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Confessions of a guilty apprentice



This article is actually a public confession and acknowledgment of my sins. It is the annual tradition of the Moralez Beaumont household that as many of us as possible assemble each June or July to nominate tasks or goals that we would like to achieve in the next twelve months. Each household member chooses one task for themselves and then the household decides on another "growth opportunity"/task. At Great Northern War 2007 we met for this purpose and the tasks were recorded for the current year. For myself, I chose to construct one entire garment including underpinnings, headgear, accessories etc. (You will be unsurprised to learn that I have not started this project)

My "imposed task" was to write an entry for DLV each month. The observant among you may have noted that (perhaps to everyone's joy) my success in this task has been abysmal...actually abysmal suggests some achievement albeit very little. The truth is, I have written nothing over the past year. Thus it is now evident for all to witness that I have been a very unfocussed apprentice. In education circles we use, "unfocussed" to denote very poor performance. However, I aim to atone for this bad behaviour and have figured that based on the stipulations of the task, the minimum requirement was for me was to write twelve articles. Ergo, I intend to "cram" 12 months worth of articles into the next four editions of DLV to thereby satisfy the expectations of me. Thus you can all anticipate with delight the prospect of hearing much more from me! (Yes, I say the above with a distinct tone of sarcasm) I will not be offended if you glace past my entries and ignore them. Its what I would do. I make no apologies for the sliding quality of this publication due to the inclusion of my musings.

The Household

The confession above that admits to my own inattention to the household contract of my apprenticeship actually links to the topic of my first article. As some of you will know, I became an apprentice early in 2002 (I apologise, I have no idea which year AS this was) and at the time I was absolutely desperate to be an apprentice.

Apparently, this a fairly common thing for newcomers as they desire to be attached to a household for identity, likeminded endeavours, drinking buddies and a whole gamut of other perfectly legitimate reasons. I am sure the purpose of households has been discussed and written of in many instances so I shall not pursue the purpose of households but rather, what households have meant to me over the course of my time in the Society.

I remember the pride and elation I felt when Alaric (who in my mind will always be "Uncle Steve" whose beard I use to swing off when I was three) gave me a griffin badge to wear at my first Festival. I was very overwhelmed by Festival but, somehow wearing his device gave me a sense of belonging and linked me to those others who also wore the badge such as Nerissa, Gryff, Courtaine, Manfred and Marie. I believe it has been that sense of belonging that has shaped the way I perceive the importance of households within the SCA.

Although, I am still ostensibly a member of Bangor, I am currently more firmly associated with and more active in Moralez Beaumont (however, Constanzia would dispute the word "active" in relation to me). When I joined the household, I was the youngest of all the students both in terms of age and years of service.

Six years later, I am now the oldest in terms of years of service (but still the youngest in age) and in my time I have seen other apprentices be elevated to the Order of the Laurel and several others drop out/be sacked/lose interest/go to the place of all the odd socks and single straight men. As for me, I endure.

Although I am sure Constanzia oft despairs of me and my (non-existant) level of productivity, I would be loath to be asked to return my belt because to not be an MB student would almost certainly mean my leaving the SCA. Within the household context is where I derive my sense of belonging and fun! Whether it's watching Battlestar Gallactica, sewing billions of ouches onto a coronation garment, drinking pink sparkling wine, fabric shopping, painting banners, listening to Buble`, hanging out at events, it does not matter because we are all doing it together.

Furthermore, I perceive a genuine care that we each have for another. If one of us has a job interview then the rest of us gets right behind that person and supports them with encouraging words and good wishes. This care transfers to an SCA context in which if one of our fighters is on the field then the rest of us are looking on with the same level of encouragement being conveyed.

Since moving to far north Riverhaven, Stanzi and I have begun "Wednesday night chats". We take turns in calling one another in order to keep each other current on what has been going on. To be honest, Stanzi usually has more to report on than my old spinsterly school maam life can afford but I am so thankful to still feel included in the rest of the lives of the household in that way.

It is my hope that as we grow as a Barony, we do not let household divisions and rivalries stifle the potential that we have. I am not observing that this has happened or is likely to do so; instead I am trying to exhort us all to appreciate the really positive benefits that households can offer and provide, that of a place of belonging and mutual edification.