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Cayucos 2007 Personal Show Journal by Christian Willis, May 18-19.

It had been a full year since my last insulator show, so I was very anxious to attend this year’s Cayucos show! Combined with the fact that this would be my first insulator show with my new wife, Maggi. Last year I had taken her along to the 2006 Cayucos show (much to the surprise of the other collectors—after all, I had never taken a girlfriend to an insulator show before!)

So there we were, up at 3:15AM on Friday morning, and out the door at 4:45. We took the usual route, I-405 North to the U.S. 101 North. We hit Santa Barbara around 7:15AM and had breakfast at Sambo’s. We then continued on up to Hwy. 154 and back to the 101 until we reached San Luis Obispo where Hwy. 1 branches off. Pretty soon we were passing by Morro Rock and driving into Cayucos. Boy had I missed this town!

Jerry, Paul, and Bruce were in the parking lot, and we all started setting up the tables and unloading our boxes. Shortly afterwards Richard Dawson arrived, and my dad met us at the hall from his home in Los Osos (about 15 minutes south). Our table was eventually set up, we said hi to everyone, and watched the show come to life. My dad put up some of his antiques for sale, and I set up a small “mini display” at the end of our table: the insulators that Maggi and I found on our honeymoon in Ireland accompanied by my journal. 

Richard’s table was impressive this year—not only did he have his usual high-quality display cabinets with him, but several dozen high-quality insulators to fill them! As it turns out he was selling off a small portion of his extensive collection, and now was our chance to see some really rare glass reintroduced into the hobby. 

He brought out piece after piece of drool-inducing Hemingray products, including a mint CD 137, CD 287.1 Lockes in Red Amber and Peacock Blue, a CD 238 in honey amber, CD 132.4, CD 118, CD 142.4 TS3, a complete set of “E” series insulators (including an AQUA E3, the first one I had seen at a show since Bob Stahr bought his at the ’96 Long Beach National), and no CD SBT&T Co. spools in both colors! 

And then… the jaw-dropping piece for me emerged. I was over at my sales table when I looked over to my left and saw it. I didn’t even have time for a double-take… without a moment’s hesitation, I rushed over, picked it up and exclaimed “SOLD!” What was this oh-so-special piece? A CD 291 Hemingray No.3 High Voltage!

Folks, in 15 years of collecting Hemingrays this is the only time I have ever seen a CD 291 in any condition for sale. On my list of most wanted Hemingray insulators, this one ranked #3, surpassed only by the CD 243 Hemingray 88 (#2) and my CD 169 Type I (#1). It wasn’t even 2 hours into the show, yet I had already spent all of my money and I was perfectly happy. I can’t remember the last time that happened! I thanked Richard profusely for selling this piece, and he certainly understood how tough a piece this one really is. Who knows how long it will be until the next time I see one…

I ended up selling about a dozen pieces on my sales table, which helped out some. We bought our usual lunch at the smokehouse, a smoked albacore sandwich (light on the lettuce mix, of course!) For the rest of the day I was ecstatic, but still eyeing Richard’s table… he had so many tempting pieces over there I would love to get my hands on… ahh, if only I had the money! The most tempting ones were the CD 233 Hemingray E3 in Aqua (another one high on my wanted list) and the SBT&T Co. spools. But I demonstrated self control and didn’t buy them.

That night we went back to my dad’s trailer in Los Osos where Nancy made us some homemade meatball soup, fresh bread and wine. It was very good! We then showed them some of our honeymoon videos from Ireland, and then we went to bed.

The next morning we arrived at the show hall around 9:30AM. We were the second to the last table to uncover, but I didn’t care. We went across the street to get our traditional breakfast burritos at “Chez Chevron”. I checked Richard’s table, and much to my chagrin (but certainly not surprise), the CD 233 Hemingray E3 in aqua was gone. I expected no less; it was priced at almost half book value, and was certainly an excellent deal. That put a slight damper on my morning, but I just had to keep reminding myself of the CD 291 out in the car. I only purchased one other piece at the show, a CD 164 (F-Skirt) Hemingray (R-Skirt) No20. Nothing special, but it was in excellent condition and it’s just one of those embossings I don’t see that often. 

Soon it was time for the barbecue, and everyone started packing up their stuff and putting away the tables. Sid’s famous sausage was passed around, and we dined on tri-tip, beans, salad, and garlic bread outside. We met with Larry & Alice Shumaker, Dwayne Anthony, Paul Alleeson, Bob Merzoian and Bill Rohde regarding the development of the new Golden State Insulator Club web site. We were pretty much the last ones to leave, helping Sid clean up and sweep up the show hall. We then said our goodbyes and headed back to the trailer in Los Osos. 

Back at the trailer, we watched “How To Murder Your Wife” with Jack Lemmon and Terry-Thomas. Nancy made us fresh angel food cake with strawberries. The next morning, Maggi and I said our goodbyes to Bud and Nancy and headed back to Cayucos for a little antiquing. We stopped at “Chez Chevron” again and got one of their Skimmers, a pastry filled with custard and topped with chocolate. We sat out on the picnic benches by the show hall overlooking the pier and the ocean. 

We went over to the first two antique shops and browsed around. In the basement level of the second shop, I found about 4 or 5 Hemingray glass blocks (8” blocks with the vertical ridges pattern). I wasn’t sure if I had that pattern/size combo or not, but for $6 I couldn’t lose! I picked the best out of the bunch and that was that. We headed for home, taking Hwy. 1 south until it met back up with the 101. 

Maggi wanted to visit her step-grandfather’s grave in the Lompoc cemetery, so we took Hwy. 135 south until it met back up with Hwy. 1 and followed that into Lompoc. We were able to locate the cemetery, but not the grave. As it turns out he didn’t have a headstone yet. We arrived home later that evening. This was a very memorable show and trip! I’m already looking forward to the Merzoian Tailgater!

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