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Kim's Corner
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by Kim Petersen (archives)
December 5, 2001
Kim tells her personal history with the NFFC and introduces LaughingPlace.com's Guide to the NFFC.

The NFFC - A Personal History

When I first met Doobie and Rebekah - about two years or so ago - we had talked about putting some of the NFFC information on LaughingPlace.com and what benefit it would be to both of us. After a bit I came to write the Collectables Corner for them and we kicked the old ideas around a bit more - so now after even more kicking - here we are - launching on Walt’s 100th Birthday - while the Disney-at-heart are celebrating a life and a legacy. I wanted to give you a little background on the NFFC and my relationship with the Club - it’s been a long, strange trip…

It was 1988 - July of 1988 - when I became aware of the NFFC for the first time - I had been to a Mouse Club event once, but didn’t join. I was talking to my best friend who had called to ask if I’d like to go to a banquet that the Disney Club she belonged to - The National Fantasy Fan Club - was having near Disneyland - she knew that I loved Mary Poppins and the Sherman Brothers were going to be performing for them. So I said ‘sure’ and that I’d love to see them. We were at the old Inn at the Park - now the West Coast Anaheim - and that evening my little-ole-Disney-lovin’-heart had found a home. A group of folks as crazy as I was and as unabashedly Disney-centric as any I’d ever met - a group for whom Walt was more than a corporate icon - he was "Uncle Walt" the man who gave them their toys and told them their stories and built them their parks - a man to be celebrated.

The following day I went to my first Strictly Disney Show & Sale and entered the world-wide-Disneyana-marketplace - wall-to-wall-full-contact shopping at it’s wildest. I’d been seriously collecting since high school, but had never, ever seen so much stuff - collectables - all in one place, at one time. I went a bit nuts - still have the first pin I ever bought there. I also made some friends there that weekend - friends who still share my life and will - in all probability - until I die. I joined the NFFC at the Show & Sale and became a member of both the Los Angeles and Orange County Chapters. In those days I always carried my Nikon and shot a few rolls - gave the club a copy to help out my new friends - it was the least I could do after all.

A week or two went by and I got another call - asking if I’d like to shoot for the NFFC’s Journal - the FantasyLine (it was published quarterly in those days) and maybe write a bit - ‘if I had the time’. I agreed as I had just bought my first Annual Passport and was already at the park, camera in hand, almost weekly anyway. Another month or so went by and I got another call - asking if I’d like to become an advisor to the NFFC’s Board of Directors - it would only be ‘a weekend or so a couple times a year’ I was told, ‘no big deal’ - so I agreed. Pretty easy - not too much time - I still had my life - not much work - how tough could it be?

Another couple of months went by and I made my first deadline and wrote my first article - I don’t remember what it was although I have the issue around here somewhere. The phone rang again asking if I’d like to run for a position on their Board of Directors - would be a bit more time and I had some responsibilities to meet - I said ‘ No, thanks, but no’ - and it was quiet for all of an hour when the phone rang again (No I didn’t have an answering machine to screen my calls at the time) and I answered it - it was my best friend asking the question this time - they are a tricky bunch. What else could I do? I said ‘yes’ (and yes - she’s still my best friend).

Well, I’m still the Vice-President of Publicity and Public Relations for the NFFC - all these years later. I’ve seen the Club rise from less than 500 members to become the largest Disney Enthusiasts Club in the world. And I still enjoy the work. It’s been an amazing tour through the world of Disney and the Disneyana Collector’s Marketplace - and I’ve enjoyed - almost - every minute of it. Through the work and dedication of the members and their chapters - and their - all-volunteer - Board of Directors I’ve been able to realize some of my wildest Disney dreams. I’ve been fortunate to have met some of my personal heroes - and heroines - and I’ve been in the presence of Legends - men and women who have changed the way we see and experience and relate to the world.

I’ve discussed Existentialism with John Hench, worried over my lilacs with Bill Evans, discussed the future of Imagineering with Harriet Burns, Tony Baxter and Marty Sklar, shared recipes with Ralph Brennan, talked tap with Dee-Dee Woods, sung with Jodi Benson and X Atencio, hugged Marc Davis, giggled with Wayne and Russi, reminisced with Frank and Ollie, been a visitor in the world of Ward Kimball, collaborated on collectables with Tim O’Day, learned the lessons of color and form with the help of Peter Ellenshaw, Blaine Gibson and Herb Ryman, found the meaning of character with Bill Justice, Don Hahn, Andreas Deja and Claude Coats, and learned the value of leaving a legacy with Card Walker, Cynthia Harriss and Roy E. Disney - and so much more - so very much more. I have been given gifts of time and talent that have changed the way I live my life and the way I see the park. I’ve been touched and enriched and enlivened by those I’ve met - and continue to meet.

I make a new friend at every convention. Meet someone new at every event. Learn more about my Club and my friends and my Chapter and the Disney Company at every meeting. I’ve spent countless sleepless nights meeting monthly or weekly and sometimes daily deadlines and gotten up before dawn to cover more events at more parks than I can remember - suffered jet-lag - eaten ‘banquet surprise’ dinners - and given my time and offered my talent in sharing these with all those members who read the FantasyLine Express. I have volunteered my heart on behalf of the friends I’ve made and those I’ve yet to know. How else could I do what I’ve done? Why else would I look forward to more? It’s what I love.

So, yeah, I’m a member of the NFFC - happy to be so, proud of the club I’ve helped to build. Through all of the changes in the marketplace, in the technology of the collectables industry, and the roller-coaster changes in the Company - we’re still growing, still changing, still working to capture and record the history of the Disney Company. We’re still an open membership, still have chapters and chapters-in-formation, still not-for-profit, still run by an all volunteer Board, we still publish a monthly newsletter and we’re still sharing the magic. We’re on the web and in the press and are growing around the world. We’re still having fun!

And now we’re working to put together our 10th Annual Kick-Off Convention and another of the World’s Largest Strictly Disneyana Show & Sales - as we go into the Club’s 18th year. I’m still having a ball - still a chapter member, still a Board member, still meeting my deadlines, still looking forward to the future of the NFFC.

So, let me invite you to take a look at the Club and if you like what you see - come and join us.


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-- Kim Petersen

Kim's Corner is normally posted the fourth Monday of each month.

The opinions expressed by our Kim Petersen, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.

-- Posted December 5, 2001