Monday, March 23, 2009

A Fair To Remember

My first stop during any visit to the County Fair was always the Arts and Crafts Building. Here are exhibited everything from paintings, to pottery to poetry and everything in between. It is a crafters delight to see all this creativity on display in one place. But in the summer on ’98 there was something even more special. In the very middle of the hall was a large exhibit, about 8 feet wide by 12 feet long and sitting about 4 feet off the floor. It was surrounded by a Plexiglas wall and there were crowds all around it. I inched my way through the crowd and up to one of the side walls to see what all the interest was… and then it saw it. A perfect 1/12th scale replica of a 1950’s era trailer park that had obviously seen better days. There was a main driveway down the center that led to a combination office/ laundry room and lining each side of the drive was every conceivable model of trailer imaginable. Each trailer was open on the top so the viewer could see into the interiors. Some were worn but well kept, while others were clearly destined for the scrap yard. It was the most awesome miniature exhibit I had ever seen. At the entrance to the exhibit was a sign that read: “Ticky Tacky Trailer Park” made by the Mirror Image Miniature Club.

Miniature club? In that single moment I realized there were whole groups of people out there who were interested in the same thing I was. Who were these people? How come I had never heard about them before? From that moment, my single purpose in life was to find these people and learn how I could become a part of the fun they were having. No one who worked at the fair knew anything about the exhibit, except that it was displayed by a local group, but they had no contact information.

By this time I had been shopping at a local miniature shop long enough to have finally gotten on a first name basis with the owner and who now realized that I really was a budding miniaturist. That afternoon I made a point of stopping by her shop to inquire about this group knowing surely she would know who they were.

“How come you never told me there was a miniature group around here?” I excitedly inquired.

“Well,” she responded “it’s mostly a group of older ladies and I never thought you’d be interested.”

“Interested? It’s just what I have been looking for.”

She explained that it was a small group, limited to 12 members and she believed they had a waiting list to join. But, she gave me a phone number to call and wished me well.

I anxiously called the number and practically told my life history to the answering machine that I got. Then I just sat back and waited for the return call. Given my enthusiastic message I knew that it would only be a short time before they called me back.

That short time turned out to be 2 years, but I never gave up hope. At last, I got the call that there was an opening in the membership and would I like to join. The next month I attended my first club meeting and I knew that at last I had found my niche. And to my surprise, it wasn’t all older ladies, but a mix of wonderful people who welcomed me into their group.

Over the next few years I met many other miniaturists who have since become best friends. I attended my first miniatures show; another thing I never knew existed, and I joined NAME and became active in its workings. It’s been a long journey to get where I am today, and I only wish that I had taken that first step a lot earlier.

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