Tabitha of Windmoor, one of the first members of the Barony of Carolingia, graciously wrote this account about how the group got its start. The Gazette thanks her for providing more information about the early years of the East Kingdom.
I was in the SCA from 1970 – 1975. Virtually all of my involvement was with the Barony of Carolingia. I was one of the founding members, more or less by chance.
In the fall of 1970 I started my sophomore year at Wellesley with a roommate selected by lottery. Lois and I were friends at once. We threw a party a couple of weeks into the school year for all our friends. Lois invited Patri Pugliese, a freshman roommate of her boyfriend. Pat and I became friends at that party where he also acquired a new girlfriend, Ann, who was one of my friends.
When Patri landed in the infirmary with a sore throat a few weeks later I stopped in to see him on my way to join Lois and her boyfriend for the Yale/Harvard game. While I was trying to cheer Pat up – he was very sick and things were already going bad with Ann – a guy neither of us knew just walked right into the room and asked “Are you Patri?” Upon being assured that the guy in the bed answered to that name, he introduced himself as Dan and said he had been told that Pat might be interested in helping him start a branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
Neither Pat nor I had ever heard of it. Dan described it with great enthusiasm. I said it sounded like fun and would be interested in hearing more. Dan invited me to talk further at his place that evening and I went on to join the game watchers. Lois and I went to the post game party as well and had a bit more spiked cider than was consistent with any further activity than a long nap on boyfriend’s bed. We were awakened by Dan’s knock on the door and I did go off with him for further discussion of what he envisioned us doing – namely starting a barony. He was clear that he did not want to be baron and preferred merely to be seneschal (which he pronounced sennaskull, it was several months before I discovered the correct pronunciation).
Somehow, Dan’s clock “got mis-set” and by the time I realized that was the case I had missed the last bus back to Wellesley which in those days departed Harvard square at 11PM. Not being interested in Dan’s offer to spend the night I said I would walk home – it’s only about 12 miles. Dan insisted on walking me home where we arrived just in time for me to rush off to a Sunday morning babysitting job. Left on his own in my dorm room, he was surprised by Kathy (SCA name Giselle de Lavande, I think) who was looking to borrow something from me. He talked SCA to her too. She was our first mistress of arts and for a short time baron John Smythe of Isleoway’s girlfriend.
I think the organizational meeting of the barony took place in November. The meeting, attended by people from Wellesley, Harvard, and MIT, established a barony which after much discussion we named Carolingia because we were based around the Charles river, Carolus is latin for Charles, and besides it had a nice medieval sound to it (think Carolingian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire – started by Charles the Great – Carolus Magnus).
We did not have a baron. Dan from MIT (Daniel de Tankard) was to be Seneschal, Carl from MIT (Chaim Elyhu ben David) Secretary of State, Patri from Harvard (Patri des Tours Gris) Master of Sciences and Master of Arms, Dianne – not a student and don’t recall her SCA name – Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lorraine from MIT (Lorimel the Gentle) Mistress of Equiries, and I was herald which mostly meant recording secretary back then. Pat was charged with finding a place and setting times for fighting practice. I was asked to design a barony coat of arms and I offered to create a newsletter. Dianne was set to raising funds – i.e. dues and we all were to figure out how and where to hold a first event.