The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on January 2, 1977 · Page 168
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 168

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 2, 1977
Page 168
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'.i--5f--- i tL1" as, 3 IS i ..... cabin for a week, then departed disillusioned. The exotic diet and mosquitoes were too much for them. Most unexpected of all was the deluge of mail that arrived after some unknown parts either a prankster or a wouid-be benefactor gave Toni a fictitious business title and added his name to corporate mailing lists. All of a sudden he was inundated with glossv annual reports and fancy circulars addressed to "Harry . Klein, Chairman, Klein Enterprises." Reports came from Allied Chemical. IBM. West-inghouse and manufacturers of such products as insecticides, tear gas and tanks. Siemens, the German industrial firm, sent him brochures on their latest 32-wheel locomotive. Japan sent tourist display kits costing $15 in postage alone. He was invited to sell electronic stock exchange calculators. The Soviet Union's Intourist office invited him to become their agent. The latest devices in electronic automation and satellite communication were called to his attention. He also received samples of pencils, stationery and rat poison. "It sure gave me some idea of what's been going on in the world," says Toni, who earns his living by picking coffee berries off the bushes near his cabin and selling them for 25 cents a pound to a Chinese grocer in the village five miles away. News from IRS However, what's really weighing down the chairman of Klein Enterprises these days isn't the fancy literature which he cuts up and takes to the open outhouse behind his cabin but his correspondence with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. It seems that one of the books Toni received in the mail from a well-wisher was The World Almanac. Reading through it one tropical evening, he learned that all U.S. citizens are en titled to Social Security benefits, including old-age pensions. Toni who never renounced his U.S. citizenship in all his years on this French-owned island began wondering whether he. too, was entitled to a little something. He also had hopes of obtaining a dependent's pension for Henri, who works as a handyman at the Chinese grocery for $6 a day. Tax forms arrive Toni turned for advice and help to one of his new pen pals, an ex-U S. Marine who had originally sent him a supply of razor blades. Now a Baltimore businessman, he corresponded on Toni's behalf with the authorities in Washington. As a result the IRS began to write to Toni. They wanted to know the annual income on his investments, the depreciation of his machinery and various other financial details. Toni. who earns about $400 a year and has a pig and four chickens, was amazed. Since then he's received several statements from the IRS, one claiming that he owes them $12.90, another reducing the sum to $10.61, and a third imposing a fine of 93 cents. Toni hopes, through his Baltimore connection, to get his accounts straightened out one of these years and even more important to hear from the Social Security people. Meanwhile, he remains healthy and lively, cooks his own meals and carries his water 200 yards from a neighbor's well in a little pail. And, of course, he reads his mail. In fact, despite everything that's happened to him, Toni has only one question on his mind. He asked it as he pedaled his bike out to the airport to see me off, flinging a necklace of shells around my neck as a farewell gift. "Do ydu think," he said, "that it will take an Act of Congress to get me my Social Security?" Letters to paradise: Toni Klein reads the weekly mail inundating his South Pacific island after publication of an article describing his idyllic life. The Iran of Die Ma's Bo ppy sra by Richard Harrington TUBUAI, SOUTH PACIFIC. our years ago, on a remote South his tiny cabin and offered a hard, narrow cot on which I could sleep. "The first change was the letters and parcels," he said. "They began pouring in and have never stopped." Most came from well-meaning readers who sent him shirts, sweaters, other articles of clothing, and toys for his son Henri, now 15. Some wanted to express their enw of the carefree existence he'd been leading since he left his home in Palo Alto, Cal., in the Depression year of 1936. A few sent money, including a long-lost school friend, now a California lawyer, who mailed him $100 with a note reading: "I wish I could be like you." He also received subscriptions to magazines and bundles of paperback books. Visitors drop in A few people actually visited him, mostly from American yachts calling at Tubuai. Some had the PARADE clipping in hand and asked the natives, "Where is this man?" One elderly couple came to the island, moved into a nearbv lli Pacific island, I discovered an I American expatriate named Harry J. Klein who had been living there happily for 36 years, cut off, through his own choice, from the modern world. In a PARADE article (Jan. 7, 1973) I described his idyllic life no problems, no tensions, no decisions, no mail. A few weeks ago I decided to go back to the island of Tubuai, between Tahiti and New Zealand, to see how Klein who for some reason is called "Toni" by everybody on the island was doing. I found that Toni Klein, now 75 years old, hadn't changed but his life had become vastly more complicated and bewildering. "Since that article appeared, things have never been the same," Toni told me when I arrived via the weekly plane from Tahiti, 400 miles away. He's still agile, thin, talkative, barefoot and riding an old bicycle. He described his new life as he led me to ml 1 m - jtwt ' i-ii-i riP Toni and son Henri, 15, inspect bicycle that is only means of transport. Klein, who left U.S. for Polynesia 40 years ago. intends to remain there.

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