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Greetings from Italy

   A lot has happened since I was an active SF-Fan. Well, I moved around a lot: from Germany to the U.S. and then to Italy where I have retired.
  I am a Hamburger, to deviate a bit from what Kennedy said about being a Berliner. Hamburg in Germany is my native town, situated at the river Elbe with a large port for deep sea vessels, a huge red light district, beautiful parks. A scenic river called Alster ends downtown in a kind of lake. Robert A. Heinlein had been there and he liked it too. How is that?
  About fourtyfive years ago some youngsters and I formed a small SF-group in Hamburg and published a fanzine called NOVA. Not much fannish stuff in it, was more like a conveyor of SF-stories written by German fans. Each issue contained a portrait of an SF-author. We liked the American ones most and I sent a letter to Heinlein at that time asking for a contribution. He wrote me that letter being reminiscent of his visit of Hamburg. We, that is my co-editors and I, had been so excited about that. I mean, heaving read all his novels, seeing that movie called ‘Endstation Mond’, based on one of his novel about the first space flight to the moon and all that. It was like, gosh, our fanzine would have a great future. So all that typing on stencils, cranking the mimeograph and collating running around the table, all that was done for a higher purpose. We didn’t know what that was but it was fun anyway.
  Knowing some English, mostly from my classes at a commercial school I grew some feelers to the International Fandom. With two tape recorders, a Uher and a Grundig, I cut small tapes, talking on them putting some incidental music on it and sent them to various SF-fans in Great Britain and the U.S. It was fun, real cheap and much better than a letter. You got them back with their voices on it.
  And so I got in contact with Don Allen who lived in Gateshead in Great Britain, published the fanzine Satellite and some other guys like Alan Burns. Then I became a member of the British SF Association and when they announced they would have a small gathering in Manchester I wrote them I would like to come too.
  Moreover I told Don Allen I would like to visit him and then I asked John Berry in Belfast if I could drop by. Each of them said yes. That was great and I jumped into the train with a carry-on bag and the suite I was covered with. So it was Hamburg – Hoek van Holland by train, from there to Harwich where I spent a night and then I went to London by train again. I stayed in London a bit, at Paddington, where at Sussex Garden Avenue are a lot of bed and breakfast accommodations. From there I took a train to Hoddesdon in Herts where Alan Burns lived. He, I looked for his name on the Internet, if it was him, and I think it was, developed in a book author and now I would like it was not him, because that man has passed away. At that time, though, he contributed some great stories to our fanzine. Next leg was to Manchester where a party was in full swing when I arrived. Young and beautiful women and bearded and not so bearded guys and I drank one punch after the other, one woman in my right arm and another in my left and the other morning I woke up in a bath tub. One bearded guy and his wife let me stay at their home for a couple of days to recover and I learned about coloured bread. My suit was dry cleaned and then off to my next leg to Gateshead Newcastle where Don Allen lived. Now my memory gets patchy. I know I met his wife because Don was still at work and she sent me to a hotel where Don picked me up in the evening. I think we both visited Jim Cawthorn. He, as I know is still active, illustrating books of Michael Moorcock. At that time he sent me some beautiful title pictures for our fanzine.
  From there I hopped on a train again to Scotland. Then I crossed the Irish Sea which was rough. The sailors stood in the middle of the deck while passengers like me participated in a puke contest. We got off the boat in Ireland and looked like Zombies. John Berry accomodated me in his home. He was the most popular fan writer at this time, a finger print expert with the Police and we passed the time playing cricket in his backyard, went to the stony beach and I hang around in his house. One day we visited an uncle who was an Elderman at the Irish parliament and we had a chance to see the Belfast town house. I got the chance to put my name in the Golden Guest Book of the town, marveled at the entry of Queen Elisabeth who got a whole page to put her name on while us commoners got one with fifty or more lines.
  That are fond memories which had been stored away as I went on to other tasks like studying, playing in an amateur beat band, girls, marriage, programming computers. Now that I have retired SF-fandom keeps growing on me again and I hope to revive some of the excitement I had, to meet old friends and to get to know some new ones.

Comments are highly appreciated