Writings of Harold Cordell

[Editor’s notes: This page was transcribed by Cole Waterman. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.


EE1-C18a – 18h

Harold Cordell Letter to Edith Bogue

(Sun. 11:30 pm)

Hello Edith-

Guess I goofed again. I didn’t take the time to rewrite that letter that I tried to glue together. Obviously you got it apart, or somebody else did before you.

We haven’t as of this date, got confirmation that the sale of the church is final as there was a contingency re obtaining financing that they have not told us yet was taken care of alright. We’ll just have to wait & see.

No prospects yet on the ranch either. Its pretty discouraging for everyone who is bound here by this “albatross”. But it does bring us money regular. So maybe that is to be our contribution to the total picture for an indefinite period. At least its certainly indeterminate. So for each week or month that passes I have to add at least 3 mos. more after a possible sale.

By now you should have rec’d the other adapter I sent. I explained, I think, that I found the right sized tip for the other adapter in my desk drawer at the offices. I’ll bring it (or send it if I’m stuck here and you need it).

Honestly I am very grateful to Father that each one who is specially important to me is there safe & out of this evil mess, free from harm both physically & mentally. It is still hard to deal with long periods of separation (I’m just not made for this sort of thing. I couldn’t bear to be there with any of you here – just couldn’t.

The music things is straight now. By the way, Denise H. [Hunter] left last Thurs. & she has some tapes & a real nice tape recorder with a large speaker. It sure has a nice sound. Maybe you can get together with her on using it or sharing. She has some duplicates of some tapes I made plus others I haven’t got. Some of my copies of tapes she has are still here waiting for a ride over.

I’m sure glad you’re “lots smaller” than Rennie [Corrine Mae “Rennie” Kice]. She is too fat. Teena [Bogue] was getting that way. Starting to look too pudgy. You ought to see Claire [Janaro]. She is really getting “bad” again. Really spreading out. I’m holding even still. But not exercising like I was. Just got too be too many conflicts to keep at it. I am going to try to start again if I can find a facility. It’s getting pretty cold here & I’d like an indoor place to work out if I can find one. I’ll have to see that sundress.

I’m proud of you starting those exercises. There are really a lot of benefits to some of those exercises. You’ll see in time. Hang in there.

Seventeen girls huh? One of the children told me 13, I think. Well.

This letter writing thing for everybody is going to be a feat. But I’ll do what I can.

You didn’t get my message about the blue things. I found them in the trlr. I do have some others for you though.

[Different pen] In all fairness I will have to admit this considering the way you don’t like to write that you have done quite well in the letter writing dept. Its just that this has been a very difficult time for me & I know I’ve been over-demanding and terrible about it.

Hope you got everything I sent you by Teena. That rascal girl unpacked the bag I had it all in & put in hers. But I’m sure she did get it to you. Darn girl! She can’t keep a secret. But maybe I told her it was alright to.

The sky was magnificent at sunset tonite but somehow it isn’t enjoyable anymore. This whole area seems empty. Too many things have changed here. Too many faces gone, some very special. But always the constant reminders that they were here in this place or that.

Why didn’t Cindy [Cordell] write in that last bunch? Is she alright? And what did Candace [Cordell] go to Georgetown for? Or can you tell me? No one else has.

You mentioned Rita [Cordell]. Is she working in the laundry now too? Tell her Harold said “Hi!”.

Whether or not I make you feel that way or not it sounds as if you are “brand new”. New sizes, shape & thoughts. Kind of unnerving for a fellow to think of all that at once in one revelation. When I roar into that place its going to seem strange but surely wonderful. It will take me a week at least just to make the rounds of everybody I haven’t seen for so long. Or is that 1st week reserved already? Hmmm?

It’s very difficult for me to envision “no outside pressures”. Just can’t get it done. But if you say so, then seeing will be believing. I am quite a pessimist amongst my many neg. attributes, also a cynic of sorts. But not irreparable, I’m still going thru some very difficult head trips about over there.

Oh dear! Here I am, as usual, writing letters and recording tapes at the same time (I usually do 2 or 3 things at once) and I got hold of a 120 min. one & have already got 2 albums on it. I have tried to avoid those 120’s cause they tend to break too easily. But, looks like I’ll have one anyway.

I still haven’t seen any of the latest movies. Saw some slides last Wed. nite in which I saw Candace in the nursery but the camera wasn’t very close to her. But I could tell it was her.

I discovered I can plug a jack into my radio in the front room in the blue house & pick up the SF FM stations. So I can record KABL & KFOG progs. Just don’t like to have to go there to do it. Most of my work & reference materials are in the trlr. Which requires a lot of pre-planning & lugging of papers, boxes, etc. But, I’m getting some done.

Sent 2 tapes for you by Denise, if they let them thru. May have sent one I didn’t want to due to being in a hurry to get them together. This rushing is full of errors.

There’s really nothing I can pack. The way things are going (the ban on bringing in deodorants as an example) I’ll prob. have to get rid of half of what I’ve had together to take with me for so long. Its getting to be a trip. They have cut back on the amt. of luggage allowed. By the time I get free they prob. won’t let me in.

You might as well plant the 3 trees & anything else you were waiting on. It just doesn’t seem that things will be wound up anytime soon. Probably summer anyway. Don’t know if I’ll last that long but thats the way it looks from here.

I’m thinking that on one of those tapes I recorded a short piece of my poor banjo picking. But I’ll keep trying to practice & maybe some day I’ll learn to play good enough to play in public. I really like to play when there aren’t a lot of pressure on me or I’m not too out of sorts. I have learned a lot about playing it but there’s lots more to learn and much needed endless practice practice practice.

I’m still trying to get to SF for Wed. nite where possible even though we don’t have to go Weds. But I really need to be here on Weds just in case a buyer might come by. SF is very depressing to me now. Just no one there who I used to look forward to seeing. R.V. [Redwood Valley] is too but for now I’m numb to the prob. here but it won’t last as time goes by.

You know sometimes it really hits me hard – that my whole life is so strangely twined around. I can’t believe what has and is happening. It’s like walking in a strange world almost dream-like where things look familiar & yet not. I know I’m different in so many ways. Familiar things aren’t familiar anymore. Other times I feel like a man who fell into the ocean from a cliff & I keep grasping for rocks to keep from going under but I can’t hold onto them. The rocks being people or things I relate to for security. Just when I think I have a foothold on on something knocks it out from under me & I’m drifting and sinking again. Dumb isn’t it?

If I ever get there I’m gonna find a Pimpla Hog. It’s a tree porcupine & they make real nice pets. They are cute & funny. If you see one let me know. You would feel in love with one if you saw one.

I’m recording a Sons of the Pioneers album that one of the guys had. Got a whole stack of good records to go thru. I’m going to have some music to listen to & be able to share with others who like the same.

Can you pickup regular AM Radio from there? I didn’t think you could. Or is it being amplified from somewhere else? We will be able to pickup lots of stations & countries with the Westinghouse radio. We will need to get a working language in Spanish I’ll bet.


As for the “Take It On Home” I never get “home” in the sense that you speak. But you must know me well enough by now to know what I need to do. Some things I wasn’t kidding or lying about. It has been pretty terrible on that score with me a little bit back. Think now its going to get loose. Goddamn!

I wasn’t sure if that vit. E lotion was what you wanted but it looked right. Will that lye soap end up taking your hands off too? I’m glad its helping the worts.

(the last 2 paragraphs are from 12-6-77)

Are you going to get your dental work done too? Or is there someone making those decisions of who needs it & when?

Tomorrow (Wed.) I’m going to SF & I’ll turn this letter along with others I’ve written so they can go out. I’m still having these ups & downs about writing – like hot & cold. So this one came in hot & went out lukewarm. I sure have a lot to write but that’s the way it goes with this new Harold. It’s true that I’m new (at least different) in some respects. Time & circumstances sure can change people.

Guess I’ll close this one off with a Thank You Father for the safety of all my loved ones! Take care. Tell all of my loved ones not to forget me.


12-7-77 Wed nite: Got 2 letters of yours when I got here to SF. To clear up a wrong impression, I wasn’t upset that Denise had the tape & you’re right I would & have exchanged tapes with her it was only that I thought, maybe entirely wrongly, that this particular one had been removed from the envelope which got me real ticked off that the envelope was opened (I had sealed it). So that’s what it was about. I still can’t figure how Doxsee [Swaney] got that particular tape. But I’m writing it off as mistaken judgment. It didn’t jibe in some ways & yet in others there was a familiar ring. So I’ll forget it OK? Had no ill feeling toward Doxsee or Denise about it.

Yes, you are very right, I have changed a lot. I’m not sure altogether how or how much. As I said time & circumstances do chance people. Maybe you won’t like me this way. I do still care for you, that I don’t see as changed. I have found things out about myself I wasn’t sure about before and also confirmed things I was sure about. If I sound muddled its prob. because to a degree that’s part of it. Your letters keep telling me you can’t relate to or understand my reactions to the things I’ve been thru here. I shouldn’t expect you to. But I guess I had hoped you would somehow as it might help to prepare you for differences in me.

Re letters, sometimes (besides the time schedule) I just have difficulty writing any letters at all. Then other times I may write 15 or 20 in a bunch. This, plus the fact that we aren’t in SF or no one goes down to deliver letters to be sent will cause large gaps in letters you receive. I know it doesn’t fit my pattern but then I don’t even know my patterns anymore.

I won’t try to send anything else. Luggage is cut back my way so people really don’t have room.

Still nothing on the ranch sale – not even lookers to date. The church sale may be off. They haven’t complied with the sale terms yet so we’re considering it up for sale again. We may try to split the ranch & sell it like in 4 lots. That will take a minimum of 6 months if we do. (Had to chg. pens – 2 new ones in my pocket). But it may be the only way we’ll get rid of it.

I really can’t afford to send many pictures. Besides it’s difficult to get someone to ever take them.

You twist things around as bad as I do – I didn’t listen to any one’s gripes. Re-read that statement. It may be things take on a diff. hue in that setting but I’m still here with all of it around me.

Well, got to get busy. I will hang in here. Nothing else to do you know.

I’ll ansr. your letters more later.

Take care


[Transcriber’s note: Following addendum written by Edith Bogue]


Some years ago you said to some of us that if Harold came in the back door of the RWV church with a red shirt on he would be a traitor and that you hoped he wouldn’t but felt sure he would and he did come in that door with the red shirt on.

E. Bogue



Harold Cordell Letter to Edith Bogue in diary form

11-14-77 Mon.

Good Morning Lady,

Well its still morning here anyway. But there, right now its probably 3 PM (10 AM here). I’m in town waiting for Joe Martinez to come out so I can take him back to the ranch (he only stays in here till 10 AM).

Hows everything with you in “paradise”? I’m waiting to hear something back from the 3 letters you had not received since you last wrote me. Also sent a tape of songs by Ujara [Don Sly] but don’t know when you’ll get that either. It wasn’t very good so I made 2 more but don’t know about sending them or when. Still have to [illegible word] one for the children. The others were only for you.

We started picking grapes yesterday. Really wore me out cause I have to drive the tractor, pick grapes, carry & load the full boxes on the wagon then take them to the truck & lift them up high enough to dump into the gondola on the bed of the flat-bed truck. Was I ever sore & tired last nite. Going to have to eat a little better while I’m in this physical labor thing. It’s good for me this. I enjoy being outdoors & working hard. Over all its satisfying. We are supposed to get 6 or 7 groups up today from SF to help out today & tomorrow to supplement our 4 people here. We have to get them delivered to Geyser Peak Winery in Healdsburg by Wed. at the latest. I’ll have to drive them over there too. This sure was a bad time to lose Ujara. Have to make all the ranch bus runs AM & PM too along with them & there.

11-16-77, 11:30 PM:

It’s Wed. nite but I didn’t go to SF. Too many probs. incl. a headache, a sore tail, etc. so I stayed back. It’s also been a bad cpl of days. Really down!

I’m not going to write much right now because I’m just not up to it. Had a bad dream about you about a week ago. Really shook me up. Woke up upset about it. That is the very first bad dream I’ve ever had about you. Don’t know what it means fully. They are supposed to have some significance but so many things are pressuring that I don’t know what attribute it to.

Grapes are all picked & sold. Glad its over. It was an experience for sure. Liked the outside labor part but the rest was a trip I would have missed & not missed.

I’m awful tired & out of sorts so I’ll close this segment & try to get back later.

11-17-77 Thurs. 8:45 am: Here it is “later”. Changed pens too. I’m still in town after the bus duty. Want to catch [illegible name] at Mayfields so I stopped at Dennys to have coffee. Actually I thought Kathy would be working here today & I was going to ask her what effect the latest article had on her companion. Don’t know what is going to happen between those two ultimately. Her Becky was sure a doll. And NO I’m still not interested in Kathy, as more than a fellow comrade. OK? Honest!

Well I picked back up about 3 lbs. so I’m going to have to get back at it. I’m on the pantry because I have not been going to the Conditioning Classes like I was but my schedule simply prevented it. Will have to set myself a regular schedule to do the same kinds of things at the ranch, at least some of them.

Claire [Janaro] finally got her 2nd letter from Richard [Janaro], 13 pages, and let me read it because of the business type things he referred to in it. He was still in the hosp. in town but should be out now & into the kind of things he’s supposed to do there. I sure wish I knew what my place will be*. There are so many uncertainties about over there. I’m not very good at living with uncertainties any time & this has been the heaviest time of my life for being uncertain about so many things.

*(even Richard said he still couldn’t see where he fit in to the picture there, after being there 3 weeks already)

There are so many things I don’t understand and wonder what will happen if & when I do. There is right now the widest chasm of understanding that has ever existed between us, and no way to change that from here. Just about the time I think I can’t hold my head above water any longer some thing will come from you that gives me a recharge and I keep struggling.

The weather here has settled down to being sunny & cool. Warm in the daytime & cool at nite. I really apprec. being in the trailer. It’s comfortable & I can lounge around without my shoes on & not get dog hairs in my socks & clothing or I can go without any clothes at all, like after I shower, and really relax. Nobody comes over there except in an emergency or after calling 1st. Oh, did I forget to tell you I have an extension of the church phone (7219) in there now? It’s a great help. The plants aren’t doing too good cause I don’t know what to do with or for them. I should get a book I guess & read upon their care but I’m just not getting everything else done I have to do so I haven’t. I know if you were here they would really be thriving. The one in the green pot on the stereo has branched about 3 or 4 times but the old shoot dies & the new takes its place. Right now there are 4 going at once. That’s a change. But it won’t last I’m sure cause they need more than water.

You asked if I thought you there had forgotten about me & to a degree that’s part of the whole problem. You were assuming. You can’t understand the whole thing I know because you aren’t & weren’t here to see or monitor it but it was a factor. It is harder at sometimes than others and I can’t seem to control how it goes. It’s almost as if theres a comb. of mental, physical, & emotional forces at work & when they all get on the wrong frequency at the same time then there’s a “short circuit” & all hell breaks loose inside. Its much better than it was for a number of reasons, several of which you provided. At least its less frequent.

The VW is going to be sold in SF. The van needs a tune-up & a new battery (which I’ll try to get today). The green pickup is a wreck, I mean it, so run down & beat up we couldn’t get more than $150 for it. Still haven’t sold any of the buses. They sure are hard to sell this time of year. Late spring or summer is the best time.

Got to go for now. Later.

11-17-77 (Later): Did I tell you we only got 5 tons of grapes from the vineyard? Should have been 3 to 4 times that many but the grapes weren’t tended last year as they need to be to produce what they should. I’m going to see what needs to be done to prepare them for next year. It will make them more valuable to a “prospective buyer.” Still haven’t forgotten that we could have been out of here by now if we had not listened to Gene [Chaikin]. At least we won’t have to if we can find another buyer.

11-18-77, Fri: Here we (really just me) are back in town again after the morning run. Waiting for Safeway to open to get some day old bread & maybe some produce. The ranch bus is in bad shape. I tried to leave it & take vans today but B & C are in a panic about a poss. investigation of the ranch by State. Damn thing rolled right into 2 intersections today, brakes are so bad, it’s going to require a complete brake job which will be expensive.

So now the state will be down on our backs trying to find something amiss. And they will a/c the unprofessional way things have been done. Another reason to be upset about letting that 1st offer get away from us. Suppose this investig. could mean we’ll be tied up here even longer than we had hoped. Who knows how long it will take them in their usual snail pace to get their foul deed done? I’m about to resign myself to being a permanent resident here. Anyway, its just discouraging to anticipate anything will work out as expected or within a certain time span. Just doesn’t happen that way.

That sore place on my tail is just about over its sore stage. I don’t know if I did it working the grapes or during some sit-up exercises wearing my jeans. But I’ll have to wait for the scat to run its course before trying anymore stops.

It sure does get to me at times seeing couples, also couples w/ children, together doing things, enjoying themselves and one another. It seems like I’ll never be able to enjoy those things again. It’s been so long. Well, that’s the part of me that’s suffered the most neg. destruction, thru this, coming out.

See, there I go again letting out those neg. things I told you I wouldn’t. So I’ll lock them back up & ignore their cage rattling (but I can’t really, they have their effect).

The weather here is still about the same. Temp. gets to mid 60’s in the day & mid 30’s at nite, sunny and no rain. This area sure needs more rain bad. I’d sure like to take a trip to Oregon & see some pretty green country like we saw around the cave. That area would be a nicer place to live.

Got to get going.

11-19-77, Sat. 9 am: Welcome to my Sat. morning! Such as it is here. I’m sitting with the fellows along with Carol Stahl while everyone else is attending an all day First Aid course in the rec. room here at the ranch (a guy came out to teach here). Also I’m doing some laundry, recording tapes & doing some “bookwork”.

Tell Teena [Bogue] to get her tail to flying back here, I need her! Well, actually I just need to find that Salvation Army store that she & I went to. I can’t locate it. Stupid me. I thought it was on Market but it was hidden from me. I want to get another of these earphones I picked up while we were there. They are really nice. You will really apprec. one for private listening plus a great sound. Damn it, miss everyone, each one!

Today is another great day weatherwise. It is frosty on the ground and partly cloudy but bright out. Bet you miss the frost, snow & freezing temps don’t you. I have always liked the weather around here the way it fluctuates so much. Its invigorating to go from warm to cold & vice-versa. Must be quite a change to that constant climate.

You know, I almost exhausted the “good” records after the Ukiah library also the ranch library. I am starting to borrow records from people like the clients here. They have some good ones. We have got quite a collection already. I have already sent a lot of the good ones over for you, in fact I sent them prematurely, as I wanted to listen to some of them. Thought at times it might not be that long before I could join you but I think silly thoughts like that every now & then. I’m not responsible for my erratic mental derangement.

Recording old Buffalo Bob’s shows ea. Sat. am 9-10 as he plays a lot of the old time country tunes. Lot of acoustic guitar, banjo, etc. which I really like. I’ve also been recording the Hee Haw progs. on Sat. afternoons when I’m here. They may come in handy for skits, like Jimmy does, plus I just like to listen to them. Some funny stuff at times and good music.

11-21-77, am (Mon.)

A week later & I’m still writing the same letter. Guess that’s the way it goes. Spent yesterday (Sun.) laid up a/c one of those nasty headaches I get with upset stomach, dizziness, & the works. Couldn’t eat more than a couple of yogurt cups & a small pe of cheddar all day. Boy, when I get ‘em they are good ones. Damn thing is still hanging on today. Not quite as bad. But I couldn’t get out of bed ‘til 9:30 am. Sometimes I think I’m dying with these attacks, they sure are weird. Took 3 aspirin, 2 darvon & 2 Chlor-trimetons yesterday & 2 more aspirins at bedtime. Then 2 more aspirins this am. If I get rid of the headache I’ll have to order a new stomach. Sure glad you kept those Darvons.

I’m on my way to DMV office to get registr. on the radio trailer. We sold it to Bill Haycock, who is selling the church, for $400.

So damn many things to do I don’t have time to be sick or hampered with a headache. So many probs. left by Tish & dropped on me with no records or backup to help with. It’s a bitch.

Well I got to roll on (bad English). So I guess I’ll be writing you later (instead of seeing you later).

Later; 11-21:

Siting on State St. in the Dodge Van (formerly Mary W’s) with a low batt that don’t want to start the car. So I’ll wait a few mins. & see if it changes its mind. If not I’ll have to call for someone to come & give me a jump from another batt.

Last nite on TV they had a 3hr special on Elvis. It was really good. Played almost his whole Repertoire from the beginning right thru. I only taped about the last 1 1/2 hrs. as I was at the ranch trying to sleep off this headache & missed the 1st half. He was quite a singer and showman.

I was thinking of the fact that in another month from now it will be Christmas & I thought of the song he said was his favorite Xmas song & it applies to me this year, “I’ll have a Blue, Blue Christmas without you.” Remember it? Anyway a lot of his songs say things that can be applied.

11-22-77 (Tues) 11:25 am: Time seems to fly at times and yet it doesn’t seem to get anywhere. Like an endless succession of days & weeks, all the same essentially.

I’m at the ranch “sitting the house” while Bonnie [Beck] & Claire are in town on business.

We had a real deluge of much needed rain that stopped last nite. It’s still overcast but that’s all. Rain does something to me Mentally or something. Or maybe its the headache that I am concurrently with the rain. Anyway I feel real strange. Like I’m in a strange world, unreal and different. I keep hoping I’ll wake up and things will get back to normal. This is an uncomfortable feeling. The headache is still hanging there sort of out of reach but ever present. It was strong this am but a cpl of aspirin calmed it a little. (Had to change pens, the other ran out of ink.)

Claire is sure heavy. Gained back all the weight she lost plus some. She needs to get over there on that diet program bad. Bonnie is overweight too. I’m holding or reducing again. I’m determined not to get overweight like I was again.

This is another of “those days”. I wish I could find a way with words to tell you or explain what its like but I can’t. Besides it would probably be interpreted as negativism or the like. I guess in a way it is. But its more complex than that simplistic term. The pressures and anxieties work differently at times. But what really bothers me is that if something went wrong back here that I would never be able to explain all this to you. You are in a shell there that has limited openings and some things just won’t get thru. But if I get there I know I will not want to talk about most of the trials here so I guess I’m concerned only about the eventuality that I don’t.

Still no prospective buyers on the ranch. No body has ever come to look at it for 2 weeks. We really got ourselves fucked into the wrong time of year. I really don’t expect to be able to sell this leviathan until next summer, or late spring at the very earliest. Cold weather is a bad time to sell real estate and especially this type. The wood heat, cold rooms, wet, mud, etc. all take away from its appeal. So here I sit.

Alice, Doxsee [Swaney], & Denise all moved to the city last Friday nite. We are the last holdouts.

We are still waiting for the church financing to be firmed up. Its very hard to finance churches. After they get financing we will close as soon as they’re ready. The sooner the better. I’m responsible for keeping the pool up along with my sundry other duties, so I’ll be glad to elim. that one. Have to keep adding water every 2-3 days & cleaning it once or twice a week. Ray Godshalk used to do it but he’s in LA helping A.J. [Archie Ijames] But A.J. said they were supposed to be thru down there in a wk or wo. Then they’ll all ether go to SF or over there. I think AJ would like to go over. I’m not sure.

Still haven’t got that batt. taken care of in the van. So many things to do. We have 3 vehicles or 4, here at the ranch needing immediate attention by a mechanic but everyone is so busy with work to do. Well we’ll get to them one by one.

Rufus stayed in the trlr. with me last nite. He was so wet & cold. The big dummy wouldn’t sleep in the rec. room where I offered to put him. But he’s a good fella so I took him home today out & warm up. His daddy (Bruce) & momma (Denise) have both left him so he’s here at the ranch now but doesn’t get the attention he used to.

11-23-77 Wed am:

Speaking of that, I know someone who doesn’t get the attention he used to either but also not able to give the attention that seems so necessary a part of living as breathing and moving.

I went thru the first real earthquake I’ve ever experienced yesterday. I was sitting at my work table in the trailer when it hit. Felt like the trailer was rolling downhill & over. Didn’t do any damage really but I think it did in Willits. Haven’t got the details yet. Woke me this morning when the aftershocks kept coming. Got about 6 of them so far.

Oh, McDonald’s built on a new section. It’s finished now. Enlarged it by about 2/3. It’s a large indoor dining area. They sure do a large business. I like to get a lg cup of coffee there once in a while cause its not as costly as somemost places.

Still battling that “mean-ass” headache today. It gives for awhile then comes back again in the same place. Mostly originates, I think, from that place around my right shoulder. You know the one. No one here I would ask to rub it either. Heat has only a limited effect. I think its really from a comb. of tension, anxiety, & depression. I got this book on headaches written by a doctor who works at a Headache Clinic and its quite informative. Hope I can find something that will help me. I didn’t know until reading the book that depression can also trigger headaches along with or besides tension and/or anxiety. Really what I can’t figure is why this place in my shoulder is so damned persistent. It’s like a sore boil inside the muscle. I can feel the muscle tension pulling all the way up into my head. Maybe I need to get completely bombed out of my mind so I can fully relax long enough to let that muscle unwind. But it wouldn’t work I’d bet. You used to give me a muscle relaxant that helped but I doubt if I could get any here even if I knew what it was. Well enough on phys. probs.

Think I’m going to SF tonite (Wed.) & will be staying over for Thanksgiving & Fri. after. We divided up the 4 days thru Sun. between all of us at the ranch & most people didn’t want to go Thur & Fri. so I didn’t have too much of a preference so I’m going for those 2 days. Don’t expect anything, like being able to talk to you or the children or see you in any pictures. I’ll just be getting away for 2 days which is a treat in itself.

Have you done anything about scheduling your dental work to be done there? You better if you haven’t. Teeth just get progressively worse with time. You have good teeth & shouldn’t let them go too long so have to lose any. I know about that. I’m still bitter about how you had to rush out of here like you did with so little preparation & right before your dental work was to be done. The dentists office tried to set another appt. for you. They thought it was important to get them taken care of. Its people like Sharon Amos using that phrase “Father called for” etc. that creates the distant and confusion in peoples minds when you suspect it really didn’t come direct & later confirm it. They don’t really understand the full ramifications of throwing around his name like that. It should be reserved for real crises & matters of serious import.

[Transcriber’s note: “important” written on margins of following paragraph]

You know, I wish I could convey to you the things that go on in my mind. Its just not poss. I feel the urgency to let you know, to try to get you to understand me or whats happening with me but most thoughts would be censored because they just aren’t that positive. That’s why I am not writing them down anymore. If something did happen to me that I didn’t get there I don’t want others reading them & then (espec.) not getting them to you. So the writings I made just after you left will be destroyed for the same reasons. Wish it could be otherwise but it can’t, I know that now.

[Transcriber’s note: The following annotation was apparently written by Edith Bogue.]

Harold writes his thoughts down right after he said in one letter he had quite a bit for me to read.-EB

Good grief – as Charlie Brown says – I better stop writing, this letter is getting to be a booklet. You won’t be able to finish it in a week of reading if I understand your schedule correctly.

11-27 (Sun.): Riding along in Don Beck’s car with he & Bonnie on our way to SF. Bonnie & I have to talk to Mother & others about the invest. coming up this Wed. We will be coming back tonite. This is really something – 2 trips to SF in the same week. It’s not easy to write in a jostling car, esp. a small one like this. Anyway, I have to close this off.

Got your letters (last dated 11-6-77) on Thurs. in SF. Thank you!

Take care of all mine (ours) there.

Fathers love
My love


EE1-C3c – 3g

Harold Cordell Letter to Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter


Dear Denise,

Well, how’s my fellow worker in Jonestown (by now?). Hope all is well with you. I got into a writing mood so I wanted to get a quick one off to my old work buddy from the valley too. Really I do miss you & all the work force who were once a part of this area. Say “Hi” to Don & Coni for me too if you see them. I miss you especially because you were so helpful to me in so many ways. I’m not bullshitting you either so don’t say so. Whenever I needed someone for a particular task you were always there, ready & willing. (You know, I haven’t heard anything back on Ray’s Chrysler that you helped me get to town.) Another thing I appreciate about you was your ability to tackle things normally reserved for males. That’s a great thing. Wheeling that old fork lift was a damned job for me but you did it. And if you need a reference to vouch for your ability to drive a truck or a tractor I can give you one. You jumped right in on the grape harvest & handled that tractor like a pro. But I would like to know what you are doing there (what kind of work). You do hide a multitude of talents, I found out.

I already told Bruce [Turner] but I want you also to know how much I appreciated the work you did in RV [Redwood Valley] at the office. You really did a good job of keeping the places clean (like your own home) and the final clean-up job. Plus the work you put into the sale to bring in money in spite of the personalities & frustrations you carried on & got it done. The work you did with me in that north office was so helpful. See what I mean? Why shouldn’t I miss someone who has been so helpful? I can hardly find anyone around here now to get those pesky little jobs done. Somethings there just isn’t anyone to help with so I do them alone or not at all!

Today I had to service the pool (you know, sweep, clean & backflush) and I thought of how many people I had trained to do that job (including you & Rennie [Kice]) and now you are all gone and ten years later, I’m still doing the job. Too much!

Thanks for the encouragement on the banjo. I am trying to squeeze in a little practice time. Our sessions with that dulcimer & my banjo were so helpful. Hope you stay with it. I will want to try to get together with you again, over there. You know! You can do it, if I can. By the way, there is a spec. mountain music program coming on Ch. 9 TV this month & there will be dulcimer playing on it along with all the other instruments they play. I’ll try to tape it if I can. Did your dulcimer make the trip OK? I may need some advice on how to bring my banjo. Got any, from experience? It won’t fit in my packing crate!

Oh, I know, I wanted to ask you some questions about your car (almost forgot). It & I are becoming friends. I’ve driven it to town about 3 times & it seems to run fairly well. So write me back & let me know the particular problems you were having with it. We may sell it soon but for now I’m driving it ‘cause my van needs tires and a tune up. Damn cars! Always needing money. I’ll be so glad to be free of them some day.

How was your trip over? Did the 7-Up help your stomach or were you able to take it on with you? I sure envy everyone who got to go with you. Maybe my time will eventually come.

Rufus is still doing fine at the ranch. He’s here in the trlr. [trailer] with me right now. But if doesn’t quit farting I’m going to throw him out. I don’t mind farting its those smelly one he’s giving off that get me. He misses you & Bruce and all the important people to him. But he’s fitting in well here & everybody likes him. He rides with me once in a while, like over to the office & back.

Hope your tapes & recorder made the trip OK. Sure miss exchanging tapes but we will again. By then I’ll have more you will probably want. Was that John Denver record you mentioned “My Sweet Lady”? Let me know, I don’t want the wrong one.

You left so quickly I didn’t get to talk to you much as I wanted to, but hopefully you will be able to get the message across. Thank you for the help you gave me Wed & Thurs. I’ll try to reciprocate some day, OK?

Do you really think you could cut my hair like that last barber did? I know the few barbers there are going to be “snowed under” with all the haircuts needed. I sure would appreciate it if you could. I’ll have some barber scissors & thinning shears. But don’t feel obligated. Still, maybe I could exchange something for the help, a fair exchange. (I’ll do your taxes – haha!). Thanks for the tip on that hair stuff too it’s the best I’ve tried so far.

Well there’s lots to say but I’ll have to save some for another day. Do write back when you can & never mind the spelling. Things are the same with me, nothing has changed, just missing you – all! If there’s anything I can do for you stateside let me know.

Enjoy paradise in our Father’s love until we can be re-united again! One big happy family!


P.S. I amy be “full of shit” but it’s the right kind. Miss you giving me the finger when I’m wrong or espec. right. (All friendly of course, but no one else gets that brave here.) Look for a job for me over there too. I’m going to try to find a cutlass or an axe to fit my hands. Some hard work for a change. No offices, please! One of the “gang,” right – in my head, heart, & mind.

PPS: Guess who I got to deal with today (Tues.)?! Your “friend” Dominic. He finally brought some money, the old basterd, (he made me mad the shit he tried to pull on you). He got the refrig & some other things. Ended up with $50 from him (thank Father). But what happened to the sewing machine? Do you know? He was going to take it but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Let me know will you? We may get some more money out of the shithead yet.

Forgot to ask you how many KFOG tapes you were able to make the week before you left. I need an idea as I’m going to make some up here. I found I can from the cable. Edith [Bogue] likes KFOG too so maybe you can share. I’ll share these extras & late recordings I’ll be making up here along with everything else. Did you have any other music you wanted taped? Did you hear that one “Why’d You Have to be So Good”? or “You’re the Best.”? They are in the category with the John Denver song, you remember it!?

Sure has been dry up here since you left.

I sure am mad at myself for forgetting those pictures Thurs. Damn! Once in a million chance & I forgot to get the camera out. Downright stupid.

Thanks very much for that tape – the Piano Concerto one that you old me to look for. It’s really appreciated. I really love that particular one – no fooling! I keep it where I can get to it & enjoy it frequently. Oh, would you check your tapes of The Hobbit and see if one or two of them don’t need to be re-taped. I think one was at the wrong speed. I can do it now while I can still get them from the library. Did you get parts 1 &2 also. Seems like you just had 3 & 4 & later 5 & 6. Anyway let me know while there is still time. Mail is awful slow back & forth you know.

By the way, that thing that you thought Irvin influenced a decision on was actually set in motion over a month before. It was triggered only by the circumstances of change. I was party to it. So I had advance notice of its coming. Could have told you before but didn’t want to spoil it for you or really to deal with it at all, know what I mean? I’m glad it worked out as it did. Good timing, I think, well, to a degree. Sure is nice that you could go over there and get out of that damned city.

Today, Wed. 12-7, I got a nice card in the mail from the East Bay. Some people say the nicest things in short ways. I’m going to try to learn that art.

Oh, I did get your message about the necklace you lost I’ll check those places & see if its still there or where. If I find it I’ll try to send it to you in an envelope. I know the last little item your Mom gave you would be important to you in a way.

Well, it’s really true by now, isn’t it? You are finally there! And I’m thinking the same as you did in that message “already”! My! My!

Hope its not long here – really do! We will find a way thru the wilderness.



EE1-C-3a – Cb

Commentary on Harold Cordell’s Letter to Denise Hunter

Hi-lites of Harolds letter to Denise Hunter

Basically talks about how he misses her work, theres nobody to help him do his little tasks anymore, wants to know what she is doing here, and tells here he misses her. Only thing of note I found, sounding suspicious, was:

“You left so quickly I didn’t get to tlak to you much, as I wanted to, but hopefully you will be able to get the message across. Thank you for the help you gave me Wednesday and Thursday. I’ll try to reciprocat someday, OK?”

“Things are the same with me, nothing has changed, just missing you – all!”

“By the way, that thing that you thought Irvin [Perkins] influenced a decision on was actually set in motion over a month before. It was triggered only by the circumstances of change. I was party to it. So I had advance notice of its coming. Could have told you before but didn’t want to spoil it for you, or really, to deal with it at all, know what I mean? I’m glad it worked out as it did. Good timing, I think well, to a degree. Sure is nice that you could go over there and get out of that damned city.

Today, Wed. 12/7 I got a nice care in the mail from the East Bay. Some people say the nicest things in short ways. I’m going to try to learn that art.”


Undated Note to Johnny Jones from Harold Cordell


Johnny Jones –

Can you get an OK on one of these suggestions to dispose of a vehicle in LA?


Harold [Cordell]


Letter to Harold Cordell from Unknown Writer, May 1978


[Handwritten notation at top of page: “course to take on below suggestions should be also determined by value of vehicle for sale or parts, which was not stated in this memo. H. [Harold Cordell]”]

May 17, 1978

Dear Harold,

Irv Perkins wanted me to write this matter up to you to present to Dad because he feels that you have more knowledge about the car in question and how we happened to have it at this time in our possession.

It is the matter of Bill Earl Purifoy’s white Ford Van which we have been paying the registration and insurance on but which does not have a pink slip with his signature. Bill Earl Purifoy is therefore the legal owner of a car the we have been using in Los Angeles for quite some time. Ralph Jackson drove it and we had it insured under his name. We have let the insurance go and would like to get rid of the car, however we have a small choice without a legally signed pink slip.

First choice drive it out on the street and let it be impounded by the police, [Marginal note: “junk consition?”]which means that the Purifoys might get it if the letter of impound finds its way to them, which is a 50-50 thing. The second choice is to have someone call up the Purifoys and tell them that we have their car and like them to come and get it. Perhaps we could tell them it has been in Los Angeles all of this time and we didn’t realize it belonged to them. [Marginal note: “No good!”] Please find out from Dad what he wants us to do about this matter and let us know.

Thank you Comrade,
[illegible signature]

[Handwritten response: “Gene [Chaikin]  suggests either:

1) have someone forge his name & get rid of it, or

2) have Mac [Jim McElvane] call Bill P. & ask him to sign a duplicate payment application because the original one he signed has been misplaced

I think his 1st suggestion would work OK. Has been done before & not likely they would protect it as, #1: it’s a PT vehicle to start with and #2: they probably don’t remember it was in his name by now. Harold