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My first memory of Harvey was when he came to do a workshop somewhere near Poughkeepsie, New York, USA, in January of 1974. He had just recovered from a heart attack, and I was struck by how robust he was.

It was one of those early workshops at which he gave everybody a long introduction. I was new to Co-Counseling, and he did this hilarious introduction/demonstration with me on the name of the town I lived in, which was Slingerlands. I'd just moved there and hadn't adjusted to the new area and had lots of feelings about being there. He made up these songs about Slingerlands, saying the name over and over. He was funny. He had me doubled over. So that was a memorable first meeting with him.

When I was a new Area Reference Person, my Area was threatened by some attacks and they were directed at me. Having a chronic pattern of "it's all my fault," I didn't get it that these were really attacks. I thought I had done something wrong. Harvey called me and said, "Do you want me to come out? I will come and do a workshop and straighten things out." I couldn't get over that he would make that offer. After that, I understood that this was a big thing, that it wasn't right to attack anybody, that I hadn't made a mistake, and that this was just a phenomenon of leadership.

It turned out he didn't come. I think I was too embarrassed to say, "Yes, come out." But that offer was enormously supportive to me as a new leader who was put through a test of fire.

Harvey never forgot to remind me of my goodness. He spotted a chronic pattern right away and was relentless in contradicting it at every opportunity. He was a tremendous ally to me as an owning-class woman. He knew that privilege didn't bring any real benefits and was always able to see me as a human being underneath the class stuff. He always stated my goodness and made me take the direction that I am good.

Ellie Putnam
Portland, Oregon,

Last modified: 2015-07-17 00:32:40+00