March 20, 1997

Paul E. Schoen

The following are edited excepts from my journals, which I started at the beginning of the Summer "Alternative Semester" at Koinonia, an intentional community and educational institution in the Greenspring Valley of Baltimore County, MD. I lived, worked, and played there for several years. For more information, see my story about Koinonia. There are also some pictures:

Wednesday, June 23:

Start of semester. Work in garden with Dick & Eric. Met participants Kevin, Russ, Betsy R., Abigail, Julie, Bob and Gwen, Henry and Louise. Orientation tours, dance workshop with Linda. Swimming, picnic, campfire sing.

Thursday, June 24:

Family worship, intro meditation with Dick. Mail run with Beth and Mary. Filled car with boxes from many stores for Beth's mysterious plans. Second trip to Luskins, Wards, and 2 Guys for more boxes. Afternoon class "Horizons of Mystery" by Richard. Community meeting after dinner, concerning work assignments and round-circle introductions. Later, Beth's Big Bag Experimental Drama Fun-Time. Our group, with Dave, Mike, Henry, Betsy R., and Julie, did an Opera.

Friday, June 25:

Meditation, breakfast, then Beth and I went to Luskins for more big boxes, and also got mat knives and masking tape. After lunch, Eric held the Harvard Standard Hypnosis Test, followed by Beth's structure-building experience with cardboard. We worked in two groups. I helped engineer an entrance sliding-board which went from the stump over some logs through a big r refrigerator box. We all went through the connecting labyrinths. After supper we came out to find Paul and Susan patching up what was left of the edifice following Paul Patrick's apparent rampage through the thing. Mine was left relatively intact. Paul P.'s expression was "it was too hard"! Then, we watched movies; one was the original version of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari". Finally, we watched Stanley Kubrick's 1957 anti-war movie "Paths of Glory" on TV.

Saturday, June 26:

Starting at about 9 AM, I joined the Annex cleanup task force, then after lunch I went home, picked up my mail, and went shopping. When I returned to Koinonia I met a girl named Linda Y., who was staying in the tiny room I had in January. After supper, I took Linda on a short tour of Gramercy and the upper garden. Later, with Beth and Pat, I helped ready the Annex for a '50s party for Christian. We got the party going when he returned about 9:00, with old favorite tunes and crazy old dance steps, perhaps not too authentic but fun nevertheless. Our costumes were pretty good, too, with slicked back hair, rolled up sleeves, string ties, ponytails, bobby sox, and white sneakers. We had multiplication dances, a "freeze" dance, and a song rating. Refreshments included soda pop, Rolling Rock beer, pretzels, chips, dip, cheese curls, cookies, and Liebfruamilch. Everything wound down about 12:30, but I joined Betsy R. and Eric in the TV room to watch "The Living Ghost".

Sunday, June 27:

A slow day, starting with journal writing, recycling, and laundry. After lunch, Abigail and I took the wagon to the recycling center at Mercy High. Upon our return, I took a dip in the pool, then after dinner was a concert starring Richard Phillips on guitar, and Paula Hatcher on flute. An old friend, Dan, came by and told me about working on a 40 foot schematic back at Consultants and Designers. I ended the day with several others with another dip in the pool.

Monday, June 28:

After a light breakfast, I helped scrape wax (from candles) off the porch, then attended family worship, consisting of passing the prayer box around and making individual prayer or remarks. It was enhanced by a powerful electrical rainstorm which produced loud resounding crashes at appropriate moments, such as when Eric placed a name into the box! We followed this with our initial goal-setting exercise, consisting of the lifeline approach. I had to miss part of it for the mail run, but returned in time to hear several more before lunch. I had to make a second mail run, with Linda Y., to pick up the first class mail. We returned about 1:30 to complete the lifelines, then talked awhile about resources in the community, which soon became rather dull. We took to the raspberry patches and helped make bread with Bob F., Abigail, Linda C., Linda Y., and Kevin. I also put my tiny sculpture in the oven to fire. At 5:00 I left for canoe instruction at Deer Creek, with two girls, Kim and Nancy, plus Bob, Ed, Lawson, Mike, Ken, Pastor Jack, and the instructor, Bill R.. I returned to Koinonia about 11:00, and met Otts in the TV room to watch the Orioles tie up a 4-0 lag in the 9th, but the game was stopped after the 13th inning because of the Baltimore curfew. (This was also the last day for Jeffrey Christian, from whom I had inherited the mail/transportation position).

Tuesday, June 29:

Today I missed breakfast, and I had also missed supper the night before, with only some bullion and rice for sustenance. At morning worship I listened to four new Dylan songs, then did the mail run with Milton and Abigail. Upon my return, I first saw "George, the Graduate Student", a sculpture of metal and mache belonging to Richard. I worked in the garden, planting hills of squash and covering the area around the hills already planted with tall weeds pulled from the stream area. After lunch I returned to Gramercy for about 3 hours of goal setting, then (Father) Frank S. and I discussed our common interest in poetry and agreed to share poems. This took us through dinner, which Linda Y. and I followed by a short period of tennis. I played a little then with Kevin, and then it was time to bake white bread with Julie. This took until 8:00, when I had to leave to go to Andrea's first book club meeting of the Lutheran Students Movement. I picked up Rick K., and we went to Andrea's apartment where she discussed "Was Jesus Married" (answer - yes, most likely). I plan to focus (on someone) in my meditations tonight and tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 30:

I slept "hypnotically" until about 3:00 AM, and awoke with a sore arm and foggy brain. I couldn't sleep for about an hour, woke again at 6:20, and half slept until about 9:00, when I had to do the mail run. When I returned about 10:30, I picked some cherries, then had lunch by Bob and Gwen. It was lentil soup, for the traditional "sacrificial meal". Then there was an afternoon planning meeting where we got rough ideas for classes, and decided we had too many meetings. Afterward, Dick surprised me by asking if I would like to teach indoor organic gardening at the Towson YMCA next September. I replied that I might, but it depended on class schedules, etc. Then people headed for the pool, but Gwen asked me about getting some yogurt and a swimming pool for the kiddies; so, eventually we went out to Toy Barn, tied the pool on top, returned, and set it up. Then I showed some new slides to Linda Y., rapped with Julie, and talked to Henry W. about precision machinery, etc. Supper consisted of rice and curry, lambsquarters, bread, apricot juice, lettuce, raspberries, and brownies. Julie and I played some lousy tennis, then Abigail, Kevin and I went to Remsen 101 at JHU to hear David Katz give his lecture on transcendental meditation. I met Sarita there, recently returned from California. Upon our return to Koinonia about 10:00, I met Cindy T. and her friends, then took a bike hike around Hillside and Stevenson, returned for a shower, and wrote in my journal. While doing so, Steve came by after some rather noisy conversation in the hall, and asked Abigail to tone down because Betsy had been unable to sleep since 9:00 and was now crying in exhaustion. This developed into a rather lengthy discussi on lasting until 12:30, and actually resolving nothing. Steve's case was that community members must be sensitive to each other's needs - Abigail contended that the Annex community as a whole wanted to "live" well past 9:00, but agreed that 12:00 was late to make noise. The solution to this problem is necessarily forthcoming, but at a later time.

Thursday, July 1:

I awoke for meditation, finally, had a really different breakfast (whole wheat cereal, raspberry sauce, scrambled eggs, raisins), and went to morning worship starring Richard K. After an uneventful mail and ice run, I went to the garden armed with gloves and camera, in time for a short talk by Dick on compost piles. We found earthworm eggs in an old one. We watered the new ones. We saw squash beetles and noticed the male and female squash blossoms. Lunch was vegetarian, with yogurt, soybean casserole, pokeweed, lambsquarter, lettuce and berries. Afternoon began with an intro art discussion with Beth, Betsy G., Maxine, Betsy P., Julie, Kevin, and Paul Patrick. About 2:30 Gary D. said I had a call from Fay, who wanted maps of Washington State, where she was heading with her sister (to Holden Village). I stopped home at 4:45, had dinner, and went to canoe training at Rocks with Bill R., Mary C., Jack and Bob. We learned the J-stroke before it rained. I noted that I must write letters; and I should make calls (about a slide show next Sunday). Also, I must ask Dave P. about using the pool for canoe swamping July 14 or 15.

Friday, July 2:

I woke at 9:00 and went on the mail run. In Pikesville, I bought a case on "Neuweiler" beer that turned out to be cream ale, for $2.79. After returning I went into the garden and pulled weeds around corn. Some of the early corn already has tassels, which later form ears of corn, and is a very good sign. Lunch consisted of leftover liver, soybean casserole, and other goodies. Right after lunch I took Milton and Ella Mae shopping, returned about 3:00 to work a little while on experimental printing, then went to Jo's to listen to Dylan. About 4:45 that split up and I went to Beth's, and Steve and I finally fixed her lamp and shade. Super was also good, compliments of Abigail, and included chicken, brown rice with rye, and unusual salad, ending with cherry pie. I helped Paul C. sand down Marian's Chevy II in preparation for painting. We then saw movies, but Holley pulled down the speaker and it worked then not too good. Mike showed his film of our box sculpture. Then a bunch of us went to Baskin Robbins. On returning we watched TV - "Love, American Style", and "Atlantis", while drinking Russ's Southern Comfort, ale, and pretzels.

Journal ---------------------- 1971 ----------------- Paul E. Schoen