Klein’s Korner: The Hobby is Truly the People – Good hobby friend John Newman, whom I was very happy to formally meet when he came down to the Dallas Card Show in May has a saying: “The hobby is the people”. And while many of us believe those words, in the past year or so nothing has ever been more true.
Some of us have met new treasured friends from our love for this hobby and been able to connect via various electronic ways we never previously thought possible. A major benefit was a bunch of new webcasts popping up and even planned or spontaneous chats which brought together people from throughout the country and even the world.
But for many of us, what has been missing from our lives for way to long was the face to face contact at the shows. Many stores continued to open but many of the shows shut down for up to 16 months while we were dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example. my friend Gary Sipos finally got to re-open his Garfield, N.J. show held at the Boys and Girls club in time for Father’s Day. He received some Facebook pushback about why he had not re-opened sooner but he was waiting for an official go-ahead before re-starting his very successful shows.
In fact, there is even an Facebook group titled: “Garfield Card Show and Coffee Clatch” of which I am a proud member. This group meets during all Gary’s shows and they bring Dunkin Donuts and coffee and are all active hobbyists and just about every “Odd” Sunday they are at the show to buy and sell cards and get together as friends.
However, there is also a sad reason I’m thinking about John’s statement as I pen this. I received a Facebook DM asking me if I had seen the news about an old friend of mine. Since I had not, I found out and old friend named Wes Seaman had passed on recently.
Back in the 1980’s, Wes actually had his store open on Sunday Nights and there was a group of us who came by most of those Sunday’s because we got together to talk about the hobby, have something to do and have some camaraderie amongst us. Now Wes was never the biggest store nor was he hobby famous but he was one of many people who helped to keep pushing the hobby forward during the first of the peak times.
The best part of being open Sunday evenings was in those pre-internet days there was not usually any of the following. A sporting event on Sunday evenings. The ESPN Sunday Night baseball games did not begin until 1990 and Sunday night football was in the infancy phase. Also many radio stations transitioned on Sunday nights to “Community” programming so they could maintain their FCC license. Thus having a place to go on Sunday night helped to fight any boredom one might have. Yes this is all very different today. This is Wes pictured below and those of who new and remember him fondly miss him.
Although I had not seen him in nearly three decades nor actually spoke to him for about a decade we were able to keep in touch through methods such as Facebook. Yes I’ll miss Wes but knowing he was at peace and his family was gathered around him when he passed did give me some comfort.
While I’ll never get to see Wes again nor many of the hobby figures famous and not-so-famous who have left us since the 2019 National there is actually some great things about this year. I will wager based on personal experiences that many of the conversations this year at Rosemont will be longer than usual as there will two years of catchup and just a blessing in seeing each other. I’m also speaking of personal experience as when the Adat Chaverim Brotherhood Board met in person for brunch about two months ago we spent an extra hour just chatting as just being around each other brought us so much smiles and laughter. Now multiply our little group of less than 10 by thousands and imagine the good feelings people will have just being around each other. What will be better: The Business of the National or the Smiles of Collectors and Dealers playing catchup?