Rubbings of Elbows
Part 3 of 3
The new cook of course saw to the production of meals. When I took LRH the hot chocolate on his afternoon wake-up, I no longer had to dart back to the kitchen, but at first I wasn’t actually thinking of staying in the room. LRH started keeping me there by chatting to me at some length about this and that as he sipped his chocolate and smoked. He was taking the initiative in getting to know me, allowing me to get to know him. After a few weeks, he corrected me in my addressing him as “Sir”. “My friends call me ‘Ron’”, he told me, and he spoke kindly, as to a friend. He had begun teasing me in a gentle way, never meanly; he laughed happily at me when I grinned, or made a moue as though to say, “That’s what you think.”. He enjoyed little digs about my being a Scot born in Wales and living in England. And he said to me, “Yes, I tease you, but you know we only tease our friends.” Thus, empathy having grown between us, I came to feel some security in my position with him and therefore in the house and in the organization.
Although he was encouraging me to feel some security in myself as a person, I never did bring myself to address him as ‘Ron.’ For one thing, I was too conscious of being his domestic servant and having my own peculiar idea that we should not pretend to relate as though equals. Another was my inner reluctance to take even the slightest step to open myself to the kind of alpha-male onslaught I’d experienced in intimacy with my father. Yet, while he was a man vastly more powerful than my father and obviously capable of wounding me mentally and emotionally much deeper than my father had, he was spending time, energy, and attention on cultivating friendship with me in which he was relaxed, warm, and reliably kind in attitude, action, and word. This, of course, I lapped up. Who wouldn’t?
One could say that LRH was behaving towards me as a father would have had that theoretical father wanted to cultivate a friendship with his son. I don’t believe that LRH had any intention to play a father role but the lack in my life of a supportive adult male, which LRH may or may not have perceived, made his friendly and relaxed interacting meaningful to me and drew me into a closer purposefulness in my work for him. I’m sure he was sensitively aware that I had serious sensitivities that were not altogether under my control.
His support also invited me to feel that I was proving myself of use and value to someone but moreover to one who had been a demi-god to me in earlier times (becoming more human now, but still redolent of god-ness). And, as anyone with eyes could see, not a demi-god to ever suffer a fool gladly. I lived and worked, with some value to him, under his very eye and in the midst of his family; there was little or nothing about me or my work that, had I wanted to, I could have hidden from him. I was working hard, very hard at times, for this man who could be a severe taskmaster, and he was letting me know that my work was good for him.
By the end of my first month his approval was clear. He told me with obvious gratification that I had taken some tasks off his plate. When he announced, with a printed issue, to the whole of his organization at Saint Hill that I was now the “Household Officer,” we all understood that I’d succeeded in my probation as “butler-valet”. LRH was giving me and my position a little added dignity, taking it somewhat out of the realm of ‘servant.’ The move gave me some parity and community with the regular Scientologists working at Saint Hill, none of whom had anything to do with the household. [“Officer” was a regular title for certain positions in the Scientology organization.] Soon thereafter, he wrote out a list of nearly thirty household tasks, some of them quite substantial, that he wanted me to complete by the end of the month just beginning. When I handed in the list with “Done” marked against all but one or two at the end of the month, not thinking too much of the achievement, since nothing had turned out to be terribly difficult, he congratulated me, smiling broadly. He liked having actions done and got out of the way, and without complications. Not too many employers object to that.
By coming to Saint Hill Manor I’d walked myself into a serious test. The result so far, a couple of months into my new life, was a milestone in my existence: for the first time since I was a boy in Scotland, I could feel a spine to my back and a spring to my step: I had actually stumbled upon a real place for me in real purposeful Life with real and really purposeful people. L. Ron Hubbard was indeed a real person. Mary Sue also; she was real in her initial antagonism and in her watchful waiting for me to prove myself or to lose myself. Both had clearly defined their places in Life and were actively pursuing purposes they believed in; both had clear points to make to Life. I had not come cross this kind of clarity and certainty other than in or through Nature, and I loved finding it. in these two people and in those supporting them.
And some of those confident, happy, and busy Scientology executives working at Saint Hill were coming to accept me as one of their own.
© Kenneth G. Urquhart 2017