The Early Unification Church History

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The members began to move to other areas of the country. Pauline went to Cleveland, Doris to Los Angeles, Doug to Louisiana, and Gordon went to Texas. Patty and I decided it was time to go also, the newer members were now capable of handling the centers locally - such as Edwin Ang in Berkeley.

For sometime I made extra money with a part time job cleaning up a restaurant early in the mornings. I began the job while working at the post office. Sometimes Patty would help me clean the restaurant. One morning we were cleaning it and found a road map of Colorado left by someone in one of the booths. We sat down and looked at it and decided then and there, Colorado would be where we would pioneer and we began to make our plans.

Our situation was unlike many members, who couldn't just get on a bus with a few bags and go, or in some cases drive a car. For the Pumphreys this was a major logistical problem, a family with three sons - the two older ones in grade school - and an assortment of belongings. We were moving half way across the country, with all our belongings in a 12 ft. U-Haul pulled by an aging 1951 Chevrolet sedan. This brings reminiscences of ancestors that went west in covered wagons, and later during the great depression, as families headed west to the promised land of California in old cars and trucks.

So I took a long thanksgiving week end at my Western Electric job and with a car full of kids, a parakeet and our belongings in a U- Haul we headed for Denver. We had little money, and knew no one in Denver. I had never been there except as a child, when our train laid over there for a few hours. We just went on faith. Today, I would be very hesitant to head out across country with my family in a 1951 Chevrolet sedan, and all my belongings in a 12 foot trailer. But we were young - it is hard to believe I was ever 33 - my younger kids think I was born old.

On the way, we stayed at motels in Nevada and Salt Lake City Utah.

Our trip to Colorado took place during an important time in history, as we were crossing the great salt flats in Utah, the boys were listening to a small transistor radio, the only radio in the car. It had very poor reception, along with the noise of the car. They said they heard that President Kennedy has been shot. I couldn't believe it, when we got to the edge of Salt Lake City, and stopped at a filling station. It was confirmed by the attendant with tears in his eyes . It is said that you remember where you were when Kennedy was shot or the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor beginning the Second World War.

We only had a couple of problems with the car on the trip. Early that first night the generator went out on the car. We pulled under a street light in some small town in Nevada and I changed it. Just happened to have a spare in the trunk. On the third day leaving Salt Lake City, the car heated up going up a pass in the mountains.

We made it to Denver the following day. During that time we watched the activities of the President Kennedy's funeral, on the television at the motel.

We started looking for a house, and finally found one in Lakewood, the third one we looked at and the people later gave the house to us. The owner was going into business, didn't have any equity in the house and wanted to unload it. Not bad for someone coming to a strange city, but we felt it was more than an accident, that God had really helped when we made the decision to go out on our own.

We unloaded the trailer set up the house and I flew back to California to work at Western Electric until the first of the year, January 1964. I was employed in the engineering department of Western Electric in Burlingame when we decided to go to Denver.

A few months later in January I loaded my stuff, which was a lot, into and on top of my 1956 Volkswagen convertible. I built a top carrier, which is a task when you have a convertible. I headed for Denver in the dead of winter. The Volkswagen was underpowered with a 36 horse power engine and would only hit a top speed of 45 mph - I think that was down hill with a tail wind. The Volkswagen broke down late one evening in Western Wyoming. I had ground out the key in a rear brake drum. They had a key way instead of the spline used in real cars. I had used a nail as a cotter key to secure the wheel, and also tightened the nut with a pipe wrench instead of with the proper wrench to 200 foot pounds torque. I was supposed to use the official German engineered, Volkswagen approved, hardened cotter key that must be purchased from a authorized Volkswagen dealer from a parts man named Wolfgang, who speaks with the Volkswagen authorized German accent - at least in those days.

A man and his wife stopped to help. I managed to fashion a key out of an allen wrench to make it to the next town. The man followed me to the next town and invited me to stay at his house that night, when it dropped to 10 degrees below zero. The man was an unemployed carpenter, and the next day drove me 50 miles to Ogden to buy a brake drum. Sometime that afternoon I was on my way again, only to have the same thing happen again in eastern Wyoming at night when it was ten below zero. I made a major error, I used a pipe wrench on the wheel nut again.

My problem, as I learned later, was the rear wheel nut has to be torqued on at 200 ft pounds torque, or you grind out the key way in the rear wheel drum. I got towed to a truck stop. Parked the Volkswagen in the garage and hitched a ride to Denver with a trucker.

After getting settled in Denver, finding people was slow. It wasn't till sometime in 1964 that we found someone, or someone found me. That was the beginning of the Unification Church in Denver. As far as I know there has continued to be a group in Denver or Colorado since that time. The next director was Judy Harbour who joined in Denver. She was followed by Carl and Lenna Rapkins and later by Philip and Vivian Burley. Phillip said one time that people needed to keep a history of the church in cities. I would assume that most of the church history of Denver is forgotten now as are the names of the many directors that have come and gone since then. I believe there has been a center maintained in Colorado continually since 1963.


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