Feed the People was started by an Egomaniac with a big heart. Sean was a loud man. But he was a caring person. Never shy to speak his mind. He often spoke up for others. He would talk you out of anything he could get. But he would share all of it himself.
I got to know Feed the People while eating their food. What they made was hot soup. Sometimes they would serve bread and juice. Sean had once cooked with Food Not Bombs. But he had personal disagreements with the group. And so started Feed the People.
The first person I got to know was John Earth. In some ways John was the opposite of Sean. Where Sean was loud. John was quiet. But they shared a concern for others. And they shared the mission of the group. It was a simple mission, feed people. They also shared a deep friendship.
When I became associated with the group Sean was in jail. I do not recall the reason. John was looking for a place to cook. And having a hard time keeping the group functional. John was the mother of the group, taking care of the day to day details. Sean had been the father. His was a more active role. But both were important.
When I met John Earth I was living with Amy. She had talked about helping others. She was a caring soul. I thought she would want to help John. When I asked her she said, “yes.”
So John started to cook in her apartment. And we would carry the food downtown to serve. We made the soup from donations. It was always an odd selection. We chopped and boiled anything we got. But never meat, or dairy. It was always vegan. Always made with love. And it was always yummy.
During this time I was also spending time with friends from Bethany. One of them was Doshia. I had known her while a student. But I got to know her more after I left Bethany. Shannon was someone new to the school. But we became friends, as she was friends with Doshia.
When Doshia heard about the feeding program she wanted to help too. She had a pickup truck. Instead of walking the food downtown, Doshia would give us a ride.
Over time the four of us became friends. Then Sean got out. When he came back to the group, he took the lead again. He was a natural leader. And to be honest I felt pushed aside a little. I felt like less important.
Amy and I had been close. But at some point she said we would just be friends. This had been upsetting to me. But on one trip to San Francisco I met M.
When I came back to Santa Cruz I introduced Amy to M. It was an odd meeting, quiet and awkward. It may not have been a wise choice for me. But I don’t know if it was a choice I could have avoided without changing my life in Santa Cruz.
The night I recall the most was at Amy’s. Sean had been talking about having a party. And it was going to be at Amy’s apartment. Well, amy’s parents completely supported her. And before meeting M I had spent almost a month living with her. I knew she was nervous about her parents finding out about me.
Amy was a caring person. But also a quiet person. When I invited the group into her home it was John. And John and Amy had much in common. They were both had a natural peaceful spirit. But Sean had a natural active spirit. And I knew at times Amy wasn’t comfortable with his level of energy. But she would never had said a word.
Well, back to the night things went bad. Sean was talking and planning a big event. In my mind I grew concerned for Amy. My feeling was this wasn’t something she would want in her apartment. Also it could cause problems with the apartment management. By this time I was not living with her anymore. So, it wasn’t my interest.
“You haven’t even asked Amy,” I stated at one point. Which was true, he hadn’t. But it wasn’t Sean’s nature to ask. He assumed people were as giving as himself. Often this worked for him. But in this case I think it was a mistake.
Well Sean got upset. Amy got upset. And M got upset. Looks like I did a great job. But the event never took place.
Sean got upset because I challenged him. He was an egomaniac. I don’t think he conceived of Amy not approving. Maybe he got upset because he knew I was right. People get upset when they are caught, and they know they are wrong.
Amy got upset because I spoke for her. As much as she would never speak for herself. And maybe it wasn’t my business. But to this day I think I made the right choice. She knew it was out of concern for her. Of all the people, she may have forgiven me the easiest.
And M? Well she got upset because she felt like I still wanted to be with Amy. I made a lot of mistakes in my relationship with the two girls. Sean later told M I never defended her like I did Amy. Which was true. But M was a different person. A stronger more able person in many ways.
There was another time I recall. We were at Amy’s with Shannon and Doshia. I don’t know if M was with us. They started talking about old souls. Sean had said Shannon was an old soul. Doshia asked about herself. And then we talked about a few other people. Then Doshia said, “what about Rainbow?”
Sean’s comment was he would tell me when I acted my age. Which was fine with me. I didn’t put much stake in the whole discussion. I still don’t today. I’ve met many old people who aren’t wise. And I have met many young people who have much wisdom. Why would it be any different with souls?
One time when I wasn’t around Sean made an odd comment to Doshia. The tension between me and Sean was growing. I was never sure what caused this tension. It must have been something mutual. He was a Sagittarius, a sign I often don’t match with well.
“I’m not going to let Rainbow come between me and my girls,” he told Doshia. Which is a funny thing for him to say. Of the list of girls he could have been speaking of, most were my friends first. Besides the fact, people don’t belong to people.
At many times I wanted to impress Sean. In some ways I looked up to him like a father figure. But I also resented him in ways. Because he was so confident. So sure of himself. Maybe for my part the tension came from this internal struggle. I wanted his approval. But I didn’t want to be another of his groupies.
Sean had a way of getting things. I don’t know how. And as far as I know it was legit. We would watch movies for free. Not by sneaking in the side door. He would talk to someone at the ticket counter and we would walk in the front. And he invited almost anyone.
The group got donations from various places. The only one I remember was Odwalla. This was before Coke bough the company. So it was when they were still good. We got gallons and gallons of juice. And we gave it all away. Odwalla was a different company. You could ask a driver for a sample, or an out-of-date and they would often give you one.
At some point Sean’s girlfriend went on a trip. He was alone in his tent and offered to let me and M stay. We were there for a while. On the last day, me and M cleaned up the tent. We wanted it to be nice for Sean and his girlfriend. Me and M moved into the woods. As a parting gift we left them a couple condoms. We must have just thrown them on top the blankets.
The next time we saw Sean he was threatening my life. Said he had trashed his tent, left a mess. It wasn’t the truth. And I would not back down. Giving in felt like becoming another of the people who bowed to Sean.
For days we avoided each other. M and I felt nervous. But I also felt like he wouldn’t hurt me. At one point I told him: “this is America, we don’t submit to terrorism.” Sean was of Iranian decent.
I know at some point we got together and talked. If I remember right the problem was resolved. But we were never close again.
It was through Sean I met Erin. Who became a close friend for a number of years. She is someone I still miss today.
I’m not sure the last time I saw Sean. Or John Earth. Or even Amy.
The saddest part of the story comes years later. John and Sean had gone to Fresno. Sean had gotten tired driving back, and asked John to drive. Later John said he hadn’t felt tired himself. But, he fell asleep at the wheel. The van was wrecked and Sean was killed. For a while there was a concern they were going to charge John for his death.
I felt how much I had loved Sean after he died. I learned a lot from him. He was an egomaniac. But he also had a big heart for others. I am sure he would have helped anyone.