Con report by Daria Smith

Amy Hazzard, Rosie Badgett, Daria Smith


I found out about the convention in early May. The only web address I could find belonged to Rosie Badgett so we emailed a few times then I drove to L.A. to meet her and ask a zillion questions. I knew I'd met a kindred spirit! She explained with patient excitement about the past 19 years of conventions. I was blown away! How could they have had conventions and I didn't know about them? I had 19 years of lost time to make up so I was determined not to miss another!

I drove to L.A. early Friday morning and arrived at the hotel and met Rosie. She was busy with every detail so I found myself wandering around the hotel. I wandered into the dealer room... I wandered into the patio... I wandered into Sheila and wandered into more people hugging me than I could count. What a glorious morning! Wah... I missed Kazoo University. It's now become a blur: Opening Ceremonies, Beast Bingo (Thanks Karen and Judy!), helping with registration and talking with so many people. A con-virgin was making the most of every moment.

Rosie introduced me to Amy, our other roommate. What fast friends we've become. We three went to Dinah's for dinner with Philip, David, Brooke, Melissa and Helen (both from Texas.) The Talent Show was wonderful and afterward we had drinks in the pub with Myhr and Jo. Thanks for a wonderful evening. I loved watching the Chesapeake Helpers Society and friends work on Chan's quilt, the games inside the room and the posters chronicling the years I've missed. I think I'm catching up really quickly. Like Elaine, I don't believe the smile ever left my face...

Saturday was wonderful. I really enjoyed talking with Chandler and Sandy Tew about their art and all the other projects they undertake. Thank you both for answering my million questions. The panel was something I missed when I drove Amy to the mall but I was thrilled to meet Lee Holdridge and James Avery. The excitement hung so thickly before the banquet, you could feel everyone buzzing about. My place at the tables had been changed 3 or 4 times but it didn't matter where I would sit - I would meet new friends and that's why I came to L.A. Before the banquet I had a wonderful chat with James Avery, Amy and friends. Roy and Kay Dotrice were so warm and friendly to everyone they met. Kay and Amy had a lovely reunion and they let me hang around to share their joy. When we were at last ushered into the banquet room I was blessed to be seated with the Chesapeake Helpers Society!! Hi Girls! Thank you for making me feel so welcome! I am thrilled to be an honorary member and I know this long-distance relationship will be one that lasts! I didn't have any more pictures on my camera so I don't have any pictures of the fun we had that night. *sad face* But fun it was and I still smile to think about the laughs we had. How blessed I am that your Reflections came today!! What a joy to watch the auction (yes watch...). Our friends are so generous... there was so much love in that room it was ready to spill out into the foyer and then down the stairs!

On Sunday I knew I would have to leave but not before Rosie asked me to help with the auction. I was so happy to help and Helene I'm glad you there! Lisa Michelsen, congratulations on your Vincent coat and drawing! You positively glowed. JoAnn what a generous gift to Lisa... they were all in shock! I was too!! After the auction, as people dispersed I sat for a quiet moment with Beth and Lisa M and we shared some tears and some laughter. What kindred spirits you are!

Karen, thank you for the rubber stamp extravaganza! I made 3 lovely cards and I'm sorry Judy that I took up so much space when the room was bursting with people who wanted to play Beast bingo. Alas the closing ceremonies arrived and I knew it was soon time for me to leave. I was sad to leave but so happy to have met so many wonderful people. I'm glad to have joined the family and I can't wait to see you all in New Jersey next year. Maybe at that time, I'll have a chance to get to know many more of you better and get to know those of you I wasn't able to meet.

Alas, I am a con-virgin no more. Now I have a cell phone and address book bursting with new names, email addresses, addresses and phone numbers of friends. I came home realizing no one else can possibly understand what that weekend gave to me.

For those of you who knew, I had my surgery and have recovered very well. The doctor found a second mass but the pathology has shown them both to be benign. I thank you all for your prayers and good wishes and for your friendship. I knew I would be fine but having you there with me in spirit has made it all the more sweet. The price of admission? It was worth everything!

From the deserts of Indio, California,
Daria Smith

August 2007

Dinner at Dinah's: Helen, Amy, Rosie, Brooke, Philip, David, Daria and Melissa

The Winterfest Ceremony during the Banquet