(A broken water pipe ate up my weekend and kept me from starting this blog hop on time. I will try to catch up today.)
I can't say for sure how I first learned about D&D. I heard about it long before I ever saw a copy of the rules. It was always a story from someone who knew somebody who met a guy who had played. My friends and I were very interested in trying D&D out, but we couldn't find it anywhere. No one in my high school played, and no store in our area carried it. Finally, more than a year after I had first heard of it, my friend Dan came up with a copy. It was the Moldvay Basic set. We all took turns reading the rules and set about teaching ourselves how to play. I'm pretty sure the first character I played was Serafis, a fighter. Dan later bought the Cook Expert set. By then, I had gotten some of the AD&D books, (but not the DMG), and for a long time we played some weird mutant version of the game that incorporated rules from whatever books we happened to have. Eventually, we switched over to AD&D completely.