|The attendees: Eve Martinko, Rick Martinko, Irene Martinko, Alice Tracy, Kevin Parker, Susan Brynteson, Reed Martinko (holding Eric Shanower's 75th anniversary logo), John Chastain, Stephen Chastain, Jane Myers, Robert Myers, David Smigen-Rothkopf, Henry Rothkopf|
The third DC-area miniconvention began in the traditional fashion, with each of the attendees introducing themselves. As advertised, we had a surprise guest--a surprise even to us organizers--as Jane Myers revealed that Dorothy Brooks (Walter's second wife) was her grandmother.
The first formal activity was the ceremonial unveiling of the official 75th anniversary logo, done to the stirring accompaniment of the opening of Richard Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra." (One attendee commented that he was imagining a bunch of pigs in a sty snorting around a huge black obelisk.) I pointed out that it was appropriate to unveil the logo at this event since Brooks actually wrote the first book in the Freddy series, To & Again, while he was in the DC area.
Alice Tracy then took the podium to share some of her thoughts on To & Again and its influence on the series. We engaged in a brief discussion, then it was time to adjourn for lunch to the nearby Beijing Restaurant. Susan Brynteson, held up in traffic on her way in from Delaware, joined us there and remained for the afternoon's activities.
|Stephen Chastain reads congratulations from Charles. Note the books on the lectern, symbolizing 1927 (To & Again with the original illustrations) and 2002 (The Penguin Putnam reprint of Freddy Goes to Florida).|
We returned for the official photograph, then continued with a couple of brief presentations by John and Stephen Chastain. John recited an "Ode to Mrs. Peppercorn," while Stephen read congratulations to Freddy from Charles the rooster (cut short by Henrietta's approach) and Simon the rat. John then brought the house down with his rendition of "The Bean Farm Rap."
|The audience enjoys John Chastain's "Bean Farm Rap."|
The highlight of the afternoon was playing a competitive version of Aladdine's Freddy trivia game. We split into two teams, the Mrs. Wiggins team and the Jinx team, with FoF president Alice Tracy doing her Anne Robinson impression for the duration (well, actually, she's much too nice to do Anne Robinson, but it's more fun describing it that way). Despite an early lead by the Mrs. Wiggins team (and the trivia game's creator being on that team), the Jinx team made a stirring comeback to win the competition. Stephen Chastain accepted a small pig figurine as a token a victory, while the younger members in the runners-up received attractive rabbit figurines.
|Stephen Chastain accepts a pig figurine on behalf of the victorious Jinx team.|
|Reed and Irene Martinko and David Smigen-Rothkopf accept rabbit figurines on behalf of the runner-up Mrs. Wiggins team from a somnolent Alice Tracy.|
I concluded the afternoon by reading Michael Cart's article for the 75th anniversary issue of the newsletter, somehow managing to get through it all despite still recovering from a cold and strep throat.
All too soon, it was time to say goodbye. All expressed their enjoyment of the day and indicated that they looked forward to the next gathering.