George Immerwahr’s Memoirs

Addendum 1

Freshman Latin was taught by an eccentric professor, Paul Robinson Coleman-Norton.The class read plays in Latin by Terence and Plautus, which in some respects are as smutty as some modern writings.

Coleman-Norton suggested even sexier interpretations than were obvious. I don’t remember whether students could smoke in class (perhaps half the Princeton students smoked anyhow), but our professor always had a pipe in his hand, though he couldn’t keep it lit. He also dressed differently, often wearing a cloak or cape rather than a coat. The seniors’ “Faculty Song” had the following stanza about him:

      “Here’s to Norton, PRC,

      of Oxford University,

      with cape and cane and pipe and Sapphics,

      and Greek and Latin pornographics.”

My remaining freshman course was in chemistry, and it seemed little different from high school chemistry.

One of the things I remember about the course is that in lab we distilled ethyl alcohol pure enough to burn and also fit to drink. In those Prohibition days potable alcohol was much in demand, so that many of the chemistry students either consumed it themselves or sold it to other students.

Addendum 2

Rather early during our first year in Bombay, I met with a small group of international demographers there. One was a German named Hermann Schubnell, and he told me that the Bombay hotel where he thought he had a reservation couldn’t take him in and also couldn’t find an alternative place for him to stay. Jean and I had an extra bedroom in our apartment and invited him to stay with us, which he did.It turned out that he was the chief demographer of the German Federal Republic’s census bureau, and that his bureau was organizing a 1969 meeting of census officials of Third World countries. He hoped I could attend the meeting, which was to be held in the German city of Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt, in the summer of 1969. Our country and many others conduct their censuses in years ending in 0, while Great Britain and the former British colonies (like India) hold theirs in years ending in 1, so this 1969 meeting would be helpful to the attending countries planning their censuses.

Jean and I had already planned to be in the U.S. for vacation in June 1969, and while there – in addition to seeing our sons and some of Jean’s family -- I stopped at the Census office(my employer) in suburban Maryland and asked for permission and funding to attend Schubnell’s conference, and it was granted.

Schubnell and his staff were wonderful hosts, and there were several business activities of interest and also some hospitality arrangements for Jean and me. One of them was a delightful boat ride on the Rhine. I hadn’t been in Germany since our family visit there in 1920, but I knew some German, and I joined a team of three or four German census people on an experimental census project interviewing vineyard growers on the banks of the Rhine. Schubnell himself apparently had no family. He had lost an arm in WW II, but this did not hinder his activities. A few years after 1969, he retired and went to live near Freiburg and I visited him there while in Germany in 1977. Freiburg was also a favorite town for me, and Jean and I had a delightful visit there in 1981 in the company of Ed and Jack and their wives, Connie and Ella.

Wiesbaden was probably as delightful a place as I have ever visited. There was an opera house there, which Jean and I attended, one of the operas being “The Bartered Bride,” which was given on June 24, our anniversary. There were so many things of beauty and interest in Wiesbaden that we to visited it again in later years. A U.S. commissary was located in Wiesbaden where not only our troops stationed in Germany, but we too as government civilian employees were entitled to shop. Among our purchases were new parts for our VW, which though not completely disabled, had suffered in the car fire I wrote of earlier.

Addendum 3

The Moulton Family

The wonderfully warm relationship with the Moulton family has been a great joy in my life. Earlier my main contact with the Moultons was with Jean’s parents and sisters, but in later years an even closer contact has been with Jean’s brother Ed and his family.

Jean and I have had a number of delightful vacation outings which Ed organized, and which included Ed’s wife Connie, Jack and Ella, and sometimes Emily. In the spring of 1980 the seven of us went to Banff in Canada via Calgary, using a rented van from Calgary to Banff. It was early in the season and the hotel was quite empty, but there was enough of interest to make the trip enjoyable. We drove to Lake Louise too, and after returning from there, Emily and Jean drove much further north to Jasper and back.

Then in May 1981 we three couples, but without Emily, had a memorable European trip. I had answered a CS Monitor ad telling of a home in taking guests at Meersburg on the Bodensee (Lake Constanz), and this was the main stay for the six of us, but Jean and I went to several interesting places on the way there – London, Ostend, Wurzburg, Passau, Munich – before reaching the ladies’ home, and the other four of us had also traveled different routes. All six of us had used EuRail passes, which were good not only on the trains but also on the ships on the Bodensee. All six of us also took a bus trip from Munich to Rothenburg, a small Bavarian town which hadn’t changed since the Middle Ages.

After about a week at the Bodenseehome, all six of us went to Freiburg, where Ed and Connie visited the home of a couple who were the parents of an exchange student who had been in their home.  Freiburg is a delightful town I had already visited in the German state of Baden, right on the edge of the Black Forest, where Jean and I took an all-day hike while the others were visiting their friends. After a few days in Freiburg, the Moulton four left for home via Paris, while Jean and I went back to the Bodensee home, where we did more hiking and boating. We then went by train to Amsterdam, where we had a most enjoyable time and where we met the Sikkels whom we had known in Sri Lanka, who took us to some of the spots and told us of others, so that we had a most enjoyable time.

Another outing with the extended Moulton family was a stay at the Yosemite Park, I believe in 1983.I don’t remember much about it, except that (1) we saw El Capitan so I had a mental picture of it when grandson Mike climbed it much later, and (2) the park ranger told us that nobody at Yosemite had ever been killed by a bear, but that people had been killed by deer, when campers’ actions had confused them.

Ed and Connie had married in the fall of 1940, so their 50th wedding anniversary was in 1990. Their daughter Sue is married to Chuck Johnson, and Chuck’s parents had their 50th anniversary at the same time, and a Mexican Riviera cruise was booked for the three couples. But without telling the two anniversary couples, Sue and Chuck arranged for about an additional 20 Moulton and Johnson relatives to surprise their parents on the cruise ship, and Jean and I were happy to be included. Emily was included, and we had a most enjoyable week. In the years since then, both Emily and Jack Moulton have passed on, and Ella Moulton has returned to her birth area in South Dakota, but this time we were all altogether. In March 2004I enjoyed another Moulton cruise, again visiting the Mexican Riviera, and Don and Lisa and a very dear friend mine, Bunnie Simmel, were included. There were over 20 of us as before, but sadly this time Jean was longer with us.

Ed Moulton and I also had a delightful visit in Berlin in October 1994, where we also saw Potsdam, the palace of Frederick the Great, and Leipzig, the city virtually destroyed in WW II, now being rebuilt after the years of communist occupation. My German friend “Bill” Charig, whom I had known in Sri Lanka had died earlier that year, and after I sent a condolence message to his sister in Berlin, she said she hoped I would visit her and she knew an inexpensive place to stay and she might be able to show us her ancestral home near my own grandfather’s home in Silesia. Ed and I did visit her and her friend accommodated us, but we did not go to Silesia. She and Bill had fled Germany in the 1930s, first to Shanghai, but Bill went later to Sri Lanka and settled there, while she later went to Buenos Aires and still later settled in Berlin.

After Ed and I parted in Berlin, he returned home, while I went to visit my cousin Olga in London. A year or two later, Jean and I took our last foreign trip, going again to London and seeing Olga, but then staying at the British retreat for Christian Scientists at Charton Manor in rural England, and also seeing the nearby Canterbury Cathedral.

Addendum 4

Starting sophomore year I worked as a waiter in commons. I don’t remember the rate of pay was, except I remember that by waiting on table about 10 meals a week, including 3 breakfasts, my own meals were paid for. I liked the work, as it brought me into closer friendship with other waiters, Jerry Crowley being one of them. Since membership in the upperclass eating clubs was expensive, and since many waiters lacked enough funds to join a club if elected to one, most who waited on table sophomore year continued to eat in commons – and continued to wait on table – during upperclass years. I don’t remember whether Dad could have met all the expenses had I not worked (which he did freshman year), but I was glad to work.

I also received a scholarship my last three years which further reduced Dad’s outlay for me. Moreover, I was awarded a prize for a math paper I wrote, called the William Marshall Bullitt Mathematics Prize. I didn’t have enough sense to try to find who Bullitt was and thank him, probably thinking that he was an alumnus long dead. But years later, when preparing figures for the New York Life’s defense in a dividend lawsuit, the attorney I worked with was William Marshall Bullitt himself. I was embarrassed not to have thanked him earlier, but I thanked him then, and he graciously thanked me for my long delayed thanks.

In junior year I continued waiting on table but took on an additional job, that of delivering the “Prince,” i.e., the Daily Princetonian, to dorm rooms on the campus and to a few spots off the campus, five (or maybe six) days a week. I liked the job, most of which I ran, being able to run up and down the dorm steps, and in and out fourth-floor bathrooms onto fire escapes (so as not to have to descend all the way downstairs to get from one entry to the next). The job took me just an hour each morning, usually between 6 and 7, so that I could then report for work at commons mornings. Senior year I quit waiting at commons but continued delivering the “Prince.”

Starting sophomore year, I played trombone in the student symphony orchestra. My classmate Joe Hawthorne was conductor, and we played movements from Haydn and Mozart symphonies, or maybe  entire symphonies. I owned a viola, hoping I to play in a string quartet, but I got nowhere with it. But Joe borrowed my viola (he had formerly played only the violin) and became rather famous as a violist, and eventually became conductor of some U.S. orchestras, one being like the Duluth Symphony.

The viola stayed in our family and our son Dick became very proficient at it as well as on the violin, piano and organ. The other member of our class who became a real musician was Jim Sykes, a fine pianist. Jim became head of the music department at Dartmouth and also played for the U.S. Information Service in foreign countries, but unfortunately not where I was working at the time. Earlier I mentioned the music course which I took senior year in which Irv Pedly, Lester Smith, Jin Sykes and Joe Hawthorne were fellow students. Later, at our major reunions, Jim and Joe gave joint recitals, attended by music-loving alumni of several classes as well as by many of our own class.

Addendum 5

Jean did considerable foreign travel without me, some in the company of her sister Emily, and some in the company of our son Don. The travel with Don was during 1970 when I had returned to Bombay from Seattle without her; at that time she and Don toured France for about a week and also Great Britain. On the British part of the trip they rented a car and toured England, Wales and Scotland, also taking a boat to the Isle of Skye off the Scottish coast.

Earlier that same year, Emily came to India to visit us with a friend whose name I don’t remember, and after a few days in India, the two of them and Jean set out on quite a long trip, which involved Israel, Turkey and Italy. In Israel hey hired a car with a driver to take them all the way north to the Sea of Galilee, and the man happened to be an Israeli Arab. When asked whether as a descendant of Abraham whether he was a brother of the Jews, he replied that he was only a cousin. In Turkey they spent some time in Istambul and brought back photos of the art in the museum there. Their last stop was in Rome, where they not only toured Vatican City, seeing the Sistine Chapel and other displays of Michelangelo’s art, but also rented a car to see the rest of Rome and its environs. I had been told that Rome is the world’s most difficult city to drive in, but Jean did the driving and did it safely, as she always had done in her long driving career.

Her next trip with Emily was in 1980 while I was working in Ghana. They did a full tour of Scandinavia, plus going into the Netherlands and then Germany, where they visited Oberammergau to see the Passion Play, which is performed only in summers of years ending in 0. I was grateful that Jean had these travels.

Each of us visited Russia, but separately. When we lived with the Chopras in New Delhi is the latter half of 1973, we met a young Indian musician named Surojeet Chatterji, studying piano at the Delhi School of Music. After becoming acquainted with Surojeet, we found a room for him between floors at Chopras’ home, where he could sleep, eat and practice piano. He was a very advanced pianist, and he introduced us to some piano works which we had not known, including the slow movement of the Beethoven Opus 10, No. 3, which Jean got to love. It so happened that in November of 1973, when we were about to leave for Sri Lanka, Surojeet won a piano scholarship to study in the Moscow School of Music. He was there for a number of years, and after Jean and I had gone to Sri Lanka, each of us traveled to Moscow at different dates to visit Surojeet, and he took us around to show us the city. (Surojeet now teaches piano in southern California.) Still later, in March 1983, I was in Russia again, this time in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) as part of a week’s tour with Don and Mike, a tour which also included a few days in Helsinki, Finland.

Our going to India and then to Sri Lanka meant that Jean no longer taught school, but she was just as active overseas as she had been in Baltimore. In India Jean found many subjects to stimulate her interest, and she became a published writer. Most notable were her articles written for the Christian Science Monitor (and syndicated into other U.S. newspapers) and dealing with such subjects as family planning, arranged marriages, India-Pakistan relationships, and so on. But she also wrote for Indian – and later Sri Lankan-- journals. In Delhi she sought out Kushwant Singh, probably the most outstanding Indian journalist and publisher of the Illustrated Weekly News of India, and wrote an article for that journal on travel or immigration to U.S. This was based on her volunteer work assisting a U.S. consular officer and witnessing his interviews of Indians seeking U.S. visas. Jean met important Indians and Sri Lankans active in several fields, architects and city planners, sports writers, census managers. The latter invited her to participate in India’s 1971 census by counting part of Bombay’s large homeless population.

Having become a published writer, Jean was eligible for membership in the National League of American Pen Women (she was proposed for membership by our friend Betty Covington, who had closely followed Jean’s writing career). She became a member of the very active Seattle chapter, and a few years later was elected president of that chapter. I usually attended the chapter meetings with her (along with our Bothell friend Carol Thomas), and I greatly enjoyed the fine manner in which Jean presided over chapter meetings during her presidency..

Jean did some excellent work to document some of our travels, filling beautiful loose-leaf books with photographs and descriptions, all done very artistically. I particularly love the books she made up our visit to the Bodensee area together with Ed and Connie, Jack and Ella. Whatever Jean did, she did so carefully and well. I wasn’t much of a gardener at any place where we lived, but I have a framed photograph in color of the beautiful flower garden she created at our mobile home in Kenmore during a summer when I was away in Africa.

Throughout our life together music was a great joy. We attended operas, symphony and other concerts, and we also joined in choral singing, particularly in Sri Lanka. When we came to Kenmore to live, we often sang together on December 26 in the Messiah sing-alongs, and sometimes our grandsons joined us. And in Jean’s latter years, she greatly enjoyed the music at Northshore House, especially the guitar player Greg, whom she vigorously applauded. She was a wonderful whistler, and when we played CDs in our apartment, especially Carmen selections and Sousa marches, Jean accompanied them with her beautiful whistling.

Addendum 6

Population Views

Earlier I referred to our excellent servant Peter whom Jean described in her delightful book “Driver in My Kitchen.” Peter served our household in New Delhi as driver, cook, server, cleaner, shopper, advisor and friend, and in all these capacities he was excellent. After we left India, we continued our contact with him with gifts and letters, but after a few years he mysteriously disappeared, to our great concern.  I fear that he may have gone for work to the Middle East and got into trouble there.

When Peter began work for us, his wife was in her ninth pregnancy, and Jean tells that he later had a vasectomy, which was a rare procedure for a Muslim man. Peter explained to us that Muslim men considered it to be their duty to procreate as many children as possible. I already knew that Muslims in India had a much higher birth rate than non-Muslims, and this appears to be true in every country where Muslims and non-Muslims live side by side.

This situation concerns me, because if we agree that population growth is a world problem, we cannot tolerate a situation in which one religious or ethnic group believes it must outbreed all others. I note, however, that some Muslim nations have higher birth rates than others, and that a nation’s birth rate appears to be related to the degree of its fundamentalism, as measured by its repression of women. Women in Turkey or Tunisia, for example, are less repressed if at all – and therefore have much lower fertility – than women in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. Women in post-Khomeini Iran also have much lower fertility than did women in the fundamentalist Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini’s day. Simply in the interest of reducing population growth, I hope that Muslim fundamentalism may become a thing of the past, but I am not sure when that will be.

I am also very concerned about the immigration the US and other countries are receiving from high-fertility countries. Mexico has a long record of irresponsible childbearing and its government took no measures to correct this, but still acts as if the US has a responsibility to receive much of Mexico’s excess population.

It is obvious that without our liberal immigration policy, the Mexican government would long ago have taken drastic steps to reduce the Mexican birth rate, and all Mexicans would have been better off for it.

An expression being used in the literature today is “reproductive health,” which obviously includes a woman’s health and safety during pregnancy, but also emphasizes the right of a woman to limit the number of children she bears and may therefore include the right to abortion as well as contraception. Something that “pro-life” people seemingly don’t understand is that the prevention of unwanted pregnancies by effective contraception is the real way to minimize abortion. Refusal to fund contraception where necessary will only increase the rate of abortion, as women denied contraception are very likely to rely on abortions. as I learned in my work in Colombia. All women must have the right not to bear children against their will. but at the same time women must avoid bearing too many children. “Stop at Two” is the goal in some nations’ family planning program, and as world population grows this should be the goal everywhere.

Low fertility – and better controlled fertility – will benefit children even more than it benefits women. In my book “World Population Growth,” described on a previous page, I deplore the fact that people beget children without giving thought to the life-prospects for those children. International proclamations, such as the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, list the rights that every child must have, rights to health, education, security, and so on, but I add an additional right, the right not to be born unless all these other rights are in place. To procreate excessive children for the parents’ – usually the fathers’– own perceived economic, emotional or prestige needs, or to satisfy ethnic or religious demands, is most unfair to these children. Sadly, in several areas of the world, only men – not women – control reproduction decisions.

As I look back over the many activities in my career – actuarial work, work in demography, and helping children – the one I usually take most satisfaction in is whatever I may have done to help families become smaller. I see today that Sri Lanka women now bear only two or three children whereas their mothers had five or six, and if my work contributed in any way to such change, I feel good about it.

Addendum 7

(This addendum has been dropped; some of its contents are in Addendum 5)

Addendum 0

My love for Jean, and hers for me, are my main reasons for writing these “memoirs.” There are so many times in each day when I think dearly of her, so many moments when I am filled with gratitude for her love for me, for her patience with me, and for the constant humor with which she filled our marriage with gladness and joy. And it is not only these memories that come to me so constantly, but also the so frequent praises of her which come from others. One woman, for example, who was her student in school years ago, tells of the beauty of Jean’s speaking voice and how she, having lost her own mother, found Jean as a role model who enlightened her life as a young woman,Another woman, who served us at our home in Sri Lanka,wrote me after Jean’s passing that she had loved and admired Jean so much that she often prayed for Jean’s health and happiness. These are among the many tributes that came to me in Jean’s memory.

Although Jean and I stopped dating in the spring of 1933 after we had dated for about six months,when we resumed our friendship five years later she became so loving that I never thought of the preceding five years. During the year of our engagement she wrote me almost daily (I wrote her too), and she also copied in her beautiful hand two books full of poems which she felt symbolized her friendship and love, for example Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet which begins “How do I love thee; let me count the ways,”After our marriage we agreed not to save the letters we had written to each other in our engagement, but these two books of poems I still have, and I love re-reading them, each time remembering the poems as messages of her love.

And so I can always say and sing, with Stephen Foster’s words, “I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair.”

This book includes much about Jean and her activities and our wonderful life together, but I realize that it includes far more about me and my work, since I know and remember the details of my work, while I know only a relatively few details of her childhood or youth or her work as a teacher. But Jean has been a devout Christian Scientist all her life, and she has expressed her devotion to our religion and to God in poems she has written. Eleven of these poems have been published in the Christian Science Journal and Sentinel, and they are appended to this book.

Addendum 8

The African men I worked with in Ghana, both students and faculty, could see nothing wrong in Africa’s high birth rate and rapid population growth. Although family planning was barely touched on at the Institute, almost all the men were opposed to what they knew about family planning, and particularly the use of condoms, even for prevention of disease. The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa had already begun by 1982, but we at the Institute knew nothing about it. I myself became particularly concerned about African population growth, and in both Nigeria and Ghana I witnessed the great movement from the countryside to the cities, and how unprepared the cities were to handle this migration.  I also was concerned about increasing shortages of food and water, and the increased poverty that might result. But almost no African men at the Institute shared my concerns.