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first murmurings of San Francisco's Revolt Against the Freeways. It was becom-
ing clear that every city motorway built to solve the problem of too much traffic
carries the seed of another problem, the traffic it creates. Which necessitaLes
another motorway and so on until the city itself is obliterated by concrete,
dispersed in to crevices between roads and car parks. Los Angeles has yielded to
the automobile, but not San Francisco. Even then there were plans for a mod-
ern commuter railway system, and Page recently I saw on television a San
Franciscan who threatened to blow up a projected new freeway. I nodded
approvingly: that was my San Francisco.
     Back in Berkeley we met Bill Donaho and Dick and Pat Ellington and their
little daughter Poopsie, a farewell gathering to see Ethel off on her long journey
back home. We all went for dinner to a big eating place called Brennans, which
unaccounLably was owned by a German and employed Chinese waiters. The food
was very good and there were the usual lavish helpings, which no one was able to
finish except Bill Donaho. Little Poopsie was hardly able to make any inroad at
all into her dinner and I was delighted to see Bill relieve her of her almost
untouched plate and finish it off. It's a great comfort for a visitor to the States
to have Bill Donaho around.
     Not only does his vast size give you a sense of security, amply justified by
his less obvious character and intelligence, but he relieves you of the nagging
guilt you feel in restaurants at the waste of all that good food. With Bill around
this problem is drastically reduced. On this occasion he polished off a couple of
side dishes for me as well, enabling me to concentrate my flagging forces on my
huge hunk of strawberry shortcake. It had turned out to be a very pleasant
surprise. I have been ordering this dish with unquenchable optimism for the
past thirty years at various laces in the world, and this was the first time I had
ever found it made with fresh strawberries and real, fresh cream. Ethel had it
too, and I don't think she could have wished for anything better for her last
meal in California.
     As usual unquestionedly assuming command, Bill made sure we arrived at
Oakland's bus station in good time. Bill checked in Ethel's luggage, I found out
which gate the bus would be at, and then there was nothing to do but wait for
the bus to come from San Francisco on its way to Salt Lake City and New York.
It was, of course, late. We stood in a little group round Ethel, talking nervously
and desultory. The Berkeley fans couldn't be their usual bright and cheerful
selves, because this was a sad occasion, and they couldn't just keep saying sad
farewells, and they all knew that when the bus did come in there would be a
rush to get on and we couldn't hold Ethel back. So the conversation was spas-
modic and interspersed with the usual objurgations to take care of herself and
give their love to so and so in England and to try to persuade Atom to stand for
Taff and so on. For myself I just kept thinking I'm responsible for all this. I
wrote the article in Nebula which brought this little Scottish girl into fandom,
and I started the TAFF thing, and now here she is in a California bus station
among friends she had made across six thousand miles. Now she looked a little
sad, and I could understand it. Her great holiday all over, she was leaving the
sun and warmth of California for the long, anti-climatic journey back to winter
in grimy London, no doubt worrying all the way as to whether she had made a
good impression. The bus swept suddenly in and the queue pushed forward and
the Berkeley fans said their hurried last goodbyes and I know there was only
one thing for me to say. So as she swept pasL me in the queue I bent down and
whispered "I'm proud of you Ethel." And I was though it wasn't until I saw the
genuine sorrow and affection on faces around me as that brave little figure
disappeared in the crowd that I realised just how much.