A letter circulated to Jim Kohr’s (Jayananda) classmates

By Andrew Hallum

I was repeatedly asked, "What was Jim like in school?" Well, you know, that was quite a few years ago. I had even forgotten, or just not given a thought to the fact that Jim and I lived in the same cabin in summer camp. I forgot that until I came upon the 1951 camp photo. And the photo of Jim on the front of the chariot is unrecognizable because of the years, the Hare Krishna robes Jim is wearing, and because as they said, the photo is not a good one because it was not taken until Jim was very ill. I told them that Jim was very funny. They said they could believe and understand that from what they had heard about him. I was told that Jim worked very hard. When Jim cleaned the garbage cans, he cleaned them so well "because they were Krishna's." New devotees would see his work and think, "If this is how thoroughly the garbage cans have to be cleaned, how must the more important work be done?" One time when Jim was a leader, he returned late at night and saw that a chore had not been done properly. Rather than awaken the offender, Jim did the job over again himself. Jim could run on very little sleep. A surprise birthday party was given for Jim, but he was truly embarrassed by all this attention being directed at him. So, now, the next time you see a Hare Krishna devotee on the streets, go up and tell him or her that you went to school with Jayananda. You'll get red carpet treatment. The story of Jayananda will be known! And, remember, I was in South Africa, which is 11,000 miles from Los Angeles. And they all knew!

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