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Here's to you, Bill Unger, and all hobby boys page 2
Marc Munroe Dion's op-ed column: For Bill Unger and the Hobby Boys

Date published: 1/7/2013

continued

But, for a number of years, I've written for an honest, homely little publication called "The Pipe Collector," a newsletter for the 1,000 or so members of the North American Society of Pipe Collectors. For free.

And in doing so I met Bill Unger, the grave, humorous man who edited the publication and who died on Jan. 1, 2013, of leukemia.

We were hobbyists together; two men who, although we never met in person, shared a passion for a tiny little hobby practiced by a thin skein of men tied together by an interest outside their work.

And you should have an interest outside your work. If you do not, you are just a machine used to make money for someone else. A man who gets off work and goes home to tie his own flies is very much healthier than a man who gets off work and goes home to think about his job.

"Pipe world," as I call it when I'm talking to my wife, is a fanatical place full of men (mostly) who can discourse learnedly about the shapes of pipes, the makers of pipes, the history of the makers of pipes, about pipe cleaning, cleaning techniques, different blends of tobacco, and other silly, hopeful things.

And Bill Unger? Well, Bill was in the middle of it, a man whose name was known in the far corners of the world to which the newsletter penetrated. He was a personage in Pipe World, a presence, comrade to men he'd never seen.

He and I did a book together. It's called "Mill River Smoke" and is a collection of mystery stories about pipe-smoking newspaper reporter Jack Dupont, who, like me, is a fedora-wearing throwback who toils in a small New England city of abandoned factories and heroin.


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