Tag Archives: lettercol

[May 02, 1962] A Good Lie (Letter Column #2)

[Our penpal is back, this time with a highly topical story…]

Dear Editor:

How nice that you’ve published my letter, with Barney’s picture!  Geez, I shouldn’t have sent my picture–just wanted you to know which one I was of all the people I’m sure you talked to.  Anyway, I thought of something I didn’t write about in my first letter to you.  (Thanks for sending some back issues of your publication.) I see that you are aware that there is something going on in Indochina that involves the US (March 31, 1961), but now, a year later, yes, it is clear that we as a nation are involved in war, but are just being sort of secretive about it. 

Last summer I participated in my first demonstration.  It was a “lie-in.”

I wouldn’t have gotten involved, but I heard through my boyfriend Leon that it was happening and he invited me.  He has been keeping me up to date on Indochina, and when I can listen to the radio (public radio) I know that he is right.  The US is this year pouring in “advisers” and maybe even regular troops.  The Christian Science Monitor is keeping tabs on what is going on over there, and it isn’t pretty.

So I decided to go demonstrate against sending US troops, with Leon, and we arrived after classes with blankets, his sleeping bag, and warm clothing (even summer nights can be cold here.) There weren’t many of us, and I didn’t know the others, but everybody was friendly.  There was plenty of room on the Administration lawn, even though it is small, for us all to lie down without getting into anyone else’s space.  I was surprised to see that someone had invented a new symbol.  They had painted it on cardboard and it occupied a place on the lawn close to the walkway for passersby, who were vocally invited to join us.

from David McReynolds

It’s an anti-war sign that consists of two semaphore signals, one for “N,” and one for “D,” standing for “Nuclear” and “Disarmament,” with a circle around them.  So “nuclear disarmament” is broadened to all weapons and war.  Funny looking sign, but I think you’ll see more of it.

I think Leon and I shared his sleeping bag, since the only blanket I had wasn’t adequate.  (Of course nothing could happen between us with everybody around us awake for much of the night.  It was too cold, anyway.) In the morning, we were covered with dew.

Thanks for your forum.  Please keep an ear or eye out for this Indochina War stuff.  I’m sure I’m missing something.


[The government won’t tell how many troops are in South Vietnam since the Geneva Accords that ended the French-Indochinese War restrict the US to 685 troops.  Estimates have the number at 6000, climbing to 9000 by the end of summer.  We are involved in what the papers describe as a “hot war.” 

This is bigger than Lebanon, could be as big as Korea before it’s over.]

[April 5, 1962] Pen Pals (Letter Column #1)

[The great debate of any magazine (fan or professional) is whether or not to include a letter column.  Obviously, I append reader comments to the article which they reference, but sometimes I get letters of a more general nature.  Since I imagine my readers would like to know their fellow fen, I’m publishing a recently received postcard, this from a charming young lady I met at Condor]

Dear Mr. Marcus:

It was great to see you in San Diego.  The convention was an eye-opener as, to date, I have had little experience with science fiction.  I’m grateful to have the Journey to curate suggested material for me to dive into!

I thought I’d bring you up to date on where I’ve been since the con. I’m mostly stuck here at Stanford, where I’m about to get my BA (in English Literature, class of… ’62?) – if I ever get done with all these papers & exams & work for the soil mechanics & foundation engineering firm I do evenings & weekends.

Of course, to pay the tuition and room & board, I also take in ironing, do tutoring, deliver newspapers, etc., and they helped me get a student loan. It’s been a real eye-opener to go to school here. Now I know what “scholarship” means. At the University of Arizona, from which I transferred last year, I did have some great learning experiences, but nothing as rich as this.

Not that I didn’t have some great experiences at UA, meeting an English Professor who is an avante-garde composer (Barney Childs), and since I worked in the Fine Arts College I went to most concerts & saw the harpsichord played for the first time (double keyboard!) & heard Barney’s music played. (I admit, I have a crush on him — see the enclosed photo.) And then I’ve been to San Francisco & seen jazz trumpeter Miles Davis & a lot of other stuff.

Barney Childs

I’ll be returning, as promised, to Tucson this summer. My mother can’t afford to come to commencement here, so I’ll just be going home as soon as possible, and back to work in the Drama Department shortly after that. I will miss Stanford, but I look forward to seeing folks in Tucson again. I’ve been lucky to transfer to Stanford. Fortunately they have a need-blind policy & helped me get the loan and jobs.

I don’t usually get to San Diego since I have to drive through Bakersfield, by a convoluted path, to your Highway 80 at El Centro — a long trip!  But I might have to make an exception in the event of another great convention.

Best wishes and thanks to you & your family for a lovely column full of good stuff.


(my “Activity Ticket” from the University of Arizona in 1960)

[I’d love to hear from the rest of you out in this gloriously modern year of 1962.  Please feel free to send me your letters.  Tell me about the sf you love, the TV you’re watching, your struggles at school or in the workplace.  Your words just might find their way to the Galactic Journey lettercol (especially if your initials are JBK…)]