remarks by Paul Turner
at the LASFS 75th anniversary dinner
October 23, 2009
Starlight Room, Castaway Restaurant, Burbank, California
Paul could not attend. I was the Master of Ceremonies and read these remarks. – John Hertz
Good evening, fellow celebrants.
I’ll tell you how the LASFS Building Fund came to be.
I was only 12 years old when I discovered science fiction “pulp” magazines. By the time I was a senior at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, I had met John Trimble, Alex Bratmon, and Ron Ellik. I often drove them and others in my mother’s car to LASFS meetings in downtown Los Angeles.
We explored the Universe from a leased room we shared with the Pacific Rocket Society. Walt Daugherty managed the lease. Thanks, Walt. Many authors came, Bradbury, Van Vogt, Heinlein. To an 18-year-old this was a golden age. In time the lease was lost, the library was stored, and we began a gradual decline in meeting quality.
During one such very juvenile meeting, at Silver Lake Playground, I began complaining again to Dave Fox, who looked at me and said mildly, “I’m tired of hearing you complain. Do something or be quiet.” At that time Bruce Pelz was the Director, as our presiding officer was then called. At the next election I unseated Bruce, who promptly set up a card table from which he sold fanzines and issued opinions, sort of a Director in Exile. I got some old minutes, partly because I was thinking of writing a history, and began to read them.
In my second term I spent a week in bed with the flu, during which I pondered the minutes I had been reading. It became clear to me that we had to own our own meeting place. At my very next meeting I proposed instituting a Building Fund, which Bruce immediately proclaimed impossible – fans were too irresponsible. Nonetheless the Fund was started, with thirty-five dollars from the Treasury.
Over the following years I always moved that any spare money go to the Building Fund. As the Fund grew, more members got behind it. By the time it reached $2,000, even Bruce became an advocate, and began holding auctions and sharing profits. I next talked to a lawyer, who guided me through writing Articles of Incorporation, which were accepted with minor changes by the members. The Building Fund moved forward to success, largely due to Bruce Pelz’ leading the charge. Although it was I who birthed the idea, and nursed it in infancy, it was Bruce who led it to maturity. Therefore as a fitting tribute to a professional librarian, I propose that our library be named the Bruce Pelz Library. He deserves it.
I hope to see some of you soon at Loscon, where I am planning some memorial events for Bill Rotsler, whose favorite phrase was “Onward and Upward”. To this I will add De Profundis ad Astra. Let us enjoy tonight’s momentous occasion.