June is a special month for me, with many reminders of the past:
Five years ago this month I was gathering short stories to compile for Tell Me a Story, my first memoir, which was intended to be a Christmas gift to members of my families. Now it’s for sale on Amazon!
Twenty five years ago this week, June 14, 1987, Americans landed in Leningrad (St Petersburg) to begin the 450 mile peace walk with Soviets to Moscow. From my book Walking for Our Lives, here’s a description of the first evening. (more…)
Twenty-six years ago, the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament was camped at the brand new Green Valley Resort in St George, Utah. Below is a quote from Walking for Our Lives, the chronicle of the three peace walks that I joined in the 1980s.
The resort invited us to enjoy the swimming pools, Jacuzzis, tennis courts and showers, and served us a poolside breakfast of individually prepared omelets. The townspeople accepted our invitation to visit the camp, to meet us, and listen to Peace March musicians perform original songs. At the same time, two representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency visited to try to explain away the effect of nuclear testing upon the residents of southern Utah. (more…)
This is an excerpt from pages 78-79 in Walking for Our Lives. In these paragraphs, the Great Peace March, a little town walking east on our way to Washington, DC., is climbing the West Slope of the Rockies
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the days we didn’t walk because those were our work-days, Shelah and I wakened a little later than usual to the symphony of zippers zipping and Velcro ripping. As others were preparing to walk, we picked up our notepads and found Peace City’s Mayor Diane to see what she needed us to do. Diane had the exuberance of the nursery school teacher she had been. She had won the mayor’s position after she started the trash patrol along the routes we walked. She had set the example by collecting aluminum cans and glass bottles to recycle, as well as stuffing roadside garbage into plastic bags to be taken to a dump. Dubbed the Litter Lady, she was organized and colorful, animated, and always recognizable in her perky red hat. Often she asked Shelah and me to find the mayors of the next three towns, set up Keys and Trees Ceremonies, and let the Chamber of Commerce know about the Peace March’s arrival. (more…)
Twenty six years ago we were camped on BLM land within sight of Whiskey Pete’s across the California-Nevada border.
The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, 1200 people strong, left Los Angeles amid great fanfare on March 1, 1986. Eleven days later in the Mojave Desert, about ten miles west of Barstow, the founding organization declared bankruptcy and told us it was over. “Go home.” Eight hundred did just that, but four hundred of us stayed. After a surprisingly genius reorganization of people and money and some desperate fundraising, we got our feet under us (pun intended!) and started walking. We walked fifteen miles each day, our little tent village of 400 moving toward Washington, DC, step by step. (more…)
Twenty five years ago today The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament stepped across the fifteenth state border and walked into Washington, DC. We had done what “they” said couldn’t be done. An event originally budgeted for $20 million came in at under $1 million. A dream that fell apart in the Majove Desert became a grass-roots movement of 400 people who walked all the way from Los Angeles to Washington in nine months. On November 15, 1986, we had grown to 2,000 marchers and 15,000 supporters. (more…)
Last weekend, I drove down to Ventura to join the 25th reunion of the Great Peace March. At Emma Woods State Park, 150 of us gathered to renew our well-forged friendships. I had attended only one reunion in the past 25 years, and I was blown away by the camaraderie, compassion, consideration and good humor of everyone there. We lined up for meals as we did on the Great Peace March, we sang songs as we did, about a dozen people presented a goofy wedding skit, similar to skits on the Great Peace March, and we had an ice cream social. The predominant feeling I had was one of delighted awe: we were a large family full of highly developed individuals – not a wimp in the bunch! (more…)