Remembering Bill Crawford

Bill Crawford left this existence on October 12, 2004.  In Synanon, he was a Director of the Oakland Facility, on the Board of Regents for many years, played drums with the Sounds of Synanon, presented the funny, yet factual Synanon Year-End Reports, opened the Puerto Rico house, and developed the Reno, NV Prison Project.  He was the Conductor of the Synanon Trips. He was one of the few male demonstrators in the Synanon School. He built the most incredible playgrounds to challenge toddlers and frighten adults.  He was famous for his Morning Meetings and his Saturday Night talks.  He never laughed at his own jokes but we did.

Just before he passed, Dr. Gerald Newmark met with him to collate his observations of children into the book “The World Through the Eyes of Children” Bill Crawford’s Synanon Journal. 

To honor his life, I wanted to make this book available to Synanon folk, particularly the Synanon children.  Read through the stories, it might trigger your memory or you might spot yourself or your friends.  Please feel free to download the pdf to keep for yourself.  The last names of the children were omitted, I believe, because Gerry was going to publish this booklet and needed to get permissions from the subjects involved.  There wasn’t time to do that since Bill wouldn’t be around too much longer.  Gerry gave out some copies of the book at one of the Synanon Reunions. 

Bill being “childlike” himself understood how children interacted with the world.  He also was able to self-analyze his own failings, as an adult and parent.  I hope you all enjoy and learn from these “word-pictures”. 

“Good-job” Bill.  We’ll never forget you.  Thank you for your contributions to our community and to my life.

3 responses to “Remembering Bill Crawford”

  1. Thank you Sylvia! I have such fond memories of Bill. He was director of the Seawall when I first came to a Street Fair in ’67 or ’68 on the back of some guys motorcycle, who had picked me up hitch-hiking. Bill wore love beads and had curly hair and a sly smile. Miriam and Bill conducted my first trip, in Oakland, as a Game player. They invited me to move in. He was thoughtful, calm, and reasonable amidst angst and insanity. He was articulate, funny and an inspiration.

  2. Thanks Syl –
    This I thoroughly enjoyed and could tell by the content how thoroughly Bill enjoyed the children and the position in their lives that he so fortunately occupied. In a set-up where he assumes the parental position, his do no harm let them experience attitude comes through quite convincingly. I have always thought the kids of the Synanon school were so lucky to have been around Bill and the many other dedicated, loving adults as they grew up through the years. Bill was truly a one of a kind individual and I consider myself lucky to have met and known him. His writing is informative and brings thoughts about many of the kids to mind. The names of demonstrators and administrators also bring back memories. I chuckled on the letter about WAM when one of the carbon copies went to Tom P/Caliban’s Canticle…only in Synanon.

  3. Oh Sylvia –
    Bill was unique and a wonderful voice in this often bleak world. I am happy that I have his book.
    The time spent with you and Bill in the times of Sari’s many medical appointments are fond memories.
    We did have some fun, despite the difficult moments.
    Love always,

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