Tag Archives: Bob Tripp

Polly Prays Hard

Taylor Sr, Marcia, Steve, Virginia, 12.10.1966

Taylor, Marcia, Steve, and Virginia at Steve and Marcia’s Wedding, 12.10.1966

[Marcia]: Steve was a little bit conflicted about whether he should ask me to marry him and then go off to Peru because he had the plan to go down to Peru for a few months. He went and consulted with Dr. Ockenga [pastor, Park Street Church] on the matter and Dr. Ockenga told him to “Give her a ring. Give her a ring!” So he did, actually.

[Steve]: I went out from his office and went down and bought the ring. From then.

[Stephanie?]: Really?

[Marcia]: From the office.

[Kimberly?]: Oh, I was expecting a telephone call. He said “give her a ring.”

[Marcia]: So on Easter Sunday morning, he said, “Let’s go to a sunrise service.” So, OK, I got up and got ready to go to a sunrise service. It turns out we never got to a sunrise service. We did go to a beach.

[Virginia]: Sneaky guy.

[Marcia]: We did go to a beach and he proposed to me and I came home with a ring.

[Kimberly]: Tell about your love-letters over the radio.

[Marcia]: Oh, OK. So previously though—this is probably why Aunt Polly was praying hard—previously we communicated by letters when he was in Peru. Oh, OK, that’s after the engagement. I’m getting confused.

So then he went off to Peru and we would write to each other. When he went out to the tribe with Bob Tripp, then my letters to him would come as far as the base where Lee and your dad were. So then they would have a radio hookup on a regular basis and she would read my letters to him over the radio.

[Kathy]: Where everybody who was on ham radio could hear it.

[Marcia]: Absolutely. Everybody would listen in. “Oh, we used to listen to those. We used to tune in at the appointed time and listen to those love letters.”

[Gail?]: Like a soap opera.

[Marcia]: No, I didn’t know. He may have, he may have written to me and said, you know, just something about that.

[Heidi]: It’s doubtful.

[Stephanie]: Knowing my dad.

[Steve]: Cool it, Sweetheart.

[Marcia]: Anyway, so what did happen to me was—because we had only dated for four months and he was gone longer than that, I started to wonder: do I really know this man I’m going to get married to? That started to be reflected in the letters and he did decide to not stay as long. I think he was going to stay to the end of November and pop home and we were going to get married in December.

[Gail?]: Get married the next month?

[Marcia]: So anyway, he came home sooner and we got reconnected.

That’s probably why Aunt Polly was praying hard, see, because she and Bob had worked hard to get us together. She didn’t want us to break up.

[Dawn]: Well, and I there was that one letter that Dad wrote to Grandma [MacGregor], right? Or didn’t write to Grandma.

[Heidi]: Oh, yes. It showed up empty.

[Dawn]: It was empty. He just folded up a bunch of those air forms and he. . . .

[Marcia]: Oh, and he didn’t write anything.

[Kathy]: He had it all addressed and everything.

[Marcia]: Oh, to Grandma MacGregor?

[Dawn]: What is this about?

[Marcia]: So we did get married, December 10th, 1966, at Newton Presbyterian Church.

Some of the people in the tribe—because he used to keep my picture up, somewhere on the radio or somewhere—so they told him to come back and bring Marcia and “the baby.” I guess they presumed that, you know, there would be a child involved already.

[Steve]: One of the things they gave to me was a long strip of sacha bacha [sic], you know the miles cake [sic], a strap of that, and that was called a “wife-beater.”

[Victoria]: Really?

[Steve]: Yes. And I use it all the time.

[Stephanie?]: And on the girls.

[Victoria]: Oh, come on!

[Marcia]: So you know who the joker is in our family, right? You’ve got that figured out.

[Steve]: It wasn’t a joke.

[Dawn]: Spousal abuse is not a joke.

[Marcia]: That’s right.

[Dawn]: It’s not.

[Steve]: But that wasn’t spousal abuse. It was training.

[Bruce? groaning]: Oh.

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with additions from Kathy Courtright, Gail Montez, Bruce Kindberg, Virginia Gorman (Lee’s children), Steve, and Steve’s daughters Heidi, Kimberly, Stephanie and Dawn; recorded and transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • We have Betty’s courtship and engagement story. Anybody want to relay what you recall of the others?
  • Kindberg kids or Lee: can you confirm the name and spelling (English and Amarakaeri) of the plant about which my dad is joking?
  • Marcia, Steve: Are we still in possession of these letters? Could I have them or copies, please? Remember, all of Peru has already heard them, so what’s a few more family members?
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The Royal We: Peru to Sandwich

[Eric]: So, wait. You were in Peru before you went to Italy?

[Steve]: Yup.

[Eric]: You went down to help my dad.

[Steve]: No, I went to help Dr. Eikenberger in the clinic as a lab technician.

[Eric]: And you went out to the tribe with Bob Tripp?

[Steve]: I went out to the tribe with Bob Tripp, whom you may meet. I don’t know if he’s still about?

[Kathy?]: His wife. . . .

[Steve]: And she was in Peru, too, but that was long before they were married.

[Kathy?]: Right.

[Steve]: Anyway, so yes, we came back from Peru, got married, went to Italy, had two childrens in that episode, the bambinos, bambinas.

Steve and Marcia's Four Girls, maybe 1980

Steve and Marcia’s Four Girls, maybe 1980

[Marcia]: Let me just say that Uncle Wally said, when we got married, “We have a lot of boys in the family, so why don’t you have some girls. So we did our best to live up to his request.”

[Steve]: And that’s all we have [4 girls] and grandchild, too.

[Heidi]: Grand-girl.

[Steve]: Grand-girl. Grand-girl.

So when we came back to the States, I had taken the ECFMG [Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates], which is an exam for internationals who want to get into medicine or do medical practice here in the United States. While I was doing an externship, I found out that I was accepted in that. Oh, that was part of the exam that I took during the years that I came back when Dawn was born [1970]. Yes.

But anyway, came back. We did an internship at the Waltham Hospital. And then we went into residency for surgery at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton, or part of Boston, Massachusetts. From there, we went to work with the American Indians, the Sioux Indians out in South Dakota.

[Virginia?]: That’s right. You guys gave us a quilt when we got married that was made there or in that area.

Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux 8 Point Star Quilt

Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux 8 Point Star Quilt

[Steve]: Yes. They’re very proud of that work that they do in the quilting. That particular quilt comes from specifically that area, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Indians. So we spent five years there.

At the same time, the same evening, we felt the Lord was speaking to both of us, but separately, that it was time that we do what we had originally thought we were going to be doing, that is getting up and going to a third world situation. The good probability was going to be Angola.

So we applied to a mission. We were refused because somehow they thought we were very charismatic. We had attended an Assembly of God church—never became members—but that was very evangelical and we really learned to love the Lord even more there. Because the mission was so connected to fundamental theology or at least thoughts, they refused us. Later, it was overturned because they realized that we weren’t going to be setting up a Holy Spirit program.

When we applied, we went out to Angola to do the medicine that we felt God had called us to do and use that as a vehicle for sharing the gospel. So we were out there. We were 17 years in Angola. The national language, or the trade language, was Portuguese. It was one of the colonies of Portugal. All the time that we were there, except for one year, we were in the middle of war. A lot of my surgery had to do with wartime injuries, earlier especially.

Pardon?

[T. J.]: I remember mom talking.

[Steve]: Yeah.

[T. J.]: She was always worried about that, about you guys.

[Steve]: Well, uh, in retrospect, we had a place out in an area called Menongue, which was guarded by Cuban troops and I had four girls out there. I wasn’t worried enough. In retrospect, I should have been.

Anyway, we stayed there for 17 years in Angola and then came home and set up shop on Cape Cod in a house that we had arranged for ten years earlier. Nine years earlier? Nine years earlier [1989] on Cape Cod. It was a buyers’ market because there were so many houses on the market to be sold. We were able to get a good deal on this house that is in a place called Sandwich.

We’ve been working there. I’ve been working as a first assistant, they call it, in surgery. In other words, I am not the surgeon in charge, but I am the second pair of hands on many different kinds of surgery.

[Virginia?]: Are you liking that variety?

[Steve]: Yes. Yup. I’m keeping my hands in it long after many other surgeons just close up shop and go home.

[T. J.]: You’re doing that now?

[Steve]: Now. Yes.

The joy, as I put in that record to Brett, the joy that I’ve seen in most recent times, is the joy of discipling, of introducing the love of Christ to one person or more. We have a Bible study at the hospital. But to be spending time with a person to see them either first accept the Lord as their savior or to grow in the Lord—grow at the beginning or grow during the time. And I liken it to one of the deliveries that we do. I’m often involved in a caesarian section and it’s a joy to see a baby born, whether it’s the usual way or the unusual way of caesarian, but to see a baby born, this is to see in a life to be growing. It’s sort of exciting. There’s a great joy in discipling people, to see them grow.

So that sort of fills out where we’ve been, where I’ve been. Perhaps it’s time for Marcia to fill in the real story, the other side of the story, and tell the honest truth.

story told by Steve to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with questions from Eric Kindberg (Lee’s son), Kathy Courtright (Lee’s daughter), Virginia Gorman (Lee’s daughter), and T. J. Ramey (Kathryn’s son); recorded and transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • Can you fill in the details about Eikenberger? Have I spelled his name correctly? What is his first name? What sort of lab work did you do, Dad/Steve?
  • What was Bob Tripp’s wife’s name?
  • Can you tell in more detail the story of the dual call to Angola on the same night?
  • And what were you doing in 1989, while Marcia and Steve were buying a house on Cape Cod?

Steve’s Pocket Monkey

Amarakaeri PeruWhen I was in Peru [1966], I had a little monkey [pygmy marmoset] that stayed in my pocket. It was given to Bob Tripp by some of the Amarakaeri Indians, who lived way, way out in the jungle. We were so deep in the jungle [near the border with Brazil] that they had never been out of their isolated area.

Wycliffe had a rule that if a translator went out to an isolated tribe, he couldn’t go out alone without a partner. I was working as a lab technician in Yarinacocha, but I went with him for a month or almost a month.

The monkey would sit in my pocket at night. We had only one light, like a kerosene lantern, though we had to pump it and it was fueled by gasoline, a Coleman. Thousands and thousands of moths would circle that light and the monkey would pop out of my pocket and snatch a moth out of the air and gobble it up.

Steve with Pocket Monkey in Peru, 1966I’d be teaching numbers to the young people of that group and I had a leash on him, going around his waist. I’d put him along the side of the wall, the vertical slats, of the classroom, so he could take care of his business.

The Indians would come by and reach into my pocket and squeeze him, just to tantalize him. He was cute as a button, but smart, like primates are. He would come to a call, like a dog. He’d sit in my pocket as we ate and occasionally I’d give him a bite and he’d snatch it and eat it right up.

I fell in love with that little monkey. I don’t remember what I named him or if I named him. I was going to bring the monkey home [to the United States] with me—I was going to try anyway—but I never got it back to Yarinacocha. One day the monkey was running across the floor and Bob wanted to stop it and he put his foot down to block it, but missed and finished off the monkey.

I had another monkey on the base at Yarinacocha that I tried to train, but I never was able to get him to obey me.

story told by Steve to Dawn Harrell (Steve’s daughter), June 12, 2013

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Have I spelled Bob’s name correctly?
  • Do Lee or any of her children remember any more stories of either monkey?
  • Do you remember what kind of monkey the second one was? Does anyone have pictures of the second monkey with Steve?
  • Steve, do you have any other stories of the pocket monkey?