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Day 1 - November 9th, 1993
Actually, the convention won't start until tomorrow, but things are happening today. Picked up Stephanie (Stephanie2) from the airport today. It can be very interesting looking for someone when you have no idea what they look like. I just kept looking at every single male coming off the plane that could be a crossdresser, until I saw the auburn-headed person with stubble, dangling earrings, and a white-and-polka-dot sun hat. We got her luggage and headed home, and awaited the arrival of the next straggler, Breanne (BreanneC), who showed up just before I had to leave for work.
Later that evening, my wife and the two of them headed off to my work, Stephanie Crossdressed, and Breanne did not. Breanne, I may add, had never been -out yet, having been only a -closet dresser to this point.
Once I made it home, we stayed up until around 3:00 in the morning, just chatting, and doing our best, obviously, to save $3.50 an hour in AOL connect charges.
Day 2 - November 10th, 1993
A whirlwind day, this one. After getting up early in the morning, we hit the mall to collect some outfits for Breanne (who only had a formal for the banquet to her name). Needless to say, each and all of us came back with a bag or two. Breanne, who is known online for her -Clam Smileys+ (example: (:) ) fell in love with a toy in one store, a clam hand puppet. unknown to her, it was bought. We also, of course, found plenty around the specialty shop that we would have been more than happy to have bought - if we had unlimited funds, of course. Then it was off to the Target cosmetic department to fill Bree+s make-up case.
That evening was the first night of the convention. An informal dinner was held, and we found ourself, again, chatting through the hours. We also, once here, caught up with Danita (Danita TS, who was, I should add, dressed as outrageous as you would expect) and Rhonda (Rhonda tv). Also, everyone was able to see and meet some of the -movers of the Tri-Ess and Holiday En Femme - Virginia Prince, Christine Hochberg, Kymberleigh Richards, Kathy Helms, and others.
Day 3 - November 11th, 1993
This morning I absolutely panicked, due to a late start, I had to rush to get my morning shave and make-up done so as to allow myself on to the train up to Santa Barbara for lunch and shopping. We made it, and just in time. Thankfully Breanne picked up our registration badges, else we would have never made it. Breanne chose not to dress this day, as she didn't have any flats to wear for the event.
Once on our way, we finally met Peggy (KosmicKat). I should add, by the way, that she is a -genetic female (I can't stand terms) who just so happens to like crossdressers. Also on the way up my wife, Bonnie, and I talked and took photos for a pair of reporters for the Los Angeles Times.
After lunch, our little group headed uptown to shop, the opposite way of the main body. We had fun, though Steph did run into some minor trouble on her way to the bank. Seems one of the male population didn't think that Steph+s attire was becoming...
On the way back from Santa Barbara, again on the Amtrak, we spotted a whale in the Pacific Ocean, another first for many of us.
We also hit the vendor room, and Bree found a wig she was happy with, while Stephanie found a white gown she could not live without, but did.
In the evening was a dinner, which went well, with only a minor glitch. This was Breanne+s first out, this night. She was a little nervous, but was doing well. Unfortunately, one thing happened. A friend of mine from the local chapter of Tri-Ess, Teri Lynn, came over to chat, and gave what would amount to a newcomers speech, dealing primarily with the crossdresser, their guilt, and the wife not accepting. The one bit of information not given was that Breanne had separated from her wife three days before heading down for the convention. Her and Peggy went careening off, and we then told Teri Lynn what had happened, much to her dismay. Eventually, Breanne calmed down, and we again finished off the night with a rousing session of conversation, this time until around 3:00 a.m.
Day 4 - November 12th, 1993
Decided to forgo the trip to NBC Studios, the Walk of Fame, and the Universal City Walk, and rest up. This morning, though, we received a rap on the door from Danita, telling us that Rachel Ann (another local friend) had seen us in the paper. We got ahold of a copy (or five) and, sure enough, on full color, we were on the front of the San Fernando Valley section of the Times!
Shortly thereafter, we again hit the vendor room. This time, Steph had to try on the dress. Down there were two sets of reporters, both for local stations (channel 9 and 13).Bon and I talked with the reporters, and Steph -vamped+ for the cameras in the rush she was experiencing. Needless to say, the gown was bought, and it was decided to become the attire for the trip to a local play house for a Cole Porter review.
While waiting for that trip, disaster again struck, much the same as before, Teri Lynn came over to smooth things out and apologize, and Breanne again rushed to her room. We all decided to miss the show and try to give our sister a helping hand.
After several hours of chatting, two pizzas, and several cokes later, all was well, and Breanne had discovered the joy of dangling earrings. Steph had a powerbook, so we stopped online, and had received mail from Melanie (Melanie XX) in reply to our own mail asking to meet her while we were in her town. She had left us her phone number, and, even though it was late, we called, and decided to go over just then!
Melanie was a gracious hostess, and we chatted until almost daybreak. I am glad that Melanie only makes it online during the gender forum, and not for the occasional -TV Chat+ room, for she has a wit that is at least as sharp as each of ours. We even ended up having toast, pancakes, and bacon - which lead to an infamous take off on the voice tape, her -new cooking video,+ known as -Makin+ Bacon with Melanie.+
Late that evening was my turn to break up. Those of you that donut known what Melanie looks like, let me assure you, she is a knockout. I am on a similar road to hers, though where she has now traveled several miles down the road of femininity (she is a post-op TS), I have only recently made my way to the path of transgenderism. I looked through her -transition book+ (a collection of photos of both Dave and Melanie), and began to reflect upon myself, and just how long it will be until I get my own transition book to that point. I cannot thank my wife for her support that night.
Day 5 - November 13th, 1993
Today, once we finally rolled out of bed, missing both the breakfast and lunch gatherings, and the couples events. We grouped and began to prepare for the events of the day. Breanne had decided last evening to sign up for a facial that day, and, once done, she was an absolute knockout - this also did something else for her - gave her an incredible dose of confidence.
Also while down in the vendor area, we discovered that the tape that was shot was -shared,+ and that it had been distributed to channel 4, channel 7, and to CNN - which, I may add, alarmed us all, though Stephanie was especially bothered, as this was not something she was ready to broadcast so far. She eventually saw the broadcast, and she, or us, did not appear in it.
We then headed over to the local mall, looking for the studio that was to do a glamour photo of yours truly and her wife - but they weren't there! After a phone call or two, we discovered the problem - we were at the wrong mall! Steph, Peggy, and Breanne stayed behind while the two of us and Danita headed to the studio several miles away in a tiny, crowded mall. We made it, and it was truly a wish fulfilled. You see, my father is a photographer, and I would love to have him do such a set of photos, but I have not told him, and, if I did, I doubt he would be happy. Actually posing for the camera that afternoon was one of the most enjoyable things I did all week, and I hope that some of the photos are not marred by my tear-filled eyes.
The lateness of all this, though, meant that we arrived late for the formal banquet. Stephanie was a basket-case, having already imagined all sorts of horrible consequences to our trip over to the studio. Bonnie and I made it to our room, tossed on our gowns, and headed down.
The banquet was fine, though made quite long with speeches, awards, and the occasional amount of posturing. High point for all of us was Stephanie accepting an award for her chapter of Tri-Ess, Beta Gamma in Minnesota (which, I may add, we are still wondering if it is a state : ). After the dinner wound down, we tried to get a room to view a videotape of the media+s coverage of the event, to see if we appeared. No one could find a VCR, however, so we scratched those plans and went to bed. Well, some of us, as Breanne was not at all ready to undo that makeover, and she made a few trips around the block.
Day 6 - November 14th, 1993
Well, this is it. After a brunch, where we saw Rhonda in male drab for the first time (and, I may add, what a change), some goodbyes, and re-packing for the journey out, we headed for our home, including Breanne, Peggy, Danita, and Stephanie. I think both Stephanie and I were doing our best not to lose it, though we were fighting fatigue as well as our emotions, and had a hard time letting go of Bree and Peggy when they started out together towards their individual homes, and keeping our emotions in check again as Steph gave out gifts of jewelry to us all (and thank you Steph for the earrings, they will be the first I wear after the studs).
Eventually, though, it was time to go to the airport to send Steph off, and we headed on our way. The trip there was subdued, to say the least, and we held together well until in the terminal awaiting boarding. That is when Bonnie and I presented Steph with our gifts - an origami figure (Bonnie is quite accomplished at that art) and an earring and necklace set in gold with -diamonds+ and -emeralds,+ in the shape of a heart. I had seen that set before con, and had thought about getting it then, but bought it that day for someone who has the perfect white gown for it.
That was all we could take, and our emotions took us there. If I could have held her a little tighter, maybe she wouldn't have been able to board, and we could've taken her back for good. I do know it has been a long time since I have cried that hard in an airport and watched that plane take her away.
On the side of the little 737 she boarded was a red heart - a symbol of love. I wish that all my friends at Holiday En Femme could have seen it too, because it was my heart too, on its way with Steph, that is, the parts that already hadn't gone with all the others. It will take a long time before I can't remember that heart, and all that it meant for me.
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