In Search Of Neverland
“The book, [“Michael Jackson: In Search Of Neverland”] is because I found him the ideal paradise he wanted for himself and for his animals. When he was being cited by the animal regulation department continuously…at the family compound. They threatened to come and arrest him and impound all of his animals. They said they belonged at the L. A. Zoo, not at his home. He had llamas, giraffes, a baby elephant, [and] snakes. A python got out, went swimming next door in the neighbors pool; and it scared the neighbors and they called the animal regulation department (laughs).
[…] He was a bachelor and wanted to get married. All he ever wanted to do was have a home of his own, get married, and have children. A wife to come home to. He tried. […]
Michael Jackson and I had a very wonderful relationship… I always thought he was going to wind up being a box-boy at Gelson’s, because he had a crush on a very beautiful young lady who was about 4 ½ feet tall who was working there. […] She was real red-haired, that she wore in little pigtails and he used to come over and act as a box boy for her; pack the groceries for the people who came through her aisle. I always came through there and he would say, ‘Hello Mrs. Berlin’. My son, Will, used to play with the Jackson Five, basketball, at their home. I think they hired him (laughs). He… would come [to the market] dressed up as (in) The Wiz; wearing these shoes that were like on stilts… He came to see that pig-tailed, red-head girl….He loved her. He knew everyone that came to Gelson’s. […]”
“[Prior to becoming his real estate agent,] I wrote him a letter about a family that was losing their home. The man was 87-years-old, Black and married to a White woman. They had three children, young teens. The father had heart disease…and died finally and there was no burial money. Michael Jackson paid for the burial of that man he didn’t even know. […]
“Michael’s frame of mind during this time, was to become independent of his parents – and for them to become independent of him. He wanted to be alone, away from prying eyes, street traffic and noise. He wanted a place where he could look out the window and see bluebirds, do his own farming and feed his animals. He specified the place had to be accessible to deer, so they could prune his trees. […] My favorite memories of him: when he played ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ on the Boesendorfer grand piano in the living room of the main house; when he ran along the top of a wooden fence on the Neverland property as if it were a balance beam; [when he] developed new dance steps on the stones in the middle of a stream; [when he] planted flowers in the flowerbeds around the main house at Neverland using different color schemes for each season of the year; [when he] slid down the banister and hid in the secret room inside the mansion; [when he] played “Ghost” using a Casper ghost costume in the playroom with moving walls; [when he] held my hand and walked with me throughout the entire ranch. […]”
“My thoughts are that Mrs. Jackson [Michael's mother] is an amazing woman. She’s…a true beauty…I saw her about 2 and a half weeks ago and she told me the story about Michael and his death…For me it’s a heartbreak. I can’t even think about it without crying, because I knew him since he was 12. But she is his mother. I told her Dr. Conrad Murray should be prosecuted for murder. She said ‘No, he can’t be prosecuted for murder, he’s only going to be prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter’. She… was very calm, very polite. She hugged me and squeezed me.”
Gloria Rhoads Berlin; Michael Jackson’s former real estate agent, author of “Michael Jackson: In Search Of Neverland”