Outtakes and Afterthoughts

Posted by on Dec 26, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

My editor had me cut the manuscript by some 15%. So there are a lot of outtakes. I’ve also had many an afterthought. So I’ll share some of both, beginning with my father.

The process of writing a memoir revealed many hidden things. The most interesting of which was the many parallels in the lives of my father and myself as, most amazingly, we both: lived in Palo Alto, went up to Alaska, and smoked marijuana. An afterthought is that we both married late; he was 43 and I was 37. And a new one, just thought of, we both were poker players (though he was much better than I am).

Another after thought is in regards to the Menlo Park VA hospital, Ken Kesey and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. My Dad, unlike Kesey, was a great believer in electroshock therapy but Dad only used it for patients who were so deeply depressed that they were suicidal. In such cases he saw many amazing recoveries with patients going on to happy and productive lives. Of course, anything can be turned to nefarious purposes and in the sixties patient’s rights were not protected as they are today.

Now for some outtakes. At the family reunion my cousin, who had grown up in my father’s house, also told me a tale of his time in the Army. After victory in Europe my cousin was assigned to the docks of Liverpool to help ship home Army baggage and equipment. One day he was sitting on a mountain of footlockers smoking a cigarette. As he gazed idly about he thought he saw something of interest. Upon close inspection the footlocker that had caught his attention was marked, “Major Michael B. Greenfield, USAMC.”   Of all the docks in the world!

My parents and I were visiting my cousin Barry and his family in San Diego in the late 70’s. He took us, all to Tijuana. As we shopped my Dad disappeared, only to return proudly bearing the new “Rolex” he had just bought. I was appalled at his action, being sure it was a counterfeit. He replied that he had wandered into a jewelry store and discovered that the proprietors were fellow Jews who had fled Germany in the early 30’s. (I later met more Jews in Mexico City who were descended from refugees. Good on Mexico for sheltering them, something the US did not do much of.) The jewelers had been in business ever since and had a thriving trade. Dad trusted them and he was right to do so. He got a bargain on a genuine Rolex that I wear to this day.