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Horace eating lunch in his office at Toro, 1960s

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I look at this picture and I can smell the office and the business in general. This may have been taken while I worked at Toro. That would have been Pacific Toro for the uninitiated. HA! Clearly xmas, what with the gift on the desk and all.

Shit, had the camera been just a skosh further to the right I might have been able to read the year on the calendar. Sigh\u2026 Maybe I didn\u2019t take this. (Actually, I\u2019m positive I didn\u2019t. And even if I had, I wouldn't have had the foresight to include the calendar. So, both :) and :( . )

I look at this photograph and it looks so antiquated, what with the gray institutional desk and cabinet, and the typewriter. I say that, but in point of fact, the company was relatively forward leaning and did have a (now antique) punch card computer system. Of course, those were the days when a computer took up the lion's share of an entire room and was operated by dedicated and trained personnel. I remember going in the room with the computer and hearing the "thwops" of cards falling into separate trays and thinking they looked similar to player piano rolls, and wondering if they worked in a similar fashion. As it turned out, the guys (yes, all men) who operated the computer were all gay. I liked going to lunch with them, particularly if they were going to a restaurant. Their choices of eateries were often different than Horace's or other employees I sometimes ate with.

It\u2019s funny, according to Amanda, her brother and mom, their father/husband, Stu, didn\u2019t really follow his heart when it came to his profession as an optical physicist. His brother, an acoustic physicist, was much better adapted to a scientific life. Stu likely would have been a happier person, though almost certainly not as successful in a worldly sense, had he pursued maybe comedic writing. Horace, likewise, probably would have been a happier individual had he remained in some sort of artistic endeavor. Sadly, I don\u2019t know why he left. He had been an award winning window trimmer, I believe in the 1930s. The war happened and, being too old for WWII (he was also too young for WWI), he went to work in the shipyards to support the war effort. I'm not sure what he did between the end of WWII and the beginning of the McCarthy era. In 1951, I believe, his name was published in the Times and Harold as a \u201cknown communist\u201d (he and our mom had been Communist Party members in the early 1920s, until shortly after Ulyanov's death in 1924). After the HUAC hearings he was unable to find work for several years, until the husband of a junior high school friend of my mom hired him. Because of our family\u2019s relationship, the owner stood strong, keeping Horace employed. Norman, the business owner, also kept our father apprised of the government\u2019s attempts to have him fired. Every year, no matter the administration, the FBI \u201cvisited\u201d Pacific Toro to inform Norman that he had a KNOWN COMMIE working for him and Norman should fire his ass yesterday! Every year until our folks emigrated to Canada in the early 1970s. Fucking nationalists. And those same kinds of dirtbag assholes have never been out of power.

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