I remember camping with a friend and his family in Findlay, Ohio. I was nine or ten years old, call it 1980. My friend had an older brother who asked us if we wanted to play something called Dungeons and Dragons. Right away, the name spoke to me. I was a voracious reader in elementary school, and my favorites were all fantasy authors like Lloyd Alexander, J.R.R Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis.
We never actually played the game that trip, but I heard enough about it to be hooked. A few weeks later, I convinced my grandfather to take me to a hobby shop in Berea to get this game that would allow me to journey to Middle-Earth or Prydain and go on epic quests like the heroes of the books I loved. I had no idea there was such a selection of material already: the Basic Rules, Expert Rules, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and the many adventures that were in print at the time. I was not sure what I needed to play. I opted for the Red Box Basic Set. My grandfather splurged on a box of lead miniatures from Ral Partha as well.
I got back to my grandparents' house and tore open the box set, which included dice (complete with crayon because, hey, we colored our dice back then), the basic rulebook, and the Keep on the Borderlands adventure. I could not wait to get to school Monday and get my friends playing this game! I did. And 35 plus years later, still have never stopped.