40 Years in America

With Father in the Early Days - Mike Leone

Father and Mother, Mrs. Choi, David S. C. Kim, Neil Salonen and myself went downtown shopping at a large department store to buy gifts for some members. As we walked into the department store, Father walked up to a large mannequin. He shook her hand and said, in English, "How are you today?" We all rolled with laughter. Itís not easy to convey, but it was one of the funniest things Iíve ever seen.

Father was examining a building we were considering buying in downtown Los Angeles. We went through this large building, floor by floor, with two well-dressed men representing the owner. Father walked through the building quickly and did not say a word to the two men. Then we arrived in the basement, the boiler room. There was a man who was the only one working in the whole building, because it was vacated. He was covered with grease, as if heíd been there 20 years. Father went up to the man, introduced himself, and proceeded to talk to him for over an hour, asking questions about the building. He never addressed the ownerís representatives at all. When I thought about it later, I thought it made a lot of sense.

When Father first started the seven-city speaking tour, I was there the night that he announced he would do it and we did not believe. After one or two cities were done, he returned to Upshur House and he and Col. Pak met all night, until 4 am. I was doing security and kept serving them cold drinks. Then at last they got up and we went out to Dr. Pakís Volkswagen van, and he drove away and we waved goodbye to him. Father looked up in the sky and said to me, "Itís late, letís go to bed." We went in to bed. Later, I realized that Father had been talking to Dr. Pak about giving up his job and serving as Fatherís interpreter. Dr. Pak had agreed that night.

When True Parents arrived in America, they had very little clothing. True Father had one ill-fitting suit and a beaten up belt. True Mother had two blouses to her name. Mrs. Choi had no western clothes. Betsy Jones had to beg for $800 to buy them new clothes. True Parents slept in a small bedroom and used an adjacent room for sitting. Here Father would conduct his business, plan his speaking tour, lead pledge service and have get togethers. He would eat in the basement or in the room near the door. He shared with all of us. I picked up Rev. Kamiyama at the airport when he first came from Japan. The first bus team was started out of this house, led by Miss Young Oon Kim and Dr. Joseph Sheftick. The first fundraising team started here, connected with Upper Marlboro. It was amazing when someone made $50 in one day.

When he was here, one brother and I set up appointments with senators and congressmen to meet an important evangelist from Korea. We met Hubert Humphrey, Ted Kennedy, Trent Lott, about thirty in all. I drove Father and Mother with Mr. Salonen to the Hill. Father always told them the message about the two thieves on the cross, representing democracy and communism. He told them that communism would surely fall; this was 1972. And he would tell them that he would spearhead the effort to overcome communism. He told them of the other two headaches of God, and that he would spearhead the effort to help the youth overcome drugs, and to unify Christianity. After 20 or 30 minutes, he would take pictures with them and give them ginseng tea and be off. The night before Father met President Nixon, we prayed a long time at the holy ground and then drove around the White House seven times.

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