Saturday Feb 21st, 2009 at 7:02pm, Rob Campbell (that’s me) sat alone in Meeting Room #1 at Arbor Heights Community Center at Wilson and Avenue Rd in North York (northern Toronto) waiting for the Four Seasons Bottle Collectors to arrive.
This night was supposed to be their monthly club meeting? But one look out the window told me things might have changed. The weather outside was awful, and only getting worse. Eight inches of snow had already collected on the roads, snarling traffic throughout the GTA. I looked at my watch again; perhaps the meeting had been canceled?
Two minutes, to my relief Carl Parsons and Glenn Moorhouse strolled into the meeting room toting large Tupperware containers full of bottles, coffee and cookies. They were surprised to find me in there waiting, especially since we'd never met before.
In the next few minutes a dozen people arrived. More tables were set up, and the meet and greet centered around the collectibles on display between the windows, and the coffee pot in the kitchen.
Although I was a complete stranger to them all, I didn’t have to introduce myself. Everyone already knew who I was. Most had been to website, or read this blog. Some had seen Nancy J White's Jan 24th 09 Toronto Star article entitled Dumps, A Window To The Past, and some of those folks were a little ticked off.
When Mike Duggan made the association he gasped, ‘Oh so you’re that Rob Campbell? I want to strangle you’, and then he proceeded to list all the mistakes in that story.
I listened patiently. Everything he said was true. And I know deep down they all wanted to like me - bottle collectors want young blood around to mentor and shame. Everything went very smoothly after I took out my wallet and officially joined the Four Seasons Bottle Collectors. I paid $25 to become one of them, for a year.
“I've built Dumpdiggers for you” I explained later, "and now I’ll donate time and energy to share this web enterprise and help the subculture. Look upon Dumpdiggers.com as Rob Campbell's contribution to the Four Season's Bottle Collecting fraternity. Send me any messages you want broadcast.'
Four Seasons Bottle Collectors, 21Feb2009 Meeting
After the monthly Business Report and the Treasurer's Update, the president Jamie McDougal once again brought the group's focus back to me, the new member. What did I collect? How can they help me? And that query put the focus squarely back onto Dumpdiggers and all the wonderful things an enterprise 2.0 interactive website can do to help grow a bottle club. It was determined then that I should speak on the subject at the upcoming bottle show - I agreed.
Anyway, I got yet another chance to illustrate Dumpdiggers.com functionality when Glenn Moorhouse revealed he was selling bundles of vintage club newsletters, full of unique information, for approx $25 dollars each. “Why not sell smaller downloads for five dollars each?” I interrupted. The process would be simple enough – scan the newsletters and then convert the files to pdfs. These are called ebooks, and they're a great way to share information and increase a customer base at the same time. IN this case it would be a great way for collectors all across Canada and the United States to access and consume the rare information, and the club could make a few bucks every month for doing nothing.
At halftime, the business portion of the Four Seasons Bottle Collectors meeting culminated in a dollar per ticket raffle for a mysterious prize.
Darren Spindler won the draw. That was exciting. Carl Parsons stood up and presented Darren with an attractive old English whiskey jug. The pottery had a cobalt blue glaze top and looked rather fancy - but I don't think it was worth very much.
Here's Darren Spindler. He’s one of the people I most wanted to meet. His Early Canadian Bottle Works website has always impressed me. It's a nice clean website, simple and socially relevant at the same time. And the digging stories are terrific. I look forward to more cooperation with Darren in the future - maybe we'll even get together dig someday?
Then the gathering turned to Show and Tell – this month’s theme was “Things We Love”, and for the next hour it was easy to see the passion that unites these people. Darren Spindler stood up first and described the five different things he brought - the most interesting of which was a framed Griffin Bros promotional material (a go-with?).
Melissa Clare went next and showed us a hot watering can, and some tins emblazoned with white roses.
The president of the FSBC, Jamie McDougal followed Melissa and described his favourite things; assembled on the table before him was an amber Dahls Ink, a tiny Hudson’s Bay extract bottle (turning amethyst) and a vault light (luxfor - which is a piece of glass designed to transmit light into buildings), that captured everyone's attention. After some research, I found this page which explains vault lights.
Last to present at 9:45pm, Sean Murphy detailed his display. He held up some green glazed (undercoat) crocks and jugs from Peterborough Ontario, an aqua fruit sealer with the correct metal ring and top, and some spectacular yard sale finds including an original but unsigned water colour painting of some quality.
At the conclusion of my first meeting as a member of the Four Season Bottle Collectors club I promised to write about and help promote the upcoming 16th Annual Toronto Bottle & Antique Show and Sale – Canada’s Premier Bottle Show Sunday April 19th 2009, 9:30 am – 3:00 pm, Humber College Gymnasium, 250 Humber College Blvd.