Instead of watching professional wife- and girlfriend-abusers concuss each other today, I did something that was a thousand times more satisfying: I attended a memorial service for my late friend Lee Sanders at the Besant Hill School of Happy Valley in Ojai, of which he was an active alumnus. Gathered there were members of his family, old friends (of whom I am one), and his former associates in the IATSE Projectionists Union Local 33 and the Culver City Democratic Club.
Lee lived several lives about which I knew relatively little, especially his activities in music and science. The side of him I saw was a brilliant and gentle soul who was politically active as well as an internationally known collector of film memorabilia and prints for projection. As I said in my short speech to the audience, he never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was something of a bodhisattva. (I, on the other hand, daily consign my perceived enemies to the deepest pit of hell, especially when I’m behind the wheel.)
What I found interesting—and new to me—was that to his family, Lee was better known as Guy Sanders. I knew he frequently showed up at his old school to help out; and it showed, because there was a great outpouring of love for him at the school. I was awestruck.
The Besant Hill School of Happy Valley was co-founded by several individuals, two of whom were great influences on my own life: J. Krishnamurti and Aldous Huxley. In fact, the last book Lee was reading was Volume V of The Collected Essays of Aldous Huxley, which I had given him.
Now that my own school—St. Peter Chanel in Bedford, Ohio—blinked out of existence last year, I would like, if possible, to do something for Besant Hill.
By the way, aun aprendo is the school’s Latin motto. It means, “I’m still learning.” That¹s a good motto, and I might adopt it for my own.