Category Archives: Memories

Passages

It has been a strange few days in several ways.

I had gotten a letter earlier this week from the daughter of a woman I grew up with.  She was a friend of my mother’s, though, over time, she became more a friend of mine.

I had visited her when we were on our honeymoon and went back to my hometown.  She was Portuguese in heritage, and an artist.  She and her husband owned a little junk shop in the town I grew up in, a place that we visited regularly.

She sold comics and books and I remember taking old ones in and trading them for different used books and comics.

It was in her store that I clearly remember seeing a rhinestone brooch and telling my mother how pretty it would be on a black dress.

I was all of nine or ten and I remember my mother saying, “But you don’t HAVE a black dress.”

I remember buying a hand colored photograph there, which still hangs on my wall in the living room, titled “The Great Wayside Oak.”

Wayside Oak

 

 

 

 

 

It was the first thing I ever bought myself that wasn’t something to read, or wear, something relatively practical.  It wasn’t expensive, $1 or less – it was a long time ago, remember.

She was also an accomplished artist, with works in collections all across the west.  The first piece of original art I ever bought was by her, a pastel of a Chinatown street at night, in the rain.

I also have a small sketch she did of me, when we both took an art class.  She sketched me, as I sketched, and gave me the piece afterwards.

I had sent her a Christmas card this year, as I always did, and her daughter responded to let me know that she had passed away this past fall, two days before my birthday.

Her note was lovely, and said, in part, “Yours is a lovely name and fitting, too, when I consider the ways in which you remembered, visited, and wrote to my mom.”

Mrs. Cooper, Audrey, was the first person to encourage me to make art myself.  She mattered to me, and I’m sorry she’s gone, but glad, for her sake, that as her daughter said, “She died in the same way as she lived – on her own terms, in her own way and as nature intended her to go.”

My half brother, Thomas, was born to my father and his first wife, Florence, on February 28, 1934.  My father would have been 32 at the time.

1932 - RJ with Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His parents divorced while he was still young and my father married again.  My brothers were born in 1946 and 1948, and I in 1957.

I never met Thomas, but I corresponded with him over the years.  His mother was always lovely to me, far nicer than my mother ever would have been to her, or to her son.  She died ten or more years back, and he let me know.

He had graduated from Annapolis, and worked in the space program for a number of years.  I was told by one of the other family members that after the Challenger explosion he lost his heart for it and retired soon after.

When we married, I sent him an invitation, really as a notice more than anything else, and a few weeks later, I got a package from him.  He’d sent me some silver that was from my family, an old knife, fork and spoon from the 1880’s or so, engraved with the name of a long dead aunt, Alice.

He also sent me a set of fruit knives with a beautiful brocade pattern on the handles, and a set of fruit spoons with lovely faceted bowls.

It was a completely unexpected gesture of generosity, and I was genuinely touched by it.

Each year I got a card from him detailing what he and his wife, Betsy, had done over the year, you know the kind. I always read it, and always responded with a card, letting him know how my two brothers and I were.  I sent a photo, usually, as well.

On the 24th of December, he called me and left a message, asking for my email because he’d lost it, and inviting me to call him back, or email.

Those of you who know me will know I emailed him, but kept the message and entered his information into my phone.

I got another email this afternoon, telling me Thomas had passed away on Sunday, the day that was so gray here and was such a difficult day.

So, requiescat in pace Mrs. Cooper and Thomas McColloch.  I will miss you both, and I will think of you more often than either of you might expect, often enough, I suspect, to surprise myself.

Father B

I am going to post tonight something I wrote earlier today.

The minister who married us is leaving the church.

Yes, I was married in a church and the ceiling did not fall down on us.

I wore a leather pillbox hat and leather gloves I’d been given as a piece of earned leather.

I’m not really a Christian at all – I don’t honestly know how I’d define myself, it changes nearly daily.  But we both wanted a fairly traditional ceremony, none of the unity candle and vows we wrote ourselves.

slave drew grew up in an Episcopalian church, and that was where we went to be married.

We were very lucky, our minister was a lovely man, and a wonderful speaker, and is now leaving us for the greener pastures I always knew would beckon.

We in the congregation were asked to write something for him to be bound in a book to present him when he left, and this is, with some editing, what I sent.  I thought you all might enjoy my memories of his sermons.

I didn’t refer to him as slave drew in what I sent.

What I sent is this:

When slave drew and I had decided to marry, we were looking for a location, and someone suggested this church.  I made an appointment to talk to Father B.

It was important to both of us to have some traditional aspects to our wedding.  We didn’t want to be married in a place we’d never been before, by a person we’d never seen before, and wouldn’t see again.  We wanted to be married by someone who had history with us, and for us, and we have never been sorry that we made the choice we did.

Father B took some of the things we talked about in the counseling we did with him before the wedding, and his wedding sermon was something that a lot of guests mentioned to us later.

We married later than most – I was 50, slave drew was 48, and we both felt very strongly that we would remain separate people, we were not 20 years old and foreseeing our future as two lives becoming one, but as our lives moving together, but remaining separate, and that was something he talked about, in ways that were both meaningful and accurate.

He had listened to us and understood how we saw the path forward.

Some of Father B’s sermons have stayed with both of us over the years.

He spoke once about grief.  His father-in-law had passed away, and he spoke about how the fall of a giant redwood left a jagged hole in the earth, and a hole in the canopy above, but the hole in the canopy allowed light to reach the ground and new seedlings to flourish.

Over time, the hole remains, but the edges grow less sharp and ragged and as the hole fills with rain it creates a pool that reflects the moon above.  It provides water for the life around it, and the fallen tree gives shelter as well.

I have thought of that often when I have lost people over the years since he spoke about it.

He spoke another time, when the financial crisis was happening around us and it felt as though the world was ending.

He used the example of a day when, in the early years of this country, probably due to a storm and other factors, the sun appeared not to rise.  One of the state senates was in session, and there was a great call to end the session and go home, to be with their families when the world ended.

The speaker’s voice of reason prevailed.

If the world was not ending, he said, then there was no profit in leaving their jobs, and if the world was ending, then he believed that they should meet God doing their work, doing as they ought.

It was a truly comforting parable at a time when it did feel as though the world just might be ending.

The final sermon that I do think of often, and I expect I always will, was a Christmas eve sermon one year.

He spoke about a farmer who had a devoted wife who went off to church, but the husband begged off and stayed home, because he didn’t see the point.

While his wife was gone, a flock of geese landed in his field, sent to ground by a sudden storm.

The farmer realized the birds would freeze in the field if he couldn’t bring them into the warmth and the safety of the barn, where they would be safe from the cold and the wind.

But he had no way to make them understand that he meant them no harm, that his only purpose in approaching them would be to lead them to safety.

If only, he thought, if only he could clothe himself in feathers, if only he could present himself as one of the flock, so they would follow his lead and he could gather them into the safety of his enclosure.

That was why, he concluded, Christ had come to us as a baby, and as a man, so we would follow him as one of our own kind, so he could draw us into the safety of his enclosure.

What I didn’t add was that there were other things that mattered to us, too, the fact that there was a Lesbian couple who attended the church, and that their daughter stood in for the Christ child in one Christmas pageant.

The baby cried during the whole thing, but really, how many people would have picked the child of the dyke couple?

Another time his wife posted a photo on Facebook of him officiating at a wedding that was clearly and without question between two women.

He’s an Episcopal Rector, this was not going to make him friends in every sector.

We had, as you might imagine, a lot of gay people at our wedding.

We had transgendered people.

We had a kinky dwarf.

I swear.

(And he would be the first to use that particular term.  Once at an event he sang the Oompa Loompa song.  I told someone that and they asked, shocked, did you laugh?  Well, of course I did, I’m pretty sure that’s why he SANG it.)

And Father B was perfectly lovely to every one of them.

He was also SO submissive that the times he and I had conversations about the wedding or a project I did for the church once, I would have to not only stop speaking but remain totally silent for several seconds before he would speak at all.

He was a lovely man, and I’m sorry he’s leaving, but that is purely selfish on my part.  I’m sure it’s a better move for him, but I will still miss him.

Quiet Saturday

I’ve not felt very well for a couple of days, a stomach thing that was minor but didn’t feel minor, but I’m feeling closer to myself now, though still not 100%.

I’ve had a quiet couple of days, not doing much, not going anywhere, other than slave drew and I going out today to the mall.  He wanted to look for something  and I went along.  I found a couple of things at good after-Christmas prices, so it was worthwhile.

We made a quick grocery run, too, and now we’re home until we head to see slave drew’s brother, his wife, and their two children tomorrow evening.  Then we have one more gathering

Other than that, I’ve spent the day at home, and I have no complaints about that, either.

It snowed last night, so I got up to a very pretty world, the kind with a couple of inches of very wet snow stuck to every horizontal surface, and some that aren’t so horizontal, either.

The dogs were delighted.  Snow must do something to the scents out there, because the dogs love little as much as fresh snow.  It’s not so cold as to be overly unpleasant, but cold enough that the snow’s not melted, so it’s still pretty.

It was funny to watch people out and about today.  I wore a turtleneck, a long-sleeve t-shirt and a zippered sweater over it, but no coat.

I hate coats.

I hate being cold, too, but I most of the time hate coats more, so I will nearly always just deal with being cold between car and building rather than have to wear a coat.  There’s one in the car if I break down, but I rarely do.

There were people out today in mukluks and parkas, hats and earmuffs.  It was about 34 degrees.

Mukluks.

Earmuffs.

Thirty-four degrees.

I went to college in upstate New York, and lived there for six years all told.

I used to walk regularly to jobs, to classes, from one bus stop to another and back again.

If you breathed through your mouth, your jaw ached because your fillings got so cold.

You didn’t go anywhere without coat and hat and gloves and boots and that includes to take out the garbage.

I remember sitting around in our apartment with friends.  The radiator in the living room worked so little that we kept our television on it.

What we routinely wore, in each other’s houses in winter, was long underwear, tops and bottoms, jeans, socks, shoes or slippers, a flannel shirt, a wool sweater and a down vest.

To see people in 34 degree temperatures dressed us as if they are delivering the serum to Nome always amuses me.

Really, sir, I swear, you don’t need earmuffs in your car.  Honest.

And if someone would like to explain the concept of sequined mukluks to me, I will listen and try and maintain a straight face, but seriously.  Sequined mukluks?  I think not.

We’ve spent our evening watching Project Runway and various British murder mysteries.  Our Christmas gift for us this year was a new television – nothing wild, I think it’s 32″, and it was a very good price – a $500 TV for $200.

The sound, however, was less than stunning, so when I noticed a sound bar that was regularly about $180 for $40, so we added that to the system, and I spent a few minutes last night setting it up, so we’ve been enjoying sound we can hear again.

I started writing a presentation for South Plains on the concept of transparency, specifically in M/s relationships.  It will require a lot more work, but it’s at least started, which makes me feel good.

I got the rest of the dividers I needed for my presentation binder, too, and set them up.  That makes me feel much more organized.

Eventually I’d like to move them all to Power Point presentations, too, but I haven’t gotten that far.  I’ve also spent a bit of time trying to go through my files on my computer and organizing them.  They’re not a terrible mess, but it’s hard to have 15 – really – years worth of files that have been on four or five computers, and have them all as tidy as one might like.

Over the spring, I’d like to get that done, get my files sorted, get the programs migrated to Power Point as well as the notes I already have.

I suppose that while I rarely make resolutions, I do like to have plans, and those are probably the same thing.  I’ll set up some other goals for myself over the next few weeks.

For the moment, my goal is an early bedtime.

If some of your goals are less than lofty, you have a better chance of meeting them.

Winding Down

The year 2012 is winding down.

There are three days left and then this year will be over.  I can’t say I will be unhappy to see it in the rear-view mirror.

It hasn’t been a bad year, in many ways.

In February, my own Bluegrass Leather Pride contest went well, despite having lost two venues in the last month or so before.  We ended up doing it in a private home and the upstairs of a local restaurant, and while it wasn’t ideal, it worked.  My contestants didn’t end up competing at GLLA, but that happens sometimes.

I was also in Indianapolis in February for Beat My Valentine, an event sponsored by IMAS, Indiana Masters and Slaves.

In March I drove out to Dallas, to South Plains Leatherfest, to watch Charles and jacki compete for International Master and slave.

In April, we went to Fort Lauderdale for Beyond Leather, for the International Power Exchange contest.  I presented there, including a brand new presentation on crops and canes.  slave thomas also came and met us there, which was particularly nice.  We spent a bit of time in Sarasota, and in Sanibel Island, one of my favorite places on the planet.

In August, we had another very successful Great Lakes Leather Alliance, despite some curves thrown at the last minute.  One of my scheduled cocktail parties didn’t work out, but I had anticipated the possibility and made arrangements for an alternate plan.

I also presented there, one class that I always do, a class for newcomers to the event, and events in general, and another new class, So You Want to Be a Titleholder.  I also played more at that event – three times – than I ever have before all put together.

In September, I was in Atlanta to present at the International Transgender Leather contest.  I did a humor class there with Ms Tammy.

In October, slave drew and I went to Chicago for Kinky Kollege, and had a very good time there.  Chicago has never been my favorite city, but we had a better time there than I had before.  We really enjoyed it.

I worked to found the first Masters And slaves Together chapter in Kentucky, MAsT: Derby City.  It is running successfully now and I’m proud of that.

We started creating Fringe Elements, a 501C3 Queer Community Center.  We’re close to finding a physical venue, which has always been our goal.  I took the Executive Director position, and I’m comfortable there.  I’m good at running things, I like all sides of it.

I started this blog.  I wasn’t sure I’d keep up with it, but I have. I posted for the first time on May 26, which was 216 days ago.  This post is the 210th, meaning I’ve missed a total of six.

I’ve only really forgotten to post once, I know once was a power outtage issue, and I didn’t post for several days while I was at GLLA, but I think missing  less than 3% is a pretty good percentage.  I’ve seen the number of people who read, and comment, rise, too, and that’s been really gratifying.

It was the 15th anniversary this year of the Louisville Munch, an impressive run for any group.  I added three new people to my formal Leather family by presenting Earned Leather to Gabriel, to Cerrin, and to Shane.

We all lived through an apocalypse, or should I say, another apocalypse.  It reminds me of a line from my favorite episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a musical episode called, “Once More with Feeling.”

“What can’t we do if we get in it?
We’ll work it through if there’s a minute.
We have to try. We’ll pay the price.
It’s do or die. Hey, I’ve died twice!”

How many apocalypses have there been and, so far, we’ve lived through them all.

There have been the usual problems and challenges.  Issues with people, the usual things one encounters when one is involved in groups, the usual struggles there.

I’ve been profoundly disappointed in a few people this year, which is also part of living, I think.  People disappoint us.  Other people have stepped up, risen to challenges.

I’ve gotten closer to a few people, and that’s been nice.  I’ve met other bloggers, both face to face and virtually, and that’s been an experience as well.

I lost at least two awards this year, and was “presented” one on a stage in front of a couple hundred people that turned out to be for someone else, though I wasn’t made aware of it until the award handed to me had another person’s name on it.

I know, I know, you should be flattered to be nominated, and I was – one was a Pantheon Lifetime Achievement award, which is a very significant award in the Leather community.  The final result, however, was that I lost.

I turned 55 this year, and I have not liked that at all.  I know, I know, I’m aware of all the things that are good – experience, wisdom, a level of acceptance, my health is good, and it’s far better than any alternative, but I don’t like it.  I doubt I ever will.  It is, however, what it is.

So, three more days and it’s all just one more memory.  I suspect that our New Year’s Eve celebration will end up being a quiet one at home, us and the pups, probably one of those years in which we don’t even stay up late enough to greet 2013 officially until the morning.

And I’m ok with that.

Never a Christmas Morning

“Never a Christmas morning,
never an old year ends,
but someone thinks of someone;
old days, old times, old friends.”

That is one of my favorite passages for Christmas because isn’t it true?

I have thought today of old days, old times, old friends.

My youth, when Christmas wasn’t what it was ever supposed to be and was mostly about disappointment and being reminded of what wasn’t there.

My dyke days, from which I have many happy memories, Christmases with Marie and Lynnie and Beth, when we would spend the day cooking and playing cards and drinking and smoking dope.

The Christmases with my kinky friends, with the family I’ve chosen.

I’m going to repeat it to myself, again, slowly, and savor the words and the images.  I hope you all have had as pleasant a day as I have, and that you’re thought of those days, times and friends.

“Never a Christmas morning,
never an old year ends,
but someone thinks of someone;
old days, old times, old friends.”

I Heard a Bird Sing

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

“We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

So said Oliver Herford,

I memorized that poem as a kid, and I have thought of it every single December since, as well as other times, too.  Today was the first cold day we’ve had, the first day I actually wore a coat out during the day to run errands.

Actually, yesterday was a bit more of a dark of December kind of day, today was brighter.

I made no cookies today.  I did look at cookie recipes and got some cookie ingredients.

One of the places I looked was an old cookbook I had picked up at a yard sale somewhere, the kind that was some mother or grandmother’s COOKBOOK, the one where she stuck the recipes she really wanted to keep, the ones written in various hands, or with the notation of who had given the recipe.

There were some very early Weight Watchers menus which seem to have adopted the policy of making food so unappealing that no one would want to eat it and you would thus lose weight.

While this may seem like an unlikely theory, it’s the only one I can come up with to explain recipes such as Liver Royale (boiled chicken livers with garlic, onion and a dill pickle made into a sort of pate), Sweet and Sour Liver (liver with a sauce made of pineapple, vinegar, tomato juice and artificial sweetener), and Liver Chop Suey (cooked with celery and cabbage, on a bed of bean sprouts.)

And I like liver.

Not THAT liver, but I like liver.

And then there are the recipes where they are trying to make you think it’s going to be something good.  Cheese Danish is actually cottage cheese with cinnamon and artificial sweetener broiled on toast.  The Popcorn Bowl is actually sliced green peppers, cucumbers, celery and chunks of cabbage, which you can “nibble to your delight.”

Then there are just the dated recipes, like Barbecue Tuna, Chess Pie – Oh My!, or Six Cans Casserole, made of cans of cream of celery, mushroom and shrimp soup, with a can of crab meat, shrimp and mushrooms, served over rice.

One thing I found that I enjoyed was three menus from Christmas Coffees, some kind of ladies luncheon that had a typed menu with recipes and the name of the people making it.

There was a tea or coffee punch, or a rosé wine punch, always a country ham with biscuits or rolls and then very civilized luncheon foods like crab meat dip and melon balls soaked in wine.  They are dated 1966, 1968 and 1973.

There are recipes pulled out of magazines and newspapers, including one from 1974 which advertises a two-carat solitaire ring for $6,000

It amazes me that someone would put this in a yard sale, because surely those recipes meant something to the family, but obviously not.

My favorite thing, though, was this poem, written in painfully neat script on a large index card.  I began with a poem, I’ll end with one, too, though “poem” is a bit of a stretch.

“A favorite recipe for a starry-eyed bride,
Who has, it is told, captured Somerset’s pride.
I wish them the blessings which life can bestow
And hope they’ll return to ‘ole Louisville’s depot.

We’ll miss ’em while living in yonder peach state,
And an unexpected visit might be this couple’s fate.
If chance we don’t see them in many a day,
We’ll listen for news of triplets in May.”

More Cookies

So, today was the day to bake my peanut butter cookies.

I have been baking these cookies all my adult life.  I’ve no idea where my mother got the recipe, I’ve never thought about asking her that until this moment, and it’s way too late for that.

My mother had good qualities and bad, though I tend to remember the bad ones.  She was smart and educated, which was good.  She was not pleasant, which was bad.

When she liked something I did, I got that from her.  When she didn’t, I was just like my father.

She never told me I was stupid.  She frequently told me I was lazy, and often told me I was fat and not pretty, though she rarely used those words.  The message was there, however.

She loved poetry and passed on a love of it to me.  She hated cleaning and was perfectly fine living in clutter of unimaginable proportions.

I use some of her recipes and have since I learned to cook, but she never taught me to cook.  I taught myself.

On that note, however, here are her peanut butter cookies.  They are the best ones I’ve ever had, crunchy and crumbly around the edges, soft and a bit chewy in the center.

IMG_3603ed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucye’s Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
5 cups flour
1 cup oil
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 cup peanut butter
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder

Mix peanut butter, shortening, sugar and eggs thoroughly.  Blend in flour, soda and baking powder.  Cover and chill.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Shape dough into 1″ balls.  Place 3″ apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Flatten with a fork dipped in flour.  Bake 10-12 minutes, or until set, but not hard.  Makes about 6 dozen.

In a maternal sort of vein, I looked through slave drew’s grandmother’s recipe box tonight.  Lots of old recipes, written by hand, recipes that call for a small cream or a pound of confectioner’s sugar.  What it had, though, that I especially liked, was this little thing tucked in the front.

 

IMG_3613ed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I agree.

 

There were also some dividers I particularly liked, and since I am still fighting a cold and still feel under the weather, I’m going to dazzle you with photos rather than my usual bullshit.

IMG_3607

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3611ed

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3610ed

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3609ed

Kink First – My First Munch

I bet you thought I’d forgotten this thread, huh?

Nah, I just got caught up with the holiday and the dining room renovation, and all that kind of distractions.

So, anyway, the first munch I ever went to was in Lexington, Kentucky.  It would have been the summer, probably June or July, of 1997.

I don’t know that it was called a munch, I honestly don’t remember.

I had ended my previous relationship and now had the ability to do what I wanted and I wanted to find a community of some kind.

The munch was held at a horrible Ryan’s Steak House, and a couple named Denise and Jeff were running it at the time.

There weren’t a lot of people there, maybe 20 or so.  I guess I knew a couple of people already from online.  I don’t remember being nervous about going in, but surely I was, at least a little.

I actually went to Lexington munches regularly for a number of years, probably for six or eight years I hardly missed any munches there.

I saw the munch there through multiple hosts, some good, some not so bad, one downright damaging.

I moved to Indianapolis in January of 1998 for a job.  I’d started the munches in Louisville just a few months before, but Indy wasn’t that far, two hours away, I came down for every munch for the year I lived out of town.

I also took over the Indianapolis munch for the year I was there.  The people who’d run it before were about to shut it down, and I wrote and asked them to give it to me instead, which they did.

I went back to the Indy munch periodically over the years, though it finally ceased to operate about two years ago.

I’ve been to munches in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Bloomington, Indiana.

I may well have been to other munches that I have forgotten over the years.

So maybe this should really be called Munches I Have Known.

I’ve known a lot of munches.  Some were more welcoming, some were less.  Some lasted, some disappeared after a few months.

And in the end, they all had value because they all gave the community a place to gather, and a group of like-minded people to gather with.

And wherever they were, that’s the important thing.

Kink First – My First Play Party

The first play party I remember going to was in Lexington, Kentucky, probably in the early summer of 1997.

I had found people in the area through a channel on the internet, which was still a fairly novel way to meet people way back then.

It was a small group of people, A and R, D and J, BJ and some other stray folks whom I don’t remember as well.

I remember going to an apartment in Lexington for a party.  We were all, I think, relatively new to at least playing in front of other people, and there wasn’t any real equipment.  We used what was there, footstools and chairs, etc.

I remember giving one person, BJ, his first spanking, but it wasn’t anything really special or intense, at least for me.  Maybe it was for him.

It’s funny, it all seems so long ago, and so much, I don’t know, more innocent or amateur, in the nicest sense of the word.

We were all so much younger and the kink community was so much younger.

Not the Leather community, that had been around a long time, but the sort of straight kink community was much younger.

There were groups, certainly.  The Eulenspiegel Society (TES) was founded back in 1971.  The Society of Janus was founded in 1974.  There are others, I know, but I’m not trying to create a history, either, so forgive me not citing more.

But there were not groups everywhere, like there are today.  They were just beginning, a lot of them, but they often stuttered in their beginnings, a few meetings here, then a long break and a new group with a new name coming along.

There were events, but they were not as common as they are, nor did they have as much experience.  I don’t think as many people went to them, either.  It seems like in the “old days,” I’d see a lot of the same people at every event.

One of my old friends, a guy who used to run the Leather Harvest business, said to me once at an event, “I remember when there were like 100 of us in the country who were into this and we all knew each other.”

That’s an exaggeration, obviously, but the point of it is kind of true.

It’s always been interesting to me how few people have been to events, or have been to events regularly.  Clearly, it’s been a priority for me, and that’s why I went to so many, too.

I’m glad I started going to events.  I’ve made lots of friends, hundreds of them.

I’ve seen great classes by presenters who were wonderful.  I’ve seen crappy classes by presenters who were badly prepared.

I’ve stood on stages and at my seat when the asked presenters or volunteers to stand.

I’ve seen some amazing scenes, some incredibly creative scenes, some brutal scenes and some tender scenes.

I’ve done a lot of traveling because of events, and I am really grateful for that opportunity.

It seems like that last part maybe belonged more in the event one, but here it is anyway, and here it will stay.

I do appreciate the comments on other people’s “firsts,” and thank you all for those.

Kink First – My First Event

I’ve talked before about my first event, which was Black Rose 10, in November of 1997.

It was called Black Rose 10 because it was a party to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Black Rose organization, out of Washington, D.C.

My submissive at the time was Bill, who lived outside Chicago and was some minor Republican elected official, one that sent him to Washington on a fairly regular basis.

Who knows, maybe he wasn’t so minor of an official.  If I could only remember anything other than Bill, I might be able to find out, but then, I’d have to be particularly interested, too, and I’m not, so there’s that.

Anyway, Bill spent enough time in D.C. that he knew about BR and knew about the party, and wanted to go and wanted me to go with him.

I don’t know what I expected, or what I knew about events.  I’d been to some local play parties, which I should talk about next, maybe, but anyway, I had some idea, I imagine, what was going to happen, what to expect, but only a vague idea.

So, we drove to D.C.  Bill took me to some expensive and lovely seafood restaurant on the bay.  I remember having some lovely lobster bisque, and craw fish, which Bill peeled for me.

It was the first time I’d been to D.C., so we did some of the things one does in D.C.  I remember going to the Lincoln Memorial and being really awed by the size of it and the grandeur.

We went to the FDR memorial, of course, because there’s a statue of Fala there.  It’s the only Presidential pet so honored.  Fala, of course, was a Scottish Terrier, and we know that I think it’s appropriate that a Scottish Terrier should have that distinction.

What I remember most, though, was going to the Vietnam Memorial and walking down along the wall, seeing the names, the trinkets and tokens tucked into the wall or left on the path beside it, people taking pencil etchings of names.

Bill was about 15 years older than I, I think, meaning he both remembered Vietnam well and had lost friends in it.  I remember he walked along the wall with me but didn’t really look at it, and he had tears on his face by the time we reached the end.

It was a gray, rainy day, and we walked over to the Vietnam Nurses Memorial, too, which was still fairly newly installed.  The picture I took there is one of my favorites that I’ve taken.

So, anyway, that was the D.C. portion of our tour.

Then we went to Black Rose.

It was, I think, in a Ramada, though over the years the hotels blur.

I remember I went to all the classes I could, and they were, almost without exception, really good classes.

I went to Sarah Lash’s Flogging Class.

I went to a panel on Edge/Fear play, that had sitting on it Joseph Bean, a lawyer named, I think, Rose, and a couple other people.

I went to a class by a guy who went by Big Mark on online presence that I found so unpleasant I walked out, but I took a class of his later, I think at a later Black Rose, on caning that was very very good.

I remember watching the S&M Olympics, and a Pet Tricks contest.

In the Pet Contest, what I remember was seeing some very cute girl who was a puppy.  She had her hair in what Beth always called “puppy ear” pigtails, and had a nose and some whiskers painted on her face.

I remember riding with her and her Owner on the elevator and she was totally in character, sniffing my feet and wagging her “tail” at me quite fetchingly.

There was, I think, some kind of agility contest and some obedience exercises, but then each pet – I think there were two or three – showed off their “special skill.”

Her skill was painting a self portrait, and it was so entertainingly done.

Her master gave her a paint brush, which she held in her mouth, and there was a palette on the ground.  He had put a little beret on her, as well, and she had a mirror into which she could look.

She “painted” with the brush in her mouth, dipping it into the palette, cocking her head, really hamming it up in the most charming way possible.  Finally, she was done and her master held up the finished work, an eight by ten photograph of the girl in her puppy persona, wearing a beret.

It was really adorable.

I saw the same girl later that night being suspended by Midori, in a sort of arabesque position, laughing and having a wonderful time.

There was a Bondage in a Bag contest, wherein each couple got a bag with the same random items, like 50 feet or rope, a 3″ wooden dowel, a set of chopsticks, a pair of shoelaces and a leather belt, all of which had to be used in a bondage rigging that the riggee could stand to remain in for a half hour or so.

There was a nipple clamp contest for who could take the most weight on, I assume, alligator clamps, the kind that tighten as you pull on them, and one for weight on balls.  There was a clothespin contest for who could stand the most on their body.

I met some people there, or at the next three Black Roses that are still around.  I met Joansie, I think, at one of the Black Roses, and just saw her in Chicago last month.

I met Mark, who wrote something I worked on editing, a piece I heard him read called, “Biker Nick.”

I met Greg, whom I have met perhaps a dozen times since, though each time he looks at me blankly and if there’s a reason to speak, he says it’s nice to meet me.

I met Frazier, who runs The Crucible public dungeon in D.C., and is an expert with a single tail.  He at least took part in the S&M Olympics, maybe won.

I met Midori there, or at least saw her the first time, though I likely didn’t meet her, really, until a few years later.  I certainly remember her, and I’ve had dinner with her in a group of people a few times, but we’re certainly no more than acquaintances.

I think I met Lolita Wolf there, too, or at least first ran into her there, another person with whom I have an acquaintance.

I met Goddess Lakshimi, and her slave, limey.  limey was drew’s best man at our wedding, and Goddess did a reading there, too.  Goddess dresses gorgeously always, and always wears jewelry.

I remember on our wedding day, she was wearing some dangling crystal earrings, which she took off and handed to me, saying, “You should be the only Goddess in the house today.”

I do remember walking into the dungeon the first time.

It was ENORMOUS.

They had taken over a parking garage, and my memory recalls that there were 113 pieces of equipment.

In retrospect, having arranged events myself now, that seems nearly impossible, but then, it was D.C., and it was a BIG event, something like a couple thousand people, I think.

I do have the program somewhere, I imagine, in a file cabinet in the basement, I should really look for it one of these days.

Anyway, I remember the first thing I saw was a person suspended via a LOT of fishhooks.

It’s one of the few times I have ever been shocked, honestly, at an event.

I have been surprised, been impressed, been sure something wasn’t for me, but I have rarely been shocked.  I don’t think I can honestly remember another time, in fact.

But part of it is, I don’t like needles, they are something that squicks me and always has, though I am less squicked now than I used to be, but still.

And this was 15 years ago.

But I remember looking up and seeing this and thinking, “Oh.  My.  God.  These people are *crazy!*

I am sure we played, because I like public play, and so did Bill, but I don’t remember that.  I do know it was certainly the biggest space in which I had ever played and the most people, too.

I do remember hearing all the people around me and the music, I remember that being a very intoxicating kind of environment, and it was still very new to me.  Events in general were still pretty new, though Black Rose 10 was not the first event ever, certainly.

I went to three more Black Rose events, 1998, 1999 and 2000, but none sense.  I had an opportunity to present there six or seven years ago, and that’s one place that I would have liked to present at, particularly at that time, but we couldn’t work out the various details, and then Black Rose had some issues mostly with locations, and they took a hiatus and their weekends kind of swapped around and I lost track, really, of which years it was held and when, October or November?

Since then, I’ve been to close to 100 events, large and small, and organized some all on my own, but that was the first event, and it was, as my mother would have said, a doozy.

(Sorry for the weird photo spacing, one of these days I’ll actually bother to learn the software here…)