At the Chicago Pen Show this year, Russell Sheaffer was one of the main attractions, if you will, as a speaker on Saturday night before the auction. He is a delightful man, very down to earth and friendly, as was his son Andrew. If anything, they perhaps seemed a little amused at the attention and admiration of the attendees and vendors. But, come on, the great-grandson of THE Walter Sheaffer? in the flesh? That’s cool!
We had an opportunity to speak with Russell a few times over the weekend, and it turns out that he knows exactly here Appleton is – in fact he stays here in town when he goes to see the Green Bay Packers play. Of course, we invited him over the next time he is in the area. Brian, I’m pretty sure, will use that as an excuse to beef up his Sheaffer collection. Another equally delightful person, famous within the pen collecting community, is Geoff Parker, great grandson of Parker pen company founder George Parker. A few years ago, at the Chicago Pen Show, in fact(hmmm, coincidence?) Geoff was the featured speaker and attendee, for a Parker Themed weekend.
Brian & I started musing (clearly before our coffee kicked in) on Sunday morning….. Did Russell Sheaffer & Geoff Parker ever meet? Was there a big “feud” between the pen companies? We started envisioning the 2 boys with their fathers at a pen show/conference, playing with trucks or something while their fathers talked shop. What a shame that Geoff Parker was not at the show, wouldn’t that be something? I mentioned it to Russell on Sunday, and no,What a he had never met Geoff Parker, and no, the families did not have any big feud, blood vendetta, or any other equally dramatic and fictional friction between them. In fact, Russell shared that a Parker relative (an uncle he thought), spent some vacation time at the Sheaffer summer house in Florida, with one of Russell’s uncles. How cool is that??
So, crazy imagination running wild, I turned around to say something to Joel Hamilton, who had the tables behind us, and there was Geoff Parker??!! No way! Then, in what felt at the time like I had fallen into an episode of the Keystone Cops, I could not seem to locate both of them at the same time for like 2 hours. Find one, but not the other, back & forth. I mentioned it to Don Lavin, who agreed with me that this would be such an exciting thing to do – introduce them. I called Russell in his room, where he & Andrew were getting ready to check out, and when they were done, they came back to the ballroom. Geoff was outside near the lobby, talking pens with someone else, and I have to say, it was a really terrific feeling to be the one to introduce Russell Sheaffer to Geoff Parker. I had to go back to our tables, leaving the men in Don Lavin’s capable hands, and Don took a few pics of the event. As I understand it, they exchanged contact info, and found that they had several things in common.
So, Sheaffer vs Parker – there really was no contest, no drama, no excitement. Just 2 pen guys, meeting over pens, and becoming friends. Isn’t that what the hobby is about for so many of us?
Lisa & Brian