[Northkeep] Newcomers

Hugh & Belinda Niewoehner BurgBorrendohl at earthlink.net
Fri May 24 08:08:09 PDT 2002


First I apologize if I have ever done anything to make anyone feel
unwelcome, it was certainly never my intention.  I admit that I am not
good at going up to new people.  Not an excuse, but the fact is I'm not
sure who's new and who's been there for years as little as we get to
play anymore.  I am terrible at names--I have even forgotten one of my
flesh and blood sister's names when I went to introduce her (that's how
nervous I can get).  I also don't recognize SCA folk out of garb any
better than I recognize people from our Kingdom Hall without their
ties.  It's my problem and I can't afford a shrink, so please be

It is always difficult being the "new kid".  We moved a lot when I was
young and my shyness didn't help me make friends.  If it hadn't been for
my husband, it would have been difficult for me in the SCA as well.  He
is very outgoing.  Many people accepted me, because I was with him, but
later got to know me.  Maybe that could help some of you who are
incredibly shy.  Hang around someone who's not.
I do feel the people of Northkeep have been extremely kind and friendly
to me.  As long as humans are humans there will be cliques and gossip,
etc.  The sense of community that was shown at the Moots during the
"time of troubles" made me very proud.  Perhaps I missed something.

The problem with class attendance is typical.  Especially classes over a
period of time.  People have great desires and intentions, but life gets
in the way.  I remember as a very new person asking a friend of mine to
teach a mid-east dance class (she was a professional) and having six
people promise to be there.  No one showed up.  The one person who I was
most disappointed in, did have a good reason--her car broke down on the
way back from an event and by the time she got hauled back to Tulsa her
mind was not on dancing.  The other five--who knows?  But I got over it
and my friend was understanding.

I think one problem we could all work on is the way we phrase things to
anyone, including new people.  I have no idea if quilting is period or
not (I do believe I've seen examples of something very similar in Europe
from late period dating), but I would not presume to tell
someone--"that's not period".  Neither is Star Wars, computers, etc. but
we have no problem discussing such things at SCA events and meetings.
If they specifically ask your opinion, then tell them politely, "I don't
think so" or point them in the direction to find out.  One of my
favorite sayings is "I can't wait for the Resurrection because there are
people in the SCA who will tell the people who lived in period how they
lived."  This is an educational society and we do want authenticity, but
let's not be fanatics.  On other lists I've heard more people turned off
from the Society by constant criticism then anything else.  I have not,
personally, met any authenticity nazis in Northkeep.  Most choose to
teach by example and not force anyone to play to their standards.

On the other hand, there are also a lot of people who are so sensitive,
that any thing will give offense.  I used to be that way and still have
my moments.  For these people there is nothing we can do.

I would like to give credit to those who have made exceptional efforts
to make people feel welcome that I have actually witnessed:  Anawyn,
Susan, Zenobia, Dairmaid, H. E. Mistress Catherine and their
Excellencies.  I think the newcomers gatherings they used to have quite
regularly were also a great idea--I hope they were a help; if not, it
wasn't from lack of people trying.

I don't comment to the list that much, so I guess I'm making up for it
in this post.  In short (too late), I think Northkeep has a great bunch
of people.


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