13 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (8)

Swent: The planes didn't fly at night, did they? 

Haldeman: No, it was all day flights, because it was instrumentation 
landing; that was way back in the square wheel days. [laughs] 
They calculated that it took three days to get here. On the 
second day, the mine superintendent called me up and said, 
"We're going to go down and meet our wives, so I have my special 
rail car here." He had a special management car. 

The Sewell General Manager's Rail Vehicle:

He said, 
"I want you to be at the station this afternoon at a certain time, 
and we're going to go down. I have hotel rooms at the Crillon." 

So we went down. This man, Jack Withers, was a real nice 
guy and a good miner, but he had a problem with the bottle; he 
drank an awful lot. Most of the people at that time in the 
mining business were pretty heavy drinkers. We got down to 
Santiago, and the next daythe third dayI got a call from him 
at seven in the morning at the hotel. He said, "You call the 
airline and find out when the girls are arriving." So I tried 
to get through to the airline. It so happened that the airline 
didn't answer me until just about one o'clock, and they told me 
they had been off-loaded in Panama. They weren't exactly sure 
which plane they were scheduled out on. 

"All right," he said, "if that's the case, let's go over to 
the restaurant on the central plaza, the Bahia, and we'll have 
lunch. It's the best restaurant in town, and I'll buy." Well, 
with the cocktails and the like, I had to take him home in a 
taxi and put him in bed. This happened five days in a row. The 
girls were off-loaded later on in Quito, and then in Lima. 

Finally they arrived. Then we went up to Sewell and got 
married by the Registro Civil, the civil registry a legal 
marriage, not a church wedding. Then we went down to Vina. So 
for two weeks' honeymoon, I spent half of it with the mine 
superintendent and the other half with my wife. [laughter] 

The American compound at Sewell in 1967 shortly before the area was razed
american sector sewell
Haldeman: We went up to the house, and I had bought a bed from a family who was leaving and had stored it in the mine staff house basement. I told the mozos there- -the boys who worked in the place- -to have it put in my house to be ready when I came. We walked into the house, and I went into the bedroom, showing my wife around. It was a very small house; they're all the same size and shape, painted the same colors, and they had some company furniture that was Just as rustic as it could be. It was nice and well done, but it was very functional. Here's the bed, flat on the floor, no legs on it, no bedstead. My friends in the mine staff house had gone away with them. [laughs] I had a trunk that I had bought, and that trunk was in the living room. On top of it 1 had a lamp. I had choapinos, little throw rugs made by the Indians. That's how we set up our house. I called up the mine timber- framing shed. All the mine timbers were 12 inches by 12 inches by 6, 7, or 8 feet long. I had them cut out four blocks a foot long and bring them down to the house, and that raised the bed for a month until I could get the guys to give me the rest of the bed. [laughter] Swent: This was one of those tricks they played on honeymooners? Haldeman: Yes. Little bit by little bit my job was a little better, a higher boss.

Index to Haldeman Interview

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