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29. A PURPOSE IN COMMON

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MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
The three of us shared a common spiritual bond.  We shared a common vision of creating a more compassionate, sane, and intelligent world...a world of beauty.  And we felt a personal responsibility in doing so.
We were focused on leading well-rounded, integrated, and healthy lives, and by doing so, creating a better world.  That was what our ashram was about.
Alain...being older, more mature, and more experienced...focused on sharing with others, through teaching, writing, and giving talks, the knowledge, skills, and wisdom he had gained.  Jon and I were young and callow...studying, learning, and developing...searching for the knowledge and skills we would need to make a difference, and finding our place in life.

Alain was a mentor and an example...

ALAIN
Alain had a clipped British accent...more accurately, a South African accent which had a very distinctive inflection and lilt...almost a brogue.  He was born and grew up in Pretoria, South Africa, of con…

28. TOGETHER IN SHANGRI-LA

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BACK TO THE OJAI VALLEY
Thankfully, the Scripps Clinic accepted my resignation, albeit reluctantly.  I packed up and headed to Ojai to join Alain and Jon at the old Dieges house in the adjacent hamlet of Meiners Oaks.  I was soon back in that magic, incredibly beautiful valley (appropriately, it was filmed as Shangri-La in Frank Capra's 1937 classic, Lost Horizon)...

Being in the west end of the valley was a new experience for me...within easy walking distance to a lot of places I loved to visit, very unlike my schoolhouse location in the remote Upper Valley.


A short distance away, an easy walk, was the Krotona Institute of Theosophy...with a library, bookstore, and beautiful gardens for study and contemplation.  While I wasn't interested in the Theosophical pursuit of the occult and the 'masters,' I was inspired by the atmosphere of the place.  It had been established in the 1920s for the raising of human consciousness, and the buildings and gardens had the patina of a…

27. CHANGES (my time in La Jolla comes to an end)

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I MOVE TO THE HIGHLANDS
My position at the Clinic had given me minimal free time and minimum income; my apartment rent was eating up what spare change I had.  I thought about looking elsewhere for another position and in the meanwhile, I looked for less expensive lodgings.

From a notice I saw posted on the Clinic bulletin board, I rented a room in a pleasant and spacious home located above the La Jolla flatlands in the Highlands.  It was a beautiful location with considerably less rent to pay...the home of a Clinic doctor's widow.

She was intelligent and cultured; we listened to music together on her excellent hi-fi stereo player.  She had a television and we regularly watched Kenneth Clark's epic 'Civilization' series which was just being broadcast for the first time.  We wouldn't miss an episode.   We got along very well; she treated me as a family member.


ACQUAINTANCES BECOME MY FRIENDS: Alain and Jon
Before moving to La Jolla, I had become friends with two fellow…

26. SELF-CONTAINED IN MY OWN WORLD

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NO TELEVISION...so what?
As in Happy Valley, and as in all my previous abodes during my university years, I again had no television...which was fine with me.  When I wasn't at work, I was either out walking, or inside the apartment reading a book or listening to music.  I had everything I needed...a bed to lay on, a few wonderful books, and a great KLH portable stereo record player I had got while I lived in the schoolhouse.

The KLH had small but powerful detachable speakers; everything fit and clasped together compactly (cords, speakers, player and all)...folding up into a suitcase-like unit.  With its rich sound, it easily and conveniently could accompany me on all my moves.  It was perfect.


THE MUSIC
My students at Happy Valley introduced me to the music of Joni Mitchell and they loved to play her album, 'Song to a Seagull.'  I was hooked.

There was a record store nearby in Mission Bay where I picked up two albums: Joni Mitchell's just-released 'Ladies of the Can…

25. LA JOLLA

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MY DIGS
I found a nice upstairs studio apartment on the edge of La Jolla, adjacent to Pacific Beach.  It was in a 2-story U-arranged building that formed an inner courtyard, and each apartment faced the one across the way.   The apartments opened to a balcony corridor.  The location was pleasant: a quiet residential area close to a row of beachfront homes on Calumet Avenue with a grassy bluff park where I would take evening walks.

This was a huge change from my unique one-room schoolhouse abode, 'in the middle of nowhere,' high up in Ojai's beautiful Upper Valley.  I missed the space, the beauty, and the silence.  But there were compensations...

JEANNE
Shortly after I moved in, I would see a young woman about my age coming in and out of her apartment.  She had rich red hair and a bright smile, often dressed in a medical lab coat.  She was finishing her medical tech degree in residency at Scripps Hospital, another one of the Scripps medical facilities...but in a different loc…

24. DRAFTED (what next?)

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A ONE-IN-A-MILLION CHANCE
My draft issues that had been brewing for several years were now coming to a head.  My appeals to be recognized as a conscientious objector (CO) to war had been unanimously denied at the local and state levels and had now gotten as far as the Selective Service Presidential Appeal Board in Washington, D.C.  I had little hope that the prior unanimous decisions would be reversed.

In the spring of 1970...my second semester at Happy Valley...I received the remarkable news that the Presidential Appeal Board had reversed the prior unanimous decisions and that my claim as a conscientious objector was approved.  My lawyer told me that this was a one-in-a-million chance and he was as surprised as I was.


THANKFUL FOR A GRACEFUL WAY OUT
Just weeks after I had received official notice of my status, I was drafted to serve my two years.  My time at Happy Valley came to an abrupt end.  In certain respects, this came as a relief.

While there was much I liked at Happy Valley---…

23. LIVING IN HAPPY VALLEY, PART 4 (some memorable evenings)

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DINNER WITH THE NEUTRAS
I often visited Beatrice Wood and up the road from her lived Rosalind Rajagopal in Arya Vihara ('abode of the saints' in Sanskrit), Krishnamurti's former home.  I would occasionally visit Rosalind for conversation and particularly to talk with her about her interesting past.  One afternoon she invited me to stay for lunch and we had a delicious meal of papaya stuffed with cottage cheese and served with tasty sesame cookies.


Rosalind could be distant, formal, and aloof.  Her eyes had a striking milky, cold blue quality.  She was high strung and it seemed hard for her to relax.  Her full-size poodle was her loving companion.

She had suffered a critical episode of blood poisoning years before in Europe and was treated at the famous Bircher-Benner Clinic in Switzerland.  There she was introduced to having muesli and raw apples which she thereafter maintained in her strictly vegetarian diet.  She was always strict about what she ate and what she served, …