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Jack Ragsdale

Jack Ragsdale

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I have lived in four principal US cities: Atlanta, New York City, Dallas and San Francisco—in each for long periods except Dallas where I lived two years. In the 1930s, as seaman, I traveled widely, ending my service in the merchant marine as Chief Mate on freighters in 1945. One of my last trips was to England in (as I recall) 1944 during the time of the buzz bombs.

My reading has been mostly in history (American, European and African), biography and religion (T. Roosevelt, Shaw, Russell, Wilde, M. B. Eddy and Joseph Smith) and adventure (Burton, Lowell Thomas in the 1930s). Recent reading was “The Opium Wars” by two authors whose names I did not know-- Texans, as I recall. I am now reading “Black House” a novel by Paul Theroux. I am a particularly slow reader and have read few popular novels for lack of time.

I am as pained as 55 million of my fellow citizens are at my country's addiction to war. I am equally pained that some millions of Americans reject gentle Mr. Darwin’s carefully worked out findings. Back in 1925 after the Scopes Monkey Trial and conviction, I threw in the towel and became a believer—in Darwin. I was thrilled on my first voyage, 1935—New York to Capetown and Mombasa—when we passed close to Ascension Island and, a day or so later, St. Helena, crossing Darwin’s path on his return via South America to his home after five years of adventure and learning.

For the last ten years of my working life, I had a store in Greenwich Village. Of those who took over that business, one was killed in a robbery a year or two later. As they say, there but for the grace of God.

Edited by Jack Ragsdale

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