Author - John Coyne

1
Marjorie Confronts William Sloane Coffin In Puerto Rico, Part 6
2
Living Like Hemingway
3
Hanging Out With The RPCVs On The Hill This Summer Day
4
Nigerian PCVs Make Their Decision, Part 5
5
Review: Travel Book by RPCV Starley Talbott
6
Panic at Idlewild As Michelmore Arrives, Part 4
7
Review of HIPPIE CHICK by Joe Monninger (Upper Volta )
8
Meanwhile, Back In Washington PC/HQ Waits for Marjorie Michelmore, Part 3
9
APCD Murray Frank In The Middle, Part 2
10
NPCA's Green Acres

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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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, . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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Review of HIPPIE CHICK by Joe Monninger (Upper Volta )

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 . . .

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Meanwhile, Back In Washington PC/HQ Waits for Marjorie Michelmore, Part 3

One of the early staff  of the Peace Corps that I spoke to about the post card incident was Warren Wiggins, then the Associate Director for the Office of Program Development and Operations, and later to be the Deputy Director. Wiggins told me that the staff in 1961 were waiting for something to happen overseas with the Volunteers. Too many young people were overseas, he said, and there “had to be” an incident of some kind. On the afternoon of October 15, 1961, they got their incident when word reached Washington about Marjorie Michelmore and her postcard. Gathering at HQ on that October Sunday afternoon, the senior staff was initially worried about Marjorie’s life, as well as the lives of the other Volunteers. Wiggins also realized that “The Peace Corps could be thrown out at any moment. It could be the domino theory–first we’re kicked out of Nigeria, then out of Ghana, . . .

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APCD Murray Frank In The Middle, Part 2

A couple of Nigeria I Volunteers hitched a ride from the University College of Ibadan to APCD Murray Frank’s home with the news about the postcard. Protests were beginning on campus they told Murray; Volunteers were being ostracized. This was clearly not a training issue, and now Murray Frank was in charge of what to do next. Frank had arrived in Ibadan early in October. While Volunteers were settling into dormitories at the University of Ibadan (then part of the University of London and called University College of Ibadan) to continue the training started at Harvard, he was arranging for Volunteer assignments. This meant Murray would visit a potential location, meet the principal and staff, establish that there was a position for the Volunteer to fill, and check out living conditions. By Friday, October 13, he was just getting started with this work, and also learning who the new Volunteers . . .

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NPCA's Green Acres

I was on a conference call yesterday sponsored by the NPCA and their new Africa Rural Connect (ARC) “experiment” which is, they write, a  “global collaboration. We put our collective thoughts together to assemble the best business plan for agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa.” This project — with website — is being paid for with a $400,000 grant from the Gates Foundation, and is managed for the NPCA by Molly Mattessich (Mali 2002–04) who also runs their website, PeaceCorpsConnect. In on the conference call was RPCV Arlene Mitchell (Niger 1974–76) senior Program Officer in the Agricultural Development Market Access team in the Gates Foundation. She was, more or less, the ‘authority’ on the call. Additionally, there were several other RPCVs on the one hour call who had real life farming experience in Africa, and are with NGOs that work daily with trying to grow food and find water in Africa. The problem for me on . . .

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