1976, mid-June: Letter from Marcy to G&H

Typed letter, undated but most likely written around June 20, 1976.

Jay and I spent at least a month that summer at George and Helen’s place in Tacoma. This letter marked the beginning of that trip; the next six letters back and forth, which I’ll post over the next couple of weeks, were during that trip.

I don’t know what prompted the trip. It looks like Peter and Marcy spent a few days of that time in LA, at a church thing, but other than that I’m not sure—maybe they just needed a break from kids.

Dear Grandma and Grandpa,

Hwew are the instructions. If used as directed, this kit cannot fail to give you many hours of delight and weeks of joy. I am sitting outside typong, so if the machine lists a little--err, that was supposed to be lisps--I hpe you will understand it's had a long day ending at 99° as late as 6:30 this evening, and I have, too. (Huh?) But I'll be sure I get all the numbe4s wrighte.

Firs t off, for emergencies.     E M E R G E N C I E S     (underline key sticks)

1. I am usually at work M, W, F, S, from noon till six. Merit Book Center, phone number elided by Jed, Sebastopol. Oh, and Sundays, 11 till 4.

2. If it's after nine at night and we're not home, try the Johrei Church (will inswer as Church of World Messianity) in Sanfran. That's generally Tuesday or Friday night, if at all. Their number is phone number elided by Jed. If there's an emergency and we're unreachable for some reason, that's the number to call anyway, to ask for a prayer for whatever is the xxx matter. (We'll of course be responsible for any such phone bills incurred.) This phone and L.A. Church answer 'round the clock.

3. July 4th weekend (Thursday, Fri, Sat, Sun) we'll be in L.A. and can be reached days at Church of World Messianity, phone number elided by Jed. Evenings at the home of Jeff Williamson, phone number elided by Jed.

4. Peter at work, sone days (but not sure when or how long) at the home of the xxx Heaths in Mill Valley, phone number elided by Jed.

Really, I don't expect any emergencies, but as the man says, "Pray as if everything depended on God. Work as if everything depended on you." So ..... Generally when there's a germ going around, Joaquin gets it earlier and it hits harder and lasts a tad longer than Jed. Quin tends to get high fevers when he gets 'em, which is rather rare, but not to worry if his temp xxx goes up. (I never have taken theur temperatures; I go by feel.) They are to remember to Johrei each other if sick or injured. ( They are supposed to Johrei each other breifly every day, but I won't worry too much if they forget that sometimes.) Fever responds beautifully to Johrei. Please do not ever give them aspirin or any medication. If things ever get bad enough that you really want to, that's when to call instead. In case of anything really extreme, like hospitalizable emergencies, broken bones, etc, go ahead and ues your judgement. But I really don't even suspect that will happen--their bones are really tough, and they're not that active.



They should take 1 or 2 vitamin C every day (pinkies) and up to five every hour in case of cold symptoms. Also good for fever and itches.

Liqui-lea is fantastic great stuff. A scant teaspoon taken at the pre-dinner grouchies will perk up any kid inside of 20 minutes. Shake first. o.k. to take a scant teaspoon every day.

Calcium (white) for bone and muscle aches, if any. One a day, if desired. Jed only; Quin won't take 'em. Ditto capsules. The're B*complex, for Jed at times of stress-- instead of, not with, liqui-lea. Cheaper, too.



1. Beverages. I would prefer that they not have any pasteurized milk; However, I understand that this may be difficult. They may have all the raw milk they want, but it may be prohibitively expensive. They are not to have frozen milk products at all (I generallly allow them an extremely small serving of ice cream at birthday parties) (Jed is allowed to choose his own food, as Joaquin will be when he reaches 8 yrs., except for frozen milk products). Heated milk products are not very desireable either. KoolAid, Hawaiian Punch, etc., are unacceptable, but any real juice is fine -- apple, orange, grape are favorites. They love fruitjuice popsicles. Peppermint tea, hot or cold, is well-loved.

2. Meat. They really don't like it, except for bonita or mackerel salad, and an occasional chicken drumst ick.

3. Cheese. Mild cheddar is definitely their preference.

4. Sugar. 'Quin will try to sneak it in wherever he can. Jed is allowed to choose for himself, but I always insist on his buying "baddies" with his own money. Joaquin is allowed one bite of such choices.

5. Bread. Jed refuses to eat white bread. They are both used to whole-grain breads without preservatives, and may become constipated if there's not enough fiber in their diet.

6. General. Preservatives and artificial colorings & flavorings are very undesirable.

7. Favorite foods: Cheese toasties w/sliced tomato, spaghetti, pizza, macaroni & cheese, pizza, potato latkes with yoghurt, peanut butter, pizza, lentil soop, tortillas-beans-and cheese (for breakfast too), pizza, deviled eggs, pizza, and pizza.



Don't expect Jed to be terribly affectionate. He gets very grumpy and moody more and more frequently of late, so don't take it personal. It is important for him to remember to move his eyes around a lot. If you think of it, remind him to look across the room at the end of every page when he's reading, and to hold books at arm's length. He should also look away frequently when watching TV. A good exercise is not to look at commercials at all.

Feel welcome to limit their TV-watching to one or two hours a day. They will easily accept this limit. If watching some show causes obnoxious behavior (such as Speed Racer) , feel free to censor the show completely. Y ou will know when they've had enough TV by headache complaints.

Joaquin is super-affectionate lately, but can only take limited amounts of teasing. One sentence redacted by Jed. A current project is eliminating rudeness, such as "Oh, yeah?" and "Nuh-uh." Please feel free to help them with their manners, table and otherwise.

They usually go to bed around nine o'clock.

Jed tends toward hysteri a at pain or blood--don't let him scare you. He is beginning to be bothered by heigh ts as well--we don't undrstand it either.

They have detailed instructions on how to care for their Johrei lockets, but may need help pinning the white pockets to their shirts. In general, the lockets should not be handled by anyone else, and should not be worn in water. They would be very glad to channel Johrei Light to anyone in the family who might ask for it.

Shamppoos. (Sham poo to our real friends, real poo to our sham friends!) These are Joaquin's bete noir--try to avoid as much as possible--you betê off! He will provide detailed instructions on the avoidance of introduction of same into extraneous orifices.... He will also provide numerous excuses on why he doesn't need one today, thank you. I get brave enough every two or three weeks. One sentence redacted by Jed.

On this ex(c)iting note, your instruction manual grinds to a halt.

P.S. F*I*R*E*W*O*R*K*S -- if not viewed on or about Independence Day, will cause independent pyrotechnic displays. 'Quin is bringing a flag to wave, just for the occasion.




& Peter

Added in pencil: P.S.Jr. If you survive to this point in the manual, you get a medal for bravery. If you survive till August, you get six!

At the bottom of the page, there’s an eight-pointed-star shape, in which is written: HERO(INE)


A Shaklee liquid multivitamin. I think Peter and Marcy had long since stopped being Shaklee distributors, but apparently we were still customers.
Dunno who the Heaths were, nor what work Peter was doing there.
I hadn’t remembered their being opposed to aspirin. I suspect that that explains a lot of why I never took painkillers until probably well after college. I was always a little suspicious of anything that seemed to me like a drug that would interfere with my body’s natural state (this was also part of why I didn’t do alcohol or caffeine or other drugs); but now I wonder if my attitude about painkillers in particular derived from lingering effects of parental disapproval of aspirin.
(These days, Advil is my painkiller of choice.)
“their bones are really tough”
I wonder what led her to think that. On the one hand, I still have never had a broken bone; on the other hand, I’ve rarely if ever been in a situation where a broken bone was a likely outcome.
frozen and heated milk products
I have no memory of their prohibiting such things. Especially odd because we ate melted cheese all the time, but I guess Marcy wasn’t thinking of that as a milk product in this context.
Also kind of funny that she says I’m allowed to eat whatever I want, except for frozen milk products, and then lists several other things that are “unacceptable.”
Interesting to me that age 8 was the threshold after which I was allowed to choose my own food; I had always misremembered it as 10. In my memory (which may be wrong), the idea that Jay would also have to wait until he was 8 went out the door pretty quickly; I think that after I could choose my own food, it became harder to restrict his food.
I’m surprised that she framed this as us really not liking it. We weren’t allowed to eat “red meat” (by which they meant mammal meat; before the “other white meat” advertising campaign, I believe that pork was widely understood to be included in the “red meat” category, but ever since then, every time I say “red meat,” someone says “oh, so you could eat pork, then,” so these days I usually skip the explanation/argument and just say “mammal meat”), but I don’t remember our not particularly liking fish or chicken.
We weren’t allowed to eat anything with processed sugar in it, so it’s surprising that she wasn’t more explicit about that in this letter.
favorite foods
I guess nearly all of those are still on my list of favorite foods. Though these days I prefer applesauce on my latkes.
“Tortilla and beans and cheese” was a cheese-toastie variant involving refried beans spread on a tortilla, with grated cheese on top, broiled to melt the cheese. Like a tortilla pizza with beans instead of tomato sauce.
“important for him to remember to move his eyes around a lot”
I was going to say that my optometrist at the time was really big on eye exercises, such as alternately focusing near and far, to keep my vision from getting worse. But then I realized that that optometrist was three or four years later, in a different city. So I’m a little surprised to see that even at age 8, I was being told to do this sort of thing. I didn’t get glasses (iIrc) until about two years later.
“limit their TV-watching to one or two hours a day”
I guess we hadn’t yet gotten rid of the TV at home. I think that that happened sometime in the next year or two.
“such as Speed Racer”
I knew that I had loved Speed Racer as a kid, but I had assumed that that was later. Odd to hear that watching it caused me to behave badly—I wonder what I did.
My other favorite shows from around that time included Mighty Mouse and Kimba the White Lion.
my fears and distress
Interesting about my reactions to pain, blood, and heights; I don’t remember any of that. I dislike pain and am not fond of blood, but I don’t get hysterical about them. Heights mostly don’t bother me now.
“Johrei lockets”
Members of the church wore lockets—ohikari—that helped to focus spiritual energy. Kids had a kids’ version, until they were old enough to become full members of the church.
The “Shamppoos” paragraph includes two jokes that sound to me more like Peter than Marcy; I wonder if he typed some of this letter. In particular, I think I first heard the “sham poo” line from Peter (along with the original “champagne for our real friends, and real pain for our sham friends">), and “you betê off” really sounds like something Peter would say.

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