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Andrews, Jr., Wilson J., Part 2

Greg Flynn:  This continues an interview with Wilson J. Andrews on December 15, 2008, in Bridgewater, New Jersey, with Greg Flynn and ...

Sandra Stewart Holyoak:  ... Sandra Stewart Holyoak. 

GF:  Thank you very much for having us here.           

Wilson J. Andrews:  Always a pleasure. 

GF:  To start with, you were on campus while the GI Bill was being carried out.  There were a lot of veterans on campus.  What percentage of the entire campus would you say were veterans?

WA:  I'm guessing here, but it could be as high as fifty percent of the entire student body were veterans, and, for a kid fresh out of high school, this was a bit intimidating.  There weren't too many classes that were shared between the freshmen out of high school and the veterans.  Because of the difference in age, they were usually upperclassmen, but, in the living groups and in my fraternity, in particular, I would say half of the upperclassmen were veterans.  ... The freshmen kind of had the attitude that they were afraid that these veterans would feel, "We're just kids," and wouldn't want to pay too much attention to us, but it certainly did not work out that way.  They were very, very helpful and, of course, in many cases, we were kind of amazed at some of their experiences.  For instance, there was a guy in ... the senior class, when I was a freshman, who had been a medic in the Navy before he came to Rutgers, and he started financing his education by writing science fiction, which was being published in Astounding Science-Fiction magazine, which was the primary vehicle in those days.  John W. Campbell, Jr., was the editor.  He [Campbell] lived in Scotch Plains and he wrote the original story that The Thing From Another Planet is based on, if that means anything.  [Editor's Note: John W. Campbell, Jr.'s 1938 novella "Who Goes There?" was adapted into Howard Hawks' 1951 film The Thing From Another World and John Carpenter's 1982 film The Thing.]  ... This guy [the Rutgers alumnus] told me one day that he had things he wanted to write about in the future, but nobody would listen to him unless he got a degree of some consequence, and he actually financed his way through medical school, at the University of Pennsylvania, by writing science fiction stories.  ... He would occasionally send me some to read before he sent them in, and I remember distinctly telling him one of them would never sell and it showed up in Esquire a year later.  [laughter] ... He moved to the West Coast.  He was in Washington State for many years as a physician and, in his middle age, he closed down his practice and devoted full time to writing.  He followed his life's game plan just as he had explained it to me, and that really impressed me.

SH:  Do you remember his name?

WA:  Oh, I certainly do.  His name was Alan Edward Nourse, N-O-U-R-S-E, Class of '51.  He's deceased, but you could have gone, in the 1970s; well, did you ever hear of a book called Intern by Dr. X?  It was a bestseller in the '70s.  It was about a guy telling what it was like to be an intern.  It was published anonymously.  ... I wrote him a letter and I said, "This is you, isn't it?" and he wrote back, said, "No.  This guy is good.  I just write hack stuff," you know, and, about two or three years later, it came out, sure enough, that was him.  Oh, I'm sure somewhere in the files of [the] Rutgers alumni [office], you would find reference to him.

SH:  Did he ever talk about his World War II stories as a medic?

WA:  You know, unfortunately, not really.  He would touch on the fact he was at sea during the war; well, it wasn't even during the war, it was after the war.

SH:  Was it?

WA:  See, very few of the veterans, I was in the Class of '54, so, I entered in the Fall of 1950.  Very few of the veterans there had actually seen action.  They were almost all postwar veterans, occupying forces and such.

SH:  Okay, great, thank you for that clarification. 

WA:  Yes.

GF:  Were there veterans that you did talk with about their experiences, either in the war or postwar occupying forces?

WA:  Well, not too many.  I'll tell you, I think I mentioned the last time you were here that the University decided to give passing grades to anybody who withdrew at the end of the first semester to join the service, because it was the outset of the Korean War.  One of those guys, who was my very good friend, came back afterwards and reentered the college.  ... He got back when [anti-Communist Senator Joseph] McCarthy was king, you know, and we were very, very anti-McCarthy in general, and he said, "Well, it's easy for you to say that; you might feel differently if you ever got shot at by them."  So, his perspective was very to the right, as a result of having fought in Korea and survived it.  ...

SH:  Were there many Korean War veterans returning before you left campus?

WA:  Ones I had known before? not really.  He was the only one.  I know of a couple of others that did come back, but I really didn't have any contact with them after they came back.

SH:  I wondered if that showed up in your fraternity.  Did they come in as freshman?

WA:  There were three guys who left on that basis.  One of them is the guy that I just mentioned, who went on and had a military career after he got out of Rutgers.  In fact, he just died last month, and the other guy never did come back to Rutgers, but never re-associated himself with the fraternity.  He lived in Somerville and he commuted, and I've run into him downtown, every once in awhile, but he was never [in the fraternity after that], and the third one, I don't think, ever came back. 

GF:  Were there on campus groups for veterans?  You said people may have thought that they were more cliquish than they were.  Were there actually groups?

WA:  Not that I recall.  I don't recall that there were any official groups; I don't recall that they were cliquish at all.  [It] may very well have been the case and I was just naïve about it, but ... I never saw any evidence of that. 

SH:  We talked before about your classmate that had been involved with the Targum.  What was its stance at that point?  What were the big issues that they were covering?

WA:  [laughter] Well, the editor, Art Kaminsky, who's now Art Kamin, and I, as a matter-of-fact, had a number of political oppositions.  I was in a fraternity and I was very much pro-fraternity, and Art was kind of leading the crusade against discrimination in fraternities, with which I was in total sympathy.  We only disagreed about methods, but I don't know that he understood that, [laughter] and that was a big issue at the time.  You know, fraternities had discrimination clauses, and some of them may have been justified.  For instance, a very close friend in Zeta Beta Tau told me that they were founded by rabbinical students for Jewish boys.  Now, who in their right mind comes out and tells them they've got to take Christians in the fraternity?  ... I didn't think my fraternity was on very solid ground with any of their discrimination and they kind of weaseled by saying, "Must be acceptable to the fraternity as a whole," which meant, since we had a lot of Southern chapters, you know, you don't pledge blacks.  Our Amherst chapter, in about 1952, did pledge a black and it created all sorts of havoc and they were thrown out of the fraternity, and so on, and so forth, and I was violently opposed to all that, and I was really working very hard within the fraternity to get those clauses changed, but Art Kaminsky never knew that.  [laughter]

SH:  Were there other issues that you remember? 

WA:  Well, there certainly were, but I guess that's the one that ... comes closest to my mind.  There was the whole issue of communism.  I was really pretty naïve, and I remember, during the whole Rosenberg affair, being in New York City and having a young woman approach me to sign a petition to release the Rosenbergs.  [Editor's Note: In the early 1950s, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were tried, convicted and executed for spying on behalf of the Soviet Union in relation to acquiring information regarding the atomic bomb.]  ... I truly thought she had to be a Communist, a Russian Communist.  I don't mean she was Russian, but I mean, an anti-American-type Communist.  The Korean War started right as I graduated from high school, ended just before my senior year, so, everything having to do with communism was a major issue, Alger Hiss and [then Congressman Richard M.] Nixon and his role in it, and, well, maybe his role in it didn't really get any publicity until later, but all of those kind of things were hot topics of conversation.  I probably didn't know enough to have really valid opinions, because it really was not high on my interest levels.  You know, I was ... doing classical music shows on WRSU and I was in my fraternity keeping the books and trying to eek my way through a math major curriculum that I no longer was interested in, but ... those are the things that I recall.  I also recall that the dismissal of two professors at Newark-Rutgers, who were perceived as left-leaning, triggered much discussion and student protest.

SH:  How was McCarthy viewed?  You talked about the discussion with your fraternity brothers.  The returning veterans had an entirely different view.

WA:  Yes.  I'd say most of the people I knew thought the guy was nuts.

SH:  Did they?  Okay, at that point.

WA:  Yes, thank God.  [laughter]

SH:  Okay.

WA:  And there was a series of, I don't know, you may recall "Tom Swifties."  Well, I don't know ... if we had a name for this, but there was a series of comments that people would make, like, "So, other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?" you know, that kind of thing.  Well, one of the ones that was going around was, "Have another piece of liver, Mrs. McCarthy," because he died of liver disease.  He was pretty much held up to ridicule, but there certainly was a significant faction who thought ... he was right on.  I may be wrong, but I think I've read some stuff recently that suggests that he was more correct than he got credit for at the time.  [Editor's Note: The debate over the validity of McCarthy's claims is ongoing and is often fought along partisan political lines.  Information uncovered from Soviet archives since the end of the Cold War regarding the extent to which the USSR's intelligence resources had spread into the United States is often used by the pro-McCarthy faction as proof of his crusade's legitimacy.]  I don't know if that's valid, but I read something that suggested that.  I really ought to pursue it.  [laughter]

GF:  You took a variety of different classes.  Did professors seem to be opposed to McCarthy, from what you remember?

WA:  I didn't take very many courses where professors had any occasion to voice political views. 

GF:  Okay.

WA:  You know, a math professor doesn't talk about things like that.  [laughter] I avoided courses that required a lot of reading, because I was not a good speed reader.  I mean, I could read well, but, I mean, I didn't want to get stuck with having to read more than I could handle.  So, ... the most controversial course I ever took, I think, was economics, and it was only controversial because I accused the professor of being a Socialist and he said, "You dummy, I'm an anarchist."  [laughter] He was not a native-born American.  He had fled the persecutions of Europe and he was an anarchist.  I was too stupid to realize the difference.

SH:  Can you tell us which professor that was? 

WA:  If I could remember his name, I'd love to.  He was; oh, boy, I'm going to have a hard time with that one. 

SH:  That is okay.  We can look it up.

WA:  He was like I am now, [hearing impaired], and we found out that when he was lecturing, he would turn his hearing aid off.  So, we would turn on the ballgame on a portable radio and, every once in awhile, when we'd get upset with him, we'd raise our hands and he'd point to one of us and he'd ...

SH:  And just mouth the words?

WA:  Yes, right, and he'd start checking his batteries and everything.  We were very mean, but, at the time, we thought he deserved every bit of it, because he ... would give tests where the answers, the correct answers, as far as he was concerned, were at odds with what you read in the textbook.  So, how do you win in a game like that?  So, the hell with him, but I can't remember his name.  [laughter]

GF:  As a classical radio DJ, what do you think are some important things to remember to be a good classical radio host?

WA:  ... Say that last sentence again slowly.  [laughter]

SH:  How do you become or how do you adapt to being a classical DJ on the radio?

WA:  How did I adapt?

GF:  How do you make that appealing at a college?

WA:  Are you asking that in general or are you asking about me?

GF:  Yes, you.

WA:  Well, from the age of sixteen, when I moved to New Jersey, I listened to WQXR; all I did was imitate it.

SH:  Okay.  There was a little history about the piece or the composer.

WA:  Oh, yes.  I would read, I would prepare a script, which would read the background of the piece that I was going to play, and, in some cases, I lifted it right out of books that I had or on the notes on the record jacket.  It was just a major interest for me and ... I loved doing it and, what the hell?  It's an ego trip.  I mean, there you are, broadcasting, you know, not that there was a huge circulation.  I mean, you had to be in a dorm where there's a transmitter, because it was a very limited [signal].  I think I told you about the fact that my parents came down to listen to me in the car one time and I announced my grandmother's death. 

SH:  No.

WA:  I didn't tell you about that.  Well, after the classical music ... program, I would read news off the ticker for five minutes, and then, play the Star-Spangled Banner and that was it for the night at eleven o'clock.  ... So, my mother, father and my visiting grandmother from Cincinnati came down to listen to me.  Well, two days earlier, my mother and my grandmother, who was my father's mother, prepared the most god-awful lamb kidney stew I've ever heard or smelled in my whole life.  They got it off of some television woman, and it wasn't Julia Child.  So, I inserted a news item of my own, announcing that my grandmother had choked to death on a piece of lamb kidney, you know, and the people came up to me later on, said, "Why did you put that one in there?" and I said, "Because my grandmother was sitting in the car."  They thought it was very funny.  [laughter]

SH:  Did your parents and your grandmother chuckle?

WA:  Yes, yes.  I mean, I must have gotten my sense of humor from somebody, you know.

SH:  How widely listened to do you think your program was?

WA:  Oh, lord, that's a tough question to answer because we never made any attempt to measure it. 

SH:  Okay.

WA:  I know perfectly well that there were listeners in the fraternity houses, in the dorms and over at, at the time, NJC [New Jersey College for Women, now Douglass Residential College].  ... Well, as I may have mentioned, [for] two years, when I was in [my] junior year, I was the station manager.  I wasn't just doing classical music.  So, I'd have more contact with people.  We would have meetings with dorm counselors and people of other groups, maybe Student Council or something at Douglass, and so on, and so forth, and they would comment that they liked the idea that there was this nightly show of classical music.

SH:  Did anybody try to interject what they thought you should be doing?  Not just you, but the radio station as a whole; how much oversight was there?

WA:  About the ... only thing along that line that I can recall was, occasionally, we'd get some negative criticism, you know, "That was stupid.  That's not interesting," and, occasionally, and I can remember a couple of very specific examples.  Somebody would come to me and say, you know, "I would like to try announcing classical music."  So, we would give them something; we would either say, "Well, do you feel like you can come up with your own or do you want us to provide you one?"  "Well, you provide me with one of the scripts and I'll announce it," okay.  So, the guy would go in there and he would say, "And now, here's Beethoven's;" no, well, he wouldn't say Beethoven, that's the whole point.  He'd say, "Beet-hov-en's pathetic symphony," [rather than Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique], and then, we'd get phone calls, saying, "Can't you get somebody who can pronounce this stuff?"  Of course, every now and then, on commercial radio today, I hear people doing things like that.

GF:  Can you give us a sampling of how you generally introduced something?  If you were introducing Handel's Water Music, how would you introduce it on the station?

WA:  How would I introduce a given piece of music? 

GF:  Yes.

WA:  Well, yes, I'm trying to assess what you're looking for here.  The first thing I would do was say something like, and, I always leave a little pause after the previous music, and then, I would say, "And now, next on our program will be Tchaikovsky's Symphony Number Six, Pathetique," and then, I would go in and read a brief description of it.  You know, I might say why he called it pathetique or when it was written and when it had its premier or that kind of stuff, just trying to give interesting background information.  I had a recording of an overture to an opera by a French composer.  The name of the composer was Francois Boieldieu, and I never took French in my life.  The name ... of the opera was La dame Blanche, B-L-A-N-C-H-E, you know, like blonde has a silent E on the end.  I called a friend of mine whose parents were French and I said, "How do you pronounce this thing?" and he told me.  ... To this day, I remember knowing how to pronounce Francois Boieldieu's La dame Blanche Overture.  Cut to just a couple of years ago, I was in the Vienna State Opera House on a tour.   ... In one foyer, they have what was originally set up when it was first built, the names of famous composers, and, they've got Wagner and they've got Verdi and they've got Beethoven, and so on, and they've got Boieldieu [laughter].  I said to the tour guide, "What is Boieldieu doing up there?" and four or five people on the tour looked at me and said, "You know who that is?"  [laughter] "Yes." 

[TAPE PAUSED]

GF:  Prior to starting the recording, you were talking about Tom Lehrer.  Can you tell us more about him?

WA:  Yes.  I graduated in '54 and had an ROTC commission in the Air Force and, just about the time I graduated, a recording came out called Song Satires by a fellow by the name of Tom Lehrer, who we found out was a math teacher at Harvard, but he moonlighted singing his own compositions at a local bar.  ... The Harvard Administration was not terribly happy about this because, by the standards of 1954, most of the songs were pretty risqué.  He wrote a song that he suggested might be the Boy Scouts Marching Song, which contains such gems as, "Don't solicit for your sister, it's not nice, unless you get a good percentage of her price."  He wrote satires about all sorts of things, ... as I say, the colleges in the Northeast all had his record, played it over and over again, thought it was just fantastic.  I was called to active duty, or if that's what you call it when you're an officer, in April of 1955 and was sent to Washington, DC, where I wound up in the National Security Agency.  ... One day, an instructor, a lieutenant, made reference to some private in another one of his classes by the name of Tom Lehrer, and I said, ... "The Tom Lehrer?"  He says, "I don't know."  He was from the Midwest.  Anyway, the fact of the matter is, Tom Lehrer had been drafted and was in the same organization that I was.  It was really a civilian organization, as it still is today.  I did not know the man well, but, occasionally, would chat with him, and then, occasionally, would be at a party that he was at.  They wanted to send him to Officer's Candidate School, but he wanted nothing [to do] with extending his two-year term and he got out of the service and went back and wrote more songs and became more famous.  ... If you're of a certain age, you certainly know who Tom Lehrer was.  He hasn't performed in quite awhile.  He did a wonderful thing using a Gilbert and Sullivan patter song as the music [his 1959 song The Elements], where he recited all of the elements by name, and it concludes with the phrase, "These are the only ones of which the news has come to Harvard.  There may be many others, but they haven't been discovered," [Mr. Andrews mimics a fanfare to finish the song].  He wrote music for David Frost's TV show, That Was The Week That Was, including the absolutely marvelous Vatican Rag, [in] which he said, it was right after Vatican II, and he said, "They're trying to improve the image.  They're going to do the Mass in the vernacular.  What I really think is, they need a song, and I just happened to have written one."  It's just so darn clever, you can't believe it.  ... When my kids were young and they watched Sesame Street, all of a sudden, I hear this unmistakable voice singing a song about the silent E, and he had written that.  ... There was a show in London called Tom Foolery, which was all singing his music, and it played in New York City, some time in the late '80s, I think, for maybe six months, with the British people singing it.  I don't know that that has a heck of a lot to do with the war or the Cold War, but it was the Cold War years when all this was going on, and his Army experience led him to write and record a number of songs which were very definitely about the military and the war.  For instance, the threat of atomic bomb, you know, [singing], "We will all go together when we go, every Hottentot [the name given by Europeans to a native ethnic group in Southwest Africa] and every Eskimo," and he wrote a song about Wernher von Braun, you know, being the innocent bystander.  I just found out, about two years ago, that he was a boyhood friend of Stephen Sondheim, because they went to the same summer camp when they were kids, and that's the end of my Tom Lehrer story.  You can still buy his recordings.  You can buy a CD set of everything he ever recorded in one package.

SH:  Great advertisement.

WA:  And I get no cut.  [laughter]

SH:  This is a nice segue, because one of the things that we would like you to talk a little bit more about is your experience in the military, especially the training that you received that catapulted you into the technology of computers.

WA:  Yes, right.  As I mentioned, I was a math major who didn't want to be a math major anymore, and I decided I wanted to be an accountant.  I spent nine months working for J&J, Johnson & Johnson, as an accounting trainee.  ... When I went in, and they contributed me into the National Security Agency, at the outset, you have no idea what's going on and you've never heard of the National Security Agency.  All you knew was that it was very hush-hush and it was part of the Department of Defense, and so, we were put in these classroom situations until our clearances came through, and, in my case, it took something like four months.  ... They told me that I was being put in an organization within the National Security Agency that was known as machine processing.  I had no idea what that meant, [laughter] but it was an area that housed a whole bunch of computers and I barely knew what a computer was.  There were computers that were really designed to do kind of scientific-type stuff and there were computers which were designed to do things which were more clerical in nature and which, later on, was referred to as commercial, as opposed to scientific.  ... At the time, there were a lot of computers that had been built by Agency personnel themselves, there were computers in there by Remington Rand and there were computers in there by IBM.  There was a scientific computer, an IBM 701, and there was a commercial computer, an IBM 702, and, lo and behold, they assigned me to the 702, which was in a room about the size of this house, with air conditioning and an electric switch, which, when you turned it off, you lost everything.  There was no memory that it retained.  It was all photoelectric cells and you turned it off and nothing's left.  Every time you restart, you have to reload the memory with everything.  They trained me how to program it and, once I got into the swing of things, I thought, "Who wants to be an accountant?  [laughter] This is the wave of the future," and so, I spent a year-and-a-half, maybe a little bit more than that, programming, first, an IBM 702 and, subsequently, an IBM 705, which was one step up.

SH:  This is for the NSA.

WA:  This is for the NSA, and I'm wearing a uniform, because I'm in the Air Force.

SH:  Were the people who were training you consultants with IBM?

WA:  Some of them; well, both.  Some of them were employees of the National Security Agency, civilian employees, and some of them were IBM personnel.  I seemed to have a good aptitude for it.  ... I remember a college friend of mine who was a baseball player getting a job in the minor leagues and he made the comment, he said, "I just can't believe somebody's paying me to play baseball," and that was the same reaction I had.  ... It was like doing crossword puzzles.  It was making things work, and, in those days, when you were on a computer to debug a program, you had control of the entire computer, because there was no such thing as multi-tasking.  Nobody had even coined that term, I don't think, and so, really, as I used to tell people when I tried to explain what I did, which was difficult, at the time, because nobody had a frame of reference.  Every single bit in that computer has to be set right or the program isn't going to work.  ... The debugging job is to make sure that that's the case.  It was a primitive machine language at the time, which was one symbolic instruction for each machine instruction.  There was no macro coding or subroutines and things like that.  In fact, if I do say so myself, I kind of invented, for that installation, the whole concept of operating systems and macro instructions and input/output routines.  It never occurred to me to try make a buck out of this.  I was really stupid. [laughter] I might not have been successful anyway, but it just seemed logical to me, in order to simplify [things].  ... Then, when I came back to Johnson & Johnson, they were just a couple of months short of their first computer, [which] wasn't one of the ones that I had been working on.  As a matter-of-fact, it was a more primitive version of the IBM computers, and they had no one who had any hands-on experience.  So, I walked into a situation where I was the big cheese, as far as knowledge of the technology was concerned, and I did the same sort of thing there.  You know, I developed a lot of this software to make the programmer's life a lot easier and that just sort of was the foundation upon which I built my whole career.  I wound up, at age thirty, being a department manager, and then progressed from there.  I said, many times, and I still say it, in my entire career, I never had as much fun in my job as when I was just a computer programmer.

SH:  Really?

WA:  Yes, but that's not where the rewards are, and I wouldn't be sitting here in this house, if that were what I had done.  [laughter]

GF:  I was wondering about the ease of use.  If I took a time machine back to the 1950s, could I walk into this set up at the NSA and try using that, or would I blow it up?

WA:  Hell no.  [laughter] No, ... if I understand your question correctly, there is no way that you're going to be able to do anything with that kind of equipment until you've had at least two weeks' training, because, it's not designed with the idea of ease of use.  It's not designed with the idea that anybody does this except a professional in this field.  That concept was many years in coming.  When I saw the first personal computer that IBM came out with, and I think theirs was the first, it was about 1980, my reaction is, "This is a toy, because you can't do anything with it."  ... The reason I felt that way is because all of my experience was based on doing something of value to a company that required being able to input large masses of data.  Well, a PC didn't have any way of inputting large masses of data.  Everything that went in was manually entered; so, I couldn't see where this [could work].  You could play wonderful games with it.  I was a slow learner, I guess.

GF:  I have heard that they were using a game; not necessarily at the NSA.

WA:  Are you trying to think of the name of a game?

GF:  Yes, where they were actually using it for training.

SH:  Space Invaders?

GF:  Something like that, where they were actually using something like that for training in government organizations.

WA:  Not that I was aware of.  ... I guess I was writing a lot of programs at that time for analyzing data that was being collected by a variety of military programs, the most well-known, let's see, I was writing these programs from '55 to '57 and [Francis Gary] Powers didn't get shot down until '60.  ... We denied it and I may have already said this in the early session.  [Editor's Note: On May 1, 1960, a US Air Force U-2 aircraft piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union, exposing the spying program and creating an international incident.]  ...

SH:  You talked briefly about that, yes. 

WA:  Well, I was writing programs as early as 1956, which was analyzing the data that we were collecting by flying over Russia in the U-2, to test their defenses and their radar systems.  So, I knew doggone well, you know, that he was really one of them; I didn't know his name.  ...

SH:  On the other side of that, did you understand the threat?  Were you able to analyze the data?

WA:  Was I able to determine the meaning, the military significance of the data? no. 

SH:  That is what I wondered.

WA:  ... See, I never saw the data.  All I ever saw was how you processed the data, and I'd make up artificial data and go through it.  Once I developed a program that did it, then, it was turned over to somebody else to use. 

GF:  Were you using words or were you using binary?  What type of code were you using?

WA:  Well, that's what I was alluding to before, when I said it was a one-to-one ratio between the symbolic instruction and the machine instruction.  That doesn't mean anything to you, I guess.  [laughter] Well, there certainly was no [Microsoft] Word in those days.  There was a program; well, let me put it this way, if you know what COBOL is, or FORTRAN, they're high-level symbolic programs where you enter one instruction and it generates a collection of instructions in machine language.  ... The thing I was working on, on [the] 701 and 705, were ... just called Assembly Language, and so, every single individual step in the program had to be coded as an individual symbolic entry, and the same was true when I came and worked on the 650 at J&J.

SH:  Before we talk about J&J, in NSA, would there be any times that you would be called out in the middle of the night or were there any emergencies that you had to deal with?  As you said, if somebody flipped the switch and you lost everything, national security was at risk.

WA:  I don't think there was ever any time when I was called out because there was anything that [meant] national security was in jeopardy.  I spent most of my evening hours proving to IBM customer engineers that their damn machine wasn't working right, [that] it wasn't my program, and that happened fairly frequently, because the engineers, it was [always their response], you know, "It's got to be your program; it can't be the computer," and I'd have to prove that it was the computer. 

SH:  Your hours, sometimes, could be much longer.

WA:  Yes, but not because of any crisis, more out of personal pride than anything else.  [laughter]

SH:  Was there socialization between you and the IBM people and the NSA people?

WA:  Moderately, not a huge amount.  You know, we would go out to lunch together, especially if there was any special occasion, you know, like, "This guy is marrying this woman, so, let's go out to lunch."  In all honesty, at the time, I think I was a very narrow individual, and I mean that in the sense of being rigid about my beliefs.  Whether my beliefs were right or wrong wasn't the issue, it's that that's what I believed.  ... It was in Virginia and there were a lot of Southern girls in the unit that I was in and their views and mine were poles apart and I wanted nothing to do with them socially.  "Would you want your sister to marry one, [an African-American]?"  I don't know how many times I heard that.  Well, anyway, I don't know ... how well that answers your question.  [laughter] I would tell you this, though, and it was kind of an interesting thing.  About two or three years ago, the phone here rang.  I picked up the phone.  "Is this Wilson Andrews?"  "Yes, it is."  "Did you work for National Security Agency when you were in the Air Force in the 1950s?"  "Well, yes;" no, he said, "I'm looking for the Wilson Andrews..."  "Well," I said, "you found him," and he said, "Well, my name is..." and I don't remember it now and I didn't recognize it then, and he said, "And I'm pretty sure we worked together for awhile down there."  ... I said, "Gee," and I thought about it and I says, "Were you, by any chance, the guy who came home with me for lunch, ... brown bagged your lunch, and we came back to my apartment so [that] you could listen to my stereo system?"  "That's the one," he says, "I'm the guy," you know.  So, we met at a local restaurant down here and had lunch and reminisced over what had happened to everybody since.  He stayed there.  Well, he was a civilian then and he stayed on as a civilian for quite a few years, and ... so, he knew what had happened to many people that I lost track of.  So, that was kind of intriguing.

SH:  Was he also working in the computers then?

WA:  Oh, yes, he was in the very same department that I was in.

SH:  Was there any chance that you would have considered staying there in that position as a civilian?

WA:  Well, it's funny you should mention that, because they tried very hard to convince me I should, and I just wanted no part of working for the government.  Well, what do you want me to say?  I was young.  [laughter] ... The feeling was one of; well, let me put it this way.  My bosses' boss, civilian, in trying to tell me why I should come to work [for them], his first [statement], his opening gambit, was, "You get four weeks' vacation right off the bat."  Now, to somebody who's, what? twenty-five years old, maybe, that doesn't sound like the road to anything.  I'm only twenty-five years old and you're telling me I'm getting four weeks' vacation and that's why I should stay here?  I just had the feeling that I could be much more successful if I went back; remember, I'd already had nine months of exposure to private industry, and I didn't want to stay living down in the Washington, DC, area, either. 

SH:  Okay.

WA:  It was a lot different then, [laughter] even though there were four women for every male.  I think that's what you wanted to hear, yes. 

GF:  You were talking about how you had to explain to IBM engineers that it was not a problem with your programs, it was a problem with their computer.  What was the problem with the computers?

WA:  Could have been a lot of things.  I can recall a device that was spinning a stack of disks, they were all memory, and it spun and it had heads that went up and down to get in those stacks.  ... I knew that it wasn't working right, because I knew my program was working right and it would go to the wrong place.  I'd issue a command, say, "Retrieve this piece of data," and it wouldn't go to the right place to get it.  They didn't believe me, because it's not an easily reproduced error.  Anything like this, if you're going to be believed, you've got to be able to repeat it, so [that] it does the same thing.  That's frequently difficult, but I finally was able to repeat, for three engineers, who were standing there watching and showed them what had happened.  "Ah," they said, "well, you know why that is?  It's because you're using the equipment to the ultimate that we weren't expecting anybody to use it."  I said, "Then, why the hell did you release it and say you could do it?  You know, my job is to optimize this thing and get the most out of it.  Your job is to tell me I'm making [it work] too [much]; forget it."  I don't know if that answers your question.  It's kind of difficult to really give a specific answer.

SH:  This is so cutting edge at this point, this technology, for anyone.

WA:  Oh, God, yes. 

SH:  What about your commanding officers?  Were they aware of what you were doing, or would they just say, "I know nothing about it, just do your job?"

WA:  ... My commanding officers were never even in the office that I was in, in the building, on the lot.  It was one of those weird occasions.  I was officially attached to Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, DC, but my unit headquarters was in a building in Suitland, Maryland, which is where the Census Bureau is, but I was working on an Army facility called Arlington Hall in Arlington, Virginia.  ... So, my commanding officers were in Suitland, Maryland, and in Washington, DC, very close to Washington National (Ronald Reagan) Airport, and I'm down in Arlington, Virginia.  They never showed up.  You know, once a month, I'd have to put on my uniform; well, I put on my uniform every day, but, once a month, I'd have to go out on a Saturday morning to Suitland and we'd march and prove that we were in the service.  Maybe once every four or five months, I would draw an officer of the day-type duty, where I would have to go and stay overnight at the Suitland location and just be in charge, in case anybody needed somebody to be in charge.  But, hell, I never saw any military people.  Those military people might have had some concept of what I was doing, but they had no specific information, and that could very well have been justified at the time, that they had no need to know, because, I mean, my blotter was top secret. 

SH:  That is what I wondered; was there someone supervising you?

WA:  Yes.  ... There were military people in the division, ... in the Agency, just like I was, and some of them were high-ranking people and they had administrative responsibility in their agency, but they had no military administrative responsibility for me. 

SH:  Did those military people understand the potential for this type of equipment?

WA:  Well, I have to say, in all honesty, I never discussed it with them.  ...

SH:  Okay.  There was not anybody who was gungho about computers or about your work?

WA:  There were not a lot of high-ranking military people who were in the computer part of this organization, maybe that's what you're driving at, yes.  As you said, you used the term leading-edge technology, and I mean, it was very difficult for me, even when I got out of the service and could talk about what I was doing at J&J.  "What is a computer?  What is programming?" and I remember the first day I heard somebody in a store talk about software.  "Software, that's my jargon.  How the hell did you get that?"

SH:  There was an elitist type of feeling around computers.

WA:  Well, maybe, yes, yes. 

SH:  Sometimes, we hear about technologies that are available, but, because someone at a higher level has no concept of what its capabilities are or the potential for its use ... 

WA:  Well, I could certainly tell you some stories about J&J in that regard.  [laughter] Let's see, there's this big building across from the State Theater with an impressive name of a guy who didn't have a clue, and he was in charge of it and his attitude was, "I don't ... have to understand the technology, all I have to do is be a good manager and have people under me who understand the technology."  It set J&J back years, in terms of making good use of the technology.

SH:  That is basically the question I was asking for the military as well.

WA:  ... I was never in a position to judge that.

SH:  It was probably so new and you had such a limited time there as well.

WA:  Yes.  By the way, I happen to like that guy.  [laughter] He's a good guy, but that was his attitude. 

GF:  Regardless of the public perception, you were convinced that there was a big future in it?

WA:  Yes, I really was, ... after a year-and-a-half experience with this stuff, probably a lot because I got to know IBM pretty well and I could see where they were heading.

GF:  How fast were they moving?  Was it like it is now?

WA:  Well, it all depends upon what you mean by what they're doing now.  I mean, if you've got a mainframe computer, there were no PCs, you [have] got a mainframe computer, you probably ... would not have to significantly upgrade that for maybe four or five years, because it would take them that long to come out with a better type of computer.  ...  I used to tell friends, "IBM enjoys the reputation of being really so savvy in everything," I said.  But, they have never made a technological innovation.  They've always taken their technology from other sources.  They are outstanding at manufacturing and they are outstanding in marketing, and so, every time they came out with a new type of computer, the marketing was just fabulous.  They released the 360 series, which was a major thing, "April 10, 1964, IBM 360," and one of their competitors responded, "The day of the big circle and nothing new happened."  [laughter] I doubt if much of this is terrible useful to you, but I enjoy it. 

[TAPE PAUSED]

SH:  I will turn this back on.

WA:  Yes, go ahead.

GF:  You were talking about the fact that you could definitely see that there was a big future in computers.

WA:  I think my exposure to IBM, and [I] could see where they were heading, had a lot to do with it.  I guess I felt that this was the new wave, and I even went back to the treasurer of Johnson & Johnson and said, "I no longer want to be an accountant," and I told him I wanted to get into this field.  ... I remember saying to him, I said, "I can see that someday there'll be a vice-president of this kind of activity within most major corporations."  He was incredulous, but he offered me enough money to make me come back, [laughter] and, as I moved up the ladder, my objective changed.  I didn't want to be a vice-president.  [laughter] I was too interested in the rest of my life to want to become that dedicated to my job. ... But, sure as hell, I mean, now, they call it the chief information officer, is what most companies call it, but there was never any ... doubt in my mind that it was going to go that way.  However, if I really had had that aspiration, what I had no way of knowing was that this was not a great company to do that [with], because J&J kind of pocketed all of that technology in the accounting departments and tried to govern it by minimizing the budget.  ... They just didn't see it in the same way that other companies saw it, as being a part of how you plot your future and really do things.  Eventually, they saw it, but they had ... a lot of catching up to do. 

SH:  Was there any time that you were subject to raids, because other companies wanted someone with your expertise? 

WA:  Oh, yes, there was a lot of that, back and forth.  There was, ... maybe a couple [decades], maybe twenty years, when anybody in this field, all they had to do was move and they could increase their salary by five thousand dollars.  I never did.

SH:  There were opportunities to do that.

WA:  I know a number of people who have made a living out of just setting up "body shops" in order to do that.  They work for a big company for awhile, and then, they would go set up their own operation and they'd raid the big company, and then, they'd raid the other big companies and send them back and forth.  ... Like consultants, you know, you go in and say, "You can improve your bottom line if you paint the conference room red," and then, you go in the other one and say, "[You can] improve if you paint them green."  [laughter] ...

SH:  To work for someplace like J&J, that close to Rutgers, did that help you stay involved with Rutgers?

WA:  Yes.  Once again, you know me, I quibble with terminology, depending upon what you mean by Rutgers; I'd never really been terribly active in alumni affairs, that is to say, like Herbie Hersh and a lot of other people, Bob (Comstock?), should be one of your idols.  ... Do you know who he is?  No; he was another Art Kamin.  They were both editor-publishers of their own newspapers.  I certainly was involved with my fraternity.  I lived in Century Apartments, right across the street from my fraternity, from the time I got out of the service until six years later when I bought a house in Piscataway.  I was single throughout that entire time and I used to eat most of my evening meals at the fraternity and I was on the board of trustees, and so on, and so forth.  So, I've always given to the University.  I've gone to the five-year reunions and not been overly impressed with the activities of my own classmates, which I think I previously mentioned.  I will probably go to my fifty-fifth ... this next spring because a couple of my friends who don't live anywhere around here are hot to go, and so, I will go for social reasons and I will try to tune out any long-winded speeches and whatever. 

SH:  Fair enough.

WA:  So, yes, I originally chose J&J over other job offers before I went in the service because it permitted me to stay in New Brunswick until I went in the Air Force and I could go to the fall social season, like the football games.  We never won any games, but it was great fun, and then, when I got out of the Air Force, there wasn't any other place I wanted to go, except back to New Brunswick.  ... J&J proved to be a good company, when I worked for them then, and I can be critical of them, as I can be critical of my own parents, but, sure as hell, I couldn't have picked a better company to work for.

SH:  How did you see New Brunswick developing over those years?

WA:  Well ...  [laughter]

SH:  You were there in the 1950s, going to school, and then, up to now. 

WA:  Yes.  What I perceive is this; I hear people saying, "Oh, New Brunswick is really so much better today," and my reaction is, it all depends upon when your starting point is.  Sure, in the '60s and the '70s, it went way downhill and New Brunswick Tomorrow was formed, and I knew half the people on that board, including our friend, and, I don't know, do you know Bob Totten?  He was head of Buildings and Grounds for a number of years at Rutgers.  I think he had a vice-president's title and he was on that.  Anyway, they did a wonderful job of reclaiming New Brunswick, but is New Brunswick better today than it was in the '50s? nuh-uh, and that's not because I'm an old fossil, you know, being nostalgic; it really isn't it.  As you well know, during some of that period of time, you wouldn't walk downtown on George Street at night.  That's not the case anymore and I credit everybody who did that, but George Street, in the '50s, was sort of like an extension of the campus, and a lot of times, you did walk across town to NJC and think nothing of it.  I don't see it like that anymore.

GF:  Yes, the campus can sometimes feel like a bubble, not necessarily connected to the New Brunswick community.  Did you feel that there was a connection to the New Brunswick community while you were there?

WA:  Not especially.  There were not any huge "town-gown" problems, that I recall.  I think there is more community service activity in the University now than there was then.  I can't really recall much of any in those days.

SH:  Okay, that is a fair observation.

WA:  And maybe I just didn't know about it.  [laughter]

SH:  The fraternities did not have an outreach to the community.

WA:  ... Mine didn't.  Well, I think I could safely say none of them did, of any consequence.  I'm not saying there was never anything, but I certainly don't think it was anything like I know there is today. 

GF:  What do you mean by George Street was an extension of the campus?

WA:  [laughter] If you felt comfortable walking down College Avenue, you felt just as comfortable walking down George Street. 

GF:  Okay, all right.

WA:  This was before any of the J&J buildings [of the] modern era.  I guess the first one [built in] 1963, was Johnson Hall.  Everybody said that they built it with that architecture so that they could give it to the University, which I know was never their plan. [laughter] ... You just felt like more of the same as you went through town.

SH:  When was the more modern looking building that is right on Albany and George Street built?

WA:  That's between fifteen and twenty years ago.  That's worldwide headquarters.  Yes, that was only maybe, at most, twenty years ago. 

SH:  Do you remember what that displaced to be built there?

WA:  Oh, yes, it displaced a movie theater, a Sears-Roebuck, a couple of restaurants, a Public Service power station, a record store, one of my favorite record stores, the Rivoli, and a couple of pubs.  Tumulty's used to be in that area. 

SH:  Really?

WA:  Yes.  Tumulty's moved downtown from George Street, approximately right by the train tracks.  Tumulty's, at that time, was where you went when you wanted to make book.  You could always find somebody in there taking bets.  [laughter]

SH:  What about the New Brunswick and Rutgers police?  Was there any connection between the two?

WA:  The New Brunswick and the Rutgers police?  [laughter] I already told you the story about [the adult films].  Yes, well, anyway, as a fraternity man, we saw the police, and the city government, as being anti-fraternity and, we felt that they would come after you at the drop of a hat or deny you the privilege of doing something you wanted to do.  I would say that I felt that more, we felt that more, about the administration than we did the police department specifically.  The police departments were just [following orders]; I don't think any of them, individually, were out to get anybody.  They were just doing what they were told to do, except for when they got into their private enterprise activities. [laughter] But, for instance, when I was an undergraduate, we had a party in the side yard that we called the Fiji Island party and we'd build grass huts.  ... One Thursday night, before the party weekend, somebody torched a hut.  Well, the ... town administration, instead of concerning themselves with, "How do we find the person who did it?" really tore into us for even building the huts in the first place and insisted that if we [did] rebuild it, we had to hire an off-duty policeman to patrol the place.  We didn't have any money to hire an off-duty policeman, but we rebuilt the hut and it got torched again, and so, they come up and they said, "We told you."  Yes, well, fine, and so, we didn't really have much of a positive feeling.  ... Now, we knew a number of the township council, the town council, who were nice guys and [who] were good to us, because they had commercial ventures where we were their customers.  Luke Horvath was one in a million.  I don't know if that name means anything to you.  He had a haberdashery on Easton Avenue, Luke's Haberdashery, and he was a hell of a nice guy.  ... He was, and I don't say this snobbishly, he was a non-college-educated individual who had an interesting way with words, and I remember him being quoted in a newspaper one time as saying he was not being vituperative and I knew damn well he never said that.  [laughter] ... He was a joy to talk to, but, when the chips were down, he would size up where the wind blew politically and he would side with whatever faction seemed to be the most expeditious.

SH:  Was he helpful to the fraternities?

WA:  Helpful? 

SH:  Helpful; say, could you go over and order a suit or a jacket?

WA:  Oh, he was happy to sell anything he could.

SH:  What was the local eating scene?  If you did not eat in the fraternity, was there a place to hang out on Easton Ave? 

WA:  There were a number of them; down on Somerset Street was the Mayflower and the CT [Corner Tavern].  This is before Greasy Tony's.  ... Between Hamilton and Somerset was Gussie's Luncheonette, very close to where the pharmacy is, very close to where Harvey Harman, the football coach, lived in an apartment upstairs.

SH:  Really?

WA:  [laughter] Compared to where the coaches live today, he lived, he and his wife, lived in about a two-room apartment over a store.  ... There was, down at the other end was, what is now, I think, called, still called, the Queens Tavern.  That was called Sally's, the same Sally that was Sally's in Highland Park, which became whatever the hell it is, Charlie Brown's.  She had the one there, and then, she opened that and she eventually sold it ... and it became the Olde Queens Tavern, and there was one called Yusko's, which was really a bar that served pizza.  So, I mean, yes, there were places and ... we patronized them.  In fact, I would go to the CT and the Olde Queens Tavern for fifteen, twenty years after I graduated.

SH:  Do you have a mug at the Corner Tavern?

WA:  ... No, I don't, no, I don't.  Geez, I forgot all about those.  No, I don't.  They used to have the best veal parmesan of any place in the town. 

SH:  Really?

WA:  Yes.  I used to think that was Italian.  Now, the Italians tell me that's not Italian at all.  [laughter]

SH:  Do you have any more questions?

GF:  I do, but they relate to computers.  When you were working with computers, nothing was standardized, right?  There was no Circuit City, so, most computers were separate entities.  Did that cause a lot of problems, say, if you had something break down on one, it would not be as easy to fix?

WA:  If you had two computers that were identically ... configured, you could certainly take a program from one and run it on the other, but there was such a wide variety of computers in those days that the odds of being able to do that were rather limited.  I think that's the kind of thing you're talking about.

GF:  Yes, okay.

WA:  It's not like today.  If you've got a PC with Windows XP, you should be able to run anything on any of them.  It's just [that it] never was like that. 

GF:  Were there large databases, like the toy you have in the other room?

WA:  You had no access to anything except what was on your computer.

GF:  It was like an island.

WA:  ... No, if you needed a database, you'd have to develop it and store it on your computer.  Now, there were statistical tables that you might purchase and load onto your computer, but you didn't have anything like online access.  There was no online, if I'm using that term right. 

GF:  Would it be on punch cards, or what would it generally be?

WA:  Well, yes, the primary way you got data into the system was punch cards.  Now, once it was in there, you can put it on magnetic tape and move those tapes around, and most large installations had big tape libraries.  ... Every time they had a particular job they wanted to run, they'd go into the library, they'd pull out the tapes that were necessary for that job, they'd mount them, they'd run the job, then, they'd take them all off and put them back in the library.  Most of that was historical data and, as you may know, a lot of accounting reports are based on updating historical data, and the year-to-date balances and stuff like that.

GF:  When we think about the "clunky" state of early computers, you said that the office that you were working in was the size of this house.

WA:  That was not my office.  That was the computer room.  [laughter]

GF:  Okay.  How big would the computer be?

WA:  Well, let's say the computer could very easily, talking about just this level of the house, occupy fifty percent of it, and the other fifty percent would be where you would have carts with tapes you were wheeling in and out and other administrative stuff.  I don't mean people, I mean junk you needed.

SH:  Did you have to gown for stuff like this?  How pristine was the facility?

WA:  Did you have to what?

SH:  Gown.

WA:  D-O-W-N?

SH:  Gown, G-O-W-N; how pristine did it have to be?

WA:  Oh, oh, I'm sorry; no, not at all, not at all.  [laughter]

SH:  I have seen pictures of the early computers where, as you said, it was air conditioned and the floor was sterile.

WA:  ... Yes, yes.  I've seen those pictures, too, and it didn't register, what you were trying to say, what you were saying, and I was trying to hear it.  You know, if you go back to the ENIAC in the late '40s at the University of Pennsylvania, you might find stuff like that, but, you know, by the time I got involved, that was no longer the case. 

SH:  When did places like J&J start using computers for something other than accounting?

WA:  Well, it wasn't too much later that the people in research started using totally different computers to do statistical work.  In the pharmaceutical industry one of the key things has been molecular modeling, so that you could pre-test various drugs to see whether they were worth pursuing.  But applications like that didn't come around for maybe fifteen, twenty years later, sometime maybe ... even in the '80s.  In terms of using it for strategic purposes, even later; I don't know what they do with it today.  I haven't been involved for fifteen years, so, I'm sure I wouldn't recognize an awful lot.

SH:  It looks like you really enjoyed that fifteen years, though.

WA:  Yes, I have.  You know, I miss many of the people, but I don't miss the job.

SH:  You still seem to be very involved with technology. 

WA:  Well, there are friends of mine who would tell you that's very deceptive, because I'm really not into it deeply.  What motivates me is being able to do the things I'm interested in; the technology per se doesn't really grab me that much.  I don't get any enjoyment out of trying to figure out how to solve a broken computer or fix a broken computer or anything like that.  I enjoyed figuring out, "How do I get this thing to play WQXR?" something like that.  I'm on the wrong side of the hill here.  I can't get WQXR, haven't since I've lived here, and I've lived here for thirty-five, going on thirty-six, years.

SH:  You cannot even pull it through your computer.

WA:  Can now.

SH:  Okay.

WA:  But, I can listen to it [in] any room in the house, now that I've got that, but it's not just the MP3 files, I can play the [Internet-based radio station broadcast].

SH:  Through the broadband. 

WA:  Yes.

GF:  When you saw the personal computers at IBM, were you, I would not say disappointed, but under-whelmed?

WA:  You know, I thought they were over blowing it.  I remember going to a seminar down in Boca Raton, Florida, which was where their PC headquarters were in the early '80s, and sitting there for a week and seeing all these wonderful things and thinking, "How do you get masses of data into it?  ... It won't fit."

GF:  Was it the size of the memory or something like that?

WA:  Well, if you took a PC today and it couldn't connect to the Internet, in fact, you couldn't connect to anything outside of itself, and forget games; you could buy Turbo Tax and Intuit's Automatic Check, ... but, at the time, they were promoting it by saying, "For home use," now, not business use.  "Well, women can keep their recipe files on it."

SH:  I remember that.

WA:  Yes, right, I'm not kidding, right, yes, right, sure, like, how many women do you know who are going to sit down there and enter all of their recipes at a keyboard?  No different from how many lawyers do you think are ever going to sit at a keyboard and be happy with that?  [It] took a generational change in order to get ... past that point. 

[TAPE PAUSED]

GF:  What appealed to you about computer programming?  You said before that you almost looked at it like a crossword puzzle.

WA:  Yes, you know, ... it occurs to me, it's kind of the opposite of why I became disenchanted as a math major, because computer programming, at least as I experienced it, was, I used the word deterministic.  It was a set, it was a fixed set, like a crossword puzzle; there was only one right answer and your job was to find it.  ... When you get into advanced math and you get all this abstruse stuff, where nobody knows why you even want to use this; I remember having discussions with math profs who would get mad at me, because I'd say, "What practical use is this information?" and they wouldn't have an answer.  [laughter] I'm a troublemaker.  The programming itself was just like somebody would come to me and say, "Well, here's what we have to be able to do, here's what the input is and here's what the output has to be," and you have to get from here to there and you have to understand what the process is, and then, you have to break down that process into thousands of discreet steps, loops, routines, and make it work, and there's only one answer.  ... That's the best job I can do of explaining why it appealed to me.  It says more about me than it does about anything else.  I'm an anal-retentive.  [laughter]

GF:  One of the things that you did with J&J, and I guess this kind of plays into one of the reasons why you did not go into the government job, is that you got to be a consultant overseas. 

WA:  I'm not sure what ...

GF:  You were part of a consulting group overseas.  You would go over and explain to these different groups how to use their computers.

WA:  Yes, and I don't understand what you're asking me, how that related to the government job.

GF:  One of the things you mentioned was that you only got four weeks of vacation, right?

WA:  Oh, okay.  Well, you know, I probably over-emphasized that.  That's not why I didn't take the government job, it's just that I didn't see the government job as a place for somebody who had ambition, and I had ambition at that time.  I think it's intriguing to me that, as I look back, the level that I attained in private industry was probably not a heck of a lot better than if I'd have stayed in government.  Well, that's not true, but let's say if we're talking base salary, because one of the benefits of working for a big company, at least was, bonuses, stock options, and things like that.  I benefited a great deal from that, but, in terms of level of authority and standard, you know, take-home pay and all that kind of jazz, I probably could have gotten just as high in the government if I'd have stayed with it.  The other thing that's intriguing to me is that, because computer technology, as a function within the corporation, did not advance as fast as I envisioned it was going to, if I had stayed in accounting, I probably could have gotten a lot further ahead than I did by choosing computer technology.  But I wouldn't have had anywhere near as much fun.

SH:  How much overseas consulting did you do?

WA:  For about three years, I was overseas maybe four times a year, ... on two-week trips.  It's not terribly germane, but I like to tell the story anyway.  One of my most intriguing trips was the three-week trip that I went from JFK [Airport in New York City] to Rio De Janeiro, [Brazil], to Sao Paolo, [Brazil], back to Rio, to Cape Town, to East London, South Africa, to Johannesburg, to Nairobi, [Kenya], to Rome, [Italy], to JFK, where I immediately hopped another plane and went down to Orlando to meet my wife and two kids at Disneyland.  Guess where they lost my luggage? 

SH:  JFK?

WA:  Going to Orlando, yes.  [laughter] I get a lot of mileage out of stories like that. 

GF:  How many countries do you think you have visited?

WA:  There's a map on the wall; my kids gave me that for Christmas two years ago.  I've been to about thirty-five countries, on all six populated continents. 

SH:  Populated.  [laughter]

WA:  Well, I don't count penguins. 

SH:  It sounds like you have had a really interesting life

WA:  Well ...

SH:  Thank you for sharing with us.  Is there a question about a certain area we did not ask about that you would like to talk to us about?

WA:  I can't think of anything that's germane. 

[TAPE PAUSED]

GF:  While you were visiting these thirty-five different countries, did you get to see any operas or any concerts?

WA:  Any time I had the opportunity, I scheduled a free weekend and, wherever it's feasible, I would go to the opera.  Probably the most remarkable one I ever went to was the Sydney Opera House, where I saw Joan Sutherland do Lucia di Lammermoor, which, if you don't speak that language, is really something.  When I was in Japan, I booked a tour that was supposed to take us on a tour of the town and end up with a dinner followed by ... kabuki, and, when we arrived to go on the tour, the guide said the kabuki wasn't possible, so, they were going to take us to a nightclub.  So, we took the tour around, we had the Japanese dinner, and we went to a spot where they had strippers.  What was intriguing to me is, all of those strippers were Caucasian.  See, you never know what you're going to get out of me when you ask a question.  I certainly, in Europe, went to a lot of operas when I was over there on business, ... because I would go over there and ... I'd look and I'd say, "What's playing here?" and I'd say to the people I was with, "Do you care if I bug out after dinner and go to the opera?" and, occasionally, they'd want to come with me.  Sometimes, I was not so lucky as to get the best operas in the best places.  I saw a French opera at La Scala [in Milan] and a German opera in Paris, just happened to work that way, [laughter] but anyway.

SH:  Did you get to see any other musical venues, because I know you have a very eclectic taste?

WA:  Well, I saw Hair in London and Paris.  I have the recording in French.  I have the recording in about ten different languages, as a matter-of-fact.  I think, outside of London, there were very few theater things that I would go to, because I don't really speak any other language well enough to follow, unless I really know the show to begin with.  ... I don't know if I mentioned this, but I was with my family in Vienna one time; not the time I just mentioned, but years before that.  My daughter was only thirteen at the time, and we had seen Cats in New York, and so, Cats was playing in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, and I said, "Well, I want to go.  Who wants to come with me?"  Well, my son didn't, so, my daughter [went].  My wife took my son to an amusement park and I took my daughter to see Cats, and this was the theater, the very same theater, where Beethoven's opera, Fidelio, had its world premier.  At intermission, I said to my daughter, "Well, what do you think?"  She said, "Well, I was afraid, because I don't speak German," she says, "but, then, I realized I don't have to speak German.  I know what they're saying anyway," and that's the whole point.  ... I just have the feeling I've already told you that story. 

SH:  I do not think so.

WA:  Well, anyway, I'm running out of new material.  [laughter]

GF:  How do you think your time at Rutgers shaped your life afterwards?  Is there a particular mindset there at that school that might have helped you or hindered you?

WA:  Well, I'm going to answer perhaps in a strange way.  I benefited from courses that I took, and broadening in certain areas, in the liberal arts, which had nothing to do with my major, but I really do believe this sincerely, I think my fraternity experience broadened me more than anything else and had a greater influence on my life, the rest of my life, than anything else I experienced at Rutgers.  I think I arrived at Rutgers as a stupid clod and I think I learned a lot about social skills, about interaction of people, about business, because I was the treasurer, and I was exposed to attitudes from all over the country, ... and Canada.  It was a very maturing experience and I think, if I hadn't had it, I would be a much different person today.

SH:  Thank you so much for talking with us the second time.

WA:  Always my pleasure.

SH:  We look forward to seeing you in May at the RLHS Annual Meeting.  Thank you.

WA:  Okay. 

---------------------------------------------END OF INTERVIEW-------------------------------------------

Reviewed by Daniel Ruggiero 10/30/09

Reviewed by Shaun Illingworth 12/18/09

Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 12/23/09

Review by Wilson J. Andrews 1/23/Greg Flynn: This continues an interview with Wilson J. Andrews on December 15, 2008, in Bridgewater, New Jersey, with Greg Flynn and ...

Sandra Stewart Holyoak: ... Sandra Stewart Holyoak.

GF: Thank you very much for having us here.

Wilson J. Andrews: Always a pleasure.

GF: To start with, you were on campus while the GI Bill was being carried out. There were a lot of veterans on campus. What percentage of the entire campus would you say were veterans?

WA: I'm guessing here, but it could be as high as fifty percent of the entire student body were veterans, and, for a kid fresh out of high school, this was a bit intimidating. There weren't too many classes that were shared between the freshmen out of high school and the veterans. Because of the difference in age, they were usually upperclassmen, but, in the living groups and in my fraternity, in particular, I would say half of the upperclassmen were veterans. ... The freshmen kind of had the attitude that they were afraid that these veterans would feel, "We're just kids," and wouldn't want to pay too much attention to us, but it certainly did not work out that way. They were very, very helpful and, of course, in many cases, we were kind of amazed at some of their experiences. For instance, there was a guy in ... the senior class, when I was a freshman, who had been a medic in the Navy before he came to Rutgers, and he started financing his education by writing science fiction, which was being published in Astounding Science-Fiction magazine, which was the primary vehicle in those days. John W. Campbell, Jr., was the editor. He [Campbell] lived in Scotch Plains and he wrote the original story that The Thing From Another Planet is based on, if that means anything. [Editor's Note: John W. Campbell, Jr.'s 1938 novella "Who Goes There?" was adapted into Howard Hawks' 1951 film The Thing From Another World and John Carpenter's 1982 film The Thing.] ... This guy [the Rutgers alumnus] told me one day that he had things he wanted to write about in the future, but nobody would listen to him unless he got a degree of some consequence, and he actually financed his way through medical school, at the University of Pennsylvania, by writing science fiction stories. ... He would occasionally send me some to read before he sent them in, and I remember distinctly telling him one of them would never sell and it showed up in Esquire a year later. [laughter] ... He moved to the West Coast. He was in Washington State for many years as a physician and, in his middle age, he closed down his practice and devoted full time to writing. He followed his life's game plan just as he had explained it to me, and that really impressed me.

SH: Do you remember his name?

WA: Oh, I certainly do. His name was Alan Edward Nourse, N-O-U-R-S-E, Class of '51. He's deceased, but you could have gone, in the 1970s; well, did you ever hear of a book called Intern by Dr. X? It was a bestseller in the '70s. It was about a guy telling what it was like to be an intern. It was published anonymously. ... I wrote him a letter and I said, "This is you, isn't it?" and he wrote back, said, "No. This guy is good. I just write hack stuff," you know, and, about two or three years later, it came out, sure enough, that was him. Oh, I'm sure somewhere in the files of [the] Rutgers alumni [office], you would find reference to him.

SH: Did he ever talk about his World War II stories as a medic?

WA: You know, unfortunately, not really. He would touch on the fact he was at sea during the war; well, it wasn't even during the war, it was after the war.

SH: Was it?

WA: See, very few of the veterans, I was in the Class of '54, so, I entered in the Fall of 1950. Very few of the veterans there had actually seen action. They were almost all postwar veterans, occupying forces and such.

SH: Okay, great, thank you for that clarification.

WA: Yes.

GF: Were there veterans that you did talk with about their experiences, either in the war or postwar occupying forces?

WA: Well, not too many. I'll tell you, I think I mentioned the last time you were here that the University decided to give passing grades to anybody who withdrew at the end of the first semester to join the service, because it was the outset of the Korean War. One of those guys, who was my very good friend, came back afterwards and reentered the college. ... He got back when [anti-Communist Senator Joseph] McCarthy was king, you know, and we were very, very anti-McCarthy in general, and he said, "Well, it's easy for you to say that; you might feel differently if you ever got shot at by them." So, his perspective was very to the right, as a result of having fought in Korea and survived it. ...

SH: Were there many Korean War veterans returning before you left campus?

WA: Ones I had known before? not really. He was the only one. I know of a couple of others that did come back, but I really didn't have any contact with them after they came back.

SH: I wondered if that showed up in your fraternity. Did they come in as freshman?

WA: There were three guys who left on that basis. One of them is the guy that I just mentioned, who went on and had a military career after he got out of Rutgers. In fact, he just died last month, and the other guy never did come back to Rutgers, but never re-associated himself with the fraternity. He lived in Somerville and he commuted, and I've run into him downtown, every once in awhile, but he was never [in the fraternity after that], and the third one, I don't think, ever came back.

GF: Were there on campus groups for veterans? You said people may have thought that they were more cliquish than they were. Were there actually groups?

WA: Not that I recall. I don't recall that there were any official groups; I don't recall that they were cliquish at all. [It] may very well have been the case and I was just naïve about it, but ... I never saw any evidence of that.

SH: We talked before about your classmate that had been involved with the Targum. What was its stance at that point? What were the big issues that they were covering?

WA: [laughter] Well, the editor, Art Kaminsky, who's now Art Kamin, and I, as a matter-of-fact, had a number of political oppositions. I was in a fraternity and I was very much pro-fraternity, and Art was kind of leading the crusade against discrimination in fraternities, with which I was in total sympathy. We only disagreed about methods, but I don't know that he understood that, [laughter] and that was a big issue at the time. You know, fraternities had discrimination clauses, and some of them may have been justified. For instance, a very close friend in Zeta Beta Tau told me that they were founded by rabbinical students for Jewish boys. Now, who in their right mind comes out and tells them they've got to take Christians in the fraternity? ... I didn't think my fraternity was on very solid ground with any of their discrimination and they kind of weaseled by saying, "Must be acceptable to the fraternity as a whole," which meant, since we had a lot of Southern chapters, you know, you don't pledge blacks. Our Amherst chapter, in about 1952, did pledge a black and it created all sorts of havoc and they were thrown out of the fraternity, and so on, and so forth, and I was violently opposed to all that, and I was really working very hard within the fraternity to get those clauses changed, but Art Kaminsky never knew that. [laughter]

SH: Were there other issues that you remember?

WA: Well, there certainly were, but I guess that's the one that ... comes closest to my mind. There was the whole issue of communism. I was really pretty naïve, and I remember, during the whole Rosenberg affair, being in New York City and having a young woman approach me to sign a petition to release the Rosenbergs. [Editor's Note: In the early 1950s, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were tried, convicted and executed for spying on behalf of the Soviet Union in relation to acquiring information regarding the atomic bomb.] ... I truly thought she had to be a Communist, a Russian Communist. I don't mean she was Russian, but I mean, an anti-American-type Communist. The Korean War started right as I graduated from high school, ended just before my senior year, so, everything having to do with communism was a major issue, Alger Hiss and [then Congressman Richard M.] Nixon and his role in it, and, well, maybe his role in it didn't really get any publicity until later, but all of those kind of things were hot topics of conversation. I probably didn't know enough to have really valid opinions, because it really was not high on my interest levels. You know, I was ... doing classical music shows on WRSU and I was in my fraternity keeping the books and trying to eek my way through a math major curriculum that I no longer was interested in, but ... those are the things that I recall. I also recall that the dismissal of two professors at Newark-Rutgers, who were perceived as left-leaning, triggered much discussion and student protest.

SH: How was McCarthy viewed? You talked about the discussion with your fraternity brothers. The returning veterans had an entirely different view.

WA: Yes. I'd say most of the people I knew thought the guy was nuts.

SH: Did they? Okay, at that point.

WA: Yes, thank God. [laughter]

SH: Okay.

WA: And there was a series of, I don't know, you may recall "Tom Swifties." Well, I don't know ... if we had a name for this, but there was a series of comments that people would make, like, "So, other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?" you know, that kind of thing. Well, one of the ones that was going around was, "Have another piece of liver, Mrs. McCarthy," because he died of liver disease. He was pretty much held up to ridicule, but there certainly was a significant faction who thought ... he was right on. I may be wrong, but I think I've read some stuff recently that suggests that he was more correct than he got credit for at the time. [Editor's Note: The debate over the validity of McCarthy's claims is ongoing and is often fought along partisan political lines. Information uncovered from Soviet archives since the end of the Cold War regarding the extent to which the USSR's intelligence resources had spread into the United States is often used by the pro-McCarthy faction as proof of his crusade's legitimacy.] I don't know if that's valid, but I read something that suggested that. I really ought to pursue it. [laughter]

GF: You took a variety of different classes. Did professors seem to be opposed to McCarthy, from what you remember?

WA: I didn't take very many courses where professors had any occasion to voice political views.

GF: Okay.

WA: You know, a math professor doesn't talk about things like that. [laughter] I avoided courses that required a lot of reading, because I was not a good speed reader. I mean, I could read well, but, I mean, I didn't want to get stuck with having to read more than I could handle. So, ... the most controversial course I ever took, I think, was economics, and it was only controversial because I accused the professor of being a Socialist and he said, "You dummy, I'm an anarchist." [laughter] He was not a native-born American. He had fled the persecutions of Europe and he was an anarchist. I was too stupid to realize the difference.

SH: Can you tell us which professor that was?

WA: If I could remember his name, I'd love to. He was; oh, boy, I'm going to have a hard time with that one.

SH: That is okay. We can look it up.

WA: He was like I am now, [hearing impaired], and we found out that when he was lecturing, he would turn his hearing aid off. So, we would turn on the ballgame on a portable radio and, every once in awhile, when we'd get upset with him, we'd raise our hands and he'd point to one of us and he'd ...

SH: And just mouth the words?

WA: Yes, right, and he'd start checking his batteries and everything. We were very mean, but, at the time, we thought he deserved every bit of it, because he ... would give tests where the answers, the correct answers, as far as he was concerned, were at odds with what you read in the textbook. So, how do you win in a game like that? So, the hell with him, but I can't remember his name. [laughter]

GF: As a classical radio DJ, what do you think are some important things to remember to be a good classical radio host?

WA: ... Say that last sentence again slowly. [laughter]

SH: How do you become or how do you adapt to being a classical DJ on the radio?

WA: How did I adapt?

GF: How do you make that appealing at a college?

WA: Are you asking that in general or are you asking about me?

GF: Yes, you.

WA: Well, from the age of sixteen, when I moved to New Jersey, I listened to WQXR; all I did was imitate it.

SH: Okay. There was a little history about the piece or the composer.

WA: Oh, yes. I would read, I would prepare a script, which would read the background of the piece that I was going to play, and, in some cases, I lifted it right out of books that I had or on the notes on the record jacket. It was just a major interest for me and ... I loved doing it and, what the hell? It's an ego trip. I mean, there you are, broadcasting, you know, not that there was a huge circulation. I mean, you had to be in a dorm where there's a transmitter, because it was a very limited [signal]. I think I told you about the fact that my parents came down to listen to me in the car one time and I announced my grandmother's death.

SH: No.

WA: I didn't tell you about that. Well, after the classical music ... program, I would read news off the ticker for five minutes, and then, play the Star-Spangled Banner and that was it for the night at eleven o'clock. ... So, my mother, father and my visiting grandmother from Cincinnati came down to listen to me. Well, two days earlier, my mother and my grandmother, who was my father's mother, prepared the most god-awful lamb kidney stew I've ever heard or smelled in my whole life. They got it off of some television woman, and it wasn't Julia Child. So, I inserted a news item of my own, announcing that my grandmother had choked to death on a piece of lamb kidney, you know, and the people came up to me later on, said, "Why did you put that one in there?" and I said, "Because my grandmother was sitting in the car." They thought it was very funny. [laughter]

SH: Did your parents and your grandmother chuckle?

WA: Yes, yes. I mean, I must have gotten my sense of humor from somebody, you know.

SH: How widely listened to do you think your program was?

WA: Oh, lord, that's a tough question to answer because we never made any attempt to measure it.

SH: Okay.

WA: I know perfectly well that there were listeners in the fraternity houses, in the dorms and over at, at the time, NJC [New Jersey College for Women, now Douglass Residential College]. ... Well, as I may have mentioned, [for] two years, when I was in [my] junior year, I was the station manager. I wasn't just doing classical music. So, I'd have more contact with people. We would have meetings with dorm counselors and people of other groups, maybe Student Council or something at Douglass, and so on, and so forth, and they would comment that they liked the idea that there was this nightly show of classical music.

SH: Did anybody try to interject what they thought you should be doing? Not just you, but the radio station as a whole; how much oversight was there?

WA: About the ... only thing along that line that I can recall was, occasionally, we'd get some negative criticism, you know, "That was stupid. That's not interesting," and, occasionally, and I can remember a couple of very specific examples. Somebody would come to me and say, you know, "I would like to try announcing classical music." So, we would give them something; we would either say, "Well, do you feel like you can come up with your own or do you want us to provide you one?" "Well, you provide me with one of the scripts and I'll announce it," okay. So, the guy would go in there and he would say, "And now, here's Beethoven's;" no, well, he wouldn't say Beethoven, that's the whole point. He'd say, "Beet-hov-en's pathetic symphony," [rather than Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique], and then, we'd get phone calls, saying, "Can't you get somebody who can pronounce this stuff?" Of course, every now and then, on commercial radio today, I hear people doing things like that.

GF: Can you give us a sampling of how you generally introduced something? If you were introducing Handel's Water Music, how would you introduce it on the station?

WA: How would I introduce a given piece of music?

GF: Yes.

WA: Well, yes, I'm trying to assess what you're looking for here. The first thing I would do was say something like, and, I always leave a little pause after the previous music, and then, I would say, "And now, next on our program will be Tchaikovsky's Symphony Number Six, Pathetique," and then, I would go in and read a brief description of it. You know, I might say why he called it pathetique or when it was written and when it had its premier or that kind of stuff, just trying to give interesting background information. I had a recording of an overture to an opera by a French composer. The name of the composer was Francois Boieldieu, and I never took French in my life. The name ... of the opera was La dame Blanche, B-L-A-N-C-H-E, you know, like blonde has a silent E on the end. I called a friend of mine whose parents were French and I said, "How do you pronounce this thing?" and he told me. ... To this day, I remember knowing how to pronounce Francois Boieldieu's La dame Blanche Overture. Cut to just a couple of years ago, I was in the Vienna State Opera House on a tour. ... In one foyer, they have what was originally set up when it was first built, the names of famous composers, and, they've got Wagner and they've got Verdi and they've got Beethoven, and so on, and they've got Boieldieu [laughter]. I said to the tour guide, "What is Boieldieu doing up there?" and four or five people on the tour looked at me and said, "You know who that is?" [laughter] "Yes."

[TAPE PAUSED]

GF: Prior to starting the recording, you were talking about Tom Lehrer. Can you tell us more about him?

WA: Yes. I graduated in '54 and had an ROTC commission in the Air Force and, just about the time I graduated, a recording came out called Song Satires by a fellow by the name of Tom Lehrer, who we found out was a math teacher at Harvard, but he moonlighted singing his own compositions at a local bar. ... The Harvard Administration was not terribly happy about this because, by the standards of 1954, most of the songs were pretty risqué. He wrote a song that he suggested might be the Boy Scouts Marching Song, which contains such gems as, "Don't solicit for your sister, it's not nice, unless you get a good percentage of her price." He wrote satires about all sorts of things, ... as I say, the colleges in the Northeast all had his record, played it over and over again, thought it was just fantastic. I was called to active duty, or if that's what you call it when you're an officer, in April of 1955 and was sent to Washington, DC, where I wound up in the National Security Agency. ... One day, an instructor, a lieutenant, made reference to some private in another one of his classes by the name of Tom Lehrer, and I said, ... "The Tom Lehrer?" He says, "I don't know." He was from the Midwest. Anyway, the fact of the matter is, Tom Lehrer had been drafted and was in the same organization that I was. It was really a civilian organization, as it still is today. I did not know the man well, but, occasionally, would chat with him, and then, occasionally, would be at a party that he was at. They wanted to send him to Officer's Candidate School, but he wanted nothing [to do] with extending his two-year term and he got out of the service and went back and wrote more songs and became more famous. ... If you're of a certain age, you certainly know who Tom Lehrer was. He hasn't performed in quite awhile. He did a wonderful thing using a Gilbert and Sullivan patter song as the music [his 1959 song The Elements], where he recited all of the elements by name, and it concludes with the phrase, "These are the only ones of which the news has come to Harvard. There may be many others, but they haven't been discovered," [Mr. Andrews mimics a fanfare to finish the song]. He wrote music for David Frost's TV show, That Was The Week That Was, including the absolutely marvelous Vatican Rag, [in] which he said, it was right after Vatican II, and he said, "They're trying to improve the image. They're going to do the Mass in the vernacular. What I really think is, they need a song, and I just happened to have written one." It's just so darn clever, you can't believe it. ... When my kids were young and they watched Sesame Street, all of a sudden, I hear this unmistakable voice singing a song about the silent E, and he had written that. ... There was a show in London called Tom Foolery, which was all singing his music, and it played in New York City, some time in the late '80s, I think, for maybe six months, with the British people singing it. I don't know that that has a heck of a lot to do with the war or the Cold War, but it was the Cold War years when all this was going on, and his Army experience led him to write and record a number of songs which were very definitely about the military and the war. For instance, the threat of atomic bomb, you know, [singing], "We will all go together when we go, every Hottentot [the name given by Europeans to a native ethnic group in Southwest Africa] and every Eskimo," and he wrote a song about Wernher von Braun, you know, being the innocent bystander. I just found out, about two years ago, that he was a boyhood friend of Stephen Sondheim, because they went to the same summer camp when they were kids, and that's the end of my Tom Lehrer story. You can still buy his recordings. You can buy a CD set of everything he ever recorded in one package.

SH: Great advertisement.

WA: And I get no cut. [laughter]

SH: This is a nice segue, because one of the things that we would like you to talk a little bit more about is your experience in the military, especially the training that you received that catapulted you into the technology of computers.

WA: Yes, right. As I mentioned, I was a math major who didn't want to be a math major anymore, and I decided I wanted to be an accountant. I spent nine months working for J&J, Johnson & Johnson, as an accounting trainee. ... When I went in, and they contributed me into the National Security Agency, at the outset, you have no idea what's going on and you've never heard of the National Security Agency. All you knew was that it was very hush-hush and it was part of the Department of Defense, and so, we were put in these classroom situations until our clearances came through, and, in my case, it took something like four months. ... They told me that I was being put in an organization within the National Security Agency that was known as machine processing. I had no idea what that meant, [laughter] but it was an area that housed a whole bunch of computers and I barely knew what a computer was. There were computers that were really designed to do kind of scientific-type stuff and there were computers which were designed to do things which were more clerical in nature and which, later on, was referred to as commercial, as opposed to scientific. ... At the time, there were a lot of computers that had been built by Agency personnel themselves, there were computers in there by Remington Rand and there were computers in there by IBM. There was a scientific computer, an IBM 701, and there was a commercial computer, an IBM 702, and, lo and behold, they assigned me to the 702, which was in a room about the size of this house, with air conditioning and an electric switch, which, when you turned it off, you lost everything. There was no memory that it retained. It was all photoelectric cells and you turned it off and nothing's left. Every time you restart, you have to reload the memory with everything. They trained me how to program it and, once I got into the swing of things, I thought, "Who wants to be an accountant? [laughter] This is the wave of the future," and so, I spent a year-and-a-half, maybe a little bit more than that, programming, first, an IBM 702 and, subsequently, an IBM 705, which was one step up.

SH: This is for the NSA.

WA: This is for the NSA, and I'm wearing a uniform, because I'm in the Air Force.

SH: Were the people who were training you consultants with IBM?

WA: Some of them; well, both. Some of them were employees of the National Security Agency, civilian employees, and some of them were IBM personnel. I seemed to have a good aptitude for it. ... I remember a college friend of mine who was a baseball player getting a job in the minor leagues and he made the comment, he said, "I just can't believe somebody's paying me to play baseball," and that was the same reaction I had. ... It was like doing crossword puzzles. It was making things work, and, in those days, when you were on a computer to debug a program, you had control of the entire computer, because there was no such thing as multi-tasking. Nobody had even coined that term, I don't think, and so, really, as I used to tell people when I tried to explain what I did, which was difficult, at the time, because nobody had a frame of reference. Every single bit in that computer has to be set right or the program isn't going to work. ... The debugging job is to make sure that that's the case. It was a primitive machine language at the time, which was one symbolic instruction for each machine instruction. There was no macro coding or subroutines and things like that. In fact, if I do say so myself, I kind of invented, for that installation, the whole concept of operating systems and macro instructions and input/output routines. It never occurred to me to try make a buck out of this. I was really stupid. [laughter] I might not have been successful anyway, but it just seemed logical to me, in order to simplify [things]. ... Then, when I came back to Johnson & Johnson, they were just a couple of months short of their first computer, [which] wasn't one of the ones that I had been working on. As a matter-of-fact, it was a more primitive version of the IBM computers, and they had no one who had any hands-on experience. So, I walked into a situation where I was the big cheese, as far as knowledge of the technology was concerned, and I did the same sort of thing there. You know, I developed a lot of this software to make the programmer's life a lot easier and that just sort of was the foundation upon which I built my whole career. I wound up, at age thirty, being a department manager, and then progressed from there. I said, many times, and I still say it, in my entire career, I never had as much fun in my job as when I was just a computer programmer.

SH: Really?

WA: Yes, but that's not where the rewards are, and I wouldn't be sitting here in this house, if that were what I had done. [laughter]

GF: I was wondering about the ease of use. If I took a time machine back to the 1950s, could I walk into this set up at the NSA and try using that, or would I blow it up?

WA: Hell no. [laughter] No, ... if I understand your question correctly, there is no way that you're going to be able to do anything with that kind of equipment until you've had at least two weeks' training, because, it's not designed with the idea of ease of use. It's not designed with the idea that anybody does this except a professional in this field. That concept was many years in coming. When I saw the first personal computer that IBM came out with, and I think theirs was the first, it was about 1980, my reaction is, "This is a toy, because you can't do anything with it." ... The reason I felt that way is because all of my experience was based on doing something of value to a company that required being able to input large masses of data. Well, a PC didn't have any way of inputting large masses of data. Everything that went in was manually entered; so, I couldn't see where this [could work]. You could play wonderful games with it. I was a slow learner, I guess.

GF: I have heard that they were using a game; not necessarily at the NSA.

WA: Are you trying to think of the name of a game?

GF: Yes, where they were actually using it for training.

SH: Space Invaders?

GF: Something like that, where they were actually using something like that for training in government organizations.

WA: Not that I was aware of. ... I guess I was writing a lot of programs at that time for analyzing data that was being collected by a variety of military programs, the most well-known, let's see, I was writing these programs from '55 to '57 and [Francis Gary] Powers didn't get shot down until '60. ... We denied it and I may have already said this in the early session. [Editor's Note: On May 1, 1960, a US Air Force U-2 aircraft piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union, exposing the spying program and creating an international incident.] ...

SH: You talked briefly about that, yes.

WA: Well, I was writing programs as early as 1956, which was analyzing the data that we were collecting by flying over Russia in the U-2, to test their defenses and their radar systems. So, I knew doggone well, you know, that he was really one of them; I didn't know his name. ...

SH: On the other side of that, did you understand the threat? Were you able to analyze the data?

WA: Was I able to determine the meaning, the military significance of the data? no.

SH: That is what I wondered.

WA: ... See, I never saw the data. All I ever saw was how you processed the data, and I'd make up artificial data and go through it. Once I developed a program that did it, then, it was turned over to somebody else to use.

GF: Were you using words or were you using binary? What type of code were you using?

WA: Well, that's what I was alluding to before, when I said it was a one-to-one ratio between the symbolic instruction and the machine instruction. That doesn't mean anything to you, I guess. [laughter] Well, there certainly was no [Microsoft] Word in those days. There was a program; well, let me put it this way, if you know what COBOL is, or FORTRAN, they're high-level symbolic programs where you enter one instruction and it generates a collection of instructions in machine language. ... The thing I was working on, on [the] 701 and 705, were ... just called Assembly Language, and so, every single individual step in the program had to be coded as an individual symbolic entry, and the same was true when I came and worked on the 650 at J&J.

SH: Before we talk about J&J, in NSA, would there be any times that you would be called out in the middle of the night or were there any emergencies that you had to deal with? As you said, if somebody flipped the switch and you lost everything, national security was at risk.

WA: I don't think there was ever any time when I was called out because there was anything that [meant] national security was in jeopardy. I spent most of my evening hours proving to IBM customer engineers that their damn machine wasn't working right, [that] it wasn't my program, and that happened fairly frequently, because the engineers, it was [always their response], you know, "It's got to be your program; it can't be the computer," and I'd have to prove that it was the computer.

SH: Your hours, sometimes, could be much longer.

WA: Yes, but not because of any crisis, more out of personal pride than anything else. [laughter]

SH: Was there socialization between you and the IBM people and the NSA people?

WA: Moderately, not a huge amount. You know, we would go out to lunch together, especially if there was any special occasion, you know, like, "This guy is marrying this woman, so, let's go out to lunch." In all honesty, at the time, I think I was a very narrow individual, and I mean that in the sense of being rigid about my beliefs. Whether my beliefs were right or wrong wasn't the issue, it's that that's what I believed. ... It was in Virginia and there were a lot of Southern girls in the unit that I was in and their views and mine were poles apart and I wanted nothing to do with them socially. "Would you want your sister to marry one, [an African-American]?" I don't know how many times I heard that. Well, anyway, I don't know ... how well that answers your question. [laughter] I would tell you this, though, and it was kind of an interesting thing. About two or three years ago, the phone here rang. I picked up the phone. "Is this Wilson Andrews?" "Yes, it is." "Did you work for National Security Agency when you were in the Air Force in the 1950s?" "Well, yes;" no, he said, "I'm looking for the Wilson Andrews..." "Well," I said, "you found him," and he said, "Well, my name is..." and I don't remember it now and I didn't recognize it then, and he said, "And I'm pretty sure we worked together for awhile down there." ... I said, "Gee," and I thought about it and I says, "Were you, by any chance, the guy who came home with me for lunch, ... brown bagged your lunch, and we came back to my apartment so [that] you could listen to my stereo system?" "That's the one," he says, "I'm the guy," you know. So, we met at a local restaurant down here and had lunch and reminisced over what had happened to everybody since. He stayed there. Well, he was a civilian then and he stayed on as a civilian for quite a few years, and ... so, he knew what had happened to many people that I lost track of. So, that was kind of intriguing.

SH: Was he also working in the computers then?

WA: Oh, yes, he was in the very same department that I was in.

SH: Was there any chance that you would have considered staying there in that position as a civilian?

WA: Well, it's funny you should mention that, because they tried very hard to convince me I should, and I just wanted no part of working for the government. Well, what do you want me to say? I was young. [laughter] ... The feeling was one of; well, let me put it this way. My bosses' boss, civilian, in trying to tell me why I should come to work [for them], his first [statement], his opening gambit, was, "You get four weeks' vacation right off the bat." Now, to somebody who's, what? twenty-five years old, maybe, that doesn't sound like the road to anything. I'm only twenty-five years old and you're telling me I'm getting four weeks' vacation and that's why I should stay here? I just had the feeling that I could be much more successful if I went back; remember, I'd already had nine months of exposure to private industry, and I didn't want to stay living down in the Washington, DC, area, either.

SH: Okay.

WA: It was a lot different then, [laughter] even though there were four women for every male. I think that's what you wanted to hear, yes.

GF: You were talking about how you had to explain to IBM engineers that it was not a problem with your programs, it was a problem with their computer. What was the problem with the computers?

WA: Could have been a lot of things. I can recall a device that was spinning a stack of disks, they were all memory, and it spun and it had heads that went up and down to get in those stacks. ... I knew that it wasn't working right, because I knew my program was working right and it would go to the wrong place. I'd issue a command, say, "Retrieve this piece of data," and it wouldn't go to the right place to get it. They didn't believe me, because it's not an easily reproduced error. Anything like this, if you're going to be believed, you've got to be able to repeat it, so [that] it does the same thing. That's frequently difficult, but I finally was able to repeat, for three engineers, who were standing there watching and showed them what had happened. "Ah," they said, "well, you know why that is? It's because you're using the equipment to the ultimate that we weren't expecting anybody to use it." I said, "Then, why the hell did you release it and say you could do it? You know, my job is to optimize this thing and get the most out of it. Your job is to tell me I'm making [it work] too [much]; forget it." I don't know if that answers your question. It's kind of difficult to really give a specific answer.

SH: This is so cutting edge at this point, this technology, for anyone.

WA: Oh, God, yes.

SH: What about your commanding officers? Were they aware of what you were doing, or would they just say, "I know nothing about it, just do your job?"

WA: ... My commanding officers were never even in the office that I was in, in the building, on the lot. It was one of those weird occasions. I was officially attached to Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, DC, but my unit headquarters was in a building in Suitland, Maryland, which is where the Census Bureau is, but I was working on an Army facility called Arlington Hall in Arlington, Virginia. ... So, my commanding officers were in Suitland, Maryland, and in Washington, DC, very close to Washington National (Ronald Reagan) Airport, and I'm down in Arlington, Virginia. They never showed up. You know, once a month, I'd have to put on my uniform; well, I put on my uniform every day, but, once a month, I'd have to go out on a Saturday morning to Suitland and we'd march and prove that we were in the service. Maybe once every four or five months, I would draw an officer of the day-type duty, where I would have to go and stay overnight at the Suitland location and just be in charge, in case anybody needed somebody to be in charge. But, hell, I never saw any military people. Those military people might have had some concept of what I was doing, but they had no specific information, and that could very well have been justified at the time, that they had no need to know, because, I mean, my blotter was top secret.

SH: That is what I wondered; was there someone supervising you?

WA: Yes. ... There were military people in the division, ... in the Agency, just like I was, and some of them were high-ranking people and they had administrative responsibility in their agency, but they had no military administrative responsibility for me.

SH: Did those military people understand the potential for this type of equipment?

WA: Well, I have to say, in all honesty, I never discussed it with them. ...

SH: Okay. There was not anybody who was gung ho about computers or about your work?

WA: There were not a lot of high-ranking military people who were in the computer part of this organization, maybe that's what you're driving at, yes. As you said, you used the term leading-edge technology, and I mean, it was very difficult for me, even when I got out of the service and could talk about what I was doing at J&J. "What is a computer? What is programming?" and I remember the first day I heard somebody in a store talk about software. "Software, that's my jargon. How the hell did you get that?"

SH: There was an elitist type of feeling around computers.

WA: Well, maybe, yes, yes.

SH: Sometimes, we hear about technologies that are available, but, because someone at a higher level has no concept of what its capabilities are or the potential for its use ...

WA: Well, I could certainly tell you some stories about J&J in that regard. [laughter] Let's see, there's this big building across from the State Theater with an impressive name of a guy who didn't have a clue, and he was in charge of it and his attitude was, "I don't ... have to understand the technology, all I have to do is be a good manager and have people under me who understand the technology." It set J&J back years, in terms of making good use of the technology.

SH: That is basically the question I was asking for the military as well.

WA: ... I was never in a position to judge that.

SH: It was probably so new and you had such a limited time there as well.

WA: Yes. By the way, I happen to like that guy. [laughter] He's a good guy, but that was his attitude.

GF: Regardless of the public perception, you were convinced that there was a big future in it?

WA: Yes, I really was, ... after a year-and-a-half experience with this stuff, probably a lot because I got to know IBM pretty well and I could see where they were heading.

GF: How fast were they moving? Was it like it is now?

WA: Well, it all depends upon what you mean by what they're doing now. I mean, if you've got a mainframe computer, there were no PCs, you [have] got a mainframe computer, you probably ... would not have to significantly upgrade that for maybe four or five years, because it would take them that long to come out with a better type of computer. ... I used to tell friends, "IBM enjoys the reputation of being really so savvy in everything," I said. But, they have never made a technological innovation. They've always taken their technology from other sources. They are outstanding at manufacturing and they are outstanding in marketing, and so, every time they came out with a new type of computer, the marketing was just fabulous. They released the 360 series, which was a major thing, "April 10, 1964, IBM 360," and one of their competitors responded, "The day of the big circle and nothing new happened." [laughter] I doubt if much of this is terrible useful to you, but I enjoy it.

[TAPE PAUSED]

SH: I will turn this back on.

WA: Yes, go ahead.

GF: You were talking about the fact that you could definitely see that there was a big future in computers.

WA: I think my exposure to IBM, and [I] could see where they were heading, had a lot to do with it. I guess I felt that this was the new wave, and I even went back to the treasurer of Johnson & Johnson and said, "I no longer want to be an accountant," and I told him I wanted to get into this field. ... I remember saying to him, I said, "I can see that someday there'll be a vice-president of this kind of activity within most major corporations." He was incredulous, but he offered me enough money to make me come back, [laughter] and, as I moved up the ladder, my objective changed. I didn't want to be a vice-president. [laughter] I was too interested in the rest of my life to want to become that dedicated to my job. ... But, sure as hell, I mean, now, they call it the chief information officer, is what most companies call it, but there was never any ... doubt in my mind that it was going to go that way. However, if I really had had that aspiration, what I had no way of knowing was that this was not a great company to do that [with], because J&J kind of pocketed all of that technology in the accounting departments and tried to govern it by minimizing the budget. ... They just didn't see it in the same way that other companies saw it, as being a part of how you plot your future and really do things. Eventually, they saw it, but they had ... a lot of catching up to do.

SH: Was there any time that you were subject to raids, because other companies wanted someone with your expertise?

WA: Oh, yes, there was a lot of that, back and forth. There was, ... maybe a couple [decades], maybe twenty years, when anybody in this field, all they had to do was move and they could increase their salary by five thousand dollars. I never did.

SH: There were opportunities to do that.

WA: I know a number of people who have made a living out of just setting up "body shops" in order to do that. They work for a big company for awhile, and then, they would go set up their own operation and they'd raid the big company, and then, they'd raid the other big companies and send them back and forth. ... Like consultants, you know, you go in and say, "You can improve your bottom line if you paint the conference room red," and then, you go in the other one and say, "[You can] improve if you paint them green." [laughter] ...

SH: To work for someplace like J&J, that close to Rutgers, did that help you stay involved with Rutgers?

WA: Yes. Once again, you know me, I quibble with terminology, depending upon what you mean by Rutgers; I'd never really been terribly active in alumni affairs, that is to say, like Herbie Hersh and a lot of other people, Bob (Comstock?), should be one of your idols. ... Do you know who he is? No; he was another Art Kamin. They were both editor-publishers of their own newspapers. I certainly was involved with my fraternity. I lived in Century Apartments, right across the street from my fraternity, from the time I got out of the service until six years later when I bought a house in Piscataway. I was single throughout that entire time and I used to eat most of my evening meals at the fraternity and I was on the board of trustees, and so on, and so forth. So, I've always given to the University. I've gone to the five-year reunions and not been overly impressed with the activities of my own classmates, which I think I previously mentioned. I will probably go to my fifty-fifth ... this next spring because a couple of my friends who don't live anywhere around here are hot to go, and so, I will go for social reasons and I will try to tune out any long-winded speeches and whatever.

SH: Fair enough.

WA: So, yes, I originally chose J&J over other job offers before I went in the service because it permitted me to stay in New Brunswick until I went in the Air Force and I could go to the fall social season, like the football games. We never won any games, but it was great fun, and then, when I got out of the Air Force, there wasn't any other place I wanted to go, except back to New Brunswick. ... J&J proved to be a good company, when I worked for them then, and I can be critical of them, as I can be critical of my own parents, but, sure as hell, I couldn't have picked a better company to work for.

SH: How did you see New Brunswick developing over those years?

WA: Well ... [laughter]

SH: You were there in the 1950s, going to school, and then, up to now.

WA: Yes. What I perceive is this; I hear people saying, "Oh, New Brunswick is really so much better today," and my reaction is, it all depends upon when your starting point is. Sure, in the '60s and the '70s, it went way downhill and New Brunswick Tomorrow was formed, and I knew half the people on that board, including our friend, and, I don't know, do you know Bob Totten? He was head of Buildings and Grounds for a number of years at Rutgers. I think he had a vice-president's title and he was on that. Anyway, they did a wonderful job of reclaiming New Brunswick, but is New Brunswick better today than it was in the '50s? nuh-uh, and that's not because I'm an old fossil, you know, being nostalgic; it really isn't it. As you well know, during some of that period of time, you wouldn't walk downtown on George Street at night. That's not the case anymore and I credit everybody who did that, but George Street, in the '50s, was sort of like an extension of the campus, and a lot of times, you did walk across town to NJC and think nothing of it. I don't see it like that anymore.

GF: Yes, the campus can sometimes feel like a bubble, not necessarily connected to the New Brunswick community. Did you feel that there was a connection to the New Brunswick community while you were there?

WA: Not especially. There were not any huge "town-gown" problems, that I recall. I think there is more community service activity in the University now than there was then. I can't really recall much of any in those days.

SH: Okay, that is a fair observation.

WA: And maybe I just didn't know about it. [laughter]

SH: The fraternities did not have an outreach to the community.

WA: ... Mine didn't. Well, I think I could safely say none of them did, of any consequence. I'm not saying there was never anything, but I certainly don't think it was anything like I know there is today.

GF: What do you mean by George Street was an extension of the campus?

WA: [laughter] If you felt comfortable walking down College Avenue, you felt just as comfortable walking down George Street.

GF: Okay, all right.

WA: This was before any of the J&J buildings [of the] modern era. I guess the first one [built in] 1963, was Johnson Hall. Everybody said that they built it with that architecture so that they could give it to the University, which I know was never their plan. [laughter] ... You just felt like more of the same as you went through town.

SH: When was the more modern looking building that is right on Albany and George Street built?

WA: That's between fifteen and twenty years ago. That's worldwide headquarters. Yes, that was only maybe, at most, twenty years ago.

SH: Do you remember what that displaced to be built there?

WA: Oh, yes, it displaced a movie theater, a Sears-Roebuck, a couple of restaurants, a Public Service power station, a record store, one of my favorite record stores, the Rivoli, and a couple of pubs. Tumulty's used to be in that area.

SH: Really?

WA: Yes. Tumulty's moved downtown from George Street, approximately right by the train tracks. Tumulty's, at that time, was where you went when you wanted to make book. You could always find somebody in there taking bets. [laughter]

SH: What about the New Brunswick and Rutgers police? Was there any connection between the two?

WA: The New Brunswick and the Rutgers police? [laughter] I already told you the story about [the adult films]. Yes, well, anyway, as a fraternity man, we saw the police, and the city government, as being anti-fraternity and, we felt that they would come after you at the drop of a hat or deny you the privilege of doing something you wanted to do. I would say that I felt that more, we felt that more, about the administration than we did the police department specifically. The police departments were just [following orders]; I don't think any of them, individually, were out to get anybody. They were just doing what they were told to do, except for when they got into their private enterprise activities. [laughter] But, for instance, when I was an undergraduate, we had a party in the side yard that we called the Fiji Island party and we'd build grass huts. ... One Thursday night, before the party weekend, somebody torched a hut. Well, the ... town administration, instead of concerning themselves with, "How do we find the person who did it?" really tore into us for even building the huts in the first place and insisted that if we [did] rebuild it, we had to hire an off-duty policeman to patrol the place. We didn't have any money to hire an off-duty policeman, but we rebuilt the hut and it got torched again, and so, they come up and they said, "We told you." Yes, well, fine, and so, we didn't really have much of a positive feeling. ... Now, we knew a number of the township council, the town council, who were nice guys and [who] were good to us, because they had commercial ventures where we were their customers. Luke Horvath was one in a million. I don't know if that name means anything to you. He had a haberdashery on Easton Avenue, Luke's Haberdashery, and he was a hell of a nice guy. ... He was, and I don't say this snobbishly, he was a non-college-educated individual who had an interesting way with words, and I remember him being quoted in a newspaper one time as saying he was not being vituperative and I knew damn well he never said that. [laughter] ... He was a joy to talk to, but, when the chips were down, he would size up where the wind blew politically and he would side with whatever faction seemed to be the most expeditious.

SH: Was he helpful to the fraternities?

WA: Helpful?

SH: Helpful; say, could you go over and order a suit or a jacket?

WA: Oh, he was happy to sell anything he could.

SH: What was the local eating scene? If you did not eat in the fraternity, was there a place to hang out on Easton Ave?

WA: There were a number of them; down on Somerset Street was the Mayflower and the CT [Corner Tavern]. This is before Greasy Tony's. ... Between Hamilton and Somerset was Gussie's Luncheonette, very close to where the pharmacy is, very close to where Harvey Harman, the football coach, lived in an apartment upstairs.

SH: Really?

WA: [laughter] Compared to where the coaches live today, he lived, he and his wife, lived in about a two-room apartment over a store. ... There was, down at the other end was, what is now, I think, called, still called, the Queens Tavern. That was called Sally's, the same Sally that was Sally's in Highland Park, which became whatever the hell it is, Charlie Brown's. She had the one there, and then, she opened that and she eventually sold it ... and it became the Olde Queens Tavern, and there was one called Yusko's, which was really a bar that served pizza. So, I mean, yes, there were places and ... we patronized them. In fact, I would go to the CT and the Olde Queens Tavern for fifteen, twenty years after I graduated.

SH: Do you have a mug at the Corner Tavern?

WA: ... No, I don't, no, I don't. Geez, I forgot all about those. No, I don't. They used to have the best veal parmesan of any place in the town.

SH: Really?

WA: Yes. I used to think that was Italian. Now, the Italians tell me that's not Italian at all. [laughter]

SH: Do you have any more questions?

GF: I do, but they relate to computers. When you were working with computers, nothing was standardized, right? There was no Circuit City, so, most computers were separate entities. Did that cause a lot of problems, say, if you had something break down on one, it would not be as easy to fix?

WA: If you had two computers that were identically ... configured, you could certainly take a program from one and run it on the other, but there was such a wide variety of computers in those days that the odds of being able to do that were rather limited. I think that's the kind of thing you're talking about.

GF: Yes, okay.

WA: It's not like today. If you've got a PC with Windows XP, you should be able to run anything on any of them. It's just [that it] never was like that.

GF: Were there large databases, like the toy you have in the other room?

WA: You had no access to anything except what was on your computer.

GF: It was like an island.

WA: ... No, if you needed a database, you'd have to develop it and store it on your computer. Now, there were statistical tables that you might purchase and load onto your computer, but you didn't have anything like online access. There was no online, if I'm using that term right.

GF: Would it be on punch cards, or what would it generally be?

WA: Well, yes, the primary way you got data into the system was punch cards. Now, once it was in there, you can put it on magnetic tape and move those tapes around, and most large installations had big tape libraries. ... Every time they had a particular job they wanted to run, they'd go into the library, they'd pull out the tapes that were necessary for that job, they'd mount them, they'd run the job, then, they'd take them all off and put them back in the library. Most of that was historical data and, as you may know, a lot of accounting reports are based on updating historical data, and the year-to-date balances and stuff like that.

GF: When we think about the "clunky" state of early computers, you said that the office that you were working in was the size of this house.

WA: That was not my office. That was the computer room. [laughter]

GF: Okay. How big would the computer be?

WA: Well, let's say the computer could very easily, talking about just this level of the house, occupy fifty percent of it, and the other fifty percent would be where you would have carts with tapes you were wheeling in and out and other administrative stuff. I don't mean people, I mean junk you needed.

SH: Did you have to gown for stuff like this? How pristine was the facility?

WA: Did you have to what?

SH: Gown.

WA: D-O-W-N?

SH: Gown, G-O-W-N; how pristine did it have to be?

WA: Oh, oh, I'm sorry; no, not at all, not at all. [laughter]

SH: I have seen pictures of the early computers where, as you said, it was air conditioned and the floor was sterile.

WA: ... Yes, yes. I've seen those pictures, too, and it didn't register, what you were trying to say, what you were saying, and I was trying to hear it. You know, if you go back to the ENIAC in the late '40s at the University of Pennsylvania, you might find stuff like that, but, you know, by the time I got involved, that was no longer the case.

SH: When did places like J&J start using computers for something other than accounting?

WA: Well, it wasn't too much later that the people in research started using totally different computers to do statistical work. In the pharmaceutical industry one of the key things has been molecular modeling, so that you could pre-test various drugs to see whether they were worth pursuing. But applications like that didn't come around for maybe fifteen, twenty years later, sometime maybe ... even in the '80s. In terms of using it for strategic purposes, even later; I don't know what they do with it today. I haven't been involved for fifteen years, so, I'm sure I wouldn't recognize an awful lot.

SH: It looks like you really enjoyed that fifteen years, though.

WA: Yes, I have. You know, I miss many of the people, but I don't miss the job.

SH: You still seem to be very involved with technology.

WA: Well, there are friends of mine who would tell you that's very deceptive, because I'm really not into it deeply. What motivates me is being able to do the things I'm interested in; the technology per se doesn't really grab me that much. I don't get any enjoyment out of trying to figure out how to solve a broken computer or fix a broken computer or anything like that. I enjoyed figuring out, "How do I get this thing to play WQXR?" something like that. I'm on the wrong side of the hill here. I can't get WQXR, haven't since I've lived here, and I've lived here for thirty-five, going on thirty-six, years.

SH: You cannot even pull it through your computer.

WA: Can now.

SH: Okay.

WA: But, I can listen to it [in] any room in the house, now that I've got that, but it's not just the MP3 files, I can play the [Internet-based radio station broadcast].

SH: Through the broadband.

WA: Yes.

GF: When you saw the personal computers at IBM, were you, I would not say disappointed, but under-whelmed?

WA: You know, I thought they were over blowing it. I remember going to a seminar down in Boca Raton, Florida, which was where their PC headquarters were in the early '80s, and sitting there for a week and seeing all these wonderful things and thinking, "How do you get masses of data into it? ... It won't fit."

GF: Was it the size of the memory or something like that?

WA: Well, if you took a PC today and it couldn't connect to the Internet, in fact, you couldn't connect to anything outside of itself, and forget games; you could buy Turbo Tax and Intuit's Automatic Check, ... but, at the time, they were promoting it by saying, "For home use," now, not business use. "Well, women can keep their recipe files on it."

SH: I remember that.

WA: Yes, right, I'm not kidding, right, yes, right, sure, like, how many women do you know who are going to sit down there and enter all of their recipes at a keyboard? No different from how many lawyers do you think are ever going to sit at a keyboard and be happy with that? [It] took a generational change in order to get ... past that point.

[TAPE PAUSED]

GF: What appealed to you about computer programming? You said before that you almost looked at it like a crossword puzzle.

WA: Yes, you know, ... it occurs to me, it's kind of the opposite of why I became disenchanted as a math major, because computer programming, at least as I experienced it, was, I used the word deterministic. It was a set, it was a fixed set, like a crossword puzzle; there was only one right answer and your job was to find it. ... When you get into advanced math and you get all this abstruse stuff, where nobody knows why you even want to use this; I remember having discussions with math profs who would get mad at me, because I'd say, "What practical use is this information?" and they wouldn't have an answer. [laughter] I'm a troublemaker. The programming itself was just like somebody would come to me and say, "Well, here's what we have to be able to do, here's what the input is and here's what the output has to be," and you have to get from here to there and you have to understand what the process is, and then, you have to break down that process into thousands of discreet steps, loops, routines, and make it work, and there's only one answer. ... That's the best job I can do of explaining why it appealed to me. It says more about me than it does about anything else. I'm an anal-retentive. [laughter]

GF: One of the things that you did with J&J, and I guess this kind of plays into one of the reasons why you did not go into the government job, is that you got to be a consultant overseas.

WA: I'm not sure what ...

GF: You were part of a consulting group overseas. You would go over and explain to these different groups how to use their computers.

WA: Yes, and I don't understand what you're asking me, how that related to the government job.

GF: One of the things you mentioned was that you only got four weeks of vacation, right?

WA: Oh, okay. Well, you know, I probably over-emphasized that. That's not why I didn't take the government job, it's just that I didn't see the government job as a place for somebody who had ambition, and I had ambition at that time. I think it's intriguing to me that, as I look back, the level that I attained in private industry was probably not a heck of a lot better than if I'd have stayed in government. Well, that's not true, but let's say if we're talking base salary, because one of the benefits of working for a big company, at least was, bonuses, stock options, and things like that. I benefited a great deal from that, but, in terms of level of authority and standard, you know, take-home pay and all that kind of jazz, I probably could have gotten just as high in the government if I'd have stayed with it. The other thing that's intriguing to me is that, because computer technology, as a function within the corporation, did not advance as fast as I envisioned it was going to, if I had stayed in accounting, I probably could have gotten a lot further ahead than I did by choosing computer technology. But I wouldn't have had anywhere near as much fun.

SH: How much overseas consulting did you do?

WA: For about three years, I was overseas maybe four times a year, ... on two-week trips. It's not terribly germane, but I like to tell the story anyway. One of my most intriguing trips was the three-week trip that I went from JFK [Airport in New York City] to Rio De Janeiro, [Brazil], to Sao Paolo, [Brazil], back to Rio, to Cape Town, to East London, South Africa, to Johannesburg, to Nairobi, [Kenya], to Rome, [Italy], to JFK, where I immediately hopped another plane and went down to Orlando to meet my wife and two kids at Disneyland. Guess where they lost my luggage?

SH: JFK?

WA: Going to Orlando, yes. [laughter] I get a lot of mileage out of stories like that.

GF: How many countries do you think you have visited?

WA: There's a map on the wall; my kids gave me that for Christmas two years ago. I've been to about thirty-five countries, on all six populated continents.

SH: Populated. [laughter]

WA: Well, I don't count penguins.

SH: It sounds like you have had a really interesting life

WA: Well ...

SH: Thank you for sharing with us. Is there a question about a certain area we did not ask about that you would like to talk to us about?

WA: I can't think of anything that's germane.

[TAPE PAUSED]

GF: While you were visiting these thirty-five different countries, did you get to see any operas or any concerts?

WA: Any time I had the opportunity, I scheduled a free weekend and, wherever it's feasible, I would go to the opera. Probably the most remarkable one I ever went to was the Sydney Opera House, where I saw Joan Sutherland do Lucia di Lammermoor, which, if you don't speak that language, is really something. When I was in Japan, I booked a tour that was supposed to take us on a tour of the town and end up with a dinner followed by ... kabuki, and, when we arrived to go on the tour, the guide said the kabuki wasn't possible, so, they were going to take us to a nightclub. So, we took the tour around, we had the Japanese dinner, and we went to a spot where they had strippers. What was intriguing to me is, all of those strippers were Caucasian. See, you never know what you're going to get out of me when you ask a question. I certainly, in Europe, went to a lot of operas when I was over there on business, ... because I would go over there and ... I'd look and I'd say, "What's playing here?" and I'd say to the people I was with, "Do you care if I bug out after dinner and go to the opera?" and, occasionally, they'd want to come with me. Sometimes, I was not so lucky as to get the best operas in the best places. I saw a French opera at La Scala [in Milan] and a German opera in Paris, just happened to work that way, [laughter] but anyway.

SH: Did you get to see any other musical venues, because I know you have a very eclectic taste?

WA: Well, I saw Hair in London and Paris. I have the recording in French. I have the recording in about ten different languages, as a matter-of-fact. I think, outside of London, there were very few theater things that I would go to, because I don't really speak any other language well enough to follow, unless I really know the show to begin with. ... I don't know if I mentioned this, but I was with my family in Vienna one time; not the time I just mentioned, but years before that. My daughter was only thirteen at the time, and we had seen Cats in New York, and so, Cats was playing in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, and I said, "Well, I want to go. Who wants to come with me?" Well, my son didn't, so, my daughter [went]. My wife took my son to an amusement park and I took my daughter to see Cats, and this was the theater, the very same theater, where Beethoven's opera, Fidelio, had its world premier. At intermission, I said to my daughter, "Well, what do you think?" She said, "Well, I was afraid, because I don't speak German," she says, "but, then, I realized I don't have to speak German. I know what they're saying anyway," and that's the whole point. ... I just have the feeling I've already told you that story.

SH: I do not think so.

WA: Well, anyway, I'm running out of new material. [laughter]

GF: How do you think your time at Rutgers shaped your life afterwards? Is there a particular mindset there at that school that might have helped you or hindered you?

WA: Well, I'm going to answer perhaps in a strange way. I benefited from courses that I took, and broadening in certain areas, in the liberal arts, which had nothing to do with my major, but I really do believe this sincerely, I think my fraternity experience broadened me more than anything else and had a greater influence on my life, the rest of my life, than anything else I experienced at Rutgers. I think I arrived at Rutgers as a stupid clod and I think I learned a lot about social skills, about interaction of people, about business, because I was the treasurer, and I was exposed to attitudes from all over the country, ... and Canada. It was a very maturing experience and I think, if I hadn't had it, I would be a much different person today.

SH: Thank you so much for talking with us the second time.

WA: Always my pleasure.

SH: We look forward to seeing you in May at the RLHS Annual Meeting. Thank you.

WA: Okay.

---------------------------------------------END OF INTERVIEW-------------------------------------------

Reviewed by Daniel Ruggiero 10/30/09

Reviewed by Shaun Illingworth 12/18/09

Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 12/23/09

Review by Wilson J. Andrews 1/23/10

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