The Place of Places -The Royal Hibernian Hotel, Dublin, 1939

Welcome back to the Place of Places, a chapter by chapter analysis of William Saroyan’s 1972 memoir, Places Where I’ve Done Time. Today we check into The Royal Hibernian Hotel, Dublin, 1939.

Saroyan is flush with cash and fame in 1939. The gravy train that started running in 1934 wouldn’t stop until the outbreak of war. After the success of The Time of Your Life, he took a trip to Europe. He writes, “Stopping at hotels in the big cities of the world is a joy to a new traveler, and I must not forget this, for it is one of the delights of the human experience. The hotel one stops at in a new city doesn’t have to be the best in town by any means. It can even be one of the worst, but being there, in that new city, is a beautiful thing. Everything is new, everything is different, everything is ready and right. The old, shabby hotel is new to the traveler, the old furniture in his room is new to him, the old people at work in the hotel are new people, and different, and astonishing” (Places Where I’ve Done Time).

DublinOn this trip he would be visiting London, Paris, and Dublin, before rushing back to New York and San Francisco to work more. As the shroud of war fell over Europe, people in Dublin felt unmoored. Even though it was England that would bear the brunt of the war with Germany, the sense of inevitable destruction was felt by all in Dublin. When Hitler invaded Poland in September of 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Saroyan was visiting in July of 1939. He tried to ignore the dread, going out and drinking with Irish authors and new friends, trying to enjoy travel as much as he always had. But the air was thick with fear and he knew that ignoring it wouldn’t stop war from reaching him.

In Europe, some things could feel immutable. The Royal Hibernian Hotel was built in 1751, the oldest hotel in Ireland. Even the name Hibernia was the ancient Latin geographical name for Ireland. Ironically, the hotel was favored by British Army Officers following the Act of Union in 1801 that created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Hibernian was known for its culinary quality and though Saroyan claims he got one of the below average rooms, he explains that it was one of the best hotels in Ireland at the time. Though Europe was already beginning to crumble, it seemed impossible that such established places could change. The Royal Hibernian closed in 1982.

b39b0e195b532963eb3da7f87f1a29dcThis was an important trip to him and he writes about it in his memoirs frequently. In this chapter, he writes, “Ireland was a place of great and deep meaning to me.” From an early age he had admired Irish author George Bernard Shaw. As an adult, he considered James Joyce one of the finest writers there was. He felt that Joyce was the father to Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien, as well as most modern Irish greats. Saroyan shared some sensibilities with the Irish tradition of writing, including an emphasis on the act of storytelling. In the mid-20th century, Irish fiction would lean into modernism and absurdism, both genres that Saroyan naturally fell into.

In I Used to Believe I Had Forever, Now I’m Not So Sure, he tells us, “I had made a point of getting to Europe once more before the beginning of the war that everybody knew was now unavoidable. My route was London, Paris, London, Dublin, and back to New York.” On that trip in 1939, he finally got to know professional writers that he really liked. He had been isolated in Fresno and San Francisco, and even in New York he interacted more with actors than other writers. In fact, only in Hollywood had he been friendly with other writers, and most of those friendships didn’t last, apart from his lifelong bond with John Fante.

Once he got to Europe in 1939, people started recognizing him. This happened in Paris when bookstore owner and American ex-pat Sylvia Beach recognized him and put him on the phone with James Joyce, an astounding moment to him. And it happened in Dublin when Frank O’Connor recognized him and brought him out with a handful of young Irish writers. Saroyan tells us that O’Connor was a short story writer who was about to become famous in 1939. He explains they he and O’Connor and O’Connor’s future wife, Evelyn Bowen, went to get coffee. “I just sat there and drank coffee and listened and talked and felt great.”

Writing is such a solitary endeavor that it was hard for Saroyan to connect with his colleagues very often. Though he did collaborate with artists and writers throughout his career and wrote countless introductions for other authors’ books, the chance to casually chat without ego was one he cherished. On a walk in London during that same trip in 1939 he also had a good conversation with editor and writer Edward O’Brien, one remarking on how many writers claimed to be communists and yet only cared about each other, not the poor or the homeless they met on the street. Saroyan enjoyed relating to his colleagues, the only people who could know what being a writer really felt like. On this trip to Dublin, he tells us he also met Sean O'Faolain, Niall Montgomery, and Flann O’Brien. O’Faolain was slightly older and also known for his short stories, like Saroyan and O’Connor. Montgomery was an architect, poet, artist, playwright, and literary critic who would receive praise for his analyses of Joyce and Beckett.

images 2O’Brien was actually a pen name for Brian O’Nolan. The trip was inspiring and he particularly hit it off with O’Nolan. In fact, with O’Nolan’s approval he borrowed a discarded name for O’Nolan’s book, At Swim-Two-Birds. This was Sweeney in the Trees. When Saroyan returned to San Francisco, he wrote a play of that name. In 1938, O’Nolan wrote a letter to his agent about the title: “I’m rather surprised that Longman’s don’t like the title SWEENY IN THE TREES. It certainly seems preferable to AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS, which I now like less and less” (Journal of Irish Literature 1974-01: Vol 3 Iss 1). O’Nolan and Saroyan admired each other. Saroyan appreciated the satirical works O’Nolan was putting out. O’Nolan appreciated that Saroyan was making money as a writer. In Anthony Cronin’s biography of Brian O’Nolan, he writes that Saroyan’s visit to Dublin in 1939 was a breath of fresh air for the Irish writers. Saroyan was proud of the money he had made with his successful hits. To O’Nolan, Saroyan proved that one could make money writing, and Saroyan promised to connect him to his agent, Harold Matson, in America. Matson wasn’t as impressed with O’Nolan and the relationship didn’t go far, but it was characteristic of Saroyan to try to help his friends make their mark in the industry, whether it was in Hollywood or New York. O’Nolan and Saroyan corresponded regularly for a time after they met in 1939, though they didn’t stay close.

s l500 4Later in the 1950s, Waiting For Godot would premiere in America, an absurdist play that some people felt was about nothing at all. It received both wildly positive and wildly negative reviews. Saroyan liked it and wrote the introduction liner notes for the Columbia recording of the Broadway performance. When Saroyan wrote The Cave Dwellers, critics claimed it was inspired by Waiting for Godot. Saroyan, however, believed that Waiting for Godot was inspired by parts of The Time of Your Life. Playwright Samuel Beckett merely found that amusing. Beckett was another Irishman with a similar outlook to Saroyan.

This chapter is filled with the opposing feelings prevalent everywhere at the time. Though he admits he had a grand time with the Irish writers, he repeats that he felt the approaching war and kept having to push that feeling down. At that time, he didn’t know how much the war would affect him, as a soldier and as a person and writer. His career would never flourish like it did before the war, and the last breath of success in 1939 stuck with him as a pivotal moment in his life.

By 1946, emotionally wrecked and struggling with the poor reception of The Adventures of Wesley Jackson, Saroyan began looking back over the year 1939, realizing how remarkable it had been for him. That year he had traveled to Mexico, Cuba, London, Dublin, and Paris. He purchased a house in San Francisco for his mother and sister. He wrote the plays Elmer and Lily, The Hero of the World, Loves Old Sweet Song, and Sweeney in the Trees. Two Broadway premieres had occurred: My Hearts in the Highlands and The Time of Your Life. He wanted to write about that dazzling year and gave the draft the title Early Thursday. He gave himself a quick deadline as usual but couldn’t seem to achieve what he wanted. When he re-read his chapters, he found that they were just retellings of stories he wrote in 1939. Nothing seemed to work out and he ended up abandoning the book, opting to create a collection of reprints instead, which was rejected by his publishers. The more he tried to think about 1939, the more mental blocks he found, and that wonderful year became closed off to him as his life continued to unravel after the war.

This chapter is perhaps a type of redemption. By 1969, when he began writing Places Where I’ve Done Time, he was able to revisit 1939 more clearly and to see it with more context and perspective after 30 years. This is a chapter about expectations, about luck, about brotherhood, and about the fragility of all of those things. In Days of Life and Death and Escape to the Moon, Saroyan wrote, “The beauty of a city is frequently not really beauty at all, but a cherishing of the odds and ends of places which are in reality disproportionate, lopsided, and wrong, but deeply real, and therefore beautiful. Dublin has that beauty.”

A New Silence – The Obituaries of William Saroyan

Forty-one years ago, William Saroyan passed away at the age of 72. His star had faded significantly, but he was still being published, still in demand for speaking engagements and interviews, even if he rarely granted them. His illness was widely reported, especially following reports of an April 22nd stroke. This report may or may not have been accurate, though it was announced the following day that Saroyan was suffering from prostate cancer. The coverage of his illness included the Fresno Bee’s long-time columnist Eli Setencich’s beautiful piece called “Not Dying, Aram” which serves as both a tribute to his friend as well as a pre-obituary. Saroyan had not had a best-selling book in several years, though the final book he released during his lifetime, Obituaries, had been well-received, with United Press International critic Donald Thackrey saying, “It will be nominated for the National Book Critics Circle award – and deservedly.”

Saroyan finally expired on May 18, 1981. His final weeks had been an emotional roller coaster for William and his immediate family (much of which is detailed in son Aram’s book Last Rites) and the final breath seemed to have stoked the fire of his fame again, even if only briefly. There were dozens of obituaries written, appearing in hundreds of publications.

FresnobeeIt should be no surprise that the Fresno Bee, Saroyan’s hometown paper, ran the most thorough coverage. The May 19, 1981, edition carried many tributes, some written by friends, others by staff writers. The entire upper half of the front page was dedicated to Saroyan’s passing, under the banner headline, “Author William Saroyan Dies.” The coverage inside featured three long pieces, including an uncredited editorial and a series of photos of Saroyan from across the years. This was the most coverage Saroyan’s death received at the beginning, though tributes to him would show up regularly in the Bee over the decades that followed. Several of these were from Setencich, and another notable piece, Mark Najarian’s “Soviet Armenians mourn ‘brilliant son’,” noted that the local Armenian community leaders had been receiving communications from Armenians offering their condolences.

“We are consoled only with the thought that his second life, which is immortality, starts,” Najarian reported one telegram read.

Saroyan had been good friends with San Francisco columnist Herb Caen, a legend whose career had begun in the 1930s. A venerable member of the journalism profession, he published many articles covering his exploits with Saroyan, and his piece “Gray Day in May” covered the passing. Caen recounted their friendship, begun in a San Francisco that had ceased to exist; a city where restaurant Omar Khayham’s and Izzy Gomez’s bar were powerful landmarks for their class of people. Caen noted in the piece,

"The first phone call I received yesterday morning brought the news that he had died of cancer at the age of 72 in the Veteran’s Hospital at Fresno. Although he had achieved a reasonably great age, it didn’t seem right. It is hard to think of Bill Saroyan dead – he was always so full of life. No one else seems to have so much of it, or enjoy it more."

Many other notable friends wrote important pieces for major papers, including author Herb Gold for the LA Times on the 24th of May, 1982, entitled, “He Had the Time of His Life: an Appreciation of William Saroyan.” It opens with a line that Saroyan himself might have approved of: “The daring young man has jumped off the trapeze.” This was in addition to a near full-page obituary of Saroyan that extolled him as a “California writer”*- in a piece that covered both his life and works. Written by Bill Secter, a Times staff writer, it is one of the deepest looks at Saroyan in a major market American newspaper.

The Sacramento Bee ran a long article by Fresno Bee reporter Royal Calkins called “Hardships Dominant in Saroyan’s Life” that detailed many of the issues that faced Saroyan throughout his times. It opens with a sentence quoting Saroyan that he certainly would have approved of as a tribute:

“Of his birth William Saroyan wrote ‘On the last day of August in the year 1908 in the city of Fresno I came into the world sick to death with astonishment anger and gladness — The birth was swift, relatively painless and unrecorded.’”

Tributes were written by his friends and admirers, including then-President Ronald Reagan, who penned a piece to be read at the Los Angeles celebration honoring his life.

It is a great pleasure to join with you in this tribute to "William Saroyan – A Celebration of His Life and Works.”
The son of Armenian refugees, Saroyan overcame hardship and poverty to become one of the great authors of this century. His timeless writings, which affectionately tell of average people struggling against the adversities of life, continue to arouse warmth and empathy in the hearts of audiences the world over.
Mr. Saroyan - a Californian – remained deeply tied to his special heritage. He dedicated his second volume of stories to the "English tongue, the American earth, and the Armenian spirit." William Saroyan was certainly the fiery embodiment of all three.
This nation is richer for his great talent and for his deep understanding of the human spirit and the world in which we live. His works, among the finest in American literature, will live forever as an important part of the cultural history of this nation.




The New York Times ran a substantial obituary, a portion of which appeared on the lower right-hand corner of the front page. The Washington Post provided a nearly-1500-word obituary. The two major American newswire services, the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) each wrote 500-word obituaries that dozens of papers excerpted at various lengths. Several papers, including Newsday, which had a long-standing habit of running reviews for every Saroyan play that opened in New York, and the Boston Globe, ran Secter’s obituary from the LA Times on May 19th, and many other papers did the same on the 20th, 21st, and 22nd.

The obituaries that ran delved into his story writing, his playwriting, and his personal issues with gambling and finances. In addition to the spotlight and feature pieces written in the LA Times, in the obituary section they ran a tradition obit – “Author William Saroyan; he stressed life’s dearness.” The piece emphasized the breadth of his work, mentioning his stories, plays, and songwriting, as well as his unhappy time in the military, gambling and tax issues, and his near mania to record the last years of his life.

Television news covered Saroyan’s passing as well. All three major American networks devoted time, with CBS allotting a full minute, an amount equal to that of writer Truman Capote, artist Thomas Hart Benton, and playwright Tennessee Williams. The coverage varied, with CBS including a brief clip of Saroyan speaking. Bay Area news coverage was slightly more detailed, though this footage has yet to surface after several months of searching. It’s believed that footage was used from one of Saroyan’s appearances on Evening Magazine from the late 1970s in a CBS report on his life.

HarriettTelevision star Harriett Nelson appeared on KQED’s program Over Easy a little over a month after Saroyan’s death, paying a strangely beautiful tribute to him. 

"Well, it was the night that William Saroyan died, and I was sitting there having my dinner by myself, which is not the happiest thing in the whole world, to sit and eat dinner by yourself. And it was on television and they came on, said that Saroyan had died. And I thought, oh, what a loss. You know, what a wonderful mind, we're going to miss him so. And then they said that his last words were that he knew it was inevitable, but he thought he was going to be the exception. Wonderful mind. At a time like that, he could think of something like that to say. And I laughed out loud. And it was the first time I laughed out loud in six years."

Often, when a major figure in arts and letters dies, the poets come out to speak in their own poetic language. California’s Poet Laureate Charles Garrigus wrote a poem called For William Saroyan, first appearing in the Fresno Bee on May 21st, 1981.

NYTeFor William Saroyan

He took the wistful echoes of the cherished, sacred dream of old Armenia and wove them into tapestries of pathos, hope and love;
Word tapestries of people needing people, helping people, full of fellowship and neighboring,
And of that special grief that comes to families whose members share and care.
His artistry was nourished by the earth, the sun, the orchards and the vines;
For here the people worked, feasted, sang and danced, and argued for their beliefs.

Here were the churches, fruit of an ancient faith made strong by persecution and by martyrs’ blood.
He walked the warm San Joaquin dusks and dew-washed dawns.
He listened to the old-folk stories of their joys and sorrows in vanished villages.
And all he saw, and heard, and thought became the flesh and spirit of his art.
His heart stopped, no warm words sound with wit and anecdote.
But can a man be really dead whose faith and love and laughter live in what he wrote?


The most poignant poetic tribute to Saroyan was written by his cousin and dearest friend, Archie Minasian. A painter of both houses and remarkable watercolors, as well as Saroyan’s favorite barber. Their correspondence, much of which is collected in William Saroyan & Archie Minasian: The Complete Correspondence, 1929–1981, lasted decades. When Saroyan passed, Minasian composed a poem that appeared in Selected Poems that paid final tribute to his dear cousin.

Farewell to Willie

The birds are in his trees
among the leaves
feeding on the early plum and peach

Soon they will be off
In the morning sky
And he will be with them.


Untitled 2The coverage of William Saroyan’s passing faded from newspapers, initially caught up in the endless news cycle that included the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, the Atlanta Child Murders conclusion, the break-up of MGM/UA, the first public announcement of the AIDS virus, the death of Saroyan’s friend George Jessell, and on and on. Magazines such as Time and Newsweek dedicated small space to announcing his passing, and many of the magazines that had once been the leading locations for his prose, including Playboy and the Saturday Evening Post, had little to no coverage at the time. Saroyan’s memory would be rekindled over the next few years, with magazines reprinting old pieces they’d once run or submissions they’d held on to.  Another re-birth of sorts began with the 1982 publication of Last Rites by his son Aram, followed by two biographies about William, and several adaptations of Saroyan’s works, including the musical version of The Human Comedy. The effect was a posthumous life of a character, as much as that of a writer. Perhaps William would have wanted it that way.

The Place of Places - The Panama Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915

s l500Welcome back to the Place of Places, a chapter by chapter analysis of William Saroyan’s 1972 memoir, Places Where I’ve Done Time. Today we attend The Panama Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915.

We are still in the orphanage years, but near the end of them. The Ward for Small Boys, consisting of eight children, goes on a trip to San Francisco to see the world-famous Panama Pacific International Exposition. This was an historic event, and the boys were brought at the cost of the volunteer caretaker, Blanche Fulton. The event was exciting, introducing new technology like transatlantic phone calls, various automobile innovations, and airplane advancements, bringing together cultures from all over the world. They took a ferry and then the streetcar, all very exciting for the kids.

Saroyan writes, “Suddenly from around a magnificent oriental building two camels appeared, followed by four Arabs in colorful costumes. One of them was making strange music on a pipe of some kind. I was so surprised and delighted that the image and sound have stayed with me ever since. We saw an airplane flying very low over the waters of the Golden Gate, and then we saw it quickly rise high and begin to do what was then called a loop-the-loop. We saw shining, almost imaginary buildings, full of unbelievable works of sculpture, painting, weaving, basketmaking, products of agriculture, and all kinds of mechanical inventions. It was too much of course for one day, but even when it was time to leave we did so with great reluctance, looking back as if we had been in a place that couldn't possibly be real.”

The exposition lasted nine months and commemorated the opening of the Panama Canal as well as the resurgence of San Francisco after the devastating 1906 earthquake. The Tower of Jewels, a 435-foot building adorned with 100,000 cut gems, welcomed visitors. That led to the Court of the Universe, the centerpiece of the Exposition. Radiating out from this were the more courts and palaces. The Court of the Four Seasons was surrounded by the palaces of Food Products, Education and Social Economy, Agriculture, and Liberal Arts. The Court of Abundance was surrounded by the palaces of Transportation, Manufacturers, Mines and Metallurgy, and Various Industries. The Palace of Machinery, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the Palace of Horticulture stood apart.

Henry Ford had an exhibit as well as Dr. Maria Montessori with her new style of education. For around $20 guests could make a call to New York for three minutes, the equivalent of about $2800 today.

48152295552 a8353509a5 bThe Palace of Fine Arts is the only palace that remains today, an iconic part of modern San Francisco. Everything was intended to be temporary at the exposition by design, including the buildings, which the architect felt must crumble at the end, to represent every great city creating ruins. An estimated nineteen million visitors attended the exposition over its run.

Airplanes were a major draw at the exposition. Lincoln J. Beachey, who was the first to fly the loop-the-loop in the United States, assembled a set of pilots to perform aerobatic maneuvers over the water. Art Smith performed daytime aerobatic routines and illuminated nighttime flights using incendiary devices attached to his biplane. This is who Saroyan saw, according to his other memoirs. The Wright Brothers had only first flown their motor-operated biplane in 1903 and aeronautic technology was moving fast. 

For the young boys of the orphanage, this was a place of inspiration. Saroyan writes, “The whole place was all great space, all light, many sounds, including the human voice, much music, and many delicious and unknown but fascinating odors.”

imagesHe also describes Blanche Fulton somewhat lovingly. He explains that Blanche agreed to take the boys only if they were the most well-behaved, as she was only one person with eight small children. The boys arrived with freshly cleaned and ironed clothing and were so astounded by what they were seeing that they didn’t have time to think about themselves and hijinks. “She was the rare old maid. Unpaid volunteer, she achieved more important things on behalf of the kids than any of the other people at the Orphanage. What’s more, she liked the kids. She spoke to them by name, and with obvious love, or the disappointment of one whose love has been betrayed” (Places Where I’ve Done Time). She would also regularly bring the boys to Dimond Canyon for nature walks in Oakland and facilitated artmaking opportunities at the orphanage.

Fulton buys the boys Scotch scones and Willie is reminded of his mother, who he heard was working at the fair selling scones. “I didn’t see her. It was all right, though. I was well, and having the most incredible time I had ever had.” And when he arrived back at the Orphanage, the boys had a big meat-pie dinner and the big boys who had not been to the fair asked about it. There is a fair bit to unpack here. Blanche Fulton was a surrogate mother to the boys, and even when he thought about his mother it was brief in favor of the event Blanche had brought them to. And then there was going home and having the attention of the bigger boys, which he always craved.

48159623357 aac94bc079 bIn Sons Come and Go, Mothers Hang in Forever, he has a chapter titled, “The Rejected Mothers, Lillian Pender and Blanche Fulton.” Pender was an artist, designer, writer, the wife of the superintendent John Wesley Hagen. Willie considered her icy. Fulton was warm, from a wealthy family, and only expressed disappointment rather than anger with the boys. “Blanche Fulton was a volunteer social worker who took all of the boys in our Ward on various little outings and excursions, bought paper and Crayolas for us at her own expense, and expressed delight in our work, or disappointment when we behaved without sensitivity and courtesy. I used to whistle a lot, for instance, and for some reason she was always asking me not to—that is the worst thing I can say of her” (Sons Come and Go, Mothers Hang in Forever).

However, there was always a distance between the staff of the orphanage and the children.

“But neither Lillian Pender nor Blanche Fulton were actually anything at all like real people to us – they were part of the orphanage, they came with the place, like the rooms and the furniture, the rules and the conspiracy among the inmates to get away some day and get even. Get even for what? For the insult of being made a member of a kind of children’s army, I suppose…

What names, what faces, what hands, what costumes, they wore, what scents came from them, what voices they had, and how deeply useless and even outrageous their connection was with us, total strangers to them long after we had been there for years: for the simple reason that they were not ours, they were theirs, and there could not be any way to change that. But they were fine women just the same. They tried their best to be mothers to the sons of unknown mothers, mad mothers, criminal mothers, and all kinds of other mothers. But the sons wouldn’t have them, couldn’t have them, had to have the original or no mother at all.” (Sons Come and Go, Mothers Hang in Forever)

From a social standpoint, it’s tragic that this wealthy volunteer was bringing young Willie to the Exposition and giving him this lifelong memory, while his mother was likely there too, alone and working to earn enough money to take the children home. Happily, she did take them to Fresno not long after he visited the Exposition. Once again in Saroyan’s narrative, he analyzes the role of the mother in all its forms.

Antique Postcard Panama Pacific International Exposition San Francisco 1915The Orphanage raised him as an American, and though many of the boys came from immigrant cultures, those were washed away while they lived together. Saroyan has written about the Exposition in other memoirs, as well. He notes that the marches of Sousa were all the rage there. When he finally gets to Fresno, he hears Armenian music for the first time, and it occurs to him that this is his music, his culture, and that he loves it deeply right away. While he didn’t make much of his last name at the orphanage, it suddenly meant something to him once he got to Fresno, among family and among bigots, as well.

Saroyan on some level understood the concept of assimilation early on. The Orphanage found it easier to handle the children in a one size fits all manner. When he moved back to Fresno, he was suddenly part of an intense culture, in the minority and disliked by many of the established residents. This discrimination was new to him, as was feeling different in any way. When he left Fresno, he knew how to fit in and how to stand out, equally. This allowed him to rub shoulders with celebrities and also lift up members of his family when he could. Scholars have considered the 1950s and 60s a time when Saroyan engulfed himself fully in his Armenian culture for the first time in adulthood. He grew the Armenian-style mustache, spent more time with his extended family, and eventually took an important trip to Armenia in 1964, when he was finally able to reach Bitlis. He was also writing for The Armenian Review, a niche periodical with a much smaller audience than his usual publications like The Saturday Evening Post.

This chapter celebrates the Exposition and the widening of a young boy’s mind, a boy with imagination waiting to be sparked. Saroyan lived through an astounding part of American history, when new technologies, new illnesses, wars, and travel changed the landscape of the culture and the lives of the common man. This moment as a seven-year-old was iconic, reflecting the future that lay ahead for the country and the changes, big and small, that would bring massive shifts to his own life.

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