Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Kiss of the Sun

The Kiss of the Sun
by Dorothy Gurney, 1858 - 1952
(adapted by Michael Parkin)

The kiss of the sun for pardon

The song of the birds for mirth

You will find you will be nearer to Ron when in his garden

Than anywhere else on Earth

Michael Parkin

Michael Parkin was L. Ron Hubbard's gardener in charge of maintaining the grounds at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, West Sussex in the early 1960s. (Saint Hill Manor was L. Ron Hubbard's home from 1959-1967).

He enjoyed a very special and unique relationship with L. Ron Hubbard (founder of Dianetics and of the Scientology religion) because he used to spend time with him almost every day during Mr Hubbard's coffee break, on the terrace of the Manor, over a period of several years. During this time, they discussed many subjects such as:
  • the Saint Hill Lake and its maintenance. In fact, Mr Hubbard gave Michael special permission to fish in the lake in perpetuity. Mr Hubbard also told Michael that his father used to take him fishing when he was younger
  • the history of the Manor and the source of the sandstone from which it was built
  • photography - Mr Hubbard, a keen photographer himself, advised Michael that, to take photos of fish in their natural environment, he would need special lenses
  • archery, which had always been one of Michael's interests. Mr Hubbard told Michael that he could practice his archery in the grounds as long as he didn't shoot towards the Manor
  • Michael's outdoor life and his background such as where he was born (Grimsby, Lincolnshire) and Michael's family, some of whom were deep sea fishermen who sailed from Grimsby. Mr Hubbard was interested in this because he thought that some of his ancestors could have come from Denmark with the name 'Hubar the Dane' (which over the years became 'Hubbard'). Grimsby is thought to have originated as a Danish settlement.

In approximately 1965, as a result of the Selective Employment Tax, Michael was unfortunately selected to leave the employment of the Manor by one the Manor's administrators. But when Mr Hubbard heard about this, he told the administrator to keep Michael on. However, on hearing the news that Michael might be leaving, Mr Hubbard presented him with a hammer that had been used in the initial stages of the building of Saint Hill Castle. On presenting it to him, Mr Hubbard said, "I present you with this hammer Michael. Don't lose it. When you are using it, think of me."

This experience has stayed with Michael to this day. The hammer is one of his most revered possessions. If ever he has any problems in his life, he has found that by simply holding the hammer in his hands, a solution usually comes to mind within a short space of time and it has helped him on many occasions throughout his life.

Michael, born in 1934 and father of four, today lives in Polegate, East Sussex in retirement.


Anonymous said...

A touching anecdote. Very nice. Please post more!

JetteroHeller said...

That's an outstanding story. Just brilliant.

johnalexwood said...

Michael Parkin, 1934-2009. We're going to miss you Michael.