The KIT Newsletter, an Activity of the KIT Information Service, a Project of The Peregrine Foundation

P.O. Box 460141 / San Francisco, CA 94146-0141 / telephone: (415) 821-2090 / fax (415) 282-2369
KIT Staff U.S.: Ramon Sender, Charles Lamar, Vince Lagano, Dave Ostrom;
U.K. : Joy Johnson MacDonald, Susan Johnson Suleski, Carol Beels Beck, Ben Cavanna, Leonard Pavitt, Joanie Pavitt Taylor, Brother Witless (in an advisory capacity); Europe: Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe. The KIT Newsletter is an open forum for fact and opinion. It encourages the expression of all views, both from within and from outside the Bruderhof. The opinions expressed in the letters we publish are those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflects those of KIT editors or staff.
Yearly subscription rates (11 issues): $25 USA; $30 Canada; $35 International mailed f/ USA; 20 from EuroKIT to UK and Europe. KIT is staffed by volunteers, and a100% of all subscriptions/donations pay printing/mailing costs and assist ex-members.
For those of you who access the newsletter on the InterNet, we expect you to be willing to continue on a honor system and mail in your subscription regularly. Please give more or less, as you can afford. Thank you.

December 1996 Volume VIII #12

-------------- "Keep In Touch" --------------

Once again we round the far end of the solar orbit together, and here's hoping that those of you in the cold climates are warm and cosy; those of you in the midst of summer are enjoying breezes and cooling liquids; that all your tummies are full of your favorite dietary preferences, and for all KIT readers everywhere, whatever you celebrate, a special year-end holiday wish from KIT staff: "May the Bird of Paradise lay a rainbow-colored egg in your hat."

-----The Whole KIT and Kaboodle-----

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--- Table of Contents ----

Ramon Sender

Dave Maendel

Andy Harries

Deb Herman

The Blairsville Dispatch

Name Withheld - 'Single on the B'hof'

Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe - 'Visit To Old Hofs'

Bill Kimbro

The New York Times Excerpt- 'Sometimes A Luxury Jet Serves God'

Hannah Goodwin Johnson

Leonard Pavitt

Charlie Lamar

Lee Kleiss

Ruth Baer Lambach

Edith L. Powell
- 'A Trip To Paraguay'

HAPPY 88th Birthday, Belinda! Here's wishing you good health and happy book sales for the holidays!

HAPPY 93rd Birthday, Buddug! So glad to hear that you are back home again!

KIT: High voltage 'Get Well' beams for Arny Tsukroff, who has been bedridden for some time with swollen lymph nodes in his leg.

Ramon Sender, 11/15/96: I spoke with Eunice, who has been visiting Dave Maendel in jail every Thursday and Saturday (about six times as of this date). She is basically Dave's lifeline, and a real blessing for the guy. According to her, there are certain things he can have in jail. The highest on the list is money, which can be used to buy cigarettes that in turn can be used to barter items such as food, candy, etc. from other inmates. KIT mailed her $150 from the Xroads Fund to:

(1) add to the money she put in his account.

(2) start a running account for Dave that she can use to buy items he can such as: white t-shirts, white pairs of underwear, magazines, books, newspapers at each visit. It's best to send things via Eunice and let her bring them in.

Dave's children and family have not received any financial support from Dave since he has been arrested. Those who would like to help could send contributions directly to:

Elizabeth Maendel
P.O. Box 366
Torrington, CT 06790

Otherwise you can contribute to the "Help Dave Account" in the XRoads Fund. Also, DAVE NEEDS LETTERS! He currently is not allowed personal newspapers or magazines. Please write him at:

David Maendel
Ulster County Jail
61 Golden Hill Drive
Kingston, NY 12401-3150

11/26/96: I spoke to Eunice again, and she said that David's state of mind has improved, although she was unable to get him temporarily released for a Thanksgiving dinner at her house. He's now in a new cell block where there may be a developing problem with another inmate, but she is hoping to be able to get that situation ameliorated.

"Most of the other prisoners are very nice," she reports. "And the guards also are good people."

One interesting tidbit: the Bruderhof visits every cell block in the prison except whichever one Dave is in.

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Late-Breaking News

Dave has been indicted by the grand jury. He was arraigned Friday the 6th and is being held for trial. Now he really needs to hear from us out the outside!

Dave Maendel to All at KIT, 11/14/96: I never have written anything in KIT because I always wanted to settle my grievances on a one-to-one basis with the Society of Brothers. I have tried for a long time to develop at least a dialogue with them.

I had communicated with them twice before my January 1996 meeting. Always fell on deaf ears.

I am at the present time sitting in the Ulster County jail in Kingston, New York, reflecting on my evil deeds. Namely, an attempt to relate on a one-to-one basis with the Society of Brothers.

My being here is the direct result of Joe Keiderling and a State of New York police detective lying under oath at the arraignment. Joe Keiderling actually didn't lie under oath. He lied under affirmation, they cannot swear an oath, as you know. He lied to direct questions put to him by my attorney.

I cannot write all that has happened to me at this time because of legal proceedings still in progress. I will tell all at a later date. The next step is the grand jury on Thursday, November 14. I am looking forward to that. "48 Hours" sent a reporter to see me on November 6th. I spoke with her for about an hour-and-a-half. That looks good for now.

I am sending this letter to Eunice in Kingston. She comes to visit me often and does errands for me. I thank God for her always. I also want to thank all of those who have supported me in this. I will write more later,

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Miriam Arnold Holmes' hand-knit, colorful, one-of-a-kind sox: $12. Let her know color preference and size via KIT.

Margot & Blair Purcell's framed landscape, wildlife and other prints: request a catalog via KIT.

Lee Kleiss' hand-knit sweaters: "These acrylic sweaters can be tossed in a washing machine. I usually put some Norwegian type colorful decoration around shoulders. I expect at least a $50. donation to KIT (nothing to me if I can get the tax benefits, a receipt from KIT or Peregrine for a donation.) I do have some wool yarn left that I purchased in Minnesota, but would charge more for them. These I have often made in Irish style twisted knit, i.e. decorations in the type of stitches used - and should net more like a $100 donation. I also have some mittens, with faces for kids or doubly knit for adults, and a few afghans. Now that I have to do a lot of sitting, I'm knitting - and I need an outlet! Those who saw me at Friendly Xways saw my dolls, a summer, small-item project."

Please note that all profits from sales go to KIT.

ITEM: John Cardinal O'Connor, Archbishop of the New York Catholic Archdiocese, paid a brief Woodcrest during October, along with a gathering of priests from his diocese. The community sang excerpts from Handel's "Messiah." Christoph welcomed "Brother John O'Connor" who then apologized for the brevity of his stay, praised the Bruderhof for their singing and their stand on the sanctity of human life. He called the Bruderhof "a remarkable emergence" within the archdiocese. The group then sang the "Hallelujah Chorus".

"Let's all wave to our beloved ones, and let's remain here to give them a chance to go, because they really have a tight schedule," Christoph said in closing.

ITEM: In August, Christoph along with two other Bruderhofers accepted an invitation to meet with Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. After some discussion in the brotherhood about some of Farrakhan's extremist views, including how Jesus ate with a tax collector, considered a pariah by many, the decision was reached to accept the invitation.

"It was the first time that I met Farrakhan," Christoph reports in The Plough. "I can only say that I found a different man from the one often portrayed by the media."

The Plough article concludes: "We have heard him speak out on behalf of repentance and reconciliation. We know that both are the seeds of true renewal, indeed, the most powerful forces for lasting change. Can we ignore him?"

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Andy Harries, 10/28/96: I was very impressed by the letter written in the October KIT by Inno Idiong to Christoph and the Bruderhof. I feel that he actually showed up a lot of the weaknesses of the B'hof way of life as it is lived today. Whenever I have spoken to anyone from the B'hof about any concerns (this is going back now over many years) I was always told, "things are different now," inferring that things are now much better, and that any criticisms I might have are not valid because now things are much improved. Well, I knew this was not true; from my experience, the opposite is true.

The B'hof's main defense against any criticism is that we are all KIT people or ex-members with an axe to grind. Well, now we have some other people saying just the same sort of things as we do. Why do they say these things? Because they have also experienced the other side of the B'hof, the side which the B'hof likes to hide and which they are so good at hiding. This side of the B'hof one can only experience if one has lived there with them, or grown up there, or been baptized there. What Palmgrove experienced is something that all those have experienced who have come into difficulties with the hierarchy there, namely that all is well as long as you do not rock the boat and manage to stay in favour and do and say the right things. When you do get into trouble there, that is when you find out the other not-so-nice and not-very-loving side.

It seems to me typical that they make such a big fuss about somebody called Mumia and the same about other issues like showing a lot of concern for prisoners. It is easy to make a big thing about such concerns and by doing so to try to get sympathetic support and make out how loving and caring you are. I am afraid that to us on the outside who were abandoned by the B'hof just when we needed the most help, all this stuff seems a bit off, to put it very mildly. As far as prisoners are concerned, most are locked up because they are guilty of a crime, let's not forget that. There have to be laws and there has to be punishment. Otherwise this would be a much more dangerous place to live in. Let's not forget the victims. There are many more victims than there are criminals in this world. When a crime is committed, not only the direct victim suffers, but so do the rest of the family and also close relatives and friends. I would be much happier if the B'hof were to commit its energy and resources into helping victims of crime.

All of us who were sent away from the B'hof, if we were born there or grew up there, were sentenced to a life of abandonment. We were just abandoned to the world, this world we had been told all our lives was so evil, and yet we were just dumped there, just thrown to the wolves, one could say. So I feel very much like Rev. Idiong that all this talk of love is just talk. It is surprising how different people can be. B'hof people can be so pleasant and loving and yet, once you have experienced this other side, you wonder how these can be the same people. This, of course, is one of their greatest assets. Anybody having contact with them will think they are wonderful and loving and want to join. They usually will not find out until some time later that everything is not quite like it seems to be and, by then, they may already be committed for life. The B'hof also manages to make this issue of money make them look good. They say that they don't value money, nobody there has any or needs any, yet when anybody is sent away, they are usually given not one penny and even large families are sent away and left to fend for themselves, regardless of how capable they are. It seems to me a very basic Christian value, or rather a natural human value, to want to help somebody out who is in need. If anybody came to my house who was hungry I would feed them, however "Please don't all come at the same time!" The fact that nobody there has any money is of course very useful to their system of control because it means that if anybody wants to leave, it is nearly impossible unless one has help from the outside. Greetings,

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Deb Herman (Le Blanc), 9/12/96: Do you think I could start a trend of everyone submitting the many positives in our lives? We are survivors and overcomers of psychological and religious abuse! Let's celebrate the lives we have now! Let's thank God for rescuing us out of the abuse to the freedom of soul and spirit we can enjoy today!

After all these years of recovery and slowly building back our lives, I can truly thank God for his consistent love for us and for making it possible for me to really know that I am loved by Him. That's such a balm and comfort to know, because we - as also many of you - are the recipients of the continued rejection and abandonment of family within the Society of Brothers.

I'm sending the enclosed article from a local paper in the hope it will be a source of encouragement to all of you to know that God is here for us every minute of every day. He wants to heal the deep wounds of our pasts so that we can have happy and fulfilling lives. That's the greatest gift we can give ourselves and all our loved ones. I would love to hear the neat experiences of your lives. We're all rowing the same boat and could use that encouragement!! Love,

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The Blairsville Dispatch, 5/10/96:

Eight Times A Mother

by Jeff Himler

Blairsville's Deb Herman has strong maternal instincts. And it's a good thing, because she has eight reasons to rely on them - Marlena, 24; Dwight, 21; Lowell, 20; Hannah, 18; Leah, 17; Nate, 15; Laura, 14; Andrew, 11. Family has been a big part of Herman's life - and she wouldn't have it any other way.

"Nothing else compares to being a mother," she says. Though she works part-time as a school nurse and is active in her community, "My priority is definitely being a wife and a mom. If you're not successful at that, everything else diminishes in importance."

You can bet there will be plenty of presents for Herman to open on Sunday when all mothers receive tokens of love from their grateful offspring. Something the youngsters join forces and splurge on a pricey gift - such as a studio photo for their mom. Or they may select individual presents at a local pharmacy where several have part-time jobs.

But if she gets the gift she truly wants for Mother's Day, it will be a gathering of all her children at the family's Lear Road farmhouse. Her husband Art and the family's golden retriever, Cisco, will be included in the festivities too...

Deb Herman grew up in a family of 10, showering attention on her younger siblings.

"I was the big sister," she recalls. "I was the one who always took care of the family."

Now here mothering skills are even more in demand. Besides a houseful of her own kids, she's in her second year of caring for other youngsters as a part-time nurse in the Blairsville-Saltzburg School District. Herman earned her nursing license in 1973 and worked as a nurse in a hospital surgical unit at Camp Hill. When she was pregnant with Dwight, she decided to stay home with her family. When most of the Herman children became teens or young adults, she decided to return to the work place.

"I'm really enjoying working at the school. From raising eight kids to seeing 60 kids in a day, it isn't that much of a difference. It's an extension of what I've always been - a mom."

Between planning meals, chauffeuring children to sports and activities and keeping her home in shape, she budgets time for her own interests. She participates in Blairsville Monday Music Club concerts, sings with the choir at the Presbyterian church, tends a garden, walks for fitness, reads avidly and completes sewing and craft projects. For two years she's attended classes at Westmoreland County Community College, where she is training to be a therapist in clinical psychology.

"It's important to continuously grow and learn," she explains. As a therapist, she hope to reach out to others who could use the same kind of understanding and advice she's provided to her own children. "There's a great need in our society for compassionate counseling."

Herman also volunteers to conduct blood pressure screening at senior citizen centers.

"If I'm not adopting kids, I'm adopting grandmas and grandpas," she says.

Some people think of her as a "Supermom" because of the large household she's managed along with career and community service goals. But, she protests, it's a label that doesn't fit her.

She says she knows her limits. "I have a full life, but it's never too crazy. You have to know how to keep it balanced... I will only take one class a semester (at WCCC)."Yet as her children have advanced through schools, Herman has served on various committees and helped man the concession stand at sporting events. One advantage of having a large family when it comes to sports: "Every child had their own cheering section."

At a church in Indiana they used to attend, "Our family was the Christmas pageant," Herman recalls with a laugh. When her youngsters played in the band, Herman as "been there for every performance as much as possible."

But one mom will only stretch so far. At one point, when she had five children in elementary school at the same time, the best she could promise was attending one party per year per student.

Herman dispenses a lot of "TLC" to her kids, knowing what each needs to make troubles recede. All the kids get "lots of hugs," but Nate prefers a backscratch and Leah gets tea "when she's all stressed out."

"A mom has to have a sixth sense," Herman notes. "She has to be in tune with the needs of her children."

Not that Herman's children are older, they will pitch in to help out each other and their younger siblings so that Mom can have some time off.

"A mom is the pivot everybody else revolves around. She's the stable, calming influence, so I need to get my rest." All the family pitches in for spring cleaning. "We wash down the walls. It's a very daunting job."

Art [her husband - ed], who instructs automotive technicians, is often away at work. But he does his part at home, she said. "Raising this big family is definitely a team effort. It's not just 50-50, it's 100 percent of giving. She credits Art with taking charge of each child's "dangerous" first driving lesson. "Then I take over."

Because of the difficult in getting each of the family's active youngsters to desired destinations after school, "Mom has been good and ready to let them drive," Deb notes. But compromises and time-shifting still are required because the teens have just one car must share.

"Everybody pays for gas," their mother notes. "They work out the schedules and who filled up the tank last." Luckily, her children are "very good friends as well as siblings. They're confidants for each other."

Herman's children may be able to compromise on a lot of things, but some are just too personal. She notes a house guest using the bathroom was overwhelmed by the array of 10 shampoos.

"Lots of love and laughter run this home," and open lines of communication. "We do a lot of just sitting and talking."

Above all, Herman says, her abilities as a mother of many rest upon a bedrock of Christian convictions. "I rely on constant prayer," she says, noting she once started an in-home Bible study and baby-sitting group for other area mothers who felt the need for religious fellowship and mutual support. "It's a lot of hard work, but God has been extremely good to us," she says.

Art notes, "We're not on easy street, but we're not wanting for anything."

The Herman children will have to work hard to pay their college bills, with a little help from Mom and Dad. Two new bedrooms created int he attic allowed the older Herman children to have their own bedrooms, but for the most part, bunk-beds have been standard for sleeping quarters.

For a number of years, the Hermans did without one modern mainstay: a television set. Deb believes it was for the best because each of their children started out sharing her love for reading. But there's another modern convenience she wouldn't do without, especially now that her teens come home at odd hours. "Thank goodness for microwaves. It was easier when the kids were little. Then you could make a big pot of something for everybody."

It takes a large table to accommodate all the Hermans on the special occasions when they dine out - for instance celebrating the children's favorable marks in school. They usually got to a steak house in Indiana. But they used to favor a similar restaurant just up the road, which offered two free children's meals for each adults who paid, including Marlena.

"We always joke that we put them out of business," Deb says. "They'd lock the door when they saw us coming."

Like many families, the Hermans observe annual holiday traditions. But they invented a creative one of their own. As each summer drew to a close and another year of school approached, the children received a visit from a flamboyantly dressed professor with a fake nose and thick German accent (Dad in disguise, they later discovered). He would require them to pass some kind of test - writing their names backward or completing an obstacle course - in order to graduate to the next grade. At the end of the exercise, each received a package of school supplies. When the professor made his visit to the Herman yard, neighbors at first wondered at his odd appearance. But the idea caught on and some families began sending their youngsters to participate.

Herman and her husband surprised even their kids when they allowed them and their schoolmates to draw on the walls of an upstairs hallway during a harvest party last fall.

"It was a lot of fun," Deb says. "We'll put up new wallpaper once all the kids have left home."

Though the Herman children may one day be separated from their parents, Deb knows this close-knit clan will continue to flock together in the coming years whenever there's a crisis to face or joy to be shared.

And on such occasions, Mom will always serve as their rallying point. 'You never say good-bye to your children," Deb maintains. "Your relationship just changes. You can become adult friends."

Once she masters that new role, she looks forward to assuming that of grandma for the next generation of Hermans.

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Name Withheld, 11/14/96: What was it like to be a Single on the Bruderhof? I do not know to the fullest extent what it means. I knew very well that I did not want to be a Single on the Bruderhof! The single men lived in the worst lodgings, the single women had to take care of other people's children, often over long periods of time. Taking care of other people's children is not an easy task! Yes, it seems as if you could only gain status on the Bruderhof if you were a married man or women and had your own family.

Single people were also so often at the mercy of the Servants of the Word. If a single sister did not feel she could take care of other people's children, that is was too much of a demand on her emotionally and physically, she would be reported to the Servant. The poor Single would be taken to task and tackled until she broke down, gave in and asked for forgiveness and then took up the task of caring for a large family in a subdued but joyful attitude. Brow-beating of Singles and others is not unusual.

Many of us as children dreaded the idea of becoming a so-called Single on the Bruderhof! It was always said "How much the Singles had to give to the Church," and that it surrounded you with a certain halo, but what kind of a halo was it? A halo of respect? A halo of love? I often felt that single people were ridiculed and so many of the single men were put into Ausschluss, not only once but several times. What kind of a life did these poor single people have after they gave up their families, their children, their loved ones?

Phyllis Hayes, a very dedicated sister, died in New Meadow Run, as did Julia Lerchy. Otto Kaiser actually died in Darvell. He was taken in by the Darvell community in his old age. Hildegarde Friedrich died in Evergreen.

I remember Joost very well, such a dear man. It was so cruel to send him away because he was classified as 'a charity case!' This is something I simply do not understand, that many single people were sent away because they were considered 'charity cases.' It was specifically these people who dedicated their lives wholeheartedly to the cause! I feel that all of the single people who have their lives wholeheartedly should be remembered for that they did and how they served.

Reading Belinda's book reminded me again of the sacrifices that the single people on the Bruderhof made, how much they gave of themselves in order to help build up the 'City on the Hill.' Thank you, Elizabeth, for reminding us all of the single people on the Bruderhof. We all need to be reminded once in a while that we are not the only ones who have had to go through hard times. Greetings to all,

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Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe, 11/20/96: The November KIT issue was exceptionally good! With that I mean that it covered everything so many of us stand for and, most importantly: "What do we not stand for and yet seem to be accused of again and again!" All we are is a group of friends who grew up in the same way and mostly seem to still have our mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, children or grandchildren in the Bruderhof communities! Naturally we will continue to do everything in our power to make contact with these lost family members possible! We will prove to them and the world that our intentions never were and never will be to destroy them or the life they stand for and believe in. We eventually will find the right way and the right people to help us attain this goal. By all standards the situation is absolutely bizarre, that we do not know if our mothers are alive or dead, and it is unacceptable to us that our old, aged parents are forced to sign a paper that they do not wish to see us or be in contact with us while they are still alive! We have a right to fight for this mission of finding an acceptable solution to the problem!

Most certainly the Bruderhof is not giving a Christian witness in their attitude towards their children. The word love has been misused so often that they have no idea what it means! Unconditional love should make all our hearts and minds stand open towards anyone who thinks different than we do and, most of all, embrace our enemies or those that wish us bad fortune in life. Community without the love of true Christianity is empty and means nothing at all! The letters of Connie Grener with answers from Ramón, Lee Kleiss and Barnabas make this quite clear! I think especially Barney put into words what I myself feel. I think his letter is exceptionally good and maybe should be printed as an individual letter to any person questioning the KIT ideas and what it really stands for individually and as a group of ex-Bruderhofians! It was good to read all the different contributions and they make a very good "whole" in expressing the different ways we feel and what we try to work for together.

Hans and I are in our house in Ameland after some good but tiring weeks and days. The neighbors of the former Michaelshof in Germany, Gerhanrd and Ursula Schwalm, had invited us to their home in Birnbach and then to a trip through the beautiful Rhön for a week. We left Drachten on November 4th, a cold, windy and rainy day, and arrived in Birnbach about 2:30 P.M. in beautiful sunshine that made the Westerwald sparkle in its autumn colors! You might remember that Ursula and Gerhard were used by the Bruderhof in 1995 to close down the Michaelshof because "the Bruderhof could not live next to people in the Nazi spirit and therefore were forced to leave Germany for the second time in this century!" The German press and media made life for the Schwalms almost impossible, following them around with their cameras and false accusations. Since that time, Hans and I have been in contact with them and they are very interested KIT readers and try to understand what made these Bruderhof people act so very aggressively towards them - outsiders and neighbors.

We were warmly welcomed to a nice cup of coffee and talked for a long time about the past of the Bruderhof in Germany. Next morning we left for the Rhoen. The road took us through the highest points of the Westerwald first, absolutely stunning with all the yellow and red colors! Then we took the highways and arrived at our first destination, "The Rhoen Hotel," in the late afternoon after a stop in Fulda. Fulda is a name to me for the closest city to the Sannerz and Rhön Bruderhofs, and the place where Hans Meier, Hans Boller and Karl Keiderling were imprisoned in 1937. We stopped at the Fulda "Dom," a very large church with museum, good bookstores and buildings from the 12th century - and even older! Very impressive indeed! The Rhoen Hotel was very comfortable and picturesquely situated between the hills. From our bedroom window we could see 'the Dreistelz hill' which Hans and I remembered well from our Sinntalhof days in 1959. The youth used to go on outings to that hill, and Hans and I raced together to see who would reach the top first! It is strange to see that the nature of the area remains the same after all these years. The hotel also had a lovely swimming pool that we used before eating supper.

The next day we went first to Sannerz. I never had been there before, and was amazed how much this really did impress me, much more than I had anticipated. You might remember from Bruderhof history that in 1920 my grandparents were given DM 30,000 by a friend, Kurt Wortmann, to buy a farm and live with others in "a life of love and sharing like the early Christians." They had attended a conference that year in Schlüchtern and loved the countryside after having lived in postwar Berlin for many years. Sannerz is a very small village situated between the Rhoen hills, consisting of a few farmhouses, a pub and little else. In the middle of this tiny village stands a large building built by a certain Konrad Paul. Paul wanted to invest the money he had made in America in the building of this huge house which, apart from its 15 rooms, had a kitchen, meeting room, farmland - everything needed to start a community.

The house impressed me, It stands empty and in need of restoration, but is the same as I always have seen in photos. In front of the house stands a huge oak tree and I remember, from stories that my Oma told me, that my grandfather had planted the tree "to see the year 2000," which it most probably will! We walked around the house and found a person in back. I asked him it there still was a Lotzenius family in the village, as I remembered, again from childhood stories, that my mother used to baby-sit for the farmer's children. And yes, just opposite the house, now divided from it by the main highway, there still was the 'Tavern Lotzenius.' We went there and asked the farmer. And he said, "I am the last of the Lotzenius." He showed us around the place and for me the past became alive. In back there are a few little rooms where the farmer used to store his harvest of apples and pears. Those rooms were used by my grandparents with their five children until a contract was signed with the owner of the big house so they could rent it for ten years. We were shown into the rooms of the pub where the early community used to present their Christmas plays and scenes. Amazing, that everything is still there and people still remember it 76 years later! It was quite something for the villagers that in 1920 more than 2000 people came to their village. They remember the joyful dancing and singing of the Youth Movement that now embraced their little village due to 'Dr. Arnold,' as they still call him.

I could picture how in the early days they put on their Christmas plays in the neighboring villages and the farmers paid them with eggs, fruit and poultry. I never knew how much of these old stories were tucked away somewhere in my mind, making the place come alive for me. From there we drove to the remains of the old Rhoen Bruderhof, a sad sight! The place belongs to a Mr. Peter who was unable to build or tear down the old houses for many years because of the Bruderhof's lawsuit against the German State. At last the place is finally his and he is tearing down the houses one by one. The big house, in which many of us were born, is gone and the rest of them in a very bad state. Mr. Peter is building a large white house and in a few years' time, only the small graveyard will remember the people of the first Bruderhof community.

It started to rain and was very windy and cold. Somehow it reminded me of the day that my grandfather's coffin was brought back to the Rhoen Bruderhof. It must have been a very sad day. Also I could visualize how the Gestapo must have surrounded the place in 1937 and how they must have come down from the hills to make all the members stand against the wall of the houses at gunpoint while the Gestapo searched the houses and finally told them to leave with what they could carry. The food was still cooking on the stove, the wash in the laundry, the rooms furnished with the simple belongings of the members. The place depressed me. While Sannerz had me all happy and excited, this place made me sad! Mr. Peter did not help us either, as the Community blames my father, Hans Zumpe, for the lawsuit against him! "No, the American Bruderhoefe never wanted the Rhoen back," he said. "This was solely the work of Hans Zumpe." I told him that Zumpe already had left in 1960, which greatly surprised him.

We walked up to the burial ground. It was cold and rainy by then, and I imagined how they must have buried my grandfather there on November 22, 1935. All the brotherhood was excluded, his boys in Switzerland not allowed to come to Germany for the funeral. So it must have been just a handful of people who buried him. The place is beautiful with large fir trees surrounding it and a wall of stones that the community collected from the land (the stones are from prehistoric times and found all over the Rhoen hills). Next to my grandfather is the grave of Tante Else von Hollander, who was a great help to my grandparents and especially loved all the children. She had adopted Walla von Hollander during her lifetime (she died in 1931). Then there were the graves of Tabia Zimmermann who died shortly after her birth, and Daniel Kaiser who suffocated in his room as a little baby from the smoke of a fire lit with wet wood. Then the two Löber boys, Gregor and Johann Georg who died in the 1950s and were buried there. It is unacceptable for me that the Bruderhof could not keep these two blind boys in the community but sent them to homes, Gregor to Bethel and Johann Georg to Nider-Ramstadt where they both died at the age of 12. The last grave is of Peter Rutherford who died on the Michaelshof in 1989. The burial ground remains the property of the Bruderhof, as a sister of Eberhard's bought the land from the Gestapo in 1938 so that the graves would not be removed. She then gave it back to the Bruderhof after the war.

On the way back we stopped at the former Sinntalhof where Hans and I met for the first time. That place too still looks the same. A dentist bought it and all the rooms stand empty - a sad sight if I remember all the fun and joy, tears and heartbreak that the place gave me and many other former Bruderhofers. From there we returned to the Rhoen Hotel for a swim, and in the evening met with Leonard Rugel, a historian who knows everything about the former Bruderhoefe in Germany: Rhoen, Hohenstein, Sinntalhof and Michaelshof.

The last day we drove to the highest point in the Rhoen, the Wasserkuppe. There you have a marvelous view over all the hills and valleys, and I could well imagine why our parents always felt homesick for the area while we enjoyed the heat of Paraguay! Gerhard videotaped all the places, but as it was very windy, the tape did not come out perfect. But it is a nice memory! Back in Birnbach we enjoyed a cozy evening at the Schwalms'. Gerhard and Ursula are lovely people, and in many ways closer to the initial Bruderhof spirit than the Woodcresters of today! They are warm and willing to do anything for anybody - not only for us, but for the villagers around them and anyone who knocks on their door. We then returned to Holland via Wuppelthal where we met Teika Schoonbroodt and two of her daughters. All in all, it was an unforgettable trip for me and I really enjoyed it very much indeed!

Tomorrow it will be sixty-one years since my grandfather Eberhard Arnold died. It makes me terribly sad to see what has become of his dream for mankind - a life of peace, love and unity! All these words have been misused so badly that they give us a bad taste in our mouth, but the initial idea was pure and good. I am convinced of that! Much love to each and every one of you. I am very thankful that we have found each other through KIT! Much love,

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Bill Kimbro, 11/14/96: Here are a few more thoughts on the B'hof thing: it is extremely dangerous for the psyche when a person who wants simply to belong makes grandiose, life-long promises to a religious group. Not only is this an unscriptural prerequisite to communing with other brothers and sisters, it sets up a fertile ground in which traumatic disaster is bound to occur at some level, sooner or later, especially to a heart that remains faithful to his/her legitimate experiences before entering the community. Expectations and requirements for openness and vulnerability sound refreshing at first, but if there is any type of hierarchy at all within the group, you can wager that the openness and vulnerability policy is meant to be one way and the information will be used to keep the sheepies in line.

No mature individual joins a religious community. Many religious communities will not even accept anyone over 40 years old because, they feel, the soul is already formed at that point and the person will be able to speak his/her mind without fearing the leadership. The purpose for most religious communities, especially within Anabaptist and Catholic spheres, is not to follow Christ or learn from each other's life experiences or dialogue with equal respect. It is soul formation, and guess who gets to do the forming, boys and girls! Surprise, surprise, surprise! Those who have been there the longest and therefore have their souls already tuned to the community's belief paradigm!!

An honest heart can't take it for long without getting the hell out or killing something inside to stay. But once a person leaves, or gets kicked out, although it may take months or years, a kind of cathartic rage tries to surface in the face of this emotional rape. Although guilt may suppress it for a time, it will come out. And when it does, it often leads to healing because it is the psyche's way of reestablishing spiritual equilibrium. It does not hurt the Power-Monger to hear the enraged soul say, "F- you! You used me when I was being open and vulnerable, and that is the essence of the spirit of the oppressive anti-christ. In the presence of the living God, I say 'F- You!'" (Jesus loves honesty, and sometimes, "F-You" is just exactly what needs to be said!)

So, dear hearts, if you have been brutalized by some group and not gone thru the nearly essential Cathartic Rage Period, I encourage you to let it come. Most of you are pacifist enough that all you'll do is howl at the moon or write fearless and angry letters to Christoph. Actually, I think there's a place for going by the hundreds and surrounding Woodcrest and singing songs to them all night until they shut the Shop down, come out with picnic lunches and sit with us until they realize that we may be closer to Christ's love of honest communication than they ever were! May Bruderhof-Speak Perish From The Earth! (not the Bruderhofers, my dears, just that sickening and false way they talk to each other). God Bless,


A Cursory Neurological Map of Eberhard's Noggin and His Movement

by Bill Kimbro

I remember reading something about Eberhard getting angry at his father for not inviting all the bums and outcasts to some party he was throwing for his family, and then sulking in his room because his father didn't comply. But then submitting to his future father-in-law's demand that he get a Ph.D. in Philosophy before he could marry his daughter. I believe poor Eberhard studied too hard and had the kind of personality that naturally leads into some form of dictatorial system. I was enthralled with much of his thinking, at first, but now that I reread it, he was a judgmental s.o.b. And I read the reports of the community "dialogues" and find everyone eventually agreeing with Arnold. He had this way of pulling everyone into his paradigm and making them believe it was the only way to think about God and Community. But, hell, I was a keen little monster myself at one time, wanting to belong to Jesus' poor but elite Storm Troopers! So I bought into it until the Freeing Spirit of Christ woke me up in a Bruderhof bed and said: "What's up, Billibob? You gonna sit around here like some sick sheepie and let that nut tell you what to do and what to think and he sits in his room all day and makes phone calls commanding this and that while you work your a-- off in the Shop doing the same mind-numbing and repetitive tasks you forsook in the 'godless society'?!"

Oh, well. It has taken nearly a friggin' decade to get on my emotional feet, realizing that my new, radically Bohemian friends are not without a measure of the Spirit of God and that I feel much more sane when I hear them banter without any spiritual guru or elder or nazi editor hanging on their every word. In fact, I have come to believe that the Bruderhof incorporates much that could be classified as "anti-Christ." Christ controlled no one's movements. He was constantly accessible to the crowds, friends and "enemies" alike. He taught "authority through foot-washing." And, as far as I can see, came to free human beings from the tyranny of false community as well as the tyranny of religious caste systems like Baptists, Catholicism, Anabaptism, Quakerism (though the Quakers aren't as dangerous as the first three) and Acts 2-4ism.

At the very least, He came to show us that the primary relationship to Him was Individual, which leads to a wanting to be together with like-minded individuals, yes - but it is not a requirement. In fact, my interpretation of "where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I" is that it's more of an occasional 'happening' instead of some on-going attempt to bind people together using unbiblical 'promises' and culture-based thinking. (Is there anyone who won't admit that the Bruderhöfe, indeed the whole Anabaptist movement, is shot through with Germanic thought, leaving little room for the legitimate thought of cultures having nothing in common with Teutonic belief structures?)

"Love God and love your neighbor." Is there anything else to do? Love won't drag a neighbor to court. Love won't put limits on visiting blood relatives. A quote from an anonymous Hassidic rabbi just came to my poor skull. Someone asked him when he thought the Messiah would come and the rabbi scratched his head and said: The Messiah will come when we no longer need him. By this he meant that God has tasked us with taking care of each other openly and freely, believer and so-called non-believer alike. (There was no indication at all in the story of the Good Samaritan that either the Samaritan or the person he helped was particularly religious.) The whole gospel is: Quit f-ing around with structures and belief systems that claim to embody any more truth than the truth that tells your heart to help someone in need if it happens in front of you, whoever the person in need is, whatever s/he needs as long as it's within your means to help. That's all. I free you to do that, says the Lord. Don't pray about it. Don't study it. Do it! It's that easy, boys and girls...and the Good News is That It Is That Easy!!! You don't have to wear black pants and listen to some nut who thinks he's higher in some man made upper echelon. That's what the pharisaic system was. That's why Jesus was in constant trouble. He either ignored the Arnoldian elders of his day, or he pointed a finger at them and called them Vipers.

Shalom... from Renegade Rabbi Billibob Figwater (aka Bill Kimbro) (10 Song Cassette, including the Hit "Poobahville, aka Woodcrest" available for $10. Two chapbooks of poetry and terse, creative prose available for $10 each... "Maybe We're Not So Smart After All" and "Nothing At All"... e-mail me at: LMBBHL@AOL.COM or write to: Rabbi Billibob Kimbro 10700 E. Dartmouth, Apt. K106 Aurora, CO 80014 (only postal money orders accepted, or an all-expense paid trip to a Woodcrest Love Meal)

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The New York Times, 'Our Towns' Section

"Sometimes a Luxury Jet Serves God"

by Evelyn Nieves

Sunday 10/13/96 Rifton, NY: The Woodcrest Bruderhof have lived here for more than 40 years, and people still think of them as Amish With Cars. No so. Why, just the other day, members of this Christian pacifist sect were talking up big plans for their Gulfstream III executive charter jet.

Johann Christoph Arnold, the church elder, held up a two-page brochure with flattering glossies of the 11-passenger luxury plane. "How'd you like to fly in one of these?" he said teasingly, pointing out seats that looked like Barcaloungers.

Sipping strong coffee and nibbling dark chocolates, the Bruderhof were positively ecstatic over their new deal with the State Department of Transportation to lease an old hangar at Stewart Airport in Newburgh. The deal will give their international charter business, Rifton enterprises, a home base a half-hour from home. In a few months, once they renovate the hangar, the Bruderhof plan to offer a gamut of services, from training to aircraft maintenance to plane rentals and sales. They're especially excited at the prospect of selling fuel, breaking the monopoly at Stewart by an American Airlines subsidiary.

Which sounds like a pretty deep dive into the waters of free enterprise for a spiritual movement whose 2,500 members in the United States and England pledge to live lives of hard work, community service and poverty.

The 400 members of the Woodcrest Bruderhof, for example, live in modest bungalows, reminiscent of a summer camp. The campus has a big, barnlike cafeteria (and a real barn, with pigs and horses and chickens). The women wear long dark skirts, and kerchiefs over tightly combed buns. Most of the men wear beards, suspenders and slacks cut from plain, dark sturdy cloth. Everybody has assigned chores. Nobody owns anything or draws a salary. (The sect, founded in Germany 75 years ago by Mr. Arnold's grandfather, espouses "Christian communism.")

The Woodcrest Bruderhof (to locals 'Woodies') are best known for counseling inmates at the county jail and holding anti-death penalty forums and open houses, when they invite the community to their campuses to discuss matters like world peace.

Until last year, they lived quietly here in the Hudson Valley. Then a band of former members began circulating complaints that their church was banning them from seeing their relatives. A Philadelphia police union also began complaining about the Bruderhof's forum to save the life of death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal. So the church hired a public relation agency. "So people won't misunderstand," said Joe Keiderling, who has become the church's spokesman.

The Bruderhof realize, for example, that their philosophy squares nicely with their two other businesses: manufacturing wooden play equipment and children's furniture and building equipment for the handicapped. But an expensive charter jet service for movie stars and moguls?

"Actually, what's important about this is that it will allow us to continue our spiritual work," said Christian Domer, who manages Rifton Enterprises. (The Bruderhof frown on power titles.) The charter business, he said, evolved when members began flying to Lagos, Nigeria, on missionary work. To bypass the infamously dangerous Lagos airport, they began chartering a plane to fly them to a safer place. When the costs started adding up, they realized it would cost less in the end to buy a plane. To offset its cost, they started a charter service two years ago out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, where most of the region's charter companies are based. If their business at Stewart takes off, Mr. Arnold said, the Bruderhof will spend their earnings on more good works. "When we did an anti-death penalty forum in Philadelphia, it cost us about $50,000." he said. "When there is a local need, we are usually the first to be called. The point is, the money should be in the service of others."

"Yeah," chimed in Sibyl Sender, who joined the group as a self-described "Madison Avenue yuppie" in 1958. "We'll let you know if we run out of ways to spend it."

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Hannah Goodwin Johnson, 11/22/96: After arriving in the United States, I was assigned a seat in the eighth (and seventh) grade classroom in the Oak Lake (when the lake was drained, it became New Meadow Run) community. After graduating high school, my teens culminated at 19 in social exile by the 'Court of Conscience' - that is, what Wells describes as most important for a woman's attention.

My father gave me no personal cause for separation that I could remember. I had little use for the antics of the Servant's offices prior to that judgment and less since. I think they were honestly concerned that their importance had not made the intended impression - this being arrogance on my part.

The communal challenge was for my conscience to recognize its personal rebellion and repent. I was required first to declare my independence. The fact that my sister was also exiled complicated this futile lesson in the futility of independence. My sister, six years older than I, was the most cruel person during my early years in England. I was torn between fascination and fear of her when I was little. Nonetheless, she was my sister and not my enemy. Sisterhood keeps the social contract more profoundly than any court. Society in general finds amusement in a confused individual as if by joining the laughing crowd one become superior. My sister, in the confusion of living alone, was no longer involved in her ways of discouraging the contemptuous comedian in me by poking fun at me. I had no enemies among family or friends - we were all friends. To become a jester or wit is to feed the mass on their own confusion.

I wasn't big on volunteering answers in the public schools. At home if I had information that someone wanted, I offered it without considering why it was wanted or who it was that wanted it. Sometimes I braved the schoolhouse discussion because without what appeared self-obvious to me, the discussion would have stopped. In my mind, boredom was the dictator in acts of involvement. I don't remember if I offered by raising my hand or if I was called on this one time, nor do I recall the face or name of the teacher in the room, if it was a date in history class or a math answer...

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Leonard Pavitt, 11/5/96: Foreword: I sent the following account to Johnny Robinson at Darvell for Christmas, 1994 (I should explain that when I first joined the Bruderhof, I was known by my family nickname of 'Dick.' I changed to my real name, 'Leonard,' when Dick Whitty came to Paraguay from England. But Johnny continued to call me 'Dick' up to the very last.) Comments in square brackets[ ] are my own.

Dear Dick: Sorry old boy! I did keep you waiting a long time, as I did a lot of people. I had a bit of a concentrated drive up to Christmas on that old knitting machine. I knitted around 40 sweaters as presents. Since then I have been a bit on the hop.

I came back from Germany yesterday after several days there. Another factor is that I have changed rooms, something surely not unknown to you in the old days. Now my telephone no longer goes out, unfortunately. Most of our phones are like that, only serve the interior, and if I want to phone out I must do it through our switchboard, which is not manned at weekends. Otherwise I would surely have rung you sometimes at the weekend when calls are cheaper.

Now Dick, thank you for sending me that copy of that obra d'arte. I found it was very good, and recalled the old times nicely. Nowadays nothing like that happens. It was a joy to go out with you, to say nothing of our triumphant arrival [at the Commissar's in Itacurabí].

That was Jesse Barton with whom you spoke [I had been concerned when I didn't get a reply from Johnny and had phoned Darvell]. He missed the first opportunity to say that I had skipped off to the Michaelshof, our German place, and your letter was awaiting me on my return. We had a bumpy descent to Biggin Hill [airport]. I was reading you letter when Jesse came in, so he was satisfied that I had got the message. Glad you're okay, Dick. I am that way myself. I'd glad you wrote, so now. Affectionately, your Johnny [Sadly, Johnny died six months later in America, the day after celebrating his 90th birthday.]

Revolting Times (Episode One)

We experienced several revolutions in Paraguay, but being situated off the beaten track by some 45 kilometers inland from the river port of Puerto Rosario (Alto Paraguay) which, in turn, was an overnight journey north of the capital Asuncion, we were little affected by them, except for one.

Further north up the river Paraguay lies the town and military fort of Concepcion, and it was there that this revolution began. The rank-and-file were all conscripts, but they were led in the revolt by their trained, professional officers. In those days, during the 1940s, there was no road running north along the river bank from Asuncion to Concepcion, so as soon as the army in Asuncion heard of the result up north, they mobilised and set off marching alongside the river with relatively few on horseback (only officers, I imagine) and apparently not many waggons. Unfortunately for them, they had not reckoned with their enemy's resourcefulness. The Concepcion revolutionaries commandeered every boat they could lay their hands on and joyfully set off south to attack Asuncion. Just what the Asuncion army felt and said when they saw their foes sailing pat them to Asuncion in this strange flotilla of paddle steamers, cargo boats, launches, etc. can only be imagined.

The Asuncion army had gotten as far north as Puerto Rosario when this happened. In desperation, those on horseback were sent off to commandeer every horse and waggon they could lay hands on. When they arrived at Primavera, they commandeered a number of horses and waggons. Wence Jaime was not a member at the time but was running a couple of waggons bringing in firewood for the sawmill from the clearings that I was having made. He very wisely told his men to take the waggons into the Orange Wood and stay there until he came and gave them the 'all clear.' We also managed to save the doctor's (Cyril Davies) horse which was in Loma Hoby where the hospital was. They were building some of our first brick-built houses there. We didn't have glass in the windows, but each window had shutters and they led his horse into one house that was almost finished, closed the shutters, and someone was given the task to stay with the animal ready to hold his nostrils if he should seem about to neigh.

For me, the most memorable trip connected with the revolution came after it was all over. We had quite a number of horses commandeered and had received no news about them and were making enquiries about possible compensation without much faith that any would be forthcoming. Then we heard, over the local 'bush' radio, that the Comisar (chief of police for the area) in Itacurubi had six of our horses in a piquete (enclosure) on the outskirts of the township. Both our horses and cattle were easily identifiable as our brand was very distinctive and well known in the whole district. The former owner of our land, a German named Eduard Rutenberg, had put his initials together to form a mark that looked rather like a thick-stemmed three-leafed clover. The was know to all and sundry as the marca flor (flower mark), so when we were told that six horses with the marca flor had been seen in this piquete, the brotherhood asked Johnny Robinson and me to go to Itacurubi, see if the news was correct and, if at all possible, bring the horses back.

It was thought to be still rather risky to go anywhere on a really good-looking horse - I suppose we were still rather nervous after having lost so many during the revolution. We decided to pick a couple of horses that would only be tempting to someone extremely short-sighted. The one I rode, Sienna Leon, was actually a very lively, fit horse but the grey hairs around his nose made him look much older than he was, and however much food one gave him he remained as thin as a rake. Johnny's horse also looked gaunt and thin despite a healthy appetite, and he had another attribute that Johnny was to use to the full when we met up with the Comisar later on.

Although bigger than any of the little settlements in our area, Itacurubi was still quite a small place, a gathering of houses with one or two modest stores among the houses lining the "Square," an open grassy space onto which the shacks of the 'police station' also looked.

When we arrived in Itacurubi, Johnny suggested we try and get hold of some Caña, a rum made of sugarcane, to help put the Comisar in a receptive frame of mind. Owing to the revolution, the local stills, the moonlighters, had not been running and supplies from Asuncion had been disrupted, so our enquiries for Caña brought apologetic, negative answers. Then Johnny remembered that the Comisar's wife ran a little almacen (store) and we decided to try our luck there. At first she also said that she hadn't any for sale, that it was so difficult to get nowadays, etc. But Johnny persisted, with humour, and eventually she said she had got some but was keeping it quiet or everybody would be asking for it. She also joked about not telling her husband where Johnny had bought it, as she had told him that she had hardly any left.

"Otherwise it would all disappear down his throat in a couple of days," she added.

There came the question of what to put it in. She had no bottles to spare, but could put it in a simple carafe she had if Johnny would be sure to bring it back before he left Itacurubi. So off we went to the Comisar's 'headquarters,' a simple tin-roofed shack with other small huts nearby on the edge of the grassy square. We must have look a strange sight, two Barbudos ('Bearded Ones,' as we were known) adorned with rather battered, wide-brimmed straw hats, one of them carrying a carafe of Caña in one hand, ambling along in the hot sun on two emaciated and lugubrious-looking horses.

When we reached the Comiseria, the Comisar came out to greet us and Johnny made what can only be called 'a dramatic entrance.' His gaunt-looking steed had the habit, common amongst horses when standing still, of putting its weight mainly on three legs whilst giving the forth 'a bit of a rest.' The unusual thing with his horse was that when he did this his hip stuck up in the air as if it had been dislocated. Johnny swung off the horse, carafe in one hand, swept his hat off and hung it on his horse's protruding hip, saying to the Comisar, "That's the sort of horses they left us with." It went down well with the Comisar, and Johnny followed it up with his 'piece de resistance,' holding out the carafe and saying "Salud!" ("Your health!).

The Comisar was clearly impressed. "Don Juan! Don Juan! Caña? Where did you manage to get that?" He took along swig at it. Then, as he lowered it from his lips, a look of surprise came over his face.

"This is my carafe," he said.

I groaned inwardly and thought, "Oh no! That's torn it!"

But he must have realized that although he was drinking his own Caña we had paid for it. He gave a laugh, took another longer swig and, after insisting that we both do the same, invited us to eat with him, it being about midday.

After chatting a bit and us telling him what we had come for, one of his soldiers appeared with 'lunch,' and we sat at a rough board table out in the open behind the Comisaria. He put before each one a rather battered, enamelled tin plate with some pieces of meat and mandioca swimming in a rather fatty 'gravy.' The table was only partly in the shade, it was pretty hot, and what with the swig of Caña that he offered us in turn from the carafe, the heat and the fatty food that one felt obliged to finish, by the time the 'meal' was finished I was too, or very nearly. I was feeling distinctly woozy and a little sick.

We hadn't expected to be invited to eat and so had not unsaddled our horses but simply loosened their girths. It was probably fortunate because I don't know what sort of job I would have made of saddling up in my condition. I made absolutely sure that my horse's girth was as tight as I could get it, because I had the distinct impression that once in the saddle, providing I actually got there, the only hope I had of keeping there was to hang onto the front of the saddle for dear life and pray the girth did not come loose.

Fortunately, the Paraguayan saddles are somewhat like those used by the U.S. cowboys and designed for spending many hours, day after day, in them. The saddle itself is quite commodious and turns up three or four inches front and back. The stirrups hang low and one sits comfortable with legs almost at full stretch. When saddling up, two thick blankets first go on, woven from woolen plaits almost as thick as one's little finger. Then comes a sturdy, fairly think leather 'blanket' made from two oblong pieces of tanned leather sewn together at the top. On this is placed the saddle, which is also well upholstered underneath to protect the horse's back. Over the saddle one places the main girth made up of four or five plaited leather thongs. This girth is drawn tight by pulling on a thong placed several times through to large metal rings attached to each end of the girth. Over the saddle itself one places two sheepskins and over them another leather 'blanket,' this time all of a piece and made from soft deerskin. Over this comes the final girth, made of supple leather with a buckle, to hold the sheepskins in place.

Well, the Comisar, Johnny, myself and one of the soldiers set off to where the horses had been kept in a field not far from Itacurubi. Johnny and the Comisar rode ahead chatting, with the soldier and I bringing up the rear in silence. I didn't feel much like talking, only too glad to be able to concentrate on keeping in the saddle. I never drank much caña whilst in Paraguay and only once got completely paralyzed on it and that was, in a way, by accident, but that's another story.

We arrived at the field where the horses were. The Comisar waved us a cheerful good-bye, and Johnny and I opened the gate into the field and started to round them up. Fortunately for me, my horse was very often used to round up the milk cows and knew exactly what to do. All I needed to do, indeed all I was capable of doing, was to gang onto the front of the saddle, the reins in both hands, and let him get on with it.

We got the horses nicely cornered, quieted down and out onto the track for home. Johnny had just gotten four of them tied together in pairs when one of the two remaining horses took off at an almighty gallop apparently intent on making it to the Brazilian border before nightfall. Before I could say anything, Johnny also took off at an almighty gallop and left me riding herd on two pairs and the loose horse. To my great relief, the other horses did not follow suit. I was not concerned about the pairs - they would have been easy to round up - but if the single one had decided to leave, there would not have been much I could have done.

As it was, I had a rather uneasy half-hour herding them against the fencing, realising only too well that the afternoon was passing, until Johnny eventually got back. Before I could tell him what I thought about him going off and leaving me with five horses on my own, he got in first.

"Darn it, Dick boy, if you had come we could have got it!"

"Sir," I said. "And then we would have had one horse instead of five, you clot!"

We often exchanged such brotherly pleasantries. We set off home driving the two pairs ahead of us with Johnny leading the one horse by a halter. It was dark by the time we got to Loma Hoby, and there we parted company. Johnny veered off with one pair and the horse he was leading, and I continued with the other two across the campo towards the road through the forest that led to Isla Margarita about a mile and a half further. I guess the horses remembered where they were because they set off steadily once we entered the forest and when we got through the gate leading onto the campo by Isla Margarita, the sight of the lights ahead upon the slight hill made them break into a canter. I felt tired and just couldn't be bothered to race after them, thinking that they couldn't get out of the field we were in and I could fetch them in the morning.

But when I arrived at the big, solid swing gate leading into Isla Margarita, there they were waiting. We proceeded sedately along the road towards the stables which lay on the other side of the hof. There was no one about, it being time for the evening meal. The road ran fairly near the dining room and then branched, one road forking to the right and the Orange Wood, the other left to the stables. Just where they branched was the vegetable garden close alongside the road. Whether the horses got mixed up as to which road to take I don't know, but the result was that they took off at a canter right across the vegetable garden with me in hot pursuit. I managed to head them off and get them to the stables where I fed and watered them before going to the kitchen to do the same for myself. There were the usual washing-up crew there and a couple of sisters clearing up. They plied me with questions as to how it had all gone whilst also plying me with food, and expressed pleasure that we had got five horses back. I soon made my way to bed. I wanted to get out of sight before anyone invited me into a meeting that always took place after the evening meal.

The following morning there was a certain amount of dismay amongst the garden troop about the many mangled vegetables. Even I was surprised at the amount of mayhem we had managed. Apparently the night watchman had been questioned as to whether he had seen any horses loose during the night, but he was as puzzled as everyone else. It seemed quite mysterious. I didn't mention anything about our little incident. I felt that the occasional mystery adds an extra touch of interest to life.

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Charlie Lamar, 11/30/96: Ever since I heard from Ramon about the article on the Bruderhof in the December issue of LIFE Magazine, I've been thinking about the type of media appeal the Bruderhof may be able to garner. I'm glad the article broke before we got to it. I am not one who thinks that we should try to counter or to "balance" Bruderhof propaganda ourselves every time it appears. We should let thes tory build until it reaches critical mass. The background of the media situation is the fact that the American public is trying to turn to the right, and the media, often feminist and socialist by instinct and assumption, don't understand why. Media people are all too often oblivious to the spiritual and moral sources of the conservative appeal. While left-leaning media types continue to demonize conservatives as hate-mongers, the public perceives the once valid left-wing rationales as diminishing in substance. This philosophic political movement is illustrated by the popular rejection of the idea of affirmative action, notwithstanding its continued liberal support.

The Bruderhof, left wing in politics but right wing in theology and moral facade, is well set up to exploit the current media situation. Wealthy, patriarchal, puritanical socialists, they have no feminist problem. Opposed to the death penalty, they publish a medieval sex manual. This sort of thing is well calculated to titillate the news media, always on the lookout for philosophic keys to the mind of the American voter. For while the news media cannot explain crime in the streets, the Promise Keepers, Louis Farrakhan or much of anything, the Bruderhof seems at first glance to have the answers to it all.

But former Bruderhofers are in a good position to see through the hype. We know by experience that nothing an individual Bruderhof spokesperson says necessarily means anything whatsoever; we know their brotherhood is an exploitative hierarchy, their ostensible poverty a cover for enormous wealth, and their individual members deployable, corporate agents. However there is a potential pitfall for us in the fact that as ordinary, public-spirited citizens, most of us are legitimately involved in the same political dialogue the Bruderhof is prepared to exploit. We have our various opinions for and against the death penalty, about Christianity, community, and so forth. Ex-bruderhofers, in my opinion, would do well to see that the chief point of our public dissension with the Bruderhof remains the essential problem: that, in the name of Anabaptism, of all things, the Bruderhof has destroyed the individual conscientious voice. We should avoid being sidetracked into any other (public) discussions with them - or about them - based on our own individual involvements in political discourse. If we aren't careful, we may wind up with half a loaf. We may wind up with visiting rights to friends and relatives who remain in a prison of "community," "Christianity" or movement of "social justice," falsely so-called.

The root of the problem is that the Bruderhof is both a capitalist corporation and a religious group. Since the members have all been explicitly taught and thoroughly conditioned to believe that it is their religious duty to deny their own consciences, and since as individuals most of them lack the experience and economic wherewithal to stand on their own outside the community, few if any Bruderhofers dare contemplate the actual dynamics of their own situation. So they cling to the belief that they would lose something spiritual if they were to permit their corporate hypocrisy to be exposed. And indeed they would. Theirs is the whips-and-chains version of Christianity. Sincere Bruderhofers, divested of both intellect and ego, are in the position of quivering masochists before the onslaught of genuine spiritual experience and the domination of their group. The spiritual orgasms are, no doubt, tremendous - but not for everyone.

Remember how, in spite of the Bruderhof's ethical teaching that one was supposed to be completely disinvested in one's own ego, there was a tremendous egotistical charge to be had if one could put oneself in line to channel group power? Even people low in the hierarchy could speak to each other in the most commanding tones. Bruderhof group photographs, especially those of children, reflect enormous pride. Within the community, individual egotism, supposedly obliterated, resurfaces as group egotism magnified enormously. They have even permitted themselves the belief that they represent the tiny seed of the Kingdom of Heaven that saves the rest of the world from the wrath of God. All this spiritual and egotistical charge is what the ordinary Bruderhofers believe they would stand to lose if ever they were to admit the truth to be found in KIT.

Then there is their hierarchy. If the ordinary brothers and sisters actually grasped what their stewards of group power are really up to, the leaders would be exposed as wolves in sheep's clothing and eventually deposed. This is the real reason behind their well-orchestrated public relations media campaign, their LIFE Magazine article, death penalty activism and so on - not any kind of Christian witness. It's all a diversionary smoke screen. The complete, unvarnished testimony of KIT, once admitted to the Brotherhoods, would pave the smoothest pathway to their gradual and graceful reform. But heads would certainly roll at the top, and it is their hierarchy that calls the shots, and their corporate structure with which we must reckon.

So the reason the battle lines between KITfolk and the Bruderhof are being drawn just the way they are - around our potential contacts with the media - is not because any Bruderhofers really care what outside people think. After all, they are a religious group. But what the outside world comes to understand of the Bruderhof leaders' chicanery will eventually dispel the smoke screen of Christian activism and devastate their brotherhoods, legally and otherwise, and the denouement will begin. And this outcome is certain unless their leaders learn to stop trying to keep dissenting voices down. But it's all they know how to do. Enforced conformity has always been the hallmark of that black-leather Christianity which is the Bruderhof way of life.

There is now an effort underway to have the KIT/Bruderhof controversy mediated professionally in an attempt to redress the lack of dialogue between Bruderhof and former Bruderhof. I am inclined to view the lack of dialogue as a symptom rather than the disease. Be that as it may, before negotiations begin, certain questions need answers:

Who broke off dialogue to begin with? Who prevents Brotherhood members from actually reading KIT, or other literature for that matter, in a normal quiet, private, individual way? How could we ever tell if negotiations actually reach the Brotherhood? Do outside individuals all want dialogue with the Bruderhof in the first place? Should such individuals as do not want dialogue be forced through the sieve of a committee whose job it would be to throw their "grievances" at Bruderhof representatives before their correspondence would qualify for publication in KIT?

I think that the idea of a grievance committee to negotiate solutions for problems people have with the Bruderhof is fine for those who want the assistance of such a process, but not for those who don't. The newsletter is an open forum for dialogue, and it is for everybody, both in and out of the communities, whether they want anything to do with the communities or not.

One of the things I regret about the tenor of what we get to publish in KIT is the self-censorship of many people who are either Christian or who believe good things about the Bruderhof and refuse to partitipate in KIT. There has been an undercurrent of grumbling about this all along. But what can we do when folks take the position that they won't participate in a forum in which people vigorously disagree? We try to keep the editorials neutral and dispassionate. I personally do what I can to make sure no one gets the impression that all KIT contributors think alike. There aren't too many conservative voices. We certainly publish what representatives of the Bruderhof send us to print. We publish material from people who don't dare give their names. But I don't think the newsletter itself should ever become entangled with any process that would essentially be a feature of Bruderhof public relations management. Afer all, there is always The Plough.

Out here in San Francisco we used to have a newscaster named Scoop Nisker who closed every newscast with the sign-off: "...if you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own." If the news is that Ramon or others can't visit parents or grandchildren, although they very much wish to do so, the Bruderhof can change those news items very easily. If the news is that Michael Caine accuses Heini of sodomy but doesn't even want to talk to them about it at all, they can say they are terribly sorry, but Heini is dead.

Personally, I desire for Bruderhofers the same thing I want for KITfolk: the opportunity to be themselves. I feel the same as I expressed in the January 1991 KIT:

"...As far as KIT editorial policy is concerned, we want to leave it up to each individual freely to establish and pursue his or her own goals, both personal and social, according to his or her individual discernment and values. We try to keep KIT itself totally uninvolved, even indirectly, in any attempts to manage the way various individual correspondents live their lives. We believe that the only way for us all to be free to be KIT correspondents is for KIT to take no positions at all, except the journalistic positions of a free press. However, when that free press is attacked or when individuals are pressured or retaliated against for their participation in discourse, we intend vigorously to come to the defense of the freedoms that everyone in the twentieth century ought to be able to take for granted.

"My own personal goal is healing and truth for everyone whether in or out of the communities. But as an editor of the newsletter, my goal is to let each one say whatever he or she wishes to say, even in the most extreme cases. Now I do believe that my editorial and personal goals will tend to coincide, but if they ever apparently do not, while I function as an editor I will continue to uphold the right of the individuals each to express themselves as they see fit, and as an individual KIT correspondent I will continue freely to recommend what I personally believe."

I believe that our principled, institutional free speech, in the context of the free press of society-at-large is what will eventually save the Bruderhof from itself. Anything else is just garden path and slippery slope. It will take time, but if there is an organ of free personal expression in the outside world that focuses on the Bruderhof and remains inclusive and impartial in content, I believe the Bruderhof is certain eventually to reform, at least up to the level of the mores of the outside world. I don't see why KIT contributors or Peregrine should settle for anything less.

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A Description of Celo Community

by Lee Kleiss

During or after the First World War there were many peace efforts: FOR, AFSC, I think also NAACP, ACLU, an attempt at a UN, etc. etc, also in a way the Wandervogel movement and the Bruderhof. (Only recently have I realized that our Flower Children time of the 60's was the Wandervogel movement of the grandparents!!! It also resulted in a large number of communes.)

In that same spirit a thousand acres were given (? by a Quaker?) for a more peaceful, less competitive lifestyle. As employment in this mountainous area is very difficult, not too much happened in the first 30-40 years. Someone arranged for a repackaging of drugs, from large containers into the typical small dispensing bottles. That project developed into a Health Center that still exists. Beyond some cooperative efforts, holding the land in common, there is little else.

Back to Celo: currently the oldest members are Ernest Morgan, son of Arthur Morgan who started Antioch College. He has had a fascinating career - predominantly earning his living through the Antioch Book Plate Company. This required a lot of travel, so a home in the woods was feasible. His wife started Arthur Morgan (boarding) school for 7th, 8th, 9th graders out of conviction for such a need and to find more employment around Celo. Frances died shortly after starting the school and Ernest has lived for funding and endowing the school. Some 13 years ago he married Cristine. After her stroke 2 years ago, she first was in a nursing home, but then Ernest attempted to nurse her at home. Celo members and friends tried to release him some 2 hours a day. In the end they needed a trained nurse who, after Cristine's death, continues to live with Ernest - approaching age 90? Almost forget to mention Ernest's book on simple burial which is in its 17th printing.

The other old couple are Dot and Bob Barrus who originally moved there because of a retarded daughter. Bob originally commuted to Ashville (1-1/2 hours away) for employment, teaching school. Ernest and others convinced and helped them because of the existing children's camp, Camp Celo. Both my children and grandchildren have enjoyed it. They have retired and their able children now run the camp.

After the second world war, Celo started to gain membership. Among those was David Salstrom, who later as biologist found a teaching position at colleges. In the 60's, when the B'hof exploded, the McWhirters found refuge there, living in Dave Salstrom's little cabin. Kore discovered she could make a living making and selling pottery. The McWhirters, Fran and Pearl Hall, Margit Hirschenhauser, (Marilyn and Jim Neuhauser and Ken Ives?) had all been part of Kingwood Community that the Bruderhof swallowed. Marilyn had moved to Celo after Kingwood broke up. And it was Marilyn that let me know that Margit Hirschenhauser, in her 70's had been expelled by SOB and had come to live with them on her measly $45 SS because the SOB had no longer contributed to SS. She became caretaker for the Celo Friends Meeting, which meets in a former goat barn! She never became a member of Celo because at that time they did not want older members. Too many of the original members were aging. Both my really close friends, Margit Hirschenhauser and Kore McWhirter have departed.

That has changed as many crafts people have moved in. Their employment is at home and through attending craft fairs, and living in the mountains is cheaper and pleasanter. In order to keep some semblance of similarity and continuity, prospective members have a year's trial period and no more that two new members are accepted yearly. Their meetings use Quaker business practices!!!!

Roughly half the members attend and/or are members of the Friends Meeting, the other half has been attracted to the mountains, ecology, and ability to pursue their crafts. There's a craft co-op for selling crafts and a food co-op. The latter is now used by many others who have moved to the mountains.

There are many problems similar to Primavera. There are the very liberal Celo people, the new invaders, mostly Floridians, the locals, and most recently the Mexicans. For locals the income is tobacco or picking galax, a local evergreen picked for use in floral arrangements. The Mexicans pick galax and resell it to locals who know the market contacts. They can pick it without a green card. Unlike the höfe, people live exceedingly scattered - like myself. Attracted to Celo, I own a house outside of Celo. Pete McWhirter, the youngest son, has taken over Kore's house and the pottery. Loy and Jon and Bruce have their home and acreage just across the road from my original 4 acres.

Some ten years ago I decided building my own house alone was probably beyond me, so I bought my 'Hill House' with a tremendous view some 2 miles from Celo Central, the Health Center. Named 'Hill House' after Jo and Rita Hill lived in it. Three years ago I started negotiating with a Quaker family that had moved from the area, because of his employment. This house is some 5 miles from Celo Central. What appealed to me was an attached efficiency apartment that they had added on for Grandma. I envisioned storing all my stuff and heading for China or South Africa after retirement. Also, later on, perhaps if I needed help, I could offer the efficiency apartment for free to a helper.

Well, things changed drastically this past year.

I did inherit the house with a tenant, Valerie Owensby, a local who makes her living picking galax. Actually the cemetery above these 4 acres holds all her ancestors. We get along quite well, at least over the month's time I've stayed there in summer. It may work out that I have a built-in helper.

Last year, when I was feeling particularly blue, my daughter Susie called me from Boston, just to tell me that The Sound of Music was on the TV. I turned it on just to the phrase - when God closes one door he opens another. Perhaps??

I'm really being naughty and letting my lab class take care of themselves. Perhaps I'm taking revenge for the weekend lack of e- mail reading - a glitch with our system here. Well. that's enough for now. My students really need me. Greetings,

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Ruth Baer Lambach, 10/18/96: This report on the 1996 Communal Studies Conference is dedicated to Doris Greaves, who joined the Bruderhof in the 50's and died there several years ago of cancer. She was a bright, chipper, little woman with short hair and a perky face. The best thing about her was her perpetual good humor and positive attitude. I think she might have come from Minnesota as she had that 'Minnesota nice' about her. She was the folk dance teacher who was also prominent when it came to leading the singing of new songs. I admired her for the lightness of her feet, her beautiful voice, quickness of mind and her sensitivity and competence with music in general. She never married. She must have been about 35 or so when she first joined.

I thought about her when we were folk dancing in a real barn at Amana Colonies, the site of the 1996 CSA conference. The dancing, which has become an expected part of the conference, is led by an equally light footed Dr. Larry Foster, history professor at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. I thought he did a particularly great job of leading the group this year or perhaps it was that we were in a real barn with heavy timbers, cracks in the rough hewn wooden floor and it was cold so dancing was a good way to stay warm. It was good to see Timothy Johnson. He was there for most of the conference as well as the folk dancing For those of you who still have sentiments attached to living in community as I believe many of us do, because, in my opinion, it is impossible to experience the joys of community and then forever after just drop it, I'd recommend attending one of the CSA conferences. During this three-day weekend you have a kind of community of practitioners, would be practitioners, academics, art historians, musicologists and even college students. On another night we had a session of music from about four different communal groups.

The seven Amana Colonies, with 26,000 acres nestled beautifully in a valley along the Iowa River, was a marvelous place to raise children. To have that many acres of freedom to explore and learn from nature is a powerful education in itself. We heard reports from people who were raised there and the nature theme came up again and again as it does with me when I think about how much space and natural beauty and variety we had to play in. We did not have to be closely supervised but had the freedom to roam along the river for miles, climb high cliffs where we looked for arrowheads and become familiar with all the weeds, trees, wild fruits and berries along the Forest River in North Dakota.

One of the most positive things about visiting these sites of former communes is the experience of being in the presence of natural beauty, exquisite gardens and carefully designed living spaces. In Amana, what gives the villages a certain quaint appeal are the warm, red brick houses with meticulously groomed yards. I ate half a dozen, ripe, worm eaten apples from the unsprayed trees and they tasted like real apples. On another afternoon I was interviewed for about an hour by a filmmaker from California who is making a movie on communes for television. If the interview with me was any indication of the depth of her movie, I fear that people will only get to the appetizers and never taste the main course. That is how it is with community. You must experience it rather than look at it from the outside or see a movie on TV about it.

Another regular feature at the conference is the annual auction sale where people contribute certain items which are then auctioned off to the highest bidder. (I contributed three very early versions of Torches Extinguished.) People get a chance to make a contribution to the organization and take home a memento. A jar of jam or a book worth perhaps at most 5 to 10 dollars will sell for $20.

I left the auction with a subscription to Communities magazine. In the current issue/Fall 1996, there is a report: 'Former Communitarians Respond.' This is based on two responses to the questionnaire I sent out several years ago

The sessions are always stimulating. They ranged from reports on Government sponsored hippie communes in New Zealand to the well established Hutterites and the still ongoing Twin Oaks based on B.F. Skinner's Behaviorist model, in Louisa, Virginia, home of some 90 adults and 15 children. One session which I found particularly interesting was entitled: "I want to buy Ben and Jerry's without Everyone's permission." The title says it all. And this of course is at the heart of the continual conflict between the individual and the community.

Professor Thomas Mansheim, who has attended every KIT conference at Littleton, MA, also attended this conference. True to his 'doubting Thomas style' he can always be counted on to interject laser-sharp remarks which in one instance caused a heated discussion which extended way beyond the session. Professor Robert Rosenthal of Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana, a proponent of 'deep ecology,' thought he'd have a receptive audience, except for Tom, who vigorously rejected and discounted his very premise. For those interested, there is a book which I saw in the hands of Professor Rosenthal called 'Deep Ecology'. My Mennonite and communitarian background I credit for my underlying belief that it is always possible to mediate and come to an understanding without wars. Tom however, is clear that there are certain ideas which are bad and therefore must be opposed from the outset. Deep Ecology, in his view is a bad idea because it does not place human beings at the center. It equates all forms of life as equal. It also tells less developed nations that they should not develop because it would put too much stress on the environment.

Young people just returning from visits to islands like Lombok in Indonesia are quite convinced that life on the primitive island is superior to their life in the suburbs of the United States. They readily embraced Professor Rosenthal's ideas. If you enjoy verbal combat over ideas, if you like to folk dance, to sing or if you'd like to be in a beautiful setting of a former commune, come attend the next Communal Studies Conference to be held October 9-11 in Tacomah, Washington in 1997. If you want to send a proposal to present, send it to Dr. Doris Pieroth, 5027 Sand Point Place, N.E. Seattle, WA 98105-2991 by April 15, 1997.

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A Trip To Paraguay in 1945

A Journal kept by Edith L. Powell

Mary Lou and I bade a sad and unshed-tearful crowd of four little girls good-bye Friday evening, October 26, 1945, in Montevideo, Uruguay. We taxied to the port and rode third class on the "City of Buenos Aires" to Buenos Aires, Argentina, arriving the next morning at 8. Our quarters were comfortable and clean. Saturday morning we spent changing Uruguayan pesos for Paraguayan guaranies and trying to figure out their relationship to an American dollar. We bought our tickets third class on the steamship "Washington," comparable in size to a Great Lakes steamer. At 2 we headed north for Asuncion. Our experiences in Third Class for four days were a story in themselves. We had twelve other bunkmates - most interesting was T. T. Chew. She wasn't Chinese, but that was only the name we gave her because she had a terrific cough and chewed tobacco and spent her waking hours (and other sometimes) alternating between spitting in the one and only washbowl and spitting on the floor. It seemed as if she reserved the washbowl for the T.B. expectorations and just any old place on the floor for the tobacco juice. Mary Lou had the bunk right above her and each time she climbed down, it was a draw whether she'd step in the tobacco juice or the regurgitations of the two-month-old baby that made slippery white spots on every otherwise unoccupied space on the floor. These hazards were aggravated by the holes in the soles of Mary Lou's shoes!

The last afternoon aboard the "Washington" we were somewhat diverted from our boredom by watching the crocodiles on the banks. The food provided nourishment, but nothing more need be said of it, but mealtimes - twice a day only - were occasions to anticipate. We had red tablecloths and no napkins, but the passengers were not deterred. When a napkin was needed, they just stooped over and used the tablecloth. Mary Lou and I garnered an occasional orange or loaf of bread from an English-speaking sailor and the engine oiler, who seemed especially friendly.

Wednesday morning we docked at the river port of Asuncion, capital of Paraguay. We were met by Mr. and Mrs. Heilbrunn and Mr. Hinde of the Hutterian colony. Mr. Hinde went with us to buy our tickets to Rosario on Thursday eve. The Heilbrunns took us out to their lovely home and installed us in a spacious bedroom, gave us breakfast and made us comfortable. While we were eating, I remembered I had failed to take my shoes off the boat. We made a hurried trip down to the river and recovered them. Mrs. H took us for a long walk. We visited a beautiful garden with dozens of varieties of orchids. The man was an artist and we saw his work and their collection of handicrafts from may South American countries.

Thursday morning, Mary Lou and I walked uptown, but most stores were closed. We took a street car back, ate lunch, siesta'd, tea'd and when to the boat "Anita Barthe," for the trip to Rosario. This time we went First Class. The cockroaches, however, recognized no distinction and when I couldn't sleep, I watched their conventions. The 'president,' slightly smaller than a horse, presided from a vantage point near the ceiling just over Mary Lou's head. After we boarded the boat, Messrs. Hinde and Wiegand came with refrigerator repairs, mail and gifts for the colony. They also brought medicine for a sick Paraguayan and for a little eight-year-old girl who had fallen from a tree and was in a very serious condition. They told us they could not tell the colony over the short wave radio that we were coming because the radio was kept only for emergency calls. So they sent a message that we were bringing medicine. They also said that a wedding was planned for the coming weekend. However with the little girl so seriously ill with a severe concussion, possibly the wedding would not be held.

Friday morning we arrived at Rosario at 6:30, a small, nondescript river town. We carried a letter from the Brothers to Juan Hellman and asked for him at the post. We were taken to his home in a horse-drawn cart. After much misunderstanding of their Spanish, we deciphered that their plan was for us to go as far as the Russian Mennonite colony tonight and continue on our way tomorrow.

Now we have been on our way for 4-1/2 hours and are stopping for a two-hour rest. This morning we bought a hat for a sunshade, but my arms are badly burned. We also were able to buy some black German bread and head cheese from a Mennonite lady, and it served for mid-morning lunch.

The midday two-hour stop stretched to a typical South American 3-1/2 hours. The rest of the afternoon passed quickly enough. We saw many varieties of birds, large and small, some very beautifully colored. We also saw termite houses three feet high and a kind of green cactus with bright orange leaves inside.

About 6:30 we arrived at the Mennonite colony. Daniel Wolf of the Friesland Colony Number One, our driver, gave us grapes to eat and we entertained ourselves in the one-room houses until he returned from neighbors bringing his wife. She spoke no English nor Spanish and was very shy and embarrassed, but prepared us bread, eggs and tea. Because of the urgency of getting the medicine to the Hutterites, Daniel's younger brothers went out in the fields, caught his horses and prepared to take us on.

By the time we started it was 9:30 and very dark with no moon. The fireflies were so large and cast such a large glow that we decided five or six of them would make a headlight. They were not easily persuaded to perch on the wagon so the poor horses had to depend on a sixth sense and memory for the trail. We stopped at another house a short distance down the road and the driver brought a spring seat with a back. The added comfort it provided mostly was lost because the roads were bad and most of the time I was sitting on the very edge of it and hanging on to the side in mortal fear of tipping over and having the camera smashed.

He drove though open valleys and deep woods. If you have never driven through black woods in a crude cart with a strange driver in the middle of the night through the wilds of Paraguay, you have an unexplainable sensation ahead of you!

About 11:30 we came to the gate of Primavera, the Hutterite colony. At first all seemed dark asleep, but finally we saw a light in a house. Our driver spoke in German and the man inside came out. He was wearing a long bathrobe and carrying a lantern. He greeted us and took us down the road to another building where there were others waiting for us. We were taken to a small room containing two cats, a small table and benches, washing accommodations, etc. We were so tired, sunburned and lame that the beds felt wonderful. The sister who had taken us in charge said it was all right to sleep in in the morning, even though they had breakfast at 6:15.

We slept until 8:30. Then Sister Bessie Harries brought us breakfast. Afterward, we visited the school. There were 36 children of school age in this part of the colony. They have a new school building with nice equipment. The kindergarten has 29, toddlers about 30 and the baby house a host of darling babies. These quarters are well built except for the lack of screening, and the flies were terrible.

We went next to the hospital and saw the maternity ward and facilities for laboratory tests, etc. Three doctors, one man and two women, care for the sick.

Most of the wood-turning was done in another section of the colony, but we did see the sawmill that had power saws for cutting logs. The shavings are used for mattress filling.

At the noon meal, I told a little about our trip and it was translated into German by Trudy. After a two-hour siesta, we were invited to Robert and Dorothy Headland for tea. We had a nice visit there and in the late afternoon, we went to the laundry and helped fold clean clothes.

At suppertime, ours was brought to our cabin early so that we could speak uninterruptedly at the meal. Mary Lou spoke about settlement work and the Pan American Congress in Chile. Immediately the brothers began to say that although social work was good in its way, yet it did not get to the root of the evil. One brother kept saying that there was a lot of good that was not Christian good. That aroused my sense of giving God his due, and I said I thought Good was Good regardless of its label. He thought that settlements should not take care of children whose mothers worked in war plants because that made wars easier to wage. My only answer to that was that their taking in war orphans was in the same category because people would say, "We can go ahead and have wars and kills parents and somebody will care for our children."

The Hutterites feel very sorry for us because we do not change the evil with our 'patching,' but we feel sorry for them because to us they do not seem to be able to even 'patch' for the rest of the suffering world.

During supper it was reported that the little girl, Dories, who had fallen from the tree, was in very bad shape with a high temperature.

Sunday we arise at 6:30, bathed, dressed and proceeded to the house of Kate and Peter Cavanna for breakfast. They had as guests Phyllis and Arthur Woolston who were to get married this weekend. We had a very interesting discussion, especially with the brothers as the sisters had to leave to work. We asked many questions and they also. It ended as usual, in our mutual feeling of sympathy, each for the impotence of the other fellow.

We went for tea to Eleanor and Guy Johnson and their children. We had an interesting time there. After supper we had a meeting under the trees in which we held a discussion, hashing over the same old things. They seemed like a bunch of people who got together during the depressions and brought out al the hackneyed phrases with a sort of hollow meanings. They reminded me of the old Bug Club of Washington Park. They destroyed their position for me by saying that their door was open and that if the Paraguayans did not want to come, it was their own fault. They are very smug about their position and very cynical about our way doing any good. I read some place recently that a cynic was a sentimentalist who had been dreadfully hurt, and this definition seems somehow to fit many of these people. One man said in an undertone when I asked what would become of the world or my church people in Illinois if I should join the colony in South Dakota, "Well, what good can you do in your church?"

And yet we had been told by two brothers that they did not judge. Also, I was led to believe by the testimonies the other night that they had joined this colony because it satisfied a desire in the lives which had not been satisfied by settlement church work, but yet in this discussion they said they were not doing it for satisfaction. We asked one man if the idea of this group was to eventually bring everyone to this way of life. He said, "Yes." But this evening, another said they had no hope of ever getting everyone to live this way (God forbid). One man said that they would be perfectly willing to share with us if we wanted to come and work with them. That is not sharing. That would only be permitting me to have what I had rightfully earned. Sharing is giving something to those less fortunate than you are. I have been greatly disappointed in their watchword. I had thought before I came that it would be love, whereas, it is "unity." So far I haven't been able to discover what. They do not pray with us because they feel that we are not in unity with them, although they are enough in unity with us to accept help with their building for the war orphans.

Monday: a terrific wind came up in the night, and we had to get up and shut our shutters. Mary Lou dropped the match scratcher on the floor. We fumbled around in the pitch dark for several minutes, but we finally found it. It was still raining when we got up and waded through it to the house of Buddug Evans, a Welsh lady, for breakfast. We hung and folded clothes in the laundry and sewed baby bibs in the sewing room. After lunch we rested the two allotted hours and then took a few pictures of the children, a close-up of Susan Mary Johnson. In the evening, there was no meeting so we went over to Mill and Maria Patrick's house. Also there was Betty Robinson, who was our hostess at vespers this P.M. She and her husband were agnostics before they joined the cult, and he said he used to give back as good as he received, but now he had learned to be polite. He had a heavy black beard and a mass of black hair, usually innocent of a comb. He has a real fire in his eyes and sometimes gets a bit wrought up. Betty was telling us what they thought of the USA. and summed it all up by saying that she had the idea that all of America was "clear off the rail." She said the expression "crackpot" originated in her home town in England. It means a cracked piece of pottery "rather warped in the making."

Tuesday: We got up at 6:30 and breakfasted at Guy and Eleanor Johnson's house again. He then took us to Isla Margarita, the older part of the colony. The buildings are much better made, and all of life seemed more cheerful and less helter-skelter. The small children greeted us with merry laughter and amazement, and were much interested in our watches, hats, cameras, buttons, short dresses, and even fingernails. Their Hutterian mothers' dress in long ankle-length dresses with a bibless apron, blouses with unfitted sleeves, and always a polka-dotted babushka over their heads in the tropical heat! No wonder we looked funny!

During the day, we - or rather I (ain't I the bold one!) - asked Guy what was the object of the beards. He said that they just grew and they couldn't keep them from it. I had the notion to ask him if the babushkas grew from the women's heads. I said I thought perhaps they let their beards grow to set them apart from other people when they were in groups, and he said that would be a very self-conscious motive. Just what that meant, I don't know. As a matter of fact, their strange dress sets them apart. Buddug went to Buenos Aires to see her husband off to England and a crowd gathered around them wondering if they were German, attracted by their odd costumes and beards. They explained that they were English and were not further molested.

We spent much time in the wood-turning shop where I bought six trays, a plate, a large bowl and two sets of candlesticks which Eric made while we were watching him. We saw the laundry, the kitchen (where we had a snack of watermelon), the school the baby house and the toddler house. In the latter, the toddlers were all around the edge of the room, each one sitting on his own little potty. In another room, a group were eating. I took a sweet picture of Emily [Paul or Sorgius - ed] just as she was taking a bite. At the lunch table, Mary Lou and I talked. I told then about the trip and how our children got their names, the latter because some little boy wanted to know their names. Mary Lou told some of the incidents from Ecuador.

We went to the carpenter's house to rest, and it was furnished very nicely with all the furniture made from beautiful hard wood. Then at 2:30 we went to the house of Brian and Nancy Trapnell for vespers. They have Peter, John, Mark and David. They older three were very entertaining to us, but quite annoying to their parents. While we were eating, the host made a remark about the entire atmosphere being different from Loma Hoby and then seeming to recognize his slip, since Guy was with us, he changed it to mean the weather. We have had lots of fun finding chinks in their armor!

The man in charge of the locust campaign showed us how it would be put into action. A number of days ago the locusts came in swarms, laying their eggs in the ground. They expect the young to hatch any day now, so they are prepared. About 25 flame-throwers are in readiness and the operators instructed as to each one's territory. All land that can be plowed has been plowed. A large grave or pit, twenty feet long, has been dug. It's intended to drive the young grasshoppers into it, burn and then bury them. Children of all ages will be enlisted to drive them. Sawdust piles were plentiful to be burned for smudges. Sawdust, bran and arsenic has been prepared to lure them to their death.

Towards evening, when it was cooler, we walked back through the woods to Loma Hoby. Those ahead of us tried to kill a big black snake three feet long and three inches in diameter, but they had rotten sticks and didn't make it. All I saw was the movements of the grass and undergrowth as the snake escaped into the woods. The only other weird feels I had were occasioned by a wolf-like bark from some distant animal. We kept looking for monkeys, but saw none. Finally some of the children who were with us thought they heard some, so we stopped to listen. We strained out ears, and Guy said, "I guess it wasn't a monkey. Perhaps it was just a tiger after all."

After supper, at which Mary Lou and I bade them a public farewell, another meeting was held in which some of Eberhard Arnold's works were read. Then we went to bed as we were tired and knew we would have to get up early in the morning.

Two more impressions that I want to record of the Hutterians:

1) They share according to everyone's need. Most of the women are woefully in need of dental care, and the whole place, but especially the baby house, should most certainly be screened against flies and mosquitoes. But instead of doing this, many of the men smoke cigars and cigarettes. Since when did smoking become a more urgent need for health or community well-being than dental work or proper screening?

2) Although we did not learn the previous occupations of nearly all the people, it was interesting that many were well-educated. Some I remember were: Robert Headland - auctioneer; John Robinson - agriculturist; Bill Patrick - bank clerk; Maria Patrick - social worker; Hans ... - book publishing company; Cyril Davies - doctor; Guy Johnson - lawyer; Eleanor Johnson - teacher; Peter Cavanna - lawyer.

There was in the colony a German man about 55 years old who was clean-shaven, so we wondered from the first just what his place was. He came up to us one evening and told us that he had found the discussions very interesting. He added that he did not belong to the colony but that he had been a guest there for 1-1/4 years. He said that he would soon be leaving because he had other interests. We would have been interested in more of his reactions, but there was not much opportunity to talk to him.

I had thought that these people had the milk of human kindness, but in many cases, it curdled.

November 8, 1945:[A letter to family - ed] Written on board the river steamer "Chiquitiquita" from Rosario to Asuncion:

Dear People: Probably I will never send this as a letter because I may get home before it would, but I will record my impressions of yesterday and today for posterity. If I do send it, please save it for my diary as there is so much to write that I hate to repeat.

It will be difficult to read because of the terrific vibration of the boat engines. They thump like a reducing machine and shake off what little excess fat I have left after two days of virtual starvation.

I will reserve the impressions of the Bruderhof for my return, as I have written them in my notebook, and will begin with yesterday morning.

At 1:30 A.M. the watchman of the night knocked on our door and announced the time. We knew we had to get up. Mary Lou went to light the candle and dropped the match lighter on the floor. We fumbled and fumbled and wasted quite a few minutes looking for it. When we were through, the room was not quite so hard to see in because blue is lighter than black. However we couldn't find it, so Mary Lou went out and got one from the man who was preparing the wagon for the trip. We dressed hurriedly and went out into the cool morning air. A heavy dew made the long grass as wet as rain. We were invited to go to the kitchen for yerba maté tea, fried egg and fried mandioca. We ate and loaded ourselves into the second of two wagons that were going to Puerto Rosario.

Our wagon had a cover over a wooden frame and served very well for protection against sun and rain. There were side curtains of canvas also in case of need. We had a board seat with a back of sorts, and had only gone a few paces when Ted, the driver of the first wagon, came back and said that we had forgotten our food. Food is a major consideration because it's impossible to find on the sixteen-hour journey. He told Robert, a passenger on our wagon, to go back and get it. Robert soon returned lugging an armload, and said he couldn't carry it all at once. He went back again and the second time Ted asked him if he had all the cups, spoons etc. He said 'no,' and returned a third time. He had difficulty in finding cups but finally returned with utensils and basins for eating and drinking. All this time Ted stood nonchalantly leaning on our wagon talking to us.

Again we started. The lantern was blown out and the horses plodded along in the deep darkness. It was 3 A.M., the temperature cool but not uncomfortable. About 4 or a little after, it began to be light and shortly the sun was shining.

We drove through meadows and tunnels in the forests alternately. It was very dark in the woods. The roads were bad and we were constantly clinging to one side of the wagon or the other as it trundled along the precarious angles. I always grabbed the camera so if I went overboard, at least I wanted to know where to locate the remnants.

If one should meet a cart going through the narrow trails in the forests, it would be necessary to unhitch the horses and force the wagon up into the trees as it is impossible to pass and the wagons could never be persuaded to go into reverse.

About 7:30 we came out into a clearing and Ted decided it would be a good place to camp for a second breakfast. The horses were unhitched for a needed rest and to graze for an hour or so. We built a campfire and put water on for coffee. When it was boiling, we boiled eggs in it and then used it for coffee. This, together with galletas, the hard cement-like, disillusioning structure that exterior-wise resembles a Panama Canal USO roll but internally has the makings of another Gibraltar, made up the second installment of breakfast.

All along the way we kept seeing different kinds of birds. I felt almost as if I were in a zoo, for nearly every time we saw one, it was a new species. There were little back birds with white heads, white birds with black heads, (they should take better care of their complexions!) herons, storks, (I won't have to hurry home as none of them were flying!) maribous, and many others with strange and difficult Spanish names. The maribous were large white birds with colored heads and long, heavy, up-turned beaks. They fished in the frog ponds and from a distance looked as big as a calf. The king vultures, great white things with a wingspread like a clipper ship, live up to their name. It is hard to think of a black-hearted bird like a vulture being white, but these were and Constantin, our Swiss driver, said that when they are about to devour a dead animal (their staple died, pobrecitas) all the tribe stand back until the king has his fill. Then they partake of whatever remains - almost as selfish as men, are they not?

The road was particularly awful. Ted said it was the worst it had been in the five years they had been there. In addition to being rough, many times we sank hub-deep in mud and once were completely stuck. We relieved the wagon of our weight and with the aid of a shovel, were able to get out. I took a photo but we were in the woods and it was rather early in the morning. So it probably won't be very good. Many times we drove through great ponds and water and although it was fun, the water did not have the brilliant sparkle of the clear-running streams in Southern Bolivia that Shauna liked to cross over.

The enormous square logs of hardwood are hauled to the river port in huge ox-powered carts called alzaprimas. The wheels are 9 to 10 feet in diameter and six oxen are required to pull them. The hand-sawn logs are 20-25 feet in length and two feet square. Some of the wood is very heavy, so the weight is tremendous. The oxen are goaded continually with a long pole on which hang crude cymbals made of metal bands that make a loud unpleasant clanging in their ears. Along the pole are rings of feathers. The theory would seem to be that tickling, music and coercion all are needed to get action from the sluggish, stupid beasts. Along the road occasionally we would see logs that had been abandoned because of bad roads or perhaps just utter fatigue. It seems as if they were sometimes purposely placed to obstruct the track.

At noon we made another pause, this time for 2-1/2 hours. I was the first cook, Mary Lou a close second. To be more specific, I cracked the eggs while she held the pan. I beat them while she salted, and we shared the honors of scrambling them (mixed with the from a tin of corned beef, Paraguayan manufacture) over the open fire. In the absence of a skillet, the lid of the coffee kettle with a machete for a handle was adequate for a cooking utensil. We felt our non-Ipana'd teeth could not manage any more galletas, so we confined ourselves to the eggs and corned beef, aided and abetted by yerba tea served in saucepans.

The afternoon was pleasantly cool, with a fine breeze. A couple of time it rained for a few minutes, but the dauntless sun shone on and one, giving us a hint of a rainbow. One of the beautiful pictures of late afternoon was looking back from our wagon to see two alzaprimas laden with chain-slung logs coming through a particularly deep pond of water. The drivers were standing with a wide-legged balance, manipulating the goading pole while their aides pranced around the oxen, prodding from the sides and coaxing from the front. As the oxen reluctantly splashed through the water, I snapped a couple of photos (it was so picturesque that I splurged to the extent of two).

Along the way we saw many native children. Our Mennonite friend had described them to us. The little girls go totally naked here, whereas in other places I remember only the little boys in nature's own.

About five o'clock, we began to tire and wished we were in Rosario. Also we began to have the slightly uneasy feeling that the boat, due to leave at 7, might casually go off without us. The next two hours were filled with the night noises of the wilds. Mary Lou could distinguish about a half-dozen at a time, but I had to sort them out singly to identify them. Some very persistent frogs kept up a rhythmically intermittent crooning cry of "Nya-a, nya-a." The stem-winding insects that finish off with a thunderstorm static shrilled almost constantly. A love-hungry bird dot-dashed a piercing cry for his mate, and underneath it all was the buzzing of the crickets and the strumming croaking in various minor keys. Although the shy howling monkeys did not show themselves, much to our regret, we did hear their angry mutterings in the woods once or twice.

The small hut in Rosario where boat tickets were sold had closed for the evening, so we were told to buy our tickets on board. We drove down to the dock, which consisted of a stairway descending to the river and a plank across from the bank to the boat, and went aboard. We looked at our watches, and it was just five minute to seven. With five minutes to spare, I couldn't see why we had worried about arriving in time! We were no sooner aboard than it began to rain with a definite purpose.

We asked for First Class passage and were shown to a small room flanked on each side with leather-upholstered seats. We were so weary and hungry that we thought our patience would run out completely before we could get any one of the various people we asked to show us to a cabin. After an hour and fifteen minutes, we were told to climb a perpendicular stairway and were shown to an infinitesimal cabin of three bunks and a candle. The flame had to burn straight up as there certainly was no room for it to spread!

We asked for water to wash in and with a vague promise to bring it, the attendant (I feel the word "steward" implies too much) departed. We waited wearily for the water, but in its default, which continued until morning, we finally undressed, opened the window and went to bed. We were no sooner asleep than the storm began in earnest, blowing in gusts of rain to nearly drench Mary Lou on the top bunk. We jumped out on the soaked rug and tried to close the window. By the time that was accomplished, we hardly needed the water we had requested, as we were well showered. We climbed back in bed again - but not for long. This time the door, which had no latch, blew open. For the next half-hour I shuttled back and forth between my bunk and the door. All the time it was storming terribly, the rain coming down in torrents, the wind at gale strength and the boat rocking with a disquieting dip. However, sixteen hours on a spring-less board drugged my nervousness and I slept through the night with nightmares only slightly more grotesque than usual. We were to have arrived in Asuncion at 6:30 or 7, so we decided when we awakened at 6:30 to get up at once. We had not been able to get anything to eat the night before, so we were a bit empty too. When Mary Lou looked out the window, she said that we were grounded. I tried to talk her into thinking we were only docked at Asuncion, but she was adamant in her opinion. In a few minutes we were brought water for washing and informed that we had been stopped since 10 P.M. last night because of the danger of traveling in such a bad storm. It is such a little boat it could easily be upset in such a wind as we had.

The above took four hours to write. Then we spent time writing in our diaries and then read to each other what we had written. This greatly interested our fellow men - I do mean 'men' as we are the only First Class women aboard. I stopped writing once to take a photo of a small port and another time to take one of a rowboat unloading salted crocodile skins onto our boat. [final pps missing - ed]

---- Food for Thought ----

"All utopias, if they are going to last, are fascistic."

Madeleine L'Engle,

author of: A Wrinkle In Time; A Swiftly Tilting Planet; A Ring of Endless Light; A Severed Wasp; The Young Unicorns; A Live Coal In The Sea; Ladder of Angels: Scenes from the Bible; A House Like A Lotus; Dragons In The Waters; A Cry Like A Bell; A Circle Of Quiet; Certain Women; An Acceptable Time; The Arm of the Starfish.

She also wrote the Introduction to I Tell You a Mystery: Life, Death and Eternity by J. Christoph Arnold, due out this month.

"Heresy is when you make a mistake in religious thought that makes it so you can go out and hurt people or you can do something irreligious. Heresy is the exit gate out of sanity. It's not something that's arbitrarily divided. Most heresies are self-evident. Obviously having had an experience of the All does not mean that you are the landlord of the All, and can do anything you want to the All... The truth is the truth, regardless of what you do to it; so if you think that you have become Truth and you can change Truth, YOU IS WRONG.

"Truth stays the same, like a clear spring, for everyone who drinks from it, it's the same spring, and someone doesn't come along and change it all of a sudden."

Stephen Gaskin

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