Cornfield Meet

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OSWCC Summer Social 2014

simmons37crop

Image from a photo by Kim D.M. Simmons

I signed up to join the Ohio Star Wars Collectors Club shortly after Jenn & Kelsey & I moved to Ohio fifteen years ago, in the summer of 1999.

I had learned about OSWCC through the vintage Star Wars collecting Usenet newsgroup, and was intrigued by the idea of a group of collectors getting together in real life to geek out and swap stories, trade stuff, and share new finds and favorite pieces.

I seem to remember that the club communicated mostly through email lists at the time, and even though I soon felt comfortable contributing online, it was still quite awhile before I actually found the nerve to attend one of the monthly meetings of the North Region. I remember being nervous about actually meeting my fellow OSWCCers in person, and wondering whether the few pieces from my own collection I’d brought to share would be blown off as lame, and whether I’d feel odd and left out. It was kind of like heading off to a week at Camp Tippecanoe when I was a kid.

Turns out it was really cool and low-key and just a bunch of Star Wars fans hanging out and nerding it up for a few hours. And I loved it. For a few years there, I hardly missed a regional meeting, and I spent a crazy awesome 30+ hours with OSWCC friends at Star Wars Celebration II in Indianapolis.

In 2001, I had to cancel my trip to what was supposed to be my first OSWCC Summer Social, due to a seriously violent 24-hour-case of the barfs that swore me off Chik-Fil-A for life. I started a 10-year streak of Summer Social attendance in 2002, though, making it a priority every year even though along the way, my attendance at the regional meetings had trailed off. And the social was a highlight every year: road tripping with friends or bringing Kelsey along; catching up with everyone and browsing the tables; picking up really cool pieces and meeting some really interesting folks.

The OSWCC gang was my first audience for the essays that eventually became Collect All 21!and my friends there were the first to embrace and support it.

My trips to Celebrations III, V, and VI included more fine times hanging out with OSWCCers.

My social attendance streak came to an end in 2012 when we were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation, and I missed last year’s as well, due to a family move.

And honestly, I wasn’t sure about this year – again, I haven’t been to meetings or active in the club forums for some time – until my friend and fellow OSWCCer Matt asked if I’d like to share some of my Star Wars nostalgia with a presentation at this year’s social in Cincinnati. (The location rotates annually between the Cleveland, Cincy, and Columbus regions.) It had been awhile since I’d done one, so I accepted the invitation, stayed up late the night before the July 12 social writing and rehearsing, and hit the road that Saturday morning with my daughter and her friend.

Digression: Kelsey had not been to a social since 2007, and had only been to one other before that. It was a pleasant surprise when, the Thursday before this year’s, she said, “Hey – you didn’t invite me! What’s up with that?”

We left early and met up with my buddy Josh in Ashland to share the rest of the there-and-back-in-a-day trip. (Yes: More time on the highway that day than actually spent at the social. Still worth it.)

Man, what a fantastic day: Scott D.M. Simmons and his dad, Kim D.M. Simmons were there – that’s a Kim Simmons vintage Kenner photograph up at the top of the page – along with a bunch of OSWCC friends who I had a ton of fun catching up with. Many of us have now known each other long enough to have seen each others’ kids grow up.

Despite the support OSWCC has always given my writing, I was really nervous about my presentation, because these are people I know. It’s different doing a reading at a library or convention where the audience is people you’ve never met. But you know what? Once I started, I wound up having fun. And people said some incredibly nice things to me afterward, and I was grateful to Matt for the opportunity and glad to have made a few people laugh, and happy to have sparked some other childhood memories.

I’ve missed this. And even if I don’t meet my goal of making it to a North Region meeting again soon, I’m awfully glad I made the trip.

(Also: If you’re a Star Wars fan and you live in Ohio, and you haven’t looked into joining OSWCC, why the heck not?)

 

 

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July 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Kenner Ruled the Earth

A couple of my OSWCC friends, Dan Flarida and John Wooten, have been posting some very cool stuff on their KennerCollector website lately – and I have the feeling the nostalgia is just beginning.

Their posts inspired me to dig up some photos from the 2005 OSWCC Summer Social, when original Star Wars Kenner toy designer Jim Swearingen came to visit with a sail-barge load of late ’70s and early ’80s Kenner photos and artwork:

(Want a slightly closer look at the Boba Fett art & R2-D2 blueprints? Here.)

Jim was really patient with all the questions he fielded that day, and it was awfully fun just to sit and listen to him talk matter-of-factly about things like going to California to meet with George Lucas and see the Boba Fett costume in person in order to design the action figure. In the picture below, there’s a reference photo of that costume with George standing next to it, top center. (Here’s a little closer view of the pile of stuff, including that Lucas photo.)

Click the photo for larger versions.

The third photo I have of Jim –

Click for larger versions.

– includes one of the neatest file photos I think he brought. It’s there at the far right, in a binder, and it was a photo of some kind of mock-up, I think, to display Kenner’s first 12 Star Wars figures. Cropped and lightened and flipped, here’s the best close-up I can manage:

Man, I just think things like that are So. Freaking. Neat.

I only have the three photos, but they’re here in my Old-school Star Wars Flickr set, along with their larger original versions and the close-ups.

February 5, 2011 Posted by | 1980s, eighties, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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