A Station Eight Fan Web Site
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Some comments about the 2001 Gathering
I am a communications director at a university and can truly appreciate the vast amount of work that goes into event planning, so thanks to all the people who worked so hard on the Gathering 2001. I had posted a note in the Station Eight Comment Room a few weeks before the convention, expressing some slight trepidation about my two daughters and myself attending the event because I felt like a bit of an outsider, but we wanted to show our support for the series and encourage its revival. Several people, including you, Greg, responded in the Comment Room and were very welcoming and put my concerns to rest.
Or so it seemed.
Imagine my thoughts when, shortly after the Opening Ceremonies got underway, my now-infamous daughter says, quite out loud for just about everybody to hear: "Mommy, what's a con virgin?!" Yes, that was my 4-year-old, Caitlin. So after blushing a bit and trying to quietly explain the term to her, all I could think of was that maybe I'd have to carefully scout out any future sessions and try to pre-determine their age-appropriate level.
But I didn't have to worry. The weekend was really very nice. I'm not very good at remembering names, so unfortunately I don't know the names of the kind people we encountered. The women in the Art Room, for example, were so accommodating and welcoming when both of my daughters became inspired to draw Elisa (as a human and as a gargoyle) and Goliath pictures and submitted them to be displayed. The girls were so excited that we had to drop in and see them ... often.
The purchase of some Gargoyles coloring books and stamps and a Goliath mug, the art table that totally occupied my daughters' time while I sat in on your Mug-A-Guest session, hearing the writers discuss their work on the show, the voice actor panel, the Radio Play (thanks for the great choice of material), the Video Room - all were very interesting and fun for this con ... uh ... first-timer.
It has been interesting to read other people's diaries of the Gathering since, including one from Aaron. I didn't know it until I read his summary, but he mentioned watching my other daughter, 6-year-old Jessica, who, during the Radio Play, spent more time turned around watching Aaron's friend, Mara, while she sketched. Mara (whose name I didn't know at the time) was kind enough not to mind Jessica staring mesmerized at her work. Jessica really has an affinity for art, and Mara was very encouraging and gave Jessica one of the sketches she had done. It was beautiful.
I also had the pleasure of meeting your wife, briefly. We compared notes a bit, this being her second - I believe she said - Gathering that she had attended. She, too, assured me that although newcomers may feel awkward at first, her estimation is that it's a pretty nice group of people who make up the fandom. I concur.
While my girls and I had perhaps only modestly participated in the Gathering, it was fun and I hope it will do some good to perpetuate what I think is a really great program that deserves to be revived. So thanks for all your work and that of the con staff and the guests for all the time and energy invested. My daughters and I certainly appreciated it.
VF - Thanks for coming AND for bringing the girls.
Obviously, your daughter Caitlin provided one of the comic high-lights of the first night. I hope that didn't scare you too much.
But I wouldn't have encouraged you to come if I didn't think the con was 99% kid friendly. I think I'm a pretty good dad, and I know my wife is a great mom. And we wouldn't bring our kids (then ages 6 and 4 -- though Erin would be quick to point out that she is 7 now) if we didn't now KNOW that the con staff and fans treat them with respect and understanding.
I'm glad you all had a good time. And I'm VERY glad you took the time to post here and let me know.