Interview with Srimati Nerode [The identity of the interviewer is unknown; internal reference dates suggest a time after 1986. Dr. Anil Nerode tells me that he does not know who is the interviewer.
This page has only the notes relating to Bettylu; the interviewer evidently is unacquainted with some people Srimati Nerode discusses in her narrrative about her life at Mount Washington, Los Angeles; most spellings have been left untouched by this webmaster.. This next page has the full text of all the meetings.]
I spoke with SN [Srimata Nerode] for the first time. We talked over two hours.
(Notes from this meeting were transcribed a few days later.]
[Previous to this meeting I had found in the old magazines a few advertisements for Wings of Bliss. I had been under the impression that there was also another book. I was unable to find a previous reference to that in my notes. ]
I asked Srimati about Wings of Bliss. She indicated that it and the other book were written by Sri. She said that she had a copy of that somewhere.
“Eddie Blech was the previous name I heard. She told me that the attractive woman whom PY had been after, and who had written the note requesting help from Sri[mati? ] in getting out of SRF was Betty Miller.
Betty stayed months; ostensibly she was working on sculpture. She produced several pieces -
Again Srimati said several times in essentially the same words, “If I had ever seen anyone after a young girl, lusting after a woman, a swain in pursuit, it was
SY after this young girl. ” [I think she repeated this sentence three time. ]
SY did not want his Mexican driver to pick this girl up; he had been afraid that the girl would not come if someone did not go pick her up and help her move; once they arrived at Mt. Washington, the Swami quickly disappeared, and the Nerodes helped her move in.
Srimati told me about the many, [large?] cushions which SY had in his room, about the partition and how each night a different girl would sleep on a mat on the floor guarding the Swami’s sanctuary. I asked her was that girl then associated with the Swami, and she said “No, that there would have been another one inside.”
Along the same time that SY was interested in Betty, he was also interested in a blond. SY was attracted to a whole contingent of pretty young girls.
Srimati who was embarrassed to tell me this, said SY would get Betty down on the cushions, massage her and get her excited, but that Betty did not want to go all the way with him, that Betty knew he had other girls, and did not want to be one of them.
Betty and her mother came from Maine?, and her mother was most ambitious for Betty to become a star in Hollywood. Her mother received some support from her husband back east and apparently the husband wanted them to come back. Betty and her mother hoped she would be able to make and keep up contact with the Hollywood folk who would occasionally come up the hill: it also provided a place to stay, room and board so that they could stay in California a longer time and not have to return back east. Srimati in some embarrassment indicated with gestures that SY mounted Betty and rubbed himself on her.
She also repeated a story of how Sri had had a running battle with SY about SY’s girls, Sri suggesting that the Swami should get married. SY would get angry and jump up at Sri's suggestion. I asked her, again, directly, whether it was clear from their discussion that Swami and Sri knew that Sri’s suggestion was aimed at the Swami’s girls, and not just an impression that Sri had gathered. She said SY’s interest in the girls was not platonic.
After the Wrights came, shortly thereafter within a week or so, came Dick Wright, his wife, and his mother-
She said that the Wrights when they came were very poor, all thin, the mother included. Srimati wondered about the history of polygamy, because “Mrs. Wright had said there was polygamy in the Wright family.” Srimati found the later story I mentioned interesting about Y making Faye Wright eat
chocolate, considering how poor they had been.
Later when I mentioned that Dick Wright had left the organization in later years, and I wondered outloud whether he hadn’t found out something about SY in India, Srimati scoffed and said that he would have known all about the girls.
Hazael Salter, Swedish, seemed to have come before the Wrights. She was the “Ann Landers” of her time taking care of the correspondence course. Srimati said she turned her eye to what was going on, she didn’t have any other place to go, but later she married a De Vorss who had a house, published occult things and lived on Olive. She stayed on simply because she didn’t have any money.
Srimati said that Yogananda had apparently separated Lynn from his wife.
Her husband had been privy to much conversation with Lynn, and around
[1936?], Lynn full of doubts was considering leaving, but Sri convinced him to stay. Lynn’s wife did not like his relationship with Yogananda, as apparently Lynn gave most of his cafeterias to Yogananda.
She said that Lynn like most men who get around [40?] and who don’t have children wonder whether they have missed anything or not. but that Y was of course, not interested. I pointed out earlier to her that the book Wings of Bliss was not advertised after 1932, and she pointed out that was the year Aneal ]w[lAin as born.
When she was in the Hospital with Aneal, Sri was in S.F. with Hamid Bey, and SY came to visit her. He put a SlO gold coin in Aneal’s hand, but then he told Srimati that she could not return to Mt. Washington with the baby. As a result, Srimati had to stay in the hospital a few days longer while her sister hunted her a place to live. After that time, the Ns traveled around the country, and they did not return to Mount Washington until SY decided to bring them back so that the could have the $10,000 which JJ had promised to give the Ns for a temple in Miami.
Apparently, the Ns faced considerable opposition for their marriage, as Sri mati lost her “citizenship” and had to be repatriated, taking an exam, and was subject to considerable harassment.
I asked her when SRF had sent someone to her house to threaten her, wondering whether this was not five years or so ago. She said “no” — that it had been around 1950.
Srimati made a most interesting suggestion. She told me that she was ninety percent certain that Omar, of Omar’s Astrology colunm in the Newspapers, was the same Omar Guerrison who had written for the magazine in the early days. She suggested that I write Omar, send him a page or two of his old articles, and tell him that I am interested in learning about the era of SY, and would be grateful for anything which he would share with me.
Omar had a brother; she took both of them to a ship so they could sale to
Mexico. She recalls the parking ticket she received for parking while leaving them at the ship. She said both of them swore quite a lot, and indicated that they were quite rowdy. She thought Omar was younger than herself, and so might be in his 70’s.
She told me a story about Mormonism, once again. This one concerns the house of BY which one can visit. She said that if you visited the house today, that you would not gain any idea that BY had all these wives. The only clue you might get would be from visiting the store house [? is that the right word], where the ladies would offer their chits for bolts of cloth. That was the system
BY used for keeping them in line.
She also told me about how in the early Morman church, it was taught that if a woman had nine children that she would be preternaturally blessed by being able to sit on the right hand of the father, and and she would receive a crown. She described one lady she knew from childhood, that had been doubly crowned — and who had eighteen children.
The swami was interested in people only if they either had money, or they were able to be workers. She found it interesting how in later times pets were allowed, since in the early days they lived on seventeen cents a day.
She mentioned one of the cooks who was there who went off the deep end mentally.
From the 8th Meeting:
She told me how S Premananda had asked about SY’s womanizing, how he had seen and had asked, and how he had them pull the car over so he could vomit twice.
|Interview Notes #2|