Float About #64... © Copyright Mon/Oct 12, 2009
a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to Eskesen floaty pen collectors

For me it's been a crazy summer... but in a good way. Before the season fades into oblivion, I have to ask... how was your summer? Did you travel to exotic places? Find floaty treasure? If you weren't able to get away, you will truly enjoy the following travelogues from the brave adventurers among us.

Amy and Chris Dedman had been home... from their Canadian vacation for weeks. It was June 16th when Amy checked-in. “Yes, we finally found some pens, in Banff. That town is loaded with souvenir stores, many of them had old Photoramic designs. Chris estimates about 10 stores had floaties. I found three designs that I didn't have. After viewing the online personal collections of other collectors, I think they are all quite common. I found digital re-makes of existing designs in two tourist traps in Central British Columbia, but that was it. Not very impressive in my opinion. Oh, I also found pens at Hell's Gate, another tourist trap in B.C. We saw very few digital re-makes in Banff; as I say, it didn't look very good for us collectors. Although we will never lose faith in our hobby!” Amy is already thinking ahead to their next Northern vacation. She would like to include a tour of Montreal and Winnipeg someday. I bet Debbie Carriere, in Winnipeg, would appreciate meeting a fellow collector on her home turf. I hope your dreams come true Amy. Thank your for taking the time to report.
Hamiltons Store

Mon/June 22nd, Doug Yeo had just wrapped-up... his six-month sabbatical from the Boston Symphony. “Thousands of miles of air and car travel have brought me to wonderful places and activities. I end this unique time hiking Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks with my wife, Pat. It's been the perfect way to put a period on this long and wonderful sentence that has been my sabbatical. Yellowstone has over a dozen stores and shops at various hotels and natural attractions. Most are included in the Yellowstone General Stores network. I found an attractive Yellowstone National Park design at two stores, the Roosevelt General Store and Hamilton's Store (pictured right) at Old Faithful. These have floaty panels with either a bison or bear floating over mountain scenery; both designs say ‘Yellowstone National Park’ on the text side. Attached is a photo of the display at the Old Faithful Store. Pens were $2.99 each.”

Moving Object Display

“At Grand Teton I found pens at our first stop, the Colter Bay Gift Shop and General Store. They offered two different designs: one has rafters going down the Snake River in front of the Teton mountain range; the text panel reads, ‘Grand Teton National Park: Floating the Snake River’ - the other, a moose floating by the Teton mountain range with a text panel that reads, ‘Grand Teton National Park - Wyoming.’ Both are digital pens, $2.99.”

“What I found especially interesting was the counter display. The display read, ‘Moving Object Pens’ - this was a new one for me (see photo above). I thought at first they might be Chinese pens, since the traditional ‘Floating Action Pens’ wording was missing. But the clips all had the Eskesen logo at the top and the new ‘Made in Denmark’ stamped at the bottom.”

“In any case, it has been a wonderful trip, and the pens were just icing on the cake. I took out my trombone in front of Grand Teton and played a few notes to the great mountain that is such an iconic symbol of our great, expansive, American west. Life is good!”

Doug plays at few notes at Grand Teton

Late August, Doug visited the... Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, New York. This destination much closer to his Boston home. “I have long enjoyed the artwork of the Hudson River School among which Cole was its leading exponent. Cedar Grove is Cole's home and studio, and while it doesn't have much of his artwork on display, the house is of interest. I was pleased to find a floaty pen in their gift shop.” The pen was $3.95. Visit the site www.thomascole.org. (10/15/09 Pen is SOLD OUT)

“The digital C-Clip features a scene from one of Cole's masterpieces, The Voyage of Life. This painting is from a series of four that depict childhood, youth, manhood and old age. The pen shows Youth, with an image of the young man on a boat heading into life with his guardian angel nearby; he is blissfully unaware of the rapids and rocky shoals around a bend that will lead him to manhood. The boat floats along the river of life.”

Visit Wikipedia for Cole's background and to see his paintings. Doug provided me with a pen, but I was unable to get a good scan. Doug thought it was a very nice design and I agree. Sorry I do not have a picture. Doug, welcome back to the real world. Your findings are always appreciated.

July 2nd, Victoria B reported... her floaty finds. “I thought I was out of luck until the second-to-last day. No floaties at Bandelier National Monument, Mesa Verde National Monument, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the Colorado National Monument or Garden of the Gods Visitor's Center in Colorado Springs.” Pretty dismal.

Now for the good news. “The Garden of the Gods Trading Post, at the south end of the park, had two designs. The bear and hiker pens are both digital C-Clips.”

“A newsstand at the Denver Airport had plenty Republican Pride pens in stock, but the Proud to be a Democrat pens were sold-out. The bookstore, right next door, had the Colorado pen (pictured far left). It's a classic-style digital design of a mountain climber rappelling down a cliff face.”

Victoria's luck continued, “I should mention recent finds from my co-workers. In May, a friend vacationing in Ireland finally found a digital classic at the Cliffs of Moher. It features a ferry floating between islands that have puffins on them. Another friend visited Myrtle Beach, South Carolina by way of Charlotte, North Carolina. She said both airports carried several floaty designs. She presented me with a dolphin floaty, with ‘Charlotte, NC’ imprinted on the barrel and three Myrtle Beach designs. The first with a parasail, another an alligator in a clear window with ‘Myrtle Beach, SC’ and the Myrtle Beach golf pen you have on your website.” That is very encouraging news! Victoria is an accomplished photographer. Consider these spectacular shots from Victoria's incredible vacation a grand finale.

In 2009, Terri Wilson, Alaska and Hawaii.... shared cause for grand celebration. They all turned 50! Craig wasn't surprised when his wife, Terri, chose Alaska for her B-Day destination. Their first trip to Alaska just left them longing for more. They were both anxious to return and continue their explorations. I can see why.

(Photo right) “Terri and I cool off underneath a glacier near Juneau. My beard, now gone, was grown expressly for the trip, partly to fit in better with the locals.” Unfortunately, their luck on the float pen hunt didn't begin to compare with the rest of their journey.

You can experience the Wilson's Flight from Juneau to Skagway in Under 6 Minutes video on YouTube. Somewhere around 2:00, in the video, you can spot the Alaska Marine Highway's Ferry Terminal in Juneau. Craig is having difficulty finding time, but as time allows, he is building an online journal.

Marine Hwy Floaty

“I did find one digital floaty to trade, on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry. In Skagway, Haines, and Juneau combined we found the familiar: generic Moose, Orca, and Bears pens and the AK/Blanket Toss pen.”

“My keenly trained eyes spotted an Eskesen in a cashier's cup at an antique store, but on inspection, it turned out to be an old Betty Boop, so I didn't bother to make an offer.” Use these links to browse Craig's Trade List.

Aug 2nd Marisa Barna provided a re-cap... of her first visit to Toronto the previous weekend. “It was quite a fun trip. Our hotel was in Chinatown, which was a really unique place. I almost felt like I was in China! That night we went to the Coldplay concert, it was awesome. The next day, my friends and I split up, because they are big shoppers and I am more of a sight-seer. I found my way around pretty easily by street car and subway. I headed up to Casa Loma. It was a huge castle that looked like it belonged in Europe. My next stop was the CN Tower. I went up to the very top observation deck for the 360 degree view. I loved the glass bottom floor. You can walk out on the glass and it looks like you are walking on air! Quite freaky, but very cool. It was a successful trip. Both sites had floaty pens that were new to my collection. There were smashed penny machines too. I found it interesting that you put a Canadian dollar in the machine to squish an American penny. I met my friends for dinner downtown at Wayne Gretzky's restaurant, which was very good. We had to leave early the next day, so we headed back to the hotel. I really had a lot of fun!”

Mon/August 3rd, Finn Sørensen had returned... to Denmark after spending nearly a month in the USA. Two days later he submitted scans of his new duplicates for trade he picked up in South Dakota. A few are still available. Contact Finn directly to arrange a trade. pencollector@jydeadsl.dk.

August 13th, Beverly Broadstone... touched base. She had just returned from a family vacation that included St. Louis and multiple stops in Minnesota.

She was accompanied by her husband George and son Andy. Beverly is a fan of floaties and penguins. A trip to the St. Louis Zoo was a must. Beverly found the penguin habitat most impressive. She was equally excited by the quantity and quality of penguin souvenirs in their gift shop.

Of course, the site-specific floaty made for a perfect day. “I had asked the first young clerk in the main gift shop if they carried floaty pens, and she said ‘no’. In another gift shop, near the penguin exhibit, I asked an older sales clerk the same question and she showed me a compartment full of them. Unfortunately, a number of them had bubbles due to the temperature drop of the adjacent penguin exhibit. So, I returned to the main gift shop and finally found pens in an odd display location.” The pen (above) features the Zoo train.

They were so close to the Como Zoo in St. Paul, MN, they couldn't resist. The penguin exhibit didn't compare with the St. Louis Zoo, but finding a floaty offered some compensation. They found smashed penny machines too.

The Broadstone's also visited the St. Louis Arch, sampled beer at the Anheuser-Busch brewery, toured the Spam Museum and a Woodturner's Museum. That wasn't enough. The family took in a few baseball games and shopped 'til they dropped at the Mall of America. “The Mall of America is a enormous version of a regular mall except there's the Nickelodeon Universe Amusement Park smack in the middle of it. They claim it's new, so I think it replaced Camp Snoopy.” Beverly found two digital Minnesota designs at the Mall. Both were covers of earlier photoramics. One featured loons, the other moose. Beverly bought multiples of both Zoo designs (pictured above). Contact Bev directly at floatypenguin@earthlink.net to barter. She has many pens for trade. 2009 is a big anniversary year for George and Beverly. Late November they will celebrate 35 years together. It speaks to their love and devotion for each other. Congratulations Broadstones!

Nobi Ochiai and family... enjoy exploring the big outdoors. Canada's Jasper Park is all that and more. After a week of camping, hiking and float pen hunting, the Ochiai clan was home safe and sound. August 22nd Nobi reported finding three floaty pens: Maligne Canyon, Sunwapta Falls Resort and another that promotes the Jasper Tramway. She has a limited number of duplicates available for trade. Click http://nobi.shawwebspace.ca/ to see Nobi's trade list and the new Jasper pens.

In August, Karen Swanson and hubby Roy... delivered their granddaughter Rikki to Capital University Law School. Capital is next door to OSU in Columbus, Ohio. Bill and I missed Karen when we were in Seattle last spring. We were looking forward to meeting with the Swanson's and Rikki in Columbus. However, Karen forgot all about us! Well, not exactly. They got tangled up in getting Rikki settled and time ran out. Next time for sure. It was Sept 5th before Karen could catch her breath long enough to provide the details.

From Washington state to Ohio and back again is a grueling drive. By the time Grandma and Grandpa Swanson returned to Olympia, WA they had racked up 5,700 miles in their pick-up and spent 18 days on the road. Karen is veteran floaty collector. While visiting family was important, Roy knew in advance there would also be stops at tourist attractions. The Swanson's have visited the $50,000 Silver $ Bar in Montana several times.

Floaty from $50,000 Silver $ Bar Karen was tickled to discover their site-specific pen. It's an attractive digital C-clip that features three silver dollars afloat over a mountain range.

“ This is a really unique place. A tourist trap in the middle of absolute nowhere. Everyone stops just for a rest break. They sell tons of souvies and have their own little casino. The bar has hundreds of silver dollars embedded in it covered with resin. When they ran out of room on bar, they started putting silver dollars in cases on the wall. Buying a dollar to install on the wall has become a Swanson tradition. Every time we go by we always stop to see our dollars.” Karen bought two pens and sent one my way.

She did find floaty pens at the National Museum of the Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB near Dayton. “The caption panel reads ‘National Museum of the USAF’ and has an F15 in flight. I was happy to find it. Got another pen with the Spirit of St. Louis. Hill Air Force Base is imprinted on the barrel.”

Roy and Karen were relieved to be home again, but there has been little time to relax. The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on September 26th. When we last spoke, the kids were still planning a party worthy of the event. Congratulations to Roy and Karen for being such dedicated grandparents and getting to the big 5-0 in style.

Media Sightings...
Fri/June 19th Andy Balbus... shared a media sighting. “On this past week’s Kathy Griffin: Life on The D-List, in the I Heart Lily Tomlin episode, a Canadian journalist, by the name of something like Naardvark, gives Kathy a floaty pen of himself during the course of an interview he conducted with Kathy Griffin and Lily Tomlin. If you blinked, you missed the moment.” Andy is the only one that mentioned it so I think most of us blinked.

I have mentioned the Pen Guy... in an earlier issue of Float About. You might remember the man that plastered a Mercedes with pens? Apparently his movement is catching on. Craig Wilson sent a link to the official Pen Guy site. According to the website “The Pen Guy, Costas Schuler, has a goal to collect a million used pens of all kinds, to create giant art murals called Pen-tingsä. He hopes to redirect the flow of some of the millions of used pens that end up in landfills every year into a reusable art medium.” A noble cause. You can send him all of your unwanted pens. Pen-guy-to-collect-million-used-pens-to.

Victoria B was absolutely right... about Agent Booth, in the Fox Network Series Bones. In issue #61 Victoria was fairly sure the Agent was carrying an Eskesen tip n strip. I have since watched several episodes. The floaty has made several appearances and I also believe it is an Eskesen tip n strip. If Victoria had not mentioned it, I would not have been looking for it. Thanks for the heads-up Victoria.

Collectors News...

At home and work, Norwegian floaty collector... Tone Helen Hanken has easy access to water, and lots of it.

Left: A rural shoreline * Middle: Town where Tone and Steinar live and work * Right: Ferries passing

It's really no wonder Tone and her boyfriend, Steinar, have always wanted to own a boat. It took them a long time to realize their dream. In 2009, their summer dream came true and they are making the best of it.

The boat sleeps six. In Norway, classes to operate this boat are not required, but that is expected to change soon. Steinar took the classes first, Tone will do the same. All summer long, parents, siblings and friends were invited to come along for a ride. Steinar and Tone enjoyed taking turns being captains. “We really love this boat and have been going out everyday. We haven't read our emails for many days. Now we are truly afloat.”

Tone was actually in NYC on business the last weekend in September. Tone and co-workers covered a lot of territory in their short weekend visit. Highlights (somewhat in order) included, Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, saw Ellis Island from a ferry, walked through Chinatown and Little Italy. That was just Saturday!

On Sunday, they arranged a rainy driving tour of NYC with a friendly taxi driver. Tone and three co-workers saw the Brooklyn Bridge, Harlem, many Museums, Cathedrals, drove through Central Park and were then deposited in Times Square. They spent many hours walking from shop to shop and visited the Hard Rock Cafe. Tone found two pens at the Statue of Liberty. One was an Eskesen, the other Chinese. She was unable to find pens in Times Square, but she did discover five NYC designs in a shop near the Empire State Building. More often than not, the floaty pens she encountered were ‘Made in China’.

Tone's business meeting went very well and she met some wonderful and talented people on her visit. I had high hopes of meeting her in NYC, but on short notice the expenses were way beyond my budget. It was Tone's first trip to the USA, but I doubt it will be here last. She had a fantastic experience. We will meet another day.

It was September 3rd, 2008... our floaty community lost Graham Jacobs. Friday I received a call from Finn Sørensen. He had just returned from a trip to London to meet with Graham's family and pay his respects. Finn sat down with family and friends to draft the memorial below. Graham touched the lives of many collectors directly and indirectly. Graham has been and will continue to be missed.

In Memory of Graham Jacobs
We all knew Graham as a dedicated collector. Those of us who were fortunate enough to get to know him better would say that he was a kind and gentle man. You always got on with Graham and everyone who met him liked him right away. There was something about Graham – something that you do not meet every day. It is hard to put into words - but Graham had personality – in his own quiet way. He was warm and kind – and always up for a pen trade. His passion for collecting our beloved floaty pens always shone through. Like the rest of us he could get engulfed in a certain design and a lengthy discussion could follow.


Many of us met Graham at the Open House at Eskesen a few years ago. Graham at the back row below the red dot. We enjoyed his company very much. Trade friends were made – and Graham was of course one of them.


Graham took his hobby very seriously – traveling the world to obtain new prizes.Working for BMI – British Midlands – he had ample opportunity to go on short trips to a lot of places – pursuing floaty pens of course. It was on one of those trips that tragedy struck.

Graham on Sept. 3rd 2008 went on a short trip to Salzburg. He was - as always - hoping to return with new finds for his collection. He went to Stanstead Airport – his point of departure – at 5 in the morning. Sadly he never made it on to the plane. He suffered a heart attack and passed away. He was seemingly healthy – this was much unexpected. It is not something you expect to happen to a man in his forties.

The funeral was on September 19th 2008 at West Herts Crematorium. No less than 130 people attended. Then there was a service at Aldenham where Graham´s ashes were spread and a stone was placed on the wall.

It has been a hard time for the family – especially for Graham's mother Brenda, who is 86. You never expect to outlive your children.

(Photo left: Brenda in her garden - with Finn Sørensen who came to show his respect in August 2009.) For Graham´s closest friend since childhood, Glyn Murphy, this has been a very sad loss. Glyn has two brothers and along with the three Graham was always called The 4th Murphy. They were always together – enjoying what you would call true friendship.

(Photo right: Glyn welcomes Finn at Brenda's home.) For all of us Graham is sorely missed. I shall treasure the fond memories I have. I hope Graham is looking down at us – smiling at us - as we carry on with our hobby. Rest in peace Graham.
Signed, Finn Sørensen.

PS... Sept 3rd friends gathered to raise a toast to Graham and remember happier times with laughter. Graham was present in heart and soul.

Speaking of Finn Sørensen... he has become quite the float pen ambassador. He is dedicated to pen collecting and demonstrates his devotion by attending pen conferences within his reach and beyond. Finn has been the Chairman of the Danish pen club for 23 years. He is also a member of the Dutch, German, Norwegian pen clubs as well as the Pen and Pencil Collectors group in the USA. Finn confessed that he gets grief from his fellow collectors for driving up the price of pens on eBay, but as we all know, that is the essence of an auction. Many can play, but highest bid wins the prize.

Frustrated collectors ponder how and why Finn-pen and Quilland can afford to pay $50 and more for a floaty pen?!? I can tell you it doesn't involve sex, drugs, rock n roll, bank robbery or a family trust/inheritance. Eldor is a hard working and successful energy farmer. Finn generates pen money by buying, selling, and trading pens. He invests a great deal of time and effort to research, communication, meeting with collectors and bartering. There was a time when Miranda and I exchanged over 1,000 pens within a twelve month period. In the late 90's that was astounding. Today it's considerd a large exchange, but falls short of monumental. As for the why? That's easy. Beyond their love for family and home, Finn and Eldor have an unbridled passion for pens. Their enthusiasm runs strong and steady. In the eBay game, Finn-pen and Quilland are winners.

There are many collectors that would like to find their way to the winners circle, but are confined by a very real pen budget. I hear you! But you know it's a lot like the lottery. You can't win if you don't buy a ticket. With the lottery there is an up-front financial investment that is so often lost. With an auction, bidding is free, you only pay if you WIN. Contrary to popular belief, you don't always have to spend big bucks to win. I suggest bidding on pens you most desire and refrain from straying outside of your budget.

Personally, I use AuctionSniper.com to help keep my bidding under control. Otherwise it is easy to get caught-up in the action and go way overboard. Finn uses and recommends EzSniper.com. “I initially prepaid for a year and it is set up to automatically renew. I am on my second year. I never worry about my account going to 0 and it works like clockwork. My bids were only lost once.” Have you noticed how most of the action happens in the last few seconds of an eBay auction? With a sniper program I can place my bid just seconds before the auction ends. If I win, I pay a small fee to my sniper, but it's well worth it.

Using a sniper program does not guarantee a win, but it keeps my spending in line and once in awhile I get lucky. Nobi, Miranda, Marisa and others are getting lucky too. It pays to be persistence. Auctions are supposed to be fun. Best of luck to all and have a great time!

Miranda Wittebol and her boyfriend Dik... are racing to get their new garage built before the snow flies. Miranda's father is lending a helping hand. Target date is looking good. So good, Dik and Miranda were able to get away for a holiday in France. This isn't their first trip, France has become a favorite vacation destination. They took hundreds of photos. Miranda shared many with me. I have chosen my faves.

Miranda admires the exotic fauna. Dik attempts to render some good luck from a fountain in the town plaza.

They visited the Citadel of Carcassonne. It looks like a medieval film set. The spectacular walled town is one of France’s most famous national monuments and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The second picture really caught me by surprise. Bulls in France?! Really?! Miranda replied, “Yes bulls. We were close to Spain and I guess the tradition has carried into the south of France. There are bull fights in the area where we stayed.”

Miranda came home with several c-tops (all digital). Most of them have been traded, but a few remain on her duplicates list. Browse Miranda's extensive list of pens on her website: http://home.kpn.nl/mwittebol1970/. She is ready to trade.

In September, German collector, Biggy Kuhn welcomed... her first international visitors. I know you remember Biggy's magnificent cabinets featured in Issue #62. She fondly refers to her pen room as Biggy's Floaty Pen Museum. That may not be an official title, but to date, Biggy has the largest Eskesen floaty pen collection within our community. Museum doesn't seem far fetched.

Picture: Biggy on the left, Debbie right

Fri/Sept 23rd Debbie Carriere, from Winnipeg, reported... “Hello from Frankfurt! Pete and I have had three weeks in Germany and are now on our last two days. I got to meet Biggy Kuhn! She is the first fellow collector I have ever met! Biggy and her husband Bert were very gracious hosts for our short run through their town. We arrived at their house, got to see the famous pen room and cabinets. Later we met for dinner at the restaurant of our hotel. This morning, we got a wonderful tour of their factory before leaving for Frankfurt.”

To stay in touch with family and friends, Debbie kept an online travel blog. She didn't think it was necessary to include the link, but I disagree. I enjoy seeing the world as experienced by my fellow collectors. My guess is you do too.
This link, www.travelpod.com/members/kveeti, will allow you to follow Debbie's travels through Germany.

Biggy was equally excited about the visit. “It was very nice to meet collectors in person. It was the first time foreign collectors, friends, visited me in my home.” After seeing Biggy's pen room everyone took a drive to the family factory, Stromboli, for the grand tour. Biggy's son, Roman, presented the tour in perfect English. Only because it was a little too technical for Biggy to manage in English. This picture features Roman and Pete standing on the factory floor.

The Kuhn family manufactures custom fireplace inserts at their factory, Stromboli.
After a personal tour, Debbie Carriere and husband Pete pose in front of the factory.

It was time for the Pete and Debbie to make their way back to Canada. Biggy's house wouldn't be quiet for long. She was expecting Amy and Chris Dedman, from Seattle, WA to arrive on the 26th... just three days away.

Fri/Oct 2nd, Amy shared her experience... “We had a fantastic trip with wonderful weather while visiting The Netherlands, a little bit of Belgium and Germany. The trip into Germany was exceptionally memorable. We spent the day with Biggy and Bert. We began by visiting their oldest son, his wife, and Biggy's mother. It was so nice for me to meet Biggy's relatives in person after I have heard so much about them! Back at Biggy and Bert's we were served a beautiful lunch of local traditional sandwiches with meats and bread from Munsterland. We then walked through the center of their town, which was lovely. We stopped for refreshments.”

“Then it was time to return to Biggy's for a rest and visit to the largest Floaty Pen Museum in the world! Biggy has planned her beautiful pen display and storage cabinets very cleverly because even though she has such an extensive collection, she still has room for more. Imagine my awe to hold the first Eskesen Esso floaty in my hand! An indescribable collection, and so logically organized!”

Biggy added... “ That evening we went to dinner at a Yugoslavian Restaurant. Amy and Chris had never sampled Yugoslavian food before. The house specialty is a side dish, rice mixed with carrots, Paprika and peas, called Djuwetschreis... very tasty! Amy had Pljeskavica, a chuck steak, filled with sheep-cheese. Bert and Chris chose the coratia plate. The dishes are very interesting, spicy and full of garlic. The Dedman's enjoyed their meals, but Chris turned to Amy and remarked, ‘No kisses for you tonight!’ Everyone at the table laughed.”

Amy followed with “I am glad Biggy helped me choose my meal, I am still talking about our delicious dinner to Chris! I hope Bert and Biggy know how much we appreciate their gracious hospitality. We took up their entire day, but felt so welcome and both of us had so much fun!”

As for floaties on our trip, “The Netherlands pen situation was much as a collector would imagine. There are still lots of Photoramics to be found. Most are common designs that many collectors already have in their collections due to trades with the large number of floaty collectors in the Netherlands. As I have never been a particularly active trader, I was able to add new designs to my collection, which was a little light in the Dutch floaty category.” Amy and Biggy, thank you for sharing. Biggy, I predict many visitors will come your way.

Thurs/Sept 17, 2009...
After a long period of silence... Christina (Pleva) Tompkins popped in to provide an exciting update.

“My husband and I were able to make one last getaway in the spring before the arrival of baby. We went to Key West, FL, where low and behold, I scored five new floaty pens. I only came across two other pens all summer long, one a gift from Antigua and another a gift from Williamsburg, VA. It's great to have friends always on the lookout.” Yes, Christina bought a few extras for trade.

A special thanks to Beverly Broadstone for her assistance in locating a quantity of the Floaty Industry popular delivery pen for the occasion.

In keeping with their engagement and wedding theme, Christina and Matt presented guests with floaty pens as baby shower favors. What a beautiful presentation.

The Tompkins welcomed their first son to the floaty world on July 9, 2009, at 11:32 pm. Nicholas Grant Tompkins weighed in at 7 pounds and 20 inches long. A real cutie pie! Of course Nicholas made a profound and immediate impact on mom and dad. “We're still adjusting to lack of sleep with those late night feedings, but he makes it all worthwhile! Nicholas has changed so much just in the last nine weeks. He is all giggles these days.” I see a future floaty pen collector in Nicholas. If you would like to congratulate the Tompkins or arrange a pen trade with Christina, click here: pleva99@hotmail.com.

Oct 7th, Victoria B... returned from the north with tales from Alaska. “The trip was amazing! We saw a great deal of wildlife and gorgeous scenery on the excursions from the cruise ship. We had the rare opportunity to drive the entire 86 mile park road in Denali, since my friend's local friends got us a spot in the Denali Road Lottery. Caribou and Dall Sheep and Bears, oh my! My Alaska floaty pen search was not particularly successful, but I had rather limited search time.

The cruise ship, the MS Ryndam of the Holland America Line, had photoramic keychains and digital C-Clips.

The keychain differs from the MS Amsterdam design that my boss gave me from her Alaska cruise in 2008. I wonder how many of the Holland America Line ships have their own designs?”

Victoria found one Alaska pen. ”It was the last lonely specimen in a little gift shop near the pier in Haines. It's an older photoramic with one polar bear floating away from another one, and it took me a week to shake the floater loose so that it would move. I'm delighted to have it.” Victoria's was rewarded when she arrived at the airport in Portland. She found several Oregon designs at the Portland airport. They are all digital remakes of old photoramics, but Victoria was happy to add them to her collection. Welcome back Victoria.

I would like to introduce Alex Foster... from London, England. He works on the river Thames on boats. In his spare time he assists at a burlesque show. Alex would like to collect tip n strips. Not necessarily vintage pens, but definitely photoramics. Alex intends to display the collection on a boat that serves as a floating cafe. He thinks they will look great framed on a wall. He has a limited budget, but if you have duplicate tip n strips, please contact Alex directly... riverkeeper@live.com

Pens Out and About...
While surfing the web in search of pens... from Mississippi, Robert Henry came across the Dubuque County Historical Society website. I didn't know anything about the Society or Museum so I followed Robert's lead and visited their website. I retrieved this brief history, “The Dubuque County Historical Society (DCHS) has its roots in the Richard Herrmann Museum of Natural History, established in the 1870s. The DCHS was formed in 1950 as a private, non-profit organization with a focus on oral and archival history; and it opened its first museum, the Mathias Ham House, in 1964. Over the past 25 years the DCHS has successfully raised $54 million to organize and expand its Mississippi River Museum into the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. The Museum & Aquarium is accredited by the American Association of Museums — a distinction held by only 9 percent of American museums — and was named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in August 2002.”

Robert was elated to learn they have a floaty pen available in their gift shop.

Thanks to Robert's information, I was able to purchase 25 floaty pens for this issue. For those in need of a Mississippi pen for your States collection, this pen does NOT qualify. This is a promo pen from the Museum, which is actually in Iowa. It just happens to be located on the Mississippi River. However, it would fit nicely in your advertise category. The pen is on my New Arrivals list.

After exploring their website I am sure I would enjoy the Museum and Aquarium. If like me, you have to settle for the virtual tour... it begins here www.RiverMuseum.com. You will also find everything you need to know to plan your road trip to Dubuque.

Pens Past, Present and Future...
There are only a handful... of new designs for this issue. There are several designs, in limited quantity, remaining from the last issue. Sorry this is becoming the norm. It's difficult for me to get motivated to publish a newsletter when I have so few pens to offer. It was important to post the newsletter sooner than later. I did not prepare a list of duplicates, but I will. As soon as I can get 200 pens scanned I will initiate another drawing.

On the Homefront...
In September, Josh... our son, lost his job. For eight years he loved his work, but that changed drastically about a year ago. It isn't the best time to be unemployed, but it's great to see him happy again. We are confident he will find another job. In the meantime, Josh and his two cats, are spending a month with us. While he is visiting, he can return to woodturning and research jobs online. It will be a productive month.

The evening of Oct 7th, we made our way... to Pittsburgh to get Josh. I was determined to meet with collector, Marisa Barna, again. We often drive to and from Pittsburgh the same day. This time we stayed overnight. It's a joy to spend time with Marisa. She is an enthusiastic pen collector and a sweetheart. Marisa brought her favorite and most prized pens. It was great fun pouring over her designs. We enjoyed our meals, exchanged pens and talked for hours... many hours! It was midnight before we said goodbye. Can't wait to do it again.

While Josh is here Bill and I need to head East for a business trip. We will be out for 5-7 days, but the details are sketchy. I will continue to post pens on eBay every Wednesday. Scanning duplicates will be an on-going project. I must also finish a batch of tatting shuttles and make kidney shaped displays. With Josh, Bill and I in the workshop it will be like old times.

Before I sign-off, there is one more thing. For months collectors have suggested that I join Facebook. It was easy enough to join, but now that I have signed-up, I am not sure I understand the point of it all?! I posed this question to Kristen Marino... “If I have your email and you have mine, why do we need Facebook? It just seems to make things more complicated.” Kristen responded, “ Ha! Yeah, I hear you. I fought joining for the longest time, too, until I succumbed last winter. I've found it to be good for locating old high school and college acquaintances. It seems that most of my friends and neighbors use it for invitations and notifications, rather than picking up the phone and telling everyone what's going on. So, that's useful. When you guys are out on the road you can update your status and tell us what you're up to!” I suppose in time I will figure out how to make it work for me, but I can honestly say I prefer good old-fashioned email.

I hope you are doing well and you had a fabulous summer. Autumn has been kind to us, but I so wish we could skip winter. Collectors are hungry for pen sources and good news. Your reports will get us all through the Dead Zone. I will keep Float Along updated.
Until next time... stay in the boat and FLOAT!

That's all for now!
Updates have already been added to Float Along. Check it frequently for incoming news!
Go forward to Issue #65 released Mon/Feb 22, 2010
Back up and read the Issue #63 from Mon/May 25, 2009
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FLOAT ABOUT... Diana Andra, 1676 Millsboro Road, Mansfield, OH 44906-3374
phone 419/529-8876 (11 am - midnight EST)
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