Greg
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May 1973
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Groogle

This page was entered at two different times: In October 2006 I wrote some days from memory (shown here in brown), and between 31 March 2017 and 7 April 2007 from the paper diary, which I appear to have forgotten in 2006. I'm keeping both as an indication of how memories are selective. Items in italics, like this, were added at this time.


Wednesday, 2 May 1973 Frankfurt, etc.
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So today I became a Systemanalytiker with Univac; should be a milestone, but it bored me to tears. Hope it improves. Accepted the flat in Langen-Bergheim; hope it is OK with the loan, etc.

In the evening to a grotty little pub in the Bahnstraße; either all the kids were there past the witching hour, or I am getting old. Watching a kid, about 18, wearing a somewhat incongruous getup - microdress with top half cut right back, reminded of the 30's, as also her hair in a bun; rotbäckige Bauerntochter at a guess. Casting looks at all men in the room, including me, except the fellow who was with her, who kept trying to seduce her in the middle of the pub. I don't expect she would have been averse to it outside; but couldn't he see that she had other reasons to be in the pub? (not picking up other men - I mean listening to the gräßliche music and drinking her Äppelwoi). Somehow she reminded me, impossibly, of Mechtild. And I? I feel ancient, but not unhappy to be out of the situation they find themselves in.

Today I started real, full-time work, as a systems adviser (Systemberater) at UNIVAC in the Burgstraße 106, Frankfurt-Bornheim. In an office with two others, dingy because the blinds were always drawn. One of the others, Bernd Doroschan, was also new. Our boss, Mr. Schmidt, gave us each a copy of the UNIVAC 1100 Series Operating System Programmer Reference Manual (PRM), UP-4144, and told us to read it, in particular the @ASG statement and its myriad options. Bernd had just graduated from the University of Frankfurt in a discipline he said was called “Informatik”, which didn't make much sense to me. It took me some time to believe what he said, that it translated into English as “Computer Science”.


Tuesday, 15 May 1973 Langenbergheim
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Today I moved into my new flat in Langenbergheim. It involved buying a lot of furniture, mainly in Frankfurt am Main, and transporting it in my Citroën Dyane, not the ideal vehicle for transporting large objects.

Somewhere near the Fressgass—I'd guess the Kaiserhofstraße—I had identified a double bed for a reasonable price. I went to pick it up, and the woman who was selling it greeted me with the question, “Are you part of a commune?”. I said no, and commented that it was the first time I'd been asked that question, especially when I was just buying furniture. She apologized and explained that she had also advertised the flat for rent, and the landlord had insisted that no communes be established there.

Somehow I got the thing—two mattresses and frames—into my car, letting it all hang out the back. I made it about as far as the Saalburgallee before I got stopped by a policeman who expressed grave doubts about the safety of the vehicle. I told him that I was very much aware of the reduced safety and was taking appropriate precautions. To my surprise, he said “Good. Drive safely, and next time put a red flag at the end of your load”, and let me go.


Monday, 21 May 1973 Langen-Bergheim
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Oh, the simple (or complicated) joys of life! To he here, still more or less unfurnished, but with music (die Schöpfung), wine (aus Romania), makan (did the Chinese ever use asparagus?), a book of verse „(Rund um die Welt im 2CV), and thou beside me singing in the wilderness - doch wer bist du? Today I left my meat in the Burgstraße [office], to complain about being beaten up in the Kaufhof, but the bloke was not there. Back about 1755, and in time to see a Fiat 600, for the first time, with a Dutch Kennzeichen [registration plate], blue, with age or Absicht, and apart from that 2 National Identity Schilds - NL (understandably) and AUS - unexpectedly. That might fit this house, but a car? - but what did the St. Clarie say? A Fräulein Pattokofer (why didn't she spell it for me?) come aus Australia but be of holländisch descent and work by Univac in the Burgstraße; and to think that she tried, sometime the week before last, to setz me in Verbindung with said Dame, and I were too shy. Such might not have mattered were not for beauty of same, somehow attainable erscheinend despite total lack of Kennen; has the St. Claire said to the Pattokofer that I exist? Now I hope so, though it was previously egal to me. What makes me so joyful is that her 600 half kaputt is - here is no Mädchen zum Hervorangeben, but something/-one who may well be human as me me. Oh unbekanntes Geschöpf I know not they forename nor richtig thy last. And there by you somewhere is the Schambil, that enigma of some months acquaintance,

The name Schambil rings a bell, but I can no longer place him. The “some months” suggests that I met him when I was being hired.

whom I should now almost unbedingt besuchen wegen seiner Proximity to the heiligen Pattokofer - what make the anyway? She is the most beautiful Geschöpf ever to come to my senses, and even eligible. And why lives a Dutch Australian in Frankfurt and nicht etwa Amsterdam - or should I frag the Cloppenburgs? O nameless one, resolve the Unbekanntschaft! I must get an AUS Schild, und vielleicht dann komme ich EIN.

Damn! Why must I write in a high-level language and nicht etwa ein Memory dump geben kann? Even the benefits of in-line code of verschiedenen languages are not the same.


Tuesday, 22 May 1973 LB
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„Dann eine ganz bequeme Straße nach [sic!] Täbris“ steht in „Rund um die Welt im 2CV. God! it makes you almost believe the rubbish they wrote until that point. How can anybody, having come through Malaya, India and most of Pakistan at 12 bhp 2CV rate, forget which side of the road to drive on? Maybe that road deteriorated bis 1967??

The quote suggests that the road to Tabriz was good. It was one of the worst I have even driven on.

Thursday, 24 May 1973 LB
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So today I finally got round to getting the St.Claire to setz me in Verbindung with angel-face, per Fernsprecher so I don't act quite so shy (who, me she?). She knew about me too, it seems, Schambil hasn't been trying to keep her for himself, of if he has, he hasn't thought that mentioning me would do any harm. Dammit, she's a Sydneysider! Still, she wasn't born there. Tells me I have a Pommie accent, which I don't suppose is to be avoided - but “only half Australian”? And she of recent Dutch origin! What the hell. St. Claire invited us out to her place next week (Himmelfahrt), which was nice of her. Now we'll have to see each other too, and not just talk over the phone. Who knows where it can lead....

Back to the Burgstraße, where, by coincidence, I found the first available parking space behind her car. Later saw here again - still without revealing my identity. How fleeting impressions can täusch! Here is no beauty - face looks more than a little lined, though otherwise the package is presentable. Quite possibly the St. Claire's age quote erred considerably on the optimistic side (quote 23-24). What the hell. Caught me a bit by surprise, so I didn't introduce myself. And what do I do with Marita? Oh God, I don't want to hurt her - and yet what else can I do - apart from forgetting about Marika (Paardekooper, at second (guided) spelling attempt)? Oh bugger it, why such complication? Suddenly, faced with such a choice, I become aware of my own aloneness; staying with Marita is a long-term impossibility, starting with Marika is a bind which may in the long term also prove more trouble than it is worth, probably sogar. What the hell. To quote Marita, „Abwarten und Tee trinken“.


Monday, 28 May 1973 LB
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And so moves on the wheel of life. Why did Marita nearly die of sorrow when I mentioned the name St. Claire? Does she have some premonition of what is to come? In which case she would be better prepared than I! In any case, she has as good as left me, bless her - Marita, I wish I could help you, but what can I do? I can't cure your paralysis, and I don't even seem to be able to make you forget it. Still, maybe you'll be happier thinking you've chucked me than otherwise.

Today I sat in the Rechnzentrum wondering why my program returned as a result cos (2,5) = 0, when a voice with reasonably strong Australian accent tried to make a phone call from a nearby cubicle, and to such intent announced the fact that the owner was called Paardekooper (still on the 2nd attempt). Pounced on her figuratively at the end of same, and we had quite an enjoyable chat, quite making me forget my cosine non-function. After a while - the girl is really more like my impression of the first than the second instance, though a little mollig, and Marika, I don't think, if you are looking for a husband, as the St. Claire suggests, that I am likely to offer too much resistance - she took me to meet another Australian female in the middle of Rechenzentrum 3 (9400), who proved to be the “Amerikanerin” of a couple of weeks ago. She was in a typical Australian Zustand - pissed - and proved (not surprisingly) to come from Brisbane. Marika accordingly left me with her (Leone) in favour of a Cobol Class - Marika, I would yearn learn thee Cobol and Fortran and Algol and four different Assemblers, wouldst thou but with me bleive! Pissed nach House.


Thursday, 31 May 1973 Frankfurt → Babenhausen → Frankfurt → LB
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Off to pick up Marijke today to go to Babenhausen and visit Mrs. St. Claire. For some reason an American friend of hers came top, Leslie Spear, the daughter of a US General, and though she's only 18, she's one of the fattest people I have ever seen. Off with both of them to Babenhausen, Leslie sitting in the front of my Citroën Dyane because she wouldn't fit in the back. Met (Ellen) St. Claire's family, husband Bob, typical GI, and son Bobby. There are a surprising number of US military personnel in the area.


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