Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Is Where I Learned How To Swear












I haven't provided much transition from being a locavore and quilter but I decided I'd like to write about this part of my life.

I stayed in Minneapolis for 14 months after college. It was just one more really bad winter that convinced me to leave the state. Instead of heading west I went east to Europe with a girlfriend who was tired of teaching. We each had a round trip ticket on Icelandic Airlines from JFK to London and $700. We felt rich.

Withing a few months my friend returned home; I was left on the continent without a soul who knew me. Sort of an amazing statement. Nobody knew me on an entire continent.

I discovered the Overseas Weekly newspaper in the PX bookstore (I was working at the commissary to bide my time until I found something better). The OW, as it was called, was run by a bunch of ex-GIs who didn't want to go home after their tour of duty was up. This was 1969; things were not so good for the U.S. military. Vietnam was hogging headlines, as it should have, and our country was not sure what to do about just about anything. Drugs were rampant in Europe with GIs. OW had nearly nude women on the front and back cover. It was very anti-U.S. military; it was owned by two lesbians. I think of it as the National Enquirer for the military only with better writing and truthful facts.

Keep in mind as a new graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in journalism, I worked for Miller Publishing; I wrote for Hog Farm Management, Feedstuffs and Feedlot. I took those clippings to an interview with the staff of the OW. I wore a simple green shift, pumps, panty hose, pearl stud earrings and a scarf rakishly draped around my neck. Got the picture.

Turns out that the staff had been drinking much of the day as they prepared to send someone to Saigon to open an office there. I showed up looking like Little Miss Sunshine. I was hired, but when I showed up the next day, few remembered hiring me. But I stayed. They weren't going to throw me out.

The biggest challenge that the staff faced with me was my naivete about life and language, especially when it came to female body parts. I covered a lot of rape trials. I would come back with a list of words I didn't understand.

I finally learned all those words and managed to say "fuck" in a convincing manner.

I also dated the advertising manager for the paper. He was cute; I was thrilled. He was also gay and needed a cover for his boyfriend who was the lead tenor with the Frankfurt Opera House. I would go to the opera with him (I love opera), then out to dinner with the two of them and then be chastely walked to my door at 39 Berliner Strasse.

Well, that's enough for the first installment. If some of you are shocked; stick around there may be more.
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5 comments:

Oklahoma Farmgirl said...

Great story so far, & you have left me wanting to know more. What a great adventure. It is so cool to learn what makes us who we become. We all have stories worth telling. Glad you are writing it down.

Looking forward to the next installment.

Blessed be...

Creamy Silver said...

I love it! Keep writing!!

Kirby3131 said...

How fun! I didn't have a clue that you were a journalist at one point in your life. I think this is going to be a very interesting little series :)

blogauthor said...

I got to hear the whole story over lots of wine at my house. ... but I won't spoil the story for the rest of you all. :)

Soon you'll see why I call her CountryGrrrrrl.

Mrs4444 said...

That's a great story :) I look forward to the rest.