The feeling had begun to creep into me during that long hard winter and spring of 77-78. Whether it was those weeks on the road, the weather, being away from Linda and Eric, seeing the Town Meeting campaign coming to its final stages, the fading of spiritual commitment, or just plain burn-out, I can't say. What was working on my psyche was a sense of spiritual aridity, of lostness, of wandering in a desert, and it was subtly coming into consciousness, like the first scent of orange blossoms that after a day or two overwhelms the senses and seems to permeate every molecule of the body/mind.
It may have begun when our visionary leader Joe Mathews was taken from us in the fall of 1977. The Order/ICA was now heading into a season of struggle for an identity without Joe. There was also the phone call during the winter while I was in Richmond: "Dad, I'm in a little trouble."
My son Robb was in 8th grade in a Minneapolis middle school. He was getting increasingly difficult for his mother to handle and was getting into drugs and cutting classes. By the summer Robb's mother in league with the courts had sent him to a teen work camp in the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. When I finally called her to discuss Robb's future, Sue was adamant that he could not return home and it was about time "his father took over and gave him the guidance he so desperately needs."
When Linda and I got back to Chicago after our glorious Greyhound summer adventure, we were somewhat at odds as to whether we could return to Boston for another year or just up and leave the staff, which was the only solution my foggy brain was entertaining. Our area Prior, Justin Morrill, not failing to show his frustration with my state of mind, finally came up with an offer I could not ignore: "Would you consider taking the assignment of the Los Angeles House?"
OK, that was in California. Linda and I had been married in that house. My mother lived in Van Nuys. I had worked in Southern California and knew the territory. Maybe it would work? At least it would give me a year to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.
I agreed to go. Linda agreed to go with me. Now all we had to do was figure out what to do about son Robbin who was up in a youth work camp in northern Minnesota, get ourselves from Chicago to Green Bay and back to Boston to get our stuff and show up in Los Angeles by September. A piece of cake.