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Volume 1716

A Report on ECOF/Dum-Dum
August 3-6, 2006
Rockville, MD
An ERBapa #92 Reprint
Jim Hadac
Part I - Photo Memories - is featured in ERBzine 1687
I was looking forward to going to ECOF 2006, not only to attend my third ERB fan gathering, but also to take advantage of the proximity of Washington, D.C., and enjoy some sightseeing in our nation's capital with my wife, Yoko.

As it turned out, a good friend of mine wanted to accompany us, especially to visit museums in Washington, D.C. John Gibler has been a friend of mine since elementary school and a fan of science fiction in general (although not necessarily of ERB). I thought it would be great that he could travel with us and share the cost of a rental car with us.

Before the ECOF ~ Tuesday, Aug. 1st, and Wednesday, Aug. 2nd

We flew into Reagan Airport from Chicago O'Hare on Tuesday afternoon, picking up our rental car to head off to Alexandria, Va. We enjoyed strolling around this historic Colonial city despite the heat, and I felt we were walking in the footsteps of famous Virginians such as George Washington, Robert E. Lee and John Carter. The three of us shared a very un-Colonial pizza for dinner and found a hotel for the night in nearby Arlington.

On Wednesday it was on to Washington, D.C., leaving the car in a parking garage while we spent the day in the Museums of the Smithsonian Institution. I had been to D.C. seven times before but had never spent as much time in the museums as I had wanted -- with the exception of the fabulous Air and Space Museum. John went off to that museum while Yoko and I went to the Museum of Natural History (I enjoyed the prehistoric animals, while Yoko got bored). Then we went to the National Gallery of Art where I got bored. There we also enjoyed a light lunch. We were able to get over to the Museum of the American Indian before meeting John at the Air and Space Museum.

Thursday, Aug. 3rd

This was the first day of the ECOF, but not for us, as things didn't work out for us to make it to Bill Ross' house in Annapolis. I had really wanted to visit him,but we thought we would make a trip to see Baltimore first. Our plan turned out to be ambitious. We spent several hours at the Baltimore Aquarium, including lunch among the denizens of the deep. It was already getting well into the afternoon as we strolled around the lovely harbor area. We should have left then, but due to my interest in history, I suggested a quick look at Fort McHenry. This fort in Baltimore Harbor became famous as the result of a battle during the Anglo-American War of 1812-15, when a powerful British fleet bombarded it. As every American should know, a local lawyer named Francis Scott Key observed the fighting and, impressed by the sight of the huge flag flying through the night, wrote a poem which, when set to the tune of an old English drinking song, became our national anthem. Anyway our "quick look" involved seeing the film at the Visitors Center, walking all around the fort, and talking to the ranger. When he asked if the three of us could stay and help with taking down and folding up the huge flag, we agreed, and were only too happy to take part in this patriotic duty. However by then it was late (after 5 o'clock) we were worn out and, as I was unsure how to get to Bill's house, we decided to go directly to Rockville. So I still regret that I missed the chance to see Bill but I'm hopeful there will be another opportunity! We had a great Thai dinner before we rolled into the Ramada late and I was able to say "Hi" to Huck, who arrived at about the same time.

Friday, Aug. 4th

We had breakfast at the Ramada then went our separate ways. While Yoko and John went into D.C. on the subway, I went over to the Doubleday to register and check out the Huckster Room. It was great to see "old" friends from the Dum-Dums that I had attended before -- Oak Park and Fort Collins. Then before too long it was time to walk to John Tyner's house for a deli lunch and to see John's very diverse book collection.

I had to get back to take part in the panel on "Jane: Her Evolution." It was an honor to be on the same panel with such ERB experts as Joan Bledig, J.G. "Huck" Huckenpohler and Cole Richardson. Although I have been a teacher for 20+ years and I am never hesitant to speak before a group in class, MAN! was I ever nervous. Everyone was listening so intently while I thought - what did I know? My presentation was on Jane of the pastiches and I had been reading and rereading various books as well as stories on the Internet, so I think I had some worthwhile comments to add to the discussion. Afterwards several people had some positive comments and that was encouraging. If anyone is interested in hearing any of the panel presentations, they are on podcasts produced by Jeff "Elmo" Long at

For dinner, a group of us gathered at a Brazilian "churrascaria" restaurant, and it was there, over plates full of barbecued meats, that I talked to Shawn Cavender about ERBapa. So it was that meal that led to this article you're reading now. Afterwards, in dire need of exercise, we took the subway into D.C., and then proceeded to walk to Huck's apartments. There more discussion ensued while we were admiring Huck's impressive book collection, a collection ideal for me as his interests take in a wide range of science fiction, which I'm also interested in. Of particular importance was my finding a special edition of the The Moon Maid that Huck had. Bill Wagner was interested in it as well and it was his idea to ask Bruce "Abner Perry" Wood if he could make two more copies for us. Bruce agreed and I have received the book from him and it was my best acquisition of the year 2006.

Saturday, Aug. 5th

Saturday morning, and again it was back to the Huckster Room. I am not a big collector, my collection of books includes ERB, but also many other SF authors, and most of my books are paperbacks. I think I do have a good collection of Tarzan and other ERB comics, reflecting the fact that it was the comics that got me hooked on Tarzan and ERB My main purchases in the Huckster Room were of comics I didn't have. I also bought some non-ERB paperbacks that I was interested in. I still need to build up my collection of ERB hardcovers.

The second panel was held and it was a relief to be one of the audience members. Afterwards Bruce "Hadron" Salen -- having discharged his responsibilities as moderator -- and I decided to hurry into D.C. to do some museum-going that afternoon. Bruce had told me that he had been disappointed at the Oak Park Dum-Dum that he hadn't been able to spend more time at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. I said that I would be happy to go to a museum with him and Saturday afternoon would be the best time to do it. Unfortunately we would miss the Auction, but we felt sure that we would have no problem getting back in time for the Dum-Dum Banquet at 7 o'clock. We had a fascinating afternoon at the Museum of Natural History taking in the IMAX movie about a South African safari (very appropriate) and having lunch together.

We made it back for the Banquet in good time, and I met John and Yoko there. They had wanted to attend the Banquet. There was certainly a sad note as the Banquet was a remembrance of Clarence "Bob" Hyde. Both Dorothy "Usha" Howell and Jim Thompson spoke movingly about their memories of "Bob." Awards were given to longtime ERBapa writer Alan Hansen and Matt Cohen. Matt gave an interesting presentation on the topic of his book Brother Men, about the correspondence between his grandfather, Bert Weston, and ERB. I hadn't read his book, so this was an aspect of ERB's life that I hadn't known about.

During the evening, the formation of The Chicago Muckers was announced. This group included Joan Bledig; Jerry Spannraft; Ray LeBeau; Mike Conran; Jeff Long; and myself. Earlier in the day, we had met at the Doubletree and decided to go ahead with forming our group in the Windy City.

As the capper for the evening, Jeff Long presented his DVD of the "Princess of Mars" stage production in Minneapolis. During that time, I was able to talk more with Shawn and express my interest in going on the waiting list for ERBapa. Certainly an eventful day for yours truly as I became a member of The Chicago Muckers and also got in line to become a member of ERBapa.

Sunday, August 6th and Monday, August 7th

Sunday morning is the time to say "farewell" until next year. Yoko and I were able to get together with some other people at a nearby pancake house for the farewell breakfast. Unfortunately we missed a lot of people who left earlier. We hope to see everyone again in Louisville for Dum-Dum 2007.

As for us, our trip wasn't over, as we went again into Washington, D.C., this time to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. As expected, it was heartbreaking in its presentation of the horrendous depths of man's inhumanity to man. Afterwards, we walked to the World War II Memorial and I, for one, felt grateful for the sacrifices of people like my Uncle Arthur, who served in the infantry in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, and my Uncle John, who served in the artillery in New Guinea. Of course, we can't forget Edgar Rice Burroughs, who was the oldest war correspondent in the Pacific.

We left from Reagan the next day, after a pleasant drive to Mount Vernon, Va., the home of the founder of our country, George Washington, and one of my favorite historic sites. By evening, we were back in Chicago.

~ Jim Hadac
For more photos see Part I: ERBzine 1687
My friend, John, and I at the Air and Space Museum
My friend, John, and I at the Air and Space Museum
Tantor at the Museum of Natural History
"Tantor" at the Museum of Natural History
.Taking a picture of Jim Thompson taking a picture (at Huck's)
Taking a picture of Jim Thompson taking a picture (at Huck's)
At Huck's: Laurence Dunn and John Thompson
At Huck's: Laurence Dunn and John Thompson
Avec Philippe Badre of France at the Dum-Dum Banquet
Avec Philippe Badre of France at the Dum-Dum Banquet
Yoko and I at Mount Vernon
Yoko and I at Mount Vernon

Photos by Jim and Yoko Hadac
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