November 30, 1958

November 30th, 1958

Kabul Wall from Russian gas station at Lion’s Gate – November 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 30, 1958:

Where the old west gate to Kabul once was the Russians built a gasoline station; one of three in Kabul.  Even the Americans kept going on Russian oil.  This view of the wall is looking toward the southeast.

USOM Mail Room under construction – Governor’s Compound – Kabul Afghanistan – 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 30, 1958:

The Governor’s Compound was another name for the USOM Staff House (compound); the areas surrounded by “compound walls” made of adobe.  The Mail Room building was the fourth of four primary buildings built in the compound.  It too was made of adobe bricks, but unlike those of the southwest U.S. these adobe bricks were fired in Kilns, although not all Afghan adobe bricks were fired.

USOM Mail Room under construction – Governor’s Compound – Kabul Afghanistan – 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 30, 1958:

In this Governor’s Compound photograph one can see more details of the construction.  As an engineer Fred was naturally interested in construction details.  The wood casement windows, locally constructed, are in, as is the door frame and door.  The adobe bricks have been plastered over with a compound of sand and cement.  The foundation is of stone set with cement mortar.  The poplar tree poles for the roof are going in (or up) and the “roofers” are placing the cross members.  Aren’t you glad you know?  Think of yourself as an engineer or at least as a member of the family.

Koh-i-Sher Darwaza – Kabul – November 30, 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 30, 1958:

There are two sides to every mountain.  Darwaza means “door”.  This is the southeast door to Kabul, always closed except the crack at Lion’s Gate; the small defile where one goes in.  This is the “outside” of the door as one looks northwest from Kart-i-chor in Kabul (new Kabul – but not the “new city”) outside the wall and gates.

The shadows of the day are getting very long now.  Soon time to go in or home or something.  But first this one last picture of the kiln, piles of bricks four storeys high (as the Brits would say).  Duralamon Avenue is behind us, the Staff House compound is before us.  The cows are everywhere.  To the left are the beginnings of new buildings for the future.

[First posted:  2010.05.28 / Saturday  November 30, 1958]

November 30, 1958

November 30th, 1958

Tea party in Kabul, Afghanistan – November 30, 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 30, 1958:

Fred W. Clayton gave a party of farewell (a tea) for Mr. Richardson; who taught Business Management at Kabul University.  150 people attended the tea, 75 were students and staff of Kabul University, others were ICA and Columbia university people.

Anyway, it has been so many years; so much has happened.  We need names before it is too late.  This picture is about tea, not coffee – but names would still be nice.  Read below.

Project Identity 720 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [1] 34:069 – Asia – Afghanistan – Kabul Province –
KabulUSOM Compound? / USOM Office Compound? / Kabul University?

This photograph was taken on November 30, 1958 by an American engineer in Afghanistan.  The identity of the persons pictured are generally unknown.  The American in the middle is probably Mr. Gordon Strong.  If you have any information regarding any of these persons please E-Mail this website.

[First posted:  2010.05.26 / Wednesday  November 30, 1958]

November 21, 1958

November 21st, 1958

Fruit vendor – Kabul bazaar – Kabul, Afghanistan – 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 21, 1958:

This man is a real independent businessman.  This shop is his.  He owns it free and clear.  He works for himself, not others.  He works hard, gets up early, buys his fruit and fresh quail – makes it available to you (or he did).  The scales remind him (and you) of the balance in life, in justice – of the fair measure.  The grapes are for eating, fresh fruit, maybe for pilow – not for wine.  The Afghans drink water and tea.

Don’t you wish you could buy your food this fresh, this pure, this free from plastic markets and plastic packages and packaging?  Would plucking your own feathers really kill you?  Or maybe if you really knew the squab (or the chicken) was a real bird you might not kill it.  So much to think about, so little time.

Anyway, again he looks like a good man, sincere and thoughtful, so we should really know his name.  Read below.

Project Identity 720 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [1] 34:069 – Asia – Afghanistan – Kabul Province –
KabulUSOM Compound 

This photograph was taken on November 21, 1958 by an American engineer in Afghanistan.  The identity of the person pictured is unknown. If you have any information regarding this person please E-Mail this website.

[First posted:  2010.05.26 / Wednesday  November 21, 1958]

Photographic update:

November 20th, 1958

This is Post #49 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

Well, this is NOT really a post so much.  It is a notice about Qala Bist, the Arch at Qala Bist, Qala Bist about Afghanistan and Qala Bist (.com) and all those other good things that search engines Google.

So now that that is covered.  The NEWS is that there are New Pictures recently posted in the Afghanistan in Pictures series.

So click on the Catagory to the left, or click here to work your way back to the October 20 new stuff (and points in-between).  Or click here to get directly to Istalif, Afghanistan.

AIR LETTER – AEROGRAMME – PAR AVION; maybe not, but with Bagram we’re getting up speed.

[First posted:  2010.05.28 / Saturday  Photographic Update:]

Back in Kabul

November 18th, 1958

This is Post #48 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

November 18, 1958

AIR LETTER
If anything is enclosed this letter will be sent by ordinary mail
Red, green, and black aviation letter outline – 5 Af stamp of DC-3 over Kabul (blue)

Addressed to:
Mrs. Fred W. Clayton
405 N. Roop St.
Carson City,
Nevada U.S.A.

Senders name and address:
F. W. Clayton
USOM / A
Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul
18 Nov. ‘58

My Beloved,

Just a note for today.  Back in Kabul at 9:30 A.M. yesterday with meetings most of the day.  Too tired to write last night.

Two meetings this morning.  One with the Ambassador.

No mail today so far.  Hope to get some letter in the day.

The rope tow is underway.

All my love
Your Fred.

Notes:  This letter sets a new record, 48 words.  Even Heinlein thought he could fit 68 words on a post card.  But post cards did not qualify as light weight air mail so Fred uses his rare and precious stamps on brevity of thought, or at least a brevity of expression.

I wonder if the American experience in Afghanistan is today like Fred’s two days.  Meetings, more meetings; talks with the Ambassador; skiing (or is it just skating, thin ice, the rope tow is “underway” – not finished yet).  Can it pull everyone “up the hill” to Kabul when it’s finished?

The news from Kabul yesterday was not good.  Another 48 words (about) about the officers that died; not the Ambassador of course, but the Taliban is working its way up through the ranks – crested eagles do make such good targets – am I sounding like Tokyo Rose?

Tokyo Rose (actually there were several, I’m talking the main one here) was from Hawaii.  Probably had a Hawaiian “Certificate of Live Birth”; nothing about being Japanese, the Japanese records part were in Japan (like she was) when she was caught (or captured) and encouraged to go on the radio and talk to the troops and play music from like You Tube but earlier.

Anyway, the woman who’s daughter opened Disneyland (cut the ribbon circa 1955) was a very good friend of “Miss Rose” (not her real Hawaiian name).  So was Disney (Walt) cavorting with aliens, or friends of aliens, or aliens with friends?  Maybe Ronald Reagan should have turned Walt in like he turned others in to the good Senator Joseph McCarthy and Joseph’s good friend and aide Robert F. Kennedy.  “Trust no one”, is the watch phrase of the X Files (series, and the movie).

Maybe.  The point again is that the history that you don’t know IS the history that will kill you; it’s the cosmic efficiency thing, smart parents don’t like to teach every lesson twice; it gets boring, is a bore, makes people wonder why children think it is so cool to act so dumb.  “You heard me the first time, now didn’t you?”  A pause, a look, an honest, “Yes, mam.”, or  “Yes, mom.”  “NOW, be on your way.”

So “be on your way” today.  Look back, remember – learn once, not twice.  More tomorrow.

[Post originally written:  2010.05.21 / Back in Kabul]

That reservoir reminds me of Lake Mead

November 16th, 1958

This is Post #47 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

AIR LETTER – AEROGRAMME – PAR AVION
Pre-stamped U.S. Postage 10c (with four engine propeller plane pictured)

Addressed to:
Mr. Fred W. Clayton
American Embassy – USOM Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.

Return Address:
Lloydine Clayton
405 No. Roop St.
Carson City, Nevada
U.S.A.

November 16, 1958
Sunday noon.

(1)
My Darling, Fred,

I love you so much and miss you.  Well, it finally happened – winter came!  Our world is white and blue with snow in the trees and icicles bedecking the bushes on the south.  It is a distinct change from as recently as Wednesday when I went up to Slide Mountain on a road that had only a few icy patches.  Yesterday chains were required to get out of Carson City every direction in the morning.  Now the restrictions are lifted, but things remain icy.  I am surely glad we had our ice and snow tires on and going.  Tonight’s prediction is from -10 to +8.  Night before last it was +7 in Reno.  I think we had more snow than Reno; they claim two inches.  Ours must have been 3-4.  I wish we had our storm covers for the windows.  Incidentally, do you want me to bring plastic storm covers for the windows there?  This will end the Indian summer that we have been enjoying for so long.

This morning there was talk of reconditioning skis, and they were even brought in for an inspection.  Now they are out again.

I have a chameleon on my arm right now trying to turn yellow, but not really succeeding.  The tough season has come as we can’t find any critters for her to eat.  Finally bought some fish worms, but she doesn’t care for those serpents; seems scared.  She has a small fish bowl home with some plants.

It was a hard decision to make but I finally decided not to go to Phoenix.  There was nothing I wanted to do more, but I think this is best.  It seems that not only are Bob Allen and Chet Newell going but both of their wives.  Noel and I talked about it and agreed that Mrs. Allen could make mountains out of mole hills much too easily and it might not do you, me or Noel any good for me to be there alone.  This particularly applies do to the political situation now and Noel does want to stay on the Commission, while Bob could quite likely make a change.  I had written Tanner and he said I would be welcome.  The social program would be very nice, but Noel thought the technical program a bit blah.

I am enjoying the fireplace finally.  It may break me up buying presto logs but they give such nice steady heat with so little watching.  The kitchen becomes very cozy nights and mornings.  Right now I have a small 4 x 6 rug in front of the fireplace, the cabinet moved back, and the yellow chair here to sit in.  I have the card table to write on, placed as close as I want it.  I think I may leave things this way quite a while.  They got this way on account of the living room rug.  I am very disgusted.  We had it cleaned so nicely, then when I asked the men to clean the 4×6 pink one they did it on top of the gray and the machine ran over the edges, this left brownish irregular areas.  Friday they came to reclean the living room rug and scrubbed for about 4 hours on it and now the whole center of it is a great big brownish area.  Apparently getting it wet causes some reaction from the back to come up and this is the result.  Keeping off it when it was wet was what put us into the kitchen.  I don’t intend to let them scrub on the rug any more for a while.  I’ll give them a piece and they can figure out what to do before applying any more brushes to the main rug.

I enjoyed your pictures so much.  It was nice to find the one with you in it, in your blue shirt and jeans.  You look like quite a powerful man, and with the Afghani friends it was nice.  I do hope you will make every effort to lose considerable pounds.  I am enjoying my 130 lb. Self so much, both for looks and for the vim and vigor which I feel, along with the lithesome feeling making me want to exercise and dance – no draggy feeling.  I find the best way is to eat moderately, nibble on non-fattening things and continue to feel so much pride in my appearance that I get more pleasure from that time than from eating more.  You have an extra problem with the parties and the alcohol, but please try.  I love you so much and am so proud of you, but with the svelte way I feel, I couldn’t help but feel some annoyance if you look fat around the chin.  We could make such a beautiful couple together if you were better consolidated too, and I do love people to admire us as a couple.  People still comment on our picture on the front hall.  It is nice!  Anyway, I did enjoy seeing you in your Afghan habitat.  Now I want to see that new hat in use.  I should say I loved seeing you in the picture – it made you seem closer.  Sometimes I need you so badly to recharge my battery.  I miss the chance to get dressed up and go out with a purpose.  You have too much social life; I not enough.  Things have their ups and downs, but not much flavor or savor anywhere.  I pray for strength to complete this most difficult of all assignments.

(2)
I think you have something in using this part of the paper.  I had forgotten it could be done.

Tuesday noon I go to Sparks for a lunch with ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) wives who are getting together to plan for the 1960 national convention to be held in Reno.  I can no doubt bolster their scared hearts and have some fun doing it.  Rose Meredith called me.

Going back to pictures.  I got the ones of your vacation.  We have some very interesting ones of Blackwater Falls , including one of me that I will send you.  Our flower close-ups did not come out too well in focus.  You surely got a load of airplanes while left in Washington with the camera.  As subject matter they always seem so dull to me.  We got a vague indication on the breakfast picture, but not complete.  I got some quite nice shots of Indians in the Admission Day parade.  This was gratifying because it was getting very dark and I had all the light I could get, not a shadow is visible – that dark.

(3)
Your pictures of Kabul from the hill are very clear.  I don’t know why but hardly any of your trees look green.  In one sequence I can tell this is because the pictures were taken in the late afternoon by the shadows – the results are a general yellow glow of sameness over everything.  Indoors in the pottery place came out clear, but indoors in the mill was a little too dark, but can see something.  The staff house looks nice and the musical group is interesting.  Maybe a little too many pictures of them.  Is that a cement kiln?  Your pictures of the river are delightful, so very clear.  The nomad camps are nice – what no dogs charging you!  That reservoir reminds me of Lake Mead.  Your pictures are very nice.  I’ll get Newells over after they return from Phoenix and see them projected, then keep the projector and study them for my own satisfaction.

All my love, darling.  Keep up the good work.  I appreciate the little letters as well as the big ones.  We’ll do our best for Afghanistan.

Sweet dreams and happy wishes.
Lloydine, Kenneth, Donald.

Notes:  We’ll start from the last.  “We’ll do our best for Afghanistan.”  A promise made more than 50 years ago and a promise I intend to keep.  My mother’s not around anymore to do it; nor my brother Ken, too.  That leaves me, and that’s why I’m posting.  But there are my mother’s words of illustration too, “I pray for strength to complete this most difficult of all assignments.” – a call to prayer for peace.

Sometimes it’s hard to read these letters; most of them I haven’t read for years.  They’re so truthful, so direct; Lloydine (my mother) just picks up the pen and goes – typewriter for her, keyboard for me – I come by this stuff honestly; you can hear it in her words.   Like in her description of the rug, “when it was wet was what”; even I can’t go on with five words like that, strung together in poetry and meaning.

But I too learn things from these letters; like my chameleon was not really dead!  I thought it died at the Lynchs (it almost died).  Now I remember that it did recover; over the pale and returned; like Kandahar coming back from the dead; like peace in Qala Bist; an end to war on war because war has ended.  The chameleon was last left working so hard to change colors; the flies were dead, wouldn’t eat the serpents.  I don’t make any of this stuff up.  (I will however change my posts to reflect the new reality – the chameleon lives!)

So Fred is a bit like Gordo (recent post).  But there’s a lot too to be said for fat; Michael Oher, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Buddha maybe.  But do those guys drink, eat at all the parties, fly to Kandahar instead of walking there like the Afghans and Pakistanis and all of their friends do?  How are the coalition forces getting to Kandahar; inquiring minds want to know.

My mother WAS always on Fred about his weight.  Is this perfect?  No.  Is she wrong?  I’m not so sure.  Sure she sounds at one point like an ad for Metrical (also recently linked within a post), but Metrical WAS all the rage then, “diets do this, diets do that – drink this and you will be thinner, slimmer”, get exercise, eat right, join REI or the Marines; let’s get America walking!  Maybe the gulf oil (spill) will get America walking, or riding bicycles like the Afghans; would make Lloydine happy – slim down, spend less.

Presto logs too are back; forget the great oak stakes, sawdust is what makes it; maybe it was the Dick Tracy thing, the comic strip within a strip, the power of subliminal suggestion in the ’50’s.  “Wrist watch radio”, by any other name a cell phone (at hand and in your ear).  The future is not invented; it just jumps off every page.

I was going to do a whole post on Fred and his Nikon camera; Kodachrome were his colors.  Beat Paul Simon by maybe 20 years.  If you saw the link to the Paul Simon song you saw many things were missing.  The old slide projectors maybe number one; the old slide boxes number two.  The third thing missing in the video were the hand-held slide viewers; the ones like Lloydine had to use.

The projectors (slide projectors) were expensive, had unreliable bulbs.  The bulbs were hard to buy (except maybe in New York City) and hard to replace once you found one.  A fan could keep them cool, but every fan made a lot of noise, “want to see Fred’s slides?”; “maybe; but I think I hear my job calling; Phoenix calling, gotta run.”  “Gee Lloydine, that was great; too bad about the projector; too bad about the fan; it would have been nice to hear what you had to say.”

So why not wait 50 years?  The future has now “flown off the page”.  It’s all so quiet now; so still – so easy to listen to this woman’s words now and not to have to listen over the sound of vacuums and vacuuming and dish water boiling over and the men with their machine destroying the rug.  But in the silence the sounds still come through.  Like Lloydine would have wanted.

You may have noticed her imitation, a paraphrase, of Fred’s description of HIS room.  Lloydine will never miss a beat; she’s perceptive and competitive – compares his pictures with hers; holds no punches; tears Fred apart sometimes, but loves him (dearly) just the same.  It was probably easier to be Lloydine’s son than her wife; but the son part was no easy walk to freedom.  Freedom is a hard road and a high road.  It takes no prisoners.  One better be absolutely right or should go home.

I could write all night about just this one letter (this “post”).  I could point out things like Lloydine still thought Afghans (people) were Afghanis (money).  I could write about the fact that that confusion still seems to exist.  But I won’t.  There will be more letters, more time; other days to make my points.  Life is so circular (not linear); we keep returning to where we’ve been before; sometimes a little higher – but it’s the same plan as the floor below, same living room, same presto logs in the fireplace to keep one warm.

I know you want to see more pictures.  I know you want more (the Series) posts.  But I will leave you with just this one thought – from John Fowles and the Magus – “you will return there like the first time, like in the first moment that there ever was.”  And if you remember; in that first moment of Afghanistan EVERYTHING was ahead.

What does not lie ahead for Lloydine is the Public Service Commissions conclave in Phoenix.  Maybe Arizona too is not for you.  Her excuse (reason) was her reputation, Fred’s reputation, the reputation of others.  It’s so fifties to worry about “reputations”.  People now get slammed and slandered all the time; America has become “the land of the rude”, the “in your face”, the “he said, she said thing totally out of control”.  Mountains out of mole hills?  You would think Arizona was the home of Mount Everest, K-2, and the Big Island of Hawaii all rolled into one.  Mrs. Allen was maybe not wrong; just way ahead of her time.

[First posted: 2010.05.19 / Wednesday   That reservoir reminds me of Lake Mead]

The Battle for Kandahar

November 16th, 1958

This is Post #46 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

The complete series can now be read (or reviewed) from the beginning – beginning from Post #1 by clicking on “Going to Afghanistan Series” on the sidebar.  It is a “read down” format.  The only important point is to remember to select “Previous entries” not “Next entries” when you reach the bottom of a page.

Most of the more recent posts have pictures.  These posts can be most quickly accessed by the Afghanistan in Pictures” catagory on the sidebar. 

This is the Ides of May.  It has been ten (10) days since my last post on Afghanistan, where we last left Fred, in Kandahar, talking about New York mail and Christmas; Spin Baldak and Lashkar Gah.

We have needed time to let things happen, needed time to attend to other things before they happen, needed time to get ones house in order before meddling in others affairs.  I thank you for your patience.  It is patience and endurance that the Afghans know best; I know – the Afghans (when I was young) they taught me; they taught me a thing or two.

You are (meaning me) impressionable when you’re young.  It is the time when lessons stick; when mistakes stick out; when lessons can hurt when one is scolded, punished without reward, punished unjustly.  When you are young you never forget.  You carry the images (often the hurts) to old age, with each new year they fester until you forgive because otherwise you can’t forget.

America has never asked for forgiveness.  America is too young.  Without forgiveness America cannot be forgiven, will never be forgiven, the rest of the world (much older) will never forget.  This is the message of the Battle for Kandahar, now forming, people deciding and taking sides.  I fear it will be an epic battle; a battle for the desert – in the worst time to fight; in the heat of summer when one lives underground or ends up in it (meaning underground).

It is the battle of our (meaning the U.S. of A.) choosing.  We had the choice – fight or flight.  The airports were ready; we could have “pulled out”, but we chose to stay in.  In Vietnam (at the end) they called it “fuc*ing” as in “That Fuc*ing war”.  After My Lai and Tet, after Cambodia and all the bombing, after all the wasted money and wasted lives; after the drugs brought home to roost – you think some might remember and say, “Never again!”  They did not!  They (meaning the military, the Congress, the Labor Unions, the daily people) have not remembered; so it MUST happen again.

We know how this will end.  I wish it otherwise.  100,000 (about) U.S. troops have invaded and occupied my (almost) native land.  The invasion was based on lies and based on broken promises and based on treaties never kept.  It is as predictable as Antietam, as the Peloponnesian wars, as Alexander entering Kandahar and leaving his name still on the map.  What history do they teach at West Point if the point of history is never made?  You carefully choose your battles, the place, the time; or you can (and will) loose your whole country, the whole reason for the war.

But hubris has taken over.  We think we can not really lose this thing.  We think that the friendlies have got our back, that we have friends; that everyone else too always forgets.  President Karsai went to Washington, he flew.  He met the President (the new one), shook hands, ate meals, had a few words to say – smiled for the cameras; it’s nice to smile for the cameras.

But I know what Karsai was thinking.  With Washington he was NOT impressed.  Obama does not impress him.  He’s seen it all before.  He knows a loser when he sees one – harsh words that must be said; save our self from “soft power” that is getting softer everyday.

At best it will be a Pyrrhic Victory.  Like the Alamo in Texas (Afghanistan is always being compared with Texas) all the defenders (of Texas) dead; but we will remember (this time) “The Alamo” and all the bloody loss there in and will change history, or at least change how it is remembered.

Kandahar will be no John Wayne movie.  Of this I am sure.  There will be no heroes, no fond memories, no looking back on “colors that don’t run”.  One can remember the run in Korea, the Marine Corps “advance to the rear” at the Chosin Reservoir (Qala Bist always remembers the water – that awful noise – Mother Country).

Fight or flight or flights or both.  Fred built the airport; he built it to get out or to get in.  We’ll try to get back to Fred before all of Kandahar is a ruin, like Qala Bist, more a part of the past than the present; but we’re rebuilding brick by brick.  Save Kandahar!  Save Kandahar?  I don’t know.  The last time I was there I was leaving; flying OUT on a plane; fifty (50) years ago this summer, July, I’ll mark the date.  It was a long hot summer.  Sometimes the world seems to just stand still.

[First posted: 2010.05.15 / Saturday  The Battle for Kandahar]

A week and a day from now.

November 16th, 1958

This is Post #45 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

The complete series can now be read (or reviewed) from the beginning – beginning from Post #1 by clicking on “Going to Afghanistan Series” on the sidebar.  It is a “read down” format.  The only important point is to remember to select “Previous entries” not “Next entries” when you reach the bottom of a page. 

Note:  I realize that the number of posts in the Going to Afghanistan Series makes it difficult to access photographic updates – like the new photographs at “21 years” and “Information on rope tows”.  The solution is an index that links Post Names to Posts, alas WordPress for not auto-generating one.  Alas, another project.  I should start with Posts with pictures – aha!, I can make a new catagory – “Afghanistan in Pictures”.

LETTER

Addressed to:
Mrs. Fred W. Clayton
405 N. Roop St.
Carson City,
Nevada U.S.A.

Senders name and address:
F. W. Clayton
USOM / A
Kabul, Afghanistan

Kandahar
Sunday night
16 Nov. ’58

My Darlings,

Today I wrote a note at the airport and asked a friend to mail it in New York.

As Tues. 11 Nov. was a holiday they sent the pouch on Monday and I missed getting a note to you Monday.  As I was here Saturday I missed the pouch again so now I’m in a “crash program” to get a letter to you.

Jack Bennett and Ray Burrus are carrying this to New York where they will mail it next Friday.  You should receive it by Monday, a week and a day from now.

Ray and Jack are also bringing your Christmas presents, Lloydine.  I bought them only after I knew they would reach you in time.  There are three stones – perhaps for a ring and ear rings or anything else you want.  I hope the other items will be enjoyable this winter.  Things for the boys are not as easily shipped so you’ll have to take care of their Christmas as well as for the rest of the family as originally agreed.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday were spent in meetings on the airport problem.  Wednesday and Thursday we met with M. K. (Morrison Knudsen) in Kabul – Mr. Greenleaf, Vice-President came out from San Francisco.  Friday morning we transferred the meetings here to Kandahar – the construction site.  The details of this problem could fill a book which I don’t have time to write now.

Friday afternoon I went from Kandahar to Spin Baldak and return in order to look at the road.  It was an interesting trip and coming home after dark we saw several foxes with beautiful tails!

Saturday afternoon I took a drive and went to Lashkar Gah and stayed overnight.  While there I looked at the Helmand River Bridge problem.

Another problem here is the Kandahar electric supply and distribution.  Again I’m in the middle of this.  Progress is being made however.

As stated before I think your Christmas plans are excellent and hope you could include New Years on Market Street.

I thoroughly enjoyed your three letters covering your Nevada Day activities.  I lived every minute of it as I read it.  Wish I could have seen it and been there.

I have been invited to the Shooks for Thanksgiving.  Mr. Shook went to school and worked for Jim Jennison!  Jim’s wife is Mrs. Shook’s best girl friend!  This is my latest “Small World Story”.

For Christmas I’ve been invited to the house of Mr. Rafique (sp?), a member of the R.G.A. Foreign Office.  I consider this a great compliment.

Boys, congratulations on your excellent report cards.  Keep up the good work.

I’ll try to answer a few of your questions.

The pictures of the Taxi Stand and the Tonga Stand were taken at the railway station at Amritsar, India.

The Hong Kong suit is beautifully done.  The tailor was Chinese trained in San Francisco about 1911 and has his certificate on the wall.  He took complete measurements and never wrote anything down while doing it.  He memorized everything as he went along.  Later I asked about ordering clothes by mail and was told that I could as they had all my measurements recorded.

I’ll try to review the Amritsar incident in toto later as it is very detailed.  We finally flew into Kabul from Amritsar arriving about 3:30 P.M. Kabul time.

The enclosures are for your records to aid in filing the income tax.

I must close now and get to bed.  Tomorrow morning at 7:00 A.M. I’ll go back to Kabul.

Good night
Beloved Darlings,
All my love
Your Fred
and
Father

Notes:  Fred has been a month and a half in Afghanistan and he is still writing about Hong Kong and Amritsar.  Time seems not to be moving, the consciousness is now thinly stretched across half the world; but wait, Bennett and Burris are on their way (the other way round) to New York, with Christmas presents – so the consciousness is clearly stretched all around the world.  It’s Christmas in May, Afghanistan in April; do you really know where your parents are?

Fred was always buying stones.  It started in Burma; exotic lands, exotic rocks.  He bought rubies and sapphires, perhaps a bloodstone or two.  They sold them on the “black market”, he did not believe in such things, but he did believe in geology which he knew a thing or two about.  Hemme (Lloydine’s mother) was a gemologist, a Rock Hound, a maker of jewelry of sorts.  We’re not talking diamonds here; we’re also not talking glass.  Hemme’s forte was semi-precious stones, big samples of Chalcedony, sulphur, sometimes silver – the kind of rocks that rock rockhounds – trips to the desert, that sort of thing.

Hemme discovered a whole petrified forest once, on her own, never noticed before; or at least there was no record.  So Fred had a hard act to follow, he had to find rocks and stones that Hemme had never found, halite after “whatever” crystals, arguments with the experts at the Smithsonian and Stanford, synthetic diamonds when they were new, that was the life of Hemme – like Fred said, he was sending a few rocks.

The rocks (the stones) from Afghanistan were lapis lazuli, blue birthstones of the gods.  The blue is as blue as blue can get without being the cobalt blue of Nevada skies (and Nevada cobalt rocks).  The blue stones are flecked with gold, gold embedded in the blue rocks midst.  The rocks are as old as the mists of time, mined (then) in the small mines of Afghanistan, legendary stones carrying legends of all time.  The legends are all caught up in the origins of all things, the birth of worlds, the beauty and purity of God.  Lapis lazuli as a stone is not just a rock – it’s history;  it too carries with it a part of the history of Afghanistan.  Rings, pendants, earrings – you decide what to do with these stones now – just as Lloydine had to once.  Dig them out, cut them, carve them, polish them, wear them – or just leave the rocks and stones alone.  Mining in Afghanistan?  Mining for what?

This post might have been called “The Foxes of Afghanistan” (allusion to women maybe, with beautiful tails) the sex factor, the smut factor, the sexualization of all things American.  But Fred was not interested in foxes, he was noticing the real animal life; foxes, hyenas, bald eagles, snow leopards – where are they all now.  Aren’t you glad that Fred could see them (in Afghanistan in the wild, not just a zoo).  Don’t you wish you could “go there” too?

This post might have been entitled “The problems of Afghanistan” (illusions of winning over the Afghan people, giving them everything they need, getting out someday in better shape than when one went in).  It’s not going to happen.  It didn’t happen 50 years ago and it isn’t going to happen now.  America can spend 500 years in Afghanistan, it will never make a difference.  Afghanistan is older, wiser, more knowledgeable and educated about what it is in life that really matters.  The Afghans may not get everything right, but there is so much that they don’t always get wrong – like America does with its intervention;  America has never gotten it right even once.

The point is made by the fact that you didn’t know what the R.G.A. was.  It was the Royal Government of Afghanistan; the kings men, if not too, the kings horses.  When did you last have a Muslim man over to your house for a Muslim holiday (assuming you are Christian)?  That is the point here.  It is why Afghanistan is strong and America is weak.  America (as a country) lacks the courage to embrace things that are foreign, to honor foreign perspectives and customs in the sanctity of ones own home – “my house is your house”, but in Afghanistan it means to tolerate all your guests prejudices and predilections to the point where the “my” is no longer part of the equation.  Then (and only then) the whole thing snaps shut.

It is like the seat at the Christian table, the guest that forgets they are a guest is lost.  The parable too has been lost on most all “Christians”, so why post about it on another day?

Finally, Fred reminds us that America is NOT the nation of all aspirations and all dreams.  It is the parable of the tailor from Hong Kong, came to America, learned something, then went back.  He lived happily ever after in Hong Kong, not in America – in China, not in the U.S.A.  The “stop the emigrants” campaign is a sign of our hubris, our self love for the country that “we got”.  It does not address the needs of others; it does not address the fact that most of the “others” do not want to live (or stay) in America at all.  It is an American dream to build walls to keep people out that don’t even want in.

In the very divisive ’60’s the patriots said, “America, love it or leave it”.  Since then many millions (of Americans) have done just that.  They’ve left there “precious” country, left all the “freedoms and the rights” , left the long gone wide open spaces, the factory towns, the bullsh** and the grief.  There are a million blogs from the ex-pats in every nation; happier now than they ever were then (or before).  Americans in Afghanistan; it’s not just the troops, real Americans live there too – but now they think of themselves as more the Afghan.  I could have easily been one of them too.

[First posted: 2010.05.04 / A week and a day from now.]

November 16, 1958

November 16th, 1958

This letter corresponds to the That Reservoir reminds me of Lake Meade post #47 in the Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

AIR LETTER – AEROGRAMME – PAR AVION
Pre-stamped U.S. Postage 10c (with four engine propeller plane pictured)

Addressed to:
Mr. Fred W. Clayton
American Embassy – USOM Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.

Return Address:
Lloydine Clayton
405 No. Roop St.
Carson City, Nevada
U.S.A.

November 16, 1958
Sunday noon.

(1)
My Darling, Fred,

I love you so much and miss you.  Well, it finally happened – winter came!  Our world is white and blue with snow in the trees and icicles bedecking the bushes on the south.  It is a distinct change from as recently as Wednesday when I went up to Slide Mountain on a road that had only a few icy patches.  Yesterday chains were required to get out of Carson City every direction in the morning.  Now the restrictions are lifted, but things remain icy.  I am surely glad we had our ice and snow tires on and going.  Tonight’s prediction is from -10 to +8.  Night before last it was +7 in Reno.  I think we had more snow than Reno; they claim two inches.  Ours must have been 3-4.  I wish we had our storm covers for the windows.  Incidentally, do you want me to bring plastic storm covers for the windows there?  This will end the Indian summer that we have been enjoying for so long.

This morning there was talk of reconditioning skis, and they were even brought in for an inspection.  Now they are out again.

I have a chameleon on my arm right now trying to turn yellow, but not really succeeding.  The tough season has come as we can’t find any critters for her to eat.  Finally bought some fish worms, but she doesn’t care for those serpents; seems scared.  She has a small fish bowl home with some plants.

It was a hard decision to make but I finally decided not to go to Phoenix.  There was nothing I wanted to do more, but I think this is best.  It seems that not only are Bob Allen and Chet Newell going but both of their wives.  Noel and I talked about it and agreed that Mrs. Allen could make mountains out of mole hills much too easily and it might not do you, me or Noel any good for me to be there alone.  This particularly applies do to the political situation now and Noel does want to stay on the Commission, while Bob could quite likely make a change.  I had written Tanner and he said I would be welcome.  The social program would be very nice, but Noel thought the technical program a bit blah.

I am enjoying the fireplace finally.  It may break me up buying presto logs but they give such nice steady heat with so little watching.  The kitchen becomes very cozy nights and mornings.  Right now I have a small 4 x 6 rug in front of the fireplace, the cabinet moved back, and the yellow chair here to sit in.  I have the card table to write on, placed as close as I want it.  I think I may leave things this way quite a while.  They got this way on account of the living room rug.  I am very disgusted.  We had it cleaned so nicely, then when I asked the men to clean the 4×6 pink one they did it on top of the gray and the machine ran over the edges, this left brownish irregular areas.  Friday they came to reclean the living room rug and scrubbed for about 4 hours on it and now the whole center of it is a great big brownish area.  Apparently getting it wet causes some reaction from the back to come up and this is the result.  Keeping off it when it was wet was what put us into the kitchen.  I don’t intend to let them scrub on the rug any more for a while.  I’ll give them a piece and they can figure out what to do before applying any more brushes to the main rug.

I enjoyed your pictures so much.  It was nice to find the one with you in it, in your blue shirt and jeans.  You look like quite a powerful man, and with the Afghani friends it was nice.  I do hope you will make every effort to lose considerable pounds.  I am enjoying my 130 lb. Self so much, both for looks and for the vim and vigor which I feel, along with the lithesome feeling making me want to exercise and dance – no draggy feeling.  I find the best way is to eat moderately, nibble on non-fattening things and continue to feel so much pride in my appearance that I get more pleasure from that time than from eating more.  You have an extra problem with the parties and the alcohol, but please try.  I love you so much and am so proud of you, but with the svelte way I feel, I couldn’t help but feel some annoyance if you look fat around the chin.  We could make such a beautiful couple together if you were better consolidated too, and I do love people to admire us as a couple.  People still comment on our picture on the front hall.  It is nice!  Anyway, I did enjoy seeing you in your Afghan habitat.  Now I want to see that new hat in use.  I should say I loved seeing you in the picture – it made you seem closer.  Sometimes I need you so badly to recharge my battery.  I miss the chance to get dressed up and go out with a purpose.  You have too much social life; I not enough.  Things have their ups and downs, but not much flavor or savor anywhere.  I pray for strength to complete this most difficult of all assignments.

(2)
I think you have something in using this part of the paper.  I had forgotten it could be done.

Tuesday noon I go to Sparks for a lunch with ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) wives who are getting together to plan for the 1960 national convention to be held in Reno.  I can no doubt bolster their scared hearts and have some fun doing it.  Rose Meredith called me.

Going back to pictures.  I got the ones of your vacation.  We have some very interesting ones of Blackwater Falls , including one of me that I will send you.  Our flower close-ups did not come out too well in focus.  You surely got a load of airplanes while left in Washington with the camera.  As subject matter they always seem so dull to me.  We got a vague indication on the breakfast picture, but not complete.  I got some quite nice shots of Indians in the Admission Day parade.  This was gratifying because it was getting very dark and I had all the light I could get, not a shadow is visible – that dark.

(3)
Your pictures of Kabul from the hill are very clear.  I don’t know why but hardly any of your trees look green.  In one sequence I can tell this is because the pictures were taken in the late afternoon by the shadows – the results are a general yellow glow of sameness over everything.  Indoors in the pottery place came out clear, but indoors in the mill was a little too dark, but can see something.  The staff house looks nice and the musical group is interesting.  Maybe a little too many pictures of them.  Is that a cement kiln?  Your pictures of the river are delightful, so very clear.  The nomad camps are nice – what no dogs charging you!  That reservoir reminds me of Lake Mead.  Your pictures are very nice.  I’ll get Newells over after they return from Phoenix and see them projected, then keep the projector and study them for my own satisfaction.

All my love, darling.  Keep up the good work.  I appreciate the little letters as well as the big ones.  We’ll do our best for Afghanistan.

Sweet dreams and happy wishes.
Lloydine, Kenneth, Donald.

[First posted: 2010.05.19 / Wednesday   That reservoir reminds me of Lake Mead]

The reservoirs

November 16th, 1958

In her letter of November 16, 1958 Lloydine Clayton referred to the impression that the reservoir at Arghandab Dam in Afghanistan reminded her of the reservoir at Hoover Dam on the Nevada / Arizona border (that created Lake Mead).

I have located the Nevada picture in question so that you can decide; or so that you can appreciate the similarities of the memories in her mind.  The photograph on the left is in Afghanistan, the photograph on the right is in Nevada.

Arghandab Dam, Afghanistan – Hoover (Boulder) Dam, Nevada / Arizona U.S.A.

Both Photographs taken by Fred W. Clayton – These photographic images are copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

Arghandab Dam, Afghanistan – Dedication stone in English and Pharsee – 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

Project Identity 720 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [1] 31:065 – Asia – Afghanistan – Kandahar Province –
ArghandabArghandab ReservoirArghandab Dam 

This photograph was taken on (or about) October 27 1958 by an American engineer in Afghanistan.  The identity of the persons pictured is unknown.  If you have any information regarding either of these people or their families please E-Mail this website.

Hoover Dam – Nevada / Arizona U.S.A. – 1953.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

This photograph was taken on May 31, 1953 at Hoover Dam on the Nevada Spillway side of the dam.  Pictured is the U.S.B.R. (United States Bridge Rescue) life preserver and sufficient rope to pull one from the waters of Lake Mead (below).  Also pictured is Ken Clayton (Kenneth E.); Donald Clayton; and Martin Clayton (Frederick M.).

This trip was ocassioned by the possibility of a job for Fred in Las Vegas (Nevada) as Assistant City Manager.  He did not get the job; accepting instead an appointment by Governor Charles Russell on the three member board of the Nevada PSC (Public Service Commission).

All was not lost however as the interviews left time to see the Hoover Dam, built in part by the Morrison Knudsen company that also (later) built much of the Arghandab Dam in Afghanistan.  Since Fred was an engineer and fairly well known he (we) got the “royal treatment” and the royal tour through all the elevators, penstocks, tunnels, and generator rooms that made up this (then) greatest of all dams.

Maybe you shouldn’t go there now; “Boycott Arizona”, half the dam and half of Lake Mead are IN Arizona.  Half the water and power goes to Arizona; the other half to California; some water and some power goes to Nevada.  I jest of course – I think (about the “going there” I mean).  But in case you don’t understand the complexity of Arizona’s borders and the issues and the issues surrounding dams I have added a few pictures, maps, and documents for your perusal – the kind only an engineer would save.  But since Fred saved them, I will share them and then you can decide about both the water and the boycott and maybe who should get the power.

[First posted: 2010.05.19 / Wednesday   The reservoirs]

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