Another Great Gathering of the Schutz Alumni Community
The 2017 SASAF Reunion
Greetings, friends. If you couldn’t be with us in Pennsylvania, we missed you and we hope you’ll make it to some future gathering. Those who come inevitably comment on the richness of conversations and interactions. Those who didn’t know each other then find it deepens our sense of community to get to know each other as adults now. And even those of us who didn’t have the best experiences at Schutz find it affirming to reconnect with others who share the unique backgrounds of kids who grew up in Egypt and other parts of Africa.
The 2017 reunion, board meeting and general membership meeting began on Friday evening with a Mediterranean feast at Gib McGill’s farm. Paul Clark, Sue (Clark) Knight, Leah Pollock Preston and Jean Stultz outdid themselves in cooking up favorites: hummus, stuffed grape leaves, bamya, tabouli, fatoush salad, ful mudammas, and much more. From local restauranteurs they had also ordered felafel, lamb and chicken kabobs, halva, baklava and other pastries, dates, and apricots. We stuffed ourselves!
After supper we gathered on the lawn for a group photo. How many faces can you identify?
Attendees L – R at Gib McGill’s Dinner July 21, 2017 Schutz Reunion
Standing: Jane Meloy, Gib & Merrianne McGill, Peter Parr, Larry Pattee, Sandra Jamison, Lavina Pattee, Barbara & David Allen, Ron Pollock, Leah Preston, Kathryn Ammon Enoch, Sue Reed, Barbara McKelway, Ed Pollock, George Reed, Kenny Cooke, MaryBeth Neeley, Kirk Lindley, Charlotte Weaver-Gelzer, Caroline Kurtz Rasmussen, Bill Pollock, Marilyn Watkins, Susan Clark Knight, Gloria Holcomb, Steven Jamison
Front: Patricia Jamison, Pam Parr Turner, Jean Stultz, Gloria Allen
Sue made the announcement that Paul, our board president, was not able to be with us because of a family tragedy. His daughter Maryelena took her life on July 6th. Everyone was saddened and shaken by the news. It made many of us consider how our friends and communities really matter to us, and may have deepened our fellowship throughout the weekend. Mary Beth Neely collected a donation on behalf of the Schutz community for the local NA chapter to which Maryelena had belonged.
Saturday morning, the SASAF board met in Jean Stultz’s dining room under Treasurer Steve Jamison’s leadership. We discussed the following agenda items that Paul had prepared for us:
• Charlotte Weaver-Gelzer discussed a “Wiki-Schutz” project she and Paul had proposed:
• A basic summary of history from each Schutz year with data that she and Alice Meloy have collected, to be uploaded into a Wikipedia format.
• People will be invited to add to the history from their memories in footnotes that will “thicken” the basic outline of the year’s events.
• Links to other documents and web sites will be possible, and there will be links to and from the Schutz Alumni webpage.
• Charlotte had prepared three sample pages for us to see.
• There was lots of enthusiasm for this project, and the board asked that the details on cost and other elements of the initiative be fleshed out and sent to the full board for an email vote ASAP.
• Due to lack of response on the part of present Schutz school staff, there has been no change to the Meloy Scholarship for 2017. We are in good financial shape (due to donations from a few individuals) to make our 2017 commitment of $1500.
• Dues are being held at $30. Everyone is encouraged to pay dues and to register on the website – this will allow people to access website information that will be kept behind the privacy screen. Now that we have reacquired our 501c3 status, donations are tax deductible and encouraged (dues have never covered costs for developing and strengthening the Schutz community anyway.)
• We discussed hard vs electronic fundraising mailings for dues, donations and news—it costs at least $400 to send a hard mailing. Should we look at one hard-copy appeal a year and one electronic? Can we transition to shrinking the list of those receiving hard-copy mailings and shifting to electronic communication? Our communications team and the board will study this further.
• Sue has recruited Jane (Vise) Hall to manage and update the data base. They are working on how to keep both hard copy and electronic data bases coordinated and they’ve made good progress. Sue has also recruited Karen Ezell, who is managing the web page at a reasonable cost and with high responsiveness. Many thanks to Sue, our Czarina of communication!
• Now that privacy and security back-ups have been set up, next-step development on the web page will be to create an interactive map for members-only to search by location or name to find each other. We hope this will help facilitate our connectivity:
• Facilitating smaller local mini-reunions;
• Allowing people to find and connect with people who live near them;
• Enabling friends to find each other and make contact again.
• Board members Sue, Amanda Johnson, Bill Pollock and Ed Nicholas, whose terms were up this year, agreed to re-up.
After a short break, members crowded into Jean Stultz’s living room to meet and escape the rain. Steve Jamison again led the meeting, with thanks to Paul, Sue and Charlotte for all the preparation work they did to bring the agenda, proposals and announcements to this year’s meeting.
Steve shared the issues the board discussed. Comments from members included:
• Appreciation for the ease of donating with PayPal (though it doesn’t always go smoothly)
• Excitement about the prospects of a Wiki-Schutz;
• Commitments to support the web page, Wiki page, and scholarship with donations;
• Reminder to the board that the priority for the web page, Wiki page, etc., is to enhance and support the community of those who shared childhood experiences at Schutz;
• Appreciation for setting up the SASAF non-profit status, and tax-deduction;
• Suggestion that the board look into making it possible for us to make donations of funds from IRAs and 401Ks, since they have a much better tax impact than donations from ordinary funds.
The 2018 Grand Reunion was announced for the Edgefield Hotel in a suburb of Portland, Oregon on July 13-15, 2018. Caroline Kurtz described the quirky Edgefield, once a poor-farm, with its strange and wonderful art, biographies of the residents painted on the walls of the rooms, fluffy Turkish towel robes for walking down the hall to private (but not ensuite) bathrooms, wine tasting, brewery tours, mini-golf, glass blowing center and soaking pool. We have the grand ballroom reserved for our Saturday meetings and banquet. People who already know they want to go should make hotel reservations soon – it’s a very popular summer destination! (There will also be rooms available in more conventional nearby hotels.) Watch the webpage for details to unfold over the next 12 months.
Names of the re-upping board members were announced. Marilyn Watkins also agreed to her nomination to the board. The nominees were elected (by acclamation) to the board, which will confirm these members by email.
After sandwich and leftover Mediterranean food lunch (I, for one, couldn’t get enough of the homemade hummus by Paul and Sue), a group met in Jean’s living room to discuss Dreamers of the Day, by Mary Doria Russell. Sue had prepared thought-provoking questions, and we had a lively discussion. People loved the idea of an on-going Schutz Book Club, to be convened at every reunion (Kathy Ammon said it might induce her to come again!) and we agreed to experiment with an online book discussion in the intervening year. Sue will post on the website book club pages titles for the next official meeting of the book club at the 2018 reunion, for the virtual discussion, as well as for further reading on the subjects we explored in this year’s book discussion. Stay tuned for news on what, when and where we’ll try a book chat.
Meanwhile Larry Pattee and Ron Pollock were working with Al Stultz to build a fire and boil up a 50-gallon drum full of fresh corn on the cob for supper. And Jean buzzed up her signature slushies to great acclaim! (I ordered lemonade, not realizing there would be more than lemonade on the list of ingredients!)
The rain cleared up, the sky turned luminous, and fireflies came out as we moved down to the gazebo for another feast. Ramen salad a la Jean, fried chicken, the corn and Mediterranean left-over desserts tempted us to overeat once again. But we weren’t done . . .
Kenny Cooke poured us samples of ice wine, a sweet dessert wine from his company on the Niagara Peninsula. Jean and Steve unveiled a huge cake dedicated specially to the Pattee’s 60th anniversary, and the birthdays of Paul Clark, Ron Pollock, and Barbara Allen, though “Happy Birthday to Everyone” was written on the top with frosting. It was a cake to feed 50 starving people, and we were 25 well-fed people, but we did our best.
Al took us over to the dock before dark and fed the koi so we could see his beloved giants. Bill Pollock was overheard saying that he loves fish steaks, but fortunately Al didn’t catch the comment.
All afternoon and evening, people drifted together, amoeba-like, in and out of groups all over the Stultz farm having connection-creating conversations—the real reason that we go to reunions.
By 10:30 p.m., those who were staying at the near-by hotel had gone home, dishes were washed, left-overs had been given away or were safely stored in the fridge, (the chicken “lunch” Bill and Carolyn Pollock took for their drive the next day also looked like it might feed 50 hungry people), and another successful reunion was over. Thanks to everyone who came—we hope to see all of you and many others in Portland, Oregon, for the Grand Reunion 2018!
By Caroline Kurtz
This year’s reunion attendees:
Stephen and Patricia Jamison
Gib and Merrianne McGill
Mary Beth Neely
Larry and Lavina Pattee
Bill and Carolyn Pollock
Leah (Pollock) Preston
George and Sue Reed
Pam Turner (Parr)
Charles and Betsy Watkins
Charlotte Weaver Gelzer
Click on the first picture to scroll through the gallery!