Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Yachats Gazette, Issue 37, September 1 2014

Interview with

The Yachats Gazette enjoyed interviewing two new-ish residents of Yachats who both work for Blythe Collins’s Bread and Roses Bakery on 4th St.

TYG: Can I get your name for the recording?
Dominic: My name is Dominic Ojeda,
Derek: And I’m Derek John Ojeda. [laughs] Both initials DJO.
Dominic: John, and I’m Dominic Jacob. Don’t get us mixed up! [laughs]

TYG: We’ll call you Derek and Dominic in the interview. So, where are you guys from?
Derek: San Diego. Born and raised.
Dominic: Our family’s still down there in San Diego. Derek moved up to Yachats about a year ago, and I moved up just this past July, just before the 4th.

TYG: So you got to see our great 4th of July parade!
Dominic: I really did! That was actually one of the best 4th of July’s I’ve had. Just the small town feeling… and that fireworks show lasted quite a while too!

TYG: It’s that good every time!
Dominic: I look forward to next year too! [laughs]

TYG: At least the fireworks show. The parade can vary in size significantly.
Dominic: I didn’t get to see the parade, actually. We were up [Horizon] Hill—I think we’d just closed down and cleaned up. Then we went up Horizon Hill with some friends and watched the fireworks up there.

TYG: The thing is, the safety procedures are [such that] you can sit pretty close to the launch site and you can look straight up and see fireworks.
Dominic: I didn’t know that! That’s actually pretty cool.
TYG-Graphic Design: Yeah, if you go down 3rd Street, they allow you to sit by the ocean on 3rd Street, right at that intersection—it’s pretty awesome.

TYG-GD: Are you guys brothers?
Derek: Fully blood-related, yes.
Dominic: I’m the oldest. I’m 27, and Derek’s 24.Derek: There are five of us total. Three other siblings. I’m the second to youngest.
Dominic: I’m the second to oldest. We’ve got an older half-sister, Rosie. It’s funny the way it went: girl-boy-girl-boy-girl. Rosie, me, my sister Alisha, Derek, and my sister Alex.

TYG-GD: Your sister Alex?
Dominic: Alexandra, is her full name. We’re also Hispanic, with our last name being Ojeda.

TYG-GD: What region is that from?
Dominic: Spain. We’re Spanish, Mexican, a bit of Yaqui Indian. [Turns to Derek] Anything else you can think of? My dad’s convinced we’re all Hawaiian.

TYG: Are you serious about that?
Dominic: I am serious, because he has an infatuation with Hawaiian culture, and anything that has to do with surfing or being on the ocean. And any vacation or chance he gets, he’s going to Hawaii. The island of Kaua‘i is his favorite.

TYG: Do you guys go to Hawaii every time?
Dominic: I’ve only been there myself twice. He’s been there many more times, maybe about five or six [times]. But he’s planning on moving there in the next few years, for retirement. If he gets to retire. [laughs] It’ll be a working retirement.

TYG-GD: What does your dad do?
Dominic: Right now he’s a project manager for a contracting company in San Diego. But the company hasn’t been doing so well the last few years; they’ve actually gone through a bankruptcy. It’s just a big mess on the owners’ part. But he’s still hopeful, and he’s still positive. I’d say he’s gone through some evolution himself in the last couple of years. He seems to be a happier, more fulfilled guy. He’s not all about making money, and work. He knows what it takes to make himself happy. I can tell he’s kind of found that.
Derek: He grew up.
Dominic: [laughs] I know. We grew up, and we all changed, and so did he. I’m sure we’ve got more changing to do too! It’s cool to see your parents, your dad do that.

TYG-GD: So, why did you come to Yachats? San Diego to Yachats, that’s a big difference!
Derek: I prefer the cooler weather. It’s not easy being in San Diego where it’s a desert and you only get green trees a few months out of the year. It was pretty tough on me having to always be around crowds and other people. I really like the feel of the small town. Everybody’s kind here—it’s not like a dramatic little town or anything. And I had my good friend Krista, who brought me up here. I visited, before I ended up being offered a job by Blythe.Dominic: I guess it was about two years ago that we took a trip to Eugene for a music festival. And Krista said, “You guys are in Eugene, you need to come to the coast where I live and see my log cabin!” and we came over. I’d never visited a town like it; I’d passed through some towns that seemed similar but nothing really like Cape Perpetua right next door—that’s a back yard, right there! Just seeing it all, Derek knew he wanted to get up here. And after he got up here, he kept telling me all year long, “Gotta get up here! Blythe keeps asking about you!” I knew I needed to be up here, so I followed up.

TYG: What’s it like living here in a cold climate? What’s the change like?
Derek: In my opinion, it gets cool, but it’s not that cold of a climate. I lived in Germany for a little bit, and that was down to the negative degrees in Fahrenheit readings. That was pretty intense there. We’re right at the 45° latitude, so there’s so much more cold north of us!

TYG-GD: When did you go to Germany?
Derek: 2009-2010. And I was an au pair, so I took care of two kids. I did it to kind of get used to another language, get immersed and stuff. […]

TYG-GD: What else did you see in Germany? Did you go to any other places?
Derek: Yes! I had a good friend that was living in Switzerland, going to school in Switzerland. So between Germany and Switzerland, I was kind of 50-50.

TYG-GD: Oh! Did you know I’m from Switzerland?
Derek: Oh, that’s right, I forgot!

TYG-GD: But from the French-speaking part. You must have been in the German-speaking part?
Derek: I was mostly in Lugano, actually, so Italian.

TYG: Lugano? I’m sorry, I don’t know Swiss geography that well.
TYG-GD: Lugano—it’s on the other side of the Alps, in southern Switzerland.
Derek: It’s like an hour from Milan, Italy, a main city.

TYG: What is there for transportation?
Derek: You could take bus or train, even. Train would probably be just over an hour.

TYG: I would think car would be faster.
TYG-GD: Not really, because it’s in the mountains, and you have to go over all the passes.
Dominic: [The train] is a pretty efficient way to get from country to country, or region to region.

TYG-GD: [To Dominic] Have you been to Europe?
Dominic: I haven’t, no. I’ve got to make my way! Working in the bakery, you know, there are tons of travelers from Europe and all over the world, really. And the kind ones, the really nice customers that we get actually leave their information and say to call them. “Anytime you’re in Amsterdam!” or “Anytime you’re in this part of the world, call me!” Oh, Jamaica was another one… “Tell me when you’re going, and I have a free place to stay…” They’re always so nice. […]
Derek: I love the friendliness you get from people like that.

TYG-GD: […] So you have a surfboard on your car. Do you go surfing all the time?
Dominic: I do! I just got up here, and it’s taking a little time to get used to it. There’s a big difference between the southern Pacific and the northern Pacific. One, yes, the temperature. I already got stocked up on some more neoprene. I’ve got the hood, I got the gloves; I already had the booties and I’ve had a 5/4 [mm] winter suit, so that’s still doing me well up here.

TYG:  You have a dry suit?
Dominic: No. Surfers don’t use dry suits so much—those are more for kayakers and divers.

TYG: Why is that?
Dominic: It’s because they’re more baggy, and wetsuits fit tight to your body. The water’s still able to get in, but it uses the heat of your body, and it traps the water and warms it up so it’s insulation.

TYG-GD: So what else do you have to get used to?
Dominic: Well, wind is another factor. Specially right now, the northwest winds are coming in and that makes it hard to find a protected spot—you have to hide behind a cape.

TYG-GD: But I thought the whole point was wind and waves?
Dominic: Wind equals waves, but you want the wind to be far off-shore, to generate the swell. The long-period swells that move all the way across the ocean, minus the wind with it—when they reach the shore they’re clean, wind-swept, and it’s not like whitecaps everywhere. It doesn’t chop us the surface, but the waves are coming through still.

TYG: From the southwest wind, it’s more like that.
Dominic: Yes, I hear fall time it’s going to get better. The winds are going to switch, and we’ll have some swell coming from the Aleutian Islands that are going to be long-period swells. I’m looking forward to that! I’ve already checked out a few breaks around here—just getting familiar. Everyone tells me about the sharks! I know they’re everywhere, so I try to put that out of mind.

TYG-GD: [To Derek] Do you surf?
Derek: No. I would in tropical waters, but… [laughs] I have this thing where I don’t like wet stuff all over my body when it’s cold.
Dominic: He’s going to get used to that, because we’re going to get some kayaks and do some rapids!

TYG-GD: I think Beaver Creek would be awesome to kayak, too.
Derek: Oh yes.
Dominic: You’re right, yes! For stand-up paddling, too. That’s a stand-up paddle surfboard [on my car]. I’ve been doing that on the Yachats River, I’ve done it down at the Siuslaw. But Beaver Creek would be fun. I love how the mist hangs real low on the water right there. […]

This fall, Blythe is going to be training me how to do pastry, so I’ll be able to open the shop whenever we please, as long as we have pastry there. That might be the chance that we’ll be able to get, is during the week [at the moment, the bakery’s hours are Friday through Monday].

TYG: And the proceeds still go there, to Blythe?
Dominic: Yes, of course, to Blythe. It’ll just be one more thing I can do to help her out. One of the reasons she wants to train me is that she’ll be able to concentrate solely on her bread. That’s her love, is the bread. She doesn’t really have time to do it right now because she’s catering weddings, she’s having to do the pastry, having to do lunches [in the shop], and the only thing I do right now is coffee and the front of house [the customer area]. And Derek as well.
Derek: The more we can do to help out and keep the shop running…
Dominic: Because [the customer area] is what keeps the shop running, she can do her real passion, her true art.
TYG-GD: Oh, I love her struan. I even found out you can freeze it. [laughter all around] […]
Derek: The bakery is part of who we are, right now. I really enjoy the coffee aspect, I love coffee and tea. That’s what I’ve been doing since I was 16. A good number of years later, it keeps [being] fun, keeps interesting. Like Dominic said, the customers you meet are really kind of one of a kind here. We get transients, but it’s not the normal type of transients like you get in other towns. Like, I lived in northern California for a while, and it’d just be people hitching through and whatever. There are people who hitchhike through here, but most of the time they always have a purpose. Everybody always has a purpose when they come to this town.

TYG: What do you guys imagine doing in 2016 here?
Derek: [chuckles] Well, 2016 is when the next mayoral election will be, and I’ll be a registered voter by then. So maybe I’ll be running for mayor. [laughter all around]

TYG: Seriously?
Derek: Yes! It’s been discussed a couple of times…

TYG-GD: Really! What are your qualifications?
Derek: You know, I’ve been into, and in, business for a long time—managed a couple of business and such. I kind of want to jump into helping build this community. Even if it’s so great! Depending on whether the highway reconstruction goes through, there might have to be a lot of clean-up, a lot of chasing away of big business. [laughs] Nah.

TYG: Why should you chase away big business as long as it’s not affecting the coastline? Like, over the hill? Why not have some big business? It would really help the town’s economy.
Dominic: Over the hill it would be ok, but here in Yachats?
Derek: All of us are here for a reason, too. And we’ve made it our point to get away from the big hassle of cities and such. Even the bakery and such, businesses like this… I love, love, love doing it, but it would absolutely be awesome if I could eventually get into some kind of zero waste program, where you don’t really waste anything. It kind of saddens me to know what I’m still doing to the environment, to have these commodities, these conveniences that we really do enjoy, definitely, but…

TYG: So, what I’m thinking is, is something like this, for the future. We basically have two parts of town. We have this type of town, the tourist town, and this’ll be the fun part. But inland, a little ways—not in the valley, because that’s also a tourist part—but inland, up in the hills, I think we should build a bigger section of town, more lively.
Derek: One problem, though, is that it doesn’t stay a big town if you keep building up. Things get bigger, and more people flood in. Soon, the characteristics that we cherish so much about this town, they’re going to be lost, and the people, the types of people that will be here, that will be brought in and drawn here, they’ll be a different type, and [they’ll come here] for different reasons than most of us are here for.

TYG: I mean, there would still be good views.
TYG-GD: Well, I think people have a deeper reason for being here than just seeing a view. 
Derek: They want to see a view that’s still a gem—that’s why we’re the gem of the Oregon Coast!

TYG: […] Anything else you’d like to add?
Derek: I’d really like to thank the Yachats community for being so kind and welcoming to not just me, but my family as well. I’d love to show more of my family this beautiful place. Eventually they will be able to come and visit me, in their busy city lives.

TYG-GD: Are they not finding enough time to come all the way up here?
Derek: Not necessarily.
Dominic: My little sister is a dancer, and she went to Joffrey Ballet School in New York, which means my mom and dad have been over there a few times this year, kind of helping her to get settled and a bit more comfortable.

TYG-GD: How old is she?
Dominic: She is twenty years old, and actually on the 29th [of August], she’s going to be 21.

TYG-GD: All right, happy birthday to Alex!
Dominic: She still looks like she’s 15 though—she’s tiny! They throw her in the air! [laughter all around]

TYG-GD: So you guys—at least Derek—you’re planning on being a resident here?
Derek: Yes, definitely. I love the businesses that I’m a part of right now, and that are around.

TYG-GD: Where else do you work?
Derek: I work currently at Bread & Roses, as well as Ona Restaurant & Lounge, [as a] server, host, and bar-backing. Eventually I’ll get into some bartending.

TYG-GD: What about you, Dominic? Are you going to stay here for a while and move on, or what?
Dominic: Yeah, you know, I can’t see myself going back to San Diego… or, for that matter, living in a big city again.

TYG-GD: What’s changed for you?
Dominic: What’s changed? For one, when I was in San Diego, I worked in education, Special Ed. And now up here I’m working with coffee, and a little bit of customer service type stuff. It’s a lot different, but I’m finding that I like it. I could go back to education too, always, but…

TYG-GD: Are you involved with the YYFAP program [Yachats Youth & Family Activities Program] at all?
Dominic: No…

TYG-GD: They need volunteers!
TYG: I think they’d like you!
Dominic: I think I’d like it too…

TYG-GD: One of the things I like in this town is that everything seems intertwined. It’s not that people have their own separate lives, in their own little pockets, but that they seem to care about many different aspects of the community.
Dominic: I’ve seen that too.

TYG: So do you think you’re going to stay here, or move on?
Dominic: I’ll be here for a while. I think that now that I’ve met Blythe, worked for over a month and a little bit, and just seeing how cool of a person she is, and how she’s willing to teach me, I think I have a lot more to learn from her and here at the bakery. And the quality of life here is just… it’s hard to top it, you know? So many healthy things to do—and in cities, you find so many unhealthy things to do to yourself. I just really want to live a nice peaceful life with people who want to do the same thing, so I’m here, you know! [laughter]

TYG: Well thank you so much for your time, you guys!
Derek: Thanks!
Dominic: Thank you!

Interview with Jerome Garger, Part 2

The Yachats Gazette continues its interview with Jerome Garger, started in the previous issue.

Jerome: I met a lot of interesting, politically-aware, environmentally-aware… I would call them idealistic people involved in the civil rights movement, and the anti-war movement. I met a man who was a major in the army, and a dentist; his wife was a nurse. We got to know each other from going to concerts and having dinner with each other, that sort of thing. And he and his wife wanted to start a commune in Oregon—they wanted to start an organic farm. They had another couple lined up, and the other couple backed out, kind of at the last minute. I was married at the time, and [the major and his wife] asked my former wife and me if we wanted to bring our three kids out to Oregon and start an organic communal farm with them. And we said, “Oh yeah, sure!” [laughs] We really didn’t know these people very well at all. So I resigned my position, and in June of ’71 we moved out to Oregon, where we were the co-founders of a commune. It was called the no-name commune—we couldn’t ever agree on a name. [laughter all around] We were about 15-20 miles south of Cottage Grove, next to a big, big, well-known commune called the Rainbow Family commune. During the commune days, as a Midwife’s Assistant for a Nurse/Midwife living on the farm, I assisted in the birth of five children. Never having been allowed anywhere near the birth of my three children in the 60s because of the medical attitudes and practices at the time, this experience was an extremely powerful and transformative experience for me as I had no realistic conception at all about what was actually involved in childbirth. I met some of the most interesting, idealistic people I have ever known out of the commune. We used to pick up a lot of people hitch-hiking on I-5, and—I also have to say—I met some of the biggest moochers I’ve ever met at the commune.

TYG: What’s a moocher?
Jerome: A moocher is basically somebody who wants to be first in line at the food table, and who never, never, ever wants to do any work! [laughter] And there were a lot of those who showed up. But there were also some really, really interesting, neat, very admirable people too. More of them than the moochers.

TYG: What’s a commune? That’s what I don’t understand.
Jerome: A commune? It was part of the counter-culture movement in the 1960’s, where people who thought that America was heading down the wrong path with everything based on consumerism, and owning a lot of stuff whether you needed it or not, constantly needing to get new stuff or different stuff—that that wasn’t a very good path to follow. [They believed] there were other values that were more important, and we thought that by living communally, and sharing, by working together, and not getting caught up in all that—living a more simple kind of lifestyle—we could live closer to what our values were. So we tried to do that. But frankly, Allen, we didn’t know how to do it very well.

TYG: You said “thought” there, not “think.” Does that mean you no longer have these beliefs?
Jerome: No. I know that there have been successful communes; I still think that the counter-culture movement in the 60’s, and what was called the hippie movement, were on the right track. I still basically believe a lot in their principles. What happened was that we really didn’t know how to live together closely that well, and to share things well. So there were a lot of disputes and arguments. And as I said, there were a lot of people who showed up who just wanted to mooch and not really contribute much at all. But I also know of communes—there’s a commune outside of Mapleton, here—that has been in existence for 40 years, called the Alpha Farm, and they’ve been very successful. It seemed like the ones that had either a very strong, dictatorial leader were successful, or the ones that had a spiritual basis were successful. Ours had a lot of problems. So after a couple of years we gave up. My family and I moved into Eugene […] and lived there for a while. I kept teaching at Lane Community College.

TYG-Editorial Assistant: So you lived in more conventional housing?
Jerome: Yes. […] I taught at Lane Community College for 27 years, from 1971 to 1998. It was a very, very good place to teach. I really, really liked my students. I thought that instead of being the lecturer, I really was a teacher, and that my classes were very participatory. They were mostly discussion classes; I think I had some very, very good students and I knew how to get the best out of a lot of them. It was a very satisfying experience teaching there, rather than just being a lecturer, which I think I had been mostly in St. Louis. I learned not to be a lecturer from teaching in the ghetto. That method didn’t work there at all.

TYG-EA: You mentioned that before, and I’m kind of interested in that distinction—how do you see it?
Jerome: Well, when I was teaching in the ghetto—this was between 1965 and 1971—the Civil Rights movement was really steaming up. Not only that, but I had a lot of young, black men who were Vietnam vets coming back from Vietnam to basically the same old stuff in the ghetto and the way they were treated, and they weren’t having any of it. They wanted a teacher! They didn’t want somebody who was going to be lecturing them and telling them what it was about, especially if that person was white. So what I learned was how to facilitate and lead discussions. I think that I learned it from them, that I learned to be a teacher, and then I worked on perfecting it as I could when I taught out here at Lane Community College.

I taught writing and literature in the English department at Lane Community College. For the last 11 years, I was allowed, at the urging of the head of the Social Science department, to create a Political Science class called “Peace and Conflict Studies.” For that class, basically, I made it a very current, issues kind of class—whatever was going on. I would try to get the most controversial speakers to come to my class to present their viewpoints on it. I think that’s where I maybe did my best teaching, in those classes, because I was basically kind of a facilitator and a choreographer. There were supposed to be 35 people in the class. I always let 40 in, and I always had to turn more people away. That’s an indication that the class is a successful one. I had some of the most fascinating guest speakers. […] The way I taught the class was: Fall Quarter I taught international issues, Winter Quarter I taught national issues, and Spring local issues. The guest speakers I had… for example, Peter DeFazio, who was the representative in Congress for the district, talked every fall—every year that I taught. He was a wonderful, wonderful person to have in class because he would say what he had to say for about ten minutes, and for the rest of the class, for the hour and 20 minutes remaining, he would take questions from the class. No matter what was asked of him, he would answer it as accurately and fully as he could. You don’t get that from politicians a lot. He never knew what was going to be thrown at him, and some of them were pretty hostile questions. I had a lot of people like that, who were really, really good. I learned about teaching from them, too. The last eleven years of my teaching were enhanced, as far as I was concerned, because I got to create this Peace and Conflict Studies program. By the way, when I left there, a guy who has a Ph.D. in Political Science took over the course. It’s still going on at LCC, and he created a Peace Center there in conjunction with it. […] It’s really good to see that that whole idea is still going on. […]

Anyway, back to how we got to Yachats…

I retired in ’98, and in 2000, Vicky and I were living in Eugene, and she got this idea. She said: “Have you ever thought about having a place over at the coast?” And I said, “I’ve always loved the coast, but I’ve never thought about having a place there.” So she called a realtor over here, and […] we were told that she had four places to show us. So, we looked at all four places. The first one was right around the corner, and the other ones were on the other side of the river, and they were all too expensive for us. When we drove up Greenhill to go to the first place she showed us […] this place had been half-finished, when Vincent Bitle, who is a very skilled builder and carpenter, bought it and put the finishing touches on it. He built the decks, he finished the downstairs, and he did some really good work. Anyway, the day before, he had finished it to the point where he thought, “I can show it to people!” So the day before we drove up Greenhill, he stuck a little sign out there that said “House for Sale”! And when we went by, I was glancing that way and saw it. So I asked our realtor, and said, “What about that place we passed with that little “House for Sale” sign on it?” She wasn’t very enthusiastic about showing it to us, because it wasn’t her listing. She was kind of reluctant, and said “I don’t know if he’s home.” I was really kind of insistent, and said “Well, let’s just stop, let me go up and knock on the door.” It turned out Vincent was here. He walked Vicky and me through the place, we walked around outside… We loved it. And not only that, it was within our price range. I told him I was really interested in it, and we’d get back to him. We were going to go back to Eugene, and we drove down the hill, and we said, “Oh, let’s go sit by the ocean and talk for a little bit.” We talked to each other, and said “Well, we’ve only seen four places. We can’t buy a place without looking at more places, and seeing what’s available.” And then we looked at each other, and said, “Yes we can!” [laughs] So after ten minutes we came back and we said, “We’re going to make an offer on the place.”

And we did, and he accepted it, so we own this place. Now for the first three years, we went back and forth. We were here maybe about half the time, but we were still living in Eugene. And when we weren’t here, our five kids were taking turns using it, which meant we were kind of the care-takers. We did all the up-keeping and cleaning and taking care of it, and they did all the partying! [chuckles] At a certain point, we decided, “That’s enough of that.” [laughter] So we moved over here, and they were not pleased. That was in 2003, [when] we moved here.

Why Yachats in the first place? Well, first of all, one of the main reasons I liked it was that when we came through and stopped here, there were never any fast food places here. And to me, that was a really good sign. It seemed quirky, it seemed unique, it seemed kind of an odd little place. It was quaint, interesting; there seemed to be educated, politically, environmentally aware people here. But you want to know the really big reason why Yachats? When we would drive to Yachats or through Yachats, many times in those years, as you come north on 101, toward the bridge, I would always be fascinated by looking to the right, east, up the Yachats River. To me, it seemed like the most beautiful scene I have ever experienced. That was a lot of it. I mean, there was something about that view that touched me. In the past I bought homes on the basis of the kind of trees they had in the yard, which maybe isn’t the best way to do it.

We’ve lived here full time for 11 years now. We love it, we like the people, and that’s it!

Now, can I throw in a plug for something political here—do you mind?

TYG: I don’t mind.
Jerome: […] I’ve always been a very political person. I have, since the 1960’s, written tons and tons and tons of letters to the editor about political subjects, and things like that. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback, and sometimes some very hostile, nasty feedback about my letters, but I’ve always had the kind of philosophy, Allen, that everybody is entitled to my opinion. [chuckles] All of my political activity also goes back to the St. Louis Browns and pulling for the underdog. And it seems to me—I don’t know if you know this, but LauraLee, Ron Brean’s wife—she was the one who started the Occupy movement here in Yachats. She sent out an e-mail notice to a bunch of people, probably three years ago, and I went to the first demonstration up on 101 there, and there were like 40 people there, with all different signs and things like that. What happened was that LauraLee got way too busy with all of her other projects and she couldn’t do it anymore, so that’s how I kind of took it over and for years was out on 101 demonstrating for Occupy. To me, Occupy is just an extension of pulling for the underdog, of being in favor of fairness and justice, rather than the system we have now. Allen, I think our system right now is basically pretty broken, pretty corrupt. It’s a system of legalized bribery: the people who have huge amounts of money basically control the decisions that legislators make. People who are supposed to be representing our interests are not representing our interests, [and this has been happening] for quite a while now—I would say since Ronald Reagan, back in the early 80’s. So I’m hoping to educate people about what the issues are, to show them that if you’re a working person, the way things are now is working against your interest, and that we need to get control back of our government, so that it will more represent our interests, and not just the interests of the 1%.

TYG: Or one half of 1%.
Jerome: That’s closer to it!

TYG: Or even one quarter.
Jerome: Well, the last statistic I saw was like .0634 or something like that. But it’s even lower than 1%, yeah.

TYG: Yeah, I’m remembering that in medieval England, it was one half of 1%, and then suddenly—I think it was in the 1500’s—it jumped to 2%. […] Suddenly, I think the king just started giving away land left and right, and in a couple of years it jumped from one half of 1% to over 2%.
Jerome: This was around the time of the Magna Carta, maybe?

TYG: Oh no, later than that.
Jerome: Later!

TYG: After 1500, actually.
TYG-EA: Henry VIII giving away a lot of land…
TYG: Yes, Henry VIII was the main set-off.
TYG-EA: He absorbed a lot of church lands, fought a lot of wars, needed to pay for them, so he sold them a lot cheaper.
TYG: Yes! Suddenly everyone had a lot of land. Well, not everyone…
Jerome: More and more people, yes. So, did you have any more questions for me?

TYG-EA: I’d love to know more about your interest in poetry. This is a whole shelf of poetry here, and you’re often quoting and sending snips of poetry.
Jerome: Well, I taught poetry for 40 years, in various literature courses. I write… I wouldn’t say I write poetry, I write verse. I write occasional verse, that is. I write a poem for Vicky’s birthday, or I write a poem for one of my kids’ birthdays, or I write a poem for our anniversary. I see something around Yachats, and I write a poem about that. Now I’m saying poems, but they’re really not poems, more verses. I do verse, what is called doggerel. I had a friend say that I am the top dog of doggerel poetry on Greenhill Drive. And I have a bunch of that! Every once in a while I write something that I think is a poem, or approaches poetry. But I would say that’s a handful of what I’ve written, and most of it is verse. But I really like doing it.

I don’t know if you guys have gone to it, but every third Sunday night, for years now, there has been an open mike happening at the Green Salmon, where there are local musicians and other people; people who read what they’ve written, humorous or otherwise; people who write poetry; people who write verse. I’ve been reading my stuff there for a few years now. People seem to like it—some of it is amusing. I wish I could call myself a poet, Eddie; I would call myself a versifier. Every, every, every once in a while I write something I would call a poem.

TYG: Well thank you so much for your time!
Jerome: You’re welcome, Allen!

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Yachats Gazette, Issue 36, August 1 2014
Click for downloadable, printable edition

Interview with Jerome Garger

The Yachats Gazette is pleased to present part one of a two-part interview with local resident Jerome Garger.

TYG: How did you get to Yachats?
Jerome: I want to say first of all, Allen, and I don’t know if you know this, but I am here, able to interview you, because your father saved my life some years ago. Did you know that?

TYG: No!!
Jerome: In 2006, I had quadruple bypass heart surgery. I was recovering from that, and about six months into my recovery, I started losing weight very rapidly. I weighed about 206 pounds at the time, and I went down to 149 pounds. I was very, very weak, and basically skin and bones: I’m 6’2”! My heart people were basically specialists, and kept thinking it was a matter of adjusting my heart medicines. Your father—this was when the Yachats Clinic was still open—I was fortunate enough that he actually listened to me, he looked at me, and immediately (this was a late morning appointment), he said: “Get up to Newport, and get a CAT scan.” I did, and they found this big brain tumor in the right side of my head, pressing against my brain stem and doing all sorts of things to me.
It was so far along that the surgeon in Eugene almost didn’t want to operate. He said I had about a 15% chance of surviving the operation, and if I did, all of these terrible kinds of things would happen. […] I would lose all control over this side of my face, they said, I wouldn’t have any balance… And I do have minor symptoms: circulation, and problems on the right side, but it turned out way better than it could have.

TYG: You seem fine!
Jerome: Yes! Well, I’ve worked hard. I’ve made a lot of improvement over the years. And had your Dad not told me to do that immediately, I wouldn’t be around. So I don’t know if you ever knew that story.

TYG: No, I didn’t! [turns to the Editorial Assistant] Da-aaaad!
TYG-Editorial Assistant: Well, I can’t tell you, right? [because of medical privacy laws]
TYG: Oh.
Jerome: So I think a lot of your Dad, I can tell you that. […] So, “How did I get to Yachats” is the question.

Let me go way back. I was born in 1937, into a very poor family. We lived in a four-family flat in St. Louis, very close to the river. It was very crowded: there were 17 kids living in these 4 small apartments. We didn’t have indoor plumbing until I was six years old, and we moved. My Dad was an immigrant from Austria, who came over here when he was 16 years old. He had an eighth grade education; he was a tailor. My Mom had an eighth grade education. I learned some very important lessons from my Dad and Mom, though. From my Pop, I learned that you don’t ever buy anything until you really need it and until you can afford it. That has been a good lesson for me throughout my life, because I’ve avoided a lot of financial problems that people get caught up in. From my Mom: even though she wasn’t educated, she was very smart and verbal. She loved words, she loved languages, she loved rhymes, and she taught me that.
When I was about seven years old—and I think this was the change in the right direction of my life—I started walking up to the library in St. Louis, which was about ten blocks away, and every Saturday I would get ten books out of the library and read them. I would usually do it alphabetically. In other words, all of the authors, I’d read all A’s. Then I’d read all C’s. […] I did that at the start, then I just looked around for interesting stuff. We didn’t have books in the home—my Mom and Dad were not readers. But I knew there was something in the library that was really pulling me. I didn’t ever think about it, but sophomore year in college, I decided to become an English teacher. But I was getting myself ready for that way earlier […], though I didn’t know it. So you’re a reader, I take it?

TYG: Yes! My favorite series is a newer series by Erin Hunter, called “Warriors.” There are fan groups all across the country. It’s a huge hit—the whole series is. And if you’re interested in cats, it’s great.
Jerome: Interested in cats?

TYG: Yes, if you’re wondering what lurks inside your cat, as one person described it. And in one of the comments it says, for example, “You won’t ever see your cat the same way again.”
Jerome: I’ve always been fascinated with cats.

TYG: Then you should read it! […]
Jerome: Frankly Allen, I have a stack of books this high to read, so it’ll take me a while to get to it! But I’ll check it out.

So, I started having jobs at age ten, all kinds of jobs. I washed the cars and trucks of a dry-cleaning company, and I sold newspapers on the corner; when I was a little older I was a busboy in a restaurant. I worked in a supermarket for many years as a stocker and a checker and stuff like that. I installed plastic seat covers in cars, I just always had a job—we needed the money, basically! And I was also saving money. I wasn’t sure what for, but what I was really doing, I found out later, was that I was saving enough to go to college! Because I wouldn’t have been able to go to college at all except for that.

So, from my Mom I learned a love of language; all this time I kept reading and that served me well in school. I think reading generally gives you a good vocabulary, it informs you about a lot of stuff. You know that.

TYG: I certainly think it does! [laughs] I’ve got a pretty extensive vocabulary, mostly from reading adult books.
Jerome: My senior year in high school, I was working at this supermarket, and my best friend and I were unloading a beer truck. And I asked him “What are you going to do next fall? Are you going to college?” and he said “Oh yeah, I’m going to go to St. Louis University, and I’m going to get into Commerce and Finance school and major in accounting.” And I said “Why?” He said “Well, my uncle is an accountant and he makes a bunch of money.” I said “Oh, I guess I’ll do that too!” [laughs] 

That was my college plan. So I went to St. Louis University my first year. I did well in my commerce and finance courses. I got good grades and stuff. But most of them seemed like they weren’t very interesting, and I really, really did not like accounting at all. So through a strange series of circumstances I wound up talking to a Jesuit whom I saw only once in my life. He came up to me on the street, and asked me where I was going. And where I was going was, I was going to quit college and join the Marine Corps, because I thought “I don’t know what I’m doing anyway!” He asked me if I liked any of the courses that I took, and I said “Well, my favorite is my English composition course.” It was really a good course, and I really liked the teacher. And he said “Why don’t you become an English teacher?” And I said “Oh! What a good idea!” [laughs] 

So then I changed schools, and took up that curriculum. I would say my academic planning was a little informal. It led to a teaching career for me. I ran out of money after my sophomore year of college, and I had a job as a playground director in St. Louis, but there was a financial dispute in the city, and they didn’t know if they were going to have the funds for it. So I didn’t know if I had a job, or enough money to go back to college then for my junior year. So what I decided to do, kind of on the spur of the moment, was join the Marine Corps. The reason I joined the Marine Corps is that I went to both the Army and the Marine Corps, and the Army said I could leave in two weeks, and the Marine Corps said I could leave on Friday. So I chose the Marines. And I don’t know if you know much about the Marines, Allen, but they’re pretty gung ho. Very strangely, in the Marines was where I started thinking a lot about war, and patriotism, and all of the stuff I had been taught up to that point. I started questioning: questioning war as a solution to any sort of problems; all of the enormous amounts of money we spend on weaponry, etc. etc. That was a strange place, but I think that’s what led me eventually to my anti-war position.

When I got out of the Marines, I still didn’t have enough money to go back to school, so I got a job as a bank teller for a year, and then went back for my junior year and got my B.A. degree in English with a minor in education and a minor in philosophy and a minor in social science from St. Louis University.
I applied for teaching assistantships—do you know what that is? You teach part-time, and the rest of the time you take higher, graduate school courses. So I got three offers of assistantships: one of them at the University of Illinois, one at Southern Illinois, and one at Utah. Utah was the farthest away, and it was out West, and I was fascinated with the West just being out in San Diego in the Marine Corps. It seemed to me like there was a very different attitude in living and way of thinking going on in the West. So I was drawn to that. So I wound up at the University of Utah for two years, where I got my Master’s degree. Right before I finished up my M.A., I got a call from the principal at a Jesuit high school, St. Louis University High School, which was considered by many the best high school in St. Louis. It was a very elite, demanding, college prep school, and the Jesuits are tough—I don’t know if you know that or not. And they offered me a job teaching senior English, and advanced placement English. So I jumped at that, because I knew it would be an ideal place to teach, and it was.

The first summer—you know, teachers don’t make very much, so I had to get a job—I had to get a job working at a warehouse in St. Louis. On one side were the stock yards, you know, where they slaughter the cattle, and on the other side was Monsanto. It was a very awful place to be, and I thought “God, I don’t want to get stuck in this kind of summer job again!”

TYG: What is Monsanto?
Jerome: Well, it was Monsanto Chemical Company; now it’s gotten way, way bigger. Monsanto is involved in the big GMO controversy.

The next year, I got a job at a summer institute for poor, black kids from the St. Louis ghetto, from the housing projects. One of the guys I taught with was the head of the English Department at Forest Park Community College. This was a three-campus district; this was the campus in the St. Louis ghetto. His name was Adam Casmir, right away kept saying to me: “We need you as a teacher at Forest Park Community College.” And I told him, I said “I really, really like my job, I really like where I am, although I really appreciate your saying that.”

But then I got involved in the Civil Rights movement. And in fact I had been involved in the Civil Rights movement earlier, as a teenager. And in those years—this was 1964—things were really starting to move. Black people were really starting to get organized and working toward a lot of changes. I knew I wanted to be part of that, and I thought “What better place to get involved in this whole Civil Rights movement than to be teaching in the ghetto?” So I quit my job at St. Louis U. High, and in 1965 started teaching at the ghetto community college in St. Louis, which was a life changer for me. What I learned there was pretty amazing. I learned to be a teacher, rather than a lecturer. I learned a lot, I think, of what really goes on in the country, as opposed to a lot of what history books teach you goes on and has gone on.
When I was growing up, I was a baseball fan of the St. Louis Browns. Now, the Browns don’t even exist anymore, but they were the worst team in all of baseball. They finished last year after year after year. But I was a real fan of theirs, and to me, it seemed like when they won, it was really a cause for celebration. So from that experience I learned to pull for the underdog, to pull for people who aren’t on top of it all the time. And I think that that affected my being involved in the Civil Rights movement; later on, it led me to become involved in the anti-war movement; I think it led to my being involved in the environmental movement. These are people’s movements, as opposed to the people on top who decide everything.

TYG: These are grass-roots movements, in other words.
Jerome: Exactly. And they were true grass-roots movements, too. Lots of people involved. And a lot of people paid some heavy dues for getting involved in them.

I taught at St. Louis Forest Park Community School from ’65 to ’71. In 1969 my colleagues elected me chairman of the English department. The administration was not very pleased with that, but they kind of went along with it. We had a new president of the school at the time, who was a retired Air Force major. He was a white Southerner. He was not a very good fit for a ghetto community college. He came to my office very soon after I had been elected chairman of the English department, and he told me that he wasn’t pleased that I was. I had a lot of anti-war information on my office door, along with my schedule. And he said either I had to put up half pro-war information, or I had to take it all down. I said “I’ll tell you what, we’ll make a deal here. You can do with your office door whatever you want to, and I’m going to do with my office door whatever I want to.” He was not pleased with that reply. So he formed what he called an aesthetics committee, and he put all of his cronies on it. The committee came up with this thing that said that the experience of walking down this long hallway where our offices were—offices were on one side, classrooms were on the other—the experience of walking down there, with the color of the carpet and the color of the walls, and the grain of the wood in the office doors is an aesthetic experience, and the aesthetic experience is destroyed for people when they put stuff up on their office door, and not just have their schedule up. So everybody was ordered to take anything down except their name and their schedule on the door. So practically everybody in my department immediately—even those who had nothing on their doors but their schedules—plastered their doors with all kind of cartoons and stuff, and that was the end of the aesthetics committee. Eventually this guy got fired. But he did a lot of damage while he was there.

Okay, we’re still getting me to Yachats, right?

TYG: Yes.


Interview with Lucy Reinhold & Christine Kadolph

The Yachats Gazette was delighted to host two German educators who were passing through town one evening.

TYG: What do you guys do for a living?
Lucy: I am a teacher, Christy is a teacher. I am a teacher for Spanish and English, and working with wood, and sports, and economy, and mixed practical education.

TYG-Graphic Design: In what grades?
Christy: Our pupils are 11, and they take their A-Levels when they are 18.
Lucy: So from the fifth to twelfth grade.

TYG: What part of Germany do you live in?
Lucy: So Germany has 15 federal states, and we are living in the northern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. It’s in the North of Germany …

TYG-Editorial Assistant: They have lots of little dogs. [laughter all around]
Lucy: … It’s a really huge Federal State with a lot of nature, lots of [lakes], and near to the Baltic Sea. And the capital there is Rostock—we live there.
Christy: The capital is Schwerin, but Rostock is bigger than Schwerin, so that is why we always get confused... [laughter all around] 

TYG: In Oregon, Portland is so much bigger than our capital, which is Salem!
Christy: It’s the same way for us. So everybody makes this mistake.

TYG: […] So you live in the North of Germany, correct?
Christy: That’s where we met—we were studying together.

TYG: So do you work at the same or different schools?
Lucy: Different schools. She’s working in a private school, and I’m in a public school. But we started working together—we finished our practicum year together.
Christy: We graduated from university, and afterwards, in Germany, you have to do 18 months of “practical teaching” at school, any you get your final degree only when you’ve done these 18 months at school.

TYG: Wow, so several years at the university?
Lucy: Me, seven years, plus these 18 months, so 8 years.
Christy: Five years and 1 year.

TYG-GD: So this is your vacation before your “real job”?
Lucy: Yes, this is our treat!

TYG-GD: So what is your professional degree called?
Lucy: Teacher.
Christy: Just teacher. Well, not “just” teacher. It’s one of the highest degrees you can get after doctor or lawyer.

TYG: [laughing] So different from over here!
Lucy: Well, I’m not only “Teacher,” because my Dad was building a hotel in Potsdam, and his aim was that I do like him, take over. That’s why I was learning hotel management for three years—but I realized it wasn’t [for me]. So I finished it, and then I started studying sports and tourism management, on the Island—I lived two years [in the] Canary Islands, on Fuerteventura. So they sent me all the materials, and I made the “Examen” two years later, in Germany [N.B.: the “Staatsexamen” is the equivalent of a Master’s degree, and is a government licensing examination]. And then I decided to become a teacher! [laughs]
Christy: What else can we say about our schools? My school, where I’m going to teach, is really big. They focus on different talents of pupils, so there are classes that support pupils who are talented in sports—soccer, swimming, handball. And there are also classes for people who are talented in playing an instrument—it’s quite interesting: they play in the morning, and in the evening. We have a university in town which is quite famous for the education of musicians. It’s called HMT [Hochschule für Musik und Theater], and it’s famous in the world—there are lots of Japanese and Chinese people. So the pupils we have, they actually play with [HMT] in the afternoon, and get classes from them. And then there are pupils like you, Allen; they support pupils who are talented in intelligence.

TYG-GD: Academically talented?
Christy: I guess you can call it that. They give them the chance to go to the university and talk to professors. So that’s different—we have a children’s university.

TYG-GD: A children’s uni? How does that work?
Christy: Pupils go there in the afternoon, and the professors voluntarily give them some classes. So, that’s about my school. The students pay €350 per month.

TYG-GD: Why is there a need for private schools, do you think?
Lucy: That’s a good question. It could be that parents see how the public school works, and that there’s no individual working or learning. And also there are more students from “good” families, more educated families.

TYG-GD: So it’s a class thing?
Lucy: [regretfully] Yes, a bit. I also have a particular opinion, that not all students are together and learning from each other.
Christy: I think the same way. I would prefer actually to be in a public school because I think that education shouldn’t cost money. But it’s hard to realize. And when you see what kind of problems public schools have, you know they can’t plan anything throughout the year, because they are dependent on the State, the government. So if the government says they don’t have any money, what can they do? Even if they have good ideas, they can’t [implement] them. But I think the school where Lucy is, they have a lot of good ideas. And the school where I was [during student teaching], you shouldn’t have a look at the building. When it’s raining, it drops inside, and when it’s windy, the windows are shaking. So when we had this big storm, they had to close the school for three days because they were afraid because all the shingles were falling down.

TYG-GD: Was it a poor town?
Christy: Actually not! It was just an old building… They were waiting to change, but they didn’t have money so they stopped building the new school for one year. So now the new school is already falling apart.

TYG: […] How did your trip from Seattle go?
Lucy: Yes, so first, we were landing in Seattle. We had one day in Seattle before we took a ferry to Bremerton, to the other side where the Olympic Park starts. Then we went a bit north on a really nice trail, the Hurricane Ridge Trail—high up, and enjoyed the view. Then in the evening, we took a ferry over to Vancouver Island, to Victoria, and met some friends. We paddled up through Victoria, and did some other things, some more trails—and they were really beautiful, and we were in Canada! [makes a pumping fist gesture] And we got another visa stamp. [laughter] Then we went back to the Olympic peninsula and went around it to the other entrance, the Moss Trail. That was really quite pleasant.
Christy: Then we went more south, directly to Portland, and visited the Multnomah Falls. And then today we drove here, and then we met you! That’s our trip so far! [laughter] Today, we have spent already one week here in America.
Lucy: And we still have three weeks, until the 14th of August. So now we’re going down the west coast: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and we’re going back from Las Vegas. We’re going to visit some National Parks, and going surfing, because we don’t have so many big waves…

TYG: Yes, you don’t have much warm water [on the Baltic]! Of course, it’s not warm here, but down in southern California…
Lucy: [laughter] That’s what our plan is!

TYG-EA: Why did you choose the West Coast?
Lucy: Yes, that was my idea… I was traveling a lot with my boyfriend, and we met lots of American people in our guiding job, and I thought “Yes, well, we could surf, there’s a lot of nature, interesting people… yeah!” I’ve never been to America.
Christy: I really liked the idea to go there with Lucy, and since we had four weeks, and we are two girls, we wanted somewhere where we could travel safely. It’s really comfortable to travel here, actually. We’ve traveled a lot before, not always together, but we have a lot of travel experience. But here, yeah, it’s so nice, the people are really nice… like you! [laughter] […] And for me, since I’m an English teacher, it’s very interesting for me to get to know Americans and America so I can tell my pupils how it is here.

TYG: Before you leave, if you’re looking for the classic American experience, head up-river. You’ll find something that you just don’t find in Germany. Just a valley that has acres, and acres, and acres of farmland. All the way up, for miles.
Christy: There’s a lot of agriculture in Germany too! And wind energy. And off-shore is growing now, for wind, […] and wave energy as well.

TYG-GD: So how did you meet? At university?
Lucy: So, [Christy] is originally from Rostock—she grew up there. But me, I came from Potsdam, a little town near Berlin. I went to school there, did my hotel management, then the Canary Islands. And when I came back, I worked a bit in Hamburg, but I don’t like the big city, when you come from an island where there’s nothing… when I arrived in Rostock, my sister was already there. She’s one year younger and studied agriculture. Christy was the first to help me in the studies, to tell me what I need, what I must do to prepare—she helped me a lot. I first started studying Spanish.

Christy: That’s where we met, in the Spanish class.
Lucy: But then I felt bad with Spanish, because I speak Spanish from the Canary Islands, and it’s not my thing to be so theoretical in reading and history… Sorry! I don’t like history at all! [laughter] 

TYG: Oh, I like history…
Lucy: It’s so hard for me to learn what I don’t like. I’m really practical type of woman. I changed to technical work—AWT—is the word for the subject I do now, and it’s really practical-oriented. It’s perfect for me. I love it.
Christy: And we stayed together because we both surfed, and did hobbies together…

TYG-GD: Where did you learn to surf?
Christy: Australia!
Lucy: Canary Islands…
Christy: That’s why we still live on the coast… we live 15 minutes from the [Baltic] Sea, a half an hour by bike…
Lucy: But when you compare the Federal States, north and south—maybe you know Münich, Bayern—rich and developed Federal States and we are maybe not the opposite, but it’s really hard to get a job for normal workers. As a teacher it’s easier; teachers are actually needed, and it’s growing now…
Christy: But for engineers and the like, it’s really hard now.
Lucy: It’s eastern Germany, so we have agriculture, and tourism.
Christy: It’s the same like here, a little bit, I guess. Before the GDR [German Democratic Republic], before the Wall was up, there was more work, like for people who worked on the wharfs, but now…
Lucy: It’s getting better, I guess.
Christy: Around Rostock, perhaps. The little villages, more far away… not so much.

TYG: Well thank you so much for your time!!
Lucy and Christy: Thank you!