the door). These facilities had earned the hotel a prominently-displayed
"Certificate of Appreciation” from the Paralysed Veterans of America.
Bubonicon was very small and very under-programmed. My only
memory of the programme is of a nuclear scientist saying that in the all-
too-likely event of a nuclear war Australia was definitely the best place
to be. I spent most of my time in the Huckster Room associating with
Carey and Eric (why else travel all that way?) and the Minneapolis people.
At Bubonicon I first encountered Bill Rotsler, who was in top form.
A group conversation would finish up as an audience listening enthralled
to Bill, a brilliant raconteur – who really does draw all the time. I attended
the Rotsler lunch, at which I decided that I didn't much like Mexican food.
Bruce Pelz was in attendance. It seems that the LA travelling convention
roadshow had lost the Westercon by a few votes to Vancouver as a result
of complacency, and they were determined not to let it happen again. My
contemporaneous notes contain the observation that "Phoenix won't win
anyway", and I can only assume that I wasn't the only one to give them
the sympathy vote.
On the Saturday morning the world saw a new wonder! I toddled in
to breakfast with my little jar of Vegemite and Carey Handfield donated
his toast to me, because he couldn't finish his breakfast! Well, I mean
to say, bacon and eggs and hash browns (spuds) and four pancakes...
After Bubonicon I stayed with Chrys and Roy Tackett and the family,
not to mention three dogs, three cats, a horse, ducks and a peacock. Chrys
altered my jeans for me (bought a size too large in the rush to leave),
and took me to the post of fice. She warned me about them, she did. I
posted some bed-sheets bought in San Francisco, and the fellow took ages
to work out the charge. I think he had to remove his socks in the end.
Sure enough, some weeks after the sheets arrived home I got a letter from
the U.S. Post Office, redirected from the Tackett's. It seemed that I owed
them 37c. I wrote and told them to take it out of somebody's wages.
Chrys took me shopping, at a non-tourist-trap discount store with
an armed guard on the door, and then we went for a drive to see some
new homes foolishly built in arroyos which might confidently be expected
to be washed away in the next flash flood. When the car kept conking
out we dropped in on their friend and motor mechanic, and I was treated
to apple-cake and 7Up. I watched a bit of TV at the Tackett's, and saw
my first gridiron football game, which looked to me (not that I know much
about football anyway) like one long series of foul tackles, with lots of
convenient breaks in play to accommodate the advertisements. The most
memorable ad was without question the one for deodorant tampons, a
ridiculous, and quite possibly harmful, product which as far as I know has
not yet been marketed in Australia. The next most-memorable ad was the
government one for the conservation not of water, as you might expect
in the middle of the desert, but of electricity, specifically by the installation
of insulation in houses.
I had some interesting conversations with Roy about American politics.
The Tacketts complained a good deal about the declining quality of everything,
and they were certainly right about the bacon, which was all streak and
no meat. Nevertheless, they looked after me very well, and they got me
to the airport on time...

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