Vi's Story

In 1970 I was twenty-one working at a clerical job. Miserably married to a man who literally thought of himself as God in our household, I longed for escape. But escape was a sin. After all, according to the way I was raised in a fundamentalist church, my husband had male parts, and I had female parts, and that made me inferior. One day a couple of the laborers at my place of employment were talking about JLS. They recommended it. I had so little money. I couldn't afford the book even though it was inexpensive. One of the guys loaned it to me. I read it on my lunch hour. I was forever changed. It was hard for me to believe I could fly, but from that day onward I worked to make it so. I worked to rid myself of the negative illusions controlling my life. I moved from job to job trying to find something meaningful. It took me three years to gain the courage to make a real change. At twenty-four I started attending community college. I met Trustin Hart, yes that was his real name, an American Lit. professor. He was a former minister and walked us through the American Literature scene, weaving in what was happening on the religious scene at each of the steps in the evolution of American literature. I realized I had been raised under the restrictions of "sinner in the eyes of an Angry God." By then I was agnostic, but feeling guilty and afraid I'd be damned. His class was liberating. Because of JLS I began breaking the controls religion had over me. I divorced my husband. I earned a B.S. and got a job in social services. I wanted to help. I was with another fellow by then. That's when my brother killed his neighbors. My husband emotionally abandoned me. I started my grad program. But emotionally supporting my loving parents through it all left me with no energy for grad school. By the time the trial was over I dropped out of the program and began to write a book about how the murders impacted my family. I knew I was born to do this. The whole period was horrendous. In the process I developed strengths I didn't know I already had. Each time I needed to make a step, I looked for another book by you, Richard. Beginning with JLS I knew from within that what you said was right. By the time The Bridge Across Forever was published, I had divorced my second husband. My next boyfriend, a guy who actually believed in me, suddenly passed away. I read Bridge. I wrote to you. On a dismal day in February two months after my boyfriend died, you called me. When you said to me, "This is Richard Bach," I was floored. I was in despair, and there you were walking your talk...reaching up and expressing the meaning of kindness. I became a full-time writer and ultimately an artist. Myriad other crappy things happened in my life. Each time JLS was there guiding me. The latest in the series was husband nearly hours on the operating table. We both held the positive thought that all would be well. It was. It is. We moved on to yet another beginning. He's still in recovery but doing exceptionally well. He is also a student of JLS and Chiang. In the mid 70s he found Jonathan on an eight track tape in the reading by Richard Harris. At the time my husband was between relationships and living in his van. He'd drive up to the Mt. Angel Amphitheater out of El Cajon, turn up the speakers and play the tape in the dark. He thought he was alone. But when the tape was over, people from all over the theater yelled thank you. JLS changed him, too, confirming what he already knew. He and I both live our lives around the truths of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I am forever grateful to that wonderful bird and his friend Richard who taught me how to fly.


Vi H-F