Zachary Arnold

I may have made you acquainted with Zack Arnold before,   but I would like to ask your prayers for him.

We were in Graduate school together, sharing the same laboratory.   This was at the close of the WWII and, although married, he came from Georgia to study under Dr. Kirby, the professor of  Microbiology at Cal at the time.

He was a great companion although he had a deeply musical soul.   He belonged to a politically active family  in Georgia and,  I think, baptized a Baptist.

However, the had a flute that he would play in the Lab when he got tired.   Very talented,   he would transcribe Vivaldi,s  violin concertos by sight.   That is when I became familiar with the beauty of the Classicaol Music tradition.

After we graduated I went to work at USF and he transferred to the Departement of Paleontology   (he was an expert  on foraminifera — a major component of sedimentary rocks) and eventually became the chairman  of their department.

When the Free Speach Movement  (1960 ‘s) hit Cal he quit and went back to Georgia.    He was a lot, in nature, like my cousin Stanley;  for example, he could not abide controversy and stress.

I really never saw him again but I vividly remember an experience we had that I would like to share.

Linda, my daughter, was one year old and he, too, had small baby daughters, but we were invited to go on an expedition to the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.    These are a group of Islands off shore from Santa Barbara,and in those days, privately owned except tor a few owned by the US Navy and used for firing practice.    Since no one ever went there  the organisms were in a completely natural state and Marine Biologists  are always studying untouched nature.

So, both Zack and I were invited to go and it was too tempting to refuse.   We drove to Santa Barbara together.  He spent the trip telling me how sea-sick he was during troop transports during the War.

He told me, for example, that on the way back by transports he spent the entire  ten days in his bunk suffering from this ailment.

I, personally, have never been sea-sick so I did not pay much attention.

We got to Santa Barbara harbor.  The  Weather was beautiful and the water in the harbor  like glass so little movement of the air took place.

We were watching Mr. Sefton”s yacht from the pier.   He was the prsedient of the bank in Santa Barbara and  used to write off the expenses of his yacht by hosting scientists like ourselves for research purposes.

They caught sight of us and the launch came for us.   When we boarded we found that we were the last to  arrive and, as we were introducing ourselves to one another,  Mr. Sefton told the Engineer  to start the engens.   A few mintes later I noticed the Zack had left the group.

I went below to stow my bag and, behold,  in the stateroom we were sharing, Zack was in the lower bunk, moaning and throwing up.

I was surprised and I said :”Zack, but they only started the engens — we’re not even moving”.

He said  with his eyes closed:  “Filice, if you tell me that it’s all in my head I’m going to kill you.”

As you can see I had a lot of fun with Zack.   

A few years ago, after a lifetime  in which we never even corresponded, he looked me up on the Internet and phoned me. 

He was   sickly and being taken care of by his daughters and his voice was really weak.    But we talked about onld and new times.   He had composed a number of pieces for the violin.   He would whistle them to me.   I thought they were really fine.

Every several months since then we would talk be telephone.  I kept steering the conversation  (naturally)  to the Last things,  but he did not talk much about them.

Two days ago (11 July)  I telephoned after a lapse of several months.   The telephone had been disconnected.

Zachary would have been 91 this year,as I remember.

Please  pray for the repose of  his soul.  It is good to know such happy warriors exist in our time and place.

rev. fpf