Excerpts of article originally posted 6/29/2009
For three hours on a steamy summer day in 1976, Suzi Nash rode on horseback across the hills of Valley Forge National Park with her arms wrapped around the waist of the future King of Pop.
Michael Jackson was 17 at the time and still appearing with his four brothers as The Jackson 5. They were all guests for the day in Nash’s childhood home in the Wayne section of Radnor.
It was the start of a friendship with Jackson that would span more than a decade, said Nash, who regularly visited with the larger-than-life entertainer before and after his Philadelphia shows.
“It was certainly an exciting time. He was the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet — kind of shy, kind of quiet. He kind of brought out the smart aleck in me,” said Nash who, herself, was a teenager when she met Jackson.
On July 15, 1976, the day the Jackson brothers visited the Nash home, they were in the midst of a recording session at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia and their producer, Dexter Wansel, wanted to give them a little rest and relaxation. He turned to his friend, Toni Nash, the mother of Suzi, Michael and Larry, to make arrangements.
“Dexter was a personal friend. It was an entirely personal thing. No one leaked it to the press,” said Toni, who formerly hosted “Profiles” on WGBS-TV57 and is now a sculptor, directing and producing a documentary on artist Andrew Turner.
She transported her family’s three horses and others that she borrowed from friends to Ivy Hollow, the home of Bill and Sue Snyder, where the Jackson brothers played basketball before saddling up for their ride through Valley Forge National Park.
“I asked, ‘Aren’t you going riding?'” she said. “He said, ‘Oh no, you did all the preparation.'”
She said Jackson told her that he had a horse, but hadn’t been home in two years and didn’t feel confident about his riding skills. She instructed him to mount her tall black steed, Midnight.
“I began walking him around and he said, ‘You’re getting your shoes all muddy. I’ll walk you around,'” said Suzi.
She proceeded to tell Jackson that, because she was fortunate enough to have a horse, it wasn’t unusual for her to allow friends to ride Midnight while she led the horse around.
“I said, ‘I do this for everybody. You’re not special.’ He said, ‘Really?’ From then on he seemed very relaxed, very comfortable. No one had ever told him he was not special,” said Suzi with a laugh.
After leading Jackson around the paddock for about 45 minutes, Suzi jumped on the horse with the pop star, her arms wrapped around his waist while she held the reins. Jackson became so relaxed during their three-hour ride, Suzi recalled, that he eventually shared some laughs with her.
“He actually started singing to himself,” she said.
Before they embarked on their excursion to Ivy Hollow, the Jackson brothers were brought to the home of Toni and Leslie Nash on West Avenue, where Toni made them lunch.
It was then that Suzi first noticed Michael Jackson’s seeming need for solitude as he broke away from his brothers and investigated the books and antiques in the Nashes’ living room.
“He liked antiques, he liked old books,” said Suzi, who is now an award-winning Philadelphia filmmaker and children’s entertainer.
She had been so excited at the prospect of his visit, that the night before, Suzi had slept with the telephone on her chest in anticipation of the call from Wansel informing the Nashes of the Jackson’s expected time of arrival. But, she noted, she waited for about 45 minutes before she approached Michael in their living room.
“I gave him some alone time,” said Suzi.
In later years, on her way to visit Jackson during one of his Philadelphia concert gigs, Suzi grabbed an old book from her parents’ shelf without noticing the title. She just wanted to give Jackson a gift and she remembered his fondness for antique tomes. As fate would have it, it was “As a Man Thinketh,” a 1902 volume by James Allen.
“He looked at me and almost kind of jumped back. He said, ‘What made you give me this? What made you pick this one?,'” said Suzi.
He told her it was his “favorite book in the world.” The title is based on Chapter 23, Verse 7 of the Bible’s Book of Proverbs: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.”
The day of the Jackson brothers’ visit to the Nash household also happened to be Michael Nash’s 13th birthday, said Toni. After their horseback ride, they reconvened at her West Avenue home.
“They came back to the house and had a big cake and sang to him. They sang, ‘Happy Birthday,'” said Toni, who has an audiotape of the Jackson brothers serenading her younger son.
Suzi said she never asked to be photographed with Michael Jackson at any of their meetings.
“We didn’t ever take any pictures or ask for autographs,” she said. “I think that is why we were allowed to hang out.”
She and her family were scrutinized by the Jackson brothers’ bodyguards during the entertainers’ visit to their home. When Michael accompanied Suzi from her living room to her bedroom to look at more books, the bodyguards quickly appeared and asked the singer if he was “OK,” she remembered.
Suzi was struck by the degree of control other people had over Michael Jackson when she first met him. He was about six weeks shy of his 18th birthday at the time.
“They said they didn’t want Michael to go out to dinner, because they didn’t want him out in the public. They didn’t want him to play tennis, because they didn’t want him to trip on the ball. They didn’t want him to go swimming because they didn’t want Michael to catch cold. I guess he put his foot down at horseback riding,” said Suzi.
She remembered once when she visited Jackson after a performance at the old Valley Forge Music Fair in Chester County, he was physically carried away by his “handlers” while he was waiting for a young boy to get a pen so the entertainer could give him an autograph. They were ushering him to another appointment.
“They literally picked him up by his torso and his legs and he was holding onto my collar. He said, ‘Don’t let them take me away.’ He was very distraught about that. He said, ‘I don’t want to disappoint him,'” said Suzi.
The last time she saw Jackson, she said, he finally seemed to be in control of his own life.
“He was very gentle, very nice, soft-spoken but definitely in control of what was happening around him. But, still, very shy,” said Suzi.
Once, when she took an 8-year-old girl who was a friend of the family to a New York City press conference to meet Michael Jackson, Suzi assured the nervous child that the singer was much more “scared” than she was.
“At the press conference he would stay very, very still. The moment he moved, he would be blinded with flash bulbs, so he would stay very, very still,” said Suzi.
After the press conference, Jackson graciously met with the little girl.
“He was very kind to her. He sat down and greeted her and she was very, very thrilled,” said Suzi.
The enormity of Jackson’s fame finally struck Suzi when, during one of his tour stops in the City of Brotherly Love, she suggested taking him to the Philadelphia Zoo because of his love for animals. He told her he had considered visiting the zoo the previous day, but arrangements couldn’t be made quickly enough to “lock down and close the zoo.”
“I thought, ‘Y’know, I’m with a man who, if he wants to, can close city sites,'” said Suzi.
While she observed Jackson’s physical changes due to plastic surgery and a skin condition called vitiligo, she also observed him taking charge of his life.
“Each time I saw him he seemed more and more comfortable and more in control of the situation even though he looked more bizarre. But he was more in control and more normal, so to speak, which was an interesting juxtaposition,” said Suzi.
“He almost always had his voice at half a whisper because he wanted to save his vocal chords. People thought that was an affectation,” said Toni..
She noted that Jackson is credited with “re-inventing the video” in terms of production. Toni believes he will also be remembered for his efforts to raise awareness of global issues through his music and videos. In addition, he was well-known for his charitable efforts that included establishing the Heal the World Foundation in 1992 and his support of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
“To me, to some extent, he was hounded to death,” she said. “I can’t imagine living in the kind of fishbowl he did.”
To understand Michael Jackson is to understand how he formulated his life principles, his ideology based on self-awarness and self-determination- A brief sommary of each Chapter of as “As A Man Thinketh” is posted below for more indepth researched pls use link.
“As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen
This little volume (the result of meditation and experience) is not intended as an exhaustive treatise on the much-written upon subject of the power of thought. It is suggestive rather than explanatory, its object being to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the truth that –
“They themselves are makers of themselves”
by virtue of the thoughts which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.
Thought and Character
The aphorism, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,” not only embraces the whole of a man’s being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
Effect of Thought on Circumstances
A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.
Effect of Thought on Health and the Body
The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes clothed with youthfulness and beauty.
Thought and Purpose
Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment. With the majority the bark of thought is allowed to “drift” upon the ocean of life. Aimlessness is a vice, and such drifting must not continue for him who would steer clear of catastrophe and destruction.
The Thought-Factor in Achievement
All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts. In a justly ordered universe, where loss of equipoise would mean total destruction, individual responsibility must be absolute. A man’s weakness and strength, purity and impurity, are his own, and not another man’s. They are brought about by himself, and not by another; and they can only be altered by himself, never by another. His condition is also his own, and not another man’s. His suffering and his happiness are evolved from within. As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.
Visions and Ideals
The dreamers are the saviors of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trials and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers. It cannot let their ideals fade and die. It lives in them. It knows them in the realities which it shall one day see and know.
Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the afterworld, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, laboring humanity would perish.
Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.