The Story of Mama and Dr. Larry

This meme -- inspired by Herr Doktor-Professor Trump's hold over his flock -- and a discussion online about murderers or murder victims you have known got me to thinking again about this stray frond from my childhood memories.

The Story of Mama and Dr. Larry

My mom was a wild child who got kicked out of Incarnate Word and St. Agnes and so attended San Jacinto HS and then finally Lamar, where she ran with a crew of little flower power hippies and beatniks. This was pre-Manson, and they called themselves "the Family."

Beatnik mama, showing off a painting

One member of the family was a handsome, brooding guitar-playing Jewish kid named Larry. Larry's parents were card-carrying Communists when he was growing up and so he was pretty much raised under FBI surveillance. He also was in fourth grade at Poe Elementary when that bomb went off and that fucked with his head pretty badly too. I've met about a half-dozen people who survived that horror and they are all deeply twisted each in their own ways.

They were raised by a stoic generation. There was no "aftercare." No therapy. After they were marched through the bloodbath that was the playground in orderly fire-drill style, it was just go back to school and forget any of this ever happened.

Larry was kind of like this James Dean/Bob Dylan combo who had his pick of all the girls who would have gone to Houston School for the Performing and Visual Arts had it existed at the time...And he was way into acid first and then he got into speed and got really really strung out.

Dropped out of college and disappeared and was pretty much written off for dead. Both my parents were friends with Larry's brother, Danny, a student radical at UH. When our family moved to NYC for a short spell circa 1971, my parents drove a van there and Danny and girlfriend accompanied me, an infant at the time, on the plane up there.

So anyway, after a few years in the wind, Larry popped up in California and to everyone's surprise, was actually thriving. He'd blazed through undergrad and was charging through medical school. After LSD and speed, he'd found Jesus. Jesus and a benefactor, who saw promise in the young man and helped pay his way through med school.

And then when Larry completed med school that benefactor hired Larry as his organization's staff physician and he remained in that duty when the organization moved overseas.

To Guyana. The Benefactor was the Rev Jim Jones, and Dr. Larry Schacht was the camp physician at Jonestown. Dr. Larry devised the Guyana punch on Jones's orders and drank it down with the rest of them.

The day after it happened the phone was ringing off the hook at my mom's house in Nashville. The media had tracked her down somehow. She was no-commenting for a while and then stopped answering the phone at all and I couldn't understand why. I thought she was missing out on a shot at fame.