Memories Are Made of This

By John Hertz:  Fred Patten’s sister Sherry phoned inviting me to a gathering in memory and honor of Fred on December 9th, at Big Jim’s Restaurant, in Sun Valley.  I saw Nick Smith on my bus (not a Ken Kesey allusion – although, come to think of it –). Sure enough he was going to the same place.

There were two dozen of us, LASFSians (L.A. Science Fantasy Society, Fred’s local club and mine, oldest S-F club in the world) or at least all the folks I recognized.  We met at two in the afternoon, so I’m not sure whether to call it lunch or supper –lupper?  Isn’t that a Brazilian band?

Seated near enough to converse were Smith, Scott Beckstead, John DeChancie, His Majesty the Emperor, Lee and Barry Gold.  We talked about knowledge, formalism, song, writing, activity, Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923), verisimilitude, contribution, imagination — the things fans talk about.

I was glad to have DeChancie there because he being both a fan and a pro had a helpful perspective.  I was glad to have Smith there because he being both a filker (our home-made music, named after a 1950s typing error that turned “folk music” into “filk music” and stuck) and a fanziner had a helpful perspective.  I’d known Lee and her husband Barry Gold longest; both had done filking, fanzining and, as the saying goes, much much more.

At first we’d all supposed Sherry Patten was only providing the occasion and we’d each pay for ourselves. No.  She made clear she was our hostess – “Come and dine, the pleasure’s mine, and I will pay the bills” (that is a Johnny Mathis allusion).  This was a fine gesture on her part.  She said it was in appreciation for all that the LASFS had done for Fred.  At such moments one can only say thank you.  All that Fred had done for the LASFS could not be measured.

She’d made a display of photographs.  If there was going to be time for speeches I was ready to take my turn; Fred was a giant. But unfortunately I had another bus to catch – just as the cheesecake came in.

Sherry had been a devoted sister and had done wonders.  I went to thank her.  I looked at the clock and saw I’d missed my bus.  DeChancie gave me a ride to the next stop in the chain.

It was a good day.

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