My plans to go to America fall apart like the house of cards when the offer of the paid internship is withdrawn at the last minute by the trustees of the GATF on the budgetary grounds. It deals me a devastating blow. I spiral down and hit the abyss of depression. But uncle Jaman’s encouraging and uplifting letters and several incidental jobs sustain me for the next six months. I put on the back burner my dreams of going to America, instead accept a job as reproduction photographer at Burda Verlag in the Black Forest town of Offenburg in Germany. I master the language along the way. At the end of the year, I have enough money saved to buy myself one way passage to New York on the low-priced Icelandic Airlines. I have in my pocket five hundred dollar in traveler’s checks. I borrow as many dollars from uncle Jaman’s friend Bernard Geiss. His son and my cousin Ashwin is going to school in New York. He gives me ride to Pittsburgh in his fancy phallic Chevy Camaro. And I’m on my way.

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Ray (Prince) works at the GATF. He  is younger than I am, but has a big presence with his towering height and the  deep gruff authoritative voice of an older man. He scrutinized my résumé and makes some minor corrections and then he reads the draft of my proposed cover letter.

To my I am seeking a job in the area of…he says: ‘You’re not looking for a job.’ He goes on without waiting for my response. ‘You’ve two college degrees for Christ’s sake! You have to be looking for a position!’ Waiting just long enough to make sure it’s sinking in, he lays out the plan for me.

‘We’re going to have your résumé and the letter typed up professionally on an electric typewriter, then have them printed on onion skin paper.’

He doesn’t let me finish my ‘But…’ because all I have is my hard earned Olivetti portable typewriter. And about having anything done professionally?

‘We’ll ask Susan to do that for you.’ Susan is the executive director’s secretary and the only one at the Foundation who has an electric IBM.  ‘And I’ll have my mother invite us for dinner on Sunday. My dad owns a small printing shop adjoining to our home. You and I can do the printing.’

And then he tells me to go through the list of the companies I would most want to work for. No more than twenty. Using GATF’s repro lab, make as many prints of the best head shot of myself. Buy twenty highest quality folders with two pockets and heavy duty manila envelopes. The cover letter would go in the left pocket and in the right my résumé with my photograph stapled at the top right hand corner.

The responses take me to the World Color in St. Louis, Missouri and then by a small chartered airplane to their printing plant in Sparta, Illinois – the town where the movie In the Heat of the Night was shot. Then onto New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to be interviewed by the Parade Publications – the publishers of Parade magazine – the Sunday supplement to the newspapers across the country, followed by McCall’s and Look magazines. And to Chicago to Time Inc’s production offices. Taking advantage of it, I also check out a job at Huron Printing House – a small privately owned quality printers. And make perfunctory contacts at Playboy. Nothing concrete, except a job offer from George Geist of Huron at the salary of $9000,- a year. Quite a bit of money for those days.  But I had to ask myself, is that what I really want to do?

At that point, I qualify equally either to work for a printing house or a publishing company. Flip sides of the same coin. Difference being: working for a printers meant servitude as opposed to being a master working for publishers. The question I had to ask myself was; did I want to take shit or be in position to give shit? Plus, publishing is in my blood.  The answer is clear to me. I decide to wait it out with I need some time to consider my other options.

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