At the end of that evening, an exciting and wonderful thing happened for Betty and myself. Dr. Reams called us over as everyone was leaving, and he told us in a very matter of fact way, “I want you on my team here at Blue Ridge. See me in the morning in my office.” Can you imagine our surprise and wonderment? His team? What did that mean? What did he expect us to do? Another sleepless night!
Betty and I wrestled with what seemed to be an insurmountable problem….what would our children think? We were sure that they thought we had gone ‘round the bend’ already! I would expect they would have padded rooms ready for us at the Funny Farm if we were to spring this new idea on them. Yet, even in the midst of the turmoil of our thoughts and emotions, we got more and more excited.
We could really be an asset to the administration of the program, which was pretty haphazard to say the least. It needed a couple of good organizers, and we could fill the bill in that area. Betty had wonderful organizational skills; she had been a pastor’s wife for nearly 30 years, and had been a teacher. I had worked in an office and had a very good background in office procedures. We were a dynamite pair!
Working at the retreat at Blue Ridge would give us an opportunity to look more closely at the program and to learn all about the testing program so that we could help other people achieve better health and wellness.
Then some reality set in. This move would mean leaving our comfort zone in Herkimer….our house was just nicely settled and we were enjoying the peace and quiet of our lives there. Some of our children were near by and we were free to go and visit the others any time we wanted to. We were deeply involved in our church; there were so many strings attaching us to our friends and families that we were really doubtful about the new challenges we would face at Blue Ridge. And…we hadn’t even talked to Dr. Reams about what he was expecting of us! Maybe we were worrying about nothing. So we decided to get some sleep and face Dr. Reams in the morning with our questions. Secretly, I think we expected that his answers would lead us to turn down his offer to be ‘on his team!’
Morning came, a beautiful summer day in the hills of Georgia, and we hurried through breakfast and headed for Doc’s office. He was already preparing to leave, but he took a few moments to explain his vision for Blue Ridge. (Here I will say that Doc had a lot of big dreams, as most geniuses do, but he was not overly practical!) He brushed off our questions with ease and told us to meet with Eugene and Dodie (his son and daughter-in-law). They would help us to work out the details. He also told us he would give us a month to go home, take care of any details of leaving, etc. Then he was out the door and gone, saying, “I’ll see you here in August.” So much for explaining what we were going to be doing; and oh yes, was this a paid position? We really couldn’t afford to just volunteer! There would be expenses connected with this move, such as keeping the utilities on at home; winter heating would soon be upon us; also, what to do with our cat, Smokey, and who would look after our home while we were away for God knows how long. Perhaps, these were minor details for some, but not for us; Betty was well into retirement age and I had not worked for several years due to physical problems; what were we thinking of?
Our next step was to really pray about this whole situation; it probably should have been our first step, but we were a bit overwhelmed with Doc’s approach. Anyway, when we finally got in touch with God about our dilemma, our hearts were put at ease, and we were assured that this new venture was in His plan for our lives. Okay, now how do we convince our family and friends that we were listening to Him…not just wishful thinking! Well, as usual, God was way ahead of us and He was paving the way.
On this note, we returned home to Herkimer, in fear and trepidation, to tell our family about the Reams program and our opportunity to become a factor in it. We never dreamed how much that program would influence our lives for the next 30 plus years. Our families accepted our plans to be at home for about a month, to close up our house, find a new home for our kitty, Smokey, and return to Blue Ridge to become immersed in this exciting new way of life for us. We both were feeling so great since going through the 10-day program at the retreat. We knew that the fast and the introduction of the nutrition program had benefitted us greatly, but we really knew very little about the total premise of the program…how to achieve balance in our bodies so that we could stave off the diseases that were just laying in wait for us….diabetes, heart problems, cancer, arthritis, dementia…all of the illnesses that seemed to beset the elderly in this country.
Back home we went, full of enthusiasm and plans for the next phase of our big adventure. Explaining our decision to return to Georgia for an extended period of time was not as easy to sell to our families and friends this time around, but I’m sure they knew that we were not going to be dissuaded….we were a stubborn pair! Everyone was concerned about my health and how well I would be able to handle working many hours a day, etc., etc. They also pointed out that Betty was nearly seventy…although that had not slowed her down. She could run circles around most people half her age! And so it was….we began making arrangements for our big trip to Blue Ridge, packed our car with some necessities for our little trailer, lots of summer clothes and lots of office supplies, which were definitely missing in our office down there.
We said goodbye to our families and friends and were on our way about three weeks after our return home.
Arriving back at Blue Ridge, we found that, as usual, no preparations had been made for us…actually, I don’t think they really expected us to return! They had no idea of how determined we were to become a real part of this extraordinary experiment. First, however, we had to find where we were to stay and what we were expected to do. Dodie showed us how the office was set up, more or less, and told us we were going to be responsible for keeping records on the clients, have charge of taking payments for their programs, and handling telephone calls for reservations.
Eugene took us on an apartment hunting tour the next morning. The first place we looked at was about a half mile from the retreat, a huge, old house that was desperately in need of repair. There was no furniture in it and we just shook our heads and said, ‘no way’. Eugene agreed that it really wasn’t a very good place for us, so we went further down the road….about three miles from the retreat to a small trailer set off the road in a woodsy spot. Now, mind you, the roads in this part of Georgia were not paved, were of red clay which could become a slippery sea of mud in a rainy season. Of course there were no street lights either. We went into the trailer and looked around. Although it was sparsely furnished, it would be adequate for our needs with a little TLC. There was electricity and running water, so we decided it would do; however, there were two small drawbacks…..there was no phone (This was in the days before cell phones), and no key for the door! Eugene assured us that the key must be at the retreat office…sure. (It never turned up in all the time we were there!)
The next day was spent working in the office and then embarking on a shopping trip for supplies for our little abode. Now a shopping trip from Blue Ridge was about 20 miles; it wasn’t just down the street. We found a small department store and a nice grocery store and had a fun time setting up house- keeping.
All of this narrative is to explain how much we believed in what Dr. Reams was doing and how much we wanted to be a part of something that would benefit so many people. We saw miracles at Blue Ridge – people that the doctors had given up on were literally given a new lease on life. So many people had come there, as we did, not knowing anything about the program but having heard about it from a friend or a relative. The program worked for nearly everyone that we saw at the retreat. It was so simple and such a basic approach that most doctors pooh-poohed it out of hand. They depended on drugs and surgery and did not believe that the body had the ability to heal itself; yet, this was God’s provision for mankind. Put the right foods into the body and drink plenty of water, get plenty of exercise, plenty of fresh air and sunshine, take time to rest and restore the natural balance of the body and, barring accidents, you can live in good health.
I know that all of this sounds too simplistic; we only have to listen to all of the drug commercials on TV where we are told that we are the sickest people in the world. Yet, I know of many who have gone back to basics and are living healthy productive lives in spite of all the gloom and doom out there! I feel that Betty and I were prime examples of healthy living and the Reams program. The premise has always been to get the metabolism in balance and the body will take care of itself.
Betty went to be with the Lord in 2003 at age 91; she had been a living example of how the program worked because she had no more arthritis in her neck and back which had severely handicapped her movements in 1976 before we found the program. Up until 2002 she could actually bend over and place her hands flat on the floor without bending her knees. She worked with me in 3 different Reams retreats….Blue Ridge, GA., Plaza Santa Maria, Mexico, and Scituate, MA and was an inspiration to everyone she met.
We stayed at Blue Ridge until Thanksgiving of ’76. The weather turned very cold and we had a lot of freezing rain which made traveling hazardous. The population of the retreat fell off drastically and it was decided to finish the programs of guests that had started and then close for the winter. Actually, that decision was a final closure for Blue Ridge because Dr. Reams had already opened another retreat house in Roanoke, VA. He had leased a motel that had shut down and had space for up to 125 people at any given time in the Tinker Mt. Retreat. He had hired a Director and was getting staff trained in order to open in early 1977.
[End of part II. Next is Tinker Mountain. I hope all readers are appreciative of Elinor for taking the time to provide her first-person narrative of the early days of RBTI. Feel free to post comments in the form of either feedback, questions, or kudos. Her sclerology seminar is still being scheduled. Although much RBTI literature refers to recording the engorged vessels of the white of the eye, hardly anyone writes about or seems skilled in matching those readings to organ dysfunction à la Reams. Elinor hopes to pass the wisdom that Reams personally passed her to others before passing from the scene herself.]