The Dot on my “i.”

by Paul Morantz
(c) July 2012

If the place hadn’t ended, and/or she had not been told she had to leave her husband and take a stranger for a sexual partner, she might have been at Synanon until the end. She was the type of person who loved people and I have no doubt she had many friends.

The only reason I ever got to know her, was because when Dorothy Parks and her husband Ben refused to change partners, Charles Dederich ordered them to be taken in a truck at gunpoint and dropped somewhere miles away in a ditch. For added emphasis, while on the ground, Dottie was kicked.

As a result, neither Ben nor Dot. needed the usual 90 days to regain their thinking. They decided not to sue, but were dedicated to bringing the truth out and by doing so believed they were helping not only former members but current. Previously , I received a lot of education on Synanon from Jerry Newmark and Al Bauman but nobody taught me as much as did Ben and Dot.

Both became my closest friends, and I spent many hours at their apartment and in their company. When the event happened, they were supportive and protective. For a while, Dottie worked for me as a typist. She had an office in Wetwood and I would drive to deliver tapes. Knowing her was a tremendous privileged and life.

One advantage of communal living is that by being in the same environment people stay in contact. As a journalist, I would get so close to people I would think they were a part of my life forever but then when the story was over you went on to the next. I even felt the experience on the other end– when I was no longer the news, I would miss my relationships with Narda Zucchino and Connie Chung. As a lawyer it was a similar experience, everyone’s your best friend, but then the case ends and you move on to another and suddenly your life is intertwined with different people.

Unfortunately, that happened to me a lot. Eventually, Ben moved back East to where he grew up and Dottie became a memory. About 6 months ago I called her, she made no real mention of her illness, still I wish I had visited her; more than that they we had never had grown apart, and it was not really to her final passing, that I realized what I had lost in losing contact. Simply put, she was a great friend, a wonderful person who had played an important role in my life and I regret that I never probably ever told her how much she had meant to me, and how much emotional support she had supplied both before and after the event.

I know that eventually as we get old, we have to deal with losing the people we wish would live forever. The loss of some are extremely difficult as if part of your life passe with them. Bernie’s passing was hard for me, but at least I had some comfort in that we had never separated and we both always knew how we felt about the other.

I can only hope that when I spoke to her last somehow Dot understood she was never forgotten and never will be.