You Gotta Have Heart
The 2014 ICGA Annual Convention has come and gone, and people are still talking about it. July is always one of my favorite months of the year (Independence Day here in the United States always kicks it off with a bang, summer sun, spending as much time outdoors as possible, usually looking for carnival glass, etc.). This year’s July, though, was extra special. I had to miss last year’s convention as my company was in China giving presentations across that vast country to hospital administrators. The only part of ICGA I got to enjoy last year was via Skype, and since it was 3:00 am for me, it just didn’t feel the same.
This year, there was an enormous feeling of community that, while present before, just seemed much more tangible this year. The majority of the convention this year took place in people’s rooms. Lots of glass was bought and sold in the rooms for sure, but the biggest part of the rooms was the conversations. In the past year, as I mentioned at the close of the banquet, many attendees had experienced things that could have forever precluded them from ever attending an ICGA convention again (including me). Many had health issues, while others had general life issues that could have resulted in a far different ending and somehow, people realized that. The closeness of our members hasn’t been felt like this ever before in my years being at an ICGA convention.
Our event kicked off with an unofficial welcome dinner that many of our early birds attended. It was in an Italian restaurant that had so few lights in them we all had to pull out our cellphones and use them as flash lights to see each other and the menus. But that was actually cool and we all had a very good laugh about it. On top of it, the food was really great and the location from the hotel was just a stone’s throw.
Our Wednesday night ice cream social was good with Roger Dunham and me serving up the delicious fare to our attendees. The Doublers did another amazing job running the hospitality suite and they are great at entertaining chats while people enjoy food and drink. If you have the chance to visit a Doubler-run hospitality suite, make sure to chat up Ron and Bert about their life and some of the fun they have had in it. You will likely laugh a lot. Very pleasant people that always brighten up our hospitality room.
Educational seminars were particularly excellent this year. Our seminars were based on the display room, which featured glass from manufacturers other than the “Big Five” and we had a heck of a display. The Bookers made sure we had amazing glass (with their helpers and generosity of attendees), and then they even gave a presentation, as did Lee Markley and Barb Chamberlain as well. (Sidebar: as you will read in this issue of the Pump, Lee had such a great time at the convention, he went and promptly had a heart attack shortly after it. Thanks for the scare, Lee! Stay healthy, and next year can we say the convention is so much fun it needs a warning from the Surgeon General??)
Gary Heavin provided the final seminar of the convention at the banquet, which was fun, entertaining and educational at the same time. He brought some fantastic glass (many of it was in pairs) and even better stories. Gary is someone who always has a smile on his face and an uplifting comment to share. His glass was the perfect ending to our banquet!
Next year we will be back at the same hotel in St. Louis with an entirely different program. Look for the information in this issue (we have nearly the entire program finished!). Make your plans to attend and next year you will be able to see it from a first person vantage point!
Enjoy the rest of your summer, and we will chat again in December.