Helping A Serial Killer

Helping A Serial Killer

For those of you blissfully unaware of the many crimes of Lawrence Bittaker, I will spare you the lurid details and mention simply that he and his partner rode the California highways in a van from which they abducted young women who never lived to testify against them.

During my travels and wanderings, I spent time working for a private investigator, mitigation specialist (criminal psychologist), criminal attorneys, and 20 young interns at the California Appellate Project in San Francisco.

In the state of California, if you are convicted of a capital crime and sentenced to death, the California State Constitution requires an appeal. So few attorneys were available to handle these appeals that the California Supreme Court wanted to create an entity to train attorneys in handling these appeals. The organization was the California Appellate Project (“CAP”).

While typing up a brief I suddenly experience a flash of recognition, and carried the papers into the office of my boss–the private investigator.

“I recognize this guy! I’ve read about him in books about serial killers.”

In addition to working on his appeal brief (as a secretary / word processor), I composed letters to Mr. Bittaker informing him that his attorney would be visiting him on a certain date and at a certain time, and would he please have the courtesy of attending this meeting? Mr. Bittaker frequently refused to see visitors.

Long before I came onto the scene, Mr. Bittaker had written a novel about a serial killing team who roamed the California highways, abducting, torturing, assaulting, sexually abusing, and murdering young women. His attorneys plead with him to cease and desist, and destroy the manuscript, as they believed it could be used as evidence against him. But Mr. Bittaker insisted, “But it’s a work of fiction.”

Mr. Bittaker sent his only copy to his CAP attorney, but the entire book was lost in transit.

Mr. Bittaker believed there was some foul play involved; that someone was trying to steal his novel for their own gain. He sent the delivery company numerous requests to track and locate the book, but without success. He also enlisted the help of his CAP attorney, who also contacted the delivery company, to no avail. “You know how sometimes things are simply lost in the mail?” he asked, “Well, it seems this is one of those times.”

One day I received a letter addressed directly to me from Mr. Bittaker, explaining about the lost book, and how he had attempted to locate it. “Since I can get no satisfaction from my CAP attorney,” he wrote, “I’m writing directly to you to ask for your help in resolving this situation.”

I think it helps to understand Mr. Bittaker’s grasp of how things work that he went over his attorney’s head directly to his secretary.

I brought the letter into the attorney, and explained that I did not want Mr. Bittaker to write to me–ever. Nor did I like the idea that he even knew my name. Though securely locked in San Quentin’s death row, I feared he might somehow escape, and then try to visit me at my San Francisco home.

The attorney was completely in agreement with my fears and concerns, and instructed me to use the attorney’s name for all future correspondence.

I am happy to report that Mr. Bittaker, nor any other serial killer, has written to me asking for help since.    

1 Man — 77 Jobs


The Many Jobs of Roger A Ford

Yup. I’ve had 77 jobs. Or more. But “77” is such a great number. Click below for a pdf of the jobs. Or scroll down for the list. The Many Jobs of Roger A Ford  
  1. Farmboy; Fordhaven Farm; New Haven, VT; 1958-1971
  2. Main Information Desk Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA; 1971-1975
  3. Game Room Attendant Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA; 1972-1974
  4. Shop Buddy (Labor) Maryland State Highway Dept Annapolis, MD; 1973
  5. Research Assistant CBCES: Smithsonian Inst. Annapolis, MD; 1973
  6. Research Assistant Bucknell Univ Religion Dept Lewisburg, PA; 1973-1974
  7. Laborer Albright Construction Annapolis, MD; 1974
  8. House Sitter/Childcare Dennis & Dot Baumwoll Lewisburg, PA; 1974
  9. Research Assistant CBCES: Smithsonian Inst. Annapolis, MD; 1975
  10. Truck Driver Various Private Citizens Annapolis, MD; 1975
  11. Caretaker Austin St School MHMR Austin, TX; 1976
  12. Dishwasher Dog Team Tavern New Haven, VT; 1976
  13. Sales Associate Ames Department Store Middlebury, VT; 1976
  14. Typist Clerical: Typist New Haven, VT; 1976
  15. Tree Cutter Landefeld Farm Kingston, OH; 1977
  16. Milker Groover Dairy Farm Lewisburg, PA; 1977
  17. Pizza Chef Pizza Lewisburg, PA; 1977
  18. Creative Dramatics Instructor Central Susquehanna Int Unit Lewisburg, PA; 1977
  19. Kitchen Porter, Penn Club, London; England: 1977-1978
  20. Waiter/Chambermaid Penn Club London; England; 1977-1978
  21. Magician (Christmas Elf) Mary Johnson Day Care Center Middlebury, VT; 1978
  22. Clown Mary Johnson Day Care Center Middlebury, VT; 1978-1981
  23. Lunch Cook/Bar Waiter Dog Team Tavern New Haven, VT; 1978
  24. Receptionist Small Business Counselors San Francisco, CA; 1978
  25. Door-to-Door Canvasser Citizens for a Better Environment San Francisco, CA; 1978-1979
  26. Laborer: House Remodel Private Citizen San Francisco, CA; 1978
  27. Process Server Attorney San Francisco, CA; 1978
  28. VISTA Organizer Christian Action Ministry Chicago; IL; 1978-1979
  29. Factory Line Operator Drake Smith Furniture Factory Bristol, VT; 1980
  30. Magic Clown (RAFORD) Schools & Private Parties Addison County, VT; 1980
  31. Proofreader/Typist Small Business Counselors of Am. San Francisco, CA; 1979-1980
  32. Flower Picker Flower Bulbs; Inc. McKinleyville, CA; 1981
  33. Flower Picker Pa-Ku-Ni Farms Blue Lake, CA; 1981
  34. Performer/Troup Manager Victims of Circus Dance Nationwide; 1981
  35. Gallery Assistant Tahir Gallery New Orleans, LA; 1981-1982
  36. Waiter Court of Two Sisters New Orleans, LA; 1981
  37. Cook Sidewalk Cafe San Francisco, CA; 1981-1982
  38. Word Processor San Francisco Services San Francisco, CA; 1982-1984
  39. Proctor: Law Exam Golden Gate Law School San Francisco, CA; 1982-1985
  40. Improv Instructor Terry Sands’ Improv Class San Francisco, CA; 1982-1983
  41. Standup Comedian Holy City Zoo; et al. San Francisco/Bay Area, CA; 1982-1990
  42. Improv Leader RAF Adventure Club San Francisco/Bay Area, CA; 1983
  43. Telemarketer Fairmont Hotel San Francisco, CA; 1983
  44. Consultant Comedy Connection (Own Business) San Francisco, CA; 1983-1984
  45. Word Processor San Francisco Services San Francisco, CA; 1983-1985
  46. Word Processor Independent Power Corporation Oakland, CA; 1983-1984
  47. Office Manager Fiedler & Gardner San Francisco, CA; 1983-1985
  48. Singing Telegram Deliverer Eastern Onion Sining Telegram San Francisco, CA; 1984-1985
  49. Administrative Assistant Dell Monte San Francisco, CA; 1985
  50. Cook Carlene’s San Francisco, CA; 1985-1986
  51. Executive Assistant LF Rothschild; Unterberg; T San Francisco, CA; 1985-1986
  52. Actor: Ellis Spectrum TC: “Curse of Starving Class San Francisco, CA; 1987
  53. Seminar Instructor Comedy As Training Seminars San Francisco, CA; 1985-1987
  54. Traffic Safety Instructor Lettuce Amuse U Laff ‘n Learn TS San Francisco/Bay Area, CA; 1986-1987
  55. Word Processor/Temporary Various Temp Agencies/Assignments San Francisco, CA; 1985-1987
  56. Data Entry KQED PBS San Francisco, CA; 1986-1987
  57. House Cleaner Frank Ringi; et al. San Francisco, CA; 1986-1987
  58. Office Manager Fiedler & Gardner San Francisco, CA; 1987-1989
  59. Word Processor Pillsbury Madison & Sutro San Francisco, CA; 1989-1993
  60. Legal Secretary California Appellate Project San Francisco, CA; 1993-1999
  61. Sales Associate Orvis San Francisco, CA; 1997-1999
  62. Contractor Coordinator Kelly Temp Services Rutland, VT 2002
  63. Volunteer Coordinator Addison County Humane Society Middlebury, VT 2002
  64. Legal Secretary Law Firm of George Vince Bristol, VT 2002-2003
  65. Internet Sales SuperSweeties (owner) Shoreham, VT 2004
  66. Assistant to Coordinator Bread Loaf Corp Middlebury, VT 2004
  67. Administrative Assistant Meling & Associates Rutland, VT 2004
  68. Humorist Freelance VT 2004-2005
  69. Administrative Assistant Middlebury College Financial Aid Middlebury, VT 2005-2006
  70. eam Leader: Health Products WalMart/Kelly NH 2006
  71. Researcher Circuit City/Kelly NH 2006
  72. Product Reset Hannaford/Kelly NH 2006
  73. Firm Installer Blue Cross Blue Shield/Kelly Manchester, NH 2006
  74. Assistant Manager Brooks Brothers/RBA Tilton, NH 2006-Present
  75. Seminar Instructor National Seminars/Rockhurst Univ Shawnee Mission, KS 2007-2009
  76. Copywriter Annalee Dolls Meredith, NH 2009-2010
  77. Certified Professional Resume Writer Strength Strategies Consulting Franklin, NH 2009-Present
  78. Site Tour Guide & Grammar Test Grader Resume Writing Academy 2011-Present
  79. Phone Representative JCS Enterprise Gilford, NH

A Place For Everything, And Everything Everyplace

I always know where anything is in my house because I keep it all in one heap. The “Heap Method,” as I call it, is quite sophisticated yet simple enough so that anyone can learn it.

With the Heap Method, you always know that what you are looking for is in the Heap, the question is how far down from the top. The heap is arranged chronologically, so if you are looking for, say, your glasses, you need only ask yourself, “When was the last time I could see?” and then measure down from the top of the heap the appropriate time period, and badda-bing, badda-bang, baddo-boom, there they are.

One obvious advantage of the Heap method is that the bottom of the pile is composed of things you haven’t even thought about for decades–stuff you don’t even recognize, like mystery phone numbers on slips of paper with no indication whose they are–so you are free to toss all this clutter out with no feelings of guilt or anxiety. That, anyway, is the theory. In practice, there is the danger of imagining that any one of those items–long overdue bills, undeposited checks, IRS warnings, lost pets, and mates to socks which now have holes in them, which was paired with another sock resembling it years back–are still important, and perhaps now should be transferred to the urgent heap.

Did I mention there is more than one heap? No? Well, there are. From the floor to the ceiling is a finite amount of space, so heaps can go only so high when kept in a single pile. Therefore, a second heap must be started. The new heap does not necessarily, or even logically, need to be placed adjacent to the first heap. There may be some other object occupying that part of the floor, such as a lamp, a telephone, your current pet (or spouse or child). One of the many beauties of the Heap Method is the heap can be continued anywhere. It doesn’t even have to be in the same room. It could be in another building, though I’ve discovered that the homes of friends and relatives make poor places to keep your heap, since they often move the piles making finding anything that much more difficult.

If you are just starting a heap of your own, start small. Find a surface near the entrance to your home–for me the washer/dryer is right inside my door–and start your heap there. Once you reach the ceiling, you can move onto the floor, or some other flat surface to become your newest dumping station. Heaping in this way has the added advantage for me of never having to do any laundry, since the lid of the washer is pinned down by a healthy stack of unopened mail, various keys, nonperishable groceries, and I suspect a pair of glasses. The time saving convenience of the Heap Method would be worthless if I had to move the heap to do a wash, and so I save even more time by taking my laundry to the wash and fold. Here’s a helpful hint: take laundry to the wash and fold, but never pick it back up. Wait until you run out of clothes. then you can go to the laundry and get everything at once, and it will be nicely folded, and you can start a clothing heap.

Yes, heaps can be done by category. It’s an advanced technique, but one I use frequently. I like to heap things pretty much wherever the mood strikes me. One great surface is the top of the refrigerator, though I’ve found it’s best for long storage. You really don’t see up there much, so the stuff you put there is safe for a good long time. Then, every few years, or, more likely, once a millennium, whenever you do your dusting, you’ll clear off the top of your refrigerator and you’ll feel like a pirate finally locating his or her buried treasure. “There’s my wallet and license,” I’ll say, “now I can go for a drive! Hmmmm, now when was the last time I drove the car?”

If there is any flaw with the Heap Method, and I’m not saying there is, it is that eventually your entire dwelling becomes crammed full of the crap that sifts into your life. At that point the heap becomes so unmanageable that just making breakfast takes two weeks, and so you must always eat out (see, that’s not such a bad thing). But eventually you will want to use your own bathroom, and then you’ll know it’s time to move to the next phase of the Heap Method: shopping for a new home.