Duckon XIII

Duckon XIII was held over the weekend of June 4-6, 2004 in the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Lincolnwood, the "Purple Hotel" of so many Capricons of yore. This year's theme was "triskaduckaphobia," a play on the scientific term for fear of the number thirteen.

We got up very early that morning and drove up to Chicago, since my parents no longer live in the Chicago area, having moved downstate after their retirement to be closer to their granddaughter, my new neice. Traffic was rather hairy, particularly on the Ryan near the Loop. By the time we arrived, I was thoroughally on edge about the drive, and quite glad to get in.

We found a parking place and then got in contact with the dealers' room co-ordinator to find out where our tables were. At least this time we knew some of the quirks of the hotel's layout, so we were able to get to the dealers' room without too much trouble. However, we did have to contend with the cranky freight elevator. Fortunately, after a few trips the con was able to get a dedicated gopher to run the freight elevator, which helped make things run more smoothly. We also heard that this is going to be the last con ever at the Purple, since it has been sold out to a concern that will close it and either renovate it or demolish it to build condos.

Once we got our merchandise in, we got checked into the hotel and got our stuff moved into our sleeping room. I also put my art onto the art show.

We got our merchandise set up just in time for the dealers' room to open. However, sales were painfully slow all afternoon. After the dealers' room closed, we headed upstairs to our sleeping room and ate the supper we had brought with us.

After that, we went downstairs to the hot tub for a soak in hopes of soaking out some of the aches from loading in. However, the hot tub was only semi-warm, like bath water. We sat around for a while before giving up and heading back upstairs.

We went around to some of the parties. However, this process was complicated by elevator problems in the tower section, where the parties were held. One elevator had broken down entirely as a result of being overloaded by someone taking supplies up to the con suite, and the other was in severe trouble and could only take reduced loads. We spent a lot of time standing and waiting for the one surviving elevator, since my husband cannot use stairs.

There were some pretty good parties, including one that was running a 70's lava lamp. It was really well warmed up and was making some very hypnotic patterns. I had to make myself break away from it in order to go back to our room and get some sleep for the night.

Saturday morning we got up early to get up to the con suite for the fresh pancakes that were being made for breakfast. They were really delicious, even if the maple syrup that someone had talked about never did materialize.

After breakfast we headed down to the dealers' room and opened our tables for business. However, sales were slow all day long, wich was frustrating. I did get Eric Flint to autograph my copy of The Ring of Fire, the anthology of stories set in the universe of his time-travel alternate history 1632. Since there was already a long line behind me, I couldn't do any talking with him, but instead had to hurry back to our dealer's tables.

When the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed back up to oour room for supper. Then we made another try of the hot tub, but it wasn't that much better. After a short soak, we gave up and headed back upstairs. Since it was still fairly early in the evening, we went to the con suite to sit around while we waited for the parties to get started. I ended up having a very interesting conversation with some people from downstate Illinois about early fandom and Wilson "Bob" Tucker.

When the parties finally started, we had to do a fair amount of waiting for elevators, But we were able to attend most of the parties, including the General Technics suite, which had some really fancy imported dark chocolate. However, we were getting tired and the elevators were getting funky, so we headed back to our sleeping room for a decent night's sleep.

On Sunday we hurried to get our personal belongings out of our sleeping room before the worst crush of people started competing for the one and only working elevator in the tower. However, we still had some trouble getting an elevator for the very last trip, after we'd gone up to the con suite to get bagels for breakfast. But we finally got one that wasn't already full, and got safely down so we could get checked out and get our dealers' tables opened.

However, sales were still slow, even for the last day of a con. We finally decided to go ahead and get packing so we'd be ready to load out as soon as the dealers' room closed. I went over to the art show and was very disappointed to discover that I hadn't sold a single piece of my art.

We got a couple of last-minute sales while we were packing, but they were just little nickle-and-dime stuff. But when the dealers' room closed and we were ready to start loading out, we discovered that the hotel was using the freight elevator to bring down a bunch of tables. This delayed us almost half an hour, which was not exactly welcome. And when we finally did get to load out, we had more trouble. As we were taking out our second load of books, our cart broke a wheel on the badly-designed cut in the loading-dock sidewalk. Since this was the only cart we had, we had to muddle along with the broken wheel for the rest of the load-out process, not exactly a pleasant prospect. But we finally got everything out, even if we did have to take smaller loads than we would usually handle. With all the elevator problems, we didn't even bother to go up to the con suite to say good-byes. We just hit the road back home, since we wanted to get out of the Chicago area, and particularly across US 30 (to avoid the construction mess on the Frank Borman Highway), while it was still daylight.

Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated October 21, 2012.