How I joined the SCA

by Katriana op den Dijk

Well, you see, it's all George Lucas' fault...

Growing up, my only knowledge of Science Fiction was Star Trek. And the only thing I knew about Star Trek was that we would get spanked if we tried to talk to our dad when it was on (the first time it was on...) So Science Fiction = pain and parental neglect.

Then I read the book Star Wars. Yes, the book, I lived in a small town in SouthEast Kansas and the movie didn't make it there until the THIRD national release (and there were people lined up around the block to see it then.) I LOVED the book. So much so that I began plotting ways to see the movie. I purchased at least two round trip bus tickets to Kansas City, talked my grandmother into taking me ("but Grandmother, the music is by the London Symphony Orchestra, you'll LOVE it"...she didn't) and began buying everything I could find.

Along with Star Wars, I took another look at Science Fiction, and discovered there was I lot I had been missing. So I began reading and watching more movies at 2 in the morning (we had cable, it was the only way to get television, but old movies were only on in the wee hours.) One of the few magazines carried in our town that concerned Sci-Fi was Starlog, which hooked me with coverage of movies and television, two mediums that I could access regularly.

A woman named Bjo Trimble (who I had read of in my research (yes, I did research into science fiction)) began writing a column in Starlog called Fan Scene. In issue number 43, February 1981, she wrote of the "Society for Creative Anachronism". The part that really hooked me was:

I am currently planning next year's major Collegium Caidis sessions, which will include a Needle Arts and Sewing Collegium, another for Tourney Appreciation and a session where calligraphy and illumination students will learn to grind their own colors from iron oxides, mica and lapis. Sometimes there is an interesting extra lesson in learning, as when I recently boiled a huge kettle of elderberries to a syrup in preparation for a Natural Dye Workshop; I stored the bottles of elderberry juice in the basement since we won't be using it until the workshop next sumer. Yesterday, while working on The Crown Prints, our local Kingdom newsletter, we heard a gentle "pop" and a fizzing sound....hmmmm! Investigation showed that if we find another source of blue dye, we can have yet another workshop: making elderberry wine! Serendipity strikes again!

I'd been involved in various museum and historical society projects my whole life (it's my mom's fault.) So a group which, first of all, would make their own dye, and then if it fermented, be willing to drink it, ... well, that sounded like a lot of fun. And apparently branches existed all over the country! An article soon afterwards in the Kansas City paper(? I haven't been able to find it, it might have been the Wichita paper and given to me by a teacher or librarian) told of the same group and mentioned that there was a branch in Wichita. It just so happens that I was picking a college that spring/summer and that Wichita had a college. I hooked up with the Barony of V'tavia (now Vatavia) in January 1982 through the Free University (since discontinued.)

And that's how I joined the SCA.