MOST Newsletters Table of Contents

The MOST Newsletter   Autumn 1998 Volume V #1

 A Project of The Peregrine Foundation

P.O. Box 460141 / San Francisco, CA 94146-0141 / Telephone: (415) 821-2090 / FAX (415) 282-2369
Staff: Ramon Sender, Editor; Vivian Gotters, Pam Read Hanna, Sandi Stein, Contributing Editors; John & Jeanie Nelson, Assistant Editors.
The MOST Newsletter is an open forum for fact and opinion, and encourages the expression of all views.

The opinions expressed in the letters published are those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflects those of MOST editors or staff.

Autumn 1998 Volume V #1    i - ii - iii

-------------- "What Go 'Round Come Around" --------------

Well, folks, we're baaack, just in time for Lou's third-year memorial 75th birthday event, a small, last-minute gathering at the Union Hotel in Occidental. The BIG gathering will be at son Bill Gottlieb's wedding in Manhattan, on his dad's birthday, to enchanting Emily. This will be a historic black tie affair.
As many of you know, Bill popped the question to Emily in an absolutely unique way, via a customized New York Times crossword puzzle, which Emily always liked to do over breakfast. This tickled the media's fancy, so before it was over, the young couple had been on the Today Show, The Morning Show, Oprah, and People Magazine -- you get the picture.
Read about all of this down below. Meanwhile, since it's been a few years since our last MOST issue, please pass the word that there's a new one out, and posted on the Digger website at: http://www.diggers.org/most/most5.html. (6-28-99 note: The above link no longer operable)

Earlier newsletters can be found at: http://www.diggers.org/most/MOST1.html
http://www.diggers.org/most/MOST2.html
(6-28-99 note: The following link no longer operable)
http://www.diggers.org/most/MOST_IV2.txt - the issue with the announcement of Lou's sudden death in July 1996.

Emily Mindel and Bill Gottlieb

Emily and Bill met because their grandparents were friends. They had a common interest in studying law amongst other things, and gradually discovered many harmonious aspects to their lives. Bill then asked the New York Times' puzzle editor to code into a puzzle the phrase "Will You Marry Me?" As they sat at breakfast together, Bill watched Emily's growing amazement as she also discovered her first name in the answers as well as "Bill," as well as "This Diamond Ring" and "Modest Proposal."
"In the back of my mind, I thought this had to be for me, but then, it couldn't be!" Emily said.
Meanwhile, Bill was playing it cool. "Oh really?" he answered when Emily noticed her name in the puzzle. But when almost at the end Emily asked, "This puzzle..." He finally kissed her and said, "Will you marry me?"
And of course Emily said "Yes!"
"Mazeltov" to two charming and most adorable young people!

Vivian and Pam Hanna - July 1996
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Vivian Gotters, 9/27/98: Hi all! It's been an unusual year. Lots of ups and downs. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last November. I have completed the treatment and am feeling fine. Now I'm a Cancer Survivor. I can report from experience that the medical profession has made great advancements in the treatment of cancer. Many more people survive, and the treatments are relatively easy to take. The docs. are definately winning the battle.
Because Ramon decided to get this issue out toute de suite, there's not much time to gather news so I'll report those goings-on I know about in the Occidental area. We had a dinner at the Union for Sandi Stine last spring. She completed her Ph.D!!!! Bill Wheeler made a trip to Europe in the early summer. His first stop was in England to reunite with his college rowing team to race in a traditional rowing event. Bill took time to travel and do some painting. He returned with some beautiful watercolors of the Eiffel Tower and scenes of Greece. Nancy Collins Nugent and her husband Nick, are still in Europe. We expect them back any time.
Paul Mills, the caretaker of Morningstar, just returned from England. Paul's mother died suddenly a few weeks ago and he returned to England for the funeral. We are glad to have Paul back, and lots of folks are looking out for him. We hope that his sisters will be visiting us soon. Steve Fowler still keeps busy landscaping some of Sonoma County's choicest spots, and he tells me that his two rapidly growing grandsons are a great joy for him. Morningstar Ranch looks great as always. We had many Amyrillas this year. I brought them home by the armsfull! They smell grand.
I'm looking forward to the birthday dinner for Lou. I think of him often and miss him much. As we all do. Many congratulations and much love to our Bill and Emily, who we hope to see out here soon!
 
Ramon Sender, 5/23/98: Old Nevada, triple Scorpio, Korean War Hero, rodeo champ par excellence to hear him tell it, died of cirrhosis of the liver last May. It's a miracle his liver lasted as long as it did. Anyway, we all should BEAM "farewell" and "goddess speed" to one of the most unforgettable of the Impossibles.

I will always remember Nevada for his in-your-face remark, "Have you foun' Geezis yet, muthuhfuckuh?!! I MEAN... Have you FOUN' GEEEEEZIS, asshole?!!" An unforgettable guy

Rena, Lou and Billie/Vishnu in front of 'the eggshed' at Morning Star, 1971 - photo by Gilles Boisvert
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Terry 'Corky' Meyers, 5/24/98: Nevada was a friend of mine. I had heard that he was sober after going into Litton Recovery Hospital some years ago. I'm so sorry to hear that he didn't make it. His real name was Edward Heverly. He was a loving husband to Jeanie (Dolly Do Good, as he used to call her), a loving father(I think they had four or five children), and a good friend(he would have laid down his life for his friends). He had shrapnel in his head from the Korean War, that probably explains why he had such a hard time quitting alcohol.

I remember many harrowing experiences when he was drunk, but I also remember many mellow times with him and Jeanie. She would nurse him after his sprees. He would always share everything with us and in fact gave us his place to live after they left Raspberry Canyon (or Tamayo's up the hill from Hacienda). Back when I got busted in the Haight for dope, he went to Court with me and J2. I used to drink Red Mountain with him and tried to keep him from drinking too much (like it would help if I drank his wine!)
Oh well, I wasn't a full-blown alcoholic yet and didn't understand the nature of the disease of alcoholism yet. He's made it now and doesn't have to drink and suffer anymore. There But For the Grace of God go I.
I called Rick's wife, Verna and told her. We had a good talk and a good cry. Rick and Nevada were both real special guys! Verna reiterated that Nevada had stayed sober for some time, so he was trying. Uncle Lou loved him too! They're all together at God's place, huh! See ya later, Good Friend,

Tomas & Laurel Diaz, (Morningstar '67), 5/24/98: We were saddened to hear of Nevada's passing on. His death is a reminder that life is so very short, and that eventually we must all face our own mortality, no matter what the circumstances. We are all part of the whole, and when one of us leaves us, we grieve --not only for them, but for ourselves. Memories of those who have gone before us never die, and we can keep them in our hearts forever. Nevada, vaya con dios. Thank you for sharing with us. Love,
 

David Rensberger, (Morningstar '67) 12/3/96: I'm never sure whether other people's memories of 30 (gulp!) years ago remain as vivid as mine, nor of whether I made that much of an impression on anyone! I would love to be on the MOST mailing list. In fact, if there are back issues, I'd love to get 'em, by post or e-mail.

Rena's in Hawaii? And Pam's at Vanderbilt? In the *Law* School?! That actually puts us geographically fairly close together. I teach at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. It's the largest predominantly black seminary in the world (around 400 students). We serve various historically black Protestant denominations (African Methodist Episcopal, Christian Methodist Episcopal, several Baptist groups, the Church of God in Christ, which is Pentecostal), and the black constituencies of the United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church USA. Of course, we get students from other denominations as well. All in all, a very stimulating environment. But it can be an *awfully* churchy place sometimes, and I've occasionally found myself having to think seriously about how I got into this in the first place and where my own real spirituality lies.
Short version of how I in fact got into this: After Felicity was born in 1970, Sharon and I took her back to Indiana to visit our families. We ended up staying for months, so when the draft board came looking for me, I was easy to find. I was sentenced on Good Friday, 1971, to 3 years in the Federal pokey for noncompliance with the Selective Service, of which I served 16 months at the "Federal Youth Center" in Ashland, Kentucky. I was paroled to go back to college, having taken an interest in biblical languages, namely Hebrew. I went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, finishing a B.A. and an M.A. in Hebrew in 3 years. From there, graduate school seemed like the obvious next step (what else does one do with such a degree?), and I ended up at Yale in 1975, where I changed my focus of interest to the New Testament. I came to ITC in 1980, and have been here ever since.
Through all this I've become a reasonably orthodox Christian, decidedly (but not, I hope, obnoxiously) Protestant. Yet it's always been clear to me that the roots of my Christianity are not dogmatic or institutional but experiential, and more recently I've been steering back (or been steered back) toward that more contemplative path that I began to find at Morningstar. Needless to say, I was fascinated to read in MOST about Lou's "born again" baptism in 1990. His notes reprinted there mentioned a Pastor Jack Hayworth and a Foursquare Gospel Church. A little research on the Web found both such a church and a man named Jack Hayworth in Healdsburg, CA. Is that the church?
Did Lou stay on that path the rest of his life? And/or did he come up with his own version of it, like (as I recall) everything else? Thanks for catching me up a bit on yourself. I'll definitely check out the Peregrin Web site. Sounds like Sol Ray's finding good things to do. Our children remain somewhat of a mystery in some ways. Felicity had a very difficult adolescence, dropping out of high school, getting a GED, but never finishing college. She learned massage therapy, but at the moment she's working at a temp agency in Ohio. Miranda (who was born in 1977 while I was at Yale) is taking some time out of college, living in Bloomington, Indiana, working at a fabric store. In the last 12 months, she's changed her major (from Music Ed. to Irish folklore), then quit school; gotten an ankle tattoo; learned to tat; and asked for a sewing machine for Christmas. Somehow all this fits together in one person (who also plays violin and Irish harp). I don't know if I believe in karma, but I do believe that everything we do to our parents our children will do to us.
A couple of years ago we took a trip to the Grand Canyon, and stopped in New Mexico on the way back. We managed to find the old Morningstar location, and Michael and Jason, who were farming it, and got some leads from them on a few other people. Partly as a result of that, Felicity kind of reawakened to her New Mexico roots. Since then, she's lived in Albuquerque for a couple of years, and plans to go back there. Sharon and I also made a real reconnection with those places. I don't think anybody who ever lives there ever forgets it.
We hadn't reached back to that part of our lives for a long time, but every now and again we have cause to reflect on it. I'd been wondering off and on recently whether Lou was still living. Guess there must have been a reason for that, and the news of his passing reaches pretty deep within me, even though I stayed out of touch for so long. Whew. Lots o' words; but then it's been lots o' time. Write again if you get a chance. Till then, Peace and blessing,

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Lou Gottlieb, from an e-mail to a friend:
"WAKE UP MY SELF-OBLIVIOUS GODS AND GODDESSES!" That call is what convinced me to hang out with my guru Chiranjiva as much as possible. The road to supermanhood took five years from the time you first realized that Father was what he said he was, and began receiving the supraphysical communication. So there are a lotta people who have been popped up into an higher octave in the evolution of human consciousness. I was appointed King of the Semites (both Jews and Arabs) during an acid trip walking down through the Kaupo Gap from the crater of Mount Haleakala. Only a king can adequately display the world's boredom with their tedious five-and-one-half thousand year long family hassle over the same real estate, and perhaps get them to realize its essential pointlessness. I abdicated the next day because the gig was bringing me down.
Anyone who sincerely longs for peace cannot neglect the fact that violence is great entertainment especially for members of the death-worshipping warrior caste. When General Jackson was told that an enlisted man he had been using as a courier had been killed, he said, "That's commendable." I watched Lenny Bruce die fighting to preserve freedom of speech. He put up a great fight, and I am proud of him. It's just not for me. If you wanna go that way, be my guest. The most recent death worshippers, Jim Jones and David Koresh, believed they were fighting oppression. Maybe they were, but they were only extended re-runs to me.
Heroin is the drug of choice for death-worshipers. I hate the stuff. I believe lasting progress in the evolution of human consciousness takes the water course way -- the Tao. Everything simultaneously is and is not. Nor do I worry about "religious power trips" -- they no longer work. It's not going to lower any child's IQ to recite The Lord's Prayer once a day, but watching hour upon hour of "kid Ninja" movies will definitely do brain damage. I recite the Lord's Prayer frequently and it makes me feel real good. So does the 'Hail Mary, 'the Gayatri, the Maha Mantra (Hare Krishna), the 'Shema Y'isroel,' 'Nam Yo Ho Renge Kyo' and a couple other mantras...
Father had no "No-No's" except for one that I can remember. He said "no" to the use of nuclear fuel to generate electricity, but I'm willing to bet he's changed his mind by now. In other words, I'm looking for practical omnipotence and conscious blissfulnes, or what Tim Leary called "a quantum leap in intellectual efficiency and emotional equilibrium." I no longer hassle, but if you say you're in a fight with spiritual beings who deny the exercise of "Free Will," give 'em hell. Call me for the victory celebration and, my dear friend, my forehead is pressed permanently to your lotus feet. Your,

Bill/Vishnu's birthplace - 'The Eggshed' at Morningstar
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RNA Morningstar, 9/28/98: Aloha . Swam with some pods of spinner dolphins today with a 9-months-pregnant friend and her husband and a few other friends. The dolphins would leap out of the water and spin about 7 times before reentering the water! (Really! Others agreed on this number.) The dolphins REALLY spin like a top!
The dolphins are here and we can swim with them for hours. We stop because we are tired, not because the dolphins have left. There are baby dolphins and leaping dolphins. It is a transforming experience.
Getting ready for our trip to New York for Bill Vishnu's wedding. I sure wish Lou could be there. I think I'll be the only New Ager there; certainly among the "adult " guests. Lou, with his Ph.D. and brilliance legitimized alternate lifestyles. Ramon and Joanie, I wish you could be here, too. I look forward to meeting Jonathan and seeing Sol, Rachel, and all of Bill's friends and relatives. The Bride, Emily Mindel, is HEAVEN SENT. This is a nice way to feel about your daughter in law!
Osheana is now 12 and enjoying her school, a very creative and very stimulating school. She is taking 4 dance classes a week. because she loves to dance. She's 5' tall and a divine presence. Love to all,

Ed Fatzinger, 11/24/96: Various Early Times
There was a time in my life where I had had enough of the life of the "normal person". You know... the "Get up, go to work, come home and sleep, on Friday get drunk and maybe get laid on Saturday night" blues? In one of my more lucid moments I thought about what is a life here for? I thought, 'I have a full life in front of me. What will I spend it on?' To my horror, I couldn't come up with an idea. I started talking to people, got a lot of different ideas together and finally came up with one of my own: 'Give your life to God.'
But what would I do? Join the priesthood? Go to Tibet? No... just say, "God. here is one soul who will do whatever you want... all you have to do is tell me." I never heard God speak, so I split - out the back, Jack. I stuck that ol' thumb out on the highway and said, "Here I am... You show me the way" Like a feather I threw my life to the wind. That long road brought me to the Diggers and Morningstar.
I have no real sense of time so I'm unable to provide dates, but I think it was late summer of 1966 that I first visited Morningstar. I was working with the Diggers in San Francisco, scrounging food for their daily serving of "Digger Stew" to the homeless in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park. We were living in a commune at 1775 Haight St. One day Dave Spangler and I were talking about coming up with more food because the minions were growing. He said he had heard of a commune up north that might be willing to supply apples. Of course we mulled that one over... apples were great but we had a lot of people to feed and we were looking for staples. Perhaps we could barter the apples for other foods.
A couple of weeks later Dave came over and said he had contacted the owner of the ranch and insisted I drop everything and go with him right then and there. Spontaneity being the way of the clan he and I packed our sleeping bags and immediately drove to Morningstar.
On the way up he explained who Lou was and told me of his generosity. When we arrived and parked by the well, Lou came down from the Upper House and we were introduced. I was immediately awestruck by this huge, dark man with the strong voice and stern, businesslike manner. He said something to the effect, that he would allow the Diggers to harvest his apples and take them into town to feed the hungry. He took us for a tour of the apple orchard and then we returned to the house for dinner.
That dinner was the first macrobiotic meal I ever ate. It was strange food, served in a strange setting, by a strange man who throughout dinner continued to reveal different facets of himself . He at first appeared stern, but then would crack a joke and laugh hilariously. By the end of that meal I felt as though I had known him for a hundred years. The after dinner chillum may have helped. No real decision was made at that first meeting. He invited me to come back and stay for a couple of weeks so he and the others could see if this relationship would work out. We slept over that night in the Lower House and in the morning drove back to San Francisco. I remember Phil Brougham and Leni Brown were there, along with Bruce Baillie. I think Don and Sandy King were also there.
A week or two later I packed my bags and hitched a ride up to the farm. I had a mission from the Diggers -- to bring back apples -- and I wasn't going to let them down. Don and Sandy immediately befriended me and showed me around, where I could sleep, house rules (such as there were), etc. I slept on the porch of the Lower House for a while.
We spent a few days getting acquainted. I explored the farm, observed and intermingled with most of the others. There were about a dozen or so people there. The place was officially used as an ashram. An ashram is the eastern equivalent of a Christian retreat. Most everyone meditated or practiced yoga. Some of the people who were staying there were paying rent and resented Lou's insistence that the Diggers, who had no money and abhored it, be allowed to stay. I know there were heated discussions and eventually some of the dissidents left in protest. While my own spiritual persuits were not as piously conceived, I tried to respect their ways and attempted to keep a low profile. The macrobiotic diet intrigued me. I talked with Lou and he explained it was a way of cleansing the body, of expanding consciousness.
I said "Huh?" and he, with a broad grin and an even broader outstretching of hands, leaned down into my face and said "It gets ya high, boy!". And that for me was the beginning of the `Psychedelic Gospel'.
There was a good library of 'Beat' books in the Lower House and for once in my life I had an ideal setting in which to just read. I read Dharma Bums, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Yage Letters, and others. It was all there... a complete explanation of all the experiences that I had had with acid. The hallucinating effect of the Bardos, the premise that drugs would introduce you to God, the reason for The Quest.
I'm an old city boy and didn't know beans about apples. I got some literature from the county farm bureau, and Lou arranged for someone who knew apples to come out and take a look at the trees. Unfortunately the prognosis wasn't very good. Years of neglect had left most of the trees either dead or dying. We desperately trimmed the trees in a slim attempt at saving them but it was to no avail. The trees were lost.
I was prepared to leave then, but at one of the social gatherings, everybody settled on another plan. Since the only flat land on the property was where the chicken shed was, we would tear down the chicken shed and plant crops there. Lou hated the shed and chicken cages as they were the symbol of animal cruelty. The hens that laid in this egg factory had had their bills burned off so they couldn't peck the eggs. The cement walkways where the cages had been would even serve as walkways between the crops. It was perfect.
Lou borrowed a tractor from a commune over in Gurneville and I did a very good job of plowing that field (if I don't say so myself!) I was skeptical when Phil and Leni started planting but they, Cindy, Sandy King and others were out there most every day, primping and preening that garden. I obviously didn't know anything about crops. In about 3 months, that garden blossomed... a glorious sight.
During those first few months there was an evolution of sorts taking place for most of the residents at Morningstar and I also had a lot of changes to go through. There was a 'money jar' on the mantlepiece of the fireplace in the Lower House, and whenever he needed to go to town for supplies Lou would dip his hand into the jar and take whatever he needed. One evening he reached into the jar and only pulled out ten dollars. Although he didn't say anything, the expression on his face revealed his displeasure.
I felt bad about this because I had nothing to contribute, so despite my Digger philosophy, I started working odd jobs around Sepastopol to bring in some money. I pulled weeds for ranchers, cleaned out chicken coops and occasionally worked out of Manpower in Santa Rosa. My Digger scrounging skills would sometimes yield food. Whatever money I made, I put half into that jar. It gave me great satisfaction. Unfortunately my long hair and hippie attire also brought along some notoriety from the surrounding community.

Aliens

Late one morning a bunch of us were taking showers in the upper house. Some of the girls, probably Cindy and Pam, were sunbathing on the porch. A small white station wagon pulled up at the well, hesitated and then parked by the north driveway. A small, thin man dressed in a purple plaid over beige jacket stepped out and timidly started walking up toward the Upper House. With that jacket and white shoes he looked like a Don Knots parody of a used car salesman. He stopped just below the porch and I and some others stepped down to greet him.
He stammered that he had to talk to the head man. I explained there was no head man here -- could I help him? He insisted on seeing the head man. Someone went down to the Lower House to retrieve Lou while I talked with the man. In a rather nervous and furtive manner, he told me he had been driving one night recently on a desolate road when he had been stopped by an alien spaceship. The aliens had given him a book and instructed him to deliver it here, to Morningstar. By this time a couple of the naked girls had joined us and his eyes had begun to dart from breast to breast. Whoever had gone to look for Lou returned and reported he wasn't around, so I told the guy he could give the book to me. After promising that someone would read the book, he hesitantly handed it to me and turned and fled down the path accompanied by a good chorus of laughter from our little group.
True to my word I read the book -- Van Dannikan's Chariot of the Gods -- and later left it along with a note for Lou on the table in the Upper House. Lou read it, and told me he thought it was just a lot of bunk and the man some kind of nut. But I've always wondered why that poor, scared little man would have braved approaching such a motley crew as ourselves. After all, most of our neighbors thought we all looked like a bunch of aliens.

The Reporter

One day when Neal Hartnagel and I were walking down to get the mail, a blue convertible came speeding up Graton Road, slid onto the driveway, sped up the hill and stopped in a cloud of dust. We went up to the car to see if the occupant was alright. A comely young blonde got out of the car, slammed the door and kicked the car. There were tears in her eyes and she was cussing at the car and the world in general.
She was a young reporter for a local newspaper and she wanted to see Lou. It seems she was so upset because her editor had turned her favorable story about Morningstar into another tirade against the "drug-crazed anarchist hippies" and she wanted to apologize to Lou.
The car was flooded and wouldn't start. Neal was only too quick to walk her up to Lou's place. I retrieved the mail, started the car and drove it up to the well. When I arrived, Lou was hugging and consoling her. He told her things like that happened all the time, he was used to it and had come to expect it from the press.
We were living away from the world on a secluded hillside in California. I didn't watch TV or read the newspapers any more. If the world was going to blow itself apart with nuclear weapons, I didn't want to know it was coming. This was the first time I had any inkling that the world was looking our way.

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