Montana Diaries

The staff of Helena High School’s 'Nugget' newspaper. (Ron, center, second row from top.)

     Upon completion of his first Pacific passage, Ron returned to the home of his grandparents in Montana for two restless semesters at the local high school. He attended classes in a white-spired edifice vaguely resembling a rectory. He joined the student newspaper staff of The Nugget, and penned a humor column. He studied piano with an aunt until it was discovered he could not read a single note, but rather excelled as a machine gunner with the 163rd Infantry of the Montana National Guard. He scraped together the purchase price for an old Model T roadster, accompanied a basement band on his well-traveled sax and otherwise attempted to reacclimatize to a small-town existence he had plainly outgrown.

     But if China was a fabulous puzzle box, he knew very well he had only examined the first intriguing drawer. And so from these days — or more precisely from aboard the vessel on which he finally escaped provincial life — comes this account of his hurried departure and the start of a second Asian voyage, at the age of seventeen.

Montana Diaries

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