Date May 1997

I will try this year to get the newsletters out a bit more often. There are two more conventions this year; Reflections in Minneapolis in July and A Moment In Time in Manchester in August. I hope that you are all enjoying Easter as I write this (well I did start this report back in March!) , although my desk calendar indicates that it isn't a holiday in the USA! There are a few announcements before I get on to the con report:

New members:
Claire Willars, Zoe & Fareedah Amin.
All three these ladies joined at Winterfest this year. Zoe signed songs with me at A Moment In Time '96 and at Winterfest '96 and '97.

To Melissa on the birth of her new grandson who no doubt would keep her running round in circles *if only* she were fit enough!
To Jamie on his TV appearance in Walker, Texas Ranger. Another step on the road to stardom? Naah! He doesn't have the time!!

Also the Cavern sends condolences to Bernadette on the loss of her Mother.

My thanks:
To Joan Chiu for the model of Laura as she left the Tunnels in Impossible Silence (and for regularly sending me recordings of relevant programmes which I do not have access to!)
To Melissa for help and support.
To Kathy Carrasco for liaison duties to the USA membership.
Also to the contributors to this newsletter; Judy Shimizu-Martinez, Pam Lang and Mary Tummon.

Any member who would like to send something for the next newsletter, please do so. You can send snippets of news about sign language in your area or deaf theatre or courses or something you've seen on TV, or a bit about yourself. Anything will we welcome.

This year Winterfest was a one-day convention finishing at midnight (well... nearer 2am) on Saturday instead of the previous Sunday lunch-time finish. It was no less enjoyable and we had a very nice buffet lunch at midday on Saturday and an excellent banquet in the evening. Only around 30 people attended but many stayed until after lunch on Sunday so the absence of an 'organised' programme did not prevent us from enjoying ourselves. The Saturday schedule comprised; Opening ceremony, video of Winterfest '96 and the Q&A sessions at A Kingdom By The Sea, Members entertain including an excellent set from the three-piece band, John Picton, Adam Deville and Ian Waters. A couple of signed songs from Zoe and myself were, as always, well received and there was poetry reading from Robert Gardiner and a short story from Mary Page.

After the banquet there was a disco, run by Kevin's brother so that Kevin (Waters) could have the evening off for a change! There was line-dancing led by Christine Smith and we ended the evening (morning?) with the customary serenade from our own Vincent (John Picton) in the bar. When we parted on Sunday afternoon we were all a little sad as we were sure that this would be the last Winterfest to be organised by the UK Chamber, although it was not confirmed until the April issue of The Chronicle came out.

In this part of the newsletter I want to share with you some things that members have written:

I do know the Sign Alphabet and about 20-ish or so words. I studied Sign for a bit (had a deaf-from-birth friend). She moved, and we eventually lost contact... and I forgot all I knew. An extensive vocabulary, I might add. :) A long time, and so little usage, made me forget it all. Just like any language...if U don't use it, you lose it. And by golly, I lost it. I rented a few Sign videos not too long ago, but for the Novice, they go just a little too fast. Perhaps, I need to rent a different one. That one seemed sort of advanced. Or maybe I needed to Slo-Mo.

Children of a Lesser God, was one of my favorite movies of all time. Boy, I learned then not to wear NON-waterproof mascara. Big-time Racoon-eyes.

I'll do my best and spread the word of your efforts amongst this area!!!! There are a few deaf centers around my area, and since a few of my past years dealt in medical supplies (etc.), my input is still very welcome. :) There are a few people I know who can sign, and have made a career of it. Even to retirement! It's really nice to see people talk about their careers and smile as they describe every aspect...their time was well spent in learning the trade and thus rewarded a thousand fold!

I've become quite a regular at this facility for the Deaf children near where I live. It's quite obvious that I'm a novice, so they're extra patient with me! I love watching them. Since they cannot speak, their facial and body language is so remarkable. Actors should take classes from the Deaf...they'd learn more than any acting class could ever provide!!! It's a romantic language in and of itself!

There are so many of those that wish to be a friend to those who are deaf, and/or have a sincere interest in Signing, but they haven't been personally acquainted with one who's deaf and/or are too 'shy' to go to a Center for the Deaf, etc. Your Newsletter brings that much needed connection together. The references that you provide are easily attainable, and the books that you recommend are extremely comprehensible... especially to us 'Novices'.

(Thanks, Judy, for those kind words)

FROM PAM LANG 5 Feb 1997
" I've signed up for a "Sign Language" class - AUSLAN - at my local TAFE College - it consists of two 10 week terms and then I'll take it from there and see what direction to head - I start tonight 6.30pm - 8.00pm - When I enrolled there were eight others - so at least it's a goer (they don't get a big response)"

(Pam lives in Australia. AUSLAN is Australian Sign Language)

(I should tell you that Mary is famous for her Lemon cake)
After I had been going to the Sign Language Stage 1 class for about two months, Sue asked me if we (Jayne and myself) would like to go to the Autumn Bazaar to be held at the Deaf Church. We did go (taking a lemon cake - what else?) and met some very nice people. So, I looked forward to my next visit to the Deaf Club. This was the Christmas Party, which brought together many of the Sign Language students from various classes in Birmingham. Naturally, when I set off to catch my bus it was pouring with rain, so I arrived in my usual wet state. I have lost count of the number of times I have gone to parties and arrived sopping wet. Fortunately I had a lift home.

The next Deaf Church activity was Christmas lunch at Stapeley Water Gardens. Since it took place about a month after Christmas we had all recovered from the Christmas excess. It was a most enjoyable lunch and afternoon looking around the Garden Centre, the tropical garden area and also the beautiful fish.

I now go to the church and the club every two weeks or so, and have made many friends within the Deaf community, and have been on several lovely Church trips, such as a trip to the Derbyshire Peak District to see the Well Dressings, and to visit Chesterfield and the Crooked Spire and Eyam, the Plague village, and a trip to Llandudno. We have been to Manchester Central Hall for an afternoon of hymns and bible stories in signing and mime by deaf choirs and performers from all over the country, and another at Westminster Hall. A visit in 1996 to Lincoln Cathedral to commemorate 100 years of the Deaf Church was especially memorable.

Thanks to Mary for her 'travelogue' - Join the Deaf Church and see the world! ;-)

These two bits of news about Terrylene came to me FROM DARLENE SULLIVAN (International Information research). I have the complete article from the Hollywood Times if anyone would like a copy:

TERRYLENE, whose last name is Sachette, is president of the Deaf Arts Council. As spokesperson for that group, Terrylene joined the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in protesting the casting of a hearing actress for the role of a deaf girl in "Breaking Free," a telefilm for ABC based on a true story. The project hasn't started shooting. The film's producers say ABC (who controls the film insisted they wanted a known lead actress without a hearing problem and based their reasoning on tv movies being star driven and without a star, there's no movie. The producers offered the role to a well known deaf actress who turned it down and, after checking with SAG, they cast a known hearing actress. They then started receiving objecting letters. Included in her strongly worded statement, was Terrylene's suggestion that casting hearing actors in deaf parts - without deaf actors having opportunity to audition - may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and other equal employment laws; "The Hollywood Reporter" 6/10/96.

Media Access Awards presented Terrylene the first Christopher Reeve Scholarship for a Professional Performer with a Disability; "Daily Variety" 10/30/96.

I will leave you with a piece of my own about SILENCE AND DARKNESS.
The first time I interpreted for Carole, who is deaf and blind, I hadn't a clue what to say to her! I had no difficulty as far as the church service was concerned and I had a précis of the readings in front of me to give me enough time to spell everything onto her hand. It was *conversation* I couldn't find. What could I say to someone who cannot see the beauty of nature nor hear the wonder of music? My whole being just screamed PITY but I knew this was wrong.
I made a start, "Hello, my name is Sue. Can you understand me?"
Carole has Usher Syndrome and lost her sight after she became deaf so she is able to use sign language. She turned to me and with a broad smile she signed "Yes, fine... I had my hair cut yesterday. Do you like it?"
"Yes," I said... "Would you like a sweet?" I really wanted to hug her!
Carole is just a person... she cannot see and she cannot hear but she feels everything just as I do. She has the same concerns as anyone else. Over the weeks, interpreting for Carole, there is *nothing* that we don't chat about:- Pat's had her hair permed - Danny played a bad note during the hymn - Father Gerry forgot the microphone for the hearing-aid users - and we laugh too, especially when I get my fingers tied in knots and spell 'sin' instead of 'son'!

Bye for now. Be Well and keep those hands busy!

Ps. I am currently trying to set up a web page for Laura's Cavern. It will be located at / There's nothing there yet but I hope it will be done by the end of June.

UPDATE... The web page is up and running!!

Date September 1997

BUT FIRST - Welcome to new members: those who joined at Reflections:- Celicia Gilbert in Texas; Gloria Jones in Nebraska; Cecilia Pitts in California, Cheryl Pfeifer in Utah and Pam Williams in Indianna. Several new members joined through e-mail before and after the con and I'd like to welcome them too. A full list of members is on the web page and a hard copy is available from me on request. As always, there is no charge for the newsletter and if you receive it through e-mail it is completely free. If you receive your newsletter as hard copy, please let me have a couple of postage stamps (in UK) or IRCs or $1 to help cover the cost of sending it to you. Thanks! I'd like to thank my USA Liaison Kathy Carrasco for her help in getting the 'hard copy' newsletter out to you as quickly and economically as possible. Thanks again Kathy!

CONGRATULATIONS to Catherine Mitchell who succeeded in passing her Level One examination in British Sign Language (BSL). GOOD LUCK to anyone embarking on a course and please let me know how you get on. Pam Lang has been very quiet so I don't know how her course went in Australian Sign Language (AusLan). Hey!! Pam!! Check in now and then please!! Chris (Haley) began a Level One course this week! Good on ya!

REFLECTIONS - Minneapolis, July '97

When I had just about recovered, I wondered *when* I found time to take EIGHT rolls of film??? The photos have turned out very well and there is a selection on my website for Laura's Cavern (and on Myhr's pages)
This is not a full con report... just a few observations.

Fans of the entire series were a little disappointed that third season was not represented in the beautiful NovTek video at Opening Ceremony, but Laura appeared twice in the sequence. The hotel was good - or would have been if they could have replaced the musty carpets in the elevators! But although the food was great, the service was desperately slow. We decided that the State motto must be: in a slo-o-ow voice ''Oh! Did you want that TODAY??''

In case it's not been said, Ren Woods is bad value as a guest. I can't get out of my head the line Edie says to Catherine in the Pilot (from memory) ''I know your kind... You swing by here, shed a few tears for humanity, then you go SHOPPING!'' I have never been so disappointed in meeting someone - she had no idea what a B&B con was about - charged an extra 5 dollars to add her autograph to B/W photos and spent hardly any time at the con itself. No Q&A. She made an ''entrance'' whenever she could and an exit pretty soon afterwards. The other guests worked really hard and gave value but she was hardly ever around! Eric Wise was an absolute treasure! Jamie's antics whilst Eric dressed him in the Charles costume at the Charity Auction were hilarious!!

The tribute to Sara Conklin was breath-bereaving - but the Rat-Catcher costume - you gotta see it up close. The buttons are hand made from wood and... and... I can't tell you... you GOTTA see it. Linda Moore told me Sara added a little something to it every year. I wore one item LESS each time I did 'Trick or Treat' (aka 'the towels') I've done that costume three times now and it will NEVER be done again because... I could not wear LESS and still be in costume... unless I omitted the crystal. I also managed to use some actual dialogue from Masques on stage. I wished I had a camera to get a shot of Myhr's face when I said ''Don't you look wonderful! Did your mother make that?'' (I couldn't have taken a shot anyway because I had to hold on to the towel!!!) Then, after giving him ''Kit-Kats'' and ''Murray Mints'' I said ''I'll be ready in fifteen minutes'' Last year I just wanted to get off the stage as soon as possible - this year I was rehearsed!!

We were treated to some beautiful new artwork from Laura's Cavern members Jamie Murray and Kevin Barnes.

From Jamie:

Study of Jay - an excellent portrait of Jay Acovone
Afterglow - Vincent & Catherine laying together
Study of Vincent - Superb study of Vincent
Study of Catherine - completes the set!
These can all now be seen on Jamie's web page.

From Kevin:

Tale As Old As Time -
A beautiful black and white oil painting of Vincent and Catherine set as in the Cocteau film La Belle et la Bete. (back cover of conzine)

A 'still life' oil painting of Vincent's chamber including a framed photograph of Vincent and Catherine. (front cover of conzine)

These two can be seen on the Laura's Cavern web page and I am trying to get a copy of the portrait of Jo Anderson so that I can add that to the page.

At the Closing Ceremony a light was passed to the organisers of each of the next three conventions planned - Manchester (Amber), Virginia Beach (Dreamseekers) and the Las Vegas group.

I discovered how to get very fast service in Minesota - Collapse in an airport check-in line! I did it SO gracefully - you would have been proud! In less than a minute there was water, a doctor, a policeman (named Peterson - yea! 'fraid I did!!), two American Airways personnel and two paramedics. I told them (when I came to what I am pleased to call my senses) that it was the best service we'd had anywhere in the whole two weeks. Everyone asked me medical stuff but when I answered they walked to fetch someone else and I had to go through it all again! It was getting to sound like ''Are you now or have you ever been...?'' I finally convinced them that I had dehydration coupled with sleep deprivation and signed the ''refusal'' for the ambulance - that guy was cute - he said ''If you change your mind we'll come straight back.'' Chris and I were signing to each other as he continued to stand in line. As they wheeled me away to the gate (and checked Chris through at priority speed - ie TODAY) I was shouting ''Where is my hat - that hat cost 70 pounds!''

Delays at O'Hare meant we got an extra 30 minutes to spend with Melissa and did we party!! - we gave her the con right there at Gate 19 - we apologised ahead of time to the people sitting nearby and told them we would not be offended if they moved but we only had 60 (we thought) minutes with this lady and planned to make the most of it. The journey home pretty much stunk but I was rewarded (?) with a *spectacular* sunrise over the mid Atlantic *and* I still had film in my camera!

A few images which stuck with me from the weekend...

Begging for food in the restaurant when the pizza party food all turned up with peppers on (I am allergic to them) I 'gathered' a handsome meal from the diners who had more than they could eat! Thanks guys!

The look on Linda Moore's face when Jamie owned up that he was kidding her on (and she had fallen for it!) Ask her about the Minesota Fly Wranglers!! (see Myrth page)

Very early on Monday morning, unable to sleep, I walked around the outside of the hotel. There were lots of tiny silver moths on the pathway which I didn't see at first, but as I approached they all fluttered up until I had passed. It was like magic!

In the Cyber Panel, Amber was sitting across the room from me and right under an air vent. She could hear everybody except Aurea, who was sitting right beside me so... I relayed everything she said to Amber in Sign Language. There was someone the other side of the room, who I was unable to hear so... when she spoke, Amber relayed what she said to me! We enjoyed that, didn't we Amber?

See you in Virginia Beach!

A MOMENT IN TIME - Manchester, England, August '97
The con in Manchester was brilliant - I had THREE jobs to do as well as enjoy myself;
1) I was official photographer [take photos, get photos developed in an hour, put photos on display so people can order, get orders processed and distribute same] [Yes! I AM mad, and I have a certificate to prove it!] Even with the enormous help I got from Pat Paone this year it was still a gruelling task and I shall in future allow people to take their own %*&$£* photographs!!
2) Sign language presentations at the opening ceremony and on Saturday evening plus a sign language workshop on Sunday afternoon. The song at opening ceremony was ''Keeping The Dream Alive'' by Frei Heit and was very well received. Sat evening Zoe & I signed ''Listen To Me'' by The Hollies and dedicated the other song ''Simply The Best'' to Jamie/Myhr. This was also well received! The workshop on Sunday afternoon was a sombre affair... it was soooooo hot and we were all sooooo tired but you can't win 'em all!
3) Running Jamie's dealer table - always a pleasure!

When Jamie arrived on Friday the airline had lost his artwork carrier!! Fortunately it arrived on Saturday afternoon but it's absence did rather spoil things until then. The only original piece in there was the pen & ink I bought in Mnpls and asked him to bring over as it was too big for my suitcase, so it wouldn't have been too bad if it didn't turn up except... there was money in there too.

The other guest was Christopher Toyne, now a producer but he was responsible for all the sound editing on the first season (and I think part of the second) He has worked on many other shows and it was very interesting talking to him both at the Q&A sessions and one-to-one. We learned about how the layers of sound are blended together to produce the overall soundtrack that we hear; the pipes Below, the traffic Above and the dialogue. He was very approachable and charming and all evidence suggests that *he* had a good time too!

The weather ALL weekend was HOT! Even when it was tipping down with rain it was so hot you could hardly breathe. Jamie REALLY suffered in catface! My medication is very dehydrating and the last thing I needed was hot weather. It's worse here because (a) it is humid and (b) there is little or no air conditioning in hotels, stores etc. in England as there is in the States The AC in my room was pumping out hot air but I didn't discover this until Tuesday morning at 4am! After 3 cool baths to try to cool off and only one hour sleep (second night in a row) I was desperately tired and... well... numb.

Now, remember, I have been suffering from the heat, dehydration and lack of sleep (sound familiar at all?) On Sunday morning at breakfast, having slept only 4 hours Friday night and 4 hours Saturday night, I nodded off at the table. What did Chris do? Let me sleep? NO! He was 'worried' because I had passed out in Mnpls and so he *shook me* and said loudly ''Sue! Are you okay?'' (Bless him) THEN... that afternoon, when I was struggling to sort out the photos before it was time to give the workshop he said ''I should take a nap because I have to drive home tonight'' ''Okay'' I said ''Go up to the room and lie down'' But no, he decided to sit across the table from me and sleep RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME!!! Talk about rubbing salt into the wound!

Laura's Cavern member Joan Chiu brought a selection of her sculptures to the con! One of Vincent sitting on the edge of a bathtub wearing only a towel (it was real towelling too!) was donated to the charity auction. Another was an excellent figure of Myhr, which she presented (privately) to Jamie. I know that he was very impressed with her work and honoured by the gift.

Joan sent me a sculpture of Laura as she was leaving the Tunnels (hand behind her back making the sign ''I Love You'') but, unfortunately, there was no way I could get this to Manchester without risking breaking it :(

The convention ended with the Closing Ceremony in which the light was passed to someone who could bring it to the Convention in Virginia Beach next year... Yes, it was passed to me!

Several of us stayed on until Tuesday and we were able to relax on Monday and chat with Jamie, who left early on Tuesday morning. I have to say that one of my best memories from the weekend is the sound of Jamie laughing uncontrollably and with tears in his eyes. I can't even tell you what we were all laughing at!

Now... some contributions from Cavern members:-

''I had an interesting experience recently of attending the wedding of the interpreter who works with me for staff meetings and formal training classes for my deaf employee. I can get along okay in the day to day mode, but Lorrie is a great addition for Cindy and makes sure Cindy gets all the things that are going on. At the wedding about half the guests were deaf and since I didn't know any of the hearing folks except the bride, I sat with the deaf group. This was my first big social occasion where there was lots of signing. I was surprised at how much I could understand and that I could make conversation and how quick everyone was to repeat when I didn't understand.

I think everyone should be able to sign--I find myself signing to someone across the room when a voice can't be heard and then am surprised when they don't understand.


I am pleased to include this report FROM LISA HOWARD who saw Terrylene on stage in LA. There will be some information about this play on the website (when I get time to do it!!) ~ see under Terrylene's Triumph.

''Hi Friends!

This past weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the play ''Sweet Nothing In My Ear'' starring Terrylene (Laura in ''An Impossible Silence'' and ''Sticks and Stones''). Terrylene is looking fabulous these days, not a thing has changed about her since her guest starring role on Beauty and the Beast. (I did manage to slip a note to her to let her know that Beauty and the Beast fans were in attendance. You should have seen her face light up when she read the note!)

Playing at the Fountain Theater, located in the heart of Los Angeles not far from Hollywood Boulevard, the theater itself is a converted Spanish style home that has a faithful following. Holding only about 75-80 people per performance, ''Sweet Nothing'' has been sold out every night since its run began on June 12, 1997 and has been extended twice beyond its original final performance date of July 27. Since the theater is so small, there were no bad seats but I was l ucky enough to have a seats in the front row. The play was written by Steven Sachs, a co-founder of the Fountain Theater, and was one of the most powerful and passionate pieces of work that I have ever seen. It was beautifully performed in American Sign Language with voice interpretations for hearing members of the audience.

Terrylene plays Laura, a deaf woman, and Bob Kirsh plays Bob, her hearing husband. (I was so surprised to find that her character's name was Laura!) Laura is a teacher at a deaf institute and has been married to Bob for seven years. They have a son, Adam (played by Terrylene's real-life son Gianni [Gio] Manganelli) who was born with normal hearing abilities but whose hearing rapidly diminished so that by the age of six, he is totally deaf. Sign language is a normal part of this loving family. Laura's parents were born deaf and would have preferred their daughter marry a deaf man. They are very proud of their deafness. They view themselves as special, a separate ''culture'' and resent being thought of as disabled. Dan and Laura are more modern and function in the real world. Their strong love offsets any problems concerning the hearing issue differences.

Adam begins to accept the onset of deafness and decides not to speak or verbalize. He and his father have a common bond with computers and it is this new explosion of technology that introduces a dilemma that can shatter this very happy young family.

On a routine visit to the new doctor in town, it is suggested that the boy is a prime candidate for a cochlear implant which may restore limited hearing. Dan sees it as a miracle that can make his son ''normal''. Laura and her family feel that being deaf IS normal - for them. And why would they want to risk surgery to change Adam whose deafness is, as Laura's mother says, God's will? Laura's father is a deaf activist with bigoted views of the hearing world.

Dan and Laura must decide where they stand on the issue. There is no time to think about it or wait for more definitive medical treatments to be developed because as Adam grows older, the possibilities for the transplant diminish. The battle lines are drawn and emotions explode with disastrous results. Dan and Laura face, for the first time, what their ''differences'' really have meant to each other.

Terrylene's portrayal as Laura is completely believable as a mother fighting the man she adores to save their child from being taken into a different ''culture''. She gives a wonderful performance and the reviews have raved about her.

Little Gianni is just a doll and is a fine little actor in this, his debut performance, portraying an innocent child trying to accept changes in his little world that he can't understand. The scenes between mother and son just tore at my heart.

This play makes you think about issues most of us have never thought about before and makes you realize that there is no right thing to do in such a complex and heart wrenching situation.

I can honestly say that, although none of you could be there, I felt that I carried you all with me in spirit!

Faithfully yours... ;-) Lisa''

[Lisa very kindly sent me a *signed* playbill (plus 3 spares) and a poster and some other info about the play - Thank you so much Lisa for taking the trouble. I will be putting some of this on the web page soon]

''Thanks so much for the newsletter, addresses and warm welcome to ''Laura's Cavern''. I know this will be fun and interesting.

With your kind permission, I'm going to forward your information to my daughter and several of her hearing-impaired friends. I know they would also be interested as they are close to the subject. My daughter signs beautifully and quite proficiently -- American style, of course. And is thus able to communicate with two of her closest hearing-impaired friends. Both their names are Karen, by the way. One of the Karens has a husband and a little girl who are hearing impaired also. It's really awesome to see this two-year-old child using sign language, just as hearing children are learning to speak. I was quite impressed.

You mention in your letter that if you don't know a certain word, you can spell it out. I had to laugh a little, because if you don't sign the letters exactly right, you can come up with some really funny and embarrassing results. I have a friend at work whose daughter-in-law can't hear. When my friend was first learning to sign, she made a lot of mistakes spelling out words. Once when she and her daughter-in-law's family were out to dinner, my friend Shirley wanted to say, ''I'm hungry,'' but instead, spelled out, ''I'm horney.'' :) She never did live that down.

I forgot to mention to you at the night of the talent show, I really enjoyed your songs in sign language. It was one of the most expressive and graceful sights I have ever watched.

Yours in sign, Gloria (aka Goldie) Jones''

Thanks, Gloria [blush]

That's all for this issue - The next con is not until March so unless I'm inundated with contributions from members ;-) the next newsletter will probably be in April.

Be Well and keep those hands busy!


Date July 1998 (yes this really is the latest newsletter!!)

I should first apologise for the tardiness of this newsletter (as the content is hardly news coming so late!) I am job-hunting and as if that weren't enough of a strain we are also planning to move house. The extra time required to fill in all the various f orms and visit the offices of the people 'in authority' has left me very short of time and many of my friends are wondering if I have dropped off the face of the earth!

We have a new SPECIAL MEMBER: David Schwartz has joined Laura's Cavern. Welcome, David and thank you for your support. Laura's Cavern has been described as a 'Silent Cavern' in the past - This always was a misnomer with me and Amber as founder members but with David joining us, I think that clinches it! ;-)

We had a wonderful time in America in March. Although we were there for three weeks I have only included details of the con in this report. Anyone who would like a copy of my account of our visits to Sally Newman and The Chesapeake helpers, or Rhonda and Larry Collins in Texas, drop me a line.

Virginia Beach:

We were able to check straight into our room at the hotel (I had booked the rooms in August last year!) and we were on the 9th floor looking straight out onto the ocean. We saw the sun come up more than once - it was spectacular! We saw a few folk there and some down at the overflow hotel and then all the Chesapeake Helpers and a few others went off for our Pre-Con dinner.


Most of the con is a blur and I am, as usual, referring to my photo album to help me to remember it! :) It's always great to put a face to a name and there were a few e-mailers that I hadn't met, as well as brand new friends to make. I love going to cons!! The opening ceremony was a hoot - Jay had us in stitches telling us about his flight from Charlotte in a 'puddle-jumper'. Jay hates flying and especially when he can see out both windows. We also saw Margaret Beserra for the first time, who was later to tell us many stories from the hours she spent applying Ron Perlman's make-up.

The Sign Language workshop was quite well attended and everyone enjoyed learning the chorus to ''Because You Loved Me'' A few people, including one lady who had never signed before in her life, came on-stage and signed with me in the Talent Show! I also signed a song called ''Keeping The Dream Alive'' by Frei Heit, the chorus of which goes:

''The hopes we had were much too high,
Way out of reach but we have to try.
No need to hide, no need to run,
'Cos all the answers come one by one.
The game will never be over
Because we're keeping the dream alive''

Extremely appropriate to our fandom don't you think?

There were many excellent costumes on Friday night, including for the first (and last) time, Myhr dressed as a Samurai Warrior. Also present were Vincent (Stu Shef), Vincent's daughter (Kathleen Smith), Paracelsus (Renee Long) in *two* masks!, Canus Erectus (Lisa Gould) a glutton for punishment it seems - clad head to toe in fur!!, an extremely provocative 'Tunnel Tart' (Jackie Hunt), Mulder and Scully with alien-in-jar (Philip & Julie Smith), The Maxwell House Girls (Karen Quattlebaum, Judy Lloyd & Maranda Hull), Phantom of the Opera (Ron Stricklin) & Christine, and my personal favourite: Cruella DeVille (Janet Carper) leaving no stone unturned in her search for puppies.

Vincent's Chamber, lovingly recreated by Liz & Sally Perkins, was a popular place for photographs to be taken. There were pipe messages tapping away all weekend too! With the many other decorations, this made for a real Tunnels atmosphere. Another popular gathering place was the hotel bar and much catching up was done there.

The Q&A session on Saturday was very interesting by having Margaret Beserra there. David and Jay bounced stories off each other as usual and then Margaret put them straight as to what *actually* happened :) in relation to Ron's make-up regime. I missed some of the Q&A session as I was on duty in the dealers room but what I did see was very entertaining.

Jamie's Artist's Panel was enlightening as he showed the stages of development of a painting and brought photos and actual sketches of several of his works, including The B Files! The sketches, by the way, look like finished works in their own right - there is so much detail in them! I expected outlines and block shading just to indicate where things went but these were real works of art. You could auction them too, Jamie.

After an enjoyable banquet buffet came the Awards:
1. Black and White by Kevin Barnes for ''As She Fills His Dream''
2. Color - Jamie Murray for ''Afterglow''
3. Fabric - Karen Quattlebaun for ''The Tale Continues'' Denim Jacket
4. Three Dimensional - Dianne Russell for ''Crystal and Glass Box''
5. Best in Show by popular vote - Jamie Murray for ''She Calls''
The winners each received a handsome plaque to commemorate their achievements.
There was also a Special Award made to David Schwartz by The Dreamseekers to mark fandom's gratitude for all his love and support over the years. It was a touching tribute and for a moment, only for a moment mind you, David was lost for words!

The Charity Auction raised a goodly sum, especially considering there were only around 125 attendees. The art auction was *special* for personal reasons which I won't bore you with here.

The post-con dinner with the Chesapeake Helpers was great. It was an Italian Restaurant and Janet played a *wonderful* prank on Jackie :) Apparently there have been occasions when Jackie has told CHSBB members off for breaking the spaghetti before they cook it. This, an Italian would NEVER do! So as we are sitting waiting to order the Restaurant owner comes down the room with a big pan in one hand and a fistful of spaghetti in the other. He puts the pan down on the table right behind Jackie saying as he does so ''I justa gotta getta the spaghetti ready!'' whereupon he breaks the spaghetti in two and drops it into the pan. I was right next to Jackie and I gotta tell you, her face was an absolute picture!! We roared laughing but Jackie was nearly in apoplexy!! The owner promised afterward that he would NOT cook that spaghetti but would throw it away.

Later Mitzi (Anderson) put ''Because You Loved Me'' on the juke box and demanded that I stand up and sign it. Never needing to be asked twice :) I was on my feet and so was Chris at the other end of the table. We signed together and at the table in the next alcove a group of teenagers stopped talking and watched too. It was a very special moment... Thank you Mitzi!

We rounded off our visit with breakfast at The Pocha Hontis across the street from the hotel - pancakes, French toast, coffee and company - WONDERFUL!

Images from Beauty At The Beach are on view at:


and /album8.htm


(NB - the English pounds sign does not travel through hyperspace so prices are quoted in their dollar equivalent)

It was a small convention (40 attendees) with no invited guests (to keep the costs down) but it was like a real family party!

Registration for the con was only around =$30 and the room rate was =$75 for a double room - which ain't bad here for a city centre hotel - admittedly it was downmarket but it made for a better Tunnels atmosphere. The food was excellent and good value. We arrived around 8am Saturday morning and had a full English breakfast for =$7.50 and those who only had toast and coffee were not charged at all!! The staff were brilliant - nothing was too much trouble. The lift was not slow :) There was excellent food in the buffet both Saturday and Sunday evenings and disco music to dance to both nights. We are going back to the same hotel next year!

The Sign Language panel went well - mainly 'cos the emphasis is on enjoying yourself rather than *learning* and everyone seems to like the little booklet that they get to keep too. In the evening, one lady (her first con) got up and signed with us and she missed the panel... How about that?
Anne (Maxwell) & I won the hotel-based treasure hunt! Chris and Ginette (Prince) came second. Garnet Cavern (of which I am a member) had raised some money during the year, not much, but it was enough to provide tea & coffee for everyone throughout the weekend. Myhrlin put in an appearance at the disco and brought a message from Uncle Myhr. The Charity auction raised over =$600 - remember there were only 40 people there and only about 20 came to the auction! The Charity money goes to the Salvation Army. Played parlour games Sunday afternoon - it was a hoot!! :-D

We drove home very late Sunday night. We took it in turns to drive as we were both *very* tired. Great con - only 40 attendees but Boy, did we party!!

Images from A Moment In Time 1998 are on view at:



From Denice Morgan - 12 Nov 97

I do know a little ASL. I grew up with a wonderful lady who taught me some ASL because she was deaf and her parents forced her to wear hearing aids and talk. When her and I would get together we were always signing around her parents and her mother would say stop whispering behind my back. So her and I would stand in front of her mother and sign right in front of her face. *hee hee* It was fun. Unfortunately my dear friend passed away. (her folks had her put in an instution after they died and she didn't want to be there. So she committed suicide.)

Also, I used ASL when I was in High School. I was a tutor for the Developementally Delayed and some of them couldn't be understood. So against the teacher's wishes they learned the basic signs that they would need. Mostly we would end up finger spelling everything. At times we wondered what the our friend was trying to get at by saying ''the cow drinking out of the toilet'' *hee hee* Later I found out that she was telling us that another student was doing it *ewwwwww*!

I'm sorry I'm yammering.

Take care and thankyou again,

Denice Morgan


From Melissa Prideaux - 8 January 1998

Just wanted to let you know that I'm taking a ''poor man's version'' of a sign language class through our local park district. Depending on how miserably I mess this up, I may even pursue my dream and go after some college-level courses.

I just wish I had someone to practice with. My kids aren't interested, and I have to admit I look a wee bit silly signing to myself in the car!!!

Melissa Prideaux


From Rose O'Thorns - 10 June 1998

Greetings and salutations from America! I thought I'd take a moment (while I have one) to write you back:

1. My friend Luna and I had a great experience this past April. We had decided to see ''Jesus Christ Superstar'' at the Byham Theatre in Pittsburgh. When we arrived, Luna asked why we were sitting with so many people signing. I didn't know. I just bought tickets like anyone else.
Well, it turns out this particular performance was to be interpreted in ASL! I learned that an interpretor can make or break a performance. The one lady just didn't get into it at all. However, the other--wow--she WAS the performance. She interpreted not only words, but layers of emotion as well. I often listen to music and wonder how it may be signed. It brushes up my vocabulary skills. I was wondering how ''superstar'' could ever be signed. How right that it was signed as ''success''+''wonderful''. I encourage anyone and everyone to see a performance in musical theatre signed. It is a beauty inspired by God Himself.

2. Yes, I finally did it. I signed in public. More specifically, I signed ''The Message'' by 4Him at church. Okay, so there are no deaf members in our congregation and it was at a Sunday night service. But, what a reception! I love to sing, but God never granted me a voice others would flock to (perhaps flee from). It was wonderful that I could express my love of the Lord through a language more perfected at displaying emotion. I can't wait to find another song to learn.

Well, that's all for the newsletter. I wanted to tell you I finally read your story. It was fabulous! It really explored the emotions both sets of characters had toward the possibility of having children. I hope to read more some day.

Talk to you later.
Vampie Kisses and Absinthe Dreams--
Rose O'Thorns


Other snippets:
1) I am pleased to report that the sign singing group that I belong to; Music In Motion, has been granted Charitable status!
2) Chris took his Stage I sign language exam last week so we are eagerly awaiting the result.
3) I re-take my Stage III exam next month - prayers, white light, any influence whatever will be very welcome! ;-)

Finally - I will have to take a lot of people off the land mailing list if I don't hear from them. I don't mind paying the postage for newsletters if I know that you are interested and happy to receive them. What I don't want is for you to feel that you are being 'pestered' with a newsletter that you don't want but you haven't told me to stop sending it. Please drop me a line to let me know that you still want to receive the newsletter, sporadic though it is! If I don't hear from you, I'll have to assume you are no longer interested. E-mail recipients... please let me know that you still wish to receive the newsletter. I can't do a mailing list at the moment so I have to send each one separately!!!

Be Well & keep those hands busy!