In 1963 I was determined to become a writer. Taking a correspondence course, Famous Writers School. I had heard about fandom, though it was only a rumor. Decided to seek it out.
Here’s how I did it. I’d met Ray Bradbury in doctor’s office, age 10, and he’d given me a copy of The Martian Chronicles. On the strength of that, I wrote him a letter with a bunch of questions.
“No, I won’t look at your rejected stories to see what’s wrong with them.”
I asked about fandom too. He sent me to 4SJ Ackerman, who sent me to LASFS.
I dawdled for months. Unsocial I was, and shy. I feared fandom.
I got to Silver Lake Playground around December 1963.
At LASFS I learned about a Worldcon in Berkley. I hung around the outskirts; but also Fred Pohl knew who I was because I’d sold him a story. I heard "Young Fan Mulligan" there. It was Sunday before I knew that my car had been stolen.
When first published, I would go to Bergen’s House of Irish Coffee after the club meeting and read my own stuff there.
I met David Gerrold, Jerry Pournelle, Steven Barnes, and Dian Pelz/Crayne through LASFS. That’s about half my collaborators: the first half.
Bjo Trimble trekked a bunch of us out to the Mojave while it was in bloom. I vividly remember the alien-seeming flower called “squaw cactus”.
For my skewed view of LASFS, and to meet a lot of LASFS members, see Fallen Angels by me, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn.
There was a time when fandom was my social life and my business life.
I met Marilyn at a worldcon in New York.
We had been meeting in borrowed places and members’ houses. The last was a public library, the turf shared with some high schoolers. I got beat up one night.
We were the last investors paid off when the new LASFS clubhouse had paid for itself. We staged a ceremony in which, as evil landlord, I threatened to turn the place into a parking structure.
LASFS has civilized a lot of people, and I am one of them.