There was more change in my life in 1997 than in any of the previous 41 years. And many of these changes had a major impact on you, the unsuspecting customer. It is for this reason that I include this page on my web site - to clear up the many rumors and 1/2 truths that I have heard and to explain to you how and why things are the way are now.
First, in January 1997, Ameritech left us out of the phone book. Completely - NO LISTING. This later it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Then in February, I found out my pension in the Bricklayer's Union was not fully vested and that I had to work another quarter before the end of 1997 or I lost all of my pension that I had accumulated. So in April, I went back to laying brick and had to stop doing taxidermy work for a time.
In addition to everything else, things with Janet and I were not very good and hadn't been for quite some time. After much talking and discovery, we decided to part ways. So in April of '97, we filed for divorce and we separated. We managed to agree on how to divide most everything, both personally and in the business. As most of you know, Janet had been mounting the deer and other gameheads for quite some time and was very good at it. She had won a Blue Ribbon with a deer head in '96 at the WTA competition. The agreement was for her to take the unfinished gameheads and mammal pieces from '96 and I would take the birds and fish. We split inventory and tools so that we would be able to complete our work. We agreed to notify our respective customers about the divorce and the status of their mounts. I bought out her 1/2 of the house and shop and for the last 1/2 of '97, she rented a portion of the shop from me so she could complete her work. We felt this arrangement would have the least impact on our customers - they would get the quality they were expecting in a timely fashion. Because our ad in the phone book didn't change until January 1998, I agreed to let Janet check in gameheads and mammals during the '97 seasons so that she would have adequate work to support herself. And since I was laying brick and not in the shop working, I stopped taking in work from April through the end of Oct. '97. The settlement went reasonably well and the divorce was final in Oct. of '97.
In May of '97, I broke my right leg in an ATV
accident. I was able to return to work as a mason in about 3 weeks.
However, I found it impossible to work all day as a mason and then try
and get anything done in the shop. Weekends kept me busy with the
house cleaning, the kids and general maintenance, all of it slowed
down by a broken leg. I sent a letter to all of my customers in the
summer of '97 letting them know what was going on. By the time I
could get back to taxidermy full time (Nov. '97) I was over 2 years behind.
I have since caught up and completion times
now run between 9 and 14 months, depending on what it is and when your
mount came in.
In January of 1998, Janet moved her shop to a new
location in Omro. At that time, she was ready to begin work on the
mammals and gameheads from 1996. It wasn't until October of 1998,
that I learned that Janet had barely started mounting the deer heads
from the '96 season. Her customers began calling me, wondering
what was going on. Since Jan. of 1999, I have mounted almost 30 of
the approx. 100 gameheads and most of the medium mammals that she received
in the settlement. Since I had not planned for this, completing these
mounts has delayed the projected completion times on the work that
came in to my shop during 1998. However, I feel an obligation to
these customers. They were caught in the middle of something that
was not their fault. I have also heard many different things,
such as -
1. That I was no longer mounting mammals or gameheads - NOT TRUE. I do all aspects of taxidermy.
2. That her and I were working together to complete the '96 & '97 gameheads. Partially true. I have been mounting heads from her customers who have become frustrated with the long delay.
3. That I have gone bankrupt and I am going out of business. - ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE !!. I am very secure, have more that enough work and plan to stay in business for a long time.
For those of you that still have a deer head or other
mount from the 1997 season at my ex-wife's shop, her phone
number is 920-685-2234 and her shop is located on Liberty School Rd.in
Omro, WI . If you are tired of waiting and/or not having your phone
calls returned, call me. I can arrange to have your contract with
her canceled and I can complete your mount here. As of this date, she said
she is not taking in any more work and will be closing down her shop.
Since leaving here, she has suffered with numerous ailments including Lyme
disease flare-ups, a damaged knee, back injuries, an allergy to fur,
and others. For this and other reasons, she has decided to no longer do
taxidermy on a commercial level.
As for me, I got a second chance at a girl I knew in high school and never forgot. Velma and I were married in May of 1998 on Mackinaw Island. With her support and team work, we have new plans for expanding Simpson Taxidermy Studio into the wildlife art market. Check back in 2000 and look for our new virtual art gallery - "Outdoor Memories"
Now you know what all took place and why things are
the way they are. Please help me get the truth out to any of
your friends that have been mis-informed. Thanks for taking
the time to read all of this.