Real Life Can Have Coincidences

Life gets away with coincidences that no writer could write convincingly.  Say you had two young characters going through infertility treatment — “that’s not likely.  Young people conceive more easily and–”  Right.  Tell it to real life — for six years.   All six years they had no clue what to name a girl, but they knew for an absolute fact that the boy would be named Robert Anson.

So imagine our surprise, 7/7/91.  Yeah, well, I was surprised I was alive.  So was the doctor who told Dan she couldn’t guarantee twenty minutes more, let alone survival.  But that’s not important right now.  The kid was born at just after two am — I think he was making sure it would still be  7/7 on Colorado time and didn’t realize we were in NC. (What?  No crazier than the next writer, who, admittedly is in an I-love-me jacket.)  As soon as he was born, my adrenaline levels must have dropped and the three anesthesias they’d pumped into me with no effect plus the spinal block, plus three days hard labor without eating ALL hit me at once, and I woke up 24 hours later.  All of the kid’s birthdays have been more fun than THAT.

When I woke up, I found Dan had called my brother in Portugal (Alvarim is the only one who speaks English fluently enough to be a point of contact in this situations) and told him poundage, name and that we were both miraculously alive.

And Alvarim told him, “Oh, born on Heinlein’s birthday, too.”

Which is how we figured it out, because frankly we had been kind of busy to pay attention.

Dan took advantage of my being out of my mind still — uh…  if it weren’t for modern medicine I’d have gone the way of Queen Jane Seymour.  Massive uterine infection because of protracted labor.  It cost me almost two weeks in hospital and massive morphine, still, at home.  Which is why/how I wrote Thirst, but that’s not important right now — two weeks later, to make me send a birth announcement to Mrs. Heinlein.  This initiated a correspondence, which I would not have given up even to spare the embarrassment.  Eventually we talked on AIM, which allowed me to run in ten minutes late to pick up Robert from swimming, forget I was in Col. Springs, and say “I’m sorry Robert, I was on AIM with Mrs. Heinlein.”  Which…  made the entire pool reception area go silent and then one squeaky voice ask, “Not, THE Mrs. Heinlein?”  Which caused ME mortal embarrassment.

Real life doesn’t have to avoid coincidences.  I didn’t know that Heinlein had had a “thing” for elephants.  Not beyond “The man who traveled in elephants.”

Robert — my Robert — has had a “thing” for elephants since he was three at least — perhaps we only discovered it when he could express it — he has elephant statues, elephant stuffed animals, elephant calendars and elephant … everything he can find.

Yesterday, mindful of the fact that if things go well and his life goes as he wants it to, this will be his last birthday at home, we as a family took a trip down the memory lane and went off to Denver to paint the town a mild pink.  (Red is more expensive.)

We went to the art museum, because desecrating art is one of our main amusements — but actually spent most of the time in the Western Art wing, where we saw a painting Long Jakes, which looks exactly like Dave Freer (even the eyes.  Dave, did one of your ancestors get sent out here?) We also saw a lot of … well… western-life paintings.  Robert said “Science fiction needs to have more this feel” and I said “Welcome to human wave.”

We also went to Pete’s for dinner and, oh, yeah, we went to the zoo for Robert to “soak up” elephants.  Because he can never be depressed around elephants.  We even devoted fifteen minutes to Marshall seeing monkeys, which he likes almost as much as Robert likes elephants.  (Marshall’s voice goes up two octaves and he goes “aw, look at the cute little…”

Then we got caught in a sudden downpour and drank a lot to warm up (that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.)  So, today I’m still pushing caffeine, and my brain is only SUPPOSEDLY working.

So, in the end a good time was had by all.  Now excuse me while I go install a oven hood.

And I hope everyone had a good Heinlein Birthday.  We had a pretty good time celebrating the 21st of the abridged edition.

92 responses to “Real Life Can Have Coincidences

  1. There’s something causal about the link between Westerns and Human Wave SF.

    • Hope for a better future. Willingness to uproot and try the different in the hope it will be better. Trust in humanity. CONFIDENCE that humans have the right to colonize. (We are a colonist species, on Earth or elsewhere. Most species are. You colonize or you get colonized. I don’t like our voluntarily contracted horizons.)

      • ppaulshoward


      • Yes, yes, and YES.

      • And of course the “Why are you still talking? Shoot the motherf***er!” ethos…. >;)

        • Interesting old (though new to you) cultures and religions and adaptations to the environment, and plenty of innovative and/or stupid new ideas and adaptations and philosophies. And everybody has a right to have a wild hair up their own butt about whatever it is they want to do, as long as they don’t try to force it on others.

            • And everybody has a right to have a wild hair up their own butt about whatever it is they want to do, as long as they don’t try to force it on others.

              Ah! Would that it were so simple. It tends to get murky as we travel down “the only thing evil needs to prevail” street when we see people acting on their own wild butt hair within the confines of what we would normally consider “their” business. If you know something is evil next door, say the repeated wild hair butting of a spouse, and nobody does anything about it…

              The road to hell is paved with the crushed bones of do-gooders and mortared with their marrow, but we can’t just stand by, can we?

              • Scott – the qualifier is – “as long as they don’t try to force it on others.” In my opinion that includes spouses and children.

                The do-gooders I know are into conformity (so maybe they should be de-boned). There is something different from someone who saves and someone who forces do-gooderism on you. My personal opinion only.

                • I agree completely, but you get into those areas of relativism that make things all catawumpus. For instance, there are those that would say my having loaded weapons in the house, however well maintained and locked up they are, let alone the fact that I’m a perfectly legal and responsible concealed carrier, is in fact me being evil toward my family.

                  I’m not sure they’re conformists, but I’m quite sure there are those among them that utterly believe I’m a horrible person for choosing this path.

                  • Germany banning circumcision of infants. Enough said.

                  • *grin – I am not one of those. I look like this kindly grandmother, but in my house we have guns. Plus we were shopping for a mini-14 yesterday. There are no children in the house. I carry a stun-gun because sometimes the area can get dangerous with wild roaming teenagers. Unfortunately, do-gooders should be after the wild roaming ones — imho that is where the danger lies.

                    • Just a note: I think that this new society of ours is encouraging us to let our children go feral.

                    • I am far less likely to correct an unknown teen-ager in my neighborhood for bad behavior for two reasons. 1) law suit 2) tp’ing and house egging. A rational actor would come to the conclusion that it’s not worth it. My parent’s would not have agreed back when I was a teen, but everyone on my street in Chicago knew each other and were socially engaged. Would my parents have corrected a teen from, say, two streets over? I’m not sure. My grandparents sure the hell would have.

                    • It was a shock to come back to the States after being in Germany for five years. The teenagers were very careful about any bad behavior in the villages. I saw an older woman (in her sixties) who had the teenager by the ear and was marching him home. If the youth had been in the village over, she would probably have called the parents. (oh yea, the lawsuit)

                      Here… a teenager was taunting a dog (using a cigarette butt). The owner knocked the teenager on her ass. The owner ended up in jail for sixty days. The teenager was a known for her “inappropriate behaviors.” The court? a child is always good. UGH.

                      It is not just an ideal – I do remember when you didn’t sass adults for ANY reason. Once we lost that one teenager – we gained a new one who was trying to cause a fight with the older men in the neighborhood. Ugh again.

                    • The temptation there is always to hire a teenage martial artist to go kick the little snot’s butt…

                    • Oh Wayne – you are an bad man – don’t tempt me 😉

  2. Happy Birthday, Robert!

  3. Westerns. Where men are men, women are women, and the good guys of both sexes are strong, honest, honorable, competent and kick ass. What’s not to like? And steal for HWSF?

  4. Happy birthday – It sounds like a very fun pink painting. LOL I love to go to zoos too except we have to leave the Reno area to see a good zoo. My hubby’s birthday is today (8th), which is also my parent’s anniversary so a busy day for us too.

    No the hubby does not have a thing about elephants even though he spent a few years in Thailand in the US Army and saw a lot of Asian elephants.

    Did you know that the Danes have an order of the elephant? 😉


    • Today is my birthday also, your husband picked a great day to be born. 😉

      • Happy birthday bearcat

      • Ahem: ANY day is a great day to be born. Just ask those who haven’t enjoyed such a day.

        THIS particular date also features these notable events (among others):

        1099 – First Crusade: 15,000 starving Christian soldiers march in a religious procession around Jerusalem as its Muslim defenders look on.
        1663 – Charles II of England grants John Clarke a Royal charter to Rhode Island
        1876 – White supremacists kill five Black Republicans in Hamburg, South Carolina.
        1889 – The first issue of The Wall Street Journal is published.
        1932 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level of the Great Depression, closing at 41.22.
        1947 – Reports are broadcast that a UFO crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico.
        2011 – Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched in the final mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle program.

        1831 – John Pemberton, American druggist and inventor of Coca-Cola
        1838 – Ferdinand von Zeppelin, German inventor
        1839 – John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist and philanthropist
        1908 – Nelson Rockefeller, 41st Vice President of the United States
        1926 – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Swiss-born psychiatrist
        1934 – Marty Feldman, English comedian and actor
        1948 – Raffi, Egyptian born Canadian children’s entertainer
        1949 – Wolfgang Puck, Austrian chef and restaurateur
        1958 – Kevin Bacon, American actor
        1961 – Toby Keith, American country music singer-songwriter

        975 – Edgar the Peaceful, King of England
        1695 – Christiaan Huygens, Dutch astronomer
        1822 – Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet
        1855 – Sir William Parry, English Arctic explorer
        1994 – Kim Il-sung, North Korean leader
        2006 – June Allyson, American actress
        2011 – Betty Ford, First Lady of the United States
        2012 – Ernest Borgnine, Academy Award-winning American actor

        • Interesting that Roswell happened on Jul 8, 1947 – hubby was born on that exact day…

          Sadly ex-Pres Clinton and I share a birthday.

          • My current baby and “Moochel” O, likewise. No, thanks.

          • Thnik of that shared birthday as a karmic balancing of the Universe … and proof* that astrology is codswallop.

            *The statement is made entirely in jest, with due recognition that Ascendent Houses matter greatly and that the omniverse is sufficiently complex that the arrow of causality may indeed point in more than one direction. This commentator takes no position on the (in)validity of Astrology except to remind you to take care in matters concerning a friend.

            • LOL RES – well my ascendent is Gemini (makes me a communicator), which I do with writing. So hard to say if it is or isn’t codswallop. I take it in the meaning it was meant. Besides my life and Mr. Clinton do seem to balance each other. I am female. He is male. I voted Republican. He obviously voted Democrat. I was in the military. He never inhaled… and so forth. I never smoked. I have a strong heart and he seems to have strong kidneys.


              • We are both persuaders; however, I try very hard to tell the truth.

              • You do know it is a bad sign that you know your ascendant?

                I confess I used to know mine, but that was back in my teens when the things a guy will do to get laid encompass almost everything except recognizing girls are human, with human minds and human hearts … of course, those aren’t actually the areas teenage guys are focusing on … I no longer know into what House I was born, and am too far behind in my reading to look into the matter.

                • heck, I used to know my Asian Sign ascendant — but it has more to do with having run out of stuff to read at a friend’s house while I was staying for a week.

                • RES funny – where you around when the pickup line was “what is your sign?” lol

                  • As I recall, the line was: “What’s your sign?”

                    That contraction was required to give it just the right level of casualness and studied informality. I never could see where it carried a conversation beyond swapping sun signs, however. Now, had anybody ever responded with a discussion what would be required for astrology to actually be significant and the implications of an n-space universe … I’d probably have forgotten all about her cleavage and had a thoroughly engaging evening.

                    • An English degree strikes again… you are correct RES. 🙂 The problem with astrology and one sign (usually the sun sign) is that it doesn’t take into account the entire chart. It changes the meaning considerably, plus I am pretty sure the newspaper astrology (what’s happening today) is pretty much a con.

                      At one point I wanted to make my own chart – because I wanted to double check the work. It is pretty math intensive – Since I am not too familiar with the n-space universe, I can’t say if astrology and n-space would correlate. I can say that astrology was the grandfather of astronomy.

                    • Plus the entire bit of astrology to the extent it makes any sense, is that climate influences nutrition while in the womb, etc (or did in more rural times.) In that case — which is my birthday? My due date or my actual birth? Meh

                    • The reference to n-space universe was recognition that in a reality comprised of a number of dimensions far in excess of 3 (or 4, if you’re counting Time … really, duration, as Wells pointed out) the interconnection of events is essentially incomprehensible. Once you seriously contemplate String Theory and M-Theory and Chaos Theory it is not difficult to accept the possibility that Astrology might work. No, sun-sign focus is too simplistic a mode and too broadly structured to be of use. But it is not unreasonable to believe that a full chart (which, frankly, almost nobody can do because of a lack of precision as to where and when a person was born) can provide some insight … especially when you contemplate the degree to which casting a chart is an interpretive art … by which I mean a con job in which the astrologer and subject conspire to draw a compelling picture, however unwittingly.

                      I do not find it unlikely that the positions of gravitational anomalies might affect the environment in which we are born. I find it very improbable that we have any understanding of, or ability to predict the consequences of those influences.

                    • Yeh gods. Now there’s a universe with “chaos scientists” who are essentially diviners trying to come to life. SAVE ME.

                    • Beggin’ yer pardon, missus. I should have noted that NOBODY should ever seriously contemplate String Theory and M-Theory and Chaos Theory. Nor Quantum Mechanics or ANY other endeavor of higher level physics. That way lies madness … or drinking competitions with the likes of Travis Taylor and Stephanie Osborne.

                    • Don’t worry. The scientists RES mentioned only have claims to knowledge in a universe ruled by laws. As Heinlein pointed out, our universe is ruled by whimsy. It’s the only explanation that makes sense given Lady Gaga, pea-green stretch pants, and former lottery millionaires now on food stamps. Note: those things aren’t related other than to point out how chaotic reality actually is.

                    • Scott – you forgot: nylon lingerie in fluorescent colours normally associated with highlighting markers. Surely NOBODY actually thinks that glow-in-the-dark lemon-green complements her skin colour!

                    • You Philistine. You have to look at the nails. If the nails are the same shade (or, in rare cases of someone that’s got HUGE game, palettely-opposed) then it’s completely natural. Sort of like checking the curtains to match the rug except infinitely more annoying.

                    • This, THIS was the story of my dating life. :/ Dan’s ability to be interested in both my mind AND my cleavage won the day.

                    • It is a truth universally acknowledged that young men are shallow, probably no more than, on average, six inches deep.

                    • Wait – women have minds? Who knew? (Just kidding, but running away anyway!)

                    • You know, I’ve wondered about this occasionally. Then the guys remind me I’m a woman and so are a lot of my friends and that ninety percent of the people I call “chickie” are guys — often college age (presumably straight) guys and that what I actually object to is theories that turn women into defenseless permanent victims. So amend that:
                      Women Feminist “victims” have minds?
                      That I can get behind and answer honestly “Not so I’ve noticed.”

                    • “Who knew?” Considering with what young men (of whatever age) do their thinking about “women”, the proper question is “who cares?” That ain’t the part of women which interests the guys. Evolutionary urges are only secondarily concerned about thinking (usually, it would seem, about suppression of. See: Beer goggles.)

                    • Actually RES, I think you got me backward. My problem was I opened my mouth and guys forgot I had a body and we went off discussing the universe and everything. Yes, even with Dan the first day we met, but he always remembered I was a woman. 😛

                    • Hard to say Sarah – in my case I was about a week late and I was still just over 6 pounds.

                    • I agree completely – 🙂 My hubby and I talk about dimensions except for some reason whenever I think of time as a fourth dimension my brain stops and stutters.

                      Astrologers, the ones I have met, do feel the need to sugarcoat. Also, we don’t really know how the pull of planets affect us (or which ones affect us). The sun and moon are easy to see because of our every day interaction with these two bodies. The other problem with astrology is that the scientists abandoned it long ago as superstition. The people involved in it are (some are charlatans and some are well-meaning), but they are the social/soft-science types.

                      At one point I was interested in alchemy. Not because of the quest to turn base metals into gold, but because it was the beginning of chemistry and many of our leading minds were drawn to it. Unfortunately for me, I either couldn’t find anything good about it (this was in the 1980s) or it was hard to find. I admit that I lived much of my life in trailers and other low-income areas. (trailer trash comes to mind?) The libraries around us were not very well-stocked.

                    • I vaguely recall reading an assertion (possibly by Heinlein) that, so far as gravitational factors influencing you at birth, the Ob-Gyn is probably more influential than Saturn’s position in its orbit. I’m not about to attempt the math, but the briefest consideration of inverse-square laws suggest the truth of the assertion.

                    • RES – I don’t know if the OB-GYN influenced me because I wasn’t delivered by one. I was delivered in a poor hospital, no pre-natal care, and the ER doctor finally decided after 24 hours of labor that maybe he should snip so that I could get out. My head had been trying to get out for hours by that time. The only influence I can see is that it started hard. My mother couldn’t even look at me for days. And years afterwards she would blame me for the stitches. My parents were very influential to me in a very negative way. I have done the exact opposite of what they planned for me. So yea – but, when you get to the natal astrology it is not about the future – it is all about the personality of the person.

                      It would be like seeing that you had an ability in math and then extrapolating that you would be good in higher science. Those people who use it to predict the future will get it wrong mostly because the future is in flux. At each point (in my humble opinion) there are so many paths to take and so much to see. We just have to be open to it. Or maybe only certain personality types are excited about change.


                    • At each point (in my humble opinion) there are so many paths to take and so much to see.

                      It occurred to me in my late teens and early twenties, when I was out on my own and wrestling with my own faith, that it’s quite likely that it’s utterly impossible for us to recognize a sufficiently higher intelligence. The thought struck me, though, that one operative definition of a higher intelligence would be one that allows for human free will but can cognitively have a plan for everyone…all at the same time.

                      Incomprehensible to our grey matter, but not so to a sufficiently higher intelligence.

                      PS: Since I was about 12 I have not been able to type the phrase “free will” without Rush pounding around the inside of my head for the remainder of the day.

                • I’m afraid to confess that I know my whole damn chart. In my defense I do have a pretty good memory. What? Stop looking at me like that! 😛

                  • I know mine too… *snort 😉

                  • Well, I’m learning mine, too, involuntarily, because my younger son is fascinated by it, so I hear more about it ever week or two.

                    • It’s the attraction of an organized, intricate system. Like the people who can’t just play D&D or a card game; they have to play a game with rules that change depending on X, Y, Z, and the whole rest of the alphabet.

                      Like the old Greek humors theory, which still runs around the world in a lot of versions. It’s demonstratively untrue, and every local iteration makes up its own rules. The only useful parts are some home remedies that don’t require you to believe anything of the sort. (Also, it makes you analyze what people in Indian restaurants are feeding you.) But it’s a system with a lot of parts, so it’s interesting — but it’s false, so it will eat your brain if you let it.

                    • A lot of conspiracy theories are like this too — there is a beg for every explanation, so “it all fits.” I love reading this stuff from the outside, but I’m very aware there’s a pull of madness to it.

                    • oh boy – conspiracy theories… they are wrong until they are right. 😉 My dad was a conspiracy theorist. There were some very crazy stuff. I am sane compared to some of the stuff he used to say. Also it is easy to be pulled into it.

              • PFF with Clinton, you don’t know whom he voted for. He could go down a corkscrew without touching the sides. And ya’ll are too close to partisan politics, so back away slowly.

                • lol Sarah – oh yea – Clinton – he could say one thing and do another. I have a friend that knew his family. They were so proud of him except he told so many untruths as a child.

                • Well for years when I was following the military, we couldn’t get ballots for anything other than presidential elections. The way the military are treated for getting ballots (by both parties) and getting counted is criminal. (We were outside the US from 1990-2003).

          • I share mine with Mrs. Clinton.

            • You SHOULD NEVER get together with Cyn. Just saying. Poor interns.

              • Damn right about the poor interns. (Leer)

                On the other hand, she and my wife could commiserate about chemo brain from cytoxan.

                • (Leer) On the other hand,

                  Completely off topic, but in the movie version of “The Producers”, in Max Bialystock’s office, there’s a poster from one of his past shows (which were always horrible) of Shakespear’s “King Leer”. The drawing on the poster is a close of up a king leering to the side.

                  I would pay really good money to get my hands on that poster. Granted, there were plenty of funny moments in the movie, the scene in Roger De Bris’ apartment among the best, but that background poster made me laugh my ass off.

              • Snort – oh yea – and I had to take cytoxan for 1 1/2 years.

              • Those poor interns will never work so hard again – (dreaming up hard jobs for young people to do that has nothing to do with sitting on their rumps)

            • You have my sympathies Wayne.

          • was your husband er… “born” somewhere around Roswell?

  5. My second child was born 7/7/92. I don’t quite know why I never realized that was Heinlein’s brithday.

    • Heck, I didn’t and I’m possibly more of a Heinlein fanatic than you are. I think Robert was trying to hold off till 7/7/07 but we forced the issue, and he refused to be the younger child. (insane, I tell you. 😉

  6. I just finished Patterson’s biography of Heinlein. I am so jealous you got to correspond with Mrs. Heinlein. That’s a great story about the people at the swimming pool.
    Happy birthday to young Robert!

  7. At Robert’s age getting older is a sign of prudence and wisdom and he deserves congratulations for doing it.

    My interest in elephants kinda ends at “Who’s going to clean its litter box?”

  8. Pingback: Real Life Can Have Coincidences | According To Hoyt « Head Noises

  9. I fed an elephant once. I had a whole handful of nuts and grapes and pieces of apple and stuff, and I held it out and the elephant put its trunk tip in my hand, nudged around a little, and then it felt like a wet vacuum cleaner hose. The fruit and nuts went away and I was left with a handful of elephant snot.

    • As a kid I rode one once when a circus came to town and offered elephant rides. When the ride was over we fed the elephants peanuts, with pretty much identical results as yours, a handful of elephant snot.

  10. When I was in Ranger School in 1996, I was a patrol leader on the type of mission that most leaders get a failing grade. It’s just set up that way.

    However, several things miraculously happened to go right. None of our weapons jammed(unheard of with the old equipment we were using). Most of the opposing force(mock enemy) on the objective had to leave to fight a fire half a mile down the road, leaving a manageable number of “enemy” in place. Finally, my evaluator just happened to be standing next to me when I made one of the best training tactical decisions of my young career thanks to the ravine that was luckily along the path we needed to exfil from.

    Were I to write these things as part of a story, it’d be scoffed at as “that could never happen.” But in real life, you catch breaks that authors just couldn’t get away with.

    • I had a story dinged because “no real enemy invader would be that stupid and no real platoon leader could get that lucky.” A friend of mine who’s an army combat vet read it and said, “I’ve seen stupider enemy actions. And Luck knows no rank. She’s worse than a Subic Bay [rhymes with door].”

  11. Maybe someone in the know can answer this for me. I heard back around 1998, after that abortion that Paul Verhoeven unleashed upon the world, that Mrs. Heinlein had been so repulsed by what they were doing to Starship Troopers that they pulled Robert’s name off of it. The rumor says it was originally supposed to be like “Braham Stoker’s Dracula” and the actual title was supposed to be “Robort Heinlein’s Starship Troopers”.

    Any truth to that?

    I’ve heard stirrings that they are going to take another shot at it, much like Robocop and Total Recall are getting reboots, neither with Verhoeven’s awful fingers in the mix. I’ll give the guy credit where credit is due and can appreciate a certain artistic flare where Robocop is concerned, but flaying, drawing and quartering isn’t cruel enough for what he did to Troopers.

    • No. It’s not true. Actually what happened was that they were doing the movie with a lot of the same elements as Starship Troopers, and someone said “Hey, you should get the license” and so…
      And I’ll point out for ALL its faults (and there are many) the movie still helped keep Heinlein’s name before people, and heck I’m grateful for ANY movies with Heinlein elements. It did say at the end “based on a novel by” and when the entire theater clapped as the words flashed on the screen, I found myself crying.

      As for reboot — who knows? Heinlein is out of favor with Hollywood for same reason Phillip K. Dick is in. It’s all politics and “correctness” and a good dose of the people now in control of all the arts being boomers, who always favor their own and punish the prior generation. (The one after too, of course, except when it hits their kids, who are, of course, wonderful and just like them.) If Heinlein and Dick were both writing under the distribution controls of the 90s we’d never have HEARD of Heinlein.
      So, it might happen — who knows? — but I wouldn’t hold my breath. How long have we been waiting for movies of Good Omens, or Honor Harrington, or…
      Hollywood moves in its own ways.

  12. ppaulshoward

    Astrology is IMO just junk. However, in the time of “What’s your sign” people were “believing” newspaper astrology charts which most serious students of astrology considered nonsense.

  13. When I was a little kid, I would just have assumed that all sf writers knew each other. (Which at some points in US fannish history hasn’t been far from the truth.)

    So you having an AIM conversation with Mrs. Heinlein was just approaching the Platonic ideal of your sf writerness, right?

  14. If Robert ever gets to the Atlantic City New Jersey area he will need to see Lucy The Margate Elephant.

    • Oh! Like the elephant in Paris after the French revolution! Yeah, he’d love it.

      Honestly, it’s a joy to see him look at the elephants. His face lights up and he becomes a little boy again.

      The worst offense of the younger boy was about four years ago taking Robert’s collection of stuffed elephants and arranging them into an improbable and inventive orgy.

      I regret to say I was too busy standing between them screaming “Under no circumstances can you kill your brother. No, you can’t maim him either” to take a picture, because it showed remarkable (and disturbing) knowledge (more likely guesses) and even more remarkable but inventive ignorance.

  15. One of the people that used to work with me, who’s also a current Facebook friend, talks about two grand-children she’s labeled “Bouncy” and “Chatterbox”. A lot of it is similar to what you write about regarding Marshall and Robert. I love both. I’ve encouraged Kerry to collect as much of the things that happen and put them into a book. I’m still pushing, but she’s beginning to see the opportunity.

    As for life having coincidences, when I was a freshman at the Air Force Academy, my brother was seriously injured and wasn’t expected to live. I was given a very unusual seven-day emergency leave. As I left Colorado Springs, there was exactly one seat left on the plane – the one next to Robert Heinlein and his wife. I bought a copy of “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” at the Amarillo airport when we had a short layover, and he autographed it for me to give to my brother. When I told some of my classmates about this, I wasn’t believed – they thought I was lying, which is an expellable offense there. Fortunately, Mr. Heinlein brought me a copy of the same book, and left it with my Squadron Commander. I was looked at in awe for about three days, then life returned to (doolie) reality.