This is part of my series on people and events in my life. This is the most surprising.
Between 1971 and 1981 I spent time with Huey at least a dozen times.
The first time we met, I was introduced to him by Dick Baker Roshi the abbot of San Francisco Zen Center. They had become friends because Huey had practiced zazen while in solitary confinement in prison and wanted to learn more about it when he got out. They were friends. Dick was a close friend of mine.
We met in a top floor apartment of an expensive apartment building with a view of Lake Merritt. The apartment was paid for by Max Palevsky, a rich patron who also funded the magazine WET by another friend, Leonard Koren.
The apartment was rather stark with the smell of men’s gym shoes. There were a few giant black guards hanging around and several weight lifting bar-bells lying on the floor. The only two things I remember from that visit were that Huey and gang never carried guns, they were carried by women followers who were usually on the opposite side of the street and could be thrown to the guys if needed.
I also learned that Huey never had trouble smuggling audio tapes out of solitary for his weekly training sessions with his supporters.
At one point I arranged for Huey and his gang to have an office near the San Francisco Zen Center in hopes of spending more time with him. He was virtually never there. San Francisco just didn’t feel right to him.
Huey was a kind gentle, sweet man. Humble in every way. Brilliant in conversation, with a deep understanding of any subject we discussed. With me, Huey was a wonderful man. Definitely a man of courage and strength.
Sometime late in the 1970’s or early 1980’s he was working on his PhD at U.C. Santa Cruz and he had a great interest in biology and genetics. A subject we discussed intently. Huey was literate and very competent in the world of academia. Our quiet discussions went on for hours. Just the two of us. Just the two of us, many time.
One recurring subject was his favorite mother figure. I forget her name. She was a member of Glide church where I was business manager. She dropped into my office periodically to update me on Huey’s doings. Huey loved her. She was about 65 when I was 40 and Huey was in his mid thirties.
Huey was a kind man, a wise man and a gentle soul.