Canal in downtown St. Petersburg, near the Hermitage
The Day we took the head photographer to
. There were many communist Africans in Leningrad Moscow, but one day we took our leading enlisted photographer, a black Air Force Sergeant, to Leningrad (Now re-named ) with us. He had processed thousands of rolls of film for us back at our Embassy, and we thought he would enjoy visiting this very interesting city in the north. However, when the KGB saw us with a black man in our car, they went nuts. They acted as if we had a secret weapon. St. Petersburg
They normally would follow our car with another car full of goons. But this day, they had four cars, switching off amongst one another. These were all Soviet Zhigulis, the Russian version of the Fiat, made in a huge factory built with the help of the Italian Fiat company in a city named Tolyatti (after Italian Communist Togliatti) several hundred miles southeast of Moscow.
Often I would make notes about what I wanted to observe on our drive that day, and I would write these on water-soluble rice paper, which I could easily pop in my mouth if we should be apprehended. This special paper would dissolve at once.
When, with the four cars of goons following us I thought we would get hauled out, I decided it was time to swallow my notes. However, when you are scared, which I was, your mouth dries up so much that you can’t even dissolve the paper.
We were driving next to one of the many canals that run through
, and since our surveillance was not in sight at the moment, I thought it would be a good time to stop and throw the mouthful of rice paper in the canal. I think it was the Leningrad . Griboyedova Canal
Wrong! As I should have suspected in icy, frozen
, there was just ice in the canal. Foiled! My mouthful of paper just rested on the ice. Leningrad
At any rate, we never got apprehended. The Sergeant had a good ride around town.
I would make a lousy spy.
Peter and Paul Fortress, from across the Neva
Women’s Day in
—Fats took the day off! Leningrad
We took the Midnight Red Arrow from
Moscow to , arriving on schedule at 8:25 a.m. A driver met us at the train station and drove us to the American Consulate, where we stowed our bags and jumped into our car, all set for a day of work. Leningrad
One of the things we did a lot of was "Order-of-Battle". We had to report ships in port, including boats and ships that just moved around the canals and rivers of the
. The information we provided was correlated with information from agents, from satellite imagery, and electronic intelligence intercept to maintain a picture of the Naval Order of Battle of the USSR . This meant taking a lot of long, long walks in some pretty crappy, snowy places. USSR
One of our favorite walks was along the
Neva River at Schmidt’s Bank, in . Here hundreds of boats and often warships and submarines tied up. Many of the smaller, lighter draft boats were awaiting a schedule to move up the canals that cut across Leningrad . Here we could see these boats and ships, and Red Fleet ships, and also ships under construction in the many shipyards of Russia . Leningrad
Whenever we would take these walks, we tried to take along our cameras and collect photos of interesting things. Photography in this area was forbidden, however.
The KGB assigned an elderly “goon” that attachés named “Fats.” He and some of his associates generally were around to follow us wherever we walked, or drove, and to make our job harder, or impossible. They wore the red armbands of “Druzhniki,” or “concerned citizens.” Sort of like elderly volunteers who operate as school crossing guards, except these were assigned to look after the foreign “spies.” The Soviets considered all foreign diplomats spies—they hadn’t changed their attitude toward foreigners in centuries.
One day, March the 8th, 1983 to be exact, it was International Women’s Day. Now, in fact, the Soviets didn’t give much of a hoot about women’s rights, except the right of old women to stand in the street all day long in the winter, smashing ice with a heavy iron rod.
But this day, as we arrived to do our job of collecting intelligence in
, there was NO KGB. They had the day off! Leningrad
I was traveling with my assistant, Pierce Crabtree, a big, burly former Navy football player. With no KGB to bother us, we went wild photographing shipyards and ships and everything we could see. We were driving a Soviet version of a Land Rover, called a “Niva.” We thought this would be a great day to check out some radar installations near the Czars’ summer palace at Petrodvorets. However, somewhere between Kipen’ and Ropsha, we got stuck in the snow.
If the KGB had been around, we would not have been able to get that far. Now, free to travel, we had gone and gotten ourselves in trouble. The snow was pretty deep.
Fortunately, along came a bus full of Russians. The driver and some of the passengers got out and helped push us out of the snowbank.
Now for some books and papers from The Personal Navigator:
The Locks – Charles River Dam, from
, Its Byways & Highways Boston
Boston, Its Byways & Highways, Being Twenty-five Drawings Reproduced in Photogravure by John Albert Seaford ca. 1916
, MA Le Roy Phillips, Publisher. 24 plates. 13 x 20 cm. Elegant drawings of Boston sights on 7.8 x 10.4 cm. plates tipped in with descriptions. Includes Cover, with drawing of State House, Bulfinch Front; Pemberton Square; Trinity Church; From Adams Square to Faneuil Hall; Towers of Cambridge Bridge; Temple Street and the Bulfinch Dome; Roll Lift Bridge at Fort Point Channel; Market District; The Locks--Charles River Dam; more. Heavy cardboard with paper wraps, cover moderately worn. Individual plates and text block very good. Fair. (4784) $14.00. Travel Boston
(at left is 1722 map, reproduced in 1853)
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
Roosevelt: Fear God and Take Your Own Part by Roosevelt, Theodore 1916
: George H. Doran Company. 414 pp. 13 x 19.7 cm. New York, NY Roosevelt dedicated this book to Julia Ward Howe, and includes the words of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in the introduction. Roosevelt has always been a fighter, and he is very clear in his dislike of "Professional Pacifists". He writes about the injustices caused by Pancho Villa and the Mexicans against Americans South of the Border, and 's failure to take effective action. He fumes at President Wilson's pusillanimous behavior toward America and the sinking of American ships by U-Boats. He blasts "Hyphenated Americans" because they always hoist the American flag undermost, while the American citizen of German descent or birth is a good American and nothing but. In Appendix C Roosevelt castigates the "Professional Pacifists" again with regard to our lip-service to the terrible fate that has befallen the Armenians. Yellow-brown cloth on board, cover moderately worn, inside front hinge cracked, fair. (2461) $10.00. World War I/History. Germany
Roosevelt: State of
New York in Memoriam Theodore Roosevelt Born: October 27, 1858 Died: January 6, 1919 1919 Albany, NY: Legislature of the State of . 131 pp. 18 x 25.5 cm. Marvelous tribute to a towering figure of America in the last years of the 19th and the first years of the 20th century. Includes much biographical detail, excerpts from TR's speeches, including last public words about promoting Americanism, and speech in which he publicly accused the Legislature, of which he was member, of corruption in Manhattan Elevated Railroad affair. Includes Address by Sen.Henry Cabot Lodge of New York , his lifelong friend, before Congress on Sunday, February 9, 1919. Black cloth on board with gilt printing on cover and spine. Small biopredation holes in cover. On ffep stamped "Compliments of William Duggan, Senator 19th District" Very good. (2350) $34.00. Biography/History Massachusetts
Soviet Theatre ca. 1950
. Collection of photos of Soviet theatre performances of 1950s, including actors Y. Tolubeyev, Z. Kirienko, A. Shatov, G. Stepanova, G. Menglet, V. Lepko, A. Kruglov, V. Orlova, T. Samoilova, R. Nifontova, V. Pashennaya and A. Katsynsky; Ballerina Galina Ulanova as Juliet, Yuri Zhdanov as Romeo. 26 pp. 27 x 18 cm. (5695) $15.00. Travel/Educational Moscow, USSR
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org