The First Founders' Day
By Lilyan Binder
On Saturday morning, July 13, 1968, I phoned Vic and Suzie Baranco hoping
to visit their suburban home and Suzie answered the phone. I had known
them for quite a while and over the course of time I had been impressed
by their ability to have fun. I'd also heard them say something about
not having to "get well" to start enjoying life and I wanted to see if
they lived the way they talked.
In the late afternoon, I arrived at their house in Lafayette and found
Vic, wearing swimming trunks, sitting on the couch in his backyard patio,
burning one end of a telephone pole. The pole was quite long, and as
the part in the fire turned to ashes, he shoved more into the flames.
I spent the rest of the night with the Baranco family and I got to
see how they lived but more than that, I was there for the creation of
Morehouse. Vic had been a successful businessman, and he'd achieved all
of his goals. Some time earlier he had flashed to the concept of the
perfection of himself and everything else, and he wanted to apply that
information to group living.
As he kept pushing the long piece of wood into the fire, he talked about
how he saw the world. He said that love was the basic answer for every
human interaction, and he talked about putting a group together that
would demonstrate that his idea was correct. That night, he outlined
everything... how human beings could live together, enjoy their lives,
serve the world unselfishly and make a profit. I felt riveted to where
I was sitting while all of this was going on, and I watched other people
come and talk with Vic.
A well-known Bay Area musician, Slim Slaughter, showed up, bringing
with him a French National who was very enthusiastic about Bastille Day.
He passed a bottle of cognac around and the higher he raised his spirits,
the higher he got. He played "Le Marseilles" on a trumpet he brought
with him until he passed out about 4 in the morning. Suzie thought it
was a miracle the neighbors never complained, and the police never came.
It was a beautiful, warm summer night and Vic kept pushing more of the
pole into the fire and talking about his vision of a Utopian society.
I realized that what he was saying was true and at one point, he made
me the offer to join him and his family -- to move in with them. I knew
that what he'd described was exactly what I was looking for but I wasn't
ready to accept his offer.
Forty years have passed since the sun rose on Vic's patio that Sunday
morning, July 14th, 1968, and what Vic dreamt and we created has
changed the world. Many of his words and ideas: win/win, perfection,
the clitoris is the most sensitive spot on a woman's body, to name just
a few, have made it into the mainstream. Countless people have realized
more of their sensual potential and capacity to enjoy life than they
had dreamed possible before encountering Vic or his information.
As the flames started licking the final end of the telephone pole,
I left their Lafayette home. It would be 18 months before I would say
"yes" to the offer he'd made me and, since that time, I've watched what
he started that weekend grow into the most unique, incredible community
of people I know to exist anywhere on the planet.