Rune Rofke - Glenn Emery

Big Sur Prize

September 9, 1975 (cont.)

That Friday night I went up to Mendecino for the weekend. I got into the lectures too much, I thought, and I left Sunday night to gain a little objectivity.

Imoe had moved out of Frederick Street on Sunday morning over to 365 29th Street, and I had this gut feeling when I got dropped off at Frederick Street that I had made a mistake coming back. But I had sort of promised Jerry I would go to Big Sur with him. As I got out of the van, I gave James a tape recorder I had been carrying around in my backpack. I had used it to record lectures during my year at the University of Vermont. James was so thrilled to have it. He said he had wanted one to record the lectures at the farm so he could study them.

Jerry picked me up at Frederick Street on Monday morning. He took one look at me and got angry and said I had been brainwashed. I didn't understand why he was so upset. I felt fine and I tried to tell him it was a good experience, but he said he didn't trust these people. He said he had met people like them in NY and it was a cult who worshiped a guy named Rev. Moon from Korea, but I said I didn't know what he was talking about, that no one had said anything like that the whole weekend. But he was still pissed and said I would see he was right.

He wanted me to go down to LA with him, and maybe into Mexico. We drove down to Big Sur. On the drive into the campground, we passed the actor Purnell Roberts from "Bonanza," who was riding in the passenger side of an open Jeep. He sort of nodded to us. Later we saw a really fancy new green GMC RV at one of the campsites. Someone said it was Kenny Loggins, from Loggins and Messina.

I had no money at the time. I also developed diarrhea and a loss of balance. At the same time, I felt some inner joy I had never experienced. I wanted to go back to San Francisco. I had a dream Monday night in which Jerry was killed violently. It was very vivid and real. Jerry and I were walking up to our campsite and there were some people sitting around our campfire playing our guitars. Jerry was angry they had taken our guitars out of his van. But then one of the men picked up a piece of firewood and threw it at Jerry, breaking his neck. He fell down dead in front of me. I was terrified and took off running. The people started chasing me. I knew I couldn't outrun them and I'd have to fight. I picked up a big stick and stood to face them. But they dropped their clubs and sort of smiled at me and then I woke up.

Jerry was already up, making breakfast over the fire. It surprised me to see him still alive. The dream left me very disturbed. I wanted to know why I had been so changed or affected after just two days. I felt I had missed something important at the farm. I was ready to leave Jerry and hitchhike back to San Francisco.

But Jerry wanted me to go to Hearst San Simeon. It sounded interesting, so I stayed another day. Jerry bought some Coors on the way. I tried to drink one, but I really didn't want it and only drank about half. At the Hearst Castle, I was amazed and fascinated and appalled by the incredible greed of this one man. All the land as far as you could see in any direction had belonged to him. I couldn't get over the swimming pool with the gold tiles. I tried to smell some of the roses that were in bloom, but they had no odor. It was like everything was fake. It was the straw that broke this camel's back.

I vowed to myself that I would go back to San Francisco the next day. I had no dream that night, and when I woke up I put together my pack and said goodbye to Jerry. He was bummed, but he didn't try to stop me. I walked over a few campsites where a bunch of hippies were piling into the back of an old pickup truck. They told me I could ride with them as far as they were going. I sat in the back next to a nice chick who was admiring my buckskin fringe coat.

The leather coat was one of my most prized possessions. I had bought it from Larry Laporte back in Dover, and he had gotten it from Gerry Foote, one of the teachers at Dover High. I almost never wore it, but I loved it. It was really beautiful and amazing with long fringes and buttons made from slices of antler. It even had leather dope bags attached to the pockets. On the inside was a leather tag that said East West Musical Instrument Co. It was the kind of coat a rock star would wear.

When the pickup truck finally pulled over, I was about halfway to San Francisco. I untied the leather coat from my backpack and gave it to the girl. I told her I didn't need it anymore and she could have it. She couldn't believe it. I could see how happy it made her. It made me happy too, and it made my pack a lot lighter.

They had dropped me off next to the highway, and I got a ride within a couple minutes. A short time later I was dropped off at a gas station in San Francisco. It was bright and sunny. I had no idea where I was. I was trying to figure out what to do when a man with silver hair pulled up to the curb in a dark gray Mercedes convertible. He said: "Where are you going? I'll take you anywhere you want to go."

I told him I wanted to go to my friend's house, but I didn't know where she lived. He asked me a couple questions, and I remembered a little bit of her address. He said he knew exactly where it was, in the Castro district, and he took me there. I don't remember if we talked at all on the way. A short time later he dropped me off at Imoe's door on 29th Street, gave me a smile and then drove away. I could not have driven myself from Big Sur to Imoe's house any faster.

After all the negativity Jerry had displayed, Imoe's positivity was refreshing. She encouraged me to go back to Mendecino. I told her I wanted to go for a week and hear the rest of the lectures, but I didn't want to be involved with any group. So I stayed with Imoe for two days and then went back to 2269 Washington Street for dinner again with the intention of going to the land for a week. James was really overjoyed that I came back, for he felt that I probably would not and that's why he had tried so desperately to get me to stay the first time I had come. But he said when I gave him the tape recorder, he knew I'd be back.

Before the end of my first week on the farm, Thursday night, Jerry drove up to see me, to try to get me away. They wouldn't let him on the property, but he refused to leave without seeing me. Finally someone came and got me and James and I walked down the road to the locked gate. Jerry was on the other side. James and two other brothers stood by me to make sure Jerry didn't try to take me. He said the group was part of Rev. Moon's cult, but I said I didn't think so because I hadn't heard anything about a Rev. Moon, and in any case I wasn't leaving and that Jerry should come inside and see for himself. Jerry tried to convince me to leave for a few more minutes, warning me that I was being brainwashed, but finally he gave up. It was really sad to see him walking away in the twilight with his head down and his boots kicking up little clouds of dust. I turned around with James and walked back to the group. James asked me if I was OK, and I said I wanted to stay.

I had no intention of leaving with Jerry, but afterward for the first time I was intensely homesick. I wanted to go to Dover to see my parents and tell them about the incredible things I had learned. James told me it was evil spirits trying to lure me away from the truth that I had found there and that I should really stay for several weeks until my spirit was stronger. The desire diminished completely.

On Tuesday of my second week, Imoe called. She was freaked out by things Jerry had told her about the Family, and about James and Mitch coming by her house to get my pack and things. But I couldn't explain to her what was happening. I could only say it was cool and she didn't need to worry. Jerry also called my parents when he got back east and apparently got them a little upset too, though my mother did not display that in the note she wrote me.

I spent the next couple weeks listening eagerly to all the lectures and giving 100 percent in all the activities. I did everything the group did, and all the strange things like constantly holding hands with other guys and never being alone didn't bother me anymore. I felt alive and excited and reborn. We had group sharing all the time to talk about what we heard in the lectures. This truth was just blowing my mind and I couldn't get enough of it. Even when I was picking zucchini in the field, I was thinking about the lectures.

We played dodge ball every day as our exercise. The secret to not getting hit was to keeping chanting so you'd be protected by good spirits. It really seemed to work. Whenever I got hit I'd feel guilty for not having deep enough faith and letting Satan invade, then I'd repent and vow to be better.

We did something called Choo-Choo Pow all the time. We would all stand in a circle, holding hands, and then in unison go "Choo-choo-choo, choo-choo-choo, choo-choo-choo, yea... Pow!" It seemed to clear the spiritual atmosphere and bring everybody together into the same space. At first I thought it was really corny, but after a couple days I really got into it.

The older brothers and sisters talked all the time about a woman named Onni, who lived with the group in Oakland. She was the spiritual leader of the San Francisco Family, and whenever she was coming to Boonville, everyone would get super excited and go crazy cleaning the place. A couple times we thought she was coming, but she never showed up.

There was one single-wide trailer on the property, which served as a kitchen and sleeping quarters for the older sisters. Sometimes we'd have lectures there, and the vacuum cleaner didn't work, so I'd crawl across the green shag carpet on my hands and knees and pick out the dirt and lint with my fingers.

The lectures were held in a place called the Chicken Palace, an old chicken barn with wooden floors and a metal roof and walls that were open to the outside. At night many of the brothers would sleep on the floor in the Chicken Palace. There were also some lean-tos made of black plastic where some other brothers slept, and there was an outdoor group shower area made of black plastic. There was also a public restroom with several stalls on each side for men and women. On the other side of the zucchini field was the original farm house. It was off limits except for the senior staff, like Noah Ross, who was the lecturer. But I did stay there for a couple days when I got a bad cold.

James never let go of my hand my first week at Boonville. Even when I needed to use the bathroom, he walked me over the restroom and then waited for me outside.

There was one cute sister named Donna, and she had been love-bombing me when I first got to the farm and I really liked her. But whenever I tried to hold her hand, or hold hands with any other sister, one of the older sisters would break us apart and say that's how Satan invades. I didn't really understand, but I quickly learned not to get too close to sisters and just hang out with brothers unless we were in a group activity. Otherwise the brothers and sisters kept apart. After all the sex of the past couple years, I was grateful for the break.

One of the sisters said that Onni said if we were really sincere, we could reach perfection in three days. I determined I could do it, and I immediately started fasting and praying and chanting constantly. But on the second day one of the sisters noticed I wasn't eating. When I explained I was determined to become perfect in three days, she made me stop fasting. She said it would be a lot harder than just fasting and praying, but she didn't say how. I decided not to give up, and kept praying and chanting nonstop. But on the end of the third day, I didn't feel any different.

In my third week they started talking about fundraising -- selling flowers -- as the fastest way to perfection, and that got me really excited again. I couldn't wait to go sell flowers and knock off all my fallen nature and become perfect like Jesus. The lectures had made it seem so clear and easy and I was desperate to be part of the flower team that was going to go up to Coos Bay for a couple days.

But when I asked, Noah said no, that my spirit wasn't strong enough yet and I needed to stay on the farm and actualize the Principle there. I was so disappointed because there weren't enough opportunities to actualize the Principle by playing dodge ball and picking zucchini and praying and listening to lectures and love-bombing the new guests who would show up, just like I had. I didn't want Satan to invade me, so I was determined not to complain, but I couldn't wait for my time on the farm to be up so I could go back to the city and start working hard toward perfection. 

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