fritz and me

a lot of my facebook friends have entered my life because of my grandfather fritz leiber who was a great science fiction writer. he was the guy who had a story in every sci fi magazine, who put out a series of fafhrd and gray mouser as well as a lot of wonderful horror and fantasy books. federico cenci, who is getting his doctorate in literature about fritz, can tell you more. fede is my facebook friend from italy. he’s going to make me dinner one night.

because i was put up for adoption when i was three years old, i didn’t meet my natural family until i was twenty five. i met fritz at thanksgiving dinner in houston where my father justin lived in 1985.

i think fritz enjoyed having great-grandchildren. he fell ill in chicago on his way back to his home in san francisco from a science fiction convention in canada. i remember fritz holding eastman as if this baby was a treasure of untold value while my husband and i considered what to do in the hotel room fritz had booked himself into. margo, his new bride, wouldn’t fly in a plane. two fans were in attendance and they were flat broke. the hotel concierge was concerned. we sent margo, his wife, home to san francisco. i gave the fans two hundred bucks and said “watch over her”. i called justin, my father, from houston and stephen helped me put fritz in northwestern hospital in chicago. justin escorted fritz home in a plane to san francisco where fritz would later die.

and while we supposed adults–my husband, me, margo, two sci fi fans–worked it all out in the hotel room, joseph, four years old, explained to fritz how eastman worked: his sleep cycle, the things he liked to eat, his ear infection, how you could get eastman to smile. . . . fritz was mesmerized. i was supposed to be sort of in charge of the moment but i was the one who was not paying attention to the most beautiful part of things–fritz was.

a lot of my friends on facebook are from knowing fritz and then knowing me. i’m grateful.


5 responses to “fritz and me

  • Mark Del Rosario

    Thanks for sharing this Arlynn.

  • Yoshi Maeshiro

    Well, I myself entered into your life because one lazy sunday I was browsing through facebook and wrote “fritz leiber” into the search engine. I saw your picture, thought you looked very cute and thus decided to send a request, hoping to be added into your list of friends.
    That was a pretty lucky day for me.
    Of the thousand plus contacts that I now have on facebook, you are one of the very few who can truly be called a friend.
    Thank you for having had the generosity to open up your life and share it, with all it´s naked glory, painfully embellished with your fears, desires and dreams.
    And thank you, Fritz Leiber, for having such a wonderful granddaughter, who is becoming a living example of how life can be turned into a terrific adventure.
    Yoshi.

  • derrellyn yates

    I met Fritz only a few times and have 3 very strong memories of him (all at Justin & Barbara’s). The first is of him listening with patience and a sparkle of humor to George recount his “favorite science fiction radio show of all time.” He was describing “A Pail of Air” to Fritz. I finally realized George didn’t know that Fritz was the author of the story. When I butted in to tell him, George was abashed but I believe Fritz was actually flattered (he was definitely smiling and kind). My next memory is of him reciting a very long poem to you in Justin’s dining room, a way of being close it seemed. My last strong memory is late 1988/early 89 after we had recently lost a child. Justin or Barbara must have told Fritz before we came over to visit and when he saw us, he leaned down and kissed me on the cheek and took my hand, said something very kind and comforting and I could see it on his face that it wasn’t “just formula” for him, he really meant it. God bless him.

  • derrellyn yates

    I love this picture of the two of you together.

  • maria

    so wonderful!!thanks!

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