By Andrew Porter: Publisher Gary Lovisi writes: “We were hit hard here in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, with 6+ feet of water in the basement, that ruined everything. The water almost came up to the first floor of our house, and the windows cracked upstairs but did not break. Things were a lot worse for our neighbors and people in other areas, so we are thankful we were not hurt and that we were able to save a few things.
“I have lived in this home for over 20 years and we never had any water before. Last year, during Hurricane Irene, we got 2” of water, which was the first time ever for any water. People in the area 50 years never had water like this before, no one ever had water more than a few inches in the worse hurricanes or storms.
“The basement was a total loss. I used the basement as my stock room. All 16,000 books I sell on internet sites were destroyed; I have taken down my listings. Almost all Gryphon Books — which I’ve been publishing the last 30 years — were destroyed.
“Worse yet, my collection of comic books, pulps, magazines, science fiction paperbacks — vintage Avons, Bantams, Pocket Books, Ballantines, more, — many signed, and hardcovers were soaked and destroyed. All gone. It is tragic and very stressful, and took my wife Lucille and me 10 days (with the help of teams of 2 contractors we had to pay) to throw it all in the back of several garbage trucks.
“The expenses were incredible: new electric, new furnace; it is a major job and we are not done yet but we will recover and rebuild.
“I hope nothing like this ever happens again to us or to anyone. It is hard for collectors like myself, but not everything is about money, or the value of things. I grew up reading all these authors, I grew up with these exact books, I remember purchasing each one and what I was doing then and where I was when I was reading each particular books — what girl friend I was spending time with, what friends I was hanging out with, where I was in school, college, work, and even what concerts and bands I was seeing back then; a lot of memories. And of course then there are the memories of the great books themselves, the great stories they tell and the cover art by the artists, and the fact that as years went on I was privileged to meet and even be friends with some of these authors and artists.
“Many I interviewed in Paperback Parade, many I had as guests at my NYC book show which ran 24 years. All very wonderful. I count myself very lucky. It is sad they are all gone now, but I am looking forward, and I believe that out of adversity comes great strength.”
The Gryphon Books website is here.