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Seattle Convention Impressions

Welcome to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

by Fred

We were greeted at the Embassy Suites Hotel by a very charming gentleman from Sri Lanka (complete with accent) who never seemed to take a day off and whom I spoke with often, he checked us in, we found our newly remodeled room, unpacked, and readied ourselves for fun, friends and Noritake. On Sunday, we had lunch with old friends who we had not seen for four or five years. It was nice to catch up. Through the course of Sunday afternoon and Monday, other conventioneers began to arrive. On Monday morning, I met with Cathy, the Assistant Catering Manager, to finalize the last minute details of the event. When I asked if they had a facility or item we needed for our meetings and when the answer was “no”, it was always followed proudly by “we will have that when the remodel was completed.”

The hotel was between remodeling phases. The rooms had been completed, but the public areas had not been done, and (to be honest) they were a bit shabby around the edges. As an example, all the chairs in the atrium had splits in the faux leather; however over time during our stay, it became part of their charm. Along one wall of the atrium, there were photos of what the newly remodeled areas would look like, and they looked quite nice, really. It is my habit when I stay in a hotel for a long period of time, to get to know as many of the staff as possible. This stay was no different. Almost all of the staff I spoke with were very nice and quite friendly. As I listened to their lyrical accents and heard them give the standard answer that “it will be much nicer when the remodel is done” or “we will have that when the remodel is done”, the more I began hearing in the back of my head “It will be alright in the end, and if it is not, it is not the end.” Every time I entered the lobby I expected to see Maggie Smith and Judi Dench walk by.

Although it was somewhat of a surreal experience, like the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, the trip was about relationships of new friends and old friends. We were there to share Noritake, and to make new friends and renew old friendships of people we only get to see once a year. From that aspect, it was a great success and it was alright in the end.

There were many treasures to be found in the rooms where people were selling. Not the least of which was David's many stacks of bowls. Sally N was a new friend, even though she and her husband Dick were long time members of NCS, and she had lots of very special Noritake in her room for sale. Sally, thank you for being there, hope you can come to many more conventions. Mary S and Harley M, new friends - thanks for making the trip all the way from Hawaii. Joyce J, new friend, welcome to the fray. Katsuo and Makiko M, new friends, I enjoyed sparring with you at the auction. Vicki Y and Lorie O, new friend and one old friend, Vicki, co-trouble maker, I have not seen you since Phoenix; don't stay away so long. Nori and Kyoko Y, I value our time together, can't wait to see you again. Kimi and Hideko Y, I am honored to call you my friends. Joann and Bruce F, a convention would not be a convention without you. Claire C, I can never get enough of that wicked dry British sense of humor. David and Jannie S, my life is much better for knowing you. Sheldon H, new friend, and I think the most determined man I have ever seen. Ron and Louise F, you are always a pleasure. All my Phoenix friends, we never really see enough of each other. Beth, John, Phil, Judi and all the rest you all know it will be alright in the end.

Tuesday evening we all gathered for our traditional Ice Cream Social and were entertained by a “Magician” Amy A, a restoration specialist. She shared her philosophy and talents with examples of pieces she had restored. She quite expertly restored a piece of damaged Noritake, which was raffled off at the closing banquet. Ice cream, cookies, and well managed raffle ended the evening.

Wednesday was a short business meeting, officers were elected, reports were handed out and some of the best presentations I have seen to date were given. Sally S, Joann F and David S all did an excellent job of informing and educating us with their various talks, it was a delight to the eye and the mind. I am amazed and impressed by what must have been a mountain of research that all three had to do to accomplish such a task. I hope that in the coming year that one or all will allow me to publish their presentations so all of you can be impressed as well. Wednesday night was the opening banquet, the hotel catering staff served us a well-orchestrated dinner with excellent food and very nice raffle prizes were won and given out.

Thursday the auction arrived! The day was spent with bids, humor and battles over some very nice Noritake. I must admit I missed Kelly (our usual auctioneer) but Fergus did a great job of keeping it moving and the audience laughing. I for one bought some excellent items that I have been wanting for some time and very happy I did. I was a runner and walked more that day than I think I have in a year but everything was all right in the end.

Friday, the day of days, Sheldon H and David and Jannie S opened their homes for us to view their collections. Sheldon's collection is massive and impressive. It is the most Noritake I have ever seen in one place. It is well displayed and in almost every room (except the bathroom) in house. Thank you Sheldon, it was an experience I shell not forget. David and Jannie's home is in a wonderful old neighborhood in Seattle on one of the many hills. David's collection was unique and beautiful and made me envious. The Noritake was tastefully spread though out the house, even in the bathroom. I must admit, the thing David showed me he was the most proud of was the 106 year old working brass lined toilet in the motel Spain. I could have spent the rest of the day and night talking with David about his collection but we had to get back to the hotel for the closing night banquet.

The hotel staff repeated the great job for dinner that night, good food great friends and Noritake raffle prizes. It just does not get any better than that.

Many thanks are due to Michael and Claire C for hosting this year's NCS convention. There is a lot of work that goes into planning these conventions, so my thanks to Sally and Jerry S for a flawless auction. Ron and Louise F, Joann and Bruce F, David S and Barbara W: thanks for all the work to make it happen. Isaac K: thank you for always being there taking photos which is an absolute “must” for the Noritake News. Libby R: thank you for working through the whole year making the raffle a success and making it look easy.

Last but not least, thank you the reader for revisiting this year’s convention with me. For those of you who have never attended a NCS convention, you should try to make it in Old Town Alexandria in August of next year. For those of you who are always there, it will be all right, for it never ends.