Posts Tagged ‘Bob Rafkin’

by James C. Stephens

Monday, March 17, 1980

Weekend was really strange. We finally tied up an apartment, then roommate Vincent Wong caused some real upsetting problems. The guy is exceedingly immature. He is rude and also unaware of his actions and of himself. His table manners are gross–he chews his food with his mouth wide open and it grates terribly on my nerves. 15 minutes before I had to be at a meeting he says he wants to have a talk–only when it is convenient for him. When we’re relaxing on a Sunday evening, he comes in and wants to figure out the bills. Late at night he would make noise in the kitchen while we were trying to sleep and on top of that he talks to himself.

Our place in Culver City on Woodbine.

I find him incredibly irritating. We’ll see what I can learn here. He’s like a little child. It’s not so much his actions, but his attitude. It’s a temporary situation and evidently I must be in it to learn something. I have never felt intuitively right about him, so maybe it’s the universe’s design to help me change something. I’ll stick it out, but as soon as we move in I’ll just be me and not hold back anything. He’s an extremely arrogant “intellectual” engineer and quite frankly he really is short, I mean really short on human skills. He says with his mouth he wants to change. He talks of the fact he would like to be a politician. Why is it people who don’t really care about people want to run our government? I also think he designs military weapons which disturbs me. The person has very little conscience and or consciousness.

Well, we’ll see what happens in the next few months. Who knows? At this time I just wanted you to know my feelings. The guy is a real schmuck. A PhD to me is worth about a shit to me if that’s the type of person you are. He also Malaysian, educated in English schools and Catholic. Very unfrank and deceitful.

Anyway we got the place on 1133 6th Street in Santa Monica. I don’t feel too good regarding the move. We’ll just have to see if it’s just my mood or illusion or whatever. It’s right across the street from the World Culture Center. Why? Who knows. It’s frustrating. Chanted for the right move.

Yesterday had diarrhea. Felt sick. Went to Spa. Stopped by open house at Santa Monica Community Center, very little vitality in the elderly. I felt more ill just being around there. I just don’t know what is going on in my life, its all so strange.

When I drop in on a meeting at the center, I can’t quite feel sincere with the leaders or the people. I have a tremendous resentment against many of them. The leaders just grate on my life.

Quite honestly I don’t know where all this is leading.

Without Liz sometimes it would be hard to bear what goes on.

It’s time to make and find some new friends for new growth. I feel we’ve outgrown a lot of acquaintances that are just not too interesting to be around.

This new move is a good opportunity to change a lot of things.

Monday, April 7, 1980

Had a chiropractic treatment today from David Clemmens, D.C. and am feeling better mentally. To me it is so incredible what a difference I feel when my back is aligned. I needed very much to get an adjustment since all I seem to have been doing for the past weeks is moving. Three Saturdays ago we moved into our new apartment at 1133 6th Street, Apartment #1. What a move! Fortunately a lot of friends helped us out. Bruce Barnes, Bob Rafkin, Mike Roquemore and Kirk, Lydia, Adrianne Lascar, and Dad. It sure made it easier and I really do appreciate their help. We had more help than our UCLA Extension Landscape School in moving the drafting equipment on Saturday April 5.

Last Monday Liz and I helped Dad move out of the garage. What a monumental task. Liz is such a beautiful and remarkable woman. I love her so much. And I enjoy working with her. She doesn’t fool around. She gets things done. Well I have to tell you we did one helluva lot of work and quite a good job. It sure felt good to finally see a phase in our life pass. (The cars were gone. Hip!Hip! Hooray!)

We had our share of Mrs. Nelson too. She became a terrible bother at the end. I didn’t find her a very enjoyable person. Strange lady. A touch of Nazi in there I believe. Enough there.

Our new place is really charming. It’s taking some time to get settled, but we’re doing fine. Sunday, Liz and I took a walk to the pier and Ocean Park. Although I wasn’t in the best of spirits I have to say I did enjoy myself.

Our new place is really charming. It’s taking some time to get settled, but we’re doing fine. Sunday, Liz and I took a walk to the pier and Ocean Park. Although I wasn’t in the best of spirits I have to say I did enjoy myself.

Few things. Adrianne and Mike Roquemore got together, as Adrianne was having problems with someone who shows her concern; I’m getting friendly with a girl Bonnie from school. She’s married, not too happy. We had a nice talk on Saturday alone when we were moving desks donated by a big design firm. I think it would be nice to have a more intimate relationship with her. I think we could be very good friends. In fact I think it looks very promising in that direction and I will definitely commit some time in that direction.

Design School looking really great. I helped along with Nori Hashibe, John, Tom L, Pat Allen and Bonnie, Vince and a few others to move a great deal of drafting equipment to our new prospective design center.

I’m talking to Pat Allen, Chair of the School of Landscape Architecture, UCLA Extension.  

Nori, Phil and I talked til late about the future in this area and regarding Pacific Cultural ties. I’m taking Studio Skills from Nori and Interior Design for Landscape Architecture from Tom Lockett.

Tom Lockett, Land Images.

I feel I’m on the ground floor of something great happening and I am EXCITED! REAL EXCITED.

Same in NSA with the Youth Development Program. Michael Crenshaw (An Actualization’s Workshop Leader) and I had dinner and he’s very interested in helping develop the Young People’s Workshop.

In the area of Relationship with Liz it’s deepening. Some problems, but a lot of advancement.

Family: Uncle Johnny Dow (Tony’s father) is not doing well. He has terminal cancer. I don’t know much more than that presently.

Bruce and Maggie got married last weekend in March. Very nice wedding small and beautiful. Bruce’s family seemed really happy. It looks like a good bet!

Started a million daimoku campaign today.

Losing my hair stylist Linda. She and her husband are moving to Carmel. Really nice gal from New York.

Tomorrow–Sexual Self Expression Workshop–Touching. Should be interesting.

Good nite for now.

Oh, a couple of other things: must push career–progressing too slow. Looking for a job. Must complete resume this week.

Liz and I going to Yosemite with Jerry Wilhelm and Pat Cuda on Ecological Systems field trip (While we waited for Jerry’s Professor, we soon heard tragic news that he was killed in a motorcycle accident on his way to teach the class. It was very difficult for all).

Elizabeth at Yosemite.

Must get serious with Career by doing.

Michael Roquemore having a hard time at present, but I think it’s going to turn around.

Chris DeLisle doing great. Helped us with garage move. Gave him my old skis and boots. He’s doing well.

Got a letter from Chris Scott–from Actualizations CPI (Creative Personal Interactions) Workshop–must get in touch. He’s really a super guy.

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by James C. Stephens


March 05, 1980

Last night I started a six week course on “Sexual Self Expression” on Tuesday nights at 7:30 with Actualizations. Our workshop conductor is a man named David Crump. (He trained at Esalen in California under Carl Rogers, a world renown expert on Group Dynamics). One of our homework assignments is to keep a journal–daily of our dealings around a sexual focus. So I might not be spending much time here for the next six weeks, but things will be recorded. I think I will record it in another journal I have. It will just be of this workshop experience. I will ask the workshop conductor if this is okay.*

David A. Crump later developed the Essential Experience.

[JCS 2019 Note: *Not many years later, I sat in on a Psychology class at UCLA to take notes for a sick friend and was deeply impressed by the Professor’s take on the psychological dangers and relational damage due to Pornography. The class radically changed my view of pornography. In the Sexual Self Expression class we were instructed to build a book of sexual images, basically our own personal Playboy, which I did. After the class at UCLA, I made the decision to discard and destroy the notebook and clean up my own mind. It was softcore only, but it was interfering with my own marriage and imagination. I have never regretted my decision to do so nor the results of a discipline of fidelity and the resulting fruits of that practice].

Lots of work these days along with a good deal of stress and frustration. However, I’m trying to work through all these factors and learn my lessons. Wrote a short letter to Daisaku Ikeda and sent it, expressing my feelings re: my role in NSA as I see it.

As usual I’m pushed to the line for my work. Must get to work on Garcia’s plan. (I was training to become a landscape architect and worked on designing gardens for clients).

March 06, 1980

Didn’t tell you-went through two difficult days at divorce court where two fellow members Bob Rafkin and Joanne Harris decided to part.

[Bob passed away awhile ago. Joanne has gone on to be quite a famous hair stylist in Hollywood. Years ago she was one of the members of the Sweetie Seven a performing group in Nichiren Shoshu. Here’s one of her recent YouTube video series from her hair saloon. Hope she is doing well. Say hi if you see her!]

By the way, Dad presented my plan to the Garcia’s today for $12,000-$15,000 and they loved the plan. Now I’ve lot’s of work to do on the working drawings, irrigation, plant plan, staking plan, drainage, contour grading–I’m learning so much by doing–unbelievable amount of work. It’s quite absorbing and I am having fun. Finally. It’s so great to have completed a plan and to have been able to have it presented. Next I’ve got to learn #1. How to budget my time for deadlines–now I know there’s a lot of work to be done in designing the landscape for a home.

#2. To have the whole plan done at least two days in advance–with all prices, all plans in order to relax the day before and to #3. Be in shape for a presentation. #4. Pricing and sales are real weak for me!

One thing David Crump said to me in the workshop on Tuesday was (and it was very perceptive of him) –Stick to it, don’t give up–>see it through.

I thought about that often last night and morning. I would finish the presentation plan no matter what. I knew I could, but it would take discipline; which I’m trying to develop.

I had never seen Chaplin speak.

Before I sat down to continue my work last night I watched some movies on “ON TV.” The first movie was a Chaplin film-much to my surprise, I had never seen Chaplin speak. It was so damned funny. I didn’t know it was Chaplin until after the film (The King of New York City). I was really taken over by him. It must have paralleled his own life, as his son was in the movie also. He did deliver some real eloquent punch lines about the American system and it was really sad, but true. It revolved around the Communist issue, which involved Chaplin quite deeply. He left America I believe because of it. I will research this. A very warm, funny man.

I could not help but be inspired by Truman’s guts, courage, honesty and conviction.

The next movie was “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry”–a story, a play about Harry S. Truman played by James Whitmore. Well done–damned inspiring. I could not help but be inspired by Truman’s guts, courage, honesty and conviction. A man of integrity. I wanted to run out and get into the political arena right then. I realize now it is rather the guts and other traits I aspire to enhance in my own life. If politics ever becomes my destiny–I give my life in service to the people. This is the only raison d’etre for politics. Great play. I highly recommend it. I must study history more. What makes such a man. I’m inspired.

Yesterday–got a call from Paris regarding an apartment we looked at in Santa Monica. Two bedrooms-dining room, big living room-French windows, Spanish style. Really nice. It will take some work. We have an interview Friday or Monday. It’s on 6th Street diagonally across from the World Culture Center. Close to Liz’s work and close for us to W.C.C. Bank. Well, whatever’s in the stars for us–that will be fine.

Got a call from school–Bonnie from Landscape Extension called regarding Neil’s class–I gave her my analysis of class. Too much in too short a time. Glad I could give input, by the way-a day before the department meeting. She was very receptive for which I was appreciative. She told me she would talk to Pat Allen regarding my input.

Next, Dad called me and reported to me he ran into a gentlemen he had been trying to contact for weeks to work for him. Best worker he ever had. We had just had a heated discussion the day prior regarding employees and his name had come up. Thanks universe for putting them together the next day. What a fortunate occurrence. Dad happened to go into a Montgomery Wards and ran into the guy. Very fortunate occurrence considering the size of this city… Dad also talked to his friend Pierre regarding his landscape crew and working together. They agreed to do some business. This will probably promote more design business for me.

Garcia had called me early Tuesday morning also and said the Hospital might need some design work. Mad appointment Thursday. What a day. Not only that, then Ann Hagihara called regarding the Youth Development Movement in Beverly Hills. She at first felt me out regarding my feelings and I reassured her that although Andrea was the figurehead at the time, I personally had already accepted total responsibility for the program in Beverly Hills. Right now I’m just not trying to make waves, with the powers that be, but instead just floating among them and scoping out the situation. I assured her that I got the same feeling as her on Andrea. She told me that Andrea really was not interested in the youth program at this time and was probably feeling guilt and pressure since she was formerly in charge of the Young Women’s Division. Whatever. I’m sure everything will work out for the best for everyone. I hope she is interested, if not we can work with the too.

After Liz got home we went out to MacDonald’s and had dinner and talked in the van about all the things going on. Something’s changing.

I’m chanting more and doing some music meditation. Getting a bit more in contact with myself. The Sexual Journal is helping me explore myself more for which I am thankful.

General ideas for Youth Development Program.

Summerhill-Freedom–Not teaching–Facilitating–Freedom–Patience–Coordinating–Finding people talented in area of youth anywhere-members or not–youth programs–non dogmatic–True Buddhism–True Freedom–Non authoritarian–non coercive–Room for youth–Library–Communication Newsletter national, local–workshops (summer courses) with real growth–not like past in NSA–Together! Planned M. Crenshaw (Actualizations leaders)–if youth needs something, let’s provide for growth–Parental cooperation–Community Service Program–Community Service Center–Sunday Daimoku Tosos–Preparation before meetings–Responsibility–Everyone–Youth Government–not benevolent Dictatorship–Youth free run of place.

Awe and respect for life.


by James C. Stephens


Monday, December 31, 1979

Liz went to work, got off early, went shopping, both of us grouchy and very touchy. Fixed beautiful dinner for friends. Liz very sick, bleeding worsened. Called Dr. Stevens. Sent Liz to bed. Checked often, 12:00, 2:30, 4:30, 8:30 better. Stayed in bed all day on the first.

Dinner on New Year’s Day evening was really nice. Bob Rafkin and Debra, Judy Gold, Mike Roquemore, Kathy Schindler, Chris Scott and Madelyn, Steve and Ronalee Haggard, Bruce Barnes and Maggie DeLux, Liz and I.  We had mushroom soup, Salad, Chicken, Carrots and Green Beans with Bechamel Sauce, Baked Apples in Butter, Rice, and Wine. Highlights, “carrots ala Debra,” “Tarot with Kate,” “Cats like them little mousie’s,” and games.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

And so ends the decade of the 70’s.

A decade of growth

A decade of increased complexity.

A decade of terrorism.

A decade of energy consciousness.

A decade of the new consciousness.

But a decade of life

and a brightening of a light that shall

bring peace to the world

and a realization of the small scale of this planet.

The landing on the moon.

A decade of divorce, yet a spawning of two marriages in our family.

“Winter is over and spring is here, and sunshine is within our hearts.” ~Daisaku Ikeda.

Welcome to the 80’s!

~~~~~~~~

A brief look back at the seventies.

 

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by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, November 27, 1979

Frustration would have been yesterday’s caption on my diary if I had written it. No doubt about it. Yet this morning I again am in contact with that tremendous world of conviction, confidence and freshness. How silly I am at time, or how willy nilly life is. I’ve been swayed by at least a couple of the eight winds. Yet I feel like a young sapling able to learn a lesson from the wind.

It is not the beautiful curtains, yard, paintings on the wall that makes a person happy. Yesterday I felt closed in by my environment, desirous of escaping. This morning again I feel boundless, free as the wind, as fresh as the sun in the new day. As I look up the sun greeted me with memories of Nichiren. The sky is dark and overcast yet the sun manages to burn through. It is never defeated, but burns even more brightly against the gloomy skies. I too am determined to become a beacon for all.

A great man is not held back by his own preconceptions, but can change and alter his course when he recognizes a better path.

I love my parents. I love my father. Yet he does not know what he desires to do. I must be firm. To become wealthy is not to pursue wealth. Rather it is a spiritual state. On Sado Nichiren declared even in the midst of suffering that he was the happiest man or the richest man in Japan.

Starting the first of the year I will start my business. However it will not be a conventional start. First, I desire to earn money for the propagation of Buddhism. It has been my excuse in the past not to give gokuyo because I didn’t know where it went as far as NSA. This was understandable. What is regrettable is my failure to see that the temple is a direct link to Nichiren Daishonin and that I have failed to lend my support. I (we) will begin as soon as possible.

I feel no real negativity towards NSA as I did in the past, however at present I feel NST is more open and understandable to myself. The layman’s organization is in a period of flux.

I am convinced 1980 is going to be challenging beyond my expectations. I am also determined to see my effort bear fruit this year (1980).

Tuesday, December 4, 1979

Record High for this date of 91 degrees.

Jean Claude KillyRon called tonight from Bend. He and Pam are doing fine. Ron is pretty busy with coordinating his race program at Bachelor. He sounds quite happy. I’m so glad things are going better for him. He said he’s the best skier on the mountain. He’s already beat the new Frenchman in a series of races. (The Frenchman was on the French “B” team). Ron and I talked about his attitude towards his racers. He said many will never move on to competitive careers so it is a program helping kids build their character. He however does have some pretty hot material. A couple of his guys are at the National Camp at Gunnison, Colorado this week. Ron also said there is so much ski politics up there, but for the most part he stays out of them. He is now also the Rossignol On the Hill Rep.

(Liz) Sweets got her hair cut today. At first it was hard to get used to, but now I like it. Basically, all I have been up to the last several days are drafting projects. (When people ask why my printing is so neat, I tell them mechanical drafting and hours and hours of practice and the excellent teaching of Neil Weikel).

Liz has been having some stomach type problems. Hasn’t had her period recently. Pregnant? Who knows?

Sweets and I went to Bodhi Tree Bookstore Friday night. Picked up a few good finds. Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XXXV and XXVI: Questions of King Milinda; Korzebsky: Science and Sanity; Watts, Psychotherapy East and West, Wisdom of Insecurity and last but not least the Kama sutra.

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“X” called Monday night. Talked about movement. Idea of a support group~West Coast Movement with about 250-350 supporters. Network-Gadfly important. Let’s get started.

Talked to Scott Ferguson-receptive of the idea. Ken Tapola-definite yes. Out of Navy now working at Dunlop as a machinist.

Worried about “X.” I’m afraid he’s not tackling his own personal life and goals. This could be dangerous for him and his family. I sincerely hope he is not just avoiding his own reality. I’m just concerned as a friend.

Thought about Walter Moeck tonight. He used to be the Brass Band conductor. Mike Lisagor gave him a terrible time. I will never forgive him for that. Must write Walter a letter! (Walter Moeck was the summer conductor of the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra and was my clarinet teacher. He was strict, but kind. May he rest in peace).

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Monday, December 17, 1979

Hi Diary! How are you this fine day! I hope you’re well rested and happy.

Last week I took Liz to the Doctor. Gary said she wasn’t pregnant as of yet, but gave her a week and said to bring in an urine specimen and they’d run another test. Since the day of the test she hasn’t been feeling nauseated. I’m happy for that is a lousy feeling.

Saturday night we had a Christmas party and you know all the preparation that takes. Liz made over 100 invites and I framed pictures, helped clean the house, etc., etc., etc.

Liz bakes lots of cookies (They were excellent by the way and made a superb spaghetti. There was lot of food and a whole ton of people.

People starting arriving around 4:00. First, Adrianna, Liz’s sister. She’s such a big help! She helped out tremendously. Next around 5:30, X. He started out drunk and as the night wore grew intolerable for many of the guests. He is quite an unusual character. Harmless, but with a build of 6’5″ and with a laugh so loud you’d better put up shoring around your house before he comes over. In any case the party was an interesting and festive experience nonetheless. I’ll get this out now. We had been working on an idea together as far as what can be done to help support the organization. He has been pushing to form a support group of 200-350 people who can offer suggestions to the Executive planning board from an organized power group. I had my reservations. #1. I have and still question X’s true intent at this point. I do not get the true feeling he is committed to this serious goal. I feel, and this is my intuitive feeling, that he is using the organization as an escape from his own reality. His situation at home is not conducive to running a reform movement. His wife is not well, finances are in really bad shape, they have children, beautiful at that, and he has several misconceptions about the faith. His Gongyo is very poor, health poor and drinking a severe problem. Now this is not all. His business dealings with people has left several people in highly critical situations. His construction business left one family without a kitchen, etc. and near a divorce after spending $15,000. He is a man of talk, not action. It is the last party we can afford him to attend. It is not however the end of our friendship. He needs support and what I can offer, I will. Besides him; Liz and I feel very much love towards his wife who is a tremendous women of the highest caliber. She is under much stress at present and her health is poor. I wish her all the best.

Bob Rafkin stopped by before work and dropped off a pie which was really nice of him. We talked briefly. His career is doing better once again. His divorce proceedings will occur in February.

Others who made it: Darlene Benson, Steve and Ronalee Haggard, Chris Scott, sure was good to see him, he was hobbling on a cane, having trouble with the knee he hurt in Rugby. He wanted to know what was happening with the literary group. I told him everyone but me sort of petered out. He’s still interested, so we’ll start again soon. He said his house could also facilitate such a meeting.

Vincent Wong, Michael Roquemore (we had a good chat and he had a fine talk with Linda Valles, his former roommate for many years); Michael also expressed an interest in Judy. I forgot to mention Steve H remarked on my Alan Watts books and his own interest in Zen Buddhism. I found this to be exciting. Steve and Ronalee and Liz and I get along well together and have a good relationship. Steve and I played racquetball week before last. It was my first time and I did quite well. Last week I spent many hours drafting away. I worked through one night and didn’t get to sleep until 9:30 AM.

Who else came? Lets’s see, there was Jeff Silver, Linda Dekowski-very nice gal who is a friend of Jeff’s, Devorah Sorrell, Pat Kremer, Guy Boudoin, Katie Newman-we talked business-she’s a wonderful woman. Bruce Barnes and Maggie DeLux-they’re engaged to be married, Ric and Bethany Coleman, Les Steinberg and his mother Lillian, Kelly, Shawna, Judy Gold and Glen-we had a great talk and it was so nice to see her. Glen is really jealous, so we really had no time to talk. Beth Minton and her boyfriend Michael came by, Karen Okata and her friend, Kate and her brother Randy Schindler; Ford Watson brought over a whole lot of food, very generous of him, Dion Dow and Nancy, Steve Seigal, Allan, Ron Kolman, Bobbie and Joey Gluskin, Alice and Sully, Jane Murad, Brent Wilson, Jason and Mary Jane Kovatch, Ed Nakata, Michael Hayes, Linda and Victor Valles and friend Sal, Thomas and Zadith Fresquez, Russ Isobe, John DeGomez, and Donald Hodges.

I stayed up til 3:30 talking with Jeff, Linda, Katie, Pat, Allen and Steve Seigal. Then from 3:30 to 6:30 cleaned up the house to surprise Sweets who’d retired to bed. We slept most of the day and enjoyed every moment of it.

Sunday evening we went out to a Moroccan Restaurant called Dharma Greg. It was a gathering with Les and Jeanette and her friends, Ric and Bethany, Elaine Geeler and her lawyer friend. Food was nowhere as good as at the Moon of Tunise and the atmosphere was less than comfortable-I suppose it was also the company. We did not enjoy ourselves quite frankly.

I’ve been listening to some really funny W.C. Fields cuts and also to some famous bloopers, they’re great!

Anyway, Goodnight.

 

by James C. Stephens


November 18, 1979 

 File1985
“Mom and Sully took Liz and I to our first Laker’s game today, and what a first time! Sully knows the owner of the Phoenix Suns Richard Block and Richard Block quite often gives Sully his tickets. Our four seats were right on the court. The Lakers played the Indiana Pacers. Today was evidently one of the Laker Girl’s (cheerleaders) first debutes. We watched Kareem Abdul Jabar and Magic Johnson, Nixon, Wilkes, etc., play some fancy ball. It was great entertainment, and I was so happy to watch Liz yelling and enjoying herself.

Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabaar

We all had a drink in the Forum Club also. Definitely a nice benefit of being invited. Afterwards Sully and Mom took Liz and I out to dinner at Petracelli’s restaurant on Sepulveda. Pretty good food. Did you know that Sully was raised in a family of 22 children? Unreal! When Sully said he had dozens of brothers he wasn’t kidding. His brother died last year at the age of 93. Sully will be 61 on Wednesday, November 21st.

Liz and I also were heir to two tickets to a Charity dinner and dance at General Lee’s in Chinatown given by the Young Chinese Women’s Association. Katie Newman couldn’t make it so she called and asked us if we would like to go. Sure. It was a very nice occasion, nine course meal (very, very tasty at that) and Liz and I got to do a little disco dancing. Afterwards we dropped by Bruce’s on Shoreline. He announced to us his engagement to Maggie DeLux, super nice gal.

Saturday, Liz, Vincent, Kirk (Cal Tech grad student) and I went to the Spa. Kirk showed us more about how to use the weight machines than any instructor ever had.

Friday night was Liz’s last night at Grandview GTE school for equipment repair, so I checked out Santa Monica Group meeting. Gave Pat Shaw a ride. The meeting was a complete farce. Also saw and met this Tim (Thomas) Payne from North Hollywood. His slide show on Buddhism was degrading and very sloppy. I was not impressed. The gent can not take criticism, even constructive at that. Liz and I went out afterwards to the Magic Pan. Food about a 3.

Saturday night we witnessed a crime. Mexicans in a beige Dodge van ahead of us got out and batted out all the windows of a Toyota and drove away. I, well we went through a big dilemma of whether to report it or not since we did not get the license number. At first we feared reprisal (we lived directly across the street where we would normally have turned into our driveway, but drove on past so they did not associate our green Westfalia VW quite recognizable with our address as witnesses), but realized that you couldn’t allow fear to run or ruin one’s life. Sort of like the Nazguls, the ringwraiths in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. It is not fair to the criminals to let them get a way with thinking life is so simple. Also cause and effect. Hopefully someday if we need protection we will be repaid by the universe. Not that we expect it. I now realize the fear of reprisal syndrome you hear New Yorker’s talk of. It is definitely a battle of justice and evil. One that takes courage to fight. However, even though we reported the crime I believe the victim’s probably did not. It seems it is an in-house thing between Mexicans. (In retrospect, I could be horribly wrong). It’s a shame their dealings tend to be so violent. I dare say it will be a cold day in hell before you find me hanging around places like East L.A. Unfortunately gang violence is now at our back door literally.

(Note: Well, that all changed when I became a Christian. I spent time in Watts with an ex Hell’s Angel arms dealer “Wolf” (Steve Johnson) at a deserted crack house restoring it for recovering addicts, and led Julian my neighbor, who used to be a hit man for the Mexican Mafia to the LORD. He had tried to drown his troubles in the bottle, and was miraculously saved, filled with the Holy Spirit and sober for the first time he could remember. His family history was traced back to Pancho Villa, the notorious bandito. When he passed away, it was requested I assist in his funeral service in East LA. I absolutely loved the guy. When our family suffered a retaliatory eviction, he said, “Do you want me to burn the place down? I will.’ I told him, no, as Christians we must forgive, but I appreciate your loyalty. He did a lot of excellent work on our home and furniture).

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The Iranian situation is a sad disgrace to the human race. A “religious” leader Ayatollah Khomeini  endorsing international blackmail and the takeover of a U.S. Embassy in Iran. It is unfortunate we have the Shah of Iran in our country, but the manner in which the Iranians have chosen to handle the situation is terrorist and unforgivable. It is the action of an irrational animal and may the universe see the safety of the American hostages. Iranians by the 100’s of thousands have been demonstrating against the U.S. Government and are now emphasizing that it is not against American citizens, but the American Government. Unfortunately their program doesn’t fit, since it is American citizens that are being held hostage. I can understand their hate of the Shah, but Jesus, what terrible tactics. We shall not back down and we shall not forget. The Iranians are acting like barbarians. What a terrible name they are making for good Iranians around the world.

Goodnight.

P.S. Couple of other items-Aunt Lil, Bel and Doris here from Israel. Liz, Adri, and I had dinner Friday in October with them. Very nice meeting them. They love Adri and LIz very much and we spent a great deal of time talking about past experiences. I was fascinated.

Liz and I made a tape the following day of some of her past experiences.

Had a Pot Luck Discussion meeting at our house. Bob Rafkin and Debra, Scott and Michele, Vincent, Lydia, Bruce and Maggie, Vic and Marta, Katie Newman, Mike Roquemore, Darlene Benson, Liz and I.

It was an interesting experience. However not much Buddhist dialogue transpired.

Vic and Marta and Eric spent the night. Vic, Marta and I had a meaningful conversation late into the night.

Had a dinner at our house for Sharon, Ruthie, Rebecca, Jane Murad, Liz, Adri and I. Okay. Sharon needs to loosen up definitely.

 

 

 

 

by James C. Stephens


Wednesday, June 05, 1979

Finished a terrific day off with life. I love my wife very deeply. Our relationship is growing tremendously each day and I would just like to express my appreciation here of my wife’s magnificence. I will stick by her no matter what, let me always remember this. Death will not sever our relationship. I think I experience fear of things worsening when things seem to be getting better at times. We must both look ahead. This is of utmost importance. Then our relationship is so terrific. After the toso tonight, on the way back home, Liz talked about many things she was feeling. I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am to hear her communicate so freely. It’s such a tremendous joy for me to experience her exuberance.

Judy called this evening and left a message on the tape. She got my letter and was moved to hear from me. I tried to reach her at 11:10, however no one was home. I’ll try tomorrow.

Had teeth cleaned today. Talked to Dr. Coombs. Seems to be having some problems. I like the guy; had a short conversation regarding his work and his having bad days.

Physical exam for General Telephone Employment application. Dr. Stevens’ letter upset me in its incompleteness. Worked it out. Still waiting for the word on acceptance.

Breakfast with Kathy this morning. Talked about our experience with workshop and our sexual relationship with people. Interesting.

Toso tonight. Chanted for about 45 minutes. I ended up leading it. Session of chanting was a real personal workshop. Benefited from the experience greatly. Feel tremendous. Sleep well! Love, me.

P.S. Saw Suzanne Tarlton tonight. Talked with Geoff Johnson, very interesting fellow, has a lot going, hope to see him more. Our conversation was meaningful. Instead of flitting around to several people, I really stayed with him and gave him my presence. I enjoyed sharing with him.

File1209Wife and I sailed on Sunday with brother Ron in Marina Del Rey. It was a fun experience. Of course it was cold and I broke out in usual hives and rash. Most of all I enjoyed seeing Liz take off in boat with Ron. Her first time sailing. Leaning over board, switching sides, it was exciting. What a trip!

Went through a quick number previous to going sailing with Mike going to Malibu and Liz possibly going. I wanted her with me. My possessive nature. It worked out, but the conflict remains inside me although no where as heavy as previously.  Goodnite., Oh one more thing.

Went to General Lecture tonight with Sudo. A real drag. Started on my personal campaign to become a class A lecturer on Buddhism. I can do it.

Thursday, June 14, 1979

File1338The Actualization’s workshops for June began today with seven NSA members attending. Donna Bond, Darlene Benson, Ford Watson, Greg Case, Ric Coleman, and Elaine Elders.

Yesterday Liz and I attended Holiday Spa for the fourth time. Chris DeLisle, Lydia and Linda came with us. On our way out we ran into Judy the Doctor of Psychology who took the May workshop. We spent over an hour in the Van talking. It was an interesting experience. One observation. Everyone goes through bummers, the important things is to keep moving, keep doing and you’ll work through it.

Afternoon drove Bob Rafkin to pick up wife’s car from UCLA hospital. They’re in the process of getting a divorce and Joanne is bringing a lot of sickness to herself by tension, etc. She has colitis and has been bleeding internally. She needs to practice, but evidentally is not facing the reality of the situation. Suzanne and Mrs. Harris evidently have been giving Bob one hell of a rough time. Liz and I met him at Pacific Sandwich and Savings tonight and spent some time together.

Big thing accomplished this week. Got hired at General Telephone as a customer service representative. Big step.

Problems with school-no motivation. Just dropped off.  Did learn some good stuff so I don’t feel I wasted money and time.

So much happening. Spa is definitely a plus experience. Redoing house, less clutter, more light, more spacious. Environment reflects my life condition.

Roquemore and my friendship meaningful. Great friend. Reading Kahlil Gibran. Bought several of his books.
Les Steinberg and my relationship-rocky. He seems unsure of who he is. Being a judge much of the time. Uncomfortable being around him. I assume part of the responsibility.

NSA reorganization plan from the Executive Planning Board–not impressed so far. However, I am open to possibilities. Belief that Workshop campaign is most valuable booster now for NSA.

Substance vs. Form is essence of any look at Organization.

Have been going through major ups and downs.

Feeling more stable. Action. Very important. Creative energy.

I am definitely feeling better about myself. I mean this is a major benefit.

Liz and I have our trying times, I need to give her more space to herself. For our relationship.

Cancelled music lessons-finances-must work on this one together. I must take more responsibility there.

Garden prospering. Yard is improving day by day.

by James C. Stephens


Monday, May 14, 1979

Well its back to the drawing board and studying. Los Angeles was really hot this weekend. Not only were the temperatures high, but so were tempers as gas lines grew to frustratingly long lines. Things are looking worse in Los Angeles all the time. Prices are so ridiculously high as far as real estate, one as young as our family could not possibly hope to own property or even a condominium in a reasonable area. Rents are continuing to soar over Los Angeles and in Santa Monica, the renters finally got rent control passed over all the landowner propaganda.

My birthday #28 was on Saturday and was quite enjoyable. We had a party and invited several of our friends over. Who showed up? Well there was Francis and her daughter Annie and her boyfriend Phil, Bruce Barnes, Michael Roquemore, Marshel, Kathy Schindler, Kurt, Jeff Silver, Devorah Sorrell, Pat Kremer, Steve Seigal, Chris Delisle and a friend, Barry Simon, Adrianna Lascar, Liz and I (Togo and Lyla-Katie Newman’s cats).

There were debates, games, food, booze and great conversation.

File1437

My Dad, Carlton W. Stephens visited the memorial commemorating the loss of the crew of the USS Arizona which included one of his childhood friends who lost their lives defending the fleet during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The date was December 7, 1941. “Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime.” (note date was May 1979).

Dad arrived home from Hawaii Sunday night and evidently had a really nice time. He went to a luau and took several tours and had a party on a catamaran cruise. Also went a visited his high school buddies’ watery grave at Pearl Harbor. His friend was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona.

Sunday afternoon Liz and I went to Ocean Park beach with Jeff Silver, Danny, Linda Dekowski, and had a lot of fun cooling off in the ocean. Really enjoyed myself with my wife immensely. We are getting much closer. I pray we have a long life together. She is a great woman and very liberated from a lot of bull. I’m learning a great deal from her.

This morning Dad and I went out to breakfast. Prior to breakfast I told him that I thought it  not befitting of him to sink to the levels of bickering our landlady and neighbor have fallen to. I told him I thought it unbecoming to his beautiful nature. We had a nice talk. We also talked about Oregon.

I can’t seem to keep a move out of my blood. In a sense I’m sick of L.A. and in another I’m L.A. That’s why Liz and I are planning our August vacation up the coast. I can’t wait. I must get some literature about the various areas and write some letters to some friends about arrangements when we arrive.

Wednesday night Liz, Adrianna and I went out for Liz’s birthday at a family Yugoslavian restaurant on Fairfax Blvd. We had a delightful meal and i had brought a fresh fruit type cake and brought it in the back door after we arrived. Liz was surprised as the family brought out the cake and sang happy birthday to Liz. It was a lot of fun.

Presently, I will set up a program of consolidation of what we have put into cash and also to get our bills paid and finances straightened out on paper.

Also I am studying business and am gaining an interest in the study of Buddhism. I have always enjoyed this. Why not make it your hobby, your job. A lecturer on Buddhism might not be a bad career and very rewarding I’m sure. Definitely not a preaching way as I have at times seen. But presented in a clear, concise, humorous 21st century mode that inspires people to examine life, see the essence and live in a creative mode.

Bob Rafkin called and is doing well in his new job with W.L. Cult, a new country band. They play at the Landmark in Glendale which evidently is in competition with the Palomino Club in North Hollywood. I sure like Bob, he’s a funny and inspiring guy.

We’ll I’d better get busy!