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Indiana University

California - 1964

On arrival at Indiana University (IU), Bernard was told that he must first complete a M.Sc. degree in Education, before proceeding to study for a Ph.D. in Geography .He found much of the course work, and most of the lectures, dull and uninspiring, but he steadily did what was required.  IU is located in Bloomington, Indiana, a pleasant mid-west small town, and is in Brown County, noted for its glorious Fall colours. Snow is common in winter, but it is seldom bitterly cold, and Bernard readily adapted to, and appreciated, his new environment.

In his first year , Bernard stayed at the Graduate Residence Centre, a convenient base for him. In 1960, while staying there, Bernard rushed ( in those days he was always rushing ) downstairs, to do his laundry in the basement; the janitor had just washed the steel steps, which were still wet, and in the dark – the lamp bulb having burnt out – Bernard slipped, bumping his head on the steel steps. Despite realising that he was seriously injured, Bernard staggered back to his room, where, fortunately a friend found him, and immediately called an ambulance. He was taken to the Robert Long Hospital in Indianapolis, the state capital, where it was found that he had “broken his neck “ –two spinal vertebrae were badly smashed.. He had a long stay, nearly two months , in hospital, much of the time lying in traction, unable to move, in a men’s ward. Bernard made light of his period in hospital, but it must have been trying ,to say the least. The ward TV was on, full volume,  all day, and Bernard learnt every TV advertising jingle;  for years afterwards he  would amuse us by his accurate rendition of the glib Corn Flakes, Chewing Gum,  and other banal songs.

I was  then at the University of Ghana, and, not having received   Bernard’s usual weekly letter, I became frantic, and eventually managed to telephone IU, which put me through to the hospital, where, to my huge relief,  I was able to speak to Bernard. He was then still flat on his back, and later he told me that the African-American nurse, who brought him the telephone to his bed, was thrilled because “I spoke to Africa .That call was from Africa” Transatlantic calls were not common then .

While Bernard was in hospital, several young prisoners, who had escaped from a nearby penitentiary , were re-captured and brought into his ward. It was  a cold winter when the men escaped, and , as they were shod only in  thin sneakers, they had severe frostbite. Bernard was indignant and furious at the way the men , who were screaming in agony, were ill treated by the callous guards. All that Bernard,  who  was mobile by then,  could do was to offer them cigarettes, which he then lit for them . (This was 1960, when cigarettes were still acceptable gifts). As a foreign student, all Bernard’s medical treatment , which included two operations on his neck,  were covered by IU’s insurance  policy.

Thanks to the skill of the doctors, Bernard made a good recovery, and was able, after two months, to resume his studies, and to start swimming again. But the accident left him with several problems, some of which surfaced years later. These included Meniere’s Disease (balance problems),  tinnitus and  narcolepsy ; regular  visits to a neurologist continued for twenty years.

He soon had a circle of good friends, including many other foreign students. Chancellor Herman Wells, head of IU, had decided that because IU was tucked away in the middle of the U.S., far from the rest of the world, he would bring the world to IU. And he did ,  providing generous support, and attracting hundreds of foreign students. 1960 was at the height of the Cold War , so funds were available .Also, Africa had been “discovered” by the U.S., and IU had one of the best African Studies  programmes in the country. Bernard took a keen interest in African Studies, attending seminars in Political Science and Anthropology. IU was also noted for Slavic students, and Bernard’s friends included Vadim, a Russian school administrator
"tenure of liberating non-Soviet experience was abruptly terminated",  in Bernard's words. Bernard had earlier noticed " a trio of heavily over-coated and ominously silent  strangers, sitting conspicuous and uncomfortable, in the residents' lounge, and observing everybody." When Bernard later went to Vadim's room,  to invite him for a cup of "proper" tea, the room was bare : Vadim had been summoned home, presumably before he became too much at home in the U.S.

As well as the formal academic disciplines, IU has a great reputation for Music and Opera. Bernard regularly attended not only the formal performances, but also the frequent student recitals , becoming friendly with many young singers and musicians. Several of Bernard’s student friends were married,. and Bernard was in demand as a reliable baby-sitter, guaranteed to delight and look after  the children, while their parents went out – as often as not to a football match. Bernard did watch a few football games, observing closely all the rituals, but he was not as enthusiastic as his American pals.

near Boston - 1960

In his second year at IU, Bernard enrolled in the much more congenial Department of Geography, where Professor George Kimble was an established authority in African Geography. Bernard still had some “drudge work” to do, with required courses, which he tackled with determination. In addition to his studies, Bernard enjoyed a lively social life. He moved out of graduate residence to a comfortable flat on the outskirts of the university , and enjoyed preparing  his own meals again after the rather bland fare at the Graduate Residence Centre.

Bernard and I managed to meet from time to time, either through serendipity, or by careful  planning . In September 1960, when I was teaching at the  University of Ghana, I made my first visit to the U.S., attending the  annual conference of the African Studies  Association  at Hartford ,Connecticut. Bernard was also there, of course, and we were able to spend a few weeks together, partly in New York City,  at the Upper West Side flat of our friends Willard and Lily Rhodes. I was able to take leave from  the University of  Ghana, and to teach at Western Washington University College, in Bellingham, Washington, for the Fall Quarter of 1960. Quite co-incidentally, by a curious chance Bernard had taught summer school that year at this same college, so he helped my entry, recommending friends, places to visit, and the  convenient apartment which he had occupied. Bernard earned enough in the six weeks to buy a new Volkswagen, when he returned to IU.

In December that year, I came by train from the West Coast to Bloomington, Indiana, where Bernard , his beard frozen, met me on the freezing station platform., and introduced me to IU. We spent Christmas and New Year in New York City, where we had been offered a Greenwich apartment.

Then, by  a wonderful co-incidence, Professor Kimble was asked to recommend a replacement lecturer in Geography at the University of Ghana,  for the year 1961/1962.  The regular lecturer,   John Hunter, had been seconded to take part in the first Census of Ghana. Bernard was an obvious choice, as he was preparing a dissertation  comparing the  natural resources of  Ghana and Zambia . We shared a pleasant university house at Legon. Again, Bernard enjoyed the teaching, the field trips and  his introduction to an independent African state.  I spent a few days each week at Larteh,  less than an hour’s drive away,  at  my research location, which Bernard visited when he could ,   soon becoming a favourite of the chief and elders. Every Sunday we made a point of going to Labadi Beach,  where Bernard  befriended a group of Russian engineers and crew of the Iluyshin aircraft which  President Nkrumah had ordered, and which lay idle at Accra Airport. Bernard, with the help of an English speaker, told the eager Russians about the marine life; he and I taught the men how to body-surf, and we exchanged a few dramatic dinners..

 Bernard had become accustomed to celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November, so we gave  a special Thanksgiving dinner for the twenty or so young Americans who were teaching nearby, with the newly formed Peace Corps. We remain in touch with several of our guests. The logistics involved ordering a turkey from the University Farm weeks in advance and  having it cooked in the kitchens of a student hall of residence. We also had to deal with an enormous scorpion which joined the party. Bernard was pleased to have been  with me in Ghana, and his stay was invaluable for his dissertation, but he did find the heat and humidity trying, in the hot season, and was relieved to be back in the cooler climate of Indiana.

David Apter, of the University of California, Berkeley, (UCB) who was an expert observer of African Politics, invited  me to direct a Peace Corps Training Programme for Ghana, in the summer of 1962, at UCB. This was important for both of us, as Bernard joined the teaching  staff , excelling with the trainees,  and enjoying himself in discovering northern California. At the end of the training course, we took the fifty trainees for four days to Yosemite National Park, which became one of our favourite destinations. As a result of this experience, I was invited to join the Insititute of International Studies at UCB, and moved there in June 1963.My mother came to live with me, and Bernard came to “5 Highland Boulevard”  every summer, also at Christmas and any other time that he could manage. For three summers Bernard drove  in his little VW from Indiana to California, , taking  five days for the long journey, and telephoning me each evening. Each summer Bernard and I both taught in  the Peace Corps Training Programmes for Ghana. 

Peace Corps training - 1962
After my appointment at UCB, I travelled  a lot in the U.S., usually managing to fit in a side trip to Bloomington, where, as well as having the pleasure of each other’s  company, we attended superb operas  and I was able to met his circle of friends.

Bernard, while still finishing his dissertation,  accepted a teaching post at Ohio University, at Athens ,Ohio, where I  twice   visited him . Bernard completed his Ph.D. dissertation in 1967. The day before his defence , the very jolly celebration of  Conor Cruise O’Brien’s 50th birthday in New York had put Bernard, he clamed, in the right mood to face his inquisitorial committee.

Indiana University 1966
Bernard then moved to UCB, where he taught for two years  in the department of Geography, one of the leading departments in the country  During this period we were able to see each other frequently : I had moved  in 1966 to UC Santa Barbara, 350 miles to the south of UCB, and Bernard spent as much time as he could in our home there. One of the senior faculty members was Carl Ortwin Sauer, one of the best-known of American geographers, who encouraged Bernard. But we were both finding  separations increasingly trying, and we considered various possibilities which would re-unite us. I explored the chances of an appointment at UCB's Department of Anthropology, but I was told that they already had faculty members who covered my areas of specialization. We thought of re-locating to a new campus - Ohio University? Univrsity of Colorado? - but we could not find a suitable university which would offer each of us a position. Finally , Bernard transferred to UC Santa Barbara, in 1969,  to join me. I have always felt guilty about this move, because it was a sacrifice on Bernard's part, leaving UCB, with  one of the most prestigious departments of Geography, for UCSB's  small, unknown department at UCSB, which did not prove welcoming. Bernard constantly assured me that being together, in our lovely home on the Riviera in Santa Barbara, with our fulfilling social life, compensated for the academic disappointments.
Indiana 1961
Indiana 1991

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