We were living in Mendocino, in a house in the woods. Well, the woods were actually the dwarfed trees that grew in a very straggly way and stopped at about four feet tall. It was called the Pygmy Forest. It must be something about the soil, or lack of water. So it wasn’t scary like a forest. We lived there for three months in the summer. The kitchen had a wood stove that you had to build a fire in before you cooked anything. And coming out the back of the stove was a copper pipe that wound around the water tank so when you lit the fire you were also heating the water for showers and washing dishes. The water came from a well, and it was piped up to a tank in a tower, not too tall, in the yard, When you washed the dishes a motor would go on automatically and feed the water by gravity to the house. The shower was outside in the middle of a large redwood stump that was encircled by new growth. It took some getting used to, going naked outside, but after a while I enjoyed the outdoor showering.
I didn’t realize how many people went around naked outside until we had a party one night. We built a fire a ways from the house, and people were smoking and drinking (usually water or koolaid) and generally getting high, taking their clothes off. There was one lady that came, who was around 45 years old (I was 20 so she seemed to be ancient.) She was from New York and said she had 6 children that she left behind. I was stunned. How could she leave those children like that and move to California and do drugs and sex? She was one of the naked people at the party, dancing around the fire with about ten other naked people. My husband Jim was getting very weird those days, and I was scared of what was happening to him.
One day out of nowhere he come over to me while I was on the deck with our daughter Pia and he started talking to me. It was a very unusual thing for him to do, just talk to me. We did talk but it was usually about what to have for dinner or when would we go to the grocery store.
He said, “We are going to change our names. You will be Ahran, Pia will be Lika, I will be Merko, and the dog will be Bodna.” I freaked out, it was so weird. I told him that I wasn’t changing my name, it was ridiculous. He got the idea from a thick book he was reading called the Oahspe that was written by the hand of God. That means the man who wrote it held the pen in his hand and wrote, not knowing what he was writing. Jim spent most of his days reading it. He said it was the new Bible and that it was the real explanation of life and how to prepare for your death. It was then that I realized that I needed to get away from him as soon as I could. I convinced him that we should move back to the place we lived before, near our friends and family. I didn’t feel safe around him, but I couldn’t tell him that. I said that we were always driving back there to go to the City and see our friends anyway, and he went for it. I told him he could keep the boat at the harbor there.