Dr. Carol Hatch, RScP—92 Years Young and Going Strong
Science of Mind Archives’ Oral History Project Begins…..
With this week’s blog, we are starting another new feature that we want to introduce for readers of the Science of Mind Archives Blog. Upcoming in just fourteen brief years, Science of Mind will be celebrating its 100th anniversary. During those formative years, many amazing men and women have contributed to the expansion and accomplishments of all that is this amazing organization. Of course, the main leader was Dr. Ernest Holmes, who made his transition in 1960. But, many other people helped establish and grow Religious Science/Centers for Spiritual Living. Some of the early ones were Dr. William Hornaday, Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, Practitioner Vetura Papke, Dr. Frederick Bailes, and Dr. Reginald Armor, among others. These luminaries have come and gone, but other “greats” are still with us, and we are dedicated to preserving their “history”, memories, anecdotes, memorabilia, books, artifacts, etc., so that when that 100-year anniversary rolls around—we will have an authentic and important record of all of the people who dedicated their life to preserving this teaching and sharing this movement with others around the world. So, if you or someone you know has 30+ years history with Religious Science—please, please contact us, so we can get your history and stories down to share with others. We are very excited to preserve and collect information from those who have kept Science of Mind “open at the top” since the earliest days….
I would like to introduce Dr. Carol Hatch, RScP. The Doctor is an honorary title, awarded for her dedication to learning and spreading the concepts and teachings of Ernest Holmes. Carol Hatch first heard of Ernest Holmes during WWII; her first husband, Joe, was a musician, but at this time he was serving overseas with the Navy Musical section. Carol was just 20 and pregnant, so she returned home to Oklahoma. While she was there, she met Mary Miller Beard, a poet laureate of Kentucky, who was living in Amarillo, Texas. Mary, who had lectured on the Chautauqua circuit, impressed Carol with her affirmative and positive nature. Mary had survived breast cancer and returned to health, broke her hip, and returned to walking—it was Mary who told Carol that if she was ever out in California she had to, “Find Ernest Holmes and listen to him. He believes in a God of Love, and it is all affirmative. Honey, now why would a God who loves you, ever sentence you to eternity and punish you? That isn’t a God of love, but Ernest—well, Ernest, he knows that God is all love. You find him and listen to him if you get out to California!”
So, in late 1949 when Carol was finally in California, she had her first opportunity to hear Ernest Holmes speak. What does she remember most about hearing him speak? “He was just delightful! He would stand in the foyer and greet the people and listen to them talk as they passed by him. He couldn’t tell you what he was going to talk about; he only decided what he would talk about at the last minute—after he had heard the people talking amongst themselves, after he got a feel for the crowd….then he would decide what to talk about, and his lectures could just take you to places….sometimes you couldn’t even follow all the places he took you. Years after he was gone, I asked Dr. Bill (Dr. Rev. William Hornaday, minister of Founder’s Church) if he could always follow Ernest, and he said,’Carol, are you kidding? No one could always follow Ernest when he went off on a tangent…not even me, but he was wonderful to listen to no matter where he took you.’
“I remember one time my second husband, Earl, wanted to talk to Ernest before his Sunday sermon. Earl had written a number of songs for the hymnal that Ernest’s organists used in the theater during his lectures, and my husband was frustrated that the organist had changed some of his chords. Well, Ernest wouldn’t let Earl get close to him. Every time he saw my husband approach, Ernest just gently managed to turn his back and stay out of reach. Later he and Earl talked, and Ernest said to him, ‘Sorry, Earl, but I won’t listen to anything negative before I speak. I just won’t do it.’” Carol said her husband realized that Ernest had done the right thing to avoid him in a moment of frustration, and she was impressed by how lovingly and skillfully he averted any tension.
Carol also remembered the friendly, family feel to the service in those years. After Ernest had spoken, most of the congregation retired to Melody Lane, a local restaurant, and joined in Sunday brunch together. “That was the only time I met Hazel Holmes was when she was eating brunch with Ernest and saying, ‘Hello’ as the people passed through the restaurant. She was always at Ernest’s side; it was like a family in those days.”
Carol asked me if anyone had ever told me about Junior the Cat? “Junior the Cat lived in the basement of the
Institute, and he seemed to be mystically connected to Ernest. Whenever Ernest would speak in the auditorium, then Junior the Cat would climb the back stairway, go across the stage and jump down and sit in the front row and listen as Ernest spoke. They saved his paw prints in concrete in the basement to remember one of Ernest’s most dedicated students.”
Carol worked for Dr. Bill Hornaday for 31 years from 1963-until his death in 1994. He shared with her many of the memories he had of both Ernest and Hazel. And, she heard lots of stories from Reginald Armor, who was one of her classroom teachers at the Institute of Religious Science and shared platform duties with Dr. Hornaday, about this memorable couple. Carol asked me if I had heard about Ernest and his weeds? “One thing he was famous for were his flower arrangements; he made all of his flower arrangements from weeds. Ernest would go out and pick the weeds from the fields and lawns and then arrange them in a vase and say, ‘A weed is only a flower, which hasn’t yet recognized its inner beauty.’ Also, Ernest loved to cook, but only one-pot meals like chili and beef stew. He didn’t want to have a salad and dinner plate; he loved to eat off of a platter. Reginald Armor inherited two sets of Ernest’s platter dishes after he was gone, and then they came to me after his passing. I had them until I left California, and I passed them on to a practitioner….he and Hazel dressed for dinner every night. Ernest had a velvet jacket he wore to dinner, and Hazel dressed in evening dresses each night. She called him, ‘Papa’. They were so close and so much in love. Hazel along with Reggie was one of our best practitioners,” reminisced Carol.
Her memories of Dr. Bill Hornaday are equally revealing of a loving and generous man. “His pockets were always empty.” At first I didn’t understand what that phrase meant about Rev. Hornaday, but she shared the story of a young Latino man named Nelson, who worked on the maintenance staff of Founders Church. “Nelson couldn’t hear out of one ear; he had a birth defect. That ear was all closed up; he had no hearing. So, Dr. Bill paid out of his own pockets to have surgery done to restore not only the hearing in that ear, but the plastic surgery necessary to make it look like a normal ear. That was Dr. Bill; his secretary got so she wouldn’t bring him a check when he had people in his office because she knew it was going to be a donation to someone that Dr. Bill knew to be in need. His pockets were always empty….”
Carol Hatch has many more memories of a vibrant, exciting, and expansive time in the growth of Religious Science. She has agreed to share more memories and stories about her own experiences as a practitioner and Dr. Hornaday’s long-time assistant in another upcoming column. She has memories of old-time Hollywood, who often attended services, amazing classes offered by the likes of Dr. Norman Cousins, and the many, many demonstrations she witnessed throughout the years. We look forward to hearing more….