Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Happy 15th Anniversary to Us!


I can't believe it's been 15 years since the very first Vancouver Pen Club meeting. Time flies!

It's also hard to believe we started out with just five members and now have over 200 members on our group email list.

Now, this is going to read like a very long Academy Awards acceptance speech, but our club has a lot of folks to thank, so I hope you'll indulge me :)

--First and foremost, huge thanks to our founders, Tim Conklin and Bill Kempton, for coming up with the idea of forming a fountain pen club in Vancouver (they jointly came up with the idea after an open water swim club meeting) and then bringing it to life; Tim organized our first meeting (held at Moxie's Classic Grill in Vancouver's West End) and Bill actually hosted the second VPC meeting at his home!

--Many thanks to everyone who joined our club over the years, whether it was in its infancy or more recently, during this global pandemic. I know it's been tough not meeting in person, but thank you for sticking with our little club and keeping its spirit alive :)

--Thank you to everyone who came to our meetings, whether you came with items for our "show & tell" and spoke about them... or just listened patiently and asked lots of good questions; I've learned so much from the answers to questions posed by both newcomers to our hobby and long-time fountain pen users/collectors.

--Thank you also to the friendly pen folks from out of town (including some overseas visitors) who came to our meetings with pens to show and pen stories to share. It was lovely having you as our guests...and please do come back and visit us again :)

--Thank you to the heads (both past and present) of the Calgary, London (Ontario), Ottawa and Seattle pen clubs for their friendship and fellowship, for all the emails we've traded over the years about how to best run our respective pen clubs, and for all the ideas we've shared about new meeting topics lol. 

--A special shout out to the Seattle Pen Club's presidents (past president George and current president Susan) for organizing the twice-annual SPC meetings held in Bellingham, WA and inviting our club members to them. Thank you to everyone in the Seattle Pen Club for the warm reception you've always given us at your Bellingham meetings, as well as the meetings in Seattle that some of our members have attended.

--Special thanks to our club members who did some great presentations at our meetings over the years---Michael's presentation on "Industrial Designers & 20th Century Pens", Jerred's Powerpoint demo on nib tuning, Mark's pen maintenance seminar, the talks on "Iconic Pens" done by Armando, Christopher, Glenn M., Jerred, Ray & Stuart, Brian's talk on vintage Waterman pens, Glenn's overview of modern Italian pens and Rene's presentation on finding & buying vintage pens on eBay (I hope I haven't forgotten anyone!). We truly appreciate the time and effort you took to educate us on these topics...and to do it in a fun and engaging way.

--Thank you to everyone in our club who submitted material for our pen club blog/website since we started it back in 2008; your pen, ink and paper reviews, as well as all the lovely photos of your pen-related items are all very much appreciated!

--More recently, thank you to everyone in our club who sent in photos and reviews for our virtual "newest acquisitions show & tell", here on our club's blog. Though we haven't been able to meet in person for a while, it's so nice to see close-ups of the new items you've acquired since our last in-person meeting (and please keep those great photos & write-ups coming!) If you haven't sent in anything for the online show & tell--no worries! But if you are thinking of sending something in, please don't worry about your photography skills ...or the monetary value of the pens; in all the "Welcome to our pen club" emails I've sent over the years, I've always said that it doesn't matter if you own one pen or a thousand---it's your interest in and enthusiasm for the hobby that counts :)

--Special thanks to Glenn Marcus for his tireless efforts in getting not one but two beautiful Vancouver Pen Club special edition fountain pens made for our pen club--the first pen, made by the Delta pen company in 2014 and, more recently, the one made by Leonardo Officina Italiana in 2019. Glenn was involved in nearly every step of the way, except for the actual manufacturing of these two gorgeous pens. Our thanks, of course, also go out to Delta and Leonardo for making these wonderful pens for our pen club members.

--Last, but certainly not least, many thanks to Richard Clarke of Perks pen shop for hosting our pen club meetings for nine years (from November 2007 to October 2016!) at his beautiful store on Cambie Street (and then his strata's multi-purpose room, after Perks permanently closed in late 2016), and to Daryl and Tony for finding us wonderful new spaces to use for our meetings in more recent years. Our thanks also to the Vancouver Public Library for the free use of their meeting rooms--at various VPL branches--- after Perks closed.

On a personal note, I just wanted to add my thanks to everyone who has encouraged and supported me since I took the presidential reins from Tim back in 2008. Your friendship, kind words and thoughtful emails have meant more to me than you will ever know. Thank you all so very much!

I thought I'd end this blog post by reposting a write-up I did a few years ago about the very first meeting of our club on December 7, 2006. Hope you enjoy the little trip down Memory Lane!

Warmest wishes,

(The blog post below was originally posted here on June 12, 2012)

'Pen Club 101 and a bit of VPC history'

I've been having fun checking out the articles and forum posts on Fountain Pen Geeks (they of the informative & humorous weekly podcasts of which I blogged earlier here ). A few days ago, Eric Schneider (who runs the site, along with Dan Smith) asked if I could do a short write-up on how to start a local pen club. I put something together and they posted it on their site. After I wrote the article, my mind drifted back to the early days of our own pen club, so I thought I'd share this bit of history with the readers of our club's blog (yes, both of you... I jest ;)

The Vancouver Pen Club was started by Tim Conklin, who posted a query on the Zoss List back on October 1, 2006 asking if there were any people in the Vancouver, B.C. area who were interested in forming a local pen club. I missed this post, but saw a later (Nov. 2) Zoss post by Tim, whose subject line was "Announcing the Vancouver Pen Club". I think there were only a couple of members at this point (Tim and his fellow swim club member Bill K.) but at least they were off to a start! My pen friend Brian asked if I was interested in joining, so both he and I wrote to Tim, informing him of our interest. I told Ryan I. (who was also on the Fountain Pen Network, as was original member Bill S.) about the club, and the first meeting was set for December 7, 2006 at Moxie's Classic Grill, a restaurant in Vancouver's West End.

Five of us showed up that night (Brian had just flown back from a trip to Europe and couldn't make it) and we were shown to a very large circular table (with a privacy curtain, no less!) near the front of the restaurant. With the dance music blaring in the background, we managed to introduce ourselves and talked about our love of fountain pens and how we came to be fountain pen users and/or collectors. I don't remember what I ate that night, but I will never forget how friendly and welcoming everyone was. From that date, our club has grown by leaps and bounds and now has over 90 people on our membership list. I hope that some of you reading this will be inspired to start your own local pen club; it's not as difficult as you might think. Many thanks to Tim for taking the initiative to start this wonderful pen club; hope you can make it to another meeting soon, Tim---we miss you!

(photo taken at the first VPC meeting on December 7, 2006---from L to R: Bill S, me (Maja), Ryan I, Bill K and Tim)


RJ said...

This is wonderful! Congratulations VPC from the LPC. One day I'll make it to a in person meeting.

Vancouver Pen Club said...

Thanks for the kind words, Rick, and thanks again for the meeting topic ideas :)
Best wishes,