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The MOST (Morning Star) Newsletter

July 1996 Volume IV #1

An Activity of the KIT Information Service
A Project of The Peregrine Foundation

P.O. Box 460141
San Francisco, CA 94146-0141
telephone: (415) 821-2090 / fax: (415) 282-2369

Staff: Ramon Sender, editor; Vivian Gotters, Pam Read Hanna, Sandi Stein, Contributing Editors; John & Jeanie Nelson, Assistant Editors

The MOST Newsletter is an open forum for fact and opinion, and encourages the expression of all views. The opinions expressed in the letters published are those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflects those of MOST editors or staff.

"What Go 'Round Come Around"

Howdy, gang! Okay, so it's been a while. We are all so loaded up with "labor-saving devices," (computers, World Wide Web browsers, URL's, Home Pages, phone answering machines, modems, voice mail, e-mail, telecom connections of all flavors, fax machines, that there just has been no time to kick back enough to get in the MOST Newsletter groove.
 
But then Uncle Lou did the unthinkable, and that was to DIE ON US! "No, Lou, don't die!" many of us called out. "You PROMISED TO STICK AROUND!"
 
"Sorry, dear hearts," he seemed to reply. "God sent me a Special Delivery that read: 'Lou, we need you immediatemente -- subito -- right now!' And when God calls, you can't give Her excuses. So -- whoom! -- I'm off! Love to all! See you later!"
 
This is a special "In Memory of Our Lou Gottlieb" issue. So tell your secretary to 'hold the calls,' slip out of your left brain and float downstream on a wave of sorrowful nostalgia. I originally started to write this issue out on the sun deck, the computer on the end of an extension cord, literally the first time that I figured out how to word-process outdoors. I was trying to pay heed to Chief White Eagle's wise words from 1969, "Hippies are people who are smart enough to go outside when the sun is shining." The sun was shining -- we had been blessed with perfect springtime weather, and projects or no projects, I was determined to 'get some en-solar-ment' to counter my indoor grayed-out look.
 
Anyway, "Aloha" and "Hola" and "Yoo-hoo!" to our wide-spread tribe. And a VERY HAPPY BUEN VIAJE to Uncle Lou who no doubt at this very moment is explaining to the assembled heavenly throngs what the situation is here earthside that needs special divine attention. Badaba, Lou!

"Meanwhile, Back On The Ranch"

Table of Contents

Vivian Gotters
Nancy Collins
Rena Morningstar
Pam Read Hanna
Stephen Fowler"Adios!"
Ramon Sender
Salli Rasberry
photo of Rachel Laws at the grave
Sandi Stine
Sister Benedicta
John Cable Car Nelson
Some Photos from Lou's Burial
Lou Gottlieb Weird Happening
Lou Gottlieb Basic Rap
Lou Gottlieb A Later Addendum
Lou Gottlieb 4/24/89
Lou Gottlieb 4/30/89
Lou Gottlieb 5/9/89
Lou Gottlieb Recherche du temps perdue
Lou Gottlieb Apocalypse Now
Lou Gottlieb L.A 1990
Lou Gottlieb Dear Brother
Lou Gottlieb L.A. re Aurobindo
Lou Gottlieb re Praising God
Lou Gottlieb Occidental 12/92
Lou portrait in 1968 Occidental 12/92
Lou Gottlieb Various Photos & Quotes
Lou Gottlieb My Great Discovery
Lou Gottlieb Cities of Refuge
Ramon Sender
Rena Morningstar
Off-Color Joke
Lou Gottlieb, our own very dear "Uncle Lou," did indeed 'drop the body,' to use one of his phrases, at 11:42 A.M. Thursday, July 11th, at Palm Drive hospital in Sebastopol, California, and mahasamadhi'd at the age of 72. It happened to be his Limeliter partner Alex Hassilev's birthday ("A final 'Lou joke'," Alex said mournfully). It also happened to be Bliss Buys Cochran's birthday too, and it also happened to be TOO SOON and TOO SUDDEN for all his family, lovers, friends, fans, acquaintances and admirers. But like the professional performer he was, he got off the stage quickly when his act was over, refused any surgical intervention or heroic measures from the Emergency Room staff, went into deep mediation and departed for the next level.
 
It will take some time for his dear hearts to absorb the impact of this event, at least for your newsletter editor, for one. But I'm convinced that Lou's presence upstairs will also hasten the spiritual evolution of all of us here below. Hasta lluego, brother.
 
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Vivian Gotters, 7/16/96: My dear Lou: Well, how's life on the other side? You slipped away so easily -- and you took a part of me with you. How kind you are. I have never understood the idea of sacrifice -- of offering up a life to God. But now I understand that when an enlightened one passes, those who love you follow you one step closer to Heaven. Expanding consciousness. I kept telling you that you'd see the Millennium, never dreaming that it would be your Passing that would herald the transition.
 
How noble you were in those last moments! Thank you for letting me be there.
 
We planted you at Rolling Hills Cemetery on Sunday afternoon on that beautiful hillside next to your father. Spencer Paul, your grandson, wanted us to open the coffin so that he could see you again. He spoke for us all. We wanted one last chance to visit, one last chance to say the things we didn't get to say, to do the things we didn't get to do...
 
The greatest pain for those closest to you, especially your children, was that they were not with you. And I know that the hardest part for you was letting go of them, so I understand why they couldn't have been there. I remember when you said that you wanted to do one more "significant" thing with your life so that your children would be proud of you. And I said that all they probably want at this point is to know that you're proud of them. With a wave of you hand you said, "Oh, they know I'm proud of them. If there's one thing they know, it's how proud I am of them."
 
The shock of the last few days is wearing off and the pain is setting in. I know how you hate to dwell on the "down" side, so I won't. Let's just say you are missed. All my love as always,
Your Lady of the Lake,
 
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Nancy Collins, 7/16/96: I feel as though I have witnessed the most perfectly orchestrated death, having been the fortunate one that Lou picked to die with. In his last year of life, he felt healthier than he had since his thirties. He lost 90 pounds and went to the gym three times a week. He had conquered his only bad habit -- overeating, and was eating fat-free and small portions. He commented that his losing his obsession with food cleared his mind.
Living at Morning Star, teaching piano, he had a strict daily regimen of four hours each morning on the piano. These hours extended until he once actually thought it was Thursday and it was Sunday. He had finally reached "piano bliss." During one of these periods, he recorded himself playing Bach, which had frustrated him more than anything. Lou was at peace with everyone and had no more curiosity. He had accomplished everything he ever wanted to in life.
 
Please God, let us all be so lucky and give us the will to keep trying to accomplish our dreams. Thank you, Lou, for allowing me to have such a great friend and such fond, colorful memories.
 
Rena Morningstar, 7/16/96: Let us remember Lou's Vision and do our best to live it. We are a family attempting to live together in harmony. We were having too much fun, and so the authorities tried to put a stop to it. Although I've traveled and now live in the North Pacific, I have found that there's truly nothing like the Morningstar Experience! Almost 30 years later, and I'm smiling! Let us show our children the vision, that they may attempt to donate their land and their work to God!
 
Thank you for loving Lou. We can continue to love Lou!
-- RNA-- Rena MorningStar
 
P.S. Historians take note: although I spent six wildly happy years with Lou, and our son Bill Vishnu Gottlieb was consciously conceived, we chose to live outside of wedlock. You may call me a 'Soul Mate.' Thanks, Lou! Our souls will play again!
 
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Pam Read Hanna, 7/16/96: I'm howling for Lou. I'm not accepting this worth a tinker's damn. Everybody's going to be eulogizing him up the kazoo but I'm just banging around between being super pissed that he didn't tell us he was in extremis and melting into tears because he's gone and we're still here and I can't ask him any more questions or tell him any of my latest brilliant theories or turn him on to books I'm reading or movies I just saw. He's gone! He's fucking outta here!
 
I can just hear my #1 son Adam Siddhartha saying, "Hey, that's deep, Pam." In some morbid frenzy of self-indulgent grief, I called his number and got his answering machine and heard his voice saying he'd call back -- but he's not going to call back, or come back or be back here in the outback on this god-forsaken planet full of losers who are still alive. He pushed us all away these last couple months. He must have known he was about to check out. I was saving up stuff I wanted to talk to him about for when he was in a better mood. Well, he sure as hell must be in a better mood right about now, but we're all on hold.
 
At least one of us, one of our tribe -- Vivian -- was with him at the last moment. She said maybe he was keeping people at a distance because he knew that if we knew where he was really at, we'd have all flown out there and we would have been right up in his face saying "Lou, don't go" We'd have gone for the jugular too. "Lou, don't leave us -- we need you," we'd have said, "We need your spin on the cosmos. We need your funny dirty stories and we need your half-baked theories on everything imaginable, we need your... presence." That's what clued me in that I wasn't even grieving for Lou. I'm grieving for my own loss. Lou is probably grooving like he's never grooved before. I can just hear him saying something like, "Dear hearts, the music of the spheres has an unequalled rhythm section. It's definitely a must hear." Every other time he experienced something extraordinary, we'd get his take on it in his voice. What's hard to accept is that we're not going to get his take on it this side of the grave. So we're the ones who are pissed off, left out, and holding the bag. With our collective consciousness, we would have made him stay -- in great pain. Yeah, we might very well have done that -- if we knew. But we didn't know. He e-mailed us that all was cool and he was feeling better. But he knew. He knew it was his time and he was ready. So what all this amounts to is that I'm feeling extraordinarily sorry for myself, champing at the bit and wishing I had somebody to be mad at because Uncle Luya checked out and didn't leave a forwarding address. Just like him! He could be SO-ooo exasperating! Between bouts of keening, wailing and howling, I did have a thought -- it was that in all conversations with him that even remotely brushed on the death of the body, he always let everybody know he was ready. Once I was rattling on to him about these people in a desert somewhere who ate right, exercised, meditated and did yoga -- applied geriatrics -- and they were living to be 120+ years old.
"Whaddaya thinka that, Lou?" I asked him.
 
And he said, "Well darlin', I'm really more interested in going on to what's next."
 
That's Lou. OK, shot my load. Wailing in the weeds, keening to the cosmos, howling in the hailstorm -- our Patriarch is dead. God love him.
 
Oh damn -- I forgot to say that I so much ASSUMED that Lou would stick around for the millennium and we'd all party hearty. Another thing I didn't say is how much a mentor he was to me. He shaped my attitudes and approach on everything for decades -- and I know I'm not the Lone Ranger. In my particular case, he was friend, mentor, and I didn't get it that he was my mentor until he died. I just didn't snap! Can you beat that? More than a father figure -- a real sure-'nuf guru-mentor type relationship -- with me scrapping and kvetching all the way.
 
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Adios, General Paton! by Stephen Fowler
You can talk about Lou Gottlieb's brilliant mind, his sense of humor, his musical skill and erudition; you can praise his generosity, his tolerance and his deep sense of what it means to be civil in this world; you might enumerate his amazing number of friends (both famous and obscure), his sexual exploits, the dollars earned and spent. I want to talk about his feet.
 
Don't forget, Lou was the only child of a respected orthopedic surgeon, a man who, Lou proudly pointed out, lectured on podiatry as well as practicing it. Characteristically, Lou's capacious mind had absorbed a great deal of his father's knowledge, and he could talk authoritatively about the agonies of corns, chilblains, bunions, fallen arches and gout. I believe he knew the names of most of the bones in the foot. His father, who must have seen a lot of feet, may have been awestruck at the sight of his son's size 15's.
 
Yes, Lou Gottlieb's pedal extremities were truly colossal!
 
Shortly after Lou began his four-year stay here at what he liked to call "Camp Fowler," he started telling me stories about his years in the army. Lucky Lou had, he said, "A very good war," playing music in various bands which contained excellent musicians he might otherwise not have met, and enjoying the tremendous surplus of unattached women. But before the "Good" part, he had to go through Basic Training, which required strenuous exercise -- not a Gottlieb strong point -- and living in a platoon with a bunch of non-musicians. He remembered all their names, including that of the Hayseed who bragged that he had 'stump-trained' his favorite heifer. (Always stand uphill of 'em," he advised. "That way they back up agin ya.") There were also, in that barracks, a few Hispanic guys who couldn't believe the magnitude of the Gottlieb tootsies. After awhile, they came up with a nickname for Lou that punned on the name of a famous general and the word for 'foot' in Spanish. His moniker henceforth was "General Paton" ("General Bigfoot").
For a couple of years now, whenever Lou walked into the house, I would give my best imitation of a Mexican Army irregular saluting his superior and cry out, "General Paton!" He would usually reply in Spanish, which I have never managed to learn.
 
Finally, one morning Lou didn't show up. Instead, Nancy Collins came running up to tell me that Lou had fallen off the deck at his cabin and to please call 911. When I got down there, Lou was calmly lying on the ground, on his back, the blood starting to dry around the edges of his broken nose. He quipped that his face would henceforth have a lot more character. I asked him where it hurt, and he said, "Right here," drawing his fingers across his sweatshirt just below his left rib cage. I put my hand there, just placed it there lightly with the irrational thought that I might draw the trouble out and throw it into the bushes or something. But it didn't happen, and I looked around for some other way to make Lou comfortable. All I could think of was to rub his cold, bare feet.
Rachel, his granddaughter, tells me that her last contact with Lou was also that she was rubbing his very cold feet just before he passed.
 
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Ramon Sender, 7/16/95: Lou Gottlieb opened his Morningstar Ranch to all comers in 1966. In 1968, a permanent injuction forbade Lou to entertain further guests. His fines totalled over $14,000 and he spent a week in jail on contempt of court. By 1972 the structures at Morningstar Ranch had been bulldozed by the county three times.
Lou did more good for more people than any one single person that I've ever known. He's getting a big welcome Upstairs, that's for sure. My 'take' on his early exit is that although insisted he was enjoying his semi-retirement, he also was twiddling his thumbs a bit sitting on the bench. His talents were too important to be wasted, so God tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Lou, have we got a job for you in Sector Arg-Sniggle-Warpsniffer 12! So enough, already, of this piano-playing in the redwoods. We're beaming you up!"
 
But I'm sort of peeved about the suddeness of it, if you know what I mean...
 
Salli Rasberry, 7/17/96: A bright yellow hand-carved sign that hangs over the entrance to The Coffin Garden in Salli's garden advises "Bloom Where You're Planted." The Coffin Garden is nestled in an orchard of fruit trees, sunflowers and wildflowers surrounded by lavender where artists, musicians, gardeners and anyone interested in awakening and changing consciousness about death are invited. Delia Moon and Salli Rasberry have dedicated a bench to celebrate Lou, swap stories, sketch a flower, or just be.
 

 

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Sandi Stein, July 15,1996: I thought today after the services, it would be better, that I would shoulder my pain and go on about my business. Today it is not better. When I awoke this morning, I realized that one very important voice that has sounded so clearly for so long in the background of my life has fallen silent, as if that one really big bass note in the theme song of my life has suddenly stopped. The words and tune go on, but somehow the sound is thinner, having lost some important character of its depth and richness. And I am sure that it is in the course of every day living, of casual conversations, thinking, and spiritual pursuits that my life will be impoverished to both greater and lesser extents minus Lou's commentary and wisdom.
 
I know that Lou had closer and better friends than I. Yet somehow he always made me feel important, often introducing me as "the youngest graduate of the Morningstar class of '67" even though I remember contributing little other than my presence and an open ear to many a gathering on the porch of his studio.
 
Now in retrospect, I understand the power of what I was witness to there, in the conversations and arguments about voluntary primitivism, right livelihood, Christianity, Buddhism, Nihilism, politics, birth, poetry and every other directional perspective on the compass of human meaning that can be conceptualized, and of course then some.
 
The watchful diet of my formative years consisted of other delicacies besides conversation as well, watching you built musical instruments in the tall summer grass, the births of Sol Ray, Raspberry, Rainbow and Vish and many more, Choctaw's herbal Indian lore, John Nelson launching his water bed from high atop the redwood canopy, the bikers, bulldozers, rebuilding, early morning Bach, and behind it all, the sound of Lou's voice, rising into an enthusiastically crescendo, and then falling into the quiet of some shared secret regarding his latest acquisition of infinite interests and best beginner's mind. "The idea is the thing, you see, my dear".
So my intention here is not to Guru-ize, or eulogize Lou. He was a big enough soul in his own right not to need that kind of press from me. My intention is to share my love and his importance to me. And that love and importance are in and of themselves more profound than the most eloquent words or any handful of narcissists clamoring for godhood. He was neither narcissist or guru, far too caring for one and admittedly fallible for the other. But in my book, great soul might not fall too far afield. I believe I have known a few, and he was clearly one.
 
So in closing, I want to say that the conspiracy to change the world that blossomed in those many dialogues I witnessed as an adolescent became the rock upon which I build my life. If you want to see what was said, look into any corner of my adult existence, and you can't help but find anarchy, community, the notion of open land, spiritual seeking, and I hope what is more than a generous helping of beginner's mind. Now too you will also find silence where there was an ongoing clamor, a passionate living dialogue for change. Perhaps that stillness will grow less noticeable with time, yet I think that big bass note that is gone from the chorus of my life is simply irreplaceable, and that I shall miss it until the trumpet sounds for me as well.
 
May all roads lead us home. Ba-Da-Ba!
 
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Sister Benedicta, Order of St. Helena (Ramon's sister) 7/13/96: Here's my story about meeting Lou. It was right after I'd moved in to a very posh building on 67th street in Manhattan, and felt rather out of my league in terms of social class, so I was trying to keep a low profile and act very respectable. At 10:30 P.M. Lou called and introduced himself as Ramon's friend, (and I'd heard Ramon speak of him) so as 'right now' was the only time our schedules meshed, I gulped and said "Come on up."
 
Lou arrived in a sort of woodsman's green suit and full beard, 10:45 P.M., and we got talking about Spanish mystics (a favorite subject of mine) about which he was very knowledgeable and astute. Somehow this innocent conversation lasted until the small hours until I regretfully showed him out at an hour that no doorman was going to think we were discussing Teresa of Avila. Well, I thought I'd live it down by being super-respectable in the future.
The following night I got a call that my sister-in-law Alicia had a medical emergency (2:00 A.M.) so out I tore into the night. The third night I was in that building, Sr. Ruth arrived in full habit with an overnight bag to spend the night. I told our American mother Julia about all this, commenting "They'll never know what to make of all this!
 
"Oh they'll have no trouble with that," she replied. "They'll just think that you're living a dissolute life, and your family is sending in the church to rescue you!"
 
I enjoyed Lou's visit enormously and I also enjoyed reading his input in Ramon's MCI box. So I shall post an intercession request, light a candle, and do my best to pray for him and all those that shall miss him!
 
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John 'Cable Car' Nelson, 7/14/96: I never felt I'd left the ranch and shaken its dust from my earthly raiment, till word received by wire did chill my soul... the word that Lou had passed. He liberated spirits and laughed at their antics. He sought mastery and got Mystery ...and there -- that land called Morningstar -- he channeled human droplets into a rivulet ...into a stream of consciousness breaching the banks of the rivulet... and we now are left to find our laughter and our prayers, we bright and morning stars...
I had decided to grow dope under the bed (the repository of all things illicit in my youth). A waterbed suspended from redwoods accessed by a green moss mother stump ramp would give me succor and comfort after my grueling labors in the city. I could see it so clearly -- a bubble above and below a suspended lens of water that warmed the evening and cooled the day -- and Lou could see it. But his eyes, I think, rolled heavenward even as he nodded approval of the project.
 
(....I placed an Abraham Lincoln rose from my garden on his pinewood box and tucked a bud into the stem lattice of granddaughter Rachel's flowers by his side....)
 
Four fifty-gallon drums rolled to site. The hose mouth disgorged water to fill the bed hidden by brush and redwoods below on the upper slopes of a dome-shaped hillside. Lou was at my side, eyes wide with wonder and delight when, after loud crashing and pregnant screams, the redwood grove delivered a bounding blob of water into and across the meadow and, continuing to gather speed, disappeared into the woods beyond (there its unexplained passage through a small encampment became the basis of myth and legends from which a few UFO cults were later formed... ).
 
"My boy, you've outdone yourself," Lou said, after minutes of sustained laughter.
 
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Some Photos From Lou's Burial

Nancy w/Jimmy Nancy Collins hugs Jimmy Small.
Vivian
w/Spencer Vivian Gotters with Lou's grandson Spencer Gottlieb as guests gather at Rolling Hills Memorial Park. 
Glenn Yarbrough Glenn Yarbrough - pure gold on the high note of Danny Boy.
Rick D & Alex H Rick Dougherty and Alex Hassilev -- for now, a Limeliter Duo.
Lee Hartz Lee Hartz, mother of Judith and Tony Gottlieb.
Judith Gottlieb Judith Gottlieb Spector -- she's got Lou's talent on stage.
Family group L to R: Lee Hartz, her son Tony, Bill Gottlieb (Lou and Rena's son) and granddaughter Rachel Laws.
at the grave The gathering at the grave.
Rick D & Alex H Spencer helps shovel. 
Rachel & Tony Rachel, Bill, Tony and Lou's godson Mike Winsor.
Spencer & Miranda Grandchildren Spencer and Miranda Gottlieb.
Goodbye, Lou Final goodbyes to Lou.
Vivian & Tony Vivian Gotters, the grandchildren, Tony and Bill Gottlieb.
 
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Selected Writings by Lou

Weird Happenings, Monday, July 8, 96: Having achieved my weight goal of 200 lbs., on June 29, l996, I started experimenting to define a "maintenance' diet. My problem started at a July 4th barbecue when I had three scoops of delicious, spicy salsa dip, then ate a roasted head of garlic drenched in oil and a serving of salad with an oily dressing. I followed that up with yet another large dip into the salsa. When I swallowed that, it was less than a minute before I a radioactive tube of cement formed in my upper intestine. Actually it was just below my left rib cage near the center.
 
One minute later I was on the floor. Not completely passed out, but very weak. I lay there for a half-hour and then got up and drove home. I thought it was an attack of hyperglycemia. Wrong diagnosis, except that taking some anti-hyperglycemic pills did make me feel better. Since then I have got steadily weaker. My stool is black which indicates I am bleeding internally. It could be an ulcer or it could be cancer. Doctor is giving me Zantac to stop the bleeding and a whole bunch of blood tests to find out what's wrong. I feel like I'm not long for this planet, and that's okay with me. I'm gonna stick around to see what happens and I'll keep you informed. One thing I have learned -- the intensive care I lavished on my diabetes made me overlook some other symptoms, like maybe I lost the weight too easily. Hasta lluego,
 
Lou's Basic Rap (as formulated in 1988)
There are always individuals who are allergic to life in the mainstream of the society in which they live. The goals and incentives offered by that society are insufficient inducement for them to work. Their need for leisure is greater than their fear of unemployment, starvation or homelessness. Publicans and sinners, the hoi polloi, bohemians, beatniks, hippies, lumpen proletariat, "hooligani," "gusanos," "marielitos," street people, the homeless panhandlers found in every American city are names which have been used to characterize this component of society at various times. These beggars provide the opportunity for philanthropic behavior which always makes rich people feel good. John D. Rockefeller, for example, is reputed to have given away over half a billion dollars during his lifetime.
 
However the philanthropic urge is often inhibited by the need to decide who is truly worthy of help. As reported in Time magazine, these days some only give to beggars who are disabled, others give only to beggars with children, and the poor are more generous than the rich.
 
Twenty years ago, having been lucky enough to catch the wave of the "folk scare," I fancied myself involved in an attempt to ameliorate the human condition. The only kind of philanthropy I could think of which did not require judging the qualifications of the recipients of my generosity was free rent.
 
As a result of the events at Morning Star Ranch between 1966 and 1971, I am still convinced that the Bureau of Land Management, which controls more than sixteen and a half million acres of land in California, should deed a dozen isolated parcels of forty acres each to God and see who shows up. These pockets of controlled anarchy, I am convinced, can produce lifestyles which would be convenient for this element that seems to cause embarrassment wherever they appear.
 
The most optimistic facet in the coming two decades is that the possessors of the morality necessary to rip off the Russian bourgeoisie have died. They have been replaced by second-and third-generation Communists like Mikhail Gorbachev who are more interested in making people happy and don't have to defend or perpetrate any further thefts. So we can look forward to a decrease in resources devoted to these efforts. In other words, the possibility of nuclear conflict has receded, and for that everyone should utter praise and thanksgiving. That's about the only thing I can see that is totally positive for the next twenty years.
 
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A later addendum: As soon as a "groovy scene" of any kind emerges, those in need show up. If they are really impossible, someone must ask them to leave. That person immediately comes 'way down. The problem would be easily solved if there were a dozen or so places where "el imposible" could go. One of my very good friends, a Morningstar graduate, now teaching medicine at a large southern university, came to Morningstar straight out of a nuthouse, immediately felt at home, and about six months later enrolled at Stanford and completed his pre-med training. Land access to which is denied none is for people who CANNOT be any where else. But if there is only one such "establishment" an impossible who might fit right in one place, creates friction in the wrong place.
 
But it is the FREE RENT movement that I long to see get started. The primary obscenity of our time is the idea that a document filed at the county recorder's office give a person the right to charge others money to "use" a certain section of Mother Earth's sweet flowing breast. The are a lot of small property owners who are quite comfortable with that notion and they can be very vicious if that hallowed prerogative is questioned in any way. Ten quidado
 
April 24, '89: I finally got back after four weeks of one-niters. The above replacement was to have been for Walkinstik Man-Alone who had damaged his knee. He was able to complete the tour with us, so my Easter Sunday effort was for naught. Highway 126 which runs east-west between Baker, Oregon and Eugene goes through the Cascade Mountains and some of the most beautiful scenery in this entire country. I think a backpacking trip may be indicated.
 
I got my autobiography back from Shoshanna. I know that my UC Berkeley graduate schoolese (circa 1958) is not easy reading, but some of her editorial suggestions would make my life read like an Inter-Office Memo. However she did a great job, and I will follow her suggestions to the letter. Writing vocal arrangements, I have accepted thousands of suggestions from group singers over the last thirty-five years. Each suggestion accepted dulls the stylistic profile a little bit. Everybody wants me to be more likeable. The sex in the book is too explicit and lacks tendresse. So I will try to make the book more mannerly, put in more heart, and so on, but I think I will keep the down-and-dirty version for posthumous publication.
 
April 30, '96: The report on Dr. Suzuki's method squares with something I read in the intro to his book on violin playing. He told the story of of a man that bought a parrot and named it Peeko Muramatsu. He had to repeat 'Peeko' thirty-five hundred times before the parrot could say it, but he learned 'Muramatsu' in only twenty-five repetitions.
 
I can remember the feeling of being in a Math class and not getting it. Something like being outdistanced in a foot race plus panic. From what I've read about dyslexics, that is the way they feel ALL THE TIME. Actually, I think dat old devil, The-Fear-Of-Death, also plays a part here. I know, I experience it daily as I fumble along with my little MIDI setup. (The feeling is: "I'll be dead before I understand how to get this thing running right.") And it is embarrassing to keep asking questions.
 
Somebody told me that Apple cofounder Woszniak is teaching a school at the third grade level somewhere. It struck me that these electronic bulletin boards are something like the Samizdat in the USSR. People can read without having to polish each utterance until it meets the standards required by commercial publication.
 
Did I tell you that both Shoshanna and Linda Merrill returned my MS with editorial suggestions, which all want to turn me into some kind of role model? I am now reading Elia Kazan's autobiography and he is every bit as candid as I am. Arthur Miller in his autobio says that he never wrote anything really good that didn't embarrass him. Ah, that's not it. I've found the exact passage (p. 520): "I had never written a good thing that had not made me blush (nor did I think anyone else had either)."
 
Lincoln Mayorga is coming over in soon, so I've got to sign off and clean up this pig sty.
 
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May 9 '89 from the Well Computer Network: May I quote Vladimir de Pachman? "To get a masterpiece to the point where one has absolute control over it in all conditions requires a greater effort than the ordinary music lover can imagine." I do have one little Corrente from the G-major Partita of J.S. Bach which is almost to that point. To be able to relax the urinary sphincter in mid-performance is an incomparable experience. Where I live now there is wall-to-wall carpeting and I feel it would be most inappropriate to let fly under these conditions.
 
All great performances contain a war between ecstasy and control. The point is to let go in the muladhara while playing the correct notes.
 
No doubt there were some deliriously hilarious moments at Morningstar. My very dear friend Don McCoy was a very funny man. At one point he had his hair cut in a Mohowk. He loved to play a recording of Eldridge Cleaver's famous "Off the pigs" speech on his hi-fi set whenever the Sheriff`s deputies made an inspection visit. Once while I was jollying a couple of the new deputies on the beat, (they had all been told repeatedly to accept nothing from the hippies in the way of comestibles lest it be laced with LSD or something worse), McCoy comes up, naked, of course, his Mohawk bristling and says to the cops, "Would you like to stay for dinner? We're having ROAST PIG." Yes, there were some unclassifiable moments.
 
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Recherche du temps perdue. I had forgotten so many of the incidents, or skirmishes, in the confrontation with the authorities of Sonoma County. Thank God it was Sonoma County and not Novo Sibirsk or we would all have received psycho-therapeutic help. I am glad that these events have been written down so clearly by Pam, Ramon and others.
 
I do not ever again want to be involved in any confrontations with the establishment. At that time, one old Sufi, a student of Ouspensky who lived out on Sonoma Mountain Road, told me that he was tired of reading about Morningstar Ranch and Lou Gottlieb every day in the newspaper -- ah, his name has come to me -- it was Robert de Ropp. He said, " You should be like mice over there." I hope Ramon keeps up his archival activities on the Well Computer Network. Open intentional community on land which has been deeded to God has a fantastic potential for the amelioration of the human condition. We only glimpsed the possibilities dimly at a time which was dominated by the Vietnamese War. Many of the disturbing aspects of city life today are the result of the need for a space which is relatively free of rules and regulations. Oh yes, and don't forget the FREE RENT party. The party of the people. Hasta pronto,
 
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There are some goddesses who cannot keep any clothes on the minute they enter the redwood forest. There were some at Morningstar Ranch that actually had no wardrobes.
 
I don't think I understood much about what was happening in the sixties until I saw Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Marlon Brando played the part of a commune leader whose commune could be considered as the end of the Hawk trip -- a place to get used to horror. Morningstar Ranch was exactly one-hundred-and-eighty degrees out from that. It was the logical consequence of the Dove trip -- the "hell-no-we-won't-go" group ideology. War expands the range of available emotional experiences. For everyone who was suffering an existence like that depicted in Oliver Stone's Platoon, there was a flower child into the 'whatever's-right-go-with-the-flow' mode. If someone asks me what I did during the Vietnamese War, I say "I gave aid and comfort to draft dodgers."
 
The German composer Anton Webern claimed that he went into internal exile during the Nazi time. There were a lot of hippies who were doing the same during the Vietnamese War. Many had extraordinary religious talent. So we had names like Pancake, Cowboy, Tall Tom, Nevada, Coyote, Gypsy, etc. I remain convinced that something extremely valuable was discovered during the sixties by these brave young nonconformists. It has to do with re-tribalization. The hypothesis is that there is an optimal set of coordinates on the earth's surface for each individual. If there is a piece of land access to which is denied no one, the individuals who are most comfortable on those coordinates will attract the right mixture of souls. Certain instincts are revived, including the feeling for the privacy and companionship needs of other people.
 
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Los Angeles, 1990: Lord Jesus Christ, please make me the greatest pianist in the world, and make me write hit songs. Thank you for the gift of tears. I know that when I cry or even feel like crying it is because you are gradually taking possession of my form, communicating with me, and I am becoming one with your holy will. I want to cry a lot more. Thank you for Gail and Pastor Jack for 'standing in' for you. Make me do the 'greater things' that you spoke about. Make me an orderly servant of your will. Help me to keep my space neat. Teach me the reason for evil, teach me who made Satan. Tell me where I have sinned so that I may understand repentance. Build me a place at Morningstar Ranch where I can stay to do some good in this world. I still want 'whim travel'. I've been asking for this a long time. Thank you for the skillful way, the comfortable way free of embarrassment and display that you led me to accept you into my life.
 
You have a great pastor in Jack Hayworth and the members of his congregation. Thank you for making me understand that in addition to gratitude for health, security, safety, optimism, etc., that you have always given me, I thank you for making me understand that prayer is co-creation. By praying we become God, that is how your Divine Plan manifests. As children tell Santa Claus in letters, or in person at the department stores, what they want for Christmas, so it is your duty in this creation to make known our desires. As I write, the image on my computer screen pulsates. Make me the father that Tony needs. Have Tim tell the story of his relationship to his father again. Make me know what I should repent. Are you a jealous God, or can we worship you in any form by any name?
 
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Dear Brother: As you know, I have long been concerned with religious exclusivity, it's raison d'etre. Every religion believes that it is the ONLY TRUE PATH, therefore I assume religious exclusivity is as responsible for the Gulf War as the ownership of oil in Kuwait -- Christians vs Muslims. Religious exclusivity is as responsible as territorial domination for the unending hassle in Northern Ireland and Lebanon -- Catholics vs. Protestants in the former, and Christians vs. Jews vs Muslims in the latter.
Is God really jealous or is it simply a case of what Swami Bhakti Vedanta told me, "When you find your true path, all further study of comparative religion is mere sense enjoyment?" When Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life, none cometh unto the Father save through me," did he put Moses, Buddha, Shiva, Krishna, Muhammad, Ramakrishna, Baha Ullah, etc, out of business, or did He intend that statement to be a mantra for the sincere advaitin to become it?
 
After pondering these questions for too long, and getting no answers, I decided to start over. I sought out the staunchest believer in religious exclusivity that I know, and asked her to take me to church. It turned out that the church she attends is a branch of the Four Square Gospel founded by Aimee Semple MacPherson. Curious, because the only other religious experience I had as a child beside the Catholic Church was a visit to the Angelus Temple, Aimee Semple MacPherson's home office, where I saw a presentation of David vs Goliath. Goliath was portrayed by a famous wrestler of the time named Man Mountain Dean who weighed 320 lbs. His portrayal of the slain giant was unforgettable.
Last Sunday I asked Jesus to come into my life. I am a Born Again Christian and will be baptized in the near future. The Pastor, Jack Hayworth, is an important 'stand-in' for Christ. He emphasizes the need for prayer as co-creation. By praying we help God design his Divine Plan, tell Him what needs to be done. Pastor Jack quotes John Wesley, "God will do nothing on earth except in answer to believing prayer," adding, " . . . too few want to accept the fact that if we don't pray, He won't do anything."
 
It's a new approach for me. Up to now I assumed that God can anticipate my needs better than I can know them, and my chief function in prayer is to express my gratitude for the myriad blessings I have enjoyed. Today I made a wish list, and boldly demanded a lot from Him in Jesus' name. Like a child on Santa's knee at the Emporium I tried to figger out what I want and told Him. The gift of tears told me that I am on course. Fascinating. Hallelujah. The joy I feel is unprecedented. This is my first 'testimony' as a Born Again. I make it to you, dear brother, because you are the foremost truth seeker I know.
 
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Los Angeles, 1990: Translating Sri Aurobindo, the Maha Yogi, into Christological terms is a GREAT IDEA. I am sure Shiva, the Lord of Synthesis is smiling at the thought. I am going whole hog or none on this trip. I'm going for total immersion baptism this Sunday night. Curiously, I cannot remember the first word in the two word title that Sri Aurobindo gave his Yoga! I read your paraphrase to Tim Schumacher, son of Lutheran Bishop Ace Schumacher, without telling him about its provenance, and it moved him to tears. I think there are many Christians that are tired of the WAR AGAINST SATAN analogy that many pastors including Jack Hayford use continually. I do like the idea that it is useless to try to conquer desire -- nobody succeeds at that, so what the hell, turn desire into co-creation through prayer. If your desire is contrary to God's design, your prayer will not be answered, if it is in conformity with that design, your prayer will give its fullfillment top priority. I am looking for some Biblical citations to bolster Aurobindo's quietism. I think they would be easier to find in the Philokalia. I LOVE living on the seventh floor. I can change my visual focus from twenty inches to twenty miles by merely looking up from my monitor. Maybe this will keep my ol' orbs operational for a few more years. Also I never draw the blinds so -- heliotrope that I am -- I rise with the sun and begin to pray. This is my cave on Mount Kailasa, and I hope nobody comes around to kick me awake. Allahu Akbar!!! Yours for ever growing synthesis!
 
Los Angeles: Re: praising God. I guess what I am looking for or trying to find is as way to praise God 'democratically'.
"Awesome holiness, majestic splendor, blazing glory, limit- less power, unquestionable sovereignty, flawless character, infinite wisdom and knowledge, absolute justice, unswerving faithfulness, unending mercy, matchless grace, terrible wrath against sin, dazzling beauty, fascinating personality, incomprehensible humility, unsearchable understanding, unfathomable love." This list of praiseworthy attributes comes from a book entitled Intimate Friendship with God by one Joy Dawson whom I heard preach recently. All true and applicable, no doubt, but difficult for me to say. It seems a language better suited to buttering up an Eastern potentate from whom some advantage is sought. I mean, does God want to hear all that?
 
No trouble agreeing with Ms. Dawson saying, "We acknowledge that our greatest need is to have a far greater revelation of what You are really like. We ask You to meet that need." Or with Moses, "Teach us Your ways, that we may know You and find favor in Your sight."
 
About what specifically does God want to be praised? When I observe the creation, it is the colors which elicit wonder and admiration most spontaneously. So what is the formulation? "You really got a feel for color combinations, Heavenly Father. I love what you're doing!" Or, "reflecting upon the elegance of the design of the human hand or the system of genetic selection which apparently incorporates every advance fills me with reverence and star-struck amazement, for your creative power. So, Heavenly Father, you are a fabulous designer, believe me!"
 
It may be that ecstatic utterance is the only way to praise God adequately, and that may be its appropriate function.
 
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Occidental, 12/92: The last two days I have been luxuriating in the illusion of progress at the keyboard. There is no greater ecstasy for me. And by the way, by moving to Sonoma County I save one thousand, that's right one thousand dollars per year on my auto insurance and have greater coverage!
 
Tim Schumacher is coming up from Los Angles tomorrow night to spend Saturday and part of Sunday here. I've been reading Matthew Fox's The Cosmic Christ and enjoying it hugely. Wilder Bentley's into Matthew Fox too. Maybe we should see if we three -- or more? -- could get an interview with the man. He is a biggie, no doubt. Otherwise my intellectual life is right at the level of the average denizen of the Union Hotel Bar where I've been spending entirely too much time lately. It is an unusual bar room. It's possible to start a conversation about the nature of God with a total stranger and not be thought weird.
 
I was sitting at the Occidental Crafts Fair last Sunday when a complete stranger came by and asked if I would like to get rid of my liver spots. I 'lowed as how I would, and he said put castor oil on 'em for three months and they'll be gone. I've taken his advice and have kept them oiled for four days now. I don't notice any change yet. Hasta luego,
 
. . . .
 
Got back in time to watch Stephen light his solstice bonfire inviting the sun to return. Local pagans turned out and a good time was had by all.
 
This is the kind of foggy morning the redwoods love. Great big drops of dew plashing down from collections on the leaves. I feel like getting back into bed and entertaining prurient thoughts. But, no, I must tend to the details. Sleigh bells ring, are ya listenin'? . . . . When I think of all the brains, experience, creativity and fun of "our gang", I am perpetually puzzled by our relative inability to come up with an idea that is profitable but does not pollute and can create jobs for others. I think the main reason is that we are unable to sacrifice the requisite amount of lifetime to produce profit. Salli says she regularly works eleven hour days! I can no longer -- if I ever could -- work more than four hours per day. But there should be no cash shortages for us because we do not live extravagantly
 
. . .
 
Back from freeeeezing Wisconsin. It's hard to understand why anyone would voluntarily put up with that encumbrance -- I mean just the time spent putting on and taking off clothes is humungous. Wonderful weather for ice sculpture. They had three guys with a chain saw carving a huge dove of peace on the banks of Lake Michigan in the back yard of the hotel yesterday. That's one career that has very little appeal, in my view.
 
I've got beaucoup catching up on my correspondence to do, otherwise it is a beautifully crisp sunny morning.
 
Happy New Year!!
 
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Lou in 1968
A favorite photo of Lou at Morningstar Ranch in 1968, first published in The Morning Star Scrapbook . He seems to project a well-honed balanced of saint and rascal,.his intellect purring on all 36 cylinders while he ponders what new and exciting adventures-theories-enlightenments he can dream up. But the main theme of Lou's philosophy of life always was: "IT MUST BE FUN!"
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Lou with Jeanie
Lou with Jeanie Nelson
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." --Dr. Seuss

Lou with Jeanie
Lou double-exposed with magnolia tree

Lou 1923-1996
Lou Gottlieb 1923-1996

 

Miranda Gottlieb
Lou's granddaughter Miranda
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw
 
Lou 1923-1996
Lou's 70th birthday at Morning Star Ranch, with son Tony and granddaughter Rachel - 1993

 

"Practice dying, that was Plotinus' advice. I hope that was Plotinus, as Groucho used to say. I pray that I will have no one around me so attached that they clutter up my experience of this passage with apprehension of any kind." Lou - November, 1992
 
October 1993
Lou in October 1993
God spare us all from illness and take us home quickly when that great trumpet sounds. Amen. Lou - January, 1993
 
Lou 1996
Lou at Morningstar, April 1996

 

"Bach! It's amazing how it just flows effortlessly when you fix your mind firmly on the Divine! Of course, practicing four hours a day helps a little."
 
1993
Lou at Star Mountain Ranch, 1993
Kentucky 1992
Lou in Kentucky, 1992

 

1993
Lou in Los Angeles - 1990
Lou & Ramon 1996
Lou at Morning Star with Ramon - April, 1996

 

My Great Discovery
Alleluia! In my 67th year I have reason to believe there is a remedy for the chronic disease I have suffered from all my life. The name of this malady is pernicious disorder. Its principal symptoms are clutter and the consequent irritation at interruptions and distractions caused by having to waste time looking for "lost" items -- including things I may have had in my hands not two minutes before their disappearance.
 
In order to live with this disease, I had ultimately accepted it as God's will. If I misplaced something and had to interrupt whatever I was working on to look for it, that was God telling me He didn't need me working on that particular ego trip at that time -- that I should be doing something else. My assumption was that doing His Blessed Will was easy -- minimal inertia. Things tend to fall into place. Not a bad idea, but certainly no cure.
 
I found the following divinely simple treatment on page 172 of the Third Edition of the Macintosh Bible, in a paragraph written by Arthur Naiman: What is it? A Wrong Place Box -- a big cardboard box in a central location. If an object has no assigned place, I now put it in the Wrong Place Box. If I can't find something where I left it, I look first in the Wrong Place Box.
 
It's hard to believe that I have lived this long without having stumbled upon this simple expedient, but it actually seems to be working. I now have a Wrong Place Box in my bedroom, in my study AND on the desktop of my Mac. Oh, oh -- I seem to have misplaced the Wrong Place Box in my study! Hoping that the news of my miraculous cure will make you blissful, I remain, your well organized compadre, -- Lou
 
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Lou in Los Angeles: Yesterday we spent twelve -- that's 12 -- hours in the recording studio. And another six today. They've gone crazy about intonation. We do each line of text at least twenty times to get it right on pitch. The Limeliters Singing On Pitch?! Cows in Berkeley?! It's a conspiracy entered into by all three of my colleagues.
 
Now, let's open our Bibles (The New English Bible) to Numbers, Chapter 35, Verse 6:
 
(The LORD speaking to Moses.) "When you give the Levites their towns, six of them shall be CITIES OF REFUGE in which the homicide may take sanctuary."
 
It's about time to establish at least ten CITIES OF REFUGE in California where even the murderers -- or potential murderers -- can be free from prosecution. Because the next expression of desperation on the part of people whose labor is no longer needed might well include homicide along with arson and burglary.
 
Given the right "set and setting," the desperate can start figgering out what is really worth doing. Making love, gardening, all artistic endeavor, cooking, entertaining and educating children, athletic contests, these are a few suggestions from "Goof 'n' Ball Park, the starship of the fleet.
 
God had better be legal owner of the city, so that the answer to the question, "Who's in charge here?" is an index finger pointed heavenward. Divine guidance must be harnessed to solve the problem of technological unemployment.
 
We are headed into an epoch of compulsory leisure, as many recording engineers will learn as soon as everybody has Audio Trax booted up and running on their Mac-centered MIDI setups.
 
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Ramon: Darn, still short a few columns, so maybe I'll think upon Lou a bit more. It was foggy in San Francisco on Sunday July 14th, but the East Bay was golden with sunshine, and a brisk breeze kept the fog at bay. Judy and I drove with Tim Schumacher to the Rolling Hills Memorial Park, up Route 80 a few miles after passing the "Y" to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, actually visible on the right before the exit comes up.
 
Of course I had been thinking almost obsessively about Lou ever since word came via Stephen of his death. "Stunned' barely describes my feelings of loss -- the emptiness that my dear co-aspirant's passing created inside me. Lou was such a presence, with such a charming tendency to move to 'center stage.' Most of us eagerly and willingly allowed him to take over social gatherings because he was so -- well, so Lou! Funny, charming, witty in turn -- incisive, insightful, coo-coo.
 
I thought how Lou was the consummate entertainer -- that was one facet, but there were many. Brother Stephen today mentioned "I've identified at least seven different people living inside me," but he could have been talking about the Maestro also -- about me. There was Lou the Impatient. For someone so warm and welcoming of others, he could draw a line where his empathy ended because "I do not like to be depressed." I've pondered this, and concluded that it was because others' pain affected him too deeply, so it became agonizing for him to let it in.
 
I feel guilty analyzing my dear departed best friend like this. It hardly seems the right time to be critiquing Lou, but he does say "tell all".
 
Of course I berated myself for not having dropped everything and driven up last Monday to check on the situation. Instead I consulted with others and decided that perhaps it was a 'mood' thing. Lou had not been communicating on computer mail in his usual three-times-a-week manner throughout the previous month, and I had assumed it was because of a busier Limeliter concert schedule. Now I began to wonder otherwise.
 
Then there is -- tah-tah! -- The Master Bull, another facet of Lou. The opposite sex gravitated easily into his orbit, and Lou certainly enjoyed their presences. But if a woman came 'too close', he pushed her away. For someone who did not believe in fences, he did have very defined boundaries and a 'fear of intimacy.' I know he needed to sleep by himself, and that at least one long-term partner interpreted this as a rejection. She just could not get over the fact that Lou was not a "cuddler."
 
I'll have the following theory about this: there are people who find the physical presence of another in bed soothing when they are falling asleep, and there are those who find it disturbing -- twin beds vs. double bed. I often have wondered if this has to do with how early, as a baby, the person was placed in their own crib. One either imprints 'empty space' or 'the maternal presence' as sleep-inducing. Those of us cuddled and allowed to sleep in the family bed evolve into better 'cuddlers. I don't know how to test and prove this theory. A questionnaire?
 
At Lou's funeral, it was hard for me to find any comforting words to say to Lou's Tony, Judith and Bill and Rachel. Their father's death had come like a bolt of lightning, with no indications that Lou was suffering from terminal cancer of the intestine and spleen. I kept thinking that his mild case of diabetes must have masked some pain, and been blamed for whatever occasional discomfort he felt. The e-mail 'alert' of the previous Monday (see first item p. 3) he followed up on Tuesday and Wednesday with reassuring phone messages. In retrospect, I think the alarm caused by his e-mail had made him realize he would have to break the news of his impending departure more gently or he would have a crowd at his bedside imploring him not to leave.
 
I pondered these thoughts while more old family friends gathered and took their seats. After an introduction by Lou's daughter Judith, words of remembrance and love were spoken by Alex Hassilev, Judith, Tony, Bill and Rachel, Glenn sang Danny Boy in that golden tenor voice that contains just enough vibrato to melt the heart without becoming schmalzy. The Kaddish was recited, and Lou's old sculptor friend Izzy added his enthusiastic voice, still going strong in his eighties. The Limeliters then sang "Circles" and invited everyone to join in.
 
Afterwards, those who wished to walked down the hill to the grave site. Lou has a 'front row' place next to his dad Abe. The view out over the bay is majestic, framed by weeping willows. I felt grateful that Lou had chosen to be 'planted' rather than scattered. This gives those of us who need some vestige of his presence the opportunity to visit his mortal remains in a truly scenic spot. Of course it's the spirit that matters, but thanks Lou, for this last bit of thoughtfulness!
 
Rena Morningstar: During the Rolling Hills Memorial Park ceremony, we held a memorial service in a waterfall pool the ocean laps into at high tide at Kipahulu, Maui. Lou's goddaughters Osheana (Bill's sister) and Anjuli (Diony's Angel), Diony, Lily and I immersed ourselves in the water with prayer, love, friends, children, while Lou was being buried. Love to all,
 
And finally, no memorial to Lou would be complete without telling an off-color joke:
 
Lou 5/89: You heard the one about the duck that went to the pharmacy and said, "I want to buy a condom." The pharmacist said, "Certainly, shall I put it on your bill?" And the duck said, "What kind of a duck do you think I am?"
 
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