Romeo, Romeo

Carol, Lydia, and I sojourned down to the Mid-Hudson valley a couple hours south of Albany for the weekend.

FRIDAY- If you’ve read the column at Frez Sez for August 9 – complete with (shudder), photographs (or should that be (shutter)?), you will already know what the first stop was: visiting Fred Hembeck and Lynn Moss! Given the fact that I have mentioned Fred in this blog any number of times, I may have failed to say that I probably haven’t SEEN him in the flesh since…well, I don’t know. I MAY have run into him at Midnight Comics in 1992, but even that would have been 13 years ago. And it was probably much longer.

Lynn, I’m almost certain that I haven’t seen since my FantaCo days, and that was 1988. If she wasn’t at the FantaCon that year, it might have even been 1983, the previous FantaCon and the year after they moved from Troy to the Mid-Hudson.

Of course, they haven’t met Carol or Lydia.

We arrived in the mid-afternoon (our goal was earlier, but ever since we had a child, we are, inexplicably, ALWAYS LATE.) We got to meet the famous Julie, one of the stars of Fred’s column Fred Sez. She’s bright and pleasant and a talented artist; the source of these skills is a puzzlement. (Kidding, Fred!) Unfortunately, MY child, Lydia, proceeded to move some things around, such as some models for some still life; I hope Julie forgives.

Lydia was infinitely interested in the bunny Romeo. She’s never seen such a creature, so she thoroughly enjoyed petting the rabbit.

I should note that a couple days before, I get this lengthy e-mail from Fred describing the disarray of his abode. It was not as bad as he made it sound, and was a lot neater than places I lived pre-Carol. It was, as someone I knew called it, “lived in,” particularly the area where Fred creates his artistic magic. I recognized some of the comics pulled out for his recent writings (Dr. Graves, Little Dot).

Early on, Carol and Lynn discover that Lynn knows Carol’s brother Dan from work!

As Fred wrote, one of the peculiar aspects of parts of the conversation was that I would say something, and often Fred and/or Lynn would say, “Oh, yeah, you mentioned that in your blog.” Fred would make a comment and I’d cite Fred’s even longer body of electronic musings. Fortunately, we DID have things to talk about that we hadn’t written about, and since Carol doesn’t often read my blog and I doubt EVER reads Fred’s (sorry, guy), it was all new to her.

Since Fred and Lynn have a nearly 15-year old (birthday the same month as Michael Jackson, her former musical hero – now she’s into Pink Floyd), the house isn’t what you called babyproof, so Carol & I took turns chasing around Lydia lest she tumble down the couple steps into the living room or den. Lydia seemed to love going around and around and around…

Fred dropped off Julie at a friend’s house. Later we had a lovely lasagna dinner prepared by Lynn. Afterwards, the storm that had come through passed and we went into the pool.

My favorite conversation with Fred took place then. It was a lot of pop culture references for which we could use verbal shorthand. In fact, the BEST part was when we discussed…oh, wait, I can’t talk about THAT. Fred is going to use it for his blog! It has to do with entertainment, but not comic books.

Then I got to go to THE BASEMENT, where rows of comics and comic-related material resided, some stacked quite neatly. But the man needs more shelves!

We had a wonderful time but needed to leave to go to our hotel room near Poughkeepsie and put the child to bed.

SATURDAY: We went to a swimming party at Darla’s in Pleasant Valley. This was a group of old friends, some of which I’d known since college, and the rest were connected to my college buds. Lydia was fascinated by the cat, also named Romeo, but the feline just ran away. Lots of good food. A mellow time.

SUNDAY: We left the hotel and drove over to my college town of New Paltz. Well, the place has a NP mailing address, but is actually closer to Rifton. In any case, I visited my friends Mark and Paula. They were at the party yesterday but arrived late, and we didn’t have much of a chance to talk with them then. Mark is one of the few people I can tell you the date I met him: September 12, 1971, the first day of college. We’ve been friends ever since. He’s the one who got me into comic books. Paula is his high school sweetheart. They went their separate ways after high school, but got back together in the early 1990s and got married. They have a 10-year old daughter Adrienne.

We had lunch, and the talk old friends have. I nagged Mark into seriously thinking about a blog (he’s a lot more opinionated than I), and suggested possible topics for it.

We drove home, happy to have experienced the trip, and happy to be home (except that, apparently, the power had gone out AGAIN…)

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