By Margaret Magnus
Photos from the early days of Meher Mount are few and precious. This is the story of the discovery in 2014 of photos taken in November 1956, just months after Meher Baba's August 2, 1956, visit.
A CASUAL CONVERSATION OVER LUNCH
It all started over lunch in Meherabad, India. At that time, Sam Ervin and I were there for Meher Baba's 2014 birthday celebration.
During our trip, we had lunch with David Bowling and Gusi Carpenter, Australians who spend six months a year living and volunteering in Meherabad.
David mentioned that he had been talking to the Meherabad Archives Committee about their work in preserving items related to the Advent of Meher Baba.
A MEETING WITH THE ARCHIVES COMMITTEE IS SET UP & THEN RESCHEDULED
One of the things David mentioned was the Archives' database architecture for classifying and identifying objects, photographs, books, and so on. He was keen to use it for Avatar’s Abode in Australia.
I was also keen to see if it would be appropriate for Meher Mount. When I asked him if he would share the information with me, David suggested I speak with the Archives Committee.
I contacted the committee and set up a meeting with Meredith Klein for Saturday, February 22, 2014, for 11:30 a.m. in the Archives Building.
In the morning on the day before that scheduled meeting, Meredith asked if we could move the meeting to 10:00 a.m. that day, Friday, February 21, 2014. We readily agreed, and the meeting was rescheduled.
MEHER BABA'S IMPECCABLE TIMING
At the appointed time, Sam and I were at the Archives Building.
As we walked in, volunteers Gusi Carpenter and Jessica Mednick were opening a box containing photographs that had just arrived from Meherazad, the last home of Meher Baba about 20 kilometers away.
The items in the box had belonged to Meher Baba’s Beloved disciple, Mehera Irani (1907-1989) and contained letters and photographs that had been sent to her by various people.
“We had just opened the box and pulled out an envelope of photos and looked inside when Sam and Margaret walked in,” Gusi recalled. In the envelope, there were six photos of Meher Mount. We all marveled at the timing.
A REMINDER THAT MEHER BABA IS WITH US ALWAYS
As Communications Director, I am always looking for photos of Meher Mount. Periodically, I also bemoan the fact there are so few historical photos.
This gift of photos reminded me that Meher Baba is always there and hears all of our prayers.
The Archives volunteers scanned both sides of the photos and the envelope and put them on a disc for us to add to Meher Mount’s archives.
NO ONE KNEW WHO SENT THE PHOTOS TO MEHERA
At the time, none of us knew who took the photos, who the children in the photos were, or who had sent them to Mehera.
We did recognize the Meher Mount buildings and Agnes Baron, Meher Mount co-founder and a lifetime caretaker.
Later, after returning to the US and starting to write this story, I looked at the identifications written on the back of one of the photographs. It said, "Bill, Agnes, Claudia, BBB, Joan."
I knew “BBB” meant Baba’s Beloved Baby (3B), Meher Baba’s nickname for artist Diane Dimpfl Cobb. Her sister Joan Dimpfl Harland had been the guest speaker for the 2013 Anniversary Celebration at Meher Mount.
THE PHOTOS ARE IDENTIFIED
Joan confirmed that the handwriting on the envelope was her father’s, Lud Dimpfl (1920-1988), a close follower of Meher Baba. The other children in the photos were her siblings, Bill (William) Dimpfl and Claudia Dimpfl O’Hanrahan.
These photos were taken in November 1956, just months after Meher Baba’s visit to Meher Mount on August 2, 1956. Lud Dimpfl noted that he was at Meher Mount during Meher Baba’s visit and indicated in the photo where they had lunch. The screened porch he referred to was also where Agnes Baron slept in later years.
A FEW MEMORIES OF VISITING MEHER MOUNT AS A CHILD
When asked about that visit, Joan responded, “I do remember visiting Agnes a few times when we were children, although the details are very fuzzy. The only time I really remember is when I visited with just my Dad when I was about 10 or 11 years old.
“I remember sleeping (on a window seat?) in a beautiful little room with flowered chintz and a fireplace (it may have been the room in the photo). The strongest memory of that trip is Dad and Agnes gabbing enthusiastically till the wee hours!”