Photos provided from the Office of Arthur C. Clarke
Dedicated for: 99th Birthday of Sir Arthur C. Clarke
(16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008)
Written for The Light Millennium by:
Valerie EKANAYAKE, Australia
At a young age of 22 I started living in the same house as Arthur C. Clarke, I was orbiting around him from 1976 until shortly before his death in 2008. I was married to Arthur’s diving business partner so my life was a constant whirlwind. It was either fans to see Arthur and be inspired or TV crews filming a program on space, science or futurist possibilities or tourists begging to learn diving from Arthur’s dive School. Arthur loved receiving all the attention as he had no partner, he was devoted to the future of science, humanitarian projects and inspiring students to think outside the square. Arthur attracted much attention when he wrote the film screen script for Stanley Kubrick’s “2001 a Space Odyssey”. Later it was from his words in his book that the first space explorers would write letters to him saying words like “ Thank you Arthur it was just as you said it would be” written on NASA letterhead and framed on the wall. Arthur knew and met most of the first USA & USSR space explorers personally and some like Yuri and Allan Bean better known as “Buzz” visited him until his death and eventually his funeral. Arthur drew the crowds dead or alive!
I have many memories of Arthur, the quirky, genius, loving doting grandfather to my children, the smiling face that loved to greet the hundreds of Science Fiction fans that flooded our home, the professor, the amateur astronomer showing students the heavens from his balcony telescope, the scuba diver in his eighties etc….. and the devoted animal lover.
One of my favourite memories is when we shared the care of a baby monkey way back in 1978/1981. The baby monkey was a loveable Western Purple Faced leaf eating Langur, and she kept us so busy we never gave her a name only “Monkey Baby”.
Monkey Baby was the epitome of agile with the ability to move over, under, through or around most objects, gardens, houses and any maze with the ability to cause accidental destruction to most things in her path. Our neighbours can confirm her behaviour, I am grateful that she never suffered their rathe. She was a threatening creature when she wanted to steal their avacados, flowers, kitchen fruit and ride on one the back of a neighbours great dane. Our “Monkey Baby” had a reputation for reaching for Ian Pieris’s tobacco pipe stand and remove one or two of his treasured pipes! Never once did he make a fuss by complaining of this invasion.