Saturday, March 15, 2014

Find Waldo

The average reader of this blog may not be familiar with Waldo, a character with a striped shirt in a popular children's book series who children must find in a crowd of colorful people.

This post is also about a picture of colorful people, who, like Waldo, are world travelers and time travelers. It is the April 1969 photo of the Myrtle Beach group returning from the Last Darshan program in India. There is even a mystery man in a striped shirt. So get out your magnifying glasses and go hunting for your friends – or if you don't know any of them, simply explore the fascinating motley crew of some of the early Baba lovers after Baba dropped his body.

A new version of the photo, with names added, has been put together. Click to view online, and click again to zoom in. Or simply download it.

Click image to enlarge and zoom in

My sister Leslie is the girl standing in front making the face, next to her friend Shelley Smith. They are seven years old in the picture. Without Leslie, this photo would have been basically forgotten. But due to her sense of humor and spontaneity, it has become one of the most recognizable photos of Baba lovers ever taken.

If one finds any of the following problems, please contact me
  1. A name is missing.
  2. A name is incorrect.
  3. A name is misspelled.
  4. A person prefers to be listed by a different name (such as a maiden name, etc.).
Special thanks to Dennis Shlaen for lending the working picture for scanning and for his great enthusiasm and help, to Kendra Crossen Burroughs for scanning, to Bob Hartzel for providing a list of names and a whole treasure trove of documentation, and to the many people on Facebook and off who contributed names, spellings, and other valuable information. Most special thanks to the photographer, Eduardo Nunez, who was a professional photographer, much loved by all, who passed away in 2007. Finally I'd like to thank Lisa Morice, who had been married to Eduardo in 1969, who was the only person in the country I could locate with an original print, from which she scanned the final image to replace my working copy from a reunion flier I had used while collecting names. This is as clear as this picture is likely to ever look. Thanks so much to all for this group project, including so many who were not even on the flight or Darshan. No single person could have done this.


Not everyone on the flight was in the photo. And not everyone in the photo was on the flight. Some of the Indians there were part of the send-off committee from the Bombay group that were there to assure safe passage for the Western visitors.

My sister Leslie is the girl in front in the Indian dress making the funny face. I'm hiding in the back with my friends. Here is how Leslie and I look today.

Chris Ott & Leslie Ott Walsh, Meher Spiritual Center, June 2013
Photo by Nancy Furgal. Click to enlarge.
Post note 3.27.14:

Also, please let me know if you can give names to any of the remaining unidentified faces.

Update 6.4.15:

It was later discovered that there was another photo taken on the tarmac that day by Eduardo. Here it is beneath the first. See if you can see the differences.


  1. final photo looks great.....your perseverance paid off....

    1. And thanks Dennis for all your help and enthusiasm. You made a tough job seem fun!

    2. enjoyed working on the project with you...