As I check the calendar I see the date of June 20 registered there. This is a date with many memories--this the fortieth anniversary of your fathers death and the twenty fourth anniversary of your signing of the "disconnect" letter. In that you saw fit to publish your last letter to me (or about me) for the world to see, I felt this one should meet the same fate--thus I make it public.
This is a difficult letter to write as I realize we no longer "know' each other. I saw you for a moment about fifteen years ago, however only a hello and you were gone. I asked to come see you when you were so very ill a few years ago, however I was told that you did not care to see me. I waited in terror until I knew you were going to survive.
I have never been one to sit around letting life just pass me by. When you decided to check me out of your life via the disconnect, I realized that the relationshiop we had in the past was over. This did not stop me from loving you and thinking of you each moment that has passed. I fill my mind with remembering the good times while constatnly learning about the present times.
My head is filled with memories of your growing to be a man, coming home with great report cards, you reading into the wee hours, holidays with all of us together, the phone calls, your love of Edison and your laugh when I called to remind you of his birthday , your trying to teach me to put "english" on my pool shot, making the birthday cakes , your pride in starting your first business, there are so many memories but then my hope is that you are able to remember them too.
What "could" have been is over and now in these last years of my life I keep as active as possible and I know in my heart that these past events have occurred for a reason. Could it be because I would not let my pride stand in the way of exposing this pain to the public? Could it be because my father taught me "when you know in your heart that something is dead wrong and you do not make any effort to make it right --that is sin.".His words echo in my head each time I am so weary when I get a call for help that I think how easy it would be to just pass the problem on and I am ashamed to think I would not be there for whoever needed a lift and a kind word. So please son, do not think a nasty letter with less than the truth published, is going to make me cringe from the "fair game" or will the strange phone calls frighten me. My home and heart will be a haven for anyone who has felt the sting and infringment of a destructive cult resulting in the loss of a loved one or denying one a right to free speech.
The effort to discredit me with the people in this community has failed. Perhaps I should be thankful as it proved again how far the organization that you have devoted over twenty five years of your life would go to silence just one person. I had a wonderful civics teacher in the eighth grade son, she was a great believer in the exercise of free speech. I remember every word she taught us. It is a pleasure to associate my life with those that believe that free speech is meant for everyone--not just those with what may be temporary and supposed power!
Ida J. Camburn Hemet, California
Image of Letter to Ida Camburn from US Congressman Leo J Ryan