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At Forrest's House for the First Time

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  • #31
    Originally posted by RussDana View Post
    Hi Everyone,
    Shortly after we met Forrest in Collected works in December 2014 (see this post: https://www.hintofriches.com/forum/t...eeting-forrest), Dana and I moved away from Santa Fe so it wasn’t until several years later that I was invited over to his house for the first time.

    My last name is both somewhat unusual and somewhat famous in Texas history (although I am personally not from Texas). I knew that Forrest would have recognized the name immediately. I suspect this is at least part of the reason he was interested in meeting with us – to figure out my relationship to this famous Texas family. I knew that he had an old book that had a chapter on this family and I always thought it would be meaningful to have that copy from his library. So, once we were back in Santa Fe, I wrote him to see if he would be willing to part with it and his response was the surprising “Sure. I’ll sell you that book and a whole lot more. f”

    Arriving at Forrest’s gate the first time is sort of intimidating. Because you are sitting fairly low to the ground when in a car, the gate seems really tall and there is just a small metal box with the button and a speaker. There are no instructions. I pressed the button and after a few seconds the gate began to slowly open. So I drove in. There is a circle driveway in front of the main door, but there was already a car in that spot. I decided to drive around to the side of the house where the garage was. However, this forced Forrest (and the dogs) to come out of the house to try to figure out where I had gone.

    As an aside, there was only a single stoplight between our house and Forrest’s house so we got to point where we could time our arrival to the exact minute we were expected. Forrest figured this out and for future visits would have the gate already open.

    Once in the house, Forrest led me into the kitchen where Kelly and Sam were getting ready to take Peggy out on an errand. There were ten or fifteen minutes of family chaos while this was happening, and Forrest and I only exchanged a few words during that time. And then it was just the two of us and Forrest said, “Come on in the office.” He opened a pair of double doors off the kitchen. This was when Willie was new to the household and Forrest didn't really trust Willie to be alone in the office – he could have chewed his way through a hundred thousand dollars in stuff pretty quickly. Thus the doors to the office were kept closed when no one was there.

    As you step from the kitchen into the office, the first thing you see is Forrest’s desk with all the bronze bells shown in The Thrill of the Chase. I paused there to pick up a couple of the bells – they are even heavier than one would think. There was a closed wooden treasure chest on the desk.
    I asked, “What is this?”
    “Open it.”
    I did and inside were hundreds of $1 coins – the kind that have a faint golden color.
    “I keep it for the kids that visit. Take a few if you want.”
    I took a small handful. I had vowed to myself before coming over that I wouldn’t act like a tourist, but I couldn’t pass this up.

    Here is a side angle of Forrest’s desk. You can see the bells lined up at the front edge and towards the back is the closed wooden chest. Also towards the back is a can of bear spray – not sure why that was there. Towards the front of the desk is a small bronze jar that Forrest is using as a pencil holder – this is how I ended up using my jar. And you can see some of Willie’s toys scattered about. And it looks like some Air Force patches.
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    I bought the book I was interested in and had just started to leaf through some others with Forrest when a buzzer rang. It was the front gate.
    “That is some arrow collecting friends.”
    There was a few second pause during which my emotions ran from disappoint that the visit was over (and who knew if I would ever be back) to appreciation that I had this chance to visit him at his house.
    “I don’t know what they want… but you can stay if you want to.”

    Hmmm … I could stay and hang out with Forrest and his friends or go home. Is that really even a choice? This was the only time I ever ran into people at Forrest’s house that weren’t family or caregivers. I don’t know if he only invited me over on afternoons that were totally free or if he cleared his calendar when I came over, but I never came up against a competing appointment except this first time.
    Once they were in the office, I sat back while they swapped stories and occasionally someone would pull out an arrow point for Forrest’s advice on identification. Sometimes there would be debate and reference books would be pulled down off the shelves and consulted. Flake patterns. Chert coloring. In situ locations. I can’t remember even 1% of the complex discussion. At one point, someone was telling a story about finding a point and kept looking from me back to Forrest as if to say with his eyes, “What is he doing here?”
    Forrest caught this and said gently, “He’s okay.” Meaning me. After all the interviewers and book writers who twisted his words over the years, I am not sure why he trusted me after only knowing me an hour.

    “Did I ever show you guys the San Lazaro stuff?”
    Well, I wasn’t sure about the other three guys, but I knew that I hadn’t seen it. We all trooped through the house to the lab, which is just off the garage. Here is a photo looking in. The interesting part is the stool with Marvin’s name on it. I like thinking about how that is what he chose for this space.
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    And here is another angle of the room.
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    And here is Forrest holding one of the more famous pieces from San Lazaro. It is wooden and almost beyond belief that it survived.
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    We spent three hours in the lab. Opened every single drawer. Passed around every single object. These guys knew their stuff and Forrest was excited to be able to show it to an audience who understood its meaning. Everything that is in the Secrets of San Lazaro book was still in that lab – Forrest had kept all of it. I had read Secrets of San Lazaro so when Forrest opened a drawer that appeared to contain an assortment of sticks, I was able to correctly identify them as the Dancing Wands. That earned me a few points.

    When it was finally time to leave, I drove off towards the gate, which I could see was closed. I assumed that it had a sensor that would open it as I got close. I stopped about 3 feet away when it didn’t open. I inched closer. Still nothing. Inched closer still. Nada. I left the car with its bumper about 3 inches from the gate and walked back to the house and knocked.
    “Ah, Forrest, the gate …?”
    Russ
    First of all, Russ, I want to thank you for your posts. They are wonderful reminders of what may be a time passed by, but still fresh for some of us.
    Anytime I see pictures of Forrest's office, I am intrigued. Ever since I noticed one some years ago, where Forrest was leaning forward to pull a book from it's shelf, and inside the crook of his arm was his father's log book as it sat on it's shelf, quite noticeable in the view he presented to the camera.

    Those coins in that wooden chest, those must be the American Innovation Dollars if I'm not mistaken.
    Some of them have a "privy mark" on them. This was originally an anti-counterfeit measure, used originally by Edward Ford of England. But in modern times they signify something related to a special event (anniversary or such) or as a set among others.

    I noticed on the desk were two Kleenex boxes. Considering the time period (your first visit), I wonder if those were for the first two searchers who died on their searches. I hate to bring that up, but I'll always consider those searchers as true adventurers and won't say a bad word about them.

    On the wall behind the desk, right of the window, there's a wooden structure that almost looks like a ladder of sorts. Does anyone know about that? It seems to me that a thing like than might have been used at the ancient cliff villages in Arizona, not far from where the turquoise beads in the "Row Bracelet" were found. Interesting item, by any means.
    And to the right of that, just because I love woods and the things made out of wood, that tall cabinet with the roll-top slider...anyone know what kind of wood that is? Teak but probably not? So many woods are so much alike it's sometimes hard to tell, and although I love woods I'm not much of an expert on them.

    Thanks again for this fine post. I'm not even done looking at this one and I see you've posted another one. That will keep my busy.

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by Headless Horseman View Post

      First of all, Russ, I want to thank you for your posts. They are wonderful reminders of what may be a time passed by, but still fresh for some of us.
      Anytime I see pictures of Forrest's office, I am intrigued. Ever since I noticed one some years ago, where Forrest was leaning forward to pull a book from it's shelf, and inside the crook of his arm was his father's log book as it sat on it's shelf, quite noticeable in the view he presented to the camera.

      Those coins in that wooden chest, those must be the American Innovation Dollars if I'm not mistaken.
      Some of them have a "privy mark" on them. This was originally an anti-counterfeit measure, used originally by Edward Ford of England. But in modern times they signify something related to a special event (anniversary or such) or as a set among others.

      I noticed on the desk were two Kleenex boxes. Considering the time period (your first visit), I wonder if those were for the first two searchers who died on their searches. I hate to bring that up, but I'll always consider those searchers as true adventurers and won't say a bad word about them.

      On the wall behind the desk, right of the window, there's a wooden structure that almost looks like a ladder of sorts. Does anyone know about that? It seems to me that a thing like than might have been used at the ancient cliff villages in Arizona, not far from where the turquoise beads in the "Row Bracelet" were found. Interesting item, by any means.
      And to the right of that, just because I love woods and the things made out of wood, that tall cabinet with the roll-top slider...anyone know what kind of wood that is? Teak but probably not? So many woods are so much alike it's sometimes hard to tell, and although I love woods I'm not much of an expert on them.

      Thanks again for this fine post. I'm not even done looking at this one and I see you've posted another one. That will keep my busy.
      Hi - Thanks for the kind words of encouragement. The picture is early 2019 - related to the Kleenex boxes, I think Forrest just had the sniffles.

      The weird looking wooden thing actually used to belong to Eric Sloane. It is a really old New England fence post.

      I am not sure of the wood, but that cabinet you point out contained the security system. The roll top is hiding four screen monitors.

      Russ

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by Sirius B
        In the first picture, on the desk to the right of the throttle assembly, and below the squadron patches there is a nameplate. It looks like a SECDEF Pentagon badge to me, but I'm no military expert. It also says, "Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld" right on it and it has a pentagon shape in the middle, leading me to believe it may be indeed. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, how'd that get there?

        "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."
        And most importantly the renowned reknown.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by Ariel View Post
          Ah - the mystery of bobcat Bobby McGee, solved at last!! It's Joplin, isn't it, Russ?
          (j/k, couldn't resist, sorry).
          Ah yes, Janus the skinny dipper.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by Sirius B
            In the first picture, on the desk to the right of the throttle assembly, and below the squadron patches there is a nameplate. It looks like a SECDEF Pentagon badge to me, but I'm no military expert. It also says, "Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld" right on it and it has a pentagon shape in the middle, leading me to believe it may be indeed. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, how'd that get there?

            "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."
            Hi - Forrest and Rumsfeld were friends - Rumsfeld wrote several books and I remember seeing a copy that Rumsfeld had inscribed to Forrest. But I don't know how or why his badge would be there on the edge of the desk.

            Russ

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by RussDana View Post

              Hi - Forrest and Rumsfeld were friends - Rumsfeld wrote several books and I remember seeing a copy that Rumsfeld had inscribed to Forrest. But I don't know how or why his badge would be there on the edge of the desk.

              Russ
              911

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by RussDana View Post

                Hi - Forrest and Rumsfeld were friends - Rumsfeld wrote several books and I remember seeing a copy that Rumsfeld had inscribed to Forrest. But I don't know how or why his badge would be there on the edge of the desk.

                Russ
                Russ-

                Surely you know it is a hint. You know where Rumsfeld lives don't you? Well from the home of Brown you go (precisely) right straight to it. Which coincidently is the same place as the solution for the meaning of the double omegas. Russ, why it's practically in your own backyard! On another note....Have you acquired any interesting new books lately? It's not that old, but I bought a signed copy of Richenbacker's autobiography. He was quite a character it seems. I know of the saying that "there aren't any old brave pilots".....but I guess there are a few exceptions.......
                Best regards;
                Billy

                Comment


                • #38
                  The National Security Act of 1947 created the Department of Defense with various military branches under it, separated fixed- wing aircraft from the Army under the newly created “Air Force”, and it also created the Central Intelligence Agency.
                  James Forrestal was the first Secretary of Defense under Harry Truman, was it suicide or was he assassinated?
                  I often wondered if Forrest had conversations about certain assassinations with Jaclyn Kennedy. James Forrestal was friends with Joseph Kennedy and JFK?
                  Forrest enlisted 2 years after the National Security Act was adopted.
                  Last edited by 1&Only1Trailblazer; 02-28-2021, 08:46 AM.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Sherif Billy View Post

                    Russ-

                    Surely you know it is a hint. You know where Rumsfeld lives don't you? Well from the home of Brown you go (precisely) right straight to it. Which coincidently is the same place as the solution for the meaning of the double omegas. Russ, why it's practically in your own backyard! On another note....Have you acquired any interesting new books lately? It's not that old, but I bought a signed copy of Richenbacker's autobiography. He was quite a character it seems. I know of the saying that "there aren't any old brave pilots".....but I guess there are a few exceptions.......
                    Best regards;
                    Billy
                    Hi Bill - I just got "West Yellowstone's 70th Anniversary: 1908 to 1978" because I thought it might have some stories and/or pictures of Fenn Haven and other places Forrest mentioned. But it is really all about the years 1908 to 1928. So it all predates the Fenn time period. Interesting, but not quite what I was hoping it would be.
                    Russ

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