Party on Sampson Street
“Can you see Colonel Swegan if he knew we were here among all these fags, Brian?”
It was Joe Roebick whom we’d met at the ballet who had invited us to this party. His wife to be danced with the ballet and you’d never have guessed Joe as the type to marry a ballet artist. He was the lewdest, crudest and rudest pilot candidate I’d met at OTS. He was the kind of guy who loved sneaking around at lights out hitting the lower class men with demerits for having their lights on or being in the bathroom past eleven.
I’d broken up three fist fights between him and other officer trainees (OTs). And here he was at a party on Sampson Street in Philadelphia among a crowd that was half gay.
“Who’s your woman?”
“This is Colleen O’Donnell. Colleen...Joe Roebick.”
“Nice to meet you Colleen. How about all these fags. You ever see so many in one place?”
Colleen laughed. “I lived in New York for a few years so I’ve seen my share.”
“They oughtta do the rest of the country a favor and nuke New York. They’d get rid of half the shit in this country that way.”
Joe’s fiancé came over and began to introduce him to the cast. He smiled at me every time one of the gays shook his hand. Then he winked.
“Colleen, don’t you think it’s time we got going? The party’s about over as it is.”
“You’re right, Brian. I was hoping to dance but that doesn’t look too promising.”
All about solo dancers were spinning like dervishes to a hard disco beat, urban anomie and estrangement in stark evidence.
“Colleen, I attend a lecture series on Thursday nights. Would you be interested in coming one Thursday?”
“Sure. What are the lectures on?”
“Different things. The one this Thursday is on The Blessed Mother.”
“Are they Catholics who present it?”
“Who are they then?”
“Well...it’s held in a Quaker Meeting House in Souderton”
“Why would Quakers talk about the Blessed Mother? I didn’t know they taught about her.”
“They just use the Meeting House. They’re not actually Quakers. They’re another Church.”
“What’s their name?”
“Just trust me. I’ll pick you up around six or you can come over to my house and we’ll take my mother’s car.”
“I’d like to meet your mother. I’ll drive over. Just assure me they’re not EST. I went to one of their presentations in New York and I don’t need to hear their pitch again.”
“It’s not est. I’ll see you Thursday.”
“Hi, Mrs. e I’m Colleen 0′ Donnell. Is Brian home?”
“He’s upstairs. I’ll call him. Can I get you anything?”
“No thanks. I just had dinner.”
“You’re more attractive than he told me. No wonder he hasn’t told me too much about you.”
“That’s funny, because he talks about you a lot.”
“I understand you’re going to a lecture by his little group tonight.”
“Yes, we are. Have you been to one?”
“He’d have to drug me and drag me there to get me to go with him. Has he told you ... Oh, hi Brian. I was just letting Colleen in the front door.”
“Is it alright if I take the car?”
“Well, I was supposed to work on it tonight for me, but if you really need it...”
“Brian, we can take my mother’s car. It’s outside.”
“It was a long drive over and Colleen had a chance to grill me about the lecture.
“Who are they, anyway. Is this the Moonies?”
“No. Some people think because of their name that they’re the Moonies, but they’re not.”
“What is their name?”
“The Church Glorious and Victorious.”
“And you belong to them?”
“Not completely. I’m just an initiate, the lowest Level”
“AUGHGHGH! I can’t believe this! Here I told my mother I met a nice Catholic boy and you turn out to be in a cult.”
“That’s real broad minded of you, Colleen. You’ve decided it’s a cult even before you’ve been to one lecture.”
“Why couldn’t you tell me where we were going. I don’t like it Brian. I’m scared of something.”
“You’re scared of nonsense. What are you, one of these Catholics who allows the Church to think for her?”
“That’s not fair, Brian. Just because I was raised in a very Catholic household does not mean that I can’t think for myself.”
“I’ve been in your house, Colleen. Remember? It looks like a Catholic Church there are so many statues around. Who else has a picture of the Pope on their wall with their mother and father? If that’s not a Catholic household. Then what is?”
“Are you implying that I don’t think for myself?”
“I’m implying that you need to be more open minded than your background indicates that you’ll be.”
“Listen to me, Brian Richard O’Brien. Just because I grew up Catholic doesn’t mean that I always just accepted it blindly. I went through the period of searching you’re going through when I was in college. But after a period of real testing I’ve found it to be the true faith.”
“So only Catholics get into heaven, is that the idea?”
“Brian...of course other people get into heaven. It just happens that Catholicism is the best way.”
“Well, I think I’ve come upon a better way than what the Catholics have.”
“Brian, don’t abandon two thousand years of tradition and truth to this group. Examine them more critically and you’ll see what I’m saying. No doubt there are many special people in it but they’re probably misguided.”
Promise me you won’t walk out and embarrass me tonight.”
“Only if it doesn’t get weird.”
“What’s weird to you may be normal to someone else. Just don’t do anything drastic.”
“I’ll try. Why won’t you tell me what these people believe in. Are you forbidden to?”
“Not at all. It’s just that I’ve only been in a short time and I’m not all that certain about it myself.”
“Good. Then there’s a chance of winning you back from them”
“Colleen, don’t do me any favors. And don’t try to change me. You won’t succeed.”
“There’s nothing all that strange about them. They have some unorthodox beliefs but so do Catholics.”
“Unorthodox? Like what?”
“We pray differently. We do decrees. We speed up the vibration of the prayer until it becomes sound and is thus more easily heart by the masters.”
“Brian, every book I’ve ever read on prayer says that it’s supposed to be said slow, not fast. And who are the masters?”
“They.re spiritually advanced beings that have gone through a number of embodiments and have remained behind to help us to transcend to higher octaves.”
“Who told you that?”
“The current leader of the church. Her husband headed it up until he passed over to the other world in the early seventies. Now he’s talking to her through dictations.”
“Sounds like possession to me.”
“I can see you’re going to be as understanding as my family is about all this.”
“Maybe your family has a point. Have you ever listened to them long enough to know.”
“OK. I’ll see what they have to offer. But you should have told me I was going to a cult meeting so that I had time to protect myself with a few rosary’s.”
“You’re not serious, are you?”
“No. I like you Brian and I’ll go to the meeting with you, but don’t be mad at me if I don’t agree with everything they say.”
“I won’t. It took me awhile to catch on at first, too.”
We pulled up to the Quaker Meeting House. Lou, Marianne, and Arthur were getting out of Lou’s company car. They came over and greeted us.
“Hey, man, great to see you. We’ve been wondering where you’ve been.”
Arthur was still his usual blissed-out self.
“Arthur this is Colleen. Colleen, this is Maria, his wife
“Marianne and Lou.”
They all smiled at her.
When we walked into the Quaker Meeting House, several of the people from the Teaching Center came over and greeted Colleen. The usual picture of the mighty I AM presence was on the mantel piece, the books and tapes were in the back, and the large recorder with the dictation was set up and ready to roll. Barbara from the Teaching Center handed Colleen a brochure with the “Head, Heart and Hand” decrees and explained to her that she shouldn’t worry if she couldn’t keep up with everyone since it was her first meeting
We all sat in the circle of chairs and I held Colleen’s hand in mine. She was nervous and her hand was clammy. She kept looking at me with her huge steel grey blue eyes as if to say, “How could you have brought me here?”
The decrees began slowly at first and began to accelerate as we picked up the tempo. Colleen started laughing. I shot a glance at her and she parted her lips and whispered, “I’m sorry, Brian.” and then started laughing again. I was out- raged and embarrassed.
After the decrees we were introduced to a deeper understanding of the idea of reincarnation. We discovered that St. Francis of Assisi had been so humble that he had to come back as an Indian Prince in his next lifetime in order to ascend to heaven.
Next we went over the idea that in this lifetime we were seeking to balance out all the negative karma we’d generated in past lifetimes, and that the fastest way to transmute all that negative karma was through decreeing.
So, naturally, we did a few more decrees selected from the decree book which contained hundreds. We were standing this time and Colleen began to laugh again. This time, she didn’t stop when I looked at her disapprovingly.
The final part of the meeting was spent on a dictation from Holy Mother about the awesome power to be gained over several years of decreeing, of speeding up the momentum to such a point that they, the masters, could completely infill us with all their abundant knowledge. Then she invoked all kinds of masters about whom I’d never heard before.
As soon as she finished, those from the teaching Center started decreeing. We all joined in, except for Colleen whose hand I was squeezing hard enough that I hoped it would
It didn’t. She tried to muffle it, to keep from laughing but she couldn’t.
Afterwards, I talked with Arthur and Lou about the rigors of OTS and they shared their latest discoveries about the teachings that I’d missed over the past three months.
Apparently, there was something big coming at a critical point in 1987 and we were all to be in a place where we could make sure that we were safe from the calamity. After that, there was some intergalactic battle that was going to be settled on the planet earth.
Colleen was over in the corner with Jim, one of the leaders of the Teaching Center. It turned out that they both were attending Villanova University, Colleen getting her MA in theatre, Jim his in teaching. She was about two inches from his face zinging him with a hundred questions. When she wanted to get your attention, she had a way of doing it.
Jim was quickly finding that out.