an on-line autobiographical experiment
Note: Many chapters are still pending completion or are in various draft states, and the author welcomes comments, experiences and memories from those who were also there. Questions about specific events or people from anyone curious are also welcomed, via email to Job Matusow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CHAPTER 1: 1926-1939
Birth, grew up in The Bronx. Moulded and developed value systems. Foundation laid for the life-long three-ring circus. An immigrant culture
looking to make it at the expense of ones heritage.
CHAPTER 1A: 1939-1943
The Junior and Senior High School years. The frustration about not being an excellant student. Glib conning and faking and when it all started to crumble, Knew I wouldn't graduate from high school. Joined the army in my senior year, and was awarded a dipoloma.
CHAPTER 2: 1943-1946
The War Years. World War II, its pain, its joy. Found my brothers body in Germany, and lost a sense of my own being. Paris at wars end. The homecoming, and not wanting to be in America.
CHAPTER 3: 1946-1948
Being home from the war. Went to Yankee ball game the day after returning home. Baseball, the only friendly thing in a world I wanted to be away from. Frightened about facing the world without the Army. Would rather be in art school in Paris. Settled for Greenwich Village Bohemia. Bought poems from Maxwell Bodenheim. Played stickball in Washington Square Park, and found Madison Avenue with a job at Grey Advertising Agency. Embraced the left and joined the Communist Party.
Studied TV, did first TV shows, worked in theatre and helped create off broadway theatre.
CHAPTER 4: 1949-1951
The Communist Days. People's Songs, Hootenanny's.Was part of the folk music revival of the 40's. Was a Broadway agent, worked for the agency that handled Dean martin before he joined Jerry Lewis.As a hopeful comic lived the night club life. The Wallace campaign for president, full time Communist Party work. Won subscription drive for Daily Worker and got free trip to Puerto Rico. Communist Summer Camps, summer stock theatre, off-Broadway theatre.
CHAPTER 5: 1949-1951
Met and married Kay. She a working journalist for the Black newspaper, THE AMSTERDAM NEWS. We met after 1949 Peekskill New York riots over a Paul Robson concert. I had gone there with Paul Robson's son covered by blanket in the back seat of my 1941 Plymouth convertible. Took job with Amsterdam News in their advertising department. Worked for a breakthrough with national advertisers who for the most part ignored the black press.
CHAPTER 6: 1950-1952
Contacted the FBI and become an informer. The Korean War begans. Kay and I separated, and I left New York, heading for San Francisco with plans to open a book store with a friemd, Mel, who used to work at the Jefferson School Book Store with me. Truck broke down in Taos, New Mexico. Stayed in Taos, and finally went to art school. Ran local pool hall, helped Doughbelly Price run a floating crap game, drove Tito's taxi, night clerk at Taos Inn, and became gofer for Mable Dodge and Freida Lawrence. Got called to active duty in Air Force during Korean War.
CHAPTER 7: 1951-1953
The McCarthy years. Worked my way out of US Air Force into a job as an investigator for The Ohio Un-American Activities Committee. Became the 'darling' of the Hearst press, the China Lobby, The Justice Department and Congressional Committees on both the House and Senate side.
Completed my military service. Upon release from the Air Force, landed a job with the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee, and did free-lance radio work in Dayton at WING.
Spied on trade unions, and spied at Antioch College.
Left Ohio and become assistant Editor of COUNTERATTACK, the blacklisting newsletter that also created the blacklist bible, RED CHANNELS. Involved in actors' clearances in New York and Hollywood.
In 1952, went to work for Senator McCarthy, filling in for him in the primary campaign in Wisconsin. After election, went to work for McCarthy with specific purpose to help undermine public trust in THE NEW YORK TIMES.
CHAPTER EIGHT: 1953-1954
Married and divorced twice to McCarthy financial supporter, Arvilla Peterson Bentley. Moved into her large mansion at 1900 Foxhall Road, the present day house and grounds the German Embassy and Ambassador residence.
Suddenly find myself, a high school drop-out, in a large mansion with an upstairs maid, a housekeeper, a cook, a butler/chauffeur, a gardener, a part time laundress. It was a madness out of my league, caught up in the power vortex of America. That was the insanity of it all.
Come into contact with my first Mormons, members of Senator Watkins staff, and Jack Anderson, the columnist. And, as my marriage to Arvilla goes haywire, I lose all sense of balance, and do little boy things. Looking for some stability, I explore all religions, Catholic, Bahai, Protestant, Mormon, and always running from my Jewish foundation. Was constantly questioning the nightmare I had created for myself.
Left Washington, and returned to New York where I buried myself in writing poetry, doing some off Broadway Theatre, and some up-tight, sometimes feeble, attempts at stand-up comedy. Hung around NBC, and Mutual Broadcasting. Did some radio and realized that I was now blacklisted, and found it almost impossible to find theatre work. Got job in Dallas, Texas at Cinerama, and at State Fair. Worked KGKO as night- time disc jock, did much club comedy, and was baptised in Mormon Church (Oct. 1, 1954). Attempts to get book, BLACKLISTING WAS MY BUSINESS, published were unsuccessful, so after my baptism I headed out of Dallas, walking and bicycling. Headed for central Utah, with dreams of finding a nice Mormon wife and forgetting all the yesterdays. I dropped out of sight, not knowing that Hoover had sent the agents out to find me. FBI Agents showed up at my apartment hotel within two or three hours of my departure, and then they showed up in Taos less then an hour after I left. And all this time I had no idea that they were looking for me.
OF SECTION ONE
CHAPTER 10: 1954-1955
Just as I was about to head north from Taos, I received a message from and called Albert Kahn of the book publishing firm of Cameron & Kahn. They had heard about the book I was writing, and seemed interested in publishing it. Returned to New York, immersed myself in a Greenwich Village apartment. Wrote the book FALSE WITNESS, recanted my testimony, and was overwhelmed beyond any expectation of the results of my recantation and the book. I was alone like I had never known aloneness. Tasted prison for the first time. I'd just kicked-the-can, and said the Emperor had no clothes. Estrangeed from most of my family (except my mother and father), and perhaps eight of my forty-two uncles and aunts. Conflict and question, "Why did I do it?" (I am amazed now that I am still alive, for I fully expected to be shot dead every day of that period.)
CHAPTER 11: 1954-1956
I was in such disrepute, I stopped going to Mormon Church. Was afraid to test them on forgiveness. It would have been easier to take family rejection, then it would have been for me to be rejected by this new theology so recently embraced. In addition, I felt Mormons were hated enough, they didn't need me and my low reputation to bring them down. Started to hang around my old Greenwich Village haunts: The White Horse, Louie's, and the Limelight Coffee House. Met and married third wife, Ellen Raskin. She had a five-year-old daughter and gave me a much needed, ready-made family. Ellen was an artist doing book and record jackets and illustrations. Her wood cuts adorned many of the early Doubleday quality paperbacks as well as Harper Torch Books. Many of them were religious and Ellen was forever draping sheets over me to model these biblical characters. (To this day when I see one of them, it brings a quiet smile.)
Employment was difficult. I would get job and lose it within days. Started selling Book of Knowledge. Sold my first to unemployed actor who with his family was living in a hovel apartment above a commercial garage on Little West 12th Street, gentle Jason Robards. Ellen and I would occasionally babysit his son, Jason, and he and Elenore would do the same for our daughter Susan. That deep family need fed me and kept me whole during much of the period of my trials.
Trial in New York Federal Court. My word against Roy Cohn. Convicted and sentenced to five years in Federal Prison for saying that Cohn, when he was Assistant U.S. Attorney, had suborned perjury. The irony of it all was that I had committed countless acts of perjury, and the government tried and convicted me of telling the truth. Sent to prison. Made bail after three months in the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa. Ellen and I ended two-year marriage. My father died, and I began to identify with JOB and deeper meanings of faith then I had ever had.
Met fourth wife, Beatrice Swope Lysander. She was the best writer I have ever known. She was hanging out at Louis' Tavern, under The Circle In The Square Theatre, and was with our mutual friend, Steve McQueen. Steve and Lee Marvin and I used to deliver TV sets for Jerry Francis from his shop on west 10th street. Bea had not met me before that night. It was April 1st 1957. She was with her friend Mary, and when I was introduced to her, she slapped my face and cursed me, not for being the witness, 'fink' or false witness, but because she thought I was impersonating me as part of an April Fool's joke. She was convinced that I was in jail, and had no idea that I was out on bail. She and her boyfriend Aaron, a history professor at NYU, had a big row earlier that evening, and their row was over me and my book, FALSE WITNESS, and she believed that Aaron had sent me to Louis as a joke. I fell in love with her then and there. Bea was also a "den mother" to many of the Village poets of the Beat Generation (Howard Hart, Sy Krim, Jack Micheline and a few others). I fit right into Mom Bea's life and world.
We got us a 1935 Packard Convertible and we were going to have some fun. I figured I was going to go back to jail, and I wanted to play, and the last thing I wanted was to feel sorry for myself. And from April 1st, the day I met her, until June 13th, the day I went back to prison, we played and built a foundation of loving each other.
It was 1957, and the Warren Supreme Court, using me as a prime reason, upset almost every rule and law that the government was using to persecute the left. They refused to grant me a hearing on appeal, and I went back to prison.
On the eve of my return to prison, Bea and I went to see the Henry Fonda movie, TWELVE ANGRY MEN, and after the movie went to have a farewell party at the journalist Bill Dufty's house. Bill and his wife Maley, and the singer Billie Holiday threw a farewell party. Billie and I shared notes about Federal prisons. We talked and laughed and just let it all hang out; it was a light night that could have been heavy. Bea and I went off to spend a final night together. We met Bill in the morning, and the three of us went to the Federal Court House where I surrendered to the U.S. Marshall, and went off to prison.
"HOW MANY SPIES HAVE YOU KNOWN?" Reflections on the "exclusive" spies of Lewisburg. Harry Gold and David Greenglass, of the Rosenberg case, and Jake Album and Jack Sobel, both convicted Soviet spies, and the aftermath of the William Remington murder.
CHAPTER 14: 1956-1960
The day Wilhelm Reich died. He was in the next cell. General reflection on Reich and prison attitudes toward him. In the general population he was known as "The Sex Box Man", and the folk tales regarding his orgone box were more then surreal.
CHAPTER 15: 1956-1960
General reflection on prison life. My work in the athletic department. Captain of the tennis team and the volley ball team. I treated prison like the university I never attended. I devouredg books, attended lectures given by Bucknell University professors, painted over 200 canvases. Produced and directed four plays: "Staalag 17", "Waiting for Godot", "Mr. Roberts", and "Arsenic & Old Lace" (with two Mafia types playing the old ladies.) Although I'd been around theatre most of my life, I had to wait until prison to get my first major review in a New York newspaper. The NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE reviewed Mr. Roberts.
Reflection also on Frank Costello, the so-called head of the "Mafia", who I got to know well while at Lewisburg, and who I got to see after release in New York.
CHAPTER 16: 1960
Going home. Day of release. This is a short chapter on those specific reflections, all extracted from my journal of that day.
END OF SECTION TWO
CHAPTER 17: 1960-1963
Rebirth, out of prison. Life exciting, trying to make up for the years I'd been away. My Generation, the Beat Generation, had made it and I wasn't there. My hunger didn't allow me to see my prison years as part of my generation. The fact that in prison I had done poetry and jazz with some of the best jazz musicians in the country didn't seem to carry any weight with me. Bea's seventy year old mother, Mary Morrison, was bringing me beat poetry from City Lights Bookstore in her native San Francisco. Home now, back in New York, meeting some of the poets whose work I'd been reading for four years. Found work as book designer and Art Director for scientific publishing house, Academic Press. Used my position as art director to buy printing from Alger Hiss, who was working Davidson & Bluth, about a block away on Fifth Avenue. Never thought him guilty, and told him so. He accepted a dinner invitation from Bea, and we had a great evening sharing Lewisburg and McCarthy experiences.
It was during this period that the seeds were sown for the undercurrent of my life's work: serving those in prison and those facing prison, and those trying to survive after release. With a few others, organized Jailhouse Anonymous.
A quiet, one-on-one service organization which takes no money for services.
CHAPTER 18: 1963-1966
The Art World. With friend Bill Dufty we founded monthly art magazine, THE NEW YORK ARTS CALENDAR. Continued to publish it for three years. Immersed in the glitter and glamor of the fine art world, and discovered it has as many morality glitches as the streets and politics, and in many ways it seems to have more corruption -- too much big money involved.
Wrote, edited and published fine art book, THE ART COLLECTOR'S ALMANAC. It got me an invite to Lyndon Johnson's White House. Felt that the book, and critical response to it, was going to finally lift me out of the McCarthy period despair which I periodically fell into. The book was a high and my expectations were too large. Attempted to get a passport so as to travel to Europe on art-related business, but the State Department said no. Called Abe Fortas, just prior to Johnson's appointing him to the Supreme Court. Fortas had been one of the first to read the galley proofs on FALSE WITNESS prior to its publication. He got the State Department to back down. When both the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations turned down my proposal for help in completing a history of art exhibition (the follow-through of the already published volume). They said that they would underwrite it if I were to withdraw from the project. I became angry and destructive. I convinced myself that regardless of what I did or might accomplish, society would never forgive me for my role in McCarthyism. My bitterest act, greater than any I had ever known. I took all the research I had collected, and rented a fishing boat at Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. Went out into the ocean and dumped it all: catalogues, photos, slides. To this day, the greatest regret of my life.
CHAPTER 19: 1965
My perception of a Christian society unable to forgive propelled me deeper into the counter culture of the 60's and 70's. Was deeply involved in the first "Underground" newspaper, THE EAST VILLAGE OTHER, (EVO), and at the same time doing a weekly humor column for the weekly, WEST SIDE NEWS.
Discovered Tim Leary and legal LSD, began taking trips and wandering into the unknown. In order to punish the United Fruit Company, helped create the hype that smoking banana peels would get you high. This chapter mostly about the EVO days.
CHAPTER 20: 1965-1966
Bea and I separated; she moved to other end of the world, Brooklyn Heights. Would go often and pick up our daughter Ann, sometimes walk over to Norman Mailer's house where Ann had peer energy with Norman's children. It was good quiet time for Mailer and I to get to know one another. I had met him at Sy Krim's 40th Birthday party. Liked him, trusted his non-Christian soul. He had a directness and clarity which made me comfortable. When he ran for Mayor of New York a few years later, I co-chaired the Norman Mailer for Mayor Committee in London which was called The Mailer Mafia Snow Removal Trust. We had a big London bash to raise funds, and got Christine Keeler of Profumo fame to auction her bra.
Rekindled political involvement. Headed artists for Paul O'Dwyer when he ran for Mayor in 1965. Reconnected with Bobby Kennedy, who I hadn't seen since McCarthy Committee days. LSD still legal, and arranged for Kennedy to get acid for trip prior to his holding hearings on subject. He wanted to know what it was, etc. Connected thru Walter Bowart of EVO, also we gathered much information for the Committee regarding youth and drugs etc. Also began working with Deputy Mayor Marcus of New York, working on the problems of runaway teenagers, who we started to call Hippies who were flooding the streets of Greenwich Village. Set up a hot line with others to deal with people who were having bad acid trips.
CHAPTER 21: 1964-1966
There seemed no way for Bea and I to get together. We were always fighting like two penned animals. Loving each other, but with a madness which drove us apart.
Following my "normal" life pattern of when in doubt, when at the emotional bottom, laugh your way back to balance. During my witness days I always had an outlet in night clubs doing sleezy stand-up comedy.
Now did it again four to five nights a week on MacDougall street in the Village. Spent a lot of time with Dick Gregory, and many lonely nights at The Improv. Thankful to
Art Carney, who would let me sit at his table all night and get it out. The owner, Bud Freeman, didn't like me and hated to give me mike time. If not for Carney. I don't think I ever would have performed at The Improv. My fourth marriage ended, my art magazine folded and, major foundations refusing to help in my history of art project, I turned to comedy. Some nights had a late snack with Arthur Treacher after he finished his gig as announcer on the Merv Griffith show. In those last months before heading for Europe I crawled back into show business, the only place where my kind of hype seemed acceptable.
Reconnect with Andy Warhol, who I hadn't seen since pre-prison days when I was married to Ellen, and with him almost pulled off a hype on David Suskind. Suskind was doing a TV special on Beatnik artists. Using a Russian accent, from Andy's phone, I convinced Suskind that I was a Russian poet.
Would have made the programme, but, one of the group who was in on the hype couldn't contain the secret -- Suskind found out.
Started to make films. Worked with Yoko and her husband Tony Cox and film maker Peter Goldman and Emile d'Antonio. Worked with d'Antonio and Mark Lane and helped him mimeograph his book on Kennedy assination; no one wanted to publish it. Lane and d'Antonio invited me to a party in Great Neck, New York. Pete Seeger was the main attraction for this fund raiser for some decent humanitarian planetary cause. I was bored and tired of the rejection, and was reluctant to go. Mark and d'Antnio convinced me that it would be alright. I had not seen Pete Seeger since the McCarthy days, when I was the main cause of his blacklisting. I had no desire to confront him, but, I put my guard down and went. Pete was gracious, loving and forgiving. His wife was not, nor were most of the guests, who were horrified at my presence. The final straw, I left the USA, vowing "never to return."
END SECTION 3
CHAPTER 22: 1966
Arrived in England in May 1966. "Stringless YoYo" diaries are stolen. Dealt with all the reasons I'd gone into "exile."
CHAPTER 23: 1966-1967
Found a whole new life with much less pressure in London. The "Counter Culture" there was real and to me had more meaning.
Within a month I organized and become Chairman of The London Film Makers Co-Op, and organized the first underground film festivals in London. Became a moving force in founding England's first underground newspaper, IT.
Connected with the BBC. Met and fell in love with and married Anna Lockwood, an avant garde composer from New Zealand. We become a team and did concerts and theatre pieces in London, Liverpool, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Stockholm, Oslo, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Wrote to Yoko and Tony and suggested that they come to London which they did, and Yoko met John etc..
England and Europe freed me of much of the stress and pain of being Harvey Matusow. I was able to work in the arts, something I had had difficulty doing in the states. London became a fine filter for me, for the British didn't seem too
concerned with my past.
CHAPTER 24: 1966-1967
London and Europe, 1966 and 1967. Did films, happenings, wrote much, did radio and TV, managed Jazz Club in Soho (Ronnie Scott's Old Place) and just seemed to fill all the vacuum that the prison years created for me.
CHAPTER 25: 1967
Anna and I went off to New Zealand and Australia for better part of a year. Did many concerts and one theatre piece. I worked for New Zealand broadcasting and did some acting and wrote one radio play.
CHAPTER 26: 1968-1970
Worked as an independent for the BBC. Did 16 radio documentaries, and much TV, comedy and news and current affairs. Become one of editors of THE AMERICAN, a weekly in London for the American community. Wrote my third book, THE BEAST OF BUSINESS. Put out my first album, Harvey Matusow Jew's Harp Band.
CHAPTER 27: 1968-1972
Organized International Society for Abolition of Data Processing Machines and wrote and published my third book, THE BEAST OF BUSINESS, A RECORD OF COMPUTER ATROCITIES. TIME MAGAZINE did a piece on the Society and that got me an invitation to come to the States and do a gig on the Mike Douglas Show.
CHAPTER 28: 1971-1972
Organized ICES -72, the largest avant garde new musical festival ever done. Spent the better part of 1971 and 1972 pulling it all together. When completed, returned to the USA
with Anna, believing that the time in Europe could heal the pain which sent me there.
END SECTION 4
CHAPTER 29: 1973
Home from "exile", feeling strong and renewed. Coming home as a working artist, being in the moment - being part of an artistic team. Anna and I began to plan for concerts in the USA. I got Libby Owens Ford to prepare special glass with handmade carrying cases for the Glass Concert Tour. The kick- off was two live broadcasts on WBAI Music Store in New York, and after the second concert Anna and I parted. I was too attached -- a bit shattered. Back in New York without Anna was not where I wanted to be, part of me wanted to be away from New York, to be out from under Anna's world of music. I had many other worlds -- romantic enough to give her "room."
Anna moved out of our loft on East 32nd Street. The street had two twenty-four-hour coffee shops, and enough hookers to fill all the booths most evenings. The ladies worked the Madison Square Garden traffic; the Garden was just two short blocks away. They were just kids, not much different from the runaways I used to "track" on MacDougall Street. A lot of them just didn't know how to get home gracefully. On nights when the police would come down extra heavy, I would give them sanctuary' the would watch late-night movies and talk about God. I was touched when on Christmas Eve about eighteen of them came by early saying they wanted a night off, and could they come upstairs and watch "The Ten Commandments" on TV with me.
I left New York.
CHAPTER 30: 1974-1975
With the help of my friend Joe Bazer, we got a 1955 Ford school bus and converted it into a poor man's motor home. Joe had just broken up with his wife; Joe lived in the same loft building. Joe was an excellent mechanic, and we parked the bus in front of the building, took the engine down, ran an overhead electrical wire and spent three weeks rebuilding the vehicle. A police lieutenant, one sargeant and two officers toasted a fond farewell as we headed out to find new bachelorhood.
Just prior to the bus adventure, I tried living in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont with my friend Dick Higgins, publisher of Something Else Press.
At the suggestion of my friend, the attorney Paul Marshall, I went to visit a large New Age commune in western Massachusetts. The commune had started out THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE SPIRIT, and when I arrived it was calling itself METELICA'S AQUARIAN CONCEPT, INC. Michael Metelica was a young teenager who founded the commune sitting in a tree house in the wooded Berkshire Hills.
The commune was Paul's client, and needed help in producing a radio programme. It was mutually beneficial -- I could help them in their radio show, and they could afford me the quiet isolation I needed to lick my wounds.
Joe and I drove the bus up to the commune in Warwick, Massachusetts. Their struggle with the locals had recently made the CBS news show 60 Minutes. I didn't get quite the isolation I thought I would.
CHAPTER 32: 1974-1975
Connect with Boston-based macrobiotic newspaper THE EAST/WEST JOURNAL, and soon found myself on their masthead as "Editor At Large." The commune was fine, but the road had a greater lure for me. Representing THE JOURNAL, I began to visit communes all over the country, a poor man's Charles Kuralt. Arrived in Amarillo in time to help The Aunt Farm plant Stanley Marsh III's Cadillac Ranch. Stanley and I had been good friends for a number of years, but he couldn't understand my going hippy and living like a gypsy on the road. We haven't spoken since, but have exchanged a few Christmas cards. Wandered the west, went to my first Rainbow Gathering. Reflection of the Love Family, the Gaskin Farm. Management brawl developed at East/West Journal. I drove back and helped the "dissidents" from NEW AGE JOURNAL. A death in his family brought Joe back to New York.
CHAPTER 33: 1974-1977
Using the commune as my home base, I started to explore Eastern thought. I had studied a lot of Zen while in prison, and did so later with Bea. Bea at this point had taken our daughter into a Hari Krishna temple in Hawaii. Although exploring the East, I did not give up my Mormon beliefs, but stayed away from the Church for two reasons. Firstly, I didn't want to face or test rejection, and felt that my lifestyle was too way out ever to come back into any normal balance with society. I had allowed myself to move further and further away from any mainstream balances. The other reason was that blacks could not hold the Priesthood. I made a vow that when blacks could become priests, I would once again be an active member of my church.
CHAPTER 34: 1975-1977
I met, fell in love with, and married Emily. When I met her she had never been in a city in her life; she lived off in the woods far from all neighbors. Emily and I formed a spiritual community, AMMAL'S GARDEN and took vows of poverty, which Emily insisted on calling "vows of simplicity." Our door was open to those whom society rejected. We financed it all with a small inheritance my mother left me when she died in 1975. But, not before I had taken Emily around the world -- first class. It was an adventure like none I had ever known. Emily was ALWAYS Emily.
Garage burned down. We headed West seeking help. Ended up in Tucson, Arizona, housesitting for my old friend Walter Bowart and his wife Peggy Hitchcok. It was like a Sufi monastery, and gave Emily and I the sabbatical we much needed from out work in Wendell, Massachusetts.
CHAPTER 35: 1977-1983
It was this quiet period in Tucson that got me into playing my bells once again. I had stopped and music and sound work after the split with Anna.
It was here that the Magic Mouse Theatre germinated and grew. The Theatre Company was born in a wooden shack that housed a school for mid-wives. I used this space, and the quiet of the early hours of the morning to practice my soft playing. I was alone usually, but occasionally played for a mid-wife on a middle-of-the-night home delivery run.
END OF SECTION V
CHAPTER 36: 1977-1983
A strong mystical experience left no doubt in my mind that I must become and active member of my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Emily and I were driving from Tucson to Bisbee, where I was going to see about taking a job on a local Bisbee radio station. At the time we were living in a small, sixteen-foot travel trailer. Driving through the village of St. David, I saw a sign, "House for Rent." I hit the brakes and rented the house. Discovered that the village was an LDS Stake Centre, and one of the oldest Mormon communities in Arizona. Also found out that a few weeks earlier, the Church announced that blacks could now hold the priesthood. Now the one barrier I had about being an active church member was gone. Still concerned about my lifestyle and the clean-cut Mormon way. They had to clash -- AND DID. Emily and two of our children were baptized and a new stage in my life began. My rootless soul once again started to dig in.
CHAPTER 37: 1981-1982
Emily and I enjoyed living in the desert, but our basic lifestyle hadn't changed. Magic Mouse Theatre grows. We got a sponsor, Truly Nolen, and had some economic stability and a brand new motor home in exchange for the old silver school bus. Emily really got into theatre, and pursued her character, the green-haired clown named Sparkles. Our work schedule: 144 school shows in nine months. We covered Tucson, Phoenix, and A LOT of small towns in between. Most days we would do two schools, and on some occasions three... more like vaudeville. We travelled the Sun Belt for Truly Nolen, playing Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, San Antonio, Albuquerque and El Paso. In 1980 Emily and I spent an aggregate of 108 days on the road, in our vehicle.
Completed 126 five-minute radio programmed on Magic Mouse for local NPR station at the University of Arizona, and signed a contract to do a TV series for the PBS TV outlet. Magic Mouse become the "official" theatre company of the Tucson Zoo, and we performed every Saturday.
CHAPTER 38: 1982-1983
Back to Tucson. Soon started to feed the homeless, against the wishes of the City Fathers. Became deeply involved in social issues for the homeless, where we eventually turned our commercial cafe into a free kitchen.
We left Tucson in a caravan of vehicles carrying homeless people: American Refugees in America.
CHAPTER 39: 1983
The homeless of El Paso, any my attempts to get the White House to help. Finally reached Ed Meese, spoke to him for about 20 minutes; got promised but no real help.
CHAPTER 40: 1983
Moved on with the caravan to Houston where we fed the homeless gulf trout and upset all the neighbors. Actively involved in tent city for the homeless. Failed in attempts to get free kitchen and shelter established. The caravan for the homeless fell apart at the breakup of tent city, and a hand-full of us continued on to Washington where I registered as a lobbyist for the homeless at Congress.
Mitch Snyder and his COMMITTEE FOR CREATIVE NON-VIOLANCE have a handle on Washington. Go to New York and do street theatre at Sheridan Square.
CHAPTER 41: 1983-1986
Emily took sick while we were visiting Massachusetts and the doctor advised that she needed complete rest and caring for.
We found and old farm house on a hill in Orange, and I dropped all activities to care for Emily. Emily and I and five dogs. Our only transportation was the motor home. I swapped some work for an old Ford pickup truck, and it wasn't long before we were blessed with a Datsun on its last legs. Applied for food stamps and welfare for the first time in my life. I didn't want to, but needed to know what people get put through.
CHAPTER 42: 1985-1989
There was no way we could return to Tucson. Emily's health would not permit. But her health had improved enough for us to open our house to care-provide for a mentally retarded young man. Both Emily and I felt that a direction of our service would should be focused on those who society rejects the most. And, within two months, we had our second young man living with us. It's now almost two years since we began this work, and can only think of ways to enlarge and expand it.
CHAPTER 43: 1985-1989
We sold the motor home and bought two old school busses. We began a food and clothing programme in the most economically depressed town in the state. In 19 months we put out over 225,000 pounds of food to about 800 families, and didn't spend a penny of governmental money, local, state or Federal.
The life of service grew as I sank the root in Emily's forest. The food programmed expanded into New Hampshire.
We lived in a forest home surrounded on all sides by state forest. Mail was not delivered to hour home. Emily was back in her forest. We had ponies, a horse, a cow, six milking goats and a billy, some pigs, and a rabbit. Also about 8 barn cats, and the doggie machine (our six mini dogs plus a three-legged St. Bernard).
We lived a quiet, natural life, a life of simple service. We were immersed in the gospel and practice of Christianity, hand in glove with Humanism.
CHAPTER 44: 1988-1989
I was in South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Reservation when I found out that Emily had cancer. She had been wrongly diagnosed three years earlier. Stopped all work, devoted the next year and a half of my life to nursing Emily until she died in July of 1989.
This chapter deals with the full experience of death, in a way I have never known it.
CHAPTER 45: 1989-1992
Returned to Arizona. Ran a homeless programme at St. Francis in the Foothills Methodist Church in Tucson. Lived in my school bus at the church for 11 months.
CHAPTER 46: 1989-1992
Was given an opportunity to run a near-derelict motel on the Ghost Highway that had been superseded by the Interstate. For two and a half years I lived at the motel, serving poverty.
CHAPTER 47: 1991-1992
Met Lisa and marry. Changed my lifestyle. Shaved my beard and got a haircut for the first time in over 15 years. Back into show business full-time, as Cockyboo, the storyteller, so as to earn the money needed to do the service work that I still believe in and do as Director of Gandhi Peace Centre.
Marriage doesn't work--Lisa and I divorce but remain close friends.
CHAPTER 48: 1993-1995
Start to do TV show, magic Mouse Magazinwe. Win two Public Access National, HOME TOWN VIDEO AWARDS, 1993 and 1994-- combine my TV art with my social action work.
CHAPTER 49: 1995-1996
Leave Tucson and move to Utah, to Richfield, the town I was headed to back in 1954. Come full circle, finally climb onto my Mountain. Start Utah's first public access TV station.
CHAPTER 50: 1997-????
The Internet, World Wide Web, interactive inter-creative book ideas
to find out what people really want to know.
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