Message from the President March 2015

The Memories That Never Die…

This President’s Message comes to you after the loss of some great carnival glass collectors, and that colors my mood and message a bit. I just returned from a fun Tampa Bay convention (aren’t they all?) that had a lot of laughs, fun people, and more. But on the last evening, right before the auction, longtime collector and cool guy Steve Racine had a heart attack from which he didn’t recover. Steve and his partner, Bobby, had become staples of the Tampa Bay club, going so far as to dress up in drag for some of the skits and always bringing smiles and happiness to attendees. To pass away in the middle of a convention is never something anyone wants to do, but the silver lining in this particularly dark cloud is that Steve was surrounded by friends and happiness, and that is always the best way to go.

Of course, Steve’s passing happened shortly after the passing of a carnival glass titan, Carlton Tarkington. Carlton was a wonderful collector who had amassed an amazing collection. He was always very friendly and cordial at the conventions, was wonderful to chat with on the phone at night, and in recent years, played an amazingly calm straight man to the antics of Don Clark at some auctions (which convinced me that Carlton had the patience of Job). Carlton was also a collector who had the ability to purchase nearly any piece he wanted for his collection, but he was also very willing to share his glass with other collectors. In years past, when some would cry “elitist” at some collectors, Carlton was the “common man” of collectors (who was truly uncommon).

In the weeks since his passing, I have been involved in many conversations about the decreasing numbers of collectors who could feasibly purchase glass in the Zive (or maybe even six) Zigure range. Some worry that if the top end of the market should fall, it would lower the bottom end (which has already happened in many cases). Indeed, those who collect for investment are worried. Those who bought the glass for the beauty and history have no worries at all. Which brings me, in a round-a-bout way, to the subject of my message: memories.

One of the things I tell many people who want to know about carnival glass is that pretty glass (and values) brought me into collecting and the associations, but the people and memories kept me coming back. I don’t go to a convention because I want to buy a specific piece at an auction (I could do that online, right?), or because I absolutely need to see a specific seminar. I go to a convention because I want to see the people. I may email these people every single day, but sitting in a room with them (playing bad music and singing, eating “fat free” peanuts, talking about the latest rumors running amuck in carnival, telling bad jokes, or even having a nervous breakdown on occasion) is pure gold. It is my entertainment, my networking opportunity, my chance to relax among friends. Every moment spent with them is a memory that will never die (not in my lifetime, anyway).

I was at an ICGA convention in which nearly every single person was only a minute away from a horrible death (true story)! I will never forget that. I was at an ICGA convention when I found out about Dr. Jack Adams’ situation, and it was Randy Poucher who sat me down, calmed me down, and made me feel good about life again. I was at an ICGA convention in which Eunice Booker showed me a rose bowl that blew me away. I was at an ICGA convention in which THREE amazing room displays each happened and disappeared in the period of six hours. I was at an ICGA convention when Ingrid Spurrier got a phone call she never wanted to receive, and I gave her an enormous hug.

Memories. Lifelong memories that occasionally pop to the surface and make me smile, laugh, or even wipe away a tear. Why on earth would you not want to add something so precious to that noggin of yours? Every July, you have a chance.

This issue includes information on our convention this July. I strongly encourage you to come and make some memories with us. I want to be laying on my death bed (at the age of 114, I hope!) smiling as I remember what YOU and I did at this convention in July…