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46

 

But the North Node's material problems still clamored for solution, and, with the attempted development of The New Life Creative Activities, continued to absorb all our time and attention and energy — so that Richard Mayer, Meredith Starr, Meher Baba soon slipped into the remote recesses of our consciousness.

 

It was not until May that I saw Richard Mayer again. This time our meeting took place in Boston, where I had gone at the request of a Theosophical group who wanted to conduct The New Life experiment there. Three of the members of the group -- Max and Lillian Wardall and Alice Green — passing through New York on their way from Ojai to Boston, had attended one of our New Life Experiment meetings, and had been so impressed with the sincerity of our attempt to apply fundamental spiritual principles to the affairs of daily life that they had asked if they might try the experiment themselves, and whether I would come to Boston to help them start it if the rest of their group was interested.

 

Richard Mayer was at the meeting which they had arranged. I discovered, in talking with him afterward, that he was planning to sail shortly for England to spend some time with Meredith Starr at his retreat. We agreed to meet in New York before he sailed.

 

Also at the meeting was Thomas Watson, famous for his collaboration with Alexander Graham Bell in the invention of the telephone -- a genial spirit whose interest and enthusiasm for creative activity had kept him vitally young in his seventy-year-old body. He had heard of us and our work through Mary Antin, author of "The Promised Land," and he was familiar with Meredith Starr's retreat through Milo Shattuck, young American poet -- a protégé of his -- who had spent a number of months and been greatly benefited.

 

For several months we had been discussing with some friends in New York who were creative artists of one sort or another, and who tried to function from the spiritual of view, the possibility of conducting, during the summer, a retreat in the country where we could live together, spending part of each day in meditation, part in individual activity, part in group activity. When I mentioned this to our friends in Boston, they not only wanted to join with us in the experiment, but spoke of a farm in Hancock, New Hampshire, which was owned by one of their group and which they felt could be available for our use if we should find it suitable.

 

Alice Green drove me up to see the farm, and I fell in love with it at once. The old colonial farmhouse, with hills rising into apple orchards and pine forests in one direction, and with sunny meadows sloping down to a private swimming hole in the other direction, seemed to offer an ideal setting for our project, with plenty of secluded nooks for individual meditation and plenty of opportunity for group activities of one sort of another.

 

We had already been offered another piece of property at Woodstock, New York, which proved to be completely unsuited to our project, offering neither group nor individual privacy. At Alice's suggestion, we all drove back to Hancock, which was unanimously approved.

 

On the first of June we returned to New York to find ourselves locked out of our apartment at the Hotel La Salle and served with a dispossess notice for The North Node. Princess Matchabelli shared her apartment with Jean, Rudhyar shared his with me. All our energy and attention was concentrated in the attempt to raise the funds that were needed. A general sale of all our stock at greatly reduced prices was announced. The response was good, but still not adequate.

 

A group of friends, most of whom had helped at various times when other crises threatened the continued life at The North Node, gathered to confer about this one. Reluctantly they concluded that they could not adequately underwrite its continued existence. They advised receivership.

 

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