I must confess, just as Germaine Greer infiltrated Hefner’s Playboy Clubs and Jeff Sharlett infiltrated Ivanwald, in Arlington, so did I.
Not as a scholar or historian, which I’m not, but as a cat whose curiosity got the best of her. At the Potomac Point house, Ivanwald for young women, I arrived one day- an invited guest-I’ll never tell by whom- carrying a cheap wicker suitcase with a hidden space in the bottom.
The house was just across the road from the Cedars, and the place where young women came to serve. We cooked and cleaned and served the men. Some of them quite cute, all of them there to be indoctrinated into this experimental religion.
Us girls were allowed to wear lipstick and dress in feminine attire when on ‘duty’. I thought it pretty white of them, but, in the beginning, I kept the thought to myself. The ‘brothers’ as the men were called, did all the outside work and we watched; but none of us was allowed to sit in on the meals because they were mostly ‘politics’ which the Bible taught were reserved for the men.
Many of the girls dressed in cute little Eva Braun costumes. This group had great affection for Hitler’s style, as one of the girls reminded me. “Hitler never looked at another woman once he met Eva,” she said. The Norwegian founder of this avant garde American fundamentalist group, Abraham Veride, had a complicated fondness for Nazis. Many joined his early prayer circles in the postwar years.
I was not interested, at that time, in their political or economic philosophy, I was interested in their brainwashing techniques. So early on, at night, before going to bed, I broke the rules. I’d dig around in the secret bottom of my suitcase and haul out some scandalous Victoria’s Secret goodies. The shocked and disapproving faces of some of them amused me, but, before long, I got some of the younger ones to play the game. I had great fun sexing them up. Some of them surprised me.
In many ways the house on the Point was like Hugh Hefner’s Bunny Hutches, except no one was invited to spend the night with Doug Coe. He was so cute and the guy who took Abram’s place when Abrams went to heaven. Coe was the one who really knew Jesus and we were taught in the house to emulate his wife, Jan, who deserved much of the credit for her husband’s work. She was “So uncomplaining. Staying put and waiting patiently.”
I would like to end this by saying, like Jeff and Germaine, i went home and wrote an expose about this crew, but I didn’t. I took it for as long as I could. Enjoyed a few secret moments peering with a few others I took with me, watching them play ‘Fumble’ a weird wrestling snake games on the floor inside the house. ‘It’s scripture in action,” one of the girls informed me.
“”If that’s scripture,” I said, “I’ll pass.”
But i did spring a few cuties. Three of us packed and escaped that night. We keep in touch.