Life On Board The Flagship Apollo
|Life On Board The Flagship Apollo|
Let me say at the outset, I certainly am far away from being any kind of a 'chronicler' of life on the Apollo... or as it was called: simply "Flag"...I can rattle off a long list of others who I believe, literally spent years on the ship..(Amos Jessup, Rebecca Jessup, Robert & Loy Young, Silvia Calhoun, Ken Urquhart.. the list goes on!) In lieu of them hopefully, writing their accounts at some time.. I will put down some of my personal observations for others to enjoy reading.
A kind of "Class system"?[edit | edit source]
Well, let me say that I use this term in parenthesis because really, most people were extremely cordial on the ship. LRH & Mary Sue.. Quentin & Diana.. they were all warm & friendly to all. Suzette & Arthur being younger, I would say tended to be a little bit shy, but as they were quite young, that was surely to be expected!. But to some extent, your posts on the ship had a lot to do with where you would be doing your work activities..and who you worked with.. who you ate with, and the part of the ship's quarters you were going to be calling your own little "home"!
LRH's daily "workahaulic" schedule[edit | edit source]
Anyone working for LRH, in what was The Household Unit, received a 'bump up' in quarters, and in many other privileges on the ship. Of course on the other hand, you were expected to arrange your schedule to accommodate whom you were charged with assisting! In the case of LRH, he kept very late hours and his normal getting up for breakfast was apt to be in the ranges of noon til maybe 2pm! His corresponding hour for lunch might be about 4 hours later.. and so on with dinner, perhaps between 8pm-10pm. Let me also mention here that this was an "endless-loop" work week! LRH did not take any "days off"! Xmas? New Years? Thanksgiving? LRH's birthday? Yeah.. those days were half-day for work and I am thinking he largely worked only the half-day so that the staff and crew would be able to knock off early and enjoy the holidays!
the "party of a lifetime!"[edit | edit source]
Well after telling you all of these details on dedication and hard work, I don't want to leave anyone with the idea that LRH was not able to enjoy life! PARTIES? The parties on Flag, were equaled to any wild and fun-filled parties you have EVER been at! (And I lived in Brazil where they have Carnival for DAYS of partying!) The hall would be packed with all the crew and tables loaded with all kinds of food and all the booze anyone cared to drink! The music began and went on and on into the early hours of the morning! LRH always would come down after the party had begun, and he had his own table with Mary Sue. The kids mostly hung out with their crew pals..
Of course LRH would be greeted by a huge ovation when he showed up! There was no one more deeply loved that LRH by all of the crew and you have but to see their faces even decades later to know how much love & dedication we all felt for him! I have to tell you it was one of the hardest things I did to leave the ship and the Sea Org and on top of dealing with my own emotions and feeling like a traitor... Mary Sue sent Nikki Freeman, MSH Pers. Comm. to meet with me and she spent a good hour trying to pursuade me to go back on post and to not leave! I was offered my post, my cabin, a guaranteed day off... etc.. etc.. but I was resolute that while I dearly loved serving LRH, that my tech training goals had been sidetracked & were not likely to ever happen in the Sea Org!
my decision to route out & leave flag[edit | edit source]
I had requested to be transferred back to my original goal of the Tech Training Corps, because I was seriously disgusted with trying to hat and train the others in the Household Unit. You see some weeks after LRH saw some of the galley tech I had written up to hat crew at FOLO EU, he issued them as Flag Orders & had posted me as Chief Training Steward for the entire ship... with my issues known as The Galley Series of Flag Orders. Here again, I had jumped into an area I was certainly able to tackle and do well, but I sure realized it was one big Q & A from my goal to train up to the top technically!
(Pls do keep in mind here, I am recalling events & details from some decades past! Forgive me for procrastinating so many years to put this down on paper, but I think the readers might be very surprised to hear that I have the vast majority of dispatches that went up to LRH or his Pers. Comm., Ken U.! I have even 2 small Xmas gift cards attached to Xmas gifts from LRH. The one big regret I have was that I received a handwritten dispatch from LRH that was maybe 7 or 8 pages long & I "dutifully" placed it in my hat file for future reference! Oh well!)
Flagship Apollo accommodations situation[edit | edit source]
Execs.. higher ups on the org board.. producers in the HGC....and the married couples, were granted small, but private "cabins". Of course space being at a real premium, many of these cabins were used as "auditing rooms" by the Tech Internes, and my LRH Galley area, was a small, interior "cabin-sized" galley, (a small 'porter's kitchen' as you might expect to find on an RV or a pleasure boat.. ie: small & compact!), that was bounded on both sides by a companionway ("hallway"!). So my little galley opened out onto these hallways and in between sessions, the Flag Tech Interns, the Class XIIs, etc. well they would frequently just be "hanging out" in the hallway to see what I was cooking.. to chit-chat... (hopeful of getting a sample in many cases! LOL!)
I can remember many of the auditors and the Tech Internes... of course the first coming to mind would have to be Quentin Hubbard, and I want to tell you that he was a "totally theta" being at all times! Even after I left the Sea Org, I exchanged several letters with him, which at a future point, I will try to post in full! Quentin's death was just about as severe a shock as anyone can have imagined happening. I simply cannot imagine the effect it must have had on LRH! I only knew him very casually, and not at all as he was with a number of the girls around his age that he was pals with, but can tell you that Quentin was dearly loved by all! And we certainly expected that he would inherit LRH's position in the tech!
Well, I was going into some details to give an idea of the small size of the living spaces on the ship! If you've been on any ships, you know how small these can get! Large enough for a bed and not much more really. That even included the cabin of LRH himself! I think it unfortunate they were not able to preserve the Apollo, because I think the Scientology public would get a serious "reality adjustment" on just how much sacrifice LRH put up with to do his work for some years, living in an unbelieveably small, and please don't forget: UN-AIRCONDITIONED cabin, with a single window you might open!
I have to tell you, I feel a sense of sadness and humility when I think of looking in this small, barren steel-walled cabin, when he could have very easily have been living in a luxurious villa, surrounded by servants. That was not at all LRH's priority. That he spent any of his later years in nicer "Palm Springs"-type residences, would surely be expected for even a moderately successful person in California.
Being his personal chef, I would also normally, prepare a snack for his auditing room. This was nothing fancy at all. Just maybe a cup of beef bouillon, some can of tomato juice, he had a fondness also for some cerial like perhaps oatmeal and maybe some crackers, but something in case he was not really session-able without a snack to tide him over. Perhaps a few pieces of fruit or even a sandwich. Again, you see here a man without even the most remote signs of being "demanding"... the word "modest", "humble", and willing to endure what could almost be called "roughing it"! He was certainly not a "prima-donna" in most cases! That he could also be somewhat "eccentric"-appearing? Perhaps. As for example, the only dish detergents allowed must not have any aroma or strong scent or perfum! If his dishes or clothes were washed in such, the odor became offensive to his keen sense of smell! In addition, you sure better not cut up his food with a knife used to cut an onion, because LRH would immediately let you know!
LRH research auditinng[edit | edit source]
I really can't say if he did audit himself every day or not, but I can tell you that it was pretty close to that, because there was an order to maintain silence anywhere near his quarters during the hours when a red light would be on along various passageways, that was the signal that LRH was "In Session" and all were ordered to not be making any excessive noise in the area. As I said, if it was not daily, I think it was most days of the week as I recall. My cabin was on the same deck as LRH's so one was immediately aware if the red light was on to signal him being in session or not. When his sessions were over, the red lights would be shut off and noise restrictions were lifted.
Getting back to living quarters, as I mentioned, even the personal quarters of LRH were small enough that I'm thinking that even a queen size bed might completely fill the space! But realize this ship was not intended for "tourist travel". I believe at the outside, an overnight passage for a small number of people was the maximum expected. At the other end of the spectrum of living spaces, were what was called the "dorms"! Basically, this was a large area of the hull that was filled with bunks that had maybe 50 or 100 guys in the men's dorm and on the side of the companionway, was the entry to the women's dorm! If you were single and not highly posted.. that was your living quarters unless you got married or got a great post. And in the dining room there was something similar where officers & such dined together. For the most part however, the crew did get pretty nice food and plenty of it as well!
I think, other than those who endured an extended period of being unhappy on the ship, most of us will tell you it was one of the "adventures of a lifetime"! If you happen to live in anywhere within say an hour of L.A., you will surely enjoy being on our party event list, because there promises to a regular series of little events that will feature such speakers! For those of you not able to attend,... not to worry, all will end up being posted to FB or Scientolipedia or to Michael Moore's newsletter, put out monthly!
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