Ask and ye shall receive—eventually

May 15, 2014


suz10To the best of my recollection, this photo was taken in the early 1970s, in Upper Ojai, at a place called High Winds. At this point in time I had spotted a flyer on the bulletin board of the Gateway Bookstore in the arcade, advertising a nine-month yoga teacher-training program at the Institute for Yoga Teacher Education in San Francisco (now the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco).

To pay for the first semester I needed $500, a fortune that seemed out of reach. I lived with my boyfriend and took care of his two children as well as my own young son—three kids under age six. I also worked part-time at a preschool and  did home health care for elderly people. And I had started teaching my first weekly yoga class at Grey Gables; I think each student paid $3. All my income went for food and for clothes from the thrift shop.

However, I had one card up my sleeve. I had started writing a weekly health column called Living Naturally for the Ojai Valley News. It was popular, and generated quite a bit of controversy when I wrote a series of columns about a possible link between nutrition and cancer. The column generated a flurry of Letters to the Editor in which the American Cancer Society and local doctors called me a quack while other readers, “health food fanatics,” wrote passionate letters defending my views. So it came to me, in a moment of desperation, that maybe one of those like-minded readers might loan me the money I needed to enroll in yoga teacher training.

With great trepidation, I had to approach the editor, Fred Volz, with my idea that I needed to get some yoga teacher training and ask if he would allow me to add a few lines at the end of my next column explaining that I needed a $500 loan. I was thrilled when he agreed. When the next issue of the paper hit the stand I eagerly opened it to see how my appeal looked in print. Much to my delight, Fred Volz had highlighted it by placing it in a box in the center of my column, where no one could possibly miss it.

Somewhere in my archives I have that issue, and I’m curious to see exactly how it was worded to sound professional–something like: “Suza wants to take some formal yoga teacher training in San Francisco and she will come back to the Ojai Valley to teach. The program costs $500 and she is looking for someone to loan her the money, to be paid back when she resumes teaching.”

Somehow I had faith that one of my loyal readers would call the editor and deliver a check on my behalf. Three long weeks went by, and each time I hand- delivered my typed weekly column (always thick with splotches of White-Out and strips of scotch tape from cutting and pasting paragraphs), I would meekly ask if anyone had responded to my ad.

When the fourth week came, just as in a storybook when the heroine has just about given up hope, I delivered my column and Fred Volz stood up from behind his big desk and handed me a slip of paper with a name and phone number; it had come in soon after my appeal appeared, but somehow I hadn’t gotten the message. I raced home on my bicycle and dialed the number. The man on the other end of the line lived in Los Angeles. He had a home here or frequently visited the valley, and he had seen my ad. After asking a few questions, he asked me where to mail the check. I hung up in happy disbelief. My ship had come in!

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One Response to “Ask and ye shall receive—eventually”

  1. Suza Francina Says:

    Luke 11:9

    New International Version
    “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

    New Living Translation
    “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

    English Standard Version
    And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

    New American Standard Bible
    “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

    King James Bible
    And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

    Holman Christian Standard Bible
    “So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

    International Standard Version
    So I say to you: Keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened for you,

    NET Bible
    “So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

    and many more versions of this hopeful quote (that I need to remember).

    Like

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