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Cayucos 1997 Personal Show Journal by Christian Willis.

This journal was written on Wednesday, June 17, 1997.

This year the Cayucos show was held during the Memorial Day Weekend, a very busy time for the tiny town of Cayucos. We left on May 23, a Friday, at 4:30 in the morning, and arrived in Cayucos sometime around 9:00 in the morning: we made great time! On the way up, we stopped to eat breakfast as Sambo’s, the original (and only remaining) restaurant of its chain. They have great pancakes! After that, it was on to Cayucos. When we first got there, we admired the beautiful ocean view from the porch of the meeting hall, and who did we see? Dave Hall! Apparently, he had been there for a little longer than we had. While my dad checked into the trailer park up the hill, I helped Dave set up all the tables and chairs for the show. A little later, Ron and Patty Norton, the show hosts, arrived, and we fixed all of the mistakes Dave and I had made on the set-up of the tables. After that, I helped Dave unload all of his insulators from his station wagon for his display and table. Then, I helped Bill Heitkotter unload his van, and then Ron Norton’s station wagon, and then Fred Padgett’s and Walter’s car, and then, finally, Wes and Clarice Gordon’s car. I certainly got my excercise for that day!

Then came the heart of the trip: the show!!! The first insulator I bought that Friday afternoon was from Bill Heitkotter out in his van: it was a beautiful CD 160 Hemingray Blue Hemingray–14 H.G.Co. blotout. The embossing certainly looks strange: (F-Skirt) Hemingray – 14 (H.G.Co. blotted out) / Patent May 2, 1893 (R-Skirt) Made in U.S.A. / Petticoat. It had a chip on the side, but for such an oddball, it wasn’t bad for $5. What’s funny about it is that Hemingray "combined" two embossings from two time periods of the company. On the old ones they always put "Petticoat" and the May patent date. On the later ones they always put "Made in U.S.A. and the style number preceded by a dash. I guess they didn’t want to make another mold, so they reused the old H.G.Co. mold.

Another man had set up later in the show, and it was from he that I bought the majority of my insulators. The first one I saw on his table (and almost jumped out of my skin when I saw it) was a CD 164 H.G.Co. transitional style mold (the one where the upper wire groove lip overshadows the skirt’s diameter) in mint condition for only $3! They usually go for $50, but I don’t think he knew that it was the transitional mold he was selling. Bill Heitkotter said it was "a steal." I later talked with the man, whose name is Paul Alleeson. He is a very nice guy. I also bought from him a mint Hemingray – 820, the first one that I have ever seen, for $10. They are usually found embossed "Kimble." Also from his table I picked up a new embossing for the CD 124 Hemingray: (F-Skirt) Hemingray {‘g’ over ‘in’} / Nº4 (R-Skirt) Patent / May 2, 1893. It is aqua in color and is mint (I paid $8, after talking him down from $12 – he didn’t even notice the spelling error.) I also bought from him a no-name CD 162 Hemingray in aqua with some snow that just reads "Nº19" on the front in the traditional style embossing Hemingray is known for. I bought a CD 202 Hemingray Nº14 in Blue Aqua. At all of the shows I have attended, this is the first one I have ever seen. It has some inner skirt damage, but at least I now have this piece. Someday I hope to upgrade to a mint one in green, but for now, $10 for one isn’t bad. Those were all of the insulators I bought at that time from him. (Later the next day I came back to his table and bought a mint aqua CD 213 Hemingray Nº43 wide groove.) Going over to Dwayne Anthony’s table, I picked up a clear Hemingray – 25 for $10. Over the past couple of years, I had toyed with the idea of getting all three colors of the "doorknob" series: aqua, clear, and ice blue. I now have two of the three. (The aqua one I bought at the Denver National show.) Early on in the show, I had talked with Ron Norton, and guess what he had? The Hemingray no dash 20 I had been wanting to buy from him since the 1995 Visalia Show! He said he had it, but didn’t get to finding it until it was well into Friday afternoon. He finally found it, though, and I paid $5 for it. It is unlisted at this point, and I have notified the McDougalds of all the new embossings I have found.

After looking around for some time without any luck, I decided to pick up a CD 213 Hemingray Big Print Nº43 that was in better condition than my previous one. It was on Pat Patocka’s table, and I think it was the same one that was at the Long Beach National that I thought about buying, but didn’t, and was sorry later. I didn’t hesitate this time. I picked it right up for $10, same as it’s value. I also picked up from Pat Patocka’s table a clear Hemingray – 21 with RDP and numbers and dots. Not a very commonly seen piece, although it’s not worth much. I picked it up for $5. By this time Mark Mezoian had just arrived and was starting to set up his table. Bill Heitkotter was over there also, and when Mark unloaded a CD 210 Postal with SDP and a slash on the front skirt, Bill said, "You know that’s a Hemingray product, don’t you?" NO, I didn’t!! I picked that thing up and bought it faster than the wind! It was mint, too! (Not bad for $5!) I think that that was the last insulator I bought on Friday. It was now about 10:00 p.m. I had been walking around the hall since the morning – about 12 hours! (That’s a record for me at a show.) My dad and I drove up to the empty lot across from the trailer park and shared the space with a church group.

The next morning Saturday, May 24, we got up around 7:00 a.m. and my dad headed over to the showers while I got the van ready. We got to the show and looked around some more. Of the $150 I had brought to the show, I still had about $80 left. (I was saving up for the Pleasanton Fair we would drive to on Sunday.) After buying a CD 145 Bar/Bar No Name Hemingray from Bill Heitkotter for $1, the thought struck me: I haven’t bought one expensive or colorful insulator! That’s bad... very bad. I always buy an expensive or colorful insulator at every show to add to my display case. I found the perfect one that I didn’t have yet: a mint CD 128.4 BIG MOUTH Hemingray! It was at Dwayne’s table. He had $55 on it, but I talked him down to $45. Although it was clear, I was pretty happy!

About that time, a man walked into the show who I had seen before, carrying a citron-colored Westinghouse glass battery jar. He picked it up at the flea market across the street for $40! (It’s worth over $100.) Well, that sent me sprinting for the flea market. My dad and I looked all over the flea market, and I only found one bucket of insulators... that was all. However, I did find an old school bell that still worked for $15. Happy that I got the bell, and a little disappointed for not finding any good insulators, we headed back to the show. As I was walking around, I saw a CD 134 (not 133) Hemingray Standard in mint condition. I paid $2 for it. Then that was it. I couldn’t find one more insulator at that show that I wanted to buy, save the expensive ones. That has never happened to me before. I have always run out of money before I have run out of insulators I have had my eye on. I was going to play some ragtime on the piano on the stage during lunchtime, but since it was Memorial Day Weekend, another party had the hall reserved, so we had to eat outside, and I wasn’t able to play. Oh well, maybe next year!

Once again, for teasers, we had some of Sid’s sausage while everyone was tearing down. I helped the Gordons and Fred Padgett put their stuff in their cars. After that, we had Sid’s great tri-tip, baked beans, salad, and buttered bread. MMMM! I have never known a better meal! Keith even showed up to say hi.

After lunch, my dad and I said good-bye to everyone, and we took off to look around in the antique shops and malls in Cayucos. In one of the malls on the third floor, what did I find? A little box holding 45 RPM records which contained Disney story books with a record inside of them! Looking carefully, I noticed they had a lot of the stories from Disney’s old animated movies... but wait!!! My heart practically jumped out of my throat! On the front of one of the record books it said, "Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby!" I could hardly contain myself! It was marked $20. I didn’t care! I shelled out that money faster than when I did with the Postal insulator! That was my definate highlight for the day. After searching through all the other antique shops, and not finding anything, we headed back to the van, and drove up back to the camping spot where we had spent the night before.

The next morning, Sunday, May 25, we got up and started to convert the camper back into the van. Amidst all the work, my dad asked me to get out a towel from the rear cabinet. Opening the door, I saw a brown paper bag. He then told me to get that. He then told me to open it. It was and opalescent CD 128 Hemingray dump piece! I had had my eye on it the entire show, but didn’t buy it, so I could save some money for the Pleasanton fair. He bought it for me! That ended up being my colorful piece for the show. After the van was ready, we drove over to the bathroom over at the trailer park. We both took showers, and then it was on to Pleasanton!

We arrived in Pleasanton and, luckily, found a place to park. We covered ourselves in sun-tan lotion and walked over to the fair. The fair must have covered four of five city blocks down one street. It was huge! We looked and looked and even searched the antique shops, but to no avail. I found maybe 10 insulators in both the fair and the antique shops combined, all commoners. No dice. However, I did pick up a record from one of the stalls that I had wanted to get for a long, long time: "The Return of the Red Baron" by the Royal Guardsmen, the sequel to "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" by the same group. It was in it’s original jacket, the record was flawless, and I only paid $2 for it! That was all I bought. In the afternoon, we checked into the Four Points Inn, and I continued to read "The Return of the King," which is the third part of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. We spent the night there, and in the morning, on Monday, May 26, we drove home. It was a great trip, and I’m glad that I was able to find other collectibles as well as insulators.


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