Its been nearly ten years.

As I write this in July 2012 it is quickly approaching ten years since I hosted a Series Book Convention
in Charlottesville Virginia. It was October 11-13 of 2002 and the Washington D.C. Area sniper(s) were at
the zenith of their depravity driven fame.

Below is the convention report I wrote in its immediate aftermath and a few pictures to remind
everyone of how much fun we had and how much younger we all looked. mj

Years of thought and 18 months of planning went into the Series Book Convention in Charlottesville
Virginia, and it was worth every bit of my energy. I throughly enjoyed the weekend, met some terrific
people, renewed some old friendships, and got to see thousands of series books.

The convention really started for me Thursday night when my wife Estelle and I were the dinner guests
of Tom Davis and Christine Gillespie. It was almost an out of body experience for me to sit across the
table from Tom and listen to him talk about his years of collecting. The people he has known and the
books he has owned. It was quite an evening and one Estelle and I enjoyed very much.

Friday afternoon I discovered that things were not going to unfold as I thought they would. I figured
most people would get into Charlottesville around 5 or 6. Wrong.  By 3:00, the place was crawling with
dealers and I was buzzing around trying to get the sales tables arranged and just so.

Happily I had Mike Temares to lend a hand and we managed to squeeze in everyone.

By 4:00 the place was a hive. People were pouring through the doors with boxes of books and related
equipment. Everyone was milling around looking into everyone elses boxes, and deals were being
made left and right.

By 7:00 everything was pretty much in place though a couple of folks had not yet made it due to travel
problems.

By about 9:30 or so the sandwich plate was in ruins and everybody was winding down from the
afternoon and evening high of having so much fun. Since everyone was already set up it was obvious
that there was no need to open up shop at 7:00 the next morning as I had planned. This decision was
greeted with applause and we closed the doors on Day 1.

Saturday morning saw activity pick up again as there were programs pretty much nonstop from 10:30
through 5:00. Attendence by the public was steady though not in the numbers I would have liked to
have seen. The local newspaper sent a reporter and a photographer to check out the show.

Saturday evening over 50 of us had dinner in a private room at a local restaurant. This was a great time
for me. Just glancing around the room and seeing so many series book people was exciting. Hearing
snippets of conversation from every direction about this hobby of ours was invigorating for me.

After dinner we headed back to the motel and many of us attended a forum hosted by Jenn Fisher in
memory of Millie Benson. This was a fairly intense and emotional gathering and lead to some spirited
exchanges regarding Millie and her rightful place in the Nancy Drew Pantheon.

After the conversation died down and most people went off to sleep, a Nancy Drew movie was popped
in the VCR and a FEW of us watched Nancy catch the bad guys. I think there were only six of us who
made it to the end. The only female of the group was Estelle and I think she went to sleep mid-way
through. So five guys sat in the wee hours watching the silver flickers from 70 years or so ago. Day 2
ended with bleary eyes.

Sunday morning we gathered for donuts and bagels (Estelle was right: The bagels went first!) and the
final day of Charlottesville 2002.

Several more programs were on tap for Sunday and they were well attended. Also the attendence in
the sales room saw a boost thanks to the fine article across the front page of the B section in that
morning's newspaper.

By 2:00 most of the activity was over as dealers loaded up and prepared to head back to the "real"
world.

Estelle and I, along with Jenn Fisher, John Axe, Jim Ogden, Frank Kreiger, Neil Morrison and Megan
Fleming, put the final touch on an outstanding weekend by having lunch at ChiChi's and exchanging
some fantastic gossip and tale telling.

Now some pictures which I hope will convey the sense of fun and camaraderie that was present this
past October in Charlottesville.
SERIES BOOK CONVENTION
Charlottesville Virginia
October 11-13 2002
Jim Ogden (l), Megan
Fleming, and Neil Morrison.

Photo by Tom Davis
Christine Gillespie.

Photo by Tom Davis
Bennie Nelson and family.

Photo by Tom Davis
Jeff Looney traveled to
Charlottesville all the way
from.... Charlottesville. In the
background, Steve Giterman
and John Axe (r) who each
drove a lot farther.

Photo by Tom Davis
Jim Hubbard. To the right of Jim
in the background, Steve Bolter,
and Jim and Charlotte Towey.

Photo by Tom Davis
Charlotte and Jim Towey.
Jim continues to do fine work
in researching the careers and
preserving the legacy of the
authors of the Ken Holt series.

Photo by Tom Davis
Hardy Boy's expert
Bob Finnan.

Photo by Tom Davis
My good buddy Jack
Santore and his better half.

Photo by Tom Davis
The first people who
reserved space were
Lee and Mike Temares.
Lee was invaluable in helping
me fine tune the details and
Mike likewise in helping
me get the tables set up.

Photo by Tom Davis
Megan Fleming and Neil Morrison in
front of their awesome Tom Swift display.
Lou Haggis checks out the deals.
John Axe and Steve Giterman do some bartering
Meredith Jaffe      Photos by Tom Davis
Jon Cooper, David Baumann and Mike Dodd.
The authors of the Starman Series.
That's me in front of the sign and between Jon and David.

Photo by Steve Servello
Saturday night dinner with roughly 50 series book lovers.
Good food and great company. A most memorable evening.

Photos by Estelle Johnson
And now a 2012 Post Script.

The hotel where this convention was held was demolished several years later and the restaurant
pictured above went out of business. I don't think its our fault however!

I have more pictures and in due time will add some more of them. I feel a duty to series book history to
get this done.

I still get asked periodically whether I will do this again. My best answer is Maybe. If I do it will be with a
long lead time so I can gauge interest and plan it well and give folks time to get it on their calendar.

I want to re-thank everyone who made that weekend in October 10 years ago a great experience for
Estelle and I.

Stay tuned!
Copyright 2002-2014 R. Mark Johnson