Theft Of Trade Secrets
The Silicon War Triology
Chapter 1 - The Raft
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST LINE
SATURDAY, AUGUST 18, 1957 - 1630 HOURS PST
In life, there are the good guys and the bad guys. Then there are the rest of us living life from one small moment to the next, unhappy with the outcome of our lives. Never standing up for what we really feel that is right no matter what the cost. Just watching TV, doing what our parents say (or not) and learning lessons the hard way.
I was one of the in-betweens, just trying to figure out how I was going to explain to my father how my best friend, Chris and I got arrested by the US Coast Guard for nothing much... see we just built a two man submarine, or should it be said, a two boy submarine. You see, Chris was 12 and well I... I'm a mature 11 (almost).
Chris and I had been friends for at least 7 years now, ever since his dad, Colonel, Charles W. Pederson, USMC and family moved into their 2,250 sq foot home overlooking the South Laguna coastline in Southern California. Pederson had been assign as #2 for the next round of Marines coming out of Camp Pendleton, CA to go to Korea or where ever.
However, Colonel Pederson was also our Cub Scout leader and his favorite phrase he drummed into us was "There are people that run away from gun fire and those that run toward it. Which are you going to be?" Well, I found out. I was always in the middle of everything.
Chris and I were first in Cub Scouts together and then in Boy Scouts. Where Chris built model airplanes, I built model boats. Everything was Radio Control this, Radio Control that. Both of us had our fingers wacked up by our model propellers and both had to go to the hospital. To date, Chris got more stitches, 31 to 27. You see, everything was a competition between us; no challenge was ever turned down. Moreover, no limitation was put on the outlandish activities we attempted to do by our parents.
Now, the two of us were already well known by the US Coast Guard and to the Captain of the Point Hatter. There were the repeated calls by the Camp Pendleton Marine MPs for getting in the way of landing craft training. See, we were just surfing at Trestles and other restricted areas to the south of where we lived that had great surf.
Then there was the scuba diving for fish and abalone in restricted areas that pissed off everyone as well. However, the air inflated waterbed, now that was really something. It shows how our creativity gets simple thing blown all out of proportion for using something that it wasn't designed for.
There were 7 of us, 2 miles off shore, blown out to sea by the late summer Santa Ana winds or "Going quickly to Hawaii" as the LA Times reported. As always, there in the middle of this was Chris and me. However, this time tagging along was my older sister Joann, age 12; her boyfriend, Paul, age 14 and his sister Cathy age 12. Joann's best friend, Susie Laurence, age 13. However, what made this an unforgettable memory for USCG Captain Jerry Kendrick, Captain of the Hatter, Justin, his 13 year old son was the seventh.
On a routine patrol back from Dania Point, the first call came in that "people had drifted out to seas." Rarely did Kendrick open up the Point Hatter to full speed, but this was one time he had to. Then a call came in from a private pilot that had spotted us and stated that there were "four on the life raft and three in the water. The boat must have sunk already." Then came the calls from the other kids' parents that we had left behind on the beach that "chickened out." Finally, from the parents who had come to pick us up including the most important parent, his wife, Helen Kendrick.
When first spotted by the lookout of the Hatter, we were 2 mile off shore and 3 miles south of where we entered at Aliso Beach in South Laguna. There were four on the waterbed raft as stated, and there were three in the water swimming. Chris, Justin, and I were in the water towing the waterbed back to shore. The seven of us had spent the afternoon drifting and goofing around as any normal kids do during summer vacation.
You see, we had made three towlines out of our tea shirts and used the girl's tops as a shoulder harness. Oh, normally I would say, "No big deal" but my sister will still punch my lights out for saying that. Three of us swam while the other four rested. After 5 minutes, one would rotate out and rest, and would then be replaced by the most rested. Of course, as the Hatter approached, the girls wanted their tops back.
As the Hatter came to rest, it launched their Zodiac powered rubber boat to "rescue" us. Susie was the first on board, and as usual, she stopped everyone in their tracks. At 13, Susie had long blond hair, breathtaking blue eyes, a dark tan, and boobs. In fact, all three girls were drop dead beautiful and could stop traffic, which they tried their damndest to do. Oh, ask me some other time about their dropping their purses in the middle of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in down town Laguna's Sunday afternoon traffic. You know just south of the movie house where old man Larson used to yell "How are you?" Anyway, these girls were the real, 1960 "California Beach Blondes" that the New York Ad agencies made the marketing "fads" from.
One by one, we were transferred onto the Zodiac, and as always, I was the last.
"Hey kid, come on. Get over here" the Coast Guard guy said.
"Hang-on, are all six on board sir" as I took count to verify that everyone was on the Zodiac.
See, I was told repeatedly by my father; "No excuse! You're the man and you're responsible"!
With the "yes", I reached up and slid on to the Zodiac, toe line of the waterbed in hand. "I don't want to leave this out here; Ok", I said.
He said "Sure", and then with a swipe of a knife, cut a 6-inch gash in the water bed. "This will make it fit easer" as the air left making a low hissing sound.
With one last look around to make sure that everyone was on board, I sat down with only one thing on his mind, "Now, how in the hell do we explain this to my dad?"
For us, the ride back to the Hatter went to quick. However, for Justin, it lasted a lifetime. This would be the final straw. He could already see that his dad was pissed. It wouldn't be "I was so afraid you would drown" or "I was afraid you would be eaten by sharks." No, it would be "What the hell were you thinking about. Again you embarrassed me."
On board, everyone was checked out ok and the Hatter headed back to Corona Del Mar. Kendrick received the report that we were just thirsty, now playing grab ass with each other and wondering why everyone was so upset.
"Come on, it's no big deal. We've swam further before" I said.
Captain Jerry Kendrick just shook his head, looked out at Santa Catalina Island, and smiled at what he had helped created?
You see, Kendrick was first our assistant Cub Scout leader and now our assistant Boy Scout leader under Colonel Peterson. He had taken us on so many excursions. How many open ocean swims? How many surfing trips to Baja? How many trips to Santa Catalina to go deep diving? How many times did he let us swim the "last mile home"? So, if we'd said we would have made it, there was absolutely no doubt in his mind that we would have. The problem was, "just how in the hell do I explain this to my wife, let alone to Command."
On the southeast side of Corona Del Mar - Balboa Harbor, the gray Coast Guard station was the dropping off and processing area for the Point Hatter. With a direct run out of the jetty, the Hatter was within 30 minutes to any of its assigned rapid response areas. The "guest quarters" were used to retain guests until police or parents showed up. There was the paper work and of course the charges, both types.
As always, the parents gave the kids a big hug and then the yelling began. What a way to tell the kids you love them. Kendrick knew he was going to bust Justin's ass over this. His grades were slipping; he was getting in fights in school and ditching school to go surfing - total rebellion!
Less than 200 yards north, my parents had just sat down for dinner. As long time members of the Balboa Yacht Club, they had an open tab for both dinner and drinks. And there were many people to drink and talk with. Tonight, Joe (my dad) was talking with Paul Rotifer about buying some undeveloped land east of there.
"You know Joe; it's just on the north east side of Orange County airport, just west of Tustin. Good farmland now and with that new freeway running thru it, it will turn into good commercial and residential housing. It's a real gold mine."
As the call came to my father, there was a polite "excuse me", then came the loud "He did what? They were where? God damn it, I'm going to kill him this time!"
Having been thru this before, my mom was already packing up the day's purchases, signed the tab, and said quietly "Now Joe, it can't be that bad."
"No! The Hatter picked them up 2 miles off shore again. And what's worse, Joann was with him"
Rotifer said, "Damn Joe, you need to put that kid in Military School. Did wonders for mine."
It was a short drive to the station and there was no need to ask directions on where to go, they already knew. Joann was the first to see them and ran to them for the "Hug." Then there came the long drive home and then the loud lecture, "How many times have I told you..." and off my dad went with "the lecture."
Now for me, my life in South Laguna, CA in the 50's wasn't really that bad. In fact, it was great. I complained a lot, but I was usually able to do whatever I wanted to within reason. The family vacations would be camping at Big Sur or Yosemite for a week. We had this yellow 1956 Chevy Station Wagon that towed a gray painted utility trailer that had all our camping gear in it. Sometime we went with friends other times just my family. Those were the best of times, and we were a very close family because of it. I cannot remember a Sunday that we didn't sit down as a family for dinner. There always was the "what did you do last week in school. What are you going to do this week? Can we help you with anything?"
From the age of five, I had been making every Revel plastic model I could find but the Sea Wolf submarine was my favorite. It was in the bathtub, in the pool, down at the beach, in Aliso Creek and finally in open ocean. It had been depth charged by rocks and strafed by Beebe guns just like in the movies or on TV.
A good example of how my father influenced my thinking was when other kids got the "5&Dime" balsa wood gliders for 15 cents, I got a model kit of a glider with a 36 inch wing span that I had to make first. It was never simple for me... I had to make it before I could play with it.
Of course this led into radio control gliders... then into planes and finally ocean going boats. I never did figured out how to control a submarine under water. And I wasn't the only kid in the area that was doing it.
Chris Pederson, Reginald (Reg) Fessenden, and I would dog fight our planes all day until we would crash into each other. Then my bedroom would become a mess again as we fixed or built the next version.
Then came the racing or who could fly faster from one point to another. This would usually require teams of kids and Boy Scouts was usually where the bet would start.
This "bet you can't do it" was simple. Take off from Aliso Beach, fly south to Dana Point, fly around San Juan Rock and return to Aliso Beach. Simple. Right
Round trip was 6.5 miles. However, our radio control transmission range was only 300 yards if lucky. "The issue was how do we control the plane if we can't see it?
Simple... team work. I launched the plane at Aliso Beach and guided it toward Mussel Cove a mile south where Reg took over. He would realign the plane to head the final two miles on its own where Chris would take over, make the turn around San Juan Rock and send it back to Reg. Reg would then realign it for Aliso Beach and me. I would then land it.
So with a simple "Mom... ah... could you buy three new crystals for me...." which meant "more chores" for me. The crystals defined the frequency the transmitters would transmitted on. By having the same frequency in all the transmitters, all three of us could control the same plane.
With a test of the concept successful, we committed to a Saturday flight with everyone watching. Of course we were successful. And that was the simplest $5.00 we ever made. We even gave the five to my mom to offset the $36 she spent.
However, as Colonel Pederson watched us that day, what seemed as games and toys to us, became serious interest to him.