Brief Updates from Meher Archive Collective
from Jean Brunet Ludwig
Along with a wonderful potluck feast, we were treated to a live performance by these five fabulous musicians. We sat under a huge oak tree in Elaine’s back yard and luckily the rain held off until the very end with a few sprinkles as we were leaving.
All proceeds from the sale of Tonight Meher are generously being donated to MAC. Heartfelt thanks to the Nordeens, their accompanying musicians, and Seclusion Hill Sound Studios for volunteering their time and talents to this wonderful project.
If you would like a copy, please order from Sheriar Books. The original batch of 300 copies is almost sold out, but don’t despair, there will be more...
Ken Blackman, Project Manager
Greetings all Baba lovers, likers, and everyone else!
The Red Oak School project began in earnest a year ago. Under the guidance and direction of Peter Nordeen, and with the support of many volunteers and paid workers, we have made substantial progress on the 90 year old school building. The overarching aim is to ensure that the building is refurbished in such a manner as to last for centuries.
Early on, due to the enormity of the project, we decided to organize the work in three distinct phases:
Phase One (in progress)
Including work on the second floor of the classroom wing, this phase will ultimately provide sufficient space to hold the primary archival work and ongoing storage, as well as administrative offices and several rooms for Baba community functions. In time there will be rental spaces to help support the operations of the archive.
In addition, much attention has been given to the structure of the building, especially the roof. We are presently adding an eve system (overhang) to the roof to protect the exterior brick walls and windows. We have begun re-roofing with architectural shingles and will soon begin replacing the membrane on the flat parts of the roof. All this will ensure that we have an excellent roof system that will protect the building for many decades to come.
It’s anticipated that the first (ground) floor renovations will proceed more rapidly than phase one due to the fact that so much of the infrastructure will have already been addressed. This phase will make room for a library, further rental space, and other Baba community and archival space as needed.
This includes renovating the large auditorium with stage, green room and balcony/control room. Ultimately the auditorium will be available for large Baba community gatherings as well as rental space for other events such as weddings and concerts.
It is heartwarming to see The Red Oak School building receiving so much attention. Already this extraordinary location stands in service of the mission outlined by Baba - to spread His message of love to every corner of the world.
Construction in Action at The Red Oak School Building
Update on Architectural Services
Scott Tower Maloney
We are excited to announce the addition of local architect, Patti Glazer, to the MAC team.
Familiar to many in the local Baba community, Patti brings extensive expertise in local codes and planning, both of which are vital to this project. Patti and her firm Glazer Architecture have been involved in designing, constructing and/or refurbishing many notable buildings in the Asheville area, including Marshall High Studios (formally Marshall High School, also built in the 1920's) and, more recently, the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.
Patti has been a creative force in Asheville for over 40 years and is a 19-time Griffin Award winner for Excellence in Preservation. Her firm’s experience with a wide range of projects, including the creative restoration of historic buildings, means that the unique needs of MAC and the Red Oak School site will be well served.
We would like to acknowledge Ty Provosty’s important architectural contribution to the initial stages of this project, and now welcome Patti and her team in carrying MAC’s vision forward in the near and long term.
Legacy Giving: Conserving Treasures
Hopefully by now, many Baba Lovers have made some kind of written provisions for their Meher Baba and Mandali treasures, including correspondence, books, pictures and artifacts. Our suggestion is to make long term arrangements (in addition to plans for immediate care-taking) by writing down an ultimate destination, beyond the next generation, for your treasures. Such long term planning ensures that precious things will not go missing along the way if simply left to friends or family.
Included in that list, if available, should be the story and/or provenance plus dates, along with any additional information that helps put the document or item in context. Without knowing what is special and worthy of preservation, important documents and blessed items could be lost forever.
The process of archiving, conservation and long-term caretaking and storage will necessarily involve some expenses. If you are able to include a monetary legacy in your will, specifically earmarked for taking care of your treasures, you will be supporting both MAC and generations to come.
MAC’s vision includes sharing and exhibiting archival treasures; an onsite reading and viewing room; sponsoring events for sharing treasures related to Meher Baba’s advent; and eventually opportunities for individuals to spend extended time at The Red Oak School on Baba related projects.
Legacy Giving can be as simple as including MAC’s name, address and tax ID in a legal last will, along with your specific instructions (whether you choose to leave Baba treasures and/or a monetary amount, stocks or property). If you decide to support MAC, we, the board, will treat your legacy with the utmost respect. We are dedicated to our mission -
To collect, preserve, and share Meher Baba’s Divine legacy of materials, artifacts, and words with integrity, love, and transparency for the benefit of humanity.
For more information on Legacy Giving please contact our treasurer, Scott Tower Maloney at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Story from the Archives
Some months ago, Renee Bussanich brought in a box of old papers that once belonged to her friend, Neala Haze, who passed on about twelve years ago. After some initial investigation of the papers, MAC volunteer Teri Adams began sorting and rehousing the documents according to our method. Late into this project, she found a packet of old India-made Baba calendars and leaflets. They were torn but on the reverse side she discovered a little bit of treasure. Teri recognized Bhau Kalchuri’s handwriting and signature on each page.
One afternoon at MAC she said rather excitedly, “Look what I found!”. On closer examination we realized these were poems and ghazals written by Bhau and that a few were immediately recognizable as songs sung by Jim Meyer back in the 1970’s. These may in fact be the originals of those poems as there are a few words crossed out and changes made.
I asked Jim Meyer what he knew about these pages and this is what he said:
“I have put almost all of these very early English poems of Bhau's to music over the years. I, too, once had a handwritten manuscript of at least 10 poems by Bhauji - but, alas, someone ‘borrowed’ them and they were never returned. They were on lined blue paper in blue pen - a step up from these backs of calendars. I received my copies around 1972-73. But these are definitely cool and in Bhauji's handwriting."
“Page four is ‘Ocean Calm’ - I put this to music in 1973 and it is on the ‘In His Love’ group recording from 1973-74. It was the first song that I used Bhau's words. Bhau originally gave me about 10 poems to re-write because, he said, his English was poor. I never changed a word - why would I?". -Jim.
And so I asked Jeanne Felknor what she remembered about adapting one of the poems to music and if any recordings existed today. Here’s her reply:
“Wow Eruch. Trip down memory lane. Yes. When I was in India in 1979, Bhau said I had to choose one of his ghazals and make a song out of it. Peter and I did it together and we sang it on Mehera’s porch. Ted made a homemade CD of all of the songs he sings at the tomb and it’s on there. I’ll ask him if he’ll share it or you could email him and ask him. I don’t have a recording of it. Jai Baba”
To view the whole collection of ghazals click here. Overall, this was an interesting episode and shows that in the archive world, you never know what you might find. Also, how lucky was I to have both people who put these poems to music be local and one of them intimately involved in Meher Archive. Coincidence?
Getting answers and context does not always go so easily. I have come across many photos and letters over the years that leave me with questions. Questions that can’t be easily answered because the authors and recipients are no longer around to ask. In time this problem will grow exponentially, which is why there is some true urgency to preserve, scan, and share the Legacy of Meher Baba sooner rather than later. Many stories are simply waiting; we hope to keep uncovering them, big and small, and to continue sharing them with you.
To support MAC through a recurring monthly donation or to make a contribution to our capital fund, please visit our website here. Thank you!
Looking ahead to Bulletin #5,
We will be bringing you another story from The Archives, a financial report along with an update on our capital campaign, and Notes from an Interview with Peter Nordeen.
News, blogs, and updates on interesting archival finds and events.