GOH: Alan Dean Foster
Media Guest: Walter Koenig
Fan GOH: Phil Hawkins
Thomas & Don got talked into going to Rovacon to help John
& Dorsey Flynn do some costume presentations. Don had to work
on Friday, so Thomas went down Friday morning with John &
Dorsey, while Don followed in the Van later that evening. The
drive was hellish -- it took three hours just to clear Washington,
DC, and then another 3-4 hours to get to Salem.
Along the way, the Van needed gas. Eleven o'clock at night,
on the deserted lower stretches of a very cold I-81, no gas stations
were open. Don tried exit after exit, and finally was on the point
of giving up and finding a hotel (or, more likely, sleeping in
the Van and freezing to death). Then he pulled off at Natural
Bridge, and there was an open Shell station. Don pumped my gas,
then went in to pay -- and the owner gave him hot chocolate and
cookies. When Don asked him if he knew that he was the only station
open for twenty miles, he said, "Yup. That's why I have the
warm drinks and goodies ready. Sit down and warm up." During
the ten minutes Don sat, three other motorists stopped by, all
in the same dire straits. The owner gave them coffee, cookies,
and bade them sit down. So this was Southern hospitality.
When Don arrived in Salem, he found that they were staying
in the Bates Motel. Actually, it was a rather nice motel within
(barely) walking distance of the con. But it looked like
the Bates Motel, and that's what we've called it ever since (even
though it was torn down years later to make a K-Mart parking lot.)
Don & Thomas stayed with Amanda Allen and Susan Raleigh.
Rovacon was a most fascinating con, the brainchild of Dr. Fred
Eichelman. Ostensibly a Trek con, Rovacon's raison d'etre was
the Scholarship Fund, which collected money to help various students
with college. Actually, there were a whole complex of Scholarship
Funds: The Edmond Hamilton/Leigh Brackett Scholarship for Writing,
the Frank Kelly Freas Art Scholarship, the Rhonda Flemming (!)
Social Studies Scholarship, the Elizabeth Taylor Drama Scholarship,
the William Shatner Science Scholarship, the Windy Pini Comic
Art Scholarship, etc.
Going to a con in a local high school was strange, although
rather nifty in a bizarre way. The Masquerade
went well, the programming was somewhat interesting, and the con
was a great deal of fun. Amanda, Susan, Thomas, and Don went out
to dinner Saturday night (after the Masquerade)
and wound up in a yuppie bar where a group of brain-damaged football-player
types came in and Our Heroes were actually in fear for their lives.
On Sunday, they had a farewell dinner at Pizza Hut, then Amanda
and Susan headed home. Thomas and Don, with time to kill, went
back and wound up helping to tear down the con. It was great.
Home again, they resolved to return next year.
Oh, yes. The puppy pictured on the con badges above is the con's mascot: Rova, the Sense of Wonder Dog.