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Saturday, 22 December 2012
Mate’s Story - David Graham PDF Print E-mail
As I mentioned previously, I was an authorized marriage celebrant and over a period of two years, I officiated some thirty marriages. A couple were in the org's chapel, many were outdoors and one was on a property (ranch) some 250+ miles north west of Sydney. One in particular, was in a private home, that of the parents of a young GO staff member, who were, as I was to find out, devote Christians. When I was officiating weddings, I wore black trousers black tonsure shirt(clerical shirt with a white collar) and a black academic gown.

The wedding was simple and went well, but the wedding breakfast ..well! The father of the Bride asked me to say "Grace" and the start of the feast. All I could think of, in the few seconds I had, was "For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful." Oops! The father didn't look particularly pleased. Then when it came to the speeches and toasts, he said to me as an announcement, " Father, would you bless the bridal couple?" As I stood up, my mind was spinning, and said to him, "It is indeed proper to offer a prayer for ..... " and then went on and substituted English words for scientologese such as soul instead of thetan. I obviously kept it brief and at the end apologize for delaying the best man's speech, which got a laugh. Everyone seemed happy even her dad, I think. All the GO who were present were relieved I pulled it off. I was all prepared for the next time, but it never happened.

I was on a bus going home one night from the org dressed as a minister. There were only a few passengers on the bus and a few stops later, a young man carrying a Bible and sat next to me. He then opened his Bible and asked me, "What does this particular passage mean." I can't recall what it was, but I looked at it and then asked him what he thought it meant. There was more and I handled each one the same way. Fortunately, he got off, and from that day on, I would slide the white part so that it didn't show when travelling on a bus or a train.

This reminds me of another one. One block from the Sydney Org was Sydney's Hyde Park and during the day, a number of Sydney's homeless would congregate there. I walked across the park early one morning with my collar showing, when I was accosted by half a dozen of the homeless with their hands out. I subsequently discovered that a priest would pass by on Sundays and give them money for grog, like in wine.

With Ideal Orgs very much the topic in the CofS, this would be a good point to make some observations about the CofS and real estate in Sydney. The existing building at 201 Castlereagh Street, is right in the retail heart of Sydney, an ideal location. The building was purchased in 1978/9 for $760,000 Australian (at the time, about $US 500,000), if I remember correctly, and it is now worth in excess of $50,000,000! The building was the headquarters of a trade union, but I don't recall which.

What is called the first floor in the US, is called the ground floor in Australia, so that in the following description when I refer to the second floor, it would be the third floor for our American readers. (If you think I'm being pedantic, you're probably right!) The building was immaculate, but that was soon handled by the CofS. The basement was a staff canteen with built-in padded seating and a huge state of the art commercial kitchen. This was used as staff dining for a couple of months and then became a storage area, and the kitchen was never used to my knowledge except for the stove occasionally. The rest of the basement was parking for six cars, but this became central files, leaving the access ramp to provide parking for two cars.

The ground floor became the div six area including the LRH Office, the chapel, book shop and course room. Later the section of the ground floor which contained the toilets, in the back right hand corner was changed into the purification centre by including a sauna and showers.

The first floor contained a large auditorium with a stage which became the academy but used from time to time for events, and the Tours org at the front which was the reception area for the auditorium. The second floor became the HGC with the waiting area and C/S office in the front, 16 auditing rooms down the left hand side of the building, and qual with library on the right. At the back was the folder room with PC folders stored on racks. One day there was this huge crash followed by lots of banging from the back of the building. We all raced down to the back and founding the banging coming from the folder room. Then suddenly the door opened and the folder admin stormed out looking as black as thunder, throwing and kicking folders everywhere. One of the racks had collapsed. When he stormed out and we saw what had happened, we all burst out laughing which only made him worse. Anyway the DofP, Ethel Mackay, quietened him down and we all helped him restore the folders and re-stack them. Indeed, among all the pressure, there were funny moments.

While I was the lead C/S, there was the time I was event I/C and MC, a very dangerous combination as you will see. This the May 9th event, the anniversary of DMSMH, and part of the event was a slide show and accompanying sound. Everything was rehearsed and ready to go, I even had an act to allow for late-comers. I was feeling pretty smug abot it all. So about 8.20pm I started and got the audience warmed up when I suddenly realized that the person handling the slide projector had disappeared, but as the MC, I couldn't go an find him, so I sent the person handling the sound to go and find him. Then he disappeared! man, was I in trouble, but at that point I don't think the audience realized it, but I was lost for things to say and I didn't think TR 0 would go down too well. So I stepped to the side of the stage and put my hand up to the side of my mouth, and said to the audience, "Between you and me, just watch David, here. He has just sent off one of his assistants to find the other, and he's going to try an ad lib his way until they return. Let's see if he can do it." Well, that brought the house down! I had to make a second aside and during it, the pair returned, with a great roar from the audience. They sure looked puzzled. Then we had the cutting of the cake and I realized that I had forgotten the knife. The CO was to cut the cake, and I offered her my one inch pen knife. The audience loved that too. After the formal part of the event, Harriet Littlesmith, who was a leading Australian comedian and scientologist came up and told me my timing was excellent, so I was slightly mollified.

The third floor contained a fantastic conference room at the front of the building with a huge table and a ceiling of mirrors, each mirror about 12 inches (30 cm) square, and it had its own little kitchen. The rest of the floor were offices, and the whole area was occupied by the GO. They always seem to get the best, don't they? This floor was out of bounds to all other than the GO staff with security doors and special locks! I often wondered if they considered us, the org staff, as part of the enemy.

The roof contained a small one bedroom apartment at the front, which was used by the CO Pat Bloomberg, and the living room became her office. The roof was used as a parade ground and an exercise yard for a short period until leaks appeared in the GO area. It also had a large number of apartment overlooking it.

It should be stated that there was no applications for Council approval for any of the alterations. Which reminds me of an interesting experience for three of us. There was a broken window on the front of the building on the second, the HGC waiting room' and myself and two others were asked to replace the glass, which meant hanging out the window. Myself and Shane were wary of heights and the third, our boss, was terrified of them. Shane eventually agreed to lean out with a rope around well secured on the other end. I kept my body well and truly inside but was able to help him. The third member? Well he was the boss and stood about ten feet from the window giving instructions. This reminds me of another horrifying experience, to me that is, in New York, but I'll cover that later.

During my undergraduate days, I ended up organising events usually reluctantly, because some one dropped the ball or no one else would volunteer. In fact I ended up organising and MCing the Graduation Ball for my year. This is what happened in CofS in Sydney, I agreed to be MC and ended up being I/C as well. After the DMSMH Anniversary event, the CO, Pat Bloomberg, and the DofP, Ethel Mackay, and myself were discussing the shortage of PCs, and I suggested running an event to get our public's interest in auditing rekindled.

To this end, I outlined an event which I called Champagne Auditing. This consisted of a brief introduction to what auditing was, putting the attendees in pairs having one as an auditor and the other as a PC, and run the command, "Tell me about a happy experience" repetitively to a good win and then change roles. We made sure their case levels matched and anyone mid auditing action could not be a "PC". We also had a number of assistants moving around to help, plus two auditors to handle any over restimulation. After the auditing was over, we had a group discussion, and afterwards there was some champagne and snacks. The group discussion was electric, there were many many wins. The final result was incredible with many signing up for training and for auditing. The champagne? Very little was drunk. Then I got a rocket for having champagne at an event and for promoting it using the word champagne, and was taken off organizing events. This was by the GO. My response was not polite and I made it clear that if I'm taken off organising events, then I am not longer available as MC! And I didn't and there was nothing they could do about it. Taking the Lead C/S of the continental Class IV org off post would have crashed most of the Org's stats and the CLO's and right up through the lines.

Just before I leave the subject of events, there was a very funny routine in a subsequent one I attended. The MC said, "Now we come to the winner of the door prize." I could hear all those seated around me muttering that they didn't have a ticket. The MC called out a person's name as the winner, it was a staff member. When he went up and onto the stage, two other staff member came rushing down the aisle with a door and gave it to the winner. The look on his face was priceless.

Reflections of Flag:

In the first couple of weeks when I was auditing in the FSO, I had discovered that the Lemon Tree, which was one of two restaurants in the Fort Harrison Hotel, was also a canteen for staff and I would go there from time to time at the end of the day for a coffee.

On one particular occasion, one of my PCs were there and he invited me over to the table where he was sitting. There was a guy at the table, who was dominating the conversation and he was saying that he was the ideal choice for the role of Johnny Goodboy Taylor and would be casted for the role in the movie of Battlefield Earth. I found out later that his name was Jeff Pomerantz and that he was a soap opera actor. I had never heard of him. Anyway he got onto complaining about his flight to Flag and how he was flying first class but the airline had seated him in the middle of the front row with the bulkhead of the aircraft, right in front of him. One of the girls at the table asked him why didn't he travel carriage class, to which he replied shaking his finger at her, "Image, my dear, image." I was taking a sip of my coffee when he said this, and it took an enormous amount of self control not to spurt it all over the table. Then I just had to get up and leave the room.

Talking about "celebrities", when I was a C/S at Flag, I was C/Sing folders late one night when David Gellie who was a NOTs Auditor at the time and later became a class XII, asked me if I could do an exam. I did the exam, which F/Ned, and then asked the PC her name. She looked at me quizzically and said, "Karen". I was about to ask her last name, when David put his hand on my shoulder and said he would look after it. It was Karen Black, a name that meant nothing to me.

Harry Mason who had been a PC in Sydney and was a PC at flag, offered to show me around Dunedin on one of my liberties, which still occurred in my early days at Flag. We traveled north of Clearwater on Fort Harrison Ave across a creek, then on the right hand side, a few houses was the house that Hubbard used when the CofS took over the Fort Harrison Hotel. It was a large sprawling single storey house set well back from the road. On the other side of the road was a park and then the Gulf. It was called water-frontage.

Then we came to Dunedin where we found a tap connected to an underground stream, one of many in Florida, so I'm told, streams that is. The water was cool and delicious. Then we drove up to Tarpon Springs, where the Diana was moored. It was looking the worse for wear, and as I understood it, the idea was to mount it on a plinth in front of the Sand Castle when it, the Sand Castle, was renovated. Harry was part of the crew, if I'm not mistaken, who sailed the Diana down the East Coast and got caught in a hurricane and had to be rescued. Harry is currently a renowned geologist in Australian gold exploration and an author.

When I first arrived in Flag, there was a train service from downtown Tampa around the top of Tampa Bay and down through Clearwater through to St Petersburg. On one of my early libs (day off), I decided to take the train into Tampa and back, as there was a morning train service and an afternoon one. In Clearwater, there was no platform but a portable step was provided and the train had only two cars (carriages) one which contained a snack bar. There were only a handful of passengers, and I wasn't surprised that the service was eventually cancelled while I was still at Flag. The Tampa railway (railroad) station was dilapidated with only one platform out of six(?) in use. Downtown Tampa itself was very small for a population of 200,000 and supporting a regional population of some 1,000,000. It consisted of half a dozen blocks or so.

My first Christmas in Flag surprised me. The temperature on Christmas Day fell to 25 degrees Fahrenheit, 7 below freezing and stayed that way all day. It wiped out most of the crops in Florida. I had never experienced a frost let alone anything as severe as this. I thought I would go for a run in it. After a short distance I was in agony trying to breath the icy air!

It was around 1982/3 when a hurricane came very close to Clearwater, I think the center was only few miles off shore as it moved northwards. As it was approaching the Tampa area, someone, which I think was OSA, called special meeting for all OTs on the base. As I wasn't OT, I was not invited. I believe the OTs were briefed on how they could use their "abilities" to ensure that the hurricane bypassed Clearwater, and subsequently took full credit for it not to make landfall in Clearwater, and they were serious about it.

On a serious note, I was very impressed in the way the emergency services evacuated the low lying part of the Clearwater-St Petersburg peninsular. The evacuation of the area was because of the surge caused by the hurricane. The three radio stations were giving constant updates as as each was flooded they would pass their audiences onto the next radio station. The evacuation was orderly, street by street with the residents being directed to take specific routes crossing Tampa Bay on one of the two low lying bridges and a causeway. It was absolutely brilliant. Fortunately they didn't have to cope with Volunteer Ministers.

There was an issue called a FO, a Flag order, which stated that when the FSO achieved a million dollar GI, gross income, staff would get two-day liberties instead of one-day liberties. Well, we achieved it! But a telex came down from Int saying that we must have our GI consistently over one million. When we got it over one million five weeks in a row, the FO was withdrawn!

I thought I'd wrap up my reflections of Flag with three moments which I considered real treats. So you must excuse me. These were all in the early '80s.

The first was a PC I had, and for the life of me, I can't recall her name. She was in her early twenties, very attractive and blond. She was, I think, first violinist with the Tampa state orchestra and was expecting a promotion to concertmaster. She put on an impromptu concert for the crew, and it was absolutely magnificent, her violin became a part of her. It was something I had heard about but had never before experienced.

Then there was Cyprian Katsaris, a concert pianist and a Flag PC. I was a C/S at the time, and while he was there he would practice on a grand piano on the stage of the auditorium in the late evening. After we finished our C/Sing for the day we would go up to the auditorium and sit with a number of other staff members and be treated to an evening of classical music. He was brilliant.

Finally there was the appearance of Don Luis Ferre (Don is a title like Sir), who was a former Governor of Puerto Rico, who had an illustrious career and in 1991 received Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by President George H. W. Bush, but that was later. Ferre was also a renowned concert pianist and he would partner a pianist who was a scientologist, playing duets on the same piano, and unfortunately I do not recall the partners name. The partner, BTW, was a professor of music in Puerto Rico and was in Tampa to open up, as far as I can recall, a school of music. The CofS encouraged the professor to bring Ferre to a special banquet in the ball room of the Fort Harrison Hotel. I should note here that Ferre was an in creditably influential person in Puerto Rico and to get him onside would have been a remarkable coup for the CofS. The duets played by Ferre and the professor on the grand piano which had been brought up from the auditorium (how I don't know) were absolutely stunning. How did I, a C/S, get invited? My then wife Maria's aunt Lorencita was Ferre's first wife.

Thank you, for humoring me on this digression.

Reflections of East US:

My time as Cont. Snr C/S EUS, was probably the most satisfying. I was stationed in NY from about February 1986 to May 1987. It was around June 1986 that I started my one-man missions into the various orgs in EUS and it was probably around September that I was carrying out missions at the rate of one a week. Unlike most other missions, I found the orgs pleased to see me, that is after the first one. I would invariably get their Gross Income (after the cost of the mission) up by offering my services to program PC folders, as I described earlier, I would debug their Reg Lost Line and motivate their reg(s) which kept the GI up for a couple of weeks, and briefing the students and supervisor(s) would motivate the academies. There was no heavy handed ethics, in fact there were no ethics actions. These actions certainly got results. I probably violated a lot of HCOPLs, but so what!

In my Mate's Story write up, I described some of the what I consider, interesting episodes I encountered on my missions and on post. But there are more. I did mention the heavy snow storm in Hartford, that the airport announcer called a blizzard, but the lead up was interesting too.

Flying into Columbus, Ohio, late fall '87, as we were coming into to land, the colors of the trees in oranges, yellows, browns was fantastic. In Sydney, indeed Australia, the native species are evergreen, only in gardens are deciduous trees found. I had never seen anything like it except in photographs and paintings. In my mission to Columbus, I had to spend a second night there, because of no evening flight out. The following morning was a sunny day but on the news there were snow storms to the south, east, north and west. When we got the the airport all flights had been delayed. After about an hour, we got the OK to board, then another delay and then the OK to take off. After about 30 minutes, the pilot advised us that Newark had just been closed and we were being diverted. After a couple of diversions, we were finally sent to Hartford, Connecticut. I had no idea where Connecticut was let alone Hartford. When we got there, there were hundreds of aircraft parked off the taxiways and the waiting area in the airport was literally packed with passengers. There were thousands and thousands of them. All hotels and motels were full, camp beds were brought in for women and children.

When the snow storm abated, there was a bus which looked like a '40s limo with six doors down each side. I took it to the railroad station which was in disrepair with holes in the roof, but was being renovated. Eventually I got an Amtrak train into NY and arrived at the CLO about dinner time on Thursday. It was a late night!

After carrying out missions in NY Day and then NY Fdn, my first mission to an outer org, was Boston Org. When I arrived at Logan airport, I decided to have a coffee and then find the shuttle service to downtown Boston. I ordered a regular coffee, only to find the girl had added sugar! This was my first lesson about coffee, that regular coffee is different in different parts of the United States! I went down to the shuttle service and found there was a water shuttle to downtown, so it took it. Like an idiot, I didn't have the address of the org but I did remember the name of the street the org was in.

In the downtown area I found a large map of Boston on a board and located the street, and to compound my idiocy, I decided to walk. After about a mile, well it seemed like a mile, I found the street and walked along it. I had gone quite a few blocks, all residential, and I decided that I must have the name wrong, so further compounding my idiocy, I took the next cross street back to the main road. On the other side, I saw a shopping plaza and found a phone, called directory and asked for the org's phone number. Of course, I needed the address but if I asked for it she wouldn't give it, so when she gave the number I said, "That doesn't seem right, what address do you have?" And it worked, I was just a block to two away when I turned off. This is the first time I've told the full story, I was so embarrassed at the time. I was surprised to find no one at the org knew about the ferry service, or water shuttle as Bostonians called it, from the airport to downtown. Otherwise the mission went fine and I was quite impressed with the competence of John Majorowski(?), the Lead C/S.

My second mission to Boston, was my first experience with snow. It would have been around November 1986, and the guys in the CLO gave me a thorough briefing on what to expect such as not stepping into gutters and being wary when walking on ice. This time I arrived by subway and as I emerged from the station entrance and saw the snow, I forgot the instructions, as you would expect. Then across the road a woman slipped over on the ice, and I immediately recalled all the instructions. In spite of this, as I had to go about four blocks, I nearly slipped over a couple of times and once stepped into the muddy water in a gutter, fortunately I had boots on. By this time I had begun assisting the regs by offering to program PC folders. Boston ended up with a spike in their GI that week

I'll always remember my trip to Buffalo Org. When I arrived in downtown Buffalo, I saw a tandem street car (a double tram combination) pull up in the middle of the main square. Then automatically the doors opened followed by the steps coming down, each accompanied by a warning signal, and followed by the reverse sequence. It reminded me of a child's toy. When I got to the org which was located in what had been a mental institution and the building was still known by the same name, Saint something or other. After I arrived and introduced myself to the ED and got things rolling, the following conversation took place.

I said to her, to be polite, "I saw your modern street car, it was impressive."

She replied, "That was not a street car, it was our subway!"

I said, "I apologize. But it wasn't underground, it was on the street."

She said, "It goes underground when it gets out of town."

I was thinking that that was back to front, but instead foolishly responded, "Oh! And where does it go?"

And she said, "Not anywhere yet, but it will go to the University."

I decided it was time to bail out. The ED and the C/S were women and close friends and I became a safe terminal for each when they got into a dispute. In those days, the org was small but vibrant and had a good team.

This reminds me, why I don't know, of terrible incident which occurred in NY. There were three or four expediters in NY FDN, who were playing with a water pistol. The one who had the gun chased the other two outside and was looking for the other two. Next door to the Org was a vacant lot and when looking in there, saw two guys urinating. He told them get out and not come back. Two days later, the same expediter was walking up to Times Square and was shot three times, once in the head, by two undercover police who claimed he had drawn a gun on them. No gun was found. When I was told I went straight down to Emergency in NYC's Bellevue Hospital, I was sitting in the waiting room with the two cops who were genuinely shaken by the incident. At this point I knew nothing about the water pistol. I was there for about two hours, when the nurse came out and told that he had survived the operation but was still in a critical condition. At this point, the cops looked relieved and left, while I stayed back for a while and when I was told he was stable but could have brain damage, I left.

When he was released from the hospital he did have some brain damage, however I wrote an assist program for him. He did receive compensation, something like $100,000, but the bad news is that the regs managed to get over half of it from him over a period of time.

Early 1987 one of the NY orgs, either Day or Fdn, had a PC on lines who had just started the Purification Rundown and information came to light that he had AIDS. The C/S had a DofP interview done which revealed he had AID, and that he had been taking Amyl Nitrite as a social drug which was popular among the gay community and that he was doing the Purification Rundown to rid his body of the drug to handle his condition.

In those days there was no internet, and there had been no HCOPL/HCOB concerning AIDS. The C/S passed it on to me as the ED wanted the PC to continue but the C/S wasn't sure whether he was/wasn't an illegal PC. I suspected he could benefit from it, but at the same time I was pretty sure he was illegal. As he had started and so purchased a pack, I recommended that he runs it on himself with a partner and his account be re-credited for the amount paid for future auditing, he be told that if any problems, to inform me. We heard that he passed away a couple of weeks later, he hadn't quite restarted but had a partner organized and was looking forward to it. It was almost ten years later, well after my scientology days that I discovered that one of the side effects as a result of long term use of Amyl Nitrite, is Kaposi's sarcoma (a tumor which forms vascular channels that fill with blood cells).

One interesting mission was to NY's Long Island Org. At the time it was located at Islip. To get there I had to take a train from Penn Station in NY to Babylon and change to an old train which went out to the Hamptons. Islip was then very much on the outskirts of suburban NY. The org itself was a large two storey home on a large block which, as far as I recall, was around a couple of acres. The church had sold the property and was renting it back. The money was in an account to buy something more central, but between the FBO and the CLO, it was disappearing, which probably doesn't surprise you. It was a very small org with a staff of ten to twelve people and most of the staff lived in the org. We were able to get the Gross Income up and a couple of PCs into session and a couple of courses sold.

After the mission, I arrived back at Penn Station about midnight, and found the station literally packed with homeless people lying in made up beds side by side with a passageway left clear, down through the middle. There were hundreds of them, and I must admit I was very apprehensive walking through there, as they watched me and there was only me walking through. It was in the middle of winter. Just before I left the EUS, the org was re-located into a much more central location in the Westbury area, if I recall correctly.

Talking about "walking over the homeless", I did witness a scene in NY where this happened. It was just down the road from the org in 46th Street, about half way between the org and 7th Ave. This person was lying across the sidewalk with his head on step as a pillow, sleeping in the sun. I was on the other side walking up from 7th Ave and I saw a group of three people in a deep conversation stepping over him without glancing at him! I was about to cross the street but had to let a car pass and by the time I got over there, he had woken up and sitting on the step. I said, "Hi," he looked at me, got up and wandered down the street.

In Chicago, I experienced the complete opposite. I was on my first mission into Chicago, and decided to take the subway from O'Hare Airport into downtown Chicago. I've had a long term interest in subways and underground railways, so I couldn't miss this opportunity. I came up in a Woolworths, I think, and out onto State Street (that great street). There I saw three incidents, the first was a guy busking playing a guitar, the second was a guy who was "singing" extremely badly, with a tin in front of him to collect any donations, and third was another guy who had doped off in the sun with his back against the wall. I went around the corner and went a couple of blocks to see the Sears Tower and then back, perhaps 15 minutes. I had decided to give a couple quarters to the two buskers, but when I got there the guitarist was sharing a coffee with a friend, the "singer" was performing for a guy with a video camera, and two little old dears had called an ambulance for the third guy. Chicago has a real heart.

One of my last missions was my third to Miami. The mission went like clockwork and when I was ready to go, I sent my "Request for Termination" to mission ops who was the CO, Tommy. Normally it took about 30 minutes for the "OK" to come through. On this occasion, it hadn't come through when I had to leave to catch my flight, so I decided to go to the Miami airport and call the CLO from there. I did this, but the telex operator at the CLO hadn't got an answer from the CO to telex me and couldn't find the CO. I had the choice of trying to book on another flight which would have cost, or take my flight. As the mission went fine, I decided to take the flight. When I arrived at the CLO, I put my head into Tommy's office with the $500 and expenses and said, "Hi, Tommy." Well! He hit the roof. He wanted more done, he wanted me to debug the ED and the regs. This resulted in a heated argument. The result of which, I refused to do any more missions. About a couple of weeks later, Tommy suggested I might like to do some more missions, he must have missed the $500's, and agreed to my terms.

Finally, there were a couple of incidents in NY, which I'd like to mention. I think the CLO was on the fourth, perhaps fifth, floor of the NY org building. The building being quite old, was U-shaped to provide a light well. My office, at an end of the U, had a window facing the rear. The window frame was timber and quite old. The CLO had its own estates department consisting of an executive/handyman and a chef. The chef was Carlos and was very good. For the life of me I can't recall the name of the man who was estates I/C and handyman, however he was a solid guy and an experienced rock climber. He came into my office to clean my window. He opened my window, put on a harness consisting of a belt and from each side of the belt were belts which clipped onto bolts on the frame on each side of the window as he stood on the sill outside the window. As I mentioned back in my Sydney days, I wasn't big on heights, and I couldn't believe what he was doing! I decided that my having visions of the frame giving way, wasn't going to help him, so I left the office until he was finished.

Not only did I have no idea that NY was a city running on steam, but I had no idea that any city ran on steam. Sure steam locomotives, steam cars like the Stanley Steamer, even "steam" radio as it was called when commercial television started in Australia, but cities running on steam?

Here I must digress for a moment, west of Sydney is a mountian range, called the Blue Mountains, unique in that it is a plateau and the towns are on the top of it. It also includes the Jenolan (limestone) Caves. I stayed at the Caves House, their guest house, one night and was kept awake by what I thought must have been a creek.

Now back in NY some 20 years later and shortly after I was posted there, it became very cold. I was holding a meeting in my office, when suddenly the stream came on for the radiator which was under the window in my office. I suddenly yelled, "That's it!" Much to the astonishment of those present. That was the sound that kept me awake! A few days later I was wandering around NY in the vicinity of the org an noticed that there were a number of what looked like work sites on the sidewalks which had a 12 to 24 inch red and white banded tubes pointing upwards with smoke coming out the top. I asked about them and discovered that that was repairs to the NY steam system.

Reflections of LA:

When I did my HRD training at ASHO under David Mayo and Greg Wilhere, the Sydney team of Genny Gray, Jan Hill and myself were invited to visit CCLA, which was located in La Brea Ave, if I'm not mistaken. This was before it became CCInt. One interesting feature was a small purpose built theatrette with stepped seating, which wasn't much larger than a typical lounge room. Impishly, I asked the question, "Who gets to watch the films?" The person showing us around, who I think was the ED, gave a strange look and said, "Members of the film industry who are on lines, use it from time to time."

Then we were looking at their photo gallery of Celebrities who had been on their lines, when she told us a rather fascinating story about Christopher Reeves. Reeves had been on lines in CCNY and had apparently made the statement that he attributed in part to CCNY, his success in getting the lead in Superman. Apparently he had a lot of hours paid for at CCNY, when he came to Hollywood, and wanted to continue his auditing in CCLA. CCLA insisted that either the money he had paid into CCNY be passed over to CCLA or that Reeves buy additional auditing with CCLA. Of course, the FBO would have made sure that CCNY no longer had the money and so could not be remitted to CCLA. When CCLA refused to deliver what had been paid for, Reeves was furious and stormed out of CCLA and scientology. And without scientology, went on to be a real success.

My own experience was with AOLA, I had paid for up to OT3 at AOLA, to the Tours Org in Sydney. When I joined the SO and got my lower OT levels at Flag, I thought I would use the money paid, for books, only to find out that the money was not remitted to AOLA but instead, taken by the FBO, and that books were a different income flow line. I didn't push it as I did receive my OT levels at Flag.
After I had completed all my training and got things rolling at AOLA and OC, I decided to take in a trip to Tijuana on a liberty. This was a key event in my departure from the CofS. I went by train as I didn't yet have my van, besides which many advised me that if you have an accident in Mexico, you lock your car up and give your keys to an attorney, whether you were in the right or not, otherwise you would end up in jail! Urban myth? In sections of the train journey, the tracks are less than 50 yards from the ocean and no more than 10 to 20 feet higher, or that's how it seemed.

Before we got to this section of the railroad, we passed a spot on the ocean side of the tracks where a number of caravans, campervans and kombis were parked, many with tarpaulins being used as awnings. There would have been ten or so and it was totally informal. It reminded me of the campervan I had left at Flag and I decided then to buy another one in LA. I was at that point, where I didn't consider there was a future for me in the CofS, but at the same time I was enjoying myself and so, put off thinking about leaving. But it was there in the back of my mind. I had also decided that when I did go, it would be a blow, not a routing out, as being Exec Strata I would be declared either way!

When we stopped, we were in the middle of a large paved area of some five acres. I sat there waiting when I noticed everyone else was getting of the train. So I quickly jumped off and followed the others some one hundred yards to a building which turned out to be the San Diego railroad station. There I got a ticket to take a modern light rail to San Ysidro on the border. To enter Mexicon we had to walk along a long narrow foot bridge at the end of which one could take a taxi or walk about half a mile. Looking at the condition of the taxis and the way they were driven, the majority including me, elected to walk.

The two items I purchased, I still have. I bought a Victorinox Champion swiss army knife with everything for $US27 after some haggling which retailed in LA for $US85 and a black leather bag for $US2. With the knife, he charged me sales tax of $US2, and I was too slow to realize that there was no sales tax in Mexico, but still an incredible deal.

I was walking past a beer garden where two Americans were boasting how they ripped the Mexicans off on some item, I don't recall what it was, but the price they had paid was much higher than what they could have paid at another market. So it was a win-win there! They were laughing at the Mexicans and the Mexicans were laughing at them.

I was reflecting on my time in LA, when I realized that I had omitted any mention of my marriage, other than that I had a wife. Yet there some aspects which were not particularly personal, but did reflect the Sea Org community behaviour and attitudes.

In Australia, where I was a registered celebrant, I was responsible for determining whether the couple satisfied all legal requirements to marry. In Florida, this is done by the County Court, in fact, I was able to officiate a marriage myself. In our, Maria and myself, wedding in February 1984 Jon Wooten, a NOTs FESer, performed the service. John passed away in 1986 or '87 from a massive heart attack. The witnesses were Luba Kywa and Edward Gellatly, who passed away from cancer in 1985 and who was also NOTs case level. The wedding was held in the Hour Glass restaurant in the Fort Harrision Hotel, and as Edward had a close relationship with the chief steward, we were supplied with a wedding cake and a simple wedding breakfast to celebrate, with the compliments of the house. The Hour Glass was then if not still, the premier restaurant. Sometimes having the right contacts, can be nice. Did I say sometimes?

As an aside, in Australia (and England) a wedding cake is made from a fruit cake, which 50% fruit consisting of raisins and currants with some citrus fruit peel and glace cherries, with a firm marzipan frosting, and absolutely delicious. Our wedding cake looked the same and I was astonished to find it was made with sponge cake and a sugar frosting, and I was told that's how they all are in the US. I feel sorry for all married Americans who did not enjoy a fruit cake wedding cake.

When I became a Flag auditor, I was assigned no buddy and had to find my own way to the FSO dining room, which was separate from other orgs on the base and given to the FSO by Hubbard. Within a couple of years, it was being renovated and then used as another restaurant for the public. However, I got myself a plate of food and looked around for a seat. I found a seat at what I was to find out, was the FESers table. I asked if I might join them, and the following meal Maria turned up. She was married to a public and was going through a divorce. It was about 18 months later that we got married. While many get married in the Sea Org to escape living twelve in a room, this wasn't our primary motivation.

The pleasure of having own space, was amazing. I saw some unexpected couplings my first couple of years, and then I understood! For our first night, we were given a room in an old motel purchased by the CofS in Cleveland Street, which is the major cross street to Fort Harrision Ave, about half a mile up. Then we were moved into a temporarily vacant room, the occupiers were away, in the Grey Moss building. The Grey Moss was an old guesthouse, directly opposite the Fort Harrison Hotel. It was a very old timber building whose foundations had sunk at various points, to various depths. We were on the second floor and the hallway went up and down at angles of up to 30 degrees. Of course most of the door sto the rooms had triangular pieces added to the top and bottom so they would fit!

The CofS eventually bought the building and the Super Power building stands on its site. After a couple of nights in the temporary room, we were moved to another room at the end of the hallway parallel to Fort Harrison Ave, overlooking the road. We shared a bathroom with another room which contained three girls, FLB (the estates org) executives! Using the shared bathroom you would lock the other door and one of the girls would keep forgetting to unlock our door! When the Hacienda was purchased, we got a room there, with our own bathroom. What luxury! The Hacienda was a large development consisting of a number of apartment buildings, with four apartments in each, and all staff except those with children, were relocated to the Hacienda. During my time as Snr C/S EUS, I would come to Flag for my crammings, and spend a couple of nights with Maria. I also did two missions to Tampa, and again stayed with Maria.

There is one activity which permeated my experience in scientology, but I haven't yet looked at. Sport is an important part of the Australian way of life and rugby is an important part of sport. In Sydney Org in the late seventies, we had a number of very good football players on staff such as Greg Tweedy, Billy Gray, and Shane McSweeney, then there were others like myself who simply enjoyed playing. All the guys got together and formed a team to enter a touch football competition with Harry Bloomberg as our coach.

At Flag in around 1985, the Chief Officer, John Danilovich decided to stage a soccer match of FSO staff, with the Europeans versus the rest of the world and I was one of them. The Europeans won! After the match, I got into my van and drove up Chestnut Street on the wrong side of a divided road. Someone was coming towards me, and I said to myself, "What's that stupid idiot doing!" I turned left at the next street, still on the left hand side of the road, saw cars parked facing me, and suddenly realized I was on the wrong side, I was in the US, not Australia. How embarrassing!

Soon after, Ian Brown who I think was in FSO's HCO, was a Canadian who played rugby, and rounded up all those interested in playing rugby. Even though I was 49, I couldn't let this opportunity go. We formed a team, called the "Saints", and played against the University of Southern Florida (Tampa), St Petersburg, University of Miami and a couple of others. This competition was of a similar standard of second division rugby in Sydney. I was ref for the match against USF, and then played in the match against St Petersburg. (This next sentence is only for those who know something about rugby. I started on the wing then when the half got hurt I moved in there, and when the hooker got hurt I moved in there.) I discovered there were many muscles I didn't know existed, the body was aching all over. After the match, I was ordered by she-who-must-be-obeyed, Maria, not to play again, as it was much too dangerous. I obeyed, but in reality, it is not as dangerous as it looks.

BTW, before I went to EUS, Ian Brown and Debbie Cook got married, and I can remember Alain Kartuzinski, then my Lead C/S, saying to Debbie then an auditor, "What's happening Debbie? You were a cookie and now you're a brownie!" Well, I thought it was clever, anyway.

Finally, when I was in PAC, in the UC, I would join a group of Ex-pat Aussies and play touch football during CSP.

Me and my Van

As I sit here, more and more experiences come to mind, but none seemed particularly significant, at this time. So I thought I would wrap up Mate's Story, outlining what happened after I blew. I remember talking to one of the FSO course supervisors about RTC wanting me to become Cont Snr C/S EUS, and I made the observation of when I'm confronted with a change, how I tend to look at all the implications and see an outline of what would be my future. This did not occur on my blowing, I had given no thought to my immediate or even long term future. I just simply had to get out. And this I did.

After I left PAC, I found myself in Glendale, and my first consideration was that I had too much stuff in the Van and with this particular layout of the campervan, there was nowhere to hang my clothes. I spent the first few days, installing hanging space, installing a small fridge and a porta potty, installing an independent battery system, mounting a small TV with radio and mounting a storage container on the roof. I also filled the water tank and the LPG tank.

Feeling pretty pleased with myself, I drove off to no where in particular. I ended up in Burbank and had decided I needed to get a job and generate income. Fortunately, I had a Green Card but I realized I didn't have an address, which reminded me of the mail box I had in the store opposite AOLA in Fountain Street. So I looked and found one in Burbank and got myself an address. I also picked up a mail box at the Burbank post office.

My first job was putting out flyers, then I got Insurance Solicitor License and then a Life and Disability Certificate. I had almost completed a Real Estate Brokers course, when the motor in the Van blew up. I had just sufficient funds to return to Sydney or replace the motor. I returned to Sydney picked up a telemarketing position and then opened up a health food store.

I did return briefly to Clearwater, not Flag, to see my wife Maria. This was quite interesting and I will cover it in my next posting.

Before I end Mate's Story, there was one final incident.

When I arrived back in Sydney, I found myself a room in the historic Rocks area in Sydney, which is at the city end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This was to be my home for two years. Shortly after I arrived and after failing to secure a teaching position, and realized that 55 year olds were not in demand, I picked up a telemarketing position with a museum, with the objective to get my own business going. I then contacted various members of my family, only to find Maria, my wife, had been writing to my Dad. They had been getting on well together, which pleased me but also surprised me.

It surprised me because my Dad was a Belfast protestant and used to reminisce with my uncle about the fights they had had as kids against the local catholic boys. When I was about ten, I used to play football with a boy about five houses up our street, and one day Dad pulled me aside and said, "Don't get too close to Michael, he's a catholic." It was after that that I heard him and my uncle reminiscing, and began to understand. It pleased me because I now had a way of communicating with Maria.

After 12 months, my annual leave came up and I was off to Clearwater to see Maria. I booked into a motel called the Palms on the Gulf to Bay Blvd and then called security at the Hacienda to leave a message for Maria to contact me at the motel. As would be expected, two MAAs arrived and tried to handle me, rather unsuccessfully. They then tried 'she didn't want to see me', which I pointed out wasn't true, in fact, she was expecting to see me. They then claimed that she was on ethics lines and couldn't see me. My response was that she was my wife and I had travelled half way around the globe to see her and as she was expecting me then I could only assume she was being held against her will, which is a felony, and that I had no intention of leaving until I saw her. They left agreeing that she would be "allowed" to come and see me the following night.

Maria wanted to see me because she really wanted to enter a convent and become a nun and the particular Order in Puerto Rico she wanted to enter, did not recognize her scientology marriages and would arrange for our marriage to be annulled. After Maria left FSO, she did make a brief visit to Sydney with all the details and also to meet my Dad.

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