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Saturday, May 03, 2014

May 4 - Some Important Birthdays

Today is May 4. May the Fourth Be With You!

However, I won't do the usual meme stuff in this post, just a couple of birthdays.

One of them is on Google today, Audrey Hepburn, who would have been 85 today. Unfortunately for the world she died when she was only 64. As well as her wonderful films, she did a lot of humanitarian stuff in her later years. She was already sick the last time I saw her interviewed, and you could see it on her face, her slim body gone from waiflike to simply thin. But when the interviewer said something that made her smile, her face lit up and you coud see the beauty from within. You don't need me to write her biography here, but if you want more, just go to Google today and click.  Happy birthday, Audrey!

It was also the birthday of my late friend Helene Shaw, whom I first met at university, where she was working as a librarian and studying some subjects as well. Helene died soon after Audrey Hepburn, actually, in April 1993. She nearly made it to 61, I believe - I never knew her age till after she passed away. I will tell you a bit about her, because you won't find it in Google.

Helene persuaded me to try for the librarianship Graduate Diploma at RMIT; I will always be grateful to her for that.

She was a neighbour, living only a few streets away from me when I was living in Elsternwick. She had lived in the area all her life and was very knowledgeable about its history.

Helene was a great book lover, especially science fiction. She was also a fellow Star Trek fan, who collected all the Trek novels, which she was happy to lend out to friends because it took her a while to get around to reading them. She had a stack of fanzines which, in those days, were all print, in the days  before online fan fiction.

A passionate lover of astronomy, she belonged to two astronomy clubs, one of which asked her to catalogue its library, a huge job(and didn't even thank her by naming the library for her, despite all the hours she put into the task, sometimes whole weekends)

Helene and I went together to SF conventions where I watched her, with great admiration, making friends; I always used to say at the time that if you dropped her by parachute from a plane and followed her down, by the time you got there she would be friends with the local people. She could get people to confide in her; after about half an hour, she'd know things about new friends their other friends  didn't know after years!

I know she would  have loved the Internet and ebooks and over the years, when a new book, TV series or technology came out, I would think, "What a pity! Helene would have adored this!"

If she were alive today, I'd be giving her an iTunes card as a gift, to buy more books.

Happy birthday, Helene!


Lan said...

Happy birthday to two very inspirational women! What a pity they left us so early.

Sue Bursztynski said...

It is indeed a pity, but all too common. :-( Thanks for stopping by to comment, Lan! I know this isn't strictly speaking a book-related post.