Don Thompson Met Maggie Curtis 55 Years Ago Today

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ed, Mary, Betsy, and Maggie Curtis, Don Thompson
This is a year of anniversaries for me - and one of them is today. At about this time 55 years ago, Mom was offering to give Don a ride as far back as our house on his way back to Titusville - an invitation he gladly accepted. Yesterday, Gary Colabuono asked on Facebook for what amounted The Tale of Don and Maggie Thompson - or at least the first chapter. So ... Mom (science-fiction writer Betsy Curtis - no, you've never heard of her) drove to Kinsman, Ohio, thinking that an announced picnic of science-fiction fans and pros was being held at the home of Ed Hamilton and Leigh Brackett. That turned out not to be the case. One of their relatives lived across the road, Mom made inquiries, and it was revealed that the picnic was at the home of Basil and Virginia Wells. What to do? Mom commented later that, if Dad had been along, we'd have probably given up - but it was just Mom, my two younger sisters, and me. So off we went to the Wells home. Other picnic attendees included P. Schuyler Miller and Andre Norton - and a fan named Don Thompson, who'd hitchhiked there, invited as a member of the National Fantasy Fan Federation.
Don, it turned out, was not only a fan of Mom's but also shared many other pop culture interests (before that term was even used). He and I talked pretty much nonstop on topics ranging from SF to fantasy to movies to radio shows to pulp magazines to detective fiction to comics to Mad magazine - and so on. He'd just finished his sophomore year in Journ School at Penn State, where he worked on the radio station and belonged to the SF club. And, yes, he was 21 and I was 14. (When this information was included in Dark Horse's Between the Panels, I was told, lawyers going through the preliminary draft circled it as a possible legal concern for publication. Hee!)
As noted, we drove him as far as our house - whence he continued his hitchhiking travel to his home. Next communication from him: a copy of Humbug #1 folded to fit into a #10 envelope with a note asking whether I'd seen it - which I hadn't. Over the next while, we wrote now and then, and he visited a few afternoons during vacation breaks. Again, nonstop conversation about SF, fantasy, movies, radio ... Yep, more pop culture chat. I graduated from high school, we started dating in 1960, and he graduated from Journ School. Mom even included him in the 1960 WorldCon "Best Group"-winning costume group shown here. (It's "The Five Fannish Senses": Dad as Sense of Science, Mary as Sense of Humor, Mom as Extra Sense, me as Sense of Wonder, and Don - Well, Don was 35 to 50 Cents, the price of science-fiction magazines.)
So I started college at Oberlin in the autumn of 1960, and Don went to work for the Cleveland Press, taking the bus each weekend and staying at an Oberlin bed-and-breakfast (well, I don't think he got breakfast there, but you get the idea) each Saturday night. Till we got married June 23, 1962.
Hey, that means I get another anniversary this month! Hot diggity!


Anonymous,  June 8, 2012 at 6:29 PM  

Cannot wait to read the next installment.

Gary,  June 22, 2012 at 12:22 AM  

Great beginning, Maggie. When were you convinced that this sf-loving, comic book fan and journalist was the guy for you? From the first moment? I only ask because I'm a believer in love at first sight.

Gary,  June 22, 2012 at 12:25 AM  

Oh and I love that we share anniversaries. 39 years for Patty and me.

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