Thanks to CS scholar for this find… scroll down a ways:
From Betty BeauchampI knew Paul and Genevieve Linebarger at Johns Hopkins, where they both taught. In 1965, he asked me to take care of their mail while they traveled to Southeast Asia for a semester. I forwarded first class mail from his home and office faithfully for a number of months, and bagged up the other mail and piled it up in his office. On their return, Paul gave me a pair of opal earrings in appreciation of my efforts. I still have them.
In early June 1966, a few weeks before he died on August 6, Paul called me at work in tears, asking if I would take care of Genevieve, if he should die. He had fallen in the bathroom that morning, and was unable to pick himself up. He had fallen against the door, and Genevieve had to push with all her might to get it open. They were both crying, and finally Genevieve was able to open the door enough to squeeze herself inside and help him up. A little later in the morning, when Genevieve was downstairs, he made the call to me.
I was at loose ends at the time, so I promised him that I would take care of her, and in October 1966 I moved my sparse belongings into their home. For the next fifteen years I shared Paul's and Genevieve's home with her. She never got over Paul's death. She missed him every day for the rest of her life, until she died of cirrhosis of the liver on November 11, 1981. Her psychiatrist told me that she had a death wish — and she made her wish come true. Nothing helped her: the psychiatrist gave up, the doctor did too, AA didn't work for her, hospitals dismissed her, private counseling helped most of all, but she was determined to get to Paul. (She often worried that Paul's first wife had gotten to him before she could.) I finally realized that if she was determined to drink, there was nothing I could do to stop her.
Before she became too ill to travel, Genevieve and I traveled almost every year to some exotic place in the world. Somehow I managed to scrape together the funds to accompany her; as I recall a six week trip to Europe and the Middle East in 1967 cost about $2000. We traveled to many of the old haunts where Paul and Genevieve had been: Australia, Mexico, Peru, New Guinea, the South Pacific, Switzerland, and to many places new to her as well as to me: Easter Island, the Canary Islands, Morocco, the Soviet Union, Bora Bora, among others. Marcia, Paul's younger daughter, was with us on the 1967 trip.
Hello to Marcia, to Rosana, and to Helen, Paul's niece. I remember all of you well.
Actually, Genevieve wrote “Down to a Sunless Sea” in the 1970s, after Paul had died, using the same pen name. Her publishers had suggested doing this. She told me that she had written a few parts of some of his science fiction stories, when he thought that what she had written was good enough to include. When Paul would write science fiction, he would sit at a little typing table in their dining room, frequently late at night, frequently dressed in some kind of costume; Genevieve said it helped him get into his characters better.
Paul and Genevieve both loved cats. When I moved there, there were seven. When I had to move out in 1982 when the house was sold, there were still seven (but different ones). I took five to a shelter, keeping two kittens. Paul would sometimes use the cats' names in his writings, and also the cats themselves as models for some of the characters in his science fiction stories. Melanie, Griszelda, Harry the Hadrian, Sheba, Little Paul (who, like Paul, had only one eye), Arabella and Boy were the seven when I moved in. Boy's formal name was Erpillar. Paul loved to take the c-a-t out of words and think about naming a cat whatever the rest of the word was. Thus, (cat)Erpillar. He had other names in mind too: Astrophe, Amaran, Atonia, Egory, Erwaul.
Gosh, I've run out of time. There's probably more interesting things I can recall, but I've run on too long for now.
Betty, how lovely to hear from you… it's been years! Marcia, Helen, and I are all well. Thanks for sharing your memories. — Rosana
Mail (will not be published) (required)
Cordwainer Smith Blog