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Light Streams and Amrit and LIBRE, Oh my!

In 1982, when hardly anyone owned an intimidating computer, Paul Hoffman borrowed a Radio Shack TRS-80 from Dottie Zavada and joyfully launched our first alternative directory, Light Streams, Gainesville DNA (Directory New Age). Leslie Rigg added her Osborne computer and before long they published the New Age Calendar. Were we surprised to discover that much more was happening here than we had ever imagined!


I couldn't be happier. Finally a new age directory of our very own! I read on Paul Hoffman's website that he intends to write about DNA-Gainesville himself so I'll leave that in his capable hands. Paul has been a world traveler, ending up in Gainesville before heading for California. He's been in the Berkeley area for quite a few years now. He is probably best known as the guy who makes and distributes EarthSeals, stickers of the famous Apollo 17 shot of the Planet Earth taken from space. By 2009, Paul had sold over 13 million of them by donation in the last 20 years. Paul is so multi-talented he defies description. Check out his Facebook page to see what he's been up to. He's listed as Paul C. Hoffman. His website is

Another well-known person is our Forever Friend, Walter Busby. He and my Gordon were friends and fellow professors in the College of Education at the University of Florida until they retired. Walter was a Humanistic Psychologist and Gordon a Behaviorist. Walter had tremendous foresight when he introduced Gordon and me in 1979, and for that we will be forever grateful.

I met Walter at the Temple of the Universe. He was there during the early days when Yogi Amrit Desai (Gurudev) spoke at the Temple. Phil Kairalla had encouraged me to go hear this very special guru, so I did, though I could never have anticipated what an impact it would have on my life. I was instantly blissed out by Gurudev's loving energy and all that shakti!  Fortunately for me, Walter was there to explain that what was happening to me was perfectly normal!

Walter has always hosted the most extraordinary parties that attracted an eclectic assortment of fascinating people. In the early '80s, his Renaissance Parties became famous for food, fun and finding spiritual friends. They lasted for years and everyone was welcome. There were about 200 people at the last one I remember. Walter also founded the Institute for Holistic Education and later organized United Spiritual Gainesville.

Around this time, Mother Earth’s only store at 521 NW 13th Street had a popular bulletin board informing us about places to go and people to see. It was becoming obvious - we were not alone in our expanding awareness.

The University hosted meetings on campus for the Friends of Whales, Advocates for the Moral Reevaluation of Animal Experimentation (AMRAE), and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Amnesty International met at the UF Law School. Holly Jensen was key in keeping us informed of the activities of all these groups.

Reality Kitchen opened downtown at 6 NE 1st Avenue. Their ad said "24 hours every day - Food - Music - Good Vibes." Jim Evangelist billed it as an art cooperative, phone messenger service, post office box, restaurant, coffeehouse, and community forum. Many of our musician friends played there: David Beede, Mark Madson, the Flash Silvermoon Band, to name a few. In 1984, The Archer Road Band had a one-night-only reunion gig featuring Bruce Shepard, Chaz Scales, Melvin Bunk, Kenny Shore, and Gary Gordon. (Thanks, Gary, for reminding me of this.)

Alternative schools flourished: Lotus Land School in Archer (Jeff Davis), Dayspring Waldorf School (Rolf Hummel) at 921 SW Depot Avenue, Loblolly Learning Community at 3315 NW 5th Avenue, and Flowers Montessori School at 3111 NW 31st Avenue.

The People to People Educational Network organized free non-authoritarian classes without the stress of grades. The 1983 schedule included former Gainesvillians, UF Physics lecturer, Joe Rosenshien and Commissioner and entertainer, Gary Gordon.

Another Forever Friend, Dottie Zavada launched the LIBRE/Mother Earth Center at 604 NW 13th Street, the old Mother Earth location. LIBRE stood for Life in Balance, Research and Education. We heard presentations by local speakers there, including Dowsing by Neil Kaber, Traditional Chinese Medicine by David Bole, Rebirthing by Dennis and Beverly (now called Baila) Scott, and Meditation by Udaya Pherigo (Biff), Director of the Siddha Meditation Center at 1000 SW 9th Street. Dottie's been in the Mt. Shasta area for a long time and I'm happy to say we are still in touch. I’ll see if I can get her to write about LIBRE herself. It was a great gathering place.

Back then we could get Rolfed by Marilyn Thursby, learn about nutrition from Renee Hoffinger Shuman (who was also a matchmaker), and be Rebirthed by Claudio Belfort. Marguerite Romeis had ongoing classes in psychic awareness (which she still has in 2016). We began hosting spiritual healers from outside of Gainesville. Jackie Tatum led A Course in Miracles group at Unity, back when they were at 1240 NW 21st Avenue. Dr. Robert Glazer, Director of the S. E. Center for Bioenergetic Analysis, and Dr. Dave Suchman, Gestalt Therapist, led a men’s group.

Ramesh Patel owned the Mandeer Restaurant at 808 W. University Avenue, where we could get amazing Indian vegetarian dinners. The Vegetarian Society met there for awhile. The Full Moon Buying Club, a food co-op, was very active and met monthly. Betty (later called Bahira) Sugarman and Paul Campbell led Arica Institute trainings. Bill Payne’s classes in Silva Mind Control were popular and Donald Pratt was doing hypnosis long before it became popular.

The Florida School of Massage, with Lee Joseph, Director, moved from 1115 North Main Street to its then new location at 5408 NW 13th Street. Today they are at 6421 SW 13th Street.

We gathered at Walter Busby's home one day and decided it was time to plan an outdoor event to introduce the mainstream to some alternatives they may not have been aware of. We'd call it The Celebration and have it on the Downtown Plaza on March 26, 1983.

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dear john
dear john
are you still watching?

dear john
dear john
do you still care?
I can’t quite find the words to tell you
what’s been going on down here
I really need someone to talk to
are you still there?
dear john
dear john

dear john
dear john
do you have connections?
from where
you are
could you pull some strings?
the tribes are lost and can’t stop fighting
lakes and rivers are running dry
the sky above is thick and murky
I can hardly breathe
oh john
dear john

dear john
dear john
I try to imagine
one world
one people
and no religion, too

but I’ve been aching and so weary
and I’ve been fearful of the dark
so if you see this earth more clearly
from where you are
could you light a star
could you gimme a sign
maybe bloom a flower
or paint a sunrise

could you send me a message
like a double rainbow

or a shimmer of sunlight or blazing northern lights

any little hopeful sign
like a couple of sundogs
or a shower of starlight
over a moonlit lake

could you giggle a baby
color the forest leaves
or flutter my curtains

babble a brook

any little hopeful sign

It would be so nice
It would be so nice
It would be so nice
It would be so nice


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