My love of the Middle Ages began when I was a Sophomore in high school (way back in 1981).My teacher, Mr. Peckler, had us read “Le Morte d’Arthur” in Middle English. At first, it was like reading a foreign language; I could not get the hang of it. And then something clicked, and I breezed through it. It was this book that hooked me on all things Arthurian and the Middle Ages. I read every book I could get my hands on and a couple years later, I found a magazine in the school library called “Avalon to Camelot.” Enthralled, I read it cover to cover.
In the magazine, I saw a small ad for something called the Society for Creative Anachronism. The ad was intriguing, and I knew I needed to check it out. However, at the time, I was living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California and had no way of contacting anyone. So, I tucked the name of the group in the back of my mind and focused on school and everything that entailed. For me, that meant being in band, hanging out with my best friend, and reading science fiction/fantasy books, as well as every Arthurian book I still could find. Luckily, my mother fostered my geekiness and did not make me feel self-conscience.
I had written papers on King Arthur throughout high school and college, both for academic purposes and for no reason, other than my personal enjoyment. Computers were a wonderful invention. Even though I did not have one of my own in high school or college, I did whatever research I could when I had the opportunity to have access to one. One might say I had a slight obsession. I had lost count of the times I rented “Excaliber” on Beta and VHS. Every medieval movie that came out in the theater, I rented as soon as it was available on tape.
Fast forward to 1998. I’ve moved to western New York. By this time, my book collection had grown. I had many more books on King Arthur, as well as sci-fi/fantasy. I had been to the Stirling Renaissance Festival for a few years beforehand, but always felt out of place wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I rented a costume two years in a row and decided it was time to make my own. In 1998, I went tothe Ren Fest in my very own costume. I was stopped by two women who were also in costume. They complimented me on my clothing and asked me if I belonged to the Society for Creative Anachronism. I was shocked, to say the very least. There was the group from my childhood, and these women thoughtI belonged!! I was so excited, I was practically vibrating. I talked to them at length. They told me I lived in the Kingdom of AEthelmearc, in the Barony of Thescorre. I tucked that information into my memory and moved on with my life.
In the early fall of 2000, my then-husband and I got a home computer, and I found information on the SCA and Thescorre. I contacted the Chatelaine and attended my first social meeting in October. It was a fashion show, and I wore the costume I wore to the Ren Fest two years prior. Who knew that satin, taffeta, and paisley weren’t period? I learned a LOT that first meeting about the SCA. It wasn’t the fantasy re-enactment group I thought it was going to be. It was historical re-enactment. Perfect!I attended my first event on my birthday in 2001 – College of Three Ravens. I didn’t know anyone, what to do or what to expect, so when I got to the Tollner table, I explained that I was brand new and asked what I could do to help. I was directed to the kitchen, where Sadira was cooking a feast. I has always volunteered in the kitchen at my son’s Scouting events, so I figured I could be of some use. I was touched that Sadira gave me a tiny silk rose for helping. I have it to this day.
Since that first event, I’ve helped in numerous kitchens prepping food, washing dishes, cooking lunch, and being head feast cook a couple of times. After having a devastating knee injury in 2008, I had to stop being head cook for lunches and feasts. However, I still can do prep cooking before feasts and can help prep cook on the day of feasts for short periods of time. I also bake desserts for events.
I’ve found that the SCA has so much to offer for people of all abilities. I used to dance period dances, but now I watch and admire the dancers at Pennsic. I am a drummer in Raven Raqs Beledi, Thescorre’s Middle Eastern dance and drum troupe. I love to throw axes and knives and find it to be very therapeutic. I’ve sat at numerous Tollner tables, happily registering people for events at Thescorre and out-of-town events. Two tasks I found I can do are to be reservation clerk and head tollner. I’ve found they go hand-and-hand.
For the past two Pennsics, I have been Co-Coordinator of AEthelmearc Hospitality. The Hospitality tents are set up in the AEthelmearc Royal encampment. We are a place for people to come in out of the weather, be it rain or hot sun. We offer cool drinks and a place to charge small electronics.We have quite a bit of seating and large electronic fans. We answer questions about different activities and meetings that are happening in our Kingdom at Pennsic.
Over the years, I’ve held various offices. I was the Baronial Arts and Sciences officer for a term of two years and then became the Baronial Chatelaine. I held that office for two consecutive terms, each term being two years. When the person who held the office after me was no longer able to hold the office after a short period of time, I stepped up and finished their term. I am now on my second term of being a Kingdom deputy Chatelaine for the central region of New York.
Currently, I am the 9th Baroness of Thescorre. It is my proud duty to represent Thescorre and be a liaison between the populace and the Crown. Myself and Eldjarn the Thoughtful were invested as Baroness and Baron at Pax Interruptus on July 7, 2018. So far, I am loving the job and will continue to strive to do my very best for Thescorre.
In my everyday life, I’m not quite as busy. I was a social worker for many, many years but retired on June 30, 2016 due to health-related issues. I cook most every meal, as my food allergies do not allow me to eat out very often. I bake as often as I possibly can. I’m known for making desserts, especially different varieties of cheesecakes and pound cakes. When not in the kitchen, I can be found with a book in my hand, as I am an avid reader. I love archaeological thrillers and adore authors such as James Rollins, Boyd Morrison, Chris Kuzneski, and Rick Jones. I am very active in a Facebook book club, where I’ve met several of my favorite authors and can call them friends.
I also love board games and play them as often as possible. I stink at strategy games, but love to play them nonetheless. I love movies, especially musicals and sci-fi/fantasy. However, I am not a fan of war, violent, and horror movies. I adore most genres of music, except for rap, hip hop, country, and gospel. Most of my CD’s are Celtic and show tunes. I also have a very strong affinity for David Cassidy and am not afraid to admit it.
Strangely enough, for a SCAdian, I’m not a fan of super hero anything (including comic books and/or movies). Nor do I watch Doctor Who. I much prefer Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and Games of Thrones.
I love all animals and have a Snowshoe Siamese kitty named Cleo(patra). I adore her to pieces, but she prefers Baron Eldjarn over me. We are fostering a black kitty named Shado, who also prefers His Excellency. Bats are my spirit animal. I love bats and enjoy educating people about them.
I have three collections, which I am proud of and am constantly adding to – bats (clothing, jewelry, cookie cutters, stuffies [just to name a few]), Bundt (and unique) cake pans, and Arthuriana.
Arthuriana remains my number one passion, and I am currently conducting more research in order to one day teach what I’ve learned.
I truly hope everyone who reads this feels they now know me better. If you are new to the Barony or to the SCA, please do not hesitate to introduce yourself to me; I’d love to get to know you.
In Service to the Dream,
Baroness Dubheasa inghean Dubgaill