40641956 TRIP TO THE WEST1956
I was trapped inside Baba's cabin at one point and had to watch him say goodbye to people in the doorway for fifteen minutes. My knees were weak and my inners unstrung for an hour afterwards. I hope I need not do this soon again.
Monday early, we left for Washington, a brief layover, more interviews, more press. Baba was not happy at a misquotation made by the press in New York, so the ground rules for handling the press were strengthened, and results began to turn out better. Bernard Carvalho brought his wife to greet Baba, and I have never seen anything more touching than the manner in which this woman melted into Baba, and the support he gave to her. One day, sometime, a long time from now, I want to write the story ... and their first cyclonic, peaceful, cataclysmic week with Baba.
And here we are in Los Angeles, two days gone by, Baba up to his neck in interviews, kisses, hugs, people walking around in a daze. The press has been excellent here. Tomorrow, we go to Meher Mount, then San Francisco.
We send our love ... etc., etc. — Don
From four o'clock in the morning on Thursday, 2 August 1956, preparations were being made to drive 85 miles to Ojai, California, where Agnes Baron had established a lovely hilltop center for Baba called Meher Mount. Filis came to the hotel early and saw Baba. The following is her account:
At four in the morning we finished ironing Baba's sadra and trousers and a few handkerchiefs. Luckily we got a lift to the hotel [there was a taxi strike in Los Angeles at this time]. Baba called for me at once and straightened out the knot of separation in my heart for having missed him the day before. I am sure every one on the trip had a similar experience of Baba's unfailing knowledge of our innermost moods and needs. At the end, he crossed his two forefingers in the characteristic gesture, meaning "I am the Christ." I hope someone paints Baba thus someday.
Agnes drove Baba and the mandali ahead in her station wagon, and the rest of the group followed by bus. Baba was to have visited Meher Mount in June 1952, but because of the automobile accident at Prague, Oklahoma, his trip had been canceled. Along the way, Baba admired the rich agricultural land and asked innumerable questions about it, such as what was being grown, how was the land irrigated, are there orchards ... "Baba was talking as if he were a real estate agent!" Agnes cracked.