Friday, June 24, 2011

just Tom

Pynchon collection/LA Times

"In the early 1960s, Phyllis was a Spanish teacher in Seattle, married to Fred Gebauer, a mechanical engineer doing work at Boeing he couldn't discuss. At a party celebrating a mutual friend's new piano, the two met Pynchon, a technical writer working for another part of Boeing. Pynchon and Fred clowned around by reaching into the piano and plucking out the Yogi Bear theme song on its strings -- "which did not delight the host," Phyllis Gebauer said Wednesday night.

Fred couldn't talk about his work, and Pynchon never mentioned he was writing a novel -- instead, they talked and joked and Phyllis made lasagna and they played charades. "He's a great charades player," Phyllis said. "He's great at puns. They're awful."

Fred and Phyllis only learned that Pynchon had been working on a novel when he sent them a copy of his first book, "V," published in 1963.

The Gebauers' lives separated from Pynchon's. Phyllis, in a "mini-memoir" distributed at the event, wrote that aerospace workers of the era were called " 'aero-braceros,' because they changed jobs and locales as frequently as Mexican field hands."

The couple had moved several times in just a few years when Fred took a job at NASA -- another one he couldn't discuss -- and, after being in Houston just a week, they bumped into Pynchon after a concert. "Phyl, Fred, what are you guys doing here?" she remembers Pynchon calling to them. The coincidence was the kind of thing that might happen in one of Pynchon's books - but in Pynchon's world it would have been the result of a deep and complex conspiracy.""
So Capn TP was palsies with Phyllis Gebauer, one of those hip U-claw Extension babes. Coolnicity--and probably sufficent for removing him from the list of Zodiac killah suspects.

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