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Thread: Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????

  1. #1

    Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????

    As some of you may know I have been busy rewriting and expanding the book " The Good-Bye Man" which was a Memoir of my experiences while Paul Schatzkin was writing the Biography of my father Thomas Townsend Brown.

    I have asked and been granted permission to put up the first five chapters of the rewritten version of " The Good-Bye Man" and I would appreciate any and all comments that you have on it.

    My membership on the Cosmic Token is helping me out too but I know that there are many folks here who are interested in the mysteries that have bubbled to the surface regarding my Dads work. We all see and feel things differently and because of that we all learn so differently. I appreciate any insight that you all can give me.

    Linda Brown


    Please note that there will be a special forward written but that is not ready for public release quite yet.

    CHAPTER ONE ( The Moment Between the Chalk and the Eraser)

    The black steamer trunk dominated the room. It was as old as I was and it had been with me my entire life. The brass corners were still shiney and strong. Though it had a few scars and faded travel stickers on its sides it was still in very good shape. The trunk and I were both forty years old and I considered that it probably looked better and stronger at that moment than I felt.

    The lid had been left open in a gentle invitation to get on with the chore of packing away all of my Dads most important papers and books. Mother had decided that everything should be put in that single solid trunk. I didn't want her to be the one doing that. I couldn't ask her to do more than she already had. It had been a very difficult week and she was resting now. This task was directly on my shoulders.

    She had come into that small room days earlier to select the clothes that Dad would be buried in. I watched her as she automatically reached for his charcoal grey business suit. Tailored in London, it was the suit that he always wore for important meetings and demonstrations. She hesitated then, as if hearing another voice and reached suddenly for a bright cotton Hawaiian shirt which he had bought on Cook Street. Mother smiled then and quickly selected the old pair of threadbare bone-colored Levi jeans.

    They had laughed together about her threats to hide those jeans away from him so that he couldn't wear them so constantly but they were his favorites and she always relented, eventually washing them carefully so that they would be ready for him each morning.

    She put the bright shirt and the jeans on the bed, smoothing them lovingly with her hand. " There", she said." Thats better."

    She was resting now and this chore was up to me. I felt very alone but then something odd happened.

    I looked around the room and was struck suddenly with the feeling that Dad was right there with me. I could even smell the cologne that he always wore. "Lilac Vegetale" was an old fashioned barber shop type of cologne that was popular in the fifties and its light scent was suddenly there, probably on some of his clothes or, maybe, he was there with me in that strange way.

    I looked at his desk and saw that his glasses were still exactly where he had put them on his last night, setting them upside down when he realized that he just couldn't do any more.

    I slumped in his chair and focused on them. I was not sure how I could ever bear the chore that was ahead of me. And then I saw that I had left my big Boorham and Pease record book on the side of his desk. I opened it and read my last entry.

    "October 27, 1985..... Daddy died tonight. Quietly, in his own room..... He just slept away from us."

    Knowing that the end of his life was near Thomas Townsend Brown had agreed with Josephine when she suggested that they give up their town house in Avalon and join their daughters family at the end of Pebbly Beach Road.

    Our Quonset Hut on Catalina Island was a simple structure left over from a Navy installation during World War Two. It was showing its age, but it offered three bedrooms. My husband had agreed with me that it was important for my parents to be where we could offer support and comfort. We were worried about my mother and knew that she should not have to go through this alone.

    Dad still had many of his recorders running during those last few months and he had developed a style of living practically on top of his work. We all decided that the smallest of the bedrooms would be his to use. Our twelve year old daughter, Jennifer, removed her Pony Club pictures and ribbons from the walls and watched with fascination as her Grandfather set about making the place "workable" for himself. Using a tape measure he carefully calculated how he could efficiently get his desk, chair, filing cabinet, single bed, shelves and operating sensors into the same small place. The room soon resembled a shipboard cabin. He had everything within an arms reach and the efficiency of it pleased him.

    He had even purchased his burial plot, selected because it was pleasantly situated in a corner and had a bench next to it. I knew that he was thinking of Mother, making sure that she had a place to sit whenever she might come to visit. " The wind comes up this canyon in the afternoon" Dad told me as we strolled through the Avalon Cemetery. You can hear it start near the beach, if you listen carefully enough."

    Dad was always attuned to the ocean. Our Quonset Hut was located with the others at the end of a tree lined canyon which opened directly onto the pebbly strewn coastline. The sounds of the sea lions barking beyond the surf and the odd music of the small stones rolling about in the waves gave Dad a particular pleasure. He worked at his desk directly under the slanted window which was open to the sea breeze.

    That summer and fall of 1985 he spent hours walking on that beach, bending down to make careful inspections of those innumerable round grey and brown granite stones. He picked some of them up and carried them along for awhile and occasionally he would bring one or two home with him. When I asked him why he selected the ones that he did and he said " Because they want to come."

    I looked up from my journal and stared at the shelf where at all of those special rockswere positioned. Here they were! With their painted on copper patches and carefully attached electrodes. Most of them were still connected to the automatic recording devices which were humming softly. I decided then to return all of those stones to the waters edge where Dad had picked them up. Daddy would want me to do that, with a "thank you" as I set them in the water.

    I reached for my pen, thinking back on his advice many years before when I announced that I wanted to " Keep a Journal".

    "Pick something solid!" Dad had responded quickly and enthusiastically! "It should be a hardbound book, not a flimsy loose leaf notebook or binder. Things should be written in sequence and you should not add or subtract anything once you have committed your words to paper. That's the test of it!".

    Now I noted that, on a nearby shelf, my completed journals were standing like sentries in red and black. They represented decades of my life. "Write what you are thinking AT THAT MOMENT" Dad had stressed. " Write every day, if you can ,and write what is on your mind THEN no matter how simple it might seem! Your words will be the moment between the chalk and the eraser!"

    And so I did. I wrote that mother had looked heartbreakingly frail at the graveside service. I wrote that I was proud of the compassion that Jennifer showed when she reached for her Grandmothers trembling hand. And I wrote how proud and pleased I had been with George for taking it upon himself to greet those who had come to the service, thanking them all for joining us. Tall, handsome and always gregarious he was well liked by the citizens of Avalon and many of the attendees had come only because of their friendship and respect for him.

    Most of them knew nothing about my modest and retiring father.To them he was just a kindly older gentleman they saw on the beach or around town. Perhaps a few remembered that he once kept an office downtown and that he had leased the old " Bird Park" from the Island Company for some reason or another and that he had completely revamped what was once the old " Aviary", but other than that they didn't know very much about him.

    The night before that gravesite service I still had no idea what I would say about Dad in the eulogy that I was expected to give. I put my hand on his beige filing cabinet and said aloud "I don't know how to do this! I need some help!" When I opened the top drawer and thumbed through the files one stayed open. I had never seen it before. It was a copy of a speech that Dad had given in the the forties about the meaning and importance of being a scientist. I knew then that he was showing me the words by which he wanted to be remembered. In every fibre of his being he was a scientist.

    The rest of the eulogy came easily and I felt well prepared as I turned to face the small assemblage. I took a last glance at my brother before I began. Joseph had flown in that morning and I knew that he would return to his home in Washington State immediately afterward. He stood to one side of the gathering with his arms folded. I wrote in my journal.......

    "He flashed me a smile. He is still at the edge of my life, still with his arms folded ,but at least he was there with that smile. Maybe he was thinking of the one true "brother-sister" conversation we ever really had. Maybe its a universal conversation.... the bit about which one will take care of the surviving parent. I had said "If Dad goes first, we want Momma to stay with us. She is already part of our family." There was an extended silence as we considered the other possibility. I finally asked the question that was in both of our minds."But if Mother goes first, what will we do with Dad?" Joe had grinned at that and simply said " Well Sis.....We will have to catch him first!"

    I started to read my notes, reminding myself to make eye contact with those in front of me. My voice was strong and not wavering. I began to settle down, suddenly thinking " I can do this! I am going to be able to get through this! When I glanced up at the crowd again I thought I saw a very familiar person standing at the gate of the cemetery. The sight of that tall man standing there shook me and took my breath. I looked down to regain my composure and when I looked up again, he was gone.

    Later I carefully penned in my journal "JD? Was that really you? Or had grief just clouded my vision?"

    I spent the rest of that rainy afternoon packing Dads things. The old box that I had noted earlier was the first thing I placed in the bottom of that enormous black trunk. I intended to put that strange note away but the words still hung with me..." Daugher these words are as true as the rain on the window above your head" I simply did not understand. I didn't want to understand! I had a daugher to raise and Mothers company too. George and I had a business to run. I had no time to wonder about these words or the mystery of the man by the cemetery gate.

    Seventeen years would pass before I would open that trunk again.
    Last edited by Linda Brown; August 6th, 2013 at 03:35 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????

    You will note that for the time being anyway some of the names of the characters have been changed. Those folks will be given the opportunity to have their real names used... or they will be able to maintain their privacy by leaving the names that I have picked for them.


    During the intervening years a young man by the name of Chris Knight* continued his interest in my Dads scientific work.

    That interest had been sparked years earlier when he happened to pick up a copy of William Moores' "The Philadelphia Experiment". He had been drawn in particularly by Chapter 10, " The Force Fields of T. Townsend Brown" and had wanted to talk with Dad personally. Unfortuneately he wasn't able to contact Mother until 1987, two years after Dads death. By that time we had moved away from Catalina Island and had settled in the Pass community of Banning, not far from Palm Springs, California.

    Of course we knew that Chris was disappointed. Hopeful students and writers had followed that Chapter 10 right to Mothers doorstep and Chris was just the latest. I personally was very wary of the sensationalists and those with other agendas who wanted to get their hands on Dads notebooks and journals. Mother was courteous but her answers were always a firm, though diplomatic, closed door... carefully rehearsed. " While I do appreciate your interest in the work that my husband pursued I am unable to provide you with any substantial additional information. My best to you, however, in your future endeavors." I expected that Chris would get the same letter. I had typed out at least a hundred similar letters since Dads death.

    When Mother turned to me and instructed me to issue an invitation to Chris I have to admit being totally shocked and puzzled.

    She wanted him to come to visit her! And I was to tell him that she would make Dads scientific journals available so that he might study them while he visited.

    I believe that there was something special about Chris that she had recognized. Occasionally in my wildest thoughts I have considered that she was actually waiting for him. Perhaps it was the earnestness in his voice. Perhaps it was because he had grown up in an Ohio community not far from Zanesville, where she and Dad had met and fallen in love.

    But there was also something odd about the delight that she seemed to take in watching him as he sat quietly in the shade of our large Sycamore tree, pouring over first one notebook and then the next. During the summer of 1987 Chris Knight became part of our family, as far as we all were concerned and has stayed that way through the years. I have never quite been able to get over the feeling that she somehow knew ahead of time the part that he was meant to play in our lives.

    The authors of " The Philadelphia Experiment" ( William Moore and Charles Berlitz) had woven a fantastic tale of how the USS Eldridge,( a World War ll destroyer escort) had alledgedly disappeared from a Pennsylvania shipyard, popped up in the harbor of Norfolk, Virginia and then reappeared in its original berth in Philadelphia. They wrote that this happened in 1943 and many assumed that Dad must have been somehow connected to this story. Moores' " Chapter 10" both increased the awareness of his actual accomplishments and at the same time wrapped his reputation in a cloak of,what some thought, was ridiculous fantasy. The authors had stopped short of claiming that Dad was directly involved but with their inclusion of Chapter 10 they were able to insure that his reputation would be forever associated with their " way-out-ship-shifting" story. Unfortuneately that link kept some serious and dedicated journalists and scholars at a distance. Nick Cook, reporter and editor at Janes Defense Weekly and author of THE HUNT FOR ZERO POINT. had even written that he " wouldn't touch Townsend Brown with a barge pole" because of that association.

    Though Dad never talked to me about his World War ll service the two of us had long discussions throughout my childhood on topics ranging from Einsteins Relativity Theory to the existence of other realities. Some of these talks touched on subjects even " further out" than the "Phildelphia Experiment!"

    When Dad told me that UFOs were real and that they were used by Beings that were "different from us" and that they could "control certain aspects of our own impression of reality" I believed him. And I believed that he was speaking from knowledge as much as from faith.

    However, I knew that people who expressed those beliefs could end up in an unwelcomed spotlight of criticism and ridicule and the life that I was living in Banning had nothing at all to do with any of those subjects anymore. Frankly, considering that my parents
    and I had gone through for the sake of " Daddys' Science" I felt that I had already paid my dues. Why would I be expected to do more?

    So in 2002 when Chris announced that a biographer by the name of Saul Kinder* had approached him to " sound out a book idea with the Brown family".... my immediate response was...." Tell him that I am not interested." (My brother had died two years earlier and I spoke with the authority that had been left to me as the surviving member of the immediate family).

    However I did leave a small opening. For some reason I told Chris that he could share my mailing address with this writer but restated my thought that I actually had no interest in revisiting the past. I held onto that thought until a sentence in Saul Kinders' first letter unlocked that mental door.

    "My real desire is to write about the processes of discovery and progress and to describe the impact those processes have on the individuals who spend their lives in the vanguard of human evolution."

    I read that sentence over and over. Perhaps Saul really did want to know the HUMAN side of the story? Perhaps he was the rare author who could be both willing and able to write from the heart? At the very least, I decided, he deserved the courtesy of a written response, if only to hear my reservations.

    "Chris may have told you that I live in an area of the upper desert considered spiritual high ground by the Ancient Ones, the center of much UFO interest in the 1950s and now, to me, a place of rare peace. My inclination is to keep things the way that they are. Putting myself in the past would be difficult and painful for me".

    I didn't realize how prophetic those words would be.

    In the weeks that followed Saul and I exchanged a series of " get acquainted" letter. Memories came pouring out once I started writing.

    In December 2002 he replied " Thank you for the time that you took to sit and write of things that have real meaning to you, some of which I know are challenging for you to revisit. What I found most engaging is the sense that there is a channel of some trust and affinity opening between us."

    Years before I had used the specific words " SOULS CODE" in Dads eulogy to explain how deeply rooted his inquisitive and thoughtful nature was. To him everything past, present and future, was interconnected. He liked to say when a certain " thread" was "plucked" anywhere it set up a " vibration" somewhere else, perhaps even in a different age.

    Strangely in one of his letters Saul had used those same two words.

    Now something in my own " souls' code" was telling me that it was time for Dads' story to come to light. Perhaps if I committed to this project I could discover some of the threads that he had set to vibrating long ago.

    I shared with Saul my thoughts about Dads development of what was called an " Electrodynamic Fan".

    This was a project that had been part of my life from my early teens into my twenties. I had thought that it held great promise, if not in fame for me.... at least for Dad and maybe fortune somehow for our family.

    However in November of 1967 Dad and I gave one demonstration of the " fan" technology for some military people at the notorious RAND building in Santa Monica. Suddenly, and without warning, the project was cancelled and Dad simply told me that perhaps it was better for me to " pursue my own career." The project was being " shut down".

    As the year turned to 2003 Saul responded "From the sounds of it, the whole enterprise has many of the elements of what makes this an interesting story. I suppose those themes of delay, struggle, doubt, manipulation and ultimately frustration were evident throughout your fathers life."

    He continued "The story is about the questions! Questions like...... How is it that so many things that your father discovered can find their way to the surface and then burst apart and vanish into the ether?"I had wondered that very thing.

  3. #3

    Re: Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????

    I have put the above section in red because I believe that this is one of the major questions that " Saul" asked that was NEVER appropriately answered.


  4. #4

    Re: Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????

    FORUM CHAPTER THREE Roadblocks and Detours

    It was April 2003. Saul and I had been communicating since November and that flow of work had resulted in a contract. Now I was thoroughly invested in seeing to it that he had the material that he needed to write a proper story.

    I had just carried the last of three rubber storage tubs out to my rental car. They were heavy, jammed with all of the papers that I thought would interest Saul and help him piece together the details of my Fathers life. In total there were 102 pounds of priceless family letters, photograghs, official papers, FBI reports, aged newspaper clippings and even old letters from my college years addressed to my parents and carefully saved by my Mother.

    George quietly watched me but he didn't volunteer to help at all. He had already told me that he didn't think that I needed to go to the expense of this trip. He knew that Saul and his wife were flying to Las Vegas from their home in Nashville and that I planned to meet them that evening at one of the larger hotels. I had booked a room for a couple of nights and now was getting a distinctly sullen attitude from my husband. He didn't want to go and he didn't want me to go either. Finally he burst out with what had been stuck in his craw since my association with Saul began. " If nobody was interested in your Dad's work while he was alive, why would anyone be interested now?"

    George's New England upbringing was bubbling to the surface. He could be equally rational and suspicious of strangers.

    He figured that if his scientific work hadn't somehow rewarded Townsend Brown and his family in a monetary way then Dads career had been a disappointment and a failure. This was one of those moments when George didn't spare my feelings. Perhaps his words were not meant to wound but, of course, they did.

    He and I had been together since the fall of 1967 and it was unusual for me to intentionally go counter to his wishes. The fact that I continued to load those tubs frustrated and angered him. It bothered me to see him so upset but this was a path I could not ignor.

    Chris Knight was the only one in my world at the time who shared my enthusiasm and faith in Dads work. He had continued to explore " electro-gravitation" while he was an undergraduate student at Ohio University and had begun a website he called "Soteria". I was completely computer illiterate but I could type fairly well so I had helped him post transcripts of the official documents that I had found in Dads beige filing cabinet. Chris had become the public spokesman for the " Brown Family" and the " keeper of the flame" for the Townsend Brown legacy.

    Months before he contacted me Saul had received a mysterious Email from someone named " Janoshek" suggesting strongly that he " look into Townsend Brown". The Email arrived the exact same day that Sauls first book was published. The timing was amazing. He was free to think of another project and oddly, like dominos falling against each other, the chain reaction had begun. The Universe seemed to race toward the moment that Saul and I would meet. At least, looking back, thats how both of us considered our first meeting. As if it was somehow "arranged" by a gentle sort of "synchronicity".

    I had seen a picture of Saul on the back cover of his first book so I recognized him immediately and we had communicated so much before that meeting that we felt we already knew each other. He had sent long letters which he had typed up on his computer and then printed out. I had simply responded in my distinctive hand printing. It was an arduous and time consuming process which I know tested Sauls patience. I promised him that as we moved into the future that I would learn to send Emails so that we could cut the "snail mail" time.

    The process that had started in November and now just six months later we stood together as old friends supervising the unloading of the car and accompanying the bellhop to the Kinders room on an upper floor. I stood close to the heavy luggage cart, unwilling to even take my eyes off the large tubs.

    I met his wife Sara* and as we exchanged polite pleasantries Saul set the boxes where we could reach them easily and opened each lid. There was a moment of silence as we regarded our chore. Where to begin? We were standing literally at the bottom of a mountain of material!

    Saul suddenly produced a small recorder. He waved it over his head with a flourish so that I would be sure to see it and asked my permission to turn it on. I hesitated, remembering a long ago lecture from Charles Miller* about the required security surrounding Dads work. That seemed to be Charles' main concern during my teenaged years. He advised me in a very serious tone that there would be various " ears" trained on me for years to come. " Some friendly" he scowled...." Some not! If you don't want something to be overheard.... just don't say it!"

    Now in the spring of 2003 I took a moment before I nodded my consent. Saul started recording. He and I had already signed a contract and part of the terms were that I would loan him family records and he would write a proper Biography about my Dads life and experiences. It was time to trust him. With the recorder running I wondered if our conversations were being recorded by someone else too.

    There were some things I knew that I would not be able to mention then. I realized that I was bound to protect the identities of a couple of people who were still active in the clandestine service and on another note I actually feared that I might wander off into areas that would be totally valid but that would be too " far out" for Sauls sensibilities and comfort zone. I didn't want him to pull a " Nick Cook" on me before he even began to write.

    There was alot I realized I had no way of explaining and besides, I didn't really know if some of the events I had witnessed were just random coincidences or part of a larger pattern. For example Dad and I sometimes met Col Philip Corso on a marina dock in Florida during the sixties and I understood that the two of them were somehow acquainted through Dads work. Thirty years later (1997) Col. Corso would write ( The day after Roswell) in which he stated that the FBI and Military Intelligence had been following Dads work since the 1920s when the discovery of the " Biefeld-Brown Effect" made space travel AND dimensional travel theoretically possible.

    I worried that Saul might lose interest in the project if Dads name was associated with YET ANOTHER unproven and wild tale. Corsos book incorporated ETs and UFOs instead of disappearing ships. I very carefully edited my words.

    Later Paul wrote " She starts on one subject and then suddenly pauses and switches to another, as if she has run into a road block and a detour sign."

    Still we found plenty to talk about freely as we began to work our way through the tubs of material.

    As the sole heir to not one but two substantial Zanesville Ohio family fortunes the local newspaper would have doted on Dad even if he had not been a precocious genius whose antics and activities made great copy! I smiled when I reread the story reporting that five year old Thomas Townsend Brown had peeled off his clothes and climbed into the fountain in the town square. Leaving his clothes behind as he " skinny dipped" became a life long passion for Dad, though I believe that was his last fountain experience!

    Dad loved water! Streams, Lakes, rivers, oceans, pools. He didn't care what form it took, salty or fresh, he was in it.
    And if the location was private enough his clothes were usually folded neatly at the waters edge!

    The highly redacted FBI files that Chris had secured through the Freedom of Information Act were not nearly as humorous. When I first read them I was stunned, then wounded and then angered, insulted and finally puzzled by their contents. Apparently the Bureau had spent years trying to snare Dad in some sort of nefarious activity. It was almost as if they were trying hard to present him as a criminal or scam artist!

    I seethed over a disparaging remark one agent had made about Dads " expensive, tailored suits". The inference was that it was all a part of Dads " scheme" to convince investors to believe that he was a "man of substance" when all he was interested in was fleecing them of their money! They mentioned the luxurious office of the Townsend Brown Foundation in Los Angeles in the early fifties. The implication was that it was all a "front", a "package" meant to lure innocent investors into a " risky scheme" surrounding such a wild subject as the propulsion system for " flying saucers". But I knew that Dad always dressed well in a professional setting. He was accustomed to having well equipped offices and fine stationary. The things that he naturally surrounded himself with were simply reflections of the way that he had been raised.

    Happily he was also a meticulous record keeper, a fact that one of the Bureaus own informants mentioned with admiration. At the end of YEARS of investigation all the FBI could say was that Thomas Townsend Brown had spent over a quarter of a million dollars of his own money on his research. They also added that he was not even drawing a salary and that he had consistantly returned all of his consultant earnings to the Townsend Brown Foundation*.

    I found other statements in the FBI reports that were difficult to understand. One anonymous informant claimed that Dad was dismissed from the Navy in 1942 for " self confessed acts of homosexuality". If this was TRUE then it pained me to think that my beloved father felt that he had to keep this secret from me. Did he think that I could not understand?

    But as I looked deeper into the FBI reports, nothing added up. Not only was the homosexual charge never mentioned again still another informant claimed that Dad had been seen " drinking and consorting with women" after he had divorced his wife. I hooted openly and defensively at the ridiculous charge, telling Saul then that Mother and Dad had never divorced. I believed then that they had been married for 57 consecutive years. Later our research proved me wrong!

    I did know however that the idea of my Dad " drinking alcohol" was patently false. He was extremely sensitive to hard liquour of any kind and more than a couple of sips simply made him sick.

    As we passed the photocopied pages from the FBI back and forth I noticed that one of the field offices had typed ESPIONAGE at the top of their report summary page. If that meant that they suspected Dad of being a spy then that was the most serious slur of them all. His patriotism and loyalty to his country had always been beyond question!

    There was a conversational lull while we tried to absorb the massive amount of information at hand. It was time for me to ask the question that had been in my mind for months. " What if Dad was working on something so secret that even his immediate superiors in the Navy wouldn't know about it?" I continued wondering aloud. " What would have happened if an outfit with a "deeper draft" had come along and simply said " We need Townsend Brown"

    I toyed with this idea some more as what I had said sank into Sauls conciousness.

    Would Dad have simply "disappeared" from his post at Norfolk and transferred quickly to his secret assignment? How long would this new life have continued? Perhaps it explained our lifelong pattern of sudden and aprupt relocations. No one could ever have guessed where Dad would go next.

    Saul began to look uncomfortable. He wrote much later of that moment . " Someone might have been listening in on our conversation. I looked around the room at the lamps, the telephone, the switch plates. I was not used to wondering such things."

    When we broke for dinner Saul made reservations for the three of us at an expensive restaurant wher he assured me that we would be able to talk privately. On our stroll to the restaurant he made a quiet but obvious production of looking around for anyone following us or attempting to evesdrop on our conversation. It was hard for me to conceal my amusement over his actions. I knew already that IF there was someone in fact following us we would never, ever, see them.

    I didn't want to spook Saul further but the cateteria style buffet would have been a better choice for thwarting surveillance. Anyone trying to keep track of our conversations would have had a struggle to hear above the din of families with children, piped in music and trundling carts going by. " Oh Well," I thought as I positioned myself at a beautifully set table, making sure that my back was to the wall......." I am not going to say much of anything anyway."
    Last edited by Linda Brown; August 6th, 2013 at 05:28 PM.

  5. #5

    Re: Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????

    CHAPTER FOUR Getting started... first memories.

    The next morning Saul and I carefully sorted papers. He had two empty suitcases with him and was prepared to hand carry as much of the material as he could manage on his flight home that evening. We agreed that I would take the balance and ship items to him as he needed them.

    We spent most of the day talking about how odd it was that there was such a difference in the stories about Dad being publically circulated.

    Many of the authors who had commented about Townsend Brown believed that he had left the Navy in 1943, just as William Moore had claimed. The biggest mystery facing us at that moment were the simple questions.... "WHY had William Moore written that? WHY had others jumped on the bandwagon without double checking Dads official departure from the Navy? Why wasn't someone actually doing the proper research?"

    We had the paperwork from the FBI files that indicated that he left the Navy in the fall of 1942. We knew from family records that he travelled almost directly and immediately to California to report to a classified section of Vega aircraft at Burbank. I had shown Saul a postcard that mother had sent to her parents while she was on that trip. Everything that had been handed out to the public about him leaving in 1943 and " going home to rest" was FALSE.

    Where had others gotten the information that Dad had " worked too long and too hard" suffered what was described by some as a "nervous breakdown" which necessitated him being sent home to rest with his resignation following shortly afterward?.

    The words I have paraphrased above were oddly familiar to me. Thats almost precisely what Dads best friend and genius mathematician had written in 1962. Beau Kitselman had self- published a little yellow book that he had called " Hello Stupid". In that he told the story of a " Commander B" who was far ahead of this time and very badly treated by the scientific establishment in the United States during the fifties. Basically Beau was telling people that some of the leading scientists in this country were too concerned about their funding process to actually be creative. It was obvious that William Moore had drawn his story about Dads departure from the Navy DIRECTLY from Beau Kitselman without citing his source AND without double checking it with other sources which would have been available to him..

    But then the larger question surfaced. WHY would Dads closest associate misdirect important information like that? The only answer that made sense to me was that he was laying down a trail which would direct others away from what had actually happened. That Beaus actions were meant to protect the history of what had actually happened during those years.

    Saul and I just looked at each other. What I had said about a " deeper draft vessel" and a REALLY BLACK Project began to look more and more rational.

    The rest of the public was led to believe that Dad had somehow been involved in something called the " Philadelphia Experiment" in the fall of 1943 and that he had left the Navy in some sort of protest over what the Navy was planning to do with the technology. Other writers picked up that theme and some of them repeated it and even expanded the story. Gerry Vassilatos went so far as to describe what was going through Dads mind at the time !*

    But was any of that true? Dad had reported to Vega. The FBI agents practically followed him to that firms entrance. Their reports clearly confirmed that. He met Beau Kitselman there along with a few others who apparently were part of Dads " working team" But quickly strange things happened. They all disappeared from view. It was as if he and his associates had walked in the front door of VEGA but disappeared later, somehow escaping through some sort of strange secret exit. His activities at the plant " disappeared" and the public, even years later, could not see through the escape which had been so carefully laid down.

    To express it in Navy terms that Dad would appreciate. They simply " blew smoke" and then steamed in another direction.

    Saul just shook his head " Sheeze".

    We decided at that moment that we had an enormous chore in front of us and that the best thing for us to do would be to simply and slowly trace the steps that we DID know. I was to follow and report on my memories as a kid and he was to continue trying to find official paperwork which would back up our other avenues.

    Paul developed an interesting visual for our process. We would slowly mix straw that we were collecting with mud and then form it all into strong bricks. We had to be patient and diligent he said " When we have enough straw in the mud we will start making adobe bricks and we will build a house that will be strong enough to stand the test of time." I believed him.

    My first chore was to write about my early childhood memories. Using other sources Saul was going to try to figure what Dad was actually up to. But we both realized that this "smoke screen" had been created and maintained through many years by experts and it was not going to be easily penetrated. Still the idea was enormously exciting!

    I soon discovered that my very first memory as a baby was the sight of the tidepools at the edge of the ocean. I must have been as fascinated by the sea as my father was because as a toddler I spent most of my time down on the beach in front of our home. I remember being focused on the all of the little things in the saltwater pools and I believe that my first memory of a particular taste... was that of saltwater.

    During the time that Saul and I researched my Dads path we were were told that Mother had been encouraged to leave her home in Burbank during May of 1945. Dad had kissed her good-bye in April but hadn't told her where he was having to go or how long he expected to be away. I can imagine how worried she must have been, He hadn't contacted her in weeks.

    But that May she received a cable which informed her that he had been injured. The cable address was " Intrepid" out of New York City. A close friend of hers from her days just before the war would be visiting soon the cable read.... and then the words were added..." Prepare to move".

    Once they were face to face Evelyn informed Mother that she had to leave the Burbank area. She was to pick another house a good distance away. It was to be something that she really liked and would also be a good place for her husband to spend his recovery. The organization that Evelyn represented would cover all of her expenses but she was not to tell any of her current friends where she was going. In fact, she was never to speak with them again.

    I have tried to imagine what that must have been like for Mother. She was thirty-five years old and faced with a sudden and strange move, a mysteriously injured husband and the knowledge that, after twelve years, she was expecting her second baby. My Mother apparently took it all in stride with a great amount of joy!

    The address of the new house was 1051 Marine Drive, Laguna Beach. She picked the artistic house because it was high on a bluff overlooking the ocean where she could hear the surf from any room and the breeze was cooling. There were steep stairs down to a private cove and when Townsend was finally able to join her in August she decided that she would use his love of the beach and those stairs to encourage him to grow stronger. She would help him to the beach in the morning where he would spend most of his time sunbathing, going back up those stairs in the afternoon.

    The war in Europe was over now and the conflict in the Pacific was drawing to a close. The future was finally bright. Josephine was determined to use her nursing skills to bring her husband back to full health.

    But his condition had been hidden even from his own twelve year old son. Before Townsend arrived at his new home Josephine sent Joseph to Washington DC in the company of Evelyn. He was to spend the balance of the summer with his relatives there. He and the rest of the family were told that Townsend had been in a serious auto accident and that he would have to spend months in recovery, ( It wasn't until I was able to research his steps that I learned that he had been shot in a covert operation which had gone " Pearshaped" just south of Berlin only days before the war ended.)

    Dad spent the summer on that special little beach, He slept in the shade of the large canvas umbrella that Mother had set up. She brought him his lunch at noon, always served in an artistic and appealing way. She made sure that his tray displayed the best china and silver and that fresh flowers were always there too. Basking on the sand was the best medicine for him, she recognized that. They spent weeks together on that beach and by late fall he was helping her by digging a hole in the sand for her expanding belly.

    Sometime during this recuperation period and for reasons undisclosed to others Townsend Brown was gripped with a desire to move his family to the then remote Territory of Hawaii. As his health improved he made frequent trips to the Library in Los Angeles researching the geography and climate of the various islands. Once his attention focused on the " Garden Island" of Kauai he proposed that his family relocate immediately!

    Mother refused. Now she had a fragile five pound baby girl ( me! <g>) to consider and she claimed that she needed to be near modern medical facilities. She was not budging.

    I would hear later that she told Evelyn "I could have strapped that baby onto my back and gone anywhere... I was not worried about her, she was a strong baby.... it was Townsends health that concerned me. I didn't want him getting hurt again."

    Frustrated by his failure to persuade Mother into going along with his plans Dad focused his energy into getting his ENTIRE family into one place....a sort of " staging area". He turned his attitude onto his widowed mother. Josephine had experienced "Mames" domineering and stubborn willfulness personally and she didn't think that her husband had the slightest chance of convincing the elder "Mrs. Brown" to uproot her position in the city of Zanesvilles social register and my brother Joseph wanted to keep as much distance between his Grandmother Brown and himself as possible. He told me years later that "Mame" had always been nasty and dismissive in his direction and he found it difficult, even impossible, to deal with her. He wanted to stay as far away from her as he could.

    Dad applied his talent and tenacity to the project though and somehow he convinced Grandmother Brown that travelling to a distant, remote island would be the adventure of a lifetime! To Mothers utter amazement ( and to Josephs despair) Grandmother Brown soon closed the house in Zanesville and had its contents placed into storage. She arrived in time to help celebrate my first birthday.

    Dad ran a masterful campaign and eventually won Mothers promise that the family could move when I was two years old. He immediately went to work planning the journey and organizing the packing lists. This was to be a " scientific expedition" he told Mame over and over, stressing that the family posessions could only be layered into the new black steamer trunks, or packed into the one suitcase that we were each allowed. That concept was not going over well with my Grandmother.

    He and Mame eventually struck a compromise. She could have an entire trunk to herself as well as one large leather suitcase. She understood that she was to forgo all but the barest of necessities required for the comfort of an elderly matriarch of he Victorian Era. These " essentials" included several silver framed photographs of her loved ones ,,, her favorite blue and white china and full silver service and a fine persian rug she had bought on her travels to the Orient.

    Our clan reached Kauai in November of 1947. We even had our family dog Ginger with us. Dad had pushed mothers time restriction up by a month!

    The four of us stayed at a hotel in Haena while Dad visited a military project at " Barking Sands". He never shared the result of that visit with us but, satisfied with what was happening there he set about finding a place for us to live. The more remote, the better.

    Ivy Nishimoto, the owner of a local grocery store told Dad that she had seventeen acres up a wild green canyon which was bordered by a gentle stream. Possibly she asked, would that be right for them? The property was exactly what Dad was looking for and he paid five years in advance to rent it, not even haggling about the price she had set. Of course it was only a dollar a year per acre.

    Dad ordered a giant military style tent to be delivered to the home site. It arrived on the same enormous Dodge Command Car that later served as our only transportation. That same truck hauled in our steamer trunks along with cases of canned food, cooking equipment. lanterns, kerosene, tarps, rakes, shovels and buckets, bags of concrete and lumber. The tent was soon pitched in a clearing by the stream and we started moving in. Even with five new cots on one side of the open space we still had room for everything else on the other side.

    I was just two years old but I have sharper memories of that spot than I do of many others which followed. I especially remember the day that Joseph and Dad hiked upstream to an enormous stand of giant bamboo. They cut and banded those long poles into a large raft and then floated all of this fresh building material down the stream to us. Mother, Grandmother and I greeted them at the small landing with whoops and shrieks of laughter. Mother later said that particular feat was one of the most impressive things that she had ever seen Dad do!

    They used the bamboo to fashion walls and extra living spaces. Dad also cut four large corner posts for an extension to the tent and I remember us setting them into place with great ceremony, Dad visited our old homestead nearly twenty years later and said that the jungle had reclaimed the house but the four corner posts had bloomed into magnificent trees!

    Mother was, of course, very concious of keeping us healthy. She made quite a production of having a campfire and boiling our drinking water. She abandoned that chore when she realized that Grandmother and I were sitting in the middle of the stream and drinking directly from it.

    Using the Command Car we hauled pure white sand up from the nearby beach and bucket by bucket we poured it out on the floor of our new home. Mother raked it smooth and flat and then Grandmother shook out her goreous rug and set it down. A visitor from Zanesville noted what she had done and was aghast at the sight. " Why Mame!" he spouted..." How could you do that? Its a DIRT floor!" By that time my staunch Grandmother had begun to enjoy Island life and Mother was very proud of her when the elderly woman drew herself up ( in the haughty manner that she had perfected), looked the visitor right in the eye and replied..." Thats pure white sand and if it was good enough for the Bedouins, its good enough for me!

    I also remember this very proper Grandmother dressed in a bright colored "MuMu" trying the experience of walking outside barefooted for the first time. She went a short distance and groaned but I caught her smiling as she put her lace up shoes back on. Soon she was going further and further without her shoes. But my favorite memory of Mary Bliss Townsend Brown was of the two of us sitting in the middle of that tropical sandy bottomed stream, I am splashing her in delight and yelling " Roll over Grandma! Roll over!

    It was a peaceful time and even Joseph remarked years later that Grandmother Brown had found a different life on the island and he thought that she was much happier there. Going barefooted and floating in the stream he thought had even " softened her up" toward him.

    Dad planted a garden and made arrangements for Moher to be invited to the various fish "pulls" that the islanders held occasionally and then suddenly he was gone. We lived by ourselves in that lonely canyon for a couple of years seeing Dad only on rare occasions.

    Grandmother was not able to stay on the Island with us though. She developed a serious diabetic complication which required her to return to the states. Dad escorted her to the same hospital where I was born and where , sadly, she soon lapsed into a coma and died. He was called away, for some undisclosed reason just before her death. Many of his Zanesville cousins never forgave him for not being with her when she passed away. I have come to believe that only something extremely important regarding national security during December of 1948 could have taken him from her deathbed.

  6. #6

    Re: Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????


    What had begun as a wonderful " Swiss Family Robinson" type of adventure sadly contributed to an irreparable rift between Joseph and Dad. Once the hut was built and the garden was planted there were long stretches of time where Dad was absent from our family life. My brother Joseph was just thirteen years old during that first year and suddenly he found himself without his Father and without friends of his age. It might have been paradise for the little kid that I was, but Joseph suffered.

    Out of her conern for him Mother finally brought us out of our island canyon isolation in 1950. She rented a small white shuttered cottage on the grounds of the old Sans Souci Hotel,located on the beach at the base of Diamond Head. The house provided us with lights that came on with the flip of a switch and running water that was available with the turn of a knob. I had to be encouraged NOT to constantly flush the toilet just to watch the water swirl around and disappear so magically!

    Suddenly there were other kids my age that I could play with. I was amazed and thrilled when I was invited to a birthday party for a daughter of Mr. Kitselman. These were all new and exciting experiences.

    Dad rarely visited but at least Joseph had highschool friends. There was a basketball league and he discovered that he was talented in that direction. He also quickly discovered that being the only haole boy in the class had a certain positive impact on his social standing. He was six feet tall, blonde and good looking with a wonderful broad smile. The island girls flocked to him. When he took a part time job in the nearby pineapple fields Mother worried that Joseph was working too hard. It was gruelling and difficult just being out in the sun and having to keep up with the constantly moving conveyer, quickly weilding the machete and tossing the heavy fruit on the belt, But Joe demonstrated that he could come home after a long day in the field, shower and immediately go out to play basketball with his friends.

    Mother and I were there at Josephs highschool graduation, but Dad was not.

    In my adult years I discovered an old photo of a nice looking man standing next to me in front of the fountain at the Sans Souci. He looked vaguely familiar to me. Suddenly I remembered that his name had been " Red". I asked Mother about him and she smiled as she took the photograph from me. I thought her expression was... wistful....." He asked me to divorce your Dad and to marry him" she said suddenly. "I actually thought about it for awhile and then I mentioned the situation to your father."

    I listened, fascinated. She had never mentioned her relationship with Red before.

    " I could tell that something major had happened at his lab and that it was urgent and important but I think that he figured suddenly that he couldn't ignor what had developed in my life. He listened to me and then told me that he wanted me to be happy. He told me that perhaps it would be better if I divorced him and stayed in Hawaii. He told me that he would understand."

    Then he looked at me and said something very strange. He said that if I stayed with him the next five years of our lives would be sheer hell." My Mother smiled in my direction when she said that and then whispered.... " Actually I couldn't imagine that the next five years could be any more difficult than what I had already been through."

    "Then Townsend just looked at me with those amazing crystal blue eyes and simply said " But I do love you. And you would miss me".

    My Mother suddenly laughed in the middle of her story..." Then I realized that no matter what... that he was right! I couldn't imagine a life without Townsend Brown in it".

    When Joe learned that Mom was staying with Dad and the plan was to move the family back to Ohio he reacted as if he had been stung. Although as adults he and I never talked about this turning point I was aware of his resentment toward our parents from that day forward. It still hurts to think of the questions that Joseph must have wanted to ask but never did . " Dad... why are you always gone? What do yo do that is more important to you than I am?" and then to Mother the question... " How could you choose him over me.... yet again?"

    While pouring over the reports covering the years that we were living in Hawaii it became clear to me that the FBI certainly had a much better idea of Dads activities than we did. We were hidden away in that remote canyon on Kauai and to us Dad was simply " gone" for months at a time. According to the redacted FBI reports I now have in my possession Townsend Brown had been a very busy person. He had travelled repeatedly from Washington DC to Hawaii but he rarely came "home."

    Some reports mentioned that there had been a very high level and secret demonstrations of " new technologies" at Barbers Point in Hawaii. One was described in laymans terms as a sort of " carnival ride". an arrangement of silver discs flying around a "maypole", a strange and wondrous propulsion system without any wings or moving parts! Some of the interviewees for the FBI expressed their opinion that THIS was the secret to the " flying saucers" which had been so much in the news fo the day but hidden within those spectacular reports was an almost casual mention of a " communications device" which was " instantaneous". They reported that it had been referred to as an " electrogravitic radio."

    While searching for information to send to Saul I was contacted by some individuals who stepped forward with additional information but who have requested that their identities remain sheltered. What they told me has matched and supplemented the FBI reports that Chris had earlier gotten through the Freedom of Information Act.

    According to these matching sources......

    There had been a second series of important meetings set up expressly for high level Navy persons.Beau Kitselman had arranged the meetings after he and his group of students had built an operating "Gravitor" These meetings were intended to be TOP SECRET. Dads own security network had brought to his attention the fact that there had been a serious and devastating breach. An inappropriate personal relationship between a high ranking Naval officer and a lowly Janitor at Barbers Point had allowed sensitive information on that demonstration to leak out. The embarassing "pillow talk"situation reached the ears of a person working for one of the permier Russian spy rings.

    I was told that when the security breach was discovered Beau Kitselmans group reported that my mild mannered father slammed his fist repeatedly on the desk of the Admiral in charge, saying angrily that the loss of security was " Tatamount to treason".

    Dad believed that news of this vital technology was most likely in the pipeline, bound for Moscow.

    I am not sure how long it took him develop his plan to counter this potentially fatal leak but once he concieved it it is obvious to me that Dad devoted his entire essence to implementing it. And when Mother hugged him and said that she would stay with him for the " duration" she added her complete support to his effort.

    Dad had decided to openly discredit himself and his work by publically associating himself with the " Flying Saucer fringe element", He devised what he later called his " wounded prarrie chicken routine.( Just as a grouse hen leads predators away from its precious eggs by flopping around with what looks like a broken wing, So too would Townsend Brown present himself to the world for the next five years, He would be the lame inventor demonstrating " flying saucer nonsense"

    Joseph and I of course knew nothing of this development but we could not miss the resulting strain that permeated our home life.

    Our return to Zanesville Ohio was not a triumphant one and even if Joseph had wanted to defend his father he could not have made a dent against the oppressive small town gossip mill. " Imagine.... the family hasn't a dime anymore! That huge family forutne just squandered away. The Townsend cousins have had to put them up at the Sharongate farm. What a shame! If Townsend is so smart, why isn't he rich?" wrote one of Mothers old highschool girlfriends to another.

    Mothers sister Sally had married and moved into her parents home while the Beales remained in Washington. Her family included two strapping boys, a younger sister and all of the activities that represented. When she and her husband Loren invited Joseph to live with them that summer he immediately repacked his bags. And on that fall day that Joseph enrolled in Oho University it was Uncle Loren who drove him south to Athens. Dad was elsewhere, as usual.

    Years later some of those Zanesville relatives would tell me that Joseph was bitter about Dads wanton dissapation of the family fortune which he believed rightfully should have been preserved and passed on to him as his rightful inheritence. This was a bitterness that remained into Joes adult life.

    The truth of the lost family wealth didn't actually surface until Saul and I spent an entire day in Zanesville thumbing through the official tax rolls doing our research for the biography. Joseph had never heard that it was Mames brothers who had eroded both the Townsend and the Brown family fortunes. The depression had hit the quarry business hard and properties had been sold at auction to satisfy tax liens. Even the pompous well meaning Uncle who had advised Dad that he should forget his science and " tie down to business" had suffered reversals so severe that he solved his problems by "falling out of a second story window in Zanesville...." alighting" the local newspaper so delicately put." on his head". " An unfortunate accident" they reported.

    A sad and common story during the depression but certainly not as scintillating as the more curren version which was that the grand family fortune had been spent to support the silly " Flying Saucer Pipe Dreams" of T. Townsend Brown.

    Mother suffered through the humiliation of living on the charity of his relatives. That summer she and I busied ourselves painting the large portch on the enormous farmhouse that summer as sort of a "thank you" tor the "roof over our heads" Dad again was but sending letters of encouragement, but no money...." This is the hardest ordeal yet and I may or may not win! " he wrote and then he added in bold letters "I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH."

    Meanwhile the FBI and I am sure other agents held a vigil on Dads activities. The FBI admitted to having a "mail cover" on everything that was being sent to and from Dad. What they had to report was that the man was broken financially.

    Joseph worked his way through the school year, bussing tables in the cafeteria, By the time he graduated he had decided that he was bascially on his own and that things were never going to improve between himself and his father, We would see less and less of Joseph through the years. This period of estrangement was always one of Mothers greatest sorrows.

    That situation eased a little when Joseph had his own family and sons. He did try to spend time with Dad while we lived on Santa Catalina Island in the early eighties but the closeness that they might have shared in earlier years had been lost.
    Last edited by Linda Brown; August 7th, 2013 at 01:06 AM.

  7. #7

    Re: Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????

    In rereading the above I see that I have persisted in making typos even after checking the text over and over.. I just have to smile I guess. Some have said thats the way the recognize that its me doing the typing!

    These are just the first five chapters out of 44. Perhaps they have given you an idea of the many questions which popped up.... even in those first few chapters. Some of them were eventually answered and some are still mysteries.

    Thanks for the time that you have taken to read these words. When you see the name of Townsend Brown I hope that you will consider them. Linda

  8. #8

    Re: Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????

    I have been encouraged to post the section of the rewrite which will cover the mid fifties and my Dads activities in the Washington DC area, which seems to be of great interest to some of you. Remember that what I am writing about here was from my view of a nine and ten year old girl. Much has been written about what my Dad and his associates were doing.... few have written from this particular perspective.

    Thanks for your interest. A few more chapters coming up. Linda

  9. #9

    Re: Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????


    The strident cables flashed between Washington and the Hawaiian office of the FBI claimed that Townsend Brown was "operating in the Twilight Zone" and their records indicate that they followed him doggedly from Honolulu to Los Angeles and then Ohio and finally Washington DC. By 1954 all that was left for them to say was that Brown had started a "Laundry business" and had been professing to anyone who would listen that he was " finished with science forever."

    The agent who had tracked Dad for nearly five years had his doubts about the laundry. This insightful gentleman had gotten to know my Dad through the time that he monitored Dads every move. He wrote to his supervisors " The man has spent his entire life on his scientific work and I think that he will not give up this easily". The agent suggested that the file be left open but his supervisors disagreed, soon withdrawing the surveillance.

    Mother and Dad had named their new business the " Embassy Laundry" because it was near Embassy row and drew most of its customers from those large houses with bright colored flags flying at their gates.

    It was not the standard " wash it yourself" laundromat. All of the machines were new, of course, and the walls were sparkling white. That would have been expected, but at the entrance to the "laundry" there were large comfortable leather chairs positioned next to reading lamps and a good selection of books on nearby shelves. The mini wall which separated the "reading room" from the folding tables and machines were topped by an enormous aquarium.

    When I was able to visit my parents "at work" I did my best to be helpful. There were many instances when Dad ran the machines for his customers and I took great pride in how well an eight year old could " fluff and fold" entire orders. I missed my parents and loved being with them in that colorful atmosphere. Many of Dads customers spoke different languages and some wore unusual costumes. Unfailingly they treated Dad with a great amount of respect, as if he was their honored host and not just a shop keeper.

    That spring and summer of 1954 I lived with my Grandparents, Clifford and Sara Beale, on the other side of town. Mother and Dad were staying at a townhouse in Georgetown. I did not understand why we were living apart and was disappointed. I thought when he collected us from the lonely farmhouse on the river road outside of Zanesville that we would all be together again...( except for Joseph, of course). Dad explained that the French gentleman who owned the Townhouse had many priceless antiques there and would not allow children to visit.. He told me that since he and Mother were guests there he had to honor the mans wishes. I said I understood, but truthfully, I did not.

    Dad went on to explain that I would have a good time at my Grandparents home. I didn't really buy into that thought either.

    The enormous Tudor styled home on Greenwich Parkway was so quiet that I could hear the Grandfather clock ticking from almost anywhere on the first floor. The stairs to my room creaked. I couldn't even begin to imagine what those empty halls and silent rooms had been like during the war.

    Mother told me that when she lived there all of the extra bedrooms had been rented out. The three on the third floor were for the men. The three spacious rooms on the next floor were for the young girls who had left their hometowns to become secretaries in war-time Washington DC. She told me that the rooms were actually occupied " in shifts". " The beds never even got cold!" she laughed!

    Grandmother Beale kept the kitchen going nearly twenty-four hours a day. She also looked after my brother at the time while Mother worked as a courier. The men and women assigned to Washington offices appreciated the homelike atmosphere. Grandmother kept them all well fed and my stately whitehaired Grandfather had acted as sort of the house authority and father figure. In a time of such stress in the days following Pearl Harbor they must have been a wonderful comfort, but all of that history didn't help one lonely little girl years later.

    One afternoon I simply decided that I was going to walk to the laundry to surprise my parents. I soon got turned around. Things looked different when I was being driven. I now had a walkers perspective. I wandered from one neighborhood into the next. It started getting dark. To make matters even worse I had become aware that there was a big dark car following me. I walked faster. Finally the black Cadillac eased up to the curb beside me and the driver rolled down his window. " Are you lost little girl?" He had a kindly voice but I wasn't going to answer him. I wasn't supposed to speak to strangers and I sure wasn't going to admit to being lost!. I clenched my teeth and kept walking!

    He eased the car up a little closer and waved toward a nearby building. " Do you see those stairs on that corner there? Thats the police station. You need to go in there and ask them to call your parents."

    The last of my courage fled at that advice! " But I don't know their phone number!" I wailed.

    The stranger parked, got out and walked me up the stairs to the station. Once we got inside he took off his soft leather hat and gloves and pointed to a chair against the wall. "You sit down over there. and DON'T YOU MOVE."

    He spoke with the officer on duty and then whirled around, pulled his hat back on with a firm tug and marched straight out the door. He never even looked my way!

    The rich gentleman was obviously angry with me and the policeman seemed to have better things to do than to talk to me. It looked like I was going to be left alone for a long time. I considered getting up and leaving but the stranger had sounded like he meant what he said. I sighed and stared at the floor.

    Minutes later the station door burst open and Mother came rushing in! I flew into her arms and clung to her, sobbing .....saying over and over again how sorry I was! Dad was there too, patting my back and waiting for my tears to stop. When I had hiccupped out my last sob he spoke with the policeman and we all walked out together. Mom and I were squeezing each others hands as hard as we could.

    " We are not going to mention this to your grandparents" Dad said sternly. " They think that you have been with us all this time. In fact we are not going to mention this again, at all" He never raised his voice but he sounded different. I understood that he was really, really upset and I was sure that I was the one who had angered him. I was mortified that I had caused this kind of concern and in the middle of my shame I forgot to ask how it was that he and Mom had known how to find me.

    My parents did not keep the business open much longer. In future years Dad would proclaim that he had done more laundry in a few months than most housewives did in a lifetime. Other than that they never mentioned the Embassy Laundry again.

  10. #10

    Re: Comments on the Rewrite of " The Good-Bye Man" ????

    FORUM chapter seven

    Our new home in Leesburg, Virginia was just wonderful as far as I was concerned. Mother was happy with what she described to her parents as a " charming cottage on Cornwall Street." She had unpacked in a flash and that same day had secured a good position with a local businessman as his office manager. She could easily walk to work from the cottage.

    Dad was still spending most of his time in Washington and had leased a small apartment on Dupont Circle but he made it a point of coming to stay with us on the weekends. The little town of Leesburg was quaint and friendly and all was well in my world again!

    If they hadn't expected me to go to school consistantly everything would have been perfect!

    I know that I started the first grade in Hawaii in 1951. I have a receipt from the Jefferson school, Territory of Hawaii , to prove it! But the schools that I attended and the places that we lived after that are a blur to me. Mother had ruled that anytime we lived anywhere for more than one week I was to be enrolled in the local school.

    So I attended public schools named after presidents, private schools named for nearly forgotten benefactors, and even church schools named after Saints. I became an expert in bringing home papers to be signed by my parents. If I thought that we were not going to be around for very long I simply signed the danged things myself. I would just scribble an illegible signature in the appropriate blank, or even better... skip whole days in the classroom and simply hang out in the local library. No one ever missed me.

    This period of rampant academic anarchy seemed to last a lifetime but it all came to an end in Leesburg.

    When my new classmates shunned me, saying.... " She's just so strange. Shes not even from around here." I simply resumed my old habits. I investigated the little town, visited the statue of the Confederate Soldier in front of the courthouse, and got a soda at the corner drug store. I explored the back alleyways that crisscrossed the town. I walked through Mitchells department store to check for model plastic horses and if I didn't have enough money for those I would buy marbles which I would push across the floor at home, imagining that each spinning marble was a galloping wild horse.

    I had seen my first horse and rider in Hawaii when a polo player happened to ride up to speak to my parents at the field that was near our home. I remembered seeing the flashing four legs first and when my gaze took in the entire sight the first thing that came into my head was..... I want to RIDE. That first passion, kindled then, was finding more fuel in the horse country of northern Virginia.

    I soon discovered that the Mitchells kept a pinto pony in a small pasture behind their store and I was fascinated. And then I was in love! I would stroke his solid flanks, sweeping my hands across his handsome brown and white coat and marvelling at his warm sweet smell and the way his skin and muscles joined in such a trim package. I fed him carrots smuggled from home and combed his mane with my fingers. I went to sleep at night imagining how it would be to ride bareback across fields, bounding through streams and clearing fallen logs with a single leap! In my dreams no Saturday serial movie show.... no cowboy- and- indian trick riding stunt was beyond what my pinto and I could do! Sadly, when I finally coaxed my friend to the fence and climbed on his broad back for our first ride together he showed not interest in galloping and bounding, much less in any sort of leaping whatsoever. I forgave him because I knew that he was an older pony and from that point on I just settled for sitting on his smooth back as he grazed.

    Our doorbelle rang on a rainy Saturday in November. When I opened the door I found myself looking into the brightest and bluest eyes that I had ever seen. The slight young woman in the dashing leather trench coat shook the rain from her soaked auburn ringlets, "Hello! You must be Linda. I'm Helen Towt" she announced. "Is Josephine at home?"

    There was a fifteen year difference in age between Mother and Helen but they had attended the same high school in Zanesville.. Mother had already married and left home when Helen was a senior at Lash. I thought that they had never met but they laughed together like old friends. When Dad came home Mother introduced Helen and soon they were exchanging pleasantries about their experiences in the Navy during he war and then suddenly.... zip.... zap..... an arrangement was ageed upon right then. That same afternoon Helen moved her single suitcase into the guest bedroom. Years later Mother would smile over the memory of that young womans entrance into our lives and would recall that she was the lady who " came for lunch, and stayed for three years."

    My days as the town truant came to an end soon thereafter. Helen had been working for Judge Phillips since she had left her position at Wright Patterson. The Judges' law office just a block away from our new home. I began to stop there after school so that we could walk home together, She asked me interesting questions about what I had learned that day and suddenly I began to pay attention to my classes so that I would have something to report to her.

    Helen has a strong love of books and history which crept into almost every conversation. She bought a plastic model horse for me as a birthday gift and included several " Black Stallion" books by Walter Farley. She followed these later with other books about figures in ancient history, Alexander the Great especially. She always connected the main characters with the horses that they rode. I was probably the only kid in the school who could name the various horses that each of the civil war generals rode...as well as quote information about the grey horses which pulled Cleopatras charriot.

    Helen became my best friend. When she stressed to me that actually attending school was important I began to agree with her. Before long I was getting As and Bs in school and attending every day. I am sure that my parents breathed a deep sigh of relief.

    We didn't have a TV in the house so during the week we listened to the radio after dinner and Mother, Helen and I played cards.
    Helen was a wicked card player and one of her favorite games was something called " Russian Bank". The game had to be played quickly and intuitively. If one player made an error during his turn the other could yell " Stop!" and take over the valuable turn. I was a slow, plodding opponent, afraid of making that one mistake. I knew that she was sharply watching my every move. But Helen had no patience with that! " Linda! You have got to make your moves the way that you play tennis! You can't think about your every step. You just have to hit the darned ball! Trust your intuition! You ALREADY KNOW what the best move is, even if you don't realize it conciously. Just trust yourself and play!

    On his weekend visits Dad began to speak of a trip to Europe that he was planning to take, and for some reason he decided that Mothers " charming cottage on Cornwall Street" was not going to be appropriate for the three of us while he was gone.

    "I think that I have found the ideal place". He said... "Its just a few miles out of town". He continued to say that "Montresor" served as a boarding school for nine months out of the year and a riding camp during the summer. THAT certainly got my attention! The owners of the place were remodeling the upstairs of what had originally been the carriage house for the estate. Dad said that the three bedroom apartment would be ready for us by early spring and they had even be able to include some special features for us. One was a specially built larder and the other was a creative "pass through window" between the kitchen and the livingroom. Dad had ordered a brick facade to be installed on the kitchen side, complete with shutters on what looked like a Bistro window. " If you can't go to Paris with me"... he said to Mother...." Maybe I can bring a little of Paris to you!"

    Truthfully I didn't give a flip about the special Bistro window in the new apartment. What mattered most to me was that they had REAL horses ( about forty of them!) As soon as we moved in I went straight to the stables and worked out a deal with the riding instructor. I promised her some very enthusiastic work around the stable... whatever she needed done.... for the occasional riding lesson. She agreed with that as long as there was a vacancy when a scheduled student failed to show up. Many times I found myself disappointed by a last minute arrival. Handing over a pony at the last minute was tough but I figured that it was still worth it. w

    The time that I spent grooming horses and mucking out stalls far outweighed the saddle time I got in return but I was so happy to have my hands on live horseflesh I had absolutely no complaints. When Dad got wind of the deal that I had made he secured arrangements for private prepaid lessons every weekend. I appreciated that so much but I still worked in the barn as well.

    I loved Montresor but was totally intimidated by the owner of the estate and school. She had a very aloof manner toward me which I couldn't understand. Daddy told me not to take it personally saying " She deals with students every day Sweetie and she has to maintain her distance as an authority figure." That was OK with me, I thought. She could have as much room as she wanted. I didn't like her.

    Soon we were in the routine of living on that beautiful estate. Mother, Helen and I would drive into Leesburg in the morning. They would drop me at the Elementary school and go on to their respective jobs on Leesburgs main street. After school I would play in town until they got off work and we would drive home. It was a very simple routine and I was thriving.

    Dad still joined us for the weekends but this time he was brought out by a chauffeur driven sedan. Normally he arrived on Saturday morning just as I was finishing my riding lesson. If I was still mounted I could see the big black car as it turned down the road on the far side of the pasture. Most of the time Daddy was alone in the back seat but sometimes someone else rode with him.

    On one particular Saturday he was accompanied by Dr. Robert Sarbacher. I had met that gentleman when he visited the Embassy laundry. I watched in sort of a stunned amazement as the owner of Montresor rushed out to meet the car. She was animated and speaking quickly in french, obviously delighted to see him. Dr. Sarbacher responded to her in the way a long time friend would.... and he spoke entirely in french. I couldn't get over the change in her attitude.

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