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A CRAZED CANUCK
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At one time our summers were filled with performing at fairs, exhibitions, grandstands in Canada and the US or with tours of English workingman clubs, dance clubs, discos and recording studios. Following the formal tours we would hit the road to explore North America and Britain until we had to return to our teaching jobs in the fall. With the arrival of three kids and the demands of running a 265-seat Chinese restaurant we no longer had the luxury of taking long extended road trips. Ten-day fly-ins became the norm.
The new millennium reawakened the old wanderlust, as our three kids were now in University, our music bookings were more flexible, and we had sold the restaurant to make way for a major development in Brandon's downtown area. And our university jobs still gave us our summers off. . . so . . .
Monday, August 25, we left on what would be a 3,500-mile trip spread over 10 days. We still had to get back to fall classes but the University year doesn't start until the second week of September. The speed limit on much of I-29 is 75 mph and it was relatively free of construction, so we made good time -- stopping only for gas and a motel room in Vermillion, SD home of the University of South Dakota. We reached Kansas City Tuesday afternoon . . . giving us time to find a Chinese restaurant, explore the downtown area, take in the local colour and find a motel.
Kansas City is the one-time home of Vernell and Rita Coriell's House of Greystoke. Back in the '40s Vern had received permission from Edgar Rice Burroughs to publish the official ERB fanzine. He went on to form the Burroughs Bibliophiles and to publish the Burroughs Bulletin and a multitude of House of Greystoke publications as well as to organize ERB fandom worldwide. After his death in 1987, the BB torch was picked up by Professor George McWhorter of the University of Louisville, who carried the flame to even greater heights.
The first of our Burroughs Biblio-Pro-Philes spotlighted the Coriells and George McWhorter. Some time ago Vern's cousin Clyde saw our features on Vern and suggested that I contact Rita, who still lives in the House of Greystoke. I phoned her, offering to escort her to the Louisville Dum-Dum if she felt up to it. Sadly, because of health problems, she has been confined to her home for a number of years. . . but we had a wonderful hour-long phone chat and she offered to resume our talk about the old days if we stopped by on our way to Louisville. The only picture I had ever seen of her House of Greystoke was one taken by longtime ERB fan, John "Numa" Vaughan, who had visited the Coriells as a teenager back in the '60s. John had sent us some excellent stories, letters and photos associated with that visit which we featured in ERBzine 0974. Fortunately John still lives in KC, in fact, he had taken Rita to see the Disney Tarzan feature back in 1999. We made plans to meet at Rita's house on Wednesday morning.
When we arrived at 6657 Locust Street -- in an upscale and charming district -- John had already joined Rita and soon we were lost in time, discussing the glory days of fandom back in the mid 1900s. What we had planned to be a short visit stretched into almost four hours, during which time we took many photos and videos and came away with some wonderful stories from two warm and fascinating people. Photos and stories from that visit will appear in a future ERBzine.
The trip across to Kentucky was uneventful until nightfall when we started to run into heavy freeway construction. We had made Wednesday night reservations in a motel north of Louisville but as we approached the area all hell seemed to break loose: darkness, wind, torrential rain storms and a torn up freeway on which most signs, lanes and exits were missing. Cars were piled up or abandoned, emergency vehicles searched the night and most truckers had sought off-road shelter. We found our room at midnight.
See Hillman Gallery 1 for larger image photos of this visit
See Thandar's Gallery 1: Louisville & Galt House Arrival
In our long-distance conversations over the last few weeks we had promised to pick up Danton, Jeddara Mary and Stacy "Teeka" Burroughs, who were arriving on different flights at the airport. After a Chinese lunch : ) on Market Street, we reported to the Galt Hotel in early afternoon hoping to empty our car of luggage, but our room was not ready. We were considering strapping our luggage to the roof of our Ford Probe when Net friends, "Thuvia," Kathy and wee granddaughter, Ahkira, came to the rescue. They had more luck checking in and offered us the key to their room so that we would have some place to stow our luggage.
We arrived at the airport in time to greet Mary and Stacy and we all went back to the Galt to find our rooms and to register at the Huckster room. The sign-in table was manned by a succession of BBs through the afternoon - some of the ones I noticed were: the Jeddak of Jasoom himself, George McWhorter, Joan "J the V" Bledig, John Tyner and Laurence Dunn. George had planned a first class event and the goodies handed out to the registrants were indicative of this: The Boris Dum-Dum 2003 logo was on many of the items including a tote bag, T-shirt, large button, and an itinery booklet with short bios of the Guests of Honor. Also included in the bag were a new BB lapel pin, brochures, banquet menu, bookmarks, and a major piece of research by George -- a booklet entitled, "Some Scientific Names in the Burroughs Books"
We had a few minutes to make a reconnaissance loop around the Huckster displays, renew old friendships, and to snap some photos.
Confirming that Danton was arriving at 6:30, we offered to take some pressure off George's busy schedule and we returned to the airport to meet the grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Danton -- a notorious collector of antiques -- arrived with large antique suitcases covered with colourful classic travel stickers and packed with video tapes, slides, photos and rare artifacts for the weekend's presentations. We were pleasantly surprised to see that his unannounced travel companions were Bob and Lindy Zeuschner, who were also carrying cases of material for Bob's featured presentation and for display in the Huckster Room. Sue-On waited with Bob and Lindy while I ferried the Burroughses to the Galt and then returned to pick up the final shuttle passengers of the day.
Upon our return, Mary and Stacy met us in our room in the Galt West Tower and we crossed over to join Danton in his VIP suite in the East Tower, where we found him soaking his feet in tub of water. He had undergone painful foot operations a few days before and had been ordered to treat them a few times each day. The plan was to have a quiet dinner somewhere but we became so engrossed in the Burroughs treasures surrounding Danton that by the time we thought of dinner, the Galt dining room was overflowing with delegates of a Baptist church convention. We set out on foot but everything within walking distance had closed at 10.
Fortunately the Hyatt took pity on our famished state and let us into their lounge. After returning to the Galt by cab we worked into the wee hours trying to organize Danton's slides by lamplight. The 150 slides were in a sealed Bell & Howell slide tray and consisted mostly of rare doodles, sketches, cartoons and booklets that Danton's grandfather had created throughout his lifetime. Since the hotel couldn't supply a VCR we had no way of previewing and cueing the 20 video tapes that Danton had brought from Tarzana.
On the way back to our room I went out of my way to get a view of the open southern sky through the twin towers of the Galt and to scan the Cosmos for Barsoom. Alas, even the brilliance of the relatively nearby red planet couldn't cut through the heavy overcast clouds.
DUM-DUM PHOTO GALLERIES
1. House of Greystoke
2. Nite Life
3. Huckster Row
4. Mingling of the Bibliophiles
5. Ekstrom Library & Auditorium
6. McWhorter ERB Collection
7. Events: Bibliophiles ~ Auction ~ Boris & Julie
9. Head Table ~ Speeches ~ Awards
10. Post Banquet Photos and Group Photos Shots
11. The Last Breakfast
12. Jim and Joan Burroughs Pierce Gravesite
13. Homeward Bound
14. Mary and Stacy Burroughs I
15. Mary and Stacy Burroughs II
16. Danton Burroughs I
17. Danton Burroughs II
18. THB Members Invade Louisville
19. ERBzine Contributors at Louisville
DUM-DUM PHOTO GALLERIES
Thandarís Dum-Dum Memories
1. Intro ~ Arrival ~ Galt House
2. Nightlife ~ Blues Club
3. Huckster Room
4. Gathering of the BBs
5. Ekstrom Wine & Cheese
6. ERB Collections
7. Events: Bibliophiles & Auction
9. Head Table ~ Speakers ~ Awards
10. After Dinner Photos
11. Farewell Breakfast I
12. Farewell Breakfast II
DIRECTORY TO HUCK HUCKENPOHLER'S
DUM-DUM PHOTO GALLERIES
1. Gallery I
2. Gallery II
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