Toastmasters Mitch Thompson & Susan Leabhart

Mitch Thompson

In my college days I came across a “Science Fiction Convention” called ICON. As I was inspired by the strange times, for Ronald Reagan had just become president, I attended ICON’s 4th convention. It was there that I called upon that Midwestern ideal of acceptance I was raised with, for you see these folks were strange. They did strange things with lime green Jell-O and clothing optional swimming events. As time past, I was accepted into their numbers and though I developed a liking to lime green Jell-O, I always felt it was best and safest to leave my clothes on. Words to live by, I imagine.

Towards the end of that decade, I met a girl named Mary. I took her to Science Fiction Conventions and discovered that she too held the same views on lime green Jell-O and clothing that I did. It was a match made in the cosmos. About the same time we arrived in Des Moines to see the dawn of a new Science Fiction Convention: DemiCon. We had traveled with the Trans Iowa Canal Company and appeared with them in the first five DemiCons.  Gone were the days of lime green Jell-O and clothing optional swimming events, Science Fiction had become a family event. So Mary and I jumped on that bandwagon and procreated. Two prodigy resulted, a daughter named Alex and a son, James. Raised in tolerance, they too have accepted Science Fiction as a way of life.  So 29 DemiCons later, I hope that one day, they will find their “lime green Jell-O,” but have the good sense to leave their clothes on when they do.

In 2013 Mary and I along with Joe Struss and Mandi Arthur Struss formed the BrassGears Adventurers Society, of which I am its president. We have shared many events with the fine folks at DesMoines Science Fiction Society and it has brought us nothing but joy. We only have one rule in the Society and that is to have fun. Not long after that I discovered that I bear a resemblance to the 26th president of these United States, Theodore Roosevelt. If you see Teddy at the BAS room party or in the hallways, say hello, but don’t take too long. The men with the straight jacket and padded van are not far behind.

Susan Leabhart

We welcome Susan Leabhart back as one of our Toastmasters. This lovely lady hails from DAGOBAH, Davenport Area Gathering of Books and Humanoids.  This Science Fiction and Fantasy book discussion group has been meeting at the Davenport Public Library for more than 25 years.  Susan leads this group and is known as Empress of DAGOBAH.

Susan is no stranger to DemiCon. This will be her fourth time serving as a DemiCon Toastmaster. She became the first woman to be a DemiCon Toastmaster at DemiCon 25.  She has attended all of the past DemiCons except the first one, when the need to look after very small children took priority (and those children grew up enjoying DemiCon). Susan is known for her costuming, steampunk, bellydancing, hand-made journals, as well as hosting, with all her DAGOBAH “minions,” the famous “Win Lose or Draw” panel on Sunday at DemiCon.  (That panel has been around since DemiCon 3.)  Just remember, “The Box is Cruel!”