Kim Tolhurst ( nee Parsall )

 

"Ayisha" 

Born : 1905 - United Kingdom

Died :  1983

Parents : Horace Field Parshall Dr. ( 1865 NY. - 1935 )  & Annie M. Rogers ( 1873 - 1945 )

Sibling :  Horace F. Parshall Jrn. ( 1903 - 1986 )

Married : 1)  Desmond O'Neill Tolhurst - ( later divored ) - they had 3 children

              : 2)  Manuel Grajera

Children : ( 1st Marriage ) 1. Phoebe Ann

                                            2. Susan Jane

                                            3.

 

Nationality : English & American

 

Her birth name was Kathleen Anna Parshall

 

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Field_Parshall

https://archive.org/details/parshallfamilyad00pars

 https://www.geni.com/people/Kathleen-Parshall/6000000034439743529

 

A special thank you to Fiona Tolhurst for her contributions on her family's history -Webmaster

Fiona is Kim's grand-daughter.

 

Please note : If a name or place is under-scored and coloured mid blue, if you click on it you will then go to that particular page on this web site - Webmaster

1931 - East Challacombe, Devon, England. Meher Baba with Kim. ( cropped image - edited by Anthony Zois )
1931 - East Challacombe, Devon, England. Meher Baba with Kim. ( cropped image - edited by Anthony Zois )
Young Kathleen Parsall
Young Kathleen Parsall

Kathleen Parsall's Family Tree

Click on the chart to enlarge
Click on the chart to enlarge

Click on the buttons  to visit the property pages

Kathleen was a student of martial arts and met Meher Baba at Devonshire, England in late September 1931 at the request of her judo teacher Gunji Koizumi and became a close companion.

 

Kim was married to Desmond Tolhurst and had 2 daughters - Phoebe Ann &  Susan Jane and a son H. Desmond.

During this time they had a couple of properties in England - Penbury Grove, Buckinghamshire  and  their London address ; 15 & 61 Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead, London. They also had a property at Riverside Drive, New York City.

 

Courtesy of the book " Meher Baba visits to England" - M.Hickman - p.30
Courtesy of the book " Meher Baba visits to England" - M.Hickman - p.30
Lord Meher - p.1585 - East Challacombe, England - 1931
Lord Meher - p.1585 - East Challacombe, England - 1931

14th September, 1931

 

Meher Baba had arrived at an English country property in Devonshire near the sea called East Challacombe with his men mandali to spend some time here with the first group of English admirers.

 

After lunch, Baba went for a walk along the cliffs by the seashore. Various persons in the group collected driftwood as souvenirs. In the evening Meredith ( Starr ) read out his poems in a sonorous tone (each followed by a few minutes of silence).

Another fortunate devotee to meet the Master that day was Katherine Anna Tolhurst, 26. Kim, as she was called, was an intelligent, red-haired young woman; she was interested in Buddhism and was studying judo under ( Gunji ) Koizumi, a martial arts teacher who had met Baba in London. Koizumi had spoken to Kim, telling her about Meher Baba, Meredith Starr and of the ashram in Devonshire. "This is something that will interest you," Koizumi assured her. Kim wrote to Meredith that she was a seeker who had always hoped to find the real answers in life.

 

Kim once recalled the sequence of events that followed:

 

Meredith wrote back that he felt I was ready for whatever the ashram retreat had to offer and vaguely mentioned that a Master was coming. Anyway, I went absolutely unprepared for what was going to happen. There was enormous excitement the night Baba arrived, though I didn't see him or any of the others with him.

The next evening, Meredith said to me, "Shri Meher Baba has arrived and I would like you to go see him."

Well, I went upstairs to his little room, which resembled a monastic cell. (It was really a very old farmhouse with walls that were several feet thick.) Baba was seated on a bed robed in white.

I don't know what happened — I shall never know what happened. All I know is that I found myself on my knees at Baba's feet, crying as I think I have never cried before.

The tears were streaming down my face. I don't think I was unhappy; I don't think I was happy. Perhaps the tears seemed to wash away all that had happened to me in the past, all that I had regretted. I was empty in a sense, yet filled with lightness and a new dawn — fresh life. I felt clean and light.

I don't know how long this weeping lasted; I couldn't tell you. It was timeless. Baba dictated on the board, which I heard Chanji interpret, "She is to stay near me."

Somebody picked me up. I was put to bed and fell into a deep slumber. I can't explain what happened. It was a long, long time ago, but it is an impression which has remained very deep.

I always loved Jesus Christ and it seemed to me that Baba was like the Jesus I had known as a child in the paintings depicting him. I felt this tremendous love, this tremendous compassion. Although there was a great deal to criticize in me and even be stern about (I most certainly had not always been as good or nice a person as I should have been), in his eyes there was nothing but understanding and compassion and no condemnation at all. I think it was that that won me over to him. However sensual one had been, however undutiful, ungrateful or careless — whatever one's faults were that he saw — it seemed as if he saw what one might become and drew this out. That is really all I can say.

 

The next morning Kim awakened in a normal state of mind, but thereafter constantly sought to be near Baba.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1263-4

Lord Meher - Vol.4 p1418 - 1st Edition

 

 

21st September, 1931

 

In the afternoon of the 21st, Baba called Kim, Margaret Craske and Margaret Starr privately and explained in detail with a diagram the process of creation, evolution, reincarnation and involution of consciousness. At the end (to Margaret Craske's great relief) Baba told them all not to think too much on any of these details, stating, "Love is greater than anything — any amount of knowledge or explanations."

 

A telegram arrived in Combe Martin on the 22nd from Vishnu in Nasik, conveying the news that Hazrat Babajan had dropped her body in Poona on Monday, 21 September 1931 (at about 4:30 P.M.).......

 

While in Combe Martin, it seemed that Baba divided his time between his closest followers. The first two days were spent with Herbert ( Davy ); the next three with Kitty ( Davy ) and Zilla ( Cluse ); and the last four with Baba showing special attention to Margaret (Craske) and Kim.

 

As various persons would come to see Baba, Agha Ali would announce, "Baba, Kim and company are here." From this, Baba began referring to the group collectively as Kimco.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1270

Hazrat Babajan
Hazrat Babajan

26th September, 1931

 

Christmas Humphreys was president of the Buddhist Society of London. He had found out about Baba through Kim. One day he and some others from his Buddhist group came to see Baba. During their meeting, Baba explained:

 

 

"In Sufi terms, religion has four aspects: shariat, tariqat, marefat and haqiqat. Man has to go beyond shariat — the external aspect. The Muslims consider it unlawful to go beyond shariat. Yet a Sadguru [Perfect Master] has such powers that if he wishes, he can make a person God-realized in a minute!".....

 

Christmas Humphreys was very impressed with Baba and later wrote of his meeting in an article titled "The Incarnation of Love".......

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1274-5

Christmas Humphreys
Christmas Humphreys

Baba, accompanied by Desmond and Kim, Margaret Craske, Meredith and Kitty, took Rustom ( Irani ), Chanji and Agha Ali to see the musical comedy White Horse Inn at the London Coliseum on Saturday evening, 26 September 1931.  An actress named Cordelia DeLeon, 30, was introduced to Baba. "This is the living Christ," she was told. Delia, as she was called, was immediately drawn to Baba and sat by his side. Every day thereafter in London, Delia saw Baba.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1277

Disembarking at the port of Cherbourg on Friday, 11 December 1931, Baba arrived in Paris that evening and stayed at the Hotel Powers at 52 rue François. Margaret Starr, Margaret Craske, Delia, Kim and twelve-year-old John Cousins had arrived in Paris the previous day and joined Baba.  The next day, Kitty and her niece Zilla arrived in the afternoon.  At night, they went to the Aubert Palace cinema and saw Charlie Chaplin's City Lights and another night a Laurel & Hardy film.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1337

16th December, 1931

 

Some idea of the emotional state of those left behind in Paris is revealed in this letter to Chanji from Kim Tolhurst:

You can guess how anxious we all were to hear from Margaret the details of your journey to Marseilles. You can also guess what we felt like after we had seen your train pull out of the station; and I am afraid that the tears which we had somehow kept back while saying good-bye began to flow freely as soon as Baba could no longer see our faces.

I can remember nothing of our journey back to the hotel, or how we somehow found our way into Baba's room. But we had not been sitting there very long before we began to feel his presence so strongly with us that we dried our tears, smiled and began to talk of him. He seemed to be there with us, as indeed he really was! And I could see his face smiling and his eyes looking at us with deepest love. We know that he would not wish us to weep, so to please him, we sang his favorite songs, talked over the incidents of the week and made many happy plans for the future.

We all went to bed very early as we knew Baba would want us to rest; but Delia and I were so excited to be sleeping in Baba's room, and in Baba's very bed, that it was a long time before we could rest. At 6:45, we were up packing, eating breakfast, and just before eight, we left the Powers Hotel. Glad we were to leave now that Baba had gone Paris was a casket without a jewel, a rose without scent.

Wonderfully smooth was the sea and we could not help wondering whether Baba whispered again, "Peace, be still," so that his poor little ones should not be frightened.

Delia and I meet nearly every day. We talk of Baba, think of him and play his favorite records. Sometimes the music makes us feel rather sad, because we still are weak and miss his physical presence. But in the midst of our sorrow there is comfort, because we know that for love there is no separation and no end.

Please kiss darling Baba for me.

On one occasion, Kim recalled that time in Paris:

Baba once said to us, "In the East, I have people's worship; in the West, I have love."

With him in Paris was such a lovely, lovely atmosphere. We would curl up his hair and poke it up under his hat before going out. It was just love. I don't say we didn't revere him; of course, we did. But perfect love does cast out fear and to us, he was just love and somebody we could tease and say, "Oh, Baba, you look silly in that hat," and so forth. Many people would have misunderstood this. It was just love and play and he loved this, because he could relax with us and be completely happy.

Meditation was not necessary. It was enough just to be in the room with him quietly. It was a love-feast. You were in love. Baba was love and this was all that mattered. Yet it was a love, I think, very few people would understand if they saw us together playful, joking, teasing.

We used to make silly little rhymes, "Oh, the sad guru is a happy Sadguru!" Silly, little things. And at that time, his face would light up and his eyes would become brilliant. I think he was very happy with us. I sent him poems nearly every day after he left, expressing great grief at the sorrow of our parting.

Coming home was extremely hard for me, because one had really been in another world. It was difficult for me to pick up the threads and do what I had to do, which was to look after my husband and family, and come down to earthly, daily life. But Baba had told me how I must do my duty, and so I tried as best I could. Though it was not easy, I know it was right. I had to stay at home and work through the problems of life.



On one occasion, to console Kim, Baba cabled her this poetic message:

"Trying to please her Lord,
poor Mary Magdalene's heart is breaking."

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1339-40-41

East Challacombe property - Courtesy of the book "Meher Baba visits to England" - M.Hickman ; p30 - 2001
East Challacombe property - Courtesy of the book "Meher Baba visits to England" - M.Hickman ; p30 - 2001
Combe Martin, Devonshire, UK
Combe Martin, Devonshire, UK

After ten days, Baba decided that it was time to leave Combe Martin. Departing by train with Agha Ali, Chanji, Tom, Margaret, Kim and Audrey (Ince), Baba returned to London on Thursday, 24 September 1931. He again stayed at the Davys' home ( 32 Russell Road, Kensington ), while Rustom and Meredith occupied a nearby house.

 

Kim brought her husband Desmond Tolhurst and her daughters Phoebe Ann and Susan Jane to see Baba on the 25th. Desmond told Baba, "I am a staunch Roman Catholic and want to lead a life of rectitude. I feel at times that I am doing wrong and I am tempted. I repeat my mistakes time and time again. I am religious-minded and want to remain devoted to God and the Church."

Baba replied, "Be religious; it is good. But eventually you have to go beyond the shariat — the traditional rituals of religion."

Desmond then asked, "Are there any true saints and holy priests in Christianity?"

"There were saints," Baba answered, "but the Christian priests are the same type as those priests in every other religion throughout the world. Out of selfishness, priests create and propagate their own customs, tenets and practices, thereby crippling religion. All these rites, rituals and ceremonies are the dry husk of the corn."

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1271-2

 Davy's home - 32 Russell Road, Kensington, London,UK
Davy's home - 32 Russell Road, Kensington, London,UK
February 1932 : Birthday wishes from Kimco to Baba
February 1932 : Birthday wishes from Kimco to Baba

1932 - 7th April

 

Taking a break, they stopped at a teashop along the way. Quentin Tod took the opportunity to explain to Baba that friction had arisen between Meredith Starr and others over Baba's staying in London rather than the East Challacombe retreat exclusively. Baba was definite. He would stay at "32" ( Russell Rd, Kensington ) for seven days and at Kim Tolhurst's for two days before going to the Devonshire Retreat in East Challacombe on the 17th.

 

They reached London at seven that night and went straight to Russell Road. All the birds flew in. "Birds always flock where there is a beautiful and lovely park!" Age noted. "Music filled the air of this English garden as the birds gathered and began to sing the Beloved's Song."

 

Kitty DavyZilla Cluse,  Margaret CraskeDelia De Leon and Kim stayed at the house, while others like Delia's sister Minta Toledano, Margaret's business partner Mabel Ryan, Margaret Starr's brother Kenneth Ross, Charles Purdom, Tom Sharpley and Quentin Tod were daily visitors.

 

Delia brought Stephanie and Hal Haggard with their little son John to meet Baba. Stephanie, a classmate of Kitty's and friend of Delia's, said she had seen Baba in a dream when she was fourteen. She and her husband left deeply impressed.

On the afternoon of Friday, 8 April 1932, Kitty, Margaret, Delia, Kim, Minta, Quentin and others staged skits for Baba in the downstairs hall. Margaret danced, and the others entertained Baba in various ways, doing their utmost to please him. ( Baba's brothers ) Beheram S. Irani  played the sitar and Adi Sr.Irani the harmonium.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1369

15th April, 1932

 

Baba and the group stayed at Kim and Desmond Tolhurst's house ( at 61 Compayne Gardens, Hampstead ) in the evening. Baba was to stay overnight at the Tolhursts' house with Zilla, Kitty, Adi Jr. and another of the mandali. Since Kim did not know how to cook Indian food, she asked Krishna Veer, the proprietor of the **Kohinoor restaurant, to supply food for Baba and the mandali, though she woke up at 5:00 A.M. to make special strong tea for Baba, which he enjoyed, along with a cheese that had traces of mustard.

Detailed plans had been arranged for Baba's stay at the Devonshire Retreat. Meredith came to see Baba on Saturday, 16 April 1932 at six o'clock in the morning, returning to Devonshire at 11. Adi Jr., Beheram, Chanji, Kaka Baria , and Dr Abdul Ghani Musiff were sent ahead to Devonshire that afternoon at three.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1384

 

**Bir Bahadur from Delhi who opened The Kohinoor in Roper Street (pulled down in 1978)

 

61 Compayne Gardens, Hampstead - Photo taken by Michael Lakey - April 2012
61 Compayne Gardens, Hampstead - Photo taken by Michael Lakey - April 2012

continued ....

 

In the evening Baba went to see a comic film, A Night Like This, featuring Ralph Lynn.

 

Baba left for the retreat the next day at 6:30 ( 16th )  in the morning accompanied by Adi Sr., Kitty, Zilla, Kim, Delia and Margaret. Before the other mandali departed, Baba had ordered them to put up with whatever Meredith said or did, and warned them not to create a disturbance on any account. The mandali no sooner had set foot in the Devonshire house when they eyed a notice posted on the wall of a planned schedule for Baba, themselves and the others. Baba's program was chalked out from 6:00 A.M. to late in the night, and each of the mandali was ordered to meditate in his room. For the other visitors, a regimen of silence and meditation had been drawn up. Much to their discomfort, according to Baba's wish, the mandali kept their opinions to themselves and began following Meredith's program.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1385

continued.....

 

Baba did not insist on the English group being vegetarian, and he had informed the Kimco group that they were exempt from the daily hour of meditation, during which time Meredith had given strict orders for silence in the house and on the premises. One day Baba came to sit with them during this hour and casually pulled a book from the shelf, showing them the title. It was All Quiet on the Western Front, and all burst out laughing. 

Another time, Baba came upstairs to Kimco's room to be with them during the meditation hour. He looked out the open window and saw Quentin dutifully meditating outside.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1386

 Book Cover of first English edition, 1929
Book Cover of first English edition, 1929

Note : All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I, about the horrors of that war and also the deep detachment from German civilian life felt by many men returning from the front.

 

 

But on Monday, 18 April 1932, Baba remarked to the mandali, "I do not like the weather here at all. I am bored and fed up. It is a continual bondage and there is no freedom. Meetings and interviews are going on the whole day, and it is bitter cold. Anyhow, we have to carry on. I must have nine days of complete holiday before I speak. My first words will be, 'I am Krishna, I am Buddha, I am Christ!' "

Since it was so cold in England, going to Switzerland was suggested, as it was warmer there. Kim threatened Baba, "If you don't take me with you, I will commit suicide! I place you above all!"

Baba admonished her in front of everyone, "If that is so, then carry out my wishes fully. Do not question me or suggest anything to me. Although I am the Master, I am following Meredith's behests, and if you do that, too, what harm is there? Meredith has not even allotted time for me to communicate with the mandali; still, I go to meet with them at five in the morning so that I am ready by six for Meredith's program!"

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1387

Courtesy of Lord Meher ; Vol.4 - page 1505 ( 1st Edition )
Courtesy of Lord Meher ; Vol.4 - page 1505 ( 1st Edition )

continued....

 

After a week's stay, Baba left Devonshire at 6:30 in the morning on Sunday, 24 April 1932. Baba arrived in London accompanied by Adi Sr., Minta, Kim, Mabel, Margaret and Kitty, and stayed at the Davys' house. The other mandali (who had left Devonshire the day before) stayed at Stephanie Haggard's home. All the birds flew back to find refuge in Baba, including a woman named Phyllis who had met Baba at Devonshire the previous year.

 

 

On 27 April, Baba entrained for Lugano, Switzerland, at 11:00 A.M. with the six mandali (Adi Jr., Beheram, Chanji, Ghani, Kaka, Adi Sr.), Kitty, Minta, Kim and Delia.

Arriving in Paris at 6:15 that evening, they went to see the Eiffel Tower and then returned to the railway station.

For some time, Minta and Kim both had wanted to be the Master's personal attendant. This gave rise to strife between them and, though Baba had allotted separate duties to each, their jealousy did not subside. Their natures, too, seemed to be at odds: Kim's amusing chatter was entertaining to Baba, whereas Minta would often express her love emotionally by kissing and embracing Baba.

Finally, all this inner turmoil resulted in a loud fight at the Paris railway station, and Baba had to calm them. They each wished the other would not meddle in any of Baba's work. Finding Kim doing Baba's personal work and herself excluded from it, Minta took it so badly she quietly went up to the third floor of the train station, determined to jump out the window! None of the persons present knew this, but the All-knowing One sent Adi Sr. to find her.

 

Adi found her ! ( added by the Webmaster )

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1389

On the train to Lugano, Baba would cover his face and do his inner work. Kim lay practically the whole night with her head on Baba's feet, "in a bliss which is indescribable," she later related. They arrived in Lugano at 11:30 A.M. on Thursday, 28 April 1932 and stayed at the Grand Eden Hotel.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1390

1st May, 1932

 

Afterward, they listened to phonograph records. Baba liked the "rumbas" and asked Margaret to improvise dances on the spot in front of some of the locals. Kim, a trained opera singer, sang a few Negro spirituals. In the evenings, usually they would go to a movie or other show, and they once saw a group of Spanish dancers, whom Baba especially enjoyed watching. They went to another movie that night.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1393

Rumba poster
Rumba poster
Mt.Generoso, Switzerland - Kim on far right - Courtesy of MSI Collection
Mt.Generoso, Switzerland - Kim on far right - Courtesy of MSI Collection

3rd May, 1932

 

They reached the 5,600-foot snow-covered top of Mt. Generoso by funicular ( railway ), and the lovers' love obliged the sun to come out at last. Baba was very happy and playful, and threw snowballs at everyone.

Afterward, they ate a lunch of radishes, cheese and potato chips at a restaurant on the summit. In a good mood, Baba gave some more explanations of the inner spiritual planes to the group, and later they played Ping-Pong at the Hotel Schweizerhof in Lugano. They hiked around the nearby hills and spent a wonderful excursion with Baba, which he too enjoyed. Refreshed by the outing, the group returned to Lugano in the evening.

 

But the next day, 4 May 1932, was not a happy one, for they received word that Baba's father had died on 30 April. Ramjoo had sent a cable to London on the 1st, saying, "Father Sheriarji expired Bombay last night," ( Meher Baba's father )  and Quentin forwarded the message to Lugano.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1395

Mt. Generosa, Switzerland
Mt. Generosa, Switzerland
Courtesy of Lord Meher - p.927 ( 1st Edition )
Courtesy of Lord Meher - p.927 ( 1st Edition )

 

Mid-April 1932

 

Kim Tolhurst, on the other hand, was no longer in love with her husband and found sex not what it should be. She told Baba, who wryly commented to her, "You are already a saint." Years later, Kim explained what Baba's words meant to her:

 

 

As a little girl, I had always wanted to be a saint and hoped that I might one day be one. There was tremendous pride in me, and the answer that Baba gave broke that in a way. Baba had a very mysterious way in which he would feed what needed to be broken in you. If you went to him and said this, that or the other, he would say, "Right, go ahead and do it." And by doing the thing you most wanted to do or thinking the thing you most wanted to think, you would find that it was utterly mistaken, and you had to get way, way beyond it into something entirely different. I found out later how utterly right Baba was. I had to live through life – become a real woman.

 

Concerning people's attitude about Meher Baba at the time, Kim further explained:

 

 

Baba was utter purity. Other people didn't really understand the kind of love it was we had for him. I can remember my husband saying to me before we set off for Paris, "Are you sure it's going to be all right?" I said, "Look, if Baba showed in any way that he was not what I thought he was, I would have been so heartbroken I think I would have killed myself." To me, he was utter purity. If there had been any sign of any indecency, which of course there never was, I would have died of grief. To me, he was as the Christ must have been to the Magdalene – love and compassion and absolute purity.

 

Lord Meher ; Bhau Kalchuri - Vol.5  1566 - 1st Edition

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1381

Kim recalled :

At other times, they simply sat in silence. As Kim recalled, "I can remember one or two occasions where Baba was seated and we were all sitting around him in perfect silence. There was such a flow of love; it was almost as if the air were vibrating.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1382

1932

 

Baba and the mandali, with Kimco, drove to Kim's father's house, Pennbury Grove, in the village of Penn, near High Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire. Baba was in a happy mood. All joined in a game of soccer and Baba's side always won; then foot-races were held. They had a lovely tea in the ballroom, where the gardener had built a fire in the fireplace. Afterwards, Baba suggested a game of Hide-and-Seek in the big house. He hid and they had to find him, which proved to be great fun. Baba liked the spot very much, and remarked, "I intend to make this one of my centres in England. With me here, it will be heaven on earth !"

 

Lord Meher ; Bhau Kalchuri - Vol.5  1571

Awakener ; Vol.20,No.2 - Portofino 1933 - Kim seated right
Awakener ; Vol.20,No.2 - Portofino 1933 - Kim seated right

7 May 1932

 

Baba then praised their individual qualities: Kitty — a selfless worker for Baba and always seeing to his happiness; Kim — for her deep love and resolve of sacrifice; Delia — her silent faithfulness; Minta — longing to be with Baba all the time and resolve of self-surrenderance.

 

On Saturday evening, 7 May 1932, after ten days in Lugano, the group left and arrived in Paris the next morning at nine o'clock. They stayed on the fifth floor of the Hotel Powers. Kim and Minta became intensely jealous of each other and, alone in her room, Minta again tried to commit suicide, but she was stopped and Baba comforted her.

Baba and a few companions went for a long taxi ride all through the city of Paris during the day. That night, Baba went to the Folies Bergère with Kim and Delia, while the mandali went to a movie with Minta.

They left Paris for Boulogne at 8:30 in the morning on the 9th, and traveled from there by ferry to Folkestone and on to London, arriving at half past three in the afternoon.

Kim, Minta, and Delia cried constantly at the thought of separation from Baba. Kitty and Margaret had gone ahead from Paris to arrange Baba's stay at the Fellowship Club at 46 Lancaster Gate. Due to the false reports in the newspapers, Kitty's parents had felt it would be better if Baba stayed elsewhere this time.  Kitty met Baba in Dover at the Lord Warden Hotel, and escorted him to London. She and Margaret stayed with him and the mandali on the fifth floor of the lodging at Lancaster Gate ( Fellowship Club ).

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1402

Early on Saturday the 14th May, 1932 many gathered for a tearful send-off at the Waterloo Station. Baba, Quentin, Meredith and Margaret Starr, and Adi Jr., Beheram, Chanji, Kaka and Ghani boarded the SS Bremen bound for New York City.   Kitty, Kim, Margaret and Delia journeyed from London to Southampton to see Baba off and bid him bon voyage as tears streamed down their cheeks.

Kim described the Gopis' heartbreak, as Baba sailed for America: "When we scrambled off the boat, nearly blind with tears, you can imagine how our hearts were aching with grief. We all sat in a row, hand in hand, and cried and cried ... I am sure we must have looked terribly funny to anyone passing by, but I'm afraid we were beyond caring what we looked like. Later, as you know, we went onto the deck of the tender and waved to you all. We thought that we could see Baba, but were not quite certain. Did he wave or not? We watched the Bremen slowly turn round and head for the open sea, and we sent our hearts, souls and minds with her."

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1405

Waterloo Railway Station, London, 1930s
Waterloo Railway Station, London, 1930s

After thirteen days at sea, the Kaiser-i-Hind arrived in Marseilles on Friday, 29 July 1932. Baba was met by Kitty Davy and her brother Herbert, who had come from China via Russia. They boarded a train for Santa Margherita, located along the Italian Riviera. The next day, much to Quentin Tod's surprise, Baba arrived earlier than scheduled. Between the towns of Santa Margherita and Paraggi, Quentin had rented a separate villa for Baba and the mandali named Fiorenza, which Baba liked very much.

Prior to Baba's arrival, Margaret Craske and Mabel Ryan, along with one of their pupils, Audrey Williams, had arrived on the 25th; Delia, Minta, Stephanie and Kim arrived on the 28th.

The atmosphere of Santa Margherita was beautiful during Baba's stay — warm sun, blue sea and splendid coastline scenery.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1452

 

19th August, 1932

 

In Venice, Baba gave each of his lovers an Eastern name: Audrey — Shirin; Mabel — Phiroze; Delia — Leyla; Margaret — Zuleka; Herbert — Sudama; Minta — Shalimar; Kim — Ayisha; Quentin — Nared [Narad]; Kitty — Saroja; and Zilla — Mumtaz. Norina was later given the name Nurjehan; Elizabeth — Dilruba; Anita — Ch-chulee; Nonny — Kemali; Rano — Merano (a flower); Irene (Billo) — Padmini (lotus). For years afterward, Baba would address or refer to his close ones by these names; they, in turn, would sign their letters likewise.

 

 Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1465

Mid-December 1932

 

New persons came to see Baba in London, but he afforded little time to meet them, as he had come especially for the sake of his close lovers, spending most of his time with Kitty, Margaret, Delia, Minta, Kim, Zilla, Audrey, Quentin, Will and Mary Backett, Tom Sharpley, Charles Purdom, Elizabeth, Norina and Nadine  . These individuals were worthy of coming to stay at the ashram in India which he was planning in the near future.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1499

MSI Collection : East Challacombe, England - 1931 - Kim is seated front left
MSI Collection : East Challacombe, England - 1931 - Kim is seated front left

1933

 

The Western group had met in Europe and sailed together from Genoa on 28 March aboard the Victoria. The London group consisted of Kitty, Margaret, Mabel, Audrey, Minta, Delia, Christine and Quentin; the Americans were Elizabeth, Norina and Vivienne Giesen (who replaced Kim Tolhurst whose husband did not want her to go). They arrived in Bombay on Friday, 7 April 1933.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1507 

June 1949 ; Kim on summer holidays at the Ross property in New Jersey. Courtesy of Anne Ross
June 1949 ; Kim on summer holidays at the Ross property in New Jersey. Courtesy of Anne Ross

16th October 1933

 

Baba went for an afternoon drive to Kim Tolhurst's house ( West Hampstead ). Afterward, during a stroll about London, a serious incident occurred that involved Kim's fate.

Baba, Chanji, Kitty, Margaret, and Kim were walking along when Kim became very upset about something. Overcome by her mood, she ran away, leaving the rest to follow. She got into a cab and they hailed the next one. Kim's taxi drove straight to Piccadilly Circus and stopped at a Scottish tea shop. Baba sent Kitty into fetch her, but she refused to come out. This was direct disobedience to Baba, deliberate and not careless. Kitty returned to the cab, and Baba decided that they should leave her. Baba spelled out on the board, "Kim will never again see me in this life." She never did.

 

Lord Meher Volume 5, Page 1826 - 1st Edition

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1560

 

Kim Tolhurst Grajera, 1948
Kim Tolhurst Grajera, 1948

1947 - End of December

 

Out of the picture but not forgotten, Kim Tolhurst of the original Kimco group in England had not been in contact with Baba or his disciples since 1933. By coincidence Kim met Margaret Craske one day on the steps of Carnegie Hall in New York City, and asked about Baba.

Margaret advised her to write directly to him, which Kim did near the end of 1947.

 

Baba sent back this poetic telegram on 31 December 1947:

 

Your letter of love gave both pleasure and pain.

Joy because you remember you have always been mine.

Pain because physically you cannot with me remain.

Nevertheless my love in you always will shine!

 

Six months later, in May 1948, Baba wrote to Kim (through Kitty): "You say you are mine — and this is so — even to eternity. Then trust me to watch over and to give you just what I know to be best ... Do not worry over the future. I want all your love, and when you love me, you will find yourself loving all."

Baba assured her, "You are never separated from me."

 

 Lord Meher Online Edition Page 2609 

Kim & Manuel Grajera - Summer holidays in June 1949. Courtesy of Anne Ross. ( cropped image )
Kim & Manuel Grajera - Summer holidays in June 1949. Courtesy of Anne Ross. ( cropped image )
Kim & Mauel Grajera on holidays at the Ross property in New Jersey, with Margarita (standing) and Anne Ross ; June 1949. Courtesy of Anne Ross
Kim & Mauel Grajera on holidays at the Ross property in New Jersey, with Margarita (standing) and Anne Ross ; June 1949. Courtesy of Anne Ross

Of course, there are other Western women who have served Baba's cause well. There is Kim (Tolhurst) Grajera, the striking Titian-haired beauty with the lovely voice, for whom Kimco was named; Baba visited her mansion, Penn in England, for a day; and in her home on Riverside Drive in New York our Monday Night group used to meet. There is Anita (de Caro) Vieillard, who met Baba as a young art student in New York, and together with her husband Roger, "holds the fort" in Paris. There is Rano Gayley, the Westerner who never left India, who still considers it her home, and of whose artistic talents Baba made such interesting use. And: Mary Backett, Baba's archangel, who, with her husband Will, helped Delia de Leon in the early London years. Hedi Mertens, in whose home Baba stayed many times in Switzerland. Irene Billo, another Swiss, perhaps the youngest Westerner of all to share the ashram life in India. Agnes Baron, "Baba's watchdog," at Meher Mount, Ojai, California, who has done such good work for Baba among young people on drugs. Mother Mildred Kyle, the Theosophy leader, who gave it up for Baba and met Him at 95 years of age. "I'm so old," she told Baba, who replied," So am I, I am the Ancient One." Jean Shaw, who, with Darwin Shaw, has worked for Baba since the Thirties. (They were caretakers at the Center for a year.) Ruano Bogislav, who had the unique privilege of meeting Baba's top "direct agent " — an American Indian — in Albuquerque, N.M. and Ella Winterfeldt — a pillar of love and support to the New York group.

 

*see Delia’s book, ‘The Ocean of Love’ p.162, and **p.200 for the whole story-jk 

 

 

 

Letters written by Kim Tolhurst

Courtesy of ; HEART TALK – Adi K. Irani Secretary Collection – Fifty Fifth Letter
Avatar Meher Baba PPC Trust, Archives, Meherabad

This Heart Talk offering is a letter to Baba from Kim Tolhurst and is dated 4 January 1932. In this very poignant letter Kim tells Baba how she felt on her first meeting Him at East Challacombe in Devon in 1931 and mentions her visiting Paris with Him and other close English Baba lovers on His return to India from His first visit to the USA in 1931.

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Courtesy of : HEART TALK – Adi K. Irani Secretary Collection – Forty Eighth Letter
Avatar Meher Baba PPC Trust, Archives, Meherabad

This week's Heart Talk is to Baba from Kim Tolhurst after whom Baba named Kimco, the original group of English women to meet and follow Baba. It is dated 24 February 1932, one month before Baba left India on His second trip to the West. Kim met Baba on His first trip and spent time in East Challacombe and Paris with Him. She was from a wealthy family; Baba visited her father's estate in England and also a home that Kim had on Riverside Drive, New York City.

HEART TALK – Adi K. Irani Secretary Collection – Sixty First Letter
Avatar Meher Baba PPC Trust, Archives, Meherabad

This week's Heart Talk is Kim Tolhurst's letter to Chanji, revealing the poignancy of the farewell to Baba as His English lovers watched Him sail for New York on 14th May 1932 on the S.S. Bremen.

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Kim's grand-daughter - Fiona Tolhurst, wrote to the webmaster of this web site in mid-2016 stating that Kim and her 2nd husband - Manuel Grajera travelled and lived in Italy for a time pursuing their singing careers, they then moved to New York City in the early 1960s.

Later on, they moved back to London.