Thursday, September 25, 2014

Imaginarium Bound

This past week has been an exciting one for me. Not only did I get a huge box of print copies of Hemphill Towers, but the long-awaited Imaginarium Convention was at hand. Both my daughters, Barbara Bray and Rhonda Inman, and my son-in-law, Christopher Inman, made the trip to Louisville, KY with me.


We (they) packed up the rented wheelchair van Thursday night in order to get an early start on Friday. Of course, I didn't sleep much in anticipation of our six-hour trip. But dozing, as we sped along, did make the trip go faster. After arriving at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and convention center, the first person we met was my online friend, Mysti Parker. They say online friends are so different when you meet them in person--not true with Mysti or Veronica Jorden--they were exactly how I expected them to be. (Well, Mysti was a little thinner than I expected.) And my fear of not being able to read their lips flew out the window. 

Mysti and I shared a vendor table which soon held our books and goodies. No sooner had we settled in than a fire alarm went off. We spent about twenty minutes outside before we were cleared to go back in. Barb was up on the 4th floor and had just stepped out of the shower when someone yelled for people to leave via the stairs. She missed being in the photo below.


Leona & Rhonda
 Rhonda made up a fantastic basket with chocolates, crackers, cookies, a bottle of wine from my character's FMartinique winery, and more. People added their names to a bowl and we drew a winner Saturday evening. Congratulations went to Jennifer Laslie. She also won a copy of Hemphill Towers. 

Mysti Parker, Veronica Jorden, Leona Pence
I'm sorry to say that I let my deafness keep me from signing up for workshops and panel discussions. This convention was a learning experience for me. Stephen Zimmer did an amazing job putting it all together. The highlight for me was meeting Mysti and Veronica--and seeing our picture splashed across Facebook, thanks to Mysti's camera phone.


I also met Amy McCorkle who talked me in to leaving my comfort zone and traveling to the convention. She and I exchanged a book which I look forward to reading. I made many new Facebook friends from those I met at the convention. Mysti's family and Veronica joined us for dinner at the Hotel's Blue Horse restaurant. The picture is a bit dark, and Rhonda is missing because she's taking the picture.

The last event we attended was the Masquerade party. Don't you just love Mysti's ears?
Mysti & me

I enjoyed watching people on the dance floor. I don't know the name of the guy in the kilt, but boy could he dance.
All in all, I had a great time. I'd like to say I'll return next year, but...unless I can magically replace my 1995 wheelchair van, it won't be possible.

Rhonda started a gofundme without my knowledge. I was a bit peeved at her and wouldn't let her post it on my Facebook wall. I didn't feel right asking others for money. But, I was amazed at how generous my family and friends were, even complete strangers. When Thomas Bruch wrote an in depth article about me, it generated a lot of donations. A special thanks goes out to Thomas and all those who gave to the fund, and those who cheered  me on.

Thanks to Lea Shizas, my publisher at MuseItUp, for working hard to get my print books to me.

15 comments:

  1. Leona, thank you for being the wonderful person that you are. You are my role model, mentor, friend and inspiration. You touch more lives than you know..

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  2. John, thank you for your very kind words. From what I read about you on Facebook, you're a pretty inspiring guy yourself.

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  3. Well, it sounds like you had a good time. :D How was the food? ;)

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  4. The food was very good.. I had the catfish dunner, two huge deep-fried filets served with hushpuppies and sweetpotato fries. Benning, you would have loved the breakfast buffet. Lots of bacon and strong coffee.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Hi Leo!
    The absolute best part of the conference for me was getting to hug you and Mysti! I am so thankful that you and your wonderful family made that trip. You raised to beautiful, amazing daughters and you continue to inspire me every day. I've got my fingers crossed that we might be able to do it again next year, but no matter what happens, I am so very blessed to count you among my friends.

    Hugs!
    VJ

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    1. Thanks, VJ, my girls had a good time too. I am blessed with wonderful friends like you and Mysti. Bob Hembree has helped forge a lot of friendships through WVU and F2K. As for next year, if it's meant to be, we'll see each other again.

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  6. Aunt Leona
    I'm so glad you had a good time! I would have like the same things you did. The catfish yum. :) I love watching people dance too. When you said the guy in the kilt it made me think of my son. lol He has been saying he wants one, he likes being different.

    Love you,
    Becky

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    1. Thanks, Becky, glad you stopped by. Tell your son it must take a special person to dance in one and not show too much skin. He'd need to practice. lol The catfish was very good. I also have it at Texas Roadhouse.

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  7. Dear Leona,
    It's the sweetest moment reading your beautiful write-up about the Imaginarium. I'm beyond delighted that you had the chance to spend time with Veronica and Mysti. I did not know about the funding project, but what a fantastic thing, even if you did feel odd about it at first. Sometimes it's good to see how supported we are. How fun to share a table with Mysti, I imagine. I am so happy you went, and that I could read about it here.
    Much love,
    Leslie

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    1. Thanks, Les, it was great being able to go and meet my friends. The funding made it doable without a financial struggle. I'm grateful for the help. Handicapped van's are so expensive. My late husband bought one for me a few months before his death that's served me well for local outings. But, it's a 1995 Ford, aging like me, and parts not working so well anymore. lol I have a fear of being stranded along a highway and the wchair lift not working.

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  8. Seeing the pictures of you and Mysti and VJ really made my week. Three of the sweetest ladies in the entire world. I'm glad you had an incredible time. Stepping out of your comfort zone made a lot of people very happy. Nice writing on this conference wrap up. :)

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    1. Von, if you'd been there, the circle would have been complete. I know you wanted to be as did Linda. Here's hoping we get another chance to meet.

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  9. What a fabulous weekend, Leona! I so wish I could have been there. Glad you had such a good time, and thanks for sharing the event.

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    1. I wish you could have been there too, Helena. I know England is a long way to travel for a convention. lol We did have a good time.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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