I am not sure precisely when I stopped driving taxi and began working for AMFAC - perhaps around the beginning of March, 1970, or possibly sometime in February.
The shop I worked for maintained a wide variety of electronic communications devices, but the primary ones were R-T mobile devices for taxicabs, trucks, and 'buses, and pagers for doctors. The pagers were all transistor-based, of course, but the former, at that time, mostly used vacuum valves. We were a busy place and there were, I think, five or six technicians working there. My boss, Gary Cosendine, was a fair enough man, but a rough and ready sort - and my enthusiastic Christianity and Bible-reading annoyed him a great deal. At some point I had a T-shirt with the words "Christ is the Answer" emblasoned on the back. Perhaps I wore that to work at AMFAC.
Still, Gary was willing to put up with me, so long as I did the work. Initial contracts were always for 90 days - during which period you could be dismissed without any reason given. After that, they had to give cause and might deal with the union.
I must by now have been involved in at least some University activities. Perhaps I was still in some technical sense a student, and was going there to try to work on some of the Yapese materials I had started whilst in Yap in 1969. One Thursday, in May or early June - my 89th on the job - Grace, the secretary, had issued to me my AMFAC uniform clothing. I took them home, and today, Friday, was wearing one change of clothing. Gary announced that we would all have to work this week-end. We were, in fact, being flown to Moloka'i to install R-T equipment in some of the big tractors that are used in the pineapple fields.
"Ah. OK, Gary, I think that will be ok, but I have to check - I may have University obligations this week-end."
"You have no other obligations that conflict with AMFAC's requirements!"
"Oh, no, I can't accept that."
"Go tell Grace to terminate your contract."
That, then, was that! I talked to Grace, filled out papers to get my last paycheque - and asked her what to do about the uniform clothing ("Never mind, just keep them.")
Well. Out of a job. I don't really remember in any detail what precisely happened then. At some point - whether before or after this occurrence, I don't know - I had said to staff at the University - possibly to my friend Ken Rehg, a fellow PhD student - that, obviously, there was no way for me to come back. That, I was told, was not true! Come back I did. I must, I suppose, have been paid by the University of Hawai'i in some way, since I did not starve to death! I had believed, at the end of 1969, that I was finished with linguistics forever. In ways that I could not have imagined this turned out not to be true.
What above all I did during the months leading up to my baptism in July, and continuing on from then, was to read. To be sure, I read linguistics. I returned to classes and began thinking about my PhD. I began also to resume my weekly visits with Kathleen, my and Edna's daughter, though these were rather stiff and formal - neither she nor I knew quite what to make of each other. But mostly I read - I read Christianity.
I was trying to understand this thing I had undertaken. During this time, and, indeed, over the next two and a half years, I both bought books and read books from the library. Some of the authors (by no means all - and in no particular order) who were of great importance in framing my outlook in this period were:
- C. S. Lewis
- Francis Schaeffer
- R. J. Rushdoony
- Greg Bahnsen
- Helmut Thielicke
- Paul Tournier
- Cornelius Van Til
- John Calvin
- Martin Luther
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon
- G. K. Chesterton
Of Lutheran authors, I had read some of Luther - his commentary on Galatians, his essay on the bondage of the will - and Thielicke on Christian ethics. But by the time of my baptism I was already pretty deeply Calvinist - and Baptist.