Thursday, June 09, 2011

Winkie Convention Countdown: 29 Days to Go

My first Winkie Convention was in 1980, back when it was still up at the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite National Park. My parents were planning a family vacation to Disneyland, and one day, out of the blue (or so I recall, but I was probably talking it up for weeks!), Dad asked if I'd like to stop at the convention along the way. I'd been wanting to go ever since I joined the International Wizard of Oz Club three years earlier, and was over the moon. The very first person I met there was Warren Hollister, who introduced me to Paul Bienvenue. During that first opening reception out on the Wawona's veranda, I also remember meeting several other people, and being extrememly smitten with a girl from New Jersey named Judy Bieber who had a whole bunch of Oz books to sell. Yes, my kind of woman! Many of the Oogaboos in attendance that weekend, who I already knew from our Rendezvous events, took me under their wings and made sure I knew where to be and who to meet. Of course I also got to meet Fred Meyer in person for the first time, although we'd already communicated by mail and phone. (Those of you who knew Fred, I'm sure you know what I mean!) But the highlight for me was dinner Saturday night. By then, Peter Hanff had also taken me under his wing, and asked me to join some of the big names there at the large head table. The only other person there I'd known before the convention was Rob MacVeigh, and I was just stunned that I was there with all of these people I'd been reading about for years now. Did I mention that I was the only kid at that table? At one point, I leaned over to Fred Otto, who was on my right, and mentioned, "I feel like I'm dining with royalty!" Fred, bless his hear, knew exactly what I was talking about, and said, "Wait until you get to Castle Park [then the site of the Ozmopolitan Convention], you'll feel like a real nobody."

Then there was my first auction and some of the evening entertainment...but that can all wait for tomorrow's post!

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