Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Life After Jim Jones, Survivors build a new life from chaos of the past, by Ronald Yates,

November 17, 1979, The Montreal Gazette, page 24, Life After Jim Jones, Survivors build a new life from chaos of the past, by Ronald Yates,

But forgetting will not be easy, says Dr. Chris Hatcher, a professor of psychology at the University of California's Langley Porter Institute in San Francisco. Hatcher was retained last year by the city to assist People's Temple survivors with therapy and counseling.

"...of the 250 people we have worked with..."

the unclaimed bodies of 409 Jonestown victims, 267 of which were children

Grace Stoen, whose 6-year-old son John Victor was found lying next to Jim Jones.

Hyacinth Thrush, 76, a recipient of one of Jones' "miracles" during a service in the church's San Francisco headquarters, may have been the beneficiary of a very real miracle when she survived the tragedy in Jonestown by sleeping through it.

"I had gone to take a nap," she recalls, "and everything seemed all right. But when I woke up everybody was dead. I walked outside my room and there they were. It was like they had all laid down and gone to sleep. I tried to wake some of them up and that's when I saw they were all dead. And I thought to myself, 'Hyacinth, you must be dead, too.'"

It had been a "miracle" in San Francisco by Jones that persuaded Hyacinth Thrush to go to Jonestown. Doctors had diagnosed cancer in her breast she recalls, but after Jones touched the malignant lump, it seemed over the next few weeks to recede.

"I still don't know what happened, but it sure seemed like a miracle then," she said.
Others, like Richard Clark, did not leave their escape from Jonestown to chance or divine intervention. For some reason, still unexplained, Clark, 43, and eight others including four children sneaked out of Jonestown the morning of the massacre and walked 30 miles through the jungle to the town of Matthew's Ridge.

Clark, who now works as a presser for a San Francisco laundry, and Diane Louie, a surgical technician who escaped with him, still have nightmares about the grisly events of a year ago.

Also marked for life is Hue Fortson, whose wife and baby son died in Jonestown.

"I looked at the Temple and I saw ir was fast at solving problems, not like the government which takes forever."
For others, such as Jacqueline Speier, 29, Ryan's former aide, the marks of Jonestown are not just mental. Speier was one of several persons wounded during the attack on Ryan at the airstrip. Her wounds include a bullet hole in her right forearm, another one near the shoulder, and an eight-inch chunk of bone gone from her right thigh. One bullet is still lodged in her pelvis and recently another one was found under her right armpit.

Despite her wounds and nightmares, Speier has fought to put her life back in order. After running unsuccessfully to fill the congressional vacancy left by Ryan's death, she now is preparing to open her own law practice.


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