Interview with Randyl Appel, Part 3, Host of NY Emissary Family Reunion

This is the third and last installment of my Facebook interview with Randyl Appel, Host of the New York Emissary Family Reunion Aug. 6, 7, and 8, 2010 attended by over fifty people.

Sandy Brown Jensen:

Randyl, was there one personal moment when it all came together for you that made you say, “THIS is the reason I went to all this effort? THIS made it all worthwhile?”

Randyl Appel August 11, 2010 at 1:25pm

Great question, Sandy! And there are probably a few answers to that one.

  • I grew up in EDL. My parents went to class in 1967. Here’s proof:
  • Host opf New York Emissary reunion Party

    Randyl Appel not too long ago (1969?)

  • I loved it. It was funky, it was always changing, and my life seemed bigger than many of my peers’ lives. I wanted to honor that life with this event.
  • All the effort that went into organizing the party was all “worth it” the minute people started truly committing with hotel and airline reservations. The moment it started to feel like it was really happening, I thought….”excellent!”
Dancers at the Emissary Family Reunion

Debra Stein, Warwickshire, and Randyl get down! Get funky!

  • I knew people would stay at my folks’ house for at least part of the time. They live locally and love to host. And if people were coming it meant the house would get cleaned. My older brother is a classic ‘hoarder’ and he takes over the upstairs of the house. It’s exhausting to confront. But with a party and the possibility of guests, we could all rally and take back the house! (that happened btw!)
Jody Isaacs at the Emissary Family Reunion

Jody Isaacs from Massachusetts flashes her signature full-watt smile

  • I love parties! I love dancing! I love to sing! Any excuse to let loose is fine by me. This was a great excuse.

Pam Gray at Emissary Family Reunion

Pam Gray, Lake Elsinore, CA showing the kids how it's done

  • The very BEST moments? Watching the first hugs as people ran into each other in the hotel lobby. That was breathtaking.
Greg Botz at the Emissary Family Reunion

Greg Botz has arrived: let the party begin!

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EDL Family Reunion in New York: Part II of an Interview with Randyl Appel, Event Coordinator

Sandy Brown Jensen: Welcome to Part Two of my Facebook interview with Randyl Appel, host of an Emissary Family Reunion given in New York the weekend of August 6, 7, and 8, 2010. If you missed the first installment, look to the top of the page for the little arrow pointing you to the right.

Randyl, did anyone work with you, or was this a one-man show?

Randyl Appel August 10, 2010 at 6:36pm

The most important person I had working with me was 3000 miles away in Huntington Beach. Lisa Campana was a great sounding board. I can’t thank her enough for that.

Lisa Campana, Mover, Shaker, Muse!

I was able to bounce ideas off of her. She’d make suggestions and the interplay was amazing. Lisa also hosted the bagel brunch we had Sunday morning and that went extremely well. How do you go wrong with New York bagels, Nova Scotia lox, white fish and tomatoes?

I also want to send a shout out to Nancy Leefe who helped secure the park location and who also did the picnic grocery shopping.

Logistically, the process included two parts:

1) The communication: We had a “group page” that we had created for Facebook, and we also used the eVite free invitation system, which allowed us to reach people via email who were not on Facebook. The advent of Facebook, btw (by the way), is what made this all possible.

2) The organization: I worked a lot with our host hotel for the signature event, which was the cocktail party on Saturday night. The Hotel concierge was wonderful in helping us secure group rate tickets for the Circle Line Cruise.

Then there were myriad little details like, “How do we get the 50 plus people across town or to the picnic or to the Broadway show?” etc. So much coordination of movement! I LOVED IT…maybe it’s the Virgo in me!

Michael Baim, Crested Butte, CO, and Randyl get down!

Sandy Brown Jensen: This sounds like it could have been a big, scary event. What was your biggest fear?

Randyl Appel
August 10, 2010 at 8:29pm

I don’t know if I had fear about this…but I had concerns:

  • Would anybody drag unresolved issues forward? One of my key phrases was, “No unfinished business will be served at this party.” It’s 15-20 years later. If you have stuff you haven’t dealt with…this party was NOT the forum for that. In fact if you haven’t dealt with unfinished business, you have bigger issues than not being able to bring them to a party.
  • I was concerned that people have a great time. I was, after all, dragging them across country and even across the Atlantic Ocean. There had to be more than just a chance to say hello. There had to be some structure to the play time.
  • And of course I was concerned that nobody would come! You put something like this out there, and you wonder if it will be like Charlie Brown having a party that nobody attends.

Sandy Brown Jensen:
At this point, I asked John Gray to microblog on the party. He and his wife Pamela came from Southern California to join the festivities in New York. They were decades-long focalizers of the Glen Ivy Emissary intentional community.

John Gray:

I think Pamela and I were among a first few on whom Randyl tested the idea of having a reunion party, and we committed right away to be there.

The weekend arrived, and great New York summer weather welcomed a perfect and unlikely a group (as Emissaries ever were), self-selecting to reunite.

Debra Stein, Warwickshire, England and John Gray, Lake Elsinore, CA. Old friends reunited at the NY Emissary Family Reunion

Dinners, a Broadway show, a cruise around Manhattan Island, the Party, the after-party, the Central Park recovery picnic, were all permeated by conversations, laughter, dancing, singing (well, lubricated Karaoke) and all-around, agenda-free revelry.

"Well-lubricated Karaoke, and all-around, agenda-free revelry!"

Some of us could measure in decades the last time we’d seen each other, yet there we were, older faces framing the same eyes, sparkling and luminous as ever.

(Meanwhile, Randyl has been lost in thought and wants to add something to the question, “What was your biggest fear?”)

Randyl Appel:

While I wouldn’t go back…can’t really…to the Emissary structure that I experienced as a young man in the 1980s, I really loved the vast majority of my time in those intentional communities like Glen Ivy. Great people. (Some cheesedoodles in the crowd but whatever…)

I learned the art of critical thinking in intentional community. I had so many chances to create and to play and, of course, to wash dishes. Loved it!

One of my concerns for myself is for my good memories not to continue to be challenged by the shadow stuff that was definitely there. I loved high school after all, and I hated high school, after all.  So I just don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water even now! Especially now!

The reality was that when I was an active Emissary living in community,  I was too young to have gotten ensnarled in any of the politics that may have been present, so I was not really beat up by the leadership shadow aspect that plagued [many of] us in the late 80s and early 90s. I had free reign to play and create and manifest. I loved my creative life in community, and I sought to honor it by bringing friends together, who for a moment, 15 years ago, all found themselves in crisis simultaneously.

Sandy Brown Jensen: Blog visitors, Randyl has opened a provocative line of thought. What does his thinking prompt in you to say? Leave a message!

Interview with Randyl Appel, Host of the New York EDL Family Reunion last weekend


This is the first question for Randyl, and I’ll post his thoughts throughout the week:

Sandy Brown Jensen: Randyl, When did you first get the idea for this New York EDL Family Reunion? Do you remember what you were doing when inspiration struck?

Randyl Appel, Host of the New York EDL Family Reunion

Randyl Appel August 9 at 10:43pm

About two years ago, long lost Emissary friends began popping up on Facebook. It was nothing short of a miracle as I figured we’d really never see each other again.

But everyday, someone else seemed to reappear in my life. The timing was perfect. I was ready to enjoy this amazing community again.

I love to plan and host parties. Did a big 50th for my folks a few years back and then just did my Grandmother’s 100th birthday in Los Angeles. So when all of these old EDL friends started rushing back into my life via Facebook, I began to wonder if there was a party in all of this.

For me, any chaos and rancor and confusion around was long gone. There truly wasn’t a lot for me ever. But I felt nothing but love and I like to turn love into parties. Food, drink, dance, kisses, and party!

Then 18 months ago, I began to post on Facebook the notion of a reunion of sorts that could happen here in my local village of New York City. I didn’t know who. I didn’t know how. I’m not even sure I knew why. But I kept at it and the interest was there immediately!

I got help spreading the word and soon there was critical mass to make this thing happen. I was vigilant about what I wouldn’t tolerate…it was not an event about working out unresolved issues. It was just a party.


EDL Party in New York

This is a new blog dedicated to celebrating the best of intentional community living, past, present and future! What better way to start than by bringing news of the reunion party in New York over the past weekend bringing Emissary of Divine Light members from many decades together?

The host was the ineffable Randyl Appel, who worked long and hard to make this event the success it obviously was.

Here in Oregon, I poured through the photos going up on Randyl’s Facebook site, looking for beloved faces from my past.

Lisa Campana; Randyl Appel

Lisa Campana and Host of the NY EDL Family Reunion, Randyl Appel

New York Group Shot

Cher Skoubo, Maria Jimenez Frid, Jim Frid, Keith Fairmont, Michael Baim, Trevor Baim, Mary Shannon Baim, Greg Botz

Greg Botz; Michael Baim

Skip Pizzi (I don't know him), but there's Greg Botz and Michael Baim, both of whom lived at Glen Ivy Community back in my day!

If you are an Em or Ex-Em, go to Randyl’s Facebook page to see his entire album.

If you were there, please leave a post and tell us what went on or how you liked the party.