Let’s start with Krishnamurti—
Krishnamurti was once thought by many thousands of people to be the World Teacher, meaning the reincarnation of Christ, until one day he announced to his startled followers that everyone was wrong, and he wasn’t Jesus. Still, I knew him to be a great teacher.
It’s 1977, and my English movie star boyfriend is taking me to meet K, as he’s
called by his circle of intimates. I am so excited! We’re driving down to Brockwood
Park in Hampshire, passing through fields of ripe hops hanging like little green
bells from the vines strung up on high poles. It’s the annual summer lecture series.
I remember that I can never understand a word K says,
although I have read and loved his books. But that’s
not important. We listen to the lecture, which I fail
to understand, and then head for the big house where
we’ll have lunch with K and some of his inner circle.
We’re walking across a wide meadow toward the house when
my MSBF points— “there he is.” K is walking towards us
with three other people. He waves us over to them and we
all stand together in a loose circle. My MSBF introduces me to the other people
and then to Krishnamurti, who’s standing directly across from me. He says how
do you do. We shake hands, but his eyes look down, fixed on the ground. I am so
disappointed. I want to look into his eyes.
I start to turn away, but before I can move, his eyes begin very slowly to raise. I feel his long dark lashes softly brushing against my skin as if they are sweeping up my body. His eyes reach mine. He looks into my eyes, into me, whatever it is, the shock. . . impact. . . is so profound that I’m thrown backwards—
like those paintings of St Paul on the road to Damascus. My MSBF catches me and holds me upright, otherwise I would have fallen flat on the ground. No one else comments or seems to notice this event. Later I think it was a kindness of Krishnamurti not to hit me with those eyes right off— to keep them lowered, and then, so slowly, so gently, to raise them to meet mine.
So what about Tina Turner?
In 1968 I’m teaching English and Humanities at the San Francisco Art Institute, but I fly down to LA from time to time to stay with my old friends from New York, Judy and Steve Harris. Later Steve will be the producer of Mash, then of the Roseanne show, but in the sixties he’s producing Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters, a musical variety show. I love Jimmy Durante. Judy says come on down, we can hang out backstage and you can meet him.
I don’t get to meet Jimmy. But I’m so excited because the guest stars this week turn out to be Ike and Tina Turner! Tina Turner is sensational!
Judy and I are standing in the wings
while Jimmy is introducing her. . . the
music is up. . . it’s Proud Mary— “uh uh
uh uh, uh uh uh uh. . .” and Tina’s
standing behind the curtain and she’s
already doing that quickquick step Mick Jagger learned it from her and her arms are churning and sparks are flying off of her and BAM! she explodes through the curtains onto the stage at FULLFORCE!
And now I’m wondering. Was Krishnamurti doing the Tina Turner thing? While he was looking down. Powering up up up up up, (repeat) before he dropped me with the big whammy, the full-force of those meltingly beautiful eyes? Because once I saw them, saw him, it seemed to me that he was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen.
(The oddest thing about this may be the appearance of Jimmy Durante, The Lennon Sisters and Ike and Tina Turner on the same tv show!)