by Jim Valentino
Ken and Patty were preparing to move to Buffalo so Ken could spend his “last few years” with his first set of children and assorted grandkids, secure in the knowledge that their sons, Pete and Gus, were okay and starting their own lives.
Patty asked me to organize a party to cheer Ken up a bit, so I called around to a few folks I thought Ken might like to see. Guests included Scott, Judy and Kirby Shaw!, David Scroggy, John Koukousakis, Max McBurney, Clayton Moore, the late Bill Liebowitz and several others I’m not remembering. While I can’t recall if they came early or late, Harlan and Susan Ellison also came.
It was very nice, very low key—just conversations among friends—all of whom had one thing in common—a love of Ken.
I remember on the drive home from Azusa my elder son asked me if Ken was “really” his uncle. He had known him as “Uncle Ken” all his life and it was just dawning on him that there might not be a blood relation (something he never questioned before). Also, as the conversation turned we talked about Harlan, since it was my sons’ first encounter with him. Younger son Joel asked “Is that the old guy that cusses a lot?” Yes, that would be Harlan…or Ken.
It was a great gathering and I cherish the card Patty sent me after. (The note she wrote should be with this reminiscence.) Patty was a great one for cards…all of which always featured pictures of dogs. Whenever I see a card with a dog on it I think of her. And Ken.