June 1978 Journal by Edith Roller
Source: RYMUR-89-4286-2018- C-2 (Part I) – C-2-A-4 (2) to (99)
[FOIA-2009: C-2 Part 1.pdf pp 372 – 471.]
The text transcribed here (revised 2011) from Edith Roller’s notes may have some missing words or lines due to (1) unreadable, poorly xeroxed text or (2) unreadable writing. Blanks are left in the text for these areas. At the end of the journal is a list of persons and groups mentioned in this Journal.
Download Word (.doc) version of June 1978
Download Original handwritten notes (.pdf file) June 1978
1 June 1978 – Thursday
After breakfast I read the news on the board so as to be prepared for talking at the Medical Office. At the warehouse I got some soap and a piece of string on which to put my keys to my crates so that they’ll be safe from pilferers and from loss.
I did some more research in the library in books to be used in teaching metaphors to my second hour class.
I worked on journal entries.
We had a heavy lunch: greens, soup, and a peanut butter sandwich. I was not very hungry today, so I took the peanut butter sandwich home, and kept it in plastic.
Took my shower. I had to hurry to get to the Medical Office in time for my usual Thursday talk at 2.00. They were so busy that instead of my talking to the group I ran through the items for Sylvia Grubbs and she took notes to distribute to the others.
I returned to my cottage to get my material for my class. The first period class was late in assembling. The news was being given on the p.a. system So that Tropp could not make an announcement. Some were late which Tropp noted. I gave the class a spelling lesson. I thought it was time to demand better behavior from this group of students. Their demeanor in class has improved but they still interrupt me without raising their hands, talk to each other during class, play with objects during class, and paw over my books and worst of all ask irrelevant questions continuously. I told them this behavior had to stop. A few did well in the spelling test; the others did badly.
In the second period class I told the students I was going to have them do the metaphor project on a class rather then individual basis. I put the books and magazines I had got from the library on the table and told them to share them and help each other. Most of the class worked hard. I got questions from some; a few didn’t try. Occasionally a teenage sense of humor was displayed is a particular metaphor.
At dinner we again had a good meal: rice w/gravy, and chicken giblets, sweet potatoes, and a vegetable. I didn’t take a bun.
I missed the teachers meeting, went home at 7.30. The socialist teachers met with instructions to prepare a test for possible use. Rob Christian was not there, nor Vernetta. Don Jackson presided – Debbie Jensen [Schroeder] had information on points I wanted included. We kept our voices low and watched security over the test questions diligently; we each made suggestions and turned them over to Tish to be typed up. We then
discussed teaching methods with reference to seniors particularly, though we did not know how the extra classes were to be handled. Jann who was teaching a spelling class at 8.00 sent word asking for help, three of us volunteered.
Several people were in the cottage when I arrived. Eleanor was “pressing” Anne’s hair with a hot iron, Inez was making and putting up her curtains; Irra was sick with a virus perhaps which a number of people have had. Estelle McCall visited us; she and Inez are close. She may move in. She hadn’t returned to 1029 Geary. She said Jossie Chambliss had her passport and Michelle Johnson was expecting to come after her son’s baby arrives. Patty Dennis [McCoy] has been moved to a dorm.
I finished The Man Who Cried I Am but went through the last part hastily. I want to read the ending again.
I went to bed at 11.00.
2 June 1978 – Friday
I corrected the first period spelling tests and made plans for today. Read the papers on metaphor from the second period class. They had done well on the whole.
Made notes for journal entries.
Went to lunch.
Stopped by the library looked up more notes for the second period class.
At 1.00 met the adult class. We had a phonics lesson. I then discussed a few news events to help the class pass the test if there was to be one tomorrow.
Took my shower.
During the first period spent the time on definitions of Marxist-Leninist terms. I returned papers to the second period and told them I would be turning the class over to Peter. I read some of the metaphors from some of the papers. Did not have time to give any extra material which I had planned. I talked to a few students who did not have the ideas and to those who hadn’t turned papers in.
[Dottie] Shajhuanna Harris (Constance Harris’ daughter) and Maury Janaro. They now show much interest in language arts. They had examples, not very good, saying they haven’t had books to work with, implying discrimination on the part of others. This may be true of this class but they could have asked me for help.
We had teacher’s meeting. Dick took down absences. We discussed students’ behavior and recommended some for praises. I told Peter of the students who didn’t get their work in. Tropp mentioned that lesson plans had been suggested. It was agreed that English and math teachers would meet and work cooperatively on them on Saturday at 3.00 to 5.00.
I went home.
Socialism classes met in the pavilion. I located a seat but had to give it up, as the socialist teachers had to monitor the test. Jim asked the questions, all of which were essay type. Jerome Anderson asked me to write his answers as he can’t write well enough. The test was difficult and given very fast, the people were allowed to go back over it. Jerome did only fair. Jim, after the papers were collected, had the answers given on the p.a. system, he said the teachers would take the test tomorrow at the rally.
Jann was assigned to teach the extra class to be given tomorrow to those who had failed previous tests. I asked her if she needed help, as I volunteered last night. She obviously didn’t want me. Pauline Simon taught the entire class.
A large group from Jonestown is going to several of the towns in the North West region to hear Burnham speak tomorrow. Versie and Inez were named. They readied their clothing and packed, then Inez was told Tom Grubbs, who has been overworked, was told not to come to work tomorrow and the problem of manning the school office came up.
I had borrowed 2 of my (former) books from the library. Collected Poems by WB Yeats and the Identity of Yeats by Richard Ellman. I read them for over an hour while waiting for Versie and Inez to finish their work.
Went to bed at 1.30, very tired from the day’s event especially being on my feet so long during the test.
3 June 1978 – Saturday
I read that Inez didn’t go to the PNC meeting, as Tom was out.
Borrowed a pail from Inez and did my laundry, hanging it over near the toilet area as our line was filled up. The weather was clear in the morn but the rain fell every now and then in the afternoon and my clothes did not get dry.
I did a little work on my journal.
Becky Beikman had had plans to meet at the pavilion at 2.45. She wanted some help on the news. The English teachers were to meet at 3.00 and work together on lesson plans. Neither Becky nor the teachers came, probably because of very heavy rain. I didn’t have anything to read so just watched the rain for some time.
I was very tired from last night and didn’t feel well all day.
Jim decided not to have a rally tonight as a large number of people were out at Papaya for the PNC meeting.
I spent the evening at home reading The Identity of Yeats.
4 June 1978 – Sunday
For breakfast we had doughnuts and coffee.
Washed my hair.
Started typing in my journal but the power went off so I didn’t get much done. At noon when the workday ended, most of the residents were in the center and may have been partying. The young people who had moved in are not very neat – leave their clothing on top empty bed, some do not make their own beds and take off their muddy shoes inside. They tried to have a house meeting but Versie could not be present. I mentioned some complaints anyway; I mentioned leaving dirty dishes around. For some reason, Eleanor Beam became especially malevolent towards me, remarked on my keeping my bed disheveled. I think her attitude may be the result of my comment to her at the teachers meeting the other day. Showing no improvements. Eleanor is talking of moving to _____.
I spent some time this afternoon writing my journal.
We were moved ____ ___ __ ___. I ate about 5.30. I tried to trade with Kirtas Smith a breast for a leg, but he decided his leg was bigger and kept it. I got some hot sauce from Peter Wotherspoon. Several individuals make this from some wild peppers they find growing but I suspect they get vinegar and other ingredients from the kitchen. It is especially good on beans and rice as well as chicken. I could find no place to sit. Joyce Lund took me into one of the medical facilities where there was a spare chair. Speaking of the news, which is on everybody’s mind these days, she said a number of people were meeting at 7.00 in the quarters of Ruth Lowery, who is crippled and finds it hard to go to a place where she can hear the news. She invited me.
I read in the pavilion until time to go to Ruth’s. I read through again, the last part of The Man Who Cried I Am by John A. Williams and finished it.
I invited Joicy Clark and Mary Castillo to accompany me. Among those assembled were several who were well informed and as a result I learned more than I was able to give. They had heard today’s newscasts, which I hadn’t.
We went to the rally at 7.30.
Jim began with comments on the news and I made notes.
A group from Jonestown is going to Caracas, Venezuela for a meeting. We will be able to get some supplies such as agricultural and medical, which we have not been able to obtain. Jim asked the departments to list any such and turn the lists in.
Patty Cartmell described her latest trip up the river with Rheaviana [Beam], Tommy Johnson and Chuck Beikman. Volunteers to give individual attention to the young people on the New Brigade were requested.
Jim thought that the number of praises he had received this week were absurd. People on work crews were being praised for just doing their jobs. These will not be accepted. He would approve of praising students for excellent school work.
Treats were distributed during the meeting.
The agricultural reports were heard. Those working in the herbal garden and the herbal kitchen had mixed a bottle containing an experimental alcoholic substance. Someone observed that Richmond Stahl had had alcohol on his breath. He was called to the floor – he said he had got some pineapple rind, put sugar on it and it fermented. Jim Jones told him as a former alcoholic that socialist society at this stage has no room for alcohol for pleasure. Richmond knew nothing of the bottle mixed by the herbal experiments.
Lovie Jean Lucas, Oreen Poplin Armstrong and another woman were called on the floor for expressing discontent with life in Jonestown and were given severe warnings. Lovie Jean is to be restricted in her conversation to a few people, one named by Jim was Esther Mueller.
Reprimands and praises were given.
Jim stated that Prime Minister Burnham had intended to fly into Jonestown after the PNC meeting at Papaya but his plane had trouble and he couldn’t come.
The meeting ended about 1.00 o’clock.
5 June 1978 – Monday
Rising and breakfast time 2 hours late this morning.
I worked on lesson plans for adult class (two hours) and remedial class, in general for the adults. I am planning to spend a part of each hour on phonics or reading and part on news items. Today, I want to try with the news some time in discussion and writing (for those who are able to write). With the remedial high school reading group – after much thought – I intend to be adaptable with strict behavioral demands and make a determined effort to teach the students to read and write, at least those who have the intelligence.
On my way to classes I saw Christine Young [Cobb] who had been sick for several days but is all right now. I gave her my latest attendance lists for the adult class, asked her to draw up an alphabetical list. We will add to it during the week and then put it in permanent form. I told Christine my plans for the class today and suggested she might want to take the writing group.
Got a new supply of pencils from Inez.
The adult class had assembled. However a large number of chickens had been brought up for cleaning and most of my class members usually do this work. Since it was necessary to save the chickens from spoiling I had to dismiss the class.
Took a shower.
Made notes for my journal and worked on language arts class records so as to be able to turn them over to Jann and Peter.
Rested a little. I have not been feeling very well for several days. Had little appetite, my stomach felt uneasy and I was very tired, especially in my legs. I may have just been feeling the effects of standing on feet so long Friday night. Today I felt better but still don’t have much energy.
I was taking roll in the language arts class and some were late as usual. Shirley Hicks as an observer, approached, and noted the tardiness situation as well as a few samples of unacceptable behavior. She spoke sharply to the students and I followed with my already planned demands for better order and attitude and explanation of what we’re going to do this week. Told the students we would start diagnostic testing tomorrow. I then discussed with them the situation in Viet Nam and Kampuchea and had them begin a written summary of it when the period ended. At the end of the period Tropp came around to suggest more activities for this class. I told him of my present plans.
Went home and got what I needed for the evening.
Got my dinner. We were to have a teachers meeting in the pavilion, but a heavy downpour came which prevented us from moving for some time.
Becky Beikman and I were discussing insect life. She says there are more different kinds of insects in Guyana then anywhere else in the world. She described the early days of the project. I hadn’t realized the first contingent had lived in government housing near Port Kaituma for 8 to 10 months, while the road was built and a clearing made. The Temple had to borrow a bulldozer from the government. Becky showed me where the first clearing and the first buildings were: very near to where we were standing in the dining pavilion.
When there was a slight break in the rain I went to the pavilion and claimed a seat. I read the Identity of Yeats until the movie was showed.
We saw “Z” again. It is still interesting to me although I have seen it several times. All were required to attend. Jim commented on it throughout.
The community, with urging from Jim, is showing much concern for the news, as he warned we might have more testing tomorrow. People listen to tapes of his broadcasts, read the blackboards in the library where Teresa writes the main items, form study groups and copy items off the board where they are posted, the latter usually much delayed though.
I got home after the film at 11.30 and went to bed after my nightly chores.
Versie and Inez were not home yet; they might have both gone to steering committee. Ann Edwards changed jobs; she is now in the dispatch office, a position probably obtained through Eleanor Beam. It may be temporary as Dee-Dee Lawrence, who usually works there, is on New Brigade.
6 June 1978 – Tuesday
Made notes for my journal and journal entries.
Made preparations to give diagnostic reading tests to my 1st period class. Tom had collected these for me sometime ago. Most are for children finishing the second grade and have considerable phonics. There is one copy of a sixth grade test.
Had my adult class from 12.00 to 2.00. I opened with a phonics lesson, then tried to explain a talk by Jim on the subject of religion, mysticism and related topics, tying in the major historical economic developments with the prevailing faith, going on to the danger of being caught up in either traditional religion or such observances on space travel and space wars and other modern manifestations of the escapist mentality. It was a very difficult presentation I expected most of the seniors to have trouble with most of the ideas. However Jim had the p.a. system on at times and the topic will undoubtedly appear on the next test.
Took my shower.
I made preparations for my 4.00 o’clock class. At its beginning Tropp told me he was putting all the language arts classes together for his special instructions in “Z”. They all gathered in the school tent with the teachers. A short section of the film was shown and discussed in detail. Students were expected to take notes. Most of the students were intensely interested and showed keen observation but many of their comments revealed little understanding of the political situation.
I stayed to watch the same procedure with the 4.45 classes. Some of them were more astute but on the whole they displayed more boredom.
Had dinner and attended teachers meeting at 7.30 the teachers meeting.
Sat in the pavilion and read The Identity of Yeats.
At 7.30 the elementary and junior high school students had an open house to show their school work and activities to their parents and other members of the community. There was much very attractive hand-made material.
The film, “Far from the Madding Crowd,” from the book by Thomas Hardy was shown. The chief actors were Peter Finch, Alan Bates and Julie Christie. Although it had some fascinating local color and outdoor scenes, the human relations seemed absurd, especially to socialist. The acting was jerky. Jim, who then gave the commentary, made fun of the situations, pointing out the male chauvinism and lack of class consciousness on the part of the workers. Everybody was thoroughly bored by the end of the picture.
While the film was being shown, the medical staff dealt with an emergency which had developed. The baby of a Guyanese official was brought in with a throat obstruction. Though given all the possible medical attention the child would have died without Jim’s intervention.
Ollie and Eugene Smith’s baby was also born tonight. As later reported to us by Jim, the cord was wrapped around the baby who also would have died but for Jim’s healing power.
7 June 1978 – Wednesday
I was a little late for breakfast and there was a long line. Some newly prepared fruit preserves, after being approved by Jim at a rally, were served. I suspect this drew more people then usual or perhaps people took larger helpings. The kitchen had run out of biscuits and had to make more and there were no preserves by the time I got to the window.
I typed in my journal for an hour and a half. Eleanor Beam, who sleeps in the daytime afterwards asked me if I typed every day. I said no but every now and then, as I intend to try to make more progress on my journal. She said it disturbed her. I later told Inez about the incident who said the housing committee should not put day sleepers in cottages with day workers. I was upset about the matter, because Eleanor either has or expects to have considerable influence with Jonestown activities because of her dad, Jack Beam.
In my adult class after a brief phonics drill, I asked the members to write a composition based on yesterday’s discussion on religion. I put some of the vocabulary on the board to help with spelling and outlined the main points, asking them not to copy what I wrote. Only 10 or so turned in papers out of 40 or more who were present. Christine Young [Cobb] came and I asked her to supervise the reading aloud of a story from a school book. She did well, asking the names of those who read, so that we can all get to know each other. I was glad for this as I know personally only a few.
Took my shower.
Joicy Clark told me Nancy Clay is the great grandmother of the new Smith baby. I didn’t know she is the mother of Joleen Wideman, Ollie’s mother, who left the Temple in San Francisco.
Tropp continued showing “Z” to the language arts classes. I am myself absorbing many details which I had not noticed the many times I have seen the film. I did not stay for the second class, instead read Identity of Yeats in the pavilion.
Went to dinner and then teachers meeting.
Went home and came back for the women’s revolutionary meeting. Ava Jones opened the meeting; Jann Gurvich conducted it. I thought it much better planned and more varied than previous meetings.
Women’s Meeting Janet Lenin, Betty Jean Gill, Kim Fye charged by Anita March of supporting Kenny Reed and talking to him about other women.
Pauline Simon wanted all parents on the floor who didn’t show up for the children’s Open House. Among those named were Betty Moore (child Billy); Robert Paul; Harold Cordell (Bogue) and Edith Bogue (child Jimmy Jo Cordell)
Gloria Griffith on the floor for not standing up to a man.
Using profanity before children is to be avoided. This and a number of the items are to be brought up in the joint men’s and women’s meeting
At the end of the separate meetings Jim addressed the group from the radio room.
Jim gave news. The men came into the pavilion and the joint meeting started.
Items on the agenda:
(1) Men who didn’t go to the Open House to see their children’s work. They have to make amends.
(2) Cursing by children is the result of profanity used before children.
(3) Cleaning work in the residences and work areas should be the job of men as well as women.
(4) On some jobs women are given the paper work while training is given to the men. Chris Lund was brought up as an example of a supervisor who did this. Jann said we don’t come to do service work on the crews. Chris is to outline the job of everyone. Hue says women are not to get the secretarial work.
Brian Boquet and Robert Paul brought up for not going to the Open House. They are to talk to the children’s teachers, apologize to the children. Paul doesn’t show concern for his baby.
Don Jackson called up for the way he talks to the sisters. Complaints came from females ranging from Joyce Touchette to Inez Wagner to Teresa King to the children in his class. He has been complained of before. He is even pushy on the food line. Thelma Jackson joined in the attack on his chauvinistic attitude.
Ava Jones mentioned that men make remarks about “Ava’s bitches” or “Ava has liberated you” to women who bring them up. She resents this.
Johnny Jones mentioned that at the brothers meeting, the younger brothers said there was not enough attention given to the Open House. We will have another one.
A committee was established to work out a Big Brother, Big Sister announcement. Spoke to Emmett Griffith.
New arrivals were welcomed.
When we got home Versie Connesero [Perkins] told us she had been selected to go to Georgetown for six weeks or two months. This is part of a new rotation policy deemed advisable because of the defection of Debbie Blakey. She had to get some clothes washed and dried. Then she would return to the cottage and pack. She asked us whether she would disturb us. The boat is due to leave in the early morning. I did not hear her when she returned.
8 June 1978 – Thursday
After breakfast and my morning routine. I spent some time reviewing news in preparing for speaking before Medical Office today and read the news posted on the board, and Teresa gave me her notes to read. She takes down Jim’s newscasts for summarization on the chalkboards in the library. Though in longhand, they were not very clear to me.
I prepared go my adult class. I read the papers I had received yesterday. There were several which expressed thoughtful ideas with regard to religion and were clearly enough written to be appreciated.
Took my shower at 11.00 as I thought I might not have enough time after I spoke to the medical personnel at 2.00.
I was a little late for lunch.
In the adult class I gave a phonics review first, and then I explained several items of news. I didn’t have any time left to have the class practice reading.
Went directly to the medical office. The staff who had time to listen to me sat outside today at tables in the dinning area. There was less distraction than at any previous meeting with medical personnel.
I didn’t go home after the discussion but sat in the pavilion and read The Identity of Yeats.
I attended the language arts session continuing the study of “Z.”
Went home afterwards and came back for dinner.
Becky Beikman had told me she had two new baby macaws which were received from an Amerindian last night. Becky supervises the care of the birds. I went with her to watch her feed them. They were surprisingly big, but were quite young as their feather growth was incomplete. They have to be kept warm and fed by hand. We gave them rice. These are blue macaws, one male and one female. The two macaws we have now are both male, so we’re happy to have a female.
I went to the high school teachers meeting. Afterwards I stayed to discuss privately with [Dick] Tropp, Ellie’s objections to my typing. I reminded him I use the typewriter to keep school records and do school work. He said Eleanor would have to adapt to my typing. He would speak to Jack Beam.
The political enlightenment teachers met at 7:00. Jim had given about seven overall topics he wished us to discuss in the classes. Each teacher was to turn in two proposed questions for the next test based on these topics.
The political enlightenment classes met at 8.00. Don Jackson and I led discussion on the required items. Among them were religion, occultism, and science fiction as harmful influences at the present time and discussion of the film “Z”.
I read a while in Identity of Yeats after reaching home.
Went to bed at 11.00.
9 June 1978 – Friday
Missed my brown sandals this morning. They have been removed from the rack on the porch. I hadn’t worn them for several days as on account of the rain; I’ve been wearing boots and thongs.
Went to the warehouse and was given another pair of sandals. They had few to choose from.
Worked on journal entries. I am behind on these.
Went to lunch.
In the adult class we practiced phonics, read from a story in the school reader. I read aloud a few of the papers from the class. We had a discussion on “Z” and I tried to bring out the main points.
Took my shower.
In the first period language arts class Tropp had a small portion of “Z” shown, then had the class write a summary of the film, suggesting questions which should be answered. The teachers have to grade their own student’s papers. Some of my students were absent and of those present few turned in papers. At the beginning of the second period class someone took my pencil. I tired to observe the pencils the students had. A number had long yellow pencils. Tommy Bogue had a Dixon Ticondaroga like mine but said he got it form Harold Bogue.
I read Identity of Yeats until going to eat and attending the high school teachers meeting at 6.00.
Today is the monthly anniversary of Lynetta Jones’ death. After dinner and before the rally people were escorted to her grave for a brief observance. I went just before the rally.
Jim’s tape of the news was played.
Jim gave us the political enlightenment test. He had ten questions prepared then gave thirteen more for extra credit. It was obvious he had not read the letter carefully as he was surprised himself at some of the questions. Jim let us write the questions down first but he did not give much time to answer them, and I could not come back to one I had left unfinished. However I thought I did well. Jim took the teachers’ questions to grade.
Agricultural reports (highlights)
Blakey working on compost pit
Mary Wotherspoon: Cassava. A cassava expert from the government is perhaps visiting the 13-18 June. Tina says the mill has flies, cats, rats and not particularly impressive. Can be cleaned up. Needs extra help. In discussion, believed we should decide whether to send a representative to the cassava seminar.
Charcoal Production. Jack Beam said a bigger brick kiln is being built. Jim spoke on a trading policy with government officials. We give them help and they give us help. Jack told of a new cement made of sulfate-based waste material stronger then ordinary cement.
Jim spoke of contract government already had for charcoal. We could participate. Charcoal is in demand for export. Discussion on apparatus needed. Johnny Jones and Jack Beam discuss most profitable way to manufacture charcoal and the public relations result of helping the Guyanese government.
Soap Factory. Etta starts manufacturing soap tomorrow. Rheaviana says we have all that is necessary for making shampoo, hair oil perfumes, deodorants and toothpaste.
Don Fitch says horse cart coming along gracefully.
Safety Committee report. I reported on finding nails in boards. Report that people making alterations in lofts without permission. They will be inspected for safety. Many other safety hazards around. Safety on playing equipment for children and negligence of supervisors. If one is a supervisor in an area which has such a hazard, the supervisor will be on New Brigade.
Warnings: Sue Jerram [Noxon] gained 10 lbs in 2 wks. She eats out of garbage cans. Her compulsiveness discussed with Marcy taking the lead. She will meet her tonight with a committee and try to arrive at a solution.
New people report out first impressions, good and bad. Florine Dyson couldn’t wait to get here, says food gives her problem but she’ll get used to it. Sanchez [?] a man having been out a year came back, appreciates everybody, Gloria Rodriguez, Estelle McCall, young girl, Robin Tschetter, felt at first her head wasn’t where everyone else was. Rose McKnight pretends to be ill to get out of work, gets a warning.
The socialist teachers met after the rally. Jann was putting the acceptable answers on the chalkboard. Some wanted to take and grade the tests then, but most did not. We copied the answers form the board.
I didn’t get to bed until 12.30.
10 June 1978 – Saturday
Did my laundry borrowing Rita’s tub. He weather was clear in the morning but very humid. Rain fell a couple of times during the day and my laundry barely got dry before evening.
Went to lunch.
I was tired and did not feel well. I have not had any appetite recently. I tried to take a nap, dozed a little. Stayed in bed a good part of the afternoon. Eleanor Beam, Ann Edwards and other young people played a tape of rock music all afternoon. I didn’t mind at first but it began to get on my nerves. I suspected the tape recorder was one used at work in the dispatch office but I did not see it.
Our cottage was scheduled for counseling at 6.15 but several people did not come and our case was dismissed. I suspect the session was initiated by Irra who has been much disturbed at the appearance of the cottage. Jim had given instructions that our living quarters be beautiful so that they can be shown to guests. Irra and Inez also have been persistently distressed at Laura, who leaves her belongings on the spare bed and at Eleanor and Sophia Casanova who don’t keep theirs in good order.
Took a shower.
Spent a little time writing journal entries.
A videotape of a film on the CIA ship[?], “The Condor”, was shown, but I didn’t see it. At great expense a new videotape machine has been obtained for us, but it broke before the film was over. I heard from Irra.
I read Identity of Yeats.
The political enlightenment teachers were to meet at 7.00 to grade papers but this was not necessary. I found, as most of the teachers had taken papers last night. Jann had devised a scale to give an advantage to very young people and to seniors. A call was issued for people to help seniors who hadn’t taken the test last night and were taking it now. I went to the rice tent to help. Rob Christian was giving the tests. He went very fast and was impatient. There were few to work with the seniors who needed help. I worked with two in particular from the ones I talked to. I judged ignorance of the topics was widespread among them.
I went home, read a while, went to bed at 11.00.
11 June 1978 – Sunday
For breakfast we had wheat cereal and a toasted English muffin.
Typed in my journal for about 2½ hrs. I did five pages. Eleanor did not complain and may have slept through it.
Most of the cottage residents by 12.20 had returned for their half day off. Irra and Inez were still in their cleaning up and fixing up mood. Irra swept, rearranged and decorated. Patty McCoy left some of her belongings which were all put in a box. Inez went to the falls with Jack Barron.
I shampooed my hair after doing a few personal chores.
Read Identity of Yeats.
Went to eat sometime after 4.00; we had fried rice.
Counseling for our cottage was scheduled at 6.15. A few of us came, but most did not and we were dismissed.
At 7.00 I went to the pavilion and inquired of Jann about the political enlightenment test papers. I hadn’t realized it but many teachers took papers last night; so there were no more to do. Rob Christian was testing those who because of work or for other reasons had not taken the test last night and he called for help with the seniors who couldn’t write. I went to the rice tent and offered my services. There were more who needed help than there were helpers. But the seniors for the most part did not understand the questions. I tried to help Mary Castillo, the humped back woman, and another elderly woman. Rob gave the questions very fast and was impatient.
At home I read Identity of Yeats a while.
Mary Lou Clancey and Christine Lucientes moved into our cottage loft tonight from the cottage next door, Inez and I have been concerned that Karen would do the typing for her job (she handles counseling matters for Jim) in our cottage at night time.
Laura moved to the upper bunk downstairs. Irra Johnson put a mattress and sheet on the lower bunk so that it would look neat.
Terri is back in the loft. She and Mike Prokes returned. I think they may have been in Caracas for the conference of which Jim spoke and have gone to see what Debbie Blakey was doing there.
12 June 1978 – Monday
After breakfast I talked to Rita. She told me the loft in her cottage was being remodeled because a child would be in the cottage. This is probably John, not Kemo [Prokes]. I don’t know why Mary Lou Clancey is moving into our cottage.
I caught up a little on my journal.
In my adult class I gave spelling words, phonics and then told them of my effort to help improve the testing situation for seniors. To do this I want to learn how well my class members write and also whether they can discuss news items clearly. We then had class discussion on the movie“Z”. I wrote proper names on the board and asked all who could to write a pargraph on what “Z” shows. Christine Young [Cobb] came during the last part of the period. She had made an alphabetical list for the class roll.
Took a shower.
My Language Arts class discussed “Z” again. Attendance was low.
Read Identity of Yeats in the pavilion.
For dinner we had kidney beans fried fish and sweet potatoes.
Only Tropp and I attended teachers meeting. Tropp dealt with some students brought up for a misdemeanor.
A rally was scheduled but was cancelled.
I went home. Irra and Inez were there talking still about decorating the cottage. Irra objected to my towels because they are stained. I wash them myself by hand and the water is muddy so they don’t come out spotless. I don’t like to send them to the laundry because of the trouble and because they are sometimes lost. Irra wants me to get new towels from the warehouse.
I went back to the central area and announced a special meeting of my adult class, as Jim had asked me to have evening sessions for those who could not attend in the daytime. 14 people came. I gave suggestions about learning news events and talked about several countries in Africa.
When I changed back into my boots, I left behind my thongs I had been wearing. Missing them when I got home, I went back and looked for them, but couldn’t find them.
Read Identity of Yeats.
Went to bed at 11.00.
13 June 1978 – Tuesday
After breakfast I found that my thongs had been picked up and were in the keeping of the library staff.
I worked on journal entries.
Went to lunch.
In my adult class I gave phonics drill first, then the class continued discussion of “Z” with Christine Young [Cobb] conducting it, taking the names of people who participated. Lori [Fields] was not present. I was told she had had a heart attack. I had to handle all the chores she usually takes care of: passing out paper, pencil, books and taking the roll. The attendance was large and I was I late in getting away as there were many people with questions just before the socialist test.
Took a shower.
Stopped at Edith Cordell’s cottage. I had arranged for Edith to cut my hair.
In the first period class we discussed “Z”.
I read Identity of Yeats in the pavilion, then had dinner and went to the teachers’ meeting.
The news items which had previously been posted on the board in the dining area have been moved up to the cottage area, probably to avoid congestion. I read the news, got my pillow and clipboard and returned up to the pavilion for the rally.
The tape of the news was played.
A broadcast. Jim tuned in and watched. Afterward he commented on lack of sympathy for people suffering. Don’t think people do well with routine living. Canadian visit today. Wanted help us financially. We are in period of upswing here.
Jim asked people to tell us what is wrong with the community. Selika brings up question of clothing distribution from warehouse. Needs Committee is not functioning Warehouse will not honor any request without authorization from Needs Committee. Shirley Smith will head Needs Committee. Ruby Carroll showed the articles saved out of scraps. Next up is food waste. Charges about distribution of certain foods such as: meat, unfairness, conscious or unconscious, shortage of dishes, glasses, and silverware. People take them away. Jim urges constant attention to theft. If it continues, call Internal Security. There were many details concerning food & service of food, courtesy at the serving window and discourtesy in children.
Building plans displayed. Jim said his plan for cottages was eventually four to a cottage and would have now if it had not been for Stoen and the conspirators. Dorms will be ideal for libraries and schools.
Agricultural reports. Moton says Mexico wants us to experiment with high protein corn, distribute it in Guyana. Jim mentioned Canadian offer again. He was told Trudeau actually a Socialist. Jim spoke of capitalistic, bureaucratic hangovers in Guyana but the government had stood back of us. Customs let us get away with all kinds of exemptions. We are negotiating with Soviet Union in case of new emergency. Now is the time when it is quiet. Soviet has to look at us very carefully – a thousand church folk and they are all communist!
Chickenry: Robert Gieg. Jim says report of losing chickens by pre-injection at source not true, as other people who bought chickens at same place did not suffer loss. Our chickens could have died because of poison in the chicken house. 800 chickens lost. Fixing responsibility for whole episode subject of long discussion. Jim says Cubans nearly went under because of lack of concern. We must get over this.
Small animals: Male duck is attacking other animals; may have to lock him up. The female had been sitting on eggs for three weeks.
Senior gardens: Selika says rains washing seeds away so no produce from gardens.
Insecticides: Ernestine Blair says rats are in cottages. Jim says that’s what bringing food in does. Have to watch babies. One of the female cats had adopted an opossum.
Request to go back to chain saw for cutting timber. Big demands for wood. Jim very apprehensive, insists on closest control. He said he has made no provision in the budget for it.
Extra classes for those who failed socialist test. Who did poorly: 3 hours one night, 3 hours next night.
Jim read names of those who failed socialism test; have to attend socialism class 6 hours. 3 hours, one night and 3 hours, the next. There were 218 excellent and near excellent.
Martin Amos: Two cases of using violence on the playground. He admits his mother Sharon Amos, leaving for Georgetown is the reason. Jack Beam is his substitute parent. Grubbs says he’s aggressive and irritates other children and they retaliate. Jim gave him a warning for one day. He must set a good example tomorrow.
Willie Malone: Pushed Carol Kerns. He is in a supervisory position. Lee Ingram said there was no excuse for resorting to violence over a dispute about cookies. He’s to be on New Brigade. Carol Lendo insolent on New Brigade but improved last 3 days.
Rally out about 12.30. I was in bed by 1.00.
14 June 1978 – Wednesday
As rising and eating were 2 hours late this morning, I found I could not be served breakfast until 9.00.
Worked on journal entries.
Made a lesson plan for my adult class.
In the adult class we had a phonics lesson, then I opened a discussion on stealing. First hearing complaints from people who had missed items of clothing and other articles Then I asked if class members had observed or suspected the theft of food from the kitchen area or special favors given to the staff’s relatives or friends. There were many complaints but they were general in character. Selika Bordenave, who reports on the senior gardens in rallies and also is head of inspectors was in attendance and participated. She supported my request to the group to gather evidence and submit it, including names, and details. The class session aroused a great deal of interest.
I took my shower.
Had intended to start diagnostic reading tests in first period class today but as Willie was not present I did not. I brought different reading texts and let the students choose what they wanted to read. Marcus and Marice Anderson read something together which they seemed to enjoy very much. Jerome showed no interest in reading. Billy made a pretense of reading intently something by Lenin which he has brought in previously but his attention wondered and he stared blankly. Loretha found nothing she cared about. Yolanda Brown and Alida Santiago did fairly well.
I helped Annie B. Washington with a report on articles she has lost, beginning when she lived in our cottage. Thieves continue to steal some of her personal items of clothing from the apartment where she lives now. Joyce Touchette had advised her to give a description of the articles so that the inspectors can be on the look-out for them. So getting her description, writing them down took the whole next period until dinner.
I ate. Some of us got together for teachers meeting but Tropp did not come.
At 7.00 we had the special socialism class for all those who had failed to pass the test. Three teams of two teachers each had been chosen. There would have been enough teachers without me. Christine [Lucientes] would have excused me. However one young woman wanted to go home and care for her baby so I took her place. Besides I was curious to see what aspect the experience had on seniors. Bob Rankin was my partner, we taught for three hours. We got good participation. But I thought Bob Rankin was too difficult for most of those present. I was very tired as I had been on my feet so much.
When I was ready to go home I couldn’t find my boots, which I believed I had taken off in the pavilion. A movie had been shown in the pavilion and I couldn’t find my boots there, neither were they in the library or rice tent.
I went home and went to bed as 11.00.
15 June 1978 – Thursday
Important officials, agricultural officials and newspapermen, visited today arriving at 9:00. John [Stoen] was in our loft with Mary Lou Clancy, probably to keep him out of the way of newspapermen.
I borrowed Rita’s little tub to do some preliminary washing. I had a conversation with her. She said Lisa, Larry, and Karen Layton were called to the radio room during the night. Rita and I talked about the possibility of food theft from the kitchen. She does not believe there are many instances of doing favors for friends. I told her of Irra and Inez getting scraps of cloth which they are going to use to make extra clothes for themselves. She thought I should mention this to Ruby Carroll. Ruth is a server (helps serve food to guests) has few clothes to wear compared with other girls.
I washed my clothes and hung them up. A little rain fell afterwards during the day but most of my clothes got dry.
Worked on my lesson plans and did s little work on my journal.
Met my adult class. We had a kind of word game during the phonics sessions. I made a few remarks as a follow-up to the discussion on food cheating, warning the group to be sure they submitted evidence with charges and to be polite when speaking to an individual about alleged injustice. Christine [Cobb] had come in. I suddenly remembered it was Thursday and I should have been prepared to speak before the medical department but I had heard and read very little news during the week and had not reviewed it this morning. I decided not to try to give the talk. Christine gave some news items to the class and I wrote them on the board.
I dismissed the class a little early and made my excuses to the medical office.
Had a shower.
Finished my preparations for my first period class. I met the class in the pavilion. We had no blackboard. I had written six questions on “Z” on separate pieces of paper. I had the students write answers, taking the questions in any order. I helped with spelling. They seemed to enjoy the exercise. Jerome was on the front gate and Willie is still not back in class.
The beginning free hour I worked on my journal entries.
Went to dinner. We had liver with rice, eggplant and greens, sweet potatoes and a fruit salad of pineapple and mangoes.
The Socialism teachers met at 6.30, Rob Christian in charge. We each wrote two suggested questions for the next test and discussed arrangements for giving and grading the tests. The grading was too lenient on the last one and some teachers told their friends their grades before final decisions were made. We decided to recommend that Socialism teachers grade papers for their own classes. Those taking the test who cannot write will be taken out and given help in the rice tent.
People who have to take the extra class tonight (teachers had already been chosen) were assembling. Jim announced they could see the movies being shown and write a report on them.
I went home instead of seeing the films. I learned later they were “The Parallax View” and a film on the Rosenberg trial. I think they were shown on videotape, the machine had been repaired.
I read Identity of Yeats.
Mary Lou and Annie Moore came to get Terri Buford’s trunk. She is going to Georgetown. She has had only 3 hours at home since her arrival.
Irra was the first in our cottage to arrive home. She told me that after the film Jim spoke. He said Lisa, Larry and Karen Layton had made a phone patch on the radio speaking for the press, but the press didn’t pay any attention to what they said. Apparently Debbie Blakey is actively helping the conspiracy. She stole $15,000.
I went to bed about 11.00.
16 June 1978 – Friday
Visitors were in Jonestown today.
After breakfast I made journal entries, also worked on lesson plans for my classes and read papers written by the adult class and first period class.
In the adult class we had a phonics drill first. We then discussed news items suggested by different class members. Vernetta came by and gave me a sheet with Jim’s remarks last night. I put the main details on the board. Rob Christian did not come today.
Had my shower.
During the first period class we had discussion around the table on “Z”. The students displayed occasional insights but also had a number of misconceptions.
I waited in the pavilion for a senior who had wanted me to write something for her but she didn’t come. I wrote journal entries.
After dinner I went home, then came back for socialist teachers meeting. Rob Christian presided. We were to draft questions and a committee of three was to select the ones to pass on to Jim as our selections. We heard some comments on the grading of the last test. Rob Christian was very resentful of Dick Troop’s criticisms. Jann said she would never supervise such a test again.
We broke up and the political enlightenment class met. Rob Christian read the test questions. I was exhausted. I wrote the questions on paper and Don Jackson wrote them on the board. Students wrote the question down, answered them later. I offered to stay to help people who couldn’t write. This proved to be a tiring chore as I had to move to each one to hear the answer privately and write it down. There were about eight seniors and two children.
A required movie on the Nazis was being shown in the pavilion but when I finished the test I didn’t stay for it. I went home and read Identity of Yeats.
The other cottage residents came home. There was talk of the rat that had been heard in the cottage. Some saw him. He had apparently eaten a hole in my plastic bag and on some of Irra’s fabric scraps. Inez and Irra were particularly upset. Christine Lucientes went next door to sleep. I didn’t get to sleep until midnight because people heard or saw the rat. He ran around the loft and over the beds.
17 June 1978 – Saturday
A house check was conducted this morning at 5:00, waking me up. I got up and went to the bathroom. I tried to go back to sleep but the rat was up again. Inez and Irra thought he was dying on Versie’s bed. Inez got up and dressed for work. I did not go back to sleep.
At 7.30 I dressed and went to breakfast.
The answers to the political enlightenment test were put on the chalkboard in the school tent last night for the teachers last night but had been erased. I talked to other teachers and Don Jackson about grading the papers. I went by Rob Christian’s house and got the answers from Rob.
Borrowed Rita’s tub and did the laundry that had accumulated since I did it Thursday. I had a conversation with Don Fields. He was asking what I thought about the Guyana` referendum to be held in July. We talked about Guyana politics in general and I told him I had very little knowledge not even being acquainted with the personalities or issues involved even through the maps.
Conversed with Rita. She is still urging me to tell Ruby Carroll that Inez and Irra have taken large amounts of fabric scraps to make clothes for themselves. We both believe this is irresponsible as money can be made for the commune by making articles to sell. Rita furthermore had a personal interest. When I told her Inez was talking of making a quilt for Mark Wagner and his companion she said, “My daughter (Ruth) does not even have a blanket.”
I graded half of the political enlightenment tests, taking the other half to Don Jackson’s cottage. I took half of the senior papers. The scores were better than I expected. A fairly good range was represented. However, my opinion was reinforced that the test gave a very poor idea of the knowledge of news events of the week.
Went to lunch.
Sewed for a good part of the afternoon. I started to make another bag from the material which was believed to be some Patty had. It was in a box which was returned from her house and I decided to use it.
Went to dinner.
Returned to the cottage and prepared for the rally.
Newscasts: Lee Ingram announcements. The crowd was very hard to get quiet. New rules of Needs Committee. Community singing. Baby owl brought in. Jim referred to atmosphere we have given our children. Mrs. Rogers, a visitor yesterday with Mingo. She is our strong supporter, hates US and member of PNC, overstayed by three hours. Our people were very impressive to her. They have no illusions what they are in for. The PNC sent $20,000 to S. African freedom battle.
Little bull calf born this morning.
Jim explains restrictions on freedom. Can’t report on finances freely yet Mingo said he didn’t realize how dangerous the US is. We have got to honor work more than they do.
Jim asked for more comments and criticisms. Marthea says we need Department of Public Service on regular basis. Maintain cleanliness and upkeep. Present system of New Brigade is too haphazard. Jim feels New Brigade could do this work. Jim named the New Brigade the Public Service Department. She thinks violence is getting worse in the commune. Three children and three adults now on New Brigade for violence. Tschetter criticizes bathroom cleanliness, upkeep especially in cottage area discussed, for instance laundry lines, straightening the pole.
Ruby reports cloth scraps being scattered around by children. Jim says very important to go ahead with sewing projects as we make money from clothing,
TV according to Guyanese prevents people from reading. They don’t believe in it. Average Guyanese reads much more than we do. They’re better educated than we are. Ruby wants people to sew to specifications, what will sell.
Tom Grubbs reported on expensive items he finds in trash cans.
Jim: when we get the people here that are there, you’ll have to prove to us to stay. Everybody who wants to go can go. Seniors, young people and ones with a constant problem were mentioned. After what Debbie said in the newspaper article, nothing you can say will make any difference.
Edith Cordell makes a complaint about young people in the cottage who don’t help in the cottage and leave everything dirty.
Marie mentioned teenagers sitting while seniors stand in the dining area. She will be watching and so will police it until we gain sensitivity beforehand. Jack Beam says also tables and chairs are to be returned from where they were taken so that we have a place to sit to eat.
Jim Morell [Bogue] introduced reports competently.
Etta Thompson: progress on soap manufacturing. Gene Chaikin suggested a logo of excellence with a slogan.
Ernestine March on herbal gardens: gave list of special trees and foods now being produced for use.
Counseling: Altercation between Alfreda March and Mike Lund, in class. Determination is that she taunted him on purpose.
Nancy Jones on cost of soap stolen from her said “that man can send me back to the states,” With her attitude, Jim says she’ll never be healed when she needs it. Jim says if she does this once more “you’re going to be flat ass on your back.”
Leana Cordell [Natasha LaNa Cordell] had stroke under pressure and has recovered.
Praises: Tom Grubbs, much overtime and extraordinary effort.
Willie Malone has bad attitude in cleaning bathrooms and spoke insolently to Katherine Domineck. After several people’s testimony, Jim says he takes advantage when given money.
Jim discerns he was pale from lack of sleep.
Jim noted that Daisy Lee had been very spunky when the police talked to her. She wouldn’t tell anything about anyone in the cause. She deserves much credit.
Ernestine March had come for the poison control group and set out a baited trap for the mouse. He had not been found dead. There was more talk of the rat. Irra moved to another bed as the rat had left turds in hers.
We had got out of the rally early and I was in bed by 11.00.
Eleanor Beam is on the Public Services unit for not doing her inspector job and letting other people do it.
June 18 1978 – Sunday
A house check was made again around 5.00, lights turned on and speaking in a loud voice. After that I only dozed until time to get up, 8:00. For breakfast we had pancakes with syrup, some mango butter was given to each on an experimental basis. We also had coffee.
Typed in my journal from 9.00 until 12.00, finishing five pages again. I took another half hour or so to write a two page memo to Jim proposing a teaching program instead of a testing program in political enlightenment, for those who cannot write based on my experience of the past few weeks. Eleanor is still in the Public Service Unit and the other residents were putting in their half-day.
When some of them began to get home I took my shower and washed my hair.
Inez and Irra did some work in the yard and cleaned up the cottage. They worked a good part of the afternoon decorating their areas. They continued to discuss the sewing they planned for the fabric scraps they have obtained. Inez spoke of making a quilt for her son, with whom she seems to be on good terms again and his companion.
I spent most of the afternoon sewing on the bag I am making.
I went to dinner at 4:30. We had a grilled cheese sandwich, sweet potatoes mixed vegetables, and a mango.
After dinner “Sesame Street” was put on the audiotape machine for the children. Then the documentary on Castro was to be shown and later a comedy film.
I returned to the cottage. I left my clipboard in the toilet, went back for it and learned someone took it to turn into the Radio Room. I made notes for my journal.
Hearing an announcement that Jim had made the Castro film mandatory, I went to the pavilion. I stopped at the Radio Room but didn’t get the clipboard. I had trouble finding a seat for the film but finally got one next to the Tschetters. Treats were being given out; today we had popcorn balls made of fudge.
The film was an interview with Fidel Castro by Barbara Walters. Jim conducted a discussion afterwards. He had been obviously disturbed by the lack of seriousness he had seen, making necessary the mandatory showing and his remarks following it. Some people had been disappointed that he wouldn’t allow them to dance on the dirt floor which kicks up dirt which is bad for their lungs. Also someone close to him on his staff had demanded sex relations with him. He made references to a person, white, given an education by him and connected these characteristics with several who had become traitors, including Debbie. He thought white educated people, unless they had suffered unusually, were particularly vulnerable to reason. Debbie Blakey had not wanted to study Marxism, or Leninism. He dwelt upon the unwillingness of many to make sacrifices. When all our people are safe here, we will have more freedom.
Jim made comments and answered questions on the Castro interview. Though he found questionable some of Castro’s practices, such as wearing an expensive watch, he admired him for his devotion to and promotion of communism.
When he dismissed us the group voted to get up and out at the normal time, but he wanted people to see the comedy film, which had been scheduled if they wished so he decreed a two hour delay tomorrow.
19 June 1978 – Monday
A particularly heavy rain fell during the night, awakening both Inez and myself. Water was coming in the window and the wind yanked the latch off when I tried to close it.
After breakfast I worked on lesson plans for my classes.
Upon further conversation with Rita on the big bag of material which Inez and Irra are planning to make up for their personal use, I saw Ruby Carroll about the matter. She said she would look at it but she would have to wait for Selika as she had to have an inspector with her. Later on the p.a. system we were informed some American newspapermen would be visiting and the inspectors had to see that all was in order so Ruby apparently had to postpone her investigation.
I turned over to Ruby my iron which Harriet had given back to me. Everyone in the cottage had been borrowing it for personal use. I was dismayed to find that it had been used too hot on material which melted on the surface of the iron.
Heavy rain started up during my adult class and we had to move further in. The number was small today. I read some stories from three books of African folk tales. Some class members went to sleep.
I took a shower.
Going to my first period class I met Ronnie Dennis and Billy Jones who said they were going to take a shower after their project work. They were at least 15 minutes late. The class met in the pavilion.
Jim was viewing a film and conferring with members of his staff as they came up to him: Harriet, Terri and others. We did not have a table with three of my class absent (Willie is still not attending as his work schedule had not been adjusted) and the danger of disturbing Jim, I decided to watch with the class the TV program which was a documentary on the Palestinian Arab refuges. Ronnie and Billy had come in. Dick Tropp came by was annoyed finding Ronnie asleep and hearing that he and Billy were late. He said it meant a warning though I would have preferred they come to a teachers meeting so that we could get the whole problem ironed out. I told the class we would find another place to start tomorrow.
For dinner we had fish cake, rice, sweet potatoes and vegetables.
There was no teachers meeting.
I went home and worked on journal entries, then read Identity of Yeats. Most of the other residents were out. Inez had gone to see “Three Days of the Condor” (being shown again as the machine’s breaking down had prevented its being finished before) and then went on to steering committee. I presumed Inez was at Steering.
Eleanor came home after being on the Public Services Unit.
I went to bed at 11:00.
20 June 1978 – Tuesday
We have a couple of cats wandering in and our of the cottage and although the rat has not died from poison as far as I know and has not been caught in the trap and Inez says she saw him last night, some of the commotion has subsided.
After breakfast I spent some time gathering news, which I needed for my adult class, because the community may be tested tomorrow at the rally. I intended first to read the material typed up by Teresa King from Jim’s p.a. system accounts but it had been stolen. I wrote down some details from what she had put on the chalkboards and from the material prepared by Vernetta, not posted at the cottages. This letter is hard to read, it is uncomfortable to stand in the sun to get it.
Made some journal entries and did lesson plans.
The lines for lunch were very long. The servers ran out of dishes and we had to wait. Two young men got dishes from people who had already eaten and tried to get served at the window ahead of us but I would not let them. When we finally did get lunch we had a very good bean soup but they must have run out of it because those last in line got bread pudding, I was told.
I was forty minutes late to my adult class. I didn’t do any phonics but spent all the time on news. The class was huge. Probably people came who would have used Teresa’s notebook.
Took my shower.
I re-thought my approach on my memo to Jim on the testing program, thinking I had not stated what a remarkable achievement had already been made in teaching a huge community to pay attention to intellectual material. Also my memo was too long so I intend to rewrite it.
All my students in the high school class were present today. I moved them from the pavilion to the school tent where we found an empty space with a table. I gave them the first of the diagnostic reading tests I have been planning. They did not have much difficulty with it and worked hard.
Went home after my class and returned with what I needed this evening.
Went to the pavilion where the high school socialism classes were viewing a TV program on the Rosenberg spy case, which I watched.
A number of seniors were gathering as usual in the pavilion to claim seats for the rally. They sat on the benches where they had been placed for the TV showing, but the crew arranging them for the rally insisted on everyone’s getting up until they were through. This is the common procedure before every rally and was exasperating to all concerned. I was disturbed that my work was interrupted (I wanted to make journal entries) while the benches were being organized, but I did get a good seat. The news tapes were played but it was impossible to hear well as there was also much noise as the crowd gathered.
Jim came in. He inquired if we listened to the news as it was played in the pavilions. He was dismayed when told we could not hear because of the noise. He said we should have protested and has it played again. He stopped in the middle to reveal his intelligence on members of community who talk favorably of USA or fail to speak of principles of communism.
Soviet Union representative arriving in July to discuss the exodus. Inquired about your leader’s health, ready on a moment’s notice to provide medical help.
Senator Brooks who’s afraid to say anything about Africa now his file being given to the opposing white man. He won’t be reelected in spite of his caution.
Jim borrowed notes from Marie Rankin as the loudspeaker wouldn’t work right to play the tape and gave the news from last two days.
Marcy made an announcement on milk supply for toddlers who weren’t getting any. She announced cutbacks. Many receiving snacks will also be cut back. Many adults had been receiving milk, some for medical reasons. Nursing mothers will continue to get some milk and Marcy read the lists of those who get milk and snacks. To make any changes a committee will decide.
Marcy is going to Georgetown to perform special tasks for Jim. She will meet embassy officials among others.
John Jones, Sr. reported that no one is to go on a tractor outside of Jonestown without written authorization. Person and tractor driver will be on Public Service if this rule is violated.
From Evaluation Board, discussed airlifting supplies, building warehouses or getting tarps considered. 180 people from the states. Jim said Garry thinks we have until end of September. No indictments will come down until then. Debbie gave every kind of information. She has offered herself as a government witness. Because of harm she has done, we have to sell property and get less for it. Jim’s priority has to be given to making money.
Johnny Jones. Shell we have to have for growing crops. A ballyhoo, a vessel to bring shell is needed. 300 to 400 tons between $24 -$44,000. Purchasing ballyhoo is the question. It may be safer and more economical to contract for it.
No test will be given tonight because we didn’t hear news tonight. Will be done at socialist meetings. Quiet will be enforced while news is played. Jim says valuing announcements will be enforced.
Malcolm Carter fell, miraculously saved. Who was responsible for his falling? Mother was taking him out of crib to give him to Gloria, Aurora Rodriguez’s daughter. Larry Schacht warned how easily babies can roll away.
Six months food supply coming in. No government not even a socialist government can guarantee you’re going to eat for six months, coming in another boat load. Proper storage is being provided. Charlie Touchette negotiated. When we schedule the help to start getting the material moved, will be settled by people concerned tomorrow.
Minister of Agriculture coming to dinner Monday in Jonestown. High honor. Best resp[?] report
Jim: inquired what is being done with personnel when it rains. Education project was to be discussed. Jan Wilsey says they work on other projects, as in kitchen. Gene and Pam are planning an educational project.
Nancy Sines is to work on logo to put on our Jonestown products. Several people volunteered to help.
Jim announced movies for tomorrow. Jim announced failing scores for political enlightenment test. Read the names of those who made “excellent”.
Alcohol experimentation has been going on. Ingredients will stay under security.
Lee Ingram: Some $4 found in American and Guyanese money in loft of Cottage No. 20. Melanie Breidenbach said it was hers. She just forgot. Jim dismissed it with a warning.
Marie Rankin [Lawrence] on fishpond. She’s annoyed, because Hue Fortson got a crew to work on it. Hue explained.
Jim said a change in the test taking allowing those who can’t write or read, for those that need it, will be sent to special classes: this program was drafted by Dick Tropp.
Plan for experimenting on making plywood was detailed.
On the floor: Tommy Jones (Kice) teasing Jerry Livingston threateningly. His test score questioned. School and work record bad. Two weeks automatic for teasing. Jocelyn Carter, one of his supervisors, was questioned about eye glasses sent in to Georgetown that were lost. Several thousand dollars involved. Corlis Boutte has a box of unclaimed glasses.
David Goodwin won’t work on the crew (public service). Jim healed him of blindness, put his life on the line. Had been prepared to commit suicide himself if he failed
Don Fitch was careless with cutters, risked his eyesight, got a warning, went on PSU.
Kenny Reed got warning for playing like he knows it all, won’t do little jobs. Went on PSU.
Billy Jones on PSU for being late to class as he had a previous warning. Ronnie got a warning for being late to class; was found to be asleep in the meeting so he went automatically on the PSU.
The meeting was dismissed. I got to bed about 1.00 o’clock. .
21 June 1978 – Wednesday
Mary Lou Clancey moved back to her former cottage which is Rita’s. She told me it was too crowded in our loft. A new resident moved in with Christine Lucientes, but I do not know her name.
I went to breakfast.
Stopped at the Coordinator’s office and saw Joyce Touchette, speaking to her about the scraps of material that Inez Wagner and Irra have as I don’t know when Ruby is going to look into it. Since Marcy left this morning I also mentioned the question of food theft from the kitchen. She did not want it to reach the floor as Jim would go without eating as he has in the past. She said she would look into any charges I received.
I worked on journal entries and lesson plans.
In view of the announcement last night on testing and socialism instruction procedure I abandoned my plan to write a memo to Jim on the subject. I will save my notes and see whether I will have comments later.
Went to lunch.
Met my adult class, gave a long phonics lesson. I was discouraged because some of the students I have had for months do not seem to be getting the idea of the sound system. I had the rest of the class read “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” to themselves. Then Elsie Bell superintended their reading aloud. The second part of the period I gave them a list of geographical and political words for help on the tests.
Took a shower.
My high school class had to be moved to another place in the school tent. I gave two more diagnostic tests. All were present including Ronnie and Billy who came to school from PSU. All students had a hard working attitude.
Went home as I have found it is better to get what I need for the rest of the day at this point.
I looked up Peter Wotherspoon. He and Mike Lund had made hot sauce and saved me a small bottle of it in return for the peppers I had contributed. (Jack Barron gathered them for me.)
I watched another portion of the Rosenberg TV documentary.
Women’s Liberation Meeting
Demonstration of breast examination. Breast exams were done in the back by medical staff during the meeting.
Krista Smith says junior high school girls show disrespect for the women teachers. All the girls came up to explain why they do it. They say they try to see what they can get by with. They do it to men teachers too. Some Junior High girls have been talking about “going with” this one or that one. Relationships are not anymore for people under 16. So, said Ava Jones, “You ain’t going with nobody. Shirley Hicks takes them to task for bringing capitalist behavior to Guyana. Stricter discipline will be used. All junior high girls’ names were taken. Their behavior will be reported next week.
Shirley Hicks turned in for getting a plate for a man.
Betty Jean Kim Tschetter criticized for several things she does with boys of whom she is the house mother. Washing them at home though they are 12 years old. She can’t go into the shower with them and says they don’t get themselves clean when they shower alone. Voluteers were secured to help with these and similar problems. Doesn’t show them enough affection. She gives more attention to Lowell McCoy, a hard-headed young man.
I was given a breast exam.
A young woman was being confronted about her attitude with a particular young man. I didn’t know her name. She is one of those who complain of pelvic pains and stays home from work. They have been reported as having sex these daytime hours.
Men joined women at the liberation meeting in the pavilion where Lee Ingram presided.
Respect for seniors was emphasized. Based on a report from Katherine Domineck that children curse her when they don’t get what they want.
Joe Wilson reported cursing at boys in his house according to neighbors, but boys deny it. All were cautioned to pay attention to the language they use around children.
The meeting was dismissed at 9.00.
A meeting of political enlightenment teachers was called but few came. The purpose was to get teachers for the extra classes being held tomorrow for those who failed the tests. I did not want to serve as I had done it last week and was very tired. A film on medical experimentation in German concentration camps was to be shown but I did not go.
Returned home and sewed on my bag. Inez was in the cottage too. I read a little of Identity of Yeats and went to bed at 11.00.
22 June 1978 – Thursday
Because I had to give a summary of the news before the Medical Department, a day before the next socialism test I spent an hour or two catching up on the news of he week. I read the blackboards on which Teresa King had written some of the news items, borrowed her notebooks in which she keeps the news from the tapes and went up to the cottage area to look at the typed news on the board.
Did a little work on my journal and wrote lesson plans.
For my adult class I tried some measures to promote concentration on sound as my beginning students seem slow to learn to associate the right sound with a letter. I used Ogden Nash’s “The Turtle” for the “f” sound also a verse from Phonics by ___. I devoted the rest of the period to an item about the publication of a new book by W.E.B.DuBois. Gave the class a few more items.
I was late to the Medical Department and they were even later in getting organized. And when I started, there were few to listen and the atmosphere was confused, so I felt the whole period was unsatisfactory.
I had time only to get to my high school class. I gave two more diagnostic test. All were there except Jerome who had a special work assignment. Unlike the previous tests, I couldn’t, according to the instructions, read the words aloud to them. They had to locate the answer entirely with their own eyes. Several had trouble reading, including Willie. I suspect all had a more difficult time with word recognition.
I took my shower after this class.
I went to dinner.
The political enlightenment teachers met in the rice tent at 7.00, only about half the teachers were there. Mike Touchette is chairman of the committee, which I didn’t know, with Rob Christian only co-chairman. Mike is going to Georgetown and it was necessary to elect a new co-chairman. After nominations were made it was the feeling of the group that a woman should be elected and Debby Jensen was elected. Chair explained the new procedures we are using. There were discussions and decisions on some matters. We all contributed three suggestions for items on the test. Teachers volunteered to teach tomorrow’s socialism classes for those who failed the tests. Kaye Nelson, Norma [Thelma] Jackson and I solicited items from suggestions and made up the test. We finished about 9.45.
In the Pavilion last night’s film was showing again but I went home.
I went to bed at 11:00.
23 June 1978 – Friday
Worked on my lesson plans for my classes and journal entries.
Went to lunch.
In my adult class I had a drill on phonics and then spent the remainder of the period on the news, putting the most significant items on the chalkboard. The class was not as large as I expected on the day of an expected test. I think many people were preparing chickens.
Took my shower.
In my language arts class high school I gave them a day off from diagnostic tests and concentrated on news items to help them with their test. Jerome missed today’s class again, on work assignment.
Went home and prepared for tonight’s events.
Tropp met with high school teachers taking suggestions for reprimands and praises. We discussed the possibility of getting tutors for some of the high school students who are having difficulty with reading. He said Chris Talley was tutoring Marcus Anderson which I did not know. Dick according to Jim has sold two articles on Jonestown personalities to magazines but he told me they were considering them. I asked him if he was interested in my CIA background. He said he was, also in the experience of Peter Wotherspoon and other teachers. Peter was reared in Chile, also he participated in the yuppie demonstrations at the Chicago political convention.
For the political enlightenment classes we were told to meet in the pavilion. We expected to be having a test, though I had been skeptical of this.
Political enlightenment class
Took upon myself getting audience quiet and microphone set up. Also tried to find seats for seniors and others.
News was broadcast.
Jim came in and asked questions. Jim commented on an article with material given by Debbie Layton. Because of revelation he had given her as to where our money is, she got about $25,000 instead of $15,000.
Jim read lie detector report of Maria Katsaris testifying as to molestations of her father and account of actions of Debbie.
Jim in answer to questions about China said people want to believe there is no morality. He used Debbie Layton as an example of convincing herself there is no moral standard.
It began to be apparent Jim wasn’t going to test the group tonight. He instead planned for an evening of conversation.
Jim drew out the reason for China’s attitude.
Growing discouraged at replies he received, especially from the young, he had the school teachers get some students not on the floor and then he called some adults. Everyone was called for some reason. Bob Kice admitted he should have told a remark Tom Kice made to him.
Jim’s not leaving with all the money, leaving the rest of you high and dry, proves there is morality. A communist leader once told him, “Jim Jones, you should go out while you can; these people are going to kill you.” Should do it, but doesn’t do it. Exploration of Bob Kice psyche. Admits homosexuality and strong longing for privacy.
Jim says he cannot do away with every light in the world. Say nothing is any good, have selfish children, selfish members, selfish leadership, elitism around him. He recalled the conditions that blacks lived under in this city. Wonder that they let us (whites) in.
Jim says you can control sex. Sex driven as he is, he can get to the stage where he wouldn’t want to have relations with anyone who is not principled.
Bob Kice had named Kenny Reed as physically attractive to him. Jim doesn’t agree. He recalled the way Kenny had endangered us with sexual molestation of children in the states and this area.
Need to have feeling for what others have suffered. Someone who had to bury her baby alive asks what there is to go back to, even a white, at his age. Rennie [Corrine Kice, Bob’s partner] reminds him he got him out of jail, tore up his records.
Talley asked why he didn’t report all the conversation. He names Herbert Newell, Albert Touchette as people he’s attracted to.
The leader has no power. You got people equals trouble.
Jim told Freeze Dry [Kevin Smith] to wake up; he said he wasn’t asleep. Called up to the front he admitted he was dozing. He couldn’t come up with anything that was said tonight.
Tomorrow: want to know class struggle, Stockwell on CIA. DuBois: Jim met him once. Only about 18 people there, nine members of Jim’s church.
Asked what he didn’t like at Jonestown. Freeze Dry said: Backbiting, specifically in the herbal kitchen, more specifically, Shirley Fields. He says she doesn’t know what she is doing. Jim agrees she doesn’t follow through. He advised her not to play yo-yo with her husband. Jim says she confides in, leans on fourteen different people. Ava Jones says she is indecisive, should make up her mind whether she wants to go back to Don Fields. She agrees, either shit or get off the pot. Jim says Don has come a long way. She needs to correct her follow-through before she goes back to him and places a burden on him.
Phyllis Chaikin says when Don became an asset to the Medical department it “bugged” her. She has been heard to say she can’t get capitalism out of her.
Patricia Cartmell reported complaining of structure. Remarked she made to Christine Lucientes about change of name New Brigade, “We sure have a lot of structure.”
Jim comments on article in Sun Reporter and the Moores speaking to Methodists on the good done by us and praised in the liberal press. The capitalist press said we buried people for four days in the ground. They called us “communists” and that was a mistake because it caught the attention of some such as Harvey Milk, supervisor.
Elihue Dennis made some remark in the audience about “Her fat ass doesn’t like structure. She’s down the river all the time.” His hostility attacked. Says he’s hostile because of, he had to leave his child in the states. Jim said: Elihue hostile all the time. Several other people were on the floor in connection with their remarks on Patricia and structure.
Jim brought the meeting to an end with a statement about the cancellation by the Federal Communication Commission of our amateur radio license. This will make our communications much more expensive. We will get a license from the Guyanese government but apparently an amateur operator in the States would be forbidden to communicate with us.
Whether we have a test on our political enlightenment classes tomorrow will depend on how much concentration on the news Jim sees.
I didn’t get home to bed until 2:00.
24 June 1978 – Saturday
We had a late morning, two hours.
Had breakfast. I did my laundry. I didn’t see Rita to borrow her little tub, so I washed my clothes in a small bucket without a handle which had been under our cottage for some time. Rains threatened but did not come. I was able to get everything dry without trouble.
For at least three weeks a duffle bag with a large amount of clothing in it has been sitting in the rain and mud at the pump and work benches near the cottages. No one has claimed it. So, today I went through it rinsing once each item. I found several pairs of boys’ undershorts, two pairs of boys jeans, numerous towels in good condition (except for being dirty), and sundry other items. The duffle bag bore the name of Doris Howard. Some of the clothing bore the name of Al Smith and some that of J.A.Jones (probably James Arthur) most of it bore cottage numbers.
We had been told in a rally that people who left their clothing around would be written up. I carried the clothing to the warehouse, making two trips. I was told there that I should take it to the laundry. Saw Joyce Touchette in there and told her about it. She said to get in touch with Selika head of the inspectors. No one seemed very grateful; it just meant extra work for everybody.
I corrected the spelling words I gave the adult class last week. Of those who turned their papers in, the majority did very well. I then corrected the diagnostic tests given to my remedial language arts class. They did better than I expected.
Went to dinner then home to prepare for the evening.
We all gathered in the pavilion, expecting a test.
However Jim came over the p.a. system with an announcement that we had to evacuate immediately all 200 of the people still in the states. They were all threatened with going to jail. He called all coordinators to meet on housing plans, which would have to be speeded up. Later he announced that, surprisingly we would be able to take care of all the new arrivals in the housing we had available now.
Meanwhile, “Roots” was shown for all those who cared to watch it. Some of it had been shown on one the last four nights, so the present showing started where the previous one had broken off.
Tropp called for all the writers to meet in the rice tent. My name was on the list. Tropp wanted 40 or 50 letters to Thomas Flemming, publisher of the Sun-Reporter, in SF, thanking him for his favorable editorial. I wrote my draft quickly so that I could see the “Roots” episodes. I had seen only two or three of them. I came into the pavilion in time to see the end of a part I had seen: the rape of Kizzy. I was most interested in the audience reaction to the defiance or submissiveness of the characters. The entire videotape was shown; it ended about 1:30.
I went to bed about 2:00. The cottage was dark and I got ready for bed without turning on the light.
25 June 1978 – Sunday
For breakfast we had doughnuts, rice and gravy.
I prepared to type in my journal but found the power was off and there were no lights and no water was being pumped. Instead of typing, I read previous typed pages of my journal and indicated corrections to be made. I then cleaned out and rearranged the contents of my top crate in which I keep the most used items in my daily life: books and supplies for my class, journal folder, personal care and sewing materials and writing materials.
I worked on journal entries.
Sonya Evans, daughter of Julius Evans of the Medical Department and a good singer who occupies the bunk above Eleanor had two little girls as guests today. She is about eleven and usually very responsible; but her guests, perhaps her younger sisters, were talkative and woke up Harriet and then Ruth [Lenin Tupper] and Ellie, all daytime sleepers. Harriet was angry and Eleanor scolded Sonya and told the little girls to go home.
The other residents arrived home. Inez brought with her Dawnyelle, daughter of Michelle and Don Fitch. Irra obtained garden tools and worked in the yard. There was much talk between her and Inez over the lack of cooperation of others. They paid little attention to me and I had the feeling they were deliberately trying not to talk to me. They had found that Harriet no longer had the iron and may know that I gave it away.
Everybody’s plans changed because we couldn’t take showers until the water went on again at 4:00. I had intended to wash my hair but started to sew. I put handles on my little bag I had made.
Went to dinner at 4:30. We had fried rice with chicken.
I then showered and shampooed my hair.
I listened to a short program at the pavilion including dancing by the Soul-Steppers.
I got my treat. A film “Tora! Tora! Tora!” was shown but I did not care to see it.
Took to Tropp in the school office, my letter to Tom Flemming which I had had to copy by hand.
I went home and read Identity of Yeats. Inez was cool to me all evening. I went to bed at 11:00
26 June 1978 – Monday
After breakfast I made journal entries.
I corrected the adults’ spelling papers and almost finished correcting my high school class diagnostic tests.
I went to lunch. Grubbs spoke to me about a crash literacy program Jim wants to conduct in Jonestown. Grubbs is to head it up and asked me questions about my class. As a start up he wants to take thirty of my students, finally decided on the non-readers of whom I told him I was not having very good luck. He plans to come tomorrow to my class and take the non- readers.
In my adult class I reviewed the news for the socialism test scheduled for tomorrow. Many were working on chickens but the attendance was fairly good anyway.
I took a shower.
In the high school class I also gave the students some preparation for the test. I spent most of the time on WEB Dubois who had been the focus of one of Jim’s special topics.
After going to the cottage and getting what I needed for tonight, I went to dinner.
Then went to the pavilion and listened to the news on the p.a. system until the rally started. I got a good seat after the benches were arranged.
Jim, on entering, began the test. Questions were the same for everybody. He had used a few of the items our group had prepared from the teachers’ suggestions, but in general it was a different test. He asked mainly essay questions, five of them, and then five bonus questions. After finishing their own tests people were named on a list previously were supposed to help those who couldn’t write but there weren’t enough so all the teachers had to help as well. When the test was over and as the rally continued those appointed to grade the papers went to the side of the pavilion and started to work, not finishing until the rally was nearly over. I was in this group. Tropp distributed the papers and Jan gave the answers. We were to make allowances for the age of the person. I had several seniors in my group some of whom did very well. I had a fairly good range excellent plus to failure. A couple of papers were so dimly penciled that my eyes in the poor light were unable to make them out and I had to ask for help.
In the rally going on at the same time, agricultural reports were given first. Then a number of behavioral problems were taken up. I could not follow them closely while I was grading the papers. The first concerned the relationship of Marilee Bogue Neal with her companion Cardell Neal. Jim had felt Cardell was imposed upon her unreasonably although in the end the facts did not seem to be that bad.
Tommy Bogue was then on the floor for continued bad behavior. He is already, I think, on the PSU for stealing. He remains a source of grief to his family and the community.
The case of a young girl, whose name I do not remember, accused of stealing a pair of tennis shoes was then the subject of a long confrontation. All the evidence seemed conclusively against her. She had been seen scrubbing the shoes vigorously to get mud off, she claimed, with the purpose of rubbing out another girl’s name. She persistently denied stealing the shoes and after a long, long hearing Jim said he believed her, although he had not used his energy to discern the truth.
One amusing item concerned Rose McKnight (Pearson) the other day an unidentified plane flew low over Jonestown. Most people came out to observe it. Rose was seen running for cover, afraid it would bomb the area. She was chided for taking so much thought for her personal safety. She said she was protecting children. “Then, why,” she was asked, “was she running ahead of the children?” which brought a good laugh.
As he has done on every possible occasion lately, Jim pleaded with us to take our performance more seriously, in our production, cut waste, get our minds off luxuries we enjoyed in the States. The efforts of the conspirators against us become more intense all the time. They are threatening law suits against us which will tie up the property we still own in the States and we have to move fast to get all our people out.
We finished grading the papers and returned to the auditorium before the rally was over.
I got to bed at 3:00. .
27 June & 28 June 1978 – Tuesday & Wednesday
[RYMUR-89-4286-2018- C-2 (Part I)-C-2-A-4 (1) shows Edith’s check-list page for June 78 notes. All days checked, except 27 & 28, apparently indicating she had no notes for those days. RYMUR numbering shows no missing pages and the notes recovered skip from June 26 to June 29]
29 June 1978 – Thursday
After breakfast I spent a couple of hours or so on news gathering in preparation for my appearance before the medical department and political enlightenment class.
It was an exceptionally hot day.
Made up lesson plans.
Took my shower before going to lunch as Thursday afternoons are always rushed.
After lunch I met with my adult class. I made sure to arrive before 12.00 as Jerome was supposed to attend that class and I planned to have a discussion with him concerning his goals. He did not come however, except to look in while on patrol with other security. The attendance was quite large.
I took the roll orally so as to get spelling of names correct, learn the identity of more of the students and begin to get an accurate list. I found that some wished to be counted present while actually attending Barbara Walker’s class next to mine. I am changing my tactics on teaching reading and phonics as the Distar approach has not proved very fruitful and I want to involve all students in reading improvement. I spent the last part of the period on a list of African countries with some of the important facts concerning them. I started with Angola and Chad and was astounded that no one knew their former relationship with a European country nor any facts concerning them now, though they have been in the news for weeks.
I was a little late arriving at the Medical Department, though they were later gathering to hear me and only a few attended the briefing. I spent the time mostly on a rather scattered number of items. I left about 3:30.
In my high school class I gave the last of the diagnostic tests which took the entire period. Most of them seemed to enjoy the activity and were well behaved except for Billy who was quiet but acted like an aggrieved actor. Willie was absent. I saw him later and he said he was sick and I gathered he had had some problems of theft of his belongings.
I went home, picked up what I would need later. On the way back a heavy rain started up and though I had on my raincoat and boots, I got some of my body drenched and the boots filled with water. I didn’t get dry the entire evening.
I went to the pavilion to claim a seat. I listened to news on the tape, until the political enlightenment teachers met at 7:00 in the rice tent. Debby was in charge but [Bob] Christian was present. Debby had the scores of those who took the test. Those who failed and perhaps those who made “fair” are to meet in special classes, while those who made excellent, plus, to good are to be in the pavilion. Jim named several from which the teachers in the pavilion were to be chosen. We were to select teachers for those needing extra help. Teachers are to be monitored so that the quality of instruction will be improved. We decided on seven groups of about twenty with two teachers for each class. We got volunteers for the fourteen teachers, I among them.
My seat had been saved for the showing of “The Battle of Algiers.” Jim commented on the film. It was required that all see it.
After the film I went down to the dining room area to get water. When I came back Jim was standing in front of the radio room talking to the community on the loud speaker system. A day or so ago he had requested that departments get in any last requests they had for supplies from the States, as the conspiracy may tie up our funds in suits. A committee was appointed to coordinate the requests. Tonight Jim said the orders totaled much more than we would have available and would have to be pared down. He went ahead to say that in future we will not be able to get anything at all from the US and we should plan where in socialist countries or in England we can order what we need.
Jim remarked on the increasing intensity of the lies being told about us. To the charge that two black men had attacked Mrs. Hunter and poured a bottle of liquor down her throat implying that the Temple was implicated and trying to incite racial fear in Mendocino County. They added the charge that we were going to kill Jim Cobb’s baby. Jim Cobb, a black man, is one of the main instigators in this plot. The real aim of all this is to make it impossible for us to sell our properties in the States. I understand we still own the ranch in Redwood Valley, the Church in the Valley, the apartments in LA and the Church in San Francisco.
In the socialist teachers meeting a number of us continued to discuss tonight’s group meetings and to work up a format for our extra classes.
I did not get home until 12:00.
30 June 1978 – Friday
Because my feet are usually tired and sometimes tingle (caused, I suppose by my varicose veins) Joyce Lund suggested I elevate my feet two hours a day. As that is not practical with my schedule, I am trying to keep my feet up at night by putting a pile of clothing under my mattress on the bottom end. This also served as a pillow for my head when I am reading. The system may have helped a little the past two days I have used it.
Today at breakfast I worked on journal entries and lesson plans.
During his announcements Jim said with reference to the charge against Rose McKnight that she sought shelter from a plane. Jim said it was a photography plane owned by the “National Enquirer” which would probably soon come out with a sensational story about the Temple. By running ahead of some children she said she was trying to protect, that Robert Paul mimicked her by calling out “Beep, Beep road runner.” She protested but Jim thought it was funny.
I went to lunch.
I went to my adult class. It was exceedingly crowded today. As the day was hot, I was under considerable strain. As we would have political enlightenment class tonight, I spent the time on political items. I discussed a little of the history of Algeria and then led a class discussion on the film “The Battle of Algiers.” A few in the class did most of the talking. One in particular had a remarkable understanding of the action of the picture and several drew sound revolutionary conclusions.
For the past few days and today in particular I have received complaints from the less advanced members of my class that they are being neglected and are not learning to read. It was also called to my attention what I had noticed yesterday on calling the roll orally that some people attend Barbara’s class during my class period but put their names on my roll. They go back and forth, apparently with the idea of getting as much education as possible by copying what each of us puts on the board. For the second day Jerome did not attend my adult class as I understand he is required to do.
I took my shower.
In my high school class I brought in two geography books with a map of Africa practically up to date. Those who had not finished their diagnostic test yesterday did so including Willie who had not been present yesterday. The others looked at the social studies map. Billy Jones making himself a list of African countries. Or read what they chose. Most kept busy but Marcus drew a design on his composition book and was caught by Tropp.
I went home and prepared what I needed for the evening. A rather heavy rain came up, like yesterday, and this time I waited it out as I did not want to be wet all evening. Consequently I was late for dinner and the dining tent was very crowded. An announcement seemed to indicate that all would be present for the political enlightenment courses in the pavilion and test afterwards. Those who failed the test would attend two hour special classes.
I went to the pavilion to get a seat. The early episodes of “Roots” were being shown for the high school socialism class. However I found the teachers were having a meeting and I joined them. Betty Fitch, Shirley and James Turner had brought a great many complaints against students for various kinds of unruliness. The most intransigent of the lot today was Frances Buckley who failed to show any respect for James, her math teacher, and continued disrespectfully to defend herself before all the teachers.
As the political enlightenment class time approached Tropp read the names of teachers of the special classes, the list of people assigned to each and said all should gather in the tents with their teachers. All others would meet in the pavilion. I suppose Tropp had clarified the matter with Jim.
Don Jackson and I were supposed to have twenty-one students according to Vernetta Christian who distributed lists, but considerable more people attended. Don had set up the overhead projector with a map of Africa. He had opened the class giving a resume of Algerian history lecturing too much in my opinion. Several people came through as monitors and obviously thought the same. I managed to steer him to go on to the next subject and get more response from the students. He discussed the film. Don had a good understanding of the plot. I kept trying to encourage student participation. Almost all our students were from my adult class and most are illiterate.
When the class in the pavilion was over, it was decided to show the film again. Tropp told us our class could attend and we all went over to the pavilion but were sent back by Lee Ingram who said we had to finish our two hour stint. When Jim returned I started a discussion of the problems they had with the tests. I again got some complaints about the superior students having taken over the beginning reading class. Jackson used the projector and a globe to explain how to read a map and together we gave some background in African history and the coming of the white man.
We closed the class about 10.30. Inez and Irra were both home. I went to bed about 11.00
Donna Briggs, a teenager has moved in to occupy the last bunk we had empty in our cottage.
June 1978 Journal References
S= survived 11/18/78; N= not Temple member; GT= Georgetown; JT= Jonestown; SF= in San Francisco; RV= in Redwood Valley
Temple / Members
Martin Amos (Died in Georgetown)
Sharon Amos (by reference) (Died in Georgetown)
Oreen Poplin Armstrong
Chuck Beikman (S)
Edith Bogue (S)
Tommy Bogue (S)
Jimmy Jo [Cordell]
Corlis Boutte (Conley)
Terri Buford (S)
Jossie Chambliss (Not yet in Jonestown)
Mary Lou Clancey
Harold Cordell (S)
Shirley Ann Edwards
[Reb] James Edwards [Socialism teacher]
Sonya Evans (S)
Julius Evans (S)
Hue Fortson (S)
Betty Jean Gill
Dottie (Shajhuanna) Harris
Lee Ingram (S)
Debby Jensen [Schroeder]
John Jones Sr [Johnny Moss Brown]
Marceline Marcy Jones
Tommy Jones [Kice]
Lynetta Jones (Died in Jonestown before 11/18/78)
Lisa Layton (Died in Jonestown before 11/18/78)
Larry Layton (S)
Daisy Lee [Stroud]
Janet Lenin [Tupper]
Lovie Jean Lucas
Chris Lund [Rozynko]
Joyce Lund [Rozynko]
Mike Lund [Rozynko]
Rose McKnight [Pearson]
Marilee Bogue Neal
Herbert Newell (S)
Sue Jerram Noxon
Robert Paul (S)
Marie Rankin [Lawrence]
Rita [Lenin Tupper]
Aurora Rodriguez (S)
Gloria Rodriguez [Carter]
Kevin Freeze Dry Smith
Kurtis Smith [Kelin Kirtas Smith]
Eugene Smith (S)
John Victor Stoen
Betty Jean Kim Tschetter
Robin Tschetter (S)
Ruth [Lenin] Tupper
Versie Connesero [Perkins]
Christine Young [Cobb]
National Enquirer -Plane
Needs in Common (singers)
Political Enlightenment Classes
Public Services Unit
Women’s Liberation Meeting
Non Temple Names
Prime Minister Burnham
Thomas Flemming, publisher of the Sun-Reporter in SF
John and Barbara Moore (by reference)
Film: The Battle of Algiers
Film: Day of the Condor
Film: Documentary on Castro
Film: Far from the Maddening Crowd”
Film: Parallax View
Film: movie on the Nazis
Film: Tora! Tora! Tora!
Film: a comedy film
TV MiniSeries: Roots
TV Doc: Rosenbergs.
Video: Sesame Street
Sun-Reporter Newspaper SF
The Man Who Cried I Am, by John A. Williams
Collected Poems by WB Yeats
Identity of Yeats by Richard Ellman
PNC: Peoples National Congress, [political party]
Federal Communications Commission
German Concentration Camps
Mendocino County, CA