Last week, while I was traveling and incommunicado, John Coyne and Lawrence (Lorenzo) F. Lihosit of Peace Corps Writers published a nice Q&A with me. All thanks to fellow Red Roomer and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Michael Schmicker for playing the role of matchmaker.
I served in the Peace Corps in the 1980s. No latrine building, no bridge building as in the goofy 1985 Tom Hanks/Rita Wilson movie "Volunteers." I was a development banker in the South Pacific. Had an office job. My office window overlooked Apia Harbor, just across the street. A few blocks away was Aggie Grey's Hotel. The name may not ring a bell, but Aggie was the inspiration for the Bloody Mary character in James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific and the classic musical "South Pacific." Aggie was an old woman by the time I arrived, though I was lucky to meet her and even dance with her a few times, as she liked to show up at her hotel's Sunday evening fiafia (hula) and please her customers with a graceful siva Samoa (Samoan dance). Her son Alan was a member of a couple organizations to which I belonged, and he offered me unlimited free swimming rights at the hotel. The Samoans don't like their Peace Corps Volunteers swimming and snorkeling in the lagoon because, in the early days of volunteers in Western Samoa, one was eaten by a shark.
Many Peace Corps Volunteers write. Perhaps it has something to do with the richness of our experiences, the relative leisure of the cultures to which we are introduced, the desire to keep our memories alive and immortalized, and the hope that others are interested. John, Lorenzo, Michael, and I are but a small part of a much larger universe whose members include Paul Theroux, Vanity Fair writer (and widow of the late, great Tim Russert) Maureen Orth, and probably a thousand or so others.
Thanks to Michael for introducing me to Lorenzo, and thanks also to Lorenzo and John for finding my dishonor killings work worthy. I hope you enjoy the article. I've also added it to my Red Room Articles and Stories list.
Causes Ellen Sheeley Supports
For All Women Foundation