The First Step Forward: California, 1966 - Chapter 1: the Adventure Begins
The First Step Forward
1. The Adventure Begins
1. The Adventure Begins
Studying the memoirs left by those who were present at the time, it is curious how the first decision of what would be a meteoric career of one already very accomplished man was taken quite swiftly. More pondered matters were taken down much more quicker than this ultimately rash call would be.
This idea that would become so powerful was brewed over in a quaint place, Boulder Road, Altadena, in California, in a family embrace; it was during Christmas time as well. At that time, however, it was already a familiar rumour, joked around and discussed more seriously depending on whom one spoke with, at what time and after how many drinks.
The real start of this, however, was precisely on the day 22 of November of 1965, as Professor of Theoretical Physics in Caltech, Richard Philips Feynman, finished writing his brief response to a kind letter sent by Vice-President Hubert Humphrey congratulating him on his receiving of the Nobel Prize in Physics, thanking the Vice-President for his words and admitting his great admiration for him. After he signed the short missive, he sat there, looking at the letter, thinking to himself.
He was caught like that by his wife Gweneth, who asked him what was on his mind. Smiling at their three-years-old son on her arms, he said, half-jokingly: “I think I should run for Governor.” She laughed at this, and it soon became a common joke at the household. And then of the extended family. And friends. And neighbours. The entire network involved in those early stages cannot seem to agree on when it was the inside joke stopped being that, when in late January 1966, Professor Feynman gave a speech before a crowd of supporters, mostly admirers of his scientific achievements, and most of them scientists themselves, and university students, announcing his campaign to, surprisingly enough, the Democratic primaries for the gubernatorial election in November.
At the time, nobody would have guessed that the path to one of the greatest men in American history was just starting, and that would only end decades later, in distant shores and in a world that was so marked by this moment that it would be unrecognizable had it not happened.