But Why Join A Club?
The summer is finally starting to wear away and I hope this issue of the Carnival Pump finds you happy, healthy, still aglow with your summer tan and a renewed excitement to have an autumn with a bunch of carnival glass (Autumn is THE best time to showcase your marigold glass after all!) The summer held a lot of excitement in the carnival world, and we had one heck of a great convention in Indianapolis. Our seminars were fun and educational, our auction was brisk with action, and our banquet ended in a giant singalong led by Carl and Eunice Booker (how many carnival glass conventions have you attended that you can say had a singalong?) An enormous thank you to those who attended, those who helped organize and execute the convention, our wonderful Board of Directors and Officers, our auctioneer and to you, our members, for making this annual joyful event extra special each time we get together.
Shortly after the convention, I was chatting with a carnival glass collector who had never been to a convention (but had been to auctions) and who had never joined a carnival glass club. I was extolling all the benefits of being in a club (especially such a historic one as ICGA, with the best carnival glass newsletter in the world!) and attending a convention. This collector (who is younger than most people reading this issue of the Pump) still was hesitant to embrace the idea of being in a club. He wasn’t concerned about dues (which are so very cheap compared to almost anything these days), nor was he worried about taking some time in the summer to attend a convention (because most people take their vacation from work in the summer anyway.) He just didn’t understand how being in a club was so much better than just attending auctions and reading carnival glass posts on Facebook.
I confess, I was really stumped as to how to answer his query. To me, the newsletter, the convention, the history, the website, the fellowship with other members (which extends more deeply and beyond what we experience on Facebook on a daily basis) all just add up to so much more. As a Generation Xer, I was raised to be fairly independent on a daily basis (mom wasn’t home to wait on me after school, I had to do my own laundry and frequently cook my own meals), but the fierce independence of millennials equates to them as looking at things almost defiantly, wanting the value to be proven upfront before making a leap of faith. Millennials are indeed changing the world (and I have written here about that before), but sometimes you just wish that they could have a better understanding of tradition to inform some of their daily thought processes. It would help them to understand why getting together for a week in a hotel with a bunch of carnival glass can be such a great thing.
Eventually, epiphany reached me by way of an email from Christina Katsikas for a Hooked on Carnival nightly mailing list. Last year, Chase Marquis found a piece of carnival, an ice green Poppy Show bowl on eBay. Now ice green Poppy Show bowls aren’t super common, but they aren’t hard to find, either. Their price generally reflects that (12 have sold at auction in the past 8 years, with a value range from $300 on the low end up to $1,100 at the top.) Most collectors know this range offhand, and so there was a bowl sitting on eBay for someone to buy. Chase, however, noticed something about that bowl he hadn’t encountered before: it wasn’t ruffled. It had a pie crust edge. So he bought it. He asked around about it and even sent David Doty a picture of it to see how common it was in the pantheon of Poppy Show. Doty went through his records and discovered that, in the many years he had been tracking, he hadn’t come across a single Poppy Show bowl with a pie crust edge, in any color.
Things being what they are, he ended up selling the bowl to Christina, who sent it in to the HOC mailing list to show, which is where I first experienced it (and thanks to Christina for these two photos of the bowl for you to enjoy, you can see many more on her website at www.carnivalglassshowcase.com).
So back to my moment of epiphany. Poppy Show is one of those patterns that people have generally stopped researching. It’s established, the manufacturer is known, no funky colors have shown up for years, every single carnival auction will likely have at least one example of Poppy Show, and if you find a piece in aqua opal (plate or the more desired bowl), you have enough money to buy a car. It’s understood, and it doesn’t stretch the imagination anymore. Collecting carnival glass can be like that. If you collect long enough, it’s exactly like that. Few things surprise you, you feel like, with few exceptions, you’ve seen it all.
Being a member of a club, though, is just like that pie crust edge Poppy Show bowl. It inspires. It reminds you that you don’t know it all, that there are mysteries to be seen and solved. It delights you. Carnival glass clubs ALWAYS do this for you as well. I have never been to a carnival convention where I didn’t get surprised, never read a newsletter where I didn’t learn something. Clubs, and the people in them, are a great way to remind you why you started collecting in the first place. Facebook can dazzle and amaze from time to time, but the bonds we make here, through the club, have been shown for the past 50+ years to be the ones that last a lifetime. Hopefully, my millennial friend, as well as all the others, will seek and enjoy a connection like the one here, one that enriches their carnival experience.
Thanks again all of you for being a part of everyone else’s lives and carnival experience. It makes the glass that much prettier…