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1974 --  MAE  AND  THE  SLA

IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR
(Part 3)

By Virginia McCullough
 

"Prophecy is predicting something will happen.
Intelligence is knowing when something happens,
why it happened." -- Victor A. Wallenius

Mae Brussell was not just a researcher, prophet, writer, broadcaster and intellectual.  She was married twice and had five children.  First and foremost she was a mother.  As the turbulent 1960s drew to a close, the demand on Mae's time steadily increased.  Her expertise as a researcher and intellectual increased.  While she was a homemaker and mother Mae considered herself one of The Children of Change [See the May 1969 publication by that same name produced by Kaiser Aluminum News.  The referenced publication defines "Children of Change" on pages 38 and 39:

The Movement made genuine gains in directing attention to social and economic inequalities in our society and gave ethnic minority groups a sense of purpose and direction they did not have before.  Some of these groups are now beginning to move under their own leadership to establish their own place in the social spectrum.

The Children of Change have made increasingly apparent the absurdity -- and the tragedy -- of substantial "pockets of poverty" in the midst of the most affluent society the world has ever known.

If they have be unable to stop the Vietnam war, they have caused the United States to examine its policies more closely, and to change some of them.

Again, though demonstrations and the subsequent publicity, they have caused a re-examination of the draft as it operates in a period of undeclared war.

They have caused the American people to re-examine a political system based on political nominating conventions and the process of the electoral college; both remnants of a day when politics had to be done from horseback.  The Children of Change are rather aware that there are telephone, radio and television networks and that direct participation by every citizen in the political process is at least technologically possible.

Mostly because of television coverage of their own activities, they have made it clear that there is a significant difference between law enforcement and justice, and that perhaps a re-examination of "law and order" in this country is necessary.

Through its underground press The Movement began to remind the Fourth Estate that the right of free speech is predicated on the responsibility to inform the electorate.  The purpose of journalism is not to provide a medium for advertisers to sell products or services.  Freedom and responsibility are an equation in our society; or at least were intended to be.  The failure of one destroys the other.

Most of all, The Children of Change have led many adult Americans to re-examine their way of life, their value system, and whether it any longer fits the world they live in.  Despite its anti intellectualism, The Movement is a little philosophic; it asks not "What?" or "How?", but "Why?".

For a revolution only 13 years old, this is a rather impressive list of accomplishments.  If The Movement should stop entirely tomorrow, it already has changed the style and mood of the American people.  There is no reason to believe it will stop tomorrow.

There are many minuses, too.

As a result of the activities of the Children of Change, there has been considerable damage to persons and property.  In the U.S., in 13 years, it appears to amount to 206 lives lost and about 162 millions in damage to property.  This is little more than the loss of (152) lives in one day on U.S. highways and about equals the loss of property through highway accidents ($146 million) in five days on the highway.

Violence is the cutting edge of revolution.  From the Boston tea Party, through the Revolutionary War, the settling of the West, the Abolitionists, the trade union movement, the Vaulted act, women's suffrage, it was violence that directed public attention to the social or economic problem that existed.

This is a violent country and its people are violent.  This is not to say that others aren't -- it is to say that we are.  This country was taken at gun-point from its original inhabitants, and defended at gun point.  TV reinforces the concept that violence solves problems, 24 hours a day.

Much more important is that The Movement lacks a sense of the continuity of history; it does not seem to grasp (perhaps it has never been taught it; perhaps it wasn't listening) that our society, with whatever deficiencies it may have, has been built on the honest efforts of literally millions of people who may never have stood in a picket line or gone to jail, but who faced, and lived up to, the enormously more painful task of getting up every morning and going to work, to create the kind of affluence that makes this revolution possible.

The Movement lacks a sense of humor.  It laughs at The Establishment, but does not seem capable of laughing at itself.  It is as sternly Puritanistic and Calvinistic as The System it seeks to change.  This may be its most fatal flaw, for a movement that does not feel the essential absurdity of all human activity is blind in an essential way.  Whey you can laugh at yourself -- and not at others --  when the world holds no terrors for you.

But, basically, the greatest mistake of The Movement is that, but not controlling the cutting edge of its own violence, it has alienated many people who might otherwise have supported it.

It deserves better than that.

It is doubtful that Mae Brussell called those turbulent, hopeful times The Movement but she certainly was calling for a revolution.  She wanted a better world for her children and for all the world's children.  Mae would often talk to her children about the need for change, hoping to make them children of change also.  Her library contains countless pages of typewritten notes to each of her children expressing her hopes, fears, concern and commitment to them.

Her search for the truth consumed her and she was always torn between her important work and her desire to spend more time with her family.  Her increasing commitment to her cause put strain on her relationships, both inside and outside her family.

In 1943 while attending Stanford University Mae Magnin met and married Dr. Marvin Goodwin.   Mae was 10 weeks short of graduation. Together they had two sons, Martin and David.  Ten years later the Goodwins divorced, and Mae married Allan William (Bill) Brussell in 1954.  The Brussells had three daughters together, Barbara, Bonnie and Diane.

Bill Brussell told friends "The end of our marriage began when I paid $86.00 for the Warren Commission Report, as a Christmas present for Mae".  But Mae's passionate quest for discovering the truth about history put ever increasing stress on the Brussell marriage.  Finally, just short of seventeen years together the Brussells separated on July 24, 1970.    Their divorce papers filed in Monterey County, California disclose that these two independent individuals respected each other even though they could no longer live together.  All financial issues and custody arrangements were mutually agreed upon by mother and father.  Their three daughters were ages 15, 14, and 8.  Mae's two children by Goodwin were now young men.

July of 1970 was also the month that Mae completed an Application for Permanent Residence in Canada.  She planned to join friends who lived in Courtney, British Columbia.  Mae planned to write and open a coffee shop and book store.   She wanted to raise her daughters in a safer haven away from political assassination and the growing Nazism in the United States.  (Click. Mae's Canadian passport application dated July 1970)

Raising five children and realizing her life's desire to discover the truth did not diminish Mae's sense of humor.  When one reads through her countless files of numerous subjects they find portions of her favorite quotations and one finds poems.  The following partial poem was written by Judith Viorst in her book It's Hard to be Hip Over Thirty and Other Tragedies of Married Life .

Our sons are growing up
and any day now
They'll be sniffing glue,
Smoking pot,
Slipping LSD into their cream of wheat,
And never trusting anyone over thirty.
Even parents who sang Foggy Foggy Dew
In youth hostels,
And Freiheit
In trench coats on the Fire Island ferry.

Our sons are growing up
And any day now
They'll be burning draft cards,
DOUBTING THE WARREN COMMISSION,
Saying God is dead,
And never trusting anyone over thirty,
Even parents who once deplored prejudice
In petitions,
And Capital punishment
In unpublished letters to the Times.

Our sons are growing up
And any day now
They'll be doing their own thing,
Telling it like it is,
Denouncing the military-industrial complex,
And never trusting anyone over thirty,
Even parents
Who tried agitation
Before they did,
And alienation
Before they did,
And once never trusted anyone over thirty.

     Found on Page 69, (underline and emphasis by Mae Brussell)

It was getting harder and harder for Mae Brussell to maintain a light hearted persona because she was receiving many death threats and,  increasingly threats against her children.  In the September of 1967 Mae Brussell had spent several days in New Orleans conferring with Jim Garrison and others.  On September 15, 1967 Mae was returning to San Francisco on Delta Airlines Flight 827.  According to the FBI file on Mae Brussell:

On 9/15/67 at 6:45 p.m, a reservation agent at Delta Airlines, Dallas, received a call that a bomb was on board Delta Airlines, Flight 827.  Flight 827 originated at Atlanta and was enroute to San Francisco via Dallas.  A search of the aircraft failed to locate any bomb.

----------------------------------- who was boarding this flight for San Francisco made comments at Love Field, Dallas, she had conducted research with DA Jim Garrison, New Orleans, for three days.  San Francisco determined that --------------- in the past had expressed great alarm over the fact that the United States is becoming fascist.  She is the daughter of ----------------- of Los Angeles.  It has been reported  --------------------------has "left-wing" leanings and is not in good favor with her father.  She supports Mark Lane's book, "Rush to Judgment" and takes the view that Lee Harvey Oswald was not a communist.  She pictures America as controlled by conspirators in the Government which view she has stated publicly.  She is writing a book on the assassination and claims the Government is withholding information on the assassination and the press is suppressing news on the investigation being conducted by New Orleans DA James Garrison.  ----------------------is described as an author and a playwright, and due to her thinking which she has expressed publicly, Dallas and San Francisco are to incorporate information into letterhead memoranda suitable for dissemination to the Department and U.S. Secret Service.  (Click. FBI report 8018-67 re: Mae Brussell)

During the last three years of the 1960s Mae's fear for her family continued to increase.  Following the Brussells' separation in July of 1970, Mae and the children continued to live in the family home at 7 Paseo Robles, Carmel Valley, California.  But with the ever increasing threats to the lives of Mae and her children Mae was determined to move her children to Canada, a country she viewed as a far safer haven in which to raise her family.  Bill Brussell must have agreed with her decision because he signed an affidavit on September 9th, 1970 consenting to his children moving with their mother to the Dominion of Canada to become permanent residents there.  (Click. Bill Brussell's Affidavit 9/9/70)

On December 4, 1970 Bonnie Brussell wrote about the upcoming move:

It was about twelve o'clock.  The date was November 11, 1963.  The teacher came in and told us that the President had been shot.  At the time I had no idea that this would affect my whole life, but it did.  My mother began to study the evidence of this murder, and others along the way.  In doing so our family, like others, have decided this country is not a good place to live, or be in.  We have decided to leave the U.S. and move to Canada.  In Canada we will build a small theater, or coffee shop.  We are moving with a lot of our friends.  As you see this will be a whole new life for me.  The murder of our President, and other political leaders, has not only made my life totally different, but the U.S. will never be the same again either.

(Click. Mae's photograph of her daughter Bonnie Brussell, deceased at age 14. This photograph was affixed to her file cabinet containing her research regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Also, Bonnie's note written eleven days before her death.)

Eleven days later Bonnie Brussell, 14, died in a horrendous automobile accident at Highway 1 and Lapis Road in Salinas, California.  The driver of the microbus in which Bonnie was riding, a 23-year-old Carmel High School physical education teacher and another 16-year old passenger were also killed.  Barbara Brussell, 15, and another 15-year-old student were severely injured.  Four other students were also injured in the accident that occurred during a heavy rainstorm.  The driver of the second car, a Moss Landing school principal, was severely injured.  He was allegedly driving while intoxicated and he was charged with manslaughter.  His male passenger received only minor injuries.  The microbus ran into the rear of the apparently slow moving car leaving the California Highway Patrol without a solid explanation for the cause of the accident.

Shortly after this family tragedy one of Mae's sons wrote the following poem:

MOTHER  MAE

Mother Mae
That's what we called you
In the good old days
Before they blew JFK away
And I do mean "they".

Mother Mae
Mother of four
Once there were more
But now we're just sure
Of each other and you.

Suns rise on explanations
Suns set on the facts
Hopes rely on understandings
Art looks to political acts
Hearts will be judged by minds
You have always been so kind
I won't be down if I don't find
A friend as true.

Germany gave us
Beethoven, Bach
But the meaning died
When the SS knocked
Genius Transcended
The over door
When they reach for our pearl
We were at war.

Mother Mae
You gave me life
Then you saved my life
From the lawyers rage
The surgeons strife
The agents knife.

Mother Mae
Steadfast by the hour
Working by the day
We say "stop and play"
But you know today - the suns settled away.

We the people always knew
That real answers could be found
Most people say "What can one person do"
If they knew of you, they'd come around.

Our family has given so much to this land
Their fashion trends, their fancy friends
But when real means come down to ends
On all we've spoke the wheel depends.


Virginia McCullough © 5/11/02


1974 MAE  AND  THE  SLAIt was a very good year.  Part 1 Part 2  Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
 

Click. To view documents, articles from the Mae Brussell Archive

Art depicted in headline above - Marc Chagall, The Flying Chariot, 1913.