Many of us Boomers remember hearing the diminutive “Tattoo” played by actor, Herve Villechaize, on the popular television show Fantasy Island (1977-1984) ringing a bell and yelling “De Plane – De Plane” to Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalba’n) as the next group appeared on the horizon.
The series was a Saturday night staple after The Love Boat. The plane always brought “guests” who had either paid or won a chance to live out their fantasies. (# External photo attribution at the end of the post.) #1
Since college graduation (and perhaps a little before that event in 1971) I’ve saved a lot of material – currently stored in numerous file cabinets in our garage, my office, etc. These range from academic papers from undergrad (see end of post) to graduate school, personal mementos – also tax and financial records.
The eclectic collection also includes letters-to-the-editor I’ve written, civic work documents and work stuff from my almost thirty-five year career working with lawyers at Clackamas County, the Oregon State Bar and finally for twenty-five years at the NW Regional Law Firm Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt from which I retired as the Chief Operating Officer in 2011.
But there’s also newspaper clippings and magazine articles on travel and major events. (I have two large boxes of papers and magazines with the front pages or covers ranging from the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Moon landing, the turn of the Millennium, etc.). I always thought my grandkids might want to use them in their civic classes…….
My wife of almost 43 years has acquiesced to this idiosyncratic habit because although ubiquitous, they are at least organized and mostly out-of-sight. However, since we will probably be downsizing and in the event of the sudden demise of Thebeerchaser, she has insisted I significantly reduce (that means recycle most of them especially if they have not been viewed in the last ten to fifteen years).
Fortunately, this has been a mission on which we work, in part, together – negotiating and debating the wisdom of a continuing home in my archives for much of the content we review.
She did agree that the news clipping below from the long-gone Oregon City Enterprise Courier in 1980 had merit. (It was not in our wedding album and I uncovered it after a lot of years have gone by).
From the depths of the garage archives…..
However, not willing to encourage me, she asked the following for which I had no satisfactory response and as a result, culled one full file drawer of paper:
“Don, why do you need an outdated newspaper article or map of Sister Bay Wisconsin from 2003 and other places throughout the country when we would get updated information from the internet when we plan a trip?”
Before giving you some examples so you can get a feel for what I value and asking your opinion on their continuing survival, I offer this excerpt from a wonderful tribute my two daughters, Lisa and Laura – now both nurses – presented at my 70th birthday party. It shows that my collection, albeit a family joke, of sorts, also seems to get some tacit approval.
I might add, that one full file drawer is filled with their drawings and academic work from kindergarten through college – I have culled this category twice before deciding to keep the rest and letting them ultimately decide what they want to retain – examples are below:
“The File Guy “
“Dondi loves his files. Just so many files…The garage is full of them. There’s files at the beach house. There’s a file in Seattle. You can always count on him to be reading the newspaper and clipping out articles for us that he thinks we might find important, interesting or relevant.
The lesson here was for us to stay informed and to be engaged in our community, however small or large that meant. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. If you don’t like something, change it….or at least write a Letter-to-the-Editor..”
In the remainder of this post and the next, I’ll give somewhat of a chronology by category to give just a sample of what has survived the most recent purge.
I worked as the Assistant Supervisor of Elections and then as an Administrative Analyst for the County Commissioners from 1974 through 1979. The last two years, I was one of two staffers for the Commissioners and our boss was the Chief of Staff – a two-martini lunch guy who spent most of his time “lobbying” in Salem. We were the first admin staff hires by the Commission and they named us “The Whiz Kids.”
While the County was pretty dysfunctional, it had great people (especially the lawyers who had sharp intellects and senses of humor) and it was there that I met Bob Elfers, who came in as a consultant and became my future boss for the next eighteen years at both the Oregon State Bar and Schwabe Williamson – a wonderful mentor.
The late Commissioner Robert Schumacher was a superb and sharp elected official and became a good friend who served as an usher in our wedding.
Artwork? – Bob Schumacher graduated from law school and had a better grasp of the Oregon land-use system implemented in 1973 with passage of Senate Bill 100 than almost any elected official in Oregon. Besides that, Schu had a great sense of humor that helped to mitigate the stress of local government work.
When the County decided to have a contest to develop a logo with a $25 savings bond for the winner, Schu submitted the following which I found in my files.
Upper Volta and Oregon? – I discovered another document I hadn’t looked at since 1977, but it evoked the memory of Schu walking into my office and saying, “OK Whiz Kid, you drew the short straw.” The Commissioners had received correspondence from the International Visitor Program associated with the US State Department in Washington D.C.
An official named Idrissa Ouedraogo, who was Counselor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ and Director of Protocol for the African Republic of Upper Volta, was touring various governments in the US and he – fluent in French but spoke little English – and his interpreter would be spending most of the day observing aspects of Clackamas County government.
To make a long story short, I took him to visit the County Extension Service, the Data Center, a court hearing, a Commissioner’s meeting and to see the “famous” Oregon City Municipal Elevator.
Mr. Ouedraogo was a distinguished and polite young gentleman – about my age – and the only stressful thing during our interaction was trying to figure out whether I should look at him or his interpreter when I was talking. They left in the early afternoon for their next destination.
I had completely forgotten about it until I unearthed the missive from the State Department in one of the garage files this month. So before I recycled, I decided to see if through the miracle of the internet, I could find out anything about my former visitor from Ouagadougou – then capital of Upper Volta (which I learned is now Burkina_Faso). (#2)
Well, unfortunately, Idrissa, died in 2018 at the age of 64, but not before he gained fame as a screenwriter, director, and producer.
“He is best known for his feature film Tilaï, which won the Grand Prix at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival and Samba Traoré (1993), which was nominated for the Silver Bear award at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.” (Wikipedia)
Urinals, Stools – Average Load and Overlap Time – Perhaps it’s my idiosyncratic sense of humor, but I kept this 1977 letter to then Sheriff John Renfro from the State Workman’s Compensation Board because it seemed bizarrely ludicrous given the language. (My opinion hasn’t changed after 46 years).
It certainly indicates changes in gender roles since that time, for example, the agency is now known as the State Workers’ Compensation Board That said, the ranks of full-time female law enforcement officers nationally is still a low 13.3%.
Ralph Rodia, Assistant Manager of the Occupational Health Section, in this one page correspondence, informed the elected Sheriff in response to his letter about the adequacy of the County’s toilet facilities:
The second paragraph is most notably geeky from a solid waste standpoint and enough to make one flush with chagrin. I loved the letter’s ending sentence where Mr. Rodia admonishes:
“You are advised, however, that you have a marginal situation and if the number of additional men or their overlap time increases, at least one additional facility would be required.”
Linked-in reports only that Ralph Rodia is retired and living in Salem. Unfortunately, the 2021 message below on the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Facebook page indicates that John is no longer with us:
“We’re saddened to announce the Dec. 6 passing of John Renfro, the 27th Sheriff of Clackamas County. He was 85. John Renfro served a four-year term as Clackamas County Sheriff (1977-81). It was one highlight in a lifetime of service.
A career in public service.
I’ll finish my Clackamas County collection and also this post, by including two pictures – one I found in a clipping from early 1979 – again from the Oregon City Enterprise Courier – and one Janet took of me at home during a COVID shutdown period in 2021.
Admittedly, this is primarily for egotistical purposes to provide evidence that Thebeerchaser at one time could grow a decent beard and mustache even though it also shows that my taste in neckties has not improved.
In closing, I hope you’ll indulge me as I unveil some additional relics from my files in the next post. I know at least one person who enjoys this escapade!
I indicated above that one component of my files is papers from undergrad and grad school. I’ve now been persuaded that those have no value to anyone including me; however, I insisted on saving page 12 from this 1968 course at Oregon State on Latin American Political Systems.
I thought I had waxed eloquently about future policy initiatives to mitigate the spread of Communism. I was therefore taken aback with the professor’s comment highlighted in yellow which states:
“This paper is really a mixed bag, fluctuating widely between superficial and pedestrian description and sophisticated analysis.”
I didn’t go to his office afterwards and ask him to break that down into percentages, but he give me a B on the paper so perhaps the high-level intellectual narrative was able to transcend the shallow and cursory BS I wrote while drinking Budweiser.
External Photo Attribution
#1. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ricardo_Montalban_Herve_Villechaize_Fantasy_
Island_1977.JPG) This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1927 and 1977, inclusive, without a copyright notice. The photo has no copyright markings on it. Author: ABC Television 27 December 1977.
#2. Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Idrissa_Ouedraogo_,_