My Life at Age Twenty-Six

Mount Rainier from an aircraft
Looking down from an aircraft on Mount Rainier from Wikimedia

Once I was in the routine of student life at the Unversity of Goettingen in Germany, two things happened that made me want to go back to the USA. The future that I could foresee for myself in Germany gradually became boring and unappealing. I could get the Staatsexamen and become a teacher of English +/- Latin, but then life would hold no surprises for me. Plus one day I was walking to the university in Goettingen and I spoke some Japanese to a group of eight female tourists from Japan. One girl patted the grass beside her where they were all sitting, and several of them waved for me to come over. So I sat down and they took my picture. One girl had the same last name as a famous manufacturer of motorcycles in Japan. I suddenly realized that beautiful Asian girls was what Seattle had aplenty, while Germany had almost none. I had been trying to learn Japanese for ten years, and in Seattle I could pay more attention to Japanese culture and language and femininity. I may have already made the decision to return to Seattle and work on my AI project. I did buy an expensive, full-price Lufthansa plane ticket to return to Seattle. Before the day of my departure, I was sorting through all my belongings to prepare my luggage. The landlady, Frau Traute, came into my messy room and exclaimed, "So eine Wirtschaft!" ("Such a housekeeping!"), but I knew that order was emerging from chaos. I left my refrigerator for the next occupant of the room, and I deliberated leaving my large writing pad, but the landlady showed me how to fold it up and fit it into my tote-bag.

The next day I took the train from Goettingen to Darmstadt to Frankfurt, where I heard two girls speaking English so I introduced myself as an American. They were members of the Baha'i Faith and they were traveling to The Netherlands. One pretty girl invited me to travel with them. It was tempting to drop everything and become a vagabond in Europe, but I had paid an ourageous price for my plane ticket to Seattle and I was actually homesick, so I flew to Chicago, where my grandmother Anna Stangl Yagle had worked in a Czech pastry shop at the Illinois Central Depot. At O'Hare I had to go through U.S. customs, and my little black U.S. Army shaving kit was full of little plastic bottles of German vitamins that I had bought according to what was recommended in "Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit". The customs lady asked me, "What's in there?" and I said, "Vitamins. Should I open it?" "Yes," she said, and I had to search for the key. I was afraid that her eyes would pop out when she saw all the pills, but she could see that I was entirely not nervous, and she looked inside the bag and then she waved me on to continue disembarking.

Since I was flying westbound into the afternoon from Germany to Seattle, it was all one long day. Mount Rainier in Washington state looked spectacular as we flew past it to Sea-Tac airport. My high school and college buddy Dmitri von Hagen picked me up at the airport and we drove to Russ's Cafe in the University District. The cafe would later become, and remains to this day, Costa's Greek restaurant, probably my favorite eatery in the University District.

Back in Seattle for good, but still fresh from the U.S. Army, I got a job working for Surry Patrol as a security guard in the headquarters branch of the National Bank of Commerce in downtown Seattle. I moved in with Aardvark and his friend on Queen Anne Hill. My former Greek professor called me up one day and told me to go out to Redmond WA and apply for a job as a Latin teacher.


Return to top or to mylife at age
01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10,
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30,
31, 32, 33