As ANA President, one of the oft asked questions of me is 'How did I get Involved in the Hobby and ANA. The first question for inquiring minds is Jelly Donuts! That's right donuts. And, today I have the round large stomach to prove it. As a youngster back in the mid 1950's, my Mother --a self proclaimed Error Collector-- literally had to drag me with her to the local coin club --The West Valley Coin Club, CA-- on Sunday afternoons. I hated the idea of having to wear my Sunday best, not squirm about in my seat and be quiet while 'old people' talked about coins, something I didn't like. I know I annoyed my Mom to no end that first meeting and grumbled, pouted and tried my best to embarrass her to the max.
About an hour-and-a-half into the meeting (but what seemed an eternity to me) there was a refreshment break. Now that's more like it I said to myself. But, there must be a million people in the room. Will I a little squirt be able to stand in a long line and wait (impatiently) to get a crumb? Ah, then came the announcement that 'guests' got to go first. I asked my Mom, if I was a guest. 'Yes', Oh, boy. Then further good news came. Kids get to go first in the line. I literally leaped out of my chair with joy and ran up to the front of the refreshment window. As a kid, those huge jelly donuts looked awesome to me, and I helped myself to one. And, went back for a second about five minutes later.
Suddenly, I liked being at the coin club meeting. For I had an interest in Jelly Donuts. Needless to say, that first 'Donut Experience' sold me on coming to a coin club meeting. As time went by, I learned about coins and was given a coin from time to time by the dealers set up at the meeting. My first real coin treasure was a 1931-S Lincoln Cent which I earned for helping out in the kitchen with setting up the refreshments. My Mother always brought the coffee grounds. As I look back on this, I believe this work got me closer to the donuts! Well, that coin given to me Murray G. Singer started me on the coin collecting hobby. Murray became my life long mentor and sounding board of 42 years until his death. My rise within the club scene is credited to him and two others, Paul Newell --whose signing off phase as coin club president in the monthly newsletter was; "Remember, To Always Have un With You Hobby-- which I use today as ANA president and another Paul, Paul Borack some of the most giving in so may ways as hobbyist and friend of 38 years year's to me.
The second question, I joined the ANA in 1975 "because I needed to be a member so I could work the 1975 Convention Registration area. Ed Borgolte and Murray Singer were the co-chairs. Boy, did I make a lot of mistakes with the typewriter --letter striker overs, size, centering, etc. But, after 4 days, I finally got it down. Today, it's all computerized. My first venture with the ANA was as President of UNCAP International, an organization geared at making available coin books to handicapped individuals of all types. I had the opportunity to represent the group in making a donation of a brail red book to the ANA Library under president Grover Criswell.
Well, enough of my sob story. And, I can truthfully say in a public forum that I went against my Mother's wishes back in the late 1950's. She flat out told me; "Son do not ever volunteer to be a coin club officer!" I wonder what she would think or say at my reaching the numismatic pinnacle of being ANA President? I never in my wildest imagination set out to be ANA President! But, boy what an adventure it has been; and still is!