Posts Tagged ‘Bob Rafkin’

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.

 

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by James C. Stephens


November 18, 1979 

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“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.

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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!

by James C. Stephens


May 3, 1979

“We are always getting ready to live, but never living.” 

Emerson~Journals April 13, 1834

Until recently my life was at the “always getting ready to live” stage. Now I am living life, taking an active role. Before I thought a lot about why things were, why they couldn’t change. I was good at that, no denying.

I spent a lot of time finding reasons why Nichiren Shoshu Academy could not change. Of course I now realize, that was the easy way out. We humans are always good at finding ways for things not to work, simply because it takes less effort.

Then Liz and I realized, how much enjoyment could be wrought out of doing in life. So we made a garden. This was giving to life. Sweat, sweat, anger and joy. Living!

 

 

Stewart Emery Actualizations Workshop

Stewart Emery founder of the Actualizations Workshop, rated one of the top ten most influential  teachers in the Human Potential Movement in the 70’s.

Recently I took an Actualizations workshop. It was a workshop comprised of 74 people and a facilitator. Out of the workshop came a vision to me of Kosenrufu. I experienced how it was to let go of a lot of guilt, frustration; and how it was to experience love and Buddhist mercy. It revitalized my faith in the human race. No longer do I feel like waging a crusade against other religions, but rather leading a campaign showing the dignity of life. And life does have dignity. I feel much closer to Buddhism now than before. I now also have put my criticism of NSA in a proper perspective. Buddhism is life. Buddha is life! I learned, felt, experienced so much during the four day seminar in Actualizations. The unity I felt with those 74 people was so great, so real. Much like my experience with the 88 guys on the Hawaii Convention Stage crew. The experience itself can never be erased. Never, never again will I put down what I have experienced in life, in NSA. It is all gold, experience that is invaluable. Because it is just that~experience.

Maybe I should submit my experience to the World Tribune. Maybe even contribute. Do. I will. No longer am I going to be an observer exclusively. A doer is so much more enlivening. I will return treasures to NSA which I have discovered on my journey in life.

Some happenings lately I’d like to record:

Got my hair permed-feel happy with it. Have to move by June 1st-looking for a house to buy in Santa Monica. Moving seedling to Reiner’s garden, which I have constructed.

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Doing more consistant gongyo-self motivated. Taking Self Esteem Workshop. Took Support Workshop-working out Jealousy in life–low self esteem and insecurity. Workshop for wife in June.

More calm.

Diabetes-working on diet, feeling more energy. Must confirm-keto diastix. Dr. Stevens. Jogging. 1.8 miles (once). Got to get with it. Consistent. Bought one outfit of new clothes.

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Michael Roquemore, a good friend who ran Legal Aid in Santa Monica.

Friendship with Michael Roquemore-lots of growth-very close-great friend, really.

Liz-I- Jealousy both ways more substantial on my side. Overcoming. Will resolve it.

I must let love in my life. Still somewhat closed. Fear of Failure.

Consolidation of stuff of life.

Taking clarinet lessons-Liz trumpet lessons. Get piano.

Start research Travel tapes.

Reading Stewart Chandler-Omnibus.

Intro reading Quotations by Penguin Books. Crystallized wisdom and follies.

Working with Chris Delisle on Art Work

Working with Bob Rafkin on Music and Travel Tapes.

Must get Agent work organized.

Studying Accounting I–Test soon.

Studying Business Law.

Starting up Literary Group Again. Once and Future King.

Working on House on Wilshire idea-Professional offices and restaurant-live there.

National Historical Preservation Society.

Readmittance to CSUN.

Correspondence.

Study now! Bye.

Involvement with anti nuclear crusade and water planet.

Also President Ikeda resigned post April 24, 1979. Hojo now President of the Soka Gakkai. I received guidance from Mr. Hojo when he was here last. He told me next time he was here to see him. I definitely will.

Japanese. Russian.

Salt Talks. Gasoline lines long. Feeling of distrust in society of oil companies.

Williamsburg Nuclear Accident.

 

 

by James C. Stephens


Thursday, April 22, 1977

Days are getting warmer, but the nights are still cool enough to sleep well. A lot has transpired in the past week and a half. Friday last I and about 10 other guys took out our friend Bob Rafkin and got him drunk as a skunk, since he was getting married the next day. We went to McGinty’s, the Fox Inn. Had a great time, that is until the morning. I can’t remember having such a big hangover. Boy was I in pain. Luckily I made it to the wedding in time, although I ended up doing Gongyo in the back of a Mustang sitting next to a trash bin for the champagne.

That wedding was very groovy. As a matter of fact I had a most interesting thing happen, but maybe it was nothing. I was supposed to get a ride back with the guy I rode with-Sal Rivas, but it ended up I rode back with Suzanne Harris. Now before I left, I thanked the priest for the use of the temple. He said thank you for cleaning it so well afterwards.

He then said, “Are you married?”

“No,” I replied.

“When you get married you’ll have to use the temple.”

I said, “Of course.”

He then looked at me most seriously and said, “I think you will be getting married very soon.”  That freaked me for sure.

I rode back with Suzanne and Catherine a friend of the family. We had an interesting talk. She asked me lots of questions, age, length of practice, etc. I asked her many as well.

At times I think I make too much of such things, you know, read things into situations, make assumptions that have no base. Well I asked her out for dinner, but she had a guidance appointment with Mr. Kikimura. She explained to me that she was presently going through some heavy human revolution. The long and short of it is I became attracted to her.

Tuesday, I called her about 11:00 for a date, but all she said was when I asked her if she could talk or was she busy was- “Is it important, related to a meeting schedule?”

“No,” I said. “Okay, I’ll call some other time.”

Tonight I saw her at our general chapter meeting, but got the impression she was avoiding me like the plague. I asked her Shibucho, Don Mentzer, who is a favorite person of min, if he knew of any reason, or boyfriend, or situation why it would not be okay for me to ask her out. He said, “Well, she’s a tiger, Jim. She’s been through some men. But she changes, does human revolution. I don’t see why not.”

I didn’t get the best vibes from him, like maybe she wasn’t my type. So I couldn’t make connections with her. I’ve been so damned nervous about it, it hardly seems worth it. If she says no, well, if she says yes…

Daddy Long Legs Book CoverA bright note aside from my normal sancho goma problems which are pretty natural, is Mr. Bell talked to Rejicho about our literary group and thanked him for encouraging me and mentioned my name to him. He said he is very happy about the group and that members are trying to do these things. He then said he would like to suggest a book and pulled it from his shelf. It was in Japanese called Daddy Long Legs. He then explained. “It’s one of President Ikeda’s favorite books. You can read it in a night, it is short.” Believe me I am very encouraged!

Talked to Mr. Inabe at Malibu tonight. It seems his mother is extremely ill and he is going to Japan for two weeks. He doesn’t expect her to live. She is however in her nineties.

Mr. Inabe asked me if I could call all the Tobans from Santa Monica and North Hollywood and make sure they make it to Malibu. I said I’d be glad to.

I deeply like and respect this man, Mr. Inabe. He has pulled me through many heavy times.

April 29, 1977

Was so nervous and tired about asking Suzanne out. Called her. She has a boyfriend. Much relieved.


 

Bob passed away after a losing a bout with cancer in 2013. He was a great roommate. A genuinely nice guy and like an elder brother. I wished we would have kept in contact over the years. He is survived by his daughter Shelby Layne Rafkin. He was a very skilled guitarist who practiced 8 hours a day. “His career began rubbing shoulders with Bob Dylan and the folk scene of the ’60s in Greenwich Village. He was an in-demand session player in Los Angeles for years working with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Gene Vincent, the Everly Brothers and the Lovin’ Spoonful.”

I remember Bob performing “I’d Rather Be An Outlaw.” It’s quite interesting in that my great grandfather John Wesley Stephens survived an attack from the railroad skinners who raided his ranch and stole his cattle to feed the laborers building the transcontinental railroad. Great Grandpa Stephens took 44 stitches after he was left for dead by the skinners and survived. He walked with a cane until his death.  He used to read the Book of Revelation to his family each Sunday evening at their home in Texas.

I also liked his song “Lazy Waters” which he composed for the Byrds, but I actually like his performance much better.

by James C. Stephens


Monday, April 11, 1977

1:10 a.m., Tuesday morning.

Last few days have enjoyed beautiful spring weather. It’s been cool and slightly overcast with that ocean air influence. Perfect working weather. Soon, I’m sure we’ll have some more scorchers, though.

Had an enjoyable Easter Sunday. My Aunt Retha came over, Ann Sandene and her son Tony, and Emery a bowling friend of my fathers and three friends and members of mine, Tom Brittingham, Tony Schmidt, and Brent Wilson.

My Aunt Retha is looking so much better and younger. It’s great! We had such an interesting conversation about her studies in genealogy, etc. She told me about our family tree on the Stephens side of the family. In the near future I would like to get the tree from both sides of my family. It fascinates me.

After the folks ate, they went out bowling and we, the YMD, had our one hour toso and did a precise Gongyo, ate, drank and watched the conclusion of a very interesting movie, Jesus of Nazareth. Very well done. I was particularly impressed with the master disciple relationship between Jesus and his disciples, very interesting. I have much to say on this, but would like to start a notebook on personal essays on such thoughts of philosophy, education, etc.

https://youtu.be/ruLjkt-5Kao

This evening was most enjoyable for me. Bob Rafkin, a former roommate and good friend of mine is getting married this coming Saturday the 16th and tonight his Bride, Joanne Harris’s mother gave a dinner for them. It was a family dinner and I am touched deeply that I was considered to be close to Bob to be invited. We get along like brothers. Anyway it was on Restaurant Row at the Mediterranean Restaurant and I enjoyed it immensely. I became associated with Mr. Harry and Mr. Sinclair and several others of the Harris Clan and met Bob’s parents who are very neat people. There were quite a few members there also, including Mik and Liz Shevchek, Terry and Guy Meek, and Andrea Hairston.

Terry Meek and I had a very heart to heart talk; she’s definite proof of the Gohonzon, a very beautiful women with very warm eyes and emits an incredibly down to earth countenance without losing that female grace and beauty. I had mentioned Mr. Williams talking to my father and we got to discussing the literary group I started, she was extremely interested and wants to attend a meeting and if possible get into our group.

Had to leave at 10:45, because I had another equally exciting thing I had to attend in Westwood. About 3 weeks ago I met a girl named Isabel at Howard Johnson’s during my coffee break. We had a conversation across the counter and I mentioned our Literary group when I heard she was trying her hand at writing short stories. She sounded interested so I invited her to be a guest one month, she accepted.

We talked about travel and she mentioned she spent a year in France, so I mentioned the fact that one of the members in our group was from France, Pat Kremer, and if she needed to practice her French I was sure that maybe the two of you could get together via me as the liason.

About a week later I called made arrangements for the two to meet tonight. I had not shakubukued her up to this point. I introduced her to Pat, did sancho daimoku and we talked for awhile. We shakubukued her and I left for dinner while they had a talk in French. This was at 4:20. Now 11:00 I arrive and take Isabel home. We had a warm channel of communication. She expressed exhaustion in her meeting with Pat and Charlotte and how she went through changes talking to them. “They wanted to talk so much I had to fight to talk. It was a struggle, but I am becoming more aware of myself. It was good.”

She mentioned she was interested in Buddhism. Before she had come to a meeting but was not particularly taken by Phase I. She expressed that Charlotte came on a little heavy on shakubukuing her and then questioning me. Isabel sided with me in the care saying she was happy I had made friends. You’re more experienced and confident so if it comes up later you would of told me more naturally. We discussed the fact that one who is new is less confident and feels compelled to tell it our faster. Interesting.

As we departed, she said I have your number, give me a call about the book for June. I think I’ll be too busy to read until them with school exams. But I’d love to do it this summer. Maybe give me a call and we could go out or something. “Sure,” I said.

She is very soft spoken and possesses a lot of wisdom for a girl of 21. Beautiful eyes, medium dark hair, medium build. Born in Quebec, moved to California at the age of 6. Mother runs nursery in her home. Her father is an electronic technician for ITT or some big company.

I’m attracted to her, who knows but the Gohonzon. I’ve given up trying to figure things out if you know what I mean.

Oh well, its late and have much work in morning, so better sign off.

My heart is fragile

So caution is my password

But hope is always in the air

A woman is so important in my life

that I no longer take

things nonchalantly.

I feel my mission

supreme.

Fortune is on my side

each day I ask Gohonzon

My wife, my business, my members

Tantamount is my faith in Gohonzon

It I trust as

Parent, teacher and sovereign.