I actually had one. My father’s father’s sister’s husband. Captain Amazon Littlefield USCG. Grandfather James did quite well during Prohibition. My father, Robert...thought himself beyond crime, left home to join the Marines at 17 in 1944 and then went to college on the GI bill back in Rhode Island, where Grandfather James grew up before coming to New Jersey during Prohibition.
In 1983, I formed Procurement and Distribution International after eleven years of challenging field work...including many months in in Houston, Austin, and Philadelphia, but mostly spent very close to Fort Monmouth.
In a place where things were seldom what they seemed, self directed activity was barely tolerated. Night school yes...global enterprise no. From the day I started with P&D I ran into a shitstorm beyond my ability to navigate at twenty five.
I was already doing quite well, thinking my progress was due solely to hard work, trial and error, and my own brilliance...Not because of my family or familiar interconnections or government contracting, all of which were beyond me...until 1983.
P&D international took a nose dive with me into the permafrost of not the also rans, but the never was category. I have been a never was ever since. But Amazon, Uncle Amazon’s name will never be forgotten...I hope to do the same for Ray Pinnox. I hope people remember Ray.
Uncle Amazon and Grandfather James, did what they did, between the north shore of Long Island and Block Island, Rhode Island...maybe all the down to Atlantic City, New Jersey. I don’t know...and will never know.
Grandfather James was an Army veteran, but we never knew it. My father said next to nothing. The fort was up river, and none of our business, at least until I turned fifteen. I volunteered, but forgot after a few concussions most of what I did, including Procurement and Distribution International.
I never knew anything about my own family...I still know very little. My father’s sister’s husband became a VP of RCA, but my father remained a mystery...remains a mystery, even twenty seven years after his death. He left no trail, no records, no real estate.
Yet the death of my father in early 1992 left me more than nothing. I had never thought of myself in philosophical terms, I was just kept too busy to give anything much thought. I understood signals, trails, tracks, winks, nods, shoves...but believed only signed contracts and bank balances. I followed the trail, but learned by trial and error how little signed documents and bank balances meant. I was more than nothing, but that got me nowhere.
Signal Operations...counter intelligence, contracting...survival, moderation, celebration...and most of all Freedom, not liberty. I have Freedom, not liberty. I traded in liberty for Freedom. So far so good. Great Uncle Amazon left a trail, thin...but a trail. The James Boys Of Rhode Island? You will never google a thing about them. The tavern in Philadelphia? A myth. The Enterprise? A star ship. The Amazon? My grandfather’s sister? It’s all Greek to me. I’m a diner guy, and not driving? Remember? Follow the money...but don’t get too close.