by James C. Stephens

Friday, December 9, 1977

Saturday, Liz and I looked for a hall for wedding reception. Nice place for wedding at Ambassador, but too expensive. We later find out we got a misquoted price. Oh well. We got a better place on Tuesday in the Pacific Palisades, about $3,000 cheaper-$140 for the hall and kitchen and $30 for the clean-up fee. Liz and I are much more excited about this. More reasonable too. The lady Irma is a doll. She’s so helpful and so nice.

Saturday night we celebrated Hanukkah with Liz’s family (not parents, but mother’s sister). We had a great time. Danced til 12:00. Boy am I sore though, it took a lot of energy! Aunt Doris was there from Israel, Rebecca and her husband Jerry, a friend of theirs, Sharon and Ruthie played the piano and clarinet respectively. Ruthie is 16 and very good on clarinet. She wants to be in the philharmonic one day. We talked about an Aaron Copeland concert we had both attended and heard a fantastic woman clarinetist play.

Star Wars poster

Sunday the 11th, did gongyo with Mr. Williams with the Young Women’s Division while I was on Toban*. After meeting, set up 2nd floor for Junior Pioneers*  recital based upon the “Star Wars” theme. Was really fun and there were a couple of tears at times thinking of the future of these children. Rekindled again my sense of mission.

Tired after meeting! Took lots of energy.

After meeting had dinner at Liz’s and then Toban at L.A. #1 headquarters.


Difficult day-depressed. Deal at Ambassador Hotel too expensive. Something grabbing my life-don’t know what it is. A terrible lonely feeling. Called many of my old friends last nite. Good talk with Tom, Scott, Mike Hutchins…

December 17. 

Saw “Close Encounters” with Jerry Wilhelm and Brent Wilson. Raining. Nice change of weather.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind


*Toban: Japanese term used in the Soka Gakkai for someone who guards the headquarters, community centers, temple, training center, opens doors, answers phones, acts as a gatekeeper of sorts to make sure the center is safe for the members and secure after they leave. We would also vacuum the entire facility at night before retiring. We would stay there over night to protect it and answer phones. Higher level youth division leaders and men’s division leaders usually were given this responsibility. We also opened the doors of the Butsudon for meetings and also made sure they were closed and locked afterwards. We were taught to protect the building and members.

Junior Pioneers: In the Soka Gakkai, a youth organization for kindergarten and elementary school age children of Soka Gakkai parents.


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