In April 1921, after many years in China, Rune made a short visit to Yorba Linda, California, where he had a brief liaison with a woman to whom he referred only as Mrs N. Rune’s later correspondence suggests that the affair resulted in a son, whom Rune insisted should be named after Doctor Blossom and Mrs Millhouse. Rune then made his way to south-east Asia, where he remained for a number of years. A preliminary draft of a letter to the boy (dated 1582, but believed to have been written in 1927) contains the following passage:
“I must tell you, Dick, that the Asians are a marvellous people. Their philosophies are second to none. Were I a religious man, I think I could believe that this place is Heaven. Whatever happens in the future, my son, I insist that one day you make your way here. And bring your friends.” But unlike his half-brother Lafayette, young Richard was not so easily impressed with Hugo Rune. He resented the man for deserting him. Sources do say that later in life he did indeed pay very close attention to south-east Asia, particularly Vietnam.
It was in Asia that Rune met and befriended an impressionable young man to whom he referred only as Rizla. It was to be a turning point in Rune’s life.