The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
By Brian Pitman, December 2008
As we come to the end of another year, I always find myself nostalgic, thinking back to the good times and good friends I have experienced in my life. With carnival glass collecting consuming a good half of my life, many of these nostalgic thoughts are filled with many of you, my good carnival friends, as well as with those of us who have passed into the great iridescent beyond. Unfortunately, that list grew again this year, and it seems that more and more, we are going to have to face the fact that we are not all going to live forever, chatting about color and shape and whether damage affects the value of glass, etc. That makes me sad, but then I am of the belief that we will all be able to renew our friendships later on and in a much better place.
Last year, my December words were pretty angry. The year was particularly harsh, and I was unhappy about the many we had lost. This year, I choose to think I am looking back with wisdom. Diane Fry once told me that the past was what we choose it to be: that we can look back with happiness, with sorrow, or with regret. I think happiness is indeed the way to look back because, as many know, the best part of carnival glass isn’t the glass itself (although we all have to love it or at least respect its value to do what we do): the best part of carnival glass is the people who collect it, and the experiences we all get to share with each other as we sail on through this lifetime.
Since our last newsletter, my friends, Sidney Huber and Casey Rich, have moved on to their new addresses in Heaven. Furthermore, we have seen the auction of Harold Cox’s collection, signifying that he truly is gone (funny how many times to me it doesn’t seem final until the loved one’s glass has been sold.) All three of them provided me with some great memories, some laughs, and the knowledge that they are forever ingrained in my memory (people I will always remember as I am remembering the “good old days” when I am in my 80s.)
And then, there is Bob Leonard.
Bob attended our convention in July, and shortly after, he went to be with his creator, leaving our world a less beautiful place. Bob and Geneva are a permanent part of the quintessential carnival glass experience for me. I will never be able to think of carnival glass conventions without thinking of them. Bob was immensely helpful to anyone and everyone. He always had ideas on where to take the convention, was more than willing to share his glass, and he would spend many hours of the conventions helping set up auction glass for Jim Seeck.
On top of all of those things, Bob was just the nicest guy in the world. He truly cared about carnival, and the people who collected it. He was soft spoken, but he would also share his advice and suggestions (which were always golden.) A lot of love goes out to Geneva, who misses this wonderful man more than any of us can. I know that I am going to see Bob again someday, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that he is no longer with us here now, and that saddens me. And yet, that sadness is colored with some very happy memories and respect for who he was. There is that wisdom kicking in again, and it just makes me appreciate the people in carnival even more.
December truly is the most wonderful time of the year. It is the month that signifies all the best parts of humanity, reminds us that family is incredibly important, and that fellowship with each other provides experiences that live with us forever. We are able to look back on the year, enjoy our successes and work out how to avoid repeating our failures. Since we are all members of ICGA, we can do the same with our organization.
While you are reminiscing or sitting by the tree with your loved ones, know that we have next year’s convention planned and ready to go. The convention will be in Des Moines at the Airport Holiday Inn on July 15-18. There is more information on this event in the newsletter, so please be sure to check it out. It is events like this that allow us to create new memories to savor for the rest of our lives.
I hope this issue of The Pump finds you warm and happy, filled with love from friends and family, and ready to make 2009 the best year on the books. I also hope that, when you remember those we miss from our diverse and wonderful history as a club, you are provoked to smile, happy in your memories. We truly have had some amazing people in this organization who have passed on. Their memories will live with all of us until we meet them again in the next world…
Merry Christmas everyone, and God Bless You!