Linda Stork’s memories of an ex con-virgin - B&B con, San Diego CA 2010

The con experience actually started when I was at the Phoenix airport, waiting for my flight. As I was sitting in the waiting area, wearing my Vincent t-shirt, I kept looking at all the waiting passengers to see if anyone else was wearing any type of BATB shirt – none were (darn!).

When I got to the airport in SD, waiting for my luggage at baggage claim, I heard stranger’s voices calling, “Linda!” I turned around and there were two not so strange strangers, two of my roomies, Michelle and Suzi, waving at me! I was ecstatic! We hugged, and I was smiling so big I thought my face would crack! We had about an hour to wait for our last roomie, so we went to Chili’s for lunch, talking a mile-a-minute. When Laura called to let us know she had landed, we went back to baggage claim to meet her, and it was hugs all around, again.

When our shuttle pulled into the hotel, we saw a bunch (about 15 to 20) BATB people walking down the sidewalk and we were all yelling and waving, like a bunch of crazed star struck fans! As I got off the shuttle, I was immediately engulfed in a flurry of hugs, “My name is (fill in the blank), who are you? I’m so GLAD to finally meet you!” It was absolutely unreal, the instant feeling of coming home!

After checking into our room, we quickly put our luggage in the room and went back downstairs for the wine and cheese party. Here was a room full of “strangers” who were not strangers at all! I kept recognizing people whose pictures I had seen, and hearing names that I recognized from chat, fanfics, and the lists. I was almost crying, I was so happy to see everyone! (OK, I confess, I WAS crying!) Then, going into Old Town for dinner, we kept running into all these people with BATB t-shirts! Hugs again!

On Thursday, we peeked into the Dealer’s room and there were rows upon rows of boxes of fanfics, tunnel clothes actually for sale, and LOTS of other “stuff”! I felt like Mouse would have felt in a warehouse full of treasures. I was calling a friend who was not able to come to the con to tell her about all the fanfic zines (more than 25 boxes!) when JoAnn had to “wrangle” us virgins out of the room! Oops, sorry, JoAnn, got carried away!

The bus tour and harbor cruise was fun, even the overcast weather did not dampen our spirits. We got to know our new “family” better! The open air “Taming of the Shrew” at the Old Globe Theater was fabulous, and funny.

Then . . . the actual start of the con on Friday morning! Words cannot describe the awe I felt while going through boxes and boxes of fanfic zines, seeing all the creative necklaces, earrings, pins, bookmarks, boxes, ornaments, statues, busts, prints, etc. that were made by other fans. I would go into the Dealer’s room, then to the Art room, back to the Dealer’s room, bouncing off the walls with excitement. Every time I went into the Dealer’s room (at least 5 times over the three days) I bought something I had overlooked before, even the at the Last Chance Dealer’s Room opening.

Then the deflowering of the Con-virgins! Well, this is exactly what happened: (---censored---------censored---------censored------) and then, when we thought it couldn’t get any better (or worse) they ( -------censored---------censored---------censored------) ! It was an experience I will never forget!

Everyone in their renaissance costumes and evening finery was like actually being a part of Masques. The talent show was a hoot! All the funny songs and skits! The Elvis Act was priceless. And I talked Vicky into singing “I’ll Stay”. Thank you so much for that, dear Vicky! That was a highlight of the con for me!

The con guests: Cory Danziger was just so adorable, and Judy Shimizu-Moreland was a doll! She stayed for most of the con and was so friendly! She really was one of us! And it was so great to meet Lee Holdridge and his wife. We could tell they really enjoyed the auction and banquet. Lee was almost rolling on the floor when Deb was giving her auction spiel. Lee and Vicky performing our theme song, “The First Time I Loved Forever” was unforgettable. And it was so great to meet Tamara Thompson, the designer of my “Catherine necklace”, who was not really a guest, but a fellow con-goer like the rest of us.

And our “surprise guest”: Linda Hamilton! What a fantastic treat! To actually see her and get a hug and kiss from her was just . . . well, words just cannot express how I felt! I was walking 5 feet above ground for hours! She was so friendly, she would talk to everyone for many minutes, and we were not sure she would have enough time to sign autographs for everyone; then, she stayed for part of the auction, and even donated some personal items and gave JoAnn a check for the Monarch School! Wonderful! Then when she read Father’s speech at the opening ceremony of the banquet . . . Oh my, the tears are starting again!

The days did not end with the scheduled con activities! Every night there were pajama parties going on! Eating cookies, nuts, crackers and talking to Lyn in Australia on Skype while lounging with 12 others one night, then reading “Sleepless in Providence” and “Plait” the next night, and then a Margarita, cheese, and sausage party while watching Candlelight Creation videos another night!

On Sunday afternoon, the whole room was in tears (or maybe it was just me and that’s all I could see) when everyone stood in a circle with us (ex)virgins in the center, and we were invited to “Join the circle”. (Oh, here I go again – pass the tissues!)

Then the carousel and tunnel on Monday! I only went in about ½ way past the first turn in the tunnel, but now that I know there is a junction further in, I will go all the way to the end next time! Stace and a few others went to the end and said it is “interesting”.

I didn’t go to the zoo, but my roomie, Suzi, and I took the tram to the end of the line (Tijuana, although we didn’t get off the tram), went to Imperial Beach and stuck our feet in the ocean, then went shopping in downtown SD going to Hard Rock Cafe, Hooters, House Of Blues, among others, and back to Old Town SD. Sore feet were a small price to pay for all the shopping we did!

I have NEVER enjoyed a vacation as much as I did the past week with you all. It definitely exceeded all my expectations, and my expectations were HIGH! Will I do this again? Damn right! I already made my con reservation for New Orleans!

All of you future con virgins out there: save up your pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and come to the con next year in New Orleans, you will NEVER regret it!

Love to you all,
Linda Stork

July 7-14 2010