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Ed Luck Remembered

by Max Reif

Written the day Ed went to Baba.

Ed has not been “well” for quite a while, but surely he is WELL now and, intuition says, re-united with his beloved Real Father, Meher Baba.

A year after I came to Baba, the Honeymoon was decidedly over. I was twenty-three, alone in Berkeley, California, and damaged from several traumatic (pre-Baba) psychedelic trips. I was in the Baba group, but unable to interact in any deep way with anyone.

Then Ed came to live in Berkeley. Perhaps because of my “way out” state, I “saw” something. Or maybe others saw it. I saw Light, wherever Ed went. He was different.

This was from afar. I did not “know” him and was far too withdrawn to approach him. But I saw the way he laughed and smiled, the somewhat flamboyant way he dressed then. He was comfortable with himself. And Meher Baba was close to him, and in him.

The year before during my Honeymoon, I’d been to the Myrtle Beach Center a couple times, and had heard of the various “Baba personalities”—the ones who had met Baba in the body. They were topics of conversation in the Original Kitchen. People spoke about Filis Frederick, Henry Kashouty, the Winterfeldts, and Darwin Shaw. And of course there were Kitty and Elizabeth and Jane there on the Center.

Then there were these two pixie-like presences, “Edward and Irwin Luck”—said almost like one word. When someone spoke of them, I would feel something like a sense of electrons with faerie wings, orbiting the more stable nucleus of “older generation Baba-lovers.” There was a kind of feeling of freedom and laughter accompanying the mention of their names.

I didn’t know them, and as they were “important,” somehow, it seemed, I didn’t see that someone like me would ever meet them. How wrong such thoughts are! We never really know who our close connections might turn out to be!

Back then, in Berkeley, Ed, this “Luck brother,” was without his counterpart, Irwin, for the time being. In those post-’60s days, I heard on the grapevine that Ed had started studying the Gestalt Therapy popularized at Esalen Institute by Fritz Perls, and was, in an informal way, “working with people.” I only knew of one such person, and indeed I’m not sure there was more than one. But I was desperate enough to be in closer contact with this Light that was, or that accompanied, Ed Luck, that I overcame my shyness and approached him one evening after a Baba meeting at Meherstan.

Actually, it was more complicated than that. I somehow sent him a note, I think, and asked him to meet me after the next Baba meeting. And he stayed. I couldn’t believe that he stayed just for me! And we talked, and did arrange to “work together,” which in the beginning resembled Gestalt Therapy, somewhat. But with Ed, for me, it was always the Light. And his smile! And the fact that he wasn’t afraid to look at me or talk to me, or treat me like a person! I began to actually feel human! (It’s not that there was anything wrong with the other Baba-lovers. I must have been a very forbidding presence in those days, that’s all. I imagine I was scary, and most easily just left to my own devices.)

This developed, and I started hanging out regularly at the house that Ed rented along with Will David and Charlie Kehler and Scott McKeig. I even played music with Scott a few times, and we all did music with a class of little children who came over one day.

I was invited to move in, and I moved out of the little cottage I was living in and brought the few possessions I owned. I remember Ed joking, “When Max comes over to spend the night, he even brings his bed!”

Then I got cold feet and ran away, back to the Midwest. I put 2,000 miles very quickly between myself and whatever uncertainty accompanied the Opening that was beginning.

The next time I saw Ed was December 1974. I was in New York City for a friend’s wedding, and after that I was taking a bus down to Meher Center, to visit for the first time in three years. I knew Ed had lived in New York and I wondered whether he might be back in town now. I’d had no contact with him since Berkeley.

At Meher Baba House in Greenwich Village, New York City, I asked a young man, who told me his name was Alan Goldman, if Ed was in the city. Alan said, “Wait a few minutes.” He left the room, and when he came back, there was Ed, smiling at me…and the Light was as present as ever!

Ed said, “You want to go get a sandwich?” I said sure, and we walked out into the Village, to a deli. As we stood there waiting to cross the street, I had a very distinct experience: everything, everything there, all the buildings, the traffic, the sense of “what’s happening”…was revealed to me as “passing show.” All that was Real in that whole great panorama of the area I could see, was that Light that was in Ed. THAT was Baba! That was Eternal! Real.

After the deli, Ed took me to Jane Viscardi’s [Brown’s] apartment, where he said was the place in New York where Baba’s Love was really alive then. And I remember hearing some great music there. But the main landmark of that visit to the city, for me, was touching base with Reality as it was manifesting there on the street in Ed. I was somewhat more “together” at this point and could feel more Light in myself. But to recognize it in Ed once again was profoundly validating.

As the years went on, Ed extended himself to me numerous times. Amazingly, I shared his apartment or trailer several times in Myrtle Beach; and also in Denver for a few months in the early ‘80s. Ed, along with a few others, was a role model, elder brother, and mentor. It is all too much, in fact, to recount in a short remembrance, but I hope the highlights I’ve shared convey the essence.

It’s been 44 years now since that first meeting with Ed in Berkeley. Although life remains a challenge, I’m more grounded than ever before in life, have been able to make creative contributions sometimes, and for years have worked professionally with small children in a meaningful way, as well as by Baba’s Grace maintained an ongoing marriage for many years.

None of it could have happened without the loving and brotherly role that Edward Luck has played in my life.



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