helped make the public familiar with His message. Rick Chapman founded Meher Baba Information, "The Box" 1101, in Berkeley and gave away thousands of information packets. He also wrote How to Choose a Guru. Peter Townshend, the rock idol, on whose photo Baba had emphatically placed His thumb, listed Avatar Meher Baba as his "producer" on some of his albums. His hit rock opera, "Tommy" was a well-disguised allegory of the spiritual search for God. The Rolling Stone Magazine had a cover story on Baba in August 1969. What a trip that was, to see it strung up in rows on a New York newsstand! Peter Max quoted Baba on his psychedelic posters for Fifth Avenue buses. On the New York subways, 60's posters were big, and "The Ancient One" poster caught the eye of so many young hearts, as did the first and favorite of a snowstorm of Baba cards — "Don't Worry, Be Happy!" Buttons were in, and Baba buttons (oh! blessed buttons — if you find one) were sought after.
Now my house couldn't hold all the seekers, so I improvised meetings on the beach, in public parks (Alondra, Rancho, Griffith) and bank community rooms. We were excluded finally from American Savings (Manhattan Beach) because we sported beards, sandals, painted vans, and because someone stole a can of deodorant from the men's room! I felt it was time the youngsters conduct their own meetings, and learn to reach out to others. For a while, we met at Antoinette's home on a Venice canal. Then came our first Baba bookstore, in Hermosa Beach, opened by Ivan Mosko, my boss's nephew. He had quit Mattel to do so and for a while I thought I might be fired for "influencing the young." Then another bookstore was opened on Pacific Avenue in Venice. A third was started in Pasadena by John and Judy Page, a fourth in Huntington Beach by Barbara MacReynolds and Ken Pellman, then a fifth in Santa Barbara, where a wave of love for Baba opened up suddenly through Paul Siem and a talk I gave there. Paul and Mike Thorne composed and played our first original Baba songs on guitar.
It was the era of the "crash pad” and some bookstores became such as well as meeting places. Several romances and marriages got started this way and, in fact, I know of one handsome youngster who started his life journey right in our Hermosa Store! Hermosa City Hall had made us promise: No candles, no incense, no posters, only white walls, and no more than two people inside at a time! But two are two enough.
Hitchhiking was "in" in the mobile 60’s and the Baba cards went along. It was through a card left on a bar in San Blas, Mexico, a big surfing spot, that Jack Small and others had come to Baba. Jack drove all the way from Mexico to hear of Baba. He arrived in a long white caftan on crutches (he had had hepatitis) with a long red beard and red hair, and a headband, supported by his friend Mike. He had been on drugs (he passed his bar exam stoned on LSD). Baba was a turning point in their lives. I advised them to visit the Center in Myrtle Beach and it was Elizabeth who persuaded Jack to cut his hair. It was at the Center where Virginia’s* love for Baba was awakened. Both returned to LA, and became part of the ever-growing group.
Virginia was one of the few pro-Baba parents. I used to get quite a bit of static from irate parents. I had to hide one boy, Duncan Guild, in my apartment for a week. Another girl was kidnapped by her parents, held in a motel in Long Beach to be "deprogrammed" by Ted Patrick. She escaped and called me. Later, she voluntarily returned to the motel so as not to "upset her parents," feeling she could hang on to Baba regardless — which happened. Other parents literally tossed their underage kids out onto the street. One girl molested by her step-father, had told her mother, only to be turned out helpless and penniless. When we rescued her and helped her — especially to get off drugs― the mother upbraided me! There were
* Virginia Small, Jack’s mother