From the diary: “July 17, 1981
“The opening reception started a little earlier than the 6:00pm for which it was scheduled. People meandered around and talked.” A woman dressed as “Cayke the Cookie Cook” handed out cookies.
This was my second Winkie Convention. The convention was held at the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite. My mother came along, as she did for the next several years.
“Erik Shanower came late … [Don’t know why I spelled the name with a “k”.] Mom treated him to some vegetables because it was too late for him to find a place in the dining room. He wrote a story too. [The story I brought was called, “The Cowardly Lion and the Courage Pills” and had illustrations by my brother.] His is called ‘King Hank’. I started reading it tonight, but didn’t finish. It was pretty good. It was about Hank the Mule and Bettsy Bobbin taking a shortcut to the Emerald City from Glinda’s Palace. Hank encounters strange little creatures who hail him as king. Bettsy gets captured by two fat would-be Oz conquerers.” Both being hailed as king by the inhabitants of a strange little country and thwarting bumbling bad guys who are trying to conquer Oz are familiar plots from the Oz series. The story I’d brought also included nefarious invaders bent on conquest. “He plans to win the story contest with it. We’ll see. He also plans to win the Oz quiz. We’ll see about that, too.”
A piddly little five years later Eric was publishing his Oz stories professionally.