TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN
By Edward Mycue (Ghana I)
Myth becomes parable evolving to symbol in the story of TURTLE who is holding up the world: one nameless fabled old lady explained what upheld the turtle: it’s turtles all the way down she asserted.
I have told my story before, meeting John Fitzgerald Kennedy, US SENATOR, in 1960 as a Boston University graduate student under a fellowship from the Lowell Institute for Cooperative Broadcasting when I served as an intern at WGBH-TV then on the M.I.T. campus and (prior to the establishment of PBS — Public Broadcasting System) the linchpin of the Network for Educational Television (NET).
The first time Kennedy was seeking the Democrat Party nomination for US PRESIDENT and the second time was after he became the nominee for president. Both times he came to WGBH-TV to appear on the New England News program helmed by Louis Lyons, curator for journalism of the Nieman Journalism Foundation, Harvard; I was the assistant on this program switching between cameras and whatever else an assistant program director had to do.
On the first one, Lyons spoke about the idea proposed by Hubert Humphreys of what would be called later a Peace Corps, something similar to the program of the American Friends Service Committee abroad. In response, Senator Kennedy replied with good humor that even though another candidate might have supported it first he’d support any good ideas no matter who’d suggested them, adding: ‘WHEN I AM PRESIDENT, I will start such a program” as he cocked his handsome head to one side, smiling and with a muted chuckle (you know like the cat that ate the cream). I was 23 then and charmed by the glistering joy, and his daring-do and wit. Roosevelt (who was president when I was born in 1937) was like that.
As A Peace Corps Volunteer, THE NEXT YEAR 1961, heading (later that day in late August 1961 after having earlier been with my/ our peers from the other two groups groups also preparing to go out, to Columbia and Tanganyika, in the White House Rose Garden and the Oval Office with PRESIDENT KENNEDY ) not know what would happen next but with it seems now just calm anticipation, enjoying the trip stopping for refueling in the Azores and then in Dakar in Senegal before winding on to Accra, Ghana AND our first stop there for residential orientation at University College at Legon, Ghana following which, I crowded on a lorry (called ‘mammy wagons’ I was recently reminded) and headed north into the Kumasi kingdom, then east through the rain forest into the Brong-Ahafo region, it being close to the Ivory Coast for my post as a teacher in a newly established secondary school near Acherensua.
There is a lot more to my story, but this snip of a memory may be the kind that most of we volunteers of that time would share in one way, or another way.
But now I am looking at news now. There are still turtles all the way down. And I will join them.
(C) Copyright Edward Mycue, 28 January 2017 San Francisco, CA
“Edward Mycue was born Niagara Falls, New York, raised in North Texas. He earned a magna cum laude BA from North Texas State, Teaching Fellow at NTS, Lowell Fellow at Boston University, Intern at WGBH-TV Boston, Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Peace Corps Volunteer teaching in Ghana. Upon return to the US, he entered a period of intense Civil Rights activities and immersion in the counterculture while working for six years for the Dept. of Health, Education & Welfare in the 5-state Dallas southwest region office, then Washington, DC.
Edward moved to San Francisco. He joined the new Gay Liberation Movement, began to work for Margrit Roma and Clarence Ricklets’ The New Shakespeare Company, and started publishing his poems.
Since 1970 his poetry, criticism, essays and stories have appeared in over 2000 journals, magazines, on the Internet and everywhere literature is read. He is called by many, “one of the best living poets in San Francisco.” He lives, eats, and breathes San Francisco. ” ( From John Coyne’s article, Our San Francisco Poet–Edward Mycue (Ghana 1961-63) https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/our/)
See, also: https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/review-24/ ; Songs of San Francisco
Feb 20 2013
[San Francisco has produced many fine poets over the years. I, for one, grew up reading the Beats: Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence
Margrit Roma and Clarence Ricklets’ The New Shakespeare Company, and started publishing his poems.
Since 1970 his poetry, criticism, essays and stories have appeared in over 2000 journals, magazines, on the Internet and everywhere literature is read. He is called by many, “one of the best living poets in San Francisco.” He lives, eats, and breathes San Francisco.
2 CommentsLeave a comment
I mistook ‘east’ — that is not the direction from Kumasi INTO the Brong-Ahafo to Acherensua toward the Ivory Coast . ‘WEST’! I still make mistakes. And I am too much in a hurry and really I err much more often than I like. As greatgrammy Delehant told me again and again from her rocker on the porch in the mid-1940’s on 8th St. in Niagara Falls: ‘geese will be walking over your grave.’ I didn’t know then what it meant. She also said: ‘you’ll follow the crows before you die’. I know what that one means.
Edward, We all are turtles.