By: Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton, Features Reporter
As the SCA enters its fiftieth year, we take time at this Pennsic to remember a few who have passed on this year. To remember every single gentle we have lost would exceed the capacity of this publication. In honour of all those we have lost, we take time to remember four who were especially important to Pennsic over the years.
Master Hroar Svithandi, OL
Master Hroar was an immensely talented potter who was a presence at Pennsic for many, many years. He donated his labours freely to Pennsic, making (among other things) teacher tokens for Pennsic University, tokens for the Pennsic criers, and incentive gifts for the Pennsic Independent urchins. When I was elevated to the Order of the Laurel in 1996, he was one of the first artisans to be elevated after me, and so I always considered him as a special colleague. Originally from Constellation region in the Middle, he moved to Caid a number of years ago. Although he battled a number of health issues in recent years, he continued to make amazing pottery, being particularly known for his aquamaniles and puzzle jugs.
He returned last year as a merchant along with his wife as part of Two Hearts Entwined Pottery. When in search of a wedding gift last year, I bought a puzzle jug from him and took the time to catch up with him (like many who hadn't seen me recently, he didn't recognize me). I am so glad Idid. Master Hroar leaves his devoted wife and partner, Lady Catherine; the continuing work of his students and apprentices (several who have gone on to be Laureled themselves), and a legacy of beautiful work that will be enjoyed for many years.
THLord Ambrosius filius Merlinus (Merlin)
If you were an archer or ever shot at Pennsic, you likely met THL Merlin. A member of the Order of the Greenwood Company for his archery skills, he could usually be found at the range, either inspecting bows, marshalling, or shooting (representing the Middle for many years on the Champions' Team), proving by his example that disability need not be a bar to martial excellence. In the words of Lady Seonaid inghean Ghriogair: "Merlin's whole being revolved around archery. He would get so much joy from seeing a child hit the target for the very first time. He would always tell them ‘practice, practice, practice’". Merlin had an entourage of fellow archers that he dubbed "Merlin's Merry Men" & "Merlin's Merry Maidens." He worked with us so that we could become better archers. He taught bow making classes in his home and was constantly promoting the advancement of archery. Merlin was more than just a friend, he was a mentor, teacher, advisor, and leader." After a very successful fundraiser, a grove of three trees (maple, oak, and cherry) has been planted at the archery range. A plaque will be unveiled and the grove dedicated on Wednesday, August 5 at 7:45 am, before the Champions' Shoot. There will also be a memorial gathering on Tuesday Aug 4th at Disability Camp.
As owner of Jim's Self Storage on Route 422, Jim Myers was familiar to many Pennsic-goers who trusted him to store their tents and gear during the 50 week long town run. He passed away in April after being ill most of the preceding year. Jim is particularly remembered for the great care he took of so many SCAdians over the years. His business is continuing his legacy, but he will be missed.
The Pennsic Memorial Ship
As many know, a tradition was started many years ago by Baron Garwig der Waffenschmidt of Ealdormere, who constructed a model Norse long ship to burn on Cooper's Lake in memory of Duke Osis and Lady Bernadette, who were killed in an automobile accident just a month into Osis' reign as King of Ealdormere. The tradition has grown from there, although the building and care of the ship model is now in the hands of others.
Each year, the sail on the ship is painted to honour one particular person or group, who represents all those who have no one here to paint a shield or call out their name at the ceremony. This year, the sail will be painted in memory of THL Merlin, one of the finest archers of the Society. Since he had no registered arms, the sail will feature a handicap symbol in green and the Hebrew word for “bow.” In some past years the ship has been set alight with a flaming arrow; as of publication the organizers are still waiting on whether the Coopers will grant permission this year to do so again.
Those who have lost friends or family (whether SCAdian or not) are invited to visit the model, which will be housed at the White Wolf and Phoenix booth (space #120 on Plunder Lane), to add to the memorial or paint a shield in their memory (for a small donation). On Thursday evening, the ship will be processed to the west side of the lake (close to the flushies) for the ceremony. All are welcome to attend. Watch the Pennsic Independent for further details, or ask at White Wolf and Phoenix.