Pensive About the @Pennsic of @SCAsocial #ThrowbackThursday

Long, long ago, in a kingdom not very far away, I was a Lady. Shut up.

Yeah, back in the dear dead days of the 1970s, I was the Lady Maude McEwen (poetess) in the Middle Kingdom of the Society for Creative Anachronism, SCA or the S.C.A. for short. The SCA is “an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe.”

MurderWarWhat put me in mind of it was this book I’m currently reading, MURDER AT THE WAR, by Mary Monica Pulver. It doesn’t just showcase the SCA, it’s set at the Pennsic War, an annual event now about to take place for the 44th time.

I never went to the Pennsic (hello? camping without modern amenities aka flush toilets? sorry, I’m a little deaf in that ear — can’t hear ya talkin), but my bes’ frien’, Jane, was at the FIRST Pennsic and she’s told me all about it. Yes, she was there. Yes, she was minus twenty-two years old at the time.

Because I’ve heard so many Pennsic War stories, I felt right at home with Pulver’s descriptions. When she had it begin to rain, I thought, “She’s been there!” It’s tradition for it to rain at Pennsic. Even when it doesn’t actually, it does honorarily by tradition.

MaudeWhen I was Lady Maude, I made myself a device (like a coat of arms). Here’s a sketch of it. That’s a lozenge, not a shield, o’ course. I can’t remember how it was colored, except that the dogwood blossoms (I was a Lutheran at the time) were in their proper colors. Those crossed things are steel pens. Because writing. I don’t know what the wiggly sword is in aid of. I wasn’t a fighter.

I don’t think it was ever registered, except I seem to recall someone told me it had been registered, but not to Maude McEwen, but to my other persona. See, I was Maude McEwen when I was at an event, and Edwina the Absent when, you know, I wasn’t.

I’ve been thinking about rejoining. If I did, I would make a new device. It would probably have knitting needles on it, but maybe not. Maybe steel pens and replace the dogwood blossoms with skeins of yarn? Leave the sword off. Maybe a tortoise somewhere about, in honor of SAGE.

If I did rejoin, I’d have to get some new costumes. I had one dress, made for me by my friend Beth Johnson, which I wore for about fifty years (not constantly, of course) until it disenthreadinated itself. Alas.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What would your main character’s device be?



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Pensive About the @Pennsic of @SCAsocial #ThrowbackThursday

  1. Dan

    July 16, 2015 at 7:29am

    I knew people in college who participated in these events. It sounds like fun, but one can only have so many hobbies 🙂

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  2. Jane

    July 16, 2015 at 10:06am

    Marian, the Flaming Sword was the emblem of the Barony of the fLAME. That was us. So….keep it? Anyway, I like your coat of arms.

    Yeah, the First Pennsic WAS memorable. Rain. Cold. Newly mowed field with fightin stubble. There was archery, live-action chess, some sort of battle through the woods, a melee, and the grand fnale: the Castle Defense! Our hero, King Andrew of Seldon Rest, won the war for us of the Middle Kingdom by wit and guile, just like a true monarch.

    My first SCA event was at the 1969 Baycon, out in California. OH MY! Turns out all the major figures in the kingdom-to-be of the Middle were there, too. But I never met them then. Sir Poul Anderson fought Randall Garrett for the honor of John W. Cambell. IT WAS AWESOME!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      July 16, 2015 at 3:02pm

      “Marian, the Flaming Sword was the emblem of the Barony of the fLAME. That was us.”

      That’s what Beth said! Gosh, that actually makes sense! ‘Course, I’m not a Flamer anymore, I don’t suppose. Don’t know what Barony Corydon is in. Guess I’ll check.

      Wow, you totally need to write your fannish memoirs, girl! Oh!–and have Callie and her girls go to a SCA event. Wasn’t one of them around back when it wasn’t a REenactment? She could burn all the authenticists. “No, there weren’t zippers in 1173, but we would have sold our souls to Satan for them. Pretend I did.”

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      • Jane

        July 17, 2015 at 9:44am

        Callie and the girls HAVE already visited the 1969 Baycon! I really would like to have them go to SCA. Maybe when they’re meeting up with the werewolves…?

        Which reminds me of another story:
        When we held the Crown Tourney here at the Flame, my sister and her friend Andre were obs bored with us, so they took a trek through the woods. (This was before the woods-clearing tornado) So picture them in their medieval outfits (both made by me, of course)wandering happily through the wood.

        Now picture another little group of people. They have come to the lovely wooded area of Cherokee Park, in a small clearing, to film s medieval movie of some kind. They are decked out in cosplay, faking various medieval activites, and from out of rhe woods, step two people outfitted in (really nice) medieval garb. Strangers, even! Total Freakout!

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          July 17, 2015 at 4:21pm

          Oh, that’s a PRICELESS story!!!

          I just remember the time a college kid wandered into the Red Barn during a tourney. He stood there and stared for a minute, then said, “Man, this is a terrible thing to do to a person who’s just coming down.”

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