Liam Scheff

Bio: "Author, Artist, Film, Permaculture." Liam Scheff is a writer, artist and stand-up lecturer on issues that people usually don't make comic books about. (Visit liamscheff.com). Liam's highly-praised book "Official Stories" reveals the complex details behind the myths of our times.

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  1. steve neidhardt

    I went to cedu from 1979 to1981, it was Hell , it was Heaven.I have the record for most running away.8 times I tried but they had too much control over my then divorcing parents. So, I had the same record for “FULL TIME”, punishments.Id be happy to share my story but it’s not easy to talk about. My name is Steve neidhardt, steamerslane1989@gmail.com. good wishes, steve

  2. I was a “student” at Cedu, Running Springs in 1968-69. At that time there were less than 60 people, “students” & staff, living on the property. A month or so after I was brought there, a 16 year old ward of the court waiting for foster placement (which there was none), Mel Wasserman and his wife Brigetta moved into the house (from their home in Palm Springs, I think.) I liked him. He was an intelligent man, perhaps a little experimental in his techniques. He used encounter groups, we called them CEDUs, later groups seem to refer to them as “Raps”, and hypnosis and several touchy-feely exercises. Sort of a cross between Synanon and Eselan. I don’t remember any reference to Kahil Gibran. The program was all about feeling. You weren’t supposed to say “I think…”, you were told to say, “I feel…”. There were extreme punishments, like being banned from contact with others or having to scrub the fireplace with a toothbrush, but they weren’t the norm. I thought the encounter groups were stupid and pointless. People yelling and cursing at each other. There was no “school”. I planned to go to college and didn’t want to be there where there was no future. (A high school counselor later told me that I had been given school credit for “something called Cedus”.)

    I walked out one evening after dinner, hiking to the main road and into Running Springs, where I went directly to the Sheriff’s station and asked to be taken to San Bernardino juvenile hall. The sheriff told me he would take me back to CEDU for the night and would come and get me again in the morning. I refused his offer. Poor man. He DID NOT want to have to drive me down the mountain and do all that paperwork at the end of his shift. But he did. In his report, he spoke well of me (We had been chatting for several hours.) He said he didn’t think that I should be in custody anywhere. I was sent back to an Orange County facility and released 6 months later, a few months shy of my eighteenth birthday.

    I have seen organizations grow quickly and become parodies of themselves. I think this happened here. As the original staff leaves and more people are hired, rules have to be written, replacing common sense and intuition.

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