A few months back I was at my mom's senior living center and ran into a mom whose two sons I had played D&D with back in the early 80s. She pulled me aside and said, "I was so happy to give you boys a place to play Dungeons & Dragons, even though at that time lots of moms wouldn't have." I was put off guard by her remark, because I never felt any disapproval from the adults in my life about gaming, and I wondered what small-town ninnywags had given her a hard time about letting her sons play "Whatsits and Whosits", as her husband referred to the game.
When I started playing D&D in 1977, most folks I met had no idea the game existed, let alone how it was played. If you weren't a wargamer or a college student, you simply would not have encountered it. The mass media weren't all over it until '80. And the initial press was positive. So you could play at home or at school and no one cared. Then in '81 came the steam tunnel years, and depending on where in the States you lived, D&D was either frowned upon or outright banned. Not so for me. I had the D&D Moms on my side, and until now, never realized they caught flack for letting us play.
My mom told me years later, "I loved that you played D&D in high school. I never had to worry about where you where on a Friday night." Because we were in the basement. Drinking. Hot chocolate. And fighting orcs. Ouch, I guess I was a bit peripheral to the dating and party scene then.
But her finest moment as a D&D mom was ambushing Rona Jaffe on a radio call-in show when she was on to promote Mazes & Monsters. Hopped up on TAB and Devil Dogs, she phoned in and said to Ms. Jaffe,
"You should be ashamed of yourself for smearing kids who play that game and for saying they're crazy. My sons and their friends play Dungeons & Dragons and they're all honor roll students and have never been in trouble a day in their lives."
Ms. Jaffe's reply is lost to history. But years later, my mom would still bring it up, calling the author "That sleaze queen." I love my mom.