Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-31-2009, 10:34 PM   #1
Rivet Master
 
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,025
Images: 1
Happy New Year 2010

Introduction, Helen Byam Schwamborn
Oh my, Helen Byam Schwamborn loved the Wally Byam Caravan Club. In 1955 Wally Byam asked his little cousin to join the Airstream team. Wally knew that Helen could take charge and organize the new Club, assemble Caravans and lead Caravans. This faith and trust developed over the years from the early 1930's when Helen and Henry Schwamborn moved from Pittsburg, PA to California. Helen retired from Airstream at the age of 75 in 1979. When she died in 2004, seventeen days short of her 100th birthday, she had always held close to her heart, her baby, the Wally Byam Caravan Club.
There were, as today, the best of times, and questionable times. It seems that one of Helen's assets was the ability to hear about a problem with a caravanner, or a leadership dispute. Helen analyzed what was happening, then contacted the disputing individuals, and a found a satisfactory decision for all parties. She was a great mediator. She worked with Airstream, the Club leadership, units, and individuals with love and affection. She was tough, thorough, but never obnoxious or over-bearing. She always got the job done.
Why, the Wally Byam Caravan Club?
Wally Byam always had a following. When you went to the Airstream factory to talk about your new Airstream, you met Wally. You might call Wally a Pied Piper, an entertainer, a character, a salesman and/or a very tuned in manufacturer and industrialist. But most of all he was one likeable person.
Wally had to struggle from day one in 1931 to keep the doors open for his baby, Airstream. Think about it, he began a product during the depression. Then he added to his product like the rejuvenated Bowlus and made it the Airstream Clipper. At least three times before 1951, the government put the padlock on his door.
In 1951 Wally working with Trail-R-News, and the Los Angeles Times began an advertising campaign to organize a Pan-American Caravan to Mexico and Central America. This came at a time that Airstream was going through a financial crunch. The 1951 Caravan to Mexico and Central American was a success. Until the Wally Byam Club was founded in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1955, all Caravans were opened to any manufactured travel trailer. When the Club was formed only Airstream trailers were allowed to join the Club and Caravans were restricted to Airstream only.
After four years of organized Caravans to Mexico, Central America and Canada there was a long line of Caravanners that loved the fellowship and shared experiences of owning an Airstream trailer. They wanted their own Club of Airstream owners so that they could plan get-togethers and rekindle the Caravan spirit.
One group of Airstreamers in Southern California made the push to make a Club happen. They were affectionately name the Jack Rabbits. Most, if not all, had been on at least one Caravan with Wally and several on more than one. When you use the phrase that someone has your back, the Jack Rabbits always had Wally and Stel's back. They were always there to help Wally on Caravans. One couple the Arborns, Earl and Pauline were on the 1st Caravan to Mexico and Central America. Pauline at the factory or maybe a Palm Springs Rally asked Wally what he thought of a Club of Airstream owners. He told Pauline to go for it. On the 1955 Caravan to Eastern Canada there was a contingent of the Jack Rabbit group. Wally and Stel left the Caravan in Montréal, Canada, to scout the 1956 Wally Byam European Caravan,


Wally told Helen that she was to work with the group in forming a Club. He told Helen that developing a club would have his complete support and the Wally Byam Caravan Club was born.
Why, the International Rally?
Wally and Stel had represented the United States at three International Trailer Rallies in Europe. In 1956 the Caravan joined the International Rally in Perpignan, France. Wally felt that an International Rally should be held in the United States. For this event leading members of the European Trailer Clubs were invited to join the Airstream owners in Bull Shoals, Arkansas in the beautiful Ozarks. This first rally was open to WBCCI members, and Airstream owners.
From this beginning a tradition grew. Airstream owners from across the United States and Canada loved the opportunity to meet new friends and old friends from the United States, Canada, and Mexico
Also they were able to pay tribute to Mr. Fourth of July, Wally Byam and celebrate his birthday.
Today the International Rallies continue, they have evolved from very humble beginnings into a comprehensive, well honed, organized annual reunion that includes the annual business meeting of WBCCI.
Returning to the World of Wally, Helen, Airstream and the WBCCI
Helen Byam Schwamborn passed away on July 22,2004. (Wally also passed away on July 22, but 1962.) Going through her home, I was amazed at the pictures, documents, and artifacts that dealt with Wally, the WBCCI, Airstream and her association with all three entities.
In October I received a call from someone by the name of Russ Banham, who writing a book about Airstream. He wanted to set up a thirty minute interview. We did, and we talked. From this initial phone call we spent many hours in discussing the history of Airstream, Wally and my Mother. I also sent him at 35 pounds of pictures and documents to review. The door was now opened to my past, present and future.
My beginnings start with being born into the Byam & Schwamborn family. In 1951 Wally asked my parents if I could be his guest on the 1st Caravan, to Mexico and Central America. So I became a 1st Caravanner. In 1955, my Mother joined the Airstream team, and I went on the Eastern Canadian Caravan. I became a Charter Member of the WBCCI. Wow!
In 1956, I graduated from high school. Wally gave me a one way ticket to Zurich, Switzerland for my graduation, where I joined Mother and the European Caravan in route.
"Wally, can I go to Africa with you on the Caravan?" Wally replies, "Yes, if there is 35 rigs or more." In early April, I returned from my college classes. I found a note from my Father, "Wally is taking you to Africa." From July 1959 until April of 1960 I was the Advance Scout from Cape Town, South Africa, to Cairo, Egypt; through the Middle East, the Balkans and joined the 1960 European Caravan in Trieste, Italy.
Upon graduating from the University of Oregon and filling my draft obligation in the United States Army, I joined Airstream in California.
In 1969 I purchased Stella's Gold Airstream, that traveled through Africa. I attended rallies and took several vacations with the Gold Airstream, until I sold it in 1977.
My return to the world of Airstreaming began with Russ Banham writing the book Wanderlust, Airstream at 75.
Since 2004, I have attended three International Rallies, Springfield, MO; Bozeman, MT; and Madison, WI. I have been to rallies in Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Texas, Ohio and Missouri. This year I have traveled 20,000 miles and I have been away from home 62 days. I have spent 8 days in Jackson Center, Ohio at the factory on three different occasions.
I participated and interviewed by History Detectives regarding an Airstream that may have gone to Africa.
I have worked with the Sierra Nevada Unit and Diane Leipper to create a comprehensive history of Wally Byam, Helen Byam Schwamborn, WBCCI, and Airstream. I add to this site on a regular basis.
I have as time permits added some history in written word and pictures to the Airforum.
I have contributed to Airstream Life.
Since attending the rally in Springfield, MO in 2005 I have made many hundreds of new friends. I receive letters, phone calls, e-mails and private messages from my new friends.
At the rallies I speak of the history of the Airstream World. At these rallies I talk individually to hundreds of people. I want to take this opportunity to share their thought with you.
Caretakers
First of all whether a person is a Newbie, a seasoned Airstream owner, a unit officer, or an IBT officer you are all members of the club. Which means that your goals, demeanor and camaraderie is all the same.
If you happen to be an officer at any level from unit level to National officer you have a very special responsibility. You are the caretakers. Your leadership assures that the Club, as it was founded in 1955, is passed down from generation to generation and year after year.
The health, and fiscal responsibility of the Club is in the hands of the International Board of Trustees. As the caretakers you provide the assurance that the Club will prosper and meet the needs for all of the membership.
This is the leadership, and guidance that is required by you as WBCCI caretakers.
What's on Our Minds?
There has always been some issue within the Wally Byam Caravan Club. Forever! With individuals. With leadership. With tradition. Expenditures. The Blue Beret. Parking. Committees. Grievances. Parking. Water. Gopher Holes. Electricity. Rowdiness. Unit attitudes.
We could go on with the issues as the years go by issues remain the same.
Today a few voices get on the net and choose to verbalize inflammatory remarks that are only unsubstantial remarks. This is an attempt to extend and force their self-righteousness on others. Sad, but true.
Most all organizations and clubs have problems. There are constitutions, by-laws, policy and procedure books in-place too govern and protect the various groups. The umbrella that protects the organizations is the Robert' Rules of Order. The original constitution of the WBCCI was written by Airstream owners that knew there would be problems. So from the get go they had Robert's Rules as the formal guideline.
What does that mean?
That changes can be made in a parliamentary manner, and not arbitrarily usurped by an individual or individuals. Changes begin at the bottom or grassroots level. Change is allowed, but not in haste.
The Caretakers do have a responsibility for the health and welfare of the Club. If there are unforeseen events that are detrimental to the Wally Byam Caravan Club, they need to be addressed, corrected , and these situations with their corrections, current action and future avoidances need to be disseminated to the membership on a timely basis.
Happy New Year
My best wishes to the entire membership of the Wally Byam Caravan Club, International; Airstream owners, and friends.
In 2010 I is my sincere with that all parties step back from the degradation of non-productive comments. Furthermore that the issues that exist will be taken care of, and the Wally Byam Caravan Club will move forward.
Thank you, for the wonder year and association with the Wally Byam Caravan Club and Airstream World.
Sincerely,
Dale "Pee Wee" Schwamborn
__________________

__________________
"Keep the road straight, the sky clear, the glass full, good friends and the laughter loud!", Pee Wee
PeeWee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 11:01 PM   #2
Naysayer
 
Boondocker's Avatar

 
1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,635
Images: 7
Send a message via Yahoo to Boondocker
I appreciate that your family relationship colors your perception of things. Having said that, what Wally or Helen would want is really irrelevant (and perhaps your ability to channel their desires might be questioned). Really. It is todays members, owners of Airstreams whose voices matter. It may be messy and even unsavory, but that is the way it is. Happy New Years.
__________________

__________________
Rodney

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

Boondocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 11:05 PM   #3
Site Team
 
Aage's Avatar
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11,204
Images: 25
All the best to you too, PeeWee, for a hale and hearty 2010!

"Fair winds and following seas..."
__________________
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
...John Wayne...........................
Aage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 11:20 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
rgesch's Avatar
 
1956 26' Cruiser/Overlander
1967 17' Caravel
Newport , New Hampshire
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,058
Images: 18
Hey Dale:
!
__________________
KB1UFH
KB1UFI

"Reality Is The Leading Cause Of Stress"
"There are only five great men in the world and three of them are hamburgers."
rgesch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 11:21 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
Silverwanabe's Avatar
 
1967 26' Overlander
Winston Salem , North Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 523
Images: 107
Happy New Year Pee Wee!!!!
__________________
Greg
Winston Salem, NC
WBCCI 5218,
Corresponding Secretary Piedmont NC Unit 161,
1967 Overlander International.
1979 Avion 30ft rear bath
TV's 88 Chevy Suburban 454, 3:42, TH400
95 Cadillac FW Brougham, LT1,3:42, 7k tow pk.
Silverwanabe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 11:29 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,025
Images: 1
Yep, you are a minority

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray View Post
I appreciate that your family relationship colors your perception of things. Having said that, what Wally or Helen would want is really irrelevant (and perhaps your ability to channel their desires might be questioned). Really. It is todays members, owners of Airstreams whose voices matter. It may be messy and even unsavory, but that is the way it is. Happy New Years.
I guess things are really in disarray.
__________________
"Keep the road straight, the sky clear, the glass full, good friends and the laughter loud!", Pee Wee
PeeWee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 11:55 PM   #7
4 Rivet Member
 
Chief's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Fort Walton Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 477
Images: 1
Two Questions

I appreciate your sharing the personal knowledge/experience of Airstreaming. And, you may even be correct about some misinformation that has appeared on the Internet. So, I have two questions for you that might clear up a couple of things that have been insinuated:

1. Do you currently own an Airstream?
2. Are you currently a member of WBCCI?

In five more minutes I will no longer be a member of WBCCI, but I will still own my Airstream.....at least as long as it provides the services it was designed for......after all, it's just a camping trailer.

Regards,
Chief
__________________
Dream like you're going to live forever, live like you're going to die tomorrow, and dance like nobody is watching!

AIR # 22776
Chief is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2010, 12:01 AM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
mouth012006's Avatar
 
1974 Argosy 24
Science Hill , Kentucky
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 427
Images: 51
Thank you Pee Wee for reminding us of what started the Airstream way of life for all of the members. I hope you have a great 2010, and would love to meet up with you at one of the rallys and hear all your memories of Airstream.
__________________
Kevin & Monique
New to A/S---Not to Honey Do's
Sweetie (lab) Snickers (lab) Blackie(lab)
Dotz(daschund) CB (daschund) Oh and 3 kids!!!
TAC# KY-3
mouth012006 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2010, 12:11 AM   #9
Rivet Master
 
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,025
Images: 1
These are known facts with all

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief View Post
I appreciate your sharing the personal knowledge/experience of Airstreaming. And, you may even be correct about some misinformation that has appeared on the Internet. So, I have two questions for you that might clear up a couple of things that have been insinuated:

1. Do you currently own an Airstream?
2. Are you currently a member of WBCCI?

In five more minutes I will no longer be a member of WBCCI, but I will still own my Airstream.....at least as long as it provides the services it was designed for......after all, it's just a camping trailer.

Regards,
Chief
Currently I don't own an Airstream, so by rules I don't belong to the Club.

But unlike most of the WBCCI members I am one of only two or three that are charter members.

My concern about what is going on is deep rooted, regardless of my status in the Club.

I only hope that sensibility at all level prevails.

I do have a unique status.

As mention it is known that I am not a member, and that I don't have an Airstream.

And that's that.

#2
__________________
"Keep the road straight, the sky clear, the glass full, good friends and the laughter loud!", Pee Wee
PeeWee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2010, 12:14 AM   #10
Rivet Master
 
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,025
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by mouth012006 View Post
Thank you Pee Wee for reminding us of what started the Airstream way of life for all of the members. I hope you have a great 2010, and would love to meet up with you at one of the rallys and hear all your memories of Airstream.
Dear Kevin and Monique,

Hopefully are paths meet. I will be looking forward to meeting you.

Best regards,
__________________
"Keep the road straight, the sky clear, the glass full, good friends and the laughter loud!", Pee Wee
PeeWee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2010, 12:32 AM   #11
4 Rivet Member
 
Chief's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Fort Walton Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 477
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeeWee View Post
Currently I don't own an Airstream, so by rules I don't belong to the Club.

But unlike most of the WBCCI members I am one of only two or three that are charter members.

My concern about what is going on is deep rooted, regardless of my status in the Club.

I only hope that sensibility at all level prevails.

I do have a unique status.

As mention it is known that I am not a member, and that I don't have an Airstream.

And that's that.

#2
Thank you for clarifying those two questions for me. I would think that, by being a charter member, you should be afforded lifetime membership.

It is apparent that your passion for, and loyalty to Airstream is strong, so I would hope that you are considering another Airstream product and not traveling in an SOB.

I wish that the WBCCI had worked for us, but sadly it did not. I personally spoke with the IBT Pres, face-to-face, and I can't forsee anything happening during my lifetime that would lure us back.....hope I was wrong.

Good luck, and Happy New Year to you......I know that you take a lot of this very personal. Life is just tooooo short to dwell on yesterday!

Chief
__________________
Dream like you're going to live forever, live like you're going to die tomorrow, and dance like nobody is watching!

AIR # 22776
Chief is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2010, 01:00 AM   #12
3 Rivet Member
 
mistermike's Avatar
 
1968 17' Caravel
Marblehead , Hasslechusetts
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief View Post
......after all, it's just a camping trailer.
With all due respect..........................

It is far more than that. Airstreams, especially vintage ones, are icons of Americana from a wonderful but bygone era, when there was pride and honor in craftsmanship and integrity. Pee-Wee was there and was a part of that era. Not only that, but by working for Wally as advance agent he helped make those historic caravans happen. Now Dale is graciously sharing that era with us through this great Forum with his posts, photos and personal recollections. For this we owe Pee-Wee a debt of gratitude and I for one want to thank him for his contributions and enrichment of our hobby.

In my opinion, Pee-Wee doesn't need to own an Airstream to be a member - as far as I am concerned Pee-Wee and those who started this whole phenomena ARE the WBCCI in all it's glory. Those who are still above ground should be given life memberships in recognition of their efforts and achievements.

I'll bet there wasn't all this infighting and "cults of personality" back when Wally and Helen Schwamborn were running things. From what I have read about Wally I would venture to guess that he was a "benevolent dictator" and ran a tight ship. Things got done. Sometimes it's the only way to run some things.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to possess one of these museum pieces have a responsibility to care for them as a national treasure for we are merely caretakers with temporary custody.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Pee-Wee! May we be able to wish each other the same for many years to come.
__________________
"Mister Mike", Chief Engineer, Amateur Radio Station W1RC
Founder and Benevolent Dictator, New England Amateur Radio Festival, (aka NEAR-Fest),
At the Beautiful Deerfield NH Fairgrounds (Next one May 4th and 5th 2018)
"Best #@! Hamfest on the Planet!"

www.near-fest.com
mistermike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2010, 06:15 AM   #13
Restorations done right
Commercial Member
 
Frank's Trailer Works's Avatar
 
1962 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
Vintage Kin Owner
Currently Looking...
Baltimore , Maryland
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,547
Images: 2
Thank you for sharing that with us Dale. I find it an interesting read to say the least. The part where you said " Helen analyzed what was happening, then contacted the disputing individuals, and a found a satisfactory decision for all parties. She was a great mediator." That part is priceless and was what made you Mother a great leader. IF that were going on today, the struggles that her club, your club too in your eyes, would not be facing the situation it is in now. A good mediator is nowhere to be found.

This is a New Year. Hopefully it will be better than the past one. Hopefully a new Helen Schwamborn will come forward and lead your club into the future. I will watch, listen, and wait for that day. Hopefully someone with the same abilities will come along soon.

Unfortunately with the coming of 2010 my membership has lapsed. I no longer have a horse in the race or a dog in the fight.
__________________

Frank's Trailer Works is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2010 Model year quality Silvertwinkie Airstream Trailer Forums 0 04-14-2009 08:55 PM
2010 Model Year munimula Our Community 3 02-09-2009 10:32 PM
Happy New Year Everyone !!!!!! Safari-Rick Off Topic Forum 6 01-05-2008 06:26 PM
Happy New Year bill benton Off Topic Forum 10 01-02-2007 07:08 PM
happy new year Perry Our Community 2 01-10-2006 02:07 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.