Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Four, fair-minded A.A. history workers who helped me

Through the years--twenty in fact--I have worked with and benefitted from the labors of four AAs who deserve mention in these days when so many folks are dividing themselves into camps and barring the activities of others. One talented historical writer with immense sobriety has often spoken of the need for "freedom of speech" when it comes to writing about A.A. And these men provide a venue for just that.

Here they are in the order of my experience:

Ozzie L., of East Dorset, Vermont. Ozzie was the founder of the Wilson House. After he completed renovation of that historical museum, he set to work on the Griffith House where Bill Wilson was raised. Ozzie worked tirelessly until his death building book cases, research areas, and antique reminders of the Wilson days. But in my case, he decided to welcome my entire collection of 23,000 historical items, find a place for them, and catalogue them. And, fair minded as he was, he also welcomed the treasures of many others who had gathered or written on A.A. history. Today, the Griffith Library, East Dorset, Vermont, is the crown jewel repository of unbiased A.A. history presentations.

Diaz of Oklahoma. He began building the aabibliography website from scratch. And he gathered materials relevant to A.A. history from a myriad of sources - Oxford Group literature, the Bible, Rev. Shoemaker materials, devotionals, and historical writings by AAs of all stripes and colors. Diaz worked very very hard on a shoestring to build his website into one of the most comprehensive historical repositories on the web. He too has been impartial and fairminded in publishing the works of many, including myself, who are not always in agreement. But it was historical content that Diaz sought and posted. And it is still a great A.A. history resource.

Cory F. of Minnesota. He aligned himself with the 2000 A.A. International Convention activities in Minneapolis. He arranged for all sorts of A.A. speakers, including me. And then he arranged for the formation of Archives 2000 on the internet. Cory too was hardworking--moving forward on a shoestring. He welcomed writings from a great variety of A.A. historians, including me. And it mattered little to him whether they were Roman Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish. If they had said something relevant, he selected the best of the writings and posted them for all to see. In addition, he gathered many historical archival materials and began posting them. He was a bird dog when it came to hunting down historical treasures. And he too was fair-minded--a pleasure to work with.

Jim who worked tirelessly on Silkworth.net. He had previously posted historical materials on another A.A. site, but found materials, including mine, being barred. Then Jim began an organizing and gathering of all kinds of historical manuscripts, writings, and articles, including mine. He helped the huge expansion of the Silkworth site to something in addition to an excellent historical resource about Dr. William D. Silkworth. He has probably the best historical website of them all. And he lays everything from every source before the viewer's eyes, in an extremely organized display, and censors nothing--though colleagues often try to push him in other directions. Today, though he no longer works alone, Jim is a man of faith. He is a man of integrity. He is courteous, kind, and fair. And his open-minded willingness to tell things the way the are instead of the way someone says they were is a tribute to the history gang of which I am a part.

The foregoing are my opinions. They endeavor to preserve the anonymity of the four stellar workers. And in my judgment they reflect what I believe is absolutely necessary if the revelation of long obscured, ignored, distorted, and missing variety of A.A. history is to become available and applicable to the recovery of the afflicted and the affected today. These four deserve our gratitude, and they sure have mine! Dick B.

1 comment:

WI Catholic said...

It has always upset me when 'the Old Timers' who know how AA started are not heeded. The Good Book was used long before the Big Book existed.

I forever am grateful to #11 Homebrewmeister for his spiritual program retreats.

May he (Clarence S) and Grace rest in peace.

God bless, Dick B