|The Locus of LZ Woodland|
As I wrote yesterday, Randy's vision was different from that of mainstream groups aiming to show that Vietnam vets were well adjusted. Randy wanted to help the vets who were not so well integrated. He wanted to raise awareness of PTSD. He also wanted to offer fellowship and support to others who struggled with trauma-induced problems.
So Randy pitched me to write a newspaper story. He told me about his group while we sat on camp stools behind his fish store, eating a magnificent concoction of abalone and other sea delicacies.
My questions probably seemed designed to deflate. Did the group meet with a psychologist? No. Did they have a formal structure? No. Charter? Plan? Twelve-step program? No on all counts. But, Randy said, the group helped in one significant way: It allowed the men to talk openly and without shame.
“If nothing else,” he said, “it takes the pressure off.”
The members took solace from knowing they were not alone. They also learned from one another that they could expect certain ups and downs. Although we lived in Davis and Dixon, California, the group met in the nearby town of Woodland.
And so it was that I wound up not only writing about LZ Woodland, but also being a part of it. I had a good reason to go. My closeted veteran boyfriend, who never spoke about his service but who got awfully jumpy in war movies, reminded me in some ways of my dad. I brought him along to LZ Woodland.