Statement by Jack Plumstead (Father of Rev. Wayne Plumstead)
In reading the ridiculous and flabbergasting statements made by Adam Mali, Michael Bluejay and their “anonymous” cronies, the only thing I found myself saying again and again was: “But that’s not true!” and “That’s not true!” and “That’s not true either!” But the straw that broke the camel’s back for me was their absurd statement that the only reason the parents of those who study Aesthetic Realism tolerate it and act as if they are grateful to it is so as to maintain contact with their children.
Well, my son, Rev. Wayne Plumstead, has studied Aesthetic Realism for 34 years and I am grateful every day of my life to Eli Siegel and Aesthetic Realism for the wonderful effect they have had on him. My gratitude for this is unending, and it isn’t because I fear losing contact with my son if I don’t have it. It is simply an honest and natural response for a great good that has happened to our lives.
Wayne and I had a distant relationship prior to his study of Aesthetic Realism which, at times, could even turn heated. We are very different people with different interests—and the differences grated on us both. Still, I always loved my son and the fact that he was so unhappy with his life made me miserable too. All of that has changed forever because of Aesthetic Realism. In fact, I was the one who first heard about Aesthetic Realism and its good effect on people’s lives and encouraged Wayne to study it. I am so glad he did.
Wayne has a useful life now as a United Methodist pastor and Aesthetic Realism consultant, and he is deeply and rightfully respected by those who know him. And he and I have shared a close friendship over these years that would never have been possible were it not for Mr. Siegel and Aesthetic Realism.
I only met Eli Siegel once, but I will never forget the occasion. It was on February 16, 1974, when he invited me to attend one of the classes he taught. Mr. Siegel knew that Wayne and I did not get along very well and he wanted to encourage us to think about each other more deeply and with good will. He said he thought that if Wayne and I were present together in a class and heard each other being asked questions, we would see each other with more feeling and understanding. And boy, did we!
One of the questions Eli Siegel asked me was: “What made you angry with your son? He’s not your type? From what I can see you’re more rugged and he’s more delicate. Does he have any right to be angry with you? Were you angry with your father?”
I told Mr. Siegel that my father died when I was very young and he asked me if I was angry that he died. I had never thought about that before, but I realized it was true. He asked me if I had anything against my mother and I told him I thought she was too strict. Then he asked: “Do you think anyone in this world has understood you yet?” I was very moved by the question. “Not thoroughly” was my answer.
“Did your son see you as rather discontented?” Mr. Siegel asked me. (The answer is “Yes.”) “Did he see you trying to see things as well as you can? (The answer is “No.”) Were you unjust to him?” “Yes,” I had to admit regretfully, “I was.”
I saw tears in my son’s eyes as this discussion went on. I felt as if he was seeing me for the first time. And then it was my turn to feel the same thing as Mr. Siegel asked Wayne questions such as “Did you try to have your mother care more for you than her husband?” (This was something I had felt for years, and it hurt me very much.) It was very emotional for me when I heard Wayne express his regret for this. And I was also moved when Mr. Siegel said to my son: “Don’t have a resentment you’re not proud of. If you and your father are proud of how you see each other, you will both be happier.”
There isn’t a parent in the world who wouldn’t feel fortunate to have met such comprehension and good will. Feeling these emotions is not the least bit weird. As a matter of fact, it would be weird not to feel them.
I am now in my 83rd year and I arise grateful every day for the good life God has given me, which very much includes my relationship with my son Wayne. I know Aesthetic Realism is responsible for this.
I was excited to travel to Baltimore, Maryland on August 16, 2002 for the celebration of “Eli Siegel Day” in that city, proclaimed by the mayor and governor. As I saw the beautiful memorial dedicated by the city in tribute to Eli Siegel being unveiled, and spoke with many other parents who had come from miles away and even other countries to attend this event (the man sitting next to me lived in Puerto Rico and has a son who studies Aesthetic Realism), I realized how representative my feelings of gratitude were.
I also want to say how proud I am of Wayne that he has all these years stood by Aesthetic Realism and tried to have it seen fairly so that other people can know about it and benefit from it. In this, he has been a true man of God. And now, when Aesthetic Realism is under attack by mean-spirited and deeply ignorant people who are trying to present him as some kind of a “cultist” (something that anybody who really knows Wayne would tell you immediately is sheer lunacy), and using the Internet to try and tarnish his good name far and wide, I admire his courage and integrity more than ever.
Call me one grateful parent—not from any ulterior motive or strategy, but rather from a keen sense of what is deserved and what I am only too happy to give.