Monday, April 03, 2006

The Dynamic Duo

Two of the most impressive and memorable people I have ever known are Steve & Binker Hughes. Steve & Binker divorced many years ago, remaining amiable afterwards; nevertheless, those of us who knew them in the 1970s and the early 1980s will always think of them as a couple because, during that time, they were indeed a couple in the truest sense of the word. Their intellects and personalities were perfectly suited to one another; they were as perfect in their balance as Mr. Steed and Mrs. Peel.

Steve was a genuine self-made man; he was the last of a breed of computer hardware and software pioneers who learned programming on his own, then set out to convince those recalcitrant computers to do things that he wanted them to do. Steve wrote and marketed one of the first successful credit-card-verification software systems, and made a great deal of money from it. But this was one of many, many skills he had; Steve was an expert in mimeography, in silkscreening, in stereopticons, in recording technology... heck, there wasn't much of anything that Steve wasn't an expert in!

Binker was equally adept at many things, but her real expertise was as a writer. She had a gift with words, and she was generous in sharing her talents. She and Steve also had a passion for the antique, the esoteric, and the arcane. And Sunbeam Tigers. I didn't even know that the Sunbeam company made cars until I met Steve & Binker and spent time with them; they were always working to restore one or more Sunbeam Tigers into driveability.

Anyone who ever spent time with Steve & Binker was inevitably impressed with their hospitality, their sincerity, and their friendliness. Whenever I think back to my time in Southern fandom, I'll always think of the two of them. Steve is now retired in North Georgia; not sure what Binker is doing now, but I hope she's having the time of her life!

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