The following blog was written by our son Brian, who has his own blog which is usually hilarious, called Panning For Gold. This particular blog is his take on the parties we used to have after the Magie Montreal conventions and his accidental meeting with Bob Little many years later in Pennsylvania. Enjoy!
The Olden Days, The Golden Days
Back in the day (1979 – 1998) my father hosted an annual magic convention with Wim Vermeys. One of the features that we always looked forward to was the after party. This party was always at our house and it was a time when the dealers, performers and lecturers could sit back and enjoy each other’s company without the magic monkey looming over our shoulders
The only rule was there was absolutely no magic at these parties. I remember one time when my father and Dick Zimmerman of magic and Ragtime fame sat at the piano while a few of the magicians and their wives sang along. The parties always amazed me, so many egos, so many personalities all crammed into such a small place and everyone had a great time. To me, these parties seemed to be reminiscent of scenes played out in movies based around the 1920’s. Our house was the speakeasy only with no gangsters, flappers, illegal liquor, cigarettes, prostitution, the only contraband was magic. Okay not exactly a party like the roaring 20’s but you gets the idea.
There was one magician, Bob Little from Hat borough Pa who attended all 19 conventions in the Magie Montreal series. Bob was a magic dealer, a lecturer, and a performer.
Jump ahead many years.
When I first arrived in Pennsylvania I got together with a few of the local magicians and started a magic club. As the club took root my wife and I decided to throw a party and invite the magicians along with some other more civilized guests.
The party which was a BBQ at our house quickly snowballed out of control. My wife and I learned that not only were the local magicians attending, so were the Penn State Performers which included magicians, jugglers and clowns.
I used to work at a bank downtown, I happen to be sitting in the lunchroom of the bank looking down the street and much to my disbelief I saw Bob Little walking down the road. I had not seen him since the last convention, a good 5 years earlier. I ran out of the bank and caught up with Bob.
Me: “Bob, remember me?”
He looked at me for a moment and said;
“Yes, how are you doing?”
“Aren’t you in the music business in Montreal?”
“No, I’m the other son”
“Don’t you have a magic shop in British Columbia?”
“I did, but I don’t anymore. I live here now.”
“Here? As in Pennsylvania?”
“Yup, I met a woman who attended Penn State and works for the university. We got married and now I live up in the mountains.”
Bob at this point looked very confused but we chatted for a bit. I found out he was in State College because as an alumni of Penn State he was being given some sort of an award and was asked to make a speech. Also there was some party the next night that the magicians were taking him too.
“Ahh, that would probably be my party” Again he looked a little confused. I shrugged and went back to work.
Saturday afternoon guests began to arrive. There were jugglers juggling, magicians showing each other tricks, people were talking eating and being very noisy. At one point I slipped inside to take a breather, and there was Bob all alone sitting on the couch. He looked at me a little confused by my presence. I knew he was still trying to process me being here and not in Canada.
Bob; “This is a really nice place”
“No really it is so nice up here. I went for a walk in the woods the path is covered in moss and is shaded by trees you should really check it out. I was told the owners have 11 acres. Do you know who the owners are? “
“Bob, remember yesterday when I said I lived in the mountains and that the party you were invited to was mine? Well here we are my party, my house.”
We sat for a moment, looking through the window two of the jugglers were juggling torches, magicians were in little groups showing one another card tricks, a fire was going in the fire pit, the grill was fired up and spewing hamburgers and hotdogs.
“You know” Bob said, “The last time I was at a party that was anything close to this was at your father’s convention I miss those days”
As I sit back during this holiday season and think about all the twists and turns my life has taken me I find myself wondering where it all went, when did I do all that stuff? Where has the time gone? How can my friends have grown children? How can my little sister have two kids? Where did it go? When did it all happen? I don’t understand the difference between a 3G and a 4G network! Did an inner city Jewish Canadian really go get a live Christmas tree from a tree farm in Central PA? Was it really 25 years ago that my best friend and I were riding our bikes through the town of Hampstead? Do I seriously get out the blow torch to fix the copper pipes in my own home? Did my wife seriously buy me the greatest winter boots and gloves so I could be comfortable while I am out SNOWBLOWING my driveway? Are there not other people who are supposed to do that sort of work?
Bob, I too miss those days. But I love my days now. I love my wife, my family, my life. I hope in another 25yrs I’ll be sitting with my wife missing the ‘old’ days and still loving the current ones.