When I started collecting fountain pens and attending pen shows, people told me it would be the community that would keep me coming back to the hobby and the events again and again. I’ve met many people online through the hobby that have changed my life in their own way but what has been the most amazing discovery is the vast array of people I’ve met at pen shows.
What no one warned me about was how many people I would also have to say good-bye to.
Yesterday, the pen community lost one of its favorite diamonds-in-the-rough, Jim Rouse.
While I cannot accurately recount his full professional history in the pen community, I know he worked for decades with Bert Oser before he took on the job as nibmeister at Franklin-Christoph. He once told me his whole pen history, complete with anecdotes about his beloved family, and despite copious amounts of post-pen show food and alcohol, I recall all the details clearly.
Jim was a charmer and a friend to everyone who came up to the Franklin-Christoph table at a pen show, from the youngest child to the oldest pen collector. He was talented, with just the right amount of sass, and he will be missed.
I never thought pens (and pen shows) would teach me to treasure ever moment of life so much. Hug your favorite your nibmeister (or pen repairperson, vintage dealer, Black Pen Society Member, or pen community illuminati, et al)*. You never know when it might be your last chance.
*Remember to ask before touching any pens or people. Its just good pen show etiquette.