The Wizard’s Tower is the name I gave my Instagram account and then it’s what I named the blog. The name isn’t random so I thought I’d share where I got the name from. This story begins some time in the summer of 1995 when I was seven years old…
I’ve written previously about how I was introduced to Magic way back when but I’ll do a quick recap here because it’s needed for the story. As a kid my family would go to Rye Beach in New Hampshire every weekend during the summers. My grandparents and aunt lived there in the summer. My aunt had a friend who would often visit with her two sons, Scott and Greg, who played Magic. This is where I was introduced to the game. I was only about six the first time I saw the cards and I usually just watched them play on the beach while I was totally amazed. I didn’t know how to play but I just sat and watched anyway because I loved the cards. Over time I collected a small handful of Revised and Fallen Empires cards from them. I would always ask for cards every time I saw them.
I noticed on the Fallen Empires cards down by the copyright it said “Wizards of the Coast.” I knew those were the people that made the cards but I came to my own conclusions about these alleged wizards. I thought maybe that they might actually be some sort of wizards and that they lived somewhere along the coast which is where I was. Were they somewhere nearby? When you’re a kid you don’t take into consideration that a term as unspecific as “coast” could refer to any of the millions of miles of coastline in the world. Or even no specific coast at all. So there was that aspect of wonder I associated with the cards. It only added to the awe I had for them.
On a stormy day during that summer of 1995 my aunt’s friend was visiting with her two sons. They really wanted to go to a place they called The Wizard’s Tower. I had no idea what that was but I pictured a rickety medieval castle tower. I pictured the castle tower in the Disney version of The Sword in the Stone which was a favorite movie of mine at the time. I quickly assumed that this tower must be where the wizards of the coast resided and it must indeed be nearby along the coast somewhere! During this time I didn’t necessarily believe in wizards but I wasn’t 100% sure there weren’t secrets groups of wizards and witches out in the world doing things that I only dreamed of.
The Wizard’s Tower apparently sold Magic cards. I had never been to a store that sold them so I was very excited. I would get to crack open my very own booster pack! What would I get? While waiting for my aunt to take us Scott, Greg, my brother, and I went down to the beach in the wind and rain. Scott and Greg started throwing rocks at seagulls. I didn’t throw any though. I didn’t want to hurt a seagull even though they always stole my chips when I ate them on the beach. I really liked animals as a kid.
My aunt saw them throwing rocks from the house and she came out and was pretty angry. She told us that she wouldn’t take us to The Wizard’s Tower. I was crushed. To a seven year old that sort of thing can be slightly traumatic.
Growing up I would occasionally think about that day and wonder what The WIzard’s Tower was actually like. Eventually I realized if it existed at all, it was probably just a typical comic and game shop. It probably had the slight stench of armpits and Cheetos rather than the stench of ancient tomes, burning candles, and stone. A couple years ago I looked it up online. It turns out that it was real and I was right about it being a typical comic and game shop. It’s been closed down for a long time now but I did manage to find a pretty awesome commercial on YouTube.
The store was in Nashua, New Hampshire which isn’t close to Rye Beach at all. Looking back, I don’t think my aunt was actually going to take us there in the first place. If we somehow did get to The Wizard’s Tower that day, I would have been a little let down that it was just a regular store and not a medieval tower with wizards designing card games for non-wizards. I would have definitely been happy to get a booster pack of Magic cards though.
My love for Old School Magic cards stems from this time in my life where I was in awe of every card I saw. The fact that I didn’t know how many cards there were out there only added to the attraction. It brought in a sense of mystery and surprise. I was introduced to the game at just the right age where it sits in my memory as a time when Magic cards were in a perfect phase. When I was thinking of a name for the Instagram, I decided on The Wizard’s Tower as the most fitting because of this memory. I knew other people wouldn’t know where it came from but it was perfect to me.