File #3395: "ms102_04_02_03.pdf"


. The First National Bank of Chicago
Gaylord A. Freeman, Jr.

This is the last letter
of thi s series.

I hope that you

Moor ea
The Society Islands
May 4, 1967

Dear Homer:

Welcome to Paradise.


It didn't seem an exaggeration whe n the slender, hairychested young man in the dirty shorts jumped from the dock and shook
hands with the arriving tourists and returning Mooreans.
would have seemed an understatement.

Anything else

But, unfortunately, it wasn 1t

our stop.
We had left Auckland at midnight and, once a loft, had cock-·tails and an e laborat e dinner which lasted until 2:00 a. m. ,,, We then set
our watches ahead to 4 : 00 a. m. , Tahitian time, and, after a two and a
half hour rest, we r e awakened to see the first rays of the sun pinking
the clouds atop Mount Orohena and slowly lig ht up the ridges and finally
the coastal fringe of Tahiti.
For almost a year Mrs, Freeman has searched for, and found,
articles on all aspects of Tahiti, the larg est of the Society Islands, its


Though a bit late for dinner, I was delighted,for, hav ing spent all of
the morning wr i.ting my letter from New Zealand, dictating it to a
Maori girl whose English was poor and American terrible , and,
revising it at the stenographer's office, I hadn't gotten back to the
hotel until time to leave and, hence, had not eaten all day.


history, its art, its role in literature.

It has be en desc ribed in rapture

by both palette and pen - - but seen in the early dawn it was more beautiful
than I b e lieved possible .

colos sal,


In an age when the mediocre is described as

it is a surprise to find something lovelier than it has been

describ ed -- but our first glimpse of Tahiti more than justified Captain
Bligh's description as the "finest island in the world.


By seven we had landed, were through customs, read the sign
that says there is no tipping in Tahiti, and were driving into t he island's
only town through the morning traffic, already quite heavy, for offices are
open from 7 : 30 until 11: 00 and from 2:00 to 5 :00 .

There is only one road

whic h circles the figure 8-shaped, 47-mile long island, and there were
hundreds of cars and perhaps thousands o f two-wheeled bicycles, one-lunged
Solexes and more elabo rate scooters, all headed one way -- to the pleasant,
small, wat erfront town (population 20,302) of Papeete (pronounced Pappy-ate-tay),
which was accurately described in a recent article as looking
beaten Mexican border town.


like a weather-


We first saw Honolulu in 1934, but even then it was at least
thir1 y years ahead of today I s Papeete, which has no building over "two-thirds
the height of a c o conut tree.



,. . .. ..


I suppose Europeans w ho came here years ago

In 1787 Captain William Bligh sailed into Matavai Bay with his small
ship, the 11 Bo11nty, 11 sent by King GPorge III, to find breadfruit trees
and take them to the We st Inclie s .
Tahiti, 11 HOLIDAY (February, 1967), which went on to say: ' 1There parks with 1nagnificent trees, two-story wooden buildings, a
cathedral, and plenty of debris and garbage in the streets . 11



feel that Tahiti was ruined when the airstrip was opened in 1960 and
further destroyed in 1962 when the French decided to build an atomic
testing site on the Tuamotu-Gamber island group several hundred miles
away and supply it from Tahiti.
tourists a year.

B efore the airstrip, Tahiti had only 500

Now they must have 18,000, but I don't believe that we

saw one in the two hours that we sat in the sidewalk cafe and walked along
the waterfront embankment where lovely yachts from Los Angeles and
small inter-is l and schooners lay side by side, their sterns tied to old
cannons half sunk in the quay, or as we waited for our 9: 30 boat to Moorea,
I feel confident that in a dozen more years there will be at least ten times
as many tourists, for this is a lovely part of the world.
I must not sound as though we had discovered Tahiti.


Robertson, sailing the British frigate "Dolphin," did so just 200 years ago
next month.

Unlike the European captains who discovered New Zealand

only to be repulsed with the killing of several sailors, Captain Robertson
found "all sorts of refreshments 11 on his arrival.
sole complaint of successive captains.

Indeed, that became the

With such verdant valleys, such

ampl e breadfruit, bananas, coconuts and fish, ,:, with the girls so inviting


As James Morrison, one of those who mutinied c1gai11st Captain Bligh
and stayed on Tahiti, said: 1 1Every part of the Is l and produces food
without the he l p of man, it may of this Country be said that the Curse
of Eden has not reached it, no man having his bread to get by the
Sweat of his Brow, ... "


and the climate so salubrious -- it proved difficult to reassemble a crew
to sail away.
Captain Cook came later and named this part of Polynesia the
Society Islands out of respect for the British Royal Society which had
financed his trip to study the transit of Venus.

Though the British were

the first ones here, the French took over the government about 100 years
ago and maintain it today, with the result that French is the western
language of the islands.
It was rediscovered by Paul Gauguin who, forsaking his wife
and family and stock brokerage business in Paris, came here in 1891 to
become known to the Tahitians as


the man who makes human beings.


In his own words:
''All the joys -- animal and human -- of a
free life are mine. I have escaped everything
that is artificial, conventional, customary.
I am entering into the truth, into nature. 11
Though he died without either fortune or fame, the latter came to both
Gaugin and the Tahiti which he painted with such love.
Robert Louis Stevenson was here late in the last century and
"heard the pulse of the besieging sea throb away all night. ... heard the
wind fly crying and convulse tumultuous palms.



Rupert Brooke, whose Greek-god appearance

had captured the

Tahitian I s love of beauty in the intervals between his bacchanalian celebrations


In London he was referred to as the "Golde n Apollo.





Pupure's Grove,

and "Retrospect,



had written "The Great Lover,



Tiare, Tahiti,"

and sung with pleasure:
"Crown the hair, and come away,
Hear the calling of the moon
And the whispering scents that stray
About the idle warm lagoon. 11

Three years later Somerset Maugham, coming by Brooke's
route (which we had unknowingly followed) from New Zealand, discovered
the overwhelming sensual beauty of Tahiti and stayed to write "The Moon
and Sixpence.


It must have given that quiet man great pleasure to write

about Gauguin, for, after an unhappy youth (which he recorded in "Of Human
Bondage"), he, too, had fled his profession, medicine, to pursue an artistic
career as a writer -- and like Gauguin, almost starved in the process -- but



was rewarded by his enjoyment of Tahiti's beauty .


"Tahiti is a lofty green island, with deep folds of a darker green, in
which you divine silent valleys; there is mystery in their sombre depths,
down which murmur and plash cool streams, and you feel that in those
umbrageous places life from immemorial tirrB s has been led according
to immemorial ways. Even here is something sad and terrible. But
the impression is fleeting, and serves only to give a greater acuteness
to the enjoyment of the moment . It is like the sadness which you may
see in the jester's eyes when a merry company is laughing at his sallies ;
his lips smile and his jokes are gayer because in the communion of
laughter he finds hims elf more intolerably alone. For Tahiti is smiling
and friendly; it is like a lovely woman graciously prodigal of her charm
and beauty; and nothing can be more conciliatory than the entrance into
the harbour at Papeete. The schooners moored to the quay are trim and
neat, the little town along the bay is white and urbane, and the flamboyants,
scarlet against the blue sky, flaunt their colour like a cry of passion. They
are sensual with an unashamed violence that leaves you breathless. And
the crowd that throngs the wharf as the steamer draws alongside is gay
and debonair; it is a noisy, cheerful, gesticulating crowd. It is a sea of
brown faces. You have an impression of coloured movement against the
flaming blue of the sky, Everything is done with a great deal of bustle, the
unloading of the baggage, the examination of the customs; and everyone
seems to smile at you. It is very hot. The colour dazzles you. 11
W. Somerset Maugham, "The Moon and Sixpence" (Bantam Books, 1963),
pages 142-143.


Tahiti was discovered some time later by the team of Charles
Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, who brought fortune to themselves and
more fame to these islands with their trilogy,


Mutiny on the Bounty




the two companion books

based on the adventures of Captain Bligh and

thos e who mutinied against him.
Ours, then, wasn't the original discovery, but, exhausted as we
were and after another night without sleep, it was an enchanting introduction
to a way of life which I did not think could still exist.

There is no hurry,

no racial tension, no winter , no income tax, and almost no tabus -cent of the parents of newborn children aren 1t married.


70 per


By nine o'clock, with both the humidity and the temperature
already in the high nineties, an incongruous fat banker in suit, vest and
hard felt hat, and his neatly-girdl ed wife, perspiring freely, walked
through the little groups of barefoot native boys in shorts and their girls
in pareus, to seek the shade of the yacht's canopy and the slight breeze
of the waterfront.
S eated facing the quay, we had a continuous theater as the boys
loaded the ship and the passengers of all colors and costumes, including a
stout, unkempt woman in green who was constantly eating potato chips or
something out of a bag and looked a bit cross , and a nice coupl e who conversed in French but spoke a greeting to us in English and introduced




Men Against the Sea II and '' Pitcairn's Island.

HOLIDAY (February, 1967).



Thus, we were entertained until we

themselves as Mr. and Mrs . Ri e.

sailed for Moor ea, which we could see

only a dozen miles from Tahiti.

It appeared, as Maugham had said, "like some high fastness of th e Holy
Grail, guarded its mystery .... like the unsubstantial fabric of a magic


It was, indeed, beautiful and the cloud-shrouded canyons,

cut into the old volcano cones, did present the mystery of the kind that
allows one to imag ine beautiful little coconut groves with dancing waterfalls
or whatever your fancy suggests.

To celebrate the beauty or something, the

proprietoress of the boat served us ice cold beer.

We rounded Moorea,

came t h rough a break in the coral reef against which the surf pounds day
and night, into the still lagoon and up to the dock.
were greeted with the


We lcome to Paradise.


It was there that we

Actually, it was the Bali Hai

Hotel, the name of which awaken ed in my mind a half-remembered story of
three Los Angeles bach elors who had come here .
But that was not our stop.
the mile-long, narrow Cook Inlet,


We went on another few minutes to

the best anchorage in the i slands,"

running in between two volcanic cones and there to another dock where stood
the Hotel






Mr. Rie was in this country during the war. His business of importing shells for buttons having been discontinued, he worked for awhile
as a plastic engineer at Sampsell Time Control and later at Sears here
in Chicago. The two men here he remembered the best were Dick
Burke and Bob Quayle, two of our dear friends.


''The Moon and Sixpence" (Bantam Books, 1963) , page 142 .


Sometimes things just seem to go wrong.
organization at the dock .
place else.

There was no

Nobody welcomed us to Paradise or to any

I went into the hotel ("into" is hardly the word, for nothing

is closed, but I went under the largest thatched roof) and sought to register,
but had to wait for the manager who, it turned out, was the woman in

If she had not made a favorable impression on us, I fear that we

had been even less successful with her,
for two nights but no more.

She said that she would take us

When I explained (pleasantly, I thought) that

we had a confirmed reservation, she demanded to see it, though it was
packed in the luggage not yet off the dock.

She requested that we furnish

her with a coupon, but I said that we had none.

How could you not have a coupon?

whom could I have trusted?



If you had not come,

The logic of that assault threw me for awhile,

but I pointed out that we were in fact truly here.
but only for two days.

She was indignant.


That is the trouble --

I felt that Dale Carnegie would not have given her

a passing grade and we trudged on down the sandy path, past several groups
of dark-skinned people who didn't respond to our greetings or even look up
as we passed.

Somehow, this fell a little short of how I had imagined

But our cottage was clean and cool and, after a swim, a drink,

a delightful lunch, a very pleasant visit with the Ries , and a much needed
nap, life looked up.

The rum punches were good, the dinner excellent.

-9We were in Paradise.

Every view was sensuous, the water

warm, soft and full of bright-colored fish .

But we were s t rangers m

this Paradise -- the only Americans and, as such,t olerated but perhaps
not wholly welcome.

Another oddity was that we were both of the same

race ,
From the first sailors to arrive two centuries ago until t h is
morning's jet, the visiting male has found the girls here welcoming.
read much about this - - somewhat skepti cally - - but it is true.

I had

At a

d istance this sounds exciting and I am sure it could be at first hand -- but
without becoming missionar ies we could see all around us the disadvantages
that such lia i sons create.
As we sat on the lawn for cocktails, a young man in his late
thirties joined us, at his s u ggestion.

A resident of the other side of the

island, he had come t o the hotel for companionship -- and endless beers
wh ile his wife visited her children in boarding school in Papeet e .


Middl ewesterner, raised a good Catholic, educated through high school ,
successful as an accountant, he came to Tahiti five years ago en rou te to
Australia -- and never got beyond.

After six months he went back to the

States, arranged his affairs (he has a moderate income) and returned to
Moor e a, fell in love with a girl from Bora Bora, went through a formal
marriage ceremony, and lives with her.
How had it worked out?

Was he happy?


"Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by happy.
"What do you do ?



"Well, often there is something around the hous e to fix and I
do that .

Here, I have a l ist of the things to do today.

brother, a priest, in the States.
pump up a soft tire .

First, write my

Second, fix a leaky faucet and, third,

I get up a list of things like that every day.


times I write a letter -- I've kept copies of all of the letters that I have
ever written from here.

Maybe some day I'll write a book.

"Has the marriage worked out well?
"Well, you know how it is,


I'd like to go back to the States

for three or four months but my wife is very dark.

I've told her how it is

in the States and she cried, but I think she understands.
in Hawaii.


We have friends

I could leave her there for awhile."
"Is she happy?


"Well, I guess she would be if it weren't for the kids.


may not like me for saying this, but though I have tried I can't really like
th e kids,

I pretend they're mine, but, of course, they aren't.

She had

them b efo r e I came and it just doesn't seem fair to me to have to support

It isn ' t as if s he is promiscuous,

She knows who the fathers are

and both of them ought to help support their own kids,
so and I guess that's what bugs us -- it's thos e kids."

Anyway, I think


Others here consider him foolish, not for having married
a native girl (each of the five hotel managers I've met here are "married"
to local girls who, at 40, are grossly overweight, for here, as in so many
primitive societies, a fat wife is prized as a symbol of prosperity and
dignity, and their many cute children dot th e hot e l grounds) , but his mistake
in the eye s of the other white men here is that he is "married-married.


If you live with a girl for any period you are "married" and, despite the
virtual certainty of children, the liaison has no legal sanction and lasts
only as long as both desire.
they are "married-married,

But a few go through the formal legal ceremony

or legally married.

As I wrote this part of the notes sitting in the shade of the
palms, I could watch the couple next door as they lay on the beach, both
young and aliv e , he French, she from the islands with a touch of Chines e .
They are a happy young couple, but I gather that it is a rare Westerner who
can come here as an adult and find c ontinued companionship with a thickening
woman who can neither read nor write nor work and has no interest in anything she has not knoV'/11 before.

As I was sensing this from the answers to


my questions,

Mrs. Freeman read me the end of a story about a French-

man, Z ola, who, sens itive to the artificialities and constraints of modern
wester n society, had come here and settled down w ith a lov ely Polynesian
girl, Toma.


At this point in the story Toma has made a flower arrangement;

Some day some one may take a punch at that nose which I poke into
their affairs.


Zola has separated the flowers and asked her to arrange them differently:

Can you do any other arrangements?' Zola asked
Toma without looking at her.
'"No, this is the only arrangement I make, 1 she said.
She smiled. 'They taught us this when we were children.
Mai-tai ! eh. 1


I replied.

11 1

Mai-tai, and every girl on the island can do this
single arrangement, and the girls of the island have been
making this arrangement and no other for over four hundred
years, 1 Zola said. His voic e was empty.
''Zola's face was held in a tight little smile, but his
eyes were suddenly deep and black with a strange expression.
I sensed that he had looked over the edge of the chasm. Between
us hung the knowledge that Toma could make only one flower
arrangement, could cook poa only one way, cook fish only one
way, make l ove in only one way, sing in only one pattern of
songs, dance one kind of dance. Anything outside of the simple
patterns did not interest her. A nd years ago Zola had come
to know all of them.
"Zola and I did not discuss this during the rema1nmg days
I was on his atoll. We walked and talked constantly; but he
never referred to himself. When the PBY returned I rowed the
old rubber boat out to it after saying good-by to Zola and Toma.
The sweat was pouring into my eyes by the time I reached .the
plane . I was tired. Just as I sh ipped my oars and looked again
at Zola's house the salty drops of sweat fogged my vision. Zola
seemed shrunken, small, hunched, almost bleached. He had
stopped waving. Toma seemed life- s iz ed and natural.
"He was a prisoner not of a dream, but of those faded years
in France that had instilled into his nerves and brain and soul
an int erest in questions beyond himself and beyond the day in which
he existed. He had escaped only the real presence of European
life; twisted through his mind like a maze of black jets were a
set of condition ings and experience s that had burned into his
youthful mind. From these he could never escape.


"Zola is typical of a whole breed of men, of white
men that live in the South Seas. Sensitive to the rawness
of their native society, they flee to the apparent tranquility
of the South Pacific. But by then the damage has been done.
"To every white man in the South Seas this dread knowledge of thinness, sameness, an endless unrolling of identical
acts, the haunting absence of distinct personality, must some
day be faced , For many it is too much to face. This is one
reason why so many of the white men of the Pacific are the
most quietly desperate alcoholics in the world. They have
burned all their bridges ; there is no path back to Paris or
Dubuque or London. They must, because of pride and sometimes sloth and sometimes poverty, stay in the South Seas .
But the original vision has been cauterized over with the scars
of experience. So they must be sustained by alcohol or gambling or opium or driving economic activity or, as in the case
of Zola, by a frantic search for the fullest knowledge of a
culture that he did not really value.
"There is a lesson . If you want to live in the South Seas
start early. Early, very early, our nerves become civilized,
It is not easy to then slough off the coatings of civilization; they
are more durable and tough than the softer stuff of primitive
II >:,
l1 e .
I would not write of this aspect of life so fully, but at the


X 11 the managers and all of the guests (except the Ri es and ourselves)

were mixed couples and I felt in large part the strangeness that we felt was
but a reflection of the resultant malaise which affected our hosts and fellow

It affected the Mooreans who, usually joyous, were, for some

reason, quite withdrawn and unresponsive.
We drove around most of the island and were intrigued.
is only one rough winding dirt road.



Uncluttered with vehicles, it is an

Eugene Burdick, 11 The Black and the White,
(Corgi Books, 1966), pages 139-140,


Best South Sea Stories


intimate part of almost every house and yard,
for there is no town in Moor ea .

It goes through no towns

There is no air strip.

except those on the sides of the streams,

There are no banks

There are several schools,

several stores run by Chinese, but these are not clustered in any settlement, just set along the 5 0-mile road that circles the island on the narrow
shelf of palm-covered land between the mountains and the sea.
The peopl e reflect their Eden-like surroundings.

The young

men are lithe, coordinated and, though full of fun amongst themsel.ves, are
fair l y low-voiced and quiet.

They are well muscled with strong, broad

feet and seem to have considerable strength, though they seldom expend it.
The older men, some of whom, when their hair turns white, are quite
patrician, tend to be far too fat - - and have no clothes to hide it, for a
pair of shorts and perhaps a pair of sandals are a complete wardrobe.
The girls are slender, graceful, soft-spoken, and openly friendly, but
few have faces that we would consider beautiful.

They wear the pareu,

a sheet of printed cotton which they may tie around their necks and wrap
around their body, or just wrap it quite tightly around their breasts (perhaps they tuck it into a strapless bra) and let it hang from mid-breast to
mid -thigh.

It is colorful and clean, but


doe sn 't do anything for the figure. "

Indeed, hanging straight down in front, it looks a bit like a maternity outfit
but with their love of children this is not an objectionable appearance,


Their voices are quite musical, whether they are speaking
Tahitian, French or a few words of English.

I understand their language

contains virtually no words representing intangible concepts.

They are not

contemplative or speculative by nature, but the language contains many
words for a single object .

I think there are twenty for the coconut tree

in different stages or shapes.
Their music is vocal.

The guitar or ukulele me rely provides

Their voices are pleasant but I could detect only one

part -- there was no harmony.

Occasionally one voice would ring out with

a challenge as in some of our Negro spirituals.
Those that have and keep regular jobs do their assigned chores
with dignity and, if you thank them, with a smile, but without any obvious
to do.

And if there is a minute 1 s lull, they do not seek something else

They sit down, strum a guitar or sing or gossip.

the moment 1 s need, is unnecessary.

Work, except for

Planning is incomprehensible.

Coconuts fall from the trees and,though some are occasionally
gathered by the side of the road to wait the copra buyer who must stop and
load them, they lie where they fall.
and grapefruit.

There are bananas, papayas, pineapples

They are gathered for today 1 s food but few are cultivated,

There are cows, but they are not milked.
and why else would one work?

They do not need to work to live

Life is to be lived for pleasure.



Calvinistic appreciation of discipline is absolute! y incomprehensible.


On Sunday, sitting by the shore, writing these notes, I could
see, 100 yards down the beach, ten young men alternately playing guitars,
singing and dancing, and kicking a little ball in an informal soccer game ,
Further on were two young, beautifully-formed girls lying on the beach
waiting to be noticed,

Beyond, sitting heavily in the sand were the wives

of the two managers watching their brood, stark naked, swimming and
playing on the beach .

Last night as we sat in the dusk having a pre-dinner

drink, those children were playing in front of us, when a thought seized them
and a little boy, about 5, played a drum in pantomime, and the two girls,
perhaps 4 and 7, danced the hip- swinging dance of the islands.


Again let me quote from Eugene Burdick. You may remember him for
his "The Ugly American 11 and "Fail-Safe. 11 An Iowa-born Stanford
graduate and Rhodes scholar, he spent part of each year here on
Moorea (until his death two years ago) and knew the people. In the
story that I quote from above, he described the Tahitian girl:

I think I understand Toma and through her, the Polynesian personality. She lives literally in the moment. She
loves tiare and her eyes will light up when she sees them,
but she will not plant them. She has started vegetable gardens
five times at my insistence, but each time has allowed the
gardens to wither. She loves radishes, but not e nough to grow
and fertilize and water them. Three times she has agreed to
hire workers to build an outdoor privy next to the bathhouse.
But each time the money has gone for calico or tobacco,
Flowers, radishes, a privy .•. all of these are things of the
future and Toma does not think of the future, Polynes ians
do not know how to calculate future pleasures. I do not know
why this should exasperate me but it does. 11 (page 13 7)


To dance and sing and to make love, those are the point of

The French understand this but (the Mooreans feel) the Americans
They come and want to change everything and make work.

should go home.


If it is necessary to let them come to bring their money ,

perhaps we can put up with it, but don't let them stay.
And they don 1t ! The smart Chinese, realizing that an islande·r
would sell anything for enough rum to give a party, were acquiring land
so rapidly that in 1934 the French government felt compelled to pr·ohibit
the purchase of any more land by foreigners (except from foreigners) .
To grant an exception, it is nec essar y for the local administration to get
approval from Paris and that is very rare.

This means that there is little

for sale and, because of its scarcity, that is at very high prices.

I was

told t hat land is sold in strips from the sea to the mountaintop and, as in
most places, there is only about a quarter of a mile nearest the beach
which is level enough to have any utilitarian value.

This makes such land

more expensive than any present use could justify.

On the other hand, the

Tahitians can lease their land and thus some are assured of income in
After the week end at Hotel


X 11 , we moved to Bali Hai for three

days of rest and writing (these notes and a speech for the A. I. B. ).
recollection had been correct.
Don Mc Callum.


The young man in the dirty shorts was

A manufacturer's representative in Los Angeles, he,


Hugh Kelley (a lawyer with Shera, Mallory and Kelley ), and Jay Carlisle,
a floor trader on the Pacific Coast Exchange, all bachelors and either
bored or discouraged with their lives, had d ec ided in 1960 to chuck it all
and go to Tahiti.

Here on Moorea they bought a vanilla plantation which ,

unfortunately, like most of the plantations here, was a bus t. ·,
So was the Bali Hai Hotel which had not yet had a guest.


the three bought the hotel and, after eighteen months of French red tape,
they owned it and received their first guests in June of 1962 .

In the inter -

vening five years they have worked harder to build up the buildings and the
clientele than they ever had in Los Angeles .

They have been successful.

The grounds, right on the ocean, are beautifully kept up.


lawns are deeply green around the very comfortable, airy thatch-roofed
cottages set amid the palms, which Maugham described as coming
down to the water's edge, not in rows, but
spaced out with an ordered formality. They
were like a ballet of spinsters, elderly but
flippant, standing in affected attitudes 11

looking at their reflections.
the guests American.


The food is good, the operation organized, and

The three bacheior s have now spread out and have a

In the first place, it is a lot of work. As you may know, vanilla is a
form of orchid, the seed pod of which is used to produce the flavoring
extract. Each plant has to be pollinated individually. Thus, it is hard
work. Secondly, the bugs get it. Thirdly, it isn't the best vanilla, and,
lastly, Madagascar not only produces better vanilla, it produces all that
is really needed . They are now trying to convert the land to pasture
and are bringing in some Charolais cattle.


second Bali Hai on Raia tea, about 100 miles west of here, a smaller,
more remote and even more beautiful island -- thus like this but more so.
Nothing is perfect.

The swimming is poor (because of coral)

and when, our first day here, a group of perhaps 100 from the Matson
cruise ship, the "Mariposa," came here for the day to enjoy the "biggest
show in all of Polynesia,


we felt momentarily transported to North Miami

Beach -- but that occurs only once each three weeks and by eight o ' clock
the day's guests had gone.
This is a beautiful spot, gaily cheerful, staffed with local girls
who never pass you without a pat.
the guitar or find another and sing .

If one has a free minute, she will play

We have not had to learn the name of

any other guest, but when v::e pass and say good morning, they not only
realize that it isn't an insult, they respond in kind.
If you were in the area, this would be a lovely place to vacation

but you might need to bring some project with you.

For one who needed it,

it would be a great place to rest and recuperate.
The warm humid air at best relaxes and at worst debilitates.
But it can unwind the most tense and I was deeply grateful for that.


constant beauty, the lack of exertion by anyone else quiets one 1s temptation
to help or suggest.

With any cooperation on your part, a week here more

than any place I know will


knit the raveled sleeve of care ... .



But it is not a place for you or me to live, not only because
of the humidity or the inaccessibility or the bugs, but because we have
lost our innocenc e.
In one of the articles Mrs . Freeman brought , the author
described his stay -"The days were the summer afternoons
of childhood, 11
and so I hope they were for him .

But for most of us people of the West,

particularly we whose businesses require so much of us, escape is not a
matter of location -- the water can be cool or tepid, but that counts only
for an instant.

A magnificent view can be observed but does not compel

constant observation.
we seek the shade.

The sun can be bright and we are grateful even as

It may still be true as Morrison said in writing of

these islands :
Their Inhabitants . . .. are without doubt the
Happiest on the Face of the Globe."

And the islands offer us some of this same beneficence, a completely
salubrious climate without, for the moment, any need of punctuality,
formality or concern.

But for us it is just "for the moment . "

For us,

over fifty years of discipline have closed the door forever on "the summer
days of childhood.


Moorea or Tahiti can offer decompression more equable than
Florida and free of retired friends or ambitious borrowers to interrupt
your dreams.


The constant rumble of a thousand waves against the coral
reef sounds like distant diesel locomotives to which, were we home, we
would close our ears.

In wondrous clouds which always build up on the

horizon, you see full sailing galleons, castles or a mountain range -- but
the only images you see are those you brought with you.
tests, those billowed shapes do not create.
to what you carry deep inside ,

Like Rorschach

They only open up the door

The thoughts of business and family, of

church and civic responsibilities that have woven strand by strand into our
lives - - like the threads that bound Gulliver to the ground, they by their
number restrain us.
We come too late to Tahiti.

Happiness is no longer for us a

matter of geography -- it is a matter of action, of problems, of decision,
and occasional victory.

I have no envy of the Tahitian 's freedom (a man is

free or enjoys liberty in proportion to which his life is governed by his own


Freedom is not doing as one pleases but doing as one chooses.


Our whole education and training is to choose wisely; the Tahitian 1s is to allow hims elf to be pleased.
the Tahitian.

Our concepts are quite foreign to

If we but substitute intellect or even curiosity in place of

soul, we can accept Maugham 1s observation,


A soul is a troublesome

passes sion and when man developed it, he lost the Garden of Eden ,



Ralph Barton Perry, "When is Education Liberal? 11 (Toward the
Liber ally Educated Executive), edited by Robert A. Goldwin and
Charles A. Nelson, The Fund for Adult Education, White Plains,
New York, 1959, page 37-.



We lost our innocence a long time ago.

We don't want to

live in the Garden of Eden - - it has no inside pl um bing and one can't be
certain that a fifty-year -old Eve would look good in slacks.
I am corny enough to love the United States,
I even like to work on its problems.

I love its people.

But I am intensely appreciative of

the chance to see other lands and observe their people.
And so, with that bit of sentimentality, I will end these notes
and pack my bags, for we leave at midnight for a long trip that arrives in
Chicago the following midnight,

Thus, I will close this, the fifth series

of letters from foreign travels.

As we have had the good fortune to see

most parts of the world except Africa and Central America, this may be
the last for some time,
I end with more than thanks -- a deep gratitude to you who,
over the years, have made it possible for us to see the world -- and to
Caterpillar for this particular trip.

Though of limited perception , I have

been grateful for the chance to observe the institutions, the interests and
the aspirations of so many peoples.

I don't know that I will be a better

banker, but I should be a wiser man.

With deep respect· arid affection,