Letter: Robert Heinlein to John Arwine (10 May 1946)
From The Admissions of L. Ron Hubbard, ca. 1946:
Heinlein wrote that he and his wife had hoped to hear more about what Hubbard was doing in New York, and that he didn’t understand Hubbard’s current activities. Heinlein said he was considerably disturbed on Hubbard’s account, thought Hubbard wasn’t doing himself any good, and that Hubbard appeared to be on some sort of a “Big Operator tear,” not getting straightened out or re-established in his writing.
Heinlein wrote that because he introduced Hubbard to Arwine he felt “obligated” to advise Arwine not to get his “affairs tied in” with Hubbard at all and to keep Hubbard “at arm’s length.” Heinlein surmised that Hubbard had probably told Arwine about the “involved business deals” in which he was engaged with “Jack Parsons and Betty.” Heinlein wrote that they might “make a lot of money,” but that he had “no taste for business enterprises of this type.” Heinlein said he was offering this free advice to Arwine because he’d heard that Hubbard and Sarah could be “returning to New York soon,” and that Heinlein would have advised Arwine earlier if he’d known they “were going to New York the first time.”
Heinlein said he had “no reason to be sore at Ron” and had no basis “to condemn his present actions,” but Hubbard’s conduct worried him. Heinlein cautioned Arwine that he could easily find himself “in some sort of a jam” if he let Hubbard “get too close to him.”
Heinlein asked Arwine about any plans to come out west, and said that his room at the Heinleins would be at his disposal.
Later in this letter, Heinlein asked Arwine to meet a “gal friend” of the Heinleins at La Guardia airport very early the next Monday morning, and escort her “to her destination in Manhattan.” Heinlein explained that he was imposing on Arwine because “rape and mugging have becoming entirely too commonplace,” and the country is unsafe for “unescorted females.” Heinlein asked Arwine to take care of the “young lady” on the same basis as if Heinlein’s wife Leslyn “were to arrive alone in the middle of the night.”
Heinlein recalled that Arwine had met the young lady, Vida Jameson, when Hubbard had brought her to Arwine’s “32nd Street place in the spring of 1940,” on a night Heinlein and Leslyn had given a dinner party for Willy Ley, the de Camps and the Campbells. Heinlein described Vida as a “quiet, shy little grey mouse with great soulful black eyes and a habit of listening.” He said that most of that evening Vida “sat beside Willy Ley on the couch on the east wall,” and that Arwine might not remember her as she “hardly opened her kisser all evening.”
Heinlein noted that Vida was the daughter of Malcolm Jameson, a retired “ordnance engineer” that Heinlein knew “because of his stories in Astounding and because he was part of the Fletcher Pratt Kriegspiel crowd.”
Heinlein said that he and his wife had again met Vida out in California, where she “received her discharge from the WAC.” Heinlein said that Hubbard had written her and suggested she become “the bookkeeper and business manager for Madcap Enterprises.” Heinlein wrote that “after a couple of months in a welter of unpaid bills, unanswered letters, and confused finances” in “the four or five companies which Jack, Sarah, and Ron had floated,” Vida was “pretty thoroughly browned off.” Nevertheless, she had been able to put some order in the enterprises and improve her health.
Heinlein said that even if Arwine couldn’t meet Vida at the airport, he still wanted them to get reacquainted, as he thought they’d “get much pleasure and benefit from each other’s company.” Heinlein said that Vida’s “evaluations” matched his and Leslyn’s “in an amazing number of ways,” and that he’d never seen Leslyn “take to another woman” so quickly. He wrote that he and Leslyn had become “pretty jaundiced about many people” since the war, especially women because so few “pulled their own weight in this war.” He implied that Vida was an exception, who knew “why she joined up,” that her reasons were also Arwine’s, and she had “knocked herself out about the way Leslyn did.” Heinlein described Vida as “sympatico” with the Heinleins politically, “a liberal and a hard-headed one, in no way infected with party-line, parlor pink nonsense.”
Heinlein updated this letter after a week, saying that he and Leslyn had brought Vida to stay with them, and that after getting the details of her flight schedule to New York, there was no reason now she had to be met. He said that Vida had “flatly vetoed the idea of being met” and that she was “extremely reluctant to impose on the good nature and gallantry of a comparative stranger.” He urged Arwine to still renew his acquaintence with Vida, which would make him “richer thereby.” Heinlein provided Vida’s address in the Bronx, and said that the he and Leslyn had spoken much to Vida of Arwine.