Chapter Six – 1966-1967
(Equivalent to 60 Pages)
Background for Chapter Six
Northern Ireland is a top-level constituent unit of the United Kingdom, in the northeast of Ireland. It is variously described as a country, province, region, or "part" of the United Kingdom, amongst other terms. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland.
END OF CHAPTER SIX
“Troubles” in the South:
There were “Troubles” in the South (The Republic of Ireland), that started with the Easter Rising in 1916, and culminated in the War of Independence or the Black and Tan War - a guerrilla war fought from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army (IRA, the army of the Irish Republic) and the British security forces in Ireland.
Both sides agreed to a truce in July 1921. Unlike in the south of Ireland, most of Ireland's population in the north were unionists - the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom. On the other hand, a significant minority, mostly Catholics, were nationalists who wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule.
The Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921 was an attempt to solve the situation. In effect, the treaty partitioned Ireland into 26 counties in the south and 6 counties in the north. It ended British rule in the 26 counties of the south, and created the Republic of Ireland, the Irish Free State, as a self-governing state. It created Northern Ireland out of the 6 remaining counties; they remained within the United Kingdom.
“Troubles” in the North:
There were also “Troubles” in the North (Northern Ireland, U.K.). For most of the 20th century, when it came into existence, Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility. Inevitably, political and sectarian violence between loyalists (usually Protestants) and republicans (usually Catholics) was the way of life. The former generally saw themselves as British and the latter generally saw themselves as Irish, while a distinct Northern Irish or Ulster identity was claimed both by a large minority of Catholics and Protestants and by many of those who were non-aligned. Ulster, especially Belfast, was notable for its violent sectarian character and the high number of its Catholic civilian victims.
At the end of the 1960s, conflict between state forces and chiefly Protestant unionists on the one hand, and chiefly Catholic nationalists on the other, erupted into three decades of violence which claimed over 3,500 lives and caused over 50,000 casualties.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including the decommissioning of weapons, although sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems and sporadic violence has continued.
* * *
It’s January, 1966. My answering machine says, “Holywood, Home of the Stars!” It’s in a cute cottage about twenty minutes from downtown Belfast.
The garden is about the size of a tennis court and has herbaceous borders and the greenest lawn I’ve ever seen.
You know the story of the tourist at Cambridge University…
“How do you get the lawns so beautiful?”
“Well, you roll them, ventilate them, water them, cut them, weed them, and roll them again. And you do that for about 400 years…”
Well, my new lawn looks like that. Of course, the reason Ireland is so green – The Emerald Isle – is because it smirs nearly all day long, every day. Smir? – a Scottish word for drizzle or very fine misting rain.
Can I call this The Emerald Isle?
Wikipedia: Emerald Isle is the poetic name for Ireland due to its green countryside, first referred to in print by William Drennan in his poem "When Erin first rose."
Northern Ireland is part of the island of Ireland and it sure has green countryside; but in Northern Ireland, one just doesn’t feel Irish or “in” Ireland
The politics are hard here in the north. When meeting someone for the first time, say in a bar, it seems essential for them to know on which side you stand – Catholic or Protestant, Unionist or Loyalist? I’d just like another drink!
If your career is financial planning, it’s sure an awkward ingredient in the sales process!
Anyway, back to Holywood. That’s not a typo, the village is Holywood and it lies on the southern shore of Belfast Lough, between Belfast and Bangor in County Down.
Holywood is famous for its maypole at the crossroads in the center of town. According to local folklore, it dates from 1700, when a Dutch ship is said to have run aground nearby, and the crew erected the broken mast to show their appreciation of the assistance offered to them by the townsfolk. The maypole is still used for dancing at the annual May Day fair. Next to it is a famous pub, Ned’s, and a famous church - St. Colmcille's on High Street.
[Now, Holywood is also famous for one of its residents - Rory McIlroy, professional golfer.]
When we arrived from Malta, by way of London (where I bought a new, British Racing Green with tan leather interior, Jaguar Mark X 4.2), Daniel and I stayed in the Grand Central Hotel. It was dank, and grey, cavernous, and foreboding – a typical, northern, Victorian, businessman’s hotel.
Thankfully, we found this cottage on our first try. It was sweet-smelling, bright, cozy, and welcoming.
Daniel loved the old-fashioned kitchen. I loved the lawnmower – it was a manual, push model, with cast iron wheels and a wooden, rolling-pin roller.
I hung the Stasha Halpern, and Holywood was “home.”
There is no set plan on how to start a sales operation in a new country; you just have to wing it. It takes Balls, Bullshit, Imagination, and Organization!
The total population of Malta was 300,000, and after nine months we were selling 250 programs a month. The total population of Northern Ireland was 1,500,000 – just watch!
As we were in the United Kingdom, I didn’t have to register a new company - International Life Insurance Co. (U.K.) Ltd. Had been registered for years. All I had to do was start selling; advertising; recruiting; training; supervising; renting, designing, decorating, and furnishing an office; install utilities; hire staff; manage; and develop PR. Simple.
In Malta, because we were a newly registered company, we needed an office at the outset. Here in Northern Ireland - a very different country with very different people - I needed to prove there was a market for the Dover Plan and that I could convince people of the value of a career with ILI (U.K.). If I could do that, then Roy Kirkdorffer, the IOS/ILI General Manager for the United Kingdom, would approve my acquiring an office in Belfast.
The purpose of a physical office was:
1. To Give Credibility to the Company, and Demonstrate Commitment to the Community. As such, it enabled much greater Recruitment and served as a base for Interviewing, Training, and Meetings; and
2. To provide Client Service Functions.
For the time being, I was going to use the cottage in Holywood as my office. I started out by putting an ad in the Belfast daily paper:
Are you of the rare breed?
Who just won’t work for a Salary, and has a Sense of Humour
Who Demands the Freedom to Earn as Much as Possible as Fast as Possible, and
Who wants to be in the Fastest Growing Company in
the Fastest Growing Industry in the World,
Providing an Essential and Unique Service?
Please come to the Assembly Room of the Grand Central Hotel, Royal Avenue, for an
Interview at 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 15.
Note: no telephone number – I didn’t have the staff to handle lots of replies. So this was going to be a group orientation presentation of the company – what we call “Happy Hour!”
I walked in the door and up onto the stage at 2:00 precisely (had to show my precision). In the room were fifty-five, Northern Irishmen – mostly dour, middle-aged, coarse men in stiff, grey suits, thick-soled shoes, and cloth caps. Some were younger, with light in their eyes, and smiles. There were no women, of course.
I was 25, energetic, good-looking, and, to them, very curious!
I was wearing a tight-waisted, black, Savile Row suit with a scarlet lining. Black Ferragamo, slip-on shoes; white shirt with French cuffs, gold cufflinks; and a black, four-in-hand tie with white polka-dots.
Daniel, 22, Other-worldly, Swiss, porcelain skin, long hair, manicured nails, and elegant suit, sat at the side of the room.
On a large mobile chalkboard, with no notes and open jacket flaring it’s scarlet lining, I dramatically related the story of the beginnings of IOS/ILI and its incredible growth.
I chronicled my initial success in Okinawa, my failing in Hong Kong, my stint at headquarters in Geneva, my return to the field in Libya and Cairo, and my amazing success in Malta.
After an hour, I climaxed the talk with the growth of the company’s stock - doubling in value every year, the commission structure that creates enormous income, and how the Dover Plan can solve everyone’s financial goals!
Now I was going to build an indomitable, new army in Northern Ireland – did they want to join?
I got a standing ovation.
That’s how to start a sales operation in a new country - Balls, Bullshit, Imagination, and Organization!
Daniel passed out Dover Plan brochures and collected their completed Employment Application Forms. All fifty-five applied!
I picked out the first twelve and asked them to stay for personal interviews that afternoon, and scheduled the rest for meetings at the hotel during the week ahead.
I announced that the Training Course would commence here in this room next Saturday at 2:00, precisely, and would continue every following Saturday afternoon, concluding on February 26 with a graduation ceremony with Course Completion Diplomas.
Week 1 – Jan 22 – The Insurance Industry and the Dover Plan
Week 2 – Jan 29 – The Presentation
Week 3 – Feb 5 – Prospecting – Who do you know?
Week 3 – Feb 12 - Closing the Sale
Week 4 – Feb 19 – Commissions and Overrides; Record Keeping
Week 5 – Feb 26 – Bring your wife or girlfriend; Graduation.
I love teaching the Training Course. I always give about 150% hoping the students will retain 100%. People who set themselves free to work on commission are brave. If successful, they become the happiest people I have ever known – self-confident, and assured. They develop into significant persons in their community, and enjoy financial security.
If they are not successful, the failure is obvious to all, is painful and can be debilitating.
Thirty men graduated the Training Course. The others either dropped out or I weaned them out.
They all reported directly to me, of course, and I went with them to their prospects and made the presentations. Remember, I had established in Malta that to become an official Associate, one had to make five sales (that were submitted in the name of his supervisor). Therefore, to officially enroll these first thirty potential Associates, I had to make 150 sales on their behalf.
March: We started making sales right away, and in no time, my now-official Associates were carving out careers and helping to build a terrific sales force.
Wandering with Daniel in Holywood one day, I couldn’t believe my eyes – a racing car factory! I introduced myself. John Crosslé, the founder, told me that while Ireland has had an active motor racing scene for decades, most of his car go abroad. Maybe I’d be interested in racing in Dublin in August? He nodded toward a cute, second-hand, red, sports racer sitting there.
He described the Irish Grand Prix to be held at Phoenix Park, and all the while, I couldn’t get my eyes off the red racer.
I’m sure it was looking at me… “Buy me, buy me!”
It had a 1498cc engine - a popular class, and was in immaculate condition.
I couldn’t resist, and bought it on the spot.
As John had a trailer hitch that would fit on the Mark X, I walked back, got the car, and soon Daniel and I drove it back to the cottage and into the little garage; the Mark X would have to sit out in the “smir.”
Wikipedia: “The Crosslé Car Company Ltd. is a racing car manufacturer based in Holywood, Northern Ireland. Crosslé was founded in 1957 by John Crosslé. Crosslé is the oldest surviving specialist racing car manufacturer in the United Kingdom.
“Crosslé is known for its Formula Ford designs, particularly for the FF1600 class, and during the 1970s drivers of Crosslé cars won numerous championships. The company has produced cars for other national and international formulae, including Formula 5000, Formula Two and Formula Junior. It has also produced well-regarded cars for various classes in sports car racing. Many drivers who have since gone on to become household names drove Crosslé cars while in the early stages of their career. Among these are former Formula One drivers Nigel Mansell, John Watson, Eddie Irvine and Martin Donnelly. Former Jordan Grand Prix team owner Eddie Jordan also began his racing career in a Crosslé.
“John Crosslé sold the company to Crosslé racer Arnie Black in 1997, who in turn sold it to former oil industry executive Paul McMorran in late 2012.
“Dr John Crosslé MBE died on 31 August 2014, aged 82.”
Other: “The Crosslé Car Company was founded in 1957 when John Crosslé, a former champion motor cyclist, built his first racing car. In its long history, the Crosslé Car Company, which uniquely continues to operate from its original factory in Holywood, Northern Ireland, has built over 1,000 competition cars, most them for export. The 9S was regarded by many in the sixties as one of the most rewarding race cars to drive as well as one of the prettiest cars of its era. During the 1960s the Crosslé Car Company produced European Formula Junior, American Formula B and Formula C cars, and Sports Racing cars. In 1968 a Crosslé 12F won the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Formula B Championship.”
April: We needed a bigger place. The cottage was too small, I didn’t have time to tend the garden, and it was going to seed. Besides, with so many new Associates, I needed to be nearer the center of Belfast.
We found a large, two-storey house on Antrim Road. It was on a hill on the north side of town, looking south toward Belfast Lough with the dockyards (where the Titanic was built) in the foreground. We could almost see Holywood on the horizon. There was a tumbledown greenhouse in a sad garden – thankfully, I wouldn’t need to do much. More importantly, there were several rooms in which I could meet with trainees, and a garage big enough for both the Crosslé on its trailer, and the Mark X.
It only took Daniel ten minutes to drive me to the office every morning. The new car was beautiful. It was very much the same as the second-hand one I bought for Malta but it had a larger engine – 4.2 litres vs. 3.8.
Sales were very strong and Roy Kirkdorffer said I could find and lease an office.
Marlborough House, a new building was just being completed on Victoria Street, right in the center of town, and I leased a floor, designed a plan, contracted out the work, and put together a very attractive office with Reception, two Supervisor/Interview Rooms, a very slick office for me with walls of beautiful wood panels two of which opened to reveal a chalk board. We also had a training room that would hold fifty persons. It had a wall-to-wall chalk board on one wall, and a wall-to-wall cork, Bulletin Board on another. Most walls throughout the office were papered in natural burlap – sound-proof and rather chic!
As I wanted to compete in the Irish Grand Prix to be held at Phoenix Park in Dublin in August, I contacted the Royal Automobile Club in London to update my FIA Racing License.
May: I repainted most of the rooms of our house on Antrim Road, and did another Jackson Pollock-type painting with the left-over paint. I was trying to do a horizontal view of a pond through a lopsided fence,
but it looked better as a vertical palm tree.
I still have it.
My Parents at Antrim Road
We moved into the new office the same week my parents arrived for a visit. They always said I was the best excuse for travel, and visited me around the world at least once a year. They had never been in Northern Ireland before, and we had fun exploring.
Mother (Note my Stasha Halpern on the wall. The wood panels open to a chalkboard.)
Off across the gorgeous countryside on one of the few days of the year it didn’t rain.
North to Giant’s Causeway - an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
That’s me playing “King of the Mountain.” On the same hill, as in the above photograph from the Internet. The geological formations are extraordinary.
Dad, me, and Daniel at Giant’s Causeway
June: New recruits, more training classes in our new office, and many more sales!
The R.A.C. sent my new FIA License and I contacted the Irish Grand Prix people on how to enter. They sent the forms and I got a physical from one of their recommended doctors in Belfast. We were entered for the races in August.
July 8: I flew to London to attend the Quarterly Sales Meeting Roy was holding on the ninth.
July 13: Roy opens his new sales office at 17a Curzon Street in London’s West End. It had two floors in a modern, building into which he transferred all sales and training operations from Park House which now became the company’s Executive Center.
The last time I was in Roy’s office on Curzon Street, he was in the middle of terminating a salesman who had been making “fake sales” to win a contest when the man shoved Roy aside, picked up his swivel-chair, and threw it at the (closed) sheet-glass window. Thankfully, the chair hit one of the metal supports for the window and bounced back into the room. Frustrated, the man then picked up a very heavy glass ashtray and threw it through the glass window. He was through! (Fortunately, neither the glass ashtray nor the glass from the shattered window hit anyone.)
July 29: Cheers all around as Roy Kirkdorffer becomes a member of the Board of Directors of IOS.
July 30: Antrim Road: The 1966 FIFA World Cup Final was the final match in the 1966 FIFA World Cup, the eighth football World Cup and one of the most controversial finals ever. The match was played by England and West Germany on July 30 at Wembley Stadium in London, and had an attendance of 96,924. Including me, the British television audience peaked at 32.30 million viewers, making the final the most watched television event ever in the United Kingdom.
England won 4–2 after extra time to win the Jules Rimet Trophy. The match is remembered for England's only World Cup trophy, Geoff Hurst's hat-trick – the first one ever scored in a World Cup Final – and the controversial third goal awarded to England by referee Gottfried Dienst and linesman Tofiq Bahramov. I remember it because I lost my voice yelling at the TV.
August: I flew to Geneva for the IOS Supervisors Conference, August 8-13. There were 250 Supervisors from all over the world. I taught classes on Presentation and Closing the Sale. I also spoke to the General Assembly on my usual topic – Me and IOS.
August Racing in Phoenix Park, Dublin:
We drove to Dublin in the Mark X pulling the Crosslé on its trailer behind us. Not quite as chic as my Porsche/Auto-Union/Porsche convoy in France in 1963, but, as red-necks might say, “Not so shabby either!”
The biggest problem during Friday’s very early morning practice session was the sun rising through the trees that caused blinding flashes in my eyes going down the straight.
I’d never driven the Crosslé. It was light, nimble, and fast. It took some getting used to, and I swapped ends a few times.
Competing in the Gold Flake Trophy Race, a precursor to the Irish Grand Prix, I was barreling down the straight, when the pipe leading to my oil pressure gauge burst, and a high-pressure jet of burning-hot oil was shooting into my lap!
Not Merde (French) nor Scheisse (German), but Cac! (Irish)
With the help of the marshalls, we put the car on the trailer, and drove home.
2017: Today, doing research on Phoenix Park, I came across a photo of Prince Bira there in 1937. As motor-racing has long been a real passion, I knew of Prince Bira, but I’ve never known anything about him. Now living in Thailand, I am more interested than ever…
Prince Bira was much more than a royal with a penchant for racing: he was a gifted driver, a talented artist and the inspiration to a generation of privateer racers. By Robert Edwards
“Bira was a famous Prince, of Royal blood. He had been born in the Purabha palace in Bangkok on July 15, 1914, a cousin of the King of Siam. His full given name was Birabongse Bhanutej Bhanubandh. For those who knew of him through motor racing though, he was known only as B. Bira.
“As well as being a driver of the first water, Bira also brought much needed style to motorsport - sporting blue Thai silk overalls.
“All in all, Bira was hugely, undeniably successful; he won the BRDC road racing gold star three years in a row and set new standards at many levels. He was the first driver to lap Phoenix Park at over 100mph, and set 1500cc records at Donnington and Crystal Palace which were never beaten before the-war.
“His racing made him extremely popular in Thailand; not only did he win but he acted as ex-officio ambassador with some success. The cousins were held up as illustrations of all that was sound about both the country of their birth and the public schools which taught them to speak so languidly.
Belfast, September, 1966: Barry Schwartz, number two to Dick Hammerman, Chairman and CEO, International Life Insurance Co. (U.K.) Ltd., came to Belfast to help us celebrate hitting the one-million-pound sales mark since March!
A very local newspaper in the Portadown area reports on my efforts on behalf of the IOS Foundation…
Progress at our U.K. Administration Office - ILI House, Wembley, London:
October 13 was the “official” opening of our new office at Marlborough House, Victoria St., Belfast.
• Sales started in March.
• Wrote one million pounds by Mid October with forty-seven Associates.
• Expecting to recruit and train another 50 over the next six months.
• Mr. Richard Hammerman, Chairman and CEO, and Mr. Roy Kirkdorffer, General Manager, International Life Insurance Co. (U.K.) Ltd., were in Belfast for the office opening.
Left to right: Mr. Roy Kirkdorffer, Mr. Edward G.L. Carter, and Mr. Richard Hammerman.
My personal sales volume, my Malta Operation, and now my Northern Ireland Operation qualified me for promotion to Regional Manager. Dick Hammerman presented me with a solid gold, Patek Philippe watch, and I was granted 1000 shares of stock under the terms of the IOS Stock Option Plan! Wow!
I had been doing a lot of foundation building and future growth would depend upon highly trained and super motivated Supervisors. Pat Minihan worked very closely with me in Belfast; Bill Oliver was developing a group in Bangor, further east from Holywood; Malcolm Moss was developing a more central area; and I had my eyes on a few others like Cyril Greenfield who was selling nearly one plan a day!
On October 22, Pat, Bill, Malcolm and I flew to London for Roy’s General Sales Meeting at the Europa Hotel. We stayed the night, and the next day took the train to Winchester and the Wessex Hotel for the Winchester Supervisors Conference. Here we are in front of the famous Winchester Cathedral. Funny – the song of the same name was in the hit parade at the same time.
A.N. Other, Malcolm Moss, Bill Oliver, Barry Schwartz, Pat Minihan, and me – outside, and…
November: In just nine months, we had passed one million, five hundred thousand pounds in sums assured and had recruited and trained fifty active Associates.
December: Daniel and I flew to Vermont to spend Christmas with my parents and then we went to Runaway Bay near Ocho Rios in Jamaica for a warm holiday.
Dad, Daniel, and me.
In January, I hired Harry McIlroy as my Executive Assistant. I was doing some succession planning and wanted to ensure that our recruitment and training programs were well organized and would stay that way after I moved on. I had my sights on London.
Flying quite often, I began to get nervous. I wanted to know what all the bumps and wheezes meant. I decided to learn how to fly.
The Ulster Flying Club is located at Newtonards - a large town in County Down. It lies at the most northern tip of Strangford Lough (a large lake with an outlet into the Irish Sea), 10 miles east of Belfast, south of Holywood and Bangor, on the Ards Peninsula.
I signed up for a course at the end of which, I would be issued with a Private Pilot’s License. My instructor was Tubby Dash.
Tubby was the Chief Flying Instructor and had taught R.A.F. bomber pilots in the Second World War. He was about 70 when he took me under his wing. Four-foot something, he could hardly see out of the cockpit. The lessons cost about seven pounds an hour; sounds cheap now but was significant then.
Trying to teach me how to land the Ercoupe trainer, he would say, “Now, look about a cricket pitch ahead, and let it come down; feel it, feel it!”
I bump hard and he’d harrumph, “Do it again.”
I’d take off, and come around again. Again, he’d say, “Look a cricket pitch ahead and let it come down; feel it, feel it!”
I bumped hard again. Turning in his seat and glaring at me, he said, “Are you stupid or deaf?”
I said, “Look, Tubby, I don’t know what the hell a cricket pitch is!”
He explained; I got it, and in no time, got my PPL.
I would fly for an hour every morning before driving to work. Daniel stayed home, he didn’t get it.
The freedom, the grace, the beauty of the green countryside – I was very good.
The Club attracted a great variety of people. I met Tom Boyd, a dignified, middle-aged man who owned a newspaper in Armagh, a town in the center of the country. His other hobby was reading the largest version of the dictionary. He was a very smooth pilot, and we flew together often.
Unmarried, Tom lived with his mother (“the Northern Irish way”). I think I had a great influence on his life for, after visiting me in London several times, he moved out of his mother’s house, and a boyfriend, Marshall, moved in with him.
I graduated to a Piper Cherokee. It was more expensive to rent but very comfortable.
Flying with Tom Boyd
We always flew V.F.R. – Visual Flight Rules. I never had “Instrument” training. In Ireland, for me, it’s either VFR or I don’t fly.
We went to the teeny landing strip at Enniskillen in the far west of the Republic. Enniskillen was the first land one sees having crossed the Atlantic Ocean. This is where the Pan American Flying Boats would come in.
I met J.C. Kelly Rogers, the ex-Chairman of Aer Lingus. He was a Pan Am HERO! He got his nick name because, when the Flying Boat Captain would come down the ladder from the cockpit, he would stand on one of a pair of small floats attached to the hull that were virtually under water at rest. So, when J.C. was standing there, it looked for all the world that he was standing on water!
I flew him from Belfast to Enniskillen one day in the Cherokee, and he did me the greatest bit of flattery possible - he fell asleep in the right-hand seat!
When landing at Enniskillen, a town of perhaps 30 people and ten thousand sheep, I had to buzz the strip to shoo off the sheep before I could land. Great fun!
I remember a pub near the field, and a very cute bartender. But I don’t remember anything else.
Tom and I flew to Dublin a few times. We’d take a taxi into town and have a drink at Davy Burn’s Pub in St. Stephen’s Green. One Saturday afternoon rummaging in the attic of an antique shoppe in Ballsbridge, a suburb that Tom called Testicles Viaduct (he liked words), I found an old, partly gilded, wooden, Oriental figure. I bought it. The next time I went to London, I rushed to Christie’s to have it appraised.
“Hmm,” said the expert, “how much did you pay for it?”
“Thirty-five pounds.” I said.
“That’s about right. It’s Burmese. Next”
Ah well, not a treasure, but I’ve treasured it and have had it in my bedroom ever since.
Tom and I and thirty-four other members of the Club pitched in to buy a Tiger Moth. It looked good but I never flew it – one 1/36th owner landed it on a fence post and I’d left Northern Ireland before it was repaired. As I never sold my share, maybe I still own part of it somewhere!
Wikipedia: The de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth is a 1930s-biplane designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and many other operators as a primary trainer aircraft. In addition to the type's principal use for ab-initio training, the Second World War saw RAF Tiger Moth operating in other capacities, including maritime surveillance, defensive anti-invasion preparations, and even some aircraft that had been outfitted to function as armed light bombers.
You remember from the Introduction that my father’s cousin, Betsy Cushing married President Roosevelt’s son Jimmy. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the President of the United States, three times!
Jimmy was also a classmate of my father’s at Groton School (prep school).
My mother used to enjoy saying, "My husband's mother's cousin's daughter's first husband's father is the President of the United States, and Jimmy is his son."
Jimmy became the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He also became a director of I.O.S. and ILI (UK). Here is the announcement. (We are not meeting for the first time! :-)
February: In our eleventh month, we had sold more than two million pounds sums assured. ILI is now operating in twenty-three countries and expansion continues – here is Harry McIlroy, my Executive Assistant, me, and Cyril Greenfield making plans to open an office in Londonderry for Cyril’s operation.
My best friend in IOS was Graham Johnson, an Australian with a good education and great style. He was also a poofter/gay/queen! Graham was ILI’s Branch Manager of Scotland with offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Glasgow was a nasty place in 1967. There were armed gangs roaming the bleak streets, and homelessness was rife. Graham told me that a baby in a carriage in front of his office got its face slashed! In time, due to the intervention of Sixties crooner Frankie Vaughan, the gangs gave up their knives in a huge pile, and not so long after, Glasgow, cleaned up, was named the European City of Culture.
Graham’s office in Edinburgh was in a very elegant, period building. I flew over once in the Cherokee – amazing how funny sounds pop up when you’re piloting a small plane alone over the middle of the Irish Sea – to speak at one of his meetings. I strode down the aisle of the classroom tossing copies of the clipping of me and Jimmy Roosevelt right and left - a rather brash entrance, designed to turn my audience off. I then slowly weaned them back and ended with a standing ovation.
That was my point. It’s just like a sales situation when the potential client is almost offended by your intrusion. Then your objective must be to overcome his suspicion, win him over to your point of view, and finally, close the sale. Fun!
Graham had a live-in boyfriend he called the East Block Bit. The boy was from East Germany, cute, but sullen. Graham liked them that way; I didn’t. They had a stylishly-attractive flat in a fashionable part of Edinburgh, and an interesting group of friends.
One was Jack Notman, a very bright, Glasgow architect whom I met in his office (can’t remember why).
Strange story: I fell in love with a pastel on his wall, and he sold it to me on the spot. Jack took a shine to me and invited me to a String Quartet recital in a very elegant club. I remember I could hardly stay awake, excused myself to Jack, and took a taxi home alone before it was over.
Anyway, the point of this diversion is that I have the pastel here at The White Elephant, and, last month, Googled “Halliday,” the painter, to try to get an estimate of its worth. His email is on his website and I wrote about my acquiring it in Glasgow in 1967 from a Jack Notman, a friend of Graham Johnson.
Well, of course, John Halliday (now 82) remembers Graham, and told me that Jack Notman, now deceased, had been his boyfriend for 60 years! Good thing I was somnolent at the concert that evening!
Here’s the pastel – a church in a Scottish valley:
March, 1967: I was tired of Antrim road, no longer needed a garage, and, as I was flying nearly every day, wanted to be back on the other side of Belfast nearer to Newtonards.
Daniel and I found a charming flat in a converted, stone watermill in the teeny village of Crawfordsburn halfway between Holywood and Bangor, back in County Down. The watermill was on the stream just behind The Old Inn.
The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn
It was very near The Culloden Hotel, the only elegant place to dine in the area.
The ground-floor flat (there was a second storey that was let to someone else I never saw) was almost completely decorated in RED CHENILLE!
The master bedroom and bath was down a corridor from the entrance hall; a guest bedroom was also off the entrance hall.
The “entrancing” Entrance Hall ;-) – My parents visited again in May 1967.
To the right was a large living room with a section separated by Chenille curtains with white tassels (!) that overlooked the mill pond. It also had a raised section that served as the dining room; the kitchen was beyond.
April: My brother, Chris, arrived. I believe he was working for Alfred A Knopf, book publishers in NYC, and was doing research in Scotland. He was fascinated with what I was doing in IOS and, without telling me, had decided that if the sun came out in the morning, he would quit Knopf and join me – that was his kind of reasoning!
The next morning, his decision was fast forgotten when he came into our bedroom and found Daniel in “my” bed. I was in the shower. He freaked!
Why I can’t imagine. It was obvious there were only two bedrooms in the flat and only one bed in each room. But he freaked!
He had never had the slightest inkling that I was gay although I certainly never tried to hide it from anyone, especially my business colleagues – one has to be honest in life or no one will ever trust you in anything.
Now, this morning, he sat in the living room searching his recollections.
“My God,” he said, “that explains that business in Matt’s apartment in New York in '63. I never had a clue!”
I asked, “Weren’t you ever tempted to ‘experiment’?”
“Well, Pat McKenty, our Adirondack caretaker’s son, and I fooled around one summer but that was all.” He said.
I replied, “Welcome to the real world; Mom and Dad have known since I was 14. Actually, I started when I was 12. It’s not a choice, you know.
“Oh, you can try to hide it, but that’s unfair to everyone, especially yourself.
“I don’t really know anyone who isn’t gay. I’m not talking about my colleagues except for a few - usually the ones in the highest positions. But that’s true in all industries and arts worldwide.
“It’s like a privileged club. Usually the best educated and best brought up, with the best genes, are the most empathetic and sensitive, so quite naturally they are gay. It is especially true in British aristocracy, I’m told – most went to Eton, where nearly every older boy has his own younger one.
“So, I can’t really imagine motor mechanics or rednecks being in the club, but they probably are.
“Look at the ancient Greeks - men of letters and accomplishment, homosexuality was perfectly normal.
“Nowadays, it is estimated that twenty percent of the population is gay. And so, it is true in the animal kingdom. So, don’t let it worry you. Just be yourself and people will respect you.
“I am in an industry where trust is vital. If I were not honest about myself, my men and my clients would have no reason to believe I was honest about anything.
“Can you imagine in dour, ultra conservative Northern Ireland, Daniel and I sat next to each other at the office Christmas Dinner-dance. I danced with each of the wives and I danced with Daniel; not an eyebrow was raised, not a snicker uttered. We all had a ball.
“And that’s the way it has been all my life.”
Chris snapped out of his trance and we had a lovely day walking around Crawfordsburn. He went on to Scotland the next day and continued his career in publishing, for a while.
May: My parents came back to visit again. This time I put them up in The Culloden Hotel. The place is lovely and I dined there at least once a week. We used it for meetings and conferences too. My parents thought it was very comfortable. Here we are at the Watermill:
Re: the above:
It’s true, I was joking about buying a Short Skyvan. I flew one from the Belfast factory and loved making steep turns - putting the wings at 90 degrees from the horizon!
Wikipedia: The Short SC.7 Skyvan (nicknamed the "Flying Shoebox") is a British 19-seat twin-turboprop aircraft manufactured by Short Brothers of Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is used mainly for short-haul freight and skydiving.
My idea was to put a jeep in it and fly from Brisbane all over the Outback selling Dover Plans and the Fund of Funds. How the Belfast Telegraph got hold of the story, I do not know.
Then Daniel’s visa expired and Immigration wouldn’t renew it!
We were forced to break up. He returned to Geneva, worked in a restaurant, and eventually married a girl!
I went out and bought a pair of German Shepherds and tried to housebreak them in the Chenille-covered house; not very successfully; I gave them away.
I drank a lot. Queens Pub in Belfast was my regular haunt. I must have had an auto-pilot in the Mark X. I didn’t remember driving home every night for weeks on end, and every morning I’d awake to a kitchen covered with the makings of a spaghetti dinner that I didn’t remember either!
One night, I was tailgated all the way home, no matter how I tried to evade, or what speed I went. I was furious and, swinging into my drive, jumped out, and screamed at the driver,
“Are you an idiot, you could have killed us both!”
It was the police - “Just wanted to see you got home alright, Sir.”
Time for a new chapter in my life – I put Pat Minihan (a Catholic) in charge of Northern Ireland (I would continue to get overrides), packed the Stasha Halpern into the Mark X, put my furniture in storage, and left for London.
Email From: Roy Kirkdorffer
To: Edward Carter
Sent: Saturday, March 4, 2017
"Just to close the circle I met Jack Notman while I was in the Air Force in Prestwick, Scotland. I was the assistant club (officer's that is) officer to Mort Shiowitz whom I recruited to IOS when he demobbed about a year after I did. (He became the IOS chief financial officer (lots of officers here) and left that job to return to NY as he was suffering from nerves which I think were Bernie induced.
“Anyway, I was given the job of finding someone to decorate the officer's club and I asked the owner of a local hotel who had done their recent decorations. They said it was an interior designer/architect from Glasgow who was Jack. We became friends and when we bought our first house in London he did the decorations for us at Hillgate Place, Notting Hill Gate. Halliday did a mural on the wall of our dining room. He also did something at for us at Upper Brook Street. Then when we bought Winnington Road in Hampstead Garden Suburb he did the decorations there. Buthaynah [Mrs. Kirkdorffer] loved working with him, and many of our antique pieces were bought on buying trips with him on the Fulham Road and King's Road. Halliday also painted two sliding doors entering our dining room from the lounge. Jack came to the South of France a couple of times and stayed with us. The last time we agreed to meet at a crossroads where he would change from the car of a hostess he was staying with west of Cannes, to our car, to stay with us. That is when he introduced me to his hostess---Judi Dench.
“We got Christmas cards from him every year and then they stopped. When B and I, our sons and our daughter, went to Scotland for our 50th wedding anniversary, I tried to contact Jack – sadly, he had passed away. B still has a brooch that Jack gave her, and mentions it each time she wears it. Nice man. I introduced Graham to Jack.”
Just to square the circle, I believe Graham disappeared in Bangkok in the 80s; probably at The Babylon, a notorious, gay complex of saunas, steam rooms, and dark rooms. Not only gay, I’m sure he was happy!
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