The Emperor's Bridge Campaign

to honor the life + advance the legacy of Emperor Norton

A Good Day With the Clampers

Yesterday, I was honored to be welcomed by Clampers far and wide as a guest at their Emperor Norton Day celebration in Colma, Calif.

At Emperor Norton's gravesite during the 2015 Emperor Norton Day celebration of E Clampus Vitus. Emperor Norton is played by Rick Saber. Across from the Emperor, in the white-plumed top hat, is Stephen "Scooter" Mitchell, the Noble Grand Humbug (something like the chapter president) of Yerba Buena #1, the E Clampus Vitus "mother lodge." At right (with beard) is the Campaign's own Joseph Amster, who has his own "gig" playing the Emperor. Photograph courtesy of Rick Saber.

The Clampers — formally speaking, the members of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus (ECV) — gather in Colma every year on Emperor Norton Day (if the Day itself, 8 January, falls on a Saturday) or on the first Saturday thereafter.

The festivities begin with brief "speechifying" at the Emperor's gravesite, in Woodlawn Memorial Park. After this, the celebrants adjourn to historic Molloy's Tavern, about a mile down the road, to commune, to sip, to sup and to consider their opportunities to buy a red shirt, a black vest, a pin, a top hat or any other of the vast array of ECV paraphernalia that are on display at one of the many chapter tents pitched on the tavern grounds. From my unscientific scan of yesterday's assembly, most of the Brothers appeared to be toting a Bloody Mary or a beer. The fare (for those who had paid it) was the traditional lunch of crab, salad and bread that is served at this annual gathering. There also were food trucks aplenty. 

One of yesterday's two speechifiers — the other being longtime Wells Fargo Museum historian Robert "Doc" Chandler — was the Clamper's Emperor Norton, who has been played for many years by Rick Saber. In his formal remarks, the Emperor was very generous to highlight the work of The Emperor's Bridge Campaign.

This morning, he sent the Campaign the following lovely commendation:

We, Norton l, a.k.a. Rick Saber, heartily endorse John Lumea's Bridge Campaign and commend he and his associates in this Noble correction to history. Ongoing public support for the past 30 years has proven, yet not quite achieved, full public acceptance of the appropriate permanent naming of this Bridge in honor of he who first both conceptualized and proclaimed it be built exactly where located since 1936, however Emperor Norton decreed this in over sixty years prior to it's completion.....Norton I, by decree


The Campaign has many good friends amongst the Clampers, and we're very grateful for their support.

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