Today is my sole sibling’s birthday. She turns 80, and lives — still I imagine — in a stationary, double-wide trailer* in the Northern California town of Arcata. We have not communicated in nine years. I was the one who called it off.
She was a good Big Sister in our youth, always having my back, but in her late 30s she got involved in what many consider a cult, and things went drastically downhill from there.
It’s a “therapy” cult that had a guru in New York City. He had many slavish female followers. It’s, not surprisingly, called Social Therapy, and the guru is Fred Newman, now deceased.
I often asked actual therapists whom I ran into if they had heard of Social Therapy, and no one had.
Diane was married briefly in her 20s to a guy I liked. She once said this: “He zips, flips and knows where it’s at.” This was the 1960s, and some people actually talked like that. She dumped him after a few short years, but they remained friends for a spell.
About the same time she enlisted in the cult, she decided she was a Lesbian, and her personality began a descent into fanaticism. She developed a hair-trigger personality. Her politics went hard left. She became a fan of the French writer Michel Foucault. Her guru, Newman, also has a book. My mother and I tried to read it, but it made no sense to either of us. It was utter nonsense, but it became Diane’s Bible.
She was a university English instructor through much of her 20s and 30s, but then she turned to her “therapy.” The cult runs “therapy” centers, which are actually traps, around the United States, and she co-managed one in Atlanta. She found a partner, a California woman named Roxan who was divorced with three adult children. They stayed together for decades till Roxan died about four years ago, something I learned on Facebook.
They moved from Atlanta to Arcata to be near Roxan’s family, most of whom were not overly fond of Diane. So they were two divorcees, one with kids, who had flipped to Lesbianism. I liked Roxan quite a bit. Unlike Diane, she was not explosive. She was cuddly.
Diane had a falling out with the co-manager of the cult’s Atlanta outpost, so she opened a private therapy practice that focused mostly on occupational issues, and later became a “life coach.” You may have heard of that relatively new field. It’s all the rage. Interestingly, my second ex-wife also became a “life coach” after our divorce.
I have been surrounded by female “therapists” for years. My first ex-wife is a therapist. My daughter became a therapist. And there, of course, is Diane. I wonder if she still practices. Her website remains online but looks inactive.
Until I canceled my Facebook account a few months ago, I used to look at Diane’s page where she almost daily posted “Woke” pronouncements and other leftist, PC nuttiness.
Many people mellow with age. I have. She hasn’t. And today she is 80. I wonder if someone brought her a cake.
* Which I learned via Google Street View.