Challenges like this are always interesting. I will do my best, there may be a few days that contain 2 posts in order to get things in.
Day 1: How I Got Started
I can’t place the exact year, I do know it was the summer between 6th & 7th grade. And I know the place, and in fact I still go there almost every year. It was a summer family reunion, at a place where every family unit had their own cabin. One of my cousin-in laws had brought this new game along. And got another cousin and I to join him & his brother. We were playing AD&D out of the box set, but with the Monster Manual.
I had a Cleric, named Thorn. He was a human. I don’t much remember the dungeon or anything about the adventure. But I do remember that we somehow slew a Dragon, which was very cool to us. Then my cousin, with his fighter, got cocky, and wanted to challenge something tougher. So the kid running the game had us fight a Xorn, this was back in the days when you just grabbed a monster out of the manual and fought it, arena style.
The fight did not go well, although Thorn survived. But my cousins fighter died, and I remember him throwing a massive fit, going outside and trying to beat up a tree.
That fall I got the box set for my birthday, the Players Handbook and Monster Manual for Xmas (I think, I know I got the Players Handbook first.) And the rest, as the say, is history.