Edith Roller – February 14, 1978

Transcript || PDF from 89-4286-C3-A2-45-56

14 February – Tuesday 1978
After breakfast I ate a whole papaya which I got from the vegetable stand. I had a small bowel movement again.

I explained to Dick Tropp the difficulty I was having with the use of my typewriter.  He told me not to allow other people to use it.

Went to the shower to do my laundry.  The showers are cleaned from 9.30 to 11.00 and I could not get in.  All the buckets in the generator shed had been taken for use in the fields.  The one tub I saw on the porch of one of the dorms, the residents would not let me use without the permission of their head, who was not there. I had an argument about this, in which Barbara Walker participated in opposition to me.  Some people were sympathetic, and finally the person in charge was found and let me use the tub.

I finished by 11.00.

Went to the dining pavilion and ate.

Went to my class at 12.00.  I worked on the observation lesson I gave them and used it for practice in spelling, in which they seem to be pretty bad.

My iron had been retuned to the cottage.

I slept an hour and a half.  It was very hot.

I worked on journal entries for a time, about three hours.

I read the Holt book.

Had dinner.

Went to the pavilion to get a seat with a back. There was the usual scramble between seniors and the workers who were trying to arrange the area for the rally.  I found a good place.

The Misfits did an amusing song inspired by Jim’s comments on the number of people who tell him about their constipation; called “Sitting on the Toilet Stool.”

Agricultural Reports

Jack Beam presided as the agriculture reports were given. He first reported on the relative merits of pumpkin and granadilla.  The vote of the members was to follow his recommendation: plant pumpkins in the fields, granadilla in the windrows.

Cost of produce was being done, including a cost assigned to labor.

Rob Gieg reported on the chickery and the visit of the veterinarian, Dr Fernandez [Peter Fernandes, head of Guyana Livestock Board].  The baby chicks which had been pipped were dying because their tongues were cut. The vet said pipping was not necessary; he called it a “curiosity” [pipping has to do with the chick breaking the shell and is a normal, not a curious, activity. It seems to be used here to mean clipping the beak slightly to prevent chicks pecking each other.] Gravel is not necessary as it is already in the feed. Our egg production is down because the hens are too old.

Chris Talley reported that two more dogs have been spayed with the help of the vet.  We are awaiting a litter of rabbits.

Wanda said Dr Fernandez stated the dry season was the time to get on top of the fly problem; swat flies, and watch manure and wet spots for fly breeding.

Jim arrived at 8.45.

Gene Chaikin spoke on expanding the planting of banana suckers.  We may be able to market Cayenne bananas. Danny Katulas will estimate the number of banana suckers available. Gene thought it not wise to go outside the area for banana suckers because of the risk of importing disease. Teresa King had requested a change of job back to the banana crew, but she had found she was paranoid in estimating her position as a children’s worker and she had sent an amendment.

Jim said Dr Fernandez was a socialist and very friendly to and impressed by Jonestown. He thought we were the best socialist group  in the world.  He admired the simplicity of life of the leader and the participation in actual work of the supervisors. Jim asked Grubbs what progress had been made in the isolation project. Tom said he waiting for wood for construction. In three days or a week those in the program will show change. A week will guarantee it.

Peter Wotherspoon submitted a proposal for an even heat skillet cooking arrangement so that we can have fried eggs, pancakes and so on. What are the possibilities of getting the correct metal for such a device were discussed.  Peter also suggested using windmills for power and watering during dry spells.  This was referred to the steering committee.

Jack Barron thinks he is getting somewhere with bricks – Jeff Carey suggested mining clay and selling it if possible, as there is an increasing market for it.

Jim reports further on the remarks of Dr Fernandez.  Guyana is better than Cuba in unpretentiousness of the leaders.  Jim took to task those who had recommended pipping and the apathy of those who had let them prevail. Also those who managed the laying hens. After much difficulty Jim ascertained that eight people participated in the chicken  pipping.  Apparently only two, not present tonight, had pipped the baby chicks. Fernandez found no worms in our flock.  He advised immunization against Newcastle disease.  Socialism class must have a test on the materials discussed tonight.

Charlie Touchette warned against spreading disease from hogs to chickens. Keeping them together is going to cost us in the end.

A detailed discussion took place, on the proper time and order in which to clear and burn additional land.  Jim is concerned that land which is not cleared is an eyesore for visitors.  The first ten acres planted in bananas are interplanted with black eye peas. Jim Bogue wants a good banana man to be found to advise us as the vet advised us on animals.  The same should be secured in every area.  Jim said everybody should have a notebook and write recommendations down

Fernandez said Cuba’s motto was “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work,” instead of “need.”

Kevin Freeze Dry Smith was on the floor for poor work. The steering committee wanted to relieve him from his refrigeration duties and put in Mark Wagner, whose attitude has  much improved since being confronted. Freeze Dry admitted he was lazy, lets his crew do the physical work and doesn’t work himself.

Jim remarked that of the people who used to assist the QSO-ing in the radio room now, all have gone since the food stopped. Freeze Dry had used his attendance in the radio room as an excuse for not working in the days.  QSO-ing is supposed to be in addition to one’s regular work.

Jim said Freeze Dry manipulates, thinks he is better than others.  Jim is concerned why he doesn’t work, suspicious about his planning to leave.  Larry Schacht said Freeze Dry does a slipshod job on the herbal remedies.

Larry remarked he had a mother who had been in labor 18 hrs; the baby was turned around. He was prepared to perform a Caesarian but Jim came by and said it would be alright. The woman went into labor; the baby turned around and the woman delivered in two hours.

Shirley Fields has been released as dietician.

Freeze Dry is to go back to the Learning Crew from which he was on probation.

Jerry Bailey and Amanda Fair were reported as having said to Rennie Kice that Rob Christian and Freeze-Dry had been removed from their jobs and white persons were going in. Stephen Jones got up and after a lifetime of living with black people denounced passionately this “white shit.”  Jim reprimanded Jerry and Amanda and gave each of them extra assignments.  He didn’t like to send seniors to learning crew.

Then Rob Christian took the floor and started to talk about the changes made in the warehouse where he has been the head. He said Helen Swinney who was supposed to help him take inventory, with Charlie Touchette and Joyce Touchette had moved in on him. He felt excluded and he resented removal from the warehouse job which had apparently been done by steering committee last night, intending to write it up for Jim.  Charlie Touchette said he was not responsible for removing Rob.  Harriet Tropp said she initiated the action, Johnny Jones said Rob should have registered disagreement with steering committee at the time. Vernetta Christian then came forward to state that Rob should not be so passive; he should have acted.  She was the one who said something to Jerry and Amanda about it. Jim said, “Ah, I thought that had to have come from somewhere.”

At that moment a huge explosion coming  from the area in front of the pavilion was heard. I thought it was either a bomb planted by an enemy infiltrator who knew we would all be in the meeting at this time or an explosion of some fuel on the grounds. Several people including Jim left; the rest of us sat silently and waited.

In a few moments some people were called for and it was evident that the tractor was going to be driven to Port Kaituma and a plane from Georgetown called for, indicating someone was injured.

We must have waited an hour at least, possibly two. My watch, which has been keeping time well, had been stopping off and on all evening, no matter how many times I set and wound it.  I did not know what time it was.  Then Jim returned and told us that an explosion in a piece of equipment had injured Tommy Beikman (formerly Katulas); in fact he had been dead and was restored. He was blinded and lacerated but he was going to be all right.

Jim said when there are divisions such as those represented by racism, accidents like this happen.  He gave an account of Helen Swinney’s being asked to inventory the warehouse.

Items intended for different departments were in the warehouse.  The inventory was in a hell of a mess.  Jim had asked for  reports he did not get soon.

Jim interjected remarks on the present political situation. The Foreign Minister of Guyana has been removed from office.  We wanted to be sure this was not directed against us.  The Stoens are all over Washington seeing right-wing people. Therefore Mother has to be all over Washington. Stoen won’t have complete immunity though.  He can still be indicted for actions he performed, and he will be. They’ll get him, as nobody likes a fink.

Joyce Touchette criticized Helen Swinney for her attitude. She doesn’t pay attention to peoples’ feelings. What was done in the warehouse was to give Rob more opportunity to perform engineering tasks for the Temple.

Jim reminded Rob Christian of what Helen and he himself had had to go through, having children who were traitors to the cause.  She had to be willing to kill her own son.  There were essential engineering jobs for Robert to do.  Jim mentioned the vibrations raised by Rob’s rushing in when a process had been put into action and an issue lain to rest. “Then you come in with charges of racial injustice.”  Jim asked Rob if he wanted to do both jobs, the warehouse and engineering.  The answer was no. Jim said the engineering job was more important.  It involved the cemetery plot and getting more land which depends on preparing plans that suit the government.

Mike Prokes had been named by the steering committee as the head of the warehouse.

Jim took up the question of 2000 lbs of fish which were not put on the boat.  We always get shortchanged in Georgetown when we need protein to feed our people.  The reply was that the dock area was short of ice.  Jim replied this should have been foreseen. You can’t take anything for granted in a developing city.

Ujara Sly said that he felt uneasy with Tim when learning the boat controls.  He said he felt he was not trusted to do anything right.

Resolutions made of problems:  Freeze Dry is still hanging in the air.  Jim said he shouldn’t have taken him off learning crew.  He’ll serve his full term.

Tim Swinney to go on Learning Crew for two days. Sly has to be more assertive. Ujara and Tim have to change their ways. Ujara is to be on Learning Crew too. Rob Christian is to go to Learning Crew also (all of these problems for just a night so that they can get back to work tomorrow). Helen Swinney must serve rice.  Beverly Livingston is on Learning Crew also.  She was involved in the warehouse with Christian. Vernetta is already on, gets one more night.

Mabel Che Guevarra (formerly Cordell) got a warning for standing around while others worked.

Jim had stated that Tommy Beikman had handicapped himself and made his own recovery difficult because he didn’t have a good reaction to pain.  Jim said you can destroy yourself by trauma.  Cultivate the ability to withstand pain.

Jim had Don Fields come up because he had been outside the pavilion dancing with cold and had him submit to a testing by pain administered by Don Sly.

Jair Baker was next.  Jair had been reported as saying he didn’t like being here.  Jim said he was lazy, a loudmouth.  Jim said he can see though people who are elitist. He was tested by pain and withstood it well.

Harold Cordell, now companion of Edith Bogue, was tested, then Mike Lund.

Jim asked how many people would volunteer for the pain test.  Some hands went up.  He asked again and more raised their hands.  He said that those who did not volunteer the first time should write it up for him.  “I don’t trust you if you can’t take pain.”  I had not raised my hand either time, though I had felt Jim’s eyes taking a mental picture of those who wouldn’t volunteer.

Praises were given.

Tommy Kice was called up for putting swastikas on William Klingman’s book. He was tested for pain.

Tommy Bogue was on the floor for sleeping late. Toby Stone was on the floor because she doesn’t work, but to Jim’s surprise, she withstood the pain well.

Odell Rhodes was up.  He was accused of thinking he’s special.  He got the pain test. He showed less resistance to pain.

Marcia and Barbara Simon, suffering from exzema, which Jim said was a reaction to inner thoughts.  They complained at the Medical Office about their treatment.  They said the child, Camille, had become more babyfied which Jim doubted.  They were given a warning.  Lois Ponts, apparently in connection with the Simon episode, was called up for saying something negative before several people. She argued with Jim, was told by him that she was too defensive before criticism.

Santiago Rosa was called up for allowing his baby to fall from a top bunk. Jim protected the baby.  He was assigned to Learning Crew. Russ Moton, who was in a lower bunk and was unconcerned, was also assigned to Learning Crew.

Odell Rhodes case was called.  He was responsible for a baby’s rolling off a bunk.  Jim said he was still, as many hadn’t assumed any responsibility. He pushed bad dope before entering the Temple and boasted about it.

The meting was dismissed at 4.00.