Left Coast Writers®: Judy Bebelaar & Ron Cabral - And Then They Were Gone (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, January 12, 2019 - 7:00pm

Of the 918 Americans who died in the shocking murder-suicides of November 18, 1978, in the tiny South American country of Guyana, a third were under eighteen. More than half were in their twenties or younger. "And Then They Were Gone: Teenagers from Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown" begins in San Francisco at the small school where Reverend Jim Jones enrolled the teens of his Peoples Temple church in 1976. Within a year, most had been sent to join Jones and other congregants in what Jones promised was a tropical paradise based on egalitarian values, but which turned out to be a deadly prison camp. Set against the turbulent backdrop of the late 1970s, And Then They Were Gone draws from interviews, books, and articles. Many of these powerful stories are told here for the first time.

Judy Bebelaar taught English and creative writing in San Francisco public high schools for 37 years. She has received national recognition for her success in helping students find joy in writing their lives. Her poetry has been published widely. Her chapbook, Walking Across the Pacific, was published in 2014 by Finishing Line Press. Her poems appear in three anthologies: Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down (Scarlet Tanager Press, 2012); The Widows’ Handbook (Kent State U. Press 2014); and in River of Earth and Sky (Blue Light Press, 2015).

Ron Cabral, a native of San Francisco, entered teaching in the San Francisco Unified School District in 1965 and became a Middle School principal in 1992. He served 35 years in that capacity, finally retiring in 2002. Ron met Judy Bebelaar, a fellow teacher, in 1969 at Opportunity 1, where he taught Urban Problems, Music Appreciation, Journalism, Drugs and Society, and Radio Production. He also managed and coached the school baseball team. He later transferred to Wilson High School in 1978. Ron is married with three grown children and five grandsons. He lives in Contra Costa County.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madera, CA 94925
And Then They Were Gone: Teenagers of Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown Cover Image
ISBN: 9780998709680
Availability: Special Order
Published: Sugartown Publishing, Crockett, CA - April 9th, 2018

Nine hundred eighteen Americans did not just one day decide to commit suicide en mass. There was considerable history and manipulation behind the scenes--and when the cult was still in California, the teenagers went to a high school in the nearby town. This book is a somber memorial of the children who were lost, written by one of their teachers.