Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Today we are going to Laguna Beach to a meeting of the Society of Retired Foreign Service Officers. The speaker is a scholar specializing in Iraq. The lunch will be some kind of pork schnitzel. The people who attend these meetings are real geezers, but I guess we are too. Most of them have had fascinating lives, living around the world at a time when this was a very rare life style. They worked in American embassies where life was really one long party interrupted by the occasional work. If you were posted in a place like Paris or Rome, there would be 40 or 50 other embassies in the city. They all had receptions for annual holidays, visiting dignitaries or to honor their host country. Add it up - you were out every night, meeting and greeting. Richard was even when he lived in "armpit" countries as he calls them...Bulgaria or Roumania.

We sat next to a retired judge, African American, who went to USC slightly before Richard. He graduated from Howard law school practised criminal law, got swept up in the civil rights movement and had many stories to tell. His daughter is a rabid republican and is a lobbyist in Washington. The pendulum swings. Most interesting is that his great grandfather was a general in the Confederate army.

The lady who does some of the organization for these events is a very outspoken liberal. Richard excoriated her about a year ago when she used the Societies news bulletin to extol the praises of Hillary Clinton. Richard didn't care about her politics however he thought it was inexcusable to use the bulletin for your own political agenda. A bit of an email fight ensued. They've made up and he's looking forward to meeting her in person today.

He researched Marguerite a little further and found out that she really accomplished quite a lot during her time in the foreign service. She attacked the inequities between male and female employees and made many gains for women in the future in the foreign service.

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