My Summer of 1960, How I Became Enchanted with Hypnosis

Summer of 1960 was a spectacular time for me, a 13-year-old living in Acapulco with my best friend, Susan and her Tia Emi.

Me, my mom and little sister, Bonnie Belle

Glamorous and wealthy owner of jewelry boutiques, Emi lived in a secluded mansion on a cliff overlooking the blue sea, surrounded with every kind of flowering vine and tropical plant. A colorful mural by artist Diego Rivera extended along the front wall near the entrance. Sea breezes continually wafted through the open-air living spaces of the lavish home.

Upon arrival in Mexico, Susan and I were immediately fitted for custom-made polka dot bikinis and enrolled in summer school. Mornings, we swam at quiet Caleta Beach; afternoons, we went to Hornos Beach for bigger waves. Evenings, we frequented nightclubs, drank daiquiris and played with the rich and famous.

And I was excruciatingly homesick that entire summer!

So you can imagine how thrilled I was one morning as we sat at the table eating papaya and bolillos with peanut butter and jam, when the houseboy came in to say I had a long distance call from my parents in California.

I don’t remember if I cried as I jumped from the table to take the rare call, but I do remember the shock when my joyful sounding father said on the phone, “We’re calling to tell you that your mother is going to have another baby!”

What? I didn’t know we were in the market for another family member! I already had two younger sisters and my mother hadn’t had a baby for years, which sounded like ”done with growing the family” to my young mind!

As the story goes, my parents wanted to try for a son after having had three daughters.

By the end of  summer I said my goodbyes to Tia Emi and the unreal life I’d led in Acapulco. Coming home, I had to readjust (no more daiquiris) to my former life with a newly acquired sophistication gleaned from living in another culture, and also to process what it meant for me to find my mother very much into her fourth pregnancy.

At age thirteen I was clueless regarding all that is sacred and mysterious about having a baby, but I knew one thing for sure; my mother appeared far, far happier and more radiant than I’d ever before experienced her.

Hypnosis? What’s that?

Mother explained that her obstetrician had been hypnotizing her so she would not experience pain in childbirth.

Apparently the hypnosis for painless childbirth succeeded, for my sister was born easily and naturally, and my mother had no pain medication. I was not that impressed at the time with the natural childbirth part of it, but rather, with the sense of joyful happiness that exuded from my mother before, during and long after the birth of my sister, Bonnie Belle.

Sisters, 1961

From that point on, I’ve always equated hypnosis with happiness!

Now, having been a certified hypnotherapist since 1998, I continue to associate the hypnotic process with joy, happiness and radiant energy. I’m eternally grateful to the doc who provided hypnosis for painless childbirth to my mother, for had he not been exploring the use of hypnosis for childbirth over fifty years ago, I’d never have witnessed the positive results from hypnotherapy for myself, and never have become a hypnotherapist.

The methodology of hypnosis is broader than just “being happy,” but for me, attaining joyful happiness remains an invaluable and large piece of the amazing hypnotherapeutic process.


  1. Ruth Bandzak says:

    Loved reading about your summer, Heather!

  2. I know a lot about you BUT this is total news to me. What a great adventure story!!! It always amazes me how and where people get inspiration to live the life they were born to live.

    • Jeanine! You know how that goes, everything we need comes to us at the right moment in order to guide us toward where we need to be.

      Let’s meet for tea and tell you more about my summer of 1960. 🙂 Love, H.

  3. Great stories my dear and I am trying to think back and wonder if I saw you on the streets of Berkeley many years ago…Daiquiris @ age 13? Hob-nobbing with the rich and famous? Night clubbing? You certainly embody the 60’s, Heather!!! 🙂 double smile 🙂

    • Chuck! Time in Berkeley would have been good for me in the ’60s. The story in my post took place in the early ’60s and by the end of the decade, I was married and already had two kids. I shoulda spread the decade out a little more and headed north looking for you. Love.

  4. Wow! I just love to hear how things came to be how they are, expecially for the people who have become important in my life. And when the story is accompanied by pictures…such joy! You brought a big smile to my face. My face and I thank you, Heather! The next daiquiri I have will be in your honor….

    • Lilli, thanks for your meaningful comment on my post. Hurry up and have that daiquiri, to your good health when you do, and let me know how it was! 🙂

  5. Greg Dunkel says:

    Thank you Heather, for sharing your life.

  6. Heather- My introduction to Hypnosis was not as colorful as yours but it happened with you in your office & I truly believed that it also has changed my life. TY.

  7. Wow…I’ve never heard my birth story told from this point of view. Thanks for sharing, sister!

  8. How well I remember some of those “Mexico” stories! And how well I remember the exact moment I met you. I was smitten with you, your family and the breath of fresh air you brought to my little “Redlands” self. This just made my day. I love you.

    • Haha, Sara! You heard those Acapulco stories fifty years ago when they were fresher in my mind.

      I shudder to think what my senior year at RHS would have been like had I not met you! I love you.

  9. What a lovely story Heather! We continually learn new things about you! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Mary Perate says:

    Hi Heather! What an exciting. eventful, fun time of your growing up. It made me recall the two years that I lived on the island of Guam when I was in 9th and 10 grade. My Dad was part of a Naval Air squadron . It was the best time of my life. Living and learning a whole new culture as a teenager was thrilling! Your story brought back MANY wonderful adventures!…..Living on the equator and “catching the stars” as they teased us with constant streakings across a blacken sky. Last week I was in a gift shop where a plaque was hanging that said ” Home is where the story begins … you so aptly pointed out in you story! Thank you; that was fun! Mary

    • Two years in Guam. How fortunate, Mary! I hear your gratitude for such an opportunity. I’d love to hear more about that time in your life. Thank you for your comment! Love.

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