My friend Jonas got me into gaming. One June afternoon we were sitting around his house wondering what to do, when Jonas said "we could try to figure out my dungeons and dragons game". He had the early book, and I grabbed it and I was hooked.
That was a Friday, iirc. Jonas let me take his D&D book home to learn the rules so we could play.
I waited for my father to get home at 5pm.
when he got home, I said "Dad, there’s this new game, and they have the
stuff over at Hobby Hangout. They close at 6, can we go?", as he was
still very proud of the fact that I got 4 A's and 2 B's, he said "OK, we
can go over as long as we're back before dinner".
And we went.
Hobby Hangout was right across the river and within 5 miles. My dad
bought me a bunch of stuff that night; dice, the rule books, but no lead
figures!!! He said I should see if I like the game first. If I liked
it, he'd bring me back the next Friday for some figures.
We loved D&D. When my dad took me the next Friday,
I bought a load of figures. That was the start of my figure collecting.
I remember sitting at our kitchen table with my friends Jonas, Jason
and Shawn. We used the testors paint that used turpentine to clean
brushes. It didn’t matter. We were bad painters but by the fall, we had
gotten better and neater.
We went to Hobby Hangout for all our
gaming needs, they were very much on top of the role playing hill; they
had it all. The owners, Phil and Dianne, were old hippies but they were
nice to us they would ask what we were painting, and ask us to bring in
some painted figures. They were interested and looking back, they were
In 1982, they moved their store about 10 miles from my house. We couldn’t ride our bikes or walk to hobby hangout anymore.
My grandmother gave us the idea to take the bus, this was better than bugging our moms and dads when they got home from work.
One rainy fall Saturday,
me and Jason got the bus and went to Hobby Hangout. I had picked up a
few blister packs of, iirc, goblins and bugbears and as I was paying for
my monsters, Dianne said "PHIL! CALL THE POLICE! THIS KID IS STEALING!"
I looked around, and she had my friend Jason by the arm, oh s@$t.
Phil, the owner, was more laid back about things. he said "put it back
and leave", but his wife wasn’t having it. She demanded Phil call the
police so he did...
The police came and took Jason and me to the
police headquarters. I didn’t take anything, but the cop took me because
I was with my friend. When we got to the HQ, the chief of police said
to me "did you take anything?" I said no. I suppose he believed me, as
he didn’t ask me again, or search me.
Turns out, Jason attempted to steal a 20 sided dice. That was it.
chief called Jason’s mom, and she came and took us home. Jason told all
who were interested that I had nothing to do with the "theft".
stopped going to Hobby Hangout after that. I guess I was too
embarrassed. In fact, I didn’t go back there until 1992. Of course I was
driving by then. I remember going in and Phil would just kinda look at
me in a strange way. Not watching me like a hawk, not watching like he
expected me to steal something. It was weird.
At that point in time
(1991-1995), I was painting historicals, bloodbowl figures, early 40k
stuff, etc. Hobby Hangout didn’t sell figures at this point in time but
they did sell POLY-S paints, which I loved. If they were still made, I’d
be using them, so I stopped by every so often for paint.
And Phil ALWAYS gave me that weird look and he never made small talk with me.
about 1995, I stopped going to Hobby Hangout. A pretty good hobby shop
opened in my town, with friendly people and great gaming. Hobby Hangout
and Phil and Dianne were forgotten.
Two years ago, I got word that Hobby Hangout was going out of business everything must go.
planned on going. Not for anything they had (all the gaming stuff was
sold off years before. they still had poly-s paint, but I really didn’t
need paint (I had about 120+ paints ). but I wanted to get something off
I wanted to thank Phil. Thank him? Yes.
I wanted to
tell him I had nothing to do with my friends attempted theft of that
dice. I wanted to say thanks for keeping me away from drugs
by introducing me to the world of Dungeons and Dragons.
I would play
that game and others every Friday and Saturday, all night, 6pm to 5am
every weekend. I wanted to say how sorry I was that his shop was
closing after all those years. I wanted to tell Phil I had good memories
of my father and I going to his store and buying the D&D figures
that I loved painting!
My wife and I went down to Hobby Hangout on a rainy Saturday
morning. The rainy weather was very much like the day Jason and I were
taken to the Palmer Police headquarters on the way, I told my wife the
We got there and I walked around looking for Phil, but I
didn’t see him or Dianne. I asked a young lady about Phil. she told me
Phil had passed away 4 months before.