Info & Events
Details of the July Meeting
were pleased to have a nice turn out for the July meeting which
has generally been quieter in past years. I even think pipes trumped
cigars at Perkins last month too. They probably hate the first
Tuesday of the month. But we always have a good time at our pre-meeting
smoke and this month was no different. Eric even managed to showed
his face and coerced Neil into eating Chinese instead of Papa
Gino's where the rest of us went.
There was no update from Mastro Beraldi for the meeting but since
then Mike has been able to connect with them. They were in the
process of filling another order so have not been able to start
work on ours just yet. We are next in line and we hope to have
a few samples to choose from for the September meeting.
Other than that, not too much out of the ordinary at our last
meeting, just good friends enjoying their favorite pastime together.
Eric will take care of next months raffle (Don't forget the tickets
Eric) and Ernie with bring the August tobacco as well as the tobacco
from last month's raffle that didn't make it in time.
Creative Use of a Beer Bottle Part and
suppose we have all seen antique, or replica, beer bottles with
a porcelain stopper hinged to the bottle with heavy wire. My
first encounter with this kind of bottle was on my first pass
in 1951 after settling in Bad
Tolz Germany with the 169th Infantry. Several friends and
I were looking for a restaurant in the town when Mort Lawner
pointed up a narrow cobbled side street and said, "Up there
under that small lighted sign – that's a butcher shop
and restaurant". So off we went and entered a room right
out of a fairy tale. On the dark wood paneled walls were hung
many heads of various antlered animals. The tables were heavy
peasant type while the chairs with tall narrow backs were heavily
carved and looking like they came right out of the Seven Dwarf's
The drone from the voices of the half dozen
men in the place suddenly stopped as we, in uniform, entered.
All eyes were on us. We were met by a short red-faced man wearing
a well worn black suit man who ushered us to a table, all the
while chattering away in German. Thanks to Mort Lawner and his
knowledge of Yiddish, he became an instant translator as the
rest of us futilely attempted to find words in our English-German
Looking around I noticed that the men were
mostly of advanced age and dressed totally in Tyrolean clothes,
Lederhosen and all. They appeared to be playing cards, smoking
pipes of various types and drinking beer from large glass steins.
One man was holding his tall wood and bone
peasant pipe in one hand
as he looked at his cards. At the top of the sharply bent pipe
steam, just behind the lip, sat a round red object. This aroused
my curiosity and as we drank our first German Beer and waited
for our steaks. I decided to keep an eye on this man to see
how he used the red object on the pipe stem. Suddenly the old
man laughed at something said at his table and it was obvious
he had no teeth. When he stopped laughing he placed the pipe
in his mouth, red object and all and puffed away as he dealt
a new hand. Well, I realized the red object was the sealing
washer from the porcelain stopper of a beer bottle. The ingenious
man let the washer sit behind his gums as he clamped on the
stem, allowing him to hold the pipe in his mouth.
We soon learned the man in the suit was the
butcher and owner, his wife the cook and his lovely daughter
the waitress and that we were the first GIs to ever come there.
The daughter took a great interest in the English-German dictionaries
and after a short conversation with Mort he borrowed one from
someone gave it to her. When we returned in a couple of weeks
we were greeted as family and the daughter had acquired a reasonable
command of the English language. It was as if the old men had
not moved from the table.
& Tobacco News & Info
We recently received this email about a new website I think
you'll find interesting.
My name is Martin House and I am the creator of www.pipereviews.org,
a new site that will greatly benefit the tobacco pipe community
by providing important information to both aficionados and
newcomers searching for information, opinions, and ideas.
Over the years I have enjoyed pipes and fine tobacco, and
am always in search for the perfect pipe at the best price.
After noticing a void in the field of pipe reviews I decided
to take action; I’ve started this site with the expectation
that it will grow to be a compendium of knowledge for pipe
enthusiasts. It is already promising to be a great resource
to the global pipe community.
Because the world of pipes is so vast and intricate it is
going to be challenging to create a depository that will collect
objective (rather than purely subjective) information. My
goal is to create something more valuable than a simple 5-star-rating
system or the short narrative reviews often sporadically found
on forums. To that effect I’ve designed a system by
which each reviewer will rate a pipe based on the same criteria.
They may then feel free to write an honest, open narrative
of their individual experience with the pipe.
It is important to state at the outset that I have no intention
of ever charging for access to the site. I believe free and
open content is vital to the web and to the pipe smoking community.
I respectfully request that you pass this information along
to your members. The site is new, and I am looking for more
user reviews to continue building this central library for
those searching for purchasing advice.
I encourage you to browse the site, register as a user, and
see what it has to offer. I am certain that as pipereviews.org
continues to grow and evolve it will prove valuable in ways
we cannot even yet conceive.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Martin D. House, Charlotte, NC
Month's Tobacco Raffle
Hearth & Home Marquee Black House
The winning blend from the Chicagoland Pipe Show 2011. We're
proud to introduce Black House. This blend is a tribute
to a great tobacco of the past. Made for the 2011 contest
it was judged to be the closest overall to the dark balkan-type
mixture it was designed to emulate. For you Virginia Heads
it's loaded along with Kentucky, Balkans, Turkish, and even
a smattering of Black Cav. (2 oz)
McClelland Club Blend - Celebrated Sovereign
classic English mixture made with Syrian Latakia, turkish
Dubec, matured jet-black Cavendish, bright Carolina and
Red Virginia. A true connoisseur's tobacco. (50 gm)
David P Ehrlich Pipe and Tobacco Shop, 1963 - Part 2
We'd like to thank Michael Cangemi for his excellent contribution
to our newsletter. It's always fun to relive the better days of pipe
and tobacco. Please take a few minutes to read Part 2 of Mike's story
below. If you haven't read part 1 yet, find it here.
made a nice gesture when he offered me the chance to work in the
‘front window’ with Karl and his assistant Tom. Karl
was an older man (60’s+) who went about pipe repair and restoration
quietly and reserved, as if the ‘front window’ workshop
was a business apart from sales. When I say older he might have
been around the age I am now. Tom was probably in his 20’s,
rode a motorcycle, smoked a calabash pipe and had skin as pale as
meerschaum. No doubt he was a beatnik.
One of my tasks was bending pipe stems by holding the bit over a
small burner until the plastic grew hot enough for me to bow a quick
flex then immediately dip it into a can of cold water. Quarter,
half and full bent stems are more artfully crafted than one might
imagine. And that’s exactly what it was, art. I certainly
over-heated, bent ‘out-of-shape’ and rendered unusable
a few dozen stems. Polishing repaired pipes and reaming bowls were
also tasks I was trusted to complete. Who knew that a pipe cleaner
could actually be used to clean a pipe stem?
I also worked a stamping machine which, when applied with the correct
foot pressure to the pedal, would stamp ‘EHRLICH’ along
the wooden shank. Briar is a very brittle wood and my success rate
was as variable as Boston weather. I cracked dozens of pipes throughout
my ‘window’ career.
George Bushee was the last of the pipe artisans I met. He came onboard
toward the end of my career and not coincidentally was as quiet,
kind and easy going as Karl and Tom. His son, Bruce, came on board
as a stock boy about the same time.
Leo and Joe were the oldest salesmen on the floor. Both fit right
in with the antiquity of the dark mahogany cabinetry. Joe was a
serious kind of guy, always wearing a gray three piece suit with
a gold-chained pocket watch tucked into the vest. He and Karl were
the same size, about 5’ 2”. A good guy, he simply never
let his guard down which also meant little smiling and even less
Leo had a full head of white wavy hair and harbored a peaceful manor
that followed him as slow and easy as syrup. If I remember correctly
he smoked a calabash pipe. Nothing rushed him through the day. I
dropped in at the Leavitt and Pearce Cambridge store a few years
ago and when I mentioned I’d worked at Ehrlich’s in
the 60’s the first comment I heard was ‘You must have
The office was located in the balcony at the rear of the store where
Dave and his secretary, Margaret, conducted business. Margaret was
today’s version of Homeland Security, handled the payroll,
always cash folded inside a small yellow envelope which Dave distributed
to the employees. I met Margaret on my first day at Ehrlich’s,
the day President Kennedy was assassinated; overcome with grief
she never said a word to me. It was Dave who told me the store would
be closing early.
As far as I could tell Dave smoked two meerschaums, straight stem
and half curved bulldog, each embossed with the most beautiful amber
patina gifted by time alone. A kind man, I quickly learned why Margaret
had to play the ‘heavy’ part of the business.
The office was directly above a small back room where packing and
shipping was handled. And believe me; we did a tremendous amount
of shipping. The D.P.E. blend was far and away the most popular.
I’m pretty sure UPS or FedEx wasn’t in business back
then and every afternoon between four and five pm one of the stock
boys had to fill a large canvas hamper with dozens of packages and
wheel it a few city blocks to Post Office Square for shipment, regardless
of the weather.
The basement housed three storage vaults. The first stored natural
bulbous meerschaum blocks and unfinished briar pipe kits along with
clay, cob pipes and accessories. Barrels, boxes and tins filled
with raw and pre-packaged tobacco were stored in the other two rooms.
The stock boys took their ‘milk and cookie’ breaks in
the third room which was directly beneath the front display window.
I was pretty close to turning green on my first break because of
the heavy tobacco laced atmosphere. But it was an aroma I quickly
grew accustomed to.
The basement walls were always damp. Dozens of boxes of tobacco
tins prepared for shipping were stacked against the brick. You’d
always hear a bit of scraping and scurrying emanating from behind
them, the kind of background basement creeping you assumed came
with the territory. It soon became my turn to grab a few boxes to
carry upstairs. This is the honest truth. I yanked one carton away
from the wall, balancing the damp cardboard against my chest. The
scurrying increased and walls grew alive. Cockroaches bigger than
both my hands crossed paths, squiggling into wall crevices and scuttling
behind adjacent cartons as if they were afraid of me. Afraid of
me? I don’t think so. I was sure these brown armored warriors
of darkness had but a single plan; attack the intruder.
I didn’t wait around to defend myself and for the rest of
my stock boy career at 207 Washington Street I never grabbed hold
of another box from behind.
Before my career ended at the age of seventeen I’d been promoted
to salesman. Margaret must have liked me. But I’ve always
remembered the odd unexpected sense of confidence which accompanied
the position, especially when an older fellow, again, probably my
current age, asked my opinions on different blends of tobacco. My
Read Part 1
Copyright© 2011 Michael Cangemi
A little about Mike:
Mike lived in Dorchester during his Ehrlich years, 1963-68. He moved
up north to Gloucester, MA in 1975 where he ran a small woodwork/gift
shop both in Rockport and Gloucester. On occasion he enjoys day
trips back to the city with his wife Pat, a Rozzy girl, where everything
has changed and much from the past has disappeared. An artist whose
fields involve writing, music and daydreaming he always enjoys new
company and pastime stories. His latest interest is reading about
America's War For Independence.