Sunday, May 20, 2012

What Is It?

Do you have something in your stamp collection that you can't identify?  A member of the West Suburban Stamp Club, John Beeskow, suggested that we hold a program for members to bring items to share, that other members can help with.  On May 18th we held such an event, and it was a success.  It was one of our best attended meetings in a while.  Another club member, Rob Herron, set up the equipment needed to scan and project the images.  I know there are many reasons why stamp collectors should belong to a club, and here's another one.  Stamp collectors are often willing to help other people in the hobby.  I can't imagine NOT being a part of a club.  Psssst.....pass it along to a friend.

Below are some of the items that were presented.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's Show Time!

It's easy to be a reluctant philatelist when you come home tired and sore from doing show set up.  It's also easy when you have to get up at 5:00 so you have enough time to prepare name tags for guests who pre-registered for the show and take a shower and get to the hall early to greet dealers.  Whew!  You know when it's easy to be a philatelist?  When you see familiar faces that you haven't seen for a while.  When your favorite dealer's wife gives you the biggest hug EVER, because you haven't seen each other for three or four years.  When you see the show coming together (even in a new venue for the first time).  So, you take the good with the bad, and in this case there is much more good than bad.  See you at the show!!  The Plymouth Show

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I Just Can't Help Myself

My local stamp club, West Suburban Stamp Club, held its regular meeting last night.  As is our custom, we had an auction, and one of the lots consisted of a large number of covers from a company called Brooks Rupture Appliance Company.  This company made devices that one could wear to relieve the discomfort of ruptures, or hernias.  The company would ask each person who ordered a device to write a testimonial letter.  These covers contain these letters, which are quite interesting and funny at the same time.  Our club acquired a huge number of these covers in an auction some time ago.  Our auction chairperson broke them up into lots of about a hundred covers each, and they are in our auction periodically.  The other night I bid $2.00 for the lot and got it.  I sat through the rest of the auction reading some of the letters.  I feel like I'm snooping when I do this, but I just can't help myself.  One of my friends was sitting next to me, and she had not seen these before.  I handed her the stack, and the first one she read began with, "I once had a 1,200 pound cow sit on me for 15 minutes..."  Well that's all it took for both of us to burst out laughing (sorry to all my other fellow club members).  I can't wait to read the rest of them.  I just can't help myself.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Zombies Are Real, Save Yourself!

If you have a child or young adult in your home, you know that zombies are real. I mean how many hours a day do they spend in front of the TV, computer, or video games? Do they have a phone in their hands, texting 24 hours a day? Then you have zombies in your house. According to, the informal definition of zombie is "a person whose behavior or responses are wooden, listless, or seemingly rote; automaton". See? I'm not kidding. So, how are you going to save yourself? It's simple. Turn the zombies into human-like creatures who have an interest in something that is interesting, requires thought, can bring much satisfaction. Introduce them into philately, or stamp collecting. My stamp club, West Suburban Stamp Club sponsors the largest stamp show in Michigan, The Plymouth Show, which takes place April 28 & 29. One of the features of the show is to introduce stamp collecting to Juniors, kids under the age of 18. We provide them with basic supplies to get started, including tongs, magnifiers, album pages, and a supply of stamps. They receive a hands-on introduction to the hobby. When they are finished, they receive a $5.00 certificate, redeemable at the show at any dealer table. What does this cost? Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero. So, want turn your zombies into "normal" children? Bring them to the show. Admission and parking are free. We offer 40 quality dealers from various parts of the country, who specialize in many different aspects of the hobby. There are world-class exhibits to view. We also have refreshments available. Directions, hours, and other details can be found on the Show Website. If you know of other families whose children have become zombies, won't you pass this along to them? Save yourself AND them! Before it's too late!!!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall Brings Out The Philatelist In Me

Once in a while, I get the urge to dust off the old blog and compose something.  Well once again, I'm inspired to write, and I'm pretty sure that the advent of the fall season has done it.  This time of the year we feel the need to nest, to "cozy up to the fire" so to speak.  Nothing like a comfy couch and a down throw.  Mmmm.  Part of being inside brings more indoor activities, like philately.  Summer and all it brings makes us forget about our stamps for a little while.  But fall reminds us that they are still there, waiting for us to work on them.

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to "kidnap" the daughter of a friend of ours.  Ashley is a delightful 13-year-old.  She's a good person, doesn't follow the crowd, is very smart, and is very inquisitive (a quality I find pleasing in youth).  After church, we took Ashley out to breakfast with us (and about 50 other crazy St. Mary choir members/spouses/others/groupies.  Then we took her to visit Tim's mom with us.  She still hadn't had enough of us fogies by then, so we took her home with us.  She learned a little about football (and why Tim's veins bulge out during it).  But, she also learned a little about stamps.  Aha!

The aha moment hit me, and I realized that one of my secrets to a happy marriage also applies to philately.  Share something you love with others and they'll learn to love it, too.  We showed Ashley all sorts of samples of the kinds of things that people can collect, such as stamps, covers, countries, topical interests, etc.  Tim gave her an album of first day covers, that contained one cover postmarked in each state with that state's animal featured.  Well, Ashley being the animal lover that she is, accepted the gift with excitement.  I spoke about our club, West Suburban Stamp Club, and she was ready to sign up right then.  I told her to hang on to the $1.50 dues (I know, isn't that a ridiculous amount??) until she saw the club in action.  So, we're going to pick her up next Friday and take her.  We'll see what happens.

Why don't you think of something you love and share it with someone.  Until next time, happy stampin'!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

C'mon People

Please pardon me for bringing up a matter about which I am very enthusiastic, and not reluctant at all.  I feel that one should be involved in any organization one is associated with.  In other words, if you belong to a club, get off your duff and contribute.  There are several members of the West Suburban Stamp Club that contribute in very important ways.  They go over and above and take their duties seriously.  These people are the heart and soul of the club, and as long as they are around the club will remain a viable one.  However, there are a lot of people that do not go over and above, if fact they make no contribution whatsoever.  They feel that their $12.00 annual dues is their contribution.  If these individuals receive a mailed vs. e-mailed monthly newsletter, the $12.00 does not even cover the cost of printing and mailing it.  Since they do not contribute in any other way, they could be considered a drain on the club.  These are also the same people that seem to stir up trouble and gripe a lot.

Why do I bring this up and why am I so fired up about it?  The club is in the midst of its annual elections, and once again we managed to get enough people to run for office to present a ballot to the membership.  Every year there is not more than one person listed for any position.  The Election Committee, although serious about their duties, cannot seem to find people to want to run for office.  The offices of President, Vice President, Junior Vice President, and two trustees must be voted on each year, and no one can hold these offices for more than two consecutive years.  The offices of Secretary and Treasurer also must be voted on each year, but do not have term limits for consistency sake.  The Secretary and Treasurer are jokingly referred to as Secretary for Life or Treasurer for Life.  That's okay with me, because I like being Secretary and I feel our Treasurer is top notch.

Why is it so difficult to get people to run for office?  Or maybe the question should be why don't people WANT to run?  I like my position, but I would welcome a little healthy competition.  If we had at least two people run for each office, I think we could get more people to vote.  More importantly, I feel that the true wishes of the club would be expressed by putting officers in place they feel are worthy of each position.

What do you do in other clubs you're involved with?  Do you have this problem?  What ideas do you have to motivate members to become more involved?  I welcome your feedback.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Countdown Mode

The hard working Show Committee for the Plymouth Show will be busy this week putting the finishing touches on this year's show.  Since I have been a part of the West Suburban Stamp Club, I have marveled at the way this show comes together every year.  There is a core group that plans the the show, and everyone in the group has various areas they are responsible for.  And of course, the membership of the club comes out in full force during the show to assist with set up, tear down, refreshments, etc.  It's the proverbial, "many hands make the work light."  It is with both sadness and excitement that we know this is the show's 42nd year, and its final one at our current venue, Central Middle School in downtown Plymouth, Michigan.  Due to rising costs, the committee needed to find a new venue that wouldn't "break our bank."  Next year, we will be at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Westland, Michigan, not far from the current venue. 

The show will take place on Saturday, April 30 from 10:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday, May 1 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  There will be many things to do at the show, but one of the features that will be much different this year is our youth area.  The old way was that we dumped bags and bags of stamps on a table for youth to sort through and they could take a bag of stamps home with them.  What usually happened was that old folks sat around the table picking through stamps, which was not a very  enticing prospect for youth.   This year, there will be no stamps strewn about the "mature" juniors to peruse.  The program will take on more of a seminar format, much like the American Philatelic Society's Stamp Saturday.  There will be adult and junior volunteers who walk the participants through the basics of stamp collecting.  They will leave the experience with the basic knowledge, the basic tools of the hobby (tongs, magnifiers, etc.), AND a certificate worth $5.00 that they can spend at any of the 40 plus dealers at the show.  If you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, or friends under the age of 18 that have any interest in stamp collecting, please e-mail us for further details.  I would like to personally thank club members Rich Potchynok, Joe D'Onofrio, and Tim Strzalkowski for pushing this idea forward.  Way to go, guys!

So, if you have some spare time this Saturday or Sunday, come on down to the show.  Look me up and I'll show you around.  I'll either be at the club table or walking around with a walkie-talkie strapped to my waist.  The reluctant philatelist never rests........