Tulare 2003 Personal Show Journal by Christian Willis, Nov. 8, 2003.
This year was quite a new experience for me. In 11 years of attending insulator shows, this was the first one I attended on my own! My father was up in Cayucos at the time. Unfortunately, also due to my work schedule, I was unable to attend the first day of the show. But, rest assured, I was up Saturday morning at 3:30 AM, showering and getting ready.
I was on the road at around 4:30. I decided not to stop for hot chocolate, but head straight on up. It was smooth sailing all the way up the I-5 to Hwy. 99 to Tulare. I arrived in town about 7:45 and stopped at Ryans Place to have my traditional linguica and eggs. At about 8:30, I drove over to the show hall, which was already open (even though it didnt officially open until 9) and I started on in.
This year, Dwayne was unable to make it, but his notable absence was filled by the surprise appearance of Fred Padgett! It was so good to see him after so long. He had more surgery, but with a little bit of luck he will be attending the next Cayucos show! I said hi to the usual group, and of course got several questions where my dad was. I also got several compliments on my November 2003 issue of Laugh Lines, the Drip Point Implants one. Its good to know people like them!
My first buys of the show were over at Glenn Adkins table. He had a couple of very common Hemingrays: CD 115 and CD 113 with the mold variation. So why would I bother with such commons? Because both of them had the special 1941 custom serif stamped embossing (an embossing style I didnt even know existed in the CD 113 mold variation style until now) and the CD 115 was a first year run (no dots) and no dash between the mold number and year. Fairly unusual. I also purchased a CD 252 Hemingray No.2 Cable in dark aqua with all mint drips!
I looked over at the next table and noticed a few CD 147 screw-tops. Now, Ive been looking for the PATENTD embossing ever since I found out it was a Hemingray-made piece. I kind of just had a feeling as I started picking up those 147s. Sure enough, the third screw-top I picked up: BINGO! Chock one off my wanted list! I later checked the price guide only to discover that mine was a new embossing! My version did not have a number on the dome. I later spoke with Jim Sinsley (the guru of 147s) and he verified that it was indeed a new embossing; all of his have the number 28 on the dome.
Next, I went over to a table that had a slew of CD 164s. I picked through them and came up with a few keepers: two of the Hemingray 20 (no dash) variety that I first documented back in 1997; and a Hemingray / Made in U.S.A. // No.20 in hemi blue with SDP, one of those sleeper embossings you seldom see but arent worth much. I got all three for two bucks, a very reasonable price Id say! All three cleaned up great.
The first insulator I had noticed when I walked in the side door to the show hall was on Don Bayes table: a CD 185 Jeffrey Mfg. Co. Special Mine Insulator. Now, the last time one of those was on his table, I had passed it up until it was too late. Not this time. I sure wasnt going to let this one go too! The price was almost double the books value, which I did hesitate on, but I knew I had to get one eventually, and the price would certainly only go up on these, and it was the drip-points-on-top variety, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy it. Don was kind enough to give me a little price break and accepted a couple of my trading Hemis I had out in the car to help offset the cost. I gave him cash for the book value of the piece and wrote him a check for the rest. I then finally had myself a CD 185 Jeffrey! Yaaaay
So, my cash was almost gone now, but I did have some left. I decided to go buy that CD 152 Hemingray in Hemi Blue (!) over on the Merzoians table. Thats the first one in Hemi Blue Ive ever seen. I think theyre pretty underrated. I also went out to the car to give Fred Padgett an odd-colored McLaughlin trader I had brought along, which he accepted gratefully and said he didnt have one quite that color. I told him he could consider it a welcome back gift.
By this time, it was early afternoon and I was starved. I went into the cafeteria and bought myself a fresh tri-tip sandwich on a hoagie roll, with Tony Romas barbeque sauce added to it. And Ive gotta say, that is one of the best sandwiches Ive ever had, period. I got that, a soda and a desert for four bucks. You cant beat it!
I hung out on the stage steps behind the Merzoians booth and talked with them for awhile. As it was getting time to wrap things up, Bob was pulling insulators out of a box under his table, and jokingingly held up a CD 231 Kimble (Hemingray blot-out) towards me. Then I realized that I didnt have one! But that was quickly remedied.
It had now begun raining outside, just in time for everyone to pack up their things and load them up into their cars. I said my goodbyes, and headed off towards the 99. I gassed up at the 76 station there beside the highway, and then headed home. It rained all the way until I hit the grapevine. Traffic was held up several hours due to the freeway being narrowed down to two lanes somewhere in L.A. County, and so I didnt get home until about 9 PM. But it was worth it! It was a fun and new experience.