Mission Point - W.Hunter und V. Eriksson

MACKINAC - GESCHICHTE W.HUNTER/V.ERIKSSON

Dies ist eines von vier Dokumenten, die in den Mackinaw City-Archiven in den Mackinac State Historic Parks hinterlegt sind.  Eines davon ist ein schreibmaschinengetippes Dokument mit dem Titel "Ein informeller Geschichtsüberblick" aus dem Jahr 1973 von Frances Roots Hadden. Die anderen drei Dokumente sind Niederschriften von aufgenommenen Gesprächen mit Phil Porter, dem Direktor der Mackinac State Historic Parks. Diese Gespräche wurden zwischen 1992 und 1993 aufgenommen, unter anderem mit Williard T. Hunter, Vern und Meryl Eriksson, Basil Entwistle und James und Ellie Newton. Diese Menschen waren damals auf Mackinac Island und waren oftmals an den Ereignissen beteiligt. Darum sind sie glaubwürdige Zeitzeugen. Mit Ausnahme Phil Porters sind inzwischen alle verstorben.

WILLARD HUNTER UND VERN ERIKSSON - UNTERHALTUNG MIT PHIL PORTER IN FORT MACKINAC, 29.JULI 1992

2009 wurden die Ausgangsdokumente ins Computerformat übertragen (OCR-Optical Character Recognition) und anschliessend von Susan McGregor auf Microsoft Word überarbeitet und herausgegeben. Die Herausgeberin korrigierte nachweisbare Fehler in Orthographie und Wortwahl, nahm aber ansonsten keine Änderungen vor, die die Bedeutung der Dokumente verändern könnten.
Die Abschrift spiegelt deutlich wider, dass es sich um eine mündliche Unterhaltung handelt und es wurde kein Versuch unternommen, dies zu ändern. Die Herausgeberin bevorzugt es, die Originalquelle zu bewahren, anstatt auf Klarheit und Lesbarkeit hin zu überarbeiten.

Kontaktadresse:

Mackinaw City Archives
Brian S. Jaeschke
Registrar
Mackinac State Historic Parks
P.O. Box 873
Mackinaw City, Michigan 49701
(231) 436 - 4100 Ext. 107
(231) 436 - 4210 Fax
E-Mail

Herausgeberin
Susan R. McGregor
154 Brixham Crescent
London, Ontario, Canada
N6K 1L2
(519) 472-0744

E-Mail

 


AUFNAHME DER UNTERHALTUNG VON WILLARD HUNTER UND VERN ERIKSSON MIT PHIL PORTER IN FORT MACKINAC, 29.JULI 1992

Eriksson: Ich frage mich, ob es hilfreich wäre, wenn wir einfach auf kurze Art und Weise Moralische Aufrüstung kurz vorstellen würden. Wäre das hilfreich? 

Porter: Das wäre gut. Vielleicht könnte ich einige der Dinge erklären, die mich interessieren würden. Und die uns als Organisation interessieren würden.

Eriksson: Ja.

Porter: Ich denke, wir erkennen, dass hier eine sehr wichtige Portion Mackinac-Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts hier stattfand, auf der Basis der Aktivitäten der Moralischen Aufrüstung, die, ich denke, 1945 begannen, als sie ankam.

Eriksson: 1942

Porter: 1942 und die sich überall durch das College ausdehnt und was ich sehe ist, dass so viele Menschen, die mit der Moralischer Aufrüstung in Verbindung gebracht werden und mit dem College und jetzt nicht mehr da sind und hier haben einmal viele Menschen gelebt, hatten hier ihr Zuhause und ich fürchte, mit ihnen geht so viel von dieser Geschichte verloren. Mein Anliegen ist, dass einiges davon aufgewahrt wird in Form einer Erzählung, das was hier passiert ist. Diese Organisation hat auch eine Organisation, die Geschichte auf Mackinac sammelt und aufbewahrt und das kann auch das Archiv für Reminiszenzen und Artefakten und Fotos sein und dass wir, als eine Organisation, diese Geschichte ebenso durch das Sammeln und das Beschützen dieses Archivmaterials schützen können. Womit wir schon begonnen haben. Wir haben etwa 12 Filmrollen, die irgendwann gedreht wurden mit verschiedenen Fotos, den Bau der Gebäude, darum wollte ich auch auf dieses Konzept eingehen, dass wir auch ein Archiv für diese Art Dinge sein werden. Es gibt auf öffentliches Interesse. Ich habe gerade heute erst mit Jennifer Defoe geredet. Sie leitet die Industrie- und Handelskammer und sie fragte mich gibt es irgendeine Art Beschreibung auf einer Seite, was Moralische Aufrüstung war? Ich sagte, ich würde heute Nachmittag mit Ihnen, meine Herren, reden und das ist ein anderes Seitenprodukt für unsere Mitarbeiter und die Menschen in der Stadt, die danach fragen, was MRA war. Erzählen Sie uns ein bisschen darüber. Es wäre so nett, eine Beschreibung von einer Seite zu haben, genauso wie eine etwas ausführlichere Sammlung. Das sind also einige unsere Anliegen und Interessen. Beginne Sie mit einem Überblick und einer groben Auflistung der Geschichte und Beiträge und Aktivitäten.

Hunter: Ich werde anfangen und Sie unterbrechen mich einfach, wenn Sie Fragen haben.

Porter: Ich hätte gerne eine Kopie der Aufnahme, die Sie machen.

Hunter: Ich komme hierher mit einigen Haftungsausschlüssen. Meine Verbindung mit der Insel war kontinuierlich zwischen 1942 und 1956, und ich war bei den Verhandlungen dabei, die das Zentrum hier überhaupt etablierten. Ich habe mich vollzeitlich für das Programm der Moralischen Aufrüstung von 1938 bis 1956 gewidmet. Ich war ein enger Mitarbeiter von Frank Buchman. Ich traf die Bewegung, als ich Student war und es hat mein Leben verändert. Ich war auf meinem Weg in die Politik und ich besuchte die Harvard Law School und ich beschloss letztendlich, dass das nichts für mich sei. Ich gab das auf und kam hier dazu, weil ich das Gefühl hatte, dass Menschen Dinge verändern würden und nicht Organisationen und Institutionen und Verträge oder was auch immer. Darin habe ich also mein Leben investiert und viele Menschen taten dies. Und Buchman war ein sehr charismatischer Anführer. Er selbst hatte eine geistliche Erfahrung. Als junger Mann stammte er aus eine Pennsylvania Dutch-Hintergrund im östlichen Pennsylvania. Er wurde 1878 geboren. Wir haben in Ostpennsylvania erst kürzlich die Feiern zu seinem 100-jährigen Jubiläum beendet. Er hatte eine Erfahrung und fand einen Weg, dass durch die Veränderung seines Herzens er in der Lage war, diese Erfahrung an alle anderen weiter zu geben und er sagte, wenn wir das tun könnten, wenn die menschliche Natur sich ändern kann, dann sei dies die Antwort. So begann er, an dieser Sache von der Pennsylvania State University aus zu arbeiten. Er war dort 5-6 Jahre lang CVJM-Sekretär. Er hat gute Arbeit geleistet, drehte die gesamte Stimmung auf dem Kampus laut objektiver Berichte herum. Und nach dieser Art Laborerfahrung, sagt er, wenn dies mit den Kids am College funktioniert, dann wid es mit jedem andern auch funktionieren. Und so machte er sich 1921 auf den Weg, als 1st Century Christian Fellowship, weil er zurück zu den Ursprüngen ging, dem Wichtigsten, er liess das fleckige Glas hinter sich und...was das für Menschen bedeutet. 1928 gebann das, was als Oxford Gruppe bekannt wurde, weil ursprünglich eine Gruppe von Rhodes-Gelehrten und andere in Oxford seine Idee aufnahmen und sie mit zurück in ihr Land nahmen. Es war unter diesem Namen 10 Jahre lang bekannt und ging damals rund um die Welt und dann wurde es ab 1938 als Moralische Aufrüstung bekannt. Buchman hatte das Gefühl, als der Krieg aufkam, jeder wusste, dass er kommen würde, dass inmitten dieses Aufrüstungsrennen die Nationen wirklich eine moralische und geistliche Aufrüstung brauchten. Das war also eine Idee, die besser die Idee der Bewegung ausdrückte als die Oxford Gruppe, was ein bisschen wie ein Diskutier-Club klang. Und so begann, MRA zu übernehmen und natürlich war es als MRA leichter in Schlagzeilen zu bekommen. Und die Grundidee war, dass Gott einen Plan für jedermann hat und jedermann herausfinden kann, was dieser ist. Nicht nur, damit man sich besser fühlt oder die Familie sich besser fühlt, aber dies war ein Experiment, dass Arbeiter und Management zusammenbringen konnte, die Menschen verschiedener Länder zusammenbringen konnte und es basierte auf vier absoluten moralischen Massstäben, absoluter Ehrlichkeit, Reinheit, Selbstlosigkeit und Liebe, unter der Führung Gottes. Das war grundsätzlich die Erfahrung von vielen Menschen. In den dreissiger Jahren, wie Sie vielleicht wissen, wurden eine Anzahl Alkoholiker dadurch verändert, übergaben ihr Leben Gott, machten einen Entzug und fanden dies so aufregend, wir wollen das für Betrunkene tun. Und Buchman sagte:"Okay, aber wir haben eine Menge andere Probleme ausser dem Alkohol und lasst uns alle zusammen arbeiten, um die Welt neu zu machen." Und sie sagten:"Nein, wir wollen nur Alkoholiker verändern;" Und so spalteten sie sich ab und fassten Prinzipien ab und gründeten die Anonymen Alkoholiker. Die zwölf Schritte erkannten sie als Buchmans Prinzipien an, eine Kodifizierung von Buchmans Prinzipien, die das Leben verändern können. Wenn Sie also wissen möchten, was MRA wirklich ist, sehen Sie sich diese 12 Schritte an und dann haben Sie es.

Ein Mann namens Howard Blake und ich, ein anderer Fulltimer, älter als ich, ich hab erst kürzlich mit ihm am Telefon geredet, waren mehr oder weniger verantwortlich für die Arbeit im Mittleren Westen, zumindest dafür, sie aufzubauen, für die Ankunft der Einsatztruppe. Damals während des Krieges, 1942, hatten wir eine Show mit dem Namen "Du kannst Amerika verteidigen". Und eine Menge Leute, die sie sahen, sagten "Wir wissen, gegen was wir kämpfen, aber dies ist das erste Mal, dass wir gesehen haben, wofür wir kämpfen." Und es bewirkte eine Menge in den Industriegebieten rund um Detroit und Grand Rapids etc. und wir hatten diese grosse Show, die Nacht für Nacht im ...Auditorium lief und ich hab ein Foto von Henry Ford und seiner Frau, die dort waren und Murray Van Wagoner, dem Gouverneur und alle, die Top-Autofabrikanten und Autoarbeiter waren da und sie fingen an zu sagen "Hm, es ist toll, eine Show zu haben, die voller Enthusiasmus und neuer Ideen ist, aber wie machen wir damit weiter und setzen es um, dass Menschen sich daran festmachen können?" Murray Van Wagoner, der damalige Gouverneur, sagte: "Wir haben eine Ort da oben auf Mackinac Island, Mackinac State Park, heisst auch das Inselhaus und es steht nur herum. Es gehört wegen Steuerschulden dem Staat. Sie gingen Pleite. Wir hätten gerne eine Verwendung dafür." Und so wurde dieser Funke ins Leben gerufen.

Und ich erinnere mich, dass Howard Blake und ich uns mit Van Wagoner hinsetzten und ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob ich mich an seinen Namen richtig erinnere und darum ist dies eine der Vorbehalte, die ich hier einlegen möchte, ich hab nicht genau in meinen Dokumenten nachgesehen, darum könnten meine Namen und Daten ein bisschen ungenau sein. Aber dies sind nur Vorworte und dazu da, die Flasche zu entkorken. Also, ein Mann namens C.W. Lucas, ich denke, so hiess er, ich glaube er war auch irgendwie im Verlagswesen der Zeitung in Harbor Springs, aber egal, er war der Verwaltungsassistent von Murray Van Waggoner, er war der Mann, der die Details ausarbeitete und er schnappte sich Bill doyle, der damals Vorsitzender der Mackinac State Park-Kommission war. Doyle war begeistert darüber. Ein anderer Mann namens Wendell Lund, ich weiss nicht, ob Sie ihn kennen, er hatte ein Häuschen hier, ich denke, er lebt nicht mehr. Schwedischer Herkunft. Ich weiss nicht, was er damals war. Ich denke, er war Mitglied der Tourismus-Kommission oder irgend so etwas. Wie auch immer, er war dabei. Und sie luden Howard Blake und seine Frau und Skiff Wishard und seine Frau ein, den Sommer 1941 hier in Mackinac zu verbringen und darüber zu reden. Das taten sie und das Ergebnis war, dass sie es für 1$ pro Jahr aushandelten. ich weiss nicht, was es war, aber der Staat war so unruhig darüber, dieses Ding ins Rolen zu bringen und Leute herzubringen, dass es wirklich eine Quid Pro Quo-Basis war. Nun, natürlich war das Inselhaus in einem schrecklichen Zustand. Jemand sagte, es wurde langsam von den Ratten davongetragen.Und so hatten wir eine Truppe von Leute hier, die herkamen und es war unglaublich, ein Wunder, Eis auf dem Boden den ganzen Winter lang, und Fett in diesen Küchen...es war ein riesiges Chaos. Aber sehr kreative Leute und sie brachten die Sache wirklich ins Laufen, fingen an, Räume zuöffnen, brachten neue Betten, alles mögliche. So fing alles an. Das erste, das passierte: 1940 waren am Lake Tahoe zwei Sachen geschehen, als wir unser Theateraufführungen begannen. Bis dahin waren es Veranstaltungen und die Leute sprachen darüber, was mit ihnen geschah. 1940 hatten wir die Idee einer Bühenvorstellung, wie diese Sache in der Familie, in der Industrie usw. funkionieren könnte, auf der Bühne, wo die Leute es sehen konnten. Die andere Sache, was Tahoe bewirkte, war, zum ersten Mal begannen wir, unsere eigenen Unterkünfte zu betreiben. Bis dahin waren die sogenannten Hausparties - das war eine grosse Sache, das war, warum die Hausparty, Buchman wurde dafür berühmt - man mietete ein Hotel und bezahlte dafür und so weiter, aber in Tahoe und im folgenden Jahr in Maine entwickelten wir ein Zentrum, das wir aufbauten. Wir brachten Betten, kochten zusammen etc. und darum waren wir irgendwie auf die Mackinacerfahrung durch diese zwei Jahre Erfahrung vorbereitet. 1942 fing das also an und die ersten Bühnenaufführungen begannen. "Der vergessene Faktor", ein Industrie-Theaterstück, das Teamwork zwischen Arbeitern und Management ansprach. Sehr kraftvol. Zeigte den Arbeiter- und Managerfamilien, wie sie beide die gleiche Art Probleme hatten, dass es nur eine Frage des Zusammenkommens ist, des Ehrlichseins, des sich Zusammensetzens und so weiter. Es war ein sehr kraftvolles Theaterstück. Und die andere Sache, die ich erwähnte, "Du kannst Amerika verteidigen", eine amerikanische Show. In Kanada gab es damals auch etwas, das hiess "Bringt Kanada zusammen". Diese beiden Shows wurden beide im Grand Hotel zusammengestellt.

Eriksson: Ausserdem, wenn ich etwas hinzufügen darf, gab es in Grossbritannien "Kämpft gemeinsam für Grossbritannien". Ich war dort mit der Kanadischen Armee und es wurde dort gezeigt. 

Hunter: Und  "Bringt Australien zusammen!"

Eriksson: In Holland gab es auch etwas. Ich hatte damals tatsächlich eine Kopie von "Kämpft gemeinsam für Grossbritannien" genommen und sie einem der Leiter der Moralischen Aufrüstung in den Niederlanden getroffen und sie ihm gegeben und er hatte sie eingeführt und so fing es in den Niederlanden an.

Hunter: Nun ja, ich erinnere mich an dieses Treffen im Grand Hotel, ich denke es war im September, eine grosse Sache und da waren eine Menge Leute, die noch nicht nach Hause gegangen waren und Bill Doyle stand auf und sagte: "Wissen Sie, wenn Sie einen neuen Geist für das ganze verflixte Land gebracht haben, dann hoffen wir, dass Sie dies zu ihrem permanenten nationalen Hauptquartier machen werden." Ich denke, das war das letzte freundliche Wort, das Bill Doyle je über MRA sagte. Ich glaube, er meinte es damals, aber ich habe nie verstanden, warum er danach so ein erbitterter Gegner wurde. Wir hatten das Gefühl, er hatte etwas vor im Staat, das vielleicht durch einen neuen Geist der Ehrlichkeit und Reinheit geschädigt worden wäre, aber jedenfalls gab es eine Menge Dinge, die vielleicht passiert wären, und man könnte über Motive spekulieren, aber jedenfallsl hatten wir 10-15 Jahre lang eine furchtbare Zeit mit Bill Doyle. Er war einfach Steine und ich weiss nicht warum. Nun ja, wie auch immer...

Porter: Wie sah es damals, 1942-43, zahlenmässig aus? Wie viele Menschen kamen zu den Konferenzen?

Hunter: Naja, ich denke zwischen 100 und 300. Wir haben ein Bild von Logan Roots...vor dem Inselhaus. 

Porter: Ich hab das Bild gesehen.

Hunter: Ich hoffe, Sie haben eine Kopie davon für Ihr Archiv. Oh, das ist toll.

Porter: Ich hab mich noch was anderes gefragt. Und zwar, wie und wann kam Bischof Roots dazu? Weil seine Familie auf der Insel eine solche kontinuierliche Präsenz hat und immer noch hat mit Fran und Dick in St. Ignace.

Hunter: Das geht zurück bis etwa 1917 und 1918. Bischof Roots war Bischof von Hankow in China, der Episkopalen Kirche vielleicht 30-35 Jahre lang. Und Frank war in China und hielt Veranstaltungen ab und er arbeitet viel mit den Missionaren damals zusammen. Weil viele Missionare irgendwie ausgebrannt waren und ihren Schwung und all das verloren hatten und Frank...und einige Leute sagtn, sicher, das ist richtig, sie müssen sich ändern und andere Leute sagten, sie wollen nicht über ihre Sünden reden, darum gab es auch ein bisschen Widerstand. Aber Logan Roots war einer derjenige, die ja sagten, das ist was wir auf dem Missionsfeld brauchen. Und er wurde ein ziemlich enger Mitarbeiter Franks für den Rest seines Lebens, als er starb, es steht auf seinem Grabstein da oben. Logan Roots war eine unglaublich Person, weil er so freundlich und doch so fest war. Er war ein guter Freund Chou En Lais und auch ein guter Freund Chiang Kai Sheks. Er versuchte immer, die beiden zusammen zu bringen. Sein Einfluss ist immer noch da - man kann es fühlen. Seine Tochter haben Sie ja getroffen...

Porter: Ja, ich kenne sie ziemlich gut.

Hunter: Sie ist zurück nach China gegangen und Chou En Lai lud sie und ihren Mann als erste Pianisten oder als erste Amerikaner ein, zurückzukommen...also ich weiss nicht...noch etwas über Logan Roots? Die beste Geschichtsschreibung darüber steht in Buchmans Biographie von Garth Lean...

Porter: Die steht in der Bücherei.

Hunter: Gut. Das wird "Auf dem Schweif eines Kometen" in diesem Land genannt. Und es gibt eine exzellente Geschichte über diese ganze Chinasache. Über Logan Roots. Das meiste davon basiert auf Notizen von Frances Roots, die dem Biographen gegeben wurden. Das ist also die beste Quelle zu Logan Roots und seiner Verbindung. Aber er reiste nach seiner Pensionierung; er reiste mit Frank durch die ganze Welt. Er war bei den Oxford-Versammlungen dabei, er war hier. Wo auch immer er gebraucht wurde. Natürlich genoss er viel Ansehen und Einfluss, wegen seines Alters und auch wegen seiner tollen Persönlichkeit.

Nun, Prentice Brown war bei all dem dabei. Er war damals Senator. Er gehörte nicht zum engeren Kreis, aber er war kooperativ und natürlich denke ich, er besass die gesamte oder Teile der Arnold-Line zu der Zeit. Vielleicht gehört es der Familie immer noch, ich weiss nicht. Ich erinnere mich, als ich mit Frank BUchman 1941in Lansing war und vielleicht im Frühjahr 1942, als Frank sagte, er sei auf seinem Weg hoch nach Mackinac, da war ein Mann, der das Olds Hotel damals leitete. Er war vielleicht der Besitzer des Olds Hotels. Er war vielleicht ein Nachfahre von R.E.Olds. Ich habe irgend so ein Gefühl im Hinterkopf. Aber er war in Lansing ein sehr einflussreicher Mann und natürlich das Olds Hotel direkt gegenüber des Kapitols war immer ein sehr heisses politisches Pflaster. Er ass mit Frank zu abend und sagte: "Nun, wenn Sie nach Mackinac Island gehen, gibt es da zwei Personen, die Sie treffen müssen. Die eine ist Otto Lang von der Arnold-Line und er ist verantwortlich für den Transport und dann ist da noch Stewart Woodfill und er leitet das grosse Hotel." Und Frank setzte sich mit ihnen in Verbindung oder wurde ihnen vorgestellt, als er dort hin kam und beide Männer unterstützten seine Arbeit immer sehr. Vor allem Woodfill, Woodfill war ein sehr guter Redner, Otto Lang nicht so sehr, aber Woodfill war es...

Eriksson: Als Frank Buchman starb, charterte Stewart Woodfill ein kleines Flugzeug und ich flog mit ihm und mit Leuten von hier, die nach Allentown/Pennsylvania zu der Beerdigung und wieder zurück flogen. Woodfill war als ein richtiger Freund.

Hunter: Meine Notizen hier sagen, dass das erste grosse Event 1942 der Geburtstag von Bunny Austin war, das war, glaube ich, im August. Bunny Austin war ein grosser Tennisstar, hat den Davis Cup 3 Jahre hintereinander gewonnen. Er war zweimal Finalist in Wimbledon. Er hat sich 1938-39 für den Rest seines Lebens völlig in die Arbeit Buchmans investiert. Darum machten wir was Besonderes aus Bunnys Geburtstag und das war dann auch, als wir all diese Leute für die Show einluden. Er lebt immer noch. Ich habe erst letzte Woche einen Brief von ihm erhalten.

Eriksson: Ich habe ihn vor ein paar Monaten in Florida gesehen. 

Hunter: It looks like I've covered a lot. They called it the Willow Run of the war of ideas. Some newspaper man called MRA conference, Mackinac Island, the Willow Run of the war of ideas. The idea being, it's great we've got to knock off Hitler and all that, but what happens as far as ideas are concerned, do we have a big enough idea to answer Fascism, to answer communism. And that's what we were trying to work out here in people's lives and industry. Also, Buchman was so good in this reconciliation business between countries, he was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, once in 1951 and 1952, and he was decorated by a lot of governments. 

Porter: How did these people who came from such varied cultural backgrounds find common ground in worshiping God? 

Hunter: That's a very good question. I don't know whether you know anything about Alcoholics Anonymous but Bill Wilson said, we turned our lives over to God as we understood Him. I think he picked that up from MRA, because there wasn't any sort of desire to be theologically correct, or to be theologically argumentative. The idea was, you open up your life to whatever you think God is, and particularly base your life against those moral standards as an avenue to finding out what God was, then He is going to tell you what kind of guy He is and you don't have to put up any barriers, so you're right, you have conservatives and liberals, and you had this and you had that, and Muslims who come to Caux, Switzerland, which was based on Mackinac Island, and they say, you know, "This is what the Koran teaches us to do, only we're not doing it". What Buchman was always trying to do was to bring you back to what you believe, what your faith was, and back to what you knew was right, not try to superimpose something; to revive what you felt, what you believed already. That's what the point was, was the quality of life that he featured and not sort of a standard of belief, level of belief. It's a matter of record that in Detroit, where MRA was at work, absenteeism went down, production went up, and strikes were settled. Dale Reed, who was the machinist in charge of Lockheed, this was not in Michigan, this was in California, he said, "There are planes over the fighting fronts today that would not be there if it weren't for Moral Re-Armament". That was what we were trying to do, was to try to get you to do better what you are doing, without making a judgment about what you are doing, but you do better what you're after.

And then in '44 the Democratic National Convention, we had quite a squad down there. Harry Truman was Frank Buchman's point man in Washington all the time he was in the Senate. From 1939 he appeared at the big MRA meeting in Washington which launched MRA in the United States, June 4, 1939. President Roosevelt sent a message of support. He selected Harry Truman to read this message. He was a loyal New Dealer, and Harry did, and from then on Harry said this is what we need. He became Chairman of the Watch Dog Committee for the senate on the war industries. He went around and made sure there wasn't any waste or corruption in war contracts. And people were doing what they were supposed to, a kind of senate overview. He spent a lot of time on the road on that. And he saw that in the industries where MRA was at work, they were doing better, more bang for the buck. And he was very much impressed with that. And also with the quality of life, so from then on until he came to the White House he got busier doing other things, but I remember I was in the Stevens Hotel in Chicago on the 22nd floor, or something, and there was a big fight - Roosevelt was happy with Henry Wallace but nobody else was. They needed to dump Wallace like people talked about dumping Quayle. You can dump Wallace but who are you going to... And more and more it began to center around Harry Truman because he was honest, everybody trusted him and he was a good guy and all that. And nobody else frankly had all those qualities. I remember when I left here going down to that convention, I predicted, I said Harry Truman is going to be the guy nominated. I got a lot of credit for that. But a guy on the 22nd floor of the Stevens Hotel, his name was Jack Kelly, father of Princess Grace Kelly, he was the big Democratic boss in Philadelphia, a bricklayer, brick business, I ran into him in the hallway and he congratulated me on "putting our man over" at the convention. I don't think we had any influence, but anyway it was interesting, he said that a couple of times. 

Porter: How long did MRA stay in the Island House and when did they begin to develop Mission Point Resort area? 

Hunter: That's hard to say. I remember Bill Doyle saying... well I guess we began to see the writing on the wall. I mean, Doyle was doing what he could to squeeze us out of there, and we started building it must have been the late 40s or 50s. 

Eriksson: I first came after I got out of the army in '46, I came to the conference. 

Hunter: There was a woman lawyer with 2 sons that I think that Bill Doyle, we really didn't have a lease or contract or anything, he really wanted to develop commercially and he leased this thing out from under us to this woman. They had a bad time. I don't know when that was, it must have been in the 50s. Were out of it when we built the theater, in 1954, and the theater was the first major construction down on Mission Point. What about Cedar Lodge? That was started in the fall of 1954 and it was dedicated on Frank's 77th birthday. I remember that, I'll tell you why. On June 4th, 1955, Ole Olsen, Helzapoppin, and Chick Johnson, he had a big Broadway vaudeville show, really corny stuff; well anyway he was quite interested. His daughter married Lear of Lear jet. He was up here, and he said in his speech, "You know I just came from Las Vegas” and he said, “in Las Vegas 7 is big, but when you multiply by two and make it 77 years, you're really in". He was referring to Frank's birthday. Reginald Owen was there on that occasion. He was quite a popular British actor, bit parts, Broadway, and he was up on the stage with Ole and he was feeding lines to Ole. It was all very spontaneous, and Reginald said, "So it's come to this, a straight man for Ole Olsen". He also said his daughter married a Lear and they had two daughters and they didn't know what to name them, one was Gonda and one was Chanda. There were a lot of people like that came up here. For the big assemblies we used the Grand Hotel. We had one there in '51 and another in '54, big international conferences. 

Porter: When you say big, 300-500 people? 

Hunter: Well I would think more like 1000-1200, something like that. 

Porter: What was the rationale behind building the theater first? Was there a master plan and then housing units, and to move the headquarters down there eventually? 

Hunter: This thing never did run on master plans. It was much more intuitive. 

Porter: In response to the times. 

Hunter: We needed it because at this stage it became central to the presentation of the message. As far as housing was concerned, we were able to do housing all over the island - we rented places - so the residence areas came along after that. C building came after the Great Hall. You've seen Mackinac: Island of Renaissance. That's the story of the construction of the Great Hall. You should have a copy of that for your archives. It's a good movie, well-documented, good construction shots, shows the hard work that went into it, around the clock and around the calendar. You know, we get credit for being the first people to do any construction in the North Country in the wintertime. Jim Daugherty who was the editor of the Petoskey News Review did a big article. He came up here a couple of times, he did a big feature. He was so impressed that everybody else shut down on Labor Day, everybody shut down Thanksgiving, and they didn't come back, and we just bashed through that and we made it work. Since that time there's been a lot more construction going on. We sort of felt that was one of the economic breakthroughs we helped to provide along with many others. 

Porter: We still have employees on our staff here who got their training down there, like Ike Bunker and other people like that. A lot of people got good training down there. 

Hunter: That's right. Bill Stubbs and Harold Sack were really first-class craftsmen and they were good teachers.

Eriksson: Bill Stubbs was an engineer and Harold Sack was trained at Georgia Tech in construction. We used to have volunteers come and work on the construction, but at the same time we had people like Ike and Dale Gallagher and Ron Cowell and these fellows who worked with us. Meryl and I at that stage would stay on the island all year, through the winter. And I would be superintendent on the construction at that stage for the classroom building, and we built it through the winter. The volunteers, Jerry Nelson, took them to some warmer place, and we didn't lay off the local people and kept them on the payroll. 

Hunter: Another thing that caused some comment when we built the theater was Jim Francis and Chuck Dufina were competitors, and for the first time they worked together on that thing. Two carpenters, they put that thing up and it was kind of a healing reconciliation that went on there. 

Porter: Tell me a little bit about the productions there. It sounds as though the theatrical productions were first live and later, making movies became a very important way for Moral Re-Armament to communicate its message. 

Hunter: It was kind of a shoehorn. They didn't try to...the message, but it was a way of reaching people. That was the reason for Mackinac Island. We reached people down there but then what happens after you reach people. Get together and talk about how it works. That was the purpose of Mackinac. 

Porter: Actual training sessions. 

Hunter: Yes, right. We had really top industrial leaders and businessmen here. And they could get together here in an atmosphere where they weren't under the pressure of their own peers, and they could really talk and let their hair down. People found they could get together here where they couldn't back in their own milieu. 

Porter: Did the motion picture productions grow out of the idea that started with the live presentation? Tell me how that evolved, and the construction of the sound stage. 

Hunter: That's kind of a sad chapter. That sound stage. I remember one day when we had too many people in the Great Hall and there was a tremendous morning meeting and Sam Graham, the Dixie Cup guy, he was quite an influential businessman. He was very dedicated to MRA and a great friend of Frank Buchman's, and he turned to Frank after this meeting, "This was a tremendous meeting, Frank, but this ought to go on television, so people can see this. This is fantastic". So Frank said, "Fine, fine, you do it". But I don't know beyond that how the decision was made, but it just seemed like a good idea, we should make it more available to more people. It was a good idea, but it was just not thought through. 

Porter: In conjunction with that I remember when I was a kid there were the sets out of Stonecliffe, the street scenes, and those were constructed for making big motion pictures. 

Eriksson: Actually we did produce several motion pictures there. The Crowning Experience. The African film The Hurricane was made in the studio. 

Hunter: I remember we had the opening of that down in Hollywood, and Joel McCrea and his wife Frances Dee were the chair people of that. Very prominent people in Hollywood, and they got it in just before the first of January so it could be considered for the Oscars. It didn't quite have that professional skill yet. It was very highly thought of. 

Porter: It would be interesting to see photographs of the making of those movies as they were taken. What was the reaction on the island? Was that sound stage used for the making of those movies or did that come later? 

Eriksson: No, it was used. We had very skilled people that worked with us, writing, music, directors. 

Hunter: That film was made all over the island. It was made at Stonecliffe, some down here, and then they used C building as the dormitory for Bethune Cookman Col1ege down in Daytona Beach. A lot of that was filmed here. 

Porter: What were the years in which the movies were being made?  

Eriksson: 1956-1960. We can verify the dates. 

Porter: Why did they stop making movies in the 60s? 

Eriksson: Something happened in the 60s which was called Sing-Out, which developed into Up With People. That started here. 

Porter: So it became another theatrical, getting away from stage to the movies, now it was Sing-Out and Up With People. 

Hunter: So the same energy went into that, and the money went into Up With People. At one time it was thought that Up With People was a successor to Moral Re-Armament, just the way Moral Re-Armament was the successor to the Oxford Group. But it became apparent that the two things were different kettles of fish, different motives, different impact, different moral challenge, different a lot of things. So they separated off. So there is no connection between them now. 

Porter: But Up With People is still a going thing now. I see them performing at the Super Bowl and things like that. 

Hunter: Yeah, right. I've got a nephew on the road with one of the casts, he is in Europe with one of the casts. They've got five casts on the road. They stir up a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm. It's show biz, clean show biz, family show biz, and it's wonderful for what happens to the kids. My other nephew, it just changes their whole perspective on life. Wider horizons, public relations, how to deal with this, and there is an attempt to deal with the ongoing quality of life in any community. 

Porter: Tell me a little bit more about the 60s, sort of the evolution of MRA into the 60s and the decision to construct the college. That was a big step. 

Hunter: Well, I would say that formation of the college came somewhat out of that same Sam Graham type of story. Here we had this tremendous plant, and it was being used only two months out of the year. All these buildings, to make it really useful and... 

Eriksson: Frank Buchman had died and Peter Howard had taken on leadership in 1961. Peter Howard was working closely with him and was a brilliant journalist, and his life was really transformed in London. He headed up the work for the next four years. He died in '65. He was on a speaking tour down in South America. 

Hunter: It was his idea to do the college. Mainly to use the buildings. People said, well it's pretty remote and all, but I know, we can do it. But it was entirely just too expensive. 

Porter: Tremendous challenge to attract a faculty. 

Eriksson: Our son and daughter both went to the college. And then they finished off. One class was graduated. The idea of a large college in a remote place like this was too hard to finance, to get the students. You needed to be more central. So that was when it was decided to close the college, and of course it was a disappointment to the faculty because they were quite enthusiastic about what was happening in the lives of the students. And of course, there have been reunions of Mackinac College at Mission Point Resort. They did it for four years. 

Porter: It went from 1966 to 1970, right? Graduated the class of 1970. Did the college drain financial resources from the MRA such that it was hard for them to regroup after that? Because it seems that the college there wasn't as much of a revival as some of the earlier MRA efforts. 

Eriksson: Well, there was another factor, and that was Caux. These people from Switzerland were at the conference here, at the end of the war, two guys, one of them is going to be here the end of September, and they got the vision of buying up a hotel that had been used for refugees during the war and it was going to be sold and trashed, and rebuilt. 

Hunter: They felt they needed another Mackinac over there, for the reconstruction of Europe after the war. They called it Mountain House, because this was Island. They wanted to have an Island House in Switzerland. 

Eriksson: So they pulled that one off and that is going strong today and has played a major role in Eastern Europe over these past years, and now especially so when freedom has come. So that became the main conference center. There wasn't the same need for a conference center here and I guess that was part of the reason. 

Hunter: This whole Up With People business; Blanton Belk was really designated as the successor to Peter Howard. And Blanton had this Up With People thing and he thought that was the way to go for a youth program. That didn't sell worldwide with the other people in the other direction. But at the same time, he had enough support so that the properties that were sold on Mackinac Island, Dellwood, New York, Los Angeles - those properties were sold and the money went into Up With People. So you had energy and money and almost 200 staff ended up with Up With People. He took with him all kinds of people that started the thing up. So, as you say, MRA was out in the breeze, but people felt that still needed to happen. So that slowly started coming back. Our centers in Richmond, VA, Washington, D.C., Cambridge, Mass, St. Paul, Minn. Seattle, Portland, these are MRA centers now and they get together and raise money. Mostly they are doing sort of quiet, behind the scenes work in developing the cities, city problems of racial animosity and bringing people together. They are not in the headlines like they were back in the 50s, but they're doing that. And they are also sending people from the different cities off to Caux especially in the summertime. Continuity to it. 

Porter: When the college closed in 1970, did MRA and Up With People slowly begin selling off the Mackinac property? Stonecliffe and homes downtown? When was that over with? When did they liquidate? 

Hunter: 1971-72. I don't know. We can find out. Was Jim Newton involved in the sale of those properties? 

Eriksson: He was involved in the acquisition of properties. 

Hunter: This guy Jim Newton you've got to meet. He is 87 years old now. He's brought out a book, an autobiographic book. He was a personal friend of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, with whom he worked for 8 years, Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh. He's got all this in his book Uncommon Friends. He's a great real estate man, and he was responsible for almost all the real estate stuff we did over 50 years, at least. He helped acquire these properties and he probably helped us liquidate it too. I don't know. There was a guy named T. Henry Williams who invented tire molds in Akron. He was very dedicated to MRA, a friend of Frank's and he provided a lot of the financing for the whole Cedar Point developing, etc. It was in his home that Alcoholics Anonymous began. He was leader of the Oxford Group when they were part of the Oxford Group at that time. 

Porter: Was almost all of the money raised for MRA through private donation? There was no industry that you developed or service that you sold. 

Hunter: No, it was mostly through small givers. There wasn't any big foundation grant or anything like that. Mostly it was people where something happened in their lives and they wanted to have a part in it. 

Porter: You alluded to this before, this business with Mr. Doyle. There was, from my own view, and I'm very ignorant so excuse me if I step on toes, but there were feelings of animosity between the local community and MRA. I just heard them but I have no idea what they were about. How would you describe what those animosities were about? I wouldn't say they were universal but you would hear about things. 

Hunter: Well, I think in the first place, when you have a force that is trying to develop a moral force, you're going to have people resisting. That's one thing. What Bill Doyle was up to I don't know, but he would certainly spread a lot of stuff around, dug up negative articles whenever they happened, and what his motives are, as I say... 

2nd side of tape

there was always a lot of evangelism going on, and sometimes people resist evangelism and I remember one time Frank said, "Don't try to change any of these people. Leave them alone, they're OK". That was kind of a relief to everybody, and I think that probably eased up some of this animosity. I know our kids went to Thomas Ferry School, our two older boys learned to read and write at Thomas Ferry School. The kids would call it "More Rotten Apples" - MRA. They felt the heat of this. They still think about it. 

Eriksson: One day my son came back from school for lunch and when he was going back he came up to me and said, "Will you come with me"? I said, "Why of course David. Is something wrong"? Then he told me about this gang that said they were going to cut his ears off, and they waited in line outside of school. And they were going to mob him. He was afraid they really meant it, that they would cut his ears off. He was riding his bike home. He stayed in school after everybody had left for a while to get them to clear out, then he was riding his bike home and they jumped him, and he jumped off his bike and ran like a scared rabbit and got away. So I went back with him, and we picked up his bike where he dropped it. There was this gang across the street waiting for him. I walked with him to the school, and that was the last I heard of it. They really scared him. 

Hunter: I think whenever you get a group, whenever a group comes into a community, they're different. Anybody that is different is suspect. Racial, different color of skin, different attitude, different ideas, I think that's basically the problem. You'll find it both ways. For instance Jeanette Doud, I hope you get an oral history interview with her. What she says about the impact of MRA on the island. You'll get a snootful. Because there were people like that, that this has been the salvation of their lives. When we came in here, you could have shot a cannon down the main street. You wouldn't hit anybody. And a lot of people realized that, and we brought a new life and spirit to the place. 

Porter: Stories at the Grand Hotel during the 30s and 40s, during the war, I think it was 1941, 11 people in the hotel in July, and.... That was the bottom of the barrel. It was a very tough time from the depression through the end of the war. It wasn't until the end of the war that the economy revived and MRA came in and sparked the island and tourism. 

Hunter: I think you'd have to say we probably made some mistakes too. I imagine there were things said by people that were unfortunate and had the wrong idea. We're all human beings, and these things are going to happen. You have to balance one thing off against the other. 

Porter: It must have been a tremendous change to go to the end of the college where there are 200 employees with a lot of students and a lot of activity, to 1972 two years later and everything's so... What a dramatic change. I've never heard how that must have been. That must have been a real drag. What were the years you left here? 

Eriksson: 1968, I guess it was. David was still going to school, right. We had practically closed down. I had stayed on as property manager at that point until I decided what to do next, which was go into real estate. 

Hunter: Did you know Mary Metivier? She ran a little news stand downtown. You know, we had a very brilliant song writing team called Geo. Fraser and John Morrison. Both Scotsmen. George is buried here. I thought I should sing you this song he wrote for Mary Metivier. 

Porter: Was she in business with Susan Van Dusen after a while? I remember it was on one end of the Murray Hotel. 

Hunter: Yeah, I think so. You probably ought to have copies of these songs, the Mackinac. Let me give you a little... (sings) 

Oh Mary Metivier, we just want to give ye, this little refrain to say that you reign in our hearts and our favorite store. No trip to the harbor, post office or barber, is ever complete unless we can meet the first lady of Mackinac.

Then we sang a song for Stewart Woodfill:

Tell me true, oh tell me if you can just what would we do without this man, he's the finest on the island and he's more as well, he's the man the very man who runs the Grand Hotel .... the loveliest view and the longest porch in the world.

Then the Mackinac Song.

Eriksson: When the music group gave a concert last year, they ended up with the Mackinac song:

Hunter: Where the great lakes mingle, by the wind kissed shingle, there lies an island paradise. There's an old fort standing just above the landing... Island breezes, skim the water, and from lake and land I hear the watchful bell. But how men united so that wrongs were righted, stories of Mackinac will tell. 

Porter: There was always a lot of theatrical, a lot of performing, a lot of creative, and you know who continued that tradition after most of them left was Sheldon and his poetry. I lived here for 7 years, year round, when I first worked for the park and 1975 was my first winter, and '76, and we lived right behind Sheldon in Jack Harvey's house. Invariably, at any event when Sheldon was invited, he came with a poem that was dedicated to the person or to the event. And same tradition, same idea, of performing arts kind of token. I always thought when Sheldon was alive, I hope somebody is collecting and putting them away and at some point, after Sheldon is gone, would have a compendium of his poems, because he did a lot of poems ... a light bulb went out ... a lot of poems, and yet if you look at them over the course of time, they've sort of reflected the current events, the history of that time. I don't know if anybody has collected them. 

Hunter: They probably went up with the fire. I don't know where else they would have been. 

Eriksson: I know the Haddens have been trying to replace some of their library; they had a music library... 

Porter: The moment you started singing that song, it's the same, the same... 

Hunter: That's right. It's a tradition. Frank Buchman, he was great on... a poem. He had these guys with him all the time, entourage, he would lean on for stuff like this. Mike Barrett was one. So Frank said, "Now let's have a poem for so and so". "Here's to John, best of all, you finish it Mike", and Mike would finish it. 

Porter: In many ways, did the strength of Buchman's personality and his charisma and his vision, did that really carry MRA during its years of great success? I don't know any of the other people, but did it begin to taper off because that leadership was gone when he died? 

Hunter: Yes. I would think so. I would suspect that one of the problems of MRA was that it was so dependent on one personality, and when he got older... I remember I was here, and Vern too, reponsib1e for the work here at Mackinac Island when Buchman was in Switzerland. It was a lot different then. You didn't have that zing. You could do all the same things but somehow the old spark wasn't there. I can understand that. Every once in a while these people come along, and he was one of these people. He had a trolley line up there or something happened. 

Porter: Well I certainly appreciate the insight you give me today. I would like a copy. If there is anything you think should be preserved, documents, letters, that we can copy for our archives, I think that is a very important thing for us to do. 

Hunter: You can make copies of movies here, can you? 

Porter: Yeah. What we would do is make videotapes. We have just built this building, it is a half million dollar building, complete fire protection, humidity control, temperature control, air filtration, fire-proof cabinets, it's really a state of the art museum collection, and if we can get these records into that facility then I think we have done an important job in preserving the MRA story. 

Hunter: You certainly should have a copy of The Crowning Experience... 

Porter: Bring it next summer when you come. 

Hunter: OK and that Mackinac: Island of Renaissance that tells the story of the construction. 

Eriksson: Somebody would have it. 

Porter: That's important, not only because it is a movie by MRA but because it tells a story of what happened here, the buildings that are still here. 

Hunter:That's right. Then there's the Beaver, that old barge we had out there, showed the picture of Don... 

Eriksson: It hauled in all the things for the buildings. 

Porter: What year did you acquire the Beaver, do you recall? 

Eriksson: Sam Reid, he is living down near where I am. 

Hunter: Well, it wasn't here in '54 but it was here in '55 I think. I would say it was '55. It was not here at the time of the theater but I think it was here the time of the Great Hall. It was based here at Harold Sack's old house, the pier back of that. Mapleview. 

Porter: You refer to a place called Cedar Point and the Great Hall. Could you explain what those two buildings are down there? 

Eriksson: Cedar Point is the conference center with the dining rooms and all that. And the Great Hall is part of that - the tepee. We called it Cedar Point. Now it's called Mission Point Resort. 

Porter: But they were built in two different phases? 

Vern: Well, they were continued, one big project. 

Porter: I still think it is one of the most beautiful buildings... I love the tepee... 

Hunter: I think Herman Smith, we never thought of it being a tepee, but Herman Smith, he was one of our operators, Indian background, went up there and said, "It's like a tepee". And it's been called that ever since. It's kind of nice. 

Eriksson: Well, we'll do what we can to help you. 

Hunter:One thing you ought to know, that there were logs brought over for the theater we cut on BobLo. 

Porter: We heard that, is that true also for the tepee room? 

Hunter: They came from somewhere near Taquamenon Falls. Those are big. These came from BobLo. Reggie Shepherd who is an old Canadian bushwhacker, he knows wood and all that stuff, he and Bob Amen and I, Bob Amen being an engineer type, and I went over and I was sort of a gopher. And we cut these trees, and an old gentleman, John Bible, helped us. And we finally got them all together and we got them trussed up. And we only had a motor boat; we towed them in the water. The wind came up and we weren't making any progress at all. You know, put-put, and we were almost going backwards. We saw we were not going to make it; we were going to run out of gas. So we cut the logs and they went back with the storm and piled up on the beach, and a couple of days later, when the weather got better, we got the "Buddy L" and Dick Welch and brought them over again. And they worked. We found them there, blown back on the shore. It's a great story. 

Eriksson: There's a man in St. Ignace who had a lumber company and we worked with him in getting these logs from up north. He trucked them down. We towed them across with the Beaver. 

Hunter: Well, I hope that you regard this as kind of a first olive out of the bottle. This is a preliminary, and if you want us to come back and talk again and hear some more stuff... if you have more questions, we would be glad, but be sure if you're interested in Logan Roots, the best source is that book On the Tail of a Comet. 

Porter: I think that would be a good thing for me to do, go to some of the literature that already exists, and maybe write some questions I have. Anything that has been written about the Mackinac experience from 1942 to '70? 

Eriksson: Not as such. Half a dozen books - the librarian has ... we'll get more for her. 

Porter: I look at this as a long-term project, and the more information we can add to the file, the better. 

Hunter: You've got a fascinating position, I envy you. 

Porter: I enjoy it. 

Hunter: It's an extraordinarily interesting place, the crossroads of history on Mackinac Island. Very, very exciting. 

Porter: The interesting thing about Mackinac history is that it is very long, a long period of time, and varied. Not just a place known for battles, for missionary activity, for industry, it has significant components for many different themes. And that's what makes it so fun. I really enjoy it.