Rabanos Radiactivos 172

This weekend was generally depressing, due to the news of Ron Ellik's death in an automobile accident, on Saturday. I first learned about it that afternoon, when my sister and I stopped by the Hill on our way to Digby's party. Phil and Schu had just gotten the news from Rotsler; all that was known was that Ron had been killed in a one-car accident that morning, in Wisconsin, and that Rotsler was notifying local fans.

At Digby's party, nobody had heard the news, so I got no further information. Al Lewis had gotten the news from Rotsler, though, as I found out when I phoned him to learn when the Trimbles would be arriving in town. Al said that Rotsler had also phoned the Trimbles, and they wouldn't be starting any long night drive downstate after that news, even if they'd finished packing, which they hadn't.

Sunday morning, I got a phone call from Deedee Lavender, and learned the whole story. Ron had been driving alone, hit an icy spot on the highway, and skidded into a bridge abutment, and was killed instantly. He'd just (or was just about to) mailed some Wisconsin cheese to Dean Grennell, and had a slip of paper with Dean's name and address in his pocket, and the local sheriff investigating the accident phoned Dean. Dean notified a few local fans, including Rotsler, and Rotsler took over the job of spreading the news. One of the worst aspects of the affair was that Ron and Lois were to have been married this week, and Lois had been about to fly out to Wisconsin to meet him that afternoon. Deedee was wondering how to tell Dotty Faulkner, who's had more than one heart attack in the last year, and could easily be killed by the shock; I'm afraid I had to pass the buck, since I have absolutely no knowledge of how to go about doing such a thing as building somebody up to receive a shock.

My main reaction is one of being stunned. I feel as though I should write some sort of In Memoriam, yet I can't think of anything worthwhile to say, and Ron certainly deserves better than a bad In Memoriam. I don't consider myself a bad writer, but I do feel inadequate in this case. Those of you who knew him don't need me to tell you what sort of a person he was, or what his loss means to any of us. Those of you who didn't know him -- well, all I can do is recommend that you go and read some of Ron's fan writing; his old column in SHAGGY, in particular. That'll tell you who he was better than anyone else can. It's been a long time since the club has had to hold a moment of silence for a deceased member, and it's particularly unfortunate that it's taken Ron's death to keep up the custom.

I'm rather startled at considering the number of fans active in the LASFS today who probably don't know Ron. When I joined the club, he was one of its most active members. Not in the sense that he attended all the Thursday night Meetings, necessarily, but he was always involved in any activity in which the club was engaged. He starred in our amateur movies, he attended all our parties and outings, he wrote for our fanzines, he travelled to conventions with us, and he was generally engaged in fanac as much as a person could be. He did serve as a LASFS officer from time to time. During the last few years, though, due to his living so far from central L. A., he pretty much stopped coming to the LASFS Meetings. He still attended most of the parties given by his fannish friends, and hosted some memorable ones himself, but a lot of the newer people in the club seldom attended these social events. To many of us, then, including such currently active LASFans as the Craynes and Ken Rudolph, Ron will be little more than somebody that they saw at a few Meetings, and met at a few more parties, and who they know mostly by his reputation of what he was in the club in the past. And there's probably a good percentage of current people, maybe as high as 10% or 15%, who won't remember having ever met him at all, and who hardly know his name. It's things like this that make you realize how time goes by.

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What with one delay and another, the Trimbles didn't get into town until Sunday night, about 11:15. This was too late to make a real party out of unloading the truck and moving things into the house, but we did manage to get the heaviest work finished by about 1:30 a.m. We did most of the work by candlelight; it wasn't until we were finished that we discovered that the electricity was on, as it was supposed to be -- the problem was that every bulb in the house but one or two was burnt out. The house seems to be nice and large and comfortable, though -- a typical Mathom House -- and I'm looking forward to seeing it in daylight. It's a happy feeling, knowing that the Trimbles are back.

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I mentioned above that my sister visited the Hill and Digby's party last Saturday. Sherry's not a fan, but she'll be around for about a month, doing a Class Project on the LASFS. Not Sociology, though -- a TV show! She's a Theatre Arts major, and she's got to put together a half-hour documentary. Due to a nonexistant budget, it won't really be filmed as much as it'll be a presentation of photographs, taped sound track, and maybe a little motion footage, such as an excerpt from "The Mesquite Kid Rides Again" (if we can get it). We spent last Saturday afternoon at Ted Johnstone's, looking through the photos of the LASFS and of local fans that he already has, and discussing possible formats for the show to follow. So if you see a new redhead who doesn't look like me at all around the club during the next few weeks, that'll be my youngest sister, Sherry. This is one project that I hope we can see, when it's finished.

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The next LASFS outing, to the Huntington museum, art gallery, and botanical gardens, near South Pasadena, is tentatively set for Feb. 24th, the last Saturday of the month. Since we're required to phone ahead for reservations, I'd like to make a fast nose count of those who're interested in coming, so we can estimate how large our group'll be. I'd appreciate it if you could tell me tonight if you'd like to go to the Huntington on this date, from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

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Recently read & recommended are City of the Chasch, by Jack Vance (Ace, 50¢), and Why Call Them Back From Heaven?, by Clifford D. Simak (Ace, 60¢). The Vance book is the better of the two; not Vance's best, but worth reading through the slow beginning. It's labeled "Planet of Adventure #1", so I presume sequels are in the making. I hope Vance has better luck with this series than he did with the Demon Princes.
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