Do not ever wait to say, what needs to be said! – Time wait for no one
Notes from my solitude 2015-16
My notes and scribbles in haste are all truly without an eye on posterity. Nevertheless, they can offer a little insight to me, my current solitude and characters for my grandchildren and their children one day, if anyone would be bothered. It can be said that it is arrogant of me to write about myself. Life is a story which we have told to ourselves. Times may change but people’s emotion does not.
I have taken the blows that life throws at all of us. Many had the foundation of a father and grandfather, I did not have grandfathers or a father who left me anything and I never received any inside into their life’s and views. I should have liked their experience and guidance when I started out in life and my youth, even through my life.
To my own astonishment of emotions that pour out unexpectedly when one can no longer trust or rely on one’s own mind and the body buckles in grief. I have been in the deep, so deep valley of grief and dispair since Romana, my soulmate left this world.
Words must not become barriers between us; sadly they have for generation, even about fact and truth, which many times, in translation can totally change in meanings. Yet words are our tools and we must not be afraid to express the truth we know is the best words can say.
There are much throwaways affairs, I need notes as I tend to forget what I did yesterday in my current conditions, even one hour ago and five minutes. Sadly, I am not a writer, nor am I able to express my true emotion in words and prose. I should like to write the history of my soul, the monument to suffering and courage and hope.
No one around can understand my daily struggle, discomfort, indignity and mental pains, my intensive interior world and the contrast to the exterior around me, starting with the cell walls and floor. I find myself in myself in this total dysfunctional place of disorder, disaffection just an immeasurable distance away from where my mind is stuck in grief, but beauty and many special moments with me beloved Romana.
I have come to realise that writing is really talking to one self. Not speaking to people for days, at least I can be “two” persons and debate what I write or by memories.
The prison within us is much bigger than the biggest prison of the world. As written before, I have been in prison since Romana’s death, a long time before I was arrested. Such statement is not fair towards Hanna, who have tried to give me much love. However, my memories do set me free and they have been the strength for me to make it through all these terrible years.
Some of my life and insights linger longer in my mind; I should like the power of prose to bring them to paper. I will be trying to write with a willed casualness about my past, not that I will disown it, everything start with me and often enough end with me.
Since I every day want to leave this journey, I have for a long time ago made up my mind, as to my life. I believe I had a good life. I should have liked to have created something that inhabited people’s souls or made an impact on this planet’s life.
At least, I did not grow up in a place like Romana, among executioners and victims. In a country where the very air of their life was poisoned. Romana’s mother Jadwiga said that evil kept a watchful eye on them. She grew up in a country where dying was taught from childhood, where they were told that human beings exist in order to give everything they have, to burn out, to sacrifice themselves – to communism.
I thank my creator for growing up in a different place, and that I was able to find Romana and that we could share the best years of our lives together in life, with so many special moments.
In writing these lines, I know that a lot of recalling and confronting my memories is painful but ultimately empowering. The most painful was my years of incarceration.
The pain of losing my grandmother, was such a traumatic event, which left such deep wound, I never was truly able to overcome. I carried these wound throughout my life. To me, my dear grandmother Caroline lived on in many ways, since she became a parental tool for my mother, possibly replacing the fact that my stepfather was not such great support in my upbringing.
My grandmother died when I was nine years old, I mostly had to deal with this pain myself, since my sorrow caused my mother to go into depression and illness. I felt the pain, so much that even when I was a grown man with my own family, I could always cry thinking about my grandmother. My mother also used my grandmother by always getting the truth out of me. My Mother said that my grandmother was always watching me and saw everything, so I in the end had to tell the truth.
My grandmother had been a unifier keeping the family together. Upon her death the blame game set in and caused old resentment came out, like the questions of my mother’s father, her stepfathers action towards her etc., this effectively meant that Aalborg become an out of bound. With the exception that I once went to Elna at my autumn school holiday (I believe in 1954, where I shared room with Jørgen and Inge Linna had to sleep another place, she was very small.
I would have liked to end up with a lot of life around, many children and animals living close to nature.
Experience makes us who we are!
Do not ever wait to say, what needs to be said! – Time wait for no one.
Give me time to find my inner depth and metaphysical consciousness. Without such depth, our moral and political protestations are just so much verbiage.
Når du er svag, vis styrke, når du er stærk, vis svaghed
Collect experience not possessions
It took me some time and years to conclude that collecting experiences ultimate leads to more satisfaction than collecting possessions. It might seem strange from one point of view; after all, objects could well provide a lifetime of service, whereas experiences are often fleeting.
However, meaningful experiences do not leave us with nothing – they give us memories that can bring us emotional succour for years to come. Of course, memories can be negative as well as positive; and if we rely too much on memories to keep us happy, there is always the danger of living in the past at the expense of the present.
To me Teddy Roosevelt dictum that it is far better to be the person who knows “the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”. This dictum governs me up until the events in Denmark in early 1980.
To me, and in general, the memory of the experiences we have had is an important part of life. Without memories, and my reminiscences, I could not survive every day in this hellhole. My memories keep me hanging on, during the day, in this misery. Memory leads in some directions more readily than others.
I am as writing, fortunate to be listening to music from my digital radio. To describe music in words, how do you do it? Schubert’s music can be desolate. How do we even describe the word red?
Epicurus thought so too, and considered fond recollections a type of mental pleasure. This apply to my experience, since I use all the good memories, specifically when the children were small and my life with Romana, as most beneficial for my mental health, that and with classic music and the pictures are my medicine dealing with my ever present depressions and grief.
The therapeutic value of memories for older people is being harnessed by reminiscence therapy, as there is some evidence that recalling past experiences can be beneficial for mental health.
I am able to walk through my garden at Villa les Anges, in my mind, to look at the beautiful flowers, the magnolia, camellia and roses, the smell of lavender and enjoy all the beauty of nature. I am able to go for a walk with Amey, as I did every day, however, when I return, it makes me cry and it is not always beneficial. Nonetheless, it is still comforting, and the only comfort I have here.
On my daily walk with Amey, most days at Mont Agel, I stopped at various locations, some where I had found attractive stones, trees and vegetation. The stones, I sometimes moved, so I could have them together in less places. The stones represented the people I loved and who had passed away, even people like Anthony Marreco and outsiders, but all my family members and people like Laura, Tina daughter who died so young. Romana was still living; however, I stopped and prayed at these places and rested for thoughts, with Amey next to me. I hope I will walk that past with a loving dog or two by my side again, it will be hard. I can pray and hope I also with share moments with a loving woman.
According to Professor Daniel Kahneman, The Nobel laureate, in his view, we have an experiencing self, who lives in the present, and a remembering self, which is our inner storyteller.
It is the remembering self that cherishes all those memories. But we should be wary of doing things and accumulating experiences only in order to make our lives more meaningful in the future. The experience self and the remembering self have different pleasure and perspectives, and we should make sure there is a balance between the two.
Both Romana and I realised that you can become easily a slave to your possession, I, by my own experiences in life advising and dealing with what is closeted to people their money. Possession you can only be a temporary caretaker of, a painting, a piece of furniture or even land and property, we are all caretakers. Most of these things will be there when we are gone. I recall standing with a landowner, who owned nearly the same size of land as the whole of Denmark, and when he said this all belong to me. I corrected him and said, yes, you are the caretaker of so much, a great responsibility.
I recall dinning with a British aristocrat in his castle which had belonged to his family for more than 400 years. He had devoted his life to take care of his inheritance and looking after his property, he knew what it meant to be caretaker. All this responsibility finished him and his children just parted with all their collections and property, sold off with total discard for all the hard work and devotion, their forefather’s had put into the estate.
Romana had on the other hand an inner belief and realisation about this, in such a way that she did not seek possession, but always moments, special moments and we had so many. Romana lived every moment, which I had difficulty with, but slowly learned. This is all those moments which I now have to look back on – all so cherished memories in my soul and nothing to do with money.
Money, yes finance is the handmaiden of civilisation. Among its products were the development of writing, recording, calculation, and printing. I believe that finance is such important social innovation, as it allows us to move economic values forward and backward through time. That enables humans to plan their lives, both individually and collectively. I had hope I had reached that stage in early 1980, where this would have been possible for my family and I to plan a solid future with a freedom of choice.
As to experience, I am wary of doing things and accumulating experiences only in order to make our lives more meaningful in the future. The experiencing self and remembering self have different pleasure and perspectives, and we should make sure there is a balance between the two. I do see of lot of people just chasing going there, going there and doing this and that, just to say that they went there and did that. I find no pleasure in such pursuit.
Looking back on my life, I was always a big risk taker, always prepared to face new frontiers, possibly, more than I should after having my sons and family. One thing however, I do not take risk with, that is comfort and things I knew are important to me. How older I become how less risk on such as to where to sleep, the quality of bed, the methods of travel and where and what I eat. However, when I was younger, I did take quite possibly stupid risks, which on reflection was not so smart exposing me – to face the music. The fact that I always challenged authority and never respected borders or rules, as rules and borders could be changed. I do believe, if you have the strength and ability, one should aim to create something which is larger than oneself.
Today, I know you can’t fight City Hall; you can’t sit down to play a game, where the other players constantly can change the basis for the game and the rules. Power has to be taken, but with power – real power, you create rules and laws. It always protect you, since one can always change the rules and law, in case you or your ‘group’ or interest breaks these and have to be protected.
Going back to my own restriction today as to travelling, sleeping and eating, I know what I want, and do not have to take risk as to this and indeed what make me have a better day.
Modern ways of travel have not really been my thing, I like a good bed and a good meal, comfort and like certainty as to this. I also do not like to be confronted with all the miseries around the world and witnessing the huge inequality. I much prefer a walk in the forest and enjoy the nature. Yes, when I was young, I travelled extensively, even very young from the age of 16. When the children was growing up, for years I had several take off and landings a week for periods. When my wife Liz made out that I had a good time travelling, as a result I took her a few times with me, just to remind her how hectic schedule I had. She experienced herself that living out of a suitcase, going to different destination every day, is not fun, one have no time to enjoy the places.
There will always be many moments and things that we do not remember well, if at all, but they still have an important role to play in a good life. Our reassurance that we have lived life to the full should not come from being able to list an impressive number of exceptional experiences. It should come knowing that we have appreciated as many moments as we could, as deeply as we could. Moments leaving an imprint in our soul and makes us who we are.
Living well means being alive to the wonder of the moment, taking delight in, with the small things of each day. Even being visual alert. Right now I miss the smell of freshly brewed coffee. As of writing these lines I must cling on to my memories, as I do not want to live the present.
I was born on the 7th June 1941, six month before Pearl Harbour and days prior to the German invasion of Russia. The year 1941 was full of big events and negative karma. I was born at home in Aarhus, despite, my mother had a very difficult birth and in great pain as I was a very big baby, I believe 5½ kg, I made it into this life. In fact, the birth of me was so terrible experience for my dear mother that she did not wish for more children again; she told me that many times, when I questioned her about why I did not have a brother or sister.
According to 6000 years Chinese belief, and the great minds of Confucius and Lao-tse, including readings from I Ching, to be born in May and June before the summer solstice you enjoy the following: I am Ch’ien = creative, given the ability to heaven, light-giving, active, strong and of spirit, with strong character – its essence is power or energy. Attributes: Sublinity, potentiality of success, power to further, perseverance, perseverance=wisdom. Sublinity = embraces LOVE
I was born in the year of the snake. I do not like snakes, and they represented in my early years terrible nightmares. It is interesting I did not know snakes or had been in anyway exposed to snakes my first 5-7 years of life, nevertheless, the haunted many nights for hours my dreams. However, the snake has a lot of symbolism in many cultures, including Christianity.
In the Old Testament, there is the symbolism of the snake telling Eve it’s all right to eat of fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. The use of the snake was in rebuttal to all the fertility gods in various pagan religions that surrounded Israel. When Solomon built the first temple for Israel, its main columns were fashioned to represent snakes and fertility, as there was a lot of influence of other religions in an ancient Israel. The snake thus represents symbolically these other religions tempting the people of Israel, who are represented symbolically by Adam and Eve. So the snake represented evil.
In other cultures like the Inca and the Mexican Indian Aztec and Maya, the snake also was important and represented even the rulers The Plumed Serpent the “Quetzalcoatl” represented the ever-changing universe for the Maya. In fact, the logo I have for Hauschildt Family appears to have some origin in this snake.
The snake, many snakes become important in my early years, as I regularly had these terrifying nightmares about snakes, certainly up to the age of seven years. I do not know where I had such dreams from, not exposed to TV or films, as I can’t remember seeing snakes as a boy in publications or even in the zoo.
The importance of chances
The immense importance of chance in life. An incalculable amount of human effort is directed to combating and restricting the nuisance or danger represented by change. The Chinese mind deals with the coincidence of events. The axioms of causality, if we leave things to nature, we see a very different picture every process is partially or totally interfered with by chance.
We are what we lived
It has always been my conviction, that we are what we have lived. Despite the most awful experiences the last three years in a place created to dish out inhumanity, the moments living through those horrid days and nights, have given me a deeper inside, not alone in observing evil within fellow man, but also allowing me to look back on my own life and prepare myself for leaving this life.
If and when departing from this incarceration, I will be leaving as a better human being, not only appreciating more my life but also far more aware how fortunate I have been. Few people today have travel the landscape I have travelled.
Although, luck and chance plays a role in all our lives, I have become convinced that our life is charted before we enter this life, charted by our spirit, eager to learn. Every human’s life is precious, and no one have a right to judge if someone has wasted life.
If I was a farmer’s son and ploughed the fields for all my adult life, who can judge this was wasted as I never did anything else or enjoyed life. I would have learned hard work and solitude in nature with animals. I would have learned to respect and enjoy nature; I would have learned to take nothing for granted, as to the various seasons and harvest. I would know so much most other human being will have no idea about.
I thought recently about when I was a young boy ploughing a field with a horse, being supervised by the farmer close by. Taking the cows in and helping to hand milk them. When the milking machine came along a year later, we still had to wash the tits of the cows and attached them the each socket. I remember clearly that boy. This was the boy who missed every day away from his mother and missed the love of his grandmother. This was the boy, who the year before had been lying, many days, in the arms of the fishmonger’s wife Karen, holding her breasts. This was the boy who that morning had been rowing on the lake with Lise, a mature woman, at least 10 years older blond, who had been undressed for hours playing with herself and me. I was that boy.
I used to express to my children that Life is like a mirror, everything you see in your face, good and bad will be there one day. I quoted my old history teacher who told us: To overcome yourself is greater than conquering a whole town. Through my life experience, I have concluded that he was right; we have to deal with our weaknesses and shortcut abilities.
After my experiences in Denmark with my 1492 days incarceration, I did tell young people that they could become anything they wanted in life; there were no limits only, their own minds. When you decided to enter your plot of land, select one place to dig and keep digging, do not go another place to trip to dig, keep digging where you are.
Therefore, I have come to believe in tenacity, something I did not have with many of my plans and ideas.
It is first in old age I realise how important it is to pass on experience to your children, I do not believe for one moment that I did, somehow, at the most important time in their life, I was not there to help them. I did not really help them across the water. Neither, did I assist in passing on experience to my grandchildren up to now. Partly, because my life with Romana, taught me not to get involved in my children’s mess, moreover, I did not feel wanted.
I had no father, nor grandfather to teach me anything, My stepfather did teach me duty somewhat, by his day after day duty of going to work, but that is the only real thing I learned, and which I somewhat felt opposing in my mind, looking down on the “workers” in our society. How wrong I was, one has to respect all human beings as Life, and our society is made of these people of duty, to work and look after their families with devotion, taking orders from others and living to their rules and power. Looking back I feel very sorry about my stepfather’s life, moreover, I sincerely regret my behaviour towards him, especially in the last years of his life. “How could I let him wait for me in my office?” for an “appointment with me” Please forgive me.
My Mother should not have had me, she had grown-up with too many emotional baggage and problems. All no doubt caused by her Mother’s difficult life after the turn of the century during the first World War, having an affair in Copenhagen with a man grown up in a different part of society, with aristocratic background, with traditions where you do not marry someone common and certainly do not take such woman home to your parents. My grandmother came from a provisional family, a trade, and merchant and hotel owners in Hjørring. No private school education, lots of sisters and one brother. My Great Grandmother always looked to me as a breeder of children, and always very old on pictures. My Dear Mother referred to her as “Bedste” which in Danish – the best!. This was quite common at the time, but very few great grandparents were around and at least my Mother had her grandmother around for a few years. But the fact that most respectable families at the time believed “that equal children plays best” like I know now, Alfred Hauch was never going to marry Caroline Mathilde Guldager.
My grandmother’s name and family Guldager, means directly translated to English gold acres, the field of gold or the meadow (corn field, grassland) of gold. Not a bad name really.
So my dearest Grandmother, at the age of 19 years and six month gave birth to my Mother Grethe Marianne at a hospital in Copenhagen on the 27 June 1919. My grandmother worked as a seamstress and shop assistant in the Copenhagen high street. Alfred was a good looking man in his mid-twenties, with money and he obviously got scared when my mother was born, what is he going to tell his mother and father? What would such man do, a man with noble background and a family which goes back to the 13th century in history, sent her off to her home, where she came from, so there my Caroline went back to North Jylland with her little baby, no doubt to the wrath of their minds.
Poor grandmother, and as all parent then knew that someone local like the a young electrician, a hard working young man would be good for their daughter, seeing responsibly to the hotel’s installations, with the name of Carl Høyer, he would make a responsible husband for her. An electrician, who at that time had been an apprentice for 4-5 years showing staying power in a job, so a man of solid character. That meant my Caroline married Carl Høyer and in 1923 little “Moster” Elna was born, my dearest aunt, who I happily got more close to later in her life, after I met My Romana.
Something which I truly appreciate and thank for. Elna was such a special good person, who never used bad language nor spoke badly about others, truly a good human being, always with a smile like Romana. Not apparently religious, a hard working mother, who could do anything with her hands, make a dress in a few hours, repair her children’s clothes and make her own Christmas cards, table decoration and everything for the Christmas tree, she could do everything she decided to do with her hands. Housework was just done, without any big deal, whereas my Mother, always referred to her sister as not very concerned about the hygiene, I always found everything so clean and shiny in my aunt’s home as in my Mother’s home.
Elna was everything my Mother was not in many ways, not that my Mother also had some of Elna’s characters, such an ability to speak to other people and work with her hands, but my Mother had a dark and emotional mind, carrying a lot of baggage from her childhood, growing up with a stepsister, who obviously was the favourite of her father Carl Høyer. And later a step brother Hans Jørgen, my uncle, who I really like when growing up, since he could have been my older brother, except he was 10-11 years older. Sadly he died too early in 1990s.
When Hans Jørgen realised that his Mother had died in 1950, he tried to commit suicide by hanging, however they found him before he had died. Worse they sent him for treatment, electronic chock therapy, a most primitive and barbarian treatment, still used I understand. So I recall going to hospital in Copenhagen to visit him and later he went to Sct. Hans, a place in Roskilde, where he “recovered” thereafter he went to the sea, sailing all over the world, regular coming back to our home, with gifts and currency from faraway place. I really like Hans Jørgen a lot, like an older brother, introducing me to Jazz, Nat King Cole, Earthy Kit and Doris Day. This was years before Bill Halley and Elvis. But Hans Jørgen had a difficult time grieving the loss of his Mother that I am sure of. I never really told him how much he meant to me, although Romana and I saw him and his wife Ditte in Aalborg, in fact I video this, but they were both alcoholic, but had a lovely daughter Lone, who today have three beautiful daughters with at least one married.
I am so thankful for that Romana got close to Elna, as close as it was possible with the limit language and understanding. But they did not need to speak; they spoke with their faces, bodies, emotions and mind. I hope as of writing, that they both have been dancing lately, both being true party girls, although time do not exist on in their world.
I have just realised that Sylvia Browne died in 2013, at the same age as my Dear beloved Mor 67 years old, much too young. Dates of my birthday 6 and 7. In closing her book she writes about her daughter-in-law having lost her parents and referring to being an orphan. I immediately thought that we are frankly all orphans. Sylvia Browne writes on “She was right, but somehow, even though I had lost both my parents as she had now lost both hers, I never grasped the concept of being an “orphan”, as if there were an unwritten age limit on that word. That simple statement, as all truth, resonated through me to the core of my soul, and I caught my breath and wept with her.” No, I did think reading this, right away that we are all orphans, how orphaned we all are first arriving here, so far away from the tangible presence of the Father and Mother God who first breathed the flame of eternal life into our spirits As Sylvia writes, No wonder the first sound on earth is a cry.
Yes, we are all orphans in the Life
My grief from the death of Romana is still fresh, raw and relentless and unstoppable like the waves that I now wish to write a poem about walking every morning with Romana along the coast of beautiful Cap D’Ail. (26,992 day of my life)
Manners maketh man
When my boys went to Hill House, Colonel Stuart Townend used to teach the children “Manners maketh man”. Although, I did not come from an upper class family, my mother must have introduced some good manners in me, because, I was very polite, more so when I early experienced working and it resulted in tips. First, when I went with milk in the morning and started to doing errand for ladies, helping them carrying their shopping and placing their shopping in their kitchen, generally offering my help. Later, I learned as an elevator boy, in three hotels, to present myself at best with white gloves, bending politely and deep when seeing guests.
According to my mother, I started very early thanking people in Danish manifold by saying “Tusind tak, tak” a thousand thanks, thanks, and often bowing. That was unusual, because most would just say “tak”. My experience seeing hotel guest taught me also that they were judge by their dress and manners, even their luggage. This must have played importance for me already at the age of 13.
The fact that I was tall, played also a role that I stood out among others, when this is the case, you learn not to be presenting yourself in the worst light. So despite I did not go to boarding school, like my sons, I learned early to polish my shoes and always dress in freshly pleated trousers. I admit that Jardex, making upmarket men’s suits, did give me the best possible introduction, as they had the best suits at the time and used the right materials, which I early learned about, ranging from light wools, Harris Tweed, silks and indeed purchased well cuts shirts. I never used anything else than the best Sea Island cotton, and very early had Egyptian light cotton shirt, this I also picked up in Italy. Although, most men used non-iron, nylon and artificial material for shirt and sock, I could never use such items. Many Italian men dressed well, and also expressed good manners and charm, specific towards women. This did make an impression on me, although, much time I found them very false, I used to say that all Italian is born actors.
Alone the fact that I spend a great deal of money to have tailor made my first grey-white-striped pin suit at the age of 16. Not many would ever consider such, but to me I knew one needed to present oneself with authority, and at my age of 16, I desperately needed to appear older, at least early twenty. Having lost my hair at the front head, due to experimenting with chemical and bomb making, I did already look so much older, in fact, my wedding picture clearly makes me look 30 plus, so much older than Elizabeth, although she was five years older then me..
Because of my body and seize, I always convinced myself that I could never be real elegant, like Freddy Astaire and many of the small Italian gentlemen. Later in London I worked with an American, a friend Hayden Martin, who presented himself very elegantly. He had been the first salesman in USA, who sold a million dollar life insurance policy. He knew how to present himself, and told me his successful method of using “cold” calling, making the people important that he had chosen them. He would every week select the names from the 500 Fortune company list, give the names to his assistant, who would telephone and get through to the secretary. The conversation would be something like “I telephone on behalf of the PA of Mr Hayden Martin, who have selected your boss to be given 10-15 minutes of Mr Martin’s time” They would than ask, who is Mr Hayden Martin and they would answer that Mr Martin was the first in the million dollar club and he only spend time with people he considered important to be given his advise. He always got an appointment.
As to size and elegant, I felt this specifically when I lived in Italy and Portofino, as I was unable to buy so elegant shoes and clothes, as the smaller men. In fact, in 1966 I walked into an Italian man’s shop in Kings Road, having seen a beautiful pair of shoes, asking to try them, when they saw me and I asked for size 14 plus, they asked me to go to a shipyard and rushed me out of the back door, not to ruin their trade.
Manners however have nothing to do with the size of your body. I believe that even living in the conditions and cabbage place as I does, one can still keep to manners. I have often been accused of trivia on etiquettes, since many people regard them as peripheral to more serious matters in life such as one’s home, career or possessions. Yet these people totally miss the point that how we behave defines who we are. The secret is to be considered to others, and manners underpin our attitudes towards others. When I witness modest people taking care of their manners, I am full of admirations. Even here in prison through my near four years, one can immediately judge prisoners from their manners.
I always said that manners cost nothing and reflect our true human qualities. It is like hygiene, it cost nothing.
I learned very early that the world is a stage, sadly although I told many that this was the case, I often did not follow this fact, and I have at many times in my life ignored this. Very early my work with Jardex did introduce me to dress and as a 15 year old I could walk around in the latest men fashion, with expensive clothing, reflecting a high social ladder. The first impression is made in seconds, when we first meet people.
Stig Guldberg Camp
My first real love and totally platonic, was Pia, a beautiful Danish girl, blond long hair with pleads, tall and womanly figure. She was the daughter of Stig Guldberg. She was truly the first real love of my life, just like a dream. She was the only unconquerable woman in my life.
I worked for 4-5 weeks assistant in the Guldberg’s camp in Skåne in Sweden in 1954. Guldberg’s charity helped invalid and problem children from Germany, many of them black, all fathers were American and British soldiers who left them and their mothers. I was 14 years old, but looked 17. I would later drive 150 kilometres, just to catch a glimpse of her going to school on Lolland Falster, even sleep out at night without anything, under the stars, to wait to see her next morning going again to school. Apart from Brigitte Bardot, no other woman was so important to me in my young years. Possibly, until I met Ellen, and also my sexual escapade with women guests in Palace Hotel.
The historian Silke Satjukov, authors of the Bastards, estimate that more than 400,000 German women had children with allied soldiers. Author, academic historian Miriam Gebhardt estimated British troops may have committed 30,000 rapes at the end of the war and American soldiers 190,000. Whether their children were the result of rape or not, the mothers suffered horribly.
When I travelled in Ukraine, I spoke to a few older people who told me that the German Nazi did not commit rape because it turned out such fraternisation was prohibited by Rassenschande, race shame.
Interesting, not relevant to this, I also heard about Stalin’s cruelty for several years in mid-1930s taking all the harvest and turning the population into cannibalism, with up to 15m people dying. Parents had to look out for their children, and even dead bodies were taken to eat. Stalin gave most of the harvest to “workers abroad” as propaganda. How could Roosevelt and Churchill be so stupid, they had not read Lenin’s writing and they declare war on the world in 1921.
These mothers and their children were stigmatised and suffered discrimination from the time of birth on. They were the children of the enemy. Experts estimated that Soviet troops committed as many as 2 million rapes at the end of the war.
Stig Guldberg, a Dane without hands, his arms were cut off during the war, after the war decided to take care of these children, all with mental or psychical problems. He brought them to Denmark in summer camp and in Sweden. I work was to look after a ward with 20-30 beds, and take care of the children as to occupying their day with plays and excursions. I learned so much during those weeks about how the most invalid children always seemed happy and thankful.
Stig Guldberg had two beautiful daughters, the eldest named Pia. She because my first love, and I never even got as close as a kiss, I later biked more than 100 miles and back, just to catch a glimpse of her going to school.
I painted in oil a painting of Place du Tetra in Paris, on canvas, and sent her. It had taken me months and the picture was not bad and very liked. I lived and breathe my love for her, but her father kept her away meeting with me. But Pia Guldberg was my first Love.
Until 1955 the Allied High Commission for Germany, which Anthony Marecco worked for, forbade “proceedings to establish paternity or liability for the maintenance of children.
There were enormous obstacles in the path of relationships between British soldiers and German women at the end of the war. Until September 1945 all fraternisation with the enemy was banned and intermarriage was forbidden until 1946. Even then it could take months or years to get permission and the soldiers were likely to have been sent home. The soldiers had to get permission from their commanding officers to marry.
British and American authorities refused any help to German mothers of children fathered by their troops “Pregnant frauleins are warned” was the headline of an article in Starts and Stripes, the US military newspaper. The British military government argued that if we accept publicly that we did this – that we are responsible for rapes, that we responsible for these children – then this will be an argument the Soviets can use against us for propaganda, so they tried to keep it hidden.
I questioned Anthony Marreco about this as it had special interest to me.
Also, about the lies that the Allied created of disinformation about so many things, which were lies to paint the Germans worse.
I was stuck about my first trip to United Kingdom in 1957, we drove through Germany to England, and when we tanked for petrol in Germany, the Germans asked where we were going. When we told them to England, they smiled and told us it is a beautiful place and the people nice. Arriving in Dover, the tank station helpers asked how we had driven from Denmark and when we told them through Germany, they said what a terrible place and very bad people. So all this propaganda worked.
According to Miriam Gebhards, “Germans have had an understandable problem addressing their own victims in the light of the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Also, loyalty towards the West and especially towards us was an important reason not to touch on this subject”
I was very surprised how the boys, some in wheelchairs always seemed so happy and thankful in the camp. I can still recall some black boys, one without an arm and they showed so much happiness and thankfulness towards me and my help at the time. So it was a great satisfaction to help these children. Because, of my infatuation with Guldberg’s daughter, he did not want me back the following years. But she was so beautiful, with long blond hair and big blue eyes, just like an angel.
My mother cut out Pia Guldberg’s marriage picture years later, but then I was already a father and married. I kept this picture until recently. I did not like Guldberg at the time, but he must have been a good man. He was driving a special car without his hands.
They Are All Criminals in Venice
One day Romana and I were buying something in a small tobacco shop in St. Mark’s Square in Venice. There were two people serving in the small shop, no doubt that most trade were directed towards the large amount of tourist passing by. There was younger man and older lady serving, most likely into her seventies, looking like an ideal old nanny with white hair, beautiful combed back and a nice dress and smiling face. If one wanted for a film to show a nice old granny with a pretty face, warm and smiling, she would fit the bill. When she looked at you, she smiled politely with attractive spectacles on her nose.
This “dear” old grandmother lady served Romana and me. When it came to paying, I apologised, that I only had a 100 Euro note, although, the payment was 6-7 Euro.
She smiled and told me this will be no problem. She took the banknote down from the desk and appeared to test the note against ultraviolet lighting machine, standing below the desk. She brought the banknote up on the counter again and said in good English: “I am sorry to tell you that this banknote is fake”. I must have looked very surprised, and Romana, told me immediately to give her another one, but before I replied to her: “You know I happened to be a banker, because I collect banknotes and also interested in numerology, I always look at the numbers on the banknotes I get.
This morning I went to Banco de Roma main office here in Venice and received these notes, all 100 Euro notes. I know all the numbers and the banknote I gave you is not the banknote you returned to the counter. If you kindly will show me the banknote I gave you, I will tell you the number. If you do not do that immediately, I told Romana to get one of the police men walking around outside.
The old lady looked at me with astonishment; she appeared shaken a little, than she looked down and bended over saying: “Oh, I see your banknote here; I must have dropped it and made a mistake.” She then handed me my banknote with an apology. Romana had been silent and standing next to me, was chocked to see the old lady’s behaviour, as it was obvious that she did this trick many times a day.
We just walked out without the items we had been buying, because as I said to Romana, she would probably give me some fake notes back in exchange.
Because, both Romana and I thought that this woman would do this all the time on naïve tourists, I wanted to file a complaint about her, I knew the police would just ignore me; therefore, I went back to Banco de Roma, where I saw a young woman who had served earlier that morning. In fact the same cashier who gave me the money earlier. There were four long queues of people at four tills and than her till where she had a closed sign. I went up to her and when she saw me, she indicated that she would speak to me, right away.
Since I knew she understood English, I briefly told her about the whole event in and what had taken place in St. Marcus Square. When I told her about the shop, she told me immediately that she knew the place and the old indeed the old lady. She told me that the old lady’s son is a director of a major television station and said that old lady should be ashamed of herself. Then she shouted out load, not only for me to hear but everyone standing in line at the other tills “All Venetians are criminals” in English and then the same in Italian looking at the people and their surprised faces.
With such a young women’s attitude, one must hope that this will change, but not likely, the place are truly for exploitation of tourist, truly professional ribbing off tourists for hundred years. I believe that the old women could simply not stop doing her tricks, despite she is well off. She needs to go on, as this is one do in Venice.
I knew the trick she made, because, some professional Italian and Spanish criminals imprisoned in Denmark in 1981-84, told me their various tricks and how successful they were. They made various acts to defraud shops, apparently easy pickings for them. When they got the money, they immediately posted it or gave it to another, just in case they were stopped by the police. They knew the risk, therefore they got rid of the money straight away and when the police arrested them, they had no money on them. Some of the most “profitable” scams, worked up to 3-4 times in 10, and some could take up to £1000 in a few hours, without any problem.
I did learn from several professional thieves and con artists, in fact that should be another chapter.
1953, 12 years old
The year by beloved Romana was born and Stalin’s death.
In June 1953, after the Queen’s coronation, which we saw on television, this was ten years after the German surrender at Stalingrad.
I worked as an elevator boy at Christmas at Thorngren, the largest toy store in Copenhagen and had been delivering milk since 1951.
Before this I had my truly first sexual experience in the country, during my summer holidays with a 10-12 years older woman, Liza. The year before in 1952, I had also stayed with a fishmonger and his wife, and had got very close to his wife Karen.
In 1954, our school holiday was 7 weeks than. I worked at Grand Hotel in Copenhagen; I might have told them at the hotel that I was 14/15 years old. That time you did not have to show any papers or documentation for such a job at least that was why it was always possible for me to make out I was older.
In 1951 and 1952 summer holidays, I had spent all my time at Lolland Falster, all the seven weeks. However, in 1953, my mother had allowed me to work for 3 weeks in Copenhagen and then go to the country.
In 1954 when I worked at the Grand Hotel, it was a “grand hotel” and known to be a high quality hotel. I did know the other best hotel in Copenhagen Hotel D’Angleterre, although, I had passed it, many times, when I made deliveries around in Copenhagen. So at the time we considered Grand Hotel and Palace Hotel to be the best in Copenhagen. They were building the Arne Jacobsen designed Royal Hotel at the time close by.
The Grand Hotel was close to the Central Station, and the main large business and offices area with the bus terminals and even the main meat and freight market, also the large area of Istegade, where prostitutes operated. Tivoli was only a few hundred yards away. The hotel was located on the main street, Vesterbrogade, leading from the town hall square all the way to Roskilde.
I had previously worked at Christmas and later in the afternoon after school, ending up only working Fridays and Saturdays for a large grocery shop, quite an exclusive one in Copenhagen, Mr Lothardt Dahl, only 200 meters away from the Grand Hotel. Therefore, I knew the hotel and had spoken to guests staying there, coming in to our shop. I had even made deliveries to the hotel and that I believe how I got the job in the first place, by asking the reception.
At Grand Hotel I received a uniform and a cap, since I was quite tall, I remember they had to alter the uniform, specific get new long trouser and vest coat. Every day the staffs were inspected, our shoes had to shine and my gloves had to be clean (cream colour). All button closed on the uniform and our hair cut short, and we had to have clean hands and nails. I somewhat learned to present myself clean, with polished shoes, and always sharp pleaded trousers.
Because the uniform was made of cheap material, I think, I had pyjamas bottom underneath the trousers, since I hated the feeling of the cloth against my skin. Considering I had no military learning, this hotel work did teach me some discipline
As an elevator boy, I only had to operate the floor selector made in brass and (which had had to shine), inside the lift. I had to be polite to the guests. I did not handle luggage, as this went up with a porter going by a special lift. Sometimes, the desk asked me to show the guest to a room, just to see it, the lay-out, before booking. But only, if other staffs was busy. Other times when a guest needed something like a newspaper or if post arrived to the guest, but this was quite rare.
Depending if the guest was known as a good tipper, I would end up with some of these task. The staff at the reception would only send me when they knew there were no tips coming for the job, this made me even more determined to be very nice to the guests, to prove the other staff wrong. So I did indeed learn early to make a special effort. I had learned from working in the shops serving and making deliveries, that a friendly “manipulation” always worked.
Since tips were an important part of my remuneration, I always bowed and greeted guest going into the lift. If I was not going up or down, I would stand next to the lift in the reception hall, always looking out – ready for action.
When, I saw guest coming with shopping bags and purchased items, which the porters mostly ignored and did not bother with, simply ignored, I went up to the guests the moment they came into the hotel hall, through the swing doors. I asked to carry their bags and at the same time asked them if they had a nice day or something friendly.
This was very effective and even complimented by the senior staff at the desk, but it also resulted in tips, as I would carry all their bags and went along with the guests to their rooms.
Closing, the hotel room doors, I would always try to do this silently and considerately and at the same time wishing the guest a nice evening or day, even sometimes going backwards bowing.
When guests came first time into the lift, without other staff, I would try to get their names and find out where they came from, what country and how long they were staying. I soon found out that it impressed guests when you knew their name. So when I could ask “How are you Mrs Smith”, it always worked. Also, that I knew the correct floor where they had their room, this also impressed the guests. Even better, allowing me to have a lot of small talk with the guest going up or down in the lift, as I remembered their individual stories.
Keeping an eager interest, I soon learned which restaurants and bars around in Copenhagen, which I guests went to. I started to recommend places, saying that I heard from other guests that this and this place was good. Except I only kept with the best and most expensive, which seemed to make a good impression, as I when they returned received a tip for sending them there. Since I was too young to go to any of them, I initially asked around, also from guests and various people in reception, in addition to getting leaflets from the tourist office about places in Copenhagen. The concierge only recommended restaurants who paid some commission to them, I soon found out, so they were not objective at all, and I even pointed this out to the guests. I considered myself as a free agent serving the client.
The concierge often sent me to go to different places for them, because they knew I was fast and did not take time out smoking. This was not really my job, but in order to stay on good footing with them, I obeyed.
More than half of the guests were foreigners, mostly American. This was my first meetings with Americans, apart from my Mother’s aunt Dorothy who came every summer in June. I always found them very friendly and good tippers. In fact, I was surprised how friendly some of these American were, because, they appeared very open as adult and also told me a lot about themselves and their stay in Denmark. Most foreigners were very friendly. Most were well dressed, the women wore hats and always looked so chic and elegant, something most Danish women did not, at least the ones I saw, and however, later I did see elegant Danish women staying in the hotel and the other hotels I worked in later on (Terminus and Palace).
My time working in these three hotels made a major impression on me. I strongly believe that a lot of my later views and attractions as to certain women were established during my working in the hotels. Also, the sense of quality and relative luxury, the thick carpets, the bathrooms and comfortable beds, the menu cards, even seeing how people sat in the restaurants and bars. As I never went into the military, I had a very early learning how to be “of service” be humble and smile.
I worked every day from early morning (7) to evening, some days into the late evening. Although, I was only supposed to work 5-6 days a week, because they was short of staff and I pushed myself forward, I worked most weekends. I received meals at the hotel, all the same for the staff and we had our own dining room.
I still remember I hated the collar of the uniform as it was hard and went into my skin. I had from early childhood hated having material next to my neck and body and only liked soft items, I recall I dreaded the time that I was going to wear military uniform as I knew the material felt bad, we had received several navy uniforms from our family in USA and I hated the shirts. This meant that I started very early to wear scarves, which very few young men did at the time.
AS to my uniform, when no one was looking, I would unfasten the top button, only when I was outside the hotel or no one looking, because the management was strict on such.
The most important time to be around and working was when guests were leaving and checking out late morning mostly. Therefore, I always made sure to know when certain guest was leaving, in order to get my tips. The guests would normally first go to the desk and then to the cashier, where-after, the tipped the concierge and staff at the desk. Than leaving they would go across the hall to the elevator boy, only sometimes when leaving, they tipped the porter carrying the luggage and the doorman.
This was a daily ritual and this received my full attention, even trying to hold their small bag that they would carry, or their coats, until they had paid the cashier. I even delayed my lunch, just to be around when guests were leaving. Therefore, I liked the rainy days, as they guests had umbrellas and overcoats when leaving and coming. The porters took their luggage down and straight to the cars waiting. I could escort the guests when they had coats and umbrellas, without being “attacked” later by the porters.
When I saw guest leaving, I always asked them in the lift, if they had checked that they took everything, because in my experience, guest many times forgot items. This sometimes allowed me extra tips, because, they asked me to go back to their rooms, when they were paying at the cashier, and just check if anything was left. Doing this little task, always gave me compliment and tips, even the guest pointed out to reception how helpful, I had been.
Sometimes, it did really give me an opportunity to find something left behind, a few times something valuables, which the guests was most thankful for I found, like an earring and once a watch.
As I knew most guests travel plans, I could also wish them a good flight to Paris or where they were going, all part of giving a good service, when they were leaving they had forgot they had told me about their travel plans, so it worked.
I worked some weeks in the summer school holiday, but since the management liked me, I also became a reserve lift boy for the weekend and worked through the autumn school holiday. I had than other works during the week, as I first went to school with Alfred Hansen after 5 in the afternoon.
I really made good tips at the hotel, I specific recall one night walking back home with more tips in my pocket that my stepfather made as a printer in one month! My knickerbockers trousers had two deep pockets and they were full of coins, very heavy walking. Sometimes, I would go into a bank with all the coins during the day, however, if I worked late I took it home, as I never would exchange at the cashier’s desk, as I did not want to show how much tip I had received.
Further, I had reason for having so much money; I supplemented the tips with trading in whiskey, gin and champagne, but mostly whiskey, as I could easily carry a Johnny Walker bottle, the square bottle under my arm, inside the vest. When I walked around no one could see me carrying such a bottle of whiskey, as my uniform was very tight and so closely fitted. I also easily could carry a carton of cigarette under my arm, no one could see this. Cigarettes was expensive in the hotel, so I always told guests, I can buy a carton for them, I knew so much about tobacco because of my parents and their friend who owned a tobacco shop. The grocers did not sell tobacco.
Looking back, and reading these lines and the truth, knowing what I was up at the time, I was a little too smart and without scruples and needed a strong father to tell me off and direct me, no doubt not everything was negative in many respect.
I had also at that time learned a know a mature women, living in a large apartment on Frederiksberg Alle. When I deliveries milk in the morning, I had met her (Tove), approx half a year before and we had regular intimate relationship. Further, the year before in 1953 I had been together with a much older (10-12) woman and spend weeks with her nude most of the day. So I felt like a man somewhat and rather cheeky no doubt.
Shortly after starting, I heard many Americans and English complaining to me about the high cost of spirit in Denmark. A bottle of whiskey, would cost more than 5-6 times the retail price in a hotel, there was a serving tax in hotels and restaurants at the time. Also, I had seen the odd hotel guest come to the grocer I worked in the years earlier and buy a bottle of Cognac or whiskey.
When I found out the true price difference and that I could buy from the grocer I used to work for, close by, a bottle of whiskey and sell it to the guest, even to the double price, and they would be so thankful, I soon found out to enquire and ask “stupid” questions as to the cost of drinks. In Denmark and in the all hotels, they did not have a mini bar or refrigerator, at the time. Such came much later in the 1960s.
Buying drinks and tobacco could make me a considerable amount of money, specifically when we had many American guests. The hotel management never found out, as the guest sometimes came with a bottle themselves. Since the Grand Hotel was on the main street, the guest rarely came by a shop selling alcohol. So I made good money and the guests were very thankful to me and sometimes recommended me to their friends staying in the hotel. In addition, I helped with cartons of cigarette, also making good money on mark-up and tips.
Since I had been working nearby in the afternoon, after school at the large grocery shop (købmand Lothardt), a merchant selling everything from coffee, canned foods, alcohol and soft drinks, all in an elegant shop with wooden interior. I was able to make a deal with him, Mr Lothardt, even him giving me a discount on drinks and tobacco, moreover, allowing me to buy at my young age so much alcohol.
Sometimes, I wanted to show an invoice to the guests for the buying, so he would write out a nice invoice, on his printed invoice pad, still giving me a discount and kick-back.
Getting away from the hotel during the day, was the most difficult at times, therefore, guests had to wait, possibly to next day. I developed certain routines, also asking reception, if they needed anyone going to the post office or bank with foreign exchange, even if staff wanted me to go getting them something. This allowed me an opportunity to buy for the guests. If the guest became desperate, I told the reception that a guest has sent me specific to buy them something like special cigars or a newspaper we did not have, even chocolate and sweets. Copenhagen central train station was less than 200 meters away.
The porters sometimes, showed that they did not like me, to be so friendly to the reception staff and management, because, it showed them in a bad light. I was always willing and smiling and never said no to more work. This meant that I somewhat fraternised with the reception staff and not the porters.
Because my mother could not understand how I made so much money, working just as the elevator boy, I had to tell both my mother and stepfather, but only a little and certainly not all the truth. Also, that it was the guests who asked me to buy items, not that I instigated the whole thing. I could also “buy” them by the fact they both smoked, I would many times a week buy them cigars, smoking tobacco or cigarillos, so they “accepted” my commercial spirit.
This was not enough, at times, my stepfather was a little jealous and sometimes I was even so concerned, that I thought he may tell the hotel about my commercial activity. This led me to hide away cash in my room, under my room’s floorboards. And not really telling them how much I made. At one point I thought to ask my friend Tove what to do with my money.
The merchant, Mr Lothardt, was a very successful business with a big impressive shop. He knew that I purchase all this alcohol for guests at the hotel, but neither he nor his son said anything about it. After all, business is business.
Holding the bottles under my left arm, was not always straight forward as I sometimes had to see to other things and appear normal, I did have a few moments where I had a little problem, but I never let in and no one ever saw me with a bottle or anything else.
As to tips, I always kept on me some large notes like 10,50 and 100 Danish kroner notes, ready to give back large notes or exchange money for the guests, when the cashier was closed in the evening. There was another issue, when I returned with a bottle and did not appear to have any coins and only notes, I most of the time received large notes. When one considers that a one way tramp ticket only cost at the time 25 øre and there was 100 øre on one Danish kroner, this was big notes for a 13 year old boy.
The fact, that I had a relative large amount of money brought me in contact with foreign exchange, as I soon realised that the hotel operated as all hotels with very bad exchange rates for the guests making big profit on exchanging their money. Therefore, I took to exchange money at better rates and also give a better rate by going to the bank and exchange money, all giving me more income.
Interestingly, everything was “most secret” and I was never found out, many guest communicated with me in sign language or by giving me discretely a note in the lift.
I went to buy train fairs and tickets to Tivoli so the guests did not have to bother; this was much appreciated, specific Tivoli, so they did not have to cue up. All this, I did by my own initiative, otherwise reception wanted to be cut in on my tips.
One day, a Danish honorary consul came to stay in the hotel; he was apparently an important person. Every day he tipped me 2 or 5 øre, frankly nothing, which I still bowed and said thank you for. The porters and concierge and other staff also received very small tips, and I saw the doorman and the porter throw the money along the pavement after the consul, although he never appeared to know. I thanked him in Danish “Tusind tak” (a thousand thanks) wishing him a good day or evening. Moreover, when his wife entered the lobby, I always asked to take her coat or bags. He would still give me the 2-5ore, and I still I would bow and say thank you, bringing my shoe heels together like I had seen the Royal guards did.
When the consul and his wife was leaving. He first went across to the reception staff and the concierge and gave them a 10 kroner note to each, thereafter he walked across the lobby to me standing at the lift and handed me 100 Danish kroner note and said loud “This young man appreciate small tips and know this will mount up” and he thanked me and made sure everybody saw this, by speaking load.
All the reception staff saw him giving me this 100 note, including the porters and other lobby staff. He thereafter with his wife left and giving the porters 2 kroner each carrying all the luggage out.
After he left with his wife, the concierge and the head of the reception came over to me and told me that we must share the 100 kroner tip I had received. I said no, because they never shared their tips with me. Moreover, the consul had specifically spoken laud because the money was for me. Nevertheless, the reception people and the porters was grown men in their thirties and so much older – but I kept my money.
The fact that I carried a lot of cash and even foreign banknotes like US Dollars, Swiss Francs, D-Mark, Sterling and Swedish Kroner, was quite dangerous as a 12 years old, but I looked much older, was already quite tall and was frankly a bully. I learned to be a bully in school, where our class teacher, Andersen, told me to punish any pupil on his order, hitting them with a stick.
One night walking home late, I felt I was being followed, so I went into an entrance of an apartment house, right next to a famous theatre, and took all my bank notes into my sock and shoes, leaving lots of change and coins in my two pockets. Good nothing happened.
Because, I never thought about being robbed, I did not really consider the risks, however, when I one day saw a beautiful black skin wallet in a shop, I purchased it. At that time the wallet were very big because, anyone with a wallet for banknotes would be important and therefore carry a lot of cash. Most people just had small wallets like my step-father in his back pocket. The wallet I purchase was in fact too big for me to take to work, as I did not have an inside pocket in the uniform. I still have this wallet; at least I think I have, as it left with Hanna and my personal belonging.
Because, I worked part-time for Grand Hotel, during 1954, I also got the same job in Hotel Terminus next to the central station during periods they did not have staffed to do my job. Later, the following year, in 1955, I worked in Palace Hotel, next to the town Hall square.
All my experience working in the three hotel, gave me invaluable knowledge as to how one behave going to a “luxury” hotel, how people are looked at, their luggage, how they appear to behave arriving etc. So when I later travelled, when we delivered milk machines (homogenisation) to the ships, I knew how to act and present myself, like an adult and experienced traveller, in the best hotels in Antwerp, Hamburg, London, Liverpool, Marseilles, Barcelona and Genoa.
We did not travel with the machines and really did not have to show how the machines operated as it was very simple, and it was straight forward. However, I wanted to get out and meet the staff on the ships. I was not allowed to travel much, but I did visit once all the cities, always staying in the best hotels, booked by our travel agency on Copenhagen Town Hall Square. (Bennet) Once I stayed on the ship, for one night, that was in North or South Shield, near Newcastle in the North, and it was the largest tanker in the world than.
My First Impression of the British Isles
When I arrived first time in England, it confirmed the impression; I had from my schooling, learning that the British Isle contained a lot of coal. My first visit was to deliver, at least to see to the delivery, of milk machines in 1957 and later a brief visit to London in 1958.
The worst was to see people wallow in squalor and rubbish, the stench from cigarette and beer. To me everything was grey and black, the houses, most people very dirty and the houses appeared filthy, both outside and inside. Worse the people did not seem to mind. That together with seeing children without shoes, did surprise me, I had not seen this before, except later I would in Milano when I came to Italy.
The coal must have been a one million people plus industry, but also the huge steel industry; the working class aristocracy gripped the economy in its blackened hands. British coal powered the industrial revolution and spread commerce around the world and blanketed its teeming cities in smog.
Later I recalled Sheffield and Rotherham, when I later stayed up North in the best hotels representing the Danish Agricultural Marketing Board, I recall driving from between Sheffield and Rotherham, in the morning one would practically dive into a smoke cloud – all grey with a visability of 5-10 meters, seeing thausands and thousands of white people with black dirty clothes and faces entering these huge buildings which looked bigger than hangars.
The smog was so evident and I remember in London, that at times you could not even see 3 meters in front of you. As to the blackened hands, when you purchase newspapers on the street or paid for a bus fare, you was confronted with some real dirty and blacken hands and fingers, giving you your change back. This was due to the use of copper coins. I recall later, when I had office in Sloane Street, that if we left papers out, that next money there would be black sod on them – all from the pollution in Sloane Street.
Up North, it was very clear, visiting a pub, with the stench of cigarette and beer hanged in the rancid air, that the miners could not really wash the coal away. One could always pick out the miners. But even the literary hundreds of thousands of workers in the steel mills, also had dirt into their skin and most of the time never looked clean. No doubt most tried to clean the dirt away, and you could see that on a Sunday, when people went to church, the men would have red cheeks and looked clean and fresh. Their women seemed just to cover up all the pollution, by make-up and compare to Scandinavia women, the British really used a lot of make-up as the America, one had seen on the movies.
Yes, the smog and dirt did make the greatest impression at the time, the constant greyness, but also the remoteness of the city people in London, with their bowler hats. They all seemed to be so trained and uniformed coming from a different world. Seeing, how many people came into the City, all coming across the bridges, from the train station on the southern banks and also out of the so dirty tube stations, was quite something.
Because, my mother had taught me cleanness, as to the place we lived in, I did find everything quite dirty, everywhere. The use of wall to wall carpets and very thick curtains added to the dirt by not being possible to clean regularly. My Mother when she came to London used to refer to our wall-to-wall carpets as dust collectors. She was right, when we changed carpets out or I convinced my wife to have parquet flooring, I realised how much durst was collected by the carpeting.
Another impression was the police, how polite and helpful they always appeared. At the age of 17 I sad in a car next to the driver, at Piccadilly Circus, the driver was very drunk, so drunk he had not noticed that he had used the handbrake, at the red light coming from Piccadilly into the Circus. So at midnight, he could not move, until a police, came over to the car and asked if he could help him, whom he did, despite he was legless.
That was the British police 1958. I used to tell this story, just 5 years later, when they in Sweden either sent people driving with alcohol in their blood, to labour camps in there forests or they was deported, if they were foreigners.
In 1964, even diplomats and multinational corporation’s leaders had to go to parties in Sweden, in one bus., the ambassadors and chairman of General Motors. We used buses when the International Women Club and the American Clubs held parties in Sweden in 1964/65. Even, when Vice-President Lyndon Johnson came to a big party. Mind you, everyone was totally legless when leaving the party. When I questioned why they served so large drinks, in beer glasses, they told me to reduce the traffic to the bar! The spirit was always supplied, practically free from the various embassies.
I did find people up North in England, quite friendly, more friendly that down south, like Bournemouth. As a tall young Dane, driving the latest car and staying in the best hotels, one did make a good impression, no doubt. I somehow did not really realise this advantage when I was there. I suppose, I took this for granted and did not really exploit this to its fullest. Also, that I had given a standing order for £100 in new notes every Saturday, to be withdrawn in Lloyd bank by me as a ritual. One hundred pounds was a lot of cash that time, and it was always paid in crisp new one pound notes.
If I wanted to invite a young girl out, the assistants in the banks was my best choice, because they really looked when I collected the weekly cash. But I had so many women, that I did not want young and inexperienced sex, but more mature and experienced from the women staying in the hotels. Young girls was young girls, except apparently, catholic girls away from home, they always behaviours more like I wanted, somehow they rebelled.
I found the same in Italy in 1959, the only young women to go for was the ones working in chemist shops, where they sold make-up, these women always looked attractive and most lived in bed-sitters away from home. They had more ambitions and had let their villages, using their looks. Using looks, was something which really I saw when going to the film, festival in 1959 in Cannes. We came on our scooters and had false press cards and by hanging a camera around ones neck, we had an entrance into lots of women. Again, I took it all for granted, because I never talked about this with older people or even my Mother at home. So I did not have anyone to tell me anything – bad. I do believe this now.
To me, what really represent families with values, experience and wealth, are their ability to pass this family wisdom on to their offspring. I could have done with wisdom in most parts of my life, but I never listen, not quite true, I did learn a lot from older experiences people, but I should have had more respect.
Romana always said, we go through life learning and experience a lot getting wisdom, and when we have this wisdom – we die! What she did not realise at the time, yes we do take this wisdom with us, and our spirits do.
I have mentioned before, I do believe that women have naturally much more intuition as to other human beings than men. Men get this by age, for that I am now sure. I used to say that this fact shows that Eva was created after Adam, as women retained more primitive instinct, just stupid! A woman knows that natural selection of a man, a man for their children, required got instinct and judgement. Sadly, many ignored this selecting their partners and father’s of their children. But we men are far worse, we always think with what is hanging in our crotch, not with our brain, although, everything is in our brain.
If I lived again and had the same abilities and background, I should be a teacher or preacher. I wanted from the age of 5 to become an architect, this went on until the age of 14-15 years when I worked for Eiler Baastrup and indeed had learned a little business working in many retail shops and hotels, before and after school. I should possibly have become a lawyer, at least I had an opportunity when I did my case against Denmark and got to know more than most criminal lawyers. The best I could have done was to have gone to US, without going to Cuba, because my mother’s aunt Fanny had offered to assist me, to study in US. Sadly, my Cuba experienced stops this, interestingly, I did not know at the time, but if I had a father, he would have told me. Those 7-8 weeks in Cuba, stopped so much and worst led me ultimately to London and Mary Ellen/Elizabeth having three children.
Speaking about children, I have always told parent that you must never have only one child that is unfair to the child. I also note that science and expert say that 18-24 months between them is the best and not more than 3 years between them. They will grow up together and help each other. Having experienced looking after a 9 years old (Alexander) and in 1972-80 having 3 sons growing up, including at age 9, I will say it was easier to deal with three than one.
But in giving advice like this, I really should take note of the mother’s role. So when we see a mother expecting with already a baby playing around, no wonder she might give a small scared smile back. Think of it, having two tiny children twice as much fun! Each would be a gift to the other – to love and be loved – or something like that.
It’s mostly a fog, a toddler plus newborn is a fiendish combination. Just as the older one is learning to throw epic tantrums, into mix comes an anarchic howling infant. Yes when the grow up its wonderful when siblings are close in age. That there’s less competition, the children have a constant playmate. But until later, the jealous older sibling will discover ways to exploit parent and specific hassle the mother. Sleep she won’t get any. A sinister diminutive tag team will wake you up random intervals between dusk and dawn, just because they can.
My warning to many newlyweds, children to not bring you closer together, no they will from first day bring you more apart and work selfishly on their own interest, and exploiting parents and keeping them separate is one of these instinct that all children is born with. So sex, you won’t get any, the baby will probably be in the bedroom at first even for months. None of this is avoidable unless you are wealthy, do not have to work and have the most amazing support network of staff and grandparents.
I like the expression kamikaze toddler, because toddlers do act as kamikaze, also think how sexy many mothers believe they are, mostly covered in baby sick. We men do not really understand the huge amount of work with babies and toddlers and here I must be thankful for my wife, she did handle them in triumph that I can’t take away from her.
Something, I was reading about an 89 old actress and her life, she and her husband lived in Hollywood and had two children in their teens. They took drugs and even heroin and involved themselves with bad company. So the parent upper sticks and moved to Ireland, where the totally focused on the children and rescued them. They learnt so much they would never have learnt in LA, they had work as waiters, farm hands and cleaners and earn themselves a living. Both children now in their late fifties are successful. What good parent, but not all people can do this. I never liked the actress (Angela Lansbury) as I did not find her attractive, now I do.
Genoa, Drinking and Women
One either love or hate Genoa and few can remain indifferent. I found it dirty and chaotic, as a young 17 years old arriving second time in January 1959. I was first there in connection with the delivery of milk machines in 1958. I came with a preconceived idea that all Italian was corrupt, and my experience later working in the harbour told confirmed this.
Most are wary at first and then begin to appreciate the city after having taken time to discover it. I read what Dickens wrote in 1843: “…I would never have thought that I would have become attached to the stones of the Genoa streets, and to think of the city with affection, as the place in which I had spent many hours of peace and happiness”. Even today, Genoa provokes conflicting feelings, due to the fact that it is a place of contradictions. It is a Mediterranean port, which has always traded with nearby countries and so it has assimilated some of their habits and words, and it has always been a city of merchants and bankers, known by all as the most English city in Italy.
It is easy to be enraptured by the maze of narrow streets in the historic centre. Genoa is a vertical city, where the sky can sometimes feel very close and give one a feeling of dizziness. Refined palaces are side by side with humble houses, which in the historic centre, are all close to the beautiful churches of the city, which have austere, black and white striped, marble facades or opulent, baroque architecture. Genoa has a secret beauty that can be found in its daring architecture, traces of splendid frescoes and imposing, noble palaces.
I had read about Genoa before arriving in January 1959. In fact, I had purchased a book in Danish which I read on the long train journey. I was interested in the City of old bankers and had already read about the Florentine bankers and their importance. Genoa conquer and ruled over many places, whereas Florence did not have this brute force. To me the Florentine was smarter.
What really impressed me was Strata Nuova, now known as Via Garibaldi; this is a visible sign of the historic period of the seventeenth century, when the great, Genovese families were at their richest. This is a unique street because of the urban planning that it has inspired and the number of palaces here and their beauty.
Most of these palaces have internal gardens and one can see the frescoes in the great salons. Some of these buildings are now museums and are home to works of art by Genovese artist and the great, Flemish school, such as the (Galleria di Palazzo Bianco and the Galleria di Palazzo Rosso). My visit to the nearby National Gallery of Palazzo Spinola was a chance to learn about the habits and furnishings of Genovese homes of the period.
Via Balbi is also rich with palaces and now houses the university buildings of the School of the Humanities. Via Assarotti, is a sign of the nineteenth century expansion towards the hills, Via XX Settembre is a modern, elegant street full of business and commerce, and finally, Corso Italia, is the boardwalk leading to the sea and Boccadasse.
The real essence of daily Genoese life, is not found in the rich palaces, but in the maze of alleyways the historic centre, such as Via di Sottoripa. This is the place where Genovese will stop for a chat, amidst the cries of street vendors and smells of coffee, fried food, perfumes and the unmistakeable smell of pesto, which is a typically Ligurian sauce. I used to like the area around the old stock exchange, but to me I could never understand that most people accomplished anything, the stopped in the street and could speak for hours.
People also come here to visit the Old Port area, which has been renovated for public use, and the new Expo area has become, along with the more classic Lanterna, the new symbol of Genoa.
This whole area was used in 1959 and an important part of the harbour. From the top of the old piers, and the lift on the Bigo, a metallic structure built on the Old Pier, there is a splendid view over the whole city.
When passing the well-controlled entrance to the harbour in 1959, you felt important, as it was difficult to get in, without corrupting or waiting a long time to be controlled. I felt good when they recognised you, when seeing everybody else standing waiting. Everyone, had to pay their dues, even prostitutes, if not to the various police and uniformed officials.
Going back in history, the Republic of Genoa, was a great naval power, and had to defend itself on land with a wall and surrounding forts. This was built in the first half of the seventeenth century and there is a comprehensive view of the city from here, which includes the remains of the towers, a testimony to past greatness and modern day towers.
The stupendous view embraces the whole of the Ligurian coast, from Monte di Portofino to Capo Mele, as well as the Ligurian Appenines. Genoa has many satellite cities, which have been incorporated into the same council since 1926, they all had to be temporary defended.
The origins of these places are where Genovese used to have their summer residences and some of the towns, such as Nervi e a Pegli, still have parks that are true islands of greenery. I personally like Nervi and Romana and I had a few stays in a small villa hotel.
Richard Wagner summed it up in 1853 when he wrote, “…I have never seen anything like Genoa! It is something indescribably beautiful, grandiose, distinctive…I really would not know how to begin to tell you the impression that it has made and continues to make on me”.
Having grown up with alcohol all around, even attending Carlsbergsvej School with the brewery next door, I did not drink until after several months stay in Italy.
The choice of drinking with the captains and stewards was so limited, because they served strong alcohol. A drink that many ship had was dry vermouth, like Martini, because it was used in several drinks as a mix. So dry vermouth, a wine flavoured with herbs, became my drink. The sheer quantity one had to drink, sometime over several hours, must have been bad for me, specific as I did not eat anything.
After I had been drinking vermouth from morning to evening some days, one person from the office saw me sitting in Genoa, far away from the office in a small square on a bench. This was just later afternoon, and although, I never had spoken to him, he considered that I did not look right.
He came up to me and started speaking to me, like he knew me, I did not know him at all or who I was, not even what I did and where I lived. He was very kind and took me to a doctor close by, there I received something and stayed for some hours, until I “found myself”. The doctor must have been part of a clinic, because I stayed in a bed. When I found myself and realised who I am, he told me to stop drinking so much and try to dilute the drink. What is more, and this no doubt chocked me, was he also told me that either men lose their ability to have sex or their sperm count will be reduced. Telling an 18 year old young man this, although the doctor thought that I was 25 years and older, nevertheless, he could expect the outcome. I started drinking very little and asked for wine if they had red wine, but that was very rare, but many bulk-carrier did carry 10-15 passenger for tramp-fart.
I went out with the pilots, who often knew the captains, so they also had a drink, although it was a serious business to take a ship into the Genoa harbour, but that did not appear to matter than.
What I was drinking did bother me a lot for the 4-5 month I worked for the ship chandler. At the beach and hanging around in Splendido or other places, did not confront me with much problem, but I did taste so many cocktails at the time with famous names, a Manhattan and Old Fashioned were very popular and I hated it, even Martini mixed with gin and vermouth. Vodka was mostly drunk only by Russian and East Europeans and there was very few around in 1959. I got to know Campari for the first time, but a little out of my taste at the time, as they did not mix it with anything else than water or in cocktails.
What I did find was that all the Italian bars were stocked with so many different coloured bottles, all with difficult names to remember, and I never attempted to start tasting them, since I was concerned that the taste like. Therefore, I followed others and only if I knew they were drinking this, I went along, but it become obvious that the Italian has had each their own individual taste, specific if they came from other regions.
When I later took went on a bulk-carrier and tramp steamers (a large steamship that carries freight in and out of harbours and Docks without a fixed schedule) around the Mediterranean, visiting the many places around from Palermo, Piraeus, Istanbul, Tripoli in Lebanon, Port Said, Alexandria and Benghazi, I tried not to drink as I did not have any idea about what to drink, so I always asked for a Coca Cola, which they did not even have in some place.
It was a little better when I took another bulk-carrier to the western part of the Mediterranean Sea, going to Marseilles, Barcelona, Valencia, Cartagena and Almeria (I think). I however clearly recall Algiers, the capital of Algiria, since the FLN was fighting and one had to be search before entering shops, by a man in white overall, women was search by women, all standing outside. At night, in the clubs, I was not search for some reason. One day I walked with an English or America, and he was shot by reflex in his back and taken to hospital. Algiers looked like South of France
As to clubs and places, when I went to “recommended” clubs, one was immediately surrounded by women. I headed always for the bar, like I knew the place, but soon the women came up to sit or stand close to you ending soon up with them asking for a drink. Since, I could not see how to refuse this I always ended up drinking the same they drink, as they ordered.
Before, going on the two trips around the Mediterranean, I had received advice, by many of the talk around the captain’s table in their cabins, which always was quite big.
I remember an officer, who I later met in Genoa, out on town. He told me always to be careful going out in the places I intended travelling to and I should either ask other passenger or an officer from the shop to go with me. Also when ordering drinks for women, always to make sure to taste what you paid for, so when a woman ordered champagne or an expensive bottle, you should also drink it with them.
Forty years later, one of the councillors told me from Soho, that when customers paid for champagne in some of the so-called “joints”, they did not serve champagne in the bottles, but just a cheap sparkling wine, despite charging up to £100 a bottle or more.
As to his other advise, I rarely took it, partly because the passenger was so much older, in fact, mostly very old and married, and the officers was also old to me, So, I in fact, went stupidly around on my own bringing me a few times into troubles, one I might not have survived.
In Algiers town, I walked into the Kasbah, like a real tourist. A Frenchman run after me and pulled me out of the place, telling me that they would have cut my arm off just because I had a gold watch on. He really shuck me up and told me off, even nearly insisting me going back to the ship. I told him that the evening before I went to a club and I thought that it was in the Kasbah. I told me that I was a stupid ignorant young man and I should not venture out in town at all. I did not take his advice.
In one of the North African places, it must have been Benghazi, a group of small boys 9-11 years old followed me and constant asked me for money, I was used to this, but they become hostile and all attacked me, trying to rob me. I run and run and did get away, never any police around, and I could not speak to any of the locals what had happen. When I returned to the ship, the first officer told me not to enter the city next day, except with other passenger, since they knew my true age on the ship, as they had my passport, I was told off as being so adventurous and stupid, since it was a Norwegian ship, they did not believe one became adult before 21. This was my second trip.
The first trip to the east had been in the company of the owner’s son of the shipping line, so at least we were two going out everywhere and he was five years older than I was and really on holidays and learning. He was supposed to assist some of the officers sometimes in order to learn, but I never saw him doing this, except flirting with some of the younger wives of the other passengers on board.
In view, I knew about gangs of children, as my uncle Hans Jørgen had back in 1954 told us that he the year before was robbed in Morocco in Casablanca by a group of small boys and they took everything, including his shoes. Moreover, this was normal all over the place. One saw group of children in the Arabian countries, but I can’t recalling seeing any in South America or Mexico.
On my second trip to the western part of the Mediterranean, I did alone, and found that Algiers City appeared more “western civilized” than Spanish and other North African places. They had retail shops and stores like in Genoa and Barcelona. I think of all the places south of Barcelona, we did go to places I have forgot apart from the names I wrote above.
So drinking became something, when I was 18, in fact, just before, because I was 17 years old until June 1959. For days on the ships when travelling, I did not drink at all; the Norwegian ships had a reputation for not much alcohol around. In addition, living in Portofino, I very rarely drunk anything, even on the beach club where everyone drunk wine.
Since I did not smoke, there was a natural of not belonging to the other people around, as they all seemed to sit down and smoke with a drink, as the two went together. Although, there many times was considerable pressure on me to smoke, I never did, even when some beautiful woman in a bar put a cigarette in my mouth with a smile or after making love expected me to smoke. Everybody was smoking than; a non-smoker became more or less an outcast.
Since, some of the people and women I knew in Portofino got to know that I “worked” and some had seen me enter into the walled and restricted harbour area, they somehow learned and assumed that I could get cartons of cigarette for little money. This resulted in that I, like when I was lift boy in the hotels in Copenhagen, had to take a carton under my arms, except it was difficult if you only was in shirtsleeves, which happened. I learned to just have my jacket over my shoulders, as I had seen in American movies. Once I had a close encounter leaving the harbour, the guards normally knew me and that I did not speak Italian, but one night a new man was in charge and they insisted that I showed them what I had in my leather briefcase, however, I had the carton under my arms with the jacket loose over my shoulder covering up, otherwise it would have been costly. They had two different police forces and if caught, I had money in my passport, which was always the first option. The second, I had the name written of a senior officer who I met eating in the harbour with the Norwegian consul. That time one did not use calling cards, so I had asked him to write down in Italian, that if required they should call him.
Foreigners working and coming and going were frankly subject to more harassment than Italian. Firstly, because they wanted foreigners to know that they had laws and rules and that they took strict actions. Secondly, foreigners came and went and had always money, so if they accepted a money, the foreigners would be gone soon anyway. The fact, that the lover ranging police had always a higher officer rank around and often he came and also had to be paid, I never heard of anyone arrested for giving or taking bribes. From my first days, I had been told in the office, that the financial police was incorruptible and I should be very careful, however, I soon saw myself the truth.
I should have spoken more to the old man, who visited our offices must days before lunch. Mr Lucky Luciano himself, but I never really had any idea who he was. I did not know his story or ever heard his name before, and even that he disappear for a week when the American fleet came for visit, I was told he was doing away on business. Apparently he had purchased several truckload of whiskey from the fleet. I have recently read a book about the mafia, and apparently he controlled their Northern drug and other trade during this period, I never saw any large looking people around him, like protection people. I recall seeing him walking alone in the street, where people just greeted him. They did say he had a chauffeur, but I never saw him driving off, as the whole district around the office, only delivery cars could go and they were the small special build ones.
About Lucky Luciano, for years I told everybody that I had known him, including my children, even Romana, I felt that know one believed me. I had nothing to prove or confirm that this was true. So it happened that Romana and I got to know a senior American diplomat and his Swedish wife. I believe he was attached to the International Court. When we first met, his wife asked after some minutes if we had met before, I said I could not recall. Since she continued to ask me, I asked about her life and she told me that she had been married to a Swedish diplomat, who died. His first posting was Genoa where he was consul, at that moment she smiled and said you are Mogens , who knew Lucky Luciano. I asked her immediately to confirm what see said to me to Romana.
I at the time often saw her husband as the Swedish consul, when the ships came in, I told everyone about Mr Luciano coming to our office every day to read the old newspapers and the telex.
Despite the whole harbour, area was one big criminal business, I frankly never saw anything, and even I looked. Somehow, if you are innocent, you look with innocent mind on these things and cannot see anything untoward. I heard that the whole cigarette smuggling business was controlled from Genoa, with very fast speed boats, but never saw any.
The business of counterfeit did not really exist at that time. Also one did not, like later and now, be constantly hassled by street traders and African men and women going around selling bags to watches. In fact, I do not recall seeing any black people in or around Genoa at the time or for that matter, any place in Italy.
In Marseilles yes, one saw many North African blacks and Arabs, but not in Spain or Italy. Going around people would come up to you showing you certain place likes bars and restaurant, but not selling apparel or fashion items. There was always street markets, which sold many things but not anything like now. What is interesting, none of the Scandinavian used foreign sailors or crew, some English ships had blacks and Indians working, but never Scandinavian ships. Norwegian ship all Norwegian sailors and Danish and Swedish ships the same their own nationality as crew. The ship did not have foreign exotic registrations like later.
When writing about Genoa, my thoughts seems to come back to a young woman, bella giovane donna, I first saw walking in the street, than later in the market, so beautiful and carefree. She had a perfect figure, long black hair and a walk, which could kill, reflecting every young man’s mind. At the time, I thought, she had nothing underneath her dress, but that was not true, because no decent Italian girl would ever walk around without knickers. Nonetheless, I thought at the time she had nothing except the red silk dress on, which might not even had been silk.
The way she walked tall and straight, like she truly was the centrepiece of everything, with a special look on her face, still greeting some people passing, leading me to believe that she was known in the area. The confidence with the way she walked, exuding of a young woman’s sexuality, like telling the world she was so perfect and precious. She truly was the most exquisite flower, just blooming in a spring morning. I never saw such a women again, except the Polish blond girl that worked for Roy Miles serving at one reception, downstairs in Berkeley Square, which Romana also saw and I told Romana that she would be my choice of a woman, if Romana had not been around.
I tried a few times to speak to her, with my heart being in my throat, after following her several times, in the beginning at distance, moving closer in on her, but not able to approach her, even she stopped and we glazed in the same shop window. One day I got enough guts, but she just smile so beautiful and shook her head and lovely hair, being shy, and I staggered away in despair.
Since I really wanted to speak to her, and most likely was badly affected by the fact that I had no sex for months, not over Christmas in Denmark, because I had split up with the latest girlfriend and had been used to have women several times a week in Sweden, just going down the high street at night picking them up, all housewives, nurses and an accepted way of having fun. Now for the first months in Italy, I had no woman, this must have lead me to insisting meeting her. I had not been asked home by Silvia, although I had seen her as Splendido was open.
So to go on with my fascination with this beauty, well lust, I asked one of the married men working in the office to take coffee with me in the area I previously had seen her, and luckily she walked by, so he run after her and stopped her. He told her that I came from Denmark, worked in Genoa and lived in Portofino.
Now, foreigners who live down the coast like in Nervi and Portofino was known to be rich, so she accepted to meet me next day for lunch. That day I had just borrow a Lambretta scooter, so I arrived in a scooter parking it proudly outside the restaurant.
She did not speak any foreign language, not one word of English, French or German, I did not speak any Italian, apart from saying Bella Bella and Bone sera (from the song Buona sera, signorina, buona sera– kiss me goodnight by Louis Prima.) We just sat there, again with my beating heart, eating with a glass of something between us and the only expression was our facial, our eyes and big question mark faces. She was as the Italian say La Femmina. Even I tried to move my hand across the table to hold hers I can’t remember I did. It must have been absolute comical, but she still agreed with some translation from the next tales, to meet me next evening, on a Saturday night, only walking in the main streets, mostly just looking at the windows. When we left the restaurant, I wanted her to see the scooter and tried to let her know that I would drive her back to where she worked or lived, but she said no, no and not even a kiss.
When I met her next day, I had driven all the way from Portofino on a scooter, that was very far, only to meet her for an hour at a moment close to the harbour and centre of Genoa, I believe it was Columbus or Garibaldi statue, I can’t remember, and we only walked around looking at the sea and shop windows. It was hard to get her to hold my hand but she did. The only kiss I could get was on the cheek. We walked like too strangers and even that other young couples was around kissing and holding each other, when they past or we passed them, she would send me a lovely smile, she clearly indicated this silent wall between us, something I could not pass.
The young man from the office who had initially help me, spoke to her again with me there in the street, and asked her, if I could invite her to the best restaurant in Genoa and she had accepted. She even wrote her address down, no telephone and gave me in order to go with a taxi to collect her.
Since, I wanted to be a gentleman, I asked in the office, if there was any place where I could buy flowers and they told me to go to one flower shop near the main area of Genoa. Here I selected a beautiful big bouquet of flowers, writing a little card. They promised to send the flowers the same day, but looked funny at me paying as something was wrong with the address.
I had the office to book the best table in the fancy restaurant and also a known taxi service. In fact, it was a known fact that one should never eat in these restaurant, because the food was not as fresh as in the small places where either the mother or wife cooked.
When I drove with the taxi, he came to a place where he could go no further, so he told me more or less where to go and I went across some kind of a narrow bridge and ended up where there was people standing around, obvious some housing estate. I showed one of them her name and address, they pointed me in the direction, and I walked, but just as I saw her in a doorway, two young men, older than I came towards me with screaming gesture and faces. They looked both real dangerous, so I immediately, instinctively, knew that they must have been her brothers, which she did tell me somehow about, so I started running and they did the same, but stopped when they saw I had a taxi waiting.
I never saw again this beauty and days after was invited to follow Sylvi home from Splendido, so I lost the lust, I suppose. It was very difficult in those days, in Italy and as a foreigner. In addition, I did have still contact with the banker’s daughter, Isabella Del Rosa; she in herself was a handful to pursue. So I had enough, she had even a chaperon.
When I went to La Scala (and saw Maria Callas) with the bankers daughter and her chaperon, on the train, it must have been late February early March 1959. In fact, later on, I found out that this was some of the last days of her performing at La Scala.
I went for a week to Napoli and over to Capri, only on the day ferry, on a day I saw Christina, Aristotle Onassis magnificent yacht, which I recognised from seeing it past Genoa. At the time late July (59) I remember being told that Winston Churchill was on-board when I saw the ship at Capri. He had also been in Portofino, but I did not see him.
A kangaroo court is a judicial tribunal or assembly that ignores recognized standards of law or justice, a term may also apply to a court held by a legitimate judicial authority who intentionally disregards the court’s legal or ethical obligations.