VOL 18  NO 6                                        Written by Allan C. Holden                                               April 2021

Time Marches On!
    Hi friends! I hope you are all doing well! In today’s world, friendly well-wishes have a bit more meaning than just a casual greeting.
    Time passing by doesn’t smooth over every pain, or  heal every sorrow, but it can provide a sort of  escape from some certain things. For example, we do seem to be leaving winter behind! That’s a good thing right?

    It looks to me like we have passed through the eye of the  Covid  hurricane, and hopefully we will be breaking through the outer wall soon!
    Some of you Michiganders may not follow hurricane terms. I rode out Hurricane, Donna, in Fort Myers Florida back in 1960 . . . in a trailer!

    I was just 9 years old spending time with my grandparents in South Fort- Myers. When I look back at the time frame of that storm, it is a little confusing to me. I normally went down during Christmas break or during Easter break. This storm was in September and I swear I was there? Bad dream?

    My grandparents were big on board games, and I remember sitting at the table hearing and feeling the wind, yet my grandparents seemed calm as can be. The trailer was about 40 or 50 feet long and it was an almost a brand new, Franklin trailer from Napanee, Indiana. My father sold it to them new!  That was his start in the RV business, his first sale! Franklin was the first brand we sold!
    It was a beautiful trailer! All the walls and the ceiling were a light lacquered Birch; it was a warm beautiful finish. The trailer had two doors, a front door which entered the front living area, and a back door that entered the main rear bedroom.
    The exterior of the trailer, back then, was a teal-green factory painted finish. The only storm damage to the entire trailer was the back door were every last speck of  paint was gone!
    There were homes almost across the street missing walls and roofs! We took a drive down to Fort Myer’s beach and it was like a nightmare! The mobile home park had a couple 80 foot shrimp boats sitting on the trailer lots, and in the channel, where the boats should have been, the trailers were half floating!
    This virus has been like a hurricane, doing damage where you wouldn’t expect it, and leaving other areas untouched.
  I thought I had caught the virus! I did have the flu shot and everyone was saying the flu was almost nonexistent this season.  But I was terribly sick and I had all the symptoms of Covid except one . . no fever! I contacted my doctor,  and I was told to go to their parent hospital and get tested.

    I went to the address they gave me, and they were finished testing for the day. . . this was at 11am!  They sent me to another site, where they told me they were only testing people who are going in for surgery! At that point I stumbled over to the hallway and found a chair . . . I was so sick and so weak!
    Finally, a lady could see I was dying, she said, “You rest here and I will call around and find a test site for you.”
     She found a drug store doing the covid testing on Centre Street, in Portage. By the time I got there, it as almost noon and they soon close down for a one hour lunch. I went in and the clerk said, “If you can fill this out in 5 minutes we can do the test, or, you will have to wait until after 1:00. If you can fill it out, we will test you and get you the results back in 3 days. Or, you can take the quick test and have the results in 15 minutes for $100.00.

    “One hundred dollars! I thought the tests are free!”
    “I am sorry Mr Holden, those were the Trump test, all we have now are the Biden test.”

     Oh, I forgot about the Biden pledge to “ Make America Crap Again.”
   I walked out and was determined to go home and die in my own bed, when the wife said, “Get back in there and take that test!”
    Ten minutes later,  I found out the test was negative.
Honestly, I took no relief in that because I was so sick!

    I have a great distrust in most all of  humanity, (except you guys).  I had family members encouraging me to get the Covid vaccine as soon as it was available. I certainly do have all the high risk factors for a Covid disaster. However, I promised them that I would get the Trump Serum only after a ten-year study was completed. They didn’t find that funny.

    Last week, I was contacted by my local pharmacy saying that I was qualified to get my Covid Vaccine but, I would  have to sign up within a couple days. So, I figured what could it hurt? When I was going through cancer treatments, they were pumping stuff into my heart that would dissolve iron!

    I went in on a Thursday to get the Trump serum (Mark of the Beast), after receiving the first dose, they had several chairs set up, maybe 50. The chairs are spaced for social distancing, and they are for folks to wait15 minutes after receiving the vaccine as they are monitored for possible reactions.

     I was surprised to see several younger folks, I was told the first wave was for us golden-oldie citizens. My wife  suggested they were accepted on the basis of medical conditions.
    The guy next to me was perhaps in his 40s.

Suddenly, the gal behind me let out a blood curdling scream!!!

    I looked over, and the guy's head was laid back over the back of his chair in a nearly impossible, almost double-jointed, position! Next, he started sliding down his chair and then rolled hard onto the floor! THEN, He went into powerful full-body seizures!
    The interesting thing was the look on everyone's face!

    Folks started sending text messages to their families telling them they love them, and that they were sorry for taking the last donut!

     I sent a text to my wife telling her what I was seeing. She said, "that has nothing to do with the vaccine."

      She was right, he got the early vaccine acceptance because he has seizures!
I just about started a will! 

    As the time marches on, this thing will one day only be a bad memory. I remember in a Marx Brother’s movie, where someone was complaining about some sort of discomfort in his hand. Suddenly the person listening to his grievance, stomped down hard on his foot and asked, “Does it hurt now?”
    He answered “No!”
That is how I view the Biden election! The current disaster is far worse then the former.  Just my humble opinion. 
    We can take comfort in the fact; even though we have missed two bottle shows, we still have a club and each other, I thank God for those very blessings every day!   

Last Month
            Here I go again! We had a wonderful meeting last month!

       That is just a true as can be! I still miss seeing some of you! I missed seeing Kevin, and my old pal, Eddie, and of course Mary, and Tim and my buddy Kelly!

      Gosh folks,  please come join us if you can!
    I have some first hand witnesses to the fun we had! And don’t forget, we were under the direction of our new leadership with Rob Knolle as president and Vincent Grossi, as vice president!

    Here is a list of reliable witnesses from our last meeting.
Jim Esther, Len Sheaffer, Vincent Grossi, Robert Shoemaker, Shannon Shoemaker, Rob Knolle, John Winkler, Lynn Winkler, Ron Smith, Marc Roy, Scott Hendrichsen, Al Holden.    

    If you haven’t been to a club meeting at the Otsego Historical Society Museum, you are missing a real treat! What a perfect clubhouse for a bunch of history loving antique bottle collectors!

    A couple important notes about our last month’s turnout was our long time member, and a dear friend, to many,  Jim Esther, drove down from Kent City! It was so good to see Jim! Jim clocked his trip from Kent City to Otsego, right at a two hour drive one way! And he told me the drive was well worth it!
    Jim shared the story of finding a super rare once-in-a-lifetime Green Drake’s Plantation Bitters bottle in the wall of a house demolition. Knowing it was special he contacted our very own John Pastor,at American Glass Gallery. John was in the process of having auction catalogs printed. When he heard about Jim’s rare bitters it was “Hold the press!"

    Jim packed the bottle like he was transporting a large bottle of Nitroglycerin! He than rushed his find down to John for pictures all the way from Kent City. I believe the bottle sold for around $10,000.00!

    Another thrill for us was to welcome a new member, Marc Roy from Albion, MI ! Marc’s interest  in antique bottle collecting is mainly in medicine and pharmacy bottles from southern Michigan.

    Another new member, who recently came on board, is my dear friend,  Tim Janssen from Kalamazoo. As you may recall from the January newsletter,  My friends, Tim and Dianne Janssen, are looking for a bottle, or perhaps some advertising, from Kalamazoo’s, “ LUKE’S BEST WHISKEY.”
    As it turns out, somewhere in the Janssen family tree, there is a family connection with  Luke Whitcomb, the founder of  Kalamazoo’s one and only, Luke’s Best Whiskey.
    Luke’s Best was a pretty big deal in Kalamazoo History, and I am very surprised we haven’t turned up much of anything yet! I may have to assign this project to Mark McNee!

    Jim Esther brought some interesting bottles to the meeting. One aqua beer bottle with powerful embossing was a Gottfried Brewing bottle out of Chicago with a perfect applied lip with original wire bail and molded steel cap. It looks to me like a sparkling attic find!
    Matheus Gottfried Brewery opened in 1870 and closed in 1882. At the time, they were in a list of active brewers in Chicago, one of 166!
    I found this in an original company listing: “In 1872, he built an ice house, and in l879 added another. In 1884-85, he erected a new brewing establishment, with refrigerators and engine-room, and an addition to his ice-houses, and now has five beer cellars with a storage capacity of about twenty-five thousand barrels. This brewery is in every respect supplied with the latest improvements of which many are his own inventions in beer manufacturing, and the sales of the company average now fifty thousand barrels annually.”
    Gottfried Brewing continued on with larger corporate owners until the early 1920's. Another of Jim’s bottles is a Columbus Brewing.  They were also numbered among the 166 active breweries in Chicago. Jim Esther has a beautiful amber bottle and it too is a sparkling example! I really love this bottle, it is an art sculpture if you ask me! It also has a near perfect bail top with a porcelain stopper. The shoulder of the bottle is a pressed-mold scalloped skirting and the embossed  company label is in a strong slug plate. This baby is real pretty! The Columbus Chicago Brewery was only open from 1902 to 1910.
    Another amber Chicago Brewery from this same era which  Jim displayed is the G. Eberlein Brewery. This was  another attic-perfect, sparkling beauty, also with a original bail-top and porcelain stopper. The company name is in a round slug plate and has strong embossing. Gustav Eberlein Brewery opened in 1891 and closed in 1903.
    Most generally I don’t get too excited about big city brewery bottles, because they normally put out so much product! However, these very early pre-prohibition breweries and advertising items are likely to be more valuable and desirable to collectors as they tend to be hard to find.
    Jim had several other great bottles at the meeting which will be pictured in the digital newsletter.
    As always Scott Hendrichsen had several great bottles on display, and for those looking to buy stuff, he is usually offering some good deals!
    I purchased a little piece of Kalamazoo history from Scott. It looks like a large coal oil lamp reservoir . . . but we are not sure. I started picking up old whale oil lamp glass reservoirs from diggers along with bisque doll parts because they had no interest in them. I have managed to put together a couple beautiful Civil War era whale oil lamps and I love and use them!
    If you are ever in Shipshewana, Indiana there is a big hardware store called Yoder’s, they supply the local  Amish community. They have a wide selection of oil and gas lamp parts. I love that place! They also have a great shoe department with fair prices for the good stuff.
    I remember back in our days selling RV’s, a customer was trying to pin a my father down on the price of a high quality Yellowstone travel trailer. The guy said, “Why should I buy this unit from you when I can get a Coachman, same size, same floor plan, and same options for three thousand dollars less? Just how can I justify doing that?”
    Dad simply answered, “You can also buy plastic shoes at K-Mart, but would you?”
    The guy said, “well put” and he signed on the dotted line.
     I too will pay up for quality. . . any day. It is such a shame we have learned to settle for less to save a little. It wasn’t that way in the past.
    When my grandfather started the Michigan Cottage Company in the 1920's, he wasn’t the first cottage cheese product on the market, and very frankly his only advantage was a better quality cheese. But none of that matters if you cannot get the consumer to try it.
 The first challenge was to find a market that would carry his product. Many of the deli’s that he had called on had very limited space, and they had a cottage cheese product they were already offering. So the big problem was how do you get into the stores when they don’t really need your product?
    Desperate to get his foot in the door, he offered to leave the product for free! They would continue selling the other cheese product they were offering, but he  asked the store to price his product for a couple cents cheaper. The deal was, the store only paid grandpa for what they sold and no charge for any unsold spoilage!
   How many folks trust each other enough to do that today? The market owner was able to stock his dairy cooler with product without any cash output . .  he couldn’t lose!

But, it didn’t work! The product simply wasn’t selling! So he lowered the price by another penny, and soon another penny per-pound. Still no sales.

     Then, a breakthrough! I am not so sure it was my grandpa’s idea, it may have been one of the deli owners who liked him, but they priced the Michigan Brand Cottage Cheese for 3 cents more than the competitor’s product, and people started buying it up!

    It was basically a mind game! Back then the grocery shopper would pay a little more for the premium product! And to their satisfaction they learned it was indeed the better cheese!

    Look at how that applies to so many aspects in our lives today. I put in a nice garden, and we had a bumper crop of rich tasty homegrown tomatoes! My grandmother and my mother where real prolific canners! I always thought that was so cool, so I decided I would try my had at it.
    My mother wanted to encourage my desire at self-sufficiency so she dug out one of her old pressure cookers and gave me some jars. The rubber-lid gasket on the 1940's Presto Pressure Cooker was dried out and hard. And the steam cap was missing.
    I took what was left of the old cooker into Bob’s Hardware in Otsego,  set it on the counter hoping to find the parts. The clerk opened a couple old wood drawers and there was a new gasket and pressure cap! “That will be three dollars please!”
    My dear friend, you try doing that at Home Depot or Menards! Very often the cheap deal is not the best deal.

 April 1st 1989
    I wrote this memory as a memorial to my father on Facebook
on April 1st.

    On this morning, April first, 32 years ago,  right about this time, it was a bright, warm, sunny spring day . . . as pretty as they come. It was a very special day for me, I was going into business for myself for the first time in my life. Oh I had a few side businesses like mobile home repair, hand painted signs and a small mail order business, selling hot rod tee shirts, but this was different.

    My best friend, and former employer, was going to become my first employee! We had it all worked out, and today was the real beginning.
On the last day of March the local building inspector gave us the final OK to move into our new building.
    We had the big garage door open and the warm morning sun flowed in bringing with it the sound of singing birds. Everything was coming together and I remember thinking about how blessed I was!

    Then my silent thoughts were interrupted by a sharp loud crash! I had been working with a bunch of pranksters for so long, I didn't even flinch, I didn't even turn around, but mentally I took inventory of the scene . . . . there was just mom, dad, and me.

    That was when I turned to see that it was the aluminum ladder that made the loud crash sound and laying beside it, was my lifeless father.

    For many years I told about doing CPR and finally  having a heartbeat and steady breathing by the time help arrived. I told how he passed away in a couple hours later at the hospital . . .and that was all true.

     But now I see where he passed right there, in my arms. That was where his Lord came for him.
    I will see him again someday, because we both share the same Heavenly Father.
Easter  is where all who receive Jesus are blessed with resurrection life. By His stripes we are healed. Do you have that hope my friends?
    Last night in my thoughts; I was going to go into the building behind me, right where he passed . . . but I get too emotional . . . I miss my dad so much. Besides he is not there.
    Yes he was going to work for me part time, but that was really his first day of retirement. Most retire to Florida or to a mountain retreat, Dad retired to Heaven where his lodging was purchased with sinless blood.  

This Month

       I apologize for this newsletter, I have been so busy at work that I sometimes don’t know if I am coming or going. One of the leading U.S. detector companies closed last summer and it clearly was a colossal mistake, one more year they would have been out of the red ink. .

    My greatest regret with this newsletter is I didn’t have name tags prepared for our newer members, and some items that I took photo’s of, I cannot assign proper ownership to. . . sorry!

Unless we cannot account for every ticket sold, we will try and draw the winners this month.
    This Month’s Theme is "Barber Bottles" and Go-With Barber Shop Collectibles 
And recent finds!

The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club
Meets At the
 Otsego Historic Society Museum, 
Meeting date is April 13th at 7:00
 The Museum is located at 218 N. Farmer St. Otsego, MI

Meeting starts at 7:00        Phone 269-685-1776
Web Address