Voegtlin, M.D.  Karl was asked to provide the presentation of the USS Arizona flag.

WALTER LYLE VOEGTLIN, M.D.

The flag is not only a story; it’s an obligation.

Who was Walter Voegtlin?  Why then would he have kept this flag until his death? 

Karl’s dad maintained a strict policy with his children that no one was to touch a couple of items he kept in his desk:  this flag, and an ashtray with an unsmoked cigarette. 

The story behind the cigarette goes back to the deck of the USS Missouri.  LT Voegtlin had been assigned from Pearl Harbor to Asia, operating out of Subic Bay, Philippines. From there he would be dispatched to the hospital ship closest to battle in Okinawa. When the Japanese forces signed surrender terms with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. That ended the formal fighting between American and Japanese forces.  LT Voegtlin was onboard the USS Missouri that day. 

General Douglas McArthur recognized that Voegtlin smoked cigarettes, so he gave him one.  He kept it in an ashtray for years, in his desk drawer. 

In a handwritten note to Karl’s grandson, he told him his great grandfather was one of three people who were there at the start of WWII in Pearl Harbor and again at the end on the USS Missouri when the peace treaty was signed.

It may have been a coincident that the Voegtlin’s were in Hawaii in 1941, but, it was no coincident that LT Voegtlin was invited to be onboard the USS Missouri to witness the signing of the peace treaty with the Japanese.

From W. L. Voegtlin’s Military service record

  • Commissioned as LT in 1936
  • Called to active duty 1941
  • Stationed at Pearl Harbor 1941 – 1943
  • Promoted to LCDR in 1942
  • Station at US Naval Hospital Seattle, 1943 to1944
  • Promoted to CDR in 1944
  • Sea duty 1944 to end of war as Squadron Medical Officer, Transport Squadron 16
  • Participated in Invasion of Okinawa
  • Discharged 1946
  • Pearl Harbor Unit Citation with battle star South Pacific Theater ribbon with battle star Okinawa

Ten years in the US Navy, three promotions and citations for a job well done.  After reviewing Walter’s Navy career, it was just a start of a long and successful career.

  • University of Washington, Director for the Research Foundation for Alcoholism, Medical Associate of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Chief of Staff of the Shadel Sanitarium in West Seattle
  • 34 medical publications that began in 1933 through 1964 on subjects:
    • Gallbladder
    • Pancreas
    • Bowel and
    • Bile
    • Cystic
  • 1940, Dr. Voegtlin published his break through research in the American Journal Medicine and ScienceThe Treatment of Alcoholism by Establishing a Conditioned Reflex
  • 20 Publications on the topic of alcoholism from 1933 to 1943.
    • Newspaper article dated March 3, 1948,
    • Article Begins, U. W. Uses Apparatus the microviscosimeter to Test Alcoholic Content of Blood – it later became known as the  “Breathalyzer”
    • Conducting a study to measure cohesion of the blood to find out if alcoholics suffer from an alcohol allergy
    • Project goal may lead to a serum against chronic alcoholism similar to serums used for hay fever, asthma and other allergies
    • No successful research has been reported on the allergic phases of alcoholism, but a few have attacked the alcohol problem from a physical standpoint:  it usually, is considered a manual or social maladjustment
    • Dr. Voegtlin, a Seattle gastroenterologist, and Dr. Shadel, created a safe way to avert alcoholics from alcohol when they opened Shadel Hospital in West Seattle
    • They believed that there was nothing inherently wrong with alcoholics
    • Rather, alcohol was the problem
    • Their philosophy rejected that there was something wrong with the alcoholic’s mind, and focused on dysfunctions in the body
  • New York Times article dated 10/19/2010 (35years following Voegtlin’s death)  
    • Paleolithic Humans Had Bread Along With Their Meat
    • London (Reuters), Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal – Indicate that Paleolithic Europeans ground down plant roots similar to potatoes to make flour, which was later whisked into dough
    • It was first popularized by the gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin, whose 1975 book (The Stone Age Diet) lauded the benefits of the hunter-gatherer diet
      • Starch grains found on 30,000 year old grinding stones suggest that prehistoric humans may have dined on an early form of flatbread contrary to their popular image as primarily meat eaters. 
      • The findings may also upset fans of the so-called Paleolithic diet, which follows earlier research that assumes early humans ate a meat-centered diet
      • Known as the “cave man diet” the regime frowns on carbohydrate laden foods like bread and cereal, and modern-day adherents eat only lean meat, vegetables and fruit

APPENDIX

1 From USA Today on 11/23/14 – an article regarding “a flag” was published to announce a flag to be displayed:

Beginning of article

Officials said it’s those imperfections — on the other wise perfect flag — that illustrate the item’s significance.

Those stains are oil-fuel spatter from the USS Arizona, which was bombed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii more than seven decades ago.

Museum officials plan to unveil the flag, along with a relic of the Arizona ship, at the Arizona Capitol Museum in Phoenix to a private audience on Dec. 6 and to the public on Dec. 7.

The flag belonged to one of the boats parked on the USS Arizona’s deck on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese air attack destroyed 19 Navy ships, according to published reports.

If people ask why officials would display a blemished flag, Alice Duckworth, Arizona Capitol Museum collections manager, has answers.  “If we clean this flag, we destroy part of its history,” Duckworth said. “We take away its experience.”

“It’s kind of like (how) many people have plastic surgery:  It makes a change. For some people, it makes it better. But for some people, it takes away their life experiences. In the case of this oil, the dirt that it collected, that is not clean up. It is a part of the history.”

It’s a mystery how the flag was salvaged from the USS Arizona, Duckworth said. The flag is not the larger Old Glory attached to the ship, she said.

The flag belonged to one of the boats parked on the USS Arizona’s deck — commanded by either Rear Adm. Isaac Campbell Kidd or Capt. Van Valkenberg, she said.  A yellow letter dated May 30, 1942, showed the flag was transferred to a veterans group in Hawaii.

Joseph W. Dowdy, a tugboat operator, gave the flag to the Department of Hawaii’s American Legion. He wrote a letter: “This flag went down on the battleship USS Arizona on Dec. 7. Some personal friends of mine who were saved after the Dec. 7 raid were on the salvage crew. Through the personal friendship of one of the salvage crew, the flag was presented to me.” A letter verifying an oil-stained American flag that sunk with the ship at Pearl Harbor seven decades ago.  The veterans group in Hawaii turned the flag over to the American Legion in Phoenix in the late1980s.

The Arizona veterans group locked the flag in a vault in its office.

The group later donated the flag to the state because, “We owe it to the people of Arizona to make this available,” Ron Murphy, a state historian for the American Legion in Arizona, told a Sun City newspaper in1990.

The Sun City newspaper showed a textile conservator, who repairs and restores textiles such as historic tapestries, worked on the flag at about this time. The wool flag was dated to 1934, according to the conservator.

The flag was first displayed in the Executive Tower at the state Capitol for four months in the early 1990s, then it moved to the museum, where it stayed until 1995. The museum put it to rest for nearly 18 years, Duckworth said.

Justin Painter, the state museum’s associate who helps with exhibits, saw the flag and inquired about its background last fall. He and another helper heard the story.

“We looked at each other stunned,” Painter said. “This flag was on the USS ship when it sank.”

The Arizona Capitol Museum also has a relic of the USS Arizona with an American flag that belongs to the Salt River-Pima Maricopa Community.  The idea is to return the tribe’s flag and replace it with the USS Arizona flag, Painter said. 

End of article

2The following is the handwritten transcript completed by Karl for the National Park Service Survivor Questionnaire:  Persons Present December 7, 1941, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii.

Actual Location at the Time of Attack:

At home in our house in Aiea Heights

Brief Account of What Happened to You Before, During and After the Attack:

Please refer to an audio-visual interview with Daniel Martinez on 3-6-2010 at the Turtle Bay resort. 

1) The flag:  I saw the flag a week or two after the raid. My father brought it home from the naval hospital and explained it had been given to him by a seamen who said he was on the Arizona at the time of the raid and despite being critically burned brought the flag with him to the hospital where he survived only a short time.  A week or so later my father brought the flag home and told us the account of how he obtained it.  If any hospital records exist, perhaps they could verify that my father attended this seaman at the Naval Hospital and he was stationed on the Arizona.  The flag itself as I remember was essentially in the same condition as it is now.  The flag and some items from a downed Japanese Zero near the hospital were subsequently removed from cockpit and person of the dead pilot in my presence and sent home with our family when we left in January for the States.  I do not know if the flag was ever laundered.

The above might suggest that the flag was removed from a storage locker once the attack started but before the seaman was critically burned since the only flag that was flying was the stern flag on the Arizona and it was later burned because of severe damage to it.

2)  My father:  He was at home when the attack started.  Our house, which I believe was part of a government project, was situated on the crest of a ridge in the Aiea area with a clear view of all of Pearl Harbor.  He and I stood in our yard watching and when it became obvious the attack was underway and the USS Arizona was hit, he directed our family and other residents in the area to take shelter under a railroad trestle which bordered a sugarcane field just to the east of us.  He then drove the short distance to the hospital about 8:15 am.  (Mr. Martinez said he would review old aerial photos of the area to identify the exact location of our house).  My only knowledge that the flag was from theArizona was verbally from my father who was a scrupulously honest person and it seems that the dying seaman had nothing to gain from lying about it.

3)  The Japanese pilot:  The day after the attack an anti-aircraft gun and crew were set up in our back yard. There was also a sentry who patrolled the area which we were told was because some Japanese pilots who had been shot down may have survived and be in the area or hiding in the cane fields near our house.  The gun crew stored food, coffee, etc. in our kitchen and had a password to enter the house when they needed something.  At that time, fearing another air strike, my mother, sister and myself sleep under a large, heavy dining room table, only a few feet from the kitchen and the backdoor which opened into a small, concealed alcove.  We got used to traffic coming thru the kitchen all day and night. About a week or so after the raid in the middle of the night (perhaps midnight to 2am) there was a knock on the door but no password given.  My mother went to the door but didn’t open it when what sounded like a shot ran out. After several seconds the password was given but my mother was told not to open the door.

A few minutes later, the password was again given and she was told she could open the door.  The sentry stood in the alcove and told us he had just shot a Japanese pilot who probably had come out of the cane fields. We never saw the body which had quickly been taken away. 

I’m unaware of any crash site near our home but would not be able to see anything that may have crashed in the can fields.  We were told the pilot had a knife in his hand.

I recently talked to my sister who lives in Boise, ID and although we had not discussed anything about Pearl Harbor for at least 50years, she agreed that the accounts above was exactly what she remembered.  She is also in the process of looking thru some stored items which may be of interest to you.  I’ll let you know if we find anything significant.

Sincerely,

Karl F. Voegtlin, M.D.

3On two occasions, Dr’s. Voegtlin have relinquished this flag to the US Navy or the Valor of the Pacific. Both times the flag was returned.  If there was a letter this first time the flag was returned, it probably was lost.  This is a transcribed copy of a document from Karl to Director Daniel Martinez

Begin Letter

Turtle [RS1] Bay

Daniel Martinez

Whorton

MINOR & JAMES

MEDICAL

Summit Madison Office

Nordstrom Medical Tower

1229 Madison, Suite 1500, Seattle, Washington 98104

Telephone 206-292-6200

FAX 206-292-8029

The following is from a handwritten transcript by Karl Voegtlin

Good afternoon gentleman. I am an almost 78 year old retired physician from this community and have reluctantly been called a Pearl Harbor survivor.  Our home was situated on the crest of a hill over looking all of Pearl Harbor perhaps only a mile or so away, in a place now called Aiea Heights.

My father was a Navy physician who was in the Navy reserve and called to active duty in 1939 and stationed at the hospital in Pearl Harbor.  On the morning of the attack he immediately drove to the hospital thru strafing enemy planes, and spent the next 5 days there tending to a massive number of casualties without adequate medical supplies or staff.

When he finally returned home, he brought the flag and the story of a young seamen from the Arizona who related he had removed the flag from a storage locker at the start of the attack and subsequently abandoned ship severely burned where he was picked up by a launch and brought to the hospital.  My father was the first to see him and he gave the flag to him asking he save it until here covered.  Unfortunately, it was obvious because of his3rd degree burns over 80% of his body he would not survive even under the best of conditions. He was placed on a morphine drip and died comfortably the next day.

For the next 30 years he kept the flag at home as one his prized possessions.  In 1971, because of pangs of consciousness, that he was selflessly keeping what he considered anational treasure to himself, he sent the flag to the Navy Dept.in Wash D.C. for donation.  3 mos. Later he received the flag back with a lengthy letter thanking him for his efforts but claiming that no records were available to document his story so the flag couldn’t be used for display.  The letter went on to say that every individual who was involved in the examination of the flag had no doubt about the veracity of his story and that the flag was onboard theArizona on Dec 7, 41.

Upon his passing in 1975, the flag was given to me.

In 2010 I contacted Mr. Daniel Martinez who is the historian for the Valor in the Pacific Arizona Memorial. He said he was extremely interested in flag and its history and on a family trip to Oahu later that year I meet with him on several occasions including an hour long recorded audio/video session.  He asked that I leave the flag with him to do more research on it.  Several months later I received a letter from the museum curator Scott Pawlowski requesting I sign papers relinquishing my calm (claim) to the flag.  After several calls to his office one of his assistants informed me that my request that the flag be displayed in some meanful (meaningful) way a credit for the donation given to my father could not guaranteed and it was possible the flag be stored forever in a warehouse.  These terms were unacceptable to me and flag as you see it was returned to me.

Top 10 list

 A little “nip” in the air

The concrete reinforced railroad trestle

The return home – bombs in the yard, holes in the roof

The boys and the gun

My father return – dead people &survivors

Troubles in the alcove

The Wharton vs the sub.

End of Letter

4https://www.schickshadel.com/why-it-works/history/ to find the following:

A Philosophy is Born | Addiction is a medical condition not a moral failure.

Schick Shadel Hospital’s founder, Charles A. Shadel, pioneered many of the treatments for alcoholism we use today. He developed the counter conditioning treatment program for substance abuse, and in 1935 he opened up a colonial mansion, with a home like atmosphere for people who were considered society’s alcoholic outcasts.

Mr. Shadel believed that there was nothing inherently wrong with alcoholics. Rather, alcohol was the problem. His philosophy rejected that there was something wrong with the alcoholic’s mind, and focused on dysfunctions in the body. He viewed alcoholism as a drug addiction, and with Dr. Walter Voegtlin, a Seattle gastroenterologist, he created a safe way to avert alcoholics from alcohol.

The work of Shadel Hospital in Seattle continued quietly and effectively until 1964, when then-chairman and CEO of the Schick Safety Razor Company, Patrick J. Frawley Jr., checked into the facility. After just his first day, Frawley said he was freed from the desire to drink, freedom that lasted even months later.

Schick Safety Razor Company formed Schick Laboratories Inc. with Frawley as chairman in 1965, and it purchased the Shadel Hospital, investing $6 million in researching habit formation. The research, under the direction of Schick Shadel Hospital’s Chief of Staff, James W. Smith, M.D., resulted in a program for nicotine addiction. Programs for cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, prescription opioids, and heroin were later developed by the Schick Shadel clinicians.

For more than 80 years Schick Shadel Hospital (SSH) has been committed to providing a supportive and compassionate environment and the highest level of patient care and satisfaction to the diverse population we serve. SSH embraces patients of different race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, and marital status with an effective, unique, and proven medical treatment for people with substance use disorders to help them live a clean and sober life.

-End-

5KARL’S GRADE SCHOOL PROJECT

I want to let Karl’s own words tell his story (unedited) –the same speech that he delivered in an elementary school project while his memory was still fresh. 

There’s also a handwritten note on the top right of the page.  It’s from Karl to his grandson, Lyle, named after his great grandfather.  Lyle had also presented his grandfathers’ story and showed this flag, in a competitive class project.  He scored perfectly in every category.

Beginning of Story

Lyle, I wrote this as a report in grade school just about your age.

G.P.

Pearl Harbor

By Karl Voegtlin

I was 5 or 6 when my dad got out of medical school in 1939. He went into active service in Hawaii and we were stationed at Pearl Harbor, we lived there for about a year. We live in a house that over looked Pearl Harbor, in the sugar canefields.  I didn’t no there were any problems, because I was so young.  My Mother, sister and I got up to go to church, it was a Sunday, Dec. 7,1941. When we all went outside I noticed that there were a lot of airplanes that just seemed to be flying around. The Japanese would use our house as a turn around point to start there runs, some of the pilots turned and waved to me, right before they turned to go down to Pearl Harbor.  At that point we knew something was wrong, so my dad went down to the hospital.  We hid in a concrete tunnel, in the sugar canefields. I was exited, and was running around the fields.

We found bullets in my sisters bed, were she had been only 30 minuets before.  The Japanese planes had dropped bombs in our yard, but they were dead.  My parents were afraid that there would be another attack, so we slept under a barricade of beds and couches that night.

The Japanese pilots were told to go to the sugar cane field if they were shot down.  The sugar cane was 5 feet high, and there was food and water there.  There wasn’t any problem for about a week, until the pilots started to come out of the fields.  One came to our house in early morning.  We heard someone knocking at the door.  We were used to it, because soldieries came alot.  There were any patrols around, and there was an anti plane station located in our backyard with machine guns, to shoot down planes if there was another attack. There was a password that the American soldiers used, so my mother asked.  She didn’t hear a thing, but she thought she must have misheard.  She had her hand on the doorknob when we heard a shot ring out.  When she opened the door there was a dead Japanese pilot on the floor, with a knife in his hand.  He had been shot just in time by an American soldier on patrol.

My dad took me down to the hospital.  There were a lot of planes that looked like they had tried to crash into it.  My dad took sourvenirs from the planes, like the headbands and the prayer books that most of the Japanese pilots cared (carried) with them.  There were still bodies in the planes; no one had gotten around to removing them.

I saw the Arizona get bombed, it just exploded!  My dad was down at the hospital for over 5 days without coming home.  When he did come home he brought with him an American flag that a young soldier had tried tosave from the bridge of the Arizona. He said that he wanted my father to take care of it for him, so he did.  The young boy was so badly burned that he died before nightfall.  My dad took it and saved it; now it’s in a box in the basement.  We didn’t leave for about another 6 weeks.  The only thing that happened on the Warten (the ship we were sailing home on) was the submarines.  The Japanese had all these submarines, and sometimes these subs had problems, two were surfaced and couldn’t move.  The captain would blow his whistle and make an announcement to all abroad “there’s a disabled Japanese sub of the starboard bow” then he would turn the boat and plow right through it.  No one tried to help the sailors.  We saw 2 Japanese submarines throughout our voyage, we smashed both, sending up a cheer in the crowd gathered on deck, and most of us were either family member’s of dead soldiers,or in the Army or Navy like my father. My dad was gone for the remainder of WWII.  His time of service was almost finished before the Pearl Harbor attack, but obviously that changed after America joined the war.  He was a navy doctor on a medical ship and witnessed many famous battles, like Oakanowa, Saloman Islands,and Iwojima.

He (my father) was on the deck of the Missouri when the treaty was signed ending the way. Not many people could say that they were at Pearl Harbor when the war started, and there when it ended.

(Hand written (only3)).

End of Story


Las Vegas Story – and a thank you note . . .

It was late 2007, and I try and stay in touch with a couple my friends that I worked with at Wang during the 80’s while living in Honolulu:  Dan and Milt.   Milt was one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and, we try and connect between Hawaii and Vegas two or three times a year, either playing golf, or gambling.  But, these two guys’ passion was to play craps.  I didn’t know the game. I would embarrass myself by picking up the dice with two hands.  It would get worse from there.  Yet, I wanted to spend more time with them, beyond getting together for dinner.  When they tired of standing at the craps table one would join me at the blackjack table, but the other does not play cards.  The only game we’d play together made us look like three old dogs, sitting side-by-side, playing “Wheel of Fortune.”

I needed the male bonding by joining them in the “game.”  The one game that made me break into a sweat just by passing the utter chaos of the chips flying and the screams of “5 on the World,”  “Buck on C/E,” “Dollar YO!” “Press – Press.”

What’s up with that huge felt template of temptation?  What is this foreign language?  Who’s the man with the crooked stick?  Who’s the fat man hunched over a bank of chips while two others stack bets in an order defying logic that seems as if it would take five years of apprenticeship just to master?

The self imposed pressure was mounting; our next Vegas get-together was scheduled for he third weekend of January, and I needed to get ready.

Jan Hill’s Amazon Gift Certificate to the RESCUE!

I researched books on Amazon, and using my $20 gift certificate I ordered “Beating the Craps out of the Casinos”, by Frank Scoblete.  Not one – but two – one for the office and one for my reading room at home.  I didn’t want to waste a minute of time.  I studied the strategy.  I studied the best way to handle the dice, I studied placing my bets, and I studied the language so I would sound like a veteran.  I went to a local casino to practice what I’d learned and dropped $200 so fast it made my head spin.  Ah, but, for the luck of blackjack I broke even and returned home before sunrise.

And now, the big day:  the plane lands, the rental car is ready, I checked into the hotel, then to the casino.  And there they are, Dan and Milt, throwing those cubes and chanting the language I had read about.  We shake hands like local boys’; I change my crisp $100 bill and start my bets and the male bonding begins.

“What’ you doing there, brah?” asks one, “never seen anyone bet like before,” says the other.  Was I on to something?  They had never seen anyone bet like that before.  I was in crap heaven.

And, over the next two and half days they watched and marveled seeing me neutralize loses and stay even with the house.  But, I wasn’t beating the craps out of the casino, not yet.  Then one of the dealers said – he’s playing the “play craps and drink for free strategy.”

The WHAT!?!  Had I been discovered?  Not the drink for free strategy.  I came to beat the craps out of the casinos’, not drink for free.  I could drink for free at the blackjack table or the slot machines.  Was I being barred from the casino next?

No.  They let me play!  Those people really knew customer service.  They were there to let me test my strategy and risk their stockpile of chips.

These were nice people.

And then . . .
It was after dinner Saturday night – my last night and just a couple of hours after my oldest daughter Sara’s boyfriend called me.  He asked me for my daughters hand in marriage.  I asked him:  “which daughter?”  Once we had that figured that out:  I gave Chris my blessings.  I made his day.  He was nervous pledging his love for my daughter and asking for her hand in marriage, on speaker phone, with Dan and Milt.

I hoped that would be the turning point of our luck.

My friends shared in my daughter’s engagement and, all the excitement, so off to the tables to celebrate.  We descended the escalator to the casino floor of the world famous casino – Main Street.  This is where the longest game of craps was played.  It lasted for over three hours.  And, we were on a mission.  Beat the craps out of the casino!  I found my place at the south end of one of two tables.  Changed what little cash I had for chips and let the betting begin!

I couldn’t find my friends.  Where had they gone?  There were only two tables and they were lost.  Oh, there’s Dan at the end of my table, but, where’s Milt?  Okay – at the other table.  We are not together – but we are not far apart, either.

“Steve:  tell the dealer to put $17 on 6-8-9.”  “Steve – do it now!”

Who is this guy in the brightly colored aloha shirt with a plaid sports jacket and the tinted glasses and why is he standing next to me?  Who’s Steve and why is he on the other side of the table?

“I’m Richie – what’s your name?”  Oh gaud, the guy wants to visit – I can’t concentrate and visit at the same time – go away – your breath smells like vomit.

I answered, “Rick.”

“Well, Rick, why are you betting on the PASS Line and backing it up with odds?”

“My friends bet that way and I thought I’d try a different strategy than the book I read.”

“What do you mean, book?”

“I had read a book this month to teach me this game so I could spend more time with my friends playing craps.”

“But, you seem to know what you are doing.”

YES!  Beat the Craps out of the Casinos’ just scored major points.  “I like the way you handle the dice.  Most people don’t throw well or know to keep their winnings behind their bank, I like your style.”

“Steve:  collect your winning.”  “Steve:  tell the dealer to PRESS.”

Steve was beginning to irritate me and reminded me of an attention deficit disorder candidate.  And why was this guy standing next to me and not Steve?  Why does this always happen to me?

“I love this game, been playing it since I was twelve years old – learned it in a pool hall in New Jersey run by the mob.  I’ve never placed a PASS Line bet in 45 years.  I never put a coin into a slot machine.”

What – not a coin even in a slot machine?  Who is this guy?  Did he know he was talking to a recovering flipper pinball machine addict from when I was twelve years old?

“I used to be a craps dealer and have been barred from the casinos’ cause I know this game better than they do.”

Oh, MY GOD.  They are going to throw me out of here just by talking to this guy!

“Let me give you some advice, Ricky.”   Mind if I call you Ricky?”  “No, of course not, all my elementary school friends called me, Ricky.”

“Why place $15 on the pass line when you can cover three numbers with $16 to $17.  Does that make sense, Ricky?”  I did the math and by gaud – three numbers is better than one.  “Let me tell you something the casino doesn’t want you to know.”

Wait – I don’t want to lose my free drinks.  How risky is this strategy and can I remember it?  I just finished reading the most published book on craps and I can’t understand why Richie wasn’t mentioned.

“Do you see where they placed the numbers?  They are right in front of the dealers.  You have to talk to the dealers to play the numbers.”

But, I liked placing my own bets.  I could screw-up and no one would know except me.

“See all these big areas with lots of numbers that cover the table?  Those are sucker bets.”  Now, he’s talking my language.  Blackjack has a sucker bet – it’s called insurance.

“Back in the day” – oh, he even talks hip, “there were no sucker bets.”  Craps was the number.

Here’s what I’m talkin’ about:  place a $5 PASS Line bet when the 6 is “on” and when you win you get $5 and have to keep your bet on the PASS Line.  When you bet on 6 with $6 and the number hits, you win $7 back and can call your bet off.”

“Does that make sense Ricky?”  In a strange way this guy was starting to make sense.  So, I had to ask:  “Richie – how much are you charging Steve over there?”  “I take 40% of his winnings and he pays $20 for my little card.”  “I want to show you my card.”

Card, this man has a card?  I have a spreadsheet on blackjack strategy*, but, not a card on craps.  Oh, lord – I want that card.  “I want to show you my card – it only takes a few minutes to explain and I promise you – you won’t be able to retire playing this game, but, you will learn to win when the dice are hot.”

Richie – you had me at hello.

“Come on – “I’ll – meet – you – in – the – men’s’ — room.”

Oh, no, not the men’s room.  Why me?  Why not Dan or Milt?  Why do I always attract the:  meet me in the men’s room kind of guy?

“Okay” I said – I really had to pee anyway.

“Let me show you what 95% of craps players don’t know about this game.  After your numbers start hitting and you have collected your base bet – you are now playing with the casino’s money.”  “Does that make sense, Ricky?”

Like any apprentice zombie – “yes master.”

“Okay, now you start to put your bets on fire.”  Each time your number comes up you PRESS it.  You’ll receive some money back to keep your bet even.  And, when you get this down, sometimes you collect and sometime you press.  Just, keep leveraging the casino’s money, never your own, except your original $16 or $17 bet.”  “Be patient because only one in 14 knows how to throw the dice.  You know how to throw the dice.  I like the way you throw the dice.”

On the way to the men’s room, I discretely pulled $20 from my empty wallet and folded it into my shirt pocket.  I had no idea what he might do to me in “the men’s room.”  I was ready for the transaction and anxious to learn the mystery of this man’s strategy.

As we walked back to the craps table, Richie warned me:  “don’t let the dealers see this card and if they ask you what it is you tell them, “none of your damn business.”

Back at the tables, Steve said something to Richie and he turned to me and said, “Steve wants to get something to eat.  If this card works for you – call me – call me the next time you’re in town and I’ll go out with you.”

I now had the guarded secrets to the casinos.  It was better than a treasure map.  The strategy that has barred this retired casino dealer from playing the strategy he knows better than anyone.  I wanted back at my place at table.  I wanted to get into the action with my new strategy that only I now know – not Dan, not Milt – only me.

And, all because Richie liked the way I handled the dice.

“Thanks Richie, I will.”  And, the two of them disappeared as they entered the main casino floor full of slot machines.

When I got back to the craps table, I was greeted by the same guy who was to my left when I left the table with Richie.  “I couldn’t help but over hear your conversation with that guy – and frankly, it made sense.  I’ll give you $10 bucks for half the cost of the card* if you wouldn’t mind e-mailing it to me.”

I now know that the cameras upstairs are zeroing in on me.  They had a live one on craps table #2 – someone call security.

“How about I give you my e-mail address and I’ll forward it to you on Monday, and thanks for the $10.”  His $10 and my $7 made the $17 I needed for my last bet as all my chips disappeared while listening to Richie tell me his strategy.  The numbers just weren’t coming and that’s craps according to Richie.

I laid my last $17 out on the COME Line and said to the dealer, “6-8-9.”  He spread-out my three bets and the dice were thrown.  Again, and again, the dice were thrown.  We started to realize this guy from Maui was throwing the dice for the past 20 minutes, now 30, now 40, now 50 minutes and he’s passed the golden arm status of throwing the dice without crapping out for over an hour.

Milt was now standing behind Dan as the “action” at his table had stopped and everyone was watching three and four deep at my table.  Watching the action and wishing it was them.  Black chips were being thrown with “100 on six the hard-way.”  And, that’s when it hit me, my chips were changing from red to green and suddenly green to black.  This is what playing Vegas is all about.

Then, the casino police arrived.

Oh, please don’t ban me from the game.

They were refreshing the fat man’s bank and bringing out the glorious “orange chips.”  I had never seen anything so beautiful and the excitement was increasing.  We are cheering for numbers and they are hitting.  We are clapping and rearranging our chips to squeeze them into the final half inch of rail space the casinos provide for times just like this.

I saw gambling losses from the past two days retired, dinners paid for that weren’t already comp’d and I was now in a league I’ve never played in before.  I was winning and winning big.  Never before had I seen chips like this.  And, then one hour and twenty five minutes later, a dice was thrown off the table.

The jinx, the superstitious and the howls.

“OFF” – “OFF” – “OFF.”

I didn’t understand.

“What do you mean OFF?”  The shooter from Maui, said:  “man, I’ve got over a thousand bucks out there – tell them OFF!”

“OFF, I shouted and that Maui boy’s next throw was a seven.

What does that mean?  Are we done?  Did I lose?

It took the dealers about 10 minutes to pull the losers chips and return bets that had been turned OFF by frightened gamblers.  Me included.

Richie taught me good.  I had no idea that you could turn $17 – $10 of which was given to me by the guy to my left, into $1,810.

Thanks to your gift certificate, Jan, and, that was the best trip to the men’s room I’ve ever taken.

*Please refer to the Las Vegas Job Aid on this blog site.

When you were four months old

Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2013

When Sara was four months old, your mother and I were invited to attend a Lanier Business Products “Pleasure Land” event in London which coincided with Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee celebrating her 25th anniversary as Queen.
We were both excited to be invited, and, we knew that taking an infant wasn’t the best of ideas for a new set of parents. We decided, and then worked out the itinerary, to fly with Sara from Anchorage all the way to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Sara would be watched by your grandparents, Aime and Isabelle Omichinski, at their Portage la Prairie, Manitoba home. I remember that Sara slept most of the way. After insuring that Sara had enough diapers and formula; since up to then, she was pretty dependent upon her mom for milk, we continued our journey to London. We spent a week there while enjoying the sights and when the events were finished, we worked our way back to Portage from London to Gander, Newfoundland; New York City, and somehow from there – we arrived safely at the Winnipeg airport. When we finally got to your grandparents house the one thing I clearly remember was that we gushed over seeing Sara again. But, Sara on the other-hand, was indifferent towards us and we learned that an infant quickly bonds with whomever feeds and changes their diapers. Your grandmother was a wonderful woman and I knew that asking your grandparents to care for Sara confirmed that was the best of all options.

When Ashley was four months old, your mother and I had such a unique opportunity offered to us. I couldn’t find anyone else from Anchorage that preceded us who’d been offered a job in paradise. We jumped at the opportunity and we established ourselves in Hawaii. We weren’t alone for long. Several friends from Anchorage followed our tracks and with the repeat visits from Canadians and Alaskans, we were never alone. It was the same folks from the company that invited your mom and me to London, who had arranged a job interview for me with one of the largest companies in Hawaii. That interview, and, the lowest salary offer I’ve ever received, led us to move from Anchorage, my home town of twenty five years and Sara and Ashley’s birthplace, to Honolulu, Hawaii. The offer was quickly finalized and I returned to Anchorage to list our house, sell the lake front lot and then fly back down to Honolulu to set-up a new business. While your mom stayed behind she took the task of packing things up and settling loose ends with family and friends. When finished, she packed your things and caught a red-eye from Anchorage to Honolulu with Ashley, cradled her in her mom’s arms while Sara toddled along by her side. That finalized it, we had left Alaska for good. I remember being excited and that I couldn’t sleep as you flew through the night. I kept thinking about starting a new life in Hawaii for all of us. I picked up three flower leis from the lei stands in front of the airport. The concept of flowers on a string hung around Sara’s neck didn’t go over to well, while Ashley, at four months, was indifferent, and I think the lei didn’t last long, either. We gathered your belongings from baggage claim and headed straight to the Ala Moana Hotel adjacent to the shopping center to begin a new life in a new home.

When Jayme was four months old, your mother and I were invited to attend a Wang “Achievers” event in Rome, Italy. We lived in Maunawili, on the windward side of Oahu, and Sara and Ashley attended Parent Participation Nursery School. That’s where we met your pre-school teacher, Debbie, who also became our “go-to-baby-sitter”. Jayme was also dependent upon your mother for milk and we thought long and hard about what to do with her while we would be gone for ten days and half way around the world. Jayme, we weren’t worried about Sara or Ashley as by then – they were pottie trained and could adequately feed themselves. We would be traveling with a large group from the Honolulu office and we didn’t want to hamper their travels or fun with a four month old. I had to come up with something quickly because my vice president insisted if we were going, we weren’t taking a four month old baby with us. So I had to take the idea to turn it into an event. I contacted our parish priest in Anchorage, Fr. Murphy, who gave me the name of the Santa Susannah American Catholic Church in Rome. With that, the plan to baptize Jayme in Rome was conceived, and, as it turned out, was the highlight for many of the Wang Achievers. Jayme, your mother and I were stopped by a high ranking vice president of the company who wanted to confirm that you were the baby being christened during his event. Our area vice president held the baptismal font while your aunt and uncle (Tom and Susan) were your god parents. The other vice president who said no to the idea was scolded following the baptism by his wife – who further insisted he needed to go to church more often. We traveled home through Athens, Greece, Bangkok, Thailand and spent a couple of extra days in Hong Kong and then arrived safely in Honolulu. We were the last to clear customs and Debbie was holding onto Sara and Ashley each time they could see you when the frosted glass doors opened from customs. They tried hard as they could to run into a controlled access area just to see you again.

Why am I telling you this?

I may have been reminded that I need to be hit by a two by four between the eyes to see what is in front of me.

Sunday night, while sobbing my eyes out while on a flight that was within forty five minutes from arriving in Honolulu was one of those events.
I realized just how much I love each of you and that how lucky I am that Sara, Ashley and Jayme are my daughters. Yet, I may have let you down and let each in your own way, slip away from me.

And, that it’s me that has to do something about it.

In the Seattle airport while in the waiting area, I noticed a young couple with their three children. The mother looked like anyone of you. Tall, blonde and beautiful. And, I again briefly noticed the mother as she carried her four month old infant past me down the planes aisle while her husband and two young sons followed behind. They settled into their seats, and, of course, I never gave them another thought.
About forty five minutes from Honolulu, an Alaska Air flight attendant, who appeared from the curtains separating us from first class, was in a controlled sprint as she headed four rows behind our seats. Another flight attendant from the rear of the plan was now fully engaged while the first class attendant ran back to her bulk head, crabbed the handset, and, through the planes intercom, requested anyone with medical experience to assist with a medical emergency.

The activity increased with an oxygen tank being dispatched to the row of seats behind us, and, we sat, staring straight ahead while the passengers to our front where up in their seats for a better look. When I saw the oxygen I immediately figured a senior citizen was having a heart attack and everything would be fine soon. Maybe they were out of synch with their medication and just needed the oxygen to regulate things.
The flight attendee stationed in the rear section of the plan was on what sounded like a walkie talkie type device as we could hear her saying “over” at the end of her statements. Then it became clearer to those of us within listening range. She was on the wire with some form of inflight medical assistance, and she was asking for advice and while giving an accurate status report and brief history and physical.

It wasn’t a senior after all, but, a four month old baby boy. The message was choppy and sounded as if the baby boy slipped to sleep and as a mother would and does, when she checked on him, found that he wasn’t breathing. No pulse and no heartbeat. We knew that volunteers were administering CPR and we couldn’t get the nerve to turn and see what was happening. I thought of asking everyone around us to just pray or something and stop staring. But, the lady next to me had to use the lavatory so I got out of my seat and while in the aisle turned, finally, to catch a look. There was nothing to see as there were three adults flat on the aisle floor over something I still couldn’t see as they were giving CPR to what turned out to be the baby’s mouth and where applying repetitive pulses to the chest.

It was when I got back into my seat that somehow the in the row of seats directly behind me the mother collapsed into her husband’s arms. They were pressed up against my seat back and as their sobbing pulsed through my seat I then realized how much I loved my own Sara, Ashley and Jayme.

For the next forty minutes the CPR didn’t stop and you could feel the pilot was putting pressure to speed the plane along; we hit the runway hot and we taxied faster than I’ve experienced straight to our jet way without delay. Our flight was met by a young emergency technician who professionally approached the area and quickly helped two of the volunteers off the plane when we saw for the first time a beautiful four month old baby boy. I think everyone knew as they rush with him off the plane as they continued to pulse his chest trying to revive him that there was no miracle tonight. And, the plane full of passengers remained deafly silent. I think someone thought a round of applause was appropriate but only after one clap, that too was silent.

Again, why am I telling you this? Was Sunday night my two by four between the eyes? And, was Sunday night, while sobbing my eyes out while on a flight that was arriving in Honolulu one of those events?

I realized just how much I love each of you and that how lucky I am that Sara, Ashley and Jayme are my daughters. Yet, I know that I have let you down, each in your own way, and, Ashely, you have slipped the farthest away from me.

And, it’s me that has to do something about it because last night, I was finally made vulnerable.

I love you three – and am happy with the way you have turned out and that when you were just four months old, how blessed I was that your lives was allowed to continue for your mom and me.

I’m not sure what is next, and, all I can say is that Sunday night has changed my life.

I hope that in some way it will change our lives, too.

I Love you

Your dad

THERE IS NOT A DAY THAT GOES BY . . .

Okay.

I’ve been thinking a lot this past week, and it has been about you. When you see the word “you” it also means “me, too.”

It’s been 15 months since we enjoyed each other’s company as we reunited, celebrated and healed ourselves after a long and productive life on the road and a half century of being apart. Whether you were at the reunion or attended “virtually,” you were on my mind. That is because you and I witnessed historical events unfold during our first year out of high school with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Six years later, we watched as America pushed a crooked president out of our highest office. Not to mention the direct impact of the Viet Nam War and Kent State had on us. We lived that together.

Why was I thinking of you?

I’m trying to put a complicated series of events into perspective.

My baseline: there hasn’t been a day go by that I don’t think about growing up in Anchorage and the influence that “you” and all our classmates and friends have had on me. You have, and will, continue to be the counterbalance between my uncomplicated belief in right and wrong. Like it or not, it was a time in our lives that set us on a course, that I believe in my heart, we continue on today. I left high school to go about my life trusting that Jesus was good, our religions knew what was best for us, that the government would always be right and that health care was cheap.

Until the events that unfolded last week, nothing had shaken that bond I held with you.

Watching Brett Kavanaugh’s opening statement – I thought about you.

I couldn’t help it.

You liked beer, too. Or, at least most of us did.

But, what if the “if” had been anyone of us? The “if” means the facts verses untruthful; if certainty verses uncertain; if altered verses unaltered; and if fair and open verses closed minded. I mean, what if there been a Ford or a Kavanaugh within our peer group? Would you have put either of them through what the world witnessed last week? Or, would your values of right or wrong step in and save us?

Fast forward, to this morning, Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, maintained her position as a strong holdout for the truth. Murkowski turned against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh quietly, uttering a single word: “No.” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, her longtime friend and fellow moderate Republican, spoke on the Senate floor for 45 minutes, explaining her support for Kavanaugh in detail. The Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, dismissed the controversy over Kavanaugh’s nomination as part of an orchestrated campaign by Democrats and liberal activists. Before the ink had dried on Justice Kennedy’s retirement, democrats made it perfectly clear what this process would be about: delay, obstruct and resist,” McConnell said. “And before the ink had dried on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, colleagues across the aisle – including Democrat members of the judiciary committee – were racing to announce they’d made up their minds and were totally opposed to his confirmation.”

I’m not completely sure why, but; when I awoke this morning “it” hit me hard. That’s the first way I wrote this sentence. What I really mean is – this shit in D.C. has upset me to my core. What the hell had just happened to us?

Last year in March, a very good friend of mine asked me what I thought about football players taking a knee during the national anthem. I stumbled around for a good reason – I just couldn’t grab the words that made any sense. I knew there was more to his “message” and less about football.

Working in technology has taught me that taking sides too early doesn’t have predictable or positive results.

It’s times like this that I pretend that I’m in a UFO from outer space and I’m looking down on these earthlings lying to themselves while they destroy our faith in what is keeping us alive.

It helps with my objectivity.

In this case it boils down to “faith” which is a much stronger force than trust. What happened in Washington D.C. last week is Part II of what’s going on . . .

Did Colin Kaepernick decided to use a football game and the pledge of allegiance to further his cause of police brutality towards blacks? Football and the anthem have nothing to do with police brutality. But, Kaepernick, in his marketing genius, used this “platform of football” to spread his message, and it has successfully gained worldwide notice. The NFL on the other hand, has danced around this issue because they don’t know what it has to do with football. And, where are the results? Last I heard, police brutality still exists. And, Kaepernick lost his job and he got a new one.

Did the women’s # movement get an equal amount of notoriety, as Kaepernick, by using the nomination platform and the process by which we appointment a judge to the bench of the US Supreme Court? Did they prove that we must stand against the overall and equal rights of women including an individual woman’s right to an abortion? Once they (whomever they might be) decided that the Supreme Court nomination (whomever that might be) would be the object of their disdain for Trump, did they lose their objectivity?

Were they marketing a message through disruption or are they asking for help? I can argue it either way, because, without sodium pen Athol, we will never get to the truth.

When I got up this morning, I had determined, at least for me, these are the results of what happens when two parties disagree and one side was educated in business and law while the other side majored in psychology and marketing. Business justification is based on “logic, and truth in big numbers.” While marketing, using psychology, creates an illusion of truth through a repetition of messages.

It is oil and water.

In the end: is it about football or women’s rights? I don’t think it so, it’s much bigger than that.

Will history show that these last two societal events be the beginning of the unraveling of what we thought to be a very long, tight rope, securing our faith in our country? From the safety of my spaceship: I’m still looking for Part III, another platform under attack. . .

Thanks for listening,

Happy New Year from Houston, TX – 2009

Carrie and I are still in Houston, TX and have been since the middle of October. We were to have left here on 12/12, but, as doctors’ have it, we won’t see Houston in the rear view mirror until 2/20.

We received plenty of Christmas Cards this year, and unfortunately, this hasn’t been much of a holiday season for us – but, we are together and laughing every day. Hopefully, next year we’ll get back into the spirit and send cards from our home address.

Carrie has been cooking up a storm here in our quaint apartment.

We have lots of places to shop and eat and there are many international grocery stores, too. When we are in a mode to explore, we get in the car and go to a Hong Kong, Jerusalem, India, Japan, Korea, Middle East, Europe, Mexico or Mainland China via their grocery stores. It puts things into perspective that Houston is home to over 6 million people and from all over the world. This place is a petri dish of cultures, while some are into BBQ and Cajun, it is and an example of what the world has to look forward to when we finally do away with boarders.

I just wish they didn’t like to litter so much.

We may have recently won the war against the family of extended generations of cock roaches that lived in our apartment long before our arrival. This morning was our first kitchen visit when we were the first to arrive.

Finally no sign of life.

We have had our kitchen sink repaired for leaks once, and then the garbage disposal was replaced shortly after. There was no sense of urgency on behalf of the property management – so I tracked down the maintenance man myself.

We have bonded.

And, then there is the cute couple across the hall with a full grown pit bull dog. But, after all, someone has to look after the motorcycle parked in their living room.

Monday was a big day for both of us. We started counting down from 38 to 1. Monday was day 38 and February 19th is day 1. And, on that day, we will return the apartment key, Comcast modem and cable box, pack up the Tully and the Highlander, go to MDAnderson, receive my final Proton Treatment, give the staff cookies and cakes, ring the ceremonial Chinese gong, probably cry as we say our last goodbye.

We will drive like the wind on Friday the 20th of February and by Tuesday evening we will be in our own home and we will “go to bed, tired but happy,” (my favorite quote from Gerry Hills).

By the time we will have gotten home, we will have logged over 6,000 miles and a third of a year away from family and friends. We will reminisce having missed everyone during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and even MLK day. But, more importantly we will know just how fortunate we are that my cancer was treatable. Life deals us unexpected and sometimes unwelcomed challenges. We are aware that this blow was a light thumping from God compared to others we have met while waiting our turn in many doctors’ offices and clinics since our arrival. Since the diagnosis we have learned that others were not so lucky. When you consider the children I see daily at MDAnderson – we am very lucky to have found this cure.
2009, we welcome you,

Rick & Carrie Stanfield

PROTON RADIATION THERAPY – PART II

October 20th, Monday afternoon, rather than starting the Proton Beam Radiation Treatment, Carrie and spent most of it waiting to meet Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez, a notable Urologist based in Houston, that we had been referred to by Dr. Choi of MDAnderson. His credentials’ were outstanding, and his office walls had plaques, degrees, magazine awards, and one honorable mention. I’m not sure I understood what an honorable mention means to an Urologist and thought it best not to ask.

We were escorted to his office and not an examining room. Which was a relief to me since every time a urologist sees me they have their own way of saying: “it’s time for the Texas Handshake, and here’s your box of Kleenex.”

After several long minutes, our 2:00pm appointment started about 3:00pm when our very energetic, young, personable doctor arrived, introduced himself to us and asked if we could be a little more patient as he was backed up with appointments.

He left for a few minutes to see another patient and Carrie and I started counting the sky cranes we could see from his office window overlooking the Houston Medical Center. We agreed that it was six, and then after getting up and walking around his office four more come into sight. That meant ten new high rise buildings. Houston’s Medical Center isn’t a building, it’s a city. A brand new light rail ran passed this building on Fannin Street, and the skyline, already filled with buildings labeled Baylor, St. Luke’s, Texas Children, MDAnderson, University of Texas, a Marriott Hotel, etc., was staggering. I can remember while living here and flying into Hobby Airport, on Southwest, that the skyline was remarkable and separated from downtown by just a few short miles. Now, it has become a major footprint as a worldwide destination.

Today, I was happy we were here.

Dr. Gonzalez, returned to his office, while apologizing for his hectic scheduled. He had just returned from Santa Fe, New Mexico where he had conducted a seminar for other Urologists’ on the same condition that I have. While smiling he pulled up a Power Point presentation he had delivered last week so we could see of photo of what the inside of my body looks like. As he put it: “this view is off a bladder similar to yours where the camera extends into the urethra and turns around and looks back at itself”.

This is where sometimes my brains goes into a paralysis mode – and it’s like trying to look at yourself in the mirror while trying to cut a few strands of hair with a pair of scissors. The reverse reflection makes me crazy as I move where my brain says to go, while the image in the mirror is heading in the opposite direction. Finally, my brain relaxed and I could see this black hose coming out of a bulbous opening. And there it was – a nodule sitting on the top (which is really the bottom) of the bladder. That is the bad boy my proton physician, Dr. Choi, said needs to go before I can start the Proton.
We were told that we need to be cautious, safe, careful, not too aggressive, but, just right, in the procedure to remove the excess protrusion and reduce its size to fit nicely below the bladder. I felt comfortable with his presentation and admired his ppt skills, too. He asked if “needed anything to drink yet?” Within a few minutes a diet Coke was delivered with the promised he’d check back on me.

Carrie and I were left alone and I couldn’t help myself from reaching across his desk, at which time, Carrie said, “sit down”. I found his mouse and backed the presentation up a few slides to see that photo of the inside view again. I took this opportunity to view each of the slides he didn’t show us. “You are going to get caught,” Carrie warned. A few minutes later, after returning his display to the slide he left us with, we were escorted to an examination room. I do not think it had anything to do with taking control of his mouse, either.

Carrie wasn’t convinced.

His nurse asked us to wait until the doctor was available, that he wanted to “examine me” and when I had the “urge” and that I’d be “observed”.
I’d be what? Observed?

After another long wait, I poked my head out of the examining room to see if I could find where they kept the sodas’. The nurse caught me and asked if I was ready. I gave in. She took me to the nurses’ station where she was waiting on a printer for some labels and finally said, “This way.” I was led to a small room with a sink and a contraption I’d not seen before. She didn’t have the standard beaker for me – and what I saw was a large stainless steel frame, about knee high, holding a round plastic funnel aimed at a catchment of some kind at the bottom. To the right of the device was a hole in the wall, about the right level to “observe me.” The hole was small, crudely shaped cut in the sheet rock, a wire protruding through it to the bottom of the catchment container. My instructions were to drop trou for the “observation” and return to the examining room when I was complete.

The door closed behind me and I thought, “This is a first.” Doing what I was told, I dropped trou and while looking at the small crudely shaped hole in the wall with the wire sticking out of it, I thought, “It must be tough to get a good view of me through that thing and still hit the funnel.” I got on with my business?” After washing up I opened the door to come through the nurses’ station, after having been “observed.”

A few minutes later, Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez appeared and he said he had good news. He had what look like an EKG paper strip and showed us that my flow was “average” and that due to the enlargement, I did retain about two ounces of urine and that his procedure would fix that. “We are scheduling you for a procedure on Thursday, October 23. I’ll sculpt your prostate so you can begin Proton Therapy as soon as you completely heal, which may take between six weeks and three months.” Following his new procedure using the latest in technology, he said, I’d be as good as new. Rather than the obsolete, Indio Laser Surgery used on me six years ago, they would use a combination of “green laser” and a new TURP type of device to pull a specimen for further analysis. I’d be up and around by Saturday will little to no pain. “Carrie”, the doctor asked while gloving up, “do you want to stick around for what’s next?” She laughed as she got out of her chair and said, “No thanks, I’d seen it before.”

While on my elbows, toes turned in, he noticed my Microsoft Blue ID Badge hanging from my belt which was down around my knees and asked – “what’s that?”

For some reason, I was speechless.

PROTON RADIATION THERAPY – PART I

OCTOBER, 2008

Carrie and I left for Boise, ID early on Wednesday morning.  It was a leisurely drive on I90 over the Snoqualmie Pass through Eastern Washington into Northern Oregon.  We drove passed Stanfield, Oregon, and said “hi” through the window.  That Stanfield was one of the largest sheep herders in the country, at the time, and had donated so much land to the city they named it after him.  The car we drove was packed, with rear window visibility, and a Thule storage compartment on the roof completely stuffed.

We learned that Thule’s must market to folks who drive less than 60 mph and not for us road warriors traveling at 80 mph.  At Boise’s Home Depot, we bought straps Wednesday evening before dinner, to lock down the Thule from warbling.  Thursday morning, after a quick breakfast we left Boise before the sunrise.  Once on the highway, the new bright yellow straps started singing their own tune.  It became a challenge finding the right speed limit to silence these tightly strung noise makers.

After a few hours of cruising, we passed through Gooding, ID., where dad was born, and the town disappear so fast in the distance there wasn’t time to stop and ask “did you know the Stanfield’s that lived here 95 years ago?”  I had to reflect on what kind of a man dad’s father must have been to have settled in a town so far from anywhere.  It didn’t take me long to come to the conclusion, that wherever he came from, it must have been much worse than Gooding, ID.

Several trial and errors later, while cruising through Wyoming, a fleece blanket stuffed on the roof, under the front of the Thule, hadn’t silenced it.  But, we both noticed an 18 wheeler with straps across its load.  They were twisted.  We learned and followed the truckers approach and after that, it no longer rumbled like a bumble bee and we could return to cruising speeds of 80 mph silently to complete that days long 12 hour drive to Denver.

Friday morning, I had to lead a conference call and we got a late start on the day.  The call went well and it was worth holding it because I needed the positive motivation to get going into the weekend.  Pain killers didn’t hurt, either.

I knew that it was going to be another long day of driving.  It was, and we saw the east side of Colorado paralleling Kansas’s border before crossing into the panhandle of Oklahoma.  I began to think that dad was out there laughing his ass off while we blazed a trail through his old stomping grounds.  And, now I know why he loved Alaska so much.
He wasn’t missing anything back home.

That night, hours after crossing the Texas border and having our first Blue Bell vanilla ice cream cone we arrived in Fort Worth.  Our hotel was located right in the heart of the Ft. Worth Stock Yards.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to site see, but, from our hotel room window Saturday morning Carrie could see a parade of horseback riders and covered wagons go by that took close to a half hour.  This is the place, that many years ago, railcars delivered cattle on the hoof, in from the ranches, and the roundtrip ticket for the inbound passengers found them butchered cuts of meat ready for the markets and someone’s table.  It is now a huge tourist attraction – and I had no idea it was such a big deal.  It really gives you a sense of the Texas culture just to see how the cattle market evolved.  And where cowboys fit into the process.

So much for timing, I was reminded we weren’t tourists and we needed to get back on the road.

Saturday we arrived in Houston, mid-afternoon, after what seemed to be a short 250 mile trip ending over 2,335 miles in four days.  While cruising at 80 mph on the I45 from Dallas to Houston, we were passed by caravans of cars and trucks averaging at least 100mph.

We found our new apartment complex where we had been promised a furnished apartment upon arrival, but, we had our first bad news.  After filling out more paperwork than we did on our last mortgage, we were given access to the apartment, but, the furniture wasn’t there.  I just took advantage of the apartments emptiness and the first thing was to vacuum.  Ugh.  This apartment complex is the size of Palmer, AK and the average age is —- well, single, noisy at night, and first time apartment dwellers.  We were asked to fill in the “current condition” form.  We asked for additional paper.  I think the plumber comes tomorrow to replace the toilet; for starters.

Saturday afternoon after unpacking the car and leaving behind what we could trust losing to a thief, we went to the Mexican Farmers Market off 610 loop.  It had been moved to the building next door.  The original building was destroyed Hurricane Ike.  We have a constant reminder that something horrible happened here a short while ago.  We loaded up on vegetables and fruits on Saturday, and stocked the fridge. Sunday, I took Carrie for a drive around Houston.  We like doing that in Seattle.  There, it is usually a 10 to 12 mile drive.  When we arrived back at the hotel we logged over 125 miles just inside the city limits.  This place is so huge and the freeways are so fast that Houston is becoming Germany’s version of the Autobahn.

Monday, I had my “simulation” at MDAnderson Proton Treatment Center.  This is a practice procedure to determine the “plan” of attack.  My prostate gland is bigger than they thought and the Lupron shot didn’t have the impact they had planned for, either.  Lupron is used to reduce the size of the prostate.  Or, if you need chemical castration, its good for that too.  After the first MRI they wanted to send us home for two more months until they could figure out how to shrink the prostate gland even more.  They took a total of three MRIs rather than the scheduled two.  I just couldn’t think of driving 2,335 miles home, lose the rent deposit, etc.  But, after the third MRI, the Dr. decided to move me to the “big” proton machine that has a wider footprint.  After a stressful 30 minute wait, the doctor arrived with my new proton beam schedule and informed us we are still on track for being done 12/12. Instead of a 11:10am appointment it is now daily at 5:30pm (CST) which is perfect as I’d leave my office in Redmond by four thirty to catch the “Connector” shuttle bus home.

We were relieved.

With that news we headed back to see if we had furniture.  When we got back everything in the fridge was frozen solid.  The furniture finally arrived around 3:30pm and we were settling in for the next two months.  If everything was going to freeze it was back to the store and we now have a beautiful delicious gallon of vanilla Blue Bell ice cream in the freezer and a case of A&W Root Beer in the fridge.

We just have to stay focused on our priorities.

Tuesday morning it is was counting down:  60 days until we see Houston in the rear view mirror.  And then, the doctor called at noon.  After a consultation with his superior, he has postponed my therapy for a minimum of 8 to 10 weeks.  He has me seeing a Urologist on Monday for a consultation to schedule a procedure with him on Thursday to reduce the size of my prostate by 20 to 25%.  Healing time is 8 to 10 weeks.  The procedure is either a repeat of what I had 6+ years ago called Indigo Laser Surgery or a more surgical version called a TURP.  If you search for it on the internet, you’ll get more of an idea why it will take so long to heal.

Otherwise, if we had proceed on Monday with Proton Therapy the consequences would be scar tissue causing me to wear a urine bag, draining it four times a day for the rest of my life.  Carrie and I are sitting here looking at each other and wondering what to do.  We may be here for the next four to five months.

Monday, while in the waiting room at the proton therapy center, we saw a young child about 8 to 10 years old suffering with cancer.  He couldn’t walk without his mother and his grandmother’s assistance.  He couldn’t speak.  He only wailed from his pain while his mother tried straightening his twisted arms and legs.  His life has been reduced to a medical experiment.  When we left after the simulation, he must have been taken in for his therapy, while his mother slept on the couch and his grandmother stared out into the openness of the waiting room.

If we get this next procedure done, heal according to plan, get the proton therapy started the first of the year, we’ll be home in time for our vacation to Hawaii in March. It was then I realized just how lucky we are.