My first recollections of Bob (“Mr. Monroe” at that time) began in the late 1960s when he would visit our house just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.
I was six or seven years old and my parents had separated by then. I looked forward to seeing the man with the cool car—a black mustang that had a phone in it! Once he had me “help” him install some lights and gauges in the car, and he would ask that I hit the brake pedal for testing. But I would hit the gas, just so I could hear the motor roar…it was great! I don’t know if he was as amused as I was, but I remember it fondly.
The other thing remarkable about that time was that he encouraged me to cut the grass with his riding lawn mower. As a youngster I thought it was the greatest thing to be tooling along, taking care of the lawn, riding in style. He would keep an eye on me from the porch, along with my mom (Nancy Penn), while he smoked his Lark cigarettes. As I look back it makes perfect sense that he would want some quiet time with our mother while we kids had something else to do.
Some nights we would listen to records and talk about them, while he would regale us with stories from his past—the music executive and radio guy from his New York City days. This was when we were exposed to ideas of consciousness and learning: What if you could go to sleep and concentrate and learn? Could you go some place and remember? What would you bring back with you?
As time moves slowly for a child, we finally found ourselves at Whistlefield, a farm in rural western Albemarle County. It was 1970 and Mr. Monroe had become “Daddy Bob.” For an eight-year-old, I had hit boyhood lotto. There were barns and fields, lakes for fishing and woods everywhere. It was an idyllic time for everyone. A few of the sisters (now five of them) were in their horse phase while Bob was enjoying his popularity as it related to his new book, Journeys Out Of The Body. Of course we didn’t know it then, but Mom was preparing a home that would host a cavalcade of esoteric big-wigs that would help shape the New Age.
Of those, Dr. Charles Tart had to be one of my favorites, although he would probably deny being a big-wig. He was really into Aikido and would spend time teaching me how to roll on the living room floor. (“This way when you fall you won’t get hurt!”) I remember the adults would stay up late, talking about the energy of things, and the untapped power of the mind. These conversations would wander all over the place, to include UFO sightings, earth changes and Yeti. I didn’t know that Bigfoot had underground networks to move around in! Once there was this guy who used a pendulum to dowse a map of the property. The first word out of his mouth was “Yeti.” I thought I was going to flip! There weren’t any caves close by, but I made sure my curtains were drawn to prevent him from looking in. It was hard to sleep for a while.
It was during this time that Bob had the most impact on my belief system. A child’s mind is sponge-like, at least mine was, and I began to read up on everything out-of-the-ordinary I could put my hands on.