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In Memoriam

Viscount Michael Saint Sever, KSCA, ORL


Per pale vert and sable,
three lions passant guardant
in pale within an orle Or.

Michael Plotts passed away, February 18, 2009 after heart complications. He leaves behind him a loving wife, two little daughters, and many, many friends. 

Michael Saint Sever, also known as Michael-san was a Viscount of the Principality of the Mists, a Knight of the Kingdom of the West, a member of the Order of the Rose Leaf, Commendabilis, Defender of the West, and more.


Some Reminisces:
While many will remember Michael for his grace and unfailing courtesy, I will always remember his good humor as well.

In the late 1980's Michael was helping out with a demo at Baycon. At the end, there is always the "wack a knight" portion where people watching the demo are invited to come try their hand. The "knights" have boffers and the mundane is given an SCA sword and possibly a shield. An older man, grizzled hair and beard, with thick coke bottom glasses, stepped forward and asked to have a try. Michael, ever the gracious gave him a bit of instruction and a sword. The man fiddled a bit and Michael worked to put him at ease. Then the man executed a beautiful snap to Michael's helm. Michael saluted him and fell. By that point Michael knew he had been had and introductions happened -- Michael St. Sever meet Duke William of Houghton. Needless to say those in the audience who could see it coming were trying not to laugh or give it away. It was a beautiful moment and Michael took it with lots of good humor.

Go in peace. -- Sabrina de le Bere


He and I used to hang out in the same group when he got his start in the SCA (at least in the West Kingdom). He was one of those fellows that other single men wished weren't around...every time he walked into a room no woman would pay attention to any other man. I swear he must have dated every woman I was interested in during that time.

He told great stories about his adventures as a platoon leader for the artillery in Germany during the 1980's as well as when he was a police officer in Southern California.  (Feel free to ask me about them some time.)

I have good memories of him and am very saddened by his untimely loss. I don't even think he was 50 yet. The world has lost a very good man, one I wish I had had the chance to see again.

My heart goes out to his family. -- Vlasta von der Weissen Sonne


I am in shock today. It is hard to imagine that a man so full of life is no longer with us. When I think of Michael, I think of a man in constant motion. He was always moving, whether dancing about the field in a smooth elegant fighting style, or bouncing about from group to group like a jesting hummingbird, regaling us with hilarious tales in his trademark storytelling style. I would like to wish Michael-san to rest in peace, but I'm sure he would get antsy if asked to be still. Instead, I will hope that Michael is now swirling about the heavens, exploring and meeting myriads of new friends who haven't yet heard his story about the Jeep-jousting, or the joy of fast-rope training. -- Garick Köpke


Remembering Michael-san
Viscount Sir Michael Saint Sever

Friday, February 20, 2009

After receiving calls from other SCA ‘sons’ and I looked at photos on line — Yes, I remember Michael-san quite well!

I wish to share my memories of Viscount Sir Michael Saint Sever. I really liked him and knew him fairly well at one point, albeit, that was long ago. I remember when he went off to the military, again, once my memory brought it back. Most of us were happy for him to serve, though sorry he would not be around us in the SCA. Time passes, people move to other Kingdoms and some do return ‘home’ at a later date. Our friends are often lost in the dust and shuffle of life, as life just goes on – for all of us and we all do what we do. Yes, many of us are at that age of reconnecting and remembering.

Michael-san really was one of the ‘good guys’ and amazingly polite, courteous and one of the nicest fellows ever! He had this genuine quality about him — what you saw was what you got! Knowing how he was brought up, the stories he told us about his Mama-san, it sounded like his Mother was a disciplinarian and he could not get away with a single thing! She demanded respect and it made Michael-san ever mindful of his actions, words and deeds – and he was ever the gentleman. I was glad to see that he did so well in the SCA, once he returned from the military and am sorry I missed those days.

By the time Michael-san was Prince; I lived in the Principality of Artemisia (Western Colorado) and played SCA with the Shire of Dael Beorht. Little to no news of ‘who is who in the pew’ existed in those days. We did not have on-line access, though I kept in touch with many SCA friends — and still do.

My recollections are that I must have first met Michael-san in the early 1980s, perhaps 1981 or 1982. At that time, I seem to remember that Michael-san was about 20 years old, so when Duke Ronald Wilmot said yesterday that he thought Michael-san was late 40s that would be accurate.

Michael-san was definitely one of the newer, younger fellows on the SCA scene back then and a blast to be around! He ran around with Michael Hugh Stewarts with the two of them bantering back and forth with much good humor! I am unsure if Michael Hugh had a household, yet.

As the Scottish song goes, “If my memory serves me well . . .” Michael Plotts affiliation with Michael Pope (Hugh Stewarts) was partly why he went by ‘Michael-san.’ He joked about having ‘an Anglo name’ and that was another reason I remembered his last name the minute I saw it, as I remembered them joking about “Pope 'n' Plotts” (speak it aloud, as it was the way it sounded).

I remember one time that we all joked about how many Michael’s we all knew, including my own son, Michael. Someone, probably Michael-san, joked about all of them having been named after Saint Michael, because I remember saying that my son was named Michael after a handsome Michael I had known since 7th grade and my son’s Father and I crossed paths with that Michael when I was with child, though the name ‘Michael’ does go back centuries.

As well, and as some may remember, Michael-san had the added ‘san’ – not ‘son’ – because he was half Japanese and had a wonderful sense of humor about his heritage — cracking us all up about his family life and with many visual actions and fun antics! For those who remember, the visuals were hilarious! He seemed to be in constant and fluid motion and I can only surmise that his fluidity carried into his SCA fighting! I imagine he was ‘something else’ as a child and kept his Mama-san on her toes.

The other reason for the use of ‘san’ was this. For those who may remember Michael the Lemon Freshened, also of Japanese decent and one of my SCA “sons” (adopted, ‘chosen’ family), well, he was called ‘Michael-son.’ If memory serves, Michael-san’s Father was Irish (I think — and that seems to fit with some jokes and stories of which I have memories). Michael the Lemon Freshened’s Mother was Japanese and his Father was middle European. Michael-san called me “Moms” (as did many and many still do) and that was fine with me!

Last evening, when I looked at photos on West’s memorial of Michael — it opened a memory bank for me (anyone who knows me knows that I lost memories after both brain surgeries). With these memories opening, my brain retrieves the good memories and for that, I am thankful that my brain finds new pathways.

I flashed to the many fun times a group of us all had together on many occasions, telling stories, singing old songs and otherwise having a wonderful time together — ah, the memories of glorious days gone by.

As Michael-san told stories, it had some folks rolling on the floor (that would be Artos, not me). Michael-san’s sense of humor about life and its events, family, himself, school, SCA — no matter what it was — his humor as he saw life was something else and often magical with the ever smiling and ever grateful openness to share a good time with everyone present. He certainly kept us all in stitches!

Viscount Sir Michael Saint Sever – or – Michael Plotts – whether within SCA or we partied mundanely, had a smile and charisma that just drew everyone present into the fun and filled a room with joyous good times! For that, it is a great sadness that such a wonderful spirit and soul has left this Earth so young – too young, like so many others. Quite frankly, Michael-san was incredibly funny!

I mentioned to Viscount Sir Brandon D’ Arindel yesterday when he called, I really believe Brandon had to have been at some of those gatherings when Michael-san had us all laughing so hard that we gasped for breath! Michael-san’s friendliness, wonderful personality, great looks and his incredible smile certainly caused the ladies heads to turn! Aye!

And, the fact that he was quite tall, especially for a person of half Japanese decent, caused all heads to turn and notice him. He stood out in a crowd of people. And, in true Michael-san ways, I remember him even joking about his height. He had told the story when he became taller than his Mama-san! Anyone who ever heard that story knows exactly what he had said (and no, I will not attempt to paraphrase it).

I could be incorrect on this, though again, if memory serves me well, Sir Artemus Maximus (aka: Artos ap Maximus, mka: Andrew Winter) had joined the Army because Michael-san had joined. That was after Artos and I parted ways, though he and I remained friends and have since lost track of each other. And, Artos gave me a photo of himself in his dress Army uniform, though I never got one of Michael-san. I seem to think that Michael-san had not returned to the West or SCA from the military before I moved to Artemisia in 1989. And, since he was knighted after that – by then – I had been in Colorado almost three years.

What a great loss for this world and the SCA. My heart goes out to Michael's family with their loss of such a wonderful man. I am certain he was a loving husband and Father. Michael, who touched our lives and enriched us for having known him and now we can only hold those memories of him in our hearts and minds.

As Brandon, Ronan and I have discussed, as have others, I do agree that too many or our friends and SCA family are leaving this Earth too young – too soon. Yet, I see that another has been called home to the Ethers. It does cause us to ‘pause and wonder why this is’ — yet, we cannot know. And, it is our human nature to wonder, shed our tears and grieve our loss.

Each time another of our SCA family passes, I think of them all, all the ones who have left this Earthly existence. There are too many wonderful folks’ names on the memorial list, who I knew — and it seems almost daunting, yet knowing that it was Fall 1976 when I joined the SCA, this is one of those times of life that reminds us all that ‘time is marching on’ and we cannot stop the years. Having said that, I do know that we can connect with each other - if we choose to do so. We can remember times past to make pleasant memories for now — and our futures.

As our generation reaches our ‘middle age’ we are imbued with remembering ‘times well spent with friends’ and as a Scottish song goes, “I’ve been tellin’ old stories, singing songs, that made me think of where I come from...” and remembering our friends and where we once lived well — and for many of our friends are being ‘called home.’

Viscount Sir Michael’s presence, no matter where he lived and played will surely be missed dearly. I hope that Michael-san continues to tell his great stories and make all the heavens laugh with joy about the humor he saw in living life — fully, completely with his eyes wide open and with such a great view of the humorous antics of life that so many people forget to honor! He wanted us to laugh and for that, I am grateful.

So, Viscount Sir Michael-san Saint Sever, stir it up there in the Ethers with the magic of lightness, laughter and fun times that you showed all of us while here on Earth! Godspeed, Michael-san and greet the rest of our beloved ones well!

With Regards for a Gentle Soul it was a pleasure to know,
~ Countess Dierdriana of the Misty Isles ... ‘Moms’ to many ...


Goode Gentles,

For many years, he was among my closest, and best.  A champion and amusing member of my House, and that of my lady of the time.  An intense scholar, and a calm herald, he was a true student of life and living.  It was my honor to encourage him to our battlefield and to see his arm grow in strength, and his vision in the wisdom of perspective.  Few White Belts were worn with less ego, nor Gold Chains with more resolve.  That his career took him far afield under arms to the country he loved was his duty, perhaps giri or bushido, and may not be regretted save in the absence of our missing him, and even more now.  I knew Michael to be thoughtful , artistic, and sensitive, though often hiding his attachments beneath a sardonic jocularity.  He was often precise in what few judgments he pronounced.

I never had the chance to meet with his Lady and children, but I could not conceive of his having less a care or attention than the young knight whom I once knew so well.  His was a mixed heritage, and like many others strove to downplay the cultural and physical results in his handsome appearance.  Yet those results were were like the stuff of fable, and the number of women that did not express day dreams of his reserved, but fair faced charms were few indeed.  I can not think that his lady would have been less.

I met his mother but once when she visited from Japan; theirs is an actual Samurai clan.  She was truly proud of his Warrior accomplishments, and status.  When he visited his mothers home for a large family reunion, she stood tall (all 4' 8" I understand) and commanded the others clear a path, "My Son is REAL Samurai!"

This is the true curse of immortality, that we can not but go onward without the ones we came to love and treasure.  I shall unashamedly miss him.  And too many others, also.

Sayonara Michael-San,
Sumimasen,
Sir Michael St. Sever
Sincerely,
Wylowen of Stuarts Og Dunniwey


One of the finest men I have ever had the company of knowing has passed from this world unto the next.

He wasn't just a Knight of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

He truly embodied what it is to be a true, chivalric man, ever striving for the right and the good.

I hope that one day, I can achieve even a modicum of his wit, grace and skill.

And DAMN, did he tell awesome stories.

I grieve for him, and his wife and children who are left behind.

Here, words start to fail me, so instead, I will offer this song to his memory.

To absent friends.

Oh, all the money e'er I had, I spent it in good company. And
all the harm that ever I've done, alas it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit to mem'ry now I can't recall; So
fill to me the parting glass, Good night and joy be to you all.

If I had money enough to spend, and leisure time to sit awhile. There
is a fair maid in this town, that sorely has my heart beguiled. Her
rosy cheeks and ruby lips, I own, she has my heart in thrall; Then
fill to me the parting glass, Good night and joy be to you all.

Oh, all the comrades e'er I had, they're sorry for my going away. And
all the sweethearts e'er I had, they'd wished me one more day to stay.
But since it falls unto my lot, that I should rise and you should not, I
gently rise and softly call, Goodnight and joy be to you all.

Requiescat in pace, Michael Plotts, aka Viscount Michael Saint Sever, KSCA.

You will most certainly be missed.
You will most especially be remembered. -- Aaron of Buckminster


Viscount Sir Michael San Sever (known to everyone as "Michael-San") passed away last night. I wish I'd known he was on LJ.

He was our age. He was married. He just had a second daughter. And, apparently, he was on the East Coast. (I wonder how many more Westies are out here now? It'd be fun to start a club)

He used to be, mundanely, an LA cop (I remember teasing him about donuts).

He was tall and handsome and always impeccibly dressed. Even at wars, which was odd. It was like the man never sweat! Somewhere I have cartoons I drew of him (or didn't draw; for some reason I seem to recall he was mostly off-panel, but I know I did one "portrait" panel of him).

If I remember correctly, his was the reign of "Herbie the War Bug," a classic VW Bug painted with the arms of the Princess of the Mists.

I had a huge crush on him, but he never knew it; he was one of the few crushes I remember having that I wasn't afraid to actually talk to.

Vaya con queso, Michael-san.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today. -- Oksenja Venäläinen (aka Koshka)


There are many fond memories of Sir Michael, but there is one that I would like to share.

After Michael was knighted, he approached me with a problem.  Even though he met the criteria of his peers and the West Kingdom to be a knight, he felt there was one chivalric art that he had no experience in and wanted to learn how to do.  That was riding a horse.  Not just sitting on a rental string horse for a trail ride, but how to communicate with your mount using subtle cues and becoming one with them.  At the time, I was the only person he knew who had a horse and I got him in touch with my riding instructor.  On his own, he began English riding lessons and kept at them for many months, until he felt he could say "I know how to RIDE a horse" - as he believed a Knight should.  And to this day, he will forever be the man who could wear his 501 jeans tucked into narrow shaft tall English riding boots.  Needless to say, he had very skinny lower legs.

Michael will always be in my memories as a chivalric, gallant, sweet man who could tell wonderful stories and would always make me smile.

You will be missed, but not forgotten Michael-san. -- Rosewitha Wolfsdottir


I am one of the few people who can say I was proud and delighted to be handcuffed by Sir Michael.

It was during one of his classes on "The Constabulary and the Law," which explained the legal protections and limitations placed on constables in the performance of their duties. He was describing how to restrain a violent person, and asked for a volunteer. I did my best to be truculent and uncooperative, but it didn't do much good. It was immediately obvious that Sir Michael was an old pro at this, and had dealt with people far more uncooperative that I could ever hope to simulate. Of course, it seemed to take an awfully long time to find the handcuff key, and though Sir Michael claimed he could spring me with a paper clip if need be, I wasn't entirely reassured.

But I got a real insight into Michael's world a few years afterward, when my lady and I ran into him while shopping at Arden Mall. Since it was around dinnertime, we decided to grab something at the food court. At the time, Michael was staying at a nearby hotel; he was in town during the Unabomber trial, since he was of the U.S. Marshals in charge of "baby-sitting Ted Kaczynski," as he put it. Michael arrived at the food court at the same time we did, and I went over to him and said "Hi, Michael! It's good to see you!."

Michael didn't say a word. Instead, he looked me up and down with a cool, penetrating gaze that I had never seen him use before. I suddenly realized that he didn't recognize me, since he had never seen me out of garb. He was visually frisking me, while trying to match my face up with those of all the people he had put under arrest over the years. This was his world, where any stranger could have a motive to turn on him, where a slight bulge in a person's clothing could indicate a concealed weapon.

It was only when Kara came over to greet him that he realized who we were. His demeanor immediately changed, and he became the affable, witty Michael-san we knew and loved. We joked about how we were "out of context" and ended up having a pleasant dinner together. But it was a revelation to me to glimpse the world that Michael chose to live in, and how he coped with it. And maybe it showed why Michael loved the SCA so much -- it was one of the few public venues where he could truly relax and let his guard down.

-- Freiherr Johann von Drachenfels (John LaTorre)


I'm really going to miss Mike. He was one of the kindest,funniest and,most honorable men it has been my pleasure to have known. I remember a Mists Coronet, might have even been the one he won. Somewhere around 4th or 5th round, we drew each other. After joking around about knowing each other's tricks all too well(we had been squire brothers up until his recent knighting), the "lay on" was called. We stood there. And stood there. And stood there. And continued to stand there for a good 2-3 minutes. In total silence. Eventually a voice whispered" Why aren't they fighting?" The reply being "Shhhh, they are!" (I was told this afterward by the marshall). Suddenly we moved! Three hits were felt. I hit his leg, he hit my head, and I hit the ground. It was, and will always be, one of my most memorable experiences in a long fighting career.

Mike,
The world was safer, thanks to you.
Now we are diminished.
See you in the sunshine!

Always,
Aelf of Kingscrossing


I was recently contacted by an old Squire, since knighted and viscounted, about the untimely death of Sir Michael Saint Sever.  To me, he was simply Michael-San.  My beloved Squire.  As the story goes, that was long, long ago and far away.  But what wonderful memories.  Michael was still in college, full of his ever present energy, enthusiasm and artistic ability.  I am lucky enough to have in my possession some of his art work; sketches of some of the "interesting characters" he found at tournaments and battle scenes.  Some of these he developed into finished works,  Some are etchings and artist proofs.  I always figured he would end up a famous artist and I cherished the gifts he let me hold.  I was at his graduation ceremony from ROTC, spent time with his family and he wore my belt when he was Knighted.  He had moved away to Caid lands and finished his training with others but we always had our bond.  As time moves on, I left the West and moved north to AnTir.  At Thirty Year, I remember standing in the populace during one of the huge courts and having a man come running across the center of court and dropping to his knees at my feet.    We had not seen each other in over a decade and he was kneeling at my feet.  I have such love for my people, and among them all are some that are so special that they never leave you.  You carry a piece of them with you always.  Michael was one of those. The world will miss him.  I will miss him.  He was my squire.  He was my friend.

Earl Sir Strider of Duramen, the Persistent


My friend Michael San
AKA Michael Plotts
AKA Sir Michael St. Sever
AKA Sadawara Yoshiro
AKA Eric the Aryan

I have lots of stories to tell. The best ones are the shortest. I hope none of them offend.

I met Michael sometime in 1979 or early 1980. I was in high school and he was in College at Sacramento State. My first year or two at Sac State he was there as well. He and I have been friends for almost thirty years. He was an art major, which was unusual among his ROTC friends. We used to hang out and drink together at the Pub. He was one of the guys who would buy me beer when I was underage. Mike used to tell stories about that time like this: “I was a senior and pretty much done with class work. Mike (meaning me, my name is Mike too) was a Freshman. We’d be drinking beers at lunch and Mike’d be swaying a little and I’d say ‘Mike, don’t you have class this after noon.’ And he’d say ‘Oh….yeah….’” which is pretty much how I remember it too. Yeah, Micahel-san was a big part of my miss-spent youth.

His best friend was Michael Hugh Stuarts. We had *way* too many Mike’s.

I last talked to Mike over Christmas. I was in DC. We had talked earlier about getting together during the holidays and were trying to set it up, but couldn’t find the time. We decided to get together in March, when I was next planning to come down. That trip has been replaced by a trip to Mike’s funeral. The last two times we talked his health dominated the conversation. As anyone who spoke with him about it, or has read his blog, knows, he approached the challenge and his possible demise with the same wit and humor that he approached everything. He knew he could die and seemed ok with it, and knowing Mike I don’t think that was a front. He loved life and was happy to get as much out of it as he could. “Well, damn,” is probably all he would say about his death.

I’ve read The Courtier. I’ve read Lull and Charney and others. And I’ve seen all those old MGM movies. If you asked me to name the perfect courtier and the perfect knight, I’d name Michael San.

Mike and I both authorized around the same time, in the spring of 1980. He was part of Wylowen of Stuart’s household, and called himself “Sadawara Yoshiro.” He had planned, as I recall, to be a Scott in the SCA, but got so amused at Will’s attempts to pass himself off as a samurai that he decided to show people how it should be done. His other response to that was to briefly become a Teutonic warrior and call himself “Eric the Aryan,” which I think was an even better idea. In May of 1980 Mike and I and the late Sebastian von Badden, along with some others, fought in a newcomer’s tourney at Cynagua Spring Coronet (the famous “Freeze in the Trees”). Mike killed me in one of the early rounds and then it got down to me with one loss, Sebastian and Mike with no losses. I killed Sebastian (with a great thrust to the belly) and then Mike killed me. Then he beat Sebastian in the finals. Mike won this really dorky helmet that I don’t think he ever wore. He ended up giving it to Will, who wore it for years.

My friend Andrea used to call Mike “the most beautiful man in the SCA.” Over on the armor archive, somebody posted that when Mike walked into a room all the guys got grumpy because all the women were suddenly watching him. All the girls had a crush on Mike, and he dated a lot of them, but he had a definite type: very thin, elegant, beautiful. There was one girl from our Sacramento days named Karen. We were all in love with her, and some of us dated her, but the only one she seemed to go out with for more than a few moments was Mike. I think it is because they were both danger junkies. She sensed the Mike was dangerous and she loved that. She was definitely dangerous. When she was living in LA and Mike was on the LAPD she was dating both him and a fairly major coke dealer at the same time. Mike knew all about it. When Mike was stationed in Europe, so she told me, he flew her over there to visit him, took her to Venice, and proposed to her on a Gondola on the Grand Canal. She said no. I said to her “how could you say no after a setup like that? And to Mike!? My God! Say yes and then break it off later, but nobody says no in a Gondola on the grand canal.” I asked Mike about that later and he just nodded chuckled in that way of his. Mike was a warrior—nothing fazed him.

One of my favorite early memories of Mike was at a Wendy Meads/Wolfscairn war in Orangevale park. This was probably in the fall of 1980. Mike wasn’t fighting heavy for some reason and was shooting as an archer instead. It was a “flag war” Each side had a limited number of flags, representing lives. If you were killed you gave your flag to a marshal, went back to your army’s hidden fortress and got another flag and resurrected. If you captured one side’s box of flags they got no more lives. The war didn’t end until everybody on one side was dead. Well, one side captured the flag box and slowly killed of everybody except Mike. He stayed in the woods and, in his words, “played Iwo Jima sniper.” We would send people out to look for him, he would pop up from behind a bush, kill one or two of them, and then take off running. He could out run everybody. This went on for a couple of hours. Eventually we just left the woods and called it a day. That led to a rule that if all the heavies on one side were killed the archers had to run away.

Here’s a story Mike told me. He was on the LAPD and was training a new recruit. This was shortly after the Rodney King riots. They were at a big shopping mall and had just parked in the parking garage. A little old lady came up to them and said she had lost her car. She’d been looking all over for it, and she was sure it was here somewhere, and she hoped it wasn’t stolen. After quizzing her for a minute he asked her if the pillar she had parked next to was red. She said that it had been yellow, and he told her that she was on the wrong floor. She thanked them and said “you are so nice. It’s just like your motto. What is that again?” Mike answered “we treat you like a King, mam.” “No, that’s not it. It’s ‘to protect and serve.’” She walked away and the recruit looked agape at Mike and asked “how can you say things like that?” Mike said “cause I’m a sergeant. I can get away with it.”

Mike was the greatest story teller in the world. He had a deep sonorous voice and complimented his stories with faces and accents and this strange limp wristed, straight fingered gesture he always used when he was being funny. And he had a very expressive face. He was a master of dry delivery. Mike could make you laugh when discussing the most serious things. Once he told the story of how one of his “regular customers” that is to say, somebody he busted a lot, was in the police station sitting on a bench and Mike went over to say something to him. For no apparent reason, he pulled out a knife and tried to stab Mike with it. As mike put it “That was it. I was going to kill him. Your ticket punched. You are bought and paid for.” And by the time his gun broke leather there were eight cops swarming the guy and mike couldn’t even see him. Telling the story, mike pantomimed looking at his gun, then at the swarm of bodies, then frowning and kicking the miscreant’s exposed foot, totally crushed. He had a delivery like Harold Lloyd.

When Mike re-joined the SCA after leaving the Army he lived in Los Angeles but played mostly in the West. Sometimes he would get off work in Van Nuys and drive straight up to Mission College Practice in Santa Clara. One night I was parked in the parking lot getting into armor and Mike rolled in and parked next to me. He got out of the car beaming and said to me “Three and a half hours from Van Nuys to here--with a stop.” It is roughly a 330 mile trip.

Once we were at BART practice. He had driven up from LA. He was showing me his new side arm, a Beretta, on which he had painted the front sight white so it showed up better. He unloaded it and handed it to me so I could site down the barrel. Here we were in the middle of Oakland pointing a gun around a parking lot. A woman walking to her car passed within ten feet of me, stopped and stared, and Mike in that calm, authoritative voice of his said “police officer, mam.” And she just walked away; satisfied that everything was all right.

One night we were having 12th Night at the Shiner’s temple in Oakland. The royal ready room was in a back stage dressing room. The event was over and we were packing up to go home and I found Mike in the dressing room asleep in a barber’s chair. I said “Mike, wake up.” Nothing. “Michael. Time to go.” Nothing. “Officer Plotts! Wake up!”…and he went for his gun before his eyes were open, not realizing he was in garb. He looked around and said “oh.”

Mike’s squire told me this story. They were working security at Pennsic. They ran into a bunch of kids doing something—throwing trash around, splashing water on sheet walls, I don’t know. Mike went all LAPD on them. Walked up, pointed to them and said “Stop it. Shut up. Give me your names, each of you, I want your mundane names, your parents names, and where you are camped.” He had them quaking in their boots.

He was briefly on the San Leandro police department. He loved it. As he put it “It was total freedom. He got to work all alone. They gave him a car and a shotgun and said “go ye forth and do ye the Wyatt Earp thing.” A lot of kids from San Leandro were wanting to be gang members. A bunch of them were being rounded up for some petty gang stuff when Mike rolled up in his car. He saw them all milling around as the other cops questioned them, and told them that this isn’t how you do it. He took over and lined them all up and made them kneel with their hands clasped behind their heads while they interviewed each of them one at a time. The kids started complaining and Mike said “do you know hwo I am?” One of them replied “yeah. You’re that damn LA cop.” “Right, and this is how we do it in Compton.” After that the kids kind of thought it was cool. Mike’s solution to the blossoming gang problem in San Leandro was to push the wanabes south and north until they ran into some serious gangs in Hayward or Oakland, and a few of them got killed by the real gang-bangers. Then he figured most of them would realize this was not for them, and it would be worth losing a couple of the punks anyway. Mike could say thing like that and make you laugh, and you were never sure if he was serious.

This is something I wrote to Collin’s LJ “It's impossible to adequately describe Michael to anyone who hadn't met him, and those of us who had and could call him friend already know: he was a star. He was like something out of a Jane Austin novel, or the hero of a Hollywood costume epic, a Japanese Errol Flynn. He had charisma, style, wit, savoir faire, franchise, whatever you want to call it. The closest I can come is telling people to imagine a six-foot tall Mr. Sulu. And he might have been the finest man I knew. We are all so devastated right now.”

One night after practice we were sitting around Bennigans. Mike said “you know, only idiots rob banks. The smart people rob someplace like this. They hit it right at closing time, when only the manger is here. There’s usually five to ten thousand in the cash register. (pause) I count eight of us here. That’s a good split. I’m game, anybody else in?” a he raised his hand.

In college he and his roommate answered the telephone “Soviet Consulate, da.” A friend of his was going for a security clearance and originally put Mike’s name as a reference and then crossed it out, saying “they answer the phone weird over there.”

Mike said that one night he heard a noise outside their apartment. He grabbed a gun and went outside to investigate. He found nothing. Then he looked down at the gun in his hand and realized it was an unloaded flintlock pistol. “Well, that’s useless,” he said.

Mike’s the guy who told me it’s a bad idea to have sec in Sacramento in the summer unless you have air conditioning, because it’s so hot your bodies will adhere together and you have to literally peel yourselves apart.

When I was prince of the Mists Mike was about to be knighted. At Mists Coronet I saw him dancing a waltz with Anne of Alnwyck and, at court, called him forward and gave him his Rose Leaf, the West Kingdom arts award, which carries an Award of Arms if the recipient doesn’t already have one. It wasn’t really for the waltz. He was a great illuminator. But I told everybody it was because his dance had amused me. Jade was furious with me because Michael didn’t have an Award of Arms yet, and Jade wanted him to be the first knight since the old days to be knighted before getting any other awards.

Since Mike’s death my mind keeps coming back to one thing. Mike sent out an email—it might have been when he and Barb got married, it might have been when Morgan was born, I don’t recall. Anyway, in this email mike wrote that he had always believed that if you never had any responsibilities—if you never got married, or had kids or a dog or a mortgage—that you could stay young and live for ever. Now he was in love, and he was piling up all those responsibilities. As he put it: “And I couldn’t be happier.” Mike was so immensely happy with his life and his family, even though it meant that one day he was going to die. No, he didn’t realize that it would be this soon, but I doubt he would have changed a minute of it if you offered him his short time with Barbara or a long life without her. Mike had that peace that only great warriors and great philosophers attain, an understanding of life’s brevity and the joy of living whatever time he was given to the fullest. -- Valgard Stonecleaver


Photos:
     People
     People ((Chad Bitor's 'People' Page))
     People
     Beltane Coronation (April 25-May 5, 1991, AS XXV)
     Beltane Coronation (April 25-May 5, 1991, AS XXV)
     Purgatorio Coronation (August 21-22, 1993, AS XXVIII)
     Black Knight Tourney -- Canale (September 11-12, 1993, AS XXVIII)
     Black Knight Tourney -- Canale (September 11-12, 1993, AS XXVIII)
     Fall Coronet Tournament -- Principality of the Mists (October 9-10, 1993, AS XXVIII)
     Fall Coronet Tournament -- Principality of the Mists (October 9-10, 1993, AS XXVIII)
     Fall Investiture -- Principality of the Mists (November 14, 1993, AS XXVIII)
     Twelfth Night Coronation (January 15, 1994, AS XXVIII)
     June Crown Tournament (June 18-19, 1994, AS XXIX)


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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).