JONESTOWN SURVIVOR’S TRIATHLON

JONESTOWN SURVIVOR’S TRIATHLON

Beginning Tuesday of this week, I will be participating in my only kind of triathlon – speaking to all my different colleagues around the State of California. I won’t be actually running any kind of gauntlet – but face my own kinds of challenges. I’ll be running, walking and standing at many types of events.

This week on Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll do presentations about JONESTOWN SURVIVOR: An Insider’s Look in San Diego. I’ll be speaking to several library groups. It sounds like I’ll have my friends from local Occupy groups as well as Synanon and Quaker friends attend, and maybe even teacher friends. My favorite activities in the world are activities when my various and somewhat disparate group affiliations are all in my audience, or with me in any setting.

By Saturday, my husband and I will be heading north. I’ll be at Barnes & Noble in San Jose on Saturday, hosting a table, answering questions and signing and selling my books. My audience will likely mostly be strangers. That is always interesting too!

On Sunday, I’m passing by the former Synanon properties in Marin County. I lived in Marshall (near Pt. Reyes) for several years as a Synanon computer operator. When I returned from Guyana, I decided I wanted to face a machine for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to face a person. So, I went to school to train in computer sciences. I shut the door on my social work life I had practiced while living in Peoples Temple. That closed-off period lasted for about four years.

At the end of the day on Sunday, we will be staying in REDWOOD VALLEY (amazing and emotional), where I lived for seven years while in Peoples Temple. A Redwood Valley Quaker has invited us to stay with her. We’ll drive to Lake County where I’ll meet with Ukiah and Lake County Quakers for an evening Book Talk.
On Monday, my plan is to take a deep breath and go over to the coast, near Mendocino. It is beautiful there. I’ll sort of re-charge.

On Tuesday night, I’ll be at the Ukiah (Mendocino) Public Library. Several of my fellow survivors are coming up to Ukiah for that. We’ll be staying with one who still lives in Ukiah, after my talk. I worked at the welfare department for seven years until I abruptly left for Guyana in March 1977. I have many memories of that time. I know that most of the residents of Ukiah and Redwood Valley have recollections and opinions – very strong opinions. I expect I’ll hear them and, in a strange way, look forward to the interaction. No matter what happens, it will be a tumultuous event for me.

After that night, the rest of the trip is calmer. That is the mountain top, in a way. Once I get over that “hump” I’ll be able to coast a bit.

My next event is Wednesday night in a co-housing community in Paso Robles, where my good friends from Synanon created their home and now live. That will be interesting because I continue to be a communalist and love experiences with communities, and these are treasured friends.

On Thursday, I’ll do my Book Talk and Spiritual Journey (even though I’m an atheist) Talk at the home of my wonderful friend who introduced me to the Quakers in 1994. I’ll be speaking to Central Coast Quakers and probably others. After spending the night there, my husband and I will drive home. What a trip!

Once home, I can take a deep breath for three days – and then the school year begins!

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