February 1978 Journal by Edith Roller
Source: RYMUR-89-4286-2018- C-3-A-2- (1) to (127)
[FOIA-2009: C-3 Part 1.pdf pp 98-224]
The text transcribed here (revised 2011) from Edith Roller’s notes may have some missing words or lines due to (1) unreadable, poorly xeroxed text or (2) unreadable writing. Blanks are left in the text for these areas. At the end of the journal is a list of persons and groups mentioned in this Journal.
Download Word (.doc) version of February 1978
Download Original handwritten notes (.pdf file) Feb 1978
1 February – Wednesday 1978
Today guests, Soviet and Cuban Ambassadors to Guyana and a Tass correspondent are expected. Special activities are planned: a few demonstration classes, display of articles invented and manufactured by Temple people; everything cleaned up; clothing taken off lines; use names such as Lenin and Jones Drive, Cuffy Drive, Castro Way.
I wrote a letter to Jim Randolph requesting books and teaching materials be sent in travelers luggage.
Wrote yesterday’s journal entry.
Went to lunch. Announcement read. Visit of guests postponed because of weather.
Classes were not held. Students went to fields.
Had a conversation with Jack Barron about plants and crops, unfamiliar to me, mentioned in last night’s meeting. He described some of them and offered to take me to a nearby area where several of them grew not far from the central area. A play area for toddlers has been constructed there but children were not using it then. Jack showed me numerous plants, vines, bushes, trees, flowers and picked two pieces of ripe fruit. He showed me where they planned to back up the stream for ponds for fish and ducks. One problem is that it receives waste water from the village.
Lynetta Jones, Jim’s mother, has died and her grave is here. Jim had mentioned that she was buried among the children to emphasize life.
I stopped at the office and asked Joyce Touchette for an order to Pop Jackson for some chairs for our cottage. She gave me a request for 2. I visited with Mom and Pop Jackson in Troolie No. 1 for a few minutes. Pop let me choose 2 chairs and a footstool he already had.
Saw Tom in one of the school tents and we had a good conversation. He was more liberal than formerly about giving me responsibilities in the English teaching program. He proposed I assume supervision of the untrained English teachers. I told him titles were irrelevant but I was glad to do all I could. I was heartened.
At home I had a nap. It was very pleasant with rain falling.
I took a shower and went to dinner. I have not much appetite and have been cutting down on rice drastically, but I enjoy the vegetables.
Spent a few hours reading Radicalism in America, by Sydney Lens.
I was to meet at 11.00 in the pavilion with Junior and Senior High School English teachers but the film we saw in Georgetown, The Outfit, which was brought here, was being shown for the last time. I decided to watch the film and meet with the teachers afterwards if they were there. I missed the first part but sat through the rest of it. The sound had been so bad when the picture was shown in Georgetown that I had not understood it. Because of Jim’s explanation of the theme, I understood better its relevance to our concerns.
After the film I saw no sign of any of the English teachers. I went to wash and saw Dick
Tropp with Shirley Hicks in the dining area, drinking coffee and working. Dick told me he had permission to have coffee when he worked late. He had not been told about the meeting. He did not agree with the idea of having such a meeting now. He thought a meeting of all teachers should be held, as many of them were using extremely faulty methods. I proposed we have regular teacher training sessions and he seemed to agree, but I was not greatly encouraged by his attitude.
Went to bed around 1.00. Didn’t turn the light on.
2 February – Thursday 1978
After the morning routine, I wrote yesterday’s journal entry.
Visitors from North America were expected today. So yesterday’s arrangements were changed appropriately. For instance, the red shirts worn by many of our youth to greet the communist visitors were changed, and other songs were substituted. Everything was very carefully regulated and announced by Jim.
I went to the central area just before the guests’ arrival in mid-morning to help out with the demonstration classes. They were short of people and asked me to join Harriet Tropp’s class. She lectured on the early Dutch settlement in Guyana.
The guests were an official from the American Embassy to Guyana and a lawyer from the U.S. representing his client. When asked where John was, everyone was to say, “I don’t know.”
Jim and staff met the visitors. They watched Harriet’s class briefly. I saw them conferring with Jim and staff in the pavilion where the exhibit was still displayed. A varied entertainment program had been prepared, some of which the guests watched.
I had lunch.
The guests visited the medical facility and then departed.
It had been arranged for me to give my remarks on teaching, which I was unable to do last night, at 1.00 at the Book Depository. Present were Don Jackson, Jan Gurvich, Debbie Jensen [Schroeder], and Barbara Walker (none of which have had an formal training or experience in teaching) and for part of the time, Tom Grubbs and Dick Tropp. I was able to make a few points but did not get to my central thesis. The response seemed to be favorable except that I foresee difficulties with Barbara who remarked that she believed teachers had to develop their own methods.
From the loudspeaker all were called to the Radio Hut for a confrontation with Katherine Domineck, who is a cousin of Bates. While the guests were touring the medical facility, she remarked that “they” made her take a top bunk from which she fell; neither statement was true and she probably did it out of hostility purposely to demand Jim’s attention, Jim said her statements were very harmful and could have broken down all the careful preparations that he had made. Most of the membership was very indignant. Jim proposed a system of isolation of potential troublemakers when we had guests. This confrontation lasted about an hour. It was very hot; we have had no rain today.
I got a big washing out of the way.
Read for an hour.
Went to dinner.
Took a refreshing nap for an hour or so
Spent the evening making back journal entries. The other residents were in the cottage conversing but I managed to work all right.
About 10.00 o’clock a confrontation with Don Fields who had been on the floor at night was on the loudspeaker system. He had justified taking out his hostility on children, by saying that Jim did so. Jim denied he ever took out hostilities on anyone. Fields is a white male from L.A. whom I did not know.
Diane and my other roommates reminisced about some of the dangerous events the mission has been through since their arrival. At one point Jim asked on the radio whether there was any other country that would take our people in and they were prepared to leave with nothing except whatever they had on their backs. Diane spent three nights with the children under a tent.
I went to bed at 11.00.
3 February – Friday 1978
Remembered at breakfast time this morning to go to the medical office and take my Premarin. I tend to forget it.
Returned to cottage and started on journal entries. Phyllis Chaiken requested a typing job. She needed reports on Jonestown medical program to give to visitors. I said I would do it; she said she’d bring paper later.
Jim on public address system commented on fact Communist China giving aid to Pinochet Chile and Somalia’s anti-Ethiopian regime. His opinion is China doing a good job for their own politics but from nationalistic supports U.S. and Europe against Soviet Russia– reprehensible–wanted our staff to be clear on subject.
Went to lunch
Observed Jann’s class, then Tropp’s. Both were interesting. Jann needs more rapport with class. Dick using terms to foster socialistic cooperation.
Gave Jann a critique on her class. She was depressed. She feels a lack of organization. She seems very tired. I gave her some suggestions but she put forth some objections.
Talked to Carolyn Layton when she finished her class and before teachers’ meeting. I asked her about my journal manuscripts. The typed ones in her custody and some later ones sent to her are in a “safe place.” She does not know about the notes and drafts taken from me at the meeting (turned over to Tom Adams) nor the ones I later turned over to the Temple (probably in April 1977). She thinks these may have been destroyed, as the Temple was afraid they might fall into the wrong hands. In spite of what Terri Buford told me, she did not know of anyone using them for writing about the Temple. She will make inquiries. She said there was no problem now about written materiel.
We joined the teachers’ meeting that had started. This Friday’s meeting at 3.00 is a meeting to report progress and problems of all the high school teachers. Apparently there is a Thursday meeting to discuss high school teaching methods. Marie Lawrence questioned whether this is necessary. I believe the discussion was to arrange it on Thursday on a rotating basis.
Tom brought up the question of adult education as a prospective project for me. Barbara Walker seemed to me to show hostility toward me in regard to her adult class in which I find she not only teaches vocabulary and history as well as conducting calisthenics for adult women. She has only eight in former class. Tom also proposed to take a socialism class of people who have trouble with the vocabulary. He will consult Rob Christian who is in charge of the socialism classes.
Bea Morton showed a sample of a full page report which each of us will have to turn in weekly showing all activities of more than fifteen minutes. The amount of paper needed was remarked upon. Perhaps forms can be duplicated in the States. Our high school runs a ten week schedule. In four weeks we will be starting a new ten week period. Dick Tropp said we should start planning for large blocks of time and plan courses actively integrated with work done in the community. This was discussed.
Students who are problems were discussed and disciplinary measures proposed and adopted
I went back to my cottage and typed the paper wanted by Phyllis.
Took a shower and went to eat. I left my poncho somewhere and couldn’t find it.
Socialism classes met at 7:30 – all members of Jonestown are divided into groups for this discussion. Introduction to Socialism by Leo Huberman and Paul M. Sweezy is used as a text. Only the teachers have copies. The classes are so close together with little barrier between them that it is hard for the teachers to make themselves heard. I joined Don Jackson’s class as he had indicated he would like some help. I volunteered some remarks twice, the last time on thesis-antithesis-synthesis. Something I said or didn’t say seemed to antagonize Barbara Walker who is in Don’s class. Dick Tropp passing by gave me a humorous rebuke for not having recognized her
A film was shown after the socialism class at about 9.00. I intended to attend but couldn’t find a seat.
Went home in a depressed mood, as so many things had gone wrong.
After the film was over, Jim came on the radio denouncing it and calling for a discussion on its flaws. “Some of you have such impressionable minds, you’d be following Hitler.” Diane came home with others having seen the film and said it was not good.
I walked up with Diane as far as the shower and went on to the toilet. Jim saw me on the path and called, “Hello, darling,” which made me feel better.
I went to bed.
Was awakened at 5.30 by some person inquiring which cabin ours was and didn’t get back to sleep.
4 February – Saturday 1978
The Soviet ambassador to Guyana and a Tass reporter were to visit us today, so arrangements were made to greet them. They were expected to attend the meeting tonight and stay overnight.
I talked with Dick Tropp and my handwritten drafts of my journal, to find out whether he knew anything about them. He did not. He suspected they were burnt, along with other materials which were destroyed (regrettably, he thinks) when the Temple leaders were afraid the investigative agencies might force an entrance and examine our files. We talked a while about Dick’s project of interviewing seniors on their backgrounds.
I told him that in the adult program I intended to use that type of material as much of the content of the course.
Worked on yesterday’s journal entry.
Phyllis made some changes in the paper on Jonestown Medical Services. The last page she wants in two different versions, according to whether the guests are North American or not. Then she made further changes which adapted the report to presentation tonight at the rally by Dr. Lawrence Schacht as physician.
The visit of the Soviet representatives was cancelled on account of an airline strike. Jim indicated that he believed the strike was provoked by fascist elements who are trying to prevent us from having friends. As the Soviet visitors were not coming, I did not have to type the changed version of the medical report yet.
Later Jim came on the loudspeaker and said some high-ranking Guyana military Representatives may visit us tomorrow. I wondered whether this was to show their solidarity with us to our enemies.
Had a nap for two hours in the early afternoon. A grey and white kitten, which I am told may be Chris Talley’s, came to see me today and slept cozily on Diane’s bed. I have picked him up and petted him. I brought him some food from my lunch. I brought him up with me to my upper bunk and he slept with me.
Jann Gurvich came around to ask whether I would come to the pavilion to talk with her and Barbara Walker about their lesson plans for next week. I consented. I suppose that either Tom or Jann herself had initiated this meeting, as I had reported difficulties of communication with Barbara, the latter was not as hostile as formerly though still quite rigid in her thinking. I was able to be of considerable help in suggesting methods of conducting their planned week as recognition of complete sentences. Tom came in on the meeting and added some useful ideas. Jenn felt better because she got some sense of coherence in the week’s lessons which was one of her chief aims.
I got my poncho back. Etta Thompson had picked it up when I left it at the socialism class.
The people’s rally was at 7.45. We had reports first from areas from which further reports were to be heard. The first subject on which considerable time was spent was insecticide control and spraying on which Marie Lawrence took a prominent part.
Word was received that Cheryl Willhite had given birth to a baby boy.
Jim was in communication with a right wing radio program being conducted in the states on the subject of the Temple. He came into the meeting at 8.30.
A long discussion took place on dogs, begun by arrangements from spaying dogs or performing abortions on those dogs already pregnant. Various views on dogs were heard. Nedra Yates and Wanda Swinney were two of the most knowledgeable people on the subject and James Edwards has much to do with them on the ground.
Reports were heard from Jack Barron on brick-making, on bananas from Danny Katulas, animal feed by Wanda (who had done much research on the subject), and several others.
Jim said material on agriculture was required in the school and everyone would be tested in socialism class on their knowledge of items discussed tonight. We want to help the Guyanese export trade and it is good when this coincides with what is to our own benefit.
There was discussion of fishing Amer-Indian style with poison and our Amer-Indian members are going to bring in the vine which is used. Our people are going to cut through the bush to the river tomorrow and may find the vine then.
Patty Cartmell described her last procurement trip with Rheaviana Beam and Tommy Johnson, giving much amusement to the audience.
A complaint was made about the damage Leon Perry does to equipment (and passengers) when he drives a tractor. He was ordered to change his ways.
LaShea [Kennard Wilhite, Jr.] the new baby, was brought in and placed in Jim’s arms.
A projected tractor trip to get cassava sticks was called off because the road is too dangerous.
Information was received (by radio tonight seemingly) that 250 members in the U.S. want to go to Guyana. Jim felt it as wise to stop with these people as the CIA was bound to infiltrate if we took in outsiders. Future building plans were discussed in detail. Residential building will not be expanded past its present point.
The place to put the several thousand coffee trees to be procured for nothing by Tommy Johnson was discussed. The main problem is that they need shade and we have none.
Young people and children who were reported of unsatisfactory behavior were: Toby Stone, Stanley Wright, Vincent Lopez, Brian Davis, Marquess Rhodes, Ricardo Arterberry, Tyrone Cartmell, and Danny Beck. The audience was in hysterics at Tyrone’s demeanor (he is Patty Cartmell’s adopted child)
The meeting was not out until 2.00. Jim told us that though it was a financial sacrifice we could sleep an hour and a half late tonight until 7.30.
5 February – Sunday 1978
Wrote journal entries.
Helen Love and I walked up to the toddlers’ place called the nursery. I want to eat out and see some nature every Sunday, if I can. And this is about as far as she can walk. She sat inside the building while I walked along the stream. Helen’s job is sorting rice and she would like to have another job as this is monotonous. Jerry [Geraldine] Bailey is her supervisor and Jerry is officious.
Helen told me Gene Chaikin gave trouble before he left the States and that Mother had a difficult time with him. She thought he had conspired with our enemies. Jim agreed to keep him on in the nursery job, but everyone was to watch him.
Jim’s comments came over the loudspeaker. He complained about some of those who helped QSO’ing, because they took a real interest in what was happening in the States. Jim impressed upon them what empty lives people live there. They are so bored they wait hours to talk with him. However, when he tells about his integrated group, he finds they don’t like the idea.
When we got back about 3.30, dinner was being served. This was the fried chicken dinner from our own chickens. Jim said they killed 200 chickens at an expense of $2000. The next batch must be sold. Each had a quarter chicken, eddoes (like mashed potatoes) with gravy and a salad of green-leaved vegetables, and a glass of sorrel drink.
Throughout the meal, Jim made announcements and read reports. He was unhappy because some people had quit their jobs early on this half-day instead of working harder to make up for sleeping late.
After dinner I climbed up in my bunk, read Radicalism in America and worked on journal entries.
At 7.00 I went down to the Radio Hut to get my cookie.
There was entertainment in the pavilion, but I went home and worked on journal entries until bedtime.
I have been constipated since arriving in Guyana because of not having enough raw vegetables. I took some stool softener given to me in San Francisco by Helen Love and resolved to go to the medical office about my problem tomorrow.
Went to bed about 11.00.
6 February – Monday 1978
Slept late, until 8.00. I had a bowel movement because of the stool softener I had taken.
After breakfast went to the Medical Office to consult them about my constipation problem and I had a long wait. Eventually Judy Ijames, the nurse, saw me. She gave me a pill to clean me out and told me to come in for green papaya every day, to report back tomorrow.
Washed a big load of clothes.
Went to lunch.
Observed the second period class taught by Jann and Barbara; afterwards, critiqued it with Jann.
While we were talking Jim got a report of an intruder on the property (I think behind the Radio Hut). He called Security Units into action. Jim called for all the little children to be brought into the central section. He took charge in the effort against the intruder who apparently retreated into the bush.
In the English meeting at 3.00 we talked about fulfilling Jim’s agricultural requirements. I requested a determination of my teaching responsibilities. I am to take a class of low-achievers from Jann and Shirley’s basic groups and work with them first period. 12.00 to 12.45. Some high ability students have been released from English classes to work on research projects with resource personnel and I am to supervise them. We will start an adult language arts project by my writing an announcementfor Jim to read on the public speaking system. Instructed adults to meet me at a specified time so that I can survey their abilities and needs. The plan is for the class to meet at 7.00 to 8.00 on two or three evenings a week.
Jim reported on successful surgery performed on the female dog by Dr. Schacht and helpers.
Diane Lundquist went to Steering Committee which she (as a supervisor) has to attend. She is now in charge of the toddlers. Pat Grunnett is teaching in elementary school, a group of [to have been filled in later].
I worked for some time on journal entries in my bunk.
Went to bed at 11.00.
7 February – Tuesday 1978
At breakfast talked to Bea Orsot, who is the secretary of school. She passed high school records to me, including receiving individual weekly activities list from teachers. She was absent yesterday. Bea is also retired and we discussed difficulty of working along younger people who expect you to do as much as they do.
Got papaya from kitchen. Medical Office did not have any. Drank quantities of water and in afternoon finally had a BM.
I didn’t observe classes. Instead, I started to retype Phyllis’ paper on Jonestown medical services. Much humidity in the air and I had trouble with the paper. I couldn’t find my correction fluid, so I borrowed some from “Penny” [Ellen Dupont] working next door in Karen Layton’s cottage.
Went to lunch.
Had drafted a statement on my proposed adult education class. I showed it to Tom and Dick.
Returned to cottage to work on Phyllis Chaikin’s paper. Diane Lundquist was chairing a meeting of toddler’ supervisors. Johnny Jones Brown present. They were discussing problems with children and confronted individual workers with their faults. I worked on the other side of room. I finished Phyllis’ paper and typed up my adult education statement with changes discussed with Dick and Tom.
Read Radicalism in America while waiting for rally to start at 7.45.
Jim Bogue was chairman for the agricultural reports.
Pressure was put on Danny Kutulas to complete work on the insecticide drainage so that children would not be endangered.
Successful surgery on the pregnant dog was reported. Dale Parks had given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when she ceased to breathe and saved her life
Jim came in at 8.30. He said among the relatives giving us trouble is Neva Sly who is threatening Ujara. Mark Sly told her off.
Considerable discussion on alternate feed, for stock: banana leaves, stalks and fruit, cassava; for people: cutlass beans, sugar cane and cassava leaves.
Tommy Keaton and some of the seniors tried pipping the chicks [pipping refers to break out of the shell; but seems to be used to refer to cutting beaks slightly to prevent pecking each other], which will enable them to eat and put on weight, earlier.
Selling chickens in Port Kaituma was discussed and plans made. Anthony [Simon] and X [blank] and Charlie Touchette were involved. Those coming on now will be sold. The next batch for eating here will be ready in 7-1/2 weeks. Jim went into the cost of providing pork for Jonestown food. “We’re talking about $2000 a meal.” It is being planned to bring 6000 lbs of fish on the boat and disposal of it was discussed as was freezer space and power. Freezers will be moved to the warehouse from the cassava mill. Much discussion took place on methods of freezing and the possibility of smoking the fish. Sister X [Beatrice?] Dawkins proposed an oil fish system. Some experiments will be tried. The fish that cannot be preserved will be sold.
Jim on the radio had apparently been discussing bringing all the 250 members still to come by means other than flying, as least part of the way. He said they wanted to fly from California, which Jim said was silly. The CIA would blow up flights on which the passengers are all our people.
Another operation was being done on a female dog. Jim reported that it too was successful.
The tie-up on the Temple crates’ being released from customs involves the duties charged, which Jim is fighting, so as not to set a precedent. “All bureaucrats are alike and you don’t want to get stuck.” He has got the charges down from $18,000 to $3,000. Many strange decisions had been made in San Francisco about what to send and the method of crating. It is hard to get out specific items needed.
Scuba gear had been sent on account of expertise of Jenny Cheek’s son, David Dupont; Jim said he had gone.
Some walk-in coolers we have are urgently needed. It was proposed that we use the wood coming in on the boat to finish them and put off construction of the toddler’s nursery. Jim said for health reasons it is essential to get the children out of the dirt. Tom Grubbs advocated completing half the building and let the space for his research center wait.
A film by Felix Greene on raising hogs in China, where they provide separate space for living, eating and eliminating, was brought up. Jim wants this arrangement experimented with.
The planting of coffee trees was discussed. The types of coffee are Robusta, Arabica and Liberica. The latter is valued the lowest. Jim directed that this market value of the different types be ascertained.
A number of children on the Learning Crew are still behaving badly: Marquess Rhodes, Nora Blair, Ricardo Arterberry, Tobiana Stone. “Running” was carried out as punishment. Jim directed that an isolation system be developed as a substitute.
Reports on behavior and evaluations of work prepared by Penny Kerns and Karen Layton were presented. Jim was dismayed by the volume.
Marthea Hicks was on the floor. She was accused of arrogance and elitism, numerous instances given. Jim said Penny was afraid of her. Gave both of them one week on the Learning Crew. Laura Johnston volunteered for the same punishment for not reporting what she had observed.
A long report on the Medical Crew was submitted by Phyllis Chaikin. Newhuanda Darnes was the first person on the floor, She was cited for neglecting seniors and writing numbers of letters to people not in the cause. Lela Murphy has a serious kidney condition owing to falling while in hospital care. Writing outsiders costs 37¢ and shows you are attracted to life in the US.
Next was Joyce Rozynko, now Lund, who was charged with being unfriendly, of complaining constantly, being hard to get along with, of ruining equipment. Her two sons joined many others in expatiating on her faults. Jim reminded her of the bad nature of her husband from whom he had saved her. Joyce was said to have a nasty disposition. She was put on the Learning Crew.
Phyllis Chaikin said she wanted to change her name. She thinks she has been too dependent on Gene. Gene agreed with her.
Vernetta Christian who keeps records for the Medical Department was criticized for putting some time down for medical which she did not use for them. It was stated that she doesn’t take criticisms well. Jim said she is elitist. She admitted she liked to be by herself.
Annie Moore was called too defensive of his daughter, Agnes. Jim said she is disorganized. We don’t know where she is. Of the whole dept, he said the supplies were allowed to run down too much. Lynetta could have lived longer with proper care.
The department was revealed as cliquish. There is an alliance between Reeney Jackson, Judy Ijames and Anita Kelley. Barbara Farrell (Perry) and Leon Perry are too immersed in each other. Sharon Cobb is too passive. Sylvia Grubbs is a hypochondriac.
Mark Wagner was on the floor for “goofing off.” He is 16 and is interested in a young woman of 21; Jim found nothing wrong with this but the relationship does not seem to have improved him. Jim said his father was giving trouble and is “the most dangerous of all.” It was only a miracle by which Jim was able to get Mark to Jonestown. (I had thought Inez came with Mark, but she is not here. She may be in LA.)
After a final song, the meeting was dismissed about 3.30. Jim gave us until 9.00 to sleep tomorrow. Only breakfast and dinner will be served.
8 February – Wednesday 1978
Slept until 9.00. Then had breakfast.
Had a conversation with Vernetta Christian who told me about the trip of her group on the boat.
There were no high school classes today.
Phyllis Chaikin told me that Larry Schacht made some changes in the Medical Services Report and it would have to be typed again.
Karen Layton, who writes up work evaluations, is in the next cottage to ours. She borrowed my typewriter today as hers needs a new ribbon, which Tish Leroy is working on.
Worked on journal entries
Read Radicalism in America.
All the teachers were asked to help on agricultural produce at 3:30. Joined by some children and others, such as seniors, who had no other tasks, we were taken to the peanut field by Jack Barron. Some planted peanuts, others, including me, supervised by Jim Pugh spread fertilizer on the rows as these had been previously treated with shell. I was not very effective. Not having a strong enough build nor being fast enough. I worked only half an hour.
Counseling sessions were held in the pavilion. Diane Lundquist went to counseling about the toddlers program. I had gone to bed at 11.00, very tired, but was awakened by a conversation between Diane, when she and Versie returned.
I saw one of the Simon girls. She had big blisters on her arms and said her sister was even worse affected. She believed it was caused by the sun. Camille was alright.
I had a nap for about an hour.
I was awakened by the loudspeaker; because of the unusual dryness the garden badly needed water and all of us who were available to help were called out. Seniors who were waiting for dinner were urged to help water first. I got up and went to the field; the crops in this area were beans and corn. A bucket team had been organized to bring water up from the nearby stream. Jim was directing the operation personally. Young people, children and seniors participated. We worked about an hour when we were all dismissed.
I picked up the cottage laundry which I had left the other day. I put in my sheets and blanket. I have been doing my other laundry myself.
In the evening those who had not paid the tribute to Lynetta went up to the gravesite.
With Helen Love, I went to the special memorial program for Lynetta at 8.00 in the Pavillion.
9 February – Thursday 1978
Over the loudspeaker on awakening at 6.00 all members of the community were asked to attend a Memorial tribute to Lynetta, Jim’s mother on the first month’s anniversary of her death. Workers were asked to line up before going to work and seniors before eating. Security escorted us in groups to Lynetta’s grave where a flame was burning. We stood in two minute tribute. The tribute expressed our thanks for her service to the cause when she submitted to questioning by the FBI on Jim’s actions for seven hours and refused to answer, taking the 5th amendment.
I got up shortly after 6:00 and went to Lynetta’s grave among the first groups.
The young Guyanese Socialists visited the project today. There was a special program. High school classes did not meet.
I started to do a big washing. I have been washing in the shower room but the facilities were being repaired. Jann Gervich told me I could borrow a pail from the generator hut and wash outside. I did so but was stopped before I had thoroughly rinsed the clothes, as workers were concerned with the appearance of the grounds.
I went to lunch.
I read Radicalism in America.
After the guests had left about 3.00, I finished my washing and hung it up.
Different groups performed. Steve Jones read from Lynetta’s writings, prose and poetry. I was surprised to learn she had been a prolific writer. Jim when he came in answered questions from the audience about her and his early life. Jim’s father had been injured during the war and he was an invalid all through their married life. She worked in extremely difficult situations to ensure a living for Jim and a nephew his parents had adopted. She loved pets and older people. During the McCarthy era, she withstood the seven hour questioning by the FBI about Jim’s movement and by her protection saved it. Disgusted with the betrayal by his followers when he was in South America, she refused to come to church for years, but she was fond of many of the members and did much for them.
We were out about 10.00. I was in bed about 11.00.
10 February – Friday 1978
After breakfast went to the Med Office for medication and to kitchen for papaya. So far nothing has had any impact on my constipation.
Had a talk with Joyce Lund who told me about changing her name from Rozynko. Lund was adapted from the name of her Scandanavian forefathers. Chris and Mike use it too.
Have seen Lavana James several times during the last few days. She had been ill after arriving here.
Went back to the cottage where Jerry Bailey and her sister, Amanda Fair, usually come around on their inspection tour, checking the living quarters for neatness. They usually object to small things, such as any clutter or floors unswept, but have not, up to now, written up a report on us.
After lunch I observed Barb’s and Dick’s classes. Barb is still concentrating on grammatical elements (today it was synonyms) but I did not ask what was the purpose of the lesson. She had two spelling errors and I told her about one, but decided not to dwell on the matters. Dick’s lesson was on agriculture in Guyana and was well conducted although I thought his method could have been improved.
Dick had a conference with me. Rita had given him my letter to Dor (perhaps Jim had even been consulted about it). Dick had numerous objections to it, mostly on the ground that even slightly negative statements could be exploited by an enemy. He said he was not implying any criticism of my friend; anything could be used against us by the conspiracy. I have to rewrite the letter.
I worked for a short time on journal entries.
The high school teachers’ meeting was at 3.00. All that concerned me was that Marie Lawrence (now Rankin, as she is living as a companion with Bob Rankin) wants help for her science students with report writing. I shall try to work it in with the work I am supposed to do with the advanced students who are excused from their English classes.
Tom told us Jim had given him a special assignment which would require a large amount of his time and he would have to cut out most of his other responsibilities including his classes and aid to the other teachers. He didn’t give us details of the project but in general it had to do with behavior modification. From what I had heard Jim discuss on the loud speaker, I supposed it had to do with the topic of isolation techniques for those on whom the Learning Crew had so far not had any effect.
Much time was spent discussing students who deserve “praises.” I mentioned a remark to me of Brian Davis who told me he saw no value in education and wanted to drop out of school. The teachers described his problem which is one of attitude, as he had good mental ability.
The day was dry and hot and the bucket brigade was organized again in the late afternoon but I did not go. I took a nap instead.
I had consulted Rob Christian, who is charge of the socialism classes in the evening. He assigned me to work with Don Jackson; there are usually two teachers for each group. The teachers of the socialism classes met at 6.30 to discuss the plans for the class. We were briefed on the minutes of the meeting of last Tuesday; as Jim had requested that the discussion on agriculture should be the chief topic dealt with.
The socialism class met at 7.30. I asked Don to let me teach the first part of the class and he allowed me to. I asked the students to name topics which had been discussed in the agriculture rally and I got about 70% participation. Most of the class members had listened at the rally and were quite interested.
A letter writing group met at 9.00. I had been specifically mentioned with those who should attend. We were to write a letter of thanks to Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally, who will be visiting us in a couple of months. I got a draft approved and went home to bed.
Jim came on the loud speaker system. He made a reference to his daughter (Suzanne) and to Mike Cartmell, who is cooperating with the conspiracy against us. Jim said he would be heart-broken if so many others had not already so disillusioned him that he was not capable of any surprise. He no longer considered Mike any relative of his and regretted the time and effort he had given to him which could have been used for his other children, “and you.”
11 February – Saturday 1978
After breakfast I returned to the cottage and worked all morning on letters, first typing the one to Dymally. Then I drafted a letter about the project emphasizing our agricultural aims and the beneficial effect on our young people of our system, purporting to come from a worker in the field such as Russ Moton, our agronomist. Then I rewrote the letter to Dor, changing it a great deal as well as adding some items and leaving out others.
Turned in the teachers’ activities reports I had collected from the other teachers.
After lunch read Radicalism in America.
Met with Jann at 3.00, as she had asked for help with lesson planning. I made suggestions but none of them seemed to impress her. She was as usual depressed, explaining it was difficult to come in from the field work and turn her attention to teaching. Barb who usually works with Jann on lesson planning, I saw working at the Book Depository, and Jann thought we would be considered elitist if we remained in the pavilion as the bucket brigade was being again organized to water the west garden. We went to the Book Depository. Barb had gone but Jann tried to discuss her lesson plans with Tom. However, he did not have the time. We had a general discussion with Liane Harris who, teaches in the elementary school. She is fascinated by her teaching experiences and open to experimental, creative methods.
A firm request was made for all able people to join the bucket brigade to water the west field again. I went home to change shoes and get my hat and went to help. Jim was participating in the work as well as directing it. I worked about an hour and a half until all were dismissed. We had a large and colorful group and the sight was quite impressive against the beautiful sunset.
After dinner I went home to clean up a little, then to the rally. I was too late to get a good seat with a back. I sat between Bob Davis and Dorothy Brewer.
Over the loudspeaker Jim stated that Patty Cartmell didn’t appreciate expressions of sympathy she had received; Mike was not her son.
Greg Watkins presided over the first part of the program and presented several musical numbers. Heloise Hall, with whom I had stayed in Los Angeles and who played the organ in San Francisco after her husband and she moved up, sang a “blues” number. She was exceptionally good.
The Misfits, the choral group, sang.
Jim arrived and stated that six dogs had been spayed by Larry and his crew. Jim asked for volunteers to take dogs to the fields and several crews volunteered to do so
Dana Truso, a little girl, who I think now is on Learning Crew, slapped someone and was put on the floor. She was recalcitrant. Jim called for her mother to confront her and the trouble was revealed. The mother obviously was not serious in her disapproval. Jim told Dana she had better straighten out or she would be first for Tom Grubbs’ behavior modification.
Among the items on the agenda from the Agricultural Crews: much discussion on raising chickens, including pipping, use of egg shells in diet, Newcastle disease, worms, gravel and sand. Some of the points made by people in the audience who had raised chickens were contradictory. Jim said we need to call a meeting of all who know about chickens. From what he had heard, it would probably be an anarchist’s meeting.
Sugar broken into by rats at the cassava mill was supposed to be moved up to the kitchen and used in cooking only. There had been a mix-up for which Charles Williams was responsible.
There isn’t now any material for construction to try the Chinese system of having separate quarters for different functions of pig raising. This is to be brought up in 60 days
Coordinating the tractor-trailer schedule was discussed. It was decided that all areas should turn in their requests and the analysts will coordinate.
Getting production reports from seniors’ projects was discussed. Jim said some seniors have torn up others’ gardens and replanted them.
A report on herbs we are raising was presented. Schacht is experimenting with extracts of alcohol or oil. Jim emphasized the importance of arriving at some herbs we can use instead of purchasing medicines, which are very expensive.
Reports on cassava and citrus were given.
Jim said he had got customs duties reduced to zero. The medical crate will be delivered.
Dick Tropp interrupted Danny Katulus’s report on banana production, saying such reports were meaningless unless one knew what we should get.
Jack Barron reporting on peanuts and sorrel, said nematodes were a problem in the Caribbean area. They are microscopic round worms. A question of planting pumpkins or grenadilla was said to make a peach-like pie. It was put before the group: pumpkins or granadilla and how much of each? However the yield of pumpkin was much greater. The question, will be turned over to the analysts.
Jim questioned why the procurers in Georgetown had not loaded the amount of meat he had ordered on the boat. They will be questioned at the next meeting
Russ Moton, agronomist, reported. He wanted to get information from China on their use of night soil in agriculture. Jim told him the Chinese have a mission in Georgetown. Moton can get info on a compost privy. Nigeria has a method of using night soil, garbage and organic material. Jim said human manure is the richest of all manure. We should do something on an experimental basis.
There was discussion on the different woods available on our property and uses for them. Jim called for more effort in locating wood and said the school should take an interest.
During the livestock report, reference was made to the time the sows teats were destroyed by bats. Wanda Swinney was blamed. Jim said he doesn’t want an apology in advance when the person knows he or she is getting nailed. When four little pigs died she wrote a two page letter of apology. She crushes the individuality of young workers who often do better than she does.
When in Georgetown, Wanda pursued an independent course. Once she spouted off her mouth and made us pay more than necessary. Jim said he has many people he can’t send to town, can’t trust them. Wanda is arrogant, a know-it-all. In San Francisco she was making $1000 a month. She spent a good part of the money on herself. She was removed as head of the piggery and Guy Mitchell was put in charge.
Russ Moton has been goofing off. He is lethargic. He could have finished his education had he not been involved with a white male outside the church. He is too passive.
Chris Lund, the electrician, gave a fine report on lightning protection. Jim wanted a required course in electricity to be taught to the high school.
Nedra Yates refused to run while on the Learning Crew. She is 54. Jim said she is not humble; she put him through more metaphysical trouble over her dog. Jim put her on Learning Crew for a day; it was to have been two weeks if it had not been for her age.
Willie Malone went awry on the Learning Crew. He was given a last chance.
Laetitia Jackson has a bad attitude, the fault of her mother, Rose Jackson. The mother should be firm, not side with the child.
12 February – Sunday 1978
After breakfast I had a long day to work by myself. I worked on my journal and read Radicalism in America.
About 11.30 Lisa Layton took my medical history in the dining pavilion.
Jim made announcements throughout the day on the international situation which is very threatening. The war between Somalia and Ethiopia is reaching a serious stage, with tough stances being taken alike by the US on the one hand and the USSR and Cuba on the other.
I went to dinner about 5.00. We had chicken, as the fish would not have been unloaded in time.
I went to the pavilion and was able to finish Radicalism in America by Sidney Lens.
Jann found me and wanted to talk about her lesson plans again. She had decided what she wanted to do for the week: mostly exercises on sentence structure, which is contradictory to the advice I had been giving her all along. The boat was in with the passengers expected momentarily and I warned her I wanted to greet them.
The plan for the new arrivals was to take them to the pavilion where a crowd was gathering for Sunday evening entertainment, but people insisted on greeting them at the tractor-trailer, Among the new arrivals were Wanda King, Edie Katulas, Mom Taylor (now called Dean, I learned) returned from Georgetown, as did Shanda Oliver. I talked a few minutes with Wanda.
John Jones handed out cookies, as Jim said he had to take care of emergency situations involving our family in the States.
I listened a few minutes to the entertainment being provided in the pavilion, then went to the cottage and worked on yesterday’s journal entry.
A movie brought from Georgetown was being shown afterwards and the other occupants in our cottage attended.
We did not get any new residents in our cottage, except that in the loft where Judy Ijames had moved out, Laura Johnston will be with two girls. Harriet Tropp is the other person in the loft. Downstairs are my roommates: besides Diane Lundquist there are Versie Connesero (Perkins) and Shirley Ann Edwards.
A young girl, whose name I do not know borrowed my iron yesterday and at bedtime had not returned it, although I had spent five minutes telling her how to take care of it.
I went to bed at 11.00 but was disturbed by the conversation which continued for sometime of those who were returning from the movie. The guards came around to see that lights are off at 11.00 but apparently do not check back frequently.
13 February – Monday 1978
Didn’t even hear the 6.00 call this morning nor anyone get up nor leave. I got up at 7.00. Shortly before this, an announcement about my class must have been read as several people reported hearing that it would meet at 7.00 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. I waited for my medication at the nurse’s office. Then I went to the vegetable shed to get papaya, but fish was being cleaned so I couldn’t be accommodated. Strangely enough, this was the first day I had a normal bowel movement, though sparse.
I went to the Book Depository and checked for any books to read. Found nothing except Why Children Learn by John Holt, which I have never read. Checked it out and got some materials for my class.
Penny borrowed my typewriter again in spite of my deep-seated dislike of lending it. I still don’t have my iron back.
Ate lunch at the 11.00 o’clock period.
Taught my first class, a group of seven or so drawn from Jann and Shirley’s Basic English classes who need special attention for one reason or another. Among them are Loreatha Buckley, now 20, and Jair Baker, a brother of Tchabaka Baker who fancies himself as an intellectual, I am told. The young men in the class were talkative, the two girls passive. I started on a very simple level with discussion and then made an observation assignment.
Spent from 1.00 to 5.00 in my cottage except for going for a shower. I started the Holt book and wrote journal entries. I forgot there was a teachers’ meeting at 3.00 on Mondays.
No rain has yet fallen. The bucket brigade was called out again and I joined them at 5.30 and worked for an hour.
Dressed for my evening class and went for dinner. We had shark, which was very good.
At 7.00 met with my adult class, which was slow in gathering. About seven eventually came including Helen Love and Shirley Hicks. I got an idea of their language abilities (all can at least read and write a little) and told them what we might be doing in the class. At the end I put a short selection from Ogden Nash on the board to show them what could be done with language.
A Charles Bronson [actually, George Peppard) film, “Newman’s Law” one of those brought from Georgetown was shown at 8.00 and I stayed to watch it. It was horrible and I would not have sat through it had not Jim come in to give his commentary. He pointed out the racist elements; the excessive violence was also deplorable.
Went to bed about 12.00.
14 February – Tuesday 1978
After breakfast I ate a whole papaya which I got from the vegetable stand. I had a small bowel movement again.
I explained to Dick Tropp the difficulty I was having with the use of my typewriter. He told me not to allow other people to use it.
Went to the shower to do my laundry. The showers are cleaned from 9.30 to 11.00 and I could not get in. All the buckets in the generator shed had been taken for use in the fields. The one tub I saw on the porch of one of the dorms, the residents would not let me use without the permission of their head, who was not there. I had an argument about this, in which Barbara Walker participated in opposition to me. Some people were sympathetic, and finally the person in charge was found and let me use the tub.
I finished by 11.00.
Went to the dining pavilion and ate.
Went to my class at 12.00. I worked on the observation lesson I gave them and used it for practice in spelling, in which they seem to be pretty bad.
My iron had been retuned to the cottage.
I slept an hour and a half. It was very hot.
I worked on journal entries for a time, about three hours.
I read the Holt book.
Went to the pavilion to get a seat with a back. There was the usual scramble between seniors and the workers who were trying to arrange the area for the rally. I found a good place.
The Misfits did an amusing song inspired by Jim’s comments on the number of people who tell him about their constipation; called “Sitting on the Toilet Stool.”
Jack Beam presided as the agriculture reports were given. He first reported on the relative merits of pumpkin and granadilla. The vote of the members was to follow his recommendation: plant pumpkins in the fields, granadilla in the windrows.
Cost of produce was being done, including a cost assigned to labor.
Rob Gieg reported on the chickery and the visit of the veterinarian, Dr Fernandez [Peter Fernandes, head of Guyana Livestock Board]. The baby chicks which had been pipped were dying because their tongues were cut. The vet said pipping was not necessary; he called it a “curiosity” [pipping has to do with the chick breaking the shell and is a normal, not a curious, activity. It seems to be used here to mean clipping the beak slightly to prevent chicks pecking each other.] Gravel is not necessary as it is already in the feed. Our egg production is down because the hens are too old.
Chris Talley reported that two more dogs have been spayed with the help of the vet. We are awaiting a litter of rabbits.
Wanda said Dr Fernandez stated the dry season was the time to get on top of the fly problem; swat flies, and watch manure and wet spots for fly breeding.
Jim arrived at 8.45.
Gene Chaikin spoke on expanding the planting of banana suckers. We may be able to market Cayenne bananas. Danny Katulas will estimate the number of banana suckers available. Gene thought it not wise to go outside the area for banana suckers because of the risk of importing disease. Teresa King had requested a change of job back to the banana crew, but she had found she was paranoid in estimating her position as a children’s worker and she had sent an amendment.
Jim said Dr Fernandez was a socialist and very friendly to and impressed by Jonestown. He thought we were the best socialist group in the world. He admired the simplicity of life of the leader and the participation in actual work of the supervisors. Jim asked Grubbs what progress had been made in the isolation project. Tom said he waiting for wood for construction. In three days or a week those in the program will show change. A week will guarantee it.
Peter Wotherspoon submitted a proposal for an even heat skillet cooking arrangement so that we can have fried eggs, pancakes and so on. What are the possibilities of getting the correct metal for such a device were discussed. Peter also suggested using windmills for power and watering during dry spells. This was referred to the steering committee.
Jack Barron thinks he is getting somewhere with bricks – Jeff Carey suggested mining clay and selling it if possible, as there is an increasing market for it.
Jim reports further on the remarks of Dr Fernandez. Guyana is better than Cuba in unpretentiousness of the leaders. Jim took to task those who had recommended pipping and the apathy of those who had let them prevail. Also those who managed the laying hens. After much difficulty Jim ascertained that eight people participated in the chicken pipping. Apparently only two, not present tonight, had pipped the baby chicks. Fernandez found no worms in our flock. He advised immunization against Newcastle disease. Socialism class must have a test on the materials discussed tonight.
Charlie Touchette warned against spreading disease from hogs to chickens. Keeping them together is going to cost us in the end.
A detailed discussion took place, on the proper time and order in which to clear and burn additional land. Jim is concerned that land which is not cleared is an eyesore for visitors. The first ten acres planted in bananas are interplanted with black eye peas. Jim Bogue wants a good banana man to be found to advise us as the vet advised us on animals. The same should be secured in every area. Jim said everybody should have a notebook and write recommendations down
Fernandez said Cuba’s motto was “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work,” instead of “need.”
Kevin Freeze Dry Smith was on the floor for poor work. The steering committee wanted to relieve him from his refrigeration duties and put in Mark Wagner, whose attitude has much improved since being confronted. Freeze Dry admitted he was lazy, lets his crew do the physical work and doesn’t work himself.
Jim remarked that of the people who used to assist the QSO-ing in the radio room now, all have gone since the food stopped. Freeze Dry had used his attendance in the radio room as an excuse for not working in the days. QSO-ing is supposed to be in addition to one’s regular work.
Jim said Freeze Dry manipulates, thinks he is better than others. Jim is concerned why he doesn’t work, suspicious about his planning to leave. Larry Schacht said Freeze Dry does a slipshod job on the herbal remedies.
Larry remarked he had a mother who had been in labor 18 hrs; the baby was turned around. He was prepared to perform a Caesarian but Jim came by and said it would be alright. The woman went into labor; the baby turned around and the woman delivered in two hours.
Shirley Fields has been released as dietician.
Freeze Dry is to go back to the Learning Crew from which he was on probation.
Jerry Bailey and Amanda Fair were reported as having said to Rennie Kice that Rob Christian and Freeze-Dry had been removed from their jobs and white persons were going in. Stephen Jones got up and after a lifetime of living with black people denounced passionately this “white shit.” Jim reprimanded Jerry and Amanda and gave each of them extra assignments. He didn’t like to send seniors to learning crew.
Then Rob Christian took the floor and started to talk about the changes made in the warehouse where he has been the head. He said Helen Swinney who was supposed to help him take inventory, with Charlie Touchette and Joyce Touchette had moved in on him. He felt excluded and he resented removal from the warehouse job which had apparently been done by steering committee last night, intending to write it up for Jim. Charlie Touchette said he was not responsible for removing Rob. Harriet Tropp said she initiated the action, Johnny Jones said Rob should have registered disagreement with steering committee at the time. Vernetta Christian then came forward to state that Rob should not be so passive; he should have acted. She was the one who said something to Jerry and Amanda about it. Jim said, “Ah, I thought that had to have come from somewhere.”
At that moment a huge explosion coming from the area in front of the pavilion was heard. I thought it was either a bomb planted by an enemy infiltrator who knew we would all be in the meeting at this time or an explosion of some fuel on the grounds. Several people including Jim left; the rest of us sat silently and waited.
In a few moments some people were called for and it was evident that the tractor was going to be driven to Port Kaituma and a plane from Georgetown called for, indicating someone was injured.
We must have waited an hour at least, possibly two. My watch, which has been keeping time well, had been stopping off and on all evening, no matter how many times I set and wound it. I did not know what time it was. Then Jim returned and told us that an explosion in a piece of equipment had injured Tommy Beikman (formerly Katulas); in fact he had been dead and was restored. He was blinded and lacerated but he was going to be all right.
Jim said when there are divisions such as those represented by racism, accidents like this happen. He gave an account of Helen Swinney’s being asked to inventory the warehouse.
Items intended for different departments were in the warehouse. The inventory was in a hell of a mess. Jim had asked for reports he did not get soon.
Jim interjected remarks on the present political situation. The Foreign Minister of Guyana has been removed from office. We wanted to be sure this was not directed against us. The Stoens are all over Washington seeing right-wing people. Therefore Mother has to be all over Washington. Stoen won’t have complete immunity though. He can still be indicted for actions he performed, and he will be. They’ll get him, as nobody likes a fink.
Joyce Touchette criticized Helen Swinney for her attitude. She doesn’t pay attention to peoples’ feelings. What was done in the warehouse was to give Rob more opportunity to perform engineering tasks for the Temple.
Jim reminded Rob Christian of what Helen and he himself had had to go through, having children who were traitors to the cause. She had to be willing to kill her own son. There were essential engineering jobs for Robert to do. Jim mentioned the vibrations raised by Rob’s rushing in when a process had been put into action and an issue lain to rest. “Then you come in with charges of racial injustice.” Jim asked Rob if he wanted to do both jobs, the warehouse and engineering. The answer was no. Jim said the engineering job was more important. It involved the cemetery plot and getting more land which depends on preparing plans that suit the government.
Mike Prokes had been named by the steering committee as the head of the warehouse.
Jim took up the question of 2000 lbs of fish which were not put on the boat. We always get shortchanged in Georgetown when we need protein to feed our people. The reply was that the dock area was short of ice. Jim replied this should have been foreseen. You can’t take anything for granted in a developing city.
Ujara Sly said that he felt uneasy with Tim when learning the boat controls. He said he felt he was not trusted to do anything right.
Resolutions made of problems: Freeze Dry is still hanging in the air. Jim said he shouldn’t have taken him off learning crew. He’ll serve his full term.
Tim Swinney to go on Learning Crew for two days. Sly has to be more assertive. Ujara and Tim have to change their ways. Ujara is to be on Learning Crew too. Rob Christian is to go to Learning Crew also (all of these problems for just a night so that they can get back to work tomorrow). Helen Swinney must serve rice. Beverly Livingston is on Learning Crew also. She was involved in the warehouse with Christian. Vernetta is already on, gets one more night.
Mabel Che Guevarra (formerly Cordell) got a warning for standing around while others worked.
Jim had stated that Tommy Beikman had handicapped himself and made his own recovery difficult because he didn’t have a good reaction to pain. Jim said you can destroy yourself by trauma. Cultivate the ability to withstand pain.
Jim had Don Fields come up because he had been outside the pavilion dancing with cold and had him submit to a testing by pain administered by Don Sly.
Jair Baker was next. Jair had been reported as saying he didn’t like being here. Jim said he was lazy, a loudmouth. Jim said he can see though people who are elitist. He was tested by pain and withstood it well.
Harold Cordell, now companion of Edith Bogue, was tested, then Mike Lund.
Jim asked how many people would volunteer for the pain test. Some hands went up. He asked again and more raised their hands. He said that those who did not volunteer the first time should write it up for him. “I don’t trust you if you can’t take pain.” I had not raised my hand either time, though I had felt Jim’s eyes taking a mental picture of those who wouldn’t volunteer.
Praises were given.
Tommy Kice was called up for putting swastikas on William Klingman’s book. He was tested for pain.
Tommy Bogue was on the floor for sleeping late. Toby Stone was on the floor because she doesn’t work, but to Jim’s surprise, she withstood the pain well.
Odell Rhodes was up. He was accused of thinking he’s special. He got the pain test. He showed less resistance to pain.
Marcia and Barbara Simon, suffering from exzema, which Jim said was a reaction to inner thoughts. They complained at the Medical Office about their treatment. They said the child, Camille, had become more babyfied which Jim doubted. They were given a warning. Lois Ponts, apparently in connection with the Simon episode, was called up for saying something negative before several people. She argued with Jim, was told by him that she was too defensive before criticism.
Santiago Rosa was called up for allowing his baby to fall from a top bunk. Jim protected the baby. He was assigned to Learning Crew. Russ Moton, who was in a lower bunk and was unconcerned, was also assigned to Learning Crew.
Odell Rhodes case was called. He was responsible for a baby’s rolling off a bunk. Jim said he was still, as many hadn’t assumed any responsibility. He pushed bad dope before entering the Temple and boasted about it.
The meting was dismissed at 4.00.
15 February – Wednesday 1978
We were allowed to sleep till 9.00. Had a half day, which means that high school classes were cancelled and students worked in the fields.
Jim made announcements throughout the day on a worsening political situation in Guyana, the cabinet is in process of change.
Spent a good deal of time in the afternoon working on yesterday’s journal entry, then read in Holt. Expected that we might be called out to water the garden but a little rain fell and we didn’t have to.
Met my adult class at 8.00. I made an announcement and Jim made another. He said that all adults who were free from work should come. He then came over to see whether they were there. Some 20 attended; I spent a good deal of time on the Ogden Nash selection, “The Turtle.” Most seemed to enjoy it.
The letter-writing group which had worked on the previous letter met and each person was assigned to write to specific congressmen on the Stoen custody case. Tim and Grace Stoen are in Washington, seeking support in their efforts to get custody of John. I wrote a draft letter and after approval took it home put it on the typewriter.
16 February – Thursday 1978
The night had been disturbed by sounds of coming and going outside.
We were awakened at 6.00 by an alert call. The loud speaker telling us to dress and go to the central pavilion as soon as possible. I used the pee jar, threw on my clothes, put on my glasses, purposely did not take my watch, as the others were urging me to go.
The entire membership with few exceptions (the babies in the nursery and their caretakers and people looking after the animals) were gathered into the pavilion and seated on all benches and chairs which could be crowded in.
Jim explained the political situation had worsened and was threatening. Foreign Minister Wills had been forced out of the Cabinet and the Minister of the Interior, Desmond Hoyt, seemed to have increased power. The former had been friendly to the Temple and the latter is a rightist. The Army was on maneuvers close to us and there might be an attempt to harm us in one way or another. Many of us believed the U.S. and the CIA specifically might have played an important role in the events.
Jim has been suffering with an infected tooth for several days, though he can and does bear the pain, the tooth’s jagged edge cut his tongue, making it difficult for him to speak
Worst of all, he has had no sleep for a long period of time. Shanda Oliver, who had training as a dental assistant, put temporary fillings in his tooth throughout the day while he sat in his chair.
What to do about the situation was the subject of the whole day’s discussion. Jim through the radio asked our representatives to clarify the views of the government and as time passed to make our demands known, as he followed his usual plan of negotiating from a position of strength.
As we assumed no immediate answer and certain developments indicated that the situation was “getting more serious” we began to talk of trying to get to other friendly countries. Long lines formed to make suggestions or express opinions, with comments coming from Jim and others in the leadership: Harriet Tropp, who is a prominent political analyst, Mike Prokes, Gene Chaikin as an attorney, Lee Ingram, and those who have been here for some time and know the local political situation, such as Charlie Touchette.
This same kind of concern and argument had taken place at least once before as Diane had told me. At the time of the last crisis when our opponents had entered our grounds and actually fired shots (in connection with the attempt to get John Stoen away from us). The membership had stayed in the pavilion through days and nights. Food was brought in and people escorted in groups to relieve their physical needs. On this occasion for urinating, we were instructed by security to go behind a small nearby building.
Some people envisaged the possibility of returning to the States but in general the choice seemed to be between Cuba, the Soviet Union, and various African countries, such as Ethiopia (Jim explained the serious dispute between Ethiopia and Somalia with the alternate positives of the US and the Soviet Union as playing a role in our dilemma) Mozambique, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
Votes were taken now and again and some place in Africa would get the most votes. The difficulties were recognized: the fact that we were overweighed with unproductive seniors and little children, the question of funds for journeying anywhere and by what means, language problems, fear other countries would have that we might infiltrate enemy agents. Jim at one point proposed that we go back to the US and support our sons and children by religious and healing meetings, say in New York City. This latter suggestion fell flat, more, it would seem because of the cold, than because it would probably be impossible to keep our socialist faith alive among our young.
We had some breakfast. A glass of water was given to each, we were told we would have only one other meal, biscuits and cheese. After we had this and water was given out again, Jim told us the situation had not improved.
I had made several statements from the floor and at one time finding it difficult to speak when my comments seemed pertinent, I sent up a proposal. I thought Jim asked for it to be read aloud but it was not. I suggested that instead of revolutionary suicide (which had been suggested) we seek to send our young people to some African country where they could be used in a revolutionary cause. That the adults support their sons and children in whatever place was most feasible, so that the brains and talents of our little ones would be saved for the future. A few other people made similar suggestions that our young people fight in revolutionary situations.
White Night At length Jim stated that the political situation showed no signs of clearing up and that we had no alternative but revolutionary suicide. He had already given instructions to make the necessary arrangements. All would be given a potion, juice combined with a potent poison. After taking it, we would die painlessly in about 45 minutes. Those who were leaders and brave would take it last. He would be the last to die and would make sure all were dead. Lines were formed as a container with the potion in it with cups was brought in by the medical staff. Jim said only a small amount was necessary. The seniors were allowed to be seated and be served first. At the beginning those who had reservations were allowed to express them, but those who did were required to be first. As far as I could see once the procession started, very, very few made any protest. A few questions were asked, such as an inquiry about those in the nursery. Jim said they had already been taken care of.
I find it hard to believe that the threat with which we were faced justified such an extreme action. I would have thought it more in keeping with what we had been taught to go down fighting, taking some of the enemy with us. I felt that some form of civil disobedience should be tried first, as it could have a profound effect on world opinion and I wondered why we should leave all our buildings and crops to be exploited by the enemy, as Jim had mentioned earlier instructing a scorched earth policy.
These considerations led me in one part of my mind to doubt that Jim was actually giving us a poison. However, the whole procedure was otherwise so convincing and I knew that Jim was able to perform any action, no matter how desperate it might seem to others, and that since he is convinced that life is all pain anyway, he would be unlikely to be influenced by our desire to live.
I shuddered. I regretted dying as I feel I have years of work and experience ahead of me, not least of which is the writing I wish to do about this whole remarkable story. It seemed bad luck that just when I had come to Jonestown and had a chance to use my talents as a teacher, I should be cut short. Nevertheless, I am 62 and I think of those who are younger, especially the children, with all their potential. I looked around me. Many had glowing eyes. It was awesome. Even the children were very quiet. I looked at the beautiful sky surrounding us.
The most poignant thought of all was that the greatness that is Jim Jones would not come to fruition. Was this movement he had nurtured to come to naught, to a pile of dead bodies and an abandoned agricultural experiment in the small country of Guyana? He is the most remarkable man who has ever lived. Is this what he will be remembered for?
I thought of the time that in tones of the utmost solemnity on a tape played to the San Francisco Friday night meeting, he had promised, “If you stay with us your fondest hopes, all that you ever imagined you could be, will be fulfilled.” I didn’t feel that I had achieved all I could do and I knew others had not. I remember his saying in a flash of revelation, “Mary Wotherspoon, I see you giving your life for this cause,” I did not think he meant it in this way. That was one reason I did not quite believe our lives were at stake.
And what would happen to those other members of our family in San Francisco, some of the brightest, the most loyal? What would happen to them?
I reflected on some of the past who had been executed, some such as Nathan Hale and Charles II whose principles I didn’t even agree with, but they died bravely. I don’t know why. I didn’t think of revolutionary heroes, except Rizal in the Philippines, of whose courage I had been told. Men such as Victor Jara and Salvador Allende should have come to mind. Perhaps they did not, because they had been tortured as is the custom now-a-days. The ones I thought of had had to accept death because of devotion to their political beliefs. Presumably they could have renounced their beliefs and live.
Poetry in general was what I most regretted living behind. Inevitably, Hamlet came to my mind. And although he was a fictional person, I felt that he most nearly typified the condition we faced: all of us, a sacrifice for the community, dying when he was young and capable of so much achievement. But the sacrifice of his life, as remembered by Ferguson, accomplished something for the society that lived after him. I felt that this amazing event in which we were involved would undoubtedly be noted around the world and people would know that we must have cared deeply.
When it comes to my turn, I meant to request Jim that he send this message: “We are protesting fascism.” This is better than dying by the nuclear bomb.
I gave some thought to my sisters and Lor. When they heard the news I was afraid they would think Jim Jones was a lunatic and I wasn’t much better than one. This thought I dismissed. What did it matter? Sooner or later when the bomb fell, they would realize Jim Jones was right as I had always said. The thought of the people at Bechtel whom I had known well never crossed my mind.
At intervals as the line went down the pavilion and crossed the room and came down the middle, I contemplated the experience of death. Another Shakespeare character, I believe it was, said, “We owe God a death.” I had to die sometime. But I must say I didn’t look forward to it with joy. At that particular moment I neither wanted to cease to exist, to be absorbed in to the Universal Essence, nor to be re-incarnated and start all over again.
However, it was a new sensation and in a certain and peculiar way, I was enjoying it, just the experience. Everything was very vivid. I was fonder of those around me than I had ever been. It was remarkable how disciplined and obedient they were. The look in their eyes showed they knew the importance what they were doing. I especially noticed the children, who were very quiet
Diane told us the next day that many parents came up to their children to give them a last embrace.
Some people were beginning to collapse. I saw one woman being carried out. I didn’t know the passage of time. It must be about 45 minutes since we have started taking the potion. I was annoyed that I did not have my watch. Then I was amused at myself. When one is about to die, what difference does it make what time it is? I couldn’t very well write in my journal: “I died at 5:30 p.m. on the 16th of February 1978.”
I had only a few minutes left until I would take the potion. I was going to be a credit to myself. I would take the potion with out hesitation. I would just like to sit down on the grass and in a few minutes, I would pass out. That would be the end.
Then I heard Jim’s voice, quite quietly he was saying, “You didn’t take anything. You had only punch with something a little stronger in it.” He went ahead to explain the people who were passing out or feeling dizzy. “The mind is very powerful.” He told us we should have known that though revolutionary suicide might be sometime necessary, he would have had much more to say about it, had it been real.
One little boy, Irvin Perkins, I believe said, when he learned of the potion, “Oh boy, I’ll get off learning crew.” In a way, a great many of the seniors said that they were grateful to die. They had suffered so much. I think many people regretted that they weren’t going to die. In a way, I too, regretted that I was not going to be off learning crew. Back to the sound and fury of life.
We went into an evening service. The latest reports received on the radio offered some assurances that the demands of the Temple would be met by the cabinet, even if it were reconstituted. The chief subject discussed was the advisability of making some visits to churches in Georgetown with the objective of gaining a following which would stand back of us in a political crisis and also to raise money. Jim envisaged holding healing service with the choir. Someone proposed that tapes and motion pictures could be used to prepare for future meetings. Some opposition was expressed, probably much of it based on going back to church services now that we had gotten away from the religious atmosphere. Jim however emphasized the wisdom of using his gift, which was genuine. He told the choir to get ready.
The rally was dismissed at 10:00. Jim told us to go home and have a good nights’ sleep.
When I reached home, I couldn’t find my watch. It appeared to me either that someone got through the lines in order to pilfer or that the security guards themselves had taken it.
I went to bed at 10.30.
17 February – Friday 1978
Accomplished very little today. After breakfast I went to the vegetable shed to get a papaya. None were in sight. I ate a cucumber instead.
Worked on journal entries for a short time. Had lunch about 11.30.
Went to my class at 12.00. I explained to them, that in view of yesterday’s happenings, I was going to be firmer. I wanted them to pay attention, not talk out of turn, work on their spelling. Then I changed the assignment for today. I asked them to think for five minutes on yesterday’s events and then I wrote their observations on the board in preparation for their writing on Monday. I found that Jann and Tom had both given written assignments on the crisis day.
Did a little more on journal entries before the high school teachers meeting.
Dick Tropp explained his project for an apprenticeship program to go into effect when this term ends in two or three weeks. Each student would be assigned to working areas of the community under supervision. They would attend class alternately on Monday/ Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday. Science teachers would be associated with the work areas. The classes would be divided into Language Arts with Social Sciences and Math. Friday would be used for testing and review. Students would not have much less time in academic subjects but that subjects would be tied in with the work projects.
A great deal of record keeping would be involved, plus the time involved in setting it up. As Tom will be going into his isolation project on Monday, he won’t be available. There was some discussion on the possibility that the Guyanese government require us to administer tests of their own on academic abilities. We would like to get sample tests and prepare them. Carolyn Layton said it would be better not to go directly to the government but get the tests some other way.
I had very little time after the teachers’ meeting before Jim called for the bucket brigade again. Though a little rain has been falling and we had a light storm today. Jim said it hadn’t been enough. I started out at 5.00, intended to quit at 6.00 to get ready for socialism teachers meeting, which would probably precede the socialism class. However, we were late getting started. I was with a group of seniors and when I did leave at 6.30, there was some resentment.
Went to my cottage, changed shoes and got my notes on last Tuesday’s meeting.
Waited in line for a long time, then just before I was in front of the window, the servers ran out of food. We were told to come back after the socialism meeting.
I hadn’t been able to attend the briefing session. When I arrived at the meeting I learned we were expected to test people on the agricultural portions of Tuesday’s meeting. Don and I each took half of the people in the room, questioned them individually. In my group most were older adults who did well in comparison with the younger ones.
After waiting in line a while, I got my food. I hadn’t eaten since 11.30.
Got home at 10.00. Read Holt for a few minutes before going to bed at 11.00.
18 February –1978 Saturday
I spent a couple of hours this morning retyping the Jonestown Medical Report which had been corrected by Larry Schacht.
Shampooed and put a dark rinse in my hair. I forgot my towel at one time and another my bottle of rinse and had to go back for them. The sun was hot.
Went to lunch at 12.00.
Did my laundry in the shower room and hung it up on the line back of our cottage.
Diane’s group of nursery school teachers were meeting in the cottage when I got back. They were evaluating the children for a report tomorrow.
I sat on my bunk and worked on journal entries from about 2.00 to 4.00.
Took a nap for about an hour.
Jim called for the water bucket brigade early today. Though there had been a brief shower, it was not enough. I went down at 5.00 but the watering didn’t continue for long, probably because Jim may have wanted dinner started so that the Rally would not be late in starting.
I went home to change my shoes and get my clipboard and water cans. It is necessary for me to fill them on most of my trips to the central area so that I will have enough in the cottage.
I got a good seat at the rally, next to a woman who kept her eyes closed most of the time. When aroused, as she was countless times by the guards, she protested that she had an eye infection and wasn’t asleep.
Before rally: Jim spoke on public address system before he entered.
Vernon Jordan, National Urban League attacked Carter, black unemployment ___ %. Milwaukee highest jobless rate 39.8 % white 5.2%. Younger trying to get 53 blacks on death row executed. North Carolina governor denied pardon for Wilmington 10. Carter Attorney General refuses to look into situation.
Loretta Brown who went out, coming back.
FBI network uncovered in China, 5000 spies recruited. Lee Harvey Oswald shown to be in pay of FBI. Gerald Ford used to further Warren Commission’s Report. Hoover had something on every government official. Webster nominated as FBI director is member of Veiled Prophet Society. Belongs to all white chiefs connections with Ku Klux Klan. Pioneer Foundation gave grants to prove race inferior. Shockley & Jensen received grants. Mark Rudd convicted though he got impunity to colleagues. Supreme Court supported South Carolina teaching system which excludes most black teachers. National Socialist white party has units in X states. Black representative in networks cut back to 2%.
-Los Angeles police on killing spree.
-Joan Little granted bail but support dwindled to nothing.
-San Quentin went on strike protesting prison politics. Two day strike achieved nothing.
-US major arms supplier of dictatorships.
-South Africa tortures blacks squatters community destroyed. Ford decided he would stay and maintain investment.
-Mozambique restricts banks to keep control of finances.
-Tanzania youth who refuse to participate in manual work get three years sentences.
-Blacks want to emmigrate from Great Britain.
-Ethiopia and Somalia are in life and death struggle.
-Proof of US involvement in Somalia.
–Apocolypse Now (film) banned due to Army influence on Vietnam.
Child Irvin Perkins in crisis: “Oh boy, I’m off the learning crew.” Woman who wanted to go to Berlin went on to account of time in Georgetown where group planned to go out in boat and sink it. She terrified of death.
The Misfits: “Sitting on the Toilet Stool”, “Go down Moses.”
On week’s report Jim wants comparative percentages from week to week.
Reports from gardens including seniors.
Jim said cassava used in production of bauxite. Should revise cassava plans, increase. Starch used, extremely refined. We can’t refine it. Aluminum industry. We should be aware of all things that are vital to Guyana economy. Ujara says they have a cassava mill in Port Kaituma, not working. Jim: Make survey of Guyanese economy. Antin33 kills bees that are eating wing beans.
Tommy Beikman regained complete use of arm. Jim: keep calm.
Julie Guevarra (Cordell) read in book that fertilizer is needed for young bananas. Banana flower is esteemed as vegetable in Far East. Children who get involved (ask questions or give information) will get special treat. Ton of peanuts per acre. Make sorrel, sweet drink. How is pyramid coming? Keeping peanuts dry, haven’t been pushing. Jim: push. Questions on brick-making. Manganese mine 30 minutes from here.
Jim: Dynmally coming March 1. Interested in Tim Stoen being a transvestite. Didn’t think it wrong to father a baby for the cause. Manganese used for hardening roads. Mixed with steel for abrasive resistance. Jimmy Inghram has made some inquiries on working manganese mill or manganese steel. Marie Lawrence says Don Beck can do some research on minerals at Berkeley.
Clara Johnson insists on her children coming home. The four want to stay here. Grandmother wants to stay. Jim pledges to stand by them. All of age or will be before case is through the courts. She thinks she’s in love with somebody outside.
Question on tanning shark hides. Someone can work on the problem.
Jim says Johnson affair part of the harassment. All the enemies will unite. Jim hunts a husband for the girl. Finds one, 17, with a trade.
Jim: Foreign Minister coming in with Minister of Education tomorrow.
Report of herbal committee. Several investigations being carried on.
Jim: Medlock suit, behind it is Clara Johnson.
Jim: Report food going out of kitchen in day of crisis. He complains of food being designated for him (cucumber sandwiches and cheese sandwiches on a day we are getting ready to die.) Demands equality.
Jim in virtual captivity. Trouble with pain of tooth. Protect tongue. Takes Agnes to task. Jim talks about those who are overweight. Giving food to those who are overweight. Some individual instances were brought up. Sylvester Fair cited as one who takes extra foods. Jim says not fair. Medical bills he has to pay. Mary Coleman now has many problems. She wouldn’t have most of them if she’d kept weight down.
Back to herbs. Shirley Fields
Smokehouse: Brother Eartis Jeffery Can’t get the wood because only one tractor. Jim wants smokehouse to continue. Offer to take tractor on a half day tomorrow. Volunteers are going.
Jim insists on getting rid of roosters we don’t need.
Ron Gieg: chickens, 440 ready to be slain. We have lost 60 of the babies. Jim goes back to chick pipping. Woman who helped pip says co cut beaks too short. Chicken business being ruined by cold weather in states. By radio offer to sell hatcheries. Jim orders 3.
More on chicks. Jim orders that dealer make good 200 chicks. Leave them unbeaked. Keaton suggests culling hens, getting rid of those who aren’t laying. A discussion on breeds. Difference of opinion over Leghorns & Rhode Island Reds, layers or broilers. As far as Jim can see left undecided.
Last of reports put over.
Jim six churches lined up to take our musical groups. Jim says have to have at least one family member here.
Recommendations for learning crew: Gabriel Dennis. Jim: Teachers get to together on isolation. Sue Jerram (Noxon). Pauline Groot, for showing resentment to small child. Janet, to go with Ruby Carroll. Don Fields, off learning crew. Insists on running. Jim asked for him to be checked over. He is to go back to pharmacy.
Tad Jensen [Schroeder], April Klingman, Dietrick Porter, Jerry Parks, Nancy Carrol [?] to Learning Crew. Toddlers, too much permissiveness, Jim says. Irra Johnson thinks Diane Lundquist too soft on children and other teachers follow her pattern. She should be replaced.
Outrageous fuel bill. Recommend tractor use. Use the large horse instead.
Meeting ended at 1.00 I looked around for Shirley Hicks and Don Jackson with whom I had been asked to help with a skit about Guyana history. When I did find Shirley, she said it was too late.
I went home and went to bed at 1.30.
19 February – 1978 Sunday
We were not awakened until an hour later today.
I had breakfast at 8.00.
Worked on my journal all morning, writing my reactions to the “Day of Crisis”, 16 February.
Went to the central area around 12.00. Guests from the Guyanese Government were expected. I joined Harriet Tropp who had a demonstration class for adults, since it was Sunday, on Guyanese history.
Two government officials were in the party. Fred Wills, the former Foreign Minster who was supposed to have been deposed but who according to Dick Tropp later in the day, may still be Foreign Minister and the Minister of Education, Vincent Teekah. Teekah stayed in Port Kaituma until later in the day.
Wills did not notice our class at all; the party with Jim and his leadership group went directly to the pavilion where they conferred. We were released. Teekah arrived before I had left and I heard he wanted to inspect our school. I was worried that he might want to see our school records, some of which I have and which are far from complete. I have done nothing on them. However Harriet told me later that Teekah was impressed with our project and that all went well.
I had asked Dick for a list of the government ministers:
-Arthur Chung is President, Chinese;
-Forbes Burnham is Prime Minister;
-Ptolemy Reid is the Deputy Prime Minister;
-Vincent Teekah, Minster of Education;
-Fred Wills, Foreign Minister;
-Desmond Hoyt, Minister of Development.
I returned to the cottage and read Holt until dinner.
I saw Jim Bogue on returning from my shower and questioned him on name changes in the Bogue and Cordell families. Jim is now called Jim Morell, Edith Bogue is now the companion of Harold Cordell, who took her name, Bogue. Tina is the companion of Bruce Turner and Marilee is the companion of Cardell Neal.
Went to dinner at 5.00. The line was not too bad. We had liver, sweet potatoes and greens.
Got my cookie around 7.00. The band and singers were furnishing entertainment in the pavilion until later but I stayed for just a few minutes.
Worked until bedtime in the cottage. Diane, Versie and V’s child were in the cottage but I went on with my journal, except that I helped sweep out the cottage when Versie borrowed a broom.
Diane seemed very depressed all day which I think was a result of the adverse comment on her permissiveness in yesterday’s meeting. I tried to sooth her feelings but she did not respond, maybe because it might have been interpreted as gossiping or resentment of authority.
On Sunday evenings it takes a long time for the cottage area to settle down for children to be taken back to their homes and residents to turn off their tape recorders, although the guards announce “Lights out” at 11.00 as usual. Laura Johnston, who has moved into the loft, had a security assignment during the night and also intended to use Karen’s typewriter in the next cottage when she returned from her security assignment.
I had gone to bed at 11.00
20 February – 1978 Monday
Went through my regular morning routine: dressed, had breakfast, two cups of tea, got Premarin at medical office, got papaya, in bathroom had small bowel movement. My system seems to be straightening out.
Made my plans for my class at noon. Did a little on my journal. Had lunch.
In my basic class, I put some of the topics we had discussed on the board to trigger their memories of Friday’s discussion. Then asked them to write on the day of the crisis, their observations and their thoughts. No one wrote well, not even a few sentences. Most made no sense. Some just copied the topics. Jair, who had already turned his composition in, had some original ideas; but his spelling and such grammatical points as tense were deficient and his writing full of a lot of bombast.
Then took a shower. I did more work on my journal.
At 3.00 we had an English teachers’ meeting. Tom who has initiated use of the isolation facility was not present. Very little was said. At the instigation of Jann, I gave the rest of my points on teaching English. Dick Tropp expressed some reservations about emphasis and oral methods, but his further remarks were supportive of the ideas. Barbara Walker walked away and gave the impression she wasn’t listening. She made no comment. He is in favor of centering all instruction on the actual work in Jonestown. A de-emphasis on writing, except for factual reports.
Becky Beikman and Christine Lucientes were taking groups of small children down to the isolation site, so they will be warned about what faces them if they misbehave. Becky invited me to go along. The place in which the first person, Dana Trust, age 8, was confined is a generator hut back of the dorm. Tom was sitting outside, making notes. Dana was screaming constantly that she was thirsty, wanted water. However Becky told me she was given water and she was merely trying to get attention. There was no light but she had more space than the plan called for. The other children just listened.
I prepared for my adult class, did a little more on my journal.
When I went to dinner, I was confronted by Penny [Ellen Dupont] who is angry about the typewriter episode. She said I had shown a very exclusive attitude, had had tantrums about little things (including my concern about my iron). When I explained what the typewriter meant to me, she said I was defensive and should look at myself. I tried not to retaliate but remained firm in my determination not to lend my typewriter.
I was late getting dinner and had difficulty arriving at my class equipped and on time.
Some thirty people came to the class, paid good attention and participated well. I spent most of the period on the agricultural items from Sunday’s rally and ended with some limericks and other amusing jingles. I asked those who didn’t know at all how to read and write to give me their names and I will try to make arrangements for such instruction. About ten turned in their names.
Debbie Jensen who is in charge of the socialist library, let me borrow a copy of Cities Without Crisis by Mike Davidow which I had started to read in Georgetown. An order has been given that all the radical books are to be turned into the socialist library and will be issued to those who have need of them for a limited time, including students. Heretofore only teachers could borrow such books.
On my way home I met Diane who told me Irra Johnson had moved into our cottage and was occupying the bunk beneath me. Irra, who with Diane, is a teacher of the toddlers. I found Irra in the cottage. She had moved all my material and had made a very attractive nook for herself. She also scrubbed the floor of the entire cottage. I put away, hung up or otherwise disposed of my articles. I could still keep my suitcase under the bed and managed to fit some more items on hooks so I won’t be handicapped as much as I had thought.
I read Cities Without Crisis for an hour or so and went to bed at 11.00.
21 February – 1978 Tuesday
I made considerable progress on journal entries today.
After lunch met with my basic class. I had planned to have the members discuss their background in couples while I talked to Jair about his paper, then discuss the paper with each student. However, Jair was absent for a second day and I decided to talk to the class as a group. Few had anything at all in their papers. Some had mainly copied the topics. I talked to them as to where we could start in view of their deficiencies and tried to draw them out about their backgrounds. I learned Kenny Dennis’ mother left the family when he was four; Ronny Dennis is not related to him by blood although they were raised together. Loreatha [Buckley] didn’t go to school at all until she was twelve. She was used as a baby sitter for the younger child. They had few memories of school either good or bad. Marcus Anderson and Yolanda Brown said practically nothing.
I worked again on my journal.
Took a shower.
Had a short nap for a half hour at 4.30. The call went out for the bucket brigade so I dressed and started out at 5.00.
I was down at the field when I was called back by Tropp. Some letters about Jonestown had to go out by boat to five publications. Dick had written them. Other people who were doing them were Karen Layton and Carolyn Looman. I missed dinner. I took one letter and typed three carbon copies in the cottage. I worked for a while after the entertainment started at the rally. The guards came around to the cottages to see that everyone was at the rally.
8.10 when I came in, entertainment program was in progress.
Agricultural Report Danny Kutulas presiding.
Chris Lund. Shortage of electric power. He urged cutting down on lights. Jim says make bulbs last.
Guy Mitchell. Livestock. Weaning of calves, fattening of hogs. High protein food of sows with pigs. Care of brood sows. Infection of teats would spread if pigs allowed to suck. MMA syndrome. Colostrum [milk before and just after birth] has valuable protective elements in it [that offspring don’t get through placenta]. Jim inquires about babies we have adopted. Mothers aren’t nursing them. Schacht will find out. Why is first five days milk of cow thrown away? [alright for calves, but “yucky” for human drinking.]
Patty got an eagle. Jim hopes she won’t bring it home. Dr. Fernandez warned to be careful about products from trees as they may be poisonous. Papain in papaya is a wormer. Star apple/sapodilla for diarrhea.
Arcayan, cattle man, came with Fernandez. One inspector Eugene Benjamin wanted cocaine. James Smith, cattle man, on deworming cattle on feeding young after birth, on feeding concentrated feed to milking cows.
Jim said pharmaceutical company by QSO contact going to give us many drugs free. Jim says follow up on chicken replacements when QSO’ing radio crew, write down professions of people we talk to. Dr. Fernandez said special ones as dairy farming. Will let us know. Will give us equipment for artificial insemination. Course July 3.
Four sections of cow’s stomach.
Lela Murphy released from hospital. Miracle.
Dr Fernandez said could feed sugar cane. Chop it up, as it’s hard to digest.
Dr. Fernandez said:
-Get concentrated feed and add it to our own bulk.
-Feed chicken offal (guts) to another type of animal.
-Cassava is a good source of fat.
-Treatment of bitter cassava.
-Don’t raise pigs and chickens together lara siplas.
-Don’t deworm piglets and sow.
-Suggested we contact Ministry of Agriculture about getting land racer boar hog.
-Shouldn’t have our own boar hogs because of inbreeding. Replace every three years.
-Recommended protein early sustaining of cutlass beans. We have had analysis 25% protein. But not amino acids.
Kitchen equipment: do we want it? Read list from San Francisco, worth the cost of shipping? Tish says if we want to do a large scale entertaining or go into restaurant business, some things could be used in medical unit. Might sell it in Georgetown. Talk of buying bakery in Georgetown.
Report on tractor tire that blew up. Didn’t know pounds of air. Hadn’t put the gauge on. Jim doesn’t want it to happen again. Blakey thinks they built up too much pressure. Mechanic didn’t take proper care of it. Has a record of taking chances. Bruce: Jim calls on him to accept guilt and change; attitude called arrogant in this shop. Jim wants arrogance and exhibitionist attitude changed. He doesn’t take criticism well. Jim says if he doesn’t take it well this time, he should go on learning crew.
Detailed lack of safety precautions in shop. Jim suggests safety committee be set up. Make someone finally responsible. Safety glasses not worn. Jim asked that we order them; not available here.
One person attacks attitude of Mark Sly when he questioned in tool shed ____; he has elitist attitude. Tools are checked out and not returned. Jim says inspection committee should investigate this. Persons not returning tools be put on learning crew. Cynthia Davis has trouble with Albert Touchette. Cynthia took racist attitude. Albert not here. All in shop gave pledge such as extra work to make up for bad attitudes. Jim said to be moody is inexcusable. Said that Maureen [Fitch] had shop well organized. Now it’s not.
Those who going on the boat, perhaps someone can replace Bobby Stroud for a while. Tells Debbie and May X have to know finances every day.
Albert Touchette came in. Has explanation of his attitude. Jim says moody attitude result of thinking you are better than other people. Think of him when someone threatens, to come and get their child, he dies. Connie [Frohm] put in charge. Charlie Touchette says tools are not checked out. Jim, someone say they missed Mertle girl. She tried to kill Marceline. Mentioned Chris Lewis’ death. Tim Stoen and Mertle women back of this. Jim: One day I’ll spring on them like a tiger. Jim took Linda back because he believed Cynthia was close to her.
J: US consul all along telling us I’ll lose some of these children. Now he says we won’t and feeling guilty. Makes you kind. Makes you feel happy to make others happy.
Jim warns children who won’t behave about isolation technique, “You wont get out.”
J: All should watch how you take feelings out on others. None of you entitled to do so.
J: All tools to be back in the morning.
Cooking banana flowers: get together on this and straighten it out.
Alternate hours for cooks to be instituted so as to give everyone time off.
Rob Gieg: people who talk to hatchery. Vaccinate chicks on day they are hatched against Marek’s disease.
Jim read list of people who have to go through immigration. Any objection. Asked whether they can be spared. Utmost security to be maintained. Stay in house except when at Immigration. Warned that CIA agents among new people. Jim says we think we know who it is.
Chris Williams doesn’t want to go. Jim says he must go because he will go back to prison unless papers are straightened out. Someone says he has tendency to talk too much, he warned.
I was sitting at the back in the last row. Near me was Carolyn Looman who has done 2-1/2 of her letters. Dick Tropp came by, expecting that the meeting should soon close. He was afraid that the boat would leave soon. He hinted that we should leave the meeting and finish the letters we had. I noticed Carolyn slipped away, so I went back to the cottage.
I typed the other two letters. Nobody had come up from the rally yet. I took my letters back to Dick at the Agricultural Office.
Dick had told me that he didn’t think I could get dinner late, but I asked at the kitchen and got a large plate of greens and a large piece of papaya pie from Ollie [Harrington].
The rally was still not over. When I returned to the pavilion, it seemed that a large number of people had been on the floor and many had been put on the learning crew. Several junior and one high school boys had been forming groups and chasing each other and Jim had broken out in a fury when one spoke of his “gang.” Jim called this a fascist term.
The meeting was ended at 2.00. Jim saying that we should sleep two hours late in the morning.
I went to bed about 2.30.
22 February – 1978 Wednesday
I got up at 8.00 and went for breakfast.
Had a long wait for medication, as all the people who would otherwise have come earlier to the Medical Office were crowded into the later hours.
Worked on my journal for an hour. Went to lunch.
Washed my underwear, towels and so on. The women’s showers were closed for special cleaning and I used the men’s side. When they were through with work on the women’s side, I changed over, finished my rinsing and took a shower. I missed my watch when I got to the cottage. I may have left it in the showers, although I may have left it somewhere in the cottage.
Worked a couple of hours with my journal.
The bucket brigade started early today and I went down about 4.30. I stayed two hours until I was really tired. Dad was superintending the operation. At one time took a little boy by named Dante [Carroll] in hand (Diane tells me he is the son of Betty Carroll who is still in the states.) Dante wouldn’t hurry returning the buckets, felt sorry for himself. Jim took a paddle to him and his attitude gradually improved. I was in a line with seniors. Mike Prokes took some movies of us. I believe some were taken yesterday. Two women near me squabbled and exchanged insults. I left before the job was done, as I did not know the time and was worried about getting dinner and meeting my class.
I found it was 6.40. I ate a little, went to my cottage for my supplies.
My class started at 7.30 and had good attendance. Shirley Fields audited the class. She had spoken to me about the possibility of helping me with this class. She has had some experience with teaching reading and I wanted her to find out if the class interested her.
I had told Jair Baker that I would go over with him his paper written about the day of the crisis and he found me. I recognized he had some good insights but his spelling, punctuation and grammar are inadequate. I told him so. I doubt that I got far convincing him that he would not get much attention for his writing until he wrote material that was technically correct.
When I got home, the other women were decorating the cottage. Irra had already fixed up her bunk. They found fault with my clothes hanging on the walls.
I read Cities Without Crisis until bedtime.
23 February – 1978 Thursday
At breakfast Tom told me another child, may have been Marquess Rhodes, was in isolation overnight only. May not have had much effect as he went to sleep right away.
Got a cucumber at vegetable shed as they had no papayas.
My Basic class was particularly troublesome today. Billy Jones was back. He was off learning crew, inattentive and wanted to do something else. I believe he and Jair antagonistic. Jerome Anderson was too talkative and critical of others’ work. Loreatha and Yolanda behaved well and had learned something. Much time wasted. I warned them I would turn in names tomorrow if they didn’t stop wasting time.
Made good progress on journal entries as had a whole afternoon free, although the nursery school teachers were in cottage for an hour. They had an interesting discussion on bad behavior of April Klingman, who misses her dad. She blames it on the movement, takes her displeasure out on blacks, calling other children “nigger.” She is particularly hostile to Jaimie Guevara (Jimmy Cordell) who has been praised so often for her singing and dancing talent. Julie Guevarra (Cordell) who trained Jaimie, was told to give attention to April.
Today is a Guyanese national holiday, the day the country became a cooperative democracy, I believe, in 1970. The elementary school at Jonestown had a program and parade in the afternoon. They all paraded though the cottage area.
Decided not to help water. I was feeling some effects from bruises I got from falls. Also doubted whether the watering would finish again in time for me to get dinner and meet my class on time.
I tried to nap but didn’t succeed in going to sleep.
Had to hurry at dinner so as to get to my class. We had a big helping of fish.
I checked out a tape recorder from the Book Depository and took it to my adult class. I figured out most of what was necessary to operate it but hadn’t completely mastered it when Nedra Yates came in. She understood how the recorder works and operated it for me, tough she had a few difficulties. The class was smaller than usual, but I think the water brigade was late getting through. I had the class members tell us in a few sentences something interesting that had happened to them before they had met Jim or come to the Temple. Someone interpreted the word “interesting” to mean “exciting” and people seemed to restrict themselves to that definition. Not that the material was not on the whole good. Less nervousness about the speaking and tape recording was shown than I expected. Nedra Yates was the only one who got into the kind of memories I had hoped to extract. She told a story of social persecution in Waco, Texas. We listened to some of the playback and will have the rest on Monday.
After dismissing the class, I experimented with the machine so that I could run it on my own. I took it home as I thought the Depository was closed.
The teachers of the Political Enlightenment (Socialism) class met while my class was going on. I had explained to Don Jackson that I could not attend.
Spent the evening reading Cities Without Crisis. Some of the other residents of the cottage were home with their friends.
Went to bed at 11.00.
24 February – 1978 Friday
Three students were absent from my Basic class, two out on jobs and the third Billy Jones, who I understand works night, overslept. To the others, I made a strong statement. I told them they’d be on the floor if they didn’t behave. The class went well after the warning and we were able to progress with reading and spelling.
It was very hot today. The day was so split up that I accomplished very little. After writing yesterday’s journal entry and taking my shower, I had to go to high school teachers meeting at 3.00.
At the meeting at which Tropp presided we first discussed the students who were to receive commendations or praises for Saturday night’s Rally. One of Jann’s students was called before the meeting to be questioned by various teachers. The first time I had seen this system used in the high school, though I knew the elementary school used it. Tropp had made a survey of 65 high school students to ascertain what areas of work interested them in connection with the apprenticeship program. Agronomy was the first choice of none, in contrast to livestock in which a large number showed interest. Some other areas such as diesel motoring had much appeal and others such as sanitation and water had little. We are going to have to steer students into those needed by the community.
The call went out for the water brigade shortly after 4.00. I returned to the cottage for my shoes and hat and went down to the fields. Jim was on the line passing water the whole time. He had his public address system with him and used it to talk to the Jonestown community and to conduct business with San Francisco, as well as send orders for more water buckets and for the Caterpillar to dig a well out. We worked for two hours.
I had dinner, changed clothes and went to socialism class. Don taught the items gleaned from the Tuesday’s meeting on agriculture and community management and I taught the material from Introduction to Socialism on the utopian socialists adding background I had gained from Radicalism in America and other sources. Don made a note of those who responded to questions. This is to be followed as a means of testing.
Returned to the cottage and read Cities Without Crisis for about an hour.
Went to bed at 11.00.
25 February – 1978 Sunday
After breakfast today I had my athlete’s foot treated at the sores table in the pavilion. The attendant put on alcohol and cassava powder which she said had been enormously successful.
The P.N.C. is holding a convention at Port Kaituma coinciding with Republic Day and around 50 to 65 of our people attended, leaving at 10.00 a.m. Laura Johnston was one who attended; as well as speeches and music, there was a tree-planting ceremony.
Spent sometime in the morning trying to find out what happened to my sheet and talked not only to the laundry workers but to Dale Parks (just met him on the path). And then to Joyce Touchette and Ruby Carroll. Joyce is coordinator and Ruby has responsibility over housing. To Dale and Joyce I also mentioned my missing watch and they advised me to write it up so that Security could keep a look out for it.
Because I had a practically free day once I got home, I accomplished much more with my journal. I not only have February entries up to date, but I finished January entries and later in the day was able to start with the missing two weeks of December 1977 entries. Some of these had been drafted so that actually only the last week in December remains a problem. I should be able soon to work through that freeing myself either for typing entries or for doing other kinds of writing.
The children’s workers were in the cottage about 2.00. Irra, who takes a rest period then, is still prettying up the cottage and without consultation with me took out the nails on which I hang my towel and wash cloth. This I thought, was too high handed and I said something about it before going to get my shower. When I returned it appeared the others had intervened. At any rate, she made some allowances for me. All were rather friendly to me.
Dick Tropp had been asked by Marie Lawrence to give her science students some instruction in science report writing. I was going to attend, asked Dick to page me on the loud speaker, for the reason I planned not to go watering. I tried to nap from 3.00 to 4.00 but didn’t get to sleep.
For a while a big wind came up and it looked as if a rainstorm might develop. Jim did not call for the bucket brigade. Later Dick told me he gave the science report writing at 3.00 but only Marie came and he spent only half an hour on her. They had paged me but I didn’t hear.
I continued with journal entries until dinner time.
While waiting for the Rally to start, I had a conversation with Lisa Layton, told her about my early experiences and home life, arising out of her enthusiasm for The Rebel Girl by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
I had dinner, was weighed. I have lost five pounds this past week. Cutting down my portions of rice and the two hour stints on the water brigade I believe are responsible.
I had a conversation with Joyce Lund. We talked of Harry Williams and his family who either didn’t come to Jonestown or went back. His wife Rosemary; his daughter Yolanda and her husband Ron Crawford, who took their baby. I mentioned Mary Black who had been seemingly devoted and a hard worker, though seldom in services. I had expected to find her in Jonestown when I arrived. Joyce said one had to learn, as she did, not to expect a personal relationship with Jim which she seemed to think was Mary’s problem. She said Mary had been Jim’s sister in his former life.
After the seniors had had their usual scramble for seats, Jim decided that too many people were at Port Kaituma and that we would hold the rally tomorrow. Before dismissing us, he gave us on the loud speaker a rundown of the news:
(1) Tim Stoen now has got religion. He has told Herb Caen differing stories.
(2) Our attorney is acting weak, old and tired. He may be in pay of the CIA. He didn’t follow instructions but we went ahead and threatened the Examiner. We know that they and New West were in collusion. We forced them to print our side of the story for once.
(3) The Soviet Union wanted to make a film about our project but the US threatened to cut economic aid grants to Guyana if they allowed it.
(4) Coal mine strike continues. Thermostats have been set back by law to a dangerous level for older people.
(5) The Cyprus-Egyptian war worsens.
(6) Several groups in the US want to come to Guyana and settle.
(7) Ethiopian situation is severe. Cuban troops keep coming.
(8) Our settlement in Guyana doesn’t make Carter’s human rights emphasis look good, or else why would we leave?
Jim also said Mother has been appearing in churches and also on a talk show in Georgetown. Diane Wilkinson made a hit singing in churches and also in a night club.
The usual entertainment program for Sunday night was permitted and we heard the dance music until late.
Only a sprinkling of rain fell.
At the cottage I climbed on my bunk and read Cities Without Crisis for a while then fell asleep over it
I got up, washed and went to the toilet. Got to bed about 11.00.
26 February – 1978 Sunday
Had breakfast. We had rolls and syrup, scrambled eggs and coffee. Had a conversation with Rita Lenin and Edith Bogue. Edith does physical therapy. After I had spoken to various people about my missing sheet, the woman in charge of laundry brought it back to me. I imagine Ruby Carroll had it. My name was on it but in an inconspicuous place.
Talking to Tom Grubbs, I mentioned the abysmal abilities of my Basic English students and asked him for any suggestions. He said he had a great variety of filmstrips which might be of use to me, covering all types of approaches to English such as phonics. I spent about two hours with him in the Book Depository. There are two machines he showed me how to operate.
At home I got my sewing material out of a footlocker and mended my Indian bag. The handle had come off and I also mended my housecoat.
Some of the people who had been to Port Kaituma at the PNC convention went again today. Our entertainer Marthea’s name was mentioned. She had made a big hit.
I made yesterday’s journal entry.
I was planning to do some typing but in the afternoon the other residents of the cottage brought some nursery school children in and used it for a playroom. I didn’t have any room to type and of course would have trouble concentrating anyway. After my shower, I climbed on my bunk and made more journal entries, solving most of the problems I had with the December 1977 entries.
Dinner began to be served about 4.30. There were the usual long lines. We had fried rice with some vegetables and meat in it, sweet potatoes and citrus fruit.
The rally started at 7.30 after the usual scramble for the seats with backs among the seniors, which each week seems to be more bitter.
Dale Parks presided over the entertainment program which began the rally. Among the singers were the Apostolic Singers (some of the group in San Francisco are now here. One, Florence Heath, who sat next to me and shared her pillow, told me among her “gratitudes” that she was “grateful to Dad for bringing us to this lovely African country”), Marthea Hicks, Ollie Harrington, Tommy Keaton, Connie [Frohm] Fitch (now the companion of Don Fitch).
A wave of enthusiasm had built up so that Jim, when he entered, was greeted with a big ovation.
Reports and assignments given were asked for.
Dr. Schacht had inquired about cow colostrum for human babies. He said babies get antibodies from the placenta. However, Jim said the University of California saw no reason why it would not be good for human babies. Larry said we don’t have anyone doing pathology slides. Cathy Jackson may be able to do them when she gets here. With regard to Marek’s disease, among the chickens slaughtered yesterday only one chicken had Marek’s disease. It seems that we can trust the firm which sells the chicks to us to vaccinate against the disease, also called fowl paralysis. The chickens had few worms. He described the disease. When we hatch our own chickens here we will have to vaccinate them. The 165 chicks we hatched have not been vaccinated. Larry will investigate whether we can do it now. Vaccine will be ordered. Ron Talley asked what it costs to raise a chicken to a saleable age. Anthony came up with the figure of $4.88 per chicken at 9 weeks. We try to sell them at $13.00 but as Jim pointed out, there is some mortality.
SAT (Search and Apprehend, the uniformed security force) kept track of those who left the water brigade before watering was finished. Few did.
Jack Barron reported on the pyramid testing. So far all the foods tested went bad. He will keep on investigating.
Eartis Jeffery reported on progress with the smokehouse. It was done by tonight except for the stove. We’re waiting for supplies on the boat.
Connie Fitch [Frohm] reported on the safety situation at the ship. It has changed for the better. She had only one problem. Stan Gieg refused to use goggles at a particular machine. Stan was at the front gate. Stan had also been responsible for letting an unqualified worker use a chain saw which was destroyed. Although repaired, it wasted materials. Stan was sent for. It seems that Charlie Touchette is responsible for Stan’s elitist attitude, making him think he is indispensable. Incongruously, Stan has told Bruce Turner, now in charge of the ship, that Charlie Touchette didn’t like him.
Jim interposed that Christine Cobb was in danger and he had to get her out.
Also, from reports from the convention in Port Kaituma, the Guyana people seem to be more radical than was thought, they want more nationalization.
The question of relations between Bruce. Charlie Touchette and Albert Touchette was discussed. Stephen said both Touchettes can be obnoxious. Jim said Bruce too had elitist attitudes in incidents reported to him. One incident involved tractor maintenance. Blakey to report on this next meeting.
Jim: Clara Johnson has emerged again in her schizophrenic behaviors.
Stephen Jones own attitudes were examined. (He is usually on the platform during discussions and takes a prominent part in many confrontations. May be in training for leadership role) He and Albert Touchette where charged with being disruptive in Jann Gurvich’s socialism class. Marlene Wheeler called upon to give he pros and cons of their behaviors, was easy on Steve and hard on Albert to which Jim took exception.
Jim who had been engaged in talk with Carolyn Layton, Harriet Tropp and Gene Chaikin on reports received on the radio noted they had been laughing about the Stoen custody case. Tim Stoen had said Jim Jones believed he had a divine right to raise John as his own heir. It was not so much that Jim wanted to be Jesus Christ, which is ludicrous, but that Tim Stoen doesn’t want to be Joseph.
Side issues were taken up such as relations between the Talley family’ at one time all four: Ray, Marlene, Maureen, Fitch and Chris, were standing with a microphone with about 50 other people. Maureen remarked she’d rather not have much to do with the other Talleys and Jim commended her for at least avoiding the family centrism which many practice.
Jim called for getting to the point involving Chris and Albert Touchette, Stan Gieg and Bruce Turner. At least Charlie works. The young ones want black pride but let’s see black work, though he acknowledged the black male is in a society which is constantly trying to castrate him.
Jim: Back to Stanley Gieg, who thinks he is indispensable because Charlie gives him responsibility and he won’t wear goggles. It is outrageous not to tell Charlie you hate him, then get a black man all stirred up. There is nothing to alliances; they are all self serving. Stan is arrogant because of self-consciousness on account of his size. Jim said he has no reason to let his size make him feel inferior. Connie demanded he break up the clique with Albert.
Jim: The judge deciding our case (in the Stoen custody matter) is having dinner with Marcy. We’ve come a long way from the White Night.
Jim told Stan that he was back on learning crew. “Why did you give a chainsaw to a man who didn’t know how to handle a chainsaw, Walter Williams?” Use axes instead of chain saws to fell trees. All those responsible for using that saw went to learning crew as well. Chaikin and others warned against leaving trees half cut.
There was criticism of Marlene pampering her son. She is always with him, reads to him, when other children don’t get this treatment.
Several people were taken off learning crew. Pauline Groot has done good work. Diana Truss, Marquess Rhodes and other troublesome children were on the floor. Norya Blair Quinn got a whipping from his mom. Stephen came out with a snake in his hand and for a few minutes terrified the child who screamed and cried as Stephen said he would tell the snake to bite them. Jim intervened and showed them the snake was nothing to be afraid of. He said he couldn’t bear for them to be afraid of snakes. He pleaded with the child to help him help people.
Rose Pearson was on the floor for over-eating.
The names of many who avoid the water brigade were called. Among them were Kay Rosas, Corrie Duncan, Barbara Smith, Lucille Payney, and Saola X [?] who is mentally incompetent, doesn’t know she doesn’t work for a living, doesn’t know where she is. The seniors were assigned to learning crew for one night, setting a precedent.
Millie Cunningham gives special treatment to some people, receives a warning.
Dereck Walker who had been turned in by the nursery teachers was up. His mother, Barbara Walker, was criticized for the way she handles him. She got a warning. Jay Parks got a warning for whining. Several elementary students were cited for their attitude in school.
Allean Tucker was reported for eating peanuts which were supposed to be planted. It was found that the peanuts were reject, but she’s on weight watchers. She was put on learning crew too.
The young people whom he’s supervising on the learning crew said Ronnie James reads and sleeps on the job. They claimed he gets more than his fair share of food. These charges were unproved.
At the end of the meeting, Jim called out a woman and saved her from a stroke. The meeting was dismissed about 12.15. I ate some grapefruit and got to bed about 1:00
27 Febuary – 1978 Monday The day was on the regular schedule because guests were coming early. One of them was a woman from Tanzania.
Had breakfast and went in for my medication. From the vegetable stand I got a papaya for myself and one for Helen Love. I gave her hers where she was working in the rice tent and took mine home to eat.
Stopped at the “sores” table in the pavilion and got treatment for my athlete’s foot: a salve made from a herb called Irish vine was used.
Worked a short while on my journal entries. After lunch I went to my 12.00 class, all students were absent except for two. Tropp came around to check the classes and when he discovered the extent of absenteeism, he went on the loudspeakers and giving the names, demanded their presence in class. All of my absentees came in one by one except for Kenny Reed, who is on learning crew.
I asked if they had worked at night or had been working when called. All acknowledged they could make it to class.
When I got home I worked a little more on journal entries.
At 2.00 when some of the nursery school teachers came in, I went for a shower. However the water had just been turned off, as the well was being worked on. I got enough water from the pipes to wet myself down and cool off but didn’t try to use soap.
There was a short English teacher meeting at 3.00. Dick Tropp said that the teachers would have to help interview students and place them in skill areas during the normal working hours starting next week, when evidently we will have a break between school terms.
He told us of a book in our socialist library which describes how the Soviet collective farms train children for the skills needed. He advised us to look at it. Dick has turned over his English classes to the other instructors and is acting as high school administrator now. However, Grubbs said he did not expect to be tied up as much as he had at first thought with the isolation experiment, as Jim apparently was not inclined to do much with it. We discussed briefly the tenacity of our young in their wrong headedness. Jann Gurvich brought up teacher evaluations by students. It was agreed we would use them and Tom will draw up some points with a scale.
At 4.30 I went on the bucket brigade for two hours.
I stood in line for a long time to get dinner.
Although I surely had time, I returned to the cottage to get my notebook, got in to the Rally before it was started. Jim had decided we had to have another Rally tonight to finish with the agricultural reports.
After two musical numbers. Jim took charge of the meeting. He said before we went to the agricultural reports, we had a case to deal with concerning a woman who was unwilling to share her child.
Annette Jones, who is the grandmother of Monique Bacon, was on the floor. She had threatened to go on a starvation diet if she can’t have the child to herself. She had been with counselors, one of whom was Jerry Bailey.
Jim reminded her that Monique was on her way to being a retarded child; Tom Grubbs said Monique was withdrawing from life. Annette said, “I told them they could have her.” Jim spoke of the condition of the baby caused by her dope addict daughter Kim.
Paula Adams is one of the Temple people involved. Jim dared her to defy him. “There is something worse than death if you take the freedom to die and leave a two year old child. Tom said it was cruel to die and leave a mark on your child for life. Jim Jones reminded her of the demonstration of how life goes on after death, of the “ether voice hanging there,” referring to the appeal to him to reincarnate a woman who had betrayed him in a former life. Jim and John Jones emphasized the harm she would do to the cause. Ernestine Blair, made an eloquent statement pointing out the effect on her other child.
Annette relented little by little and Jim pursued his appeals, “Why go back to the animal world?”
Jim told her how the fascists are using the child custody issue to incite people against us. The London Observer now has become part of the conspiracy. He said to Annette that every child needs all the love it can get. All those who care for her can be part of Monique’s life. Annette agreed to stand together with the others.
Attention was turned to the agriculture reports. Among some of the points made:
Jack Barron said we should get 2000 lbs of peanuts per acre to make a profit. Reference was made to the supposition that the climate is gradually changing and Guyana may turn into a temperate zone. We have to make preparations for fruit which requires frost.
Phil Blakey suggested a change in the method of plowing for a particular field. Jan Wilsey stated her preference. The dispute on whether to use the rotovator or ripper is to be reviewed by the analysts.
Jim insisted that we have to cut down on use of the generators and bulbs. $150,000 a month for diesel fuel. Chris Lund said the biggest load is 8 to 12 at night. Dryers take the load at night. Tom suggested using wood as a fuel which would produce hydrogen for use. Windmills are a possibility. Jim: “It’s a bad year prophetically.” He said there was a danger of war wiping out all power we’re used to. Suggestions made for curtailing use of power; cut the number of bulbs, use a horse and cart. Tom suggested wind generators. Chris will look into conservation possibilities. Jim asked that a meeting be held between Chris Lund, Tom Grubbs, Don Fitch and anyone else who is knowledgeable and they should form a plan for cutting diesel use. Discussion took place about the cleared area behind the cottages and whether it was dry enough to burn now. What effect would rain have if it came before we burned? Stephen and Jack advised burning now. The rainy season has been very curative. Jim made the decision to “burn now.”
Shirley Fields in herbal report said 37 foods and herbs have been displayed for guests. She gave a list of herbs with heir capabilities. Jim wants a record kept of treatments with herbs and results.
The plant nursery report was given by Chaikin. The citrus is flowering and the new transplants are doing well. We have 1, 657 fruit trees to plant as soon as it is wet enough. These, with 1,000 citrus seeds will make 48 acres of citrus and we will be on a commercial basis. We have 1,000 coffee trees to be planted. We have Liberia and will get some Robusta. Tropical citrus seeds have to be kept well. We can help Guyana by planting plantain which is in demand for export. When small coffee trees need shade we propose interplanting with cassava or bananas. We can get cocoa cuttings. We propose getting into cocoa in the fall. We will use 750,000 pounds of rice (bought). We should grow it. Rem Narayan says hill rice should do well here. 15 acres would provide us with all the rice we need. We shall find a low area or get an irrigation system.
Jim said Ministry of Development, one of our visitors has in the past been very cold to the mission. He has become very positive and he wrote “very progressive project” in our guest book.
Cassava and garden reports were heard.
There was discussion of the disappearance of buckets, needed for the water brigade and glass jars (needed in the kitchen) “people must bring these to the office” Jim sent SAT to retrieve them from the residences. “If anyone has a bucket and jar and does not report it now, discipline will be forthcoming.
Jan Wilsey gave the report on vegetables.
Several young people turned their names in for playing gang games in the past. Their cased were dismissed; they have quit, knowing they were doing wrong.
The meeting ended about 12.15.
I ate a grapefruit saved from breakfast.
Went to bed about 1.00.
28 February – 1978 Tuesday
Dick has succeeded in convincing my high school students they should come to class and all were there except Ronnie Dennis and Kenny Reed. Kenny is on learning crew. Marcus was inattentive and kept falling asleep. I read aloud the rest of the story we had started, explaining some points to the class. Questions and small projects were included, on which as a group, they did quite well, showing that vocabulary and intelligence are not the problem in most cases; it’s reading ability. Jair’s behavior seemed better and Jerome definitely tried to keep still.
I washed a few clothes, couldn’t find my clothespins, so Diane lent me some of Versie’s. Also washed my hair, put a rinse on it and put it up.
When I retired to the cottage, Irra was scrubbing the floor again. She had a request that I tuck in my bedspread better, though in my opinion my bed looks better than Diana’s or Versie’s.
I did a little work on my journal.
Today the workers burned the cleared area back of the cottages. As I was trying to work in the cottage, it seemed to me that the flames, very hot and pushed by a strong wind were coming very close. I speculated on the possibility that they might jump over the windrow. After a while, I decided for safety’s sake to get out. Then I observed that the nursery school children had been moved from the cottage in which they spend most of their time. Several people were watching the fire. At the same time SAT came through, urging people to join the water brigade. I had decided not to go today. I sat on Ruby Carroll’s porch across the way with Barbara Guevarra (Cordell). She sews under the direction of Ruby Carroll.
The fire situation still looked dangerous to me. Then I saw Jim walk into the area. In a few minutes, the wind turned around, the flames began to die out and it was obvious we were in no danger.
I went to the Book Depository, as the smoke made it unpleasant in our area and read Cities Without Crisis until dinnertime.
I ate dinner.
Jim, on the loudspeaker, has been making an offer to anyone who, with four other people, will build a log cabin with an axe, on his own time, can live in it. When all our family arrives we are going to be very short of housing.
Didn’t teach my class tonight as Jim said that Temple member could have an entertainment program to greet Mother, as the boat was due today. Attendance was not mandatory. Greg Watkins, a black man, was master of ceremonies. Helped by a white X. Several loud rock and roll dance numbers were played, including special numbers done by the children and seniors. Shirley Baisy and Toby Stone did a provocative number. Eloise Hall gave a blues number, with comedy touches, which was very impressive.
The tractor-trailer had left for Port Kaituma by 6.00 at least and we expected the party arriving on the boat at almost anytime. But since they didn’t come, I began to suspect that Jim had had the group stopped down the road for the purpose of debriefing Marcy before permitting the group to come to the reception. However, since the tractor can be heard coming up the road, I realized later, this would have been difficult to manage.
Mike Prokes came in with a movie camera and the films of many of the members, which were respected. Larry Schacht was persuaded to come in and participate in the item about “De-worming” presented by the Misfits. Jim also came to watch and made suggestions during the filming, so it was apparent the new arrivals were not here yet.
We were dismissed at 11.00. I was in the toilet when I hard that the party was just arriving. With a good many others I returned to the central area. Some of us went down to the dining hall area and greeted the new arrivals. There were about 15 people who had been in Georgetown. Not all had arrived there at the same time nor by the same means of transportation. Three pregnant women, including Cathy Jackson, had been flown all the way. Inez Wagner was in a group which had taken Greyhound across the country to New York. Cathy told me the boat had hit a sandbar and didn’t get off until high tide.
Most of the entertainment was run through again for the new arrivals. Mother was seated with Jim beside the platform. She showed the effects of those past months of strain.
The program ended at 2.00
I had known through Diane that Diana Wilkinson was going to be in our cottage. Inez Wagner was also assigned to it. We all got to bed at 3.00 o’clock
February 1978 Journal References
S= survived 11/18/78; N= not Temple member;
GT= Georgetown; JT= Jonestown; SF= in San Francisco; RV= in Redwood Valley
Temple / Members
Paula Adams [S]
Jerry [Geraldine] Bailey
Tchabaka Baker [Shawn]
Don Beck [S in RV]
Tommy [Kutulas] Beikman [S]
Norya Blair Quinn
Philip Blakey [S]
Edith Bogue [S]
Jim [Morell] Bogue [S]
Tommy Bogue [S]
Johnny Jones Brown
Loretta Brown [N]
Terri Buford [S]
Betty Carroll [N]
Nancy Carroll [? N]
Barbara Che Guevera Cordell
Mabel Che Guevera [Cordell]
Rob [Robert] Christian
Harold Cordell [S]
Versie Connesero [Perkins] [S]
Kenny Dennis [N]
David Dupont [N]
Shirley Ann Edwards
Barbara Farrell [Perry]
Connie Fitch Frohm
Liane Harris [died in Georgetown on Nov18, 1978]
Lee Ingram [S]
Cathy Graumann Jackson
Laetitia Jackson [Leticia]
Debbie Jensen [Schroeder]
Tad Jensen [Schroeder]
Laura Johnston [S]
Lynetta Jones [Died in Jonestown before November 18, 1978]
Marceline Marcy Jones [aka Mother]
Stephen Jones [S]
Marie Lawrence [Rankin]
Lisa Layton [Died in Jonestown before November 1978]
Rita Lenin [Tupper]
Helen Love [Heavenly?]
Chris Lund [Rozynko]
Joyce Lund [Rozynko]
Mike Lund [Rozynko]
Guy Mitchell [S]
Bea Morton Orsot [S]
Lela Murphy [died February 1978 in JT]
Bea Osort [S]
Dale Parks [S]
Jerry Parks [S]
Rose Pearson [N]
Versie Connesero [Perkins] [S]
Mike Prokes [S]
Jim Randolph [SF S]
Odell Rhodes [S]
Don [Ujara] Sly
Kevin Freeze Dry Smith
John Victor Stoen
Bobby Stroud [S]
Helen Swinney [S]
Charlie Touchette [S]
Harriet Tropp [Sarah]
Janet Lenin Tupper
Tina Turner [Bogue] [S]
LaShea [Kennard Wilhite, Jr. dob:2/4/78]
Chris Williams [?]
Walter Williams [S]
Nedra Yates [S]
Non Temple Names
Charles Bronson, actor
Jimmy Carter, President
Merv Dymally, former Lt governor of California
Dr. Fernandez, visiting veterinarian
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, author
Gerald Ford, President
Felix Greene, film-maker
Guyana Military Reps
John Holt, author of Why Children Learn
JE Hoover, FBI Director
Desmond Hoyt, Minister of Interior
Vernon Jordan, Urban League
Sidney Lens, author of American Radicalism
Joan Little, political prisoner
Rem Narayan, Guyanese Agric Dept
Lee Harvey Oswald
Vincent Teekah, Minister of Education
Webster, FBI Director
Frederick Wills, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Lor de la Fuente, Edith’s friend in San Francisco
President: Arthur Chung
PM, Forbes Burnham
Deputy PM, Ptolemy Reid
Min Educ, Vincent Teekah
Min For Affairs, Fred Wills
Min Dev, Desmond Hoyt
Radicalism in America, by Sidney Lens. 1966
Cities Without Crisis by Mike Davidow
Introduction to Socialism by Leo Huberman and Paul M. Sweezy. 1968
The Rebel Girl by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
Why Children Learn by John Holt
Film: Newman’s Law
Film: The Outfit
Film: Apocolypse Now
MMA syndrome (pigs)
National Urban League
Pipping the chicks
Warren Commission Report