… bright and glorious, we were.
Wednesday – To the moon and back
I pulled into the TeddyCon hotel at 1pm to see LittlePhilly and MommyKuri standing there – waiting for me. We extended the first of many hugs that weekend to each other and then went into the conference space to get some sort of an idea of the most organized way to set the room up.
Organization was a big part of what made TeddyCon 2015 zing. And those two had certainly thought everything out – down to the finite details. I remember the room looked so spacious and empty before we began and I marveled, remembering back to TeddyCon 2014 and how we packed that room in quite nicely.
Heading to the storage units, we began packing in load after load – toting it back to the hotel and beginning to bring the con space back to life. Part way into the process, The Allentown Boys were called in – some local gents who were chomping at the bit to get the weekend going. And as we put the room together, setting up the walls, the poles, the curtains, dumping the balls into the ball pit and setting up that amazing crib, I paused for a moment – watching everybody at work. And I could feel the buzz already … that first strain on TeddyCon-itis already having taken over all of us. Everybody wanted to get the room ready – so the convention could begin.
One of the fun little things we did were the secret projects, so to speak. My favorite of which was that when put all the foam tiles down, we spelled out words. And when those mats were loaded with Legos or matchboxes or whatever went on them, the words weren’t obvious. But if anyone cleared them off, secret messages were written there.
I could tell you what the messages said. But if I did that, they wouldn’t be a secret anymore, would they? 😉
And for a play room that was already mind-blowing from the 2014 concept, it seemed impossible to improve upon it. But, as was the realized theme all weekend long, anything was possible … if you put the work into it. So little by little (no pun intended), the improvements emerged – from a sweet scent that filled the air to those adorable Winnie the Pooh wall stickers, we began to give new details to it all. As I looked around the play room, I felt the need to give it some sort of name – something that would be befitting of its purpose and of its effect on the multitudes of littles it would hold that weekend. I just didn’t know what the name would be … at least not on that first night, anyways.
And, finishing in the wee hours of the morning, those of us who were still there did the one and only thing that made sense. We went to Waffle House. Phil must not have eaten at all that day as he devoured an impressive amount of food, complete with an apple crumb waffle. LOL
Back at the hotel, I took my daily late-night stroll – to smoke and to reflect on the day that had been. TeddyCon 2014 was an unbelievable adventure, like a trip to the moon. But I could tell already that TeddyCon 2015 was going to be to the moon and back. That was, in fact, what one of the wall stickers in the play room read exactly.
Off to bed. TeddyCon 2015 would open the next day.
Thursday – Assembling
Denny’s was the location of the pre-con munch that next morning. And though it was start-of-the-dayconfusion for a few of us as we accidentally walked into the local diner next door first, it was the perfect location to break the ice. It also served as a much-needed bit of nourishment for energy. While the con space was set up, it still needed the final touches … the little signs that labeled everything, the registration table that would welcome in the attendees and the activities abundant to fill the tables with at the opening pizza party that evening.
We would work at those details for a while, getting done with a little time to spare and then taking a breather. And as all of this was happening, the attendees – those ABDLers galore, started arriving. Walking around the hallways and outside, I witnessed the happiest of reunions commencing, even before the con space opened at 6pm.
But as the doors neared the opening time, I was actually given a task that I would quickly find out was an honor more than a task. At TeddyCon2015, we had an ABDLer from New Zealand. And if the slang nickname for an Australian is an Aussie, then the slang nickname for a New Zealander would be a Newzie. To get to the Con 2, this guy had traveled through three airports that day, then taking public transit in Philadelphia to get to a bus that would let him off in Allentown.
I drove the 15 minutes to pick him up at the bus station, grabbing two sodas from the food stand by the station right as his bus pulled up. I had met this guy at CAPCon 2015 and we instantly jumped right back into the friendship, another common theme among a lot of the attendees. But it was really fun to watch him taste his first Dr. Pepper. In New Zealand, they have some of the more popular sodas like Coke, Sprite and Pepsi. I won’t say that he didn’t like it, but he probably won’t be racing out for his next one any time soon. LOL
Newzie and I did, however, race back to the hotel and got him checked into his hotel room as quickly as possible with one goal in mind: to get back to the pizza party before all the slices and soda was gone. And walking back into the con space, it was packed. So he and I bee-lined for the table with pizza. And right away, people were mixing together. That was truly the point of having a pizza party on that first night, to give people a chance to converse and get to know each other.
Far more attended that pizza party than what was expected, but the slices lasted and it went to show how many people wanted to be at TeddyCon for as long as they could.
The vendors came in that night and received one heck of a helping hand as quite a few people carried in the padded goods and trinkets. And oh my, how the vendors area came alive after that. All weekend long, as a matter of fact, the vendors were slammed … a rather good problem to have.
When the con space closed at 9pm (an hour early that first night), the next phase of the TeddyCon Experience … the after-hours room parties. And though several were under way, room 327 is the room party where I wound up. And that was where I had a few mighty tasty Irish Car Bombs. But within that party was the same assorted collection of everybody. Genders, preferences, age and all the like – none of it mattered. It wasn’t even brought up and because we all knew each other so well, we didn’t even think about it.
Maybe that’s the moment when you know that something really amazing has taken place … you’ve moved beyond those individuals differences – to then embrace all the similarities.
But not everyone at that party was a regular, rather, they were becoming such. And after running down to Newzie’s room and kidnapping him to drag him up to the 327 extravaganza, guitars soon started arriving – yet another recurring theme at TeddyCon 2015.
Hours later, the night began to wind down for most, but not for me … not just yet. There was still the grandest arrival of all to take place … grandest for me personally. And after having burned through a half a pack with Smoking Jay outside, I stood up – seeing the license plate of BJ and Kacy’s car – dear friends I made at CAPCon 2012. And our friendship has only strengthened since then. I always consider their arrival to be the full-throttle moment of any event I attend.
Their arrival at TeddyCon 2015 was no different, in that respect.
But my insomnia even survived the remainder of their energy before they went to sleep. So, in the wee hours of Friday morning, I did the one thing that was best to do at an hour that late … go to Wal-Mart! Hopping into The Great Gusby’s car and heading for the monopoly establishment, I had my last remaining pontification of that night.
Everything had been set up, opened and set in motion. There were diaper-cladded souls all about at TeddyCon. It was early, early Friday and the assembling had begun.
Friday – Evermore
The con space opened Friday morning with that same excitement in the air that had filled it the night prior. All of the Thursday-arriving attendees filled the space, having registered at the pizza party. At the same time, a seemingly endless line of new arrivals poured in, registering and joining the activities. Origami began to unfold (pun intended!). Pony Beads began to string up and everybody spread out – filling the play space once more, occupying the activity tables and spilling into the vendors area as the first set of classes got underway in the classrooms.
I assumed my shift at the one and only entrance/exit to the room, serving as security. And, looking around at how everyone had not only plunged right into TeddyCon but how they also seemed to feel right at home with the environment, I smiled – quite happy to see an ABDL convention on the east coast that had captured that magic, that appeal that attracted everyone and cast out the clique-ishness that would sometimes linger at other gatherings.
With such a good thing going, security was not only a must but a wanted necessity to ensure that everything going well stayed that way. It would be a little while later that this good thing going became a great thing going as there was a marriage proposal that took place in the ball pit. (I’m not joking about that.)
She said yes, by the way.
There was no telling what amazing occurrence would happen next, but the one thing that was ever-present and ever-clear was how TeddyCon 2015 took that family feel and embraced it so fully that all 157 ABDLers in attendance became … one clique. There were no outcasts, no outsiders. There were certainly quite a few overly-shy people to begin with, but as time kept progressing into that first full day – the shyness was shed and everyone was able to do what they had come to TeddyCon to do … Laugh, Learn, Play, Dream Big About Being Little and then to do it.
The afternoon rolled along and after a very Zoup-ish dinner, I found myself tuning guitars with BJ and WilliamLittle as we put together an impromptu practice for the post-pageant sing-a-long Saturday night. Making our way back down to the con space, we watched a table-full of littles turn popsicle sticks into magic caterpillars and magic caterpillars into butterflies. And all the while, more classes were held and more vending was done. In most instances all weekend long, there were two presentations, one activity, and an open play land in use every second. Stepping away from the caterpillars, I walked over to the registration table and looked across into the play area – telling the sunshine behind the registration desk about how that play area seemed like it needed a name for how amazing it was. And it was that sunshine who coined the name: “Everland” for it, as there was no “never” to it. It was real and it was there.
Friday evening presented a movie in that Everland play area and pajama-cladded littles mounded into piles on the floor to watch. As the movie winded down and the first day in the con space did the same, everyone moved into the room parties – scattered throughout the hotel.
But before I joined any of the after-hours festivities, there was diaper duty. And, as The Schwartz was with me, we made two wagon loads of the black bags that were dropped outside of the hotel rooms by the attendees – a request we made of them. It only seemed right to dispose of the bags of diapers ourselves, being as the amount of diapers was an extenuating circumstance to gather them and would have made the maid service a nightmare task. Disputed or not, the fact remained that the hotel was very grateful that we disposed of the diapers each night. And because of this, an even stronger rapport was formed with the venue.
As we collected the diapers, I got the thought of the Monty Python Holy Grail movie in my head. Although, instead of yelling out “Bring out your Dead!”, it would’ve been more appropriate to yell out “Bring out your Diapers!”
Three floors were cleared in twenty minutes, but the funniest thing of all was how other room, not connected to TeddyCon, began to put their trash out as well – believing that it was a routine hotel service. LOL The Schwartz and I happily gathered up everyone’s trash and took it to the dumpster.
That night gave me the opportunity to read a story or two in a few hotel rooms as well as watch a Mommy pee into the back of a very submissive-minded little’s diaper. (I’m not making that up, either.)
And after everyone was peed out, another impromptu guitar jam session commenced – going until all the littles were ready for bed.
Walking around the hotel and visiting with Smoking Jay outside, I reflected on that first full day, on the magic in Everland and how TeddyCon just might become Evermore.
Saturday – No Beginning and No End
I’m sure the morning was great. I can’t speak for having been there, though. For me, Saturday began a little closer to lunch … LOL … perhaps even closer still to a late lunch. It was actually a Firehouse Lunch that finally got my gears cranking, for more guitar practices and mingling about the craft activity tables, poking my head in on the classes and doing my best to keep the noise buzz to a minimum in the vendors area – for how close that area was to the classroom. (But fear ye not! The noise problem has already been addressed for next year.)
I don’t even know what to say about the shaving cream painting class that would do adequate justice in explaining it. I will surmise that it will likely be the most popular craft activity forever. I can honestly say that I have never heard that much laughing or saw that many beet-red faces gasping for air in between chuckles in a long time. But, rest assured, the only way to really know what happened at that table would be to come to TeddyCon 2016 and see for yourself as it will likely be reproduced. LOL
But the most interesting noise of all was the buzz that seemed to be everywhere. It wasn’t so much a buzz of something like bees, but more so of excitement as we grew closer and closer to the evening hours when the pageant and talent show would be happening – followed by the sing-a-long for the hardcores.
And what an amazing pageant it was, from bold hand puppets to bold-hearted littles who overcame their fears and shared a little piece of themselves with all of us. Singing, dancing, an ingenious skit on how to win a pageant and so much more captivated everyone. I was glad to not have been one of the judges. It would have been a difficult choice for me to make.
But, listening to the requests of the attendees, TeddyCon added another category to the Pageant. There was Little Miss TeddyCon and Little Mister TeddyCon, but now also Little Mx TeddyCon for those who didn’t identify with Miss or Mister.
And as the judges deliberated, the raffle items were rifled out – a few ABDLers make out quite well in the drawings.
Then The Diapered Burritos took the stage and did their best to take wonderful songs and wrap a diaper around them, so to speak … or I guess, so to sing.
Diaper duty followed again, The Schwartz and I getting the job done in 17 minutes. (Next year, we’re going to aim to break the 17-minute record. Mark my words.)
And following the dumpster run, I learned a mighty important lesson. And that lesson is this: When someone hands you a book that says “A Book With No Pictures” on the cover, asking you to read it to them … be prepared for the unexpected. LOL
The night became late-night, a lot of folks almost seeing dawn. But the lack of sleep was secondary in importance because, by then, the weekend suddenly had no time clock to it. After all, there was plenty to party about and plenty to celebrate. At TeddyCon 2015, we had four birthdays, an anniversary and an engagement.
So seeing dawn myself, it all made sense. That Saturday would never end in memory. It would be impossible to do so. And I will think back on that Saturday for the rest of my life.
Sunday – Luft Balloons
The urban dictionary definition of luft is: Softest, most comforting feeling of warmth and happiness.
Starting out that Sunday in baggage check, I marveled over how very few people had actually left. There was a want and need to see to it that that Sunday was as never-ending as Saturday had been. The craft activities were in full swing and as everyone convened in classroom A for the aptly named “Everything you ever wanted to know about diapers” class, jaws dropped when they saw the result of the water-holding test that had been performed on dozen or more different diapers. Then each individual element of a diaper was passed around as everyone learned just a bit more about the favored garment.
Five Guys was a tasty distraction before Bambi’s Con Drop Class took place – a brilliant idea for topic as con drop would begin directly afterward when the closing circle was formed.
Oh my, there were quite a few hugs. I remember say goodbye to BJ and Kacy at least six times before we finally pulled ourselves apart.
And though such sorrowful goodbyes were hard to watch, they served to show how meaningful TeddyCon 2015 had been to one and all – including LittlePhilly and MommyKuri. But being as time always ticks forward, the truth of the matter is that we are already a few days closer to TeddyCon 2016. So, from that point of view, we really weren’t exchanging goodbyes, but instead, we were exchanging see you soons.
The con space closed and everyone began to depart. I drove Newzie to the Philly airport and was quite touched by how he himself mentioned the one clique appeal of TeddyCon – of how people frequented classes, of how people frequented the craft activities and of how people frequented the Everland play area.
At TeddyCon 2015, everyone found their place … their little “luft”.
Returning from the airport hours later, I joined in on the runs back to the storage facility to pack up everything that made TeddyCon an eye-full.
Then just a bit later, back at the hotel, LittlePhilly and I stood out back of the hotel – having just walked out of the con space clean up. In LittlePhilly’s hand was the one helium-filled birthday balloon that had been left behind in the con space. And what he said at that moment still rings in my ears as I type this.
“This is the last piece of TeddyCon 2015, right here,” LittlePhilly said as he let the balloon go.
We stood there and watched that balloon float up into the nighttime sky until it was no longer visible. And right then and there, I knew exactly what to write at the end of this posting.
The English translation of the German word “luft” is actually “air” – though in the song 99 Red Balloon, luft is replaced with a color. But the English lyrics at the beginning of the song paralleled the magnitude of the TeddyCon 2015 experience.
You and I in a little toy shop
I’ll buy a bag of balloons with the money we’ve got
Set them free at the break of dawn
Till one by one they were gone
Everyone showed up to TeddyCon 2015 separately, floating in randomly and everyone floated away after the weekend ended. But they would never be alone again.
The best way to end this posting is to speak of LittlePhilly and MommyKuri. They likely will never say a word about everything they had to do to make TeddyCon 2015 a reality. They never would complain about holding down full-time jobs while also putting in another 40 hours, individually each week, into the planning of this event. They never would complain about keeping that schedule of commitment up for the past 11 months. For them, there was nothing to complain about. The end result was all that mattered to them. The work would be what made it all happen.
Yet the most amazing thing about them is that they are selfless enough to not have to announce to the world that they were the driving forces behind TeddyCon 2015.
And because of this, they receive all the recognition that’s possible. And they will continue to shrug the attention off themselves … because they know TeddyCon is bigger than any one person, any two people or any group of people. You’ll never see them put up a posting where they give themselves accolades or where they claim ownership.
There’s the merit. And that is what makes them so great. And they are what made TeddyCon 2015 so great … along with 157 ABDLers who had transcended the family feel in a single weekend, forming one clique and growing closer than anyone could have imagined.
For one weekend, bright and glorious, we were.
And we will be again.