Sunday, July 9, 2023

Debby Jones

I want to mark the passing of another figure from my corner of the fannish universe. Debby was from St. Paul, MN, and in fandom was primarily a costumer. She participated in CostumeCon and ran the costume presentation at her local convention, Minicon. I knew her because she occasionally showed up at Mythcon, usually in costume collaboration with her friend Ellie Farrell, a more regular Mythcon figure and a Bay Area resident. When Mythcon came to the Twin Cities in 1993, Debby ran costumes there too.

But Debby most deserves to be remembered in Mythcon circles as the co-founder of the Not-Ready-for-Mythcon-Players. Ellie told the story ...
The 1987 Mythopoeic Conference at Marquette University in Milwaukee was honored to have not only Christopher Tolkien but also John Bellairs as Guests of Honor. A fantasist whose delightful wit is mostly known from a series of young adult novels, Bellairs had also written a couple of bizarrely hilarious but hard-to-find pieces, such as St. Fidgeta and Other Parodies and The Pedant and the Shuffly. Debby Jones and I decided to stage a condensed version of the latter as a masquerade entry, to introduce the story to more people. In this tale, an unpleasant wizard (the Pedant) changes people he doesn't like into creatures called "Flimsies" -- which look like dinner napkins soiled with gravy and cranberry sauce. Not having such condiments available in the Marquette cafeteria, we covered Eric Rauscher and Sherwood Smith with sheets coated with chocolate sauce and cherry jam, and put on our little play. Bellairs professed himself charmed, and gave me his permission to distribute xerox copies of his story.
Which the Mythopoeic Press later re-published. I'd been the narrator who read Ellie and Debby's summary of The Pedant and the Shuffly aloud as they and Eric and Sherwood enacted it on stage. This little sketch gave rise to a tradition of a skit guying the works of the Guest of Honor at each Mythcon, and I still read the narrations.

Anyway, so that little Bellairs presentation is a particularly fond memory. Debby died Saturday evening after a long battle with brain cancer.

Deborah Katherine (Vleck) Jones, 1948-2023

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