The first Instant Messenger romance

Chapter Seven

© Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner

Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Paris, France

July 2021 Revision

The First Instant Messenger Romance

In mid-January 1991, I installed a radio intercom connection between the kitchen, cheese creamery and milking parlor. In the process, I discovered electronic bugs in the HVAC register near the rear kitchen door and in the phone module that connected to the Shenandoah Telephone line. The bugs produced a humming sound at certain frequencies.

Vivi hired a French electronics expert with an electrical engineering degree to first install crypticization devices in our fax machines, special communication cables and a software patch, which allowed my fancy new Leading Edge computer to communicate directly with the cripticization device. Thus, it was no longer necessary to type or scan printed documents . . . although that was still possible. More typically, we just typed messages to each other that appeared on the MS Word word processing screen. The setup worked almost identically to instant messaging, which would appear seven years later.

I used the phone on the FAX machine to make confidential calls to the Washington, DC FBI office, the secret FBI office in Georgetown, a covert FBI agent in Winchester, VA or to Sara & Bob. I used the phone on the wall of the kitchen to feed false intel to the Shenandoah Sheriff’s Department and Virginia Bureau of Investigation, which were deeply in bed with the Mafia and other organized crime rings.

A very different climate today: The climate of the Shenandoah Valley has changed radically since the counter-cyclone winter hurricane of March 15, 1993. When I lived in Virginia, the summers were exceedingly dry. We had the same year-round climate as western Kansas. It had been that way since the late 1700s. The pastures turned brown in July and early August, so it was necessary to feed hay to the goats and sheep both in the winter and the mid-summer. Most of the county’s 28″ of equivalent liquid precipitation came in the winter in the form of snow or sleet.

On November 3, 1988, we had 12″ of snow and temperature only reached 28 degrees F. Snow covered the pastures most of the winter, so I frequently cross-country skied on my land. Several neighbors owned snowmobiles.

Nowadays, the climate of the Shenandoah Valley is not significantly different year-round than Cherokee County, NC and Union County, GA – perhaps a little warmer in July and August. The wettest month is July and very little snow falls in the winter. The climate is no longer suitable for the intense cultivation of alfalfa, which was a major crop in Shenandoah County in the 1980s. On November 3, 2020 Woodstock, VA had a low of 37 degrees and a high of 65 degrees F.

The cold snowy winters put a stress on the household budgets of most Shenandoah Valley residents, especially the farmers. We typically spent about $2800 on fuel oil for the house and $250 for propane for the cheese creamery during the winter months. That’s the equivalent today of a $6100 seasonal heating bill!

Thanks to former boyfriend in the US Secret Service, Vivi (and I) were given an unforgettable VIP tour of the National Capitol. I took a photo of Vivi, dressed in a traditional French dairy maid’s outfit, standing at the lectern of Congress. There is a separate chapter devoted to our experiences in the National Capitol.

Corne d’abondance, SARC

17 Rue du Palais, ÉPERNAY, Champagne-Ardenne, 51200

21 décembre 1990

Monsieur Architect Richard L. Thornton,

The Danby Christmas Party in Alexandria was enchanting.  I had many pleasures in the living room, patio and Old Servant Quarters as we discussed your Shenandoah Chevre Cheese and the Okefenokee Swamp, where you were born.   In fact, my vacation in Virginia was so pleasant, I regretted returning to Paris, but I had promised my daughter, Aimee, a wonderful Noel, including attending Mass on Christmas Eve at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris .   Our company’s offices are at the winery in Champagne-Ardenne, but I normally live in an apartment in Paris.

Our company plans to construct a winery in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for the production of champagne and Alsatian-type white wine.  We would like you to be the Managing Architect for the project.  This means that you would not only prepare the drawings, but also assist us with the selection of the real estate and supervision of the construction.

I will be communicating periodically with you to discuss concepts for the winery.  I plan to return to Virginia in the spring of 1991, to purchase a tract of land for the project.

Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur Thornton, l’assurance de ma considération distinguée,

Marcel DuVall

Directeur Général

Of course, the letter was really from Vivi.  The “many pleasures” was not a minor mistake in English, but a statement of fact.  I left this fax on the breakfast table, after telling my wife that it looked like I got a job designing a winery for a French company.  She glanced at it and remarked, “So this is where you got that corny idea about the French actress?   Well, I will get excited about it, when the man writes you a check.”    All printed correspondences from Marcel du Vall were burned, unless they were requests to meet in person for discussing the project.  However, within five weeks, we were instant messaging.

Vivi grew up in various Parisian apartments. She was in a loveless family until age 12. After then she had to fend for herself without adult guidance . . . often making serious mistakes with her life.

Looking for love in all the wrong places

Thus, began the next step up in our relationship . . . truly getting to know each other, without our hormones getting in the way.  Of course, today the internet is taken for granted and instant messaging has been largely replaced by texting from smart phones.  However,  Vivi’s invention was a very interesting process that made both of us wiser people and also even more comfortable with each other. 

The big question both of us had was why did we chose toxic spouses?   We also recognized that theoretically, we should not have been so attracted to each other.  So, why did Vivi and Richard like each other so much and why were they so compatible physically, when an accurate description of our “track record” would be “gluttony versus starvation.”   I was the starvation one.  We began our experimental “instant messaging” on January 3, 1991.

RT: Vivi, you have never told me your real full name!

VV:  Vivi typed five French names, none of them were Vivi. 

VV: Richard,  you gave me the greatest gift a woman would ever want . . . you gave me my life and hope for the future. I thought I would be alone on my birthday and then you appeared.  Richard, when is your birthday?RT: August 4.  I am a Leo.

VV:  Hm-m, I don’t think I have ever had a Leo boyfriend . . . but then how would I know.  You are the first man, who even wanted to talk about intellectual subjects with me.

Vivi had never really known unconditional love . . . only lust or indifference. She grew up as the only child of a loveless marriage, where both parents got their nurturing outside the marriage with a series of paramours until finally divorcing and immediately remarrying. Neither parent was particularly well educated or intellectual or stupid, for that matter.  She never had much contact with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. She was not really welcome in either new marriage.  Thus, at the eve of puberty and beyond, she was on her own without any guidance from parents or grandparents.  She told me that she would be moved back and forth from her parents’ new households like a foster child.  They didn’t care if she spent the night with a teenage boy or not.

She began experimenting with intimacy, drugs and alcohol at a rather young age, but never could hold onto a boyfriend very long.  She was really a very sweet, vulnerable, compassionate girl, even at 27.  It was not her fault . . . but up until me, she inevitably paired off with men, who were users, self-centered and unstable. Because she was extremely intelligent,  she did well in school despite the dabbling in sex, drugs and alcohol.  She told me that she never became bitter or hateful toward men, because there was always a long line of boys then men, wanting to use her.

Vivi was accepted as a student at La Université de Paris – Sorbonne, because of her high grades in lycée (high school) and her off-the-wall score on her entrance exam.  Keep in mind, she was already able at this time to completely support herself from the payments made by tobacco companies, model agencies and department stores that only required her to look beautiful and sexy.  She graduated at highest honors with a diploma in European History.

By the time that I met her, she had been repeatedly used and abused for so long that she came to have very low self-esteem.  She never told me this, but I strongly suspect that her drive to do anything necessary to become a superstar was the subliminal hope of getting love from her adoring fans.  I promised not to discuss in detail what she had to do for a few years to obtain those adoring fans.   

What she also told me was that earlier in 1990, she realized that she could not even remember the names of the many boys and men in her life or even what they did together.  That is why her self-image became that of a whore. It was just a blur of nothingness.

In stark contrast, I grew up in a very happy rural-smalltown environment with lots of love from grandparents, great-uncles/aunts, uncles/aunts, cousins and neighborhood friends. Because we always respected each other, several of my girlfriends from earlier days are subscribers to The Americas Revealed.

Vivi didn’t realize how sad her life had been,  until she started requesting detailed accounts of my childhood, past girlfriends and all the fun things that we did together.  She said that I obviously still cared for these ladies, even though we eventually took different paths. Vivi still didn’t understand why I married the woman I did.   Actually, I didn’t either.

Now this is interesting.  After our first night together, when we were already falling deeply in love, Vivi rarely discussed her singing or acting career with me.  Both on our “instant messenger” connection and in person, she instead, loved to talk about her five restaurants and small historic winery.

Almost immediately after returning to France in late December 1970, she began taking courses in the culinary arts, restaurant management and wine-making.  One of the greatest thrills of her life was the two of us meeting and chatting with Chef Julia Child in October 1991.  You will learn about that event later.  By spring of 1992,  Vivi earned a Diplôme de Cuisine de l’école d’Arts Culinaires Le Cordon Bleu – Paris!

My best friend, Jo Evelyn Kelly, called me the Beaver!

Richard – One could not have conceived a more different family background than mine compared to Vivi’s.   I grew up in a Late 20th century, Southern Fried version of The Waltons TV series. I have very warm memories of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, Boy Scouts, high school sports, high school sock hops and wholesome girlfriends. I have particularly fond memories of long summertime stays with my mother’s parents in the country and hiking the Appalachian Trail for six weeks.  My mother’s family, typical Georgia Creeks, were warm, straightforward, touchy-feely people.  I grew up with lots of affection given me by my mother, sister, aunts, grandmothers and cousins. That’s just the opposite of Vivi’s childhood.

In our many FAX instant messages through the months of 1991,  Vivi repeatedly probed me about the young women I had dated.  She was astonished that all the stories were at worst, PG-13 until age 20.  Like the French architecture student, Yvette, who I met on a bus going to Oaxaca, Mexico,  I had no time for anything, but casual dating while at Georgia Tech.

There was nothing that I did with my high school girlfriends that they would be upset about you knowing.  No matter the gal, we almost always won the dance contests because I was also a drummer in a rock band.  Several of these, now happily married ladies are subscribers to The Americas Revealed.  My best friend from high school, Jo Evelyn Kelly. called me “The Beaver,” because I was so naively “Boy Scoutish” like the character, Beaver, in longtime hit TV series, “Leave It To Beaver.”

Vivi was particularly fascinated that my best friend throughout the five years of high school was a very pretty girl down the street,  Jo Evelyn Kelly – not a guy. Jo Evelyn was part Native American from Oklahoma and a Leo, like me.  Just like Vivi and me,  Jo Evelyn and I could talk together about anything – except sex. LOL  Vivi couldn’t understand how after five years of living so close together, we never went beyond a casual kiss or a hug.   Actually,  Jo Evelyn was the only gal that Vivi showed any jealousy.

VV:  Do you have any photos of your old girl friends that you can FAX me?

RT:  No, none that I can quickly find. They are somewhere in one of several boxes that I last opened around 1973.  Wait a minute . . . I have sketches of Jo Evelyn in a sketchbook . . . oh and I have  a photo of her at age 16 mounted on my office wall, working with another neighborhood friend, Mary Jane Lowe, on the decorations for our Junior-Senior Prom.

VV:  What is a Junior-Senior prom?

RT: It was the most important dance each year at our high school.

VV:  Did you go to the dance with Jo Evelyn?

RT: Yes

Jo Evelyn at age 16, working on scenery for the prom

VV:  I thought that you said that you never dated her?  In the photo, she looks like that she is crazy about you.   Send me the sketches too. Why did you ask Jo Evelyn to attend the dance with you?

RT:  I knew that Jo Evelyn and I would have a lot of fun at the dance, because we were very comfortable with each other.

VV:  You and I are very comfortable with each other, but that seems to help things in the bed.  Actually, Richard, we were very hot from the start. You said that you were inexperienced, but that is not what makes a woman excited. It is in her mind. I don’t understand why the two of you never became lovers. At her age, I would have loved to have known a boy, who would also be my best friend. Both of you were fortunate, but stupid about staying monks and missing out on the fun.

These sketches were made the day after Thanksgiving during my first quarter at Georgia Tech

VV:  What is this?   Richard you were stupid!   That girl is telling you that she wants you NOW!  Did you make love to her after drawing her?

RT: NO-o-o, we were in her parents living room, near the front door.  Besides, even though both of us now were in college, we were both still virgins.   It was an assignment from my art professor over the Thanksgiving holidays.   He knew that most of us didn’t have girlfriends, because in the first quarter at my university, you had to study seven days a week.   So, he told us to look up our old girlfriends and make a composition out of four sketches of them.  I wasn’t very good at drawing then.  Our universities were 120 kilometers apart and neither one of us owned a car. 

VV:  So that was the last time you saw her . . . when she was begging you with her body to make love to her?

RT:  No, through the years I have gone by to see her at the business that she and her husband own . . . just to say hello. They live near my parents’ house.  The last time I saw her was Christmas 1989.

VV:  What?   She is still in your brain 20 years later?  Well, you are not going near her from now on, unless Vivi is with you!

After about six months of mutual psychoanalysis via FAX,  Vivi finally identified one trait that distinguished me from “Leave It To Beaver.” It was something that I had never thought of. Vivi couldn’t even remember her intimate encounters, but with me, they were vivid memories. Prior to meeting my estranged wife,  all of my memorable, intimate relationships had been with women, who were not born in the United States . . . Cuba, Mexico, France, Sweden, Austria, Puerto Rico, South African Boer and Argentina. The same is true since my divorce.  Gringas and I just don’t seem to “click.”   All of my long-term adult relationships, other than with Anti-Wife, have been with foreign born women.

VV:  What was it about women from other countries that made you more aggressive?

RT:  I wasn’t any different. The difference is that the gals from other countries told me very clearly what they wanted and did not want to do . . . just like you did . . . well, except the architecture student from Lyon.  She was just as dumb as I was.  Jo Evelyn never even said that she liked me . . . but I knew she did.

VV:  I know your problem.  When you really deeply care about a woman, you are hesitant to make a move for fear of losing her. I don’t think that you understand real women.  You were the same with me.   I was rubbing your legs and you still did nothing, even though I could tell that you wanted me also.   If Sara had not almost forced us together, you would have never done anything and then after I left the party, hated yourself for being so stupid and me being so dead . . . but . . . merci a Dieu . . . you stayed with me that night.

After months of interrogating me about my past loves, Vivi decided that Jo Evelyn or Yvette the French architecture student, would have been the best girls for me to marry.  She thought that Alicia the brilliant Mexican senorita also was a good match, except for her crazy family. However, it was too late, she said, Vivi had claims on Richard’s heart for eternity.

Theoretically,  Vivi and I should have disliked each other.  In fact, that was my first reaction, while we were standing on the snow-covered patio at the Christmas Party.  Fortunately, Vivi quickly realized that we bountifully met each other’s emotional and physical needs.  She let me know that verbally and physically.

Vivi longed for a stable, but affectionate, father figure, who would be rock on which she could anchor her ship and raise a large family.  I longed for the warm, touchy-feely love that I received as a child growing up and the sincere friendship that I received from Jo Evelyn for many years.  Vivi could have kissed and hugged me from dusk to dawn and I would have never tired of it.  Intellectually, we were equals.  I might have more education, but her mind was like a sponge, always wanting to soak up more knowledge.

Chronology of 1991

Satellite image of part of our former farm, showing the accident scene

Friday, December 28, 1990 – The case of the mysterious red Jeep Cherokee

My wife began complaining about our lack of money immediately after breakfast.  A heavy snow had stopped postal deliveries since Christmas, so none of the anticipated checks from architecture clients had been mailed. Banks would not open again until Wednesday, January 2, 1991.

She demanded that I drive over to my client’s offices and pick up the checks.  I called the clients as she continued to nag me nonstop. None of the offices were open.  Dr. Joe Hollis,  an accounting professor at James Madison University, who developed nursing homes, was at his residence.  He apologized for not sending me the payment for the December bill and told me that when the roads cleared in a day or two, he would be delighted for me to drive down to Harrisonburg and pick up the check.

For the next three hours, she repeatedly attacked me verbally for making her poor. Each attack had that crackling sound that Vivi recognized, but was louder and shriller.  Hen-pecked husbands will understand how such long-term assaults will drive a man crazy.  In the last hour of the attacks, she threatened to divorce me on Wednesday, if I didn’t go out in the snow to pick up the check. Finally, in a mental state in which I would be willing to commit suicide just to get away from her voice, I relented.  “Okay,  <Anti-wife’s name> I will try to drive 50 miles down to Harrisonburg to pick up the check.  If I am killed in a wreck, I hope you will be happy.”

My light Toyota pickup slithered its way up the 550 feet long driveway.  I stopped at the end, because I saw a bright red Jeep Cherokee seemingly parked at the crest of the Back Road to the north then slowly move toward me.  There was only one lane open in the middle of the hilly Back Road.  There was no way to pass or by pass a car, so I turned off the engine waited at the end of the driveway for the Jeep Cherokee to pass.

About 50 feet from my car, the driver suddenly speeded up, veered to the left and intentionally crashed into my car.  I couldn’t believe it.  Almost immediately I saw a Sheriff’s Department patrol car, with its blue lights flashing at the same spot where the red Cherokee had originally been.  I was not in the least bit injured, but very angry.  I glanced down and saw my Polaroid camera on the floor of the passenger’s side.   I grabbed it and took photos of the accident from all sides,  anticipating criminal charges against the other driver.

The deputy first did the usual stuff – asking for my driver’s license and insurance card then verifying them over the radio.  He then asked for my version of the accident.  He then walked over to the other driver, who never got out of his car.  The deputy never looked at his driver’s license, never asked for the insurance card and never radioed in the license number or car tag number for verification.

The deputy then filled out an accident report and traffic ticket pad.   He handed the ticket to me.  I was being charged with failure to yield right-of-way, obstruction of traffic and reckless driving.  I was in shock.   I pointed to white, trackless snow in front of my car.  Not only was my engine cut off, but my truck had never even gotten into the road right-of-way.

After the red car and patrol car had departed, I furiously walked along the Back Road to the point where the deputy’s patrol car had been parked, waiting for the “accident” to happen. A neighbor walked out to chat.  He asked what I had done to tick off the sheriff’s department.  Both the red car and the patrol car had been parked at Bakers General Store since before noon.  They waited there for over 3 ½ hours for me to come down my driveway. Nevertheless, the neighbor refused to testify in court, stating fear of what “they” might do to his children.

Bakers Store is the oldest general store in Virginia, still in operation. During the Civil War, members of Mosby’s Rangers would stop by here for ham, cheese and crackers before attacking Union cavalry.

Neither a tow truck driver nor an insurance adjuster were willing to drive in the snow to our accident scene until Monday.  By then, snow plows had sloshed muddy ice water all over my truck.  The adjuster deducted $1000 for two dirty, rubber floor mats, $500 for the back passenger seat being dirty, $1000 for the back cargo bed being scratched and dirty, $500 for scratches to the interior cargo door and several thousand dollars for “the body being covered with rust.”  Actually, red tint was merely dirty water from being splashed by the snow plows.  In short, he valued a new looking, long bed Toyota truck at $1200, when the blue book value was $10,500 and my remaining loan balance was about $5,500.  He refused to authorize insurance to pay for the $1500 in damages.  I was suddenly in deep financial trouble, because the loan would have to be paid off, even if the truck was not repaired, plus I would have to pay a huge court fine.

My wife didn’t leave the farm until late Monday afternoon, December 31 . . . to attend a New Years Eve Party, she said.  Nevertheless, Vivi was still awake when I sent her a fax.   She responded immediately with an angry declaration of war that included several French cuss words.  Vivi reminded me that Sara had told me to expect such things from my wife and had urged me to get out of there.  Obviously, my wife now planned to go where she pleased without worry of me seeing her while in my truck.  I had become the plowboy, she dreamed of, who was helplessly stuck on the farm unless accompanying his boss in her Ford Thunderbird.

Vivi said that she was immediately hiring a detective firm to track my wife’s travels.  As an afterthought, she asked me to FAX her the accident report and police charges.  Her detectives might be able to help me, but she couldn’t promise anything.

On Wednesday afternoon, Vivi’s detectives sent me an extraordinary FAX.  They were careful to only list me as the client.   The cover letter told me that the attached form was identical to those issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, but not to say in court that it was issued by the VDMV, since that would be perjury.  

Driver of Red Jeep Cherokee: There was no person known to be living in Shenandoah County by that name.  There was no residence or apartment in Shenandoah County with that address. The Social Security number that the driver provided was for a 37-year old woman in Ames, Iowa.  The drivers license number written down by the Sheriff’s deputy did not exist.   The auto tag number for the red Jeep Cherokee belonged to a 1983 Chevrolet Impala that had been wrecked 10 months earlier and now was in a junk yard near Warrenton, VA. 

Traffic court was held in the Old Shenandoah County Courthouse. It was designed by Thomas Jefferson and constructed in 1793. After living in the Shenandoah Valley awhile, I became accustomed to entering buildings that anywhere else would be museums or national shrines.

Traffic Court –  January 15, 1991: Things got even worse for me financially.  Normally, there is no prosecuting attorney for traffic court cases unless a DUI is being charged.  When my case came up,  the Commonwealth’s Attorney (District Attorney) walked into the room.  Normally,  he only worked major felony court cases.  The assistant CA handled criminal misdemeanors  . . . but this was not even a criminal case.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney opened his presentation by stating that the charges against me had been upgraded to aggravated reckless driving.  He had spoken to the defendant’s wife on the afternoon of Monday, December 31, 1990.  She had begged the defendant not to get in his truck, but he was in a deranged, violent state of mind, so she was afraid that he might strike her.  The CA had considered having me arrested for “assault with a deadly weapon,” but saw that I had no criminal record. The maximum penalty for intentionally causing an accident  (aggravated reckless driving) was a $1000 fine and two months in the county jail.  

The Commonwealth’s Attorney obviously did not know that I had extensive experience as an expert witness in federal and state court cases.  His “smart-ass” manner suggested that he was contemptuous of someone, he considered to be a naïve, eccentric goat farmer.

The CA then called his first witness, the deputy who filled out the traffic report.  The deputy sat in the witness chair without being sworn in.  I reminded the magistrate that Virginia law requires all witnesses to be duly sworn in.  He agreed and directed the Court Clerk to do so.

The deputy stated that when he arrived on the accident scene my truck was parked perpendicular to the flow of traffic and blocked the entire road.  The driver of Jeep told him that I had suddenly jerked my car in his path as if I was trying to hit his car.   The Jeep’s driver did not have time to stop his vehicle before colliding.

At the start of cross-examination, I presented Exhibits A-D, auto-dated photographs of the accident scene.  The Commonwealth’s Attorney objected, but the magistrate allowed them to be used as evidence.  The bailiff distributed the photos to the magistrate, CA and witness.  The photos clearly showed the deputy’s car approaching the accident and that my truck was sitting several feet away from the road paving.   I asked the deputy if perhaps he had impaired eyesight and had forgotten wear his glasses.  At this point, an angry CA rose to his feet and made a motion that I be charged with contempt of court.  It was denied, but judge reminded me to speak in a more respectful manner the brave law enforcement officer.

I then presented Exhibit F, which was the accident report. I asked the officer, if had verified all the information furnished by the driver in the Jeep Cherokee.  He said that he always does that when he returns to the Sheriff’s Department.  The driver was a highly respected, long-time resident of Shenandoah County and had a perfect driving record.

I then presented Exhibit G, which was the detective’s report, printed to look like a Virginia DMV report.  The faces of the deputy, magistrate and Commonwealth’s Attorney displayed total shock.  They had been caught red-handed at lying. The deputy looked plaintively at the CA for help.  The CA quickly moved for a 5-minute recess.  We he returned, he announced that the deputy had been called to direct traffic at a bad accident site and so made a motion for dismissal of my case.  It was quickly granted.  Both the magistrate and the CA were very relieved to get me out of the courthouse.

When I returned home from court in my wife’s car, she was smiling. That smile turned into a grin, when I led her to believe that I had been fined an additional $1000 for aggravated reckless driving. Then she became extremely depressed, when I informed her that actually, I had whipped the butts off those lying NAZI’s. That night in her secret diary, she wrote, “Richard messed up my plans.”

I remained without a truck for the remainder of January.  In the meantime,  Vivi’s detectives obtained devastating photographs of my wife participating in her secret life.  The insurance company still refused to override the opinion of the adjuster or even send out another adjuster for a second opinion. 

In late January,  I called my old friends and architecture clients, Harry and Lillie Lerner in Asheville.  They were both survivors of the Holocaust.   I asked Harry if I could borrow $1200 to get my truck fixed.  He told me not to bother about paying him back.  I should have charged him more, when I was designing his buildings.  I picked up the repaired truck on February 8 . . . five weeks without “wheels.”

The Kitchen Garden, where we grew herbs and flowers. In the back is my architecture office. Having an architecture office on the farm and attached to the house, made it possible for me to run two businesses simultaneously, but also made me very vulnerable to my wife’s repeated threats of divorce. Marital separation would immediately shut down both of my sources of income. People today see photos of the Toms Brook house and wonder why my ex-wife was so determined to destroy such a lifestyle.

Unsolicited real estate offer

Early in the afternoon on the next day, a Saturday, a smartly dressed young couple appeared at our front door.  I say “couple,” but even though the man introduced the woman as his girlfriend as an attorney at the Justice Department, they obviously didn’t even know each other. 

He presented us with a real estate purchase offer from his father, who lived in Houston.  It was a joke.  The man offered $75,000 for the house, farm and cheese creamery operation.   I told his son that the property was not for sale and had been appraised for $750,000, not including the equipment in the cheese creamery and dairy, which cost $125,000.

I called up Sara Danby on our new “secure” fax phone.  She was very familiar with this man, who wanted to buy my farm for pocket change.   He was one of the most powerful dons of the Houston Mafia.  He was a long-time financial supporter and friend of President George Herbert Bush.  He controlled the distribution of Mexican marijuana and diet pills (meth) in northwestern Virginia.  The DEA had tried to go after him, but the White House had stopped the investigation.  The FBI was now setting up a team to go after his distribution network in Virginia without mentioning his name in staff reports.

The Mafia don’s son showed up again in late March with another offer.  This time it was $125,000, which wouldn’t even begin to cover the value of our house.  I again refused.  The young man told me that I would be sorry.

View of the dairy complex from the east end of the Kitchen Garden. The Laurel Brigade, a famous Confederate cavalry unit, held this position during the Battle of Toms Brook on Oct. 9, 1864.

The holocaust begins

One morning in mid-April I woke up to the sound of our very best goat screaming in agony.  She was somewhat bloated, but had no temperature.  She died about two hours later.  The next morning, two of our next best goats died in the same agonizing way.  Between then and mid-December 88 of our milking goats were killed in this way.   We also had about a dozen goats, who were strangled or else tortured in a horrific way.  Their hooves were nailed to a wooden box, then their skin would be flayed from their body while they were still alive. 

Also, about 15 goat kids were hung from the barn floor with rope nooses.  After I got the go ahead in June to start firing my rifle at the National Guardsmen, the raids stopped.  They began again in July, but this time were carried out by US Army Rangers, based at Fort Detrick, Maryland.  After each raid on our farm, a US Army Colonel and Major in combat fatigues and driving a gold Jeep Cherokee, would park at the end of driveway to discuss the previous night’s events.  I eventually was able to photograph them, their car tag and their Fort Detrick bumper decal.

For several more weeks, neither I nor the professors at Virginia Tech knew what the heck was going on.  We eventually figured out the initially members of the Virginia National Guard were grabbing goats and injecting them with military grade, pure listeria bacteria biotoxin.  The Rangers used dart guns, which fired darts containing curare poisoning, which paralyzed the goats.  Then a dose syringe injected the toxin down their throats. 

The mad scientists at Fort Detrick had someone at the Staunton, VA Animal Diagnostic Center to monitor the effectiveness of the toxins.  With so many animals dying, I had to haul the poor goats down there for disposal.  I did not want to contaminate our drinking water with decomposing animals, containing a deadly poison.  

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross at her farm in the Shenandoah Valley

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – Attacks on her farm

Swiss born, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, was one of the most famous psychiatrists of the late 20th century. She played a key role in the development of the modern hospice for dying patients. In 1985, she purchased a 300-acre farm in Shenandoah County, VA several miles south of where I moved in 1987. Much of her professional energy during the 10 years in Shenandoah County was devoted to developing compassionate care of dying AIDS patients . . . an epidemic that dominated the news throughout the 1980s.   The paragraphs in her Wikipedia article, which covered that period, have been anonymously deleted, while other articles provide little accurate information on what actually happened.  This is one of those cases, where my eyewitness account will be the only comprehensive, accurate account you will read.

In 1990,  Mrs. Kübler-Ross sought a special use permit from the Highland County Planning Commission to erect a hospice for babies dying of AIDS.  In 1989 and 1990, I was a planning consultant for both the Shenandoah County and City of Woodstock Planning Commissions, plus Chairman of the County Historic Preservation Commission.  Healthcare facilities, nursing homes and hospices were not permitted in the special nature conservation zone, where her farm was located.  What we didn’t know until much later is that there was a secret military facility under a mountain near her farm.

Several internet articles suggest that the vandalism and arson on her farm from 1991 to 1995 was the product of locals, who didn’t want babies with AIDS in their community.  However, her petition for a special use permit was denied in 1990.   Her public statement that “most of the county hated her” was actually rooted in statements made to her by FBI agents in Richmond – not fact.

Something else was going on that seemed connected to the occult.  The black-clad commandos that I called ninja-nerds began vandalizing her farm in 1991, only a few weeks before that began night time assaults on our farm.

The Senate meeting room in our national Capitol – location of the cheese tasting

June 7, 1991 – National Dairy Month Cheese-tasting at the Capitol

*The next chapter provides a detailed description of our visit to the National Capitol.

Shenandoah Chevre was invited to sample cheese to Congressional and Whitehouse staffs at a cheese-tasting on June 7, 1991 in the Senate Hearing Room . . . where the famous Watergate Hearings were held.  I had planned to back out because of all the killings of goats and vandalism on our farm, but then we had a sudden break in the nightmare in early June.

In mid-May 1991,  Dr. Pierre Lessard at Virginia Tech issued a report on the cause of our goat’s deaths.  They were not dying of disease, but being poisoned by military grade listeria biotoxin.  His closing statement concluded that pouring such a biotoxin into a city’s water supply could kill thousands of people and recommended an immediate investigation by the FBI. 

I took the report to the FBI state office in Richmond and was basically laughed out of the building. I thought at the time it was because of the agents’ contempt of goats and “alternative” farming.  We later learned at the secret Georgetown Hearings that several administrators in the Richmond office were moles for organized crime. (See later articles.) About a week later Mrs. Kübler-Ross traveled to Richmond with stories of black clad commandos killing some of her livestock with some unknown poison and even climbing on the shed roofs of her porches to tap on her windows at night.

Someone in Richmond decided that a modicum of superficial investigation should be done because Kübler-Ross was famous and our plant was under federal law enforcement jurisdiction.  In the meantime, Bob and Sara got a copy of the Virginia Tech report and sent it to the right people . . . who immediately became concerned on the potential of entire municipal water systems becoming lethal.

Two special agents from the Winchester, VA field office were assigned to interview me and my neighbors.  At the time, it didn’t even dawn on me that there could be connection between the bogus real estate offer from the Texas Mafia and our troubles.   Oh, did I mention that lots of marijuana was being grown under the protection of local deputies near the Kübler-Ross farm?

I missed Vivi’s smile!

Vivi and I had not seen each other in about six months, so I FAXed her an invitation to join me in the United States Capitol on the afternoon of June 7th.  I also instructed her to have Marcel Du Vall send me a FAX, asking me to accompany him on June 8th in a search for a winey site.   I would have to spend two nights in Alexandria, in order to meet him early in the morning.  Mademoiselle Vivi immediately sent an ecstatic “Oui” to both propositions.  She also added that her company would pay me for my time on Saturday,  even if involved long showers together or Saturday Morning Delight.

My wife had to teach school on Friday, but was also very happy to know that I would be faraway and staying at the Danby House on Friday and Saturday nights. Because of the consulting fee being paid me by the French winery, I was delighted to pay part time employees to milk the goats on Friday afternoon, twice on Saturday and then again on Sunday morning.

There was one incident during the 2 ½ week long “Quiet Time.”  Someone put a US Army M-80 tripwire explosive across the concrete ramp where I walked in the dim light of dawn to let the goats into the waiting area of the milking parlor.  The explosion caused about a hundred shallow shrapnel wounds in my legs – especially my right leg.

I told Vivi not to wear a Haute Couture dress to the event, since we would be slicing cheese and serving sliced apples and Norwegian Platbrød. Vivi flew in a day early so she could have fun with Sara, her surrogate mother.  She brought with her a really cute indigo, white and gold dairy maid’s outfit that she had worn as the co-host of the Normandy Dairy Festival.  She wore it to the Capitol.

Having Vivi at my side meant that we had by far the largest crowd of any of the booths . . . mostly men gawking at Vivi or women mentally x-raying me with the presumption that I must be some sort of stud to rate a woman like Vivi. Nope, I just treated her with kindness.

I had put out my architecture business cards and so picked up six new architecture clients. I noticed that Vivi was introducing herself as my wife then happened to glance at her left hand.  She had slipped on a huge diamond ring from her second marriage!   During a break in the cheese sampling, she explained that if she didn’t present herself as my wife, we would have been swamped with men, asking her for dates.

Later that evening, Vivi was singing a beautiful French love song to me in the shower in the Guest Quarters.  She happened to glance down at the floor of the shower and saw blood seeping down from where scabs had been washed off and flowing into the drain.   She let out a piercing scream that woke up Bob and Sara.  There was something that I had not been telling Vivi on our instant messaging system.


  1. Howdy, Plat bread and goat cheese…………

    On Tue, Dec 8, 2020 at 9:13 AM The Americas Revealed wrote:

    > alekmountain posted: ” by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner > Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Paris, France The First Instant > Messenger Romance In mid-January 1991, I installed a radio intercom > connection between the kitchen, cheese creamery and m” >

    Liked by 1 person

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