BY BING HECKMAN
My connection to Meher Mount started in 1977 when I first visited and met Agnes Baron. Over the years, that connection has been reinforced by links through my children.
Agnes Baron is the godmother of my oldest daughter, Meira Heckman, who was born on July 15, 1993.
BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES IN COMMON
My youngest daughter, Megan Heckman, was born on August 2, 1995 – which was the 39th anniversary of Avatar Meher Baba’s visit (August 2, 1956) to Meher Mount.
August also marks the anniversary of the founding of Meher Mount in 1946 when it was purchased by the New Life Foundation based on instructions from Avatar Meher Baba.
CELEBRATION OF THE FIRST BIRTHDAY
My wife, Jennie Heckman, was raised in Hawaii where there is a custom to have a large celebration on a child’s first birthday. We wanted to bring that custom to our home in California.
It just so happened that Megan’s first birthday in 1996 was on the 40th anniversary of Meher Baba Baba’s visit to Meher Mount and the 50th anniversary of the founding of Meher Mount.
So, in honor of my daughter Megan’s first birthday, the 50th anniversary of the founding of Meher Mount, and the 40th anniversary of Meher Baba’s visit, I organized and sponsored a special celebration at Meher Mount. The event was Saturday, August 3, 1996, with the theme: "Fifty Years of Preservation, Forty Years of Santification."
SPECIAL GUESTS AT THE CELEBRATION
It was a wonderful day with an inspiring group of special guests including Tex Hightower, Bili Eaton, Marguerite Poley, Leatrice Johnston, and Adele Wolkin - all of whom had met and spent time with Meher Baba.
They shared their experiences of being with Meher Baba. The following are short excerpts of some of their talks at Meher Mount in 1996, provided by the Oral History Archive Project of the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California.
Tex Hightower (1927- ), a professional dancer who met Meher Baba through his dance teacher Margaret Craske, was among those who visited Meher Mount with Meher Baba in 1956. In the beginning of his talk, Tex shares stories from that visit followed by being with Meher Baba in San Francisco.
Leatrice Johnston (1934-2005), the daughter of Darwin and Jeanne Shaw, met Avatar Meher Baba as a child. In this video, excerpt she shares the story of going to Muir Woods near San Francisco with Meher Baba in 1956.
Adele Wolkin (1918-2015), who visited Meher Mount in August 1956, shares stories of being with Meher Baba in New York earlier on that 1956 trip.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bing Heckman has been a long-time friend and supporter of Meher Mount and Agnes Baron (1907-1994). He worked with Agnes and Ken Ceder to create the non-profit Meher Mount Corporation to which Agnes bequeathed the property. He then was a founding board member of the non-profit, serving from 1980 to 2007, including being the Secretary/Treasurer for many of those years.
Bing arranged for the “temporary” trailers that served as living quarters for Agnes after the 1985 New Life Fire destroyed nearly everything on the property, including her home.
In the mid-1990s, Bing, working with Paul Belgum and Michel Saint-Suplice, built the current Caretaker Quarters/Visitor Center. Bing helped to guide Meher Mount for many years after Agnes' death.