Doom and Passion Along Rt. 45
Peace-walking through Jersey: the observations and reflections of
a neutral observer, sixty-four miles, three days and two states later
by Thomas B. Morgan
THIRTEEN pacifists, who seemed to think that a peace march might help belay the arms race, one hot afternoon not long ago found themselves trudging along a highway outside of Woodbury, New Jersey. They were elapsing yet another leg of a seven-hundred-mile "Walk for Peace" which had begun seven weeks earlier in Hanover, New Hampshire, and would end two weeks hence in Washington, D.C. At the moment, the Walk was led by Joel Kent and Marshall Bush, a sixty-year old blind man. Kent was a tired-looking, gaunt scarecrow, aged forty, wearing a ragged white shirt and black trousers. He earned his living raising trees in Jamaica, Vermont. He was one of six peace-walkers who had come all the way from Hanover, through Massachusetts, across New York's midsection, down the Hudson River Valley, and into the flatlands of New Jersey. Bush, whom Kent held lightly at the elbow, was a latecomer, sturdy, white-haired, and neatly dressed in a sport shirt and slacks. Back home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he owned a vending machine business. He had joined the walk south of Camden, planning to leave it sixty miles later about three days afoot in Wilmington, Delaware. And now, even though he had begun to ache from sunburn, he persisted in carrying the Walk's leading sign, a circle of wood on an aluminum pole, WALK FOR PEACE / HANOVER, N.H. TO WASHINGTON, D.C. He also carried his red-tipped white cane, using it to feel for curbings and potholes.
Behind the tree farmer and the blind man, ten others walked, single file. They had come about fifteen miles since morning. They had six miles between them and the day's terminus, Paulsboro, New Jersey.
Time was passing and the walkers became more certain that they had become part of an Organism, a multilegged creature of the road that lived in space without an awareness of time passing. Ever since Hanover, walkers had shared the feeling that the Walk was itself an entity, a thing with a separate existence. But this feeling was always strongest late in the afternoon when still there were longer, more tiring miles to go. They would feel it then most keenly, almost as a loss of personality.
The only thing that mattered to the Organism was mileage feet, yards, blocks, spaces on the motor oil map of the Atlantic seaboard. The Walk has one dimension: distance. In the time sense, there was no past. What had been happening since leaving Hanover the day before Easter had been occurring somewhere in Springfield, Troy, Poughkeepsie, or Camden but not sometime in the past.
When had the rock been thrown at the Walk through the window of a meeting hall? Answer: Hudson, New York.
Similarly, the future was timeless. What might happen next would not happen then, but in a place farther south, down the road a piece, yonder. Tomorrow would not be a Saturday in June. It would be the day the Walk reached Chester, Pennsylvania. It would be Chester, Pa. Day.
And the present had become timeless, too.
The Walk had no tenses here in the thinly populated sand flats of New Jersey, Route 41 now forking into Route 45, surrounded by scrubby trees and billboards and the blur of compact cars and the murmuring of innumerable youknowwhats. Mostly, as the sun moved lower, the Organism walked heads down, each personality suspended in this later afternoon timelessness, staring at the tops of his shoes, his sneakers, boots, her sandals, his brogans, loafers, oxfords, chukkas, all scuffed and dust covered and breaking down, picking them up and laying them flat, one dog in front of the other, gingerly on the side away from the blisters, stiffly because of the shin splint or the knot in the hamstring and hardly ever wondering what time it might be. In logic, in truth, time made no difference once the day's mileage had been set, twenty one miles today that is, 36,960 paces seventeen miles yesterday, fifteen tomorrow, and so on and on this was what one had to get over. This was the suffering over seven hundred miles in nine weeks that made the point for them.
From a passing car, a boy shouted, "Hey, look out for the Bombbbb!"
In the ranks, Jon Robison, nineteen, carried a sign. He had been with the Walk since Kingston, New York, but could not go all the way to Washington because his parents wanted him home in time for summer school. He wore a T-shirt and khakis, with a recorder stuck in his belt. When it was someone else's turn to carry the sign, he would play tunes on the recorder as he walked. His shoes had fallen apart and were now held together with black tape.
DEFEND FREEDOM, Jon's sign read, WITH NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE.
Another sign, NO BOMB TESTS / EAST OR WEST, was held by Larry Coopersmith, eighteen-year-old son of a contractor in the New York garment industry. "My father forbade me to come on this Walk," he says. "So, I packed up and here I am. I called up home later and he said, 'Son you bastard!' He thinks I'm a Communist. He's very conservative. My father is about as close as there is to a pure capitalist. He's a contractor in a business where everyone cuts everyone else's throat. He is honest, so he gets his throat cut quite often." Coopersmith wore a striped polo shirt, shorts, anklets, and paper thin oxfords. His feet hurt. "All I brought with me was four dollars," he says. "Someone back up the road gave me three dollars toward a new pair of shoes, but I never got any more money from anyone so I spent the three dollars on cigarettes."
Bringing up the rear, Penny Young, eighteen, carried a man-sized sign. She was from upstate Illinois, a pretty, plump, apple-checked young lady with boyish bobbed hair. She wore a fresh blouse, plaid skirt, high, white teen-ager socks and sneakers. She was a veteran of "peace actions" against the Electric Boat Company, manufacturers of Polaris submarines, and against the Atomic Energy Commission. The latter occurred in New York, involved sitting in at A.E.C. headquarters, and won Penny a five-day sentence in the women's jail in Greenwich Village. "It was an educational experience," she says, "especially learning how much worse they make those girls by putting them in jail. The girls thought that anyone like me with short hair couldn't be straight, so they descended on me. I said, 'Look, girls, I'm straight.' After that, I got along all right. My father called and said he'd be in jail with me if it weren't for his job. See, I could go to jail with dignity and take whatever they could dish out...
"When it was over, I made myself a sandwich board sign saying JAILS ARE NOT THE ANSWER and picketed the place."
Grimly, Penny carried her sign, which had a distinct message on each side WHAT YOU CAN DO / REFUSE TO WORK IN WAR INDUSTRIES and WHAT YOU CAN DO / JOIN THE PEACE CORPS. Like the other signs, hers had not been perforated, and it behaved like a box kite. Moreover, the actual weight of the sign varied with wind velocity. Marching into a mere zephyr, the sign would drag and the pole weight would increase greatly, straining the shoulders and cramping the fingers. Now in the persistent wind over the Jersey meadows, the sign produced severe discomfort. Penny's pole cut into her collarbone like an ax blade. All of the sign-bearers were, in fact, walking grimly and Penny held her lower lip firmly between her teeth.
Peter Giffen, twenty-four, a conscientious objector from Haddonfield, New Jersey, was taking his turn driving the Walk's supply truck. He was a full-time peace activist, used to work in a Michigan camp run by the American Friends Service Committee, had finished three years at Goddard College in Vermont. He had been skulled by a New York riot-squad policeman during peace demonstration disturbances earlier this year. He was "coordinator" of the Walk, having been appointed by the sponsoring organization, the Committee for Nonviolent Action. (C.N.V.A., one of the more volatile groups in the U.S. peace movement, was actually sponsoring three simultaneous peace walks at this time. Two other companies of pacifists were hiking east toward Washington from Nashville and Chicago, respectively, scheduled to arrive for joint peace demonstrations in the Capital of Deterrence. C.N.V.A. was then also engaged in an attempt to outfit and sail a small craft, called Everyman II, into the U.S. Pacific Ocean nuclear test area.) The truck driven by Giffen was an ancient Ford pickup donated by C.N.V.A. for carrying bedrolls, food, extra clothing, the water jug, and the leaflet supply. Above its front license plate was the legend: NO BOMB.
All of the peace walkers carried copies of the Walk leaflet, which was to be offered to anyone passing by. Most of the material in it had been written by Paul Salstrom, twenty-one, son of a Rock Island, Illinois, furniture maker. Salstrom had studied briefly at the University of Chicago, had worked in Pennsylvania steel mills and mountain camps near Big Sur, California, and had gradually deepened his commitment to pacifism. Stern, blond, indefatigable, he was educating himself: for reading material, he had brought along on the Walk a biography of Havelock Ellis.
"WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?" Paul's leaflet begins. "WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? You've just seen a group of people walking along the road or sidewalk carrying signs ... and one of the walkers has handed you this leaflet. Perhaps you are trying to puzzle out what connection that youth or fairly respectable middle-aged do-gooder has with the morning headlines or with your personal thoughts and activities. We who are carrying the signs and passing out leaflets share your concern about jobs and layoffs, Russians and Chinese, strontium 90 in the kids' milk. We like to plant gardens, go on hikes and picnics ... BUT NOW LET'S FACE REALITY...." Reality, Paul's leaflet says, demands a national policy based on renunciation of violence. This would include independent or unilateral steps toward disarmament, conversion of armament industries to consumer-goods production, increased aid to underdeveloped countries, and a national program of training for nonviolent resistance "against tyranny and oppression." "This program we advocate to Americans and Russians alike.... We believe it is likely that Russia would welcome and join a disarmament race.... WARS WILL CEASE WHEN MEN REFUSE TO FIGHT...."
Jon Robison, who likes to keep track of such things, estimates that eighty-five percent of the people who were offered Paul's leaflet accepted it. Jon's percentage is slightly higher for Negroes and elderly ladies, lower for men wearing straw hats, and lowest for service-station gas-pump jockeys who are universally a sullen bunch.
They walked into Paulsboro, New Jersey, a little before six. It was a clean, nondescript little town with a generous Methodist community that had promised C.N.V.A. that the peacewalkers would be fed whenever they arrived. Dinner would be served in the church basement, access to which was gained by a stairway marked SHELTER AREA HERE. The walkers washed up quickly and, as usual, ate very well: fried chicken, potato salad, beans, hard-boiled egg salad, cranberries, mashed potatoes, corn, hot rolls, country butter, and ice cream smothered in fresh strawberries, all in limitless quantities. "We're the best-fed revolutionaries in the country," Huw Williams said, disconcerting the parson. At nineteen, Williams was a junior at the University of Washington. He had left school to be in Hanover in time for the jumping off.
From dinner, the walkers were driven to the nearby town of Mickleton, where they would conduct a public meeting and spend the night at the Quaker Meeting House. They arrived an hour early. Paul Salstrom and Steve Trussell inspected the hall while most of the walkers relaxed on the porch and in the grass outside. Trussell, nineteen, was a loose-limbed, almost frail young man with blond hair and a poet's face. He wore a workingman's blue shirt and black trousers. Before joining the Walk in Hanover, he had been studying at Cooper Union in New York and had been arrested during the same melee in which Giffen had been slugged. He had shaved his beard for his trial on the advice of other demonstrators. "Being a student," he says, "I didn't realize how other people felt about beards. No one on this Walk has a beard, not because he wouldn't like one, but because he cares about what other people think." Clean-shaven, Trussell had received a suspended sentence. He has since become the Walk's most effective speaker, if not its voice.
"Why don't you talk about the nonviolent movement tonight ?" Salstrom asked him.
"What nonviolent movement?"
"Let's not argue about that."
"I'm not interested in movements."
Thus engaged, Salstrom entered one of the Walk's oldest debates and one that underscored the Walkers' critical disagreement on basic goals.
"What are you interested in, Steve?" he asked.
"Just getting something done."
"You can't get anything done if you don't have a nonviolent movement."
"The movement can go down the drain as long as we get things done."
"We have to be organized. Where would this Walk be if it hadn't been organized in advance?"
"I've seen what organizing does to people. It makes machines out of the organizers."
"If you're going to organize, Steve, you have to be a machine."
"But then the love goes out of you."
"You can't have love and run an organization."
"The junk the organization."
"You don't get it, Steve without a movement, nothing will be done."
"Oh, I get it."
The two young men fell into a violent silence. Then Peter Giffen entered the hall, cheerfully lugging a carton of peace-movement literature. Included was a range of materials, some free and some for sale: up-to-date tracts from most peace groups in the U.S.; Dr. Jerome Frank's studies in the psychology of Nuclear Man; and Camus' 1947 essay, Neither Victims Nor Executioners. Giffen, Salstrom and Trussell spread the pieces on two front pews under a plaque bearing the motto: "Peace is an adventure in overcoming evil with good."
Jon Robison, just outside the hall on his back in the grass, blew an eerie lament on his recorder. Ken Meister, thirty-seven, tall and square-jawed with the look of a country preacher, played a giant game of tic-tac-toe in the gravel driveway with Manya Baumbacher, twenty-four, a shy, well-dressed girl from Salt Lake City who had been on the Walk since Massachusetts. Margo Nash was reading Historical Sociology on the meeting-hall porch. And Huw Williams was proving to Penny Young that he was one pacifist who could stand on his head. After a while, his nose began to bleed and he had to lie down with his feet up.
At the meeting, the audience of nine adults and three children arranged themselves in a tight group, using only two pews. They listened as Joel Kent spoke about the origins of the Walk and Ken Meister told of progress in the peace movement. The members of the audience felt free to interrupt with such questions as:
"What's been accomplished by this Walk so far?"
"It's hard to know what you've accomplished," Meister answered. "But I believe quite a number of people have been challenged by our ideas. If nothing else, we are proving that peace is more popular this year than it was last year. We were called Communists last year. Now people are far more willing to accept our leaflets. I think the Berlin crisis and the renewal of testing on both sides have made people more concerned."
"How do you know you're not being used by the Communists?"
"C.N.V.A. the Committee for Nonviolent Action is, in itself' only about sixty people who organize these things C.N.V.A. has no policy on Communists. But only people who are willing to accept nonviolent discipline are accepted in the work and we don't ask whether they are Communists. On the other hand, I don't know of any Communists in C.N.V.A."
"We believe no sincere Communist can accept nonviolence," Paul Salstrom added. "The two are incompatible."
"Who's paying for this?"
"Well, I'm glad you brought that up. Our leaflets for the trip cost $250 and aren't paid for yet. We usually get our breakfast and supper, but we need money for lunches...."
When the audience had departed, the walkers found that they were four dollars richer. For a time, then, they sat in the pews and discussed plans for Washington. They were agreed on two alternatives, but had yet to make a decision: The Walk would either end with an "affirmative" demonstration at, say, the Jefferson Memorial or it would end with civil disobedience at the Pentagon Building.
"We'd have to plan carefully for something at the Pentagon," Paul said.
"Let's not do it if there's no reason for it," Steve said.
"I think," Huw Williams said, "we should have civil disobedience for the symbolic effect."
"You really have to plan for something like that," Paul said. "There aren't enough of us to block the Potomac bridge. The trucks would just run over us and keep going. You need a strategy for every contingency."
"So let's have a strategy," Huw said.
"That," Steve Trussell said "sounds like you're making civil disobedience an end in itself."
"Well, it would mean something."
"You're just looking for trouble, Huw."
Salstrom nodded with Trussell. "Huw wants to go to jail," he said. Then to Huw: "You've got time enough to go to jail, kid."
A little past eleven, the peace walkers were bedded down. The girls had gone off to spend the night in Methodist homes while the men had spread their sleeping bags on top of pew cushions on the floor of the Quaker Meeting Hall. Joel Kent had helped the blind man find his way to and from the bathroom. The lights had been turned out and, for a moment, the darkness seemed filled with sighs of exhaustion. Someone groaned and then there was silence.
"It may take ten years before this movement breaks through," Paul Salstrom said. "I mean, the way CORE broke through after nineteen years of getting organized. It took them nineteen years to break through with the Freedom Riders."
"There's got to be civil disobedience," Huw Williams said.
"It's dangerous, Huw, dangerous if it's relevant."
A car zipped by outside, splashing gravel. In its wake, there was a more serious silence.
"Civil disobedience varies for each individual," Salstrom said. "Some people see it as an attention-getter. It speaks to people negatively. In this country, it can only be symbolic. What happens is all laid out for you you serve your sentence and make known your concern, that's all."
"Oh, it's dangerous and wonderful when it's pure," Steve Trussell said, "but it can become just another status symbol. It's already important to some of us how many days we've been in jail."
"What that means," Salstrom said, "is that we don't have a nonviolent movement in America yet. We have a peace movement, but not the nonviolent movement "
"What is this about a non-violent movement!" said Marshall Bush from his side of the dark room. "This is a peace movement and we shouldn't go round saying nonviolence is our principle. Peace is our principle, not satyagraha. Your Gandhian movement was projected not to settle war nor keep the peace, but rather to achieve social justice. And in the South, nonviolence was used again for the principle of social justice. See, nonviolence is something you use in a struggle for peace or for justice or for liberty. Does anyone see that?"
Now the silence became thoughtful and filled again with sighs.
QUAKER ladies of Mickleton New Jersey, served eggs, sausages and pancakes for breakfast. Then, with the sun well up and promising no mercy, the peace walkers returned to the exact spot in Paulsboro on the corner beside the Methodist Church where they had halted their march the previous evening. Huw Williams took over the truck-driving chore. Peter Giffen handed out signs. Charles Hornig, a forty-six-year-old income-tax specialist from San Jose, California, helped himself to leaflets. With his wife's blessings, Hornig had decided to spend his annual vacation on the Walk.
"Let's walk, everybody," Giffen cried. "The theme of the day is lean hard on love this is lean-hard-on-love day!"
They walked along Broad Street. Their signs fluttered in the wind. They were a four-masted galleon of the sidewalk sailing off toward Gibbstown, the Delaware River, and Chester, Pennsylvania. Meister bounced on his sneakers, Margo jiggled, Larry ambled disjointedly on sore feet, Salstrom marched, Trussell rolled like a sailor, Manya Baumbacher staggered under a sign, Jon Robison on the recorder, Penny Young gaily and Hornig reading the editorial page of The New York Times. Peter Giffen strolled ahead with the lead sign and Joel Kent conscientiously held the thin, red arm of Marshall Bush, who walked with the firmly uncertain step of the blind. They passed neat homes with neat lawns and whispering sprinklers, a drive-in, a gas station, a grocery, people going the other way.
"You getting tired?" asked an elderly lady from her front stoop.
Larry Coopersmith happened to be closest to her.
"Frankly, yes," he said.
"How's the weather in New Hampshire?"
"Don't know. Left there seven weeks ago."
"Seven weeks! "
"That's right, lady."
"Well, bless your heart."
A woman in a parked car accepted a leaflet from Ken Meister. She looked through it quickly and then poked her head out of her window.
"You mean you want us to disarm?"
"Well, something like that that's part of it," Ken said. "We ought to exercise a little more love than hate, don't you think? We shouldn't build our whole program on what they do. We should do what's right."
"You can't let them just take over our country."
"We stand for an open society."
"Russia wants everyone to be a Communist. That's not very open."
"Yes, and we want everyone to be a capitalist."
Broad Street became a highway. The wind died and the Walk moved a bit faster. They crossed Repaupo Creek and rested in the next patch of shade. The water jug went around. Someone asked Paul Salstrom what he wanted to do when the Walk was finished. "Go up to the Tetons," he replied, "and study ornithology and see this country, but I can't, because I'm going to prison." After this no command was given, but the walkers roused themselves and set off again with the sun almost straight overhead. They came to a fork in the road, veered off on Route 322 and arrived about two p.m. at the Delaware River Ferry to Chester. Joel Kent paid their fares out of the Walk treasury. They boarded, Huw Williams drove the truck aboard and the Walk chugged across the Delaware to Pennsylvania. Here, they found themselves immediately in a rail yard at the edge of Chester itself, with a squad car and a dozen Chester sympathizers waiting to escort them into the city. Manya Baumbacher gave the policeman a Walk leaflet as the rest sat down beside the tracks in the shade of a long, low warehouse. Huw Williams brought out the box lunches that had been prepared by Methodists of Paulsboro. "Best-fed revolutionaries in the country," he said. A peppery old lady who had been a pacifist all her life stood over Paul Salstrom as he ate his lunch.
"Is your name Dutch, young man?"
"My goodness, Swedish."
"Yes, it's a military name in Sweden."
"Well, let me tell you just the reverse: I have a grandnephew with my name, he just graduated college and, imagine, he's taken a job with one of the powder companies making explosives for the intercontinental ballistic missile. Simply letting himself be drawn into something that's wrong."
Paul nodded, understandingly. Then the old lady inquired about a certain young man, well-known among pacifists.
"He's in jail for civil disobedience," Paul said.
"Is he I mean, is he cooperating?"
"He's cooperating, but now and then he goes on a hunger strike when he thinks they are not giving him the letters from people on his mailing list."
"Well, I should say "
"But later he found out that people just weren't writing to him."
In time, the "Walk for Peace" moved into Chester, with about twenty-five walkers in the ranks and several new signs: MR. PRESIDENT / PLEASE STOP THE TESTING, SAVE OUR CHILDREN / NO MORE FALLOUT, and others. With two squad cars leapfrogging in the street beside them, the walkers penetrated the Negro ghetto, pushing leaflets and smiling. They detoured around a street vendor. He wiped his hands on his apron, reached for a leaflet, changed his mind, and grumbled, "I mind my own business," to no one in particular. They were passing a churchyard when a wedding party fled from the sanctuary and ran to the street through a shower of rice. Paul Salstrom watched the bride and groom lunge into the safety of a waiting limousine. "That was more reality than what we are doing," he said, moodily. "Perhaps it's more important, too."
At the height of the Saturday-afternoon rush hour, the walkers stationed themselves on four corners of a major intersection in downtown Chester. A bald man leaned out of his car and said, precisely, "Don't you kids know the Lord said there'll be no peace until He comes back?" Two fellows in straw hats stood back under an awning, watching the demonstration. First man: "Bunch of beatniks." Second man: "They ought to go back to Russia with their goddamn signs." First man: "They sure been walking, though." Second man: "Goddamn Russians." And in the second hour, two huskies wearing Swarthmore College T-shirts set up a counter-demonstration with two hastily painted signs (WE WANT VICTORY / NOT SLAVERY and NO LEFT TURN AT SWARTHMORE) and a stack of fliers offering a one-dollar Introductory Packet produced by the John Birch Society. None of this angered the peace walkers. They were leaning hard on love.
That evening, the Walk meeting was held in a Quaker Meeting House in Media, Pennsylvania. The counter-pickets appeared again with a new sign, UTOPIA FOR THE INTELLIGENTSIA / AMERICA FOR US, but they were so well-behaved that the casual observer might have assumed they were part of the Walk. It was a warm night, warmer still inside the meeting hall, but the meeting attracted more than fifty people, including two reporters and a radio interviewer. Manya Baumbacher began the program with a summary of the Walk's philosophy. Then Paul Salstrom described the organization of the Walk. He also outlined the walker's discipline. "Each of us," he said, "is pledged to refrain from physical violence no matter what acts are directed against him, to restrain himself at all times, to remain celibate unless walking with his spouse, to abstain from narcotics and alcohol and to maintain general neatness." Next, Steve Trussell told the audience what had prompted him to walk for peace. He said: "... Opponents say everyone in the peace movement is a Communist dupe. So, call me a dupe. Others say we are dreamers, impractical people who don't know what reality is. Well, I'm a dupe and a dreamer. But when I look around, I think maybe the world is duped and dreaming. The world is impractical. Look at it. The world has death in it. It's all around us. We add up death by the millions.... This walk has been wonderful. We've met people all along the way and we've fallen in love with them. Many people who don't know anything about unilateral disarmament invite weary walkers in for a drink of water. This is to me the real world the important world, and the bomb is not the real and important world.... On this walk, I have found that this is a world you can love and therefore it is worth saving and worth each of us trying to do something about saving it...."
Several questioning hands went up and Salstrom opened the discussion period.
"Salstrom, are you playing into the hands of the Communists?" a voice demanded. "Doesn't Khrushchev want our Polaris submarines out of the water, just like you do?"
"Wouldn't it be better," Paul Salstrom replied, "if we sent money to underdeveloped countries so that the Communists could not take them over?"
"Why, son, we're in a world war right now, only you don't know it. You can't trust a Russian, you ought to know that."
"I know some Russians," Steve Trussell said.
"Lots of them who came here from Russia. Millions of them. I trust them. They're just people."
"Ha! What I want to know, son, is this is there a group like yours wandering around Russia today? Answer me that."
"No," Steve said. "There's no group like ours."
"That's it, son. That's it. No sense asking any more questions."
This night, there were no beds for the girls, so they slept in one room of the meeting house while the men slept in another. Morning was slightly cooler, but cloudless and windy. Led by Marshall Bush and Paul Salstrom, the Walk picked up the trail in Chester, jumping off on West Ninth Street for Wilmington. A matron on the street patted Penny's shoulder and said, "Thank God, at least someone has his heart in the right place." A moment later, a motorist honked a horn at them and thumbed his nose. Stepping out on her porch in a pink slip, a woman shouted to a neighbor, "Honey, what'd I tell you you can see any damn thing in the world right here on Ninth Street." A car slowed so that a young man in the back seat could say, conversationally, "Hey, lissen, the only way we're going to have peace in this world is when we blow the goddamn thing up." Farther on, the Walk struggled against the wind, the pace slowed and Marshall Bush asked Paul to tell him what he saw.
"There are houses far as I can see, Marshall," he said. "Nice, neat houses.... There's the First Church of the Nazarene and a gas station.... People are out on their porches watching us. This must be Sunday or something."
"It is Sunday, boy."
"Well, Marshall, it's a nice day. Going to be hot."
"I need some Noxzema for my sunburn."
"All right, Marshall. It's going to be a California day.... You know, once when I was working in the Big Sur country, I went up to say hello to Henry Miller. I've read almost everything of his. He wasn't home, but his wife was there."
"I wouldn't let my daughter read Henry Miller."
"Depends on the daughter."
Marshall held Paul's wrist and tapped now and then with his cane. They walked on, past giant gas-storage tanks and iron fences and empty factories. Paul carried the sign erect and talked to Marshall.
"I registered for the draft at eighteen in Rock Island," he said. "I applied for conscientious-objector status at twenty and was refused. I appealed and that was refused. Then, April '61, I sent back my draft card. They didn't say anything about it at the time. Then, in November, they called me for induction. I didn't appear, but I wrote the board a letter of refusal. They still didn't do anything, so last Christmas I started a vigil in front of the draft-board building. That did it. They called the police. When they came to arrest me, I went limp. I was in jail for eight days and didn't eat anything, but I wasn't too worried about that. They force-feed you after twenty or twenty-five days. Well, on the other hand, in the Irish rebellion, several men fasted and starved themselves to death and won tremendous respect.... So, my family bailed me out and I pleaded guilty to the charge. My motives were simple: I want to change the law. I want our country to have a voluntary nonviolent program alongside a voluntary military program. This way would be fair to everyone and it might change people's minds as to what will really defend them.
"I know you don't get very far going the extra mile, but it does intensify your personal commitment. I'm a Lutheran. I have no dogma, but I guess I've got this Christian thing. The stand I've taken is moral. We have missiles aimed at Soviet cities now. We accept this, but I find it completely immoral. Being in the Army would require me to accept this.... I'm ready, Marshall, to go to any length to provide a nonviolent alternative. I'm going to prison in a few weeks, probably for three years. I can be out on good behavior in a year if I cooperate, but I don't know whether I will cooperate. I don't consider nonviolence as an absolute. It can exist side by side with violence. I know what you were saying the other night. I only say that I think you can solve moral problems with nonviolence. I'm willing to stake everything on this part of reality."
"I've known many men to take the same stand," old Bush told him.
Thus, the Walk continued, on and on, to the outskirts of Wilmington. A man came out of his house to offer water. A woman let the peace walkers eat lunch and rest in the yard back of her home. Children joined in the procession.
Toward the end of the day, during that period of timelessness, Penny Young found an injured pigeon cowering in a patch of tall grass. The peace walkers gathered round. The bird was breathing its last.
"Leave it there," Paul Salstrom said. "What can you do to help it?"
And so, on they* walked, wide-eyed in Gaza.
* * *
* On June 20, 1962, in Federal District Court in Rock Island, Illinois, Paul Salstrom was sentenced to three years in prison for refusal to report for military induction. He had served as his own lawyer. Meanwhile, other members of the Walk had arrived in Washington and were assembling near the White House and picketing at the Pentagon. When police arrested some of them for creating a "public hazard," many of them assumed the classic pose of the civil disobedient "going limp" and were photographed for both the newspaper wire services and for the three major TV networks. Then they dispersed. Some went home. Some moved on to other peace actions. Some went roaming. Those who had been arrested received suspended sentences and were released on probation, except for Huw Williams, who has insisted on a jury trial and, presumably, will get one.