It was a relatively nice day in February, a little cool with possible rain later, but better than the ice storms and occasional snowstorms of the days before. That made it possible to view the large flag display set up by our host, Dale Grimes of Baltimore, Maryland in his backyard.
As it happens, Dale lives not far from the Francis Scott Key Bridge just outside Baltimore where Key, who authored the Star Spangled Banner while a prisoner aboard a British ship near here, waited for “…proof that our flag was still there.” Very fitting venue for a flag meeting, I thought.
Attending this CBFA quarterly meeting was Jack Lowe, who graciously planned the event, Dale Grimes, our host, Nick Artimovich, former NAVA president, Tom Carrier, Chris Bedwell, Jon Radel and Roy Mock.
As usual, as everyone arrived about 11 a.m. (I arrived in time for lunch), there were updates on current flag events (the new flag of Kosovo was no doubt brought up) and a look at items brought by members for sale and trade.
Lunch was then served, wonderfully provided by Dale (thank you) where more discussions were held on flags bought, sold, or otherwise noted. For example, Dale mentioned the 15 star, 15 stripe flags flown over the Key bridge overpass he and his son had put out for our arrival and Tom brought up his new 8×10 45 star flag that was thought to be 48 until it was unrolled and Carl, Tom’s 7 year old son, counted them to be 45 instead.
After lunch, we headed downstairs to view Dale’s impressive collection of Mare Island U.S. flags. These flags were produced exclusively at Mare Island, California, the same place where the original Iowa Jima flag was produced. They are distinctive because of the MI marking on the heading. Dale began collecting these particular flags quite some time ago, when he realized that one of his early flags came from the same place in the same year as the Iwo Jima flag. Now he has quite a few U.S., officer, military, pennant, signal, and other ceremonial flags and banners produced at Mare Island, including an original 1944 Mare Island flag similar in size to the original Iwo Jima flag. A wonderful idea for a collection.
We moved just outside to see a great setup of large and oversized U.S., military and officer flags. A complete collection of large naval command flags, an oversized U.S. woolen 48 star flag with an unusual star pattern, a wonderful, large 15 star boat flag made in 1915, and our favorite, a submarine warning flag made at Mare Island in 1943.
Back upstairs we were able to view a great collection of flags produced for the collection of Chris Bedwell. There is the Dennison, Texas flag, the New World flag that incorporates 216 national and international organization flags, Bosnia/Herzogovina, Madeira, province of Portugal, Curacao and others. Nick brought along a large silk commemorative flag from the GAR Encampment in Chicago in August 1900 along with a ‘dancing’ 48 star U.S. flag where the star pattern seems to be moving in their own directions. He also brought along another more distinctive 40 star U.S. flag which may have seen better days.
I mentioned that WorthPoint has begun creating communities so that all groups can visit, provide blogs and individual items of their collections for show, take advantage of the free buy/sell board and use the site as part of each organization’s outreach program. All members present at the CBFA meeting in Baltimore are now members of the flag community here at WorthPoint. You can sign up at Worthpoint.com (there is no cost, but $29.95 for use of all the features for subscribers will begin soon) or visit the flag community to check out the blogs, items and such at: http://www.worthpoint.com/community/flags anytime.
Jack brought us all up to date on the next upcoming CBFA meeting to be held in conjunction with the Great Waters Association of Vexillology (GWAV) set for May 3-4, 2008 at the Carnegie Free Library in Carnegie, Pennsylvania just outside Pittsburgh. Everyone is invited. The individual cost is $35 per person. Contact: Jack Lowe at email@example.com for more information, hotels, directions and reservations.
We all visited more, bought or traded more items, visited Dale’s exclusive collection of Iwo Jima items upstairs in his ‘guest’ bedroom that he takes to schoolrooms, perused a collection of flag stamps and Olympic flag pins and then headed back out into another possible downpour. Thanks Dale, for the great WWII flag pins.
It was truly a great afternoon and a great visit. Be sure to join us in Pittsburg this May.