Transcript prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
Woman: Uh, I don’t know what month or year it happened, but uh, I got a note straight from Dad uh, you know–
Interviewer (probably Eugene Chaikin): (Unintelligible) –that stuff isn’t around anymore.
Woman: –before the service, and he uh, called a meeting with him and some more folks, I don’t know who.
Chaikin: Yeah, okay, but uh, I– I remember that, ’cause– I– I don’t know if I participated in that meeting. But we have to– first of all, we’re going to have to clear out that (unintelligible) somehow, I know it’s not easy to do that, but I’ve been fighting the same (unintelligible) for two weeks ago now. (unintelligible) Now, was that after David [Wise] had come back? Okay, he left–
Woman: Right, uh–
Chaikin: Let– Let’s get history. (unintelligible) When you came, he was what, in San Francis– in, in Los Angeles?
Woman: In Los Angeles, right.
Chaikin: He was a pastor of the church in Los Angeles. What year did he come?
Woman: In 1971, I think.
Woman: The last of ’71, or was it ’72?
Chaikin: It must have been the last of ’72 because I was here when–
Woman: It was the same year that [Mike] Prokes came. The same month–
Chaikin: The same month and year as Prokes?
Chaikin: Okay, well, let me write that down. And uh, David was in the L.A. church at that time?
Chaikin: And how long did David stay in the L.A. church uh, before he left?
Woman: Quite a while.
Chaikin: About a year maybe?
Chaikin: And uh, do (unintelligible) recall about when David left? He went out with uh, Nell, right? (Unintelligible name)? And they went (unintelligible) wherever they went?
Woman: Wherever they went.
Chaikin: And how long were they gone before David came back?
Woman: A long time. About a year.
(Unintelligible voices; third voice too far away from microphone)
Chaikin: Well– and when did David come back?
Chaikin: Sometime here, wasn’t it? ’73 (unintelligible) ’75. It was either ’73 or ’75.
Woman: Well, it wasn’t ’73. It had to be ’75.
Chaikin: Okay, there were some time, you know– What, it had to be– because I was there at the time, I know. And so it had to be in the latter half of ’75, (unintelligible name) gets back from Guyana. There some dates I know. August 1, I returned from Guyana in 1975. And I remember–
Woman: Well, I believe it was summertime. It– it seemed summerish to me, because uh, you know, uh–
Chaikin: Okay, now.
(Sound of typing)
Chaikin: Uh, David was fooling– He had been really fooling around with a lot of electronic equipment anyway. Do you remember what he was doing? You were security or something at that time, weren’t you?
(Sound of typing)
Chaikin: Okay, now. Do you recall during that time that David was fooling around with a lot of tape recorders and stuff like that? (Pause) (Unintelligible) –or not.
Woman: You know, um, all I remember is he hung out on the third floor in your room a lot.
Woman: You know, I know that. But– You know, like, at first I was trying to– you know, you never (unintelligible) everybody on the third floor. Everybody thought that everybody up there was, you know, supposed to be trusted–
Chaikin: Well, describe to me what was going on with the third floor at that time. Why was the third floor (too soft).
Woman: Well, uh, we had roof security up there because uh, (Pause) anybody could come across the roof from the building next door to the church, and uh, come into the– our place, pull a robbery or anything like that, you know, and uh, there was access to–
Chaikin: See, I’m not asking you a bunch of questions on this tape. You know damn well I know the answers to them better than you do. But the reason (unintelligible)– But the reason I’m doing it is because we need to write an affidavit about these things, and I want it to come out in your words, from your point of view, right? Now, that’s why I’m asking. So I want you to tell me everything you knew about what was going on on the third floor. Where was the third floor in the first place?
Woman: Well, it was, um in the back half of the building. There was two third floors, but the main third floor was where all the offices–
Chaikin: (Aside) Let’s just leave–
Woman: It was uh, it was in the back half of the building, where all the legal, uh, well, a lot of the uh, works– Father’s secretaries were there and uh–
Chaikin: Confidential secretaries–
Woman: Confidential secretaries, uh–
Chaikin: Operator of the money was there?
Woman: Operator of the mon– money. The treasurer– uh, well, the petty cash treasurer.
Chaikin: The radio?
Woman: And the radio.
Chaikin: The radio was there? What else was there?
Woman: Uh, just– Living quarters for some of the uh, staff.
Chaikin: That was on the third floor of the Peoples Temple church (unintelligible). So, what was the significance about the fact that David Wise was hanging around?
Woman: Well, personally, I didn’t particularly appreciate him being on the third floor, but you know, I mean, what could I say? If they had wanted him on the third floor–
Chaikin: Was– Was that a restricted area on the third floor?
Chaikin: That’s what I’m trying to get at.
Chaikin: Tell me about what was restricted. (Unintelligible) Who among you would be permitted, or, or, if I could put it that way, who normally would have understood they could be allowed to be there–
Woman: Only people who were uh, Dad’s personal staff that he had to get his hand on right away, people who were trusted, or either people who had to be watched closely.
Chaikin: Um-hmm. There were security people, there were people that needed observing, and there were people who had jobs there, right? Who worked there–
Woman: But only people who had– you know like, not everybody who needed observing would– would be there, but people who were, like in, in Wise’s case, he was a ex-minister and uh, he had a lot of information and blah blah blah, and people who knew how to get to him had to be close to him at all times, so this is why I assume that that’s why he was up there, you know, but, he was all– quite a few times in the time period that he was living up there, he was always by hisself.
Chaikin: He was living on the third floor?
Chaikin: Right. And uh– The uh, room on the– If I was going to– towards the back, it was the room across the stre– the hall from Lynetta’s [Lynetta Jones, Jim Jones’ mother] room.
Chaikin: All the way back to the rear, that’s Lynetta’s room. (Unintelligible) And uh, this particular day in– First of all, can you describe, was there any access off of the third floor onto any of the telephone circuits in the building?
Woman: Well, all the phones were hooked together.
Chaikin: Yeah, I know that. (Unintelligible– sounds like “You recall in the closet.”)
Woman: Yeah, in the back.
Chaikin: Yeah, it was that– that’s what– I want you to describe that.
Woman: Well, I never went in that closet, so I really don’t know what was in there. Uh– There was a– a closet downstairs uh, that I– that had a lot of electronic uh, stuff in that I know that you could tie in on stuff to. That was on the second floor, right next to the podium.
Chaikin: Now on the– There came a time when you saw him doing something that you didn’t appreciate, right?
Chaikin: Okay, now, can you describe for me when and where and how and what you saw?
Woman: Okay, he started with the phone farthrest back towards his room.
Chaikin: Pardon me?
Woman: He started with the phone farthrest back towards uh, his room.
Chaikin: There was a telephone (unintelligible)
Woman: There was a telephone uh, coming out of Robin Tschetter’s room.
Chaikin: Um-hmm. And what– where was he and what did you see him doing?
Woman: Well, he– The phone was in the hallway–
Woman: –and uh, (Pause) I saw him uh, unscrew the voice part that you talk into–
Woman: –and, uh– well, let’s say, I saw him screwing it back and uh, (Pause) jiggling with the phone, you know. This is– As I walked out the door, there was a T-shaped hall, and I walked from the uh– I walked from the uh, door of the roof to the trunk of the T-shape in the hall, and uh, I saw him bending over the phone. He was facing me, because I assume he was watching something on the rug on the floor and couldn’t hear me coming down the hall, so uh, I caught him in the act of uh, screwing the phone back in. So uh, I went back to my post, and I sit there and I thought about it, and uh– before all of this happened, though, before I caught him in this ah, position on the floor, crouching position over the phone, (clears throat) I had observed him coming down– coming off of uh, one of the streets off Webster and um, approaching Fillmore–
Chaikin: What time of day or night was this?
Woman: Well, this was in the late afternoon, you know, before– in between services, closer–
Chaikin: (unintelligible) on Sunday?
Woman: Yeah– closer to the time when service is about to start.
Chaikin: Must have been 7:30 at that point?
Woman: Around 6:30.
Chaikin: Did you see him– Did you see him with any kind of device, a tape recorder or anything like that?
Woman: He didn’t have anything in his hand that I could see. The thing of– of it was that he was– uh, see, the thing of it was that he was not from San Francisco.
Woman: You know, it would have been all right for him to be white, walking down Fillmore on a Sunday afternoon, if he was from San Francisco.
Chaikin: Right– living in the area and knew what the problems were–
Woman: Right, right, but he did not know, and when I, I asked him– well, somebody else asked him, I got somebody else to ask him, uh, where was he coming from, and he said, the store. So I said, well, he couldn’t have been coming from the store, because none of the stores on Fillmore–
Chaikin: –were open–
Woman: –in that direction, right, were open. So, you know, uh– (sighs) Right then I said well, you know, something really must be up, I mean, why would he lie in the first place? And I can’t remember whether I really saw him get out of a car on Webster or not, because you know, I– I really– I tripped on the phone mostly after I saw him come back in. But he headed straight for the third floor. He didn’t stop. You know, he headed straight for the third floor.
Chaikin: Let me ask you this. After you saw him with the (unintelligible) telephone, did you go back there and pull apart– (unintelligible) they all do, you know?
Woman: Well, no, this is what I did. I went back out on the roof, and when I came back in, ’cause I was keeping a close eye on him, because he couldn’t have left the roof without– the third floor without me seeing him, and uh, I didn’t want to just break in on him and not see him do his whole trip. So then he came to the phone on the wall by the door, and he did that phone, and then I walked in the door and he tried to get me to hold the phone.
Chaikin: Did he tell you what he was doing?
Woman: Uhn-uhn. And I told him well I, you know, I uh, I don’t uh– (Pause) I told him something like that, I don’t uh– I don’t want to talk on the phone. And at that time, I went nuts on him, and when I go nuts on (door slam), it’s hard for me to remember what I say, but I said– it would– it– it fitted the occasion, anyway, and I went on downstairs. (Laughs) And um, and um, (laughs) I went downstairs and I told [Jim] McElvane, and I think McElvane sent somebody up to look at the phones, and I wrote the note to Dad.
Chaikin: Okay. Now, did you, uh– (Pause) You know anything about any story about him being caught with uh, with a tape recorder, hooking it up into uh, the uh, telephone lines leading back to (voice trails off)–
Chaikin: No (unintelligible)–
Woman: No, but he was always in that hallway, and he was always sliding around corners. You know–
Chaikin: Yeah. At the time he was in Los Angeles before he left– you were in Los Angeles there for quite a while, weren’t you?
Chaikin: You were always San Francisco?
Woman: Yeah, not before he left.
Chaikin: Right, so you didn’t know– you didn’t really have very much knowledge about (unintelligible)–
Woman: Hum-um. Hum-um (No). I was in L.A. uh, after uh, he left.
Chaikin: Okay, now while we’re on this subject, as long as we’re sitting here, let me go to another subject. Did Tim Stoen ever give you any legal advice? I know he worked on– (unintelligible sentence)
Chaikin: Uh, I believe– um, I believe, uh, on the uh, on the welfare front where my mother was accepting money from my daughter on that, and uh, when I moved to San Francisco, I was– I had her, so I was receiving money from her, and–
Chaikin: Oh, I see, so (unintelligible)
Woman: Yeah. And so, uh, but the welfare office in San Francisco had called Los Angeles and told them to (unintelligible) the grant, to discontinue the check and they did not do it, so anyway–
Woman: Yeah. So, anyway, uh– Well, I was there when they called. I know they called. ‘Cause I had the social worker to call.
Chaikin: Plus, right, you were here for (unintelligible)–
Woman: Yeah. So uh, anyway, I got this charge of welfare fraud. And uh, I don’t remember really the circumstance, but I had legal advice on that, but anyway, I didn’t get the charge.
Chaikin: What did he tell you?
Woman: I don’t remember. But I do remember (unintelligible). (Tape turns off and on) But I do remember specifically um, the letter forwarded ’75 because uh, I got a– I had talked a, a fellow into buying me a, a van, a new van, a ’76 van in the last part of ’75. In fact, it was December 18, 1975.
Chaikin: You talked to me about that.
Woman: Yeah. How it started was, we went down to L.A. to catch up with Dad’s bus, and I missed the bus, so I talked him into driving me down there. And uh, I had a bank– a joint bank account with my mother and uh, I was telling him that I wanted to get this van, because at the time uh, Dad had told me that uh, the feds or the police department were uh, investigating my uh, being in the church, or investigating me because of my parole violation. And uh–
Chaikin: Was that before or after you straightened (unintelligible word) out?
Woman: Before. And uh– In fact, we– we was– we– we had decided that we were just going to wait, you know, not do anything for a while. So the pressure of– I was in the church I think four years by this time, and um– or three years, three years– and the pressure of knowing that this was a movement that should not be stopped or interfered with, and (unintelligible word – sounds like “make”) my presence there uh, would jeopardize everybody, and Dad was not going to give me up. He had made me state in publicly that uh, uh, they wasn’t coming in the gates to get anybody out of there unless they came over him first. And I uh, lost my balance a little bit, mentally, over this because, it was like riding on uh– it was like riding on– on the edge of a cliff with a car that was– the wheels was set too far apart to stay on the cliff.
Chaikin: So anyway, what’d you do?
Woman: So (laughs) um, I decided that I was going to commit a revolutionary act and just get myself blown up while I was doing it, and so I got this van and I proceeded to, to set up arrangements to get it bullet-proof and, and uh, artillery placed inside panels in– inside the van. And uh, I–
Chaikin: Artillery and (unintelligible).
Woman: Machine guns, grenades, hand guns, and stuff like that. And so uh, (pause) uh, after a lot of research, I found somebody in the ghetto that– that did all this in one place, and he said that he would do it. And uh, I had took the van by for him to get this started, but before that, I took one trip to L.A., and I mapped out Highway 1 because it had a lot of concentration camps. They went through San Clemente and there was a lot– not so much concentration camps–
Chaikin: U.S. 101?
Woman: U.S. 101.
Chaikin: 1 is (unintelligible)
Woman: One. No. Highway 1. Highway 1. There’s 101–
Chaikin: Okay, the reason–
Woman: There’s 101, and California 1.
Chaikin: California 1 runs between uh, San Francisco and, I don’t know–
Woman: Comes out at Santa Monica somewhere, coast? Malibu? Malibu? It goes that far? No, 101 is–
Chaikin: You’re talking about– You’re talking about the coast highway, the coast highway that goes between Ventura– Los Angeles to Ventura–
Woman: Okay, 101 and then, right, and then it turns into 1.
Chaikin: Yeah. Right.
Woman: It was 101 I meant.
Chaikin: I just wanted to be sure we got the same highway.
Woman: Umm-hmm. And uh– Anyway, he’s a– I mapped out a lot of the uh, prison systems and all that kind of stuff that was there, and then decided that I would uh– at least these people would have a chance to be free for a little while anyway, and I would be doing a revolutionary act, and if I died in the process, it would be fine. Okay.
Chaikin: So you were going to bust them out of prison–
Woman: I– One, I was going to bust as many as I could, because I, I figured that I could set chain reactions all the way down the highway and blow up these bridges that were all the way through, and nobody would be able to–
Chaikin: Follow you–
Woman: – follow me, unless they used air power.
Chaikin: Like helicopters.
Chaikin: Yeah. Go on.
Woman: (Laughs) So, uh– And there were no cross routes between Highway 5 and 101. So uh– After I marked the maps and everything, I went back to San Francisco and my apartment – third floor – told Dad that (Laughs) I was planning on doing something, he didn’t know what. But I had also–
Chaikin: Did Tim Stoen turn you onto this guy who was in armor work?
Woman: No. But he knew who he was, what he did. Uh. (Pause) At the same time, this lady owned a uh, all those apartment buildings, in the– in the– that apartment building where all those people got killed, in the uh, Mission District? Well, and Dad gave out her address by accident in the meeting, and uh, I was determined I was going to go and burn her house down. And I took Chris with me, and when I told him what I was going to do, he jumped out of the van, and he went and told Dad. So (Laughs) when I– in the process of me getting called to the government meeting to talk about this, (Laughs) Dad wanted to find out why I wanted to do all these things, and uh– He was very nice, you know, all of the time. By this time I was– there was so much pressure until um, I decided that I didn’t trust people in the government meeting, ’cause I didn’t feel like I should tell– I wanted to tell him the things that he was asking me, but uh, I didn’t feel like talking in front of everybody, so I wigged out. In fact, he even asked me about different fish here in Guyana, the fish program and all that stuff, but I just wigged out like I didn’t know what he was talking about or– You know. So uh, he sent me in another room to talk with Tim Stoen at this point–
Chaikin: So what did you discuss with Tim Stoen?
Woman: I discussed the uh, the man where I was going to get the guns at, and uh, I had a card, a business card, I guess, and I showed him the card, and uh–
Chaikin: When was this, in ’76 or–?
Woman: It was ’75.
Chaikin: Gotta be the winter of ’75, wasn’t it.
Woman: Yeah, it was the winter. It was December. It may have been in early January, because I had the van for two weeks before all this came up, so it may have been the first week in January. But uh, I got the van on December 18. So uh–
Chaikin: What did Tim tell you to do?
Woman: He told me to keep– in essence he told me to keep– I figured he was going to take the card and tell me, don’t see the, this man again, you know. But he told me to keep the van, and uh, even though I got the van by saying I was married to this dude for five years and uh–
Chaikin: But you weren’t.
Woman: No, I wasn’t married to him at all. And uh– and he was gonna, you know– The way it turned out, he had Triple A credit so he was going to have to pay for it regardless of whether I paid for it or not. And I had uh, in my desk, you know, I had set up with two different– two, two different banks insurance policies paid to Robert Cordell uh, in case that I would die, that uh, I would have about $156,000 because they would pay for all the children and there was a clause in there that it would pay for the payee’s children, so she had quite a few kids, and it added up to about $156,000.
Chaikin: You figured that would pay off the van and pay off whatever debts–
Woman: – it would pay off everything. Plus it would relieve the cost of my–
Chaikin: Anyway, what else– What else did Stoen tell you to do (voice trails off)
Woman: Uh, Stoen told me to keep the van. You know, and I thought it was kind of strange, because, you know, I figured–
Chaikin: What did he tell you to do about the armor–
Woman: And he told me to keep that connection because we might need it.
Chaikin: That’s nice. What else did he tell you?
Woman: Well, that was about it, but that–
Chaikin: What connection (struggles for words) with your armor, to know there were in any way connected with Peoples Temple?
Woman: All he knew was that I had Chris move.
Chaikin: Who referred you to this guy?
Woman: I’ve been trying to remember that for I don’t know how long. I can’t remember.
Chaikin: Think he’s still there?
Woman: (Pause) Maybe. (unintelligible) He should be.
Chaikin: He’s been around for a while.
Woman: Yeah, and he supplies all the gangsters in Oakland with, you know, these panels on all their vans and stuff (unintelligible). So uh, you know, unless his front got blown or something like that, he’s still there.
Chaikin: Okay, let’s turn this (tape noise). I want go over (unintelligible) What you said before is you saw he was screwing the (unintelligible)
Woman: That was the phone in the hallway.
Chaikin: Okay, now about the next day–
Woman: – but, but, you know, rather than stop him, I wanted to see how far he was going. So I watched him with the next phone, and the next phone was the one that was on the wall by the door leading off the roof.
Chaikin: Right, I got that.
Woman: He put something green inside the phone–
Chaikin: – so, placed some sort of a gadget inside the phone
Woman: I say him place up there. Right.
Chaikin: Okay. That– That’s what I wanted to get cleared up. Okay, you want to tell me, that’s the end of the tape, then?
Woman: This is the end of the tape.
Cut into another interview between interviewer and different young people. Since the voices are difficult to differentiate, I note only where different youths talk, rather than try to match them up.
Chaikin: Okay, talk a bit so I can hear you. I want to put this on tape.
Youth: Don’t tape me, honey.
Chaikin: I am taping you. If I don’t tape you, I’m never– I can’t type that fast.
Youth: Okay, when I started, I– In 1969 I guess, 1969, in September.
Chaikin: Uh, why don’t you bring that chair on over here and join us?
Youth: I can’t stay over here, Gene [Chaikin]–
Chaikin: Well, just stay here for ten minutes.
(Sounds of movement)
Youth: I’m in the middle of a lot of mess.
Chaikin: I know that, tell me about it.
Chaikin: I was so glad you did.
Youth: Somebody said that they had shelves over here, we can’t get shelves in the school department, so I had to come here and check it out and see if it’s true, and it’s true (unintelligible)–
Chaikin: Okay, so tell me about it, (unintelligible name). Tell me about it. You went down there in 1969. At that time, who was there?
Youth: Mike Cartmell, Jack Arnold Beam, and Joyce Parks – whatever, she was Beam at that time – and Anita Kelley.
Chaikin: Okay, what was going on then?
Youth: We just had weekly meetings, to front each other and uh–
Chaikin: Kind of like student catharsis group–
Youth: Yeah. The boys had their own housing arranged, the girls had their (unintelligible word) together, I think on Wednesday night, discuss any problems, or anything like that, financial meetings, what have you.
Chaikin: That’s fine. Okay, now. How did we get star– started uh, taking these cross-country marches and doing the calisthenics and learning how to shoot and, and planning these little strikes and all this– this good stuff?
Youth: Youth group meetings.
Youth: Youth group meetings.
People talk over each other.
Chaikin: When was that?
Youth: I don’t know the exact time that was. When I first got there, we started doing these, uh, hiking and stuff like that.
Chaikin: Well, who was doing that?
Youth: Mike was in charge of that.
Chaikin: Mike was–
Youth: Uh, huh. Youth group meetings.
Chaikin: When did Jim Cobb join in being in charge of that? (Knock on door, tape interrupted). Okay, now I got it back on.
Youth: Jim Cobb was also in college with Jack Beam and Mike Cartmell.
Chaikin: Okay, so it was Jim and Mike who were doing this.
Youth: They were the main two.
Youth: Yeah. When Mike left and went to San Francisco, Jim took over.
Chaikin: Okay. When did Mike leave and go to San Francisco?
People talk over each other, softly.
Chaikin: Maybe somebody else will remember that. Okay, now when all this, all this paramilitary stuff was all operative before Mike left–
Youth: Yeah, we used to do that in youth group meetings.
Youth: Yeah, we used to do that in youth group meetings, on Friday nights in uh, Redwood Valley.
Youth: It was mainly the college people then that knew the most, and then we’d invite in certain other ones.
Chaikin: And what all were you doing?
Youth: Uh. Taking hikes up in the bush and–
Chaikin: Were they hikes or were they cross-country marches? I mean, were you out there observing nature, or were you out there on paramilitary practice? What was it?
Youth: Military practice.
Youth: Remember all those maneuvers they used to put on paper, you know, they’d have a group here and a group there? When did we do with that? I know– I know we did some practice with that but I don’t remember exactly when it was.
Youth: We did it in Santa Rosa. Remember, Mike would come down from San Francisco, and then uh, he’d set up all these friends, and then we would work them out (unintelligible). We had to go over the fence, and run in the– in the fields and shit with all this military stuff.
Youth: We’d accomplish this stuff, learning how to navigate uh, where you were.
End of side 1
Chaikin: – lot of pressure on you (unintelligible) hiking. You get pushed a lot.
Chaikin: Who did all the pushing?
Youth: Jim Cobb (laughs), Mike, Lane. Who else would you say?
Chaikin: Okay, now what kind of talk went along with all this bullshit?
Youth: You were made to feel really bad if you couldn’t finish the hike or keep up or do all the exercises. (unintelligible talkovers) Like on these military maneuvers or whatever, you have certain groups and took turns more or less being in charge and giving the orders.
Chaikin: Umm-hmm. Well, what was the purpose of all this? (Pause). I mean, why– what were you– what were you all talking about? Why were you doing all this shit?
Youth: Drive each other crazy. (Laugh)
Chaikin: Yeah, well, I can believe that, but besides that?
Youth: Obviously they were living our little lives. I don’t know.
Chaikin: What were they saying about it? No, I understand that, but, I mean, what– What were they saying about it at the time? Were they saying, you was all wanting to be heroes or revolution or– or they were saying you were just a bunch of fools who were pushing you around because they were on a power trip, or– What were they saying?
Youth: Well, I understand that, you know, we thought, when I started was, how I was being in the advance guard, but I don’t really know of that. (Laughs)
Youth: I mean, you never got– we never really got into that. We just took hikes and– I know when I first got there they had initiation parties, took us on a damn hike, and made us go through the river on a rope at nighttime, and all that, and it wasn’t, you know, just– I don’t know, I think it was, you know, they was power-tripping, more than some of them. Because we– I don’t know, we never thought of revolution.
Chaikin: You know, you were a part in the revolution, but were they talking about it?
Youth: One time they had a hike, and remember, they had you escape an enemy camp, see if you could go in there and shoot the leader of the enemy or something like that and get out. Chris Lucientes did it – the only one – I remember who snuck in the enemy camp and got back out.
Chaikin: So Lucientes was down there huh? When did she get there?
Youth: About a year after– About ’70 or ’71, something like that.
Chaikin: Okay, she may remember something about this stuff, too.
Chaikin: She may remember something about this stuff, too.
Youth: Chr– Chris Lucientes was there in January, or else she came later. (pause)
Chaikin: Okay now, I want to know, I cannot honestly believe that you guys went and bounced your butts over all that rough terrain for all those months and went though these calisthenics and all this bullshit and never talked about why you were doing it?
Youth: I told you, they may have talked about, you know, getting in an enemy camp (unintelligible) – and shit, why would we want to be in an enemy camp?
Chaikin: Don’t ask me. I just want to ask you what the hell Cobb was saying, what Cartmell and them were saying about this shit.
Youth: You know, I mean, it wasn’t shit, it wasn’t– you know, that wasn’t the main thing. I think the hiking and all there was to get in shape in case we ever have a revolution, or something like that, but as far as, you know, them planning it out, to do a revolution or taking somebody out–
Chaikin: I don’t think they had any specific plans. I’m not– I’m not really saying that. I really wonder, you know, what they were telling you while they were pushing your asses all over the countryside about all this stuff. I mean, they wasn’t– Lookit, it wasn’t hell’s fire. You guys were learning how to do all kinds of military maneuvers, right? That’s what you were doing, right? It was military training in effect, wasn’t it? (Pause) I mean, why else would you be going across uh, rivers on ropes and going into enemy camps at nights, and – you know what I’m trying to say – and learning how to cross fields at night with a goddamned compass. That’s military training. There’s no real– there’s no purpose in any civilian life for doing that kind of work, is there?
Chaikin: Okay. Now why? I want to know, what the hell they were telling you about why everybody was doing that.
Youth: I guess I thought we were going to fight a revolution or something like that. That was about all they ever told us.
Chaikin: Is that what they to– Is that what they said?
Youth: You got that impression– You more or less got that impression.
Youth: Nobody ever discussed what you were going– going to do.
Chaikin: Why? Was it just a big secret– secret deal and just follow orders?
Youth: Yeah, the college people knew more than the high school students and you know, than anybody else. Wasn’t anybody else in the vanguard party, I guess, the young people, the leaders of the next revolution.
Chaikin: Was it revolutionary leadership training?
Youth: I would say it was.
Youth: Yeah, ’cause see, like I say, it might have been Mike did most of the military training, because he read up all the time, and he– he knew and I think he trained everybody else. I think Jim Cobb may function with doing the computation of people, he ran– he always running the meetings like that. He was the–
Chaikin: What about Danny Phillips? He do very much with this shit?
Chaikin: What did he do?
Youth: He was also– Well, he was a lot behind the military things too. He and Mike would get together. They would– They would write out everything, you know, and put it down on a map and all.
Chaikin: You mean, they– did they plan the maneuver or whatever it was?
Youth: Umm, hmm.
Chaikin: Danny had some training. Do you know anything about his training in that?
Youth: Uhn-uhn. (Pause) I think, mostly he read books. He never went to the army. (Unintelligible)
Chaikin: Danny Phillips was never in the army?
Youth: Well, he joined the army after he (unintelligible word)
Youth: He joined after he left the church, but not while he was in the church. Nobody ever did. Not those who grew up in the church.
Chaikin: Did Danny Phillips uh, leave the church and come back to it after the Army?
Youth: Um-hmm. Um-hmm.
Chaikin: Okay, so he was in the Army for a while and then came back to the church.
Chaikin: And uh– what’d he do in the army, you know?
Youth: Shit, no. I know he was a um– uh. (Pause) I think he’s got some like, some little type of position, he was like a commander or something, intelligence or something, he was a– he got him a position really quick, he went from a private to whatever it was–
Chaikin: Yeah, he did some intelligence work, I think. That’s interesting expl– idea to explore, too. Intelligence work?
Youth: He– he did something– you know, he was up there you know, he bragged about it– (unintelligible)
Chaikin: Cushy, yeah? You can’t remember what he did?
Youth: Um-hmm. He just bragged about his circle, so–
Chaikin: Okay. (Pause; tape clicks off for undetermined period) What can you guys remember about the situation in which the whole group of them left?
Youth: I know everybody was in San Francisco, I remember that. Um, Jim Cobb had tar– started dropping off in his attendance, saying it was school, he was going to school. Mickey [Touchette] started dropping off, saying she was working. You know, a lot of them on the weekends– I mean, Paul started dropping off in attendance from the church on the weekends–
Chaikin: This is ’73 in the summer, spring?
Youth: I don’t know. Anyway, uh. Mike was going to school. Everybody who left, said they were going to school or either they had a work schedule which prevented them coming to services regular. So, they all had excuses and nobody was really watching them. So then–
Chaikin: At that time, were they all living at Tomki’s [Tomki Road, home of Wayne Pietila]?
Youth: No, no, no, they were in San Francisco.
Chaikin: Okay, we’re in San Francisco then. Yeah, go on.
Youth: Everyone was in San Francisco, in the dormitories on Bay Street.
Youth: Except for–
Chaikin: That was Vera’s [Vera Biddulph] place?
Chaikin: But they were all living there together, huh?
Youth: Mickey was living there with Vera– No, I think Vera and Terri [Cobb], Wayne. (Pause) But they were all in the valley.
Chaikin: Where was Tom at?
Youth: Tom who?
Youth: I don’t know.
Youth: Didn’t he leave at the same time?
Youth: Yeah, he was in the valley.
Chaikin: Podgorski was in the valley, wasn’t he?
Chaikin: How did Podgorski get into this thing, by the way?
Youth: Vera’s husband. And he thought he was a military man. He worked with Wayne. He was Wayne’s best friend.
Chaikin: But then he wasn’t in the college thing?
Youth: No, uhn-uhn.
Chaikin: But he got into this little paramilitary thing just on weekends and stuff?
Youth: I don’t remember him (unintelligible)
Youth: I don’t remember him really at all. He was Mike Cartmell’s friend, then Wayne. And Vera’s husband. That’s how he met them, through Vera.
Chaikin: I see.
Youth: And then he started liking Terri. That’s how he really got into it, him and Terri. They were all switching couples at that time. And him and Terri, and Wayne and Laleena, Jim and Mickey, (pause) and Vera was with Tom Podgorski. They all switched couples (unintelligible). I guess love brought them all together.
Chaikin: Yes, it did. I– Yes, it did.
Youth: The (unintelligible) after Jim and I got married, he told me, that he had a hard choice deciding between me and Mickey. At one point in time I knew he had any interest at all in her. So– huh? Yeah. And so I went, I talked to him, and I offered to get out of the relationship, (unintelligible phrase) and I also went to Mickey. Of course, they both denied there was anything there.
Chaikin: Hmm. Sure enough. Sure enough. Anyway, we were talking about what happened, how they came to split. Remember, there was a whole lot of them, and you were talking about they were all down in San Francisco. Now I know one thing. I know in August 1973, they all pulled out of Redwood Valley and (unintelligible) in two automobiles, and they had a whole bunch of guns and ammunition and some camping shit in the back with those things and they left a big (unintelligible), that much I know, but that’s about all I know, right?
Youth: That’s all we know. They just up and left. Nobody even suspected it. Well, Mickey started – see Mickey, Wayne and John Biddulph – Mickey, Wayne and John Biddulph, Mike Cartmell–
Youth: Mike and me was in love–
Youth: Mickey, Wayne and John Biddulph– Terri, (pause) and Vera (unintelligible name – sounds like “Wintisi”)
Youth: –and– Tom Podgorski and Jim Cobb were not, so they would go out and tell them everything that was going on.
Youth: Was Terri in there? (Pause)
Chaikin: Terri was in there. Not Mickey. I don’t know about Mickey. I know Terri was in there, I remember her being–
Youth: I think Mickey was.
Chaikin: Was she?
Youth: (Unintelligible) Because Mike Cartmell pushed Terri into leadership (unintelligible) She wasn’t shit. Did I tell you that? She got put in charge of something. He was– He was liking her at that time, too. He used to go with her before (unintelligible)– started messing with Mickey again. (Pause)
Chaikin: Mike Cartmell never really got too involved in the church after that, did he?
Youth: After they left?
Chaikin: Yeah. I mean, he was around, but like he was always going to school, he was on the edge of things, and– and he never– he never really was very much involved at all, was he, after that?
Chaikin: Yeah, at P.C. [Planning Commission], he wouldn’t say anything, he’d just attend meetings, he’d get out of as much as he could, and that was about it, huh?
Youth: Yep. (Pause)
Chaikin: So really in a way Mike kind of started backing out of the deal clear back then. (Pause)
Chaikin: Now you say, they– they– Jan and Faith and Linda went out first, and they went out afterwards. About how long after was it? A couple of months, or something like that?
Youth: A few months after. I don’t know.
Youth: No, It wasn’t very long. (Pause)
Chaikin: So maybe Jan and Faith and Linda went out in late spring, or early summer, or something.
Youth: Yeah. It was probably late spring.
Chaikin: Uh, you know who may know something about that?
Chaikin: Mary, because we ended up buying uh, uh, Jan’s mother’s rest home, and we got that rest home about three months after they left, we finally finished the deal, and she may remember when she moved into that rest home. Because she took charge of her – remember that? – Mary Wotherspoon did. (Pause) But uh– (Pause) Any of you guys have any idea in the world why Jan and Faith and them left when they did?
Youth: I didn’t expect it at all.
Chaikin: (Pause) Well, in retrospect, do you have any idea?
Youth: Well, I don’t know for sure. I know uh, Linda became the manager or something of Masonite (unintelligible) and Faith was running around fucking every young teenage boy– (unintelligible). And then Danny left too, that pissed off Janet (unintelligible)– And Janet Phillips’ mother (unintelligible – sounds like “wanted to marry Jim Jones).
Chaikin: Danny– When did Danny leave? What– It was while you were in the dorms, wasn’t it, when you were still in Santa Rosa? When did you leave Santa Rosa?
Youth: Shit, we all left at different times. I left in– I left in ’71, three years after I was there–
Chaikin: Did uh– Would– Had– Had Danny joined the Army when you left?
Youth: He was gone by the time I left.
Chaikin: Okay. So, it was between ’69 and ’71, right?
Youth: Seventy– Yeah. ’71 or ’72. He might have left around ’70, ’71?
Chaikin: Now, I remember an evening in church when a bunch of stuff hit the floor about how these catharsis meetings were going on and all the paramilitary stuff was going on down in the dorms, right? Uh, that was the first I knew about it, because I had no– myself, I had no, you know, contact with that whole end of things. Uh– And at that point– at that point, Jim stopped it, right?
Youth: Umm-hmm. (Pause)
Chaikin: Do you recall when that was?
Youth: When we stopped?
Chaikin: Yeah. (Pause)
Youth: ’71. ’72 or ’71. (More emphatic) ’72.
Chaikin: Look, I didn’t even get into church until June of ’72. I didn’t even start coming to meetings, the wee– weekly meetings until July of ’72, so it had to be the fall of ’72, or early ’73.
Chaikin: Okay, so it was the fall of ’72.
Youth: It had to be December (unintelligible word) of ’72–
Chaikin: Were you still there?
Youth: – when we stopped it.
Chaikin: When it was stopped?
Chaikin: Uh– Was Cobb still there when it stopped?
Youth: I never saw him.
Chaikin: He was there, but Cartmell was gone, right? Cartmell was gone to San Francisco. And uh– what was Cobb’s feeling about it at the time?
Youth: They were good, I think. More or less concerned when somebody tattletaled.
Chaikin: Who did they consider a tattletale?
Youth: Christine, I think. Christine?
Youth: Christine (last name unintelligible). It was (unintelligible).
Youth: There were a couple of times she [Christine] took off from the (unintelligible)– And she would run off to Santa Rosa.
Chaikin: And so Christine (last name unintelligible) was one of them that spilled the beans, and then Jim apparently didn’t know all the shit that was going on then.
Chaikin: And when he found out about it, he stopped it. Wa– Was Cartmell pissed too?
Youth: Yeah, well, see– Yeah, ’cause you see, Mike, to me, the reason why I thought it was all clear ’cause he was in charge of dorms and everybody thought he was Jim’s right hand man.
Chaikin: Oh, I see, yeah. He was supposedly in the first, the next in line for the succession at that point, wasn’t he? Everythi– Everything he did was the way it was all clear it was supposed to be. (Pause) The only– Let me ask you a couple of questions that are entirely different than, than this. At the time that you guys were around there, were you ever impressed with the fact that Jim Cobb and Mike Cartmell had money, had more money than anybody else?
Youth: Who knows? (tape too soft)
Youth: I think everybody had about the same.
(Tape recorder moved)
Youth: He didn’t have any money. Uhn-uhn. Jim Cobb never had any money. I think who probably, you know, had the most was Jack and uh, Joyce. They always had money and their own cars. Mike never had a car (tape fades)
Chaikin: Jack Arnold Beam had one and uh–
Youth: And Joyce Parks.
Chaikin: Joyce Parks.
Youth: Both had their own cars. They always had money and they always dressed in new things (tape fades).
Chaikin: When– Oh, I see. Jim left, I guess, in August of ’73, but he really hadn’t been coming to church for some time. Now– (Pause) Did their attendance start dropping off shortly after all this paramilitary stuff stopped?
Youth: I think when everybody moved to San Francisco, everybody’s attendance dropped off.
Chaikin: What was– What was the– Okay. What was the correlation between uh, what was the– what was, what was the correlation between when there was this big catharsis and the confrontation and Jim said I’m going to stop all this shit down at the dorms, okay– Now, but– At that time the paramilitary stuff basically stopped, right?
Youth: It was–
Chaikin: Or did it continue?
Youth: No, let me tell you. The paramilitary thing was more–
Youth: It had been stopped.
Youth: – it was more in uh, Redwood Valley than the dorms. See, in the dorms all we did was run over the fence and run around the block and stuff like that. The training and stuff took place at (unintelligible name) Mountain and, you know, wherever they could–
Chaikin: Who– who was doing all that shit?
Youth: I don’t– I never remember. I know he was into hikes. The tr– the military tr– the guns, and all that. (Pause) Jim Cobb, Mike, Wayne– (Pause) They didn’t take ’em in– They didn’t trust people on that. That was their thing. The little stuff we did was just jog around for a hour and go use a compass and stuff like that. As far as the real– They didn’t trust people. They really didn’t trust people then. That was their own thing. (unintelligible). I know they trucked the kids (unintelligible) John Biddulph, Jim Cobb, Mike Cartmell, and Wayne (tape too soft).
Youth: Did you ever stop– did Dad stop with um, the catharsis, because I–
Chaikin: I see, it was the catharsis and the confrontation (unintelligible) that never really had anything to do with a lot of this shit.
Youth: Unh-unh. I don’t even think they told him that, because Chris, he didn’t know about that. All we did was jog, you know– He didn’t trust everybody at the dorms, so everybody wasn’t involved much at the dorms.
Chaikin: I see. And all they did basically was– at the dorms was kind of like alarm and exercise deal with a little bit of–
(People talk over each other)
Youth: May have been some catharsis at the dorms. Getting us in– Getting us ready mentally for, emotionally – if you could took– if you could take that, then they’d let you go to higher ground and use guns.
Chaikin: Was that what that was?
Chaikin: That’s the way it worked out?
Youth: There’s only five of them that, you know, who really got involved with the guns.
Chaikin: And they were the ones that split.
Youth: They were the emotional– emotional crazies too. (Laughter) Jim would always fall apart in the conversation.
Chaikin: Yeah, that figures. (Tape turned off and on) Who was living at Tomki– What happened? Did everybody come up for the summer or something like that, out of school?
Youth: No. Whenever we’d go home on the weekends, you’d stay with the families, right? So Wayne would stay with Wanda and Tom [Kice], and then Terri would stay with them, and John Biddulph and Vera moved in with them, too.
Chaikin: With who?
Youth: With Tom Kice and Wanda.
Chaikin: Oh, oh, oh, I see.
Youth: Yeah, they moved in there. So Mickey and Bill Collins, Vera and Tom Podgorski would all spend the night up there on the weekend. And whenever we came home for holidays or something, we’d spend the night up there.
Chaikin: Was that Tom’s cabin, or was that the–
Youth: The trailer.
Chaikin: A trailer down below it, yeah. Was it a big one?
Youth: Yeah, real nice.
Chaikin: (Pause) And so they did that, they were there quite a bit during the summer, huh? School was out?
Youth: It was during the summer and on weekends and holidays.
Chaikin: Remember when they all split, they left a note? Do you have any idea what that note said? Do you remember it at all?
Youth: Unh-unh. (tape too soft).
(Pause) (Tape edit)
Chaikin: Did he say whenever they– they had the catharsis, it was always the racist deal?
Youth: Umm-hmm, always.
Chaikin: Tell me about that.
Youth: Uh, Jim Cobb was in charge I think of the catharsis at that time, then when he left, Wayne took them over, but Wayne followed in the same trend. (Unintelligible word) Um, he always pit black against white or white against black. Everything had to be a race issue, when you boil it down to the personality or asshole or something like that. It was always–
Chaikin: Why were they doing that?
Youth: Well, he was black and in charge of the (unintelligible).
Youth: It seemed like there were a– a split. You know, there was a group here and that group here.
Chaikin: What was that?
Youth: The big mouths and the non-talkers.
Youth: That’s the way it was. Jim Cobb, Terri, Wayne (pause), who else, Van, Mickey– Who did most of the talking at that time? I didn’t do much talking
(Tape too soft).
Youth: I know they took me in a room once, I don’t know if he was there or not. Got on me about how I didn’t talk much, but–
Youth: Yeah, they got on you about not talking very much, and Della, Lee, Kathy– Who else (pause). And one time they didn’t– they didn’t like me at all. (Two unintelligible names) were best friends, and then they brought Mickey and two of them brought the (unintelligible). That’s when Jim Cobb was messing with Mickey and with (unintelligible). And uh– If you talk and yell and stuff the way they do, they didn’t like it. (unintelligible)
Chaikin: And that’s the way it was.
Youth: Umm-hmm. You could see what a mess– it wasn’t a mess when all of them in there quit.
Chaikin: Yeah well–
Youth: – the ones that didn’t let them know, you know, we were considered, didn’t know as much as they did or wasn’t as smart or something?
Chaikin: How did uh– How did uh, Cartmell fit into that? He’d split by then, right?
Youth: Yeah. He went on to– He started the whole thing, then Jim Cobb took it over, then Wayne took it over.
Chaikin: Where did Jim Cobb go?
Youth: San Francisco.
Chaikin: Where were they going to school?
Youth: Sonoma State. Jim Cobb went to Sonoma (unintelligible). Wayne was going to Santa Rosa Junior College. When they first started off, you go to Santa Rosa Junior College for two years, then you go to Sonoma State for a year, then you go into San Francisco.
Chaikin: Sonoma State. Where was that? Santa Rosa?
Youth: No. Rohnert Park. Right outside of Santa Rosa.
Chaikin: Rohnert Park. And when you go to San Francisco, where would you go to school?
Youth: San Francisco State or University of San Francisco, or uh–
Youth: Where did Mike go? Mike went to law school, Jim Cobb went to UC, and Wayne and Terri went to San Francisco State with Jack Arnold Beam.
Chaikin: Jack Arnold Beam went to San Francisco State?
Chaikin: When did Jack (unintelligible) left?
Youth: After he graduated.
Chaikin: That figures.
Youth: Yep, they all got their undergraduate– Terri, after she graduated, she split. Jim Cobb– After they graduated and got their little diplomas, they split.
(Unintelligible for several exchanges)
New youth: Um, I graduated in 1970, so I was–
Chaikin: From– from Santa Rosa?
Youth: Yeah, from Santa Rosa.
Chaikin: And then where’d you go from there?
Youth: I went to uh, uh, Davis, University of California at Davis. (Unintelligible) You know, when I left, they just came in. Because they’re younger than I am. So, um– I mean, I knew what was going on there.
Chaikin: Was there any of this going on when you were there?
Youth: No. No. It was just Mike– Mike Cartmell and myself was the only ones that went to school together there.
Chaikin: (Unintelligible word)
Youth: At Santa Rosa.
Chaikin: I see. You were the first two down there?
Youth: Right. Right, Mike started, then I started right behind him, and we lived– we lived uh, out of, off on Santa Rosa Avenue, way out toward uh, Petaluma, you know, in a trailer, and commuted back and forth to school. We– I didn’t even live in– uh, I lived in a dormitory for about three or four months. They had just been purchased, and uh–
Chaikin: (Unintelligible) about Jim and Karen.
Youth: Right, uh, because Anita Kelley, Judy Lang [Judy Ijames] and myself and Ava Jones. We all, you know, like, after Mike and I started, in the next few months, those girls came in and some fellows that was there, but we lived separately, and I didn’t know, you know, what was going on, because I– my program was through a hospital and I did not go to the college basically very often so, I mean, I didn’t know– I was in the nursing program, so I wasn’t really involved and– And I worked nights, you know, during my (Unintelligible)–
Chaikin: If you knew what was going on in Redwood Valley–
Youth: Um– well, about uh, Jim Cobb and Wayne, uh– Who else do you think of, Terri, uh, Terri Cobb, uh– What was that guy’s name?
Youth: Yeah, Podgorski. All those– they hung around together. Mickey Touchette, they hung around a lot together, and I know they went out at uh, Tom and Wanda’s house, andwould do, like, weekend things, uh, taking hikes, and, you know, they was all dressed up in khaki jackets and khaki pants and they would go like for a day or two off into the woods and camp out and stuff like that. They would get– they were buying stuff from the army surplus stores, rope and all kinds of things like that (Unintelligible)–
Chaikin: What do you mean, like– (Unintelligible)
Youth: You know, for climbing. They would go down real steep cliffs and stuff on ropes. And they, you know– They would talk a lot about being guerrilla war– warfare stuff, they would go through obstacle courses and stuff like that, crawling and climbing–
Chaikin: Who headed that up?
Youth: (Noise in room) Jim Cobb and Wayne Pietila. Basically. They always had books, you know, uh, uh, Che Guevara books, stuff like that.
Chaikin: Is, uh, that– was Cartmell in that bunch?
Youth: Uh, no, uhn-uhn, Cartmell– I, I would say Cartmell didn’t get involved until he was out of school. He was (unintelligible) probably his senior year in school and– I mean, he’d talk about it, but he would make fun of it. He would make fun of them.
Chaikin: He thought it was a bunch of bullshit?
Youth: Yeah. Right. Because he was into uh, his own thing in law school. But it– He– He wasn’t in (Unintelligible)
Chaikin: (Unintelligible) – wasn’t directly connected with the school (unintelligible). They were this little clique, right?
Youth: Right, that’s right. It prevented a lot of people that was going to school that was not involved in that.
Chaikin: Yeah, I see. And did you uh, uh– (Unintelligible) remember a time when Jim– Did Jim know they were doing all this shit?
Youth: Uh, no, not really. I mean, he knew that they ran around together, but there was no– I mean, it wasn’t– I think it started out more as a fad kind of thing.
Chaikin: Well, were they– They– They were (Unintelligible word) in questions in guns and ammunition stuff too long, though, weren’t they?
Youth: They would talk about it. I– You know, I never– I never got involved in it, because, you know, I was going with Jim Cobb before that time. I mean, he was my boyfriend kind of thing, and uh, I didn’t go along with it and so, basically– I mean the more you got into this, the more it seems to be uh, you know, uh, uh–
End of tape.
Tape originally posted November 1998