Memories of Base Americans

The memories of the Americans at the Edzell Base are fading a bit but we keep up a friendship with two families who were stationed here. One of these is with Dwane and Mary Annette Yoder. Dwane finished his term as Chief Executive officer and became the Base Commanding officer for six months between one leaving and the other being appointed.

He was promoted to Captain US Navy after he left. Sadly I have to report that Dwane died on the May 16 last year. I spoke to him on the telephone about two days before and said Goodbye. Some of you who read this article may have known the couple.

The other family was Dwane’s successor as Chief Executive Officer Cameron Hoover and his wife Joanne. Joanne became popular in the area because she was a very accomplished pianist. She loved Scots music and was often at our house when we had one of those musical evenings. Once Joanne accompanied the Sound of Dun at a Ceilidh in Tarfside Hall without any pre-warning or practice. Cameron was usually quiet but when he did break out he had a remarkable falsetto singing voice. He was a strict disciplinarian at the Base.

Cameron, like Dwane was also promoted to the rank of captain when he returned to Washington. Joanne ran a prodigious music school in Washington and was the music critic of the Washington Post. When I was in Washington with a House of Commons Select Committee I was able to visit them there and Joanne had borrowed a fiddle for me to play on. That made me a bit embarrassed because the company was nearly all classical musicians although one was a Scot with a mouth organ and could also play our tunes. Another played the Classical Guitar and I was able to arrange accommodation for him and his wife when he came to London to play a recital on the South Bank. That is by the way.

We have exchanged Christmas Cards every year with both families and this year the Hoovers’ one contained a note of their doings and mentioned that Joanne was just finishing her second book of poetry (I have a copy of her first) and Cameron was working on his second book. When my grandson and I were looking at our Christmas cards he said, “Who are those people?” We decided to Google Cameron Hoover, New Mexico, because that is where they now stay. Immediately up came, “Cameron Hoover – celebrated author, Corrales.” My grandson then said, “I know what I’m to give you for Christmas.” So I duly got the book, “A Zhukov Evening.”

I can assure you it is a riveting read. I started reading it when I got it on Christmas Eve and was finished by Friday December 30. It has 539 pages but many short chapters. It is about a foremost Russian General who has a vision of taking over the Far East of Russia and forming what he will call The Far Eastern Russian Republic. It shows the author’s remarkable knowledge of the geography and politics of the Far East and in fact all of Russia and China also with his knowledge of the US CIA who are involved because of the proximity to Alaska. It is of course a novel but you are almost persuaded it is a commentary on what is actually going on. I can recommend anybody who likes a good book to try to get it but my grandson had to go to Amazon in America to get the one I have.

I’ll have to get on to the Oxford Conference in my next article but who knows what will transpire before that to capture my Muse.