President's Message - February 1999
Soon after Jerry Moore was elected to the SCC Board, he wrote me that he wanted "to do something" to spread the good word about The SCC and Nordic philately. Of course I was delighted to receive this enthusiastic offer and I simply asked Jerry to keep us apprised. so except for a few editorial changes, Jerry's "Report on Recent Activities" is your guest President's Letter for May.
My wife, Birgitta, is a Swedish-born Registered Nurse who works in the Surgery Department of the Mt. Zion Campus of the Stanford/University of California Hospital. She was born in Narke Province, and came here in 1970 after graduation at Lidkoping Nursing School. We met as neighbors in the same apartment complex in Mill Valley and married atop Mt. Tamalpais in January of 1975. Her mother and sister still live in Sweden and she maintains very close ties to them and to the rest of her family there.
I do not know if the Swedish-American newspaper, "Vestkusten", is printed in Mill Valley because there are so many Swedes living in the San Francisco Bay Area, or possibly just because the publisher lives there, but my wife subscribes to "Vestkusten" and has for years.
The back page of "Vestkusten" regularly prints contact addresses and phone numbers for the eighteen Vasa lodges in Golden Gate District No. 12 that span the area between Merced and Eureka, a fellowship of lodges where Swedes and other Scandinavians regularly meet to maintain and reinforce their cultural ties with each other.
I have been a collector of Swedish stamps since shortly after I married my wife, a member of the Golden Gate Chapter No. 21 of the SCC since probably 1978. and was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the National SCC.
Recently my wife suggested to me that I might want to contact the different Vasa Lodges and offer to put on a program telling of "The Delights of Collecting Swedish Stamps". "Who knows," she said, "Maybe you'll pick up some new members."
I thought it was a great idea and soon started calling. I reached Mr. Perr Cardestam, Grand Master of Golden Gate District No. 12, who had me contact the Cultural Leader, Mrs. Barbara Olson. Mrs. Olson was not only interested in my offer, she took me up on it immediately, telling me that she was inviting me to speak at the Valhalla Lodge in Viking Hall in Santa Cruz on Friday January 15. I was initially taken aback as Santa Cruz is 95 miles away from my home and it was not my original idea to travel so far, at my own expense, to play out this little scenario, and I turned her down as graciously as I could. But the idea that I could do "double-duty" with this trip soon occurred to me and I called her back with acceptance of her offer. Birgitta and I have a 16 year old son, Niles, who is a Junior in high school and will soon be sending out applications to colleges. We thought we could all three drive down to Santa Cruz and I would deliver my presentation; and the following morning Birgitta, our son and I could tour the University of California at Santa Cruz. When I called Mrs. Olson back and accepted her offer she startled me with her generous offer of a place to stay at her home in Santa Cruz for the three of us.
I am happy to report that the experience was a wonderful and memorable evening for all of us. After school was out Friday, the three of us drove to Santa Cruz, got there at 5:00 p.m. and after a good meal at a local diner got to the Viking Hall a full hour before the 7:30 meeting time. Many welcoming people were already there setting things up and I had lots of help arranging all the stuff I had brought.
I had with me SCC slide show #AV1 on Swedish Postal Documentation, a new slide show on Swedish perfins I have just completed, my slide projector, my screen, a long extension cord, Linns' article about the 3 skilling Banco yellow error stamp, a Scott's Catalog, FACIT catalog, the ATA's "Topical Time", five Posthorns, four copies of Luren, about twenty more assorted books and catalogs on Swedish or Scandinavian stamps, and four different stock books of varied parts of my collections or accumulations.
The members of the Lodge had brought numerous items to the Lodge for contributory display. Stamps glued to poster boards were on the walls and plastic table place mats with stamp motifs were on the entrance tables.
Thirty seven members greeted my one hour twenty minute presentation with warmth and praise. I had been told my time limit was twenty to thirty minutes, but I laughed at that and replied, "Fat chance! No way!" No one seemed bored and no one left or fell asleep. I told how I had started collecting, told of all the many different ways one could focus their collecting interests (mint, used, airmail useages, ship cancels, train cancels, postal stationery, stamps of one engraver--- mentioning of course our treasured Mr. Slania, perfins, pictorial cancellations, meter stamps, topicals, and in particular tried to impress on all of the audience the phenomenal talent and craftsmanship that is involved in engraving a postage stamp. I showed in particular about twenty different covers, telling why they had special interest to me.
Seven members of the audience told me about collections or accumulations they had of Scandinavian stamps; one lady was delighted to learn of two stamps (Facit #509-510) that were issued in Sweden in 1960 honoring her favorite artist, Anders Zorn; Barbara Olson had told me she had a special interest in the subject of Vikings because their hall is named Viking Hall; and I took her a check list of about twenty different US (Scott #621, the Norse-American issue of 1925) and Scandinavian stamps that showed Viking art, Viking relics, Viking ships and even Mr. Viking Eggeling (Facit #1134). One lady collected Olympics on stamps, and she was already aware of the 1956 Swedish Equestrian Olympics issue from Sweden, but was delighted when I showed her also the 1991 Swedish booklet, "Olympic Gold I", which she had not known about.
Shortly before our trip south to Santa Cruz, we learned that SCSC does not have a department or major in the field my son plans to pursue, Construction Management. I was gratified that, in spite of this discovery, he chose to accompany us instead of chilling with his friends here at home. When my presentation and the meeting were done, it was raining; and my wife, son and I decided we did not want to stay in Santa Cruz that night in order to be able to tour UC Santa Cruz the following morning in the rain. We elected to drive home that same night, but left Santa Cruz filled with satisfaction at having had a lovely evening with charming friendly people and new friends. My son got a chance to practice his Swedish, and my wife and Barbara Olson shared memories of experiences-in-common they both had from Sweden.
By the time the May Posthorn reaches you, Jerry will have spoken to the Vasa Lodge in San Francisco and the Swedish Club in San Mateo. He is preparing a more generic slide show presentation to attract potential newcomers to our wonderful hobby. We extend our thanks to Jerry for his splendid outreach efforts in behalf of Scandinavian philately. Jerry, thanks and good wishes from all of us in the SCC.