Thursday, April 28, 2016

IN MEMORY OF....DAVID HACKWORTH....



Colonel David Hackworth....

Uki, Northern New South Wales


Col. David Hackworth's caisson and funeral procession makes its way to his grave site during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery May 31, 2005 in Arlington, Virginia. Hackworth earned numerous citations for bravery including two Distinguished Service Medals, 10 Silver Stars, eight Bronze Stars and eight Purple Hearts during his career, and was highlighted by his outspoken nature and criticism of U.S. military policy. He died May 4 from bladder cancer and was buried with full military honors.  (With Thanks and Recognition to Gettyimages)


A few years ago I wrote about the following episode in my life, but following a post on “Georgia Girl with an English Heart” – and  Kay’s response to my comment therein I thought I’d  re-post some what I'd written, and givee more detail about the late Colonel David Hackworth, who for a time back in the mid-Seventies was a friend of mine.

This story...a true story...begins at Scaramouche Restaurant; a Brisbane restaurant in which I worked, part-time at nights in the mid-Seventies.  I had my Monday to Friday day job within the Queensland office of the Kolotex Group of Companies, but I started working at Scaramouche on Friday and Saturday nights because of my interest in restaurants and the preparation of food; and to earn extra money.  Also, Randall (now my ex), upon his return from almost a decade overseas, based mainly in New York City for a period worked at Scaramouche during the day and at its sister restaurant Manouche at night.  Rather than spending my evenings sitting around twiddling my thumbs, it was far more interesting and much more fun waiting tables at Scaramouche.

My18 months or so stint at Scaramouche started off with my working two nights a week; towards the end I was doing five nights a week.  I enjoyed every moment while learning so much about the industry.

The food presented at Scaramouche was French-style. The magnificent, historical old brick building housing the restaurant stood proudly on the corner of Turbot Street and Coronation Drive, Brisbane.   Once upon a time it had been a church.  The Brisbane River flowed just across the way...across from the front entrance to the building on the other side of Coronation Drive that runs between the river and what was once the stately building and restaurant.

"Scaramouche" was the "In" restaurant during the time I worked there.  French food was the rage at that stage.  Until its creation there had been nothing like it in Brisbane.  

The restaurant was the brain child of its owner/operator Peter Fluckiger, later to become Peter Hackworth.  

“Peter” although with the masculine-spelling of her name is of the female gender.  Peter turned 80 on 4th February, 2016. She is an exceptional, amazing woman.  Peter is still working and inspiring others.  Her imagination has never recognised boundaries.  Peter is, and has always been an entrepreneur personified; one who is always a few steps ahead of the rest of us.

In 1957 Peter started off in the restaurant industry. In her early 20s, she opened  “The Primitif” coffee lounge in the Piccadilly Arcade, Queen Street, Brisbane, opposite the G.P.O. 

From its conception The Primitif was very popular.  Situated below street level, its atmosphere was bohemian and “beat”.  I’m sure the spirits of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were regular guests at a table set aside especially for them. 

Red wine, sipped over steaming bowls of Spaghetti Bolognese while listing to jazz and folk music was the order of the day and night.  The aroma of freshly-brewed coffee also filled the air. Peter imported an Italian coffee machine and two Italians to operate it!

Peter, during the early days of Scaramouche, also owned another restaurant, "Manouche". It was, situated on Milton Road, Toowong. Before Peter got her hands on it, it had been a humble,little old cottage-style shop that was selling antique furniture and bric-à-brac. Peter converted it into a small French restaurant.

Peter was and still is a legend in Brisbane's restaurant industry; although now, at the age of 80, she’s no longer involved in the restaurant industry.  Nowadays she is involved in the fresh produce and craft street markets.

And then....along came David Hackworth. ... a fine-looking man, of that there is no doubt....a man who exuded an almost palpable aura...


I remember clearly the first time I met David.  It was a Saturday night, around 7.30 pm....he arrived at the entrance doorway to Scaramouche.  I greeted him, thinking he was a diner coming to dine in the restaurant.  From the first moment I set eyes on the man before me who was looking me directly in my eyes, I took notice.  He commanded one's attention.  My heart even began to pound.  Unless one had a heart of stone, I believe his presence would affect others similarly.  He asked if he could see Peter, so I led him to where she was.

The late Colonel David Hackworth, one of the most decorated veterans in U.S history....who I was fortunate to call a friend back in the mid-Seventies.  David was an impressive human being.   

Amongst his collection of personal medals were eight Purple Hearts.


http://www.jameswebb.com/articles/can-he-come-home-again

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9_jh-OYb1k


David Hackworth moved to Australia after he left the US Army. At the time he’d been on active duty in Vietnam during the war in that country.  Often David had visited Australia during his R & R and had fallen in love with this country.

Disgusted with what was going on within the military hierarchy David left the Army.  He was of a family of military men; his forefathers before him had been in the US Army.  

David decided to settle in Australia. He bought acreage at Uki in northern NSW (not the Gold Coast as Wikipedia and the Arlington Cemetery sites erroneously state.)

With his own hands, he built a stunning pole home using timber from his property.

David and Peter met through a mutual friend who lived in Sydney who believed they’d be a good match.

By the time they met, Peter had married and divorced three times. First she was married to an Austrian baron; then to a private investigator; then followed Kurt Fluckiger, who, while also being a Swiss precious metals’ expert, somewhere along the line learned how to cook French food, and he became the chef at Manouche, and father to their daughter, Gian.  Peter also had an older daughter, Michael from an earlier marriage.

David and Peter married. Together they had a son, Ben.
  
David turned his expertise and his fine mind for detail into helping Peter run Scaramouche, turning it into a very viable, profitable operation.   David was a leader...a natural-born leader.

My ex, Randall, by that stage was employed in the real estate industry.  He acted as their real estate agent when they bought their house at Auchenflower, a Brisbane suburb.  David and Randall got on well.  When David wanted to look at property with the view of possible future enterprises, he looked to Randall for advice etc.  

The four of us shared some very happy moments. One time Randall and I spent a fun-filled, memorable weekend with David and Peter, along with mutual friends at the farm in Uki.  

With David as “Activities Commander-in-Chief” there was never a dull moment throughout the whole weekend.  

The house was fascinating; it was inviting; it was intriguing.  The land it sat upon was lush. 

The highset house constructed of timber and glass had solid, sturdy, structural poles (trunks of trees) as thick as electricity poles running from the ground through to the ceiling; they became part of the interior decor.  Solid as a rock, the strongest cyclone would’ve been incapable of destroying the house. Not only had David personally built the house, but he designed it as well. No matter where one sat, lay or stood there was a view of the verdant surrounds and the mountains. From memory there were over 300 acres in all.  The number 360 sticks in my head...I think there were 360 acres in total....but don’t quote me!

When David moved to Brisbane to be with Peter, he installed a manager/caretaker on the property.  Ducks were raised at the farm; vegetables and herbs were grown.  The ducks were part of Scaramouche’s menu as were the fresh herbs and vegetables.  David created recycling way before ‘recycling” became the “in vogue” word and activity.  The food waste from the restaurant went to the farm to feed the ducks and be dug into the produce gardens; and the produce from the farm went to the restaurant.  A distribution of fresh ducks became a profitable business, too. 

Restaurants from Sydney to far North Queensland bought the ducks from David’s farm to put on their dinner menus.

Another night I’ll never forget was the night when Peter and David discovered Randall and I were off to the drive-in movies.  They begged to join us. Loaded with deliciously decadent, cream-filled, toffee and chocolate-topped goodies (pastries) from a French patisserie in Fortitude Valley known as "The Eiffel Tower" - off the four of us went in our1964 EH Holden Wagon.  (I always drove the EH wagon; while Randall drove our 1975 Volkswagen Passat).  

Randall and I’d not taken much notice of what the secondary movie was going to be on that particular night’s programme.  I’ve never forgotten the lead-up, secondary movie, but I've never been able to remember what the main feature was! 

We certainly sat up and took notice when the 1975 comedy starring Elliott Gould began to unfold...the movie was “Whiffs”. Gould plays a gullible military private who volunteers to be the subject of numerous military biological and chemical weaponry experiments.  He later robs banks as a result.   

David had a wicked sense of humour, which was just as well for our night shared at the drive-in movies, I guess.   Things could have performed a somersault and turned upside down otherwise....

Anyway, he was the one who pleaded to come along with Randall and me.  Who were we to deny his pleas?  He, too, enjoyed the movie and laughed along with the rest of us.   Much merriment went on in our car that evening.

After Peter and David divorced, David returned to the US; and he remarried.

David Hackworth was a War Correspondent during the Gulf War.  He wrote books...non-fiction...of course.

David's own life story is one worth knowing. He was a fine man; a unique person.

Colonel David Hackworth was an serious, intelligent, complex, yet simple man; one with a strong, powerful character. A man of contradictions he was also lots of fun; full of inventive mischief; it was better to be his friend than his enemy....I was his friend.

When preparing to make the movie “Apocalypse Now” Francis Ford Coppola flew to Sydney to meet with David. It is said Coppola based Brando's Colonel Kurtz and Robert Duvall's character on David.  David never denied this to be so. He reputedly spoke the memorable, and oft-quoted words, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” that were so famously uttered by Robert Duvall’s character.

Sadly, David passed away, eleven years ago - 4th May, 2005 – at the age of 74. He was interred at Arlington Cemetery...there he rests in honour.

David Hackworth was an outstanding man. I will always be grateful that I was fortunate enough to get to know him; to be a friend, if only briefly in the whole scheme of things.  

David and I share the same birth date....Armistice Day.....11th November....

32 comments:

  1. Interesting read indeed.
    One of the links didn't work :)
    A Scorpio!

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  2. Thanks for letting me know about the link, Margaret...I've now delelted it.

    David was a very interesting man; and Peter is, as she always has been, an interesting woman still.

    Perhaps he and I understood each other because we were fellow Scorpios...and we shared the same date. He is/was the only person I've known personally whose birthday fell on the same day as mine!

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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  3. My son in law shares your birthday, and was born at 11am.

    I was in Brisbane in the early seventies, leaving for Sydney in December 1975 with two small children, but we weren't restaurant people, so would never have been to Scaramouche. The closest we cam to restaurants was takeaway pizzas on paydays (*~*)

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    1. How about that, River; and I was born between 11 am and 11.05 am! Now, that is a coincidence! :)

      I lived and worked in Brisbane from July 1965 through to around March, 1979. I lived firstly in Toowong; then in New Farm; then back in Toowong; and then in Torwood...which is not far from Toowong. Who knows, River...we may have crossed in the street one time or the other!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. Lee, you do have a remarkable memory for detail.
    I like the countryside of Northern NSW (except for those dastardly floods they get)

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    1. I've always had a good memory for detail, Carol. It's probably the only talent I have! lol

      David had no fear from flooding on his property; perhaps down in the lower levels where a creek flowed through...but definitely not where he built his home...he even built a moat to surround the house. The property was undulating land...which allowed for great winding walks through the high country.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. I was looking at the replies and I agree with Carol - your stories are so interesting - but how in the world do you remember them in all that detail? Excellent.

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    1. Hi Sandie, as I said in my response to Carol, remembering the finer details is probably my own talent! Just ask my ex! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  6. I was about to say that you have a phenomenal memory Lee but then I saw that Carol in Cairns had said the same. I wonder what caused David and Peter to split. Perhaps he was the kind of man who became bored with what he had and needed the taste of something new.

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    1. Hi Yorkie....David and Peter were two very strong, unique characters. Peter has claimed David was the love of her life. After she and David divorced, she's not married again. He'd be a very hard act to follow. People draw apart. I suppose, too, his heart was in his country of birth even though there was time he was of the opinion he'd never return there. Who knows really what goes on between two people, within their own four walls?

      Including David, Peter married four times. David had been married before he and Peter; and he married for the third time after his return to the US. David fathered four children; Ben, his and Peter's son was his last child.

      Peter is, and has always been a free-spirit; bohemian,arty and avante-garde. She has always been the dreamer...a dreamer who fulfilled many of her dreams, and once they were fulfilled, or even before, she moved onto the next one. David, was a more in depth, down to earth, no b/s, complex, serious person - which is probably the best way I can describe him in a few words, rather than make this a very lengthy missive. He was of very strong character; and I, for one, would not have like to have crossed him. I had great admiration and liking for David.

      David lived in Australia for 18 years. He became a spokesman for Australia's anti-nuclear movement, but towards the end distanced himself because he was being misquoted and "used" etc., as is so often the case when other less informed jump on the bandwagon.

      Anyone who had foes in Pentagon brass and politicians because of his lack of fear in speaking out; because of his honesty...foes he made by stating "who have never sweated it out on a battlefield." no doubt, was a force to be reckoned with. The disdain felt was mutual.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  7. An interesting read, Lee. I remember the Primitif - and the jazz. I don't have your memory for detail but I do remember refusing to go there one evening after work with my friends (it would have been the early 60s) because I had a ladder in my stockings. I caught the train home instead, hoping no-one would notice. How times have changed! My daughter lived in Uki for a year in the early 90s and still has friends in the area. It's been a while since I last visited though.

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    1. Hey there, Pauline. The Primitif...what a fabulous little place it was! it was such a innovative breath of fresh air for Brisbane in those years. There had been nothing like it before Peter stepped forward full of youthful bravado and dreams.

      In the dim lights of The Primitif, no one would've have noticed the ladder in your stockings...but I understand what you're saying...times were certainly were different then. Now torn jeans are in vogue! Sometimes I wish...oft times, I wish I had a time capsule to be able to go back to those wonderful days of innocence and exploration of life.

      The first time I visited I was so thrilled. For years prior to my leaving Gympie and moving to Brisbane I'd read about it and dreamed about going there. I'd made a promise to myself, no matter what I would, one day, sit at the tables, listen to the music and watch the interesting parade of people who frequented the place...I fulfilled that promise.

      The countryside around Uki is beautiful. I've never been back there since that weekend as described in my post.

      Thanks for coming by, Pauline. :)

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  8. Thank you, David.

    And thank you, Lee, for such wonderful stories.

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    1. Yes....I agree with you Gail...Thank you, David.

      Thanks for coming hy. :)

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  9. What a fascinating post, I love it when people do the things I want them to do! And not only did you give us details of David Hackworth but of a remarkable woman by the unlikely name of Peter! (My mother's name was Willie, by the way, and she was called "Bill"!)
    "He commanded one's attention", I very much understand that, having met Col. Ben Purcell. (Did you read my post about him? He and his wife wrote a book "Love And Duty")
    Anyway, thank you for taking the time to write this post!
    I know that Wikipedia doesn't get some of the details correctly but I think that is where I read that someone challenged his right to EIGHT Purple hearts but when the research was done, it was incorrect, it should have been NINE of them!
    Also, I am fascinated by your description of the house that he built in Australia! And I do wonder, if your 360 figure might come from the fact that you enjoyed a 360 degree view from the house? Not to say he didn't have 360 acres, it is just how my mind works!
    So much to think about in this post. I hope to make it to Washington DC one day, and to see his grave in Arlington Cemetery.
    Thanks again, Lee! You do have good memory for detail! I see above in your comment that you agree that you do, just ask your ex! Ha, that made me chuckle! :-)

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    1. Hi Kay...I was hoping you'd pop in and read this. I will search through your blog to find your article on Co. Ben Purcell; and I'll have a look for his book, too.

      David was an unforgettable character, that's for sure.

      I doubt I'm very far off with the acreage, the size of his land.

      Before he built the house, David spent a lot of time camping on the property in the endeavour of finding the perfect spot to build...for views, to catch the breezes; where the sun rose and set, etc. When and only when he was satisfied he had the position right did he start to build.

      Also every window in the house was fixed, except for floor-level and ceiling level louvres which would be opened accordingly and appropriately to allow for air flow. There were lots of windows...and the louvres ran the width of the rooms.

      As I said in my post above...from every window, from every position one was in, whether standing, sitting or lying was a view. David worked all that out before and during construction of the house.

      I do hope you get to visit Arlington and his grave...and I would love to see a photo of it if and when you do. And I think you in advance. :)

      Thanks for coming by. It was my pleasure to write this post...thanks for giving the me prompt to do so. :)

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  10. I can't believe what a memory you have for so many details of the past, intriguing so much so is every story you relay. So many marriages and divorces sad but then again I guess they show that life changes and people grow in different directions.

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    1. Hi Linda...I am a Scorpio and it is said Scorpios never forget (or have good memories); and, maybe I was an elephant in a past life! ;)

      Lives can become complicated and paths vary...who knows...some folk aren't meant for lengthy commitments; but it doesn't mean they loved any less.

      I married twice and divorced twice...and am happily single and have been for many years now - since 1986, to be exact. I think it is how I'm meant to be. Fortunately, I am one of the fortunate...I am still on terms with both my exes; Randall, my second husband in particular. We talk every other day.

      Thanks for coming by. I hope you sold heaps at the market today. :)

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  11. So interesting that she was named Peter! And I can just imagine sitting there with you having some wine and pasta. An elderly lady and (late) member of my church was named Bruce. I always thought that was interesting.

    I love saying "Scaramouche." :)

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    1. Hi Lynn....Peter's mother thought she was going to have a son, so had chosen the name for that reason; when the baby turned out to be a girl not a boy, the mother kept with the name and the spelling thereof. :0

      It'd be fun to sit with you over a few wines and a bowl of pasta, Lynn...we'd be talking for hours, I reckon!!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  12. Yes you were fortunate to know the man and not know of him as the rest of us happen to be, however, this post shows a close up view of him and I truly appreciate you sharing it with us out here in blogland. Peace

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    1. David was fairly well-known in his home country, Lady Di, and remembered. He wrote a few books, so I'm sure you'd find them if you did a Google or library search. He upset quite a few in the Pentagon...and in the military hierarchy. He also appeared on many US TV talk shows etc. Until he left the military...he'd been a career soldier from a very young age.

      His story is a most interesting one.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. You have an absolutely incredible memory...I have a hard time remembering things that happened yesterday!

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    1. I'm sure that is not true, Keith. You're selling yourself short.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  14. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story about your extraordinary friends.

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    1. You're welcome, CraveCute...thanks for coming by. :)

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  15. +great story ,memories are treasure and you have a lot dear

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    1. Thank you, baili...some memories are worth sharing. :)

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  16. This was a fascinating post. So glad you shared.

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    1. Hi Sandra....I'm glad you enjoyed these memories...thanks for coming by. :0

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  17. What a tender and passionate tribute to a talented, brave man!

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    1. G'day Susan....thanks for coming by. :)

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