The triumph of evil seems imminent. The United States will soon become a neo-fascist oligarchy.
© Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
The murders of over 100 journalists in the United States during 1991 has thoroughly intimidated the news media. Any TV journalist, who even mentioned Octopus, was either murdered or had his/her career ruined. An alliance of wealthy fascists, occultists, corrupt government employees and money-worshiping pseudo-Christian evangelists now turns its attention on other opponents of authoritarian government. Any honest law enforcement officer, military officer, Native American leader or potential civilian leader with the moral integrity to refuse financial bribes is considered to be an enemy.
The November 1992 Presidential election seems a sure thing for George H. Bush after the spectacular victory in Operation Desert Storm. The game plan is for Neo-Nazi federal agents, planted within racist para-military organizations (such as the KKK) during the Reagan Administration, will encourage their comrades to burn or explode Black churches around the nation. Meanwhile, African-American stooges planted into Black political and economic development organizations will encourage their comrades to take up arms.
As in the attempted murder of Vivi, psychotropic drugs were the weapon of choice for eliminating future enemies of the Fourth Reich. These highly orchestrated deaths could easily be interpreted as suicides, over-doses or mental instability.
August 2, 1992 – My wife, Diana, arrived back at Toms Brook Farm, pretending to be sweet, but obviously very angry. She had lost a little weight after putting on about 30 pounds in the spring and having to buy new clothes. Diana was obviously depressed, because her witch friends had not come through with their promises. There were no audio tapes and photographs that she thought she would be provided to get “everything” in a divorce.
The Anti-wife had been monitoring our checking accounts from a First Union Bank branch in Georgia. Because she had been draining down the accounts with clothing purchases, plus big restaurant and bar tabs, yet saw no checks paid for utilities and very little for food, she expected to find me in desperate shape with no electricity or telephone and very little food. Instead, the refrigerator and pantry were filled to the brim with the best of edibles, including some bottles of French wine! Vivi had been paying for these items. I told her that I had sold lots of cheese, plus been paid handsomely for my work on the Shillingburg House (see below), thus paid cash for most of the expenses.
After being gone for six weeks, she was not the least bit interested in physical nurturing. Instead, she stayed up late the first night, going through the check books, trying to figure out how all the bills were paid, when so few checks could be written.
The next day, I reminded Diana that she had demanded that we draw up divorce papers when she returned. I told her that as she had requested, I had listed all of the furniture and personal property. She denied saying so and claimed that she merely asked me to list our property so we could get an estimate from a moving company to move us to Georgia.
“Georgia?” I responded. “I am not moving to Georgia. We have beaten the ninja-nerds. No one is bothering our goats or our farm. I am selling all the cheese that I can make and have a waiting list of architecture clients. I have more real friends in the Washington Area than I have ever had in my life . . . and they have connections. It would be insane for me to move back to Georgia and try to start my architecture practice all over again. Besides, Georgia is near the bottom in teachers salaries.”
I then played the tape of our last conversations before she left for Georgia in June. Diana went into a catatonic state and stared blindly out the window. Snapping out of that state after about a minute, she went into a rage. She demanded that we put the farm up for sale before talking divorce. I told her that was crazy.
On my birthday, August 4th, Diana started the morning by telling me that she didn’t know why I was always asking for a divorce, since I was such a loser that I couldn’t even find a girlfriend. Diana never even considered the possibility of a Vivi or Susan, because she assumed that no desirable woman would be interested in me.
I told her that she is the one, whose asked me for divorce at least thirty times, since we finished the house. I then asked her about signing the Open Marriage Agreement. She asked me why that would even be necessary, because obviously I was incapable of finding any woman that would have me. Then she dropped the bomb shell.
“I have accepted a position, teaching 9th grade English, at the high school in Ringgold, Georgia . . . just outside of Chattanooga. If you don’t close the cheese creamery and your architecture practice then move down there with me, I want a divorce. Either way, you are not going to be staying on that farm much longer. I have to be at new teacher orientation on August 17, so I am moving down there August 14. I figured out that it is much cheaper to send my clothing and personal things down there by UPS than to rent a truck.“
Diana was back at the farm for a little less than two weeks then drove off on the 14th to Northwest Georgia to start a job and new life in Suburban Chattanooga. Because it was in competition for teachers with the City of Chattanooga, the Ringgold City School District paid almost as much as her school in Virginia, so that was good. I got to thinking. Well, maybe she will be happier there in the Chattanooga area. It is a big enough city to have lots of single swingers hang outs.
I decided that this situation could work just as well. Diana and her personal belongings were out of the house! There would be no acrimony on that issue. I would send Diana a notice of formal separation at the end of the month. Virginia law said that if there were no children and one spouse had moved to take up permanent residence in another state, a unilateral separation could be filed in two weeks I would then notify Vivi that the farm was for sale. There was no need for a realtor. I would then file for divorce unilaterally. No matter what my wife said in court, it would be obvious to the judge that she had deserted me . . . since she had spent the summer in Atlanta prior to me filing and run up huge tabs at bars and restaurants.
Vivi and Aimee could still fly over on September 1. We could start living together openly, either in Alexandria or on the farm, the day after I filed for Marital Separation, since Diana was living out of state. Vivi could place an offer for the farm that would be presented in the divorce settlement in court . . . along with a very tempting situation of no debts and $160,000 in the bank for Diana.
The grand opening of the Shutzfestung House
On August 6, 1992, Civil Engineer Larry Bauserman showed up on the farm, while Diana was away, picking up boxes for moving. He was one of my favorite clients, who had made a bundle on contracts with the Washington Metro rapid transit system. He was using some of that money for the restoration and expansion of the Schutzfestung House, a large historic home in Saumsville, which was about two miles south of my farm. Larry handed me an invitation to attend the grand opening party on the night of August 15th. He then glanced around the house symbolically and asked me, “I have not seen your wife all summer. Where is she? “
I answered, “Larry, she has been in Atlanta all summer and is starting a teaching job in Ringgold, GA on August 17th.”
He pretended to looked surprised, then said, “Sorry to hear that (he really wasn’t). Are y’all getting a divorce?”
I responded, “Yes, I am filling for a Marital Separation on August 29th and will file for a Divorce as soon as my attorney has the paperwork ready.”
He smiled, “Okay, good. Now, I can finally tell you what’s been going on. Your wife has been messing around with Daryl Lindemann, the head of the math department at Central High . . . since the day she arrived in the county. All the students knew it. In fact, some witches on the school newspaper staff took photos of them back in 1987. Since then, they have been extorting both of them to get good grades for members of their coven. Lindemann has been cheating on your wife for some time with younger single teachers. He finally dumped her late, last winter after she stopped by his house in broad daylight. Then your wife started hanging around men-hating Lesbians. Last I heard, she was messing around with a female teacher at Strasburg Middle School.”
I told Larry that for some time, I had been suspecting that she was having an affair with someone at Central High School, because she would frequently drive over to the school on weekends, claiming that she was grading papers. Also, beginning this past spring, she had gone to a “women’s meeting” or “women’s workshop” most weekends. One time, she went all the way to Port Tobacco, Maryland at the head of the Chesapeake Bay for a “women’s empowerment workshop.”
Larry nodded in agreement then smiled. “I gave you the bad news, now the good news. Do you remember meeting our accountant, Cindy Funkhouser?”
I smiled, “Yep, I remember her. She is very nice and as you know, really cute. She has a physique like a professional dancer or a gymnast. I told her, when I met her in your office that I saw her on television four years ago, when Virginia Tech was playing a football game on television. She was one of the cheerleaders. She said that she lives with and is engaged to the guy who owns the new Liberty Springs Ski Resort. Lucky guy! So why did you ask, if I knew her? “
Larry had sly smile on his face. “Richard, did you know that her step-father is Dr. Spritler at the veterinary school? He is the one that raved about your house and persuaded me to hire you, rather than a big firm in DC. When at Virginia Tech, she would sometimes come out to your farm with him and his students. She adores your dogs, but said that you never said anything more than hey.”
“Well, anyway, Cindy left Jake Blumgarten in May after he gave her a black eye. He’s a drunk and has hit her several times before then. She’s renting a house up the Back Road from you, and noticed that your wife’s car has been gone all summer. I think she has had a crush on you, since college days. Don’t worry, you’re five years younger than Jake. She likes older men, who are in good shape. Anyway, she is going to be at the party and wanted to know if it was okay for her to be friendly with you. Guess, I can tell her yes. She said that she has not gone out with any man since moving out from Jake. I’d advise you to get a good night’s sleep on the Friday before the party.“
I nodded affirmatively, but added that I couldn’t believe that she would be interested in someone, who is not wealthy. She struck me as the type gal, who is used to having lots of money spent on her. Larry responded that in her heart, Cindy is just a country girl, who loves animals, growing vegetables and taking walks in the mountains.
Oh lordy, how did I get in this mess? Dr. Spritler will be insulted, if I am rude to his daughter. He’s the only father, she has ever known. Vivi has repeatedly told me that it is fine with her for me to play around with other women, along as they don’t try to hurt me. I don’t believe her, but she will be here permanently two weeks after the party. If I pretend to be seriously interested in her, then she will hurt deeply, two weeks later.
Diana left on Friday morning, with a frozen demonic smile on her face . . . thinking that she had me by the “you know whats.” I must say that it was relief to get her out of my life . . . like lancing a boil.
I sent an instant message to Vivi that the wife-from-hell was gone forever. Instead of writing a message back, Vivi called me from across the Atlantic Ocean. She dialed the number of the MCI cellular phone that Bob Danby had given me, when I was required to return the “special” FBI cellular phone that was used Susan Karlson.
Shenandoah Telephone now had cellular towers that covered the central valley of the county, but I mainly used the phone to call the MCI service area around Washington. There were a huge out-of-area charge to call from Shentel’s service area to MCI’s service area. There was no long distance charge on MCI. Based near Dulles Airport, MCI had already become one of the largest telecommunication companies in the USA. It was obvious that they would become one of the largest corporations in the world, by the 21st century.
Vivi told me said that she more money than she could ever possibly need. No one in the Shenandoah Valley could listen in on my MCI telephone conversations. Now she was free to call me at any time. She said that it was wonderful!
I felt guilty about going to the party, so I told Vivi everything. How did she think I should handle the problem with Cindy Funkhouser? She ask me back, “Do you really want to help Cindy have a better life in the future?“
I responded, “I guess so, but I only knowingly met her one time. She would come to the farm with her father, but I ignored her because I was married and she was a college student.”
“Fine Richard . . . give her the most wonderful night of her life and imagine she is Vivi, if you need to. Otherwise, if she had a bad time and still <vulgar word for needing physical nurturing> she will go back to that bad man. That’s what I did over and over again, before I met you. When I get to Virginia, I will talk to her and tell her why I told you to make love to her.”
That was not what I wanted to hear. What I wanted Vivi to say is that she would not fly to Virginia, if I went to the party. What I finally decided to do was provide a PG-13 evening with Cindy, but tell her that my lawyer had ordered me to be chaste, until my estranged wife has signed the divorce settlement papers. That would not cause her to have low self esteem.
Saturday Night, August 15th: Cindy was already tipsy from drinking cocktails when I arrived at the house. I reached out to shake her hand. She instead squeezed my biceps and kissed me on the lips. <off to a very bad start> She suggested that we get something to drink. She ordered a Mai Tai cocktail. I asked for a glass of wine . . . explaining to her that I had to drive home tonight.
She laughed and said, “Don’t be silly Richard. I am not a high school girl. Larry said that we could sleep in the guest bedroom that you designed. He said you should consider it a special bonus to the architect, for doing such a great job.” She winked at me.
I was immediately angry at myself. Here was a lovely, intelligent lady, whose father was a friend of mine, who wanted to be with me without really knowing me. Meanwhile, I had foolishly stayed in the marriage sent by Satan, in which I was starved for affection and constantly belittled. BUT, I still longed for Vivi. There was something very special there, which I could not then explain.
They had a great live band that had just started a great cover of “Play that Funky Music White Boy.” I grabbed her hand and led her into the party room, which was in the south wing that I had designed. Being a cheerleader and dance student as a young girl, she could really dance. She was astounded that I also could really dance. I told her that it was from prancing up and down mountain slopes, chasing goats. There was a big smile on her face. She was beginning to recover from a toxic relationship.
After about 30 minutes of exuberant dancing, she said, “Let’s stop for awhile. I have wanted to talk to you since 1989, when I was on your farm the first time.” She led us by the bar and grabbed two glasses of wine.
Jenny was really nice lady and she was no longer a college coed. She had a straightforward German personality that told me what she was thinking. That was refreshing. She had grown up a lot since I first said hello to her in the goat barn in the autumn of 1989. She knew all the dirty details of my estranged wife’s affairs. Apparently, the whole county did. THEN she took me by surprise by asking, “Whatever happened to that pretty blond lawyer that you were dating last year?” Oops! Apparently, all of Shenandoah County knew about Susan . . . but approved of my choice for a paramour.
I got the feeling that Jenny had been stalking me. She even mentioned that she saw Susan and I making out in the Wayside Inn parking lot . . . and was jealous. I told her that Susan had moved to another part of the country in December to work for a prestigious employer. I had not seen her since then. Jenny said, “Good!” Hm-m-m . . . that meant that nobody in the county knew that a French lady and her daughter had just spent six weeks on the farm.
Jenny was getting a bit antsy. I think she was anxious to move from conversation to nurturing. <We could have quality conversation afterward. LOL > I was saved from having to make a moral decision by an attractive, smartly dressed woman in her early-mid-thirties, who interrupted us politely to ask me architecture questions. She said that she was a realtor from Fairfax County.
After chatting for awhile, she mentioned that her boyfriend made dynamite daquiris and offered to bring us two. Jenny saw it as a opportunity to get rid of her so we could get on with the show. The realtor came back in a couple of minutes with the daquiris. Jenny’s had a pink straw. Mine had a blue straw. After handing us the cocktails, the lady from Fairfax said, “Well, I am sure you two want to be alone now. Y’all have fun.” She walked away smiling. Jenny was glad to get rid of her.
Within a couple of minutes after we finished the drinks, I began felling dizzy, while Jenny jumped into my lap and began kissing me. Then my memory goes blank.
An unknown length of time later, I was catapulted into consciousness by gun shots, screams, men yelling and the sound of many feet running. At the same time, a crazed, naked Jenny was ripping up my shirt . . . buttons flying in the air. She had a demonic look in her face . . . like a wolf tearing into flesh. At first, my mind was so drugged that I didn’t know her or where we were. Then I remembered both. We were in the Guest Bedroom Suite!
Soon there was a loud, frantic knocking on the door . . . that was really more of a warning to get decent. Jenny didn’t. She still sat on the bed, naked and petrified, trying to comprehend her animal behavior. She had just seen blood on my chest and back, where she had bit and scratched me! Had she become a psychopathic killer?
Larry jerked open the Guest Bedroom door. “Richard, you’ve got to get out of the house NOW! Jake is down in the Party Room . . . drunk as a skunk and shooting a semi-automatic pistol at the windows. He’s even got extra ammo on him. Hand me your keys. Jake is so drunk that he doesn’t know that there are other entrances. Right now he is trying to beat down the double doors between the Party Room and Living Room. I will go get your pickup and meet you at the opposite end of the house at the kitchen service door!”
Jenny still sat motionless on the bed as if in a catatonic state. Larry gathered up her clothes from the floor and threw them in her lap. She still didn’t respond. He tried putting on her clothes, but realized that he would have to put his hands on her private parts, since she was not cooperating. He hollered for his wife and sister. As soon as they arrived in the room, Larry and I raced out the door.
I could barely drive. I felt like I had drunk an entire bottle of grain alcohol. I had to go maybe 10 mph to avoid swerving off the paving. On the Back Road, I saw three rotating blue lights approaching. I thought I was done for . . . drunk, ripped shirt and blood on me . . . I could be facing a month in jail. As it was, the deputies naturally assumed that I was driving slow as required by law when near an emergency vehicle. Somehow, I made it home and to my bed.
Larry called the next morning around 8:30 AM. He first asked how I was. I told him tired and with a splitting headache, but I would survive as always. Then he told me that Jenny was in the Critical Care Ward at Winchester Medical Center. She never was able to walk normally. Her kidneys had failed around 1:00 AM then her heart started beating irregularly. She would have died had she not already in the emergency room last night for her leg problems. He added that prior to becoming semi-conscious, she had been manic. She thought that she was going to prison for trying to kill me.
It was obvious that both Jenny and I had been drugged by the “special” daiquiris. Jenny’s family was at her bedside, while Larry was back at the house to fetch the plastic cups, we had drunk from. Both still had liquid in them, so the pathologist at Winchester Medical Center will be able to run toxicology tests on the contents.
Then Larry announced the official story for the events last night, which the folks in Shenandoah County would hear. Neither Jenny nor Jake remember much of anything, so there won’t be any other version. Jake is the county jail in Woodstock, charged with first degree attempted murder. He shouted repeatedly that he was “going to kill Jenny and that pimp.”
Here is the official story that the county remembers today: I first stopped Jake at the front door because he was drunk and violent. We got into a fight. I locked the front door after Jake ran back to his car to get his pistol. Larry and his brother-in-law, Fred Koontz, locked the door to the Party Room and barricaded it, to keep Jake from getting to Jenny. I went looking for Jenny to warn her. She had been given a poisoned daquiri by strangers and was upstairs in the Guest Bedroom, because she was feeling ill. After then I went home because my shirt was torn and I was bleeding in several places.
Because several people had seen me running through the house with a torn, bloodied shirt, the sheriff’s department took my torn shirt as evidence and asked me to give a blood sample to the county pathologist. I told them that the pathologist already had ample blood samples from when I had a tick disease. I was never actually interviewed by a detective, because Blumgarten quickly signed a plea bargain agreement to avoid humiliating publicity on all the evening newscasts of Virginia and Washington TV stations, after being shown my bloodied shirt.
What actually happened: Someone took a Polaroid photo of Jenny and I climbing the stairs. They then went into Larry’s office and faxed it to Jake with a note that Jenny was right now being banged in the guest room by a liberal prick from DC. However, the grainy image black and white image on the fax, Jake was carrying, was barely recognizable as a man and woman. No one would be able to link the FAX to either one of us. I strongly suspect that Jake was also slipped a psychotropic drug, but he was never tested.
Late Sunday afternoon, Dr. Spitler, Jenny’s stepfather, telephoned me. He first told me that Jenny was now out of a life-threatening situation, but would probably remain in the hospital for several more days. He then asked me if I had any medical costs from injuries associated with fighting Jake Blumgarten. His family would reimburse me. He then thanked me for saving Jenny’s life. Had Jake been able to enter the front door of the house unhindered, she would undoubtedly be dead now. He then said something that blew my mind. “You know Richard, I have always liked you and disliked your former wife. My wife and I were praying that you and Jenny would get together last night. Sharing a romantic breakfast with a fine young man like you would have been the best medicine possible for getting that evil Jake Blumgarten out of her system. He’s a demon, who is able to control women like a puppeteer. “
- Times have changed. Jenny’s father just told me the same thing that Vivi told me and for the same reason.
- It also seems that he thinks I am a lot younger than I am.
Larry called again on Thursday. The pathologist in Winchester found a date rape drug in my cup . . . GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid). If I felt okay by now, I was probably going to be a okay. He found several dangerous drugs in Jenny’s cup. In combination, they were quite lethal. There was another type of date rape drug used on Jenny – Ketamine.* This is a dissociative drug that makes the victim feel detached from reality. The toxic daquiri contained a drug used to treat schizophrenia, which causes normal people to become psychotic. She also consumed hydrochlorothiazide, which causes kidney failure in large doses. *Ketamine was the drug prescribed by the evil French government doctors, which made Vivi think that she had not actually attempted suicide, when in fact, she was probably clinically dead for several minutes.
On Monday August 24, I received a handwritten note from Jenny. She thanked me for being one of the men, who saved her life and apologized profusely for ruining my evening at the house grand opening and having my clothes torn and bloodied by her ex-boyfriend. She said that she was being moved to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for physical therapy, further forensic study and counseling.
Jenny said that she never had the chance to tell me the deep feelings she had for me. Perhaps, when she was well, we could go on a special date together . . . like to New York City for a Broadway show. Her father would pick up the tab as a way of saying thank you. She didn’t want me to forget her so was giving me a special kiss. She ended the note with literally a lipstick kiss mark and S.W.A.K. Your Jenny.
Enclosed was a gift certificate from Macy’s for $50 (equal to about $125 today.) to replace the torn shirt and pants (zipper ripped apart). Of course, I would never see Jenny again (I thought!) but she was indeed the sweet lady with honest intentions that my first impression at the party told me she was. No one ever told her the condition she was in at the moment Larry entered the Guest Bedroom. Some things are best kept a secret.
Jake Blumgarten was sentenced to seven years in prison, since he fired 12 shots into a crowd of 28 people. His personal finances were wiped out by civil suits. The Federal Bankruptcy Court of Western Virginia in Harrisonburg, seized Liberty Springs Ski Resort. It was never advertised publicly, but sold for pittance to the only bidder, a organized crime ring, based in Florida. That is typically how this farce of a court operated throughout the late 20th century. It was merely a milk cow for organized crime and corrupt law firms. Since the couple, who drugged Jenny Funkhouser and I, incorrectly assumed that I lived in the Washington Area, it appears that Jake Blumgarten was the primary target of this satanic crime. “They” wanted his real estate holdings. The woman, who drugged Jenny and I, was never identified.
An evening chat with the Devil
On Tuesday, August 18, 1992, I received a call from a secretary at Shillingburg International Resources, Inc. in Reston, VA. She asked if I could meet with Mr. Shillingburg himself at his weekend retreat at 8:00 PM on Friday night, August 21 to discuss land planning and architecture work for him in the Shenandoah Valley. The meeting would occur at his lodge on the crest of Massanutten Mountain near the Seven Bends. It was an unusual time and place for a first time meeting with a corporate mogul, but I said yes.
Because there are few bridges across the Shenandoah River in Shenandoah County, it took me about 40 minutes to reach the base of Massanutten Mountain and then zig-zag up the slopes on a one lane road. When I finally reached the cottage, there was a spectacular view of the valley below at dusk and single stone house that appeared to have been built in the early 1900s in imitation of an 18th century house. I got “bad vibes” from the place. Maybe it was because, it was almost dark.
A man, who appeared to be a butler opened the front door, before I had a chance to ring the door bell. The butler looked more like an ex-Green Beret or a mercenary than anything else. Mr. Shillingburg was at the other side of the Entry Hall. Shillingburg shook my hand and directed me into the den. He was not the macho-looking physique that all the dead animals inferred, but rather a slightly built man in his late sixties or early seventies, with silver hair and pale skin. Later on in the year, I learned that he was a member of the Mellon family fortune, through his mother. He lived on a large estate near Middleburg, VA.
The walls of the den were covered with trophy heads of animals from all over the world. I expected at any moment to see a human head or two on the wall. I felt even more uncomfortable with this situation. My apprehensions proved to be valid.
Shillingburg offered me a glass of “fine Kentucky bourbon.” I declined. He offered me wine or beer. I declined, stating that I wanted to be sober when I was driving my car down the mountain. I then asked for a glass of ice tea. He directed the “butler” to make me a glass of ice tea.
To break the ice, I asked Shillingburg if his ancestors had immigrated from Scandinavia. He looked surprised and said, “Why yes. How did you know? They immigrated to Philadelphia in the 1690s from Schleswig, when it was part of Denmark. They moved down into the Shenandoah Valley in the mid-1750s.”
I told him that shillingborg . . . with an O after the B . . . is a Scandinavian word that literally means “ringing – fortified village.” It was a term for towns on the frontier or shores of a Scandinavian kingdom, which contained bell towers for warning the people, when an enemy was making a surprise attack.
He asked me how I know Swedish. I told him that I worked in Sweden right after architecture school. He asked how I got along with the Communists over there in Sweden. I responded that I neve really had a conversation with them. They were often out on the sidewalks selling pro-North Vietnam newspapers, but were not taken seriously by most Swedes, because they hate and fear the Russians, whereas their lives in a free and democratic country are very much like ours. Shillingburg snorted and quipped, “Everyone of them is a Commie. They have you fooled.”
Shillingburg initially asked me standard questions about my educational background and professional experiences. He never talked about what sort of project he was interested in developing. Then the conversation steadily shifted to subjects more and more political in nature. Simultaneously, I was feeling increasingly weird. Damn it! He had drugged me too!
I was not dizzy, but something was taking control of me. It was a similar feeling to what I had experienced the day after Thanksgiving in 1990. [See Chapter Sixteen. ] I eventually figured out that the chemical worked something like a truth serum. The drug made me very disinclined to lie to this guy. I couldn’t figure out what his agenda was for awhile, but then he asked me a series of questions about any employment by the federal government . . . my military experience, followed by . . .
“Why are you constantly driving to Fairfax, Alexandria, Georgetown and Arlington?”
I was really getting annoyed. The atmosphere was really getting like that of a captured POW interrogation . . . “To deliver cheese. Most of our cheese is sold to restaurants and stores in those areas. Also, most of my closest friends live there.”
He then quickly asked, “ARE YOU A FEDERAL COUNTER-INSURGENCY AGENT?”
I honestly responded, “What is a counter-insurgency agent? If you mean a guerilla warfare expert? – NO, I am an architect and city planner! Why are you asking me this? The United States is not involved in any guerilla war right now. Why would there even be a need for a guerilla war expert around here?”
He became arrogant and talked down to me. “Don’t you get sassy with me. I don’t tolerate insubordinate people.”
Now I was angry. “I am not your subordinate and I am not interested in providing architectural services to you. It is getting past nine and time for me to go.” I stood up and started walking to the front entrance hall, without shaking his hand. Both he and his “butler” were in shock. Billionaires not accustomed to people not willing to trade their soul for a bit of his money.
As I walked briskly to exit, it was obvious that he had not asked all the questions that were on his list. Stuttering, he queried, “Whose the pretty brunette, who were seen constantly with in Georgetown last spring and all over Washington this summer.?
As I opened the entrance door, I turned back, “She’s my girlfriend. I don’t think that she would like you either.”
In desperation, Shillingborg yelled, “Everyone here must work for someone else.”
I shouted back, “I do. I work for God, not Satan. For me and my household, we shall serve the Lord.”
It’s a good thing that Shillingborg didn’t ask me if I was asset for Naval Intelligence after telling him that I never served as an active duty officer after graduating from Georgia Tech. In retrospect, I realized that if I had said “yes” to being an intelligence asset, a former federal employee or a “counter-insurgency agent”. I would have been tortured and killed that night like several federal law enforcement officers and investigative reporters such as Danny Casolero. As it was, I sentenced myself to a quicker death because It was obvious that I would not make a good little NAZI or even a stooge for local Republicans.
On August 20, 1992 the Republican Party National Convention selected George H. Bush as its presidential candidate and Dan D. Quayle as it Vice Presidential candidate.
The Assassination Attempt
August 27, 1992: I woke up on the morning with a smile on my face and giving thanks to God. It was a beautiful day with birds chirping, clear blue skies and Indian Summer temperatures. God had answered all our prayers. My estranged wife had a good paying teaching position in Ringgold, GA. She soon would be handed the divorce that she had been demanding for five years . . . along with a check for $160,000 and a notice that all our debts were paid. More importantly, my beloved Vivi would be in my arms forever in only five days. She could move into the house as soon as the anti-wife signed a Separation Agreement . . . which would be accompanied by the promise of a big check. Anti-wife had succeeded in her dream of “cashing out on the marriage.”
About 9:00 AM in the morning, the queens of our goat herd began snorting and starring in a southeastward direction. After the first month of night time attacks they had also done this when ninja nerds were nearby at night. Soon the three dogs were also barking in that direction. I put on my camouflage clothes and grabbed my binoculars and a rifle.
I sneaked over to that section of our farm and was shocked to see four Virginia State Police Cars, one Virginia Bureau of Investigation car and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s car. Most of the men were wearing SWAT squad uniforms. They were carrying assault rifles, a submachine gun and two shotguns.
I put down my rifle so they would have no cause to shoot me and crept closer. Then didn’t see me. The best I could determine is that they were waiting for a truck to radio them that he was near the farm with the replacement rear door for my Toyota truck. That didn’t make any sense at all.
I crept back to the house, changed back into my farming clothes and tried to figure out what was going on. Soon the doorbell rang. I opened the door and there was an African-American man in shorts, wearing a Polynesian style shirt. He said that he was lost and needed directions, but with his hands he was signaling me to come outside. Guess someone had bugged my house yet again.
Once we were in the front yard, he pulled out a US Marshall’s badge. He said, “Did you know that there are some Virginia state cops back there next to the woods, who are planning to kill you in few minutes. Call your auto repair shop and tell them not to bring the door out here.” I did that and then returned to the front yard.
The US Marshall continued. “They put cocaine inside the truck door. They were planning to rush up and riddle your body with bullets, claiming that you pointed a rifle at them. They then were going to plant a large amount cocaine and diet pills (meth) in the house and bales of marijuana in the barn. The Commonwealth’s Attorney then would announce that his office in cooperation with the Northwest Virginia Drug Task Force had busted the center of drug running operations in the Shenandoah Valley.”
“They planned to seize the property, sell the animals for slaughter then give the farm back to your wife, because she had informed on you then fled out of fear for her life to Georgia.”
He continued, “The way we found out about their plans was that in advance they had called the TV networks and invited them to come to the aftermath of one of the most important drug raids ever carried out in Virginia. Several people in NBC, who were friends of Katie Couric, had been out to your farm and so frantically called for help in the Justice Department. It was the intent of the Republican Party to use the film of your body and devastated farm as part of President Bush’s re-election campaign this fall . . . showing that he was tough on drugs. Of course, President Bush himself would not know the actual situation. He would just arrive for a photo op for a few minutes then leave.”
“Mr. Thornton, do you know why you are alive today? Someone high up in the Bush Administration knew that you had that pretty French girl and her daughter here this summer. If they killed her too, there would be an international scandal. If they didn’t kill her, she was such an important person that the world would listen, when she told the truth of the situation. She saved your life!”
So, in what was superficially a blatant act of immorality by Vivi saved my life, just like what was superficially was a blatant act of immorality by me on the night of December 15, 1990, which saved Vivi’s life.
The US Marshall continued, “Mr. Thornton, you need to move out of Virginia as quickly as possible. I can’t emphasize that enough. We have people embedded here, but they might not catch a plot quick enough next time.”
As soon as he left, I raced into the house to send an instant message to Vivi to pass on what had happened to Bob and Sara. There was an instant message from Vivi waiting for me. She had finished packing and obtained an E-2 Visa. It is a United States visa option for business owners that wish to start a company in the United States, if they want to personally develop and direct the operations. Vivi could live indefinitely in Virginia without giving up her French citizenship and her lucrative covert work for the French government. She was already a registered foreign agent so there would be no legal problems with the Feds.
Vivi planned to fly to Washington, DC on September 1 and drive out to the farm the next day. Her personal belongings and clothing were being shipped by a air freight to my farm. If we were still getting along after several months, she would ship her furniture in a cargo container ship.
In the message that I wrote to Vivi, I asked her to tell Bob and Susan that I was driving to their house on Saturday morning to discuss everything. This sudden change of events probably would affect Vivi’s interest in buying my farm.
Vivi obviously was distraught, when she got the message that I had almost been murdered by the Virginia police. She begged me to forget the animals and get a political asylum visa from the French embassy. With her friendship with the ambassador and employment by French national security agency, it should be quickly approved. She said that she would pay for all costs of me moving to France.
During the month of August 1992, our cheese creamery sold over $3000 worth of cheese. That would be about $6,200 today. My total architectural income in August and September 1992 vastly exceeded the total annual income I have received in any given year during the 25 years I have lived in Georgia, even though now, the dollar is worth half as much. Most nouveau riche people in Georgia are contemptuous of architects, if they even know what they do.
Part of the credit for the increased income must be given to Vivi, because Americans tend to view men with beautiful, intelligent women at their side, as “successful.” I picked up six architectural clients at the 1991 US Capitol cheese tasting, when Vivi was at my side . . . but obviously, I did a good job for those clients, because I received more work from them. However, what happened to me from September 1992 forward is a classic example of how evil, gutless or mentally ill people can make a mockery of the so-called “free enterprise” system.
August 28, 1992 – On Friday night, the day after the murder attempt, Diana called out of the blue to tell me that she had quit her job in Georgia and was returning to the Toms Brook Farm to teach again at Shenandoah County Central High School. I asked her how could that be. The school system had replaced her with a recently divorced woman from Richmond. I knew that her replacement had bought a house here, because in late July she called the farm, wanting to have lunch with my wife. Diana said that the new teacher had just been fired on the grounds that she did not have adequate teaching skills.
August 29, 1992 – When I arrived at Bob and Sara’s house on Saturday morning, I had double bad news. At the end of the fall, I would have start looking for another state, where I could relocate. Worse still, since my wife was arriving at the farm on Sunday August 30, Vivi and her daughter could not move to the farm on September 2.
Bob and Sara said that Attorney General William Barr (same man as Trump’s last AG) had “buried” the reports on the corruption in the Shenandoah Valley. We could expect no arrests unless Democrat Bill Clinton was elected president that fall.
At this time, Clinton’s election seemed unlikely. Bush had a substantial lead in the polls, while two women had come forward, claiming to have had affairs with Clinton, while he was governor. The Republicans were painting him as a sleazy womanizer.
I suspected there might be another side of the story. I had been cuckolded for most of my marriage . . . but it would be very easy to paint me as a sleazy womanizer the past year and a half. Vivi and Susan had shared me until Susan moved away. Now, I know that Cindy had been ardently lusting after me since 1988. Sooner or later, she would be finished with her medical treatments at Johns Hopkins.
Sara said that she would contact Vivi by telephone and warn her not to move her personal items to my farm. The advantage Sara has is that she could leave messages in French to Vivi’s maid or cook, if Vivi was not at home. As a result, Vivi cancelled her flight to Washington and her deposit on a rental townhouse in Alexandria.
August 30, 1992 – Diana arrived late Sunday afternoon, pretending to have missed me. She soon showed her real agenda by stating that I had to put the farm up for sale immediately and move to Georgia or else she was filing for bankruptcy. I told her that we were by no means insolvent. Despite her best efforts at cleaning out our checking account, both the cheese sales and my architecture practice had thrived in her absence. Then she chanted in a hypnotic state the strangest words . . . “We will only be happy when we have no things.”
Astounded, I replied, I thought you wanted a divorce so you could cash out of the marriage and have more things!” She didn’t respond.
September 7, 1992 – Two friends of mine, Bill Tower and Dave Gibson arrived around 8:00 AM at their plant in Cedar Creek, VA to see four Virginia Commonwealth Health Department cars and one Virginia State Police car parked at the front door. Commonwealth food plant inspectors NEVER came that early to anybody’s plant, because they were based in either Richmond or Roanoke.
The two entrepreneurs had started smoking trout on a commercial scale about the same time that I arrived in Virginia. There was a long tradition of farmers maintaining trout ponds in the mountains that surround the Shenandoah Valley. The farmers let tourists (and this goatherd) fish in their ponds for cash income. Bill and Dave were elevating this marginal agricultural activity into a major agri-business for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1992, their business exploded when the local farmers began raising hybrid salmon trout. They were as large as Atlantic Salmon, but had firmer flesh due to the cold water of Cedar Creek and its tributaries.
When the two guys walked into the plant, they instantly knew something was wrong. There was no humming sound from the many coolers in the facility and there was the unmistakable odor of rotting fish. Someone had cut the copper tubes that carried coolant to the condensers outside the building. All of the fresh and smoked trout in the building had been at room temperature for over a day.
The inspectors quickly condemned all products in the building and the policemen put up a red quarantine tape across the service entrance. By 4:30 that afternoon, a food distributing company, owned by the Mafia in Philadelphia owned the plant and corporation. Bill and Dave were left with nothing.
How the dreams of our “back to nature” generation were destroyed by drug money
This was a tragedy that was repeated over and over again during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Organized crime laundered the income from drug sales to buy up the gourmet food industry, plus many of the most successful gourmet food shops. In regions, where law enforcement agencies were wholesaling cocaine, meth and marijuana to organized crime, they also looked the other way or even participated in criminal acts, which stole businesses away from hard-working entrepreneurs. It was the middle-class entrepreneurs, who were primarily targeted, because they did not have the surplus cash to bribe politicians and the administrators of state agencies.
Typical was the fate of Shenandoah Smoked Trout, Inc. The Mafia went into the gourmet and farmstead food business in the same way that they took over several garbage disposal companies in northern Virginia. Local employees were replaced by members of Mafia families in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. These were all urbanites, who had no clue how to run a farm, trout-raising operation or a fish-smoking plant. The new managers immediately cut the price that they would pay for trout. Most farmers found that they were better off financially not even raising the trout.
Then pot-bellied Mafia thugs from New Jersey and Pennsylvania showed up at the farmers’ front doors to tell the farmers that they were going to sell their farms to them for a pittance of the property value. If they refused, ninja nerds would force them to sell. Houses were burned. Farmers were beaten up.
The smoked trout made by Mafia was increasingly rank, so that Washington restaurants refused to buy it. Then the Mafia-owned restaurants, farther north, refused to buy, so the plant closed down.
September 9, 1992: I was walking back from the dairy after milking the goats, when I saw two vehicles and a truck coming down the driveway. They were a Virginia State Police Car, a Virginia Dairy Inspector’s car and a truck about the size of a Ryder rental truck that one uses for moving. When the dairy inspectors got out of their car, one of them immediately handed me a legal-looking document. It was a “Stop Order” from the Virginia Department of Health. I was forbidden to sell any cheese or make cheese as of that moment because penicillin antibiotic and a high level of coliform bacteria were found in a milk sample taken in mid-August. Furthermore, the inspectors were authorized to seize all cheese in my plant to determine if any individual cheeses contain penicillin.
I had a flying fit because penicillin cannot be used on goats. It is toxic to them. Thirty years ago, it was a antibiotic commonly used with dairy cows, however. I told them that you can’t make cheese from milk contaminated by coliform bacteria or antibiotics because the lactic bacteria cannot grow and the milk won’t coagulate into cheese curds. Their response was the typical BS of them being the experts.
We were a federally-licensed plant so theoretically only the US Department of Agriculture could shut down out plant. I ran inside the house and brought back my USDA Cheese Plant Regulations. At the very beginning, it stated that it was impossible to make cheese contaminated with antibiotics or high levels of coliform bacteria. The two dairy inspectors called their offices in Richmond and then relented on seizing our cheese, but the stop order on sales or manufacture of cheese stood in place . . . with no information concerning when we could go back to making cheese. They drove off.
September 11, 1992 – I received a long letter in the mail from Dr. Clinton V. Turner Sr. Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. I assumed that it was a legal letter describing the reason for Stop Order and conditions for reopening.
No . . . it was an exceedingly complimentary letter about our beautiful farm, immaculate cheese creamery and beautiful wife. Yep . . . Dr. Turner had been the extremely articulate African-American man, who had showed up one Saturday in late June, stating that they were on the Virginia-National Dairy Month tour of Virginia dairy facilities. Fortunately, he did not mention that he had met my beautiful wife in late June, when Diana was in Atlanta. Turner also never mentioned that he was Commissioner of Agriculture and that he was accompanied by state senators and representatives.
That committee had voted to designate us a “Premium Virginia Agricultural Product” when meant that we would get free national marketing and also some financial assistance. In a subsequent paragraph Dr. Turner ordered 200 pounds of a mixture of all 16 varieties of cheeses for a banquet being held in late September to honor singer and sausage magnate Jimmy Dean. That’s over $900 worth of cheese. Dean moved to Virginia in 1990. Of course, I could not sell his department the cheese because one division of his department had just shut down our plant. I vaguely saw the words Jimmy Dean in the last paragraph, but didn’t read it because I was so angry.
I should have read the last paragraph because I left the letters on the breakfast table. It said that Jimmy Dean thoroughly enjoyed meeting my beautiful French wife in late June. She made him a gourmet French omelet with Shenandoah Chevre goat cheese, Virginia mushrooms and Jimmy Dean sausage. Jimmy had insisted that our cheese be served at the banquet. Fortunately, Diana read a paragraph or so of the second letter then put it down. I then remembered Vivi saying that her breakfast guest had the same name as the sausage, we had in the refrigerator . . . but she had been on the farm only a few days at the time, so I thought that she was referring to just the name “Jimmy.”
Then I realized that Vivi had mentioned that this man in his 60s, stopped by the farm early one Saturday morning, while I was at the vet, getting rabies shots for my dog. The creamery was locked and she was fixing breakfast for Aimee, so she invited him to join Aimee for breakfast. Afterward, he sang a cowboy song for Aimee. He paid her $20 for all the goat cheese that was in our refrigerator.
I immediately called Dr. Turner’s office and told his assistant what had happened. About 15 minutes later Dr. Turner called me to say that a Dairy Science professor had confirmed everything I had said about penicillin and high coliform count milk. The Commonwealth of Virginia could legally purchase cheese for the Jimmy Dean banquet, if it was made before the stop order.
Around the middle of the next week, Turner again called me personally to say that their department attorney had pointed out that state laws prohibited an agricultural commissioner from interfering with the work of a food plant inspector. At this point, I began drying up our does (female goats) because it made no sense to spend time obtaining milk that would then be dumped down the drain. I had plenty of architecture work to do.
October 2, 1992: I received a certified letter from Dr. Turner stating that on advice from the Commonwealth’s Attorney General, he had rescinded the Stop Order on the grounds that improper laboratory procedures had been used to justify the Stop Order. In a separate, more personal, letter in the same envelope, Dr. Turner stated that a lab technician came to his office with a complaint. It seems on the day after the crooked cops were not able to kill me, a Virginia State Police administrator had come to her supervisor’s office and demanded that they find a way to shut down our operation.
The lab technician used highly sensitive test kits from six different manufacturers, costing over $1200 and found no penicillin or pathogenic bacteria. She was then ordered to leave the milk sample container out in the room for a day with the lid off. A seventh test found coliform bacteria and WILD penicillin bacteria growing in the rancid milk . . . of course. BUT – wild penicillin molds are not the same thing legally as penicillin antibiotic being present in milk, taken directly from the dairy animal.
It was too late. We had already shut down milking operations. However, I was able to now sell the remaining cheese to customers.
October 9, 1992: About 8:30 at night, we heard the sound of the entire goat and sheep herd galloping down our driveway. A little bit later, we heard the sound of a car ramming into that herd and subsequent screams from the injured animals. Someone had unlocked and moved the locks of three gates that blocked the 800 feet route from the barn to the Back Road. I couldn’t figure out how any stranger would have keys to four gates. *Obviously, it was my wife, who unlocked the gates for the saboteurs, but that did not dawn on me for several months.
I raced up to the road to see a scene from a horror movie. Dead and dying goats and sheep scattered across the road. A little red car from Milford, Delaware, occupied by a late-twenty-esh couple dressed in black from head to foot, had slammed into the wretched animals. The drivers claimed that they were visiting relatives and gave their address. The car was towed to a repair shop at the The Virginian Truck Stop. Thirty-two goats and sheep were killed or euthanized. The vet charged me $580 ($1160 today) for euthanizing the animals because it was a middle of the night emergency call.
The address given by the couple to deputy turned out to be bogus. The car tag belonged to a wrecked car in a Delaware junk yard. The car disappeared from the repair shop overnight, even though it was not drivable. Diana, my psychologist friend in Wilmington determined that the couple belonged to a family in Milford, who were specialists in killing people for the Mafia with a car.
Late October, 1992: All eight of my architecture clients cancelled their contracts at about the same time, but with no real explanation. Suddenly, I was in deep, deep financial trouble. Two of those clients came by the farm on Saturday October 10, to tell me that they would continue my work on their historic houses, if Bill Clinton was elected, but not to contact them by telephone. One of those clients, an employee of FEMA later stated in November that he had been threatened by someone in the Justice department, appointed by the White House, but since Bill Clinton, the Democratic candidate, had won, this would not be a long-term problem. However, Clinton was given little chance of winning, so I was looking at five months of no architecture or cheese income. We would be unable to pay the mortgage and Diana would have “won” – in her threat to destroy me, if I didn’t move to Georgia.
November 3, 1992: The Republicans were shocked by the overwhelming victory of a former, little-known young Democratic governor from Arkansas. This was not supposed to happen. It probably would not have happened, if Ross Perrot, a free-thinking Texas industrialist had not run as an Independent. Perrot did not get any electoral votes, but his 18 million+ actual votes were probably disproportionately taken from potential Republican and Independent voters.
Early December: From then until the ground froze in early December, I built stone walls and flagstone patios for clients in Strasburg, Winchester and Alexandria, to pick up some money. Both architecture projects were finished in December. I was not sure if the two clients were going to pay me, because we had no telephone contact since mid-October. Both clients paid me in full as Christmas presents.
I made my last batch of cheese ever, in early December when several of my best goats freshened (had kids) early, because I had dried them off in September. The milk was made into high fat Lusignon cheese, which formed in hoops like cheese cake. Sara bought all of the cheeses to give as gifts to her friends . . . about $200 worth of cheese.
December 12, 1992: A man’s body was found on a frozen pasture next to the Back Road early that morning. He had a bullet in his head. The newspaper article said that he had dark hair, a muscular build and was about 6’-3” tall. Hm-m . . . that would be my description, too.
The next day, newspapers announced that the body was identified as a federal counter-insurgency agent, who had moved to Shenandoah County in October 1987 from McMinn County, Tennessee. That’s the same month that I moved from the mountains of western North Carolina! He was the same exact age as me and part Cherokee. That could not be any accident. They intentionally sent someone for covert activity, who could be confused with me. No wonder, so many weird things had happened to me . . . but that would only be part of the story.
Bob and Sara Danby knew that there were traitors high up in the Justice Department, who were working for the Communists, Fascists or Satanists. At this time, the director of the top secret Counter-espionage Section of the FBI was Robert Hansson, who was later convicted of treason. Hansson attended some of our Georgetown Hearings. Thus, their suspicions that someone in the FBI or Justice Department killed their top agent in the Shenandoah Valley was probably correct.
December 16, 1992: Sara held a small Christmas party on Wednesday the 16th to honor Vivi’s 30th birthday. Bob and Sara were extremely upset by the murder of their key man in Shenandoah County. They thought that someone inside the Department of Justice had assassinated him. He was at the first phase secret hearings in Georgetown . . . which meant that there was also at least one spy there. They would not tell me which agency that he worked for in the federal government. I suspected that it was the NSA. His mission was “that” secret.
If had ever met this martyr for democracy, I didn’t know it. Nevertheless, it was very obvious that he had been chosen because he closely resembled me. That I did not like. Sara urged me not to mention the murder to Vivi, because the news would make her extremely upset.
I got to spend most of two days and one night with Vivi. She was especially loving and tender those two days. She told me that she needed to get on with having more children. She had quit her pop music and movie careers. Would I be upset if she stopped using birth control pills, even though I was still not divorced? She reminded me that there was no stigma in Europe about single rich women having children out of wedlock. I told her that I would rather me be divorced at the time, but understood her desire to get on with the baby-making. I told her that I would be honored to be the official father of as many children as she wanted . . . since she had the money to pay for their upbringing – LOL.
As a Christmas gift, Vivi gave me a $200 gift certificate for Kroger’s Supermarkets AND a contract to prepare a preliminary design for the new winery in Virginia. I was going to survive the winter, but barely.
Bob and Sara’s attorney was at the party in addition to a friend in the National Park Service. (Not Roger Kennedy). The friend in the NPS advised me to apply for taking the Senior Level Civil Service Exams for people, so high in the pecking order that they were appointed either by the White House or the Secretary of that department. I could expect to make two to three times more than my net income as an architect. He knew for a fact that there were people in the government, who planned to reward me for my services to the nation by putting me in a very prestigious position . . . at least for an architect.
The Danby’s attorney advised me to file for a divorce as soon as I was offered a good job with the Federal Government. Divorce papers should be filed prior to me actually starting the job so that my much higher salary would not count toward total marital income.
One of the couples at the party, were members of a family trust that owned a farm near Frederick, Maryland. The house was not livable without substantial electrical, plumbing and HVAC upgrading, but the caretaker’s cottage was sound. They told me that I could move my remaining goats and sheep to this farm and could live in the caretaker’s cottage for free, if I paid the utilities and maintained the farm. If I liked living there, the family trust would be delighted to make me a selling price offer, which I couldn’t turn down. They were tired of being responsible for the historic farm’s upkeep.
January 17, 1993 – “America’s Reunion on the Mall” for Bill Clinton’s Inauguration: Diana and I had a wonderful time when attending a musical extravaganza in advance of the actual inauguration. Virtually, all of the great American rock bands and performers of the previous 20 years were there, plus Elton John and Fleetwood Mac from the UK. It was the first time that I had ever seen either Elton John or Fleetwood Mac in person. However, unexpectedly I was to have a close encounter of a third kind with a woman I had lusted for throughout my college years and adulthood.
A million smiling people, combined with the best rock, soul and folk music, couldn’t help but make people again have hope for the future. I rode the Metro away from the full day of free events, feeling that the bad times were over. Here are some of my photos from that unforgettable day.
America’s Reunion on the Mall
Yes, we had an unforgettable day, but that will never mitigate a string of bad memories that spanned the breadth of our marriage or the fact that she was now in year five of her book, A Woman’s Five Year Guide to Winning at Divorce. Eight months later, an internal medicine doctor in Atlanta would discover that I had been repeatedly exposed to large amounts of arsenic for at least seven years. I remember having all the peculiar symptoms of arsenic poisoning in North Carolina, but it never dawned on my family doctor to check for poisoning.
One note of humor. Linda Ronstadt was scheduled to perform at noon at the Heritage Hall tent. So many people were packed into the back of the tent that it was impossible to get in. I noticed a small opening in the rear left side of the tent, near the stage. I took off to enter the tent that way. Diana stayed in place in the line. Entering the tent that way, put me near the stage.
Shortly, thereafter, a plumpish Latin American woman came through the opening and stood to my left. I asked her if she knew when Linda Ronstadt was going to perform. She told me that probably Ronstadt would be joining the band in a few minutes. A Mexican-American band was now on the stage. I mentioned to the lady that I had always been in love with Linda. At Georgia Tech, her poster was on the wall of my fraternity dorm room next to my bed . . . and I had attended her most famous concert at the Fox Theater in Atlanta in December 1977, just before moving to Asheville, NC. I added that in 1990, when Tickborne Encephalitis knocked out much of my memory, I used “Linda Ronstadt” as the key words to reconnect my neurons to my memory banks.
The Latin American lady then asked me my name. I said, “I’m Richard . . . Richard Thornton.” She turned around to face me and said, “Hey, I am Linda . . . Linda Ronstadt. I will name you as my secret lover and blow you a kiss, when I go on stage in a minute or so. That will give you some bragging rights!” Yes, indeed, it did!
Fleetwood Mac at the American Reunion – January 1993