By Filis Frederick
It is July, 1956. The wind is blowing cool off the sunny San Francisco Bay. We are all standing with Baba at Coit Tower, on a sight-seeing tour. Suddenly, I hear a loud clap of hands and Adi saying, "Filis, Baba wants you." I turn and come by Baba’s side. He flings His right arm out, pointing directly south over the Bay. No word of explanation.
One doesn’t ask the Avatar to explain! I think, perhaps He is referring to my mother who lives in Laguna Beach . . .
Several years went by before in a strange way I was pushed to answer a “blind” ad for a game designer. I’ll try out my resume, great! I sent it in. Three months go by. Suddenly, I get a phone call, can I fly out tomorrow from New York for an in interview with Mattel Toys? The upshot of it all — though I wasn't pleased to uproot my life my life in New York (finally I had a good job, a nice apartment, Baba friends) — I moved out to the West Coast. Actually, I wanted to be close to my 77-year old mother, and it didn’t hurt that the pay was double that New York job. In November, 1960, I arrived in Manhattan Beach, California — from Manhattan to Manhattan. Nice initials, too! I'll never forget flying in at night over the L.A. basin, a cobweb of twinkling blue and orange lights — 50 square miles of unknown city and unknown people. I only knew two or three Baba lovers there.
Actually, there were only a handful, and they almost never got together. It was a totally new world, but I felt Baba had some purpose for me there. I had a charming house four blocks from the ocean and a fun job. But no Baba group, No Baba talk. Once in a while with great effort, I took the RTD bus to Hollywood, three hours each way, to see Joyce Stermer or Hilde Fuchs, whom I knew from New York. Or Hilde Halpern in Pacific Palisades, who welcomed me so graciously. After a long while, I met Marguerite Poley, who lived in the Valley and took care of an invalid mother. But there were long stretches of loneliness in between. So I would hop a plane to San Francisco to be with Ivy Duce, Lud Dimpfl or other old Sufi Friends. Back in L.A. I started going to every New Age group I could find. I made friends with two gentlemen, Clarence and Mr. Bailey, who also enjoyed a Sunday visit to different religious groups. I didn't drive (still don't!) so this was a big help in getting to know the L.A. scene. The A.R.E. Edgar Cayce group at Holland House on Wilshire welcomed me and I gave one or two talks on Baba. Through Clarence the Santa Monica Theosophy Group asked me to speak. They were so enthused about Baba, the leader got jealous and I wasn't invited to return. Among others, I visited the Ramakrishna Center, the Philosophical Research Society, and the Self-Realization Temple, on Sunset, which maintained an excellent vegetarian restaurant where nuns in orange saris waited on you. One could sit anywhere and start a conversation on Eastern thought, New Age concepts, etc. It was there I bumped into Evelyn Blackshaw, another old-time Baba lover, who, thank heavens, didn't mind RTD-ing out to the beach to see me. Dana Field, whom I had met in New York, was in "strict" seclusion. He did venture out to the beach once, but it upset his "imaging" on Baba and he never came again.
In 1964, I had made an odd contact with Gene Stanlee, "Mr. America," champion wrestler, health faddist and yoga teacher. He invited me to give a talk at a two-day New Age gathering at an old spiritualist camp in Escondido (it had once been an Indian campground) in the hills. The hot-pink flyer was amazing; it featured both Gene's muscles and Baba's lovely face! I was shy about talking, so I had brought a Baba film. Promptly the projector didn't work, and George McCuen stepped forth to help. That’s how he and Adele Wolkin met. She had joined me at Baba’s direction, after a nursing stint in India.