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Volunteering for NESFA (#987)

Topics/tags: Autobiographical, short

I’m not sure why my muse had me write this musing since it’s probably only of interest to me. Perhaps the kids would want to know.

The other day, I noticed a car parked in front of the Historical Museum driveway which was blocking that driveway. My brain said, Remember when you accidentally parked in front of a driveway and your car was towed? And I remembered.

It was one of those months when I was volunteering to help with the NESFA (New England Science Fiction Association) APA [1] What does that mean? Well, back in the misty depths of time [2] SF [3] fans kept in touch with each other, in part, by writing regular newsletters of sorts. Each newsletter might have reviews of books and other media, short stories, chapters in an ongoing saga, reports on gaming experiences, or whatever the author thought was of interest to others. If you lived in the Boston area [4], mimeographed [5] a bunch of your newsletter, and sent the stack to NESFA, a group of people, myself included, would collate all the individual newsletters into a larger stack, staple them together, and then send them out.

Or at least that’s what I remember.

Helping out with the newsletter was fun; I met interesting people and participated in a community. It meant that I knew people when I attended Boskone [6] And the informal friendships continued. I still recall spending a train ride from Boston to Chicago for the 1982 WorldCon in which we spent the whole ride talking and playing games [7]. Since I started college [8] that fall, I stayed in Chicago afterwards, in a guest room at my mom’s friends, Clemens and Judy Roothan’s house [9].

I’m pretty sure that I kept all of those old newsletters until mom moved out of her house a decade ago. I wish I had moved them to Grinnell, if only to give them to the UIowa archive of SF fandom. Oh well. I might have kept a few. If so, they are likely somewhere in one of the dozens of boxes in the basement. Perhaps I’ll look at some point.

p.s. If I recall correcly, Proust’s memories were triggered by scents. Mine seem to be triggered by illegally parked automobiles. I’m not sure what that says about me.

[1] Amateur Press Association, if I recall correctly. I previously wrote ’zine rather than APA, but a helpful reader corrected me.

[2] That is, late 1970’s/early 1980’s.

[3] Never SciFi, which we pronounced skiff-ee.

[4] Broadly interpreted.

[5] Kind of like printing, but not quite. A predecessor to photocopying.

[6] I’m supposed to be a life member to Boskone. Whatever happened to that membership? I haven’t taken advantage of it in more than thirty years, but I am still alive.

[7] I have no memory of what games we played, other than Cosmic Wimpout.

[8] The College at The University of Chicago, to be precise.

[9] I never realized quite how distinguished Clemens was; I spent most of my time there with Judy.

Version 1.0 released 2020-01-15.

Version 1.1 of 2020-01-19.