The 7th légufrulabélophiles meeting, the third one on the beautiful site of Authie, took place on October 6th and 7th. Although the organization has been difficult this year for special reasons which will be explained later, in the opinion of all the participants, this meeting matched the previous ones as it was friendly, warm and filled with fruitful exchanges of all kinds.
13 COLLECTORS WERE PRESENT
• Wojciech SLUSAREK (USA), the flying "Mister mango", third participation.
• Xavier HEYTE (Belgium), "Mister fifty thousand", 5th participation, and his French partner Isabelle, second participation. This year Isabelle was accompanied by her youngest son Antoine, 6 years old, an experienced collector just like his companion, his mother. Antoine would love to attend a meeting every week in hope of dethroning Xavier. See a small portrait of him at the end of this article.
• Jean-Noël DUPONT (Belgium) came to Authie for the first time, his second participation after Ermont. A devoted agrumist, he has a wonderful collection of fruit wrappers.
• Deborah WATHELET, third participation, and her mother Veronica, second participation (Belgium). A formidable team, the two ladies did not leave much opportunity for labels passed through their set of four hands.
• Gérard BEIX, co-organizer of the meeting in Ermont, most loyal, 5th participation.
• Pascal CASSON, agrumist from Caen, second participation. Came by train but he nevertheless made an effort to present selected wrappers in all their beauty.
• Alain SQUADRELLI, agrumist, indestructible pillar for his fourth participation; he likes orange wrappers for their beauty and beer because he's a guy from the north.
• Max DANA and his wife Helen, second participation. Max, a virtuoso of GPS, got on the road Friday night with his wife. Arriving in Authie in Calvados, he realized that being a great oncologist does not necessarily mean a great geographer. Finding himself on the opposite site, he returned to his home near Paris before heading back Saturday morning for Authie, that of the Somme. We do not laugh, it's already done ....
• Jean-Pierre BERNARD, the fourth participation, a quiet strength that collects on an island.
• Jean-François GIRARD, third participation, desperately searching for a computer and internet connection in the Vosges.
• Gabriel GIRAUDEAU, founding member and Wojciech's disciple when it comes to mangoes, 7 participations, always calm and serene.
• Didier SALAMON, founding member, 7th participation, much less serene than his cousin, especially when he is confronted with accounts that are in the red. King of scanning fruit wrappers, he shattered the record of 2011 with 699 papers. Alone in the big room from midnight to 4:30 AM, he is not afraid of anything and sleeps little.
We kept our Belgian friend Moniek BUCQUOYE in our thoughts. She was forced to cancel her trip at the last minute to go to the bedside of her old dad, who underwent an emergency surgery.
Two visitors made the trip on Saturday to spend two hours with us:
• Jean-Claude DEBERGUE whom we already met in Ermont, collects fruit wrappers that have fruit as their main motif. Also at odds with his GPS; he was lost for awhile on the winding roads of the Somme.
• Françoise LESAGE, a seasoned collector of wrappers living in the Yvelines, meeting the members of our community for the first time.
• THANKS are expressed to all participants because this year they all made an effort to show a part of their collection.
• Special mention to three agrumists: Alain, Jean-Noël and Pascal who got Didier all steamed up over their 699 wrappers that he scanned thus providing him with weeks of happiness ahead of posting them online.
• To Jean-François GIRARD for the decoration of the room.
• To all of you for boosting the morale level of the two organizers.
• To those absent.
• To catastrophic weather on Saturday, in total contradiction with that of last year.
• To insufficient heating in the room that was repaired at the end of Saturday. Deborah is still quite frozen and will be preserved in a freezer until next year.
Those were then the two days, Saturday from 10 AM to 11:30 PM, and Sunday from 8:30 to 11:30 AM that saw thousands of labels and wrappers pass from hand to hand, in an atmosphere of true camaraderie and friendliness.
Faced with the ferocity of these frantic exchanges little Antoine had to take time off and rest on his air mattress. A hard-nosed businessman despite his young age, he leaves with an impressive crop of labels that will be put in an album by his mother in the coming weeks.
PORTRAIT OF ANTOINE BIWER:
Antoine is 6 years old and does not know yet how to read because he just started kindergarten. He lives with his mother Isabelle in Lachaussée (Meuse).
He started collecting labels a year ago as a result of viewing Xavier's collection. He was attracted by his beautiful series. Last year his mom brought him some labels from Authie, showing people, animals, cars.
Today he gets labels from Xavier, from his dad working for the Cora chain of supermarkets, his sisters and a brother living in Château-Chinon and he also picks labels himself in stores. Delighted by the weekend, the collectors tearfully parted ways after Sunday's lunch.
At 2:00 PM everything was tidy and clean. Organizers and Wojciech permanently closed the Authie page with a pang in their hearts.
With the future of the Légufrufolies meetings hanging in balance what are the options?
For the first time since the 3rd meeting of Gondecourt, the organizers were confronted with various difficulties in organizing the 7th edition. Discouraged, Didier and Gabriel thought of canceling it in early September due to lack of participants.
If Authie 2010 gathered an exceptional number of collectors (more than 30), their number fell to 22 in 2011, falling further to 13 this year, counting the little Anthony.
This predicament has been widely discussed during meals and snacks. Several reasons may explain the mentioned renunciation of our collectors:
• Tiredness and routine: a year in Authie is a copy of another one.
• The economic crisis: it affects us all, even more so our Spanish friends who could not come for lack of sufficient resources. The price of 80 euros per person for a full weekend may seem excessive, but it was calculated conservatively as fixed costs themselves are constantly increasing. For example, renting of the hall was 70 euros in 2012 and will be 200 euros in 2013.
• Lack of freedom: some collectors would certainly prefer to be free to choose their form of participation. But invariably we have to come back to the question of fixed costs, that the organizers are obliged to finance.
• The character and behavior of some collectors, incompatible with those of others, resulted in absences.
• The date (always the first weekend in October) and the venue which could not satisfy everyone. In this sense Authie was an interesting crossroads. The happiness of one is always the misfortune of another.
In the opinion of many, to stop meeting is not conceivable. But at the same time, as recalled Xavier HEYTE in the guestbook, this can't be done at any price. Indeed, for the first and last time, the two organizers will have to use their personal funds to settle the entire bill with Authie's town hall. This is inconceivable. It is necessary to change the formula.
The 2013 meeting is pending. Two people have offered to find a free meeting hall, one in the Paris area and one in Belgium. Hopefully at least one of the two proposals will pan out. The following provisions are already settled:
• The date will not change. The first weekend of October has become an institution.
• Accommodations will not be provided by the organizers, but will become the responsibility of participants. A list of hotels can be provided, but the Internet makes research easy and direct.
• Joint meals on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon will automatically be in a restaurant near the meeting place. If reservations are made by the local organizer, the payment will be up to each person. There will be no obligation to participate.
• A small amount yet to be determined will be collected at the entrance to pay for coffee and drinks during the meeting unless the majority believes that this is not necessary.
Alain SQUADRELLI, our designer of posters, has already produced the 2013 one without knowing that our meetings were threatened with death. The poster is beautiful, only the place has to be changed. Don't let Legufrufolies die!
You will all be informed of the outcome by the bilingual blog of the site or through newsletters. You can already post your ideas, your suggestions, your initiatives at the email address of the site firstname.lastname@example.org. All proposals are welcome.