Sunday, June 28, 2009 (Updated)

Belleek Newslettre (# 13.2)


Husband, Father, Commander, Belleeker, First Honouree,
Real Person and SO MUCH more !!

Don Clinton, Belleek Honouree and poet emeritus forwarded
the following to me (Original Date 19-June-2009) :

“Dear friends of Fred Gary,    
    I am sad to report that Fred passed away this morning
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 services.  
        The Gary Family”

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.
    CA 92118

Fred sent the following to me, LONG ago, and this is how
I believe we 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 !!  R.I.P. !!


During our Convention, Angela, as part of her speech,
informed our 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 Society !!

I don’t recall at what point during our Convention this
was learned, but our upcoming 2011 Convention will be
hosted in the ‘windy’ city of CHICAGO !! I’ll publish
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 experienced VERY
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

After several moments of panic, I thought of an
alternative !!  Let’s go SOUTH !! So, I called Amtrak
back and 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 earlier !!
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 time to
board and begin, what was to eventually become, an
excursion of varied dimensions !!

Traveling South, around Crater Lake between the Oregon
and California, 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 porter
had discouvered the mystery to our sleeping car door
window being left open !!  There were a couple of
gentlemen intent on smoking in a non-smoking environment
and were attempting to remain anonymous !! Unfortunately,
Amtrak trains are 100% smoke free and these quasi idiots
were actually 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 for breakfast and then
a tour of his collection !! As we had a 5 hour layover,
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 on our
side of an upcoming tunnel and like 5 feet on the Denver
side !!  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
train 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 their
altitude combined with the snow pack in combination with
the remnants of the sun’s light reflecting off the mountain
peaks ??

Awaking Monday morning, we were crossing Nebraska
and, fearful of past experience, I kept a sharp lookout
for tornadoes and such other naturally occurring
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
prevailed 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
scenic  passage 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 and
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 accommodating a
‘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
Junction 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, VERY surprisingly,
met some fellow Belleekers, returning to our hotel from a
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 !!


What else can I say ?? I won’t go into great detail here,
as those of you in attendance know all the details and I
can only say, to those of you absent, YOU MISSED A
speakers were informative, the entertainment was
fantastic, the food was delicious and of course, the
most enjoyable segment, was meeting with previous
Belleeker friends and composing new ongoing friendships !!
MANY KUDO’s to ALL those involved formatting this
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 Albany-Rensselaer, I’m
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 move
back into the dining car as ours IS ON FIRE, and the
hallway is full of smoke and it’s beginning to drift
into the rooms !!

Do any of you remember Frank Sinatra in Von Ryan’s
Express ??  Well, I was picturing our train arriving
at Albany with our car engulfed in flames !! Sort of
like when Frank captures the German prisoner train
and they race thru an allied bombing and several of
the train cars catch fire and folks are jumping out
of them all on fire, etc. !!

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 only
track until we merged back onto the main passenger tracks
at Minot !! 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,
NOT counting States that were transverse both outgoing
and returning !! You may plan your own exciting
experience by visiting Amtrak’s Home Site at :



"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown
is the belief that one's work is terribly important."
-- Bertrand Russell **


Belleek’s history of basket weaving is world renown !!
Their most spectacular example, produced throughout
their production history, i.e., during every Period,
would definitely include their Rathmore Oval Basket !!
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 and
Flowered (Flat Rod) and my Italian Flat Twig Basket
(Flowered) !!

I would like to speculate a little here regarding
Belleek’s Boston Basket which, has quite a royal
history !! It recognizes Irish immigration to the
United States, particularly at the port of Boston,
Massachusetts !!

Just prior to this years Convention, I was the
fortunate successful bidder of an ‘Old Style’
Boston Basket !! My example is an early 1st Period
Basket, 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 specifically
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.
As the 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 , for Registered,
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 woven over
a ‘boot’ or form in the shape of the basket, this
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
baskets !!  I’ve included a photo of my early
Boston Basket below :

'Old' Style Boston Basket !! 

                          EARLY Boston Basket !!
                  Note the ‘lack’ of loops on 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
and 20•50 respectively !! Converting this to United
States Dollars at the 1971 rate of .4092 per US$, we
arrive 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
thirteen limited items in the exclusive BCIS
Presidential Offering Series from the pottery in
recognition for the avid and loyal Belleek Collectors !!
Special price $1,110 with Pottery Suggested Price
of $1,850 !! Refer to Belleek Collectors’ Newsletter,
Volume 7, Number 4, 1985/1986 !!  Below you have a
view of an example of the current Boston Basket in
Pearl Finish :

'Current' Style Boston Basket !!

                  Current Boston Basket Styling !!
              This one is c1950, author's best guess !!

I have since re-examined my ‘New’ Boston Basket, as I
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
of baskets, more probably, in excess of 100 !! Currently,
there is a ‘yearly’ limited edition to their basket line
in addition to several baskets included as general
production items !!

Belleek has also re-introduced several of their finest
older basket designs to be bestowed as ceremonial
presents for visiting dignitaries from around the globe !!

Hopefully, with the ‘new’ advent of a yearly limited
edition item, they may again re-examine the introduction
of one or more of these magnificent hand woven baskets ??


For those of you I've 'lost contact' with, if you
WERE receiving my Newslettre and have NOT
received one in a bit, it's MOST probably due to a
Change in YOUR E-mail ID !! Post me, i.e., E-mail,
your current ID and I'll get you back on my list !!

If you read my Newslettres regularly and DID NOT
receive an E-mail notification of this Newslettre,
PLEASE just drop me an E-mail and I’ll be sure to
get you BACK onto my Circulation list !! THANKS !!

Of course, if you’re NOT currently on my List and
would LIKE to be in on my Mailing List, ALL you need
do is to drop me a SHORT note indicating 'that you
would like automatic notification of new Newslettres' !!
And, BINGO, I'll ADD you to my list and you'll begin
receiving upcoming Newslettre notifications !!


Del E. Domke, Belleek Consultant
16142 N.E. 15th. Street

Bellevue,  WA    98008-2711

Telephone :  1 (425) 746-6363

Message :    1 (425) 746-6363
FAX :        1 (425) 746-6363
E-mail :     delyicious@comcast.net
Web-site :  The Beauty and Romance of Irish Belleek
  (or) :