So what was next for the team of peripatetic grandmothers? Here we were back home in Herkimer, NY with no idea of what was in store for us. Were we supposed to continue on with the Reams program, which had been so suddenly shut down in Roanoke? What kind of trouble might we be in if we pursued it in our own area? Would we hear a knock on the door and be told by the AMA to cease and desist? Neither of us relished the idea of a jail cell for telling people how to get healthy in a natural way, not with medically prescribed drugs, but with food that was grown in good soil and contained the nutrients needed to supply the body with energy. Add to that pure water, lemons for detoxification and the proper balance of natural vitamins, minerals and herbs to keep the body in balance.
Could we in good conscience walk away from this program from which we had benefitted so greatly? We decided that we had learned so much from our experiences at Blue Ridge and Roanoke for a reason, and we should not waste what had been given to us. We started talking to a lot of people about the program and gradually a few of them showed some interest in being tested. We began a small health food store in our home; we had a large family room which had been our childrens’ playroom, stocking it with the minerals and vitamins that Dr. Reams had formulated and which worked so well….(incidentally, I still recommend these same mineral formulas to this very day, 33 years later!).
Our very first client for the program was a dog! A neighbor had a beautiful old red setter that seemed to be aging rapidly and had become very listless. Her formerly shiny red coat had become dull and lifeless and she seemed very sad; we definitely thought a change of diet and some supplementation of vitamins and minerals would be helpful. It certainly would not hurt the dog, so we laid out a program for her and amazingly, the dog’s energy returned, her eyes brightened up and she acted like a puppy instead of the old dog we had seen just a few weeks earlier. Hey, this program was first was used in animal husbandry in Germany for cattle; why not use it for a smaller animal….actually, we have used it over the years for many of our own pets.
Gradually, we spoke to various friends about the Reams concept; people would ask us questions about their health problems. When we were able to test them, we would send the test results to Dr. Reams for his analysis and recommendations. Soon our clientele began to grow and we became more and more proficient in the testing procedures. We also developed a booklet for the clients to use which told them exactly what they needed to do such as the amount of each of the recommended supplements as well as dietary suggestions. These few clients became our most enthusiastic advertisers as they saw the changes in their own bodies. This is exactly the way the Reams program always spread, by word of mouth, without advertising in health magazines, but by the experience of individuals.
One thing we learned early on was that a prophet is without honor in his/her own land. We had very few of our close friends or family as clients – the very people we most desired to help rejected our ideas about natural healing through non- medical means. Perhaps our very enthusiasm scared them or they were not ready to leave the world of doctors (who they thought only one step down from God!) and who prescribed drugs to relieve their pain and suffering. We learned the hard way that alternative therapies were not readily accepted by those who grew up relying on family doctors and/or specialists, who had those magic letters MD after their names. It was inconceivable to them that lemon water, distilled water, properly grown and prepared foods along with the addition of appropriate vitamins, minerals and/or herbs could accomplish far more than many of the drugs they were using. A bit disappointed, we remained faithful to the dietary recommendations of Dr. Reams and we kept in touch with many of the staff from Roanoke, especially Jack Shaver and his wife, Loretta, the former administrators of the Roanoke retreat. They were back in Utah and were trying to set up a new Retreat with Dr. Reams on Dorothea Island in the Caribbean. They wanted us to go down and work with them on this project, but before it came to fruition, the backers who were going to finance the venture backed out…another stumbling block to expanding the program.
Meanwhile, Dr. Reams was in California and was seriously considering opening a retreat in Mexico, in the Baja. There was a great deal of harassment of all natural therapies in those years (the late 70’s and early 80’s). The US Food and Drug Administration were threatening to close down all health food stores and make vitamins and minerals available only by prescription. What does this tell you? Too many people were getting well by leaving their association with the medical profession’s approach and using natural therapies – coincidentally, it was taking money away from the medical profession which obviously made some of them extremely unhappy. Anyway, all of this led to another period of waiting and wondering until in Nov. ’78, we received a call from Fern Stansfield, Dr. Reams’ secretary, asking us to pack our bags and head for California. Dr. Reams was in the process of opening a new retreat in Mexico, in Tecate a small town just across the border from San Diego. I can assure you that we did not immediately jump into action on the basis of one phone call! We needed more information and some assurance about the feasibility of leaving our home again after we had just nicely gotten settled into what should be a normal routine for women our age! Going to Mexico was definitely not just a little jaunt down the block…it was well over two thousand miles from our safe haven…and what would our friends and families say about this? However, Fern persisted, calling us every day or two for a decision. She kept telling us how much Dr. Reams needed help, etc. etc. etc.
One definite obstacle to all of this was that Betty would not be able to go to Mexico until the end of the summer as she had already made a commitment to our church’s summer camp program. Fern brushed that aside and insisted that I could be of great assistance to the program and why didn’t I just fly out to San Diego and she would take me down to Tecate. Once Betty was available she could join us. This was a very persuasive person as well as a very good friend, so I finally gave in and set out for California and Mexico.
Tecate was a whole new experience; the retreat was another motel situation, but was barely functional. Dr. Reams was the only staff person at that point and he was chief cook and bottle washer, literally! He had about 15 clients in various stages of the program and he was doing the testing and counseling as well as well as preparing the lemon juice and distilled water for each person. Luckily, he had hired a couple of housekeepers to clean and do laundry. He also had a couple of maintenance men to fix whatever broke down that day….there was always either a plumbing or mechanical problem of some sort. Needless to say, things were usually in a state of confusion; it was my job to bring some type of order out of this chaos.
First, I set up a schedule for testing, meals, counseling sessions, etc. I asked Dr. Reams to hire some more help for the kitchen and housekeeping duties. Then I got busy visiting each guest, hearing their stories and finding out how far they were into the program and how they were progressing. The thing that always amazed me was the fact that no matter how disorganized the program was, the guests seemed to thrive; after the three day fast, they seemed to become more alert, there was a bounce to their steps as they looked forward to regaining the energy and hope that seemed to be lost in their illness. I thought back to the way Betty and I had felt when we first arrived at Blue Ridge and how different our outlook became after only a few days. It is amazing that when we detoxify the body, clean out the debris of many years of poor nutrition and the effects of the drugs that the medical doctors prescribed, how quickly the body responds with new energy. The emotional system also gains a new perspective that permeates the whole body. I am reminded that we are triune beings consisting of a physical body, an emotional system, as well as a spiritual component; for one system to be out of balance is for all three systems to suffer. Our program deals mainly with the physical body, but we are always aware of the other two….the mind and spirit. While we do not preach any specific doctrine, we always thank God for the knowledge He had given Dr. Reams which he passed on to so many others.
So there we were, in old Mexico, taking care of several guests and always being aware of the Federales, the Mexican police who kept a watchful eye on us ‘gringos’. Being in the center of the town was a bit daunting. The motel had regular guests as well as our group. Sometimes it got a bit rowdy in the evening when the regular motel guests were visiting the local bars, but that was not our concern. The only problem it presented was the loss of sleep for some of our folks.
[Editor's note from Wikipedia: Tecate is a small city in the Mexican state of Baja California, located at 32°34?30?N 116°37?7?W on the border with the United States and adjacent to Tecate, California. There is a border crossing which is much quieter than nearby Tijuana or Mexicali, making it a more accurate representation of small-town Mexican culture. The crossing is not open between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Although the city is only 40 miles from San Diego, the link is a winding mountain road, so Tecate is not so viable as an alternative to long lines on the Tijuana–San Ysidro border. ]