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Saturday, 22 December 2012
A small part of my story - Mick Wenlock PDF Print E-mail
Personal Stories - Sea Org

Late in 1982 I was declared by the Finance Police.

One minute, in the Sea Org in Copenhagen, the next out on the street.

No money and in a country where I do not speak the language at all well and where the only people I knew were Scientologists and SO members.

My wife and I had been married for four years at that point. She was still in, we had one son (Sean) who was (and still is) handicapped and my wife's son from her first marriage. Sean was 3, Chris was 7.

Lacking anything else to do, I made my way back home to England, got myself a job and wrote in requesting the comm ev. After two months - mid January 1983 I got a phone call from FOLO EU telling me that my wife was at Flag (on the RPF as it turns out) and I needed to come and pick up the children.

At that time, I was determined to get back to the SO, I wanted my comm ev because I felt that I had been unjustly treated. I couldn't very well unload my upset on my family because if I got them upset at Scientology and the Sea Org then how would I be able to get back? I didn't know what was going to happen to my marriage, I was worried about Sean - and to a lesser extent Chris. (Chris' father was in the SO IN Copenhagen at NEP at the time). I was working flat out in a Cold Storage Unit trying to earn money to pay back people who had advanced me the readies to get home. My friends did not understand, at all, what had happened.

And now this. I got what money I could together and bought a ticket on the ferry from Felixstowe to Gothenberg and a train ticket from Gothenberg to Copenhagen and I set off the next day.

The ferry left Felixstowe at 5 pm, it was raining, it was dark and it was cold. I had one backpack of clothes and supplies and about one hundred dollars in cash. I had no idea what I was going to do in Copenhagen, I had no idea how I was going to live or where, I had no-one to turn to when I got there. Not a pleasant journey.

The ferry arrived in Gothenberg in the early morning, I walked along to the railway station and caught the next train to Copenhagen. I don;t remember how long I had to wait for the train but we arrived in Copenhagen at around 7 pm that night.

I phoned to the FOLO when I arrived to talk to the head nanny (name of Clara) and told her I had just arrived and I would be by to tlak with her in about 10 minutes.

I walked out of Hovedbanegade and onto Vesterbrogade to walk down to the Nordland. As anyone who has been in Copenhagen in early January at 7pm can tell you, it's cold and windy and dark.

I walked up to the front door of the Nordland and Clara was there. With two children in tow. She opened the door, ushered Chris out, put two suitcases on the ground and handed me Sean (who had to be carried then, he was not yet walking). And then closed the door.

Holding Sean in one arm, holding Chris' hand with the other and three large bags, nowhere to go, very little money and it was cold and dark.

So I am out on the street - literally. Trying to figure out how to carry Sean the luggage and hold Chris' hand. Eventually I work it out - backpack, Sean on my shoulders, suitcases in each hand and Chris hanging on to my arm. Slowly we made our way along the street and along past the square and we came to a Hotel. I checked us in, not a bad room (lousy price...) and I got us in there and found out that the boys had not had dinner, they were hungry, wet and tired. Sean had no diapers. So we had to go out again and find a kiosk.

Over the next couple of days we moved around to ever cheaper places as my cash ran out and my flexible friend approached it's limit. I am really at a loss how to describe those few days. Sean attended a state day center so at least, for those few days his daily routine was uninterrupted but Chris and I had nothing to do, no money to do with with and I could not figure out how to try and get something done. We were staying at a sort of "pension" which was OK but there were the three of us in one small room - the two boys in the bed and me on the floor.

Finally I was at an end - I had enough for one more night in the pension and then I was borassic. I went to social services in Copenhagen to get some help. If anyone ever tries to tell you that this is easy - take it from me, they have not done it. It was hell. First of all they were trying to understand how we were in the position we were in - I was desperately trying to avoid bringing the word scientology into the conversation. I was trying very very hard to not make the CofS look bad. After three hours I got them to pay our rent at the pension for a week which at least meant I could start looking further ahead than the next morning.

Chris, in the meantime, was not doing very well. After the initial excitement of something new and different he was missing his friends, he was bored and on some days, he was hungry. Chris' dad was still in the Sea Org and as I was not Chris' legal guardian I thought maybe a better solution would be for Chris to at least be with his father and be back in his familiar space. I tried phoning the FOLO to try and get Chris back there. I never got any response to any message . I found it very ironic and infuriating that I was knocking my brains out trying to care for Chris with no resources at all while his father and the SO seemed to not give a rats ass. If I sound just a tad pissed off I have good reason.

One day Chris and I were walking down a street not far from Vesterbrogade and I saw an old friend - Ivan Watson. Ex SO from NEP. He and his daughter Rosie were living in an apartment not far away so we all toodled over there and for the first time in a couple of weeks I was able to relax. Ivan had a friend who he reckoned would be willing to rent out a room to the three of us and, better yet, Nellie Purser (wife of Russ Purser) who was also out of the SO was working at a hotel and could help me land a job.

 
We sat down in Ivan's apartment drinking tea - even now I find it hard to describe how great it felt to just do something normal. Chris and Rosie played and Ivan and I talked. He phoned his ex Brother in law and that guy agreed to rent a room in his apartment to us. I have not mentioned the guy's name even though he is an "ex" because he still has family in. But I wish I could - he got a lot of s--t from the CofS for doing this, he never flinched. Typical Oz..

The apartment was on the 5th floor of a building not far from where the old FOLO building on Saxogade had been. No elevator of course and no bath or shower. One small room and not much in the way of furniture either. I got the social services to agree to buy a bed for Sean and for Chris, Ivan lent me a mattress and the "guy" (who I will call "Malc" from here on out) agreed to let us use his cooking utensils for a couple of weeks until I could get some.

Bear in mind - when I got into Scientology and the Sea Org in 76 I was a single guy, had a good paying job and on the rare weeks where I had run out of food money it was because I had been on the batter too hard and I could live with that. Now I had two kids who needed to eat.

Nellie Purser called me the next evening and said that here was a job at the hotel she worked at cleaning the rooms. At that time in denmark if you were not Danish then you had to be working 35 hours a week in a FT job in order to keep your visa. Bear that in mind because this point will surface again a bit further on in the narrative.

I spent the next full day rearranging Sean's transport to the kindergarten, getting Chris squared away back at his school and then went over to the Hotel to talk to the owner and got myself a job. The hotel was on three floors, no elevator. It was about 4 km from where we lived and I had no bus fare.

I worked out the schedule n my head, get Chris off to school, Sean ready for pick up and off to the CP Kindergarten (Bornehave in Danish) and then a fast walk/trot along the lakes to the hotel just in time to start work at 9 am. Five hours work and trot back to the apartment in time to pick Sean up and whisk him up the stairs.

In order to make the 35 hour limit this meant I had to work 7 days a week. On Saturday and Sunday I would carry Sean and walk with Chris, I would put them in a room that was being checked out and they would hang out there while I worked - Chris loved it - he got to watch TV!!

It was an incredibly stressful period. I am not sure if I am telling it well or trying to be sort of offhand about it because I really do not (edit from me) want to relive it very much.

After a month and a half of this I got a call from Chris' father - Neil Lumsden (a very nice guy BTW). He said he wanted to drop by and just say hi. I thought it a little strange. He dropped by the apartment and told me that my wife, Nancy, has asked him to check up on the boys. Neil was lucky to leave the room in one piece. I was upset beyond belief - "check up"? No-one had given a flying **** about what was going to happen to the kids or to me and now "check up"?? I told Neil to eff off and that, should he feel some paternal urge, he could set up a time for Chris to visit.

Well ratz, I am going to have to cool off before I continue...
 
One thing to be said for the regimen - I was losing weight fast (and as anyone who knows me could attest - I can always stand to lose a few pounds). By the end of this period I weighed less than I did when I was 14 years old. Which would have been really great except I could not afford to buy new clothes...

But everything during this period was just so damned hard. I had to walk everywhere and that meant I had to carry Sean because I had no stroller. He spent that whole summer on my shoulders. When we went shopping early Saturday morning in the local discount supermarket I would have Sean on my shoulders, 5 or 6 plastic bags in my hands and the walk up to the apartment was like scaling the North Face of the Eiger.

Because we lacked even the basic utensils that most families have we had to constantly do without a basic while I bought a pan or a spatula, glasses, plates and so on. It was like trying to run in molasses. When you only have one pan to cook in it takes forever to make dinners, when you have to make dinner, take the boys down to the public baths so they can get showered and cleaned after the day, bring them back to the apartment and get them into bed it just plain wears you down.

Add to that the fact that, apart from bacon eggs and fried bread, I am the compleat lousy cook..

I had not been able to talk to my wife since I got declared in November. I found out that she had gone to Flag for a "few days" and had been RPFed there, I had no idea how she was doing how she felt about everything. Turns out, of course, that she had been going through the same sort of mental anguish - while trying to graduate the RPF...

Anyway - in the middle of this Chris, Sean and I started to sort of muddle through. Every night I told Chris stories, long involved fairy tales involving him and Sean, magic bears King Arthur etc. Once I figured out how to actually budget the food and we had gained a little traction it got to be a bit better - some of the summer evenings were fun. Though I think Chris probably has a very strange view of English History... lol.

At the same time Sean started to show some real curiosity and learned how to pull himself up in his playpen and eventually how to climb out.

I guess the best highlight was Chris' birthday. His birthday is June 23rd. If you are Scandinavian that date really means something - Sankt Hans Aften. It is a huge day and evening in the Tivoli Gardens. Chris birthday was a Thursday that year. We all spent the day at Tivoli, I had put some money aside and we just pigged out, Chris got to go on the rides, we got to snack and at closing time there was the most awesome fireworks display (as there is every year). It was just great. I think that was proably the night we laughed the most during that period until Nancy made it back.
 
Just after Chris' birthday I got a call on Malc's phone form the FOLO that the Comm Ev was meeting and wanted me to attend. I finally got to see in writing what the declare was about and what "charges" I was facing - the usual slew of "failing to keep Scn working" and a bunch of stuff about financial irregularities. Including such vast things as buying soap for personal use with SO Mission funds. The actual comm ev was fine - I knew all the members, they knew me. It was not some huge trauma. The one thing that did irritate me almost beyond belief was the total indifference to my schedule or family. At one time they asked me to come at 11:00 PM for the next meeting. I arrived at the FOLO at 10:45 PM - having walked all the way of course and having persuaded Malc to keep an eye on the boys. At 11:15 I was told it was going to be a little later. the meeting finally took place at 1:45 in the morning. It went on until 2:45. It was nearly 4 when I got home. The comm ev had asked me to be there at 11:00 the next evening and I told them I would wait 15 minutes but if there was no meeting by 11:15 I was going to leave.

I have to say that I was tired most of the time - Sean had developed a habit of only sleeping with the light on, the physical side of things was an enormous strain after a while - it's not that it was tough if I look back at one day, but it was relentless, day after day for 5 months. The comm ev and it's schedule was very nearly too much.

The comm ev read the findings to me the next evening - almost on time as well. I pretty much figured that the recs were going to be to cancel the declare and it was just going to be a matter of time.

As I found out later my wife, Nancy, was being put through the PTS RD at that time - with guess who as the subject.

So we waited it out. Until one night, around 3 in the morning the phone rang in the apartment and macl came in to tell me it was Nancy on the phone.

Now THAT was a moment.
 
The phone call was, of course, the cancellation of the declare. Finally I got to talk to my wife - for the first time in 9 months! We talked and talked - Nancy told me about the troubles she had gone through on the RPF, the insistence that she should realize that I was an SP, worrying about the children and so on.

I think the phone call was a Wednesday night/early Thursday morning thing - I may be mistaken. Anyway, once I had talked with Nancy for an hour I was so pumped I could not go back to sleep. Strangely enough in a weird way I felt that the whole episode validated Scientology justice - after all I had been declared in what I thought was merely a witch hunt but after due time and investigation the system came through. This was one of the main reasons I was willing to go back into the SO. (stop shaking your head, Alanzo...)

By Thursday night I had received two phone calls from recruiters. Suddenly I was "persona grata" again. I could talk to people.

6 weeks later Nancy got back from Flag, we were still in the one room in Malc's apartment but things were looking up. Nancy and I talked about what to do next, she CSWed for a LOA so that we could get our act caught up, bills paid and so on. It was approved. Holy crap! I got a job working as a spray painter at Arne Hoyer's company - actually the contract was at the Carlsberg Brewery - free beer! Nancy and I got an apartment our in Norrebro. Not a bad place. Nancy got to try and cook. It was, for all of us, an exciting time.

Christmas came, friends came over form England, we had a rare old time.

Tom Woodruff from Int Finance came by to pay a visit. I was wanted back, I was needed back. I pointed out that I had bills to pay. No problem - he had the money to lend me to be paid off as and when - from the "LRH Birthday Fund".

I was left with no objection and, I am kicking myself even now, I agreed to go back in the SO. I never once thought to discuss it with Nancy - after all the only reason we were out was because of my declare - once all that was handled we were back in. I should have talked with her.
__________________

The time after my declare had been cancelled was an exciting and confusing time. Nancy came back from Flag having finally CSWed and begged her way out of the Finance Network. For anyone who has been in the SO will know that one of the most demeaning and annoying positions to be in is to be a "coin". Nancy was Finance Staff but no longer qualified to be in Finance, that meant she was eligible to be swapped to replace a qualified staff member in some other unit, This is, of course, one of the dumbest things that the SO does - among an entire list of dumb things..

But through it all she came home. By the time she got back I was no longer working at the hotel, thanks to my "grata" status I now had the job at Hoyers (let me slip in a good word here for Arne Hoyer, truly a nice guy) and was on my way to becoming just one mor eperson in the Danish "field".

Then Tom W arrived and I was headed back into the SO. FSC EU. Based in AOSH EU.

This was the start of my second career in the SO and, I have to say, it was pretty much an unmitigated disaster.

WE basically moved back into the Nordland and went on post in the FSC Office. No re-orientation, no adjustment, no handling - nothing. Just - on post. I am astounded - looking back on it - that I agreed to do this job. I absolutely HATE regging with a passion. I hate sales and anything to do with it. Somehow someone "uplines" must have thought that as I had been a CO of AOSH EU I must have had some sort of ability in that area. Nope, none.

The FSC EU Office was quite an operation. Therese Morin covered France, Ursi Hablutzel Switzerland, Alfred Kohl Germany, Astrid Puetsch AOSH itself, Herik Palmquist Sweden. In the office in AOSH there was also a lady called Judy - dont remember her last name. Alfred has been the Br 1 dir for B 1 Munich before he got "cleaned up" from his GO days. He was a nice guy and very funny in a dry kind of way.

Dave Bloomberg was FSC INt when I first started - I kind of enjoyed his breezy style "what's the story, morning glory" was his usual start to the day. Later on he was replaced by Bo Wennberg - who could be a lot more serious but, in his own way he was a cool guy. (I was very sad to hear that he had died from complications from Diabetes in the 90's).

This was a job to which I was not suited. Once the "gee, I'm back" wow factor had dissipated it was just a grind.
 


 
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