They sat around and sang his favorite songs. Mike Seeger,
Pete's younger brother, was a close friend so he sort of led the
singing. It was all very moving.
Alice received some money from the driver's insurance
company so she was able to put a down payment on a house.
We sometimes saw her and Hazel in concert and kept in touch
for many years.
One of the things I wanted to achieve as director of
MCOAG was to have people be friends as well as colleagues.
I did this by having frequent fun events. We had picnics with
all the kids, and dinners at our house in Bethesda.
Ellen was game and we had dinner parties for 50+ people.
She did all the cooking and decorating herself. We frequently
included not just the civilians but the Marines we worked
with. We did not serve alcohol. After one such dinner, a
Marine offi cer approached me on the Monday to thank me
for a great party. He said he woke up Sunday feeling great
no hangover. I assured him it was because we hadn't served
alcohol. He couldn't believe it. He was sure the tomato bisque
soup served in mugs as people arrived had been "laced" but
it hadn't. It was winter and the warm glow came from the hot
liquid on a cold night and the friendly company.
When General Walt for whom I worked was being
shipped to Vietnam we decided to have a farewell dinner for
him. There were 50 people at a sit down dinner in our family
room, 20 by 24 feet that we had added on to our ranch house.
Ellen had grapefruit to start; then roast beef, mashed potatoes,
gravy, vegetables and a sheet cake bought from the Pentagon
bakery, suitably decorated.
Ellen kept trying to get General Walt, as the honored
guest, to go fi rst in line (we served buffet style but sat at
a table to eat). He refused saying he wanted everyone else
to go fi rst. What she didn't know was that the commander
always eats last, after he is sure that all the troops have been
fed. In all her years of entertaining, Ellen has never run
out of food. After eleven years of food rationing and food
shortages during and after WWII she never underestimated