Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dayspring by Kimberli Wilson - A Near-Death Experience

I was having a mild reaction to a drug prescribed to me for pain. I seemed to keep floating back and forth from semi-consciousness into a black void. When I left the void for the last time, I found myself in a boat on a large, clear blue lake, and I was heading toward an archway in the lavender rock which surrounded the lake. Through the arch I could see a small part of what appeared to be an incredible light which was flooding the entire area, and I can remember making a conscious decision to leave the boat and investigate the light.

As I passed through the archway, I saw the light form in its entirety. It was an oval three-dimensional body of brilliant, crystal clear white light - not unlike the kind that shoots out from a child's sparkler. The light was alive: it was a living being of light, and existing within it was the most beautiful celestial music I have ever heard. Come to think of it, it was the only celestial music I have ever heard. Emanating from the light-being were feelings of total acceptance, unconditional love, and quiet tranquility. It was also a cleansing light, and it felt as though it could pass through my body and wash away any impurities that were present. The light-being was without a center - it was its own source, and I sensed that it contained total knowledge of the universe and the creation of life. The light was perfection, and I remember thinking, "This is God."

I was only in the presence of the light for a brief moment, and I somehow knew that I was not allowed to stay - though if it had been my choice, I would have remained there forever. There were no words (as we know them) exchanged. All communication was through an intuitive understanding of one another. After leaving I had an overwhelming desire to return to the light, knowing that nothing on earth could begin to match its beauty. Although I searched for quite some time, I was never able to find the light again, and I returned to this plane.

Today, the morning after this unusual encounter, I am realizing that this light is here, all around me. I can see and feel its presence in trees, people, animals, plants - everywhere. The ethereal music, which I thought I would not hear again for a long time, fills the air, and now I truly see that our earth is perfect in its imperfections, and our life here is a reflection of that resplendent light.

Originally published in September 1983 NEW AGE gainesville. Kimberli Wilson is now Kiki Carter Webb. She and her husband, Greg Webb, are singers/songwriters who perform under the name dancing Light.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

1983 - NEW AGE gainesville - Issue #2 - September

Son Richard Greenwood did the cover art for Issue #2 which highlighted his brother Joseph Greenwood's article on the Mysteries of the Tarot II: The Celtic Cross. Richard continued as Art Editor for the life of this publication. The Art Staff for this issue included Gurelle Marquis, Marge Neufer, and Kimberli Wilson. Gurelle did the centerfold drawing, "A Coloring Page for Children of All Ages," illustrating a poem by Lonnie Lockett.

If you were in Gainesville in 1983, you no doubt remember our extraordinary holistic physician, Joel Friedman. I quoted him in my editorial for Issue #2 of NEW AGE gainesville. His words have stayed with me and guided me through a lot of life's challenges. How new the "new age" still was in Gainesville in 1983! It was no longer embryonic, having survived the '70s. I was awestruck by each discovery of a new way of looking at life and spirituality and wanted to experience them all. 

Here's my old editorial sixteen years later:


My friend and doctor, Joel Friedman, recently told me, "Everything we do, we do for ourselves. Even when we are serving, we are doing it because it makes us feel good."

For those of you who asked me why I decided to do this publication, I just want to say that I thought it would make me feel good to do it. I was right. I really enjoy the process and the people who plug in along the way. It's "ecstatic joy" as Paul Hoffman would say.

One person told me she had been waiting for years for someone to put out another new age paper. So had I.
I'm a new age periodicals addict. I collect directories, newsletters, and magazines from everywhere. I still have copies of The List, published by Astra's Garden years ago. That paper helped me find my way to what I use to call Gainesville's "spiritual underground" when this was all new to me. Then Andy Lopez left Gainesville and The List was no more. I hope you find the listings of Centers and Groups in this issue helpful.

In Crescent Beach, former Gainesville resident and dear friend, Irene Wilson, updated us on the groups she is aware of, from full-moon meditations on Vilano Beach, to spiritual art classes at Life Forces Research Foundation, the dome-shaped new age center on A1A in Beverly Beach, two miles north of Flagler Beach.

In Ormond Beach, we found the Gladstar Bookshop on US 1. It's a metaphysical book store where classes are held, a newsletter is published, and a need exists already for a larger meeting room.

We didn't get to Orlando, but when we do, we stop at Spiral Circle and the New Age Centre to catch up on happenings there. Same goes for Tampa, where Ram Dass spoke, thanks to the Suncoast Center for Attitudinal Healing.

Our friends in Maui, Bonnie Lou and Rick Golden, sent a care package including Common Ground, a publication designed to "encourage positive growth and transformation" in Hawaii. What an extensive network!

Then Melody, Larry, and Shan Coffey visited and reported that the new age is alive and well in New Orleans where, among all the action, they attend a Buddhist circle.

We flew to Phoenix on the way to the Grand Canyon and picked up a copy of Omega: New Age Directory, which took us to places and people we might never have found without it. The movement is escalating in Arizona. You could go to a different transformational group every night for months. There were signs of people opening up everywhere, sharing their processes - and their love. It was like that in Phoenix and Tucson, Scottsdale, and Sedona.

Sedona is red rock country, and if you haven't experienced it, you deserve to take yourself there. It is indescribably enchanting. The energy vortex which Dick Sutphen described in Past Lives, Future Loves is there, and thought to be over the site of an ancient Lemurian city. The vibrations are intensely powerful.

In Nogales, Mexico, where Yoga Teachers are not listed in the yellow pages, we wondered if the shifting paradigms stopped at the border. Then a wonderful thing happened. Friends in San Miguel somehow got a copy of NEW AGE gainesville and asked if they could publish it in Spanish, adding some of their local new thought news. New Age San Miguel. Far out! As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Love and Light,
Patti Normandy

Dottie Zavada's LIBRE Center at 604 NW 13th Street had a full calendar of programs in September, 1983.
Jill Cook taught several classes in metaphysics. Frankie Z. Avery did trance sessions channeling Oma. David Saltzman gave a talk called "The Hundreth Monkey and Other Things." Neil Kaber shared information about dowsing. Nadja Ribeiro told us about Shiatsu and the 5 Elements. Dr. Hanock Talmor's informative session was on Cancer Self-Help Education.

Issue #2 included these articles:
Affirmation and Visualization by Walter Busby
Hypertension by Renee Hoffinger
How Consciousness Evolves by laura Chase
Polarity, a Healing Art by Edwin Ricci
Book Review by Gordon Greenwood: Threshold to Tomorrow by Ruth Montgomery
Metamorphosis by Dottie Zavada
80's Astrology by Michael Parker
Dayspring by Kimberli Wilson
The Hundredth Monkey by Ken Keyes, Jr.
Mysteries of the Tarot II: The Celtic Cross by Joseph Greenwood
A Coloring Page for Children of All Ages. Artwork by Gurelle Marquis. Poetry by Lonnie Lockett
Dear Dolly Dass... Dolly answers your request for advice!
New Age Centers and Groups

There were about 30 New Age Centers and Groups listed in this issue along with the names of their contact people. How many do you remember?

A Course in Miracles Study Group - Jackie Tatum
Alternative University "People to People" - David Pais
Arica - Oscar Ichazo Teachings - Betty Sugarman and Paul Campbell
A.R.E. Study Group - Edgar Cayce Teachings - Bob Scott
Baha'i - Laura Newman
B'nai Or - Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi tapes. Kabbalistic mystical tradition - Renee Hoffinger
Creme, Benjamin - Reappearance of the Christ - Theresa Glaser
Eckankar - Jim, Jeff, or Guy
Feldencrais - Awareness Through Movement - Nancy Tyler
Full Moon Coop - Food buying club - Jose or Jean
Humanist Society - Joe Courter
Krishna - International Society for Krishna Consciousness
LIBRE - Wholistic Health Seminars - Dottie Zavada
Meditation Group - Mike and Lee Glancey
Meher Baba - Nancy Sencil
Peace Meditation Sunday closest to full moon - Fay Young
Psychic Awareness Group - Marge Romeis
Rajneesh - taped discourse and meditation
Sai Baba - Mike and Lee Glancey
Self-Realization Fellowship - Teachings of Yogananda - Pam DeWitt
Seth Discussion Group - Jhana
Siddha Meditation Center - Swami Muktananda's  teachings
Sufi Dancing and Singing - Claudio Belfort
Summit Lighthouse - Ascended Master Teachings - Beverly or Nina
Temple of the Universe -Spiritual Community in Hague - Mickey Singer
Transcendental Meditation Program
Transformational Information Systems - New Age Information and Referral - Paul Hoffman
Unity of Gainesville - Rev. Joe Bettencourt
Vegetarian Education Association
Yoga Center of Gainesville - Amrit Desai teachings and video tapes, Kripalu Yoga teachings

The advertising manager for this issue was Ed Ricci. Advertising Representatives were Laura Chase, Michele Rippey, and Paula Zamarra. Since home computers were not yet readily available, I made a lot of the ads on an electric typewriter. Ad prices were kept as low as possible to include as many people as possible. A business card size cost $12.50 if camera-ready, with an added $5.00 preparation fee if we had to create one from scratch. The highest priced ad was for the back cover, $125.00. It was always bought by our great supporter, The Book Gallery. At that time they had two stores, one at 1150 N. Main Street and one at the Millhopper Shopping Center.

Our Distribution Manager was our long-time friend, Lonnie Lockett, without whom we couldn't have done it. We also had a Special Consultant, Ronni Gardner, who wrote a column under an assumed name which I shall not reveal without her permission. (How about it Ronni, has it been long enough?)

Looking back, I can see clearly now how publishing this paper was a necessary stepping stone to creating my future books, Wholistic Gainesville: A Body Mind Spirit Directory; Metaphysical Florida: Spiritual Traveler's Directory; and finally the New Age Directory of Planet Earth.  I will be eternally grateful to all the people who participated in NEW AGE gainesville and nudged me in the direction of my dreams.

NEXT: Dayspring by Kimberli Wilson (now Kiki Carter Webb)

Monday, October 19, 2009

1983 - NEW AGE gainesville - Bodhi Harma by Richard Greenwood

Son Richard Greenwood graduated from the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, in New Jersey, so when it was time for cover art for NEW AGE gainesville we didn't have far to go.  Richard also created a comic strip for the paper called "Bodhi Harma." If you have been around Gainesville for awhile, you may wonder about the strange similarity between Bodhi and a certain friend of ours who shall remain unnamed. Coincidence? I think not.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

1983- NEW AGE gainesville - Premiere Issue

Finally, I got it . Instead of waiting for someone else to publish a new age newspaper for Gainesville, I realized I could do it myself. In fact, I felt Divinely inspired to do it. Since hardly anyone had a computer yet, I typed all the articles myself on an electric typewriter. It was truly hand-crafted and unless people had their own graphic, logo, or business card, all the ads had to be made by hand too. The whole process was exhilarating for me.

A project like this couldn't be done alone and I was blessed with the greatest people to play with. Dottie Zavada, Associate Editor; my husband Gordon Greenwood, Copy Editor; son Richard Greenwood, Art Director; Mary Masidonski, Advertising Manager; Lonnie Lockett, Distribution Manager; and Ronni Gardner, Consultant and Columnist.

Since I'm obviously on a nostalgia trip, I'll share the editorial I wrote for the Premiere Issue, May, 1983. Gordon and I celebrated our first anniversary that month. I still called myself Patti Normandy then, but that would change after awhile. So here's the editorial.


     There is a new age and it is here and now. You live in it even if you have never heard of it. It is a transformation of consciousness happening all over the planet at once, driven by centers like Gainesville, Florida. An underground, of sorts, is coming out of the closet, into the light.
      Because it is "...continually being formed as it is being informed, the new age resists definition," according to Paul Hoffman, a Gainesville networker and publisher of Light Streams, a new age directory. It is a state of mind, a transformed attitude toward life as we experience a cultural and personal awakening. Some of us know about the new age because of experiences we have had that have changed our perception of what life is all about. Some of us are asking, "What do you mean when you say New Age?" For those of us who know, no answer is necessary. For those of us who are asking the question, no definition is satisfactory.
     As the consciousness changes, thousands of networks have formed to facilitate the shifting paradigms. "Transformative ideas also appear in the guise of health books and sports manuals, in advice on diet, business management, self-assertion, stress, relationships, and self-improvement," says Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy. These networks create mountains of magazines, directories, newsletters, and even directories of all these publications, such as Networking: The First Report and Directory, by Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps. As we grow to feel the connection within ourselves, with each other, and with our planet, we reach out and link up in these boundless structures we call networks.
     There is a "NEW AGE gainesville" and it is peopled by consciousness revolutionaries sharing a positive attitude toward life. More of a parallel culture than a counter-culture, the new age speaks to our uniqueness as evolving beings and allows that the search for truth is an intensely personal quest. There is nothing to join and we represent no organization. This publication is a love offering, a means of sharing our selves with each other, to offer possibilities outside the mainstream for linking up with people and ideas, to share the new awareness of collective goals and planetary consciousness.
     We share a common vision of a positive future and a dream that if we somehow mobilize our energies for the good of our human family and our planet, we can reverse the trend toward adding humankind to the list of endangered species. We suggest alternatives. The choices are yours. We are one.
In love and light,
Patti Normandy

Saturday, September 12, 2009

1983 - Out of the Closet

In 1983, we came out of the closet. Many of us who thought of ourselves as new-agers stopped “hiding our light under a bushel” and became more vocal about our beliefs. We stopped caring so much about being socially acceptable and started speaking out more about the issues close to our hearts. Many of us traveled spiritual paths that were still considered a little left of center and we stopped pretending. It was time to get real.

New age papers validated our growing awareness that it was indeed the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Our numbers swelled and we began to impact the local economy with our holistic businesses and our checkbooks.

I could write a book on 1983 alone but I won't. I'll give you the highlights here and go into more detail in another blog. Papers popped up everywhere, and not just in Gainesville.

Paul Hoffman’s The Last New Age Calendar appeared in stores in September, 1983. A month later the Gainesville Daily Planet entered the scene with LIBRE’s Dottie Zavada as “Publisher and Grand Sorceress.” Istvan compiled the local calendar, while Lee Glancey and Sharon Woodruff did the word processing. Oma, an entity channeled by Frankie Z. Avery, was the token non-human on the staff.

In May, 1983, while working as the office manager of a mainstream church, I launched a quarterly called New Age Gainesville, with the help of my husband, Gordon Greenwood, Dottie Zavada, Richard Greenwood, Lonnie Lockett, Ronni Gardner, and Mary Masidonski.

Michele Rippey wrote about “The Celebration”-- the first-ever event of its kind held in the downtown community plaza. Walter Busby and friends organized the day filled with love and light, laughter and letting go. It was highlighted by the absence of anything to buy.  In another blog, I've posted Michele's article with all the details of that special day.

New ads appeared: Reiki by Andy Weisberg, Soul Therapy by Alma Rose, Massage Therapy by Fay Young, Jere Herrington, and Olivia Stryker, and Peter Bensen’s Guild for Structural Psychosynthesis. We shopped for natural fibre clothes at Harmony and Lotus, and Spirit, and ate at New Harvest.

We had an abundance of groups to explore, including the A.R.E. Study Group focusing on Edgar Cayce’s teachings (Bob Scott), P’nai Or (Kabbalistic mystical tradition), Gurdjieff Reading Group (Brian Morgan), Humanist Society (Joe Courter, Iguana editor), ISKCON (Krishna Consciousness), and Kundalini Yoga (Sat Nam Singh Khalsa).

There was our long-lasting Seth Group at Royane and Ric Mosley's home, The Next Step (in Micanopy with Dr. David Saltzman), Science of Mind Study Group in Lake Butler (Vicky Woods), Self-Realization Fellowship (Paramahansa Yogananda teachings-Pam DeWitt), Sai Baba Satsang (Mike and Lee Glancey), and Yoga Center of Gainesville (Yogi Amrit Desai teachings).

We had the School of Tai Chi Chuan, Tai Chi Chuan for Women at Dragon Gate Studio, and Tai Chi Chuan Temple Style at LIBRE Center. 

We often met friends at a wonderful restaurant on SW 35th Boulevard in Butler Plaza called Cathay Tea House which was opened in 1976 by Genia Lee (Hines), who was born and raised in Taiwan. The food was exquisite and it was the only Chinese restaurant where we could get brown rice at the time. Genia's dream of publishing her own cookbook was realized in the 1980s with the release of  "The Cuisine of Cathay."

That reminded me of another old Gainesville restaurant, the Beef and Bottle at 5220 SW 13 Street, close to the northern border of Paines Prairie. It was a 520-seat restaurant with the first mega salad bar. It was popular for its live entertainment. It will be forever etched in my mind as the place where we saw a "new" entertainer for the first time who did this stand-up arrow-through-the-head routine--yup, the unknown was a very young and playful Steve Martin. One night he invited around 50 people from the audience to hide behind bushes on U.S. 441 while Steve hitchhiked at closing time. Every time a car stopped, the 50+ people jumped out and rushed the car. I guess you had to be there. I wasn't, but everyone at work was talking about it the next day.

The Beef and Bottle became the Brown Derby in 1977. It lasted until 1994 when it could no longer compete with the restaurants popping up all along Archer Road.

Please forgive me if I left you out. I didn’t even get to ask you if you were in the audience when they performed Hair: An American Tribal Love Rock Musical here. When was that trip back in time to the idealistic, psychedelic days of the 1960s anyway?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

1983 - The Celebration on the Downtown Plaza

Michele Rippey wrote the following article about "The Celebration" for NEW AGE gainesville's premiere issue in May, 1983. 

The warmth of the sun and lots of mutual affection poured upon "The Celebration," on March 26th, in Gainesville's downtown Community Plaza. This day of light, laughter, and letting go, brought together some of Gainesville diverse Aquarian interests for a day of education, play, and entertainment. The day was highlighted by the absence of anything to buy.

Information booths around the Plaza included representation from Eckankar, Arica Institute, Life Streams of Jacksonville, Rajneesh Meditation Center, Kripalu Yoga Mandal, Siddha Meditation Center, Florida Institute of Wholistic Health, The Birthplace, Florida Massage Collecive, The Florida School of Massage, Meher Baba Study Group, Paul Hoffman's Transformational Information System, Plenty, the service arm of The Farm, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and the Summit Lighthouse.

Golden and the earth people brought a variety of solar-powered devices, physical fitness apparatus, and shared live grasses and popcorn. Their presence added a special dimension. All the groups set up their own displays and used the day as a time to talk with and touch those around them.

Entertainment flourished. Great appreciation goes out to all who participated: The Kitchen Table Boys, Smiling Hearts Club Band, Stan the Fixit Man, Tom Savage, Christian Youth of Today, The Backporch Cloggers, George Tortorelli, Jubal, John the man in white, Skip Hendry, and the Star Band. A special thanks to Claudio Belfort who led Sufi dancing, to Don Grooms and Prem Dhanesh of Modern Music Workshop for sound equipment, and to Jim Weaver of Priceless who worked the sound board most of the day.

The initial inspiration for this day was to make available a time and space for people to get together, have fun, and share in whatever ways seemed appropriate to them. The concensus is that "The Celebration" genuinely provided this opportunity. The last words are "thank you" to everybody who enjoyed the day.
Thanks, Michele
Next blog: 1983 - NEW AGE gainesville

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Light Streams and Amrit and LIBRE, Oh my!

In 1982, when hardly anyone owned an intimidating computer, Paul Hoffman borrowed a Radio Shack TRS-80 from Dottie Zavada and joyfully launched our first alternative directory, Light Streams, Gainesville DNA (Directory New Age). 

Leslie Rigg added her Osborne computer and before long they published the New Age Calendar. Were we surprised to discover that much more was happening here than we had ever imagined!

I couldn't be happier. Finally a new age directory of our very own! I just read on  Paul Hoffman's website that he intends to write about DNA-Gainesville  himself  so I'll leave that in his capable hands. Paul has been a world traveler, ending up in Gainesville before heading for California. He's been in the Berkeley area for quite a few years now. He is probably best known as the guy who makes and distributes  EarthSeals, stickers of the famous Apollo 17 shot of the whole earth from space. He has sold over 13 million of them in the last 20 years--by donation. Paul is so multi-talented he defies description. Check out his Facebook page to see what he's been up to. He's listed as Paul C. Hoffman.
His website is .

Another well-known person is our ForeverFriend, Walter Busby. He and my Gordon were friends and fellow professors in the College of Education at the University of Florida until they retired--Walter a Humanistic Psychologist and Gordon a Behaviorist. Walter had tremendous foresight when he introduced Gordon and me in 1979, and for that we will be forever grateful. I met Walter at the Temple of the Universe. He was there during the early days when Yogi Amrit Desai (Gurudev) spoke at the Temple. Phil Kairalla had encouraged me to go hear this very special guru, so I did, though I could never have anticipated what an impact it would have on my life. I was instantly blissed out by Gurudev's loving energy and all that shakti! I had never felt that kind of unconditional love before, except from my father who had made his transition into the Light in 1966. Fortunately for me, Walter was there to explain that what was happening to me was perfectly normal!

Walter has always hosted the most extraordinary parties that attracted an eclectic assortment of fascinating people. In the early '80s, his Renaissance Parties became famous for food, fun and finding spiritual friends. They lasted for years and everyone was welcome. There were about 200 people at the last one I remember. Walter also founded the Institute for Holistic Education and later organized United Spiritual Gainesville.

Around this time, Mother Earth’s only store at 521 NW 13th Street had a popular bulletin board informing us about places to go and people to see. It was becoming obvious--we were not alone in our expanding awareness.

The University hosted meetings on campus for the Friends of Whales, Advocates for the Moral Reevaluation of Animal Experimentation (AMRAE), and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Amnesty International met at the UF Law School. Holly Jensen was key in keeping us informed of the activities of all these groups.

Reality Kitchen opened downtown at 6 NE 1st Avenue. Their ad said "24 hours every day- Food -Music - Good Vibes." Jim Evangelist billed it as an art cooperative, phone messenger service, post office box, restaurant, coffeehouse, and community forum. Many of our musician friends played there--David Beede, Mark Madson, the Flash Silvermoon Band, and so many more. In 1984, The Archer Road Band had a one-night-only reunion gig featuring Bruce Shepard, Chaz Scales, Melvin Bunk, Kenny Shore, and Gary Gordon. (Thanks, Gary, for reminding me of this.)

Alternative schools flourished: Lotus Land School in Archer (Jeff Davis), Dayspring Waldorf School (Rolf Hummel) at 921 SW Depot Avenue, Loblolly Learning Community at 3315 NW 5th Avenue, and Flowers Montessori School at 3111 NW 31st Avenue.

The People to People Educational Network organized free, non-authoritarian classes without the stress of grades. The 1983 schedule included former Gainesvillians, UF Physics lecturer, Joe Rosenshien and Commissioner and entertainer, Gary Gordon.

Dottie Zavada launched the LIBRE/Mother Earth Center at 604 NW 13th Street, the old Mother Earth location. LIBRE stood for Life in Balance Research and Education. We heard talks there on dowsing by Neil Kaber, Traditional Chinese Medicine by David Bole, rebirthing by Dennis and Beverly (now called Baila) Scott, and meditation by Udaya Pherigo (Biff), Director of the Siddha Meditation Center at 1000 SW 9th Street. Dottie's been in the Mt. Shasta area for a long time but I'm happy to say we are still in touch. I'd love for her to write about LIBRE herself...
Back then we could get Rolfed by Marilyn Thursby, learn about nutrition from Renee Hoffinger Shuman (who was also a matchmaker), and be Rebirthed by Claudio Belfort. Marguerite Romeis had ongoing classes in psychic awareness (which she still has) and began hosting spiritual healers from outside of Gainesville. Jackie Tatum led a Course in Miracles group at Unity, back when they were at 1240 NW 21st Avenue. Dr. Robert Glazer, Director of the S. E. Center for Bioenergetic Analysis, and Dr. Dave Suchman, gestalt therapist, led a men’s group.

The multi-talented Ramesh Patel owned the Mandeer Restaurant at 808 W. University Avenue, where we could get amazing Indian vegetarian dinners. The Vegetarian Society met there for awhile. The Full Moon Buying Club, a food co-op, was very active and met monthly. Betty (later called Bahira) Sugarman and Paul Campbell led Arica Institute trainings. Bill Payne’s classes in Silva Mind Control were popular and Donald Pratt was the doing hypnosis long before it became popular.

The Florida School of Massage, with Lee Joseph, Director, moved from 1115 North Main Street to its then new location at 5408 NW 13th Street. Today they are at 6421 SW 13th Street.

Next blog: 1983 - The Celebration on the Downtown Plaza

Friday, August 28, 2009

1982 - Watershed, the Newspaper

Holistic Gainesville was teeming with abundant opportunities for spiritual growth in 1982, but for Gordon and me, it was the the magical year we got married on May Day. We came across our wedding vows recently, and reminisced about how we promised to stay together as long as our spiritual paths were joined. We didn't include our other requirement, that we'd stay together as long as we always lived south of I-10! No problem. We like it hot!

Watershed's first issue came out in March of 1982 with Jim Zimmerman and friends. It called us to action. Michael Shields and Thomas W. Simon defined the paper as providing "a new forum to witness the emerging awareness that we can create our future and why that has everything to do with how we live in the present." It was full of environmental and political issues, both local and global.

We devoured articles by Michael Shields, Thomas Simon, Larry Cole, Stan Pollack, Sandi Trachsel, Sallie Harrison, Jim Notestein, and Robin Lasobeck. The second issue was put out with the help of Marilyn Bays, Joannie Breeze, Peter Conrad, Patty Everett, Suzanne Kragiel, Debbie Moodey, Sergio Ortega, Tom Simon, Scott Weinstein, and, of course, Jim Zimmerman.

Their first article was by Michael Eldridge who analyzed the City Commission election. The paper said they did not endorse any of the candidates even though Michael was clearly a supporter of the winner, Gary Gordon.

I recently became a Facebook friend of Gary's. He has a great website that has many old photos, including one from 1978 of Gary and his bandmates Kenny Shore and Dave Durham aka The Archer Road Band. You can also hear some of his original music on the site.
If you click on Great Gainesville Music on the left side of the page it will take you down Gainesville's musical memory lane back in the day before any of us said, "back in the day."

In 2008, Lake Superior State University included "back in the day" among its phrases that deserve eternal banishment. I also read that among young people the expression can now mean no more than six months ago. I read it on the Internet so I KNOW it must be true!

It appears I am no longer staying current with the latest phrases and my language dates me. That can happen when your children are grown and the grandchildren live in other states. My amazing daughter, Priscilla, gently told me last year that my perfectly adorable and quite large Tinker Bell pocketbook was no longer called a pocketbook. It was a bag. Okay, it did look like a tote bag, so I adapted and called it a bag. I don't think Tink would like that. I know my mother wouldn't, and I certainly don't. To me a bag is a sack, something we used to get at the grocery store before we knew any better and started carrying our own cloth bags. Thank goddess for children or I'd be a dinosaur. (No doubt another outdated expression.)

However, I do want to pat myself on the back about something.  I believe I was the first person I knew who noticed at least a decade ago that the crossbar on the capital letter "A" was very gradually being omitted in ads, book covers, movies, etc.  I think I deserve a point for that astute observation. I predicted then, and hold to my opinion, that in time "A" will permanently lose its crossbar and become an upside-down "V." Only time will tell. But I digress and I want to tell you about Watershed, the newspaper.

Watershed had the first ad I ever saw for Paul Hoffman's Transformational Information Systems, a new age information and referral service. More in a later blog about Paul and the many ways he influenced and supported my life choices. Another first time ad for me was Jim and Cindy Hirt's Demian's Leathers at 1634 West University Avenue, around the corner from the old (pre-fire) Chaucer's restaurant. They traced around your feet on paper and used that as a pattern to make comfortable sandals that actually matched the shape of your feet. It was a novel idea in America, where women were still stuffing their feet into painful pointy-toed high heeled shoes that resembled no human feet anyone has ever seen in the history of the world.

Oh wait, I think young women are wearing them again after a generation of radical freethinking non-conformists discarded every semblance of uncomfortable anything we wore to attract men (or other women), including, but not limited to, burning bras and ill-fitting pantyhose. (A man must have invented pantyhose.) My upbringing, by well-meaning parents who had survived THE depression, didn't leave room for wasting anything so I just packed my bras away for awhile and gave the pantyhose and high heels to Goodwill. So what has happened? Did we teach our daughters nothing, or are they now the radicals, rebelling against the way we were by teetering in their 5-inch heels? When you think of  life as a whole, I know that none of this matters at all. I am just noticing, not complaining.

One of my nicknames is C.P., short for Curious Priscilla. I simply had to google "who invented pantyhose?" and, as I suspected, it was a man. In 1959, Glen Raven Mills of North Carolina introduced pantyhose invented by Allen Gant, a descendant of John Gant, who founded the textile mill in 1902. Now if you're ever on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and this question comes up, you will be well-prepared and I shall expect a thank you email (which I am told is old hat and email may not exist by then). Please don't tweet me or text me because I rarely check my Twitter account and my cell has text messages disabled. I do like Facebook but not all the apps so I won't respond to them either and, by the way, I'll admit it, we have no intention of getting rid of our landline which is the only thing that worked in a tropical storm a few years ago after the cell died and the power went off.

Well, I got off on another tangent but I like to follow the energy wherever it takes me. I want to say one more thing about my leather sandals from Demien's. I've had mine for over twenty-five years and have only had to replace the soles and strap once. What a bargain! At the risk of injecting negativity, I've just got to say it. They don't make things like that anymore. (I suspect that people somewhere probably do and I just haven't attracted them yet. I'll have to work on that.)

The Watershed ad for Chaucer's at the Renaissance Fair at 1642 W. University Avenue brought back happy memories of delectable dinners shared with fantastic friends. Before heading home, we always stopped downstairs at Rainbow Dreams which rightly called itself The Unusual Gift Shop. Future Watershed ads told us the Florida School of Massage had moved to 1115 N. Main St.

David Bole's ad was in Watershed's April, 1982 issue. David had earned postdoctoral degrees in acupuncture from the College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in Oxford, England. In 1979 he opened Gainesville's first acupuncture practice. His ad showed an address of 2929 NW 13th St. David is now director of the Traditional Acupuncture Center at 1204 NW 10th Ave. He is also a fully ordained monk (Gelong). Lama David is the resident teacher for the Gainesville Karma Thegsum Choling (KTC). His website is where I just enjoyed a 3-minute video about our own very special Dr. David.

The December, 1982 issue had a front-page interview of Jorge and Wanda Ibanez (where is the tilde on this keyboard when I need it?) done by Scott Weinstein. They talked about their new small business, Emiliano's Spanish Bakery at 615 W. University Ave. They tempted us with Latin-American pastries and authentic pan de agua. Scott also interviewed Wanda's brother, Gilberto Depaz of El Mercado, the store next door at 613 W. University Ave.There was no Spanish market in Gainesville at the time so Gilberto had to travel to Tampa and Miami to get supplies. It's hard to believe that Emiliano's Cafe opened downtown twenty-five years ago. Their website says they "have evolved and have changed to remain the same," and reminds us that they "spearheaded Downtown Gainesville's Renaissance, ushering in a new era of patio cafes."

Friday, August 14, 2009

1978 Taste the Soup!

My friend Mary Lee Chapman encouraged me to go to the Temple of the Universe, "a yoga and meditation center where people of any religion or set of beliefs can come together to experience inner peace." It was founded in 1975 by Mickey Singer. I met people there who became forever friends, like the famous Walter Busby whom I met in January, 1978. I credit Walter with teaching me what it means to "be here now." I once wrote an article explaining how he accomplished it using a bowl of cucumber soup as an example. If you would like to read it, it's at Click on "Taste the Soup."

Soon I was driving back and forth from Gainesville to the Temple three times a week. I decided I'd prefer to have a house near the Temple in the quiet little town of Hague. I guess I was in the flow because a man, a surveyor by trade, popped right into my life. His life-long dream was to build a house from scratch, all by himself. He called it his "mountain to climb." So Ray built me a beautiful two-story house of wood. When it was done, he moved away and fulfilled another dream of his, to buy a big sailboat and take off by himself for wherever the wind took him. A few years later, he died. Rest in peace, Ray.

The Temple of the Universe's website is at While you're there, you may want to read an excerpt from Mickey's new book,"The Untethered Soul:the journey beyond yourself."  It's from Chapter 15: The Path of Unconditional Happiness.

In 1978, devotees of Baba Muktananda Paramahansa had an ashram in town, the Gainesville Siddha Yoga Meditation Center at 1000 SW 9th Street, managed by Udaya "Biff" Pherigo.  They invited me to join them for chanting on March 7th. It was a celebration of Mahashivaratri, the Great Night of Lord Shiva, a holy day in the Hindu religion. We chanted the mantra Om Namah Shivaya very slowly for 12 straight hours. It opened me up to a personal experience that is one of the defining moments of my life, though not one I share often. Some devotees had met Baba when he made his first trip to the United States in 1970. Gordon and I would meet him in Miami in 1981. He died in India in October, 1982. 

Around that time, I left my job as Office Manager of Shands Hospital Blood Bank to be part of a team of eight whose mission was to organize a community blood bank. It felt like right livelihood to me. Civitan Regional Blood Center (now LifeSouth Community Blood Center) is a hugh success story. From the original eight serving our local hospitals with blood and blood products, it has grown to be the blood supplier for hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. It was the most challenging job I ever had and the only one I ever got fired from. That's another story about how astrologer David Cochrane taught me how to withdraw my energy from the blood bank that I was so attached to, so I could move on to the next step of my spiritual growth. It worked and only took a couple of weeks. Thanks, David!

During the time the LIST was published in Gainesville, it was easy to find the people who offered products and services that were still considered outside the mainstream. After the 1980 issue, I can't find any new age/holistic newspapers in my collection until 1982. I know that during the missing years, Gainesville was an overflowing melting pot for spiritual exploration. Was I too immersed in my happy new life with Gordon to notice anything else?

Were there other papers then?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Be Here Now & Read Autobiography of a Yogi

At Santa Fe Community College, a lot of the cool kids were raving about a new book with a purple cover called "Remember, Be Here Now." I was so not cool, but wanted to look cool, so I bought the book in 1972 and carried it around, hoping someone would notice. I tried to read it but it was too far out for me then. I wasn't ready for Ram Dass and, to be perfectly honest, I didn't understand what "being here now" meant. One section of the book had brown pages and reminded me of a coloring book so I colored pictures of lotus flowers and caterpillars, ignoring my old conditioning that warned me that nice girls never write in books (or God forbid, color outside the lines).

"Be Here Now" was one of the most influential books of the 1970s . It spoke to a generation's search for meaningful spirituality. Later it became one of my favorite books as well. Later still, one of the great joys of my life was going to Tampa, Florida with Gordon to hear a lecture by Ram Dass. He was down-to-earth and funny. We all laughed when he said, "I only have two different talks, the five dollar one and the ten dollar one. This is the five dollar one." After the talk, I happily waited in line for one of his neverending hugs. I'll never forget it. It was the kind of unrushed hug where you know the other person will not break away first.

We saw Ram Dass again when he came to Gainesville on Feb. 2, 2003. “An Evening with Ram Dass” was presented by the University of Florida Center for Spirituality and Health. More than 2000 of us gathered at the Reitz Union ballroom on UF’s campus. The evening turned into an unplanned reunion for everyone who had ever been part of the new age/holistic/metaphysical commmunity who had not moved away. Many of us had been touched deeply in the past by the messages of this wonderful teacher we had come to see. Ram Dass was there to speak about his encounters with Eastern religion, his dedication to compassionate service, and his experiences with conscious aging, illness and death. He shared from his book "Still Here," which he was led to write when he was "stroked" in 1997 and how the massive stroke caused him to slow down and settle into the moment.  The book was aimed at the growing numbers of aging baby boomers and their collective fears about getting older, with the possibly of having a debilitating end-of-life illness, and ultimately, their own death.

My dear friend, Rev. Linda Joy, described Ram Dass as "shimmering with Light as he sat in his wheelchair." I could not have found truer words for this man we loved. Linda Joy reminded me that George Tortorelli played the opening flute that night, followed by a showing of the 2001 documentary "Ram Dass:Fierce Grace." The movie followed Ram Dass from his childhood as Richard Alpert, the son of an affluent Boston lawyer, through his days as a Harvard faculty member who, with Timothy Leary, was expelled in 1963 for experimenting with LSD.  After traveling to India he met his guru, Maharaji Neem Karoli Baba (called Maharaji) and was given the name Ram Dass, which means Servant of God. The movie chronicled the "glory days of hippiedom" through the use of archival film of the counter-culture of the sixties and seventies.

Early in the movie we heard the often-read compassionate letter that Ram Dass wrote to comfort the family of a murdered daughter. If you have never read his touching "Rachel's Letter" it can be found at:
Ram Dass' official website is 

By my late twenties, I had outgrown the church of my parents' preference, as well as the "once-removed" church I tried next. Still, I had a spiritual longing eating away at me deep inside. It motivated me to explore the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in 1977. The Fellowship was on NW 43rd Street and the people were friendly and welcomed me. One Sunday, the speaker was Alice Christensen, the mother of a member of the Fellowship,  She was a disciple of Swami Rama of Haridwar, India. She was also the guru of The Light of Yoga Society. I had no idea a woman could be a guru, yet there she was, an American yogini wearing regular clothes, standing right in front of me. We were starting to attract some very interesting spiritual teachers to Gainesville.

(In 1982 the Society was renamed the American Yoga Association. Their two centers are located in Sarasota, Florida, and Cleveland Heights, Ohio. )
I was drawn to Guru Alice, so after the service I went up to her to ask the question that nagged at me. I told her I was confused about what to do to find my true spiritual path. Could she suggest something that might help me? She looked me straight in the eye and without hesitation calmly said, "Read Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda. So I did.

Then Suzy Coleman (now the talented artist called Aliye Cullu) turned me on to Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship lessons which she had studied, so I subscribed to them by correspondence. I learned about Kriya Yoga. I fasted. I became a vegetarian. Most of all, I learned to meditate and a new inner world opened up for me. Soon I learned there was a Gainesville group dedicated to studying the teachings of Yogananda.

Seems groups were sprouting here for every possible spiritual path one could think of that might be considered outside the mainstream. We had then, and still have, many wonderful mainstream houses of worship for all denominations, though the Eastern teachings were relatively new here at that time. The Beatles got a lot of the credit for their popularity after they met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who introduced them to Transcendental Meditation in Rishikesh, India, in the 1960s. The Beatles spent some much-publicized time in India, making it popular for Americans to study the spiritual traditions of the East.
Today the entire text of Yogananda's life-changing autobiography can be read online for free, complete with photos, at .
Self-Realization Fellowship's website is
Aliye's beautiful paintings can be seen at

I just discovered Yogananda himself chanting "O God Beautiful" on YouTube! What a surprise!
Here are the words and the link to the video which has many beautiful still photos of Yogananda.
O God Beautiful
(From Nanak’s Song)
O God Beautiful; O God Beautiful;
At Thy feet, O I do bow.
In the forest Thou art green;
In the mountain Thou art high;
In the river Thou art restless;
In thy ocean Thou art grave.
O God Beautiful; O God Beautiful!
At Thy feet, O I do bow!
O God Beautiful; O God Beautiful
To the serviceful Thou art service;
To the lover Thou art love;
To the sorrowful Thou art sympathy;
To the yogi Thou art bliss.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Last Whole Earth Catalog

The other day, I was reading one of my new favorite blogs by Urban Food Guy. . He included a recent video of Stewart Brand, of Whole Earth Catalog fame. I hadn't thought of that book for years--decades maybe. That started me on a search for my copy which, surprisingly, turned up on the bottom shelf of our library just two rooms away.
The brochure tucked inside clearly said it was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection obtainable for 1 book-divident credit plus $1.50 --a big savings from the publisher's list price of $5.00! The biggest surprise for me was that I had written the date and my name in it--Patti Wilson, 1971. I haven't been her since 1972. I didn't remember being so interested in this "stuff" way back then. My copy was called The Last Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools. It was resurrected in the following years with catchy titles like the The Updated Last Whole Earth Catalog and the Millenium Whole Earth Catalog which I still have. I spent the better part of this afternoon browsing and reminiscing about the days when I was a hippie-wannabe. I wonder how many people I know still have their copy. Do you?

I knew I had to take the time to find my old copies of the local new age papers and directories so I could refocus on the history of new age Gainesville. Surely, I wouldn't have throw them out. (Dottie, do you still have your copies?) That took a little longer and they ended up being in clear view in my home office, just waiting for this present moment when it feels like enough time has gone by to actually call it our history.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Seeds of Awakening

My intention was to keep this historical blog in some kind of chronological order. However, I find myself longing to tread the far corners of my mind, once more repeating my meandering search for the seeds of my awakening to this new way of being in the Universe. Have you done this too?
I think, yes, that was the very beginning, the book/people/event (fill in your own word) that started my spiritual search. Then a prior experience surfaces in my mind and I recognize it as an earlier herald of change. I just didn't know it at the time. This exercise invariably takes me all the way back to my childhood. If you will allow me this self-indulgence, perhaps writing it down once and for all will unearth something I've missed before. It's important to me, yet I know it doesn't matter at all. That strikes me so funny and I'm LOL.

Yes, in 1977 the Temple of the Universe played a major part in my growth. The aroma of incense took me back to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church where I was sent (not taken) to church in my youth. The chanting at the Temple felt familiar too. It reminded me of the haunting melody of Tantum Ergo which we sang in Latin at Mt. Carmel's. But I don't want to go that far back to a time when I was not allowed to read the Bible or basically think for myself.

Before my 1972 divorce, there were the magical years at Santa Fe Community College. In my Italian-American family, going to college was not an option. I was expected to graduate from high school with perfect grades, work at a job, but not a career, until I was married, then continue working until my first child was born. After that I was expected to stay and home and raise my family. Kids were obedient then, at least in my family, and so I did as I was told. Out of respect, they said.

I loved being a mother of four amazing children, two girls and two boys. I still do. By 1969 when my youngest was entering kindergarten, I finally had an opportunity to start college. I felt excited and scared. My then-husband took me by the hand to register at Santa Fe Community College. I will always be grateful to him for that. I felt awkward being an older student at the ripe old age of 33! How surprised I was that there were others my age there, not too many, but we found each other and watched each other change and grow.

I can't find words to explain how that nurturing environment was exactly what I needed to open my mind to new ways of thinking. The other day I found this poem I wrote in 1969 for Ms. Arena's writing class there. I was still Patti Wilson then, a few years away from being single again and taking back my maiden name of Normandy.

The seeds of change were crystal clear in this poem I wrote when I was thirty-three. I was surprised I mentioned zodiac signs, bell bottom pants and love beads. Middle-class Mom was morphing and didn't have a clue.

Springtime, '69
Opening buds, opening minds
Flowers unfold; theories take shape
Grasses grow green. Read Naked Ape
Push up the clock; midnight oil burn
Days getting long; so much to learn

Essays are due--Locke and Rousseau
Papers to write (mind's gonna blow)
Rosenblum, Darwin, empirical proof
(Time out for Trader's, let's go raise the roof)
Permutate, computate, logic obliterate
(Dishes and ironing and sewing all gotta wait)

Erasthenes Seive, Venn Diagrams
Chew it all up and then take the exams
Maslow and Perls (and don't forget Merrill)
If you don't know yourself, that is the peril
First we must actualize, then time to theorize
(Have to economize, that's what I realize)

Lucy and Sharon, Pat and Charles, too
Eating at Anthony's Tuesdays on cue
Haikus are fun: 5-7-5
(Plant's gonna die. Why'd I pick chives?)
Finger arithmetic--zodiac signs
Atlas revisited. (Try Mateuse wine)

Mechanical Boy finally grew up
(Dog had a litter. Do I want a pup?)
Blackfoot and Cheyenne didn't turn me on
But for all the rest, thanks, Mrs. LeBron
Cultural activities--more papers to write
Is Rand just like Nietzsche? (My house is a sight!)

I.Q.s and Haikus; Fregley and Ford
Always the project, never get bored
Bell bottom pants, love beads to match
(Moth in garage is ready to hatch)
Dexedrine, Methedrine--can't go to sleep
Quarter is OVER--collapse in a heap!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The last LIST

A funny thing happened when I checked my blog this morning to edit the next installment. This one was never published after I edited it. Maybe it will show up somewhere else, maybe not. So much for keeping this in chronological order. Linear thinking is vastly over-rated anyway.

Issue #6 of the LIST took me to a natural food restaurant called The Magic Mushroom at 1800 NW 23rd Avenue. It was run by Gloria Brown and Scott Davis.

Paul Hoffman worked there when he first came to Gainesville in 1978, a few years before he published Gainesville's first new age directory. Paul once told me he remembers phoning Hazel Henderson to welcome her to Gainesville. We were excited about her choosing to live in Gainesville because she was a well-known futurist and had just been on the cover of New Age Journal.

There was a 1978 special edition of the LIST called Gainesville People's Pages #7. It cost a quarter. It included the first listing I've found for Mother Earth at 604 NW 13th Street. It was the first health food store I'd ever been in.

Under "Listings" there was another first mention, Flash Silvermoon, who offered Tarot & Astrology Readings, and lessons. Our late son, Joseph, was one of her tarot students who went on to be a great reader himself.  Joe often credited Flash for teaching and inspiring him. Flash arrived here from New York City in 1975 where she had started a Women's Cosmic Consciousness Raising Group and gave readings professionally. I could write a book about the amazing Flash and the good work she has done in our area!

An ad for Duck Stop used comics at 617 W. University reminded me that there were many places I never knew about. I married into a family of guys very much into comics. I'll have to ask if they shopped there.

When I grew up in Brooklyn, comics were big. The boys on the block bought Captain Marvel and Superman (which my mom would not allow me to read because, in her opinion, they were not for girls). The girls bought Pep comics to catch up with Archie and Friends, who were Betty and Veronica and the annoying friend, Reggie. I never could get into them. I only loved Mary Marvel, alias Mary (Batson) Bromfield, twin sister of Captain Marvel. When she arrived on the scene in 1942 in Captain Marvel Adventures #18, Fawcett Publications, she was the closest thing to a heroine the comics offered little girls of my generation. Shazam! But I digress, again.

By 1980, Andy (Astra) Lopez had a Coconut Grove address. I never saw another copy of the LIST.

Years later I asked people for their earliest memory of any publication about anything holistic in Gainesville. Someone told me the first natural food newsletter was called Our Daily Bread, published around 1965 by a family who owned a store by the same name. In time, someone surprised me with an old issue they had saved to add to my growing collection.

Cathy DeWitt added, "Our Daily Bread was a great little store--kind of behind where Mother Earth is now--a lot of musicians hung out there, with occasional jams." Her comment is full of wonderful memories.

Around 1969-71 there was a "Free University" here but I'm not sure if that was its official name. Free classes without grades were held in people's homes and other free locations. Everyone was a teacher and a student and none of the teachers got paid. I remember Hank Gooch teaching a class in Love at my home once. I had taken his popular class at Santa Fe Community College called "Contemporary American Religions" that introduced me to Eastern religions, but that's another subject for a future blog.

In the '70s, devotees of Eastern gurus founded spiritual centers here that offered meditation, chanting, yoga, and other types of instruction. We had the Divine Light Mission (Guru Maharaj Ji), Gainesville Siddha Yoga Dham (Baba Muktananda), the Rajneesh Meditation Center, the Krishna Center, and groups that studied the teachings of Meher Baba and Paramahansa Yogananda, and later a Kripalu Yoga Center (Amrit Desai).

Mickey Singer's Temple of the Universe was already in nearby Hague where it is still a peaceful haven for spiritual seekers of all paths. My friend Mary Lee was watching my interests change and one day at work she told me she thought I was ready to read Mickey Singer's book and check out the Temple. By then, no longer a stranger in a strange new age land, I felt a strong need to meet like-minded people. I went, and it changed my life forever. I loved the meditation and chanting and Mickey's talks. After the Sunday services everyone gathered in a circle outside for tea and sharing. It took no time at all to realize I was a not solitary searching weirdo after all. I had found a spiritual home.

The Transcental Meditation Center was here early on at 1125 SW 2nd Avenue, and the Gainesville Zen Circle (Jan Sendzimir) was already meeting weekly for meditation, chanting, and lessons.

That's just a small sample of the '70s taken straight from the pages of our history books, the new age publications of that time. If this reads like a deja vu, it's because some of it is taken from a series of articles I wrote in 2001. In my incarnation as Patti Normandy, I wrote about this subject for The Lightworker: Gainesville's Visionary Network Paper, published by Cheri Stewart. Cheri was the owner of The Dream Zone store at 4000 Newberry Road.  

I apologize for not including so many people who were doing good work back then. Please know that I honor the work you did, and are still doing, and appreciate the part you played in holding the Light and bringing us to this place in history.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The LIST, part 2

A lot was happening on University Avenue. The LIST had ads for the Book Gallery at 6 E. University and Goerings Book Center at 1310. The Hogtown Granary Food Co-op, "the South's Leading Co-op since 1974," was at 804. There was also the first ad I had seen for Hyde & Zeke's Record Exchange which was at 919 W. University then.

The ads in the Winter '79 issue of the LIST's Florida Pages #5 alerted us that the Hogtown Granary had a new address at 1124 W. University. I bought my Champion juicer there and it's still going strong 30 years later. Amazing.

Bellevue Gardens Organic Farms in Archer had an ad in that issue, and so did Jamie Londono for his Lecanto Tofu Shop. Amelia's Books at 12 NW 8th Street introduced books for, by, and about women. At the same time Alma Rose gave us Sophia's, a "creative self-development center for women."

Some of the chiropractic physicians with ads in that issue were Zindani Tilchin, Randall Roffe, Bruce Rappaport, Lewis Arrandt, and Steve Schargel.

Birthplace, an alternative birthing center, was at 635 NE First Street. Dr. Joel Friedman had his holistic medical practice upstairs, and though we all wished him well when he moved to Hawaii, he left a void in the healing community that I've never quite gotten over.

The McConnell family owned Sunflower Health Foods, then at 7 W. University. The Gainesville Artisan's Guild was up and running at 806 W. University, a new showcase for talented local artists. Festival Signs was located in the rear of 19 SE 2nd Place. We also had the Soma Institute, founded by Bill Williams and Ellen Gregory, featuring neuromuscular integration.

It didn't take me too long to realize that the LIST 's ads were a directory of all things alternative and they became my roadmap to explore the intriguing counterculture. Something was stirring inside me as I kept thinking there ought to be a new age directory. Little did I know...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Down Memory Lane via the LIST

OK, ready for a roller coaster ride down memory lane? Hang on, read the LIST newpaper over my shoulder, and see how many of these people and places you remember. Some are still here and some are gone, but not forgotton. (Note: This is NOT a test!)

In 1977, the North Florida Botanical Society took out a full page ad asking for community help in establishing a botanical garden that would be called Kanapaha. Their dream manifested into Kanapaha Botanical Gardens which opened to the public in 1987. Today, it's a 62-acre facility with 24 major collections including the state's largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast. What a success story! It's located at 4700 SW 58 Drive in Gainesville (entrance on SW Archer Road 1 mile west of I-75 exit 384).

In 1977, the Florida School of Massage was located at 114 SE First Street and had been offering massage therapy education since 1973. The complete tuition was $650. Today they are located on ten acres in the raised hammock that surrounds Payne's Prairie wildlife preserve. Their address is 6421 SW 13 Street, Gainesville. Their website has a 360-degree Virtual Tour that tells their story better than I can. Another success story!

In 1977, Sunshine Plants advertised her popular Down to Earth Breakfast House at 625 W. University Avenue. The bulletin board was situated so we could read the flyers while waiting in line. It was the place to discover what was going on in the happy little new age subculture I was still tentatively checking out. We gathered there and exchanged hugs and the latest news while waiting for the indescribably delicious whole wheat banana pancakes and yummy herbal omelettes. What I loved best was that my good friend, Mary Lee Chapman, was a waitress there (way before it became politically correct to call them servers). She served love with the food, and it felt warm and fuzzy, like going home.

Around the corner, across the side street at 10 SW 7th Street was Subterranean Circus. It was the first head shop I'd ever been in. It was the '70s--a time of black lights and lava lamps, beaded curtains and beanbag chairs. It was the place to buy those groovy blacklight psychedelic posters, flower power bumper stickers, and not-yet-illegal paraphernalia. If you hung out long enough, you could count on running into a lot of people of all ages in tie-dyed shirts and Birkenstocks. William Killeen managed it, though I can't recall meeting him.

Next: The LIST, continued

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gainesville People's Pages--Doorway to my new world

My own uncertain leap into the new age-holistic-spiritual-metaphysical community materialized in the 1970s.

I was clueless and anxious about what was happening to me deep inside. I was changing, but into what? I thought I needed a road map to take me somewhere, though I didn't know where, and someone to assure me I was not the only one in the Universe going through this "whatever." I prayed for help. It arrived disguised as a new age newspaper.

There was a natural food store and juice bar called Health Horizons at 627 N. Main Street. I had never been there but decided to check it out since a friend worked there. While waiting for my smoothie, I picked up a funky free newspaper they distributed, called the Gainesville People's Pages. It was truly an artform, like no newspaper I had ever seen. It was published by Andy "Astra" Lopez, of the LIST (Living Institute of Survival Technology), which was owned by Astra's Garden School of Divination and Psychic Development at 1813 SW 23rd Street.

That paper was a doorway into a new world for me to explore. Before long I found kindred spirits willing to share my adventures in consciousness.

Next: A roller coaster ride down memory lane.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back to the '70s

When Dottie Zavada and I met in Gainesville, Florida in the 1970s, we discovered that we shared an insatiable passion for collecting new age publications.

We rationalized our overflowing filing cabinets full of dog-eared papers by affirming that we were guardians of the history of a movement that was sweeping the planet. An exhilarating expansion of consciousness was in the air and we felt that some day we would use our collections of new age magazines and newspapers to document what was happening in an underground of sorts that was tentatively emerging in our own home town.