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Footsteps to Follow
By: Lois Hince
Posted: July 23, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
page 3 of 8
In December 1939, Brooklyn-born Deborah Szekely was 17 when she became the wife of Edmond Szekely, 34, a Hungarian scholar, philosopher, prolific writer and natural-living experimenter.
“The following summer, we hosted a small, but fascinating international clientele at a health camp hastily assembled at Tecate,” she writes. “At that time, Tecate was a secluded Mexican border village of 400 inhabitants just across the international line, chosen by my husband for having the finest year-round climate in North America.”3
Their venture truly evokes the perception of pioneers. Szekely describes in her writings how, for $10 a month, Edmond rented a one-room adobe hut that sat in the middle of a vineyard called Rancho La Puerta, “… learning that our house consisted of a single room, 10 feet by 30 feet wide with a dirt floor and holes for windows and doors, I could hardly hold back my tears.”
With the imminent arrival of the couple’s first guests to their camp they called the Essene School of Life, vegetables using organic farming methods were hastily planted and a goat was purchased from a neighboring rancher. The camp’s policy was simple, and for $17.50 a week guests were asked to bring their own tents. There was no running water, no electricity, no gym or swimming pool, but a great mountain for climbing, a river for swimming and the organic garden yielded a generous harvest.
Each day guests would listen to Professor Edmond, as they called him. According to Deborah, he lectured on rules for good health, long life and a caring philosophy that recognized the interdependence of the mind, body and spirit. He warned against herbicides, pesticides and artificial fertilizers; criticized food processing and packaging; emphasized the dangers of cigarettes and alcohol, and the need for pure air and water; recognized the potential threat of cholesterol and fats; and advocated for safe sunbathing and proper absorption of vitamin D.