I started at UNC in August of 1982, and had no inkling I would get involved in SF fandom at that point. I had been a Star Trek fan all my life, but knew nothing of clubs or conventions, and although I read SF paperbacks, I had hardly scratched the surface. As a freshman, I would sometimes go searching the TV lounges of Morrison Dorm when Star Trek was playing to see if there was a free TV or if anyone was watching Star Trek so I could see it. I remember that sometimes I would find several people gathered around watching some show called "Dr. Who," and I remember being annoyed because they weren't watching Star Trek. I had never heard of Who before that. It turns out that that was usually some combination of Boyd Faulkner, Chuck Andrews, John Jaynes, Sonia Kome, or other people they knew. Boyd noticed that I was into Star Trek and I met him because I already knew his roommate, Scott Baron. He introduced me to Robert Hurt, President of Chimera at the time, and also got me into Dr. Who and the Guardians of Light and Time. I remember they used to watch Who at Mr. Gatti's, a pizza place that was near the corner of Franklin and Columbia Streets. I have no idea what is currently in that space! There was a lot of membership overlap between Chimera and Guardians, although I think Guardians was a bit more fringy of a crowd.
I remember the second time (or maybe third) I met Robert Hurt, he came to visit me in my dorm and was trying to convince me to go to World Con next Labor Day weekend (this was maybe November or December of '82, and he was planning for the following September). I remember that I thought he was reaching a bit - asking me to commit to a trip and a lot of money doing something I wasn't all that clear about, much less interested in. I remember thinking "who is this guy, and what is he thinking?" Well, he was Robert Hurt, the most fan-oriented person I would ever meet, and he was so excited about World Con being so close (it was either in Atlanta or Baltimore, I don't remember which), that he wanted to share the fun with EVERYONE! Robert is still the most involved fan I know, but now it's Babylon 5 and live-action role-playing. You gotta love him! And, of course, I eventually was won over to World Con, went to StellarCon in G-boro, and became heavily involved in Chimera, too.
It was either that year or the following year that Poppy Brite began coming to our meetings, while she was in Jr. High or something. She really did seem to have a crush on Robert, and liked to tag along with him. I can still see the look on Robert's face as he tried to extricate himself from her persistent attention. I always sort of felt for Poppy, because Robert wasn't very receptive, although at least he tried to be diplomatic about it. I sometimes think how ironic it is that she is now a well-known writer of horror, and we don't all know her anymore because she eventually stopped coming to meetings, probably because none of us, Robert included, took her seriously.
I definitely remember going to the eclipse party in Greensboro, but the only detail I remember is that Robert's pet rooster crowed when the eclipse ended. I remember the StellarCon Party, with Larry Niven. Here I'll tattle on my husband: he drank too much and got very,very sick at that Party. Cherie and Angeli may remember that.
I have another memory of going to a StellarCon. We were staying at Robert Hurt's parents' house, sleeping on the living room floor, and attending the Con during the day. What I remember is that halfway through the day at the Con, some guy none of us knew started tagging along with our group, very persistently. He was fairly quiet and nobody had the heart to be rude to him. The funny thing is, he followed us all the way to Robert's house and slept over there with us.
Another thing I remember is a tidbit about the WorldCons we attended. We went to ConStellation in Baltimore (the 41st - 1983) and later, to ConFederation in Atlanta (44th - 1986). I think it was at Constellation that I went to the Ball, which was a dance, and was hanging out, dancing a little. I remember that there was one guy that I danced with who was costumed in a sort of a priest's frock. We danced once or twice, and I decided I wanted to sit back down. But he was somewhat persistent, and sat with me. Then he said something like: "Oh, did you hurt your ankle, it looks swollen," while reaching out for my foot in a sort of a slimy way. Well, I thought he was so clearly using a stupid ploy in order to make a pass at me, and I quickly removed myself from his desperate clutches. The funny thing was, that later I was telling a couple of Chimera folks about this guy, and Lori Lipkin chimed in with "Hey, that guy did the same line on me!" I wonder how many other girls at that con heard that line? We agreed from that moment on to avoid those gatherings, because they are full of desperate SF geeks. We were happy to stick to our own group of geeks!
Scott Card was at one of these cons, probably the second one, and I remember feeling very important that I knew him and several other writer types because of ChimeraCon. I think I met Jack L. Chalker at that one, through Scott or Mark Van Name or other SFWA friend(s). It's funny because I've heard JMS of B-5 rant and rave about SFWA now , and I'm glad to have some context for that.
I felt privileged to enter the SFWA suite at that con, and JMS refused to enter it to get an award because he hates it so much! Funny. It was also at that con that I saw Harlan Ellison (from afar), and that I bumped smack into Issac Asimov (actually, he bumped into me).