Page 6 of 'A Short History of Baltimore Fandom'
© Jack Chalker
Now, about those business meetings... |
The truth was, we didn't have all that much business to conduct. BSFS was held in members' homes; there were minor dues and a 'BYO-Everything' atmosphere. The very purpose of the club was to provide a way for like-minded people to get together and have fun on a regular basis. Because of this, by the mid-1960s BSFS eclipsed its neighbor, the Washington Science Fiction Association, in size and in being the 'in' place to be for parties and such. This was not only due to BSFS's own growth and lack of interest in anything but fun, but also because WSFA itself lost Elizabeth Cullen and thus her wonderful house that had been the focal point of its meetings for more than a decade.
The BSFS business meetings, having nothing whatsoever to do, tended to be long and complicated affairs. There were a lot of people who were so in love with procedure and business that they only showed up at those sessions; other than announcements, which were important, the most frequent activity was revising the BSFS constitution. It happened dozens of times. Committees were formed and came back with revised constitutions; they were debated in detail (with anyone ruled out of order commanded to be keelhauled under the U.S.S. Constellation down at the harbor) and ultimately adopted. A new committee to revise the constitution was then immediately appointed.
However, in 1966, the club actually tried to do something serious. It bid for the 1967 World Science Fiction Convention, going to other conventions, throwing bid parties, distributing flyers, etc. We had a reputation for never closing a bid party at a con so long as even one person was there, so we were always the last hangout -- an obvious outgrowth of our never-ending weekends. Ed and JoAnn Wood met at a Baltimore `67 party at the 1966 Midwestcon, for example, and there were other such relationships formed in the wee hours as well, most others best left unmentioned because they didn't work out as well.
The schizoid club meetings showed how little club members really felt about all the formalities of a club. This was a social group that liked to party and existed entirely for its own sake because its members liked getting together. This meant that the club offices weren't all that important, either, although they sounded important to other clubs. The elections became just as silly as some of the rest of the party-oriented stuff, often involving passionate mock campaigns (although BSFS almost always re-elected everybody who wanted to run again in the end). The elections then became excuses to throw even more grandiose parties, and became so popular that fans from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (as well as a fair share of WSFA) often came. This quickly made it
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