I had barely gotten home from work this afternoon when the phone rang, and I answered it while still taking off my coat and tie. "Hello?"
"May I speak to Edwin Baker, please?"
"He's not in right now. He doesn't usually get home from work until after 6."
"Well, I've got to get in touch with him immediately. I'm the Sergeant of his National Guard unit. Could you get a message to him this evening?"
I could already guess what the message was. Ed had been expecting to be called up at any time for his six-months active military service since last November. "Yes; I'm his roommate. I'll see him as soon as he gets home."
"Good! Tell him that his papers have just come through, and he's to report for duty on March 3rd." This Friday. "I'm sorry that we can't give him any more advance notice than this, but his papers just reached me today. Now, he's got to come here to the Armory tomorrow at 11 a.m. to turn in all of his National Guard equipment, and to get his papers and instructions where to report Friday. Will you see to it that he gets this message as soon as possible?"
I said I would; the Sgt. thanked me and hung up. So I told Ed as soon as he got home this evening, and he's been running around ever since, resigning from his job at UCLA, trying to phone various people who have to know he'll be unavailable for the next six months, and trying to do as much packing and planning as possible. We were expecting that he'd receive at least a full week's warning before his callup date; less than two days' notice means that he has almost no time at all to put his affairs in order, and he's having to make out sets of instructions for various people as to how to dispose of such things as the Esperanto Club Library, the LASFS Library and archives, his old car that won't run (the police might object if he just left it rusting at the curb), and similar encumbrances. I'll probably have to transport his personal belongings back to his parents' home over the next few weeks.
Ed will report for duty Friday morning, and will spend the next two months in basic training at Fort Ord. After that, he'll go into two months of specialized training, depending on what specialty he selects -- he expects he'll probably be transferred to Georgia for this period. Then, a final two months doing whatever the Army wants him to, and he'll be returned to Los Angeles and his normal civilian life, with his standard minimal National Guard service of one weekend every month for the next 6 years -- better than two solid years in the regular U.S. Army and service in Viet Nam! What he'll do when he returns to civilian life, he doesn't yet know. He won't reapply for his old job -- the lowest position in his department, with no hope of advancement -- if he can possibly help it, though.
This latter affects me, because I am now without a roommate again and see no immediate prospect of replacing Ed. Indeed, since Ed will be looking for a new job when he gets out of his military training period, I can't even count on him returning here after his six months. Therefore, I have to decide whether I want to -- or can afford to -- pay the rent on 1825 Greenfield Avenue all by myself. I probably can, if I quit spending money on luxuries such as books, comics, records, fanzine pubbing, and the like. Frankly, considering that I need a house of about this size to hold my various collections of books, magazines, etc., I'm not liable to find a suitable replacement for 1835 Greenfield Ave. for much less. I could, of course, rent smaller quarters and pack part of my collections away in storage -- and stop adding to them for lack of space to put anything new. However, this seems to be a most distasteful solution; I want my belongings where I can get at them.
At any rate, I've decided to try and stick it out here on my own; for a couple of months, at least, until I can see what effect it has on my budget. As long as I am here, there's no hurry about moving Ed's belongings out; they're not in my way. If I should decide, however, to move after another couple of months, it may become necessary to find another custodian for the LASFS property currently stored here. I hope not; after living with it for over two years, I've come to look upon it as "mine", and I would certainly miss the ready presences of such parts of it as the LASFS Rex and its accoutrements (the light-box, lettering guides, collating rack, etc.), and the LASFS staplers. However, just in case a new home for all the LASFS property here does have to be found, the club might begin considering where else it could all be placed to best advantage.
Incidentally, all of the above is to be considered as an informal notice of fafia from Ed, who doesn't have the time himself to prepare a general notification of what's happening to him. This will continue to be his mailing address, until he's able to send out a formal CoA to his new Army address.
And I think that covers this week's share of traumatic events.
-- BEING COMMENTS ON LAST WEEK'S DISTRIBUTION
Bruce Pelz -- I recall that, some time ago, I loaned you the LASFS folding chairs that were in storage here, for your poker parties. I know you said that you loaned some -- or all -- of these to the Booby Hatch, but I can't speak from personal experience as to what happened to them when they left here. As I recall, though, at least half of the LASFS' chairs went into storage at Al Lewis' mother's home, when Mathom House broke up. ## You have the LASFS coffeemaker? Then whose coffeemaker do I have?
Dian Pelz -- I'll consider that you owe me $40 a month, which sum I might be earning in addition to my regular salary if Mr. Reagan hadn't become Governor of the state. ## Technocracy ads appear from time to time in the DAILY TROJAN.
Stu Bailey -- Congratulations for having the sense to give up that pen name, which just made you look silly since we all knew who you were, anyway.