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(Editor’s notes: This tape was transcribed by both Seriina Covarrubias and Kristian Klippenstein, and we are grateful to both for persevering on such a difficult tape.
(The audio on this tape is often hard to decipher, and combined with the fact that people speak over each other quite often, there are many notations of unintelligible speech. For those reasons, the editors recommend that listeners read the summary first for context.
(To help the reader navigate this tape, we have included the time cues on the MP3 as well.)
Part I – Audio letter from Hue Fortson
Part II – Phone patch conversation between Maria Katsaris and her mother
Part III – Audio letter from Hue Fortson (conclusion)
Part I – Audio letter from Hue Fortson
Hue Fortson: (speaks softly and slowly, with many pauses, much ambient noise) So I figured that, well, maybe that was just a way to let off some pressure. And I thought, too, said, Well, Hue, why was I crying? Was I crying because I really liked having a–
(Voice fades, overwhelmed by ambient noise)
–that one was combination of things. Crying an’ (unintelligible word) Took up your time, (1:00) talkin’ to you about (unintelligible word) situation. Then too, I was upset at myself because I– I wrote a nasty letter to Rhonda, which I shouldn’t have did, but I wrote it on emotion rather than thinking it through, thinking it through, what her reaction was going to be, how you were gonna have to deal with it, not me, ‘cause I’m over here. Just– I think, too, of things that you’ve done to people in the past, and even now and uh, people just don’t respond sometimes. Most of the time they do, but then again I guess when I want some respondent (2:00) not necessarily who’s talking to me but respondent to your principle of what you’ve done the people (unintelligible) don’t come across to me. They’re under-responsive. So I wonder other times, I’ve (unintelligible) (pause) I don’t know, but that’s one of the things I wanted to do too is to apologize to Rhonda (unintelligible) I wrote a letter just (unintelligible word) a letter, and uh–
So I– why I wrote the letter, (unintelligible word) TR (3:00) and what I thought was happening, which may or may not be true, whatever it was. And I wrote the letter. Sent it off, along with the letter, I sent to you and the other letter I sent to Rhonda. (Pauses) And like I told her in the letter, I have great respect for her because she’s a hard-working sister in the cause. And these last few months I guess you’d say I don’t know what’s up. (4:00) (unintelligible) may be more– may be– may be more resolute, more sensitive to other people’s feelings. But– So you know you can’t become more familiar with people’s feelings until it comes home to roost (pause) after you’ve been hurt at other times. Or should I say, after you’ve been hurt, you should feel the feelings of problems, where they’re coming from. (unintelligible) I don’t know if I’ve just grown up a little bit and (unintelligible) sometimes I– (5:00) I’m standing on two feet, (unintelligible) all I wanna just wiggle down and cry. Sometimes I don’t know why, just feelin’ so bad, my eyes tryin’ to hold back tears reading the news thing– (unintelligible) Sometimes I– something I read in the newspaper, about, you know, somebody I don’t even know about havin’ problems, or gettin’ killed, or gettin’ messed up by the system. And all I (unintelligible word) do is sit there readin’, and I’ll have to bite it back in (unintelligible) some little thing on TV. (unintelligible word) on TV, could be just ten-minute blitz, (unintelligible words), going to (6:00) tears. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s happening. Whether I’m crazy or what the hell’s happening to me. (pause) I used to– I used to think myself to be a fairly independent person. I don’t know.
These last few months really (unintelligible word) changed a lot of what I thought I had. I don’t know. One thing to be independent is– is– and it’s another thing to be independent and responsible. Whereas before I was– I used to say I was independent, but I wasn’t responsible. But I didn’t have much to be (7:00) responsible for, besides trash cans, sweepin’ floors, startin’ services at 7:30, things like that. But now it’s– you know, it’s a different program. Whereas before folks would look for me to do movement and like that, and now they look to me for other things. It’s– Once again, it’s just really scary to really realize that these people, (unintelligible word) most of these people depend on us for almost everything. And it’s like having – it essentially is – it’s like having somebody’s life in your hands. (8:00) And that’s incredible. Awesome thing to think about. I don’t know. (Pauses, clears throat) (unintelligible word)
Other people’s feelings (clears throat) (unintelligible) never stops, this– this person, that person, it’s always after service, during the night, during the day, (unintelligible) things, just never stops. I can just see small gloves they put you in, uh, (9:00) in being responsible for all of us, ‘specially of the few over there tonight, different. There are a few (unintelligible word), small problem which you used to go through, I’m not sure has not stopped ‘cause (unintelligible).
So I don’t know. Then too, sometimes I find myself, and I get off of this thing I think about Rhonda and– Rhonda and the– her and the baby [Ishi]. We had a– had a long discussion, (10:00) long discussion, each tryin’ to ensure (unintelligible words). Talked it over two nights in a row. Long, long discussion. Decided that best not gonna happen now–
But people been sayin’ what they’re gonna do, (unintelligible word) we decided we did seriously want to start a relationship (unintelligible word) we wouldn’t– and the baby (unintelligible words) time I start a new one. (11:00) That was really pathetic, the first time I cried, (unintelligible) I cried for about two hours. Just couldn’t (unintelligible word) it now. Had to cry. Even though I knew it was the best thing to do, or I thought it was the best thing to do. I don’t know. Every once in a while (unintelligible) that comes out in a lie. But it’s still too early, and sometimes I think (12:00) about Ishi, and I know he’s in the best place in the world, and that’s why I think about him, and you know, not so much as, you know, talk to him on the radio or talk to him, and hear his little voice. I don’t know, I guess it’s just the visual thing sometime that does it to you. (unintelligible word) have that wonderful (unintelligible word) of him. I don’t know. I’m sure he’s grown, changed drastically since the last time his picture was made– I don’t know, it’s five or six months ago. I don’t know– Do I have a responsibility (unintelligible word)? ‘Cause I am his daddy. I don’t know. (13:00) She said he talks about me, asks when I’m coming over, sometimes I (unintelligible) I tell him it’s (unintelligible words). Then his Momma says he’s better off with them (unintelligible words). I don’t know, time to think about what you doing.
It’s a combination of things goin’ on, sometimes (unintelligible word) they don’t quite agree with me or don’t make me agreeable, but (pauses) I’m stuck. I’ll tell you that I was getting that old feeling again, (unintelligible word) I start blurtin’ out, cryin’, whatever. I don’t think it’s too good, doin’ it in front of folks too much, ‘cause I’m sure they take it for weakness, so (14:00) keep goin’ on, pushin’ on, and I’m gonna– It’s– Like I said earlier, about them (unintelligible) on the first birthday. Not that I (unintelligible) PI thing. But just my things, I’ll make damn sure that the other folks have some feelin’, the HPR funds come from up there. It’s of little value to us in here, it’s all (unintelligible) have some value for you, get some positive response from him, but as lately, as I said before, we ain’t gettin’ too much positive response. Or Ihaven’t gotten any, should I say, and it may be because of me. Probably they not knowing me, ain’t that much. (15:00)
So, that’s really about it for now. (clears throat) Oh, I was just taped message, I taped the letter (unintelligible word) for now. So thank you for all the things that you’ve shown me in the last few years, and especially in these last few months (unintelligible) here. All the things that you’ve been talkin’ about that I’m able to see now, and all the things that you’ve done for– for people. That’s just more than words can describe. (16:00) And I’m not one to do any kind of fancy talkin’, fancy speech. And I don’t know, I really can’t find the words to describe what I’m really thinking, that thank you is adequate enough to– to express what should be said for what you’ve done. And what you’ve done, even today, for countless people, what you’ve done in the past for sure (unintelligible) almost seven years that I’ve been here, what you’ve done for (unintelligible words).
(Recording ends, tape edit)
Part II – Phone patch conversation between Maria Katsaris and her mother
Unknown male: Testing, one, two–
Maria Katsaris: (speaks loudly and clearly throughout) (transmitting) Hi, who’s this?
Ann Katsaris: It’s Mom. How are you?
Maria: (transmitting) I’m fine. How are you doing?
Ann Katsaris: Fine. I got your letter yesterday.
Maria: (transmitting) Well, that’s good. I’ve been waiting to hear from you. How have you been?
Ann Katsaris: I’ve been fine, thank you. I’m really sorry I haven’t written– (unintelligible under radio static) But that’s really not true. But I was just delighted to get your letter yesterday.
Maria: (transmitting) Okay, Mom. You’ll have to talk shorter, in– in shorter phrases and louder ‘cause I can’t (18:00) hear you. I just heard that you got my letter, over.
Rex: You have to talk slow.
Ann Katsaris: Oh, I have to talk slow.
Ann Katsaris: Okay. I, uh– Well, I always feel damn awful on these things, you may as well know. And, uh– So where was I?
Rex: You, uh, you had some things at work–
Ann Katsaris: All right. Maria, I haven’t written–
Maria: (not transmitting, speaks to others in Jonestown) Shh. You guys, I’m having a hard time–
Ann Katsaris: –because I’ve had a lot of, oh, things going wrong at work with, you know, not (unintelligible) busy, but I’m glad to (unintelligible) that you (unintelligible) wrote anyway. So I’ll to do better.
Maria: (transmitting) Roger. Well, I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. How’s uh, my sister and brother doing?
Ann Katsaris: Oh, they’re doing fine. Uh. Let’s see. I talked with, uh, well, both of them yesterday, and uh, they may be comin’ down in a week or so, just for, you know, uh, the weekend.
Maria: (transmitting) Oh, they’re comin’ down to see you. That’s good. (19:00) Listen, have you heard anything, uh, from my dad? Over.
Ann Katsaris: No, we haven’t heard anything from him for months. I won’t uh, talk to him, I just hear through the kids. I don’t talk to him (voice garbled under radio static and Maria speaking at transmitting end)
Maria: (not transmitting, unintelligible) there seems to be something. (unintelligible)
Ann Katsaris: I haven’t talked to him for, oh, I bet it’s three or four months.
Maria: (transmitting) Okay. Mom. Well, I’m calling you– and this is kind of, I– you know, I hate to be calling you with this. It’s very painful to me, and hard for me to talk about, but I think you’ll be hearing about it sooner or later, because there’s been a lot in the newspapers and on TV. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: Yes?
Maria: (transmitting) Did you hear me? Over.
Ann Katsaris: Yes, I heard you.
Maria: (transmitting) He is – along with some other people – starting some, uh– He’s been in the paper, been on TV, and saying things – lies – about me not being able to come and go as I please, and lies that, uh, (20:00) you know, I’m not– I don’t have my own free will. Are you hearing me? Over.
Ann Katsaris: Yes, I– I’m hearing you, Maria.
Maria: (transmitting) It’s not true. It’s not true, Mom, but I– I’m surprised you haven’t heard about it. I thought you’d hear about it by now. But there’s a reason behind this. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: Uh, what you’re saying– (unintelligible)
Maria: (transmitting) I didn’t hear if she said anything. Over.
Maria: (transmitting) I didn’t hear. Over.
Rex: She said she’s not sure of what you’re saying. Over.
Maria: (transmitting) I’m saying that he is – along with some other people – trying to start some, so[me] uh, lies and starting trouble. He is saying that I, you know, cannot come and go as I please. He’s angry because I did not want to seehim (21:00) when he came earlier. It– That is a lie. It’s obviously a lie when I have done business for the– you know, for the group I belong to, uh, on, you know, numerous occasions and done a lot of travelling on my own. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: Yeah, I– I hear what you’re saying. But I’m (unintelligible) in touch with him. So I’m– you know, whatever I hear is what I read in the papers and what I hear from you.
Maria: (transmitting) Roger. Well. Uh– Let me explain, Mom. I have been on, uh, several times gone to the US Consulate here on business, and talked to the– to the uh, Consulate on my own alone. I’ve travelled with him in his, uh, private plane alone. And if I had wanted to leave or, you know, had, you know, not been able to do what I wanted, I could’ve told him at any time. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: Yes, I understand that. But I am just hoping that (unintelligible under Maria’s voice) when we can meet on a face-to-face basis, and, uh, discuss it then. That’s when I’ll really be able to understand.
Maria: (transmitting) Well, I under– I understand it’s hard to talk on this medium. (22:00) I understand that. But I want– I want you to, you know– I wanna tell you this and I want you to understand the situation, because I don’t want you to worry about it, and I want you to know the whole story. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: Yeah, uh, I– I– I hear what you’re saying (static obscures words) you have to understand that I have to see you in person to (static obscures words) feel good about it. Uh, so you know, I (static obscures words) uncomfortable to do that. You have to understand a moth– your mother’s anxiety.
Maria: (transmitting) Okay, I didn’t get all of that. But I think you’re saying it would be easier for you to understand when you see me in person. Fine. Someday when I see you I– I will tell you, but for right now, I’m gonna have to explain via this medium. The reason he’s going into all this– and it’s very painful, but I think you can tell from the sincerity of my voice, Mom– (23:00) is that all during my childhood and up– in– in my middle teen years, he was molesting me. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: No, Maria, I can’t accept that.
Maria: (speaking more insistently) (transmitting) I know you can’t accept it! But it’s traumatized me so many years it’s– I think you know, from when I was in high school, Mom, and going to different therapists, and what I went through, there was some reason behind it, that he had me so traumatized, I couldn’t even talk to anybody, and all these years I’ve had to suffer the pain of it on my own, and I don’t know why you can’t understand that! (not transmitting) Bitch.
Ann Katsaris: Maria, uh, I do not understand this at all. That is not true. This is not (unintelligible under Maria)
Maria: (not transmitting) I know, but he told me to sound sincere. I had to sound like my dad molested me. (unintelligible) (transmitting) Negative copy. (not transmitting) What’d she say?
Ann Katsaris: (unintelligible) separated. (unintelligible word) But I find that really hard to understand what you’re telling me. I’m just shocked.
Maria: (transmitting) What reason would I have to tell you that (24:00) if it wasn’t true? Over.
Ann Katsaris: I would like to know when or where he took advantage of you–
Maria: (transmitting) What?
Ann Katsaris: –for myself. There’s been a lot of things about you that I (unintelligible)
Maria: (not transmitting) At home. (transmitting) (Incredulous tone) You want to know when and where he did it? (not transmitting) Kind of voyeuristic.
Ann Katsaris: (Voice garbled due to static) –we made you both (unintelligible word) black and blue (unintelligible)
Maria: (transmitting) I’m not sure what you’re saying.
Ann Katsaris: You’ve got to be kidding. You’re not sure what I’m saying. I’m telling you that what you have said there is a rash accusation that I don’t take lightly. You’re going to have to tell me when and where, the circumstances–
Maria: (not transmitting) (sigh) Oh my God. She doesn’t believe me.
Maria: (transmitting) Mom. I love you very much, but what reason would I have to lie about something like that? Nobodywould make that up. I know it’s hard to believe. Why do you think I never said anything all these years? I wouldn’t expect any– (clears throat) expect (25:00) anybody to believe it. You remember yourself when you were with him, you always used to say that you could never win an argument with him, ‘cause he can convince anybody of anything. He can look you right in the eye, and you’d think he was the model of virtue! (not transmitting) I skipped all over the place.
Ann Katsaris: (radio signal is poor; ambient noise obscures words) Uh, well, you’re right in all (unintelligible) that last part, but the first part (unintelligible) a lot of things you say were good things (unintelligible) for you. (unintelligible) I– I really would have to expect somehow from you.
Maria: (transmitting) (struggles with words) Answer me– You can– Why– Answer me one question. Why would I have any reason to lie about? I’ll take a lie detector test on it. He– he should be asked if he would do the same. Over.
Ann Katsaris: I absolutely agree with you. What I (unintelligible) that’s what I want to know.
Maria: (not transmitting, becoming exasperated) What’s she say? (Pause) (26:00) I didn’t hear what she said– (transmitting) I’m not sure what you said. (not transmitting) What’d she say?
Ann Katsaris: I don’t see why you have to say anything like that. You’d never talk to (unintelligible name) or say anything like that to her. (unintelligible words, radio connection is poor) never (unintelligible) this time.
Maria: (transmitting) Mom, why do you think I went through so many therapists? And I couldn’t even tell them, because it had me so messed up. It wasn’t until I came to this group that I think you saw an adjustment. And I– you know, I started feeling better. (flips off transmitter, speaking quietly to someone)
Ann Katsaris: (speaking, but voice very faint and obscured by radio transmission) –details and then maybe I’ll begin (voice obscured by transmission again)
Maria: (not transmitting) Like, if you have something to say, you have to say it loud and get the points.
Female Voice: (in room with Maria, speaking quickly) She said I want you to sit down with this in writing and then maybe I’ll believe you.
Second Female Voice: Okay, mama.
Maria: (transmitting) What– I’ll put it in writing, Mom. But I– I know that you’ve asked me several times over the– you know, not several times, but you did mention that you wanted me to write you a letter about it, and I just didn’t want to write about it. Over.
Ann Katsaris: Well, I’m (27:00) afraid that if you want me to accept what you’re saying, you’re gonna have to write me some details.
Maria: (transmitting) I’m not sure what you said, Mom, but I can tell you how deeply hurt I am that you don’t believe me. Over.
Female Voice: (short laugh, speaking quietly) I was–
Maria: (not transmitting) Yeah, exactly what–
Ann Katsaris: (speaking insistently, but transmission quality obscures words) –you can’t say it to me in this particular set of circumstances (unintelligible) the situation. I just find it difficult to accept.
Maria: (transmitting) Okay. He know– he knows this. Ask him, you– When he was down here, we discussed this with the US Consulate and some other officials, and he knows that I’ll– I would say it to his face. But I can’t tell you how hurt I am that you don’t believe it, (28:00) and it just goes to show why I didn’t tell you all these years. I never expected you to believe it. But I’m hurt now. Over.
Ann Katsaris: Sorry (unintelligible words, transmission quality poor) you call from thousands of miles away for something that you have never told me. (unintelligible) have loved you (unintelligible)–
Maria: (not transmitting) What is she saying? Shhh/Shit.
Ann Katsaris: (still speaking, but transmission quality obscures words) an opportunity to bring something up.
Maria: (transmitting) I’m sorry, I can’t hear you. Stand by a second and– Can you relay for me, Rex?
Ann Katsaris: (voice obscured by poor transmission quality) –but this right now. You have to understand we’re not solving anything (unintelligible)
Maria: (transmitting) Okay. I cannot– You’re talk– Talk shorter and louder. If you’ll hold on just a second, I’d like to ask (29:00) Rex to relay for me what you said. Over.
Rex: Okay, she said that she is not willing to share– (voice obscured by transmission)
Maria: (not transmitting) What?
Rex: (relaying message in parts, from Ann Katsaris) It is very difficult for her to accept this out of the clear blue, that we never had any indication of anything like this in all these years. Talking over a medium like this is extremely difficult for her. She’s not– She’s not even sure that who she is talking to. Okay, she’s always felt like that every time she’s talked in this medium. Over.
Maria: (speaking very clearly) (transmitting) This is me. And I can tell you anything you want to prove that it is me. Or, well– what would you like me to say, over, that will prove it’s me? But I’ll tell you one thing. (30:00) This– and this is why I’ve never said anything. Just this exact reason. Over.
Ann Katsaris: I really don’t think that we should handle anything like this over this distance. Why (unintelligible) like this is crazy, so uh, I think this is something that we need to discuss (continues speaking, voice obscured by transmission and recording)
Maria: (not transmitting) I’m gonna tell her that I have to use this frequency, this medium because it keeps it out of all the newspapers and (voice grows unintelligible – too quiet, and radio too loud)
Rex: Okay, she asked if you wanted to, uh, ask any personal questions and–
Ann Katsaris: I– I don’t because I’m still not sure– (unintelligible)
Rex: Let– let them (unintelligible) she wanted to know if you wanted to ask her anything that would indicate proof to you that you were talking to the right person.
Ann Katsaris: Mmm, I just, you know, I (transmission quality obscures words) talk about it.
Rex: Okay, uh, do you copy? Over.
Maria: (speaking loudly and clearly) Roger. I copy. It’s– (31:00) I can tell her something from my childhood if she’d like. She– If she can remember when we lived in Salt Lake City and I went to– you went to grade school and I used to have a bedroom downstairs. Does that help her to know that this is me?
Ann Katsaris: Okay, I don’t even want to discuss it on this medium, tell her.
Rex: She doesn’t even want to discuss it on this medium. Over.
Maria: I understand that, and believe me, this is not my choice. I don’t want to discuss it over this medium either, but I really have no choice. I di– I would never have brought it up in the first place, Mom, and it– I was– I kept it to myself all these years and I could’ve continued to’ve done so. But with all the lies and things he’s doing, he’s forced me to do it, and unfortunately this is the only means of communication available. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: Yes, I– I understand what you’re saying. It’s a gesture– you should never have kept it to yourself. And it– maybe you should have (unintelligible word, “consulted”?) and straighten things out with me.
Rex: Over. (32:00)
Maria: Okay. I understand that. But– another reason I didn’t– I– I didn’t wanna tell you is because I didn’t wanna cause you embarrassment or any pain. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: As I say, I think that we should have a face-to-face confrontation in order to settle this.
Maria: (not transmitting) (sighs) (transmitting; speaking with some exasperation) I did with– with my dad when he was here. You can ask him. Over.
Ann Katsaris: Uh, I– I’m not interested in what you did with your dad–
Maria: (not transmitting, speaking over mother) I’m gonna tell her that (unintelligible words under mother) I’m gonna tell her she didn’t call before either–
Ann Katsaris: (still transmitting) I’m just saying you and me, okay? I’m not trying to (voice obscured by Maria and transmission quality) anything about him, I’m interested in me and you. I’m posting your tickets and I (voice obscured by Maria speaking to others)
Maria: (not transmitting) That’s what I’m saying. (transmitting) Okay. I understand that. If you want, though, if you can call the US Consulate here in the capital and– and check things out with him. Over.
Ann Katsaris: If you are sincere in what you’re saying, I feel that if you are (33:00) free to come and go, I see no reason why you can’t (unintelligible word, could be “come home”) for two or three days, so that we can iron out some things.
Female Voice: She cannot be serious–
Maria: (transmitting) I’m very happy here, and this is my home now. I do not have any plans right now to come back there, but a two or three day visit is not as simple as– it’s a long– it’s quite a long trip. Over.
Ann Katsaris: I understand that. But then why call me and tell me over this medium that you’re calling me and make me all upset. It is extremely unfair. Now I’d be glad to pay for your way to come for as long as you feel you want to stay. You want to stay one day? You want to stay one week? That’s fine. A month, a year, whatever you want to do. But it’s not something you can discuss over this medium.
Maria: (transmitting) I understand. And believe me, this is the last way I wanna discuss it either. But I had no choice because you– you’re going to be hearing about it anyway, (note of exasperation) and this is the quickest way I could talk to you. Over.
Ann Katsaris: I think you oughta come back. (unintelligible) discuss it with me in person.
Maria: (transmitting) Mom, I wanted to tell you now, (34:00) I wanted to relieve your mind, because you will be hearing about it, if you hadn’t already heard about it. I knew you would be worried and concerned. Over.
Ann Katsaris: (Pauses) I– I really don’t know what more to say. I could not believe that you are free to come and go as you please, if you tell me you cannot come. Because I have from the past and always said that you not are free to come and go, (unintelligible) but I can believe it now.
Maria: (stumbles over words, transmitting) I understand. I– I just finished explain– explaining this to you. I am free to come and go. I think if you don’t believe that, that you should call the US Consulate here in the capital and check several things. One, this story that I am telling you about my dad is the truth, and that I discussed it with my dad and with him and some other officials. The other thing you can check is that I am free to come and (35:00) go as I please and that I have talked to him at the embassy, on several occasions, by myself, on business and have even travelled with him alone on business. And I could have said to him anything I wanted at any time. Over.
Ann Katsaris: You get the name of this person if she wants me to talk to him I will talk to him. However, uh, I want to say that I really not– I do not– I will talk to this person, but I’m sorry, I cannot believe that you are free to come and go as you please, if you cannot come home and see me about something that is so traumatic as this.
Maria: (not transmitting) I’m gonna tell her– I’m gonna ask if she’s been talking to my dad because she sounds just like him (voice obscured; other voices respond quietly) (36:00) No, no.
Maria: (not transmitting) No, no, that’s how we blew it with my dad. (transmitting, resigned voice) Okay, Mom. Well, I don’t know what else I can say. I love you very much, and I’m very hurt that you don’t believe me. I’m very happy here. I want you to know that I’m healthy, I’m involved in a very rewarding kind of work, and I don’t know what else to say. I’m very hurt. I love you very much, and I only did this to help relieve your mind. Over.
Ann Katsaris: Uh, you didn’t relieve my mind. You raised a lot of questions. This has been extremely–
Maria: (not transmitting; exasperated voice initially too quiet to make out) Like we care. Talk to your therapist about it–
Ann Katsaris: (still transmitting) –upsetting to me. The whole past five years has been extremely traumatic for me because of this, and now you open up a whole new area, and you’re not willing to discuss it with me.
Maria: (transmitting) I am very willing to discuss it with you. Over. But I– I’m not going to pop off for two or three days. It’s a very long trip. Over.
Ann Katsaris: (begins mid-sentence, transmission quality obscures words) –or three weeks–
Maria: (transmitting) (37:00) This is my home now, and I have other responsibilities.
Ann Katsaris: This– I’m not asking you to leave your home. I’m asking you to visit your mother.
Maria: (transmitting) Roger. But you know I am engaged now, and my fiancé’s work is here, and it is not that easy for him. He’s very busy, it is not easy for him to get away. Over.
Ann Katsaris: I see you’re telling me that (Various voices at Maria’s end obscure mother’s words) but this is the first I’ve ever (unintelligible) not only (unintelligible) the first inkling I have ever had, and you expect me to believe it over this long distance connection and just accept that, okay, everything’s fine, honey. That’s really a bit much to expect.
Maria: (transmitting, slightly exasperated tone) Okay, well, I can write you about it, if that will help. But I’m happy here, and this is my home. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: I hear you. I– Nobody’s asking you to leave your home. I’m only asking that you come so we can settle some things between the two of us.
Rex: (38:00) Over.
Maria: (transmitting) Well, I love you very much, and I don’t what there is to settle. We don’t have any conflicts or differences between us. I just wish that– that you would believe me on this. Over.
Ann Katsaris: Well, when my name is about to be dragged through newspapers and TV, yes, you owe me some explanation.
Maria: I– Okay, Mom, I’m not going to keep you on very much longer. But your name is not going to be dragged through anything if I can help it. But unfortunately, my father has already dragged my name through the papers and through the TV. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: Well, I– I think that you should just sit down and write me a l– letter with the details.
Maria: (not transmitting) She wants me to write details. (transmitting) I will. It’s very painful for me. I don’t want to go into it. But if you obviously don’t believe me. Over.
Ann Katsaris: I’m just going through a lot of pain since the first time that you went to that place. (39:00) And I don’t mean down there, I mean in the States. I’ve been going through an extreme amount of pain the first time that you left home. So don’t talk to me about pain (unintelligible word)
Maria: (transmitting) Well, I’m twenty-four years old. I have my own life now, and I went through many, many, many years of a lot of pain that I kept to myself. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: (speaking slowly) I hear what you’re saying. I don’t know– I really don’t know the purpose of this call. In order for me to accept what you’re saying, we’re going to have to discuss this in person now.
Maria: (not transmitting) I’m not going to chop it off like I– her– ‘cause that’s when my dad started. (transmitting) Okay, well, I’m going to go now. I don’t want to keep you any longer. But the purpose of this call was to tell you I love you and I care about you a lot and I wanted you not to worry, (40:00) because I thought you had probably heard a lot of things, or just turned on your TV and happened to hear this story. Over.
Ann Katsaris: Yeah. Okay. I’ll see you.
Maria: Okay, I’ll see you. I love you very much. Give my love to Elaine and Anthony and Jack.
Ann Katsaris: Thank you.
Maria: (transmitting) And I hope to be hearing from you. Write me. I love you.
Ann Katsaris: I love you. Maria, I’m extremely upset.
Maria: I’m sorry you’re upset, Mom. I know it’s– it’s very– it’s– it’s very shocking and upsetting, but please don’t worry about it. It’s all in the past. Over.
Ann Katsaris: I (unintelligible words; very emotional) my dear.
Maria: (transmitting) Don’t worry, your name is not going to be involved in this. Don’t worry about that. Over.
Ann Katsaris: (still emotional) It’s not just my name.
Female Voice: It’s your reputation.
Maria: (transmitting, growing exasperated) Well, there’s nothing to worry about at this point. He’s obviously not doing it anymore. Over.
Ann Katsaris: Fine. (41:00) There’s really, you know– there’s really not much more to say.
Maria: (transmitting) Okay. I hope I’ll be hearing from you soon, okay?
Ann Katsaris: If I write to you, you write too?
Maria: (not transmitting, mimicking sad tone) I will. (transmitting) Okay, Mom, bye-bye. I love you.
Fortson: Probably get some of his members together, and go down to the board of education, ‘cause there was an issue with the–
Maria: (transmitting) I just wanted to call you back. I want to you know that you’re welcome to come here any time, and I would be very happy for you to come here. Do you copy?
Ann Katsaris: I understand. Uh– How would I get to see you?
Maria: Very easy. Just tell me any time you want to come. Over.
Ann Katsaris: (Emphatic and angry throughout) I’m sorry, but I would have to meet you on neutral ground. I would not consider coming down there in that environment to see you. I will see you somewhere else, in another country. But not there.
Maria: (not transmitting) Wait wait wait wait. Wait. I better– (transmitting) Negative copy. (not transmitting) Wait a minute. He told me not to (stumbles over words) bring her down here
Rex: (42:00) Say it again. Yeah, she didn’t hear you.
Ann Katsaris: Oh. I will not come down to see you there. I will see you in another place, another area. Not there. When you were here, you would not discuss this with me. I– You would not even ever come home and stay overnight. I just cannot feel that you are free to come and go. As long as you are in that country, I cannot talk to you there. I can talk to you in this country, not down there, because I still do not feel that you are free.
Maria and Female Voices (discussing things, words obscured in recording) Listen! Listen!
Female Voice: Sorry, you–
Maria: (transmitting) I’m sorry you feel like that. Over.
Female Voice: I don’t consider it’s–
Ann Katsaris: I– I want to refer to something that you said before about your father. If that was true, why in the hell did you ever opt to live with him?
Maria: (43:00) Repeat.
Ann Katsaris: I said, if what you told me was true, why in the hell did you ever go up to live with him?
Female Voices: (discussing response with Maria) I was a minor–
Maria: (transmitting) I was a minor, and I did not have any choice.
Ann Katsaris: Excuse me, but bullshit.
Ann Katsaris: Untrue.
Maria: (transmitting) Uh, Mom, I’m very sorry that you feel like this. I’m very hurt that this is your reaction.
Ann Katsaris: You bet. That was your choice. I did not push you to leave at that time. I never (unintelligible word). Mostly I needed your support, and you left me at a time when I needed you, so don’t tell me you were a minor and you had no choice, because that is not true, my dear. You chose to go. Now if this was a person that had done the things that you allege that he did, why would you ever want to go?
Maria: (transmitting) I am very– I am very surprised at the tone of your voice, and I– I’m (44:00) very hurt by it. I understand you might’ve needed emotional support, but at that time I was in no condition to give it to anyone, it’s the mess I was in. Over.
Ann Katsaris: Well, it’s definitely true, you were in no condition to give it, but you were also – if what you say is true – you were in no condition to go up there.
Maria: (transmitting) I did not go up there to live with him. I was just trying to go– I was– just a different place to live, a place to escape for a while. And that was just some place I went to sleep. Over.
Ann Katsaris: Uh, that really is not quite true. You could have gone away to school–
Maria: (not transmitting) I did go away to school–
Ann Katsaris: (still transmitting) because you know, we’re really not solving anything talking like this. That’s why, you know, if we’re going to uh, come to an agreement, we really ought to talk in, uh, on a person-to-person basis. You can’t solve problems when you can hear (unintelligible word) on the telephone.
Maria: (not transmitting) Did you guys understand? (transmitting) I didn’t hear what you said about the telephone. (45:00)
Ann Katsaris: It’s very convenient that there are (unintelligible word) that you don’t hear.
Maria: (transmitting) I’m sorry you feel like that, that you’re calling me a liar. I heard everything that you said up until you said ‘telephone.’ (not transmitting) You bitch.
Ann Katsaris: Every– everything I said?
Rex: Up to the point where you talked about telephone. Re– repeat that part about telephone.
Ann Katsaris: (quietly) Well, I said that you can’t (transmission quality obscures words) discuss this person to person–
Ann Katsaris: (speaking slowly and clearly) I, uh– I find it extremely difficult to solve these problems over the telephone. I mean, it’s just– you know, it’s practically impossible – (unintelligible) we might not even (unintelligible words) telephone connection. It’s just kind of an unreal situation. (voice grows insistent) That’s why I’m begging you to please come! Come for a day, come for two days. I’ll buy you a round-trip ticket. I mean, you know, I want to work it out with you.
Maria: (transmitting) Well, Mom, I want to talk to you too, and work it out with you. That’s why the invitation is open, and I would be glad to see you here. Over.
Ann Katsaris: Okay, you meant/know the stipulation that’s there. Maria, I cannot come there because I would not feel that you were (46:00) a free agent, because you would still (unintelligible word)–
Maria and Female Voices: (discussion, too many voices to make out)
Ann Katsaris: (still speaking) If you’re free and willing to go anywhere, I’ll meet you in southern California. I’ll meet you (transmission quality and voices in Jonestown obscure words) anywhere. But I won’t be in that country.
Maria: (transmitting) Mom, we would be free to go anywhere. Obviously. Of course. I’d go anywhere with you that you want. It sounds– This sounds like the same stuff Pop was saying. Have you talked to him? Over.
Maria: I told you, I have not talked to him in three or four months. I have no intention of talking to him.
HAM Radio User: Uh, check your frequency, I think that you’re out of the band.
Maria: (transmitting) Okay, thanks, we will, as soon as we terminate phone-patch.
Ann Katsaris: (still speaks as Maria talks to people in Jonestown about selecting a meeting point throughout) –it was up to him. I– I don’t even want to talk to the man. And if I had words for him, it would be because of you and (unintelligible) for you. Now– But if you want me to react (47:00) in a positive fashion to you, I’m gonna have to see you on a face-to-face basis, you’re gonna have to say to me “(unintelligible word), this is what I really want.” Then I– you know, then it’s much easier for me to accept.
Female Voice: (not transmitting) It appears we’re over the band, so maybe I’ll cut it off eventually–
Maria: (transmitting) Okay, it seems like we’re outside the band on this radio frequency, Mom. But this– the invitation always stands, and I’d like to see you, and you’d be welcome here. We have people coming all the time. There’s a net– one of my girlfriends’ parents are coming just tomorrow, and uh, some other people are coming next week. And you would always be free to come. Over.
Ann Katsaris: That’s a convenient way of putting it, you know. That I should feel (unintelligible words; transmission quality obscures words)
Maria: (not transmitting) I know, I know, I know, I know–
Ann Katsaris: (still transmitting) If you’ll concur, then I– I can’t imagine that it’s impossible to make arrangements to be gone for one or two days, if you’re that indispensable.
Maria: (transmitting; with some exasperation) Okay, I never said anything about being indispensable or that I could not get away. (48:00) But, I’m not– You know, if that– if those are your conditions, I am just saying to you that I’d be happy to see you and you are welcome to come here, and I love you very much.
Ann Katsaris: (with Maria speaking to others in Jonestown throughout; transmission quality and others speaking obscures words) You’re really telling me “It’s not (unintelligible word). I won’t come there to see you. I’m– I’m here, and you’re going to have to come here”– You’re not saying this, but it’s the (unintelligible) You know, that’s as plain as it is. Because you– you couldn’t leave from up here in the city, because (unintelligible word). It was my (unintelligible word) to get you to come down for two or three hours. I got married, and we almost had a fight because you weren’t gonna come. So, you know, now you’re telling me I’ll come down there and meet you. I’m telling you, if I come down there and meet you, it’s not going to be the same as if you come up here.
Maria: (transmitting) I don’t understand. I heard you, but I don’t understand.
Ann Katsaris: Maybe (unintelligible word) understand. (49:00) You’re all full of pride and (unintelligible word) from my point of view. And all of these years I’ve been patient. “Maria, come see me.” “Maria, come for overnight.” “Maria, Dad’s in the hospital.” You– you did say you wanted to come and stay with me that day, but you would not have even stayed with me overnight. Times when I’ve really been going through a traumatic time, and you won’t even come and stay overnight with me.
Maria: (not transmitting; muttering) Child, huh. Fucking retard bitch.
Ann Katsaris: (still transmitting) I find it hard to accept that you (unintelligible word) if that was of your own free volition.
Female Voices: (advising Maria) –We’re over the band. I’m sorry–
Maria: (not transmitting) Okay. (transmitting) Okay, well, I’m sorry I’ve been a disappointment to you. That’s the last thing that I ever wanted to do. And I just want you to know I love you and I hope to be hearing from you again. Over.
Ann Katsaris: The disappointment, Maria, is not you. It’s in the– it’s your refusal for you to come see me on a face-to-face basis, and let’s discuss it.
Maria: (not transmitting) What’d she say? What’d she say?
Female Voice: You’d better ask her to repeat it.
Maria: (transmitting) Repeat.
Ann Katsaris: The disappointment is in the fact, not in you. It’s in the fact that some of your behavior, that you will refuse to come and see me (50:00) on an individual basis. You can’t. Not there. It’s uh, uh, you know, everything that youwant to do, and not me. It has to be by your rules, not mine. You know, and I think it’s time that maybe I had– I had a little command myself.
Maria: (transmitting) I’m sorry you feel that way. And it seems like it’s– it’s too, you know, you’re refusing to come here too. That uh, you know, if you don’t want to talk any longer, just know that I’d be happy to talk to you and straighten things out and I’ll be writing to you and hope you write to me. But if, you know, that’s just the way it stands. Over. So, I’ll be– I can be saying goodbye.
Ann Katsaris: (transmitting, begins mid-sentence) –down there would be absolutely useless. It would be the same as me going up to your living quarters when you were up here in the city, and talk to you there. It is absolutely useless. Like, you were– if you came home and we saw each other here, (51:00) it’d be different. Then I could accept it differently. But for me to come down there then I would not feel that you would be (unintelligible word) of your own free will.
Maria: (transmitting) Okay, well, I– I’m don’t wanna keep this going on forever. I already told you who you could call at the US Embassy, and check for yourself. And I’ve already told you that you could come here, we could go anywhere that you wanted to. And I’m– I’m gonna hang up, I’m gonna say goodbye. Because it doesn’t look like we’re getting anyplace.
Ann Katsaris: Right, we’re at an impasse. So write me and I’ll write to you, and I feel strongly in what I said to you–
Maria: (not transmitting) She feels what?
Female Voice: Strongly about something–
Maria: (transmitting) You feel strongly about something. That’s all I copy. Okay, well, I love you and I’ll be saying goodbye.
Ann Katsaris: What did she say?
Rex: She didn’t copy, she didn’t copy what you said before– before you come.
Ann Katsaris: I feel strongly– Am I still on the air?
Rex: Go ahead, yeah– (unintelligible words)
Ann Katsaris: I feel strongly about the fact that I want to see you in uh– In my letters (52:00) I haven’t even said “Maria, when are you coming home? I want to see you”, because I didn’t want you to feel I was putting any pressure. I wanted to maintain a relationship so that in the future if I said it, you would be open to the suggestion.
Maria: (transmitting) As far as I’m concerned, Mom, our relationship is still open, and I love you very much. (not transmitting) I didn’t get to say (unintelligible under mother transmitting)
Ann Katsaris: I love you, but it’s still open. I will hope that someday soon you will consider coming home for a visit. I don’t care how short or long, even if it’s for a couple of hours, to discuss it, but then you have to feel free to discuss things, Maria. Unless I see you in the home base to iron some of these things out, I– I can’t accept them.
Maria: (transmitting) Okay, fine. Well, this is my home now. And you’re welcome to come here any time. It’s good talking to you. I want you to know that, and I love you, and I’ll be saying goodbye. Hope to be hearing from you.
Ann Katsaris: Uh, in closing, I just want to say that a lot of this talk is (unintelligible word) as far as I’m concerned–
Maria: (not transmitting) Huh?
Ann Katsaris: (still transmitting) –and I will look forward to your letter. If you can come up with something (53:00) more concrete, I would like to hear it.
Maria: (transmitting) Okay, I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. And I’ll write too. Bye-bye.
Ann Katsaris: Bye-bye.
Rex and Ann Katsaris: (talking over one another, words jumbled)
Part III – Audio letter from Hue Fortson (conclusion)
Hue Fortson: (begins mid-sentence; speaking slowly with pauses and some ambient noise) I wonder whether they’re coming or going, or, or, right or wrong, or what. Then a lot of times I don’t like to– Don’t know what to talk to, talk to, I will talk to folks – when they’s takin’ care of business. But folks sittin’ down, just talkin’ and talkin’ and talkin’. As far as I know, there’s nobody here that really has time. But I admit, I admit, uh, to myself. And for one thing I must be a pretty selfish person to always want to take up your time. (54:00) Letters and talkin’ over the radio and whatever. But, uh, for instance the only one I really could talk to, uh, (unintelligible words) maybe Leona [Collier] or Mac [Jim McElvane], but Leona is, my gracious, she’s just so busy with phonin’. One time when I was buzzed through to pick her up or pick something up, the phone was just busy, busy, busy with her, when people can’t get any satisfaction at the church, they’d call Leona. (unintelligible) She’s, uh, quite a hard worker, she’s got on my butt a lot, straightened me out where I was wrong, but you know, she’s got a lot of physical conditions (55:00) that she should never been walkin’ up and down stairs ‘cause of the hernia that she has just below her diaphragm, I think it is.
And her paralysis and uh, (unintelligible word), pressure, pressure’s normal, I think, but she’s just got so much on her. Then usually, what happens when folks can’t resolve their own shit, they’ll bring it to her. They drop it in her lap. So– ‘Cause when it comes to getting’ things done, people’ll carry it to Leona. And I don’t know. I don’t believe in that (unintelligible word). A lot of times when I think about (laughs shortly) some of the things that’re on my mind, I think I’m pretty weird myself. So I’m sure if I think I’m pretty weird (56:00) then it’s probably a trip for her and I don’t wanna lay it on her, and–
Mac is– I talk to Mac once in a while, but never really dig down deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep. I don’t know. I think there’s a– it’s a feeling, you know. There’s a feeling that I guess you could say camaraderie, com– camaraderie there, or– or we work together, and sometimes we argue together. I don’t know. Just never felt free to really talk, (unintelligible word) wrong about (unintelligible word). Once in a while really don’t think (unintelligible) on my mind. Once in a while we did, or we do run into each other. We pass, you know, whatever, but other folks is I really don’t feel comfortable talkin’ to. Lotta times that I’d rather (57:00) keep ‘em to myself, that I found lately and keepin’ things to myself like I had been doing, it comes out of me in other ways. I’ve– like I said, recently it’s started coming out of, uh, tears. (unintelligible) Sunday evening service, that I was talkin’ to the people about what you told me about, about Joe Beam being a new man. I just felt– felt all of this comin’ on and comin’ on and just didn’t have a (unintelligible) to wipe my eyes, just stop and cry and (unintelligible) just, uh, finally turn it off.
(End of side 2)