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Cayucos 2008 Personal Show Journal by Christian Willis, May 16-17.

After several months without a day off of work, this was a much-needed break. I had been anticipating this show for a while. One of the reasons this show would be so special is that I had finally published my first book of Laugh Lines as a limited edition, spiral-bound book in a format similar to the price guide. I had just started selling the books about a week earlier on ICON and had gotten a good response so far (about 25 out of 100 copies sold).

This year we took our time driving up to Cayucos. With gas prices at a record-high ($4.00+ per gallon as of this journal), it just made sense to drive a little slower. Even with the slower driving and leaving at 4:45AM, we made it to Santa Barbara and Sambo’s restaurant about 7:15AM. After a nice breakfast, we took highway 154 towards Catchuma Lake and drove down Stagecoach Road to see the Cold Springs bridge, a highway engineering marvel from the 1960’s. It’s truly amazing the expanse they had to span to cut the highway through.

After that, we drove through Solvang and out to Alisal Road and met up with the Old Highway 101. Now usually we turn right on the Old Highway which heads straight back to the main highway, but this time we decided to take a left just to see where it went, despite the sign warning of “Road Ends”. Well, as it turns out, the road doesn’t end, they just put up barricades to prevent traffic from going any further. However, traffic in the opposite direction was still allowed to go through. Being that no one traveled this road, I decided to go the wrong way down the one-way road and discovered it meets back up with the 101 as well; they just don’t want outgoing traffic I guess. It’s probably a blind curve. It’s very cool to see the old highway and experience the road people used to drive 70 years ago, curves and all. While the new highway is much faster and straighter, it kind of takes the fun out of driving and being a part of the scenery.

Anyways, we arrived in Cayucos by 10:15, and all of the tables had already been set up. There were a significantly less number of tables this year, due in part to people not being able to show up. Bruce Tooley had recently had surgery (and we all signed a card for him), and someone else had car problems. But most of the regulars were still there. Glen Adkins was also there, despite having badly hurt his finger on a circular saw just days earlier! Now that’s dedication.

This year we got to set up a table right in front between Bob Merzoian and Larry Shumaker. It was a great location and got lots of foot traffic. My dad showed up about an hour later with some of his old signs to sell. We split the table in half, and I put out my meager offering of insulators, along with my new Laugh Lines book.

My first insulator purchases were actually brought to me! Richard Dawson came up to me and said “I’ve got a couple of spools with your name on them.” To my amazement, they were a CD 1053 D-519, and a CD 1052 St. Louis Malleable [010] in clear! As it turned out, Richard had several other spools I had on my wanted list as well: CD 1080 (the Hemingray No.101 / Old No. 1 ½ spool), CD 1085 in aqua, CD 1087 no embossings, and a CD 1104.1. All in all, I bought 8 spools from him, by far the most I’ve ever bought at a single show. I’m calling this the “Show of Spools”!

One interesting thing I noticed about the spools is there are two different kinds: one kind has a flush base; the glass is solid across the entire base. The other kind has a recessed base, more like a standard single-petticoat insulator. Now I have CD 1080, 1085, 1087, and 1104.1 insulators with each base type, and the question is: which one(s) is/are Hemingray? Paul Greaves said he thinks he remembers hearing that glass shards of the solid-base ones were found in the KCGW plant. Oh well. I bought both kinds just to be on the safe side. They were a very reasonable price, and who knows when I’ll see so many in one place again.

(I posted the question of recessed vs. flush base spools on ICON, and based on the response, it’s possible that BOTH types are Hemingray, the flush versions being the earlier ones, as both types have been dug from the Hemingray Dump in Muncie, Indiana.)

I pretty much spent this show just looking for embossings I didn’t have. Over at John Contreras’ table, I found a few. One of them was the “K” mold CD 145 H.G.CO., with the flat dome and slightly flared wire ridge. From Bob Merzoian, I picked up a CD 202 [010] in Hemi Blue in pretty decent shape, and a CD 133 H.G.CO. with the “A” crossbar missing in “MAY”. It was aqua, so that makes it an unlisted color.

From Dwayne Anthony, I bought a Surge with a new embossing: under “REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.” there are subtle blot-outs; there’s even a remnant of a period, making it look like “R.EG.” There’s no blot-out under “PAT”, so that means that originally the insulator was embossed “T.M. REQ. PAT. PEND”. Not bad for $2.50!

Over the course of the show, my book sold surprisingly well! I sold about 10 copies (including one I donated to the raffle, which Dwayne won). Everyone was very kind and encouraging to me. I did end up selling a couple of items: a badly damaged CD 283 Provo Type for $5, and the blue milk of magnesia bottle I dug from the Downieville dump several years ago, also for $5. I also found a few fairly nice pieces under Paul Greaves’ table for ½ price, bought them to put on my sales table just to add a few interesting pieces back into the mix. I also won the raffle, and added a milkglass Maydwell to my inventory.

Bob Merzoian also bought several enamel signs from a walk-in, and I just had to buy one of them. It was the smallest porcelain sign I’d ever seen, only about the size of an index card: “Warning / High Voltage”, with the “Warning” in the red oval “Danger” logo. So cool! And only $10.

On Saturday, I glanced over at Dwayne’s table and saw a CD 178 Hemingray on there for $75! Total déjà vu from years past. Not repeating my previous mistake of passing it up, I bought this one right away. Even with a couple of skirt chips, it’s still an upgrade to the one I have (missing a third of the inner skirt) for a third of the book value. I also found a CD 160 Star in Olive Green for Maggi.

The story behind that: when I drew Laugh Lines #86, I announced that Maggi and I had gotten married, depicting myself as a CD 120 C.E.W. since those are my initials, and depicting my future bride as a CD 160 “baby signal” Star. Since then, Maggi had expressed interest in having one. I had looked for one at several shows, but never had any luck. At this show, however, Dwayne had two on his table! While Maggi wasn’t looking, I bought both of them and gave the best one to her for her birthday.

Around 3 o’clock, we starting packing up, sausage was passed around, and we started getting ready for the barbeque. Unfortunately, Sid & Isabel couldn’t make it this year because they had a previous engagement, but Bill Rohde stepped up to the plate and made the barbeque every bit as enjoyable! Since there weren’t that many people at the show this year, there was plenty of food and TONS of leftovers. We had usual tri-tip, beans, salad, garlic bread, and sausage, which made for a great meal. They had so much extra tri-tip, we bought two HUGE roasts for $10. That will last us several good meals!

After the show, my dad and Nancy headed back home and Maggi and I went to the antique shops in Cayucos. I came across a CD 154 Hemingray “0” mold with a large mold number “20” on the R-Skirt! That was the first time I had ever seen a “0” mold in conjunction with a mold number. Generally you don’t see mold numbers until at least 0_4 (1934) or even 1935. But for $4, of course I had to buy it. We even bumped into Bill Rohde as we made our final dash before the stores closed.

Unfortunately my dad got very sick that evening, so we stayed until mid-day Sunday to keep him company. We got home around 8:30 that night.


Christian and Maggi

Either that's a really big cat or a really small sign!

Bud and Maggi

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