Interview made out of emails between

Dennis Marshall and DC

Cuke Podcast with Dennis 🔊

IT all started with...

From: Dennis Marshall
03/28/05 10:45:49
dchad3(at)sonic(dot)net [add the number "2" after the dchad to get to DC directly. This avoids spam]
Hi David

Had to resend this to your alternate email address.

Hello from Crestone CO.

I just ran across the Web page while doing www research to find a Japanese publication, Ono and Hibino's Godaisan (Tokyo, 1942), for a project I'm working on.

Interesting to catch all the names from way back when (blasts from the past).

I have just read the Maggie Kress interview. Did I pick up a minor error? It said something about added material 25 March 05. That's only three days ago. Maybe it's correct, but top of same page referred to March 2004. Probably a typo.

I see the Crestone Zen folk from time to time (both CMZC and Steve/Angelique), but mostly socially. Steve Allen's group poured concrete the day before yesterday for the foundation to their new temple.

Busy now but I'll check the Web page from time to time. I'm traveling a lot these days (in a couple of weeks to Maui, where my wife's daughter has just given birth to twins; then over to UK, where I have two sons and four grandchildren). But I'm here sometimes. Let me know if you're ever in Crestone.

I have also been reading the FK interview. Long time since I saw F, but I visited her in Santa Fe with Jerome when Jerome was visiting Crestone.
I have been reading some of your sangha news. If you are in touch with Claude and/or Della, please give them my best wishes. I also remember Del Carson and ache to read of his having been neglected. For the sake of auld lang syn.
I remember a summer break concert at Tass. when he composed/sang a song "Oh, What Does a Fairy Do When He's Forty?" (or maybe it was Fifty). I don't think I was the only one with wet eyes.
Eric Arnow is in his fifties? I forget there is such an age gap between us. I'm now 73 (I think). Next year I'm planning on a three-month cross-country car trek across China. I'm indeed fortunate to enjoy such good health.
Dennis Marshall

From: David
03/29/05 13:06:18
Dennis Marshall
Re: Fw: Hi David

Fantastic to hear from you.
I remember sending Jerome a postcard from Jerome somewhere - maybe Colorado - decades ago. I’d like to post your email on if it’s okay. What year did you come to Zen Center? Trying to remember how far back my memories with you go.
You take care.

Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 13:31:05 -0700 (Mountain Standard Time)
From: "Dennis Marshall"
To: dchad
Subject: Re: Fw: Hi David

Thanks for the reply, David. Sure, use the messages if you wish.

I have been here in Crestone since 1991. I first moved here to practice at Crestone Mtn. ZC. After leaving, I built my own house (Jerome was here the week we poured the foundation).

I was first at SFZC in late 1971, I think (my first sesshin was the one during which Suzuki-roshi died). The three people who, later, sat tangaryo with me at Tass. included Steve Allen--now my neighbor in Crestone; the other names I forget).  I was still at Tass. for the pp when you were head monk.

As to shared memories--I remember your weeks of silence at Page Street--corresponding in writing!

Man--you really NEEDED to write those two books. [three]

Now I'm engaged on one of my own. But perhaps more about that later.

By chance, just this morning I had a phone call from Jerome, who keeps sending me materials on China to spur me on in my project.


Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 13:32:58 -0700 (Mountain Standard Time)
From: "Dennis Marshall"
To: dchad
Subject: postscript

It's snowing like crazy today, here in the Rockies.


DC back to DM:

I was in Crestone a year ago visiting with Paul Shippee, Steve, Dan and folks at Dick's place, saw Rowena Pattee, met with Trungpa students to see video in progress on the Karmapa I think. Next time I hope to see you.

At 11:44 AM 4/1/2005 -0700, Dennis wrote:

My memories of Suzuki-roshi are slight--but nonetheless treasured. He was already ill when I first went to Page Street.
"Told" by my roommate who was probably fed up with my fecklessness that I "ought" to visit Zen Center, I went to several Suzuki-roshi lectures. One of them I think was his "you're seeing the world through pink spectacles" lecture. I was very taken with him and by the refinement of the Page Street environment. This must have been either Suzuki-roshi's final summer or the one before that. Dick Baker was in Japan--to a new student, a somewhat mythic "heir apparent" figure.
After some months in a Page Street apartment I moved into the building. Suzuki-roshi came to some meals, sitting at the "top" table, but the only time I spoke with him was at a Q&A session in the dining room. I no longer remember what it was I asked him about. He wasn't taking new students at that time and we newcomers had to make do with Katagiri, Silas, et al.
I remember filing through Suzuki-roshi's room the sesshin morning he died. I also remember the subsequent funeral. It's some measure of how profoundly he affected people that, although many of us were relatively new students who had had little personal contact with him, we were deeply grief-stricken.

DC: Wow. Your were faster than I had hoped for.

A question. Where were you born and what happened up to the time you came to ZC and what of it might have made you interested in Zen? - you seem to be adept at abbreviated telling.


Re: for your archive

Why? In brief: I was down and almost out, but was just beginning to scratch my way back.

I was born in England (1931). Had a career as a journalist (Fleet Street, London) and then went to Jamaica to help midwife Jamaican independence for the Colonial Office. Information officer--sort of junior diplomatic corps. But the bureaucracy got to me. I jumped ship (I was also at the end of a marriage: two young sons), became freelance BBC correspondent, etc. etc., and hightailed it to California, arriving in Haight-Ashbury the year before the hippie thing came into existence (1964). Lived the beatnik existence in Haight for several years, had a breakdown, was hospitalized, then halfway-housed (while in the halfway house,  met Steve Weinstein, doing his selective service stint as a counselor, I believe--though that isn't what took me to Zen Center). A year or two later I found my way to Zen Center. A good job I did.

The first time I heard of SFZC was some years earlier (probably 1968). In the Haight, I ran the Weedpatch (at Haight and Masonic--a sort of head shop, though didn't deal in drugs: international tobacco store; in those days, we pretty much all smoked cigarettes). One day Tony Patchel came in as a customer. Mentioned ZC. I was mildly curious, but it wasn't until later, around 1970, with all the New Agey stuff  going on-- Gaskin; TM; Yogi Bahjan; gurus galore--when I was shopping around and being turned off by most-all groups, that I went to ZC. I didn't know my ass from my elbow, or Buddhism from Hinduism. In fact, the entire "mysterious East" thing scared me. But I liked what I saw in Suzuki-roshi.

That, I think, must be more than enough. An inglorious past. But perhaps not as untypical of Zen students at that time--or some of them--as I sometimes think. I was of course a bit older than most new students.

As to the abbreviated telling, as you put it: well, I was (perhaps still am) a journalist. And for the past fifteen years I have copyedited books  (for university presses: Johns Hopkins UP; Columbia UP; U of Virginia P, etc.).

And I always liked the Inkspots.

DM in subsequent email mainly dealing with technical problems we were having:

This seems to be my week for reconnecting with Zen friends. An hour ago, Michael Sawyer phoned. It's been years. A month or more ago I left a message at Green Gulch seeking his number (I may have a commission for him: artwork.--if he's well enough to do it).

DC: I liked the Inkspots too and saw them (with maybe no original members) in the early seventies in Monterey with Charles and Caroline Page, Bill Wenner, can't remember who else. "If I Didn't Care" is one of the great classics in my book. They predate rhythm and blues wouldn't you say? But at the same time they helped to bring it all in.

You were born in some town in some place in England where the language, as I remember it as you presented it to me, is unintelligible. Couldn't write out that sentence about coal oil or something could you?



From near Bradford, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, as it was called (now designated West Yorkshire: UK central government split Yorkshire, way the biggest county, into three counties--I think it was Maggie Thatcher did it--to cut us down to size. A Texan might understand that).

I have little idea how to spell it, but . . .

We're dahn int' coyl oyl
wheer muck clarts ont'winders.
Thet's weer wi are--
weer noh wun can fynd us.

Yorkies--Tykes--are renowned for their bloodymindedness.

But Yorkshire dialect is BBC English compared with that in Westmorland (now redesignated Cumbria), where I went to boarding school. I was told that local shepherds when counting their sheep recited

(five I forget, but I think single syllable)
Overs (short o)

A few years ago, when reading a history of the UK sheep industry (don't laugh: it turns out to be fascinating) I discovered that variations on this counting system, not too different from the above, have been found in other parts of Britain. My guess is it is Celtic associated.


DC: It warms the cockles of my heart to hear you say that so to speak again. And thanks for the counting system. And for getting in touch.