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Tulare 2005 Personal Show Journal by Christian Willis, Nov. 7, 2005.

This year I was unable to make it to the first day of the show on Friday, but at least it was for a good cause: I had just started my new job at the Joe Verde Group on Monday as a Desktop Administrator/Mac Specialist. The training schedule was tight, so missing a day wasn’t really an option for me. So, while I was bummed I couldn’t be there on Friday to man my first Tulare sales table, I’d say it was definitely worth the sacrifice!

My dad and Nancy had already arrived on Friday to set up their half of the sales table, and they did do some business. I went to bed early Friday night to get an early start on Saturday morning. I left the house around 4:15 AM. I wish I could say it was smooth sailing up to Tulare, but it wasn’t. Up near the 22 Fwy., there were signs that the entire freeway was closed ahead and that I would need to do some weird detour. The only trouble with that was 1) I don’t know that area at all, and 2) The lit-up signs telling me where to go made absolutely no sense! One by one the cones were closing off the lanes and I was literally down to the last lane to force my exit when here comes the Caltrans vehicle picking up the cones! Whew. Who knows where I would have ended up if I had arrived a minute earlier and they hadn’t started picking up the cones yet…

Then, up on the Grapevine, traffic comes to a grinding halt. All 4 lanes dead stopped (déjà vu Downieville 2004…) Sure enough, there was a jack-knifed truck blocking the 3 right lanes at Smokey Bear Road. We all parked our cars and turned off our engines for about 25 minutes before we started to move again. Now I was going to be late to meet my dad and Nancy at the Black Bear Café. So I gunned it the rest of the way (going a lot faster than I should have) and was able to make it there at 8 AM on the nose. Note to self: Allow for 4 hours of comfortable driving to get to Tulare next time!

I had my usual eggs, linguica, hash browns, and biscuit, and then we were off to the show hall. I didn’t waste any time. After saying hello to the usual suspects I started visiting every Hemingray-manufactured insulator in that show hall. While I didn’t come up with any fantastic pieces (although there were some, but I’m trying to save my money), I did come up with a few embossing variants. The first piece I came across was from the gentleman who has the tables over by the stage with the oil lamps. I believe it was the same guy I bought my 147 Patent’d with no dome number from in 2003. He had a CD 280 which was rather bright and clean with a strong embossing and fairly good shape, which I don’t see too many of. As soon as I picked it up, he dropped the price from $12 to $10 and I said “Sold!”

The next piece I picked up was a 190/191 Hemingray-50 with the “No.50” blotted out on the R-Skirt. Now, while I had the bottom piece for this embossing, it wasn’t until recently that a top piece with the No.50 b/o had been verified, so now I had an incomplete piece. Well luckily Jeff Hargrove had one. It was mint and a beautiful Hemi Blue for $30. Sure, for mint and an uncommon embossing I’ll pay a premium every once in awhile.

Over at Lou Hall’s table I finally caved and bought a 145 H.G.Co. (prismatic embossing, small “o”) variant in a neat bubbly aqua for $15. I needed one of those, and I believe I had passed it up already in Cayucos. Then, over at Dave Brown’s table was a neat CD 162 that stood out. It had the big backwards “1” on the dome, a fairly unevenly stamped “Hemingray” on the front… and a rather familiar “No.19” on the back. I almost immediately recognized that the weak No.19 was the very same No.19 that’s found on the No Names! They must have reused the mold. A very neat piece for a paltry $5.

Over in the corner of the hall was a table filled with a lot of colorful pieces in a back-lit display case. At first glance, it looked like a display, but upon closer examination, I realized it was a sales table! The prices were all very reasonable, but one insulator in particular caught my eye: a CD 145 H.G.CO. (large style embossing) in Hemi Blue. Now I have the small stamped style embossing in Hemi Blue, but not the large style. It’s a rather striking piece and will look very nice sitting next to my Jade Green Milk version.  He also had a couple of very reasonable olive amber blackglass CD 168’s that I purchased for resale… after all, I have to keep up SOME kind of inventory if I want to keep buying sales tables!

That was pretty much all of my insulator purchases, with the exception of a CD 152 [085] “Brookfield style” I found under a general antique dealer’s table for $2. I sat back down at my table, and I glanced over at Richard McLaughlin’s table. Under his table in a box was an old 1950’s style “teardrop” street light. I had walked by it earlier and was surprised to see it was only marked $25!! Now I had always liked those style street lights ever since I was a little kid, and I’ve always wanted one, but I couldn’t justify buying it because it would just be taking up room in storage. So I mentioned it to my dad and Nancy. They told me to put it in Jon’s attic. I was floored because I hadn’t thought of that! I sprang up instantly and went over and bought it. Steve Marsh was nearby and, little beknownst to me, is also a street light collector! So he took it apart and gave me some pointers on how to convert it over to run on regular house voltage. (The assembly was designed for a series circuit, so you can’t just plug it in by default.)

By that time the show was nearing to a close, and so we packed everything up and were out the door at 2 PM. All-in-all, another great show. Hopefully next year I’ll be attending BOTH days again!


Bud, Nancy, and Christian stand behind their first Tulare sales table.

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