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.