August 2011

Next
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 at 7:00 PM or meet early at C.B. Perkins at 5 PM Cobb's Corner, Canton.
Dinner at 6 PM - Location TBD
Meeting

Club Info & Events

Details of the July Meeting
We 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 Pipe
                                                              by Ernie Whitenack

I 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 cottage.

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 dictionaries.

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.

Pipes & Tobacco News & Info

PipeReviews.org
We recently received this email about a new website I think you'll find interesting.

Dear Sirs,
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.

Sincerely,
Martin D. House, Charlotte, NC


Other Important Links for smokers:

This 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
A 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)


The 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.

Dave 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 conversation.

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 known Leo.’

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 opinion?

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.


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