Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Terrence George Leonhardy
LEONHARDY: But when I... And we had a short course of about a month and I stayed in a professional fraternity house on Wisconsin Avenue. It was near Georgetown University. And I attended that, and I then started down to Barranquilla. I took the train down to Miami and then took the old Pan American Airways Clipper. And I'll never forget that trip because the windows were blacked out - they had things over the windows. We stopped in Cienfuegos, Cuba, and Jamaica on the way down (Kingston) and then Barranquilla. There was nobody there to meet me, I remember that. Esso had a big operation up river and they would meet the plane every day because they had all this - or three times a week - to get their people off. So the guy I was sitting next to on the place said, well, he was being picked up by Esso and if I didn't get picked up, they'd give me a ride. There was only one place to stay in Barranquilla at that time. It was a big hotel, Prada Hotel. We had a pretty good-sized consulate.
Q: Before we get to that, I'd just like to go back to your Washington experience. How did you find... In the first place, what was your impression of the State Department, the Foreign Service, and what you got from that?
LEONHARDY: Well, I was all eager-beaver, you know. Everything looked fine to me. The people I talked to seemed to be very nice. I didn't have anything to compare it with and so I was just anxious to get going, you know. A funny thing, right in the middle of this, before I left here, Walton C. Ferris called me in one day, and he said, “We're thinking about changing your assignment.” And I said, “Yes, where do you want to send me?” And he said, “We're thinking about sending you to Orsorno, Chile.” And I didn't know where in the devil Orsorno was.
Q: I never heard of it.
LEONHARDY: I thought it was in the middle of the desert. It turns out it was in the middle of the Lake region and it was a beautiful city, mostly Germans, and I think it was just a one-man post and I found out later the reason they were thinking about sending me was there was another guy that they brought into the auxiliary who had been in Barranquilla, Colombia, in the shipping business or something with his dad, and he wanted to go back to Barranquilla so they were going to do a switch, I guess. But they never did it and I ended up in Barranquilla. As I say I was, you know, everything impressed me as being great.
Q: Oh, yes, sort of wide-eyed. Same way I felt when I came in. Well now, in Barranquilla, before we get to the consular, could you describe sort of the city and the life and what was the situation there?