Spring Break 1970, and time to get out of town. With my 2 Bud’s in search of an adventure.
What to do? Where to Go? How can we make it as uncomfortable as possible?
Here is what we decided to do.
An epic Three-day road trip. Perdue University, and, “Let’s take my car” Doug said. “I’ve got a great sound system”.
That proved to be true. However, it was a 1965 VW Bug, with a reel-to-reel tape deck on the passenger front floor.
Doug was driving (his car), Charlie the shortest, occupied back seat with our luggage bags, and I folded my much younger 6’- 6” frame up front. At least I was in charge of the tunes.
Spinning Wheel, The Rapper, Green-Eyed Lady, American Woman, Momma told me not to come. All blasting the doors off. Listen, rewind, repeat.
First stop was Notre Dame to visit Terry Kelly my friend from St. Vincent HS.
Then on to Perdue to see Doug and Charlie’s friend Jim.
The house looked very much like this one, only a little more abused.
Six ear shattering, knee crunching hours later we arrived at the house he was sharing just off campus. He had 17 roommates, a lighted waterbed bladder with live goldfish, seating cushions filling the floors and guitars and bongos complimenting the décor.
The ultimate Hippie haven, right!
Dinner that evening was at the I-Hop on a budget, pick up some beers for the prerequisite sing a long, to be capped by the entire version of Alice’s Restaurant , with added verses.
Friday night crash on the floor, most of Saturday spent exploring the campus, take a peek at a few political war protests, another budget meal or two and back to the house only this time another guitarist and lots of folk songs and lot's of CCR.
Crash for the night, OJ and toast for breakfast and back to reality 7 hours later. Another eventful road trip and safely back in Akron.
Here’s the best part.
Remember those pesky war protests?
I was in the Co-op Engineering program at Akron U. It was a work study program where you worked two 6 month stints between the semesters of your last two years of classes, with the promise of a job upon graduation.
I had two interviews scheduled the following week, Charlie accompanied me to Kodak for the first one, and a different group of us went to the NSA in Fort Meade, MD.
Thanks to my Uncle Ed our whole family had already passed basic security clearances, now just for the interview. Here is where it gets spooky,
“How was your trip to Perdue last week”?
It turns out the National Security Agency had the house we were visiting under surveillance because of suspected SDS activity.
The Students for a Democratic Society posed a potential conflict for me if I was involved. I was not and I got my security clearance due to my ignorance of any sadistic plots, and I could actually have worked there except for the paranoia.
You never knew who was watching, your vacations were not private, and when you were hired you could not tell anybody what you did. Not even a wife or girlfriend.
My assignment was to be designing listening devices that were going to be put in furniture destined for the embassy buildings in Russia.
Now that I told you, do I really have to kill you?
You noticed I didn't post a picture of the NSA interview site.
When I was there the whole operation was underground at Ft. Meade, MD. This is all we got, directions, and a warning.
The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters is located on the grounds of the Fort Meade military base in Maryland. Today the headquarters for the nation’s premier covert intelligence gathering organization are housed in two high-rise office structures, built and dedicated by Ronald Reagan in 1986, and in other structures on the base, including an estimated 10 acres of which were underground in 1970.
A lot has changed over the years, many decisions questioned, but not this one. I switched my major to Business Administration and I never looked back.