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18

 

A Short Memoir


Fred and Ella

 

by Robert Dreyfuss

 

Fred and Ella Winterfeldt were so indissolubly intertwined as a couple that Meher Baba referred to them as "Fredella." Together they formed one heart in two bodies, devoted solely to their Beloved Baba and the service of His Lovers. They lived His dictum to "let your life itself be My message of Love and Truth to others," and many were drawn to Baba through them.

 

Having been personally instructed by Baba after my having had His darshan in 1965 to contact Fredella on my return to the United States, I soon developed a relationship with them in which I consider them as my "spiritual Godparents." Whenever I visited New York, I would stay with them. Again and again, I witnessed their extraordinary generosity and willingness to help those in need. The only time I ever saw Fred mock-angry was when I suggested that he didn't have to pay every time we ate out or were with others. He replied that the money was from Baba and was Baba's, and that anything spent on His lovers was as it should be. I don't think I ever did succeed in paying the bill.

 

In 1969, being both unwell and without sufficient funds, I decided not to attend the Great Darshan after Baba dropped His body. When I called Fredella to report on the successful takeoff of the first California fight, they asked me why I hadn't gone too. When I explained, they chided told me and told me Baba would be "unhappy" at my not going and called back later the same day to tell me there had been a cancellation and that they had arranged for me to have the ticket and that I could pay it back as and when I could. Two days later I received a paid-for round trip ticket from San Francisco to New York from them. I was overwhelmed.

 

When they moved to Myrtle Beach to live and work at the Centre, we kept in close touch. When I went to visit the Centre in 1976 after a long absence, the weather was rainy. Not anticipating the wet weather I hadn't brought the appropriate clothing. I borrowed an umbrella from Fred and Ella and set about to reacquaint myself with the Center and its quiet wonders. When I returned to my cabin a couple of hours later I found a new London Fog raincoat in my size laying on my bed. In my absence they had driven to town and purchased the raincoat for me, and of course wouldn't hear of my paying them for it. There are so many instances I could narrate illustrating their generosity and kindness, more than room provides.

 

If you look at a photo of either Fred or Ella with Baba, whether in a group or alone, you will notice they are always gazing directly at Baba, never at the camera or at others. He was their sole focus in life, expressed so lovingly in their continuing concern for we youngsters whom Fred referred to as "Baba's hobbits."

 

To me, Fred and Ella were among the very few I've met who, when I looked into their eyes, would see Baba smiling out at me through the thin film of His two devoted lovers. Elizabeth Patterson, not known for her speculations of a spiritual nature, calmly stated when asked that she wouldn’t be surprised if this had been Fred's last life.

 

After his passing, Ella marked time until she could join her "darling Fred" and her Beloved Baba. She died just this year. Now that they are no longer seemingly separated by their body's dimensions and are no doubt held firm in their Beloved's embrace as one - still, I miss them.

 

 

God is everywhere and does everything.
God is within us and knows everything.
God is without us and sees everything.
God is beyond us and IS everything.
― Meher Baba

 

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