Well, summer time is here, and I’m off until mid-August. I enjoy not working and still getting a paycheck (even though that’s not quite true since I do have curricula to write/update, professional development books to read, a few meetings to attend, et cetera, but you get the idea). The wife decided that my son Giant Boy and I needed to reorganize the library. Over at my Facebook page, there’re a few pictures of the progress. (Feel free to like me while you’re there.)
During the stacking, hauling, and sorting, I came across the map shown in the picture to the above right. (Click to embiggen if that’s what you’re into.) Years ago, somewhere around the 6th-7th grade (around 35 years ago), my friend Fred and I found this map in a desk at school along with a raggedy copy of the OD&D blue book. I have no idea where the blue book went, but I still have the map, which I refound during the library project.
Fred and I started gaming shortly thereafter. We lured a number of friends into gaming as well. If nothing else, it kept us from the running streets (well, not kept from entirely, but moreso than otherwise). Those gaming buddies — Little Greg, Big Greg, Other Mark, Ben, Dan, Fred’s father Big Fred, et cetera — are pretty much all gone now. Big Fred was killed by speeding city truck in the late 80s. Little Greg, Big Greg, and Ben seem to have just dropped off the face of the earth. Dan lives out of town and can’t travel, but I’m not sure why that keeps me from driving up to visit him. I think Other Mark lives in Austin, Texas. Fred died suddenly of an aneurysm several years ago.
It’s that last loss that weighs most heavily. Fred was my brother, and his mom (also deceased a short time after Fred) was my other mother. There’s not a day goes by I don’t wish he were still with us. Reorganizing the library was a bittersweet job. Nearly every gamebook, every character sheet, every folder has some connection to Fred.
The reorganization is mostly done. I ended up tossing a lot of paper: old notes about adventures, old characters sheets that I’ll never use again, photocopies of player handouts, et cetera. Along the way, I found some forgotten treasures, like the map in this blogpost.
It’s fitting, in a way. Most gaming involves getting the treasure. More gold, better armor, a sword with one more plus, and so forth. Those imaginary treasures aren’t quite metaphors, but, then again, maybe they are. There’re memories attached to those tabletop adventures and, as age increases, those memories gradually become most of what we have left of old friends and old times.