Archive - July 2009

1
The Peace Corps Gets Vaccinated, Part 9
2
What They Wrote About Michelmore in America, Part 8
3
PCV Aubry Brown Shows Them How, Part 7
4
Marjorie Confronts William Sloane Coffin In Puerto Rico, Part 6
5
Living Like Hemingway
6
Hanging Out With The RPCVs On The Hill This Summer Day
7
Nigerian PCVs Make Their Decision, Part 5
8
Review: Travel Book by RPCV Starley Talbott
9
Panic at Idlewild As Michelmore Arrives, Part 4
10
Review of Joe Monninger (Upper Volta [now Burkina Faso] 1975-77) ) Hippie Chick

The Peace Corps Gets Vaccinated, Part 9

In a memorandum to Sargent Shriver–attached to an Evaluation Report on Morocco (1963) done by Ken Love–and written by the legendary early Peace Corps Director of Evaluations, Charlie Peters, Charlie wrote, “Marjorie was as sensitive and as intelligent a Volunteer as we ever had in the Peace Corps.” The lesson that was learned by the Peace Corps was that “even the best young people can be damned silly at times.” According to Gerard T. Rice in the first serious study of the agency and its creation entitled, The Bold Experiment: JFK’s Peace Corps, “The President’s personal support helped the Peace Corps weather its first storm.” Kennedy hand written note to Michaelmore said, “We are strongly behind you and hope you will continue to serve in the Peace Corps.” At the Peace Corps HQ the feeling was that the agency had weathered this early storm. Warren Wiggins would write, “The greatest . . .

Read More

What They Wrote About Michelmore in America, Part 8

Segments of the U.S. Press were all over the postcard incident. The U.S. News and World Report wrote,” From the moment of its inception, despite laudable aims, the Peace Corps was bound to run into trouble.” They condemned the naiveté of the entire concept and claimed, “this is only the first big storm.” Commonweal wrote in an editorial “The problem involved is really bigger than the Peace Corps for it reflects the gap that exists between the wealthy U.S. and most of the rest of the world. Given this fact, incidents like the postcard affair are bound to happen.” Former President Eisenhower added his two cents, saying the “postcard” was evidence of the worthlessness of Kennedy’s new idea However, columnist James Weschsler of the New York Post came to the aid of the Peace Corps and Marjorie. “Nothing in the card was sinister. It contained the instinctive expression of horror . . .

Read More

PCV Aubry Brown Shows Them How, Part 7

Peace Corps Volunteer Aubry Brown, who had had training and experience in non-violence resistance in the late fifties, led the Volunteers, and the Nigerian students, out of this confrontation over the postcard by the end of October, 1961. The Nigerian PCVs were take some meals and sleeping in the dormitories of the University, but they were isolated and shunned by the Nigerian students. Then Aubry Brown told the Nigerian students in his dorm that he would not eat if they would not eat with him. The Nigerians, seeing that Brown wasn’t eating, began to bring dinner trays to his room. Still he refused to eat. Next they invited him to join them at meals. Other Volunteers and Nigerian students began to eat meals together. Slowly, a dialogue began between the students and the Volunteers which was, as Murray recalls, “more valuable than if the incident had not taken place.” Other Nigerians came to . . .

Read More

Marjorie Confronts William Sloane Coffin In Puerto Rico, Part 6

At Idlewild Tim Adams, Ruth Olson and Betty Harris convince Margorie to go to Puerto Rico. Michelmore agreed to go for a ‘few days’ and Tim informed Shriver, telling Sarge he would keep in touch. He boarded the plane with Ruth Olson and Marjorie, thinking that once he was on the plane to Puerto Rico, he’ll be okay. Tim was wrong. On the plane, Adams recognized Carl Mydans. It the time Mydans was a famous photojournalist, one of the giants for Life Magazine. Adams thinks: this is not a coincidence. With Mydans was a beautiful young woman reporter, Marjorie Byers. They are in first class. Of course, this is Life Magazine. When they are airborne, Carl walks back from first class to talk to Tim who is riding in coach. [Of course, he works for the Peace Corps.] “Carl is such a gentleman,” Tim says, “I finally relented and we were . . .

Read More

Living Like Hemingway

The other day The Boston Globe published an op-ed by one of my favorite RPCV writers, Roland Merullo (Micronesia 1979-80), about one of my favorite non-RPCV writers, Ernest Hemingway, and one of my favorite towns, Key West. The op-ed was a must read for me but I couldn’t get it off the net, but then today it arrived in the mail, sent by a dear friend at Harvard. It came a day after Ernie’s 110 birthday, if anyone is still counting. Well, I am. Happy Birthday, Ernie! Roland Merullo had gone to Key West for the first time in his life. (God, this guy can go to Micronesia twenty plus years ago and it takes him this long to get around to Key West!) Anyway… Roland and his family visits Whithead Avenue and Ernie’s and Paulne’s (Pfeiffer) big rambling house that was a tourist site even when Hemingway lived in Florida. Now, with Ernie long . . .

Read More

Hanging Out With The RPCVs On The Hill This Summer Day

If you have nothing better to do–or if you have something  better—what would be best is if you dropped by the Capitol Visitor Center today, Wednesday, July 22, at 2:30 for an hour long reception that the Peace Corps is throwing for the Capital Hill Staff and Interns to try and talk them into joining the Peace Corps (no wonder Congress can’t get anything done; they are always partying in the middle of the day.)  Telling  tall tales from when they were PCVs will be Senator Chris Dodd (Dominican Republic 1966-68); and Congressmen: Tom Petri (Somalia 1966-68); Sam Farr (Colombia 1964-66); Mike Honda (El Salvador 1966-67); and Steve Driehaus (Senegal 1988-90). If  you want to contact HQ for details on this reception email:Dwesterhof@peacecorps.gov. The agency expects about 200 (not counting  you) to show up. And if you go, look for Allison Price, who runs the Peace Corps’ Office of Communications, say hello and ask her a difficult question, or just . . .

Read More

Nigerian PCVs Make Their Decision, Part 5

Meanwhile back at Murray Frank’s home, the PCVs had assembled and were trying to understand the intense reaction of the Nigerians. Nigeria, newly independent, was surrounded, as Murray put it, “with the visages of the colonial period, including and especially white people who symbolized a colonial past.” What had quickly emerged in Nigeria was a self-image based on their new freedom, especially among the young intellectuals. These students, and others, were asking: how could the Americans help us if they were writing letters home about them? While many of the new PCVs had experienced student protests in the U.S. they were still unprepared for what was directed at them. Could they survive the postcard? They didn’t know. They began to ask themselves: why stay when so many students wanted them to leave? Other PCVs said. We know Nigeria needs teachers. We can teach. We are not imperialists, nor CIA agents, . . .

Read More

Review: Travel Book by RPCV Starley Talbott

Four Corners: The Vineyards and Wineries of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado by Starley Talbott (South Afirca 2001) Plainstar Press March 2009 182 pages $24.95 Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975–77 ) Starley Talbott’s new book Four Corners: The Vineyards and Wineries of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado is a prize for wine lovers and travelers. If you have ever considered a road trip around the Southwest, this is the book to take. After a fascinating introductory history about wine making in the Four Corners region, the author methodically studies thirty-five local wineries, offers beautiful color photographs, local history and valuable interviews. Using Talbott’s guide, one will not only know where wineries (and tasting rooms) are but will already know the proprietor’s names and stories. Armed with that knowledge, a traveler can expect better conversation and maybe a kind gesture. Good listeners (and readers) are always treated . . .

Read More

Panic at Idlewild As Michelmore Arrives, Part 4

Tim Adams arrived at Idlewild Airport to a terminal overwhelmed with press people carrying tape recorders, cameras and microphones. Michelmore and Ware were about to touch down on a BOAC flight and Adams saddled up to a group of reporters and asked innocently, “Who’s coming in?” Adams thought it might be Grace Kelly, then due back in the States. “It’s that Peace Corps girl,” someone said and Tim’s heart dropped. Slipping away from the reporters, Adams pulled out his official government Peace Corps ID and got past the customs officials and when the BOAC flight landed pulled Marjorie and Dick Ware into an empty room. The reporters, however, could see them on the other side of Customs, see Tim frantically telephoning Shriver at the Peace Corps Headquarters. Tim asked what he should do. Shriver told him, “Tim, I don’t want the press talking to Michelmore.” Adams told Shriver that there . . .

Read More

Review of Joe Monninger (Upper Volta [now Burkina Faso] 1975-77) ) Hippie Chick

Hippie Chick by Joseph Monninger ((Upper Volta [now Burkina Faso] 1975-77) and published by FRONT STREET Press in Asheville, North Carolina is reviewed by W Tucker Clark PCV (Nepal 1967-70) When John Coyne said I have a former PCV’s book called Hippie Chick to review, I had visions of having an insight into my 1960’s former life. When it came–as a nice short 156 pages novel–I immediately started reading this tale of Lolly, a 15 year old ‘hippie daughter of a hippie woman,” who loves to sail her Boston Whaler solo in the Florida Keys. On one of these full moon later afternoons, Lolly hits an underwater obstacle and her boat is impaled and the mast breaks. She is knocked unconscious, and like the spat of movies about being shipwrecked, she is alone in the ocean, desperate and afraid of circling sharks. Hippie Chick reads like a true-life survival account, except Lolly has typical . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.