Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

“A Liking for the Truth: Truth and Controversy in the Work of Linus Pauling.”

February 28, 2001

Video: “Life with Father...And Mother” Linus Pauling, Jr.

45:29 - Abstract | Biography | More Videos from Session 2


John Byrne: I'm John Byrne, I served as President of Oregon State University during a very propitious period for the university; and I'm not referring to Ballot Measure 5 - for those of you who were here at the time - but rather the fact that we were successful in attracting the attention of two Linus Paulings. It was my privilege, really, to get to know both of them to some extent - certainly Linus Pauling, who we are celebrating here today. But for me, a very special personal pleasure to know the Linus Pauling who is going to speak to us in a few minutes.

I'm a little bit disturbed by the information I was provided about Linus Pauling, Jr., as people frequently refer to him. It didn't say very much: it said that he was the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, and he has been that for some time - most of you know that - that for thirty years he has been a practicing psychiatrist; that he has a medical degree from the Harvard Medical School; that he served on a number of boards such as the Hawaii Mental Association - he happens to live in Hawaii - the Hanahauoli School Board of Trustees, the Foundation for Nutritional Advancement, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. He's been affiliated with the AAAS, ACLU, the American Psychiatric Association, the Harvard Medical Alumni Association, and so on.

That's the kind of stuff that you get from the office, and so I asked Linus "How did you become interested in psychiatry?" This is known as a dramatic pause while you think of why he might have been interested in psychiatry. He said that he had been a voracious reader, that he was interested in things that were of a scientific nature, but that he didn't necessarily want to follow closely in his father's footsteps; I think all understandable things. Having read that, and having been interested in it, he thought this was something he'd like to do, and he made that decision early on while he was still in school, before he went to college. What you don't know is that he never graduated from college: he went to Pomona for two years, and then to a variety of other institutions. And so, as a college dropout, he attended the Harvard Medical School. Now, I don't know what that says for Linus, or what that says for the Harvard Medical School, but in any case that's an interesting controversy, Bob [Paradowski], that you might want to look into.

As I listened to the discussions today, I was struck by the similarity of some things. For example - and I have to give a little personal experience - how many of you with children have ever driven a long day with kids in the back seat and it gets to the point where "he touched me!" or "she touched me!" Well, that's a matter of vibrations in space, and it just struck me that a family really is, in a sense, a closely or loosely packed, with space between the units, vibration between the units; and these are the members of the family. So you see, everything is connected to everything else, everything seems like everything else. But now we have the opportunity to hear from Linus Pauling about what it was like to be part of that space continuum that was in constant vibration - Linus Pauling Jr. speaking about life with father and mother, and he may mention some of the other units of the family as well. Linus, I just spilled your glass of water. [4:09]

Linus Pauling, Jr.: Thanks John, one of my special friends -and I think just about the entire audience is composed of friends and family, and it's really a heartwarming experience to be here with you. I think you're going to be interested in how my prepared talk fits in with some of the material that has come before, at least I am.

Life with Father and Mother. I present this with apologies to Clarence Day, who wrote about his parents with humor and gentle satire back in the 1930s. His works were popular back then, and begat a Lindsay and Crouse play that ran on Broadway for several years. I wish I had the talent to accomplish that kind of feat.

My growing up in the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling household probably wasn't that unusual. Please enjoy this series of vignettes, a peek at what that life, my life, was like.

First, Career Choice. My mother was an expert at child rearing; afterall, my mother was a home economics major at Oregon Agricultural College, which is now Oregon State University, when she and my father met. Even before that, as one of twelve siblings, she had lots of exposure to those who came before and after her, to say nothing of a very experienced mother, Nora Gard. There's my mother, a really good looking woman.

Father, when they met. My grandmother divorced her husband after the twelfth child, probably as a rather draconian contraceptive technique. Marie Stopes didn't come along until about a decade later, just in time to benefit my parents. You know who Marie Stopes was. Way back in the first half of the 20th century, the preferred course for most middle class American families, a term which describes most of my progenitors, was firmly prescribed. The husband was the breadwinner, the wife the housekeeper and child-rearer; that wouldn't go over so well today. And so it was in our family: my father was ambitious, energetic, and dedicated, fully supported in his endeavors by my mother, who was perhaps even more ambitious for him than he was. He seldom had time to spend with his children or their affairs, and never played catch or such activities with us. This is my parents and me. During the decade in which we lived across the street from Caltech, 1930-1939, he went back to his lab after supper, and then after our move to Fairpoint Street, five miles from the Caltech campus, he retreated to his study every evening. It was understood that we needed a very good reason to interrupt him. [7:56]

However, I show this because I'm hanging onto my father's fingers with considerable desperation, for fear. That probably was a situation that was repeated a number of times in my life. However, we had lots of contact. My parents, being good parents, insisted that the family be together at meals whenever possible, which meant virtually every supper, every weekend meal, and most breakfasts. Sunday breakfasts were especially elaborate, often with Pop mixing the batter and cooking waffles to the accompaniment of Mom's running criticism, especially when the waffles stuck to the iron and had to be pried off crumb by crumb. Other weeks, Mom made what we called "Pauling Omelets," but which really should have been called "Miller Omelets", because it came from that side of the family. It was an amazing Yorkshire pudding-like concoction served with sugar and milk. Or we had crepes, cooked at the table and rolled up with butter and sugar, sometimes sprinkled with lemon juice. Just thinking about these breakfasts makes my mouth water. Of course, in later years I cooked them for my own family. So meals were times for sharing news, making plans, and for us children, picking up information about our parents' attitudes as we listened to them discuss matters across the table - as long as they weren't speaking German, which was their secret language back then.

When it came to hierarchy, it was impossible for us to miss the message: pure scientists, that is, academic scientists with Ph. Ds, were the gods on top of a layered and unequal society. Below them, which was quite a bit below, were applied scientists, those working in industry. Going on down the line, the order became a bit more ragged, but it went something like this: doctors, artists of all kinds, artisans - including the skilled blue collar professions - and on the bottom, after another gap, businessmen and lawyers. These messages, which I'm sure were unintentional but were nonetheless real, made deep impressions on us. I perhaps might better have been a writer, my brother Peter an architect, but as a result of this early subtle indoctrination, my parents' three sons all earned doctorates. My sister, caught in the same tide, made it through college and then married a first-class scientist, following her mother into domesticity. [11:00]

I was interested and curious about many things, and read voraciously, which enabled me to achieve high SAT scores in grade school. I also proved that there is no automatic correlation between SAT scores and grades. I realized very early that my father was a very special person, and that I could never emulate him. Throughout his life he mentioned from time to time the Braggs, Sir William and Sir Lawrence, a father and son team who received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1915 for their seminal research in x-ray crystallography. Since my father started his life as a crystallographer, it was natural for him to bring them up in scientific discussions. So I drew the conclusion, and I think rightly - without being too paranoid about it - that he secretly hoped that a Pauling father and son team would outdo the Braggs. Of course, in the final analysis he outdid the Braggs all by himself.

When I was 15 or 16, he tried out on me the questions he was writing for the ends of chapters in his general chemistry textbook, questions designed to challenge the best freshmen that Caltech's admissions process could produce - I failed miserably. By then it was pretty clear to my parents and me that I would never be an academic whizzbang, so where did that leave me? I was a has-been at that tender age, an age compounded by the frustrations of adolescence and the disruptions of World War II. But not to worry, redemption would come eventually.

Christmas. Back in the days of my early childhood, a long time ago, I went to bed on Christmas Eve after the ritual reading of the very moving Clement Moore tale "The Night Before Christmas" in a totally normal home. There were no holiday decorations, no presents, and no tree in evidence. Then, when I awoke on Christmas morning, a marvelous transformation had magically occurred: a tree was in the living room, ablaze with multi-colored lights and shining ornaments, surrounded with gaily wrapped packages. Mistletoe hung from the rafters, and holly decorated the walls. Truly a sight to enchant a young child. It didn't take me long to figure out what was going on, and my parents eventually made me a participant so my younger siblings could have the same experience I had enjoyed. I must have been about 7 years old, maybe 8, when my brother Peter would have been old enough to be amazed, just as I had been. He was put to bed on Christmas Eve at a normal time, after which our parents wrapped presents and decorated the walls. Then, at about 10 o'clock, my father and I got into the family car and went searching for the Christmas tree lots where sales had been going on during the previous weeks. By 10, however, the proprietors had all decided to go home to their own families, and the lots were deserted. Remaining were all the left-over Christmas trees, so my father and I made a leisurely selection, tied it onto the fender, and returned home. There, my mother cast her vote of approval or disapproval on our choice, and we all set to work decorating the tree, first with the lights and then with the ornaments. In those days, one burned-out bulb meant the whole string was dark, so a lot of time went into searching for the bad one and replacing it. Finally, all was done and the house was resplendent with Christmas cheer, and my parents and I retired for the few hours remaining before the excitement of the dawn of Christmas morn and the opening of presents. And of course, as my siblings grew up they too went through the same cycle I had, I'm sure with the same anticipation and delight. [15:26]

Many years later I was working as a waiter serving dinners at Frary Hall, the men's dormitory dining room at Pomona College. This was a magnificent room, with one end dominated by a superb 20 by 38 foot fresco by José Clemente Orozco. It's worth noting this 1930 work, the first Mexican mural in the United States, was almost destroyed during the McCarthy era because of the artist's suspected Communist ties. But in 1946 the shameful era was yet to come, and as Christmas approached the manager brought in an absolutely beautiful 20-foot tree, resplendent with its own cones as well as traditional decorations. As happens in college communities, the holiday break came and the students left a now-deserted campus. I asked about the tree, and discovered that it would be relegated to the dump, so I happily took it under my wing - if you can imagine that - folded down the windshield of my 1942 V8 Roadster, tied the tree beside me, and took off for Pasadena 30 miles away. I arrived at my parents' house triumphantly bearing the best tree they had ever seen. Even though we had to cut some off the top and bottom to get it to fit the living room. I felt this was partial payback for all the exciting Christmases they had conjured up over the previous years.

Mistletoe. A week or so before Christmas each year back in the 1930s, the whole family piled into the car and off we went on an all-day excursion to gather mistletoe to decorate the house for the festivities. Mistletoe, probably phoradendron villosum in California, is a semi-parasitic plant with thick leathery persistent leaves and waxy white glutinous berries - to quote Webster's Third International English Dictionary - and has a long distinguished history as a Druid potion. We gathered it because of its ancient Anglo-Saxon ritual use: anyone caught under standing, caught standing underneath it can be kissed, and that might even lead to marriage. Well, I don't think that marriage was much of an issue to me, but catching my mother under a branch was always fun, and of course the graduate students who came around enjoyed it too.

We left early in the morning and drove west and north through the San Fernando Valley to Tejon Pass Ridge Route. There, on a side road in the hills, we would spot mistletoe, usually, as I recall, growing on sycamore trees but probably on others as well. It was my job, what with me being, in those days, agile and lithe, to climb the tree and saw off branches of mistletoe to those waiting below. Of course, we took advantage of the opportunity to have a picnic lunch out in the country, a luncheon prepared by my mother for the occasion. Then, we'd pile back in the car and head home happy with a mission successfully accomplished. Once home, we separated the branches into little bouquets, some to be pinned above doorways and on rafters in our house, some to be given away to friends, always tied up with a ribbon. This was a nice custom. Now, driving at 75 miles per hour up Interstate 5 through Tejon Pass on that eight-lane highway that has replaced the old two-lane ridge route, I have seen the mistletoe is still evident, perhaps more abundant than ever. Since mistletoe is parasitic, this does not bode well for the trees. No one stops to harvest it anymore. [19:21]

Painted Canyon. Before World War II, California was a very different place. The population then did not so significantly encroach on the magnificent wilderness that made the West so attractive. The attraction of the wilderness was pervasive; visiting professors from the east coast and Europe, normally stuffily dressed in coat and tie under all circumstances, were eager to experience the wilderness. My parents loved the desert, and frequently hosted visitors by taking them camping under the most primitive circumstances. That's me at 16 or so. And here's a picture you've seen before, with Sommerfeld, my mother, and me out in the desert; notice tie.

A family trip to the desert was a yearly event for us in the late '20s and the '30s, usually planned for the Thanksgiving holidays. Preparation had to be thorough, because everything, including bedding, cooking utensils, food and water - enough to last for five or six days - had to be carried in. So, my parents would pack up the car, assisted by me a bit when I became old enough, with sleeping bags tied to the fenders, canvas water bags suspended from the bumper, ice chests with perishables, and gallon jugs of water on the running boards. In those days, you could do that with cars. Off we'd go, east on the old Route 66, through those old towns with such great names firmly embedded in my memory: Azusa, Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Redlands, Beaumont, Banning, Indio. We'd always stop in Mecca to buy soft, gooey, sticky dates, or firm, nutty nutritious dates from roadside stands, enough to keep us supplied for the trip and for weeks after.

Our route took us down to the east bank of the Salton Sea until we reached an unmarked and unpaved track in the sand heading off to the left across the desert towards the Chocolate Mountains, which we could see in the distance. Traveling this path was not easy; on several occasions we got stuck in the sand, whereupon all of the passengers got out to push or gather sagebrush to put under the wheels for greater traction. As time and distance passed, we could make out the entrance to Painted Canyon ahead, a cleft in the sandstone of the Chocolate Mountains carved long ago by an errant excursion of the Colorado River. Once in the canyon, shielded from the sun by the shear walls, we could see the bands of red and yellow weaving through the mostly dung-colored rock. Eventually, we reached a widening of the floor, a good place to set up camp. Each person chose a spot and set up a sleeping bag, then gathered the sparse twigs that served for firewood to cook the dinner. By that time we were very hungry, so dinner tasted absolutely delicious and was usually topped off by marshmallows slowly roasted over the embers to a sweet, softy, gooey, golden perfection. That's me out in the Painted Canyon, and here's my father; notice he has a full beard, a mustache - there are not too many pictures of him with that, which, incidentally, although his hair was strictly brunette, his beard - and mine too, before it got white - was bright red.

There were no port-a-potties; to take care of these necessities we all knew where the paper roll of toilet paper was, and we walked around the corner, hoping that everyone saw us go so that no two would end up behind the same rock at the same time. I don't recall any embarrassing moments. Nor were there any showers or tubs; fortunately the humidity was very low, but nonetheless we must have been quite ripe and ready for a bath when the week was over.

The nights were amazing. We lay in our sleeping bags staring up at the star-filled sky, far away from any city lights, watching and exclaiming when a meteor flashed by - but that never lasted long, sleep overtook me too soon. The days were filled with hiking, carving seat-like niches in the soft rock, gathering firewood, building cairns to let future visitors know we had been there. Visitors were rare; perhaps once during the week some fellow intrepid desert-lover would drive slowly by, just as sorry that we were in the canyon as we were that he was. We were there because we loved the isolation, the sense of self-sufficiency in the wilderness, the solitary communion with nature. Of all my childhood experiences, these trips to Painted Canyon are perhaps the high point. [24:51]

One Saturday morning three of my pop's post-doc fellows, Verner Schomaker, Eugene Eyster and Norton Wilson, and I took off for Painted Canyon in Gene's 1940 Ford convertible. Young scientists played a very significant role in my early life, supplying much of the camaraderie that I missed at home. After our campfire dinner we snuggled into our sleeping bags, looking up at the blazing stars, and what followed has astounded and enthralled me ever since: my companions took turns reciting limericks, one after the other. Some innocent, such as "There was a young lady from Niger, who smiled as she rode on a tiger; they came back from the ride with the lady inside, and the smile on the face of the tiger." And a great many were not so innocent. I lay convulsed with laughter as these remarkable young men went on and on, hour after hour. I could have listened forever. The next day we drove back to Pasadena; it was December 7, 1941. After World War II, I decided I'd show my wife the scene of these youthful, pleasurable times. We drove down through the familiar towns, and found the path to Painted Canyon. But now it was paved, and between the highway and the Chocolate Mountains ran the all-American canal, bringing water to the parched Imperial Valley. All the changes were too much for me to take, so I turned around and left, never to return.

La Paloma. I must have been twelve or thirteen years old, certainly old enough to be aware of these matters, when one Sunday I accompanied my parents to a fancy high-end Mexican restaurant in the foothills above Claremont. La Paloma had recently opened, and acquired some fame for excellent food and entertainment. We drove out there in our new glossy-black 1938 Lincoln Zephyr sedan, about a 45 minute drive in those days, to the California hacienda-style building, a gracious and cool oasis in the sunshine. Our brunch proceeded without incident, with singers and dances, dancers providing flamenco excitement. One of the singers was an extremely beautiful young woman, so beautiful that when she appeared on stage a hush fell over the busy dining room. My mother was very beautiful as a young woman; there's no doubt that my father was very much in love with her and completely faithful. That did not mean, though, that he was impervious to the beauty of others. When the singer appeared he could not stop staring, while my mother became more and more frosty. In the resultant glacial atmosphere we finished our meal in silence, and the drive home was certainly longer than the drive out. I noticed that my father was always very careful thereafter to avoid any behavior that might trigger off my mother's jealousy; for him, she always came first. [28:21]

The Other Half. My mother was certainly bright, and a perfect helpmate to my father. She ran the household, enabling him to devote his entire energy to work. With this behind-the-scenes help from her, he moved up the professional ladder rapidly, but gradually this support role began to gall her. As the years went by she became more and more insistent on recognition for herself, saying, for example, "If I hadn't been busy rearing children and running this family I would have been winning Nobel Prizes." I took that with a sizeable grain of salt, because although she was very intelligent she lacked the incredible memory, integrative ability, intuition, creativity, and charisma that characterized his genius.

In the mid-1970s - nice looking woman - the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto was struggling to raise funds for micronutrient research. To help with that, development staff matted and framed 30 or so of the many honorary degrees and award certificates my father had received; most of them extremely impressive, even beautiful. They made a truly striking display in the Institute entry hall. When my mother saw them, though, she was less than thrilled. "Too arrogant!" she said, and to my dismay - and I'm sure the dismay of others - my father had them taken down and stored. To him, she always came first.

Most revealing was her attitude toward female scientists. I can't remember a single one she approved of. Good-looking even in older years, perhaps she was envious of their achievements. There was always some criticism, often veiled, not of professional performance - which she did not have the training to judge - but of behavior, ethics, attitude, looks, or other traits. The most hilarious example concerned a visiting marine biologist working at Caltech's marine laboratory at Corona del Mar, where I spent many summers. It so happened that the staff went specimen collecting one day on a jetty which consisted of enormous boulders topped rather precariously, or so it looked, by railroad tracks on ties - you can see that in the background stretching out there. The rest of the party skipped along the ties, probably taking care not to look down, but this unfortunately vertiginous woman had to scramble along on her hands and feet looking extremely undignified. When my mother, who took care to avoid challenges of that type, heard about this, she laughed and laughed, and retold the story many times. [31:35]

Cars. I don't know how or when my father learned to drive. His first car, I'm told, was a second-hand Model T Ford purchased from a friend in 1922 during his first year at Caltech. It was in this car that he made his way up to Oregon in the summer of 1923 to get married, driven by his great love for my mother and, no doubt, by youthful hormones. He kept going night and day, overturning in a roadside gravel barrow during a heavy night fog in southern Oregon. From this incident he bore a scar on his thigh for the rest of his life.

This Model T Touring, with its bent axle repaired by the local blacksmith, served as the family transportation until 1926. And that is purported to be my mother nursing me - I'm not sure about that, can't remember. I can remember the next car, an Oldsmobile Roadster purchased after my parents returned from Europe in 1927. Pop fixed up a canvas cover for the rumble seat, so that I could nap there during the long drives around southern California. Nice car. 1932 brought great excitement: for the first time, a brand new car. It was another Ford, which was my father's favorite make, a four-cylinder Model B four-door sedan. The famous V-8 was available, but cost more and was a new design, whereas the B was developed from the tried and true Model A engine. This prosaic vehicle played a highly significant role in my life, including a lengthy 1936 family summer camping trip up the coast to Portland, including visiting many relatives along the way.

I was taught to drive by Pop's associate Charles Coryell in his Model A at age twelve or so, by his allowing me to sit on his lap and operator the hand throttle and steering wheel while he operated the break and clutch; followed during the next couple of years by many pleasurable and occasionally exciting solo experiences in the Model B. I discovered where the keys were hidden, so when my parents went out I practiced driving up and down the 150 sloping, curving feet of our 1245 Arden Road driveway. I don't remember ever getting caught, but in retrospect it's hard to believe that they did not know about these excursions.

Nineteen Thirty-Eight brought evidence of Pop's increasing affluence. He bought a new Lincoln Zephyr sedan, a beautiful and advanced design. My mother drove this car, of course, while Pop continued to commute to work in the old Ford. One Saturday evening, after our move to our new house on Fairpoint Street in 1939, mom failed to make the turn out of the driveway and dropped the front wheels of the Zephyr off the side of the road, where there happened to be a culvert. The car was resting on the engine sump undamaged. The next morning, being Sunday, they could afford to stay in bed and contemplate what action to take. I won't hazard a guess as to my father's feelings, but I'm sure they were under control. In the meantime, I went out, surveyed the situation, jacked the car up, slid a greased plank under the engine, and backed the car onto the road under its own power. My parents' thanks were curiously subdued, considering the stress relief I provided. The '32 Ford served my father faithfully for many years, also in due time providing me with transportation for dates, and as is the American way, a laboratory for heterosex research. After I left home it passed on to my younger siblings, where it carried forward no doubt the same functions. [36:02]

Crime and Punishment. I don't think I was a particularly unruly child, but I developed early a sense of independence, no doubt helped along by the arrival of siblings which took up my parents' time. From time to time I got into trouble, usually noticed by my mother, who tended to defer punishment until my father came home for supper. That meant, of course, that I had considerable time to contemplate the coming sentence, which usually consisted of an old-fashioned spanking. Pop's hands were large and bony, and I squalled loudly and as pitifully as I could manage, while he administered painful blows on my bottom. On at least one occasion he resorted to a wood coat hanger, which luckily for me broke as he was paddling away.

When I got bigger, I could run faster than he could, so we had some merry chases around the house. Punishment then shifted to withholding allowance and privileges, both of which seemed to me to be pretty minimal already. I'm sure that my squabbling with my siblings while we were all in the car together must have driven my parents crazy. On several occasions I was put out of the car on the side of the road to walk a few miles home. My cousin Bob Miller recalls this happening in 1936 when we were visiting his parents on their farm east of Portland. I was dropped off on the way into town, and on their return an hour or two later they found me trudging along through the dust. He points out that these days parents who did that would be prosecuted for child abuse.

Freedom. I can think of three early major events that altered my life for the better. The first, and I say this only partly tongue-in-cheek, was that my parents went off to Europe in 1926, leaving me with my grandmother for 18 months. There's my grandmother and me. That stay, with much of my care falling to my Aunt Dickie, meant that I had undivided attention from a stable source during that impressionable age, which may have made the difference in my achieving a semblance of mental health in later years. I have two surviving aunts, one maternal. Aunt Dickie is 95 or 96 and is in a nursing home up in Seattle, and my Aunt Pauline is in a care home in Tualatin.

The second major event was my tour in the United States Army Air Force from 1943-1946. I went in at 18 as pimpled, insecure, immature, and without direction. I came out having made very significant gains, able to relate to all kinds of people, and full of ambition to work hard, even though I still didn't know what I was going to have as a career.

The third event came as I was a pre-med student at Pomona College. I fell in love with a fellow student, Anita Oser, who later inherited means that enabled us to get married and, to my huge relief, become financially independent of my parents. My father was very much the self-made man, contributing to his family income from an early age. He talked fairly often of his various jobs, which included a milk delivery route when he was 10 or 12. He said that he was very thankful the horse knew the way perfectly, stopping at the right houses, so all he had to do was carry the bottles to the doorstep. Money played a very significant and defining role in his life, and my parents' philosophy was that their son, especially their eldest son, should not be spoiled by having it too easy. I was therefore expected to earn my own keep, at least in part, and that was hard for me when I was in school because I lacked my father's aggressive drive, among other deficits. I did, however, pick up cash as a grade schooler by roaming the city on my bicycle, rummaging through trash cans for glass bottles redeemable for a deposit. I'm a little surprised that my mother's sense of social propriety didn't cause her to pay me to abandon that source of wealth. Anyway, I doubt that all would have flowed as smoothly if I had to cadge support from my parents just as my siblings did. [40:56]

And finally, Coda. I was fortunate to become financially independent of my parents at the age of 22. By that time, thanks to my military experience, I had begun to achieve some emotional independence as well. I was able to move, or at any rate I so like to think, out of the role of child in relation to them and towards something more like equality. This is my marriage to Anita Oser in 1947. On achieving the status of doctor, which was to them at least acceptable even if not as prestigious as a professor, a family, a respectable position in the community, and an acceptable income, I could somewhat more objectively view my parents; love them, warts and all; and even help them.

In 1970 my mother, then in her - this is my father, me, and my son; I'm 24 years old. Here's my father and me, he's 24 years old. In 1970 my mother, then in her late 60s and caretaking the large Big Sur ranch house by herself, refused to let my brother Crellin bring his girlfriend and wife-to-be to a family reunion. She usually had a problem with her sons' women. He angrily refused to come at all, so I suggested we build a cabin on the property which could be used by my generation without causing extra burden to my parents.

During the next year we all got together and assembled China Camp, which provided a solution that greatly facilitated family regard, cohesion and contact for the benefit of us all. That's my father - we tried to keep him from spoiling what we'd done but he went ahead and did it anyway. It was rewarding to me to see my loving relationship with my parents develop during the last few decades. I was able to see them often, what with board meetings, holidays, and reunions.

After my mother's death in 1981, my beautiful second wife, Stephanie Onishi, and I visited Pop at the ranch every spring to celebrate our three birthdays, which happened to fall within a two-week period. This is the wedding party with Stephanie Onishi and her parents and my parents. Our three birthdays happened to fall within a two week period. When Pop desperately needed help in 1991 - that slide is backwards, but that's the ranch - I was able to step in with a reorganization plan. This required the cooperation of Stephanie, who had to cope with my commuting between Honolulu and Palo Alto for five years. With new trustees, a new business plan, and firm control, along with a very healthy dose of good luck, the Institute recovered, allowing my father to live his remaining years with the knowledge that the institution bearing his name would add to, and not detract from, the luster of his absolutely remarkable life.

Well, this ends my story. Since this is where, since this here is where my parents met, and, right here on this campus almost 80 years ago, thus making my tale possible, I am certainly happy to have played a role in the presence of the Linus Pauling Institute, and the expanded Linus and Ava Helen Pauling Collection here at Oregon State University. Thank you for listening. [45:29]


Watch Other Videos

Session 1

Session 2

Return to Main Page