Trzyna.info : : Personal website of Thaddeus C. (Ted) Trzyna
"The Uncovering: A Memoir" is a work in progress.
A few selections from the manuscript are posted on this website with a few more to come. This index lists the selections in more or less chronological order along with links and brief descriptions of what they are about.
Why is the memoir called "The Uncovering"? The answer will be revealed (i.e., uncovered) in due course.
[Photo: Speaking at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i, 2016]
SELECTIONS FROM "THE UNCOVERING: A MEMOIR" by Ted Trzyna
[Name and family] This page wasn't written as part of the memoir but gives background on five generations of my family, starting with grandparents who came to the United States from the Polish lands beginning in 1890.
HIGH SCHOOL YEARS IN SOUTH PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, 1953-1957 (five pages). I went to a fine high school but most of my learning took place around two other local institutions, an extraordinary Scout troop and the public library. There is a lot to tell, so it takes five pages to tell it:
(1) Why we got a street named after Frank Stoney. In the Scouts I learn about leadership and work with others to honor a leader who mentored youth for decades. I start a practice of getting to know a few places intimately, in this case the Arroyo Seco and Kings Canyon.
(2) The "life-giving" public library & John Muir. Almost daily visits to the local public library lead to finding a book that changed my life, and a lifelong habit of stopping in at libraries wherever or whenever I could.
(3) Powell, Ritchie & the "San Pasqual River." A tongue-in-cheek account of the square block where I grew up, the little stream that flowed and sometimes raged through it, and two very accomplished fellows from a previous generation who used to live nearby.
(4) Uncle Art, science & emotion. At a family gathering in Yosemite Valley I talk with my Uncle Art, a Stanford biology professor, about science and emotion. He and I disagree, and I begin to understand how opposing opinions can arise from very different points of view.
(5) Fairness & bigotry. I become aware of some of the discrimination going on against minority ethnic groups but learn only many years later that a lot more was occurring behind the scenes. This is about things that happened to me or my friends or about which I have direct knowledge.
USC, Berkeley, Washington, Africa. I get a strong dose of political realism along with a liberal education as an international relations major at the University of Southern California. I start law school at UC Berkeley but two days into the semester I receive a letter appointing me to the State Department career Foreign Service. I switch to political science classes for the rest of the term before I report for duty in Washington, spend a few months in training, and proceed to my first assignment, in the former Belgian Congo.
Katanga 1963: The booze run | A detour and a trance. I'm posted at the American Consulate in Elisabethville (now called Lubumbashi) in the Congo's Katanga Province. A civil war has been going on but for the time being things are relatively calm. On a more or less routine car trip to a neighboring country to pick up supplies I have an unpleasant surprise along the road, so I take a long detour on the way back. I stop at a remote pile of rocks marking the international border, walk slowly around it, and have a powerful sense of where I am in place and time.
The Jewish Pearl of Africa. This is an eight-page PDF (click to download below). It's about a tight-knit community of Sephardic Jews in Katanga, their moral compass, and my visit to the place where most of them, or their forebears, came from, the island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea.
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