Fred Patten met us at Los Angeles International Airport and drove us to
Tom Digby's where we would be staying for a few days. It was in Los
Angeles that we got our first taste of America and acclimatized ourselves
to the country. I imagine that that city would always be a good place
to begin, to get some idea of what we would see elsewhere without too
much of a shock.
                 Staying with Tom Digby could not have been a better idea,
during the days he was at work and we were free to do whatever we
felt like (which wasn't much) and in the evenings he would keep us
easily occupied. I don't know how well Tom is known outside LA fandom
reasonably well I would assume though not as well as most of the
publishing giants. Most people, I assume, would have heard the name
sometime or another as we had and if they meet him.I'm sure they will
be delighted as we were. Coming straight from Australia with Fred
Patten as the only American we'd met before him, the first thing that
struck us about Tom was his accent which cannot be native to California.
There were others which were just as beautiful to listen to but what
an introduction it was.
                       Valma would describe Tom as simply a "beautiful"
person and I would agree without reservation. I would also have to
describe him as some sort of genius for we had not been in his flat for
an hour when he had my synthesizer on the floor with a few other black
boxes he had constructed making patterns on the screen of the
oscilloscope. No matter which subject our conversation wandered to, Tom
would have a Ěray of looking at it which made me realize how restricted
and unimaginative my thinking, imaginative is probably the main point
for Tom can work his sense of wonder on almost anything.
                                                        While he was
at work Valma and I spent a couple of days wandering up and down Santa
Monica Boulevard which is just around the corner. Doing it on our own
and at our own pace proved to be a good break after the trip from
Australia and we were truly glad of it. From it we learned a little of
how to get by with fewer hassles later on.
                                          On the second night of our
stay Phil Castora took us and Tom
for a drive around the sights. We
ended up at a restaurant called
"Ben Frank" where we experienced
the strange delights of American
food. It took us a while to get
used to the glass of ice water
which we got everywhere later on
but what continually impressed us
was the size and lavishness of
the desserts we always came across.
Valma and I ordered something
called a chocolate sundae and
expected something pretty similar
to what we'd been getting at home.
Instead the serves were massive
and tasted delicious. Valma could
not finish hers and I could not
do it in for her, which was such a