I have known Marguerite Poley for eight years, ever since moving to Los Angeles. She has always fascinated me. I've heard so many incredible stories about her love for animals (whom she calls 'our lesser brothers'), her paintings, and her deep love for Meher Baba.
Dana Field said that Meher Baba told him in 1954, "Take care of her (Marguerite) for Me. She's a wonderful soul."
And yet Marguerite loves to take care of others. On the day of this interview, she had to rush off and care for an elderly lady who had recently had an accident. And I remember six years ago, she volunteered to give a home to my cat when l was no longer able to. She exemplifies Meher Baba's statement: "Happiness lies in making others happy." This interview took place on May 10, 1986, in her house in Canoga Park, California.
Q. What was your life like growing up as a little girl in Switzerland?
A. I was born April 4, 1909 in Zurich. When I was two years old, my parents moved to Montreaux, on Lake Geneva, and there I finished my scholastic years. And when I was in my early days, my father would always bring me up to horses. I mention this because I have been very fond of horses all my life. He used to take me to any horse that was parked on the street, in front of a wagon, and we would go over and pet the horse, feed him lumps of sugar which my father always kept in his pockets. When I went to school, I went to a public Protestant school and a pay Catholic school — both. And there I learned about St. Francis of Assisi, and he made such a wonderful impression on me that I really preferred him to Jesus, which gave me guilt feelings, because one was supposed to love Jesus the most.
Q. This was your first attraction to the spiritual life?
A. No. I loved God. I was very interested in God.
Q. When did you move to the United States?
A. In 1925, with my mother. My father died in 1918. We moved to Ohio, near Painesville.
Q. So how did you find out about Meher Baba?
A. It's a long story. Beginning in 1934 and continuing until 1943, I worked as a professional horse rider (Rosenbach rider) in a circus. And I loved it. Not only did I ride, I’d train other riders, feed the horses, and even sleep with the horses. But a riding accident forced me to quit riding, and so I left the circus.
I became a jack of all trades. First I became a store clerk, and finally, like most of us, I ended up working at a war plant called Aircraft Components. I became a speed hammer operator, and of course when there was a slack time in my department, I would ask for work elsewhere. And so I worked behind a shear, where two big men would place these long sheets of stainless steel into a machine which cut them, and they had to be cut precisely. My job was to remove them and stack them as they were cut. It was the last day of November, 1944. It was a very hot and windy day. And when I put on my hair net, I realized that there was a lot of electricity in my hair. Anyway, the electrical static pulled my head into the shear, and I was completely scalped. I was in and out of hospitals for two years.
That, thanks to Baba, gave me the opportunity to really turn inward and start seeking. And although I felt I had been a seeker all my life, I finally decided that the end must