Sunday, June 28, 2009
Belleek Newslettre (# 13.2)
** FRED GARY TRUE BELLEEKER !!
Husband, Father, Commander, Belleeker, First Honouree,
Real Person and
SO MUCH more !!
Don Clinton, Belleek Honouree and poet emeritus forwarded
(Original Date 19-June-2009) :
“Dear friends of Fred Gary,
I am sad to report that Fred passed away this
at Sharp Hospital
in Coronado. He has been ill only a short
time but earlier this week it
was determined that he suffered
from end stage colon cancer. All four
of his children were
at his side before his death.
We thank you for
your prayers. He loved all his friends
and their loyalty and attention
have energized and supported
him. As Fred would say, "Keep the corners
of your mouth in
the upward position!"
Fred will be cremated and there will be no
His obituary was published in The San Diego Union Tribute,
a Copy is here :
Consolations should be directed to his daughter :
Mrs. Richard Thibodeau ("Tippy")
901 Coronado Ave.
Fred sent the following to me, LONG ago, and this is how
should ALL honour him !! As I read it, I’m
reminded of his ever
present smile and positive attitude !!
I’M FINE. c2004 (??)
-- Courtesy of Fred Gary
"There’s nothing whatever the matter with me.
I’m just as healthy as I can be,
I have arthritis in both my knees
And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.
My pulse is weak and my blood is thin,
But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.
"I think my liver is out of whack
And a terrible pain is in my back.
My hearing is poor, my sight is dim,
Most everything seems to be out of trim.
But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.
"I have arch supports for both my feet,
Or I wouldn’t be able to go on the street.
Sleeplessness I have night after night,
And in the Morning
I’m just a sight.
My memory is failing, my head’s in a spin,
I’m peacefully living on aspirin.
But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.
"The moral is, as this tale we unfold,
That for you and me who are growing old,
It’s better to say, ‘I’m fine,’
with a grin,
Than let them know the shape we’re in."
Editor : A splendid and fitting eulogy to a wonderful
human being !!
** POTTERY UPDATES !!
During our Convention, Angela, as part of her speech,
Society Membership, that as of January 1,
2010, NO MEMBERSHIP DUES will
be accessed in the
future !! This is a positive attempt to attract new
members whom are visiting the BCIS Site but not
joining our fine
I don’t recall at what point during our Convention
was learned, but our upcoming 2011 Convention will be
the ‘windy’ city of CHICAGO !!
additional information regarding this as
I’m made aware
of it !!
** DE-RAILED ??!!
Thursday evening, prior to our Convention, I received
a telephone call
informing me that North Dakota had
exploded !! In actuality, they
HEAVY snowfall this winter, combined with a HOT
spring, causing a QUICK meltdown of their snowpack
resulting in MASSIVE
flooding !! SO, Amtrak’s
Seattle/Chicago Empire Builder Run was CANCELLED
WHAT TO DO ??
After several moments of panic, I thought of an
alternative !! Let’s go SOUTH !! So, I called
requested the possibility of a re-routing
via Sacramento !! I was in
luck !! Their operator
booked me on the Coast Starlight into Sacramento and
then off on the California Zephyr into Chicago !!
ONE MINOR PROBLEM
!! Since I was travelling
South for a day, I would have to leave a day
This was O.K., but I would now have ONLY Friday to
accomplish everything I was planning on completing
Saturday and Sunday
SO, early Saturday morning,
I arose to pack my bags and begin my
journey !! I
arrived at Seattle’s Amtrak Station in ample
board and begin, what was to eventually become, an
varied dimensions !!
Traveling South, around Crater Lake between the Oregon
prior to retiring for our first nite,
our train stopped in the snow
capped scenic mountains
for about an hour ?? We later learned that our
had discouvered the mystery to our sleeping car door
being left open !!
There were a couple of
gentlemen intent on smoking in a non-smoking
and were attempting to remain anonymous !! Unfortunately,
Amtrak trains are 100% smoke free and these quasi idiots
smoking marijuana !! So, a couple of the
local constables met us at a
train crossing and arrested
the offenders !!
Arriving about 6:30 AM, Sunday morning, in Sacramento,
I was greeted by
a Belleeker friend, whom I had never
met, but made arrangements with
breakfast and then
a tour of his collection !! As we had a 5 hour
this worked out splendidly !!
Back at the Sacramento depot, I boarded the California
Zephyr for a 2
day journey into Chicago !! Several hours
West of Denver, Colorado, we
again stopped in a small town
with approximately a foot of snow about
!! We were informed
that the prior day they had received 3 feet of snow
side of an upcoming tunnel and like 5 feet on the Denver
Then, similar to North Dakota,
the sun arose,
melting the snow, causing mud slides over the tracks and
additionally depositing a ONE TON boulder on our track !!
Two to three hours later, with the assistance of a
maintenance crew dispatched from
Denver, our track was
cleared and we were off again !!
I would like to note an interesting anomaly here !! As the
approached Denver in the early nite, we were able to
observe the cities
of not only Denver but also her sisters,
those of Boulder and Colorado
Springs in the distance !!
What was fascinating, was that all three
cities appeared to
glow a bright ORANGE !! I assume this is due to
altitude combined with the snow pack in combination with
remnants of the sun’s light reflecting off the mountain
Awaking Monday morning, we were crossing Nebraska
and, fearful of past
experience, I kept a sharp lookout
for tornadoes and such other
disasters !! Fortunately, there were no further
episodes until our arrival into Chicago !!
I was expecting a 4 to 5 hour layover in Chicago, but luck
and Amtrak boarded first class passengers several
hours early and we
enjoyed a splendid wine tasting in
preparation for departure to New
York, via Amtrak’s Lake
Shore Limited !!
Awaking Wednesday morning, our train eventually veered
off its path
along the lower great lakes and continued
its route toward New
York’s Penn Station via a wonderfully
paralleling the Hudson River !!
We had a bit of a wait at the Albany-Rensselaer Station
due to track
work outside of Boston, we were unable to
‘split’ our train, i.e., half proceeding to Boston
half to New York !!
Thus, we had to hull our entire train
set into Penn Station, causing a
further delay, as they
have only two tracks there capable of
‘full’ train set !! BUT, we did
arrive ahead of schedule !!
Inside Penn Station I purchased tickets for New Jersey’s
Light High Speed Rail System and proceeded thru Secaucus
transferring onto a North bound train right into
Park Ridge, New
Jersey, site of our splendid Convention !!
I de-trained in Park Ridge,
contacted the concierge bus
service provided by our hotel and then,
met some fellow Belleekers, returning to our hotel
day of sight-seeing in New York City !!
I was fortunate to catch a late dinner at our hotel and
then sat down
with a group of Belleeker friends in the
Irish Pub of our hotel for a
late evening of enthralling
Belleek conversation !!
** BALLISTIC CONVENTION !!
What else can I say ?? I won’t go into great detail here,
those of you in attendance know all the details and I
can only say, to
those of you absent, YOU MISSED A
TOTALLY SPLENDID CONVENTION !! ALL
speakers were informative, the entertainment was
food was delicious and of course, the
most enjoyable segment, was
meeting with previous
Belleeker friends and composing new ongoing
MANY KUDO’s to ALL those involved formatting
splendid program for our Convention !!
** I GOT HOME !!
I begin my journeys homeward Sunday morning, basically
reversing my New
Jersey Transit jaunt back into Penn
Station !! Boarding
Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited and
about 20 minutes Southeast of
rudely awakened from my afternoon nap
to a LOUD series
of sirens blasting screams !!
Our porter is calmly
walking down the hallway, requesting that everyone
back into the dining car as ours IS ON FIRE, and the
full of smoke and it’s beginning to drift
into the rooms !!
Do any of you remember Frank Sinatra in Von Ryan’s
Well, I was picturing our train arriving
at Albany with our car
engulfed in flames !! Sort of
like when Frank captures the German
and they race thru an allied bombing and several of
train cars catch fire and folks are jumping out
of them all on fire,
In any case, that was our last event until our first
morning out of
Chicago, which, by this time, Amtrak had
restored their Empire Builder
service, and we were
re-routed East of North Dakota onto some freight
track until we merged back onto the main passenger tracks
!! We eventually arrived in Seattle a good half
hour ahead of schedule
What a FUN way to travel !! I just performed a summary
count, and if
I’m correct, my trip took me thru 18 States,
States that were transverse both outgoing
and returning !!
You may plan your own exciting
experience by visiting
Amtrak’s Home Site at :
** I’VE FELT THIS ??
"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown
is the belief
that one's work is terribly important."
-- Bertrand Russell **
** BYGONE BASKETS !!
Belleek’s history of basket weaving is world renown !!
most spectacular example, produced throughout
their production history,
i.e., during every Period,
would definitely include their Rathmore Oval
Later examples also include baskets produced for
‘special’ occasions, naming several examples like
the American Bicentennial and Richard K. Degenhardt
Baskets !! Their
Spider Web Cake Plate would certainly
have to be considered one of
their more ‘unique’
entries in their basket range
!! Two of my personal
favourites are my Round Basket, Center Handled
Flowered (Flat Rod) and my Italian Flat Twig Basket
I would like to speculate a little here regarding
Boston Basket which, has quite a royal
history !! It recognizes Irish
immigration to the
United States, particularly at the port of Boston,
Just prior to this years Convention, I was the
bidder of an ‘Old Style’
Boston Basket !! My
example is an early 1st Period
i.e., 3 strand base weave and a single
ribbon pad reading [Belleek Co.
Fermanagh] !! I
have discouvered very little regarding this unusual
basket other that one of our other Honourees has
one in her collection,
a 4 strand base weave with
painted decoration !! Although, not
stated, I’m assuming that this was re-introduced
c1980 ?? Please note that both these baskets have
NO edge loops !!
Refer to Lady Marion’s Main Work,
page 56 !!
I have since contacted the owner of this splendid
basket and learned the following !! Her basket was
‘acquired’ by her c1985 from the Belleek Pottery.
Ribbon on the basket’s base reads only
[Belleek Co. Fermanagh Ireland] we can assume that
this basket was produced in the time frame 1921
thru 1954 !! I.e., there’s NO ®,
on the ribbon !!
As this special basket was not
placed back in 'gereral production' at the time of
manufacturer, I would further speculate that its
weaver was one of the Pottery's basket maker
interns and as produced as a ‘graduation’ exercise
What I find extremely unusual is that, I believe,
these two baskets
were produced somewhere between
60 and 80 years apart ?? As baskets are
a ‘boot’ or form in the shape of the
means that an
original boot is probably still in
existence ?? OR, was the boot from
the newer Boston
Baskets utilized ?? As always, I would GREATLY
appreciate ANY comment regarding these wonderful
I’ve included a photo of my early
Boston Basket below :
Note the ‘lack’ of
its side !!
The earliest reference to today’s Boston Basket, I can
discouver, is seen in my 1971 Pottery Catalogue !! This
‘new’ style Boston Basket
appears as item # 601 and is
(was) available in both
Pearl and Painted Finish, £18•50
£20•50 respectively !! Converting this to United
States Dollars at the 1971 rate of .4092£ per US$, we
at a cost of about $45 and $50 respectively !!
Since penning this Newslettre, I have received some
VERY interesting comment from friends of mine in the
U.K. !! As they have quite a collection of original
Pottery Sales Guides, I have been informed that they
first discouver the Boston Basket pictured in their
1928 Catalogue !! This indicates that Dick (Degenhardt)
didn't quite Copy the entire 1928 catalogue in his
Second Work ?? They further explain to me that he DID
photograph (part of this page) in his First Work, refer
to page 150, center frame, left image !!
They further inform me that the Boston Basket appears
in the 'Colour' Sections of both their 1937 and 1949
Catalogues as Pottery Item # 463 !! I would suspect
that this is the reason for deletion in Marion's Main
Work as she probably elected not to reproduce the
colour section of the Pottery's 1949 Catalogue ??
In 1985, the Boston Basket was included as one of
the exclusive BCIS
Presidential Offering Series from the pottery in
recognition for the avid and loyal Belleek Collectors !!
Pottery Suggested Price
of $1,850 !! Refer to Belleek
Volume 7, Number 4, 1985/1986 !!
Below you have a
view of an example of the current Boston Basket in
Pearl Finish :
Current Boston Basket Styling !!
This one is c1950, author's best guess !!
I have since re-examined my ‘New’ Boston Basket, as
was Updating my scheduled insurance documents !! It’s
ribbon reads simply [Belleek Co. Fermanagh Ireland] !!
As there is again, NO ® on its Marking
Ribbon, we can
assume that it was also produced c1921 thru 1954 !!
From my friends research and knowledge, we now know
that Belleek DID produce, or at least offer, this
beautiful basket sometime during the 1920's up thru
the 7th. (Gold) Mark Period !! Examining my 1983
Price List, the Boston Basket still appears, but now
as item # 601 !! Unfortunately, by the printing of
the 1993 Price Guide, it has since 'disappeared' ??
In their history, Belleek has crafted well over 80 styles
more probably, in excess of 100 !! Currently,
there is a
‘yearly’ limited edition to their basket line
addition to several baskets included as general
production items !!
Belleek has also re-introduced several of their finest
designs to be bestowed as ceremonial
presents for visiting dignitaries
from around the globe !!
Hopefully, with the ‘new’ advent of a yearly
edition item, they may again re-examine the introduction
or more of these magnificent hand woven baskets ??
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Del E. Domke, Belleek Consultant
16142 N.E. 15th. Street
Telephone : 1 (425) 746-6363
Message : 1 (425)
1 (425) 746-6363
Web-site : The
Beauty and Romance of Irish Belleek