Couple weeks ago was the Annual Say What Club Convention. This yes is an annual event but it is my first time attending. I should back up, The Say What Club is an online group where everyone has a hearing loss or their life is affected by hearing loss by a spouse or a close family member. I have been a member for 6 years maybe?
A couple years ago there was an email to try and pitch and sell us your city and we will hold the 2018 convention there. I wrote a proposal for St Paul. Now Benson is where I live now but we don’t have an airport, heck we don’t have a Wal-mart for 40 miles. St Paul had everything we needed and it was right next door to my hometown so easy access to family (watching our kids). This past year has been busy, stressful, exciting and a growing experience helping plan a convention for people coming from all over the USA.
Attending an event like this was really, really hard for me. I knew a couple of these people in person. A large amount of them I knew from Facebook and email. That didn’t help the fact I have social anxiety and I thank God that Chad was willing to come with me. Be my anchor, be the one that I could go back to if need be. First meeting was a meeting where we assembled bags to give to each person and talk about the convention, loose ends and such. It was great. I left that meeting with a huge smile. This is what we planned a year for. This was my tribe. They understand hearing loss because they live with it everyday. It is amazing the ease of a meeting when some listen, some lip read, and combinations in between. The next day we met and a group of us walked to Tin Whiskers. It is a small brewery that was just a couple blocks from our hotel. Chad and I have always enjoyed a brewery tour and have done many through our years together. I am not a beer drinker but enjoy it. It was a fun outing that was an easy way to meet some people, talk one on one with some people and meet some new people.
Wednesday night our welcome party. We had a theme as every good party should have, a speakeasy, a roaring 20’s, a Great Gatsby theme. It was fun. We had feathers in our hair, pearls, some had long gloves a few men donned a fedora. We had welcome prizes, MN themed food. We had cheese curds, deviled eggs, wild rice sliders. Something for everyone. It was a time to meet lots of people. A time to meet wonderful friends who you have felt you knew for years but meeting in person for the very first time.
After this welcome party I knew I was hooked. Everyone was just so nice. It really was like meeting long lost family. Thursday was a great day, they were all great days. A dynamic speaker, visiting with the vendors and putting our bids on the silent auction items. Our last workshop of the morning was visiting Starkey Labs and getting a tour. Once our bus got to the CORRECT hotel we were off. A little late but you just role with it. We had a great tour, a lunch we ate in the bus since our bus was late to start with and then a tour of St Paul.
Friday- what a fun day. We had great workshops from clear speech to an artist, which I found fascinating. To the last workshop of the morning and that was mine. My workshop was titled, “Designed to Stand Out” I talked a little about my idea showed some pictures of examples and then let creativity take over. I had been gathering supplies for near a year. I had jewels, washi tape, nail wraps and tube wraps. It was fun.
Friday afternoon was a St Paul Gangster Tour. I think this was a highlight for Chad. We toured all over St Paul and saw so many sights.
House was home to the famous Ma Barker and the Barker Gang
This is the South St Paul post office the Barker Gang held up for the cash that came for paydays.
John Dillinger lived here and had a shoot out with the FBI in the stairwell. I wonder if current residents know the story.
At Swede Hallow Hearing the story of the Hamm kidnapping.
We even passed where F Scott Fitzgerald lived and wrote his first novel.
It had been a very full day but we weren’t done. We went to the St Paul Saints game. My parents joined us and brought the kids. That was fun and special. To bad the weather had to interrupt.
Saturday was the end. We had a banquet and keynote speaker. There were lots of hugs and pictures taken. Greta joined us for this last event. I wish the night never ended.
If you read through this whole blog- bless you. I really just wanted to stress the importance of finding your tribe. Find people that can understand, they get it. I got back to my moms on Saturday night and I just cried. I couldn’t stop myself. I wish I could live around all these people all the time. Chad and I agree this was just a fun week, one we will never forget.
*I need to give a shout out to Andre Binns who took fabulous pictures throughout the convention. Many of them are featured in this blog.