Well, I’ve written forty-six other columns before getting to the subject of “Kitty,” primarily because she is such a large and varied subject that the idea of getting my brain around it has been mind-boggling. I haven’t been sure I could do it, but I figure it’s really about time I tried.
Of course, there are some things about Kitty Davy that immediately come to everyone’s mind. The Myrtle Beach Baba community was never so cohesive as it was during Kitty’s time here, She kept us together; introduced us to each other; kept track of every one of us; found jobs and apartments for many of us; included us in the life of the Meher Center. Her office, which also served as a small book room, was always crowded, with more people waiting on the porch.
Many people seem to remember Kitty’s malapropisms more than anything else, which has always puzzled me. But maybe they seldom or never heard what I call her “zingers,” those right-on comments that could stop people in their tracks or, in some cases, have them making tracks for anywhere but in her presence. Like the poor visitor to whom she said, “If you’re not serious about this, don’t get too close, because Meher Baba will turn your life upside down.” She had taken one look at him and known he wasn’t serious.
She could spot a drug user at any distance and in spite of whatever lies he might tell. One young man, when she asked, said he didn’t have any drugs on him. “Then where are they?” she asked. “In your car?” He admitted they were, and she immediately sent him on his way.
Another young man also fell victim to that eagle eye. “Where are the drugs?” she asked him.
“In my pocket,” he said.
“Give them to her,” she said, pointing to me.
He did and Kitty turned to me, “Flush them.”
She then asked if he had more drugs at home. He said he did and she told him to go home and flush those drugs too. He did exactly as he was told and later called Kitty to say he had complied. He never touched drugs again.
To those who were serious about Meher Baba, Kitty gave loving attention. She seemed to be always available, happy to go out to lunch or dinner, happy to have people come to Dilruba for dinner or lunch with her and Elizabeth Patterson. Once when Elizabeth was away, Kitty invited the entire Myrtle Beach Baba community to dinner. A lot of fried chicken was consumed that night. She celebrated our marriages, the births of our children, our birthdays, Baba’s birthday. And we celebrated her birthdays with a vengeance, culminating in her 100th in August, 1994.
Kitty came to the Meher Center in 1952, when Baba asked her to stay and help Elizabeth. Kitty thought her stay would be temporary and eventually she would return to Meherazad where she had lived for 15 years. She realized that wasn’t going to happen, she said, during the East-West Gathering in 1962, when she just knew India was no longer her home, and she wouldn’t be returning to live there. It was a disappointing realization for her, but for us it meant thirty more years of Kitty’s care, her attention to us and to our relationships with Baba. I know some people called that attention “interference,” but I never found it so. I watched her sometimes give very close attention to someone’s problem but when that same person had a different problem, Kitty looked as if she were totally unaware of it. She was aware, all right, but she judged this particular problem to be one between the individual and Meher Baba and she was going to stay out of it. One young man told the story of going to knock on Kitty’s door to tell her he couldn’t go on with a project in which she was interested. Kitty opened the door, looked at him, told him to wait in another room and promptly forgot about him. The young man felt as if Baba had slapped him and was telling him to grow up. He got the message and he went on with the project, successfully.
Sometimes she would tell you straight out that you were on your own. When I moved to Myrtle Beach in 1971, she said to me, “Now you turn inside to Baba, you follow your intuition with him; and you don’t let anyone else tell you what to do.” And she stuck to that, refusing to give me advice on a couple of occasions when I actually asked for it.
Kitty wasn’t what you’d call free with compliments, but when she gave them, they were honest. And the largest compliment in her mind was to tell someone they were “useful.” And, if you appeared “useful” to her, then she trusted you to do whatever job she gave you to do. If you had any brains at all, you would realize that was the best compliment you would ever receive. It put you in a small company whose members will, I’m sure, never be recognized by others, but you know who you are and you have a right to be proud of your place in that little band of Kitty’s “helpers.”