By John Hertz: (reprinted from Vanamonde 1304)
White irises bloom
In dozens, in their bushes.
We do have seasons.
But I must write about death.
June Moffatt (1926-2018) left us on May 31st – kindly sparing, we might say, the month of her name. She and her husband Len (1923-2010) were exemplary of “The Second Time Around”, the 1960 Sammy Cahn – Jimmy Van Heusen song I associate, like much else, with Frank Sinatra (though introduced by Bing Crosby, whom June preferred).
By our mythos, at least half in jest like much else, they’re together again in After-Fandom. Whether that’s otherwise true is not for me to say.
I never met June’s first husband Eph (“eef”) Konigsberg or Len’s first wife Anna Sinclare Moffatt. Each had, among much else, been active among us.
Much of what comes to mind about June I wrote about Len (Van 913). They were like that. I’ll repeat this: “Conviviality, hospitality were with Len’s wit, amplified, if possible, by June. Together clubmen and party hosts – the suffix -man is not masculine – they also welcomed and sponsored newcomers with open arms, and discernment, for them no paradox. Fine fannish things happened at Moffatt House and when the Moffatts went abroad.”
They were the 1973 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegates; their TAFF report, mimeographed by Mike Glyer, was The Moffatt House Abroad; the same was true of them at other people’s parties and at conventions – which from the fannish point of view are, we might say, justly deemed to be no less than other people’s parties.
I always thought she had good taste: outward from our core, the Oz books, especially Frank Baum’s; the comic strips that charmed us, George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, Walt Kelly’s Pogo – which Judith Merril put in her 6th annual Year’s Best S-F; tangent to us, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey, Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe – June and Len were among co-founders of detective fiction’s annual Bouchercon, named for Tony Boucher, so excellent both here and there.
But I was one of those newcomers.
She and Len were active to the ends of their lives in the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society – founded 1934, even then we wanted to be sure of including both science fiction and fantasy. LASFS (to me “lahss fuss”, to Len rhyming with sass mass) hosts Loscon, where she and Len were Fan Guests of Honor in 1981; they were given the Evans-Freehafer Award for service to LASFS in 1994. June was Chairman of the Board when Glyer joined in 1970.
June and Len sometimes invited me to other fannish clubs they took part in; naming two, the Petards, which had a Hoist and Hoistess, and the Prestigious International Gourmand Society, which more than once met at a Farrell’s ice-cream parlor, where Alan Frisbie, who among much else hosted the two mascots of the 42nd World Science Fiction Convention, Reynolds Rat and Rat Masterson, at least once consumed a Trough.
June helped crack hazelnuts for a flourless torte I had something to do with. Hazelnuts are hard. At the time I quite deliberately had no telephone. There was a doorbell, rung by a cord that ran down one storey if you knew where to find it.
Moffatt House had, among much else, a plaque “These Are the Good Old Days”.
Fanwriting to me is best as one word; a girlfriend or boyfriend is not merely a girl or a boy who is a friend. In the s-f community amateur magazines we publish for one another discuss life, the universe, and everything: by the 1940s we called them fanzines. They may sometimes seem never to mention s-f; but a love of s-f, and a sense of participation, are the string on which the beads of fanwriting are strung.
We did not invent apas, but our first was FAPA the Fantasy Amateur Press Association, founded 1937, still ongoing. Others followed. Originally they seemed a convenient way to circulate fanzines. Eventually apazines took on a life of their own.
The Moffatts’ FAPAzine was Moonshine. Their Lzine De Jueves (Spanish, “Of Thursdays”, APA-L being collated at but not by LASFS, which since 1934 has met on Thursdays) ran through No. 2084, until the end of 2017, mostly by June, after 2010 by her alone except that Len was always with her in spirit.
She shone with fanwriting virtues, intelligence, responsiveness, good humor, a light touch, reaching the new and the old; she avoided our too-typical vices, retaliation, garrulity, unignition, unfocus; in APA-L, weekly over forty years, a feat. Had she achieved nothing else she would have earned our awe. She would have declined it. She can’t now.
She was my longest-time friend in fandom. I loved Len, and I loved her. Writing about death I have written about life. June was like that. Goodbye.