The opinions expressed in the letters published are those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflects those of MOST publishers or staff.>
----------- Corrections -----------
The announcement of Peggy and Bishop's business got truncated
in the June issue, so here it is: Tie-Dyes, Batiks, Handmade Quilts and
Clothing from: BADABA! Box 877, Sebastopol, CA 95473 tel: (707) 865-1475
Write for an upcoming catalog.
Ramon: Well, the summer was exciting for Judy, Sol Ray and me. We went to England for 12 days, the main reason being to attend a conference for the European readers of the newsletter I edit for a bunch of ex-members of the Bruderhof communities. Almost 100 folks showed up, and it was great to meet many whom I only knew as names. Sol Ray had just graduated from college, so was enjoying his newly won freedom from classes and term papers. The weather was sunny and hot, and the countryside most bucolic. Our week in London convinced me that it's my favorite city. If only it wasn't so expensive! Figure double what it costs for hotels and meals in the USA.
We also traveled to Cornwall, 7 hours southwest of London, to visit a Spanish cousin and her husband, a well-known junk sculptor. Real nice folks, and the village of St. Just where they live looks sort of like Bodega Bay if BB's houses were built of stone and many hundreds of years older. The bluffs over the ocean to the west were sort of the same, and we walked on the moor to an ancient stone circle that the Druids must have put there. Very magical spot!
July we spent in Massachusetts and West Virginia, doing the USA conference for the same group and then a couple of weeks with my American mother Julia in the Shenandoah Valley. At the tender age of 92 she just published her 24th book. Titled "Harvest," it's a collection of her poems, articles and a play. By August 1st we were home at last, and happily catching up on events here.
Occidental Walking Report
by "Baker" Bart Beck
May 29, 1992: Every day has become the most beautiful day of the rest of our lives, mine in particular, while cultivating gratitude, learning how to "kiss the joy as it flies" as we walk through this form. I'm learning to appreciate each waking moment more and more, and to walk in beauty. Love has no words.
I had a wonderful and short, sweet visit with Ms. Corky Millard today at Negri's restaurant in Occidental. She was just walking in for some lunch before riding the bus back to Davis. She and Rena were at Star Mountain earlier this week. I had heard from Garbage Mike, and I was hoping to see her (as I am exiled from "The Land"). It was beautiful to see Corky after nearly 20 years. She is an M.D. now and living the life of a homeless, hippie wanderer. An exile of sorts.
Anyway, we sat down in the dining room together with great smiles for one another, she looking as beautiful as when 18, as fine as ever. Gave her my address and number, and shared a hug while leaving her to eat her calmari a la carte. When we embraced, she thanked me for teaching her to bake bread.
As I think now, remembering the community garden and stove and baking bread with Corky there in the spring of 1970 at Wheeler's Ranch, that was how I became "Baker Bart" from Bill Beck! Later in 1971, Corky sewed me a chef's hat out of a cloth flour sack with the words "All Hail" embroidered on it. I really love her spirit.
What IT was like what happened and what it's like today.
Cultivate Willingness and Gratitude
Pam (Read) Hanna (MStar '67) 6/16/92: It was a frontal
assault on my frontal lobes to get this newsletter. Jeff and/or Laura Horton
must have sent it since they've been in touch with us lo these many years
(so have Al and Jane Koewing -- our youngest son Sage spent a summer with
them in Denver), but why do you call it MOST instead of MSOL -- an easy
enough acronym -- slightly rabbinical sounding, que no?
Well, hey, how in hell ARE you all? And why did you think I was at large? Didn't Jeff TELL you the basic poop about me?
OK -- BASIC POOP: After Larry and I left Morningstar West we moved to Morningstar Southwest (or East, depending on your perspective) and helped build the pueblo in New Mexico. Larry and I split up in 1969, and Findley Hanna and I got together (we met at Morningstar, NM). After nine years we got legally married and still are. We had one son (Sage) together in an adobe house in Arroyo Hondo (not far from the Morningstar pueblo). We left the pueblo what it was time for Adam Siddartha (Lou used to call him "Adam Sid, #1 Hippie Kid") to go to school. Findley got odd jobs here and there, now and then, and we got by. We moved to Taos and the kids went to school in Talpa and Taos and Ranchos de Taos (I'm trying to compress years here). We were in the Taos area for a total of 21 years, and one year in Antioch, California, working at Findley's parents' restaurant.
Since I had had all my babies at home (Siddartha just outside the French Quarter in New Orleans, Psyche Joy Ananda in Wheeler's canyon, and Sage in an adobe house in Arroyo Hondo), people started asking me to be with them when they had their babies, a situation that evolved into me being an unofficial midwife. I delivered altogether 43 babies (not for monetary profit -- and not THAT many babies, huh Doris-Jade? You have probably quadrupled that at least) and those kids are all over Taos and environs.
But being below-poverty-level poor all the time began to pall, especially as the kids started needing things for school, so I went to secretarial school for a year on welfare and got a job (after taking a state secretarial test) at the Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe typing archeology manscripts. Loved it. Around academics all the time. College kids. Archeologists do it in the dirt. Findley stopped drinking and we married and the whole family moved to Santa Fe. We lived there for a total of four years. Findley got construction jobs, then got into alcoholism counseling (having had some experience in the matter -- he's been an alcoholic since he was 14).
But in order to make more money working for the state, you have to change jobs because salaries are practically frozen, so I got a higher-paying job in the Water Resources Department, which put me right in the middle of the Milagro Beanfield War milieu (much later, the author John Nichols was my neighbor in Ranchos and I wrote articles and reviews about him for the newspaper -- but later for that).
Anyway, right about that time, Findley got a job as a full-time alcoholism counselor and we actually had enough money to buy the kids shoes and go to the dentist and replace light bulbs as they burned out. (Technically still below the national poverty level, but we felt rich.) We had enough protein to eat. I changed jobs two more times in Santa Fe, first the Museum of Folk Art, and finally a job as a legal secretary for a private law firm.
Then Findley got a better job in Embudo (between Santa Fe and Taos) -- so I quit my job and we moved into some fantastic stone houses along the Rio Grande. Generations of hippies have lived there. It was one of the happiest summers of my life. I kicked back and started writing short stories. I could sunbathe on the roof of the place in the mornings -- had my portable typewriter up there -- and in the afternoons I'd swim in the rio. The former tenant of the place had seeded the area liberally with boo, and it was growing merrily by the time we got there. The kids were in their teens by that time, and pissed off to be out of the mainstream of teen civilization, but Siddhartha got into rock-climbing big time, Psyche and a friend started inner-tubing down the river (we all did -- wonderful fun; in August you can walk across the Rio Grande in some spots) and Sage just bitched and complained and smoked grass all summer long.
We moved to Taos because the kids didn't want to go to high school in Española, and that was when I got a job with the Taos News, which was the closest thing to a career that I've ever had or probably will have. I got the job as a camera operator doing halftones, and from there started writing little feature articles and then book reviews and play reviews and finally, cover stories for the entertainment guide Tempo. Loved it. Took to it like a fly to horsehit. I was there for four years and even had somewhat of a following in the town. (I just can't think who Sara Ransom could be -- the name is vaguely familiar -- but is she's been in Taos for a while, she would have seen my bylines -- Pam Hanna, not Pam Read.
Meanwhile, the kids finished high school. Siddhartha graduated with honors and got scholarships. He went to UNM (University of New Mexico) in Albuquerque and graduated cum laude (brag, brag) and is now a geologist working for a mining company in Albuquerque. He's written a couple of articles on rock-climbing for climbing magazines (takes his own photos and does illustrations), went to France for a month last year and climbed in the Pyrenees with friends from Boulder, and he was even int he national news when he helped rescue a woman who got trapped in Carlsbad. He's 26 now and completely on his own, and I'm proud as hell of him.
Then there's Sage. He's kind of the black sheep of the black sheep. I mean, the kid's a Republican, for chrissake! Where did I go wrong? He does have some redeeming social characteristics, and he's smart and funny, but he's pretty damn maladjusted. Right now he's living on the fringes in Albuquerque, and his one ambition is to make a million dollars (well, also to be a rock star). Sigh. It would all be OK if he were happy, but he's not. He's only 21, after all. And all three of our kids are born-again environmentalists; I'm proud of them all for that.
Anyway, to continue the saga -- Findley got an even better job in Los Alamos, so as soon as Psyche graduated from high school and was off to college, we moved to Los Alamos, which I didn't think I'd like because we were in Taos so long and I had to quit the paper, but Findley and I both really got into Los Alamos. It's like a different planet in New Mexico. I went treking around in the canyons and loved it. Then I got a job on the Los Alamos Monitor as assistant to the Lifestyles editor, again writing feature articles and actually handling the entire entertainment guide myself. The Taos News is a weekly paper, Los Alamos Monitor a daily. My prose had to be lean and tight at the Taos News, but at the Monitor I had to learn to write quick and dirty and then fluff it all up. It was quite an education. I loved it. Then the Lifestyles editor got a higher-paying job outside the newspaper and I became the Lifestyles editor. Such glory! I got to review the Santa Fe Repertory Theater. But then Findley got laid off from his yuppie job and I wasn't making enough to support us ($6 an hour; I made $5 at the Taos News). But that's New Mexico, where in order to make a small fortune you have to bring a very large one with you.
So let's see -- my parents were living in Tennessee (our family is from New York State, but my parents moved to Tennessee to retire). My father had Parkinson's Disease and wasn't expected to live long, and my mother couldn't manage their rental property -- they had gotten into real estate in their old age. My father had been an electrician and my mother never worked (or drove a car). Anyway, since the kids were all grown up and out of the house (Sage stayed with us for a while), we decided to move to Tennessee and help my parents. We came here in June, 1989, and my father died in AUgust, 1990. We're living in this southern mansion with tenants on the property and my mother lives across town. She's doing tolerably well, still getting around (she's 83) and we're taking care of her.
Findley got a counseling job the first year we were here, but now he's working at the only hip health food store in the city. I got a cushy job right away at Vandebilt University (the Harvard of the South, I'm told) as a legal secretary at the Legal Clinic of the Law School. I like the people I work with (the other two secretaries are hip) and life is really not bad, but Findley and I are both so homesick for the Southwest that at times it's a physical ache. We went from a altitude of 7500 feet to 300 feet, and from a humidity level of 8% to around 97% most of the time. It's climate shock, not culture shock. I'm trying to bloom where I'm planted, but my body does not like it here.
Have seen and talked to Steve Gaskin, whose main rap these days is that hippies are the fifth estate and it's up to us old farts to grass-root the country back together. Something like that. Summertown is alive and well. Remember, Beatrice lived there for a long time.
The good news is that I've got benefits up the kazoo at Vanderbilt and in just nine years I can retire with a pension. How's that for dropping back in? Our tentative master plan is to stay as healthy as we are (which is pretty healthy) and get maybe a Toyota truck with a camper on it and some state-of-the-art camping gear and in our dotage take off across the country and visit everybody and camp in the wild places, wintering in warmer climes and summering in the north (but always WEST of the Mississippi). I did go to New York last year for a family reunion and loved the colors of the Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario), but the Southwest is our home. So that I'm saying is that, God willing, we may see ya'll one of these years, if the powers that be don't succeed in polluting us all right off the face of the planet and/or turning the country into a police state. (I'm starting to rave, so better wrap this up.)
I'll list the people that I've been in touch with over the years: Larry Read is living with Martha, who is quite a character in her own right. They've been together for a lot longer than Larry and I were together. David Pratt is still in Austin, as far as I know. Penny Pratt remarried -- last address, Phoenix, Arizona. Charlie (from Canada) lived in and around Taos for a long time and was big time in the peyote church. Don't know where he is now, but know people that probably do. Cindy Read married Kell Robertson and they had a little girl named Penny (after Penny Pratt). The little girl was killed by a truck, and I haven't heard from Cindy since, but Jeff knows where Kell is. I guess that's about all. Oh -- Wayman Reynolds was killed in an auto wreck in the 1980s. He was at both Morningstars.
This long narrative of mine is just a skeleton outline with some fairly major events (inner and outer) left out. But I'm mercifully winding down. I'd be glad to help in any way I can with the newsletter. Have access to this computer and a Xerox machine (also a FAX). Just let me know. Love to all,
Vivian Gotters (MStar '67) 7/9/92: Thank you for your
efforts on behalf of the Morning Star Tribe. Yes, add my name and address
to the newsletter, please. Any chance of a 25th year reunion? I've finally
completed a Master of Arts in English at Sonoma State U. I remain a member
of the campus community with a half-time staff position in the Mathematics
Department. This situation allows me to meet my few financial responsibilities,
while it allows me to have access to the considerable resources of the
University. I am delighted by this arrangement, and I count my blessings,
As part of the fulfillment of the MA requirements, I produced, as a Creative Project in lieu of a Thesis, a forty-minute video biography of Johann Sebastian Bach which, of course, was inspired by Lou whom I like to believe is Sebastian himself. The forty minutes is not the complete biography, and I'm now working on the final portion. It is a labor of love, and therefore is great fun. I also work as an Intern for the local cable company helping to produce a PBS program called "Sonoma County in the 90's." I love this work too, and look forward to doing more of it.
Well, thanks again to you and the MOST staff for bringing us together. Looking forward to getting more news of the Tribe. Much Love,
Rena Blumberg(MStar '70) 7/11/92: Sorry you missed me in California. I enjoy MOST! Please take this correction to heart: Lou did NOT get permission for me to go to India from the judge. I tried to get my trial/hearing postponed. The judge would not postpone, so I JUMPED BAIL to go to India. A bench warrant was put out for my arrest and bail raised to $1250! I met the bailbonds man at the jail when I returned with $125 cash. I got a job working at "The Phoenix" on Haight Street selling hash pipes, coke spoons and Zap Comix to prove I was a sane, contributing member of society?! This was circa 1968-69. So Lou did not get permission. I'm an outlaw... Love,
Roland (nee Ben) Jacopetti (MStar '66) 6/7/92: It was
good to see you at the Morningstar gathering a while back and good to see
Lou. I seem to run into you guys every few years, and it always takes me
right back. Must be those flashbacks I used to hear about. Maybe I should
see a doctor!
Morningstar was kind of a different experience for me, as I was only there in the Ur or Basketmaker I or Moundbuilder era, the summer of '66 before the crowds came and it hit the papers. So all I remember is the funky old house down low where everyone bunked, Lou's house up on the hill where his kids and disapproving wife would come sometime, the big redwood grove where Ramon got such a wonderful flash into his childhood one dark and sparkly night (I'll bet you're still rolling along on some of that energy, right?) Lou and his kids and that scary Doberman for a while. My wife Alexandra (then Rain) and I, then Ben, and Hobart, then Lief. I've been Roland as long as my son, Lucas, has been alive, minus three weeks, and he'll be 25 in September. He was born an hour and a half from the vernal equinox on the last day of the Summer of Love. Pam Milward, Joanie, Bruce Baillie, Wilder Bentley sometimes. Maybe you could write a bit in the newsletter about those early days. You probably covered it in the book about Morningstar, but I seem to have lost my copy, and seem to remember that the beginnings were overshadowed by all the subsequent people and events.
These times are just as weird as them times, but I prefer the former weirdness. Five hundred micrograms were much easier to handle than the 1992 presidential race and the new censorship. I'm bouncing along as a performer and a dealer in American Indian art and miscellaneous old objects. Kids are all grown and doing great. I guess the main thing I learned at Morningstar was magic, that it can happen anytime and that you should look forward to it. I still am your friend, "Beekeeper" John Bermel (6/15/92): Thank you very much for the MOST Newsletter!! I offer corrections. Garbage Mike's current address [see address list for this and other corrections - ed.] Also it was printed twice, along with some others. Anyway, I thank you for thinking of us.
News -- I've been doing some tree work over the past winter, as well as working at Tassajara (the S. F. Zen Center's retreat in Monterey County) for three weeks in April. Hadn't kept bees for a few years, but in early May a big (8-10 pound) swarm landed near my house and I hived it. It's doing very well, strong and bringing in honey nectar and pollen! Chris is doing fine. She just finished up the spring semester at Parkside Elementary School where she works as a Teacher's Aide. Chris is a regular belly dancer and does performances for parties. She loves her art and is always well-received! Hope to see you soon! Love and Hugs,
Alicia Bay Laurel (Wheeler's/Ahimsa) 6/21/92: Wheeler
Ranch was the gentlest reality I ever lived. Roll out of bed, don't bother
dressing, and wander for hours seeing only nature and friendly faces. Seasons
rolled by without clock or calendar. Potluck feasts with music jam every
Sunday. No cars. Lots of quiet. What happened was that people expanded
into their fantasy selves: the ex-con who wore a sheriff badge and crocheted
gifts for the ladies, the atonal jazz saxophonist in a black cape with
the back of his head neatly shaved. The naked gymnast who performed on
a Calvary-sized cross he built himself. Pllus at least a dozen career holy
men. What some characters lacked in couth, they made up for in originality.
Maverick the cat-eater in his catskin vest, comes to mind. A community
of larger-than-life characters, not the least of whom were Bill Wheeler
and Lou Gottlieb, who presided over their communities with such huge gusto,
amusement and panache. And the women! Women without fear or rules, who
pissed standing up. Like Indian Chris who saluted an airborn voyeur by
doing a handstand in the buff. Or Bill's wife Gay who not only gave birth
at home but invited us all to watch. In this hothouse of rare human flowers,
I found inspiration to create a book the like of which no one had seen
Wheeler Ranch was devoid of racism, but it had class distinctions. At the back of the land dwelt the "brown ricers," the bourgeoisie of Dog Patch, serious about the arts, organiz gardening and spiritual practices. They spent their food stamps on bulk whole grains from the co-op. Near the parking lot at the front gate, the "white ricers" gathered to drink wine by an old overturned rowboat they dubbed "The Yacht Club." They ate government commodities -- processed cheese food, peanut butter that had sugar in it. I never saw any of them working in the community garden. Today I recognize them on TV shows about the homless.
I visited Sonoma County a couple of years ago to discover my closest friends from the Ranch living as I do -- as creative entrepreneurs finding liberation through the 12-Step Programs. In many ways I've never been happier than I am now, but I am wildly grateful for the years I spent on Open Land. Many tribes later, I still think of some of my open land friends as practically blood relatives. This was driven home upon the shock of Sunny's death. People called in from all over to share feelings.
I've been living on Maui most of the last 18 years, working the last eight as a musician, and the last four as a wedding planner, serving mostly visitors to the island. Four of us work for my company, A Wedding Made In Paradise. It's a dream come true: I found a way to make a living by standing out under the trees with flowers in my hair, celebrating love and God by singing and playing my guitar! I have never married or had children; I do have a wonderful sweetheart named Chip who has three grown daughters whom I adore. Chip is an accountant and business consultant who plays jazz piano. He knows the rules of the straight world, which is enormously helpful to me as a small business person. I am his guide into the other reality, which is where he wants to go. Maybe we'll see you there!
Don King (MStar/Wheeler's '70) 1/13/90: Dear Lou: I suspect
we are communicating via Space Cable all the time. Not one day goes by
that I don't wonder about some questionable incident, reason for happening
or some personality that I was physically connected to during that time.
A point of amazement: how inextricably bound my consciousness is to all
those souls I was blessed to have contact with during our sojourn on Morning
Star. I often wonder if you were as deeply affected.
In the ensuing years, to put it mildly, life has been full, if not always blissful. There has been enough bliss to keep me going, at least enough to make me realize that it's not all bullshit. I suppose you heard about my being shot on an Indian reservation. Except for a little stiffness in my groin at times, the body is pretty well over that one. A couple of years later I got caught and crushed between my van and a tree. That one collapsed a lung and broke a rib, then busted my collarbone as I was jumping into the side door of the van. The van was rolling down a mountain with Morning Star in the back of it. Rainbow and Fire had been able to jump out. When I finally got it stopped, the front wheels were dipping over a precipice and I was looking, stupidly, straight down at a lake at the bottom of the mountain. Needless to say I didn't know how I did it. Guardian angels maybe? I know they stood between me and that crazy Indian on the reservation. He had me cold.
Then I busted another rib while jumping up on a horse to show Morning Star what a great cowboy I was -- the same rib that the tree got. Along with a few other flagellating experiences, I finally end up with my reward for being a loyal smoker, emphysema. Prana has never been so appreciated. Sounds pretty bad, huh? But a little yoga through the years has made all the karma bearable and is keeping the ol' bod' functioning.
After a nice, ten-day rest in the hospital in February, 1990, I decided to quit smoking and hang in for a while longer. I began the trip back with a gasping, staggering, one hundred foot walk to a gate where I hung limp until I got enough moxie to make it back to the house. In six months I worked it up to five brisk miles, two hours yoga, forty five push-ups and sixty sit-ups plus adding on twenty pounds. Not too bad for an ol' burn out.
Then I started nibbling on the good ol' ciggies again. Current status? Well, after a slow slide down to my legal state of inertia, I promise myself, just before I go to sleep every night, that I'm going to quit smoking tomorrow. Yoga? Uh, yeah, I got to get to that. Push ups? Umm hmm, well, 15 is enough for now. Sit-ups? Yep. Not right away, though, kinda hard on the ol' back. Wonder what breathing through a bionic lung is like?? Also, I'm not quite fat.
We lasted on God's land for our three year cycle, during which time I built another house -- primitive, but nice and solid. It's the only thing that is still standing there. The house is pretty well trashed out now but it is still being used by a French lady drop-out and her five kids.
From God's land we roamed around the country in a school bus -- one of Gaskin's old buses. I tuned pianos while Sandra sat in the bus, which was parked outside the houses and churches where I was tuning and taught the kids their a-b-c's. That horrendous trip lasted two years, 'til my back gave out from all the road bumps. Remember when it (my back) got busted? That was a trip!
Sandra's dad died in '79, during the winter time when I was messed up with my caved-in chest. We went to Mexico for a while to recoup. It was warm there. Then back up to Missouri where we hung out and hassled the settlement of her grandmother's estate. Sibling treachery and a gang of greedy lawyers won that hassle easily. But there was still enough left to by a sixty-two point five, beautiful (to us) up-and-down acres of Cumberland Mountains.
We built another house. This time, two stories and thirteen rooms. We intended to open it up. It took us two years to build that house. We lived in it unfinished, for four months before it burned down to the ground! That's the first house I ever lost to fire. That's a trip! Insured? Nope.
I still had a little muscle energy left, so we opted to stay on the land, get a portable saw mill and try to rebuild from the timber on the place. There's 57 acres of timber on the land. Actually, there's more like a hundred acres than sixty. The deed reads, "Sixty two point five acres, more or less." Kentucky deeds would drive a California surveyor crazy. Corners are measured from trees long gone, to rocks, to tampered fences. The Hatfields and McCoys had plenty of ammunition to feud over.
The house burned down four years ago. We're living in a log cabin now. So far we've been able to build one room off to one side, and two unfinished rooms off another side. God only knows when the unfinished rooms will be finished. They do make good dog lay-downs though -- we've got six border collies, and a good yoga platform when it's not too cold to stretch.
What I've written so far would probably sound pretty depressing to someone who has never experienced what it's like to live free, but I think you realize how incredibly high the whole trip is! Through it all a lot of wonderful things have happened.
The kids. Wow, teaching your kids at home works! Up to a point. The Rainbow, the Fire, the Breeze, The Morning Star. They are exactly that! Until they barreled into their teens, I have nothing but praise and joy to relate. But, even in their teens the potential remains hopefully manifest, if at times disappointing.
They all excel academically, to the degree of passing university entrance exams well above the public schools' top students. Rainbow went to Berea College for almost a year. While at home he was never a doper or a drinker, but he was kicked out of Berea for boozing and Mary Jay (we think). Actually, they just couldn't handle him. He can really pump out the work. He's great with his hands. He turned into a master woodworker, got dissatisfied and took off for California. Who knows what happened there? On the way back home, he got busted forty miles from home for stealing a car. He got tired of walking. (He said.) That was in 1989. Next month (February 1990) he's going into the army! He's already signed.
Fire is an electronic wizard, and a natural mechanical engineer. I've got thousands of dollars of junked out appliances, cars, motor scooters, and motorcycles to prove it! He started college in Fall of 1989, met a girl, hormoned it up, and we're afraid he's about to be married! He'll be eighteen in February, 1990.
Breeze, the brain, is fifteen. For the past three years he has been studying Japanese, along with yoga and karate. This summer we had a Japanese exchange student living with us. Breeze decided that he wanted to try high school this year. After a level determining examination, they placed him a as a junior, telling us that he could be moved up to t senior during the last semester, then graduate at Xmas. He had already taken a college entrance exam and passed it with such exemplary grades that he is getting scholarship offers from all over the country. He could have entered college at fourteen, but we figured that was just a little too much too soon. It's pretty hard on his hat size. He's been an 'A' student and on the honor roll all year. But peer pressure is making him slide already. To overcome a growing reputation of being the despised 'Nerd' he insisted that Sandra give him a Mohawk. Morning Star, as you might guess, is the prize of prizes, the jewel in the crown. Are you ready for this? She was training her own horses from the time she was nine years old! She now has three: a beautiful gray, a fantastic Belgian, and a little Jenny mule. She rides them all bare back, with a natural seat that would make a Plains Indian envious.
April 27, 1991
Rainbow has disappeared. He went to Germany and went AWOL -- according to the Army -- and has been listed as a deserter. He disappeared several days before the Iraq fiasco. We got a congressional inquiry going but no one in the service or politics cares enough to do any real investigating. He apparently flew back to the US with an Army buddy, arrived August 3, l990 then went to Salem, Missouri, his buddy's home town. Rainbow said he was going to visit his sister in Phoenix and brother in Santa Barbara, but hasn't been seen since. The ever-lovin' legend of Rainbow continues. Without detailing, I'm sure you know the heartache involved. Fire and Vanessa, his wife now, had a beautiful baby girl about six months ago, 'Misty-Rain'. Wow! You would recognize them all -- second and third generation -- immediately. They are unraveling a little misstep and are doing great. Breeze thinks he hates hippies and he's headed for Transylvania University and Economics. What else?
April 1, l992
We are at a standstill with Rainbow. He's been gone two years now. He's either dead or in such deep trouble that he can't let us know. The representative government is a worthless entity for people like us. We did all the things they suggested (Senator and Congressman) and they still don't do anything more than we did. We have reams of paper, with different dates of different stories, from different sources. There is too much contrary evidence to detail in a letter. We don' have the bread for a private investigation, so we'll just have to hang in for a while. There are so many different versions of what happened to Rainbow. We can't help but conclude that some kind of a cover-up is happening. I wish it were true that he went AWOL, but I know in my heart that it isn't. We'll know one day.
Fire and Breeze are well up on the slopes of Fool's Mountain. They won't be able to see me through the mist until they have reached the top and are on the way down. Ah, but they are so beautiful beneath all the ignorance! Fire's wife is having another baby this month. They hang out most of the time around her parents' in Tennessee. She had her last baby, Misty Rain, here.
Breeze is closing in on his first year in the Rich Kids' University. I know the kids will be all right, eventually, because I know their foundation. But in spite of all our practice, patience still comes hard. God is Great!!
Then there is Morning Star! She gets better all the time, but she/we is/are teetering on the brink of a very big test. She is 16 now (shudder, shudder). She is still pure as the driven snow, and in love, for the second time in her live, with a man 38 years old! You would probably go into hysterics if you were a mouse in the corner, watching all of us go through this relationship. They're planning a marriage in November.
Breeze, at first, disowned us when he found out that we had allowed Morning Star to choose her own, future mate. that was a family hassle for a while, but he's trying to smooth it over now, even though he refuses to speak to her boy friend.
Letting go of a perfect daughter is probably the most difficult test of faith that I have encountered. I remember Lou taking a full length mirror away from his daughter on her birthday. I thought it was funny at the time.
Morning Star fell in love with that Japanese boy that visited us a couple of years ago. That was bad enough. Now this... 38 years old! He's a hard headed, Italian Idealist with the work ethic of a Mafia Loyalist (does that remind you of somebody?) We really do like him, but, if we didn't he'd be out on his ear! Even though he is strung tight as a bow, his heart shows a lot of potential. but it's going to take a big shock to wake him up.
The first of last month, the Japanese boy came back from Japan for another visit. He's still smitten with Morning Star, but he has a Japanesy acceptance of her fiance. He's a great kid. He just left again last week. They are still great friends.
Sandra is lying on the davenport, recuperating from a ruptured disk operation she had a couple of weeks ago. She's been stubbornly fighting her back for years. It finally gave out on her and she had to have the disk chopped out. I remember Lou's remarking one time "The one thing Western Medicine men know about is bones". But wouldn't you know, her doctor was an Indian. And, I'm not sure he knew what he was doing. Sandra hates him. The Indian character is pretty hard to swallow. I think they lump us all in with the British. But we're pretty sure she'll be okay. She gets up and moves around, and she's getting stronger every day. She's lying down now because she just fell down the steps!!
I had a little touch of pneumonia in January 1992. I almost didn't make it this time. I even quit smoking for a couple weeks! How 'bout that? But, I'm back in business now and doing more than I have for a couple years. When I hit 65, I said I was through with all the heavy building. Hah! The cabin roof and porch is rotting out, which means I have to rev up my energy and pick up the hammer up again. I waited for a couple of years hoping the boys, or somebody else, would do it. But that's how it goes.
April 6, 1992
In 1954 during one of my youthful escape trips to Mexico, I wrote a fictional autobiography of the times. I put my heart into it. But, when I came back to the States, I was too embarrassed with the things I had written about myself, so I tucked it away in the archives of all the other useless stuff that we never voluntarily throw away.
Fast forward to 1985. You may not remember Jeff, the son who came searching for me in the '60's. Through him contact with my Santa Barbara family was re-established, late in l985. During the joy and pain of reconciliation, he mentioned that old manuscript. He had discovered it while rummaging thru the family archives, read it, and then passed it around the family. Amazingly, they all got off on it.
Being a part of my own history, I remembered it well, word for word, almost. Since they liked it so well, I thought it might be an informative thing for the kids in Kentucky to read. I had Jeff send me the manuscript. Sandra and Rainbow read it, and, lo, they liked it too.
I reread it, and had a change of heart about it. Though fictional, it did tell a pretty straight account about where the consciousness was during those years. The main character, Monte, receiving the just reward of Idealistic Mayhem, was killed in the end. Though my interest in anything fictional had long since expired, simply because everybody seemed to like it so well I started thinking about the possibility of doing something with the book.
Then our house burned down. Of course the manuscript, along with everything else, went the way of the house! God works in mysterious ways. By an off- the-wall suggestion during a long-distance telephone communication with the group in Santa Barbara, I was trapped into a gigantic undertaking. Jeff's wife, bemoaning the loss of the manuscript, and Monte's life, remarked, 'Can't you resurrect Monte?'
I had been wanting to put a few things down for years, but the abundant life that we've heard about was keeping me just too busy. I had a lot of things that I wanted to say especially to my kids. Her remark about the old story got me to thinking. Since they like that story so well, maybe I could resurrect Monte and, at the same time, slip in all the other things that I wanted to say to them. The only problem was... fiction. Fiction is fiction, and truth is truth, and the only truth in fiction, despite the insightfulness of some writers, is that it is fiction. I knew that if I wrote scrupulously of the truth, they would either not believe the incredible things that happen, or else they would have to put it aside because it would be too heavy for them to handle. The Odyssean adventures encountered on the rocky road of truth are hard enough to believe even when they are experienced. Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction.
I hoped they wouldn't start running after the opening salvo. But the door had been opened, and I had to try. The idea came: Based on a true story, begin the odyssey with a fictionally resurrected Monte. Then phase out the fiction as the story developed, then slide in the unvarnished, truthful events as they happened until only the Truth of living was revealed. I cussed myself out for the four years that it has taken to pull it off. But the first book -- Escape from Oblivion -- is finished. Three more to go.
July 7, l992
Abundant life again. After several months of family hassle, Morning Star got married. She is now honeymooning in Antigua. So much for that, at least for a while. And Jeff (Santa Barbara son) just left after a short visit. He kept me stoned for four days. About the only time I smoke grass anymore is when I see him.
Wow! We're almost alone again! Breeze is still here but only for a couple more months. He's headed back to Transylvania in August. I've been low man on the totem pole for so many years that I have to readjust to being head man of the house again. An interesting change. Wonder what's going to happen now? I figure that I got at least one more good shot left.
Sandra just came in from the garden with a pan of the greatest looking kohlrabi, potatoes and acorn squash that you ever saw. When we came to Kentucky in '72 or 3 it was a wet year, typical, they said, of this part of the country. Ever since then it has been a drought. This year it is wet again, and, wow! the garden is like a scene in paradise.
I've got a good start on the second book, "Fire in the Soul." I hope I got the time to finish them. I don't know, though, if it takes each one as long as it took the first. Four hundred and seventy pages -- 131,000 words. I worked it over seven times. The only problem is -- I know it is a #1 seller. However, being a nobody, getting it to the market is a chore. I need to find a hep publisher who has more heartfelt guts than brains. If you know any such animal, I could sure use an introduction. I'll send you a copy if you think you have the time and inclination to read it. After Chapter 14, you'll recognize all the characters even though I changed their names. I gave 'em a break, 'cause I've run into too many ex-freaks who are a little embarrassed over their actions in the sixties.
Wouldn't a reunion of the original nucleus be a great trip! We might never come down. I don't know if the world could handle that at this stage of the game. In Christ,
Click here for the two pages contributed by Lion (Louis) Kuntz.
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