1968, October 8: Letter from Peter to G&H

This is a letter written at Harbinger, the commune that briefly occupied Harbin Hot Springs, in late 1968 through early 1969. (For much more about Harbinger, see chapter 7 of Ellen Klages’s book Harbin Hot Springs: Healing Waters, Sacred Land.)

There’s no date on this letter, but internal evidence from the next letter suggests that that one was written shortly after this one, and the date of the next one may have been October 9, so I’m labeling this one as October 8. Certainly within a couple months of that date.

dear parents——

it’s very difficult for me to begin to tell you what’s happening for us, without your being here to feel for yourselves the spirit of this fellowship, here, and now… but i have to try, it’s so beautiful…

we have just moved to what used to be a huge resort, it’s a hot-springs, with 1078 acres of beautiful woods & hills, streams, 3 swimming pools (140°-pool, so hot you can just barely stand it, heat of the earth’s magma; & an 80°-pool, nice & warm, jed’ll be learning to swim in it, we take him in every day, it’s the biggest bathtub he’s ever seen; & an outdoor cold pool…), cabins, 100-odd hotel-building rooms, barns, greenhouses, big kitchen & dining room (there are about a hundred people here now, & not crowded at all it’s so big——…

what we’re doing here is growing together (re-membering), studying, learning, working together, joining together in common purpose, to create in each other by extending our domains of care & love an ever-higher level of order & unity, & to be created by higher creators, by allowing the inner order to determine the outer form…

all of these, my brothers & sisters & i have dreamed of this happening-scene, and have for so long envisioned it, & this is it! we are buying the property for $285,000, $25,000 down & $1500 a month… there are phycisists here, ph.d.’s, & chemists, a biologist, qualified elementary teachers (marcy started in with the children today); i am, or will be, a “research mathematician,” & will be teaching classes in set theory & calculus, plus taking part in seminars & pooling knowledge with our electronics & physics & chemistry teachers—— also i’m typing transcriptions of tapes, moving furniture & equipment, organizing the fantastic library (complete sets of u.s. patent journals for years back, extensive collections of physics, chemistry, mathematics books, psychology, religion, mythology, occult, philosophy, history, language, technical books & journals, fiction, etc.), carpentering (worked in city for a week, built a console, cut out & hung an elliptical door, repaired a staircase, tore out walls, painted——$5/hr.!), playing go, doing yoga exercises, eating beautiful health-foods, listening to lectures, praying, washing dishes, doing group-meditations, swimming, playing with the other children, talking, discovering, loving, ordering chemicals for the quantitative analysis lab, reading, thinking, planning for our organic gardens & goats & chickens——… & beehives & observatory & radio station &…

well, anyway, maybe you can feel a little of how happy we all are here, & perhaps you could come visit on your way back home?

love, peter, marcy, jed

In purple marker at the bottom of the page: BECOME WHO YOU ARE…

Written along the edge of the page: hope your classes are going as well as ours…

Also written along the edge of the page: before long, we’ll be an accredited university…

This letter makes me a little sad. It’s great to see how completely enthusiastic Peter was about Harbinger, but knowing that the commune broke up within a few months after this makes me a little wistful.

The letter was hand-written in pencil on Frontiers of Science Fellowship letterhead. Peter also enclosed a one-page FoS “Statement of Purpose” (quote: “The Fellowship’s purpose is to invade the unknown through research and to disseminate knowledge and guidance in the further preparation of humanity for a distinguished civilization—to synthesize the ologies and shatter the isms”), and a three-page FAQ (not called that, of course) giving info about FoSF and its founder, Don Hamrick, dated July 1968. At some point I may digitize various FoSF materials, but not right now.

I don’t know why Peter wrote this in all-lowercase. It’s a mode he uses in a few other letters too, but there are also plenty of letters in which he uses standard capitalization.

Facebook post for this letter.

2 Responses to “1968, October 8: Letter from Peter to G&H”

  1. New family history project: letters from immediate family – Lorem Ipsum

    […] October 8, 1968: a note from Peter to George and Helen […]

  2. 1972, November-ish: Letter from Marcy to G&H – Peter, Marcy, Jed, and Jay

    […] more about the Harbinger commune, see the October 1968 letter to George and Helen and the next few after […]


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