A Mirror into Ken's Past -- 1985

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Before Christmas I had saved up some money and had made arrangements to go to California for the SCA Twelfth Night event in January. I was really looking forward to this -- so much so that working in a local artisan's workshop (Hans the Horrible -- I didn't have one), I made a new Laurel medallion for myself. (This medallion is now in the hands of a former apprentice [Juan Santiago, mundanely Tim Converse] who has become a Laurel.) Up until that point I had made tokens for other people, but not me. I was still wearing a commercial token I had purchased a couple of years earlier. You can see a photo of the token I made for myself at: Hirsch's Laurel Medallion

Twelfth Night is early in January. I went a bit early - a few days before the event. The main reason I was going was that I honestly hoped I'd get a chance to spend some time with Sherry. Dopey me (she had a new boyfriend, she and Dave had split sometime earlier). I stayed at the apartment she and a roommate had, but Sherry was on the Court and was really busy when she wasn't at work. (She was making costumes and keeping very busy.) I met some interesting people though -- her place was as busy as Sleeping Dog Manor tended to be. One guy who called himself "Wombat" in the SCA hung out there a lot. He was really good with the guitar -- self taught (from listening to the radio and figuring out how to do it that way). He made me feel a tad inadequate as a guitar player. On the other hand, Wombat was a really nice guy, and I saw him a few times after I moved to the Bay Area.

The event was a big blur for the most part. Most of the people I knew at the event were busy (on court or hanging with people that they knew but I didn't), so I didn't get to really spend time with them. One fun bit happened -- the dance contest was for a dance I didn't know, so I didn't even try to enter it. However, someone who had visited Alaska at one point came up (Andrea of Clear Mount is her SCA name) and asked me if I needed a partner for the contest. I told her I didn't know the dance. She said she didn't either, and she thought it would be fun to just enter anyway. We had a great time -- we "attacked" other couples, dancing through them. We got called back for the second round (after some couples had been eliminated) because we were having fun dancing, which is the point. We were rather surprised by that, since we weren't doing anything close to the original dance. We didn't win, but what the heck?

I was a bit exhausted from the event. Not knowing most of the folk there was hard. (I don't recommend 12th Night as a first event for anyone ...)

A couple of weeks later Alaska (SCA branch name is Oertha) became a full Principality, the King and Queen came up, and a grand ol'time was had by all. Kylson won the tournament and on Sunday was to name Anne the first Princess of Oertha. Tammy came along and tried to ruin some of it (she didn't, but she tried) -- she was upset that I was "seeing" Jenny, and that Kylson had invited Jenny to join the household. She threw her tshirt at Kylson and left the household. That was actually a bit of a relief for all of us ...

That night the King (Radnor) had some panicked phone calls (messages left on Kylson's answering machine) from his girlfriend (who is now his wife), and he decided to leave. She'd had a car accident and was in the hospital. He didn't really listen to the calmer messages after the panicked ones that said everything was ok. He left in the morning. The King and Queen were supposed to place the coronets on the new Prince and Princess! Another herald who came up from the states (Lee Forgue -- SCA: Eilis O'Boirne) and I stayed up late into the night rewriting the ceremonies on Rich's Kaypro computer so that the Queen got to do the ceremony herself. (To be fair, when Radnor got home, he proposed marriage to the lady in question, and they're married and still together. I have met her and think the world of her, as well as him.)

The Queen was Grün (Donna Green, now Juana Isabella long and spanish in the SCA). She and I made eye contact a few times, and flirted some Saturday evening. We flirted even more the next day.

This was a big event for me, awards-wise. On Saturday I got an award scroll for my Laurel -- Wolf had done a lot of work, and it was one of the first award scrolls in Alaska. I also was given the Order of the Leaf of Merit, which is the Kingdom's mid-level Service award. Rich and I were called forward later and given the Queen's Order of Grace (courteous and gracious behavior).

On Sunday I was the herald for the court where the Prince and Princess were named, and the Coronets placed on their heads. A bit nerve-wracking, doing something like that for the first time, and the fact that it was Kylson and Anne who were (and are) special people to me made it that much harder.

Awhile later I bought a car -- my first -- it was brand spanking new. I had some help from Reia (Jeff's girlfriend at the time) on the downpayment (I paid her back in installments as I didn't have the cash ...). It was a Renault, not a great car, but it was in my budget.

In the apartment personnel changed a bit -- Ed moved out (I can't recall why now), and Anne Clarke (Alicianne -- person who I had made my apprentice in Fairbanks as I had taught her some jewelry techniques) moved into Ed's room.

Donna Green
Donna, who was Queen (in the SCA, Kingdom of the West) at the time, and I started a thing going. We sent letters. We called each other (that got expensive, so we tried to keep it to a minimum). We sent audio tapes of songs. It was silly. That's a good thing, mind you ...

We thought we were in love. We may have been, sometimes it's really hard to say for sure. I had enough money and went back down to visit her again at the event in May (Beltane) where she stepped down as Queen. She told me that weekend that she was moving to Alaska, was quitting her job, had made arrangements to sell her car ... she was going to live with me. Really? Um, ok.

I was surprised to put it mildly. But, I decided to go along with it. I really did like her, but I was a bit taken aback.

Donna moved up to Alaska sometime in the month or so after Beltane. She had a job lined up, and that was fine. The summer was interesting. Kylson and Robin took Donna and I on a trip to Valdez to go fishing and generally just see the sites. I don't think Donna was really impressed (the San Francisco Bay Area will always be her home, and that came through pretty loudly at times ...).

Late that summer Donna decided that since she was the senior Laurel in the SCA group (having her Laurel for a few years longer than the rest of us) called a meeting of the Laurels. She decided to tell the laurels that they should be examples of the way to act, the way to dress, etc. Unfortunately her tact was not very good, and she ended up insulting everyone. It was a shame, as some of them still after all these years remember that, and carry a bit of a grudge. I think she had some good ideas, but the execution left a lot to be desired. (To be fair, she's gotten better about tact since then ...)

Other than that things trundled along ... I cannot remember much that stands out in my fuzzy brain here.

In the fall Alaska Computer Institute moved from Mountain View to a place about half a mile (maybe less) from where I lived. That was just fortuitous. It was a nice business complex. The last time I was in Anchorage they were still there. The reason I bring this up is that during the winter this actually caused some conflict with Donna and I. She was taking public transit to work and I was driving (I should probably have made arrangements to drive her to work). She was discovering more and more that she was not happy in Alaska anyway. The cold and the distance from the San Francisco Bay Area (which for her will always be home) and her friends there. She generally wasn't all that happy, and the only reason she was in Alaska was me.

During this time dBASE III had come out. This software package for the IBM PC was a database program. It was the only thing of its kind, and was state-of-the-art. During the break between classes (we always had a couple of weeks) I was handed the disk and manual, and asked to learn the software so I could create a student tracking system.

Thinking back it probably wasn't a GREAT tracking system, but it was my start into the world of dBASE (which continues to this day ...). This also forced me to learn more and more about IBM PCs, which is also where I am working today. Who knew? ACI ended up purchasing several PCs for the classroom. We added PC software to part of the curriculum, figuring it would be good for the students to know the main types of software out there, at the time: WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and dBASE III.

Christmas at Sleeping Dog Manor was fun. I had enough money and was feeling generous, so I bought lots of finger-food, and people were invited to pop in. I seem to recall we had cable ... it was the early days of some of the cable networks, and MTV was still pretty new. I got a scroll that Donna had framed as a Christmas present to her (her Countess scroll). She had a jeweler in the states make me a signet ring (which I still wear).

Not a lot to add here. Donna came into my life, but other than that things were pretty much the same as far as friends go. My whole social life revolved around the SCA and/or people in the SCA. Luckily a lot of us have similar tastes outside of the SCA. We partied, did movies, all of that ... from this point on, I have had very few friends that were not involved in the SCA.

A Few Photos
(These are thumbnails, click on them to see larger versions with text explaining them)

Ken at Work

Ken at Work

Ken at Work

Ken and Donna

Veil Falls

Veil Falls

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