I would like to share a couple of personal notes that will not be a part of the article.
As has been my belief since my first one (the seventh edition), the History Conference is the only magic event that I feel the need to attend. If I go to no other event, I would be perfectly happy with just this one that happens every other year.
Besides the joy of seeing old friends and making new ones, this year had a special touch in that there where many newand youngfaces. One, who Ive known for about ten years, was especially fun to watch. I had the opportunity to introduce him to folks that hed only read about. I got a real kick out of seeing these fresh faces walking about in a state of awe and wonderment. It made me think of how I must have looked at my first event, and it reminded me that I still have that same feeling every time the conference starts.
Attending the conference reminds me of how generous many of these folks truly are (these snobs as someone has intimated). The young man I alluded to abovea student of the work of Dai Vernonwas given, without solicitation, several Vernon pieces by a couple of these wonderful people simply because they found out where his interests lay. I was given a Johnny Carson piece, two books, and I also received a valuable lesson in a technique Id never known. Furthermore, I had many conversations with people where stories, facts, and factoids where shared. These, of course, only add to my knowledge base. I have absolutely no doubt that my young friends and my stories are not unique; I suspect there is a lot of this going on. So not only are these people generous with their propertysomething that can be quantifiedthey are also generous with their time and knowledge. You cannot put a price on that.
And, of course, the organizerswho do this because they love to do it (because they sure as hell arent making any money on it)are unbelievably generous. They dont have to put on this event. But they want to do it and those of us lucky enoughand thats what it is; being lucky enoughto be on the invitee list give them an excuse to spend the enormous amounts of time, energy, and money that they do to do it.
I cannot thank Jim Steinmeyer, Frankie Glass, Mike Caveney, John Gaughan, Joan Lawton, and their amazing all volunteer staff enough for including me.