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Cindy with son Peter
My journey to The Land and Black Mountain began as the seventh child of eight children born to an unusually strong woman named Jane. We lived on Long Island, New York, and had an interesting and eventful upbringing. When I was seven years old my Mother married a very special man named John (she had divorced our biological father when he threatened her with a shotgun while she was holding a two year old me). Yes, he married a woman who already had eight children, pretty amazing and brave, not to mention just a little crazy. They later moved us out to a very exclusive neighborhood in Point of Woods, Huntington. There we attended Walt Whitman High School, and enjoyed a nice upper middle class, privileged family life. We spent a week each Christmas vacation staying at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, iceskating in Central Park, shopping on Fifth Avenue, going to museums and art galleries and lots of good restaurants. In my own little world I was reading Walden and Civil Disobedience by Thoreau who swiftly became one of my heroes, right alongside my Dad, John Jeffrey. I started my own family very young and moved to Germany for a year when my first son Peter was 4 months old. His father was stationed at Amberg, and being the adventurous child of the Sixties I was, I chose to live on the German economy offbase housing. I did all my shopping in the town, a little hamlet settled in the seventeeth century with cobblestone streets, a moat and stone towers in the wall that surrounded it.
In 1969 we were back in the States and moved from N.Y. to Alabama the same weekend of Woodstock and the Tate/LaBianca murders. Charles Manson went to prison and we went on to Texas where my husband got orders for Viet Nam. He ended up not going over there because they didn't have a job over there in his MOS. Around 1970 or 1971 I got a copy of Yoga,Youth and Reincarnation and taught myself how to do yoga (which I taught later at a community college upstate N.Y. along with stained glass). At the same time a friend turned me on to natural and organic foods and recycling. We then moved back to N.Y., and then on to California. In 1973 our second son, Zeke was born at home with a midwife from Santa Cruz in attendance, but his father delivered him and cut the cord by which Zeke had found his way into this world.Somewhere during the early seventies I acquired a copy of Baba Ram Dass's Be Here Now; we were now on a full-fledged flight into alternative lifestyles. That marriage did not survive the test of time, and back in N.Y. we parted and went our seperate ways. Naturally, the boys went with me, and we found our way back to California with a man who was my sixth birthday present (I was born 7/9/1950 and he was born 7/9/1956) Michael Lederer. His friend Barbara had moved to Black Mountain, and after he explained it all to me, we decided to give it a try. So, we pitched a tent down in front of Chris and Edie's place and proceeded to petition the current residents of the property to let us move into the Blue Dome. There were Dean, Greg, Rip and Patsy, Court and Melody (with Jessica), Barbara with Kettie and Angie, and several others who all agreed that it was alright with them. We moved in the few belongings we had brought with us and started our communal experience with a wonderful group of people.
I thoroughly enjoyed the next couple of years learning how to be a productive member of a unique and thriving community. I enrolled Peter in school over in LaHonda, and found a large puppy, Beorn (which translates to Bear in Hobbit) in the square in Santa Cruz who became a member of our family. I made money by cleaning houses mostly down in Palo Alto for nurses who worked at Stanford University Medical Center, and one very large house up the highway by Skylonda. We had friends at Rancho Diablo; Patty, Nick, Felix and Luna. Peter and Zeke loved to go there for a visit. We also got to know a lot of people from The Land, Struggle Mt. and Stallings. One of my favorite friends from that time period was Smokey, Kevin Dawson. He spent many days and nights visiting us at the Blue Dome. Then there was Barbara Roberts, Joannie and Jennie (who lived in the treehouse at Black Mt. for a while), Mike King, Spare, Mark S., Rain, Robyn, Kim and Sierra, Zara, Kevin, Dale, Kathy, Marie and her girls, Leslie (who taught me how to do stained glass, which I went on to do quite a bit of over the years that followed) and Obie, Heather, Brett, Ed Delabarre (and his brother David, I believe), Marsha and Dunne, Melinda, Murph and Josh, Michael Emrys, the list goes on and on. You all influenced our lives in very positive ways, and I want to thank you all for the wonderful experience that we were able to be a part of, and which lives on in all of us.
We spent the last six months we lived in the area at The Land staying at the teepee up the hill from Michael Emrys' cabin. That was by far the most challenging part of my life so far. The walks in and out of the backlands with the food, water, firewood, groceries and laundry for a family of four with one child on my back and one in tow were exactly what I went into this venture to learn from. I wanted to see what I was made of and how strong I was, and what a way to find out! Those starry nights walking the trail with Orion and the Pleiades shining brightly to show the way birthed an interest in the night sky for me that has just taken shape in the last few years (I have been learning the constellations and the locations of the closest galaxies, nebulae and star clusters and loving it; I attend Star Parties here in the Southeast,my grandson A.J. accompanied me to the Peach State Stargaze last October, and have seen many fine and exciting sights through huge telescopes and my image-stabilized binoculars). I learned more about myself and other people in that short time than in all the years before and since. The enterprise, intuition, fortitude and imagination it took to live our lives back then is nothing short of amazing and I wouldn't trade it for all the gold in Fort Knox!
I now live in Woodstock, Georgia with my husband of 27 years, Michael Thornburgh, who is an accomplished fiddler/violinist with a CD recorded with The Dappled Grays, In the Gait. He is also a coordinator of a group of Systems Engineers at Northside Hospital here in Atlanta. We have 2 feisty and fabulous Jack Russell Terrorers (Oops, I mean Terriers) Merlin and Tess who are both eleven years old. Peter graduated from The Culinary Institute here with a degree in culinary arts and he loves being a chef. He is presently testing for a management position to provide for his 2 children, my grandchildren, A.J. (Andrew Joseph) and Sarah, who are 11 and 10 years old respectively. They live in Alpharetta, which is about 9 miles away, and I spend a lot of time helping him raise them as he has primary custody of them, they live with him and visit their mother on the weekend. Zeke is a free spirit who was paralyzed from the chest down in a motorcycle accident in 1994 when he was stationed at Annapolis in the Marine Corps. He is now a retired Marine receiving VA benefits because of his injuries and living a very full and interesting life. He is very passionate about his Volvo cars and owns several classic and very impressive vehicles. He modifies them and races them at track events, and enters them in car shows here on the East Coast. He owns a very nice loft down "intown"; and we built a beautiful, large ranch home up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains that we share (he has his own suite with a matching kitchen with maple cabinets and ubatuba granite countertops, wraparound deck, 2 car garage and roll-in shower). He uses a wheelchair to get around, a handcycle to exercise, hand controls to drive and he works out at a gym to stay in shape. Peter is now 40 years old and Zeke is 35. I am very proud of the men they have grown into.
I spent over 20 years working as a nurse, mostly in a hospital setting; I really enjoyed the fast pace of post-surgical,"step-down from the units" environments and the ER. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a year after I went into nursing, which ultimately shortened my career. But, I ended up doing more nursing at home because my Dad came to live with me after my Mother died in 1990, and his health failed after a few years. He lived at home with us till the day he died in 2003. Most recently we lost my brother Bob, who was only 3 years older than me, to liver cancer. He died on May 4, 2008 and I drove up to N.Y. to attend his funeral. Because of these recent circumstances, I am sorry to say, I will not be attending the reunion this year. Bob used to come visit us at Black Mountain and The Land and very much enjoyed himself at the boogies at the Long Hall, the breakfasts on Sunday mornings and swimming at Pacific High School's pond. One of my favorite memories is of a combined birthday party we had for my twentysixth and his twentyninth birthdays at the Blue Dome. We ended up with about fifty people spilling out of the dome with live music and lots of partying going on. I'm glad we had all those fun times together, it makes it a little easier to bear his leaving; I will miss him immensely, I thought we were going to grow old together. We love you,Bob.

Heather, me and Peter behind the Long Hall

The 3 of us again with David, Mark and Court, I believe

Winnie, Rip, Zeke, Patsy with my brother Bob behind Patsy
Zeke and friends headed for the backlands on horseback
Peter and Zeke on horse led by Patsy
Zeke and Lenda at Black Mt. with Main House in background (Main House in the Snow in next photo)
The obvious on a snowy, chilly morning
Clear Dome at Black Mt., Marie (Kathy Bartlett's sister) and her girls lived there
Blue Dome at Black Mt.
Blue Dome in the snow

An interesting perspective, the Land can be seen in the background (Michael Lederer & Peter in next photo)
Peter, me and Zeke (Smokey and Mike King in the next picture)
View of The Land from Black Mt.
Patsy holding Zeke, Jennie and Winnie at DeAnza Day
Michael Lederer and David McConnell putting up a teepee at DeAnza Day
Michael Lederer and Mark Schneider putting on the finishing touches
The teepee at DeAnza Day on the campus of DeAnza College in Palo Alto
Patty and Luna at Rancho Diablo
Patty, Felix, Zeke, Luna and Peter at Rancho Diablo
The swimming hole at Pacific High School
Michael, me, Peter, Zeke & others at swimming hole, the rope swing is in upper right corner of photo

Me on a nature walk in Binghamton, N.Y. in more recent times

Me and my siblings at our family reunion in 2007 (my brother Bob is in upper left of photo)

Me & my niece Michele (my brother Bob's daughter)

Family portrait 2008 (my husband Michael, Peter, his son A.J. & daughter Sarah, me and Zeke)