The 2015 SASAF Grand Reunion was held July 9-12 at the National 4H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
With approximately 70 in attendance, the Reunion kicked off with a reception Thursday night followed by a fun walk down memory lane led by John Lash Meloy. Each group of class eras present was given an unmarked map of Alexandria and tasked with filling in places, sights, sounds, smells and any memories they had of their time in Alexandria. After presenting their completed maps to the group, the spouses and guests were asked to ‘vote’ on their favorites with prizes awarded to the winners of Rocket bars, gum drops, “dog-doo” candy and other goodies purchased by John at the Canteen outside the Schutz gate (basically to everyone). We were all winners.
Friday activities began with a wonderful picnic lunch at the Poplar Heights Recreation Association in Falls Church. Sandwiches, watermelon, Arabic-lettered bagged snacks also from the Canteen, soft drinks and Charlotte Gelzer-Weaver’s killer brownies were consumed along with lots of reminiscing, catching up, and fellowship. Carolyn Kraft Pollock was spotted taking a dip in the pool…
Back Row L – R: Bob Kraft, Greg Walters, Ron Pollock, Kirk Lindly, Gloria Holcomb, Hans Schaffner, Patricia Jamison, Lavina Pattee, Eva Montville?, Steve Jamison, Sue and George Reed, John Meloy, Ron Ivarsen, Carmen (Werking) Rosser, Barbara Allen, Jean Stultz, Cheryl and Ken McEwan, Ginny (Pollock) Towle, Ed Pollock, Mary Beth Neely, Leah (Pollock) Preston, Bill Pollock
2nd Row – Ron Beck, Steve Berger, Carolyn Pollock, Mary (Parkinson) Jenkins, Larry Pattee, Rebecca Holman, Caroline Kurtz, David Bowdle, Paul Clark, DickGiffin, Beth (Gordon) Szilagyi, Ed Nicholas, Deborah Neely, Becky (Walker) Elliot, Susan Oliveri
Front Row – Samantha Beck, Reata Hoar, Ada Margaret Hutchison, Shelly ?, Sherry & Steve Brooks, Tom Countryman, Ann Patterson, Sarah (Parkinson) Bingham, Charlotte Weaver-Gelzer, Alice Meloy, Rashid Abdu, Susan (Clark) Knight, Rene’ Johnson, Kathy (Winkler) Berger
Friday afternoon most of the group went off to the Department of State in downtown Washington DC. We were treated to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet with the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson and the Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Tom Countryman. Following their briefings to the group, the floor was opened for questions, ranging from ISIS to the Muslim Brotherhood, from the Yemen proxy war and Iran’s nuclear ambitions to how internal State policy is made. Anne Patterson gave a special message to the group: it is important to keep civil-society bridges with Egypt strong.
Friday evening Paul Clark and his wife Molly acted ‘hosts with the most’ for a Middle East feast at their home. The food was amazing including many of our old dining favorites like falafel, a’addis (lentil) soup, stuffed grape leaves, Egyptian chicken kebabs with rice pilaf, stuffed peppers, ful maddamas, lamb-okra stew, dates, apricots, figs, baklava, pistachio Ice cream, Egyptian wine from the Gianaclis vineyards and more – I could go on and on. Charlotte, Caroline Kurtz and Susan Clark Knight did most of the chopping and cooking on Thursday, we hear, Molly did the clean-up after we left, and Paul basked in all the credit (he insisted on saying this). No one left hungry!
Saturday activities centered back at the 4H center with an early morning 3-mile Hash House Harriers run/walk set by the Hare (Paul) Friday night. Only a few of us Hounds got lost but found our way back to 4H using an ‘alternative route’ to be greeted with a donut reward.
The SASAF Board met during the morning hours allowing time for non-Board members to listen in on the discussions, visit with friends or explore Washington DC. Following lunch a group of about 20 gathered to discuss the book, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears about an Ethiopian immigrant in DC, followed by a discussion and demonstration of the SASAF website by Ed Nicholas and the features that are being added. In Schutz tradition we had a break for ‘Tea Time’ with tea, cookies and halawa, then reconvened for a presentation/discussion on Third Culture Kids led by Caroline. Read some notes from Caroline about TCK – click here.
During dinner Saturday evening, Jean Stultz was presented with a scrapbook tribute from us all that was put together by Mary Beth Neely. This, together with a painting of the old Schutz emblem with S-T-U-L-T-Z down the center from Gib McGill, was to recognize Jean’s 50 years of work to establish and maintain our alumni community. Over 40 people submitted letters and photos! We plan to put these on the website so others who want to thank Jean may add their tributes as well.
Following dinner Jean showed a video of Schutz from 1966, “The School of a Dozen Flags,” narrated by Dagny Johansen and Bill Pollock. John Haspels and Gwen Adair then gave a talk about their horrifying experience being shot in Ethiopia last fall, with their inspiring message of forgiveness.
After a break we reassembled for some square dancing presented by a folk dancing band and caller from the DC area. You should have seen Jean doing the Virginia Reel!
Sunday after breakfast, a worship service and the membership meeting, it was time again to say goodbye to our friends and classmates. I hope all attendees had a wonderful time!
- Kathy Berger