Member Blogs > ten pound island book companyMe and the Brothers

  • Mon, 26 Aug 2013 11:25:18    Permalink
    Normally, the Boston - Philly run is a tough one. No matter what time I leave Gloucester I get caught up in rush hour surrounding one of the several urban centers along my route. This year, however, I seemed to be traveling under a lucky star. I left home at 5 a.m. and was in suburban Philadelphia by lunchtime. Baltimore the next day, after another effortless drive. Up to Metchen, NJ that evening, same story. Then the drive I was dreading. New Jersey to Hartford on Friday morning, through the hell of the tunnel/bridge traffic jams, stalled cars, fender benders, and snarling commuters.
    Again, I breezed through.
    Finally, it dawned on me Second week in August. Everyone is on vacation. Manhattan is a ghost town. The road is mine.
    Something else has been enhancing my drive time of late. Ive finally figured out how to borrow books on tape from my local library. Now my drives are a joy, and I hardly care how long they last. Returning from a recent trip, my wife and I got home too soon and had to drive around town for half an hour, listening to the end of For Whom the Bell Tolls.
    I find books on tape a more intense experience than reading. When Im reading, I tend to ignore certain passages, glaze over others, and concentrate only on the parts of the story that really grab me. But listening to that CD in the car, the narrators voice is inescapable. After all those hours with the Hemingway book, I was there when Maria felt the earth move.
    For this trip expecting hours of traffic jams - I brought Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov. Unfortunately I didnt realize the book came in a two box set, and I only brought the second box discs 15-30. I should have checked out that other Dostoevsky classic, The Idiot, instead.
    What was I doing driving around all week? Thought youd never ask.
    In Philly I spent some quality time with the maritime ephemera of an advanced collector marvelous trade cards and clipper ship sailing cards. (See below.) My favorite was the Benjamin Franklin, a card I sold to him several years ago. I was happy to have it back.
    Then down to scout the Baltimore Antiques Show. Ive exhibited there for years, and for years its white carpets, hysterical hype, and pretentious dealers had provided fodder for my snarky blog reviews.
    Angry carpenters picket the promoters of the showTo give them credit, they have promoted themselves tirelessly, and they really bring the crowds in. 

    But ultimately, for me, the show took too much time (a week on the road) for not enough result. So this year I just ran down from Philly, with disc 22 of the Brothers K for company, and shopped the show. Bought a nice journal of a sailor in the Civil War navy - 1861-1865, 

    and a burger over at the Wharf Rat, and then the Brothers and I headed north to Hartford to set up for the summer version of Papermania.
    In contrast to the bustling Baltimore event, the Hartford paper show seems to be in stasis. 
    Empty aisles
    Maybe not declining, but Promoters Gary and Arlene of Hillcrest Promotions run a smooth show, and they take good care of us, their dealers. But they dont seem to put much effort into promoting the show. Forget about newspapers, radio and TV, there wasnt anything on the electric billboard outside the XL Center advertising the event within not even a sandwich board on the sidewalk. On the positive side, Gary says Papermania is penciled in through 2018. He also told me that a new management company is taking over operation of the XL Center, and that millions will be spent on capital improvements.
    They could start with the prison-style lighting system, as far as Im concerned. Then those nasty concrete floors. Maybe renovated digs will spark a new promotional effort, and we'll be back to the days when Papermania was a newsworthy event in Hartford.
    .Clipper Ship Sailing Card.  FRANKLIN. D. P. Bursley, commander, is again loading and will receive the balance of her cargo at Pier 14, East River. The Franklin was built by Paul Curtis in East Boston in 1859. To my mind this is one of the most charming and fascinating of all the clipper ship sailing cards. It shows Franklin and his kite and, as Forbes observes in Other Yankee Ship Sailing Cards, the owners of the vessel believed the mode of conveyance of that day so assured that they dared picture a train and engine on the same card. Indeed, this is one of two cards that I know of that feature the image of a locomotive. This is a variant of the card pictured in Forbes. It names a different captain and the second line of type under the ships name is set flush left rather than centered - clearly a mistake that was corrected in later printings of the card. The card measures 4 x 6 1/2 inches and is in immaculate condition. $3000Here's one of the brilliant maritime trade cards from that collection. Note that the diver offers recovery of drowned bodies as one of his services. $850

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