Saturday, January 12, 2013

Avis M. Brick

Back in the NBI days of the Objectivist world, there was a writer named Avis M. Brick. She wrote for a little magazine called Persuasion, and also wrote a piece or two for The Objectivist. When NBI imploded, in 1968, she, like many others, departed from the scene.

I never met her. I didn't have any active interest in those ideas until 1969. And I was in Chicago, not New York, the then-center of Rand fandom.

Last night I found out that Avis M. Brick was from Chicago originally, and had quite a story before her involvement in Objectivism.

Originally Avis Melander, she had married Phillip Brick, the owner of a Chicago bookstore. But he turned out to be an escaped German POW, whose real name was Reinhold Pabel. He got caught, but his case turned out to be legally complicated.
Pabel was accused of entering the USA illegally, but in fact he had entered it legally as a POW! The law was on Pabel’s side, but the Feds weren’t willing to let an escaped POW get away with it. They settled on a compromise: Pabel went back to Germany for six months to go through the formality of the waiting period, then was permitted to re-enter the USA legally.
In 1958, Avi published a science fiction short story under the name Avis Pabel.

Anyway, as of 7 years ago, one of her children was trying to find her.
My parents split in the United States way back in February 1960. My mother went to New York, we children (one boy and two girls aged 7,6,5) stayed back in the Chicago vicinity with my father and his bookstore. Years later we moved to Germany and as I grew up I took up searching for our mom, who never had left my mind.
The children would be about my age. Avis must be about 80, assuming she's still alive.

I never heard this story before.
Not even as local Chicago lore.

Of course, I was just a baby in 1953 when "Phillip Brick" got exposed by the FBI.

Maybe if I ask my father about it, he'll remember it. It had to be one of those big human interest stories at the time in Chi-town. And it has enough legal twists that he might have paid it some attention.

Now... how did Avis M. Brick
pull off her vanishing trick?

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