By Patricia Rogers: Thought y’all would get a smile from this story.
Last evening (Sunday April 24, 2011) I got a call from Jack Speer’s daughter, Margaret Ann. My first thought on seeing her name on my caller ID was that something might be wrong with Ruth. Ruth is doing fine and on a trip visiting relatives. The reason for the call made me laugh-out-loud!
Things are moving along to sell Jack and Ruth’s home. Everything has been cleaned out and fixed up. Margaret Ann got a call from their realtor saying, “Everything looks good but you need to get the stuff out of the attic.” A puzzled Margaret Ann answered, “But, I cleaned the attic out.”
I can tell you that must have been a gargantuan task for them. That attic was packed and dangerous. Only a 4-foot clearance in the center and just joists to maneuver around upon. There is no lighting up there except for what we took with us. But mostly, there is the ever-present threat of falling through the ceiling boards. We constantly marveled about how Jack got stuff up there at all — he obviously had some magic levitation skills to move heavy things around. Jack had to carry items, by himself, up a tiny and precarious ladder. We found everything from books, bicycles, file cabinets, to lawn mowers stashed in the rafters. By the way, Jack did not like anyone going up into the attic expect for himself. Ruth has never been up there and the kids rarely went up. It was Jack’s secret domain.
The realtor answered Marget Ann, “Well, there are at least 20 boxes of books behind the air duct.” My reaction and hers: What??? You are kidding!!!
Having helped other SF friends clean out their homes I have a theory about this: The Storage Dimension.
When my friend Arlene Johnston passed away I helped her son clean out Arlene’s home. It was truly packed floor to ceiling with pretty cool stuff. Arlene was a teacher, a very active SF fan (she was a founding member of one of the SF Clubs here in Albuquerque), book collector, rock hound, crafter, Space program aficionado, and a lover of stuff.
One evening I cleaned out a cabinet in the front bedroom. It was done, empty; finished. No one was staying in the house; Arlene’s son lived out of town. The next day I arrived and went to wipe the cabinet down. There was stuff inside it again! What the heck?! Where did this box come from? Now on the dark shelf sat a box holding six Dr. Who cocktail glasses. Wow – I sure would have remembered these: I gave them to her! We had found these unusual glasses at an auction; I’d never seen any like them anywhere else, they have a platinum K-9 embossed on the side and platinum rims, nicely done. I called Arlene’s son Randy and he was not at all surprised by this phenomenon. He expanded, “Oh, Mom use to talk about this, those are from the Storage Dimension.” “The What?” I answered. Seems Arlene had explained this to Randy years ago. When you have a collector’s amount of stuff and keep shoving in more and more in, it pushes things into The Storage Dimension. Once you start to clean stuff out, the pressure is relieved and articles pop back in from the Storage Dimension. Strangely this made sense to me. How many times had I cleaned out a room in my own home, taken bag after bag away, and then gone back in and the room still seemed full. Like I had never removed anything. Hmmm… Now I understood: The Storage Dimension!
So, looks like Jack had books in his Storage Dimension. I asked Margaret Ann what they were? She said she had no idea and had not been up there yet. We arranged to meet at the Speer home today and venture forth in the Storage Dimension. I’ll let you know what we find.
On a side note, Jack’s papers have not been unpacked yet in Portales at ENMU. They are in the process of getting the filing systems up and working and will sort Jack’s papers into them. One of the librarians said she had been asked to look up some specific fanzines but had not found them yet. I said, “Well, you know Jack had an unusual filing system. He filed Fanzines by where the person lived. So you have to know where the person who wrote/collated the publication resided.” “Wow”, she replied.
I love Jack. He did everything his own unique way.
OK, I’m off to the attic. Wish me luck.