27. October 2004 · Comments Off on A Nerd’s Tale · Categories: General, Memoir

I was talking with a guy at the JAC about a year ago, and noticed he had some new photos up from his latest visit to a Sci Fi convention. I noticed in the background of one was a picture of Corin Nemec, and say “Hey, that’s my husband’s nephew.” A few weeks later the guy hands me a flyer for Collector Mania 5, which is held twice a year at The Centre in Milton Keynes. Corin was scheduled to be there, and Milton Keynes is only about an hour away from where we lived then. Corin’s dad is my husband’s oldest brother. I won’t go into details as it would take up too much space, but my husband only knew one sister growing up due to his parent’s divorce when he was 3. Next time he saw any of his Nemec siblings was when their father passed away, about 16 years later.

I had met Corin’s dad, Joe III, right after we moved to Tinker. Joe & his wife were working on the movie Twister at the time, and we all got together in Oklahoma City. May Day weekend, 2004, was when Collector Mania 5 was happening. It’s a 4-day weekend for the Brits. I took off a little early that Friday so we could get there before closing. It was my first time in Milton Keynes, and I was going off Map Quest UK directions, which I trust about as little as US Map Quest. I had a map of The Centre (which is a mall), so I knew which store was at the end where Collector Mania was set up. However, I was still uncertain we were at the right place as we started walking towards the entrance. About that time a really tall goofy looking guy with a “Staff badge” came walking out. He was the walking epitome of a Sci Fi geek, so we decided this was the right place. Well, we were still too late, although Robert England was still there signing autographs. We decided to give it another go in the morning.

Saturday morning we headed down, and beat Corin there, along with almost every other star. My husband had brought along the one hard-copy photo we had with us that was made with Joe III in OKC, just so Corin wouldn’t think he was some kook stalking him and pretending to be a relative. Once Corin arrived, we got in the “queue” and waited our turn. When it was our turn, my husband shook his hand, told him how proud he was of him, and handed him the picture saying, “I’m that man’s youngest brother.” Corin looked at the picture, rather stunned, looked at my husband again, got this big grin and said, “So you’re my uncle?” Then he gave him a hug, and told us he wanted to at least have dinner together over the weekend. He took our number, and we moved on. Now, I have to admit, I was thinking, “What if that was just a big blow off?” But just as he said he would, he gave my husband a call that night.

We met him again Sunday afternoon. At closing time, we met to head over to the hotel together. Now, he didn’t really know how to get to the hotel, and I sure as heck didn’t, so he said he would ride with us and we could just follow the van there. The van arrived and Corin told the driver he would be riding with us, and to please not lose us. Since I had been driving in the UK for 5 years, I wasn’t going to let them lose me. J During the drive, I remember thinking “Holy cow! Parker Lewis is sitting right beside me!” That was followed by “Wow, he has the same mannerisms and personality as my husband. I guess it runs in the family.”

We made it to the hotel and hung out in his room for a while. James was going to get a hotel room there and stay overnight while I went home with the kids. I still had to work Monday, and the kids still had school. As we were leaving, we decided to take a picture. So Corin walked over to one of the tables in the hotel courtyard and asked if one of them would take our picture, and the guy took a couple of us (with our son making a face in both). James & Corin walked off toward town to find a place to eat and I got in the car with the kids. As I was leaving the parking lot, I glanced back at the table those people were sitting at, and Denise Crosby (Lt Tasha Yar) was sitting at that table. I nearly soiled myself.

I left out early Monday afternoon again, and we headed back down to Milton Keynes, as it was the last day of Collector Mania. Corin was just about to leave as we arrived, so he got back in the car with us. Lo and behold, I got lost heading back to the hotel, and we managed to take the long scenic route there. Once we got there, Corin went to email his wife, and we just hung out in the lobby. The kids found another kid playing in the courtyard around the duck pond, so the 3 of them were running around. I picked out who seemed to be the boy’s dad, and wondered if he was a star. Didn’t recognize him though. I would have to go out every 5 minutes or so and remind my kids to stay out of the water. During that time several Sci Fi stars were milling around the lobby, and us. It was so cool! I noticed some people walking up from the parking lot. One of them was Denise Crosby. She walked over to one of the tables and sat down…with the kid’s dad. I looked at James and said, “What if that’s her kid ours are playing with?” Then my youngest nearly fell in the water. So I had to go remind him AGAIN to stay back from the water. As I was walking back, Denise Crosby said to me “I think it is so great that there are other kids here for him to play with.” I say, “Yeah, the kids are all having a blast.” Then she sticks out her hand and says “Hi, I’m Denise.” I’m thinking, “Like you have to tell me who you are,” but I just shook her hand and said “Hi, I’m Martha.” Had a great conversation just chatting about why we were there, and talking about our kids. I can only imagine the goofy grin I had.

Once Corin was ready, we went to eat. About half way through the meal I noticed that we were getting really good service. That was very unusual for us, not to say we got bad service at English restaurants/pubs, but, well, it’s just a cultural difference from American restaurant service. And that’s about as close to politically correct as I will ever get. Anyway, once we finished, Corin headed towards the lounge area with the kids, while I gathered our stuff, and James paid the check. As I walked out, I overheard the cashier ask James, “Is that guy famous?” AHA! That’s why we got good service. I almost laughed out loud.

It was such an exciting weekend for me. My co-workers told me I was absolutely giddy. It’s all about perspective though. See, I grew up in very rural Arkansas…dirt-road country. So, it was a big deal for me. Not as big a deal as getting to see the pyramids in Egypt, but still up there.

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