From the book Hand to Hand
John’s Road to Healing – Early Years
When I was an infant, my father had a habit of reaching out and tickling me in the ribs. Whenever he encountered me in the various rooms of the house, whether I was in the crib or on the rug, he would go for me and tickle. He was a good-natured man and loved watching me explode into spasms of laughter. He didn’t realize how much his tickling fingers dominated and hurt me.
Eventually, as conditioning would have it, I began to dread his entrance into any room where I happened to be. I was certain his entry would lead to tickling. Very early in life, gently but steadily, I began to fear what the future would bring. That fear lay the foundation for the growth and maturation of an anxious, nervous and angry businessman. Those years, in turn, led to what I experienced as a blessing of great magnitude: my learning, practicing and teaching the healing system of Reiki over many long and happy years from age 57 onward.
My grandfather, John Cameron Gray, left the family farm in Ryegate, Vermont in the mid-1860s to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire where he attended school during the day and worked nights to earn his way to a degree and a job as a schoolteacher. He steadily advanced to become a superintendent of schools in Burlington, Kansas. It was there that my father, John Harvey Gray Sr., was born.
My grandfather eventually came back east, first to North Adams and then to Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts. When he was of age, my father followed his father’s pathway and studied at Dartmouth for a business degree. In 1910, he got a job with an international bank, first in London and then at a bank branch in Manila in the Philippine Islands, deep in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.
There, my father met my mother, Jettie Arnold Taylor. They were married in 1915 and, according to family legend, I was conceived about a year later as a result of a wild Fourth of July party. My birth date is April 10, 1917. I am an Aries.
Since my father was a manager of bank branches and was often transferred, I spent most of my childhood in exotic locales: the Philippines, China and the island of Java, which is now in Indonesia.
Ten years later, we moved back to the United States, settling in Los Angeles and later in San Francisco, where I graduated from Lowell High School. Dad was a stock market bull in 1929 and consequently lost what was for then a considerable sum, $500,000, in the great stock market crash and depression.