ron-franz

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
- Christopher McCandles

 I want to tell you something. From bits and pieces of what you have told me about your family, your mother and your dad… And I know you have problems with the church too… But there is some kind of bigger thing that we can all appreciate and it sounds to me you don’t mind calling it God. But when you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines through you. *clouds part and sun shines on them*

 - Ron Franz (Hal Holbrook) Into the Wild

favorite line.

“…Ron, I really enjoy all the help you have given me and the times we spent together. I hope that you will not be too depressed by our parting. It may be a very long time before we see each other again. But providing that I get through this Alaskan Deal in one piece, you will be hearing from me again in the future.
I’d like to repeat the advice I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing or been to hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.
The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.
And so, Ron, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road. I guarantee you will be very glad you did. But I fear that you will ignore my advice. You think I am stubborn, but you are even more stubborn than me. You had a wonderful chance on your drive back to see one of the greatest sights on earth, the Grand Canyon, something every American should see at least once in his life. But for some reason incomprehensible to me you wanted nothing but to bolt for home as quickly as possible, right back to the same situation which you see day after day after day. I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover. Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience.
You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.
My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.
Ron, I really hope that as soon as you can you will get out of Salton City, put a little camper on the back of your pickup, and start seeing some of the great work that God has done here in the American West. you will see things and meet people and there is much to learn from them. And you must do it economy style, no motels, do your own cooking, as a general rule spend as little as possible and you will enjoy it much more immensely. I hope that the next time I see you, you will be a new man with a vast array of new adventures and experiences behind you. Don’t hesitate or allow yourself to make excuses. Just get out and do it. Just get out and do it. You will be very, very glad that you did.

Take care Ron,
Alex

McCandless was thrilled to be on his way North, and he was relieved as well - relieved that he had again evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotional baggage that comes with it. He had fled the claustrophobic confines of his family. He’d successfully kept Jan Burres and Wayne Westerberg at arm’s length, flitting out of their lives before anything was expected of him. And now he’d slipped painlessly out of Ron Franz’s life as well.

Painlessly, that is, from McCandless’s perspective - although not from the old man’s.

—  Into The Wild (Book)
Read this.

“Ron, 

Alex here. I have been working up here in Carthage South Dakota for nearly two weeks now. I arrived up here three days after we parted in Grand Junction, Colorado. I hope that you made it back to Salton City wihtout too many problems. I enjoy working here and things are going well. The weather is not very bad and many days are surprisingly mild. Some of the farmers are even already going into their fields. It must be getting rather hot down there in Southern California by now. I wonder if you ever got a chance to get out and see how many people showed up for the March 20th Rainbow gathering there at the hotsprings http://tinyurl.com/58n7xr . It sounds like it might have been a lot of fun, but I don’t think you really understand these kind of people very well.

I will not be here in South Dakota very much longer. My friend, Wayne, wants me to stay working at the grain elevator through May and then go combining with him the entire summer, but I have my soul set entirely on my Alaskan Odyssey and hope to be on my way no later than April 15. That means I will be leaving here before very long, so I need you to send any more mail I may have received to the return address listed below.

Ron, I really enjoy all the help you have given me and the times we spent together. I hope that you will not be too depressed by our parting. It may be a very long time before we see each other again. But providing that I get through ths Alaskan Deal in one piece you will be hearing form me again in the future. I’d like to repeat the advice I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing or been to hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to this scheme of life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty. And so, Ron, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road. I guarantee you will be very glad you did. But I fear that you will ignore my advice. You think I am stubborn, but you are even more stubborn than me. You had a wonderful chance on your drive back to see one of the greatest sights on earth, the Grand Canyon, something every American should see at least once in his life. But for some reason incomprehensible to me you wanted nothing but to bolt for home as quickly as possible, right back to the same situation which you see day after day after day. I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover. Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience.

You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.

My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.

Ron, I really hope that as soon as you can you will get out of Salton City, put a little camper on the back of your pickup, and start seeing some of the great work that God has done here in the American West. you will see things and meet people and there is much to learn from them. And you must do it economy style, no motels, do your own cooking, as a general rule spend as little as possible and you will enjoy it much more immensely. I hope that the next time I see you, you will be a new man with a vast array of new adventures and experiences behind you. Don’t hesitate or allow yourself to make excuses. Just get out and do it. Just get out and do it. You will be very, very glad that you did.

Take care Ron,

Alex”

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
—  Chris [Alex] McCandless, in a letter written to Ron Franz, April 1992, as shared by Jon Krakauer in Into the Wild.
The reason that i know strongly dislike, verging on hate Alexander Supertramp (Christopher McCandless)

I really enjoyed the movie Into the Wild so am now reading the book version and my gosh, is it different.

For a great many different reason is McCandless an idiot, but the reason i almost hate him for is his bulldozing of Ron Franz’s heart.

Ron was a soldier who was away fighting when in 1957, when a drunk driver killed his wife and son. At first he couldnt cope and became an alcoholic. Eventually he went cold turkey, rediscovered his faith and focussed on taking in street children, teaching them, paying for their education and just generally helping people. Overall, a very decent guy.

Ron picked Alex up as a hitchhiker and gave him a lift home. Something about Alex stuck with him and they ended up forming a friendship. Over the weeks Alex was with Ron, Ron would let him use his house to wash his clothes, taking him out to eat and they’d hang out as friend. When Alex eventually leaves to find work Ron asks to adopt him, Alex says no. Its all very sad, like in the movie. (Only in the book, Ron says he never really expected Alex to say yes, he thought he’d squirm)

Alex writes a few letters and everything ticks along. Ron gives up his flat and takes up the nomadic lifestyle, buying a van and camping where Alex used to.

Now the final extract from Ron’s chapter:

For more than 8 months after he said goodbye to McCandless, Franz remained at his campsite, scanning the road for the approach of a young man with a large pack, waiting patiently for Alex to return. During the last week of 1992, the day after Christmas, he picked up 2 hitchhikers on his way back from a trip into Salton City to check his mail. “One fella was from Mississippi  i think; the other was a Native American,” Franz remembers  “On the way out to the hot springs, I started telling them about my friend Alex, and the adventure he’d set out to have in Alaska.”

Suddenly the Indian youth interrupted: “Was his name Alex McCandless?”

“Yes, thats right. So you’ve met him, then–”

“I hate to tell you this mister, but your friend is dead. Froze to death up on the tundra. Just read about it in Outdoor magazine.”

In shock, Franz interrogated the hitchhiker at length. The details rang true; his story added up. Something had gone horribly wrong. McCandless would never be coming back. 

“When Alex left for Alaska,” Franz remembers, “I prayed. I asked God to keep his finger on the shoulder of that one; I told him that boy was special. But he let Alex die. So on December 26, when i learned what happened, I renounced the Lord. I withdrew my church membership and became an atheist. I decided I couldn't believe in a God who would let something that terrible happen to a boy like Alex.

"After I dropped off the hitchhikers, I turned my van around, drove back to the store and bought a bottle of whiskey. And then I went out into the desert and drank it. I wasn't used to drinking, so it made me sick. Hoped it’d kill me, but it didn’t. Just made me real, real sick.”

I guess im just angry that he hurt poor Ron like that.

Iv also not cried that much at a book since the last third of The Book Thief.

I spent most of my life in the Army. New Year’s Eve, 1957, I was stationed in Okinawa. My wife and son were here in the States just driving down the road and some fella who’d had too much to drink plowed right into them. Killed them both. Now, you might think the last thing I would do in the world is go to the whisky. But at the time, it felt like the only thing I could do. And I did it hard. But pretty soon I realized I wasn’t doing my wife and son any good mourning them with the bottle. So, I pulled myself together and I quit drinking. Cold turkey. So, since all that, this is pretty much me.
—  Ron Franz - Into The Wild.