He said his name was Howard Hunt and that his father was the E. Howard Hunt of Watergate fame. I did not believe him when he first told me that.
I fancied myself a writer, and if I had not earned a cent from this occupationt, nor even had anything published since my high school newspaper and literary magazines, at least I was writing. I had saved some money working as a low-level data gathering person in D.C. and was writing a novel that would never be published. Part of my plan was to live cheaply, very cheaply, until the novel was done. I had spent some time camping out, some time in Seattle, and was now living in the cheapest room in the East Bay, in the town of Emeryville, tucked between Berkeley and Oakland.
The room was cheap because the house had been a burned-out shell until William Curry bought it for $600 from the city and moved in. He was a contractor who had spent years in jail as a draft resister. He had already fixed up a couple of properties and was renting them out. He lived in this house in a room still in the process of repair and rented out the other rooms. Mine barely had room for a single bed in it. The rent was $75 per month. I typed in bed, there being no alternative.
William was going out with a woman named Marie Johnson. Or rather Marie was living with him. Marie was quite a trip: white welfare mother, or rather grandmother, at the age of 35. Drugs and partying and the stress of poverty had aged her prematurely. But I liked her and we got along well. Lots of people came by the house; it was quite a social scene. There were a couple of other people renting rooms. And there were Marie's three young daughters. Mature teenage daughters; two already had babies. They did not live in the house, but they were around a lot.
One of those daughters was Cindy. She had blonde hair, a dye job. She had gone to a bar in Berkeley and fell in love with the leader of the band that was playing there. That would be Howard St. John Hunt, son of Howard Hunt, CIA operative and Watergate burglar. I had already met a few sons of rich and famous people. Everyone of them I knew had drug problems. Back then almost everyone young drank and smoked marijuana, and almost everyone with money snorted cocaine (this was before crack). But these kids had problems, one being famous or powerful (or both) fathers.
St. John did not appear to have a drug problem, by the standards of the day. He was a good musician; I heard him play live a number of times. We had some good talks. He even taught me a couple of guitar chords.
Now St. John is in the news. He says, and his brother David agrees, that his father E. Howard Hunt told him that he had been asked to participate in the Kennedy assassination. Hunt did not like Kennedy, and later proved himself capable of breaking the law, but he had enough sense to stay away from the assassination attempt.
I am not a fan of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. JFK was a rich kid who played a well worked-out role in the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party's strength back then was in the South. The segregated, Jim Crow south. But a southern Democrat running for president was a non-starter. The Democrats needed someone who could pretend to be against segregation while actually doing nothing about it, like Franklin D. Roosevelt. The rich people needed a sympathetic Democrat in case the Republican candidate (Richard Nixon) should lose the election. The Kennedy family was 100% Wall Street. Top that off with his war crime of invading Cuba (the battle of the Bay of Pigs), and you have a guy who only the gullible could like.
But on the assassination, while I can't be sure, I find St. John's story very credible. Read Jim Garrison's On the Trail of the Assassins and read the Warren Report and tell me what makes more sense: the Lone Gunman theory or questions like how did they get the motorcade re-routed, why were Oswald's known associates never investigated, and what kind of physics makes a head impacted by a high-velocity object defy Newton's well-known laws of motion?
It is too bad E. Howard Hunt did not lay everything bare in American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond. I hope the book David and St. John are writing gets published. I'd like to read it.
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