412 Esperanto in my life (5)

Turning professional

The dates of events in the next few years are a bit hazy; I’ve tried to work out what happened when, but I’m still not sure of everything.
I can say for certain that in 1971 I was working in Westminster City Libraries and had moved from being No. 2 in the music department at Porchester Road (Paddington) Library to become no. 2 in the music department at Charing Cross Library. This was a kind of promotion as I now had two subordinates rather than one.

By the time of the London World Congress in 1971 it was already known that the next would be in Portland, Oregon; and as I was having a cheap year in 1971 it seemed perfectly possible to get some money saved up for a really big one in 1972. So I went to the Post Office and opened a Savings Account into which I put a surprisingly large amount of money each month (I had no expensive habits in those days). When time rolled on to the end of 1971 I could see that I would probably have enough for the complete package that was on offer, including a follow-up week in San Francisco. The usual way of these things is that the sooner you sign up the less you pay, so I signed up.

It was more than a little of surprise when I came to book the necessary time off work and was told that the weeks in question were already fully booked (it was, and apparently still is, standard practice in public libraries that only a given number of people can be on leave at any one time). All I could do at the time was say fairly angry things to anyone who would listen; but I was determined that, come what might, I would be taking the flight to Vancouver that August.

Quite by chance, reading the monthly magazine Esperanto, I noticed that there was a vacancy advertised in the international Esperanto headquarters in Rotterdam. The vacancy was in their book sales department, which, of all the jobs done there, seemed the most suitable for a librarian. I immediately sent off an application – there probably weren’t many others – they interviewed me and gave me the job, and I handed in my notice to Westminster City Libraries.

I felt quite good about giving them no more than the absolute minimum one months’ notice. When the boss said this was a bit too sudden I was able to say, quite truthfully, that they needed me in Rotterdam urgently as work was already very behindhand.

I was there about three years; looking back at that time it seems a great deal longer. They were eventful years; they may only have been 5% of my life (so far) but they changed absolutely everything. As and when the pages exist, you’ll find the Rotterdam years in Places in my life (910), Home Sweet Home (643), Work in my life (331) and People in my life (920). The trip to America was a major event and will doubtless appear in Traveller’s Tales (910.4).

Work can be interesting, especially if someone else is doing it, so a visit to p. 331 may be worthwhile. And to find out how  I came to return to England engaged to be married, look for Maria Frus in p. 920.  The rest of my Esperanto activity, although it spans 30 years, can probably fit in one page, for which I can think of no better title than “Part 6”


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