Elaborations and Explanations
1. How his namesake was appointed the first territorial governor of Minnesota - See web page http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/EdwardMcGaughey.html. Curiously, Edward McGaughey practiced law in my mother’s home town of Greencastle, Indiana, rather than in Indianapolis where my father grew up although his last name is the same as my father’s. His relationship with Abraham Lincoln is quite interesting. Lincoln evidently regarded McGaughey as a formidable rival. Their lives both ended in tragedy but Lincoln’s career, having the advantage of extra years, was more impressive.
2. How somewhere he has a photograph of President William Howard Taft autographed to his father - I last saw this photograph when I was a high-school student in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, in the mid 1950s. I assume it was put away safely somewhere. My father’s father was a medical doctor and an ardent Republican who must have had political connections. Through my father and me among others, President Taft’s memory lives on.
3. How the hero of the 1912 World Series once picked him up as a hitchhiker - See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/smokeyjoe.html, “Smokey Joe Wood and the Red Sox curse”. Smokey Joe’s son, Joe Jr., raised mink on a farm just north of Twin Lakes, Pennsylvania. My aunt had a house at Twin Lakes so we frequently visited the younger Wood’s family. Smokey Joe himself also had a house in that area where he lived during the summers although I never saw him there. In the winters, he lived with his daughter in New Haven, Connecticut. My connection with him was through my alma mater, Yale, where Smokey Joe had coached the baseball team.
4. How his politician grandfather forced Republicans in the Indiana state legislature to abandon gerrymandering plans by taking his colleagues to another state and denying them a quorum - My maternal grandfather, Andrew E. Durham, nicknamed “Pap”, was a Greencastle, Indiana, lawyer who had once served in the Indiana Senate. My mother revered him. Pap, the Democratic minority leader, was the spearhead of a plot in the early 1930s to thwart the plan of Indiana Republicans to gerrymander the state. He and his Democratic colleagues hid out in Ohio so that the Republicans were unable to assemble a quorum to pass then required legislation. Incidentally, my wife and young stepson have decided to call me “Pap”.
5. How his Indiana-born parents, both journalists and Depauw graduates, met on a New York City street, became reacquainted, dated, and got married before moving to Detroit where he was born - My mother and father both attended Depauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. My mother, who lived in Greencastle, graduated in 1932. Though only slightly younger than my mother, my father graduated in 1935 because he had to drop out of college for a few years to help his family when his father died. My mother was president of the Kappa Delta Theta sorority, the alpha chapter. My father belonged to the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. My father once came to his future wife to ask if she would help get his sister, Mary Jane, into her sorority. By coincidence, both my parents later worked in New York City as journalists - she as an Associated Press features writer and he as a Wall Street Journal reporter. They met by chance on the street and became reacquainted. The rest is history.
6. How his father published a wartime spy-thriller novel and dedicated it to him - “Roll out the Tanks” was a wartime novel that my father wrote and published in 1942. The book was published by Macrae-Smith Company of Philadelphia. The dedication reads “ To BILL, Jr. A red-headed, smiling all American boy”. (That's me.) Billed as “a story of the home front”, it is about catching German spies in U.S. factories engaged in war production. My father later (in 1954) wrote and published “American Automobile Album”, a pictorial history of the U.S. automobile industry. By that time, he was an executive with Nash-Kelvinator, later American Motors. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/authorsfather.html.
7. How, as a boy, he had a pet raccoon - In the late 1940s, my “aunt Gret” (Margaret Durham) picked up a baby raccoon on the highway after its mother was killed. She gave it to me. We kept the raccoon in a cage at our home on 2224 Seminole Avenue in Detroit. While I initially handled the raccoon with gloves, our new pet, “Coonie” gradually became quite tame. But Coonie also escaped several times, alarming the neighbors. Eventually we turned the raccoon loose in some woods on Belle Isle in the Detroit river. A picture of me with Coonie was shown on the Howdy Doody show.
8. How he shook hands with presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower (and later with Nixon and Clinton) but failed to get an autograph at that time - Candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower came to Detroit during the 1952 presidential campaign. While he was sitting in the back seat of a convertible after an appearance, I had the idea of asking Eisenhower for his autograph. I handed him pen and paper but the car took off before Eisenhower could take any action. I told my father about this and he contacted Louis C. Mariani, president of the Detroit city council. Mariani was able to obtain an autographed photograph of Eisenhower for me. I do not know where it presently is. Later, while living in Minnesota, I shook hands both with Richard Nixon (in 1968) and Bill Clinton (in 1992) but did not ask for their autographs.
9. How in 1956 he took welding and house-wiring courses at a high school in Detroit with a man whose daughter is currently chair of the Republican National Committee (and a man he ran against for Congress is vice chair of the Democratic National Committee) - Scott Romney, who is several months younger than me, is a son of George Romney and the older brother of Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012. We attended summer camp together in 1953 and, three years later, travelled together in a bus from Bloomfield Hills to Cass Technical High School in Detroit to take evening courses in housewiring (electrician) and welding over the course of several weeks. (I was told that Mormons wanted to have a practical occupation in case of hard times.) Curiously, it is Scott rather than Mitt whose branch of the Romney family has found favor with the Trump administration. President Trump arranged for his daughter, Ronna Romney McDaniel, to be appointed chair of the Republican National Committee. On the Democratic side, Congressman Keith Ellison has recently been elected vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. (He had been a candidate for chair.) Ellison represents the 5th district of Minnesota where I live. I ran against him for Congress in 2008 when I was a candidate of the Independence Party of Minnesota. My third-party candidacy attracted 22,300 votes or almost 7 percent of the total.
10. How his parents picked Disneyland from a list of television shows for American Motors to sponsor - In the 1950s, my father was vice president in charge of communications for American Motors Corporation, the nation’s fourth largest automobile company. One of his responsibilities was to oversee the company’s advertising. The ad agency, Guyer, sent him a list of television shows that American Motors might consider sponsoring. I think it was my mother’s influence that tipped the scales in favor of the proposed Disneyland television show. In any event, American Motors became a prime sponsor of this show as well as an exhibitor in the Disneyland theme park. George Romney made a name for himself as pitchman in several of the commercials. But my father was the primary contact person between American Motors and Disney. See http://www.billmcgaughey.com/Disneyland.html .
11. How one of his most valuable possessions is a cartoon picture of Mickey Mouse - This event is related to the previous one. In the course of negotiations with Walt Disney and his brother Roy, my father asked Walt for his autograph. Disney went into the back office and eventually returned with four cartoon prints. They were personally autographed by him to me, my two brothers, and sister. Mine is an original celluloid that shows Mickey Mouse twirling a lariat.
12. How George Romney (Mitt’s father) took him and Romney’s older son to a Detroit Tigers baseball game - This happened in the summer of 1956 when Scott Romney and I took evening courses in welding and housewiring at Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit. After we had successfully completed the courses, Scott’s father, George, took us to an evening baseball game at Tiger stadium. I forget who won.
13. How he was once employed at the Wall Street Journal offices in New York City - In the summer of 1960 at the end of my sophomore year in college, my brother Andy and I had summer jobs in New York City. He worked at a brokerage firm (maybe E.F. Hutton). I worked as a copyboy at the Wall Street Journal. I was part of a crew of around ten young men who did errands for the newspaper staff as needed. No particular skill was required. Unlike my colleagues, I had family connections to top Wall Street Journal staff - to Bernard Kilgore, the editor in chief; to Buren McCormack, managing editor; and to Ted Callas, head of advertising. (They had offices upstairs.) In my weeks at the newspaper office, I saw only Kilgore. He recognized me immediately and shook my hand. Kilgore and Callas had cottages at Twin Lakes in Pennsylvania where my aunt maintained a summer home. Andy and I lived with Mrs. Fielding in the Bronx. My father arranged for us to meet certain people during that summer including the head of NBC.
14. How he took a college literature course taught by America’s first poet laureate - I was initially a philosophy major at Yale. Then I switched to English because the courses seemed more interesting. Among them, I took a course in novels from Robert Penn Warren, author of All the King’s Men, during my first semester of senior year. Our main assignment was to write a lengthy paper. I wrote mine about a favorite author - Thomas Mann. By the end of senior year, Warren had not yet returned the paper. Therefore, I decided to drop by Warren’s home in Connecticut to ask for it. My brother Andy accompanied me. Warren initially seemed irritated. He led us into his office and showed us a stack of papers piled upon his desk. I spotted mine immediately. Relieved, Warren invited my brother and me into his living room for a bourbon. For the course, Warren gave me a 90 - my highest grade of any I received in my courses at Yale.
15. How he quit college to join the army but the army rejected him - I had plenty of time to think while I was a college student. I once had the idea that I was wasting my educational opportunities because I had not really had time to live. At that time, we were all subject to the draft. I had the bright idea that I would volunteer immediately for military service, get this out of the way, and then return to Yale, a more mature person. So I decided to drop out of college in the middle of my junior year - in January 1961. Volunteering for the six-month program, I took the army physical in New Haven. Things did not go according to plan. The Army rejected my application. So I had dropped out of college with no place to go. I returned to my parents’ home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Most of my time in the early months of 1961 was spent memorizing poetry. That way, its knowledge would be firmly retained - another bright idea that did not pan out. Eventually my parents pushed me out of the house. I first went to Germany and then returned to Yale for the second semester of junior year. My previous classmates had graduated by that time.
16. How as a young man he spent several months memorizing poetry full time - Yes, I worked full time memorizing poetry after I dropped out of Yale in the winter of 1960-61. Walt Whitman was my favorite. I memorized most of Leaves of Grass. I also memorized poems by Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Yeats, and others. This was done by listening to tape recordings on a Wollensak recorder and reciting them back. Today, most of this knowledge is gone. I have not the fondness for poetry that I once had. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/poetry.html.
17. How he escorted Winston Churchill’s secretary on a visit to Greenfield Village - A highlight of my parents’ life was the hour that they spent with Winston Churchill in 1950. My father was sent to England for the purpose of inviting Churchill to come to Detroit for a commemoration of the 100 millionth automobile produced in the United States. It took some doing but eventually they saw Churchill. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/Europeantrips.html (in English only) Jo Sturdee, an attractive woman identified as Churchill’s “senior secretary”, helped make the arrangements. My parents kept in touch with Churchill and with Miss Sturdee in the year or years after the visit by sending personalized Christmas cards, each designed as a magazine which reported activities of the McGaughey family that year. And so it was that Jo Sturdee kept us in mind. In 1961 - the year that I dropped out of Yale - she visited the United States by herself. (Churchill’s health had begun to deteriorate by that time.) One of the things she wanted to do was to visit Greenfield Village, Henry Ford’s historic collection of buildings and other relics. Since I was on hand at the time and familiar with Greenfield Village, I accompanied Jo Sturdee during her visit to that place.
18. How he attended the debutante party of Henry Ford’s younger daughter - In the summer of 1961 when I was living in Bloomfield Hills with my parents, I got on the list of invitees to Anne Ford’s debutante party. Her sister Charlotte had been a famous debutante a year earlier, but I had not been invited to that event. By this time, Nicolas Bosquet, eldest son of the head of Renault’s North American operations, was staying with my family. He and I were invited to Anne’s event held at the Ford Grosse Pointe home in June. See write up at http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/Ford.html. Needless to say, it was an experience I will not soon forget.
19. How his father bought the iconic Times Square building for American Motors (but the company’s board of directors cancelled the deal) - Just before I left for Europe in the fall of 1961, I accompanied my father on a visit to the now deserted Times Square building (once the headquarters of the New York Times) on 42nd street in New York City. The building was for sale. An advertising executive named Doug Leigh (pronounced “Lee”) owned the building. I tramped up and down the stairs. We met with Leigh himself. I was excited that this building was for sale and that my father’s employer, American Motors, might buy it. The deal did go through but then the American Motors board of directors decided not to approve it. By then, my father’s boss and patron, George Romney, was on the way out. (He successfully ran for Governor of Michigan.) Eventually, Allied Chemical bought the Times Square building. Read http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/timessquare.html.
20. How he was in Times Square at the turn of the millennium - Speaking of Times Square, I was back in that place for the big event of the millennium as the clock moved forward from 1999 to the year 2000. Actually, I did not reach Times Square itself because of the crowds but I did stand for several hours in a place about eight blocks away - close enough for my purposes. I will spare you the boredom or excitement here. Read my detailed account of that historic experience at http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/primetime.html.
21. How he climbed a mountain in Austria in the dead of winter on his 21st birthday - Back to the period when I had dropped out of Yale. After spending the better part of a year in Michigan with my parents, I left for Germany in the fall of 1961, settling in Munich. My 21st birthday was approaching. I realized that was a milestone in my life so I decided to celebrate it in grand style. I would climb a mountain and proclaim my existence on the summit. (You can see that I was a young man with big ideas.) I had been to Reutte in Austria with a ski party so I knew the place. After lengthy and careful preparations, I followed through on this scheme. Read all about it at http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/reutte.html. It’s fortunate that I survived.
22. How he was arrested in east Berlin in 1961 but later released - At the end of my time in Europe, I stayed with the Kilian family in west Berlin. Actually, I rented a room near their home. Tensions between the western and communist blocs were running high. The Kilians, who came from Dresden, had many friends in east Germany. Among them was a young man named Uwe Jens who had wanted to flee to the west but lost his courage after the east German police shot people like this. Unfortunately, Uwe had begun to bring his belongings - mostly books - piecemeal to the west and now he wanted them back. Since Americans could travel freely between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin, I was assigned the task of bringing the books back to east Berlin in a satchel. To make a long story short, this aroused the suspicions of the east German authorities as I crossed the border. I was detained and questioned for a long time. The east German police could not understand what I was doing. For my part, I was fearful that I would betray Uwe’s previous plans to flee to the west. After a lengthy interrogation, the east German authorities let me go. They said they would investigate my claims. I was asked to return in a week. I did return and all was in the clear. I spent an hour or so at a cafe discussing politics and other matters with a man who, to me at least, looked like a Russian.
23. How he moved to Minnesota in 1965 (having never been there before) and stayed for over 50 years - I graduated from Yale in June of 1964, spent six months in Newark, New Jersey, in a masters-level accounting program, and then, before I had finished it, decided it was time to get some real-life experience by going to work. While in Newark, I had read through some business and other magazines, including a few articles about companies located in Minnesota. This seemed like the place to be. There were some up-and-coming companies like 3M, Honeywell, and Control Data where a young man like me might find a good career. So, having never been to Minnesota before, I got on the Greyhound bus, changed in Chicago, and wound up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With the exception of several months in the fall of 1970s, I have been in Minnesota ever since.
24. How, without coaching, he passed the CPA exam on his first try - I did take some low-level accounting jobs in Minnesota when I first arrived. Then I quit to become a full-time writer. That did not pan out so, when the money began to run out, my attention turned back to accounting. I took several accounting courses at the University of Minnesota around 1970 and 1971. I also studied materials that might be on the CPA exam. I did take the test and, by some miracle, I passed in November of 1971. In fact, I passed all four parts of the exam on the first try. (I always was a good test taker.) See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/accountant.html.
25. How as an accountant he resolved a $129.64 discrepancy in a departmental report - I was employed for fifteen years as cost accountant for the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC), the public bus company, first at its headquarters in St. Paul and later in Minneapolis. Part of my job involved maintaining and distributing computer-generated departmental expense reports. I was also responsible for allocating indirect (overhead) costs to direct (functional) departments. But sometimes there are glitches and one of them arose in 1982. I wrote up one of the more interesting experiences in dealing with this situation and posted the narrative at http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/discrepancy.html.
26. How he quit a secure job to become a writer but found he could not write what he wanted - Backing up a few years, I quit a secure accounting job with the state of Minnesota in 1966 to become a full-time writer. My career ambitions were centered here. At that time, I was living with three roommates (who had jobs) in an apartment building on West Maryland Avenue in St Paul. I had accumulated a large quantity of “idea notes” concerning things that might become subjects for writing. I numbered the ideas, wrote them on separate slips of paper, and tried to arrange the writings in a meaningful flow. Alas, it didn’t work out. I would write a few pages and then realize it was not what I wanted. And so, after many months of such effort, I abandoned the writing project. Years later, I resumed it to better effect. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/manofideas.html.
27. How, with the blessing of the campaign manager, he tried to organize a marathon to support the candidacy of a man who later that year was elected governor of Minnesota - Another project during my period of nonemployment in 1966 was to engage in political activities with the Young Republican League of Minnesota. I had a specific goal in mind. I wanted to support the presidential campaign of my father’s former employer and friend, Governor George Romney of Michigan, who was seeking the Republican nomination for president. Being active in the Young Republican League, I became acquainted with Jerry Olson, campaign manager of Harold LeVander, a leading Republican candidate for Governor. I developed a scheme to promote the LeVander campaign by conducting a marathon from Duluth to the Twin Cites. Olson gave the project his blessing. But after several months of effort, it became clear that the scheme was beyond my ability to deliver. The Roadrunner project was abandoned. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/www.roadrunners.html.
28. How Ronald Reagan promised to play a board game that he had invented - During my period of nonemployment in the late 1960s, I invented a board game that I called Minitar. A later version had a political theme. Ronald Reagan was then running for Governor of California. I wrote him a letter suggesting that he play my board game. Reagan sent me a letter in response saying that he would be happy to do that. I can’t remember the outcome. Either Reagan did not play the game or I never had a version suitable for him. Another scheme had fallen through the cracks.
29. How a friend relayed the Chinese government’s message of invitation that launched “ping-pong diplomacy” - In later years I had a friend named Charlie Disney who organized and led a landlord group, Minneapolis Property Rights Association. I became an active member of that group. Charlie was also a professional table-tennis player. At one time, he owned a business teaching people to play ping pong and organizing tournaments. In that regard, Charlie Disney was also an important figure on the national and international scenes in the table-tennis world. He was president of the U.S. Table Tennis Association in the 1970s. But the event to which I refer was before he headed that organization. There was an international ping-pong competition in Nagano, Japan, in April 1971. A friendly connection was made between an American and a (communist) Chinese ping pong player. Soon the Chinese government sent an invitation to the American team to visit China. An invitation to President Nixon followed. This was the start of so-called “ping-pong diplomacy”. The invitation to the American team came first to Charlie Disney who was not on the playing floor but upstairs when the message first arrived.
30. How he became a leading proponent of shorter work time - The shorter workweek has been one of my main interests for many years. A friend at a summer camp in California in 1957 first turned me on to the subject of working hours and their relevance to employment. As a young Republican, I chose to study this subject. I wrote letter, articles, and eventually a book titled “A Shorter Workweek in the 1980s”. I thought that my book might help to bring about fulfillment of its topic. But this was not to be. The political forces are lined up solidly against this type of proposal. Government wants us to work long and hard and pay taxes that it can use for various purposes. Our own happiness and well being are of secondary importance to the politicians.
31. How he coauthored a book on work-time issues with Eugene McCarthy - One politician who disagreed was former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy. Having admired him from a distance for several years, I first met the former Senator in 1982 when he came to Minnesota to run for US Senate. I eagerly though modestly worked in his unsuccessful campaign. Later we collaborated in producing a book titled “Nonfinancial Economics: the Case for Shorter Hours of Work” which was published by Praeger publishers in 1989. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/mccarthy.com.
32. How he first learned that Mitt Romney was pursuing a political career - My family was close to the Romneys when my father worked at the AMA (Automobile Manufacturers Association) and American Motors in the early 1940s through the early 1960s. But then my parents moved away from Michigan and we lost touch. In September 1994, my brother Andy and I were driving through Michigan on our way from Minnesota to Pennsylvania. Passing through the Detroit area, I rather impulsively decided to drop in on George and Lenore Romney. I knew where their house in Bloomfield Hills (near the country club) was located. It turned out that the Romneys did not live in the same house as before but in a smaller house behind it. Lenore Romney greeted us at the door. In the half-hour visit that followed, we learned that her husband, George, had gone to Massachusetts to work on the Senatorial campaign of their younger son, Mitt, who was running against Ted Kennedy. Previously, I had no idea of his political ambitions. Mitt Romney lost that election but he later was elected Governor of Massachusetts and, in 2012, became the Republican nominee for President.
33. How he travelled to Mexico City to observe a potentially violent union election - I spent the better part of 1992 in trade-related activities that preceded the adoption of NAFTA. Opposition to this proposal was centered in UAW Local 879 at the Ford plant in St. Paul Minnesota. Somehow I became part of the core group that dealt with this issue. Part of our opposition was related to the persecution that Mexican workers who opposed NAFTA were facing. There was an election of union officers in June 1992 at the Cuautitlan Ford plant near Mexico City. Since government persecution (and possibly even violence) was expected, the Mexican trade unionists at this plant invited Americans to come to Mexico to observe the election. I answered the call. There was no observable violence but I did have a meaningful experience and wrote a report about it requested by U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/laney.html .
34. How he wrote and published the first anti-NAFTA book and personally handed a copy to Bill Clinton - My year of intense activity with union activists at the St. Paul Ford plant led to the production of a book-length manuscript about trade issues. It was largely based upon written materials gathered during this time. The writing was finished by the end of 1991. I had copies produced shortly afterwards. So it was that I had a book ready to present when Democratic candidate for President, Bill Clinton, came to the Twin Cities to campaign. After his talk, Clinton lingered among the crowd shaking hands. When he approached me, I handed Clinton a copy of my book. He seemed startled and quickly moved away. But then an aide returned to me and asked me to write my name and address on a slip of paper so that the candidate could thank me for the book. Several weeks later I received not one, but two thank-you letters. If Clinton ever read the book, he was not impressed because it was he who rammed through NAFTÅ against the book’s recomendation.
35. How he was exposed to the poetic technique of gematria practiced by the inventor of wet-or-dry sandpaper (3M’s breakthrough product) - While I was living in St. Paul in 1968, I attended services at St. Clement’s Episcopal church not far from my residence. There I made the acquaintance of a middle-aged to elderly couple, Dick and Susan Okie. One Sunday, they invited me to have lunch at their home on Peninsula road in White Bear Lake. Actually, the house belonged to Dick Okie’s father, Francis G. Okie, who also lived there. During my first visit to that house, I sat down with Francis Okie and listened to him recite poetry that he had written. It was a particular type of poem in which the letters of words each had a numerical value and the numbers of words had to add up to a certain count - 869 - corresponding to the verse in Revelation which reads: “He that hath understanding.” Francis Okie spent his days adding up numbers on a note pad as new verse was created. I later learned about the art of gematria dating back to ancient times which was here being revived. I also learned that Francis Okie had once (in the 1920s and 1930s) been the head of research at Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing company (3M) before it became a corporate giant. It was he who had invented 3M’s first major product, wet-or-dry sandpaper. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/darkanddangerous.html.
36. How he found his brother lying dead on the floor in a bedroom next to his - My brother Andy, who was a year younger than me, came to Minnesota to visit in 1993. He soon developed health problems, was hospitalized, and was then released to me. Andy lived in my house at 1702 Glenwood Avenue for several years occupying a room near mine on the second floor. All was well for a time but then, in early July 1993, Andy had several episodes that caused concern, including collapsing on the sidewalk. I was told it was due to a salt imbalance. This situation came to a fatal end in the evening of July 23-24. The evening of the 23rd I spent with a “Sufi” singing group. It was extremely hot. Andy came into my room complaining of the heat. After I had gone to bed, I heard a crash in the other room. Andy had fallen on the floor. I decided to place him on a cushion, bring him a glass of water, and turn on the fan. Then I went back to bed. On the next morning, after reading the newspaper for twenty minutes or so, I went into Andy’s room to check on him. He was lying motionless on the floor. I soon discovered that he was not breathing. My brother was dead. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/siblings.html.
37. How he bought a nine-unit apartment building near downtown Minneapolis - During the 1980s and 1990s, I was working as cost accountant at the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) first in St Paul and then in Minneapolis after a new headquarters was built. After a fire forced me to move from a rented room in St. Paul, I moved to an apartment building at 1618 Glenwood Avenue in Minneapolis not far from the new headquarters. I stayed there for a year during 1993 and then noticed that a large house across the street was empty. Checking into the situation, I learned that a public agency owned the house and was accepting bids from prospective buyers. I made a successful bid. A few months after that, I learned that the owner of the apartment building where I had previously lived also owned a small (9-unit) apartment building on the other side of my new home. He had worked as a missionary abroad, had returned to the United States, and now was considering relocating to the suburbs. Both of his apartment buildings in my neighborhood were now for sale. I made a bid for the smaller of the two apartment buildings which was accepted. And so, having been a renter for several years, I was now the owner of two residential buildings in Minneapolis not far from downtown.
38. How he faced down a hostile neighborhood group that accused him of mismanaging this building - The political culture in Minneapolis in the early 1990s was aggressively anti-landlord. Landlords were blamed for indiscriminately renting to people regardless of criminal tendencies. Because the authorities were politically unable to deal with the criminals themselves, they turned to a softer target - the people who gave them shelter. One of those people was me. When I bought the apartment building at 1708 Glenwood Avenue, I inherited a group of tenants including some who may have been dealing or using drugs or otherwise engaging in criminal behavior. Shortly after purchasing the building, I gave notices to vacate to tenants identified as such. (During my visit to apartment #1, I first met a young woman staying there, Sheila, who later became my wife. She was not the tenant but a guest.) That was not enough. The building continued to have problems, though not severe. Inevitably, I was summoned to a meeting of a citizens group, organized by the Harrison Neighborhood Association, which demanded that I relinquish control of the building to someone who could correct the problems. I listened politely to the indictments, sitting in the front row. When it was my turn, I gave this group a tongue-lashing. They were stunned. I never had trouble with these “neighbors” again.
39. How he and a group of fellow landlords disrupted a meeting of the Minneapolis city council - My political problems as a landlord led to association with a group of Minneapolis landlords that was planning to sue the city. It was led by Charlie Disney, a table-tennis champion and promoter. Eventually, this group progressed from a planned lawsuit to more immediate activities. It held regularly monthly meetings at a park building in Minneapolis which were taped and shown on cable television. We developed a following. This group also engaged in direct action against city officials under the leadership of Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and City Council president Jackie Cherryhomes. The situation came to a head on October 30, 1998, when the Minneapolis city council met to consider revoking the rental license of a landlord, Russ Erkkila, who was not part of our group but whom we had decided to help. After visiting the police headquarters and finding no satisfaction there, a group of perhaps twenty-five landlords descended upon a meeting of the city council in progress where initial politeness gave way to a full-fledged protest demonstration. We marched around the City Council chambers with picket signs and became vocal. Soon there was shouting. The Minneapolis city council, which could have summoned the police, did not because there was an important election coming up the next week (when Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota) and it did not wish to risk the bad publicity. And so, we landlords prevailed. A Star Tribune reporter called this the worst disturbance at City Hall in twenty years. See website landlordpolitics.com which contains hundreds of articles about the property-rights group and its activities. The articles are in English only. (The write up of Erkkila’s experience is found at http://www.goldparty/landlords.html.)
40. How he was twice arrested and jailed for domestic abuse - Yes, I am a certified domestic abuser. Although a cerebral rather than physical type of person in expressing my opinions, I have been caught up in Minnesota’s domestic-abuse trap several times. (Gender politics is highly evolved in that state.) Both of my two arrests for domestic abuse involved my Chinese-born wife. The first incident happened on February 18, 2011. My wife was looking through my check register demanding explanations of particular items. When I asked for the register back, she refused So I grabbed it from her hand. Then she bit me. To free my hand from her mouth, I jerked it loose. My wife then claimed that I had struck her in the face. She called the police. I was arrested and taken to jail. The police report falsely claimed that my wife’s mouth was bleeding. Thanks to a friend, I was released on bail shortly after midnight on that day. I was sentenced to attend an anger-management program for the better part of a year and was on probation for the entire year. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/domesticabuse.html.
The second arrest occurred on January 23, 2012. Increasingly emotional as Chinese New Year approached, my wife demanded a rather large sum of money and, when I demurred, threw the television remote and some bed slippers at me. This time I called the police. When the officers arrived, my wife told falsely them that I had hit her. The officer, seeming apologetic, then told me that he would have to arrest me. So I was again taken to jail. A police official told me that I had violated the terms of probation, which was a serious matter. However, the arresting officer’s report stated that “the victim stated that the defendant, William, struck her in the face with a closed fist on her lips. I did not observed any swelling, cuts, or redness on the face of the complainant or on her lips.” In the end, the city attorney dismissed the charges against me. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/domesticabuse.html.
41. How he is no fan of Minnesota courts - I have had so many bad experiences with and in Minnesota courts that I have ceased to blame myself and instead think there is something wrong with the system. Some of these experiences are described in the preceding entry. Rather than run through a litany of complaints, I will refer interested persons to these websites: http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/complaints.html, domesticabuse.html, firstwodivorces.html, endjudicialabuse.html, genderfairness.html, jermainestansberry.html, judgeswenson.html, lawyersprofessionalresponsibility.html, lawyerboard.html, questionableactivities.html, and a summary sheet http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/legalchallenges.html.
42. How he rescued and kept a pet squirrel - Let’s turn now to the bright side of life: I once had a pet squirrel named Sammy. He was found in the basement of a duplex that I owned. Initially I kept Sammy in the stairwell of my house. As our relationship deepened, he alternated between the house and the outside porch. We settled on an interior porch near our bedroom. We once took him to the grocery store. But Sammy wandered off and eventually disappeared after showing up outside bedroom windows at a neighboring apartment building. Some time later, I found the body of a dead squirrel in the middle of Glenwood Avenue. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/sammy.html.
43. How as the Congressional candidate of Minnesota’s Independence Party in 2008 he attracted 7 percent of the vote (and was complimented by Jesse Ventura) - I became involved with the Reform - later, Independence - Party in its glory years near the turn of the millennium. I worked in Tammy Lee’s campaign for Congress in Minnesota’s 5th district in 2006. She lost to Democrat Keith Ellison. Two years later, I was myself the party’s Congressional candidate. Keith Ellison was running for reelection. Needless to say, Ellison won by a big margin but I received almost 7 percent of the vote as a third-party candidate, receiving a compliment from fellow party member and former governor Jesse Ventura. See http://www.newindependenceparty.org.
44. How he developed a new theory of world history and published a book - It has seemed to me that communication technology plays a decisive role in human societies and world history. The advent of writing marked a sharp break from oral cultures, printing from the culture of handwritten literature, and electronic communication from the culture based upon the written word. Communication technology evolved in separate waves at certain times, making it possible to examine the subsequent types of society. Eventually I settled upon a scheme of history in five parts labelled not too imaginatively Civilization I, Civilization II, Civilization III, Civilization IV, and Civilization V. They go along with the following institutions as a driving force in society: government, religion, commerce and education, entertainment, and the internet. My book presenting this scheme of history, Five Epochs of Civilization, came out in paperback in the year 2000. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/worldhistory.html. See also http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/cthistory-new.html. This website also contained the internet’s leading site on how world history could be used to predict the future. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/prediction.html.
45. How he wrote and published a book of philosophy titled “Rhythm and Self-Consciousness: New Ideals for an Electronic Civilization” - The book, Rhythm and Self-Consciousness, was published a year after Five Epochs of Civilization. This work involved ideas that had been important to me for much of my life. It started with the idea that, as human beings, we are concerned not just with rational pursuits but a state of personal grace and well being that goes with smooth performance of routines. I called its attainment being in a state of "rhythm". It requires a certain frame of mind. A threat to this mental state is a distracting force that I called "self-consciousness" - focusing upon one’s own motions and self rather than upon a steady object of concentration. This causes performance to be lost or go off in a different direction. There is also a logic of dialectical evolution associated with self-conscious thinking. It took me a long time to put these thoughts together so that I was able to complete a book. The identification of self-consciousness as a certain type of causal force is presented in http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/self-consciousness.html. See also http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/writingphilosophy.html.
46. How a mass murder occurred near his home at an office that once belonged to Burma-Shave - When I was a boy, my parents regularly drove between Michigan and eastern Pennsylvania. A delight to soften the boredom of driving was to encounter Burma-Shave signs along the way. They were a series of small signs each with short phrases that humorously advertised the shaving lotion known as Burma-Shave. Imagine my surprise, then, that years later, when I was living in Minneapolis, a man told me that Burma-Shave had been produced in a factory within easy walking distance of my house. This line of shaving products was discontinued in the 1960s when the business was sold to Philip Morris. The building that once housed its operations was now occupied by a company known as Accent Signage that produces signs in braille for blind people. Its founder and owner, Reuvin Rahamin, had developed the product in a garage. But the building that now housed its operations became the scene of a horrific crime. A former employee, who had been fired earlier in the day, came back to this place with a gun. He shot and killed Mr. Rahamin and three other employees before turning the gun on himself. It was the worst outbreak of workplace violence in Minnesota since records have been kept. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/burmashave.html.
47. How he has been part of a men’s singing group with Robert Bly for over 25 years - The poet Robert Bly is best known as author of Iron John, a book that concerns the psychology of men. He is also, of course, a poet with many published works. In February of 1992, then a figure of international renown, Bly gave a talk at a church near my home after which he said that he was interested in assembling a group of men to practice regularly what he described as “Turkish” singing. Although more interested in the political side of the men’s movement, I signed up. This group was eventually organized and I became a regular participant. We met in the homes of Bly and other participants to practice our ritualistic routines. I wrote up this unusual experience years later and published it at http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/sufi.html. Also see http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/poetry.html.
48. How he has married and divorced women of all three races (and later remarried one of them) - I have not enjoyed an enduring marital relationship during my life. I have not had children of my own. Instead, I have been married three times, oddly enough, to women of three different races. I married first a white woman named Carol in June of 1973. This marriage lasted for about ten years. Then, in 1997, I married an African American woman named Sheila whom I had met in connection with owning an apartment. We were married for less than two years and then divorced because, upon the advice of experts, Sheila feared (without justification, in my opinion) that my brother would molest her children. Finally, I was married to a Chinese woman, LianLian or Lian for short, in the year 2000. We were divorced ten years later. Although Sheila had subsequently married someone else, she too was now divorced. My brother was now dead. Sheila moved back to Minnesota from Kentucky where she had gone, we became reacquainted, and in 2015 we remarried. I am now living with her and her 3-year-old grandson. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/firstwodivorces.html.
49. How his wife’s oldest daughter has a brother in prison along with the father of her two children - Sheila had two children by her first husband: Lena and Tony. She had three other children by another man, Jerome Norris, whom I knew: Jasmine, Justine, and Erika. Erika was born a month or so before I met her in 1993. Lena’s boyfriend and the father of her two children was Jermaine Stansberry. Jermaine was convicted of murdering someone and sentenced to prison for a long time. I attended much of the trial. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/jermainestansberry.html. Sheila’s son Tony has served two prison sentences. Once, in 1995, he accidentally shot and killed a young woman in a gang-related confrontation. He served a sentence of fifteen years and was released. More recently, in 2013, he was convicted of shooting and killing an alleged drug dealer named Frank Patterson. There was some question as to who owned the gun. In any event, Anthony Foresta was convicted and sentenced to 19 years in prison for this second offense. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/anthonyforesta.html. Sheila’s daughter, Lena Morrison, was the sister of Anthony Foresta and the mother of Jermaine Stansberry’s two sons.
50. How his candidacy in the 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary totally bombed - I, Bill McGaughey, have twice run for President. The first time, in 2003, I did reasonably well. My candidacy in the Louisiana Democratic presidential primary finished fifth among seven campaigns, attracting 3,161 votes (about 2 percent of the total). The second time, in 2016, my candidacy totally bombed. I ran in New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary in February 2016. Despite several weeks of full-time campaigning in that state, I received only 17 votes in the primary, finishing 22nd among 27 candidates. It’s clear now that I do not have much of a future in electoral politics. But the experience was worthwhile. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/wingnutcandidate.html, overview.html, newhampshireprimary.html, and goldparty.org /ontheballot.htm. A summary of my political campaigns appears at http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/politicalcandidate.html.
51. How, childless most of his life, he and his wife are raising a rambunctious 3-year-old boy - Sheila’s son, Tony, fathered a child, Del or Dale, by an American Indian woman named Shay during the three years when he was released from prison. Shay had personal problems that made it difficult for her to care for her son properly. In 2015, Sheila gained custody of the boy. I married her in the following year. So now I have an instant family consisting of Sheila, Dale, and myself, and also Do Do the dog. Dale, who has recently learned how to talk, goes to a private nursery during the day but otherwise lives with us. Lately, I have devoted myself largely to creating these websites while Sheila holds the household together.
52. How within four months he went from being a full-functioning adult to his wife’s dependent - The year 2016 was not kind to me. Having been in good health for most of my life, I had problems while campaigning in New Hampshire that put me in the hospital for several days. Back in Minnesota, I made appointments with doctors at the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). They prescribed warfarin and later metformin to treat my early signs of dementia. Although I cannot prove it, I think these drugs profoundly affected my memory. They wiped out my personality and sense of living. I have virtually no recollection of the months between August, when my wife and I visited Seattle, and the national election in early November, 2016. I woke up, so to speak, as my wife’s dependent. I made a decision to stop seeing the doctors and my health has stabilized. But I have lost my checkbook, I do not receive rents or maintain rent records, I do not pay bills, I do not prepare my own meals, I do not drive anymore, my office is a mess - and, now with the income tax due in two weeks, I fear I may be incapable of completing that task. Instead, I have become a maniac in producing and translating web sites. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/translations.html. See also http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/mentaldecline.html.
53. How, nevertheless, he plans to publish another book - There is one project that I intend to complete before my life is done. I have a book manuscript in the field of big history titled “History of the Triple Existence”, based on the idea that our human universe actually consists of three worlds in one. There is the physical universe, the realm of living creatures on earth, and the conscious world consisting of our thoughts and culture. In a word, they are matter, life, and thought. I have been working on this manuscript for several years and last year, in 2016, put it in what I think is a final form. But since my life and finances have deteriorated, I have been unable to publish the book myself under the imprint of Thistlerose Publications. I briefly inquired about finding another publisher, Yale University Press, but the manuscript was rejected. (I am a Yale alumnus.) Instead of following up with other inquiries, I have temporarily turned away from this project to create web sites. Eventually I will return.
54. How a little fox terrier has become his constant companion - When I was married to Lian, we acquired a little Fox terrier dog which was given the name Do Do. (It may mean “bean” in Chinese.) Lian and Celia, her daughter, have moved on but Celia’s dog, Do Do, remains a part of my household. In fact, Do Do is my closest living acquaintance. He sleeps in my bed at night, lies on the floor underneath my desk in the office during the day, accompanies me on a daily walk, and follows me around the house everywhere I go. We also have five or six cats in the upstairs part of the house. Do Do is at least fifteen years old now but is still going strong. He still barks ferociously at other dogs. He squeals when he wants something. I would be lost if I did not have Do Do as a part of daily life.
55. How in the not-too-distant future he may be buried in a grave in Milford, Pennsylvania, near the Pinchot family gravesite containing the remains of John F. Kennedy’s murdered mistress - I turned 76 last month and must anticipate that my time on earth will come to an end in the foreseeable future. I already have a grave plot in the cemetery at Milford, Pennsylvania, where my parents and two brothers are buried. The plot containing my brothers, marked by a red marble obelisk, has room for one or, hopefully, two more bodies or urns. I would like me and my wife to be buried there. What is unusual about this cemetery is that it is the final resting place of Gifford Pinchot, founder of the U.S. Forestry Service and a two-time governor of Pennsylvania. Equally interesting, the Pinchot plot (about 80 feet from ours) contains the remains of Mary Pinchot Meyer, Gifford’s niece who was the wife of Cord Meyer, a top CIA official. She was also the mistress of President John F. Kennedy. Mary Pinchot Meyer was murdered about a year after Kennedy’s violent death. So there are a few memories buried in that place near where I myself may be laid to rest. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/stassen.html.
I had intended to make the above paragraph the final entry in this list of memorable events but then I added a few more. They are:
56. Bill McGaughey has run for President twice (and for mayor of Minneapolis, Congress, the U.S. Senate, and lieutenant governor of Minnesota) - Until the 21st century, when I was sixty years of age, I had never run for elective office. Since then, I have twice run in primaries for President of the United States and for mayor of Minneapolis, and once for Congress, for U.S Senate, for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, and, in the general election, for U.S. House of Representatives. I never won any of those elections but that did not stop me from trying. The last effort, which gained a total of 17 votes, deeply affected my health so I think I am done as a political candidate. But I add this chapter of unattainable ambition to the book of my life because it has some interesting moments. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/politicalcandidate.html.
57. He has gotten revenge on the internet against an abusive judge - My experiences in Minnesota courts have been mostly unpleasant. (See # 41.) I have come to detest some of these judges. The judge who presided over my second divorce, James T. Swenson, is no exception. In his case, however, I have the satisfaction of having gained revenge to a certain extent in damaging the judge’s reputation. If you google the judge’s name - Judge James Swenson - one of my websites will appear at or near the top of the listings. (It's currently in the second position). This is a verbatim copy of the complaint that I filed against Judge Swenson after he handled my divorce case. He will not be pleased by the disclosures. I find it odd, however, that this judge “retired” in June 2016, shortly after being reelected to his position yet, in retirement, he will continue to hear cases. Did my complaint have something to do with this? Probably not. Even so, it does reflect upon the judge’s character that he would seek reelection and then abruptly retire. (This may have to do with the money. I suspect the judge receives a pension and, on top of that, performance pay for hearing cases. He has probably learned to game the system to his financial advantage.) But I am not privy to these judicial dealings. All I can say is that through my writings placed on the internet the public can learn about some of the less flattering aspects of the judge’s previous career and there’s nothing he can do about it. See http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/judgeswenson.html.
58. There's more. He has won a championship in a golf league at work, jogged regularly, and swam across a lake- This dates back to when I was a young man. I swam across a lake - little lake at Twin Lakes in Pennsylvania - shortly after returning from summer camp in Ontario in 1953. Due to my high handicap, I won a post-season tournament in a golf league at the MTC in 1994 and received a plaque. I used to jog regularly each morning but this practice has lately been discontinued. Instead, I walk the dog.
Now we’re getting into personal trivia such that, no matter how interesting you may have found some of the other disclosures, you will surely have no appetite for more.
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