I figure that since HELL's M's has been around since the '88 joint US/Canadian AG that I should tell you about how it all got started. HELL's M's was recognized as an official SIG in June of 1989. But, the SIG really got started as the result of a conversation at a hot tub party the weekend before the 1988 AG.

We were at a hot tub party in Dayton, Ohio the Sunday before the AG. Some of us were talking about how we thought the party side of Mensa was being lost here in Dayton. Many of our board members liked to give money to scholarship and educational type of activities. While this is a good thing to do, those of us in the hot tub thought we should do something to help bring more fun into Dayton Area Mensa.

We felt that it was time to put more emphasis on the fact that when you get a bunch of Mensans together they usually like to party. We wanted a way for those Mensans who like to party to be able to recognize each other. We figured if they could get together they would have better and bigger parties. When we were talking about people who like to party someone brought up the Hells Angels as serious partiers. That lead to a discussion of some of the T-shirts that we see many people on motorcycles wearing. This lead to the idea of a T-shirt we could use to recognize each other. In the end we agreed that a T-shirt with an owl and with the words HELL's MENSAN's.

Mike Schulsinger, a Dayton Mensan, said that he would try to get them made up. He checked into it but was unable to find anyone to print them in the 4 to 5 days before the AG. He called me on Monday night and said it was not possible to get the shirts printed, so we would not have them for the AG. I told him I could probably get them printed in the time we had. He told me that he had called all the local printers and it just wasn't possible. When he told me that I went to work (partly because I felt he said "I" couldn't do it) to get the shirts printed.

With the help of a local Mensan bird watcher, an artist (who does work for my business), and my printer (whom I have done some work for) I was able to put the design together and get them printed. I got pictures of owls on Monday night, took them to my artist on Tuesday. My artist got me the art work Wednesday morning, which I took it to my printer. On Wednesday the printer shot the silk screen. The shirts were delivered to the printer Wednesday afternoon and the printing was done Wednesday afternoon and first thing Thursday morning. I picked up the 18 T-shirts before noon on Thursday as we (Yvonne, Steve Herrick and myself) left town for the AG.

The trip to the AG was memorable because we got detained for 1 1/2 hours at the Canadian border. I never could figure out why they choose to search our car. It was fun as they opened up our luggage and found my knives, sling, and whip. We managed to get past those OK. BUT, when they found the shirts and asked what they were for I told them I hoped to sell them at the AG. I had never thought of them as commerce but that is what they considered them to be. So, I got fined for transporting undeclared commercial property.

At the AG I gave a shirt to Jane Kwiecinski (our RVC at the time) because of all the work she was doing for Mensa, I took one for me, one for Yvonne, and sold one each to Steve Herrick, Nita Belg (Fields), and Loraine Armstrong (Hune) - these folks had all been at the hot tub party. I thought I might be able to sell the rest of them over the 3 days we would be the AG. We were just hoping to get back the money (and fines) we had into them, so it wouldn't end up being a very expensive joke.

What happened was that the shirts sold out in about 30 to 45 minutes and the people buying them suggested I start a SIG. Not only did I get a request to start a SIG, but I also got orders for over 90 shirts and had a new chapter of HELL's M's started before the AG was over. In the process of filling some of the orders I took back the shirts from Yvonne, Steve, and Nita and sold them to people there at the AG.

As it stands now there have been over 2,050 Mensans have been involved in HELL's M's at one time or another. We have 56 chapters all over the country with an active membership of 275 to 325 people. Now, based on those figures I would say that a lot of people like the idea of HELL's M's, the HELL'S MENSANs t-shirts, and that Mensans really like to party.

One of the things that draws HELL's M's together is the fact that we all like to party. But partying means different things to different people. The one common thread that runs through most of the ideas of good parties that I have heard is that everyone should have a good time. So that is how our credo came into being, and it is:

A HELL's M's party is any party, large or small, where everyone participating in the party or affected by the party has good memories after the party is done.

So there you have it - how it got started, and a little bit about who we are.


Webmaster's note: For those who like to track such things, the official birthday for HELL's M's is Sunday, June 26, 1988.