Marilyn Watkins

It was late afternoon on a very hot day in the Portland area and I was sitting in my sister’s room at the Edgefield Hotel.[1] (The temperature was in the high 90s every day we were there).  On the way up we had greeted a few people that I literally had not seen since my sophomore year in high school.  And, we had just come to the realization that the Edgefield was not air-conditioned.  (This makes perfect sense given the rich history of the hotel).  And I was wondering, what on earth did I still have in common with everyone here, beyond the obvious that we had all been at Schutz at various life points?

Thursday evening we all gathered at the outdoor restaurant for a lovely meal.  Apparently, it was the 50th anniversary of the class of 68 high school graduation (a fact that had not dawned on me and that I am not entirely sure I was pleased to learn) so we had two tables of our class and others were at various close-by tables. As we parted for the evening the thought of how we could sleep in this heat was certainly on my mind.  Those of us staying at the Edgefield figured out that if you open the right windows and place the fan just so, sleeping was possible.  Others staying in nearby hotels were quite comfortable and some (Ron Walters I am talking to you here) felt the need to share the next day that an extra blanket had been needed.  

Friday morning we had a tour of Portland neighborhoods and key sites.  The morning brought the surprise of a large touring bus, rather than the smaller one Caroline had asked for that would have been able to navigate the narrow streets of Portland with greater ease.  Yet, as she said flexibility was the key and our bus driver John did an admirable job getting us into and out of the eclectic Portland neighborhoods.  Caroline had written a history of the neighborhoods and shared this along with some of the challenges Portland is currently facing.  It was very interesting!  We ended with a picnic lunch at the Washington Park International Test Rose Gardens.  There was a lovely cool area for eating and then many spent some time in the rose garden.  The conversations continued throughout.

Friday afternoon saw some enjoying a round of short-holes golf, some watching glass blowing in one of the many fascinating Edgefield Hotel areas, and others enjoying the breeze and chatting while sitting on the front veranda rocking chairs.  Personally, I am convinced that the golfers’ adventure was told in very subdued terms and that it might take a few more reunions before the whole story is revealed…

Friday evening we had dinner in the Edgefield’s Blackberry Hall.  It was a delicious meal made even better with a report from Tom Baker, who just recently left Schutz as Head Master.  He shared information regarding the school’s ongoing excellent reputation, the value and status of the Meloy Scholarship, and the hopes for a “legacy group” of alumni to attend the 100th anniversary of Schutz, planned for graduation 2025. At the conclusion of his words, he gave each of us a Schutz Alumni pin.

Kathy Berger then led us in the Schutz Jeopardy game that she and her sister had prepared for the 2015 reunion in Washington, DC. She had created paddles for contestants, lacking buzzers, but we quickly abandoned keeping score as shouting answers and waving paddles added to the chaos and fun of trying to remember such things as Schutz menu items, the names of cooks, drivers and guards, and the tram stops we all once knew so well. And who can forget music from Egyptian weddings keeping us awake all night?

As we broke into animated conversational groups after the game, someone brought up slides from Schutz on their computer and a great time was had determining who was actually in the pictures.   This also evoked even more ‘do you remember when’ stories.

Saturday was a day for meetings, each of which took place in the General Ballroom.  The Board started at 9:30 a.m.  Though we did not have a quorum, we were able to talk through several issues and board president Paul Clark will have the board as a whole vote via computer on needed issues. 

Highlights from our Board Meeting

–  There was considerable discussion regarding the need for fundraising.   Needs include the George and Mary Lou Meloy scholarship, the WikiSchutz project, and the Schutz School 100th Anniversary trip to Egypt.   Our annual fundraising goal for 2018 is $5,000.  Ideas for fundraising include asking donors to make contributions in honor of a loved one, to a favorite memory regarding their Schutz experience, a silent auction, and a challenge grant.  If you go to  you can read Paul’s letter that shares more information.   This will also give you an opportunity to explore the web site.   Another thought is to select one month per year to focus on fundraising and dues payment.

–  Payment of dues was another focus as Treasurer Steve Jamison has not received as many this year as in past years, and only half paid last year. If the 106 members registered on the web paid the annual $30.00 dues, this would go a long way towards ensuring solvency for the Schutz Alumni Organization.  Thanks to Steve for maintaining our financial records and for the financial report.

–  Steve had the idea of a monthly email to Schutz alumni that would remind people of our shared connections and to remind folks to pay dues.  Caroline offered to start this process.  

– Another topic was whether it was time for us to go to every other year reunions.  The tradition of the annual reunion seems to date back to the days when Schutizes met the Sunday afternoon of the New Wilmington Missionary Conference. For years, there was a strong contingent of retired missionaries living in New Wilmington. Now annual meetings are not always time and/or cost effective for members.  

–  Charlotte Weaver-Gelzer attended the meeting for a little while in order to share information regarding the WikiSchutz project.  

– The matter of Board size and needing additional Board members was discussed.  Paul suggested reducing the board size as one means of ensuring a quorum and to make the challenge of identifying new board members less burdensome.  Here is your opportunity. If you are interested in serving on the board you can write Paul at [email protected] 

In between the Board and the Membership Meeting, Caroline had arranged for snacks to be served.  Once everyone had a little break, the membership meeting began.

Highlights from the Membership Meeting

Paul Clark shared the idea for our reunions being every other year.  He suggested meeting in 2020 on the North Carolina beach on Emerald Isle. He offered the use of his beach house and suggested we rent homes around. Members thought meeting in North Carolina was a really good idea and the excitement generated other ideas.  One was to assign houses by decade—followed by the suggestion to have a dorm parent in each!—and another idea is to have a progressive dinner one evening. Regional reunions are also encouraged in the off years.

The Schutz School 2024 100th Anniversary trip to Egypt was discussed.  There was considerable enthusiasm for pursuing the idea and at least 12 people raised their hands when asked if they would plan to attend.   The actual event would be for Schutz School graduation spring of 2025 and the trip would include about five days of sightseeing and Schutz related activities.

Paul shared all of the fundraising ideas and the need for members to pay their annual dues.  He asked that anyone willing to help with the fundraising effort to write to him.


The WikiSchutz project involves sharing of Schutz data by decade and year that includes factual, historical, and anecdotal information. There will also be photos.  The priority of the Wiki page is to enhance and support the Schutz community.  Charlotte Weaver-Gelzer gave a live demonstration of the WikiSchutz website.  She showed us how we can log on and add information to the narrative.  There was considerable enthusiasm for this project and appreciation for the work that Charlotte and Alice Meloy are doing on our behalf.

A highlight of the day was the afternoon tea that Caroline had arranged as we closed our meetings. The food was delicious and reminiscent of Egyptian teas, with some English touches thrown in. The scones with lemon sauce and curdled cream were well enjoyed.

Late in the afternoon, Alice Meloy led our Schutz Book Club discussion.  The book this year was Behold the Dreamers by Imbalo Mbue.   The book is thought provoking and the discussion centered on intercultural issues and on how our choices reverberate throughout our family and community.    

Following some rest time, our banquet ensued.  We had a delicious meal along with continued sharing and much laughter.  As the evening wore down, the good-byes started along with promises to see each other in North Caroline.  Sunday morning found many on the veranda waiting for rides and continuing the good-byes. 

Thank you, Caroline Kurtz, for your work on our behalf, as to others who gave time and effort to prepare for it.  The calm with which you approached every situation, the well planned events and meals, and your wonderful sense of humor made our reunion even more special.   Everything was just as it needed to be and your work is greatly appreciated.  Dagny, thanks for volunteering Caroline to organize this event and for all you’ve done. 

And what connections did we still have?  There are the obvious ones of shared Schutz memories and adventures, many of which were best unshared until this year.  Now, they are pretty funny.  I do believe some of us get in some fairly significant trouble at the time.  There were conversations about our transition back into the American culture.  After all these years, I still learn from others experiences and feel the sense of belonging that comes from such sharing.  There were meaningful conversations about life events that shape our current life experience. The old distancing between little kids and big kids, between faculty and students, between boarding students and day students were gone and replaced with a genuine desire to come to know each other as individuals.   The kindness and concern with which we listened to each other is what I will remember the most about our 2018 Edgefield Schutz Reunion.  We are family.

It will soon be time to start planning for 2020 in North Carolina.  Dates and other information will be forthcoming.

2018 Schutz Reunion Participants

Tom and Salli Baker

Kathy and Steve Berger

Beth Bishop and Jan Van Orsow

Paul Clark

Steve and Mely Davenport

Sandi (Ruth Sandilands) Decker

Ted and Dalynn Dowen

Charlotte Weaver-Gelzer

Charles and Ann Haspels

Brenda and Kent Johnson

Dagny Lord (Johanson) and Scott Schafer

Caroline Kurtz

Kirk Lindly

Sara Meloy Johnson

Ann Meloy

Alice Meloy

Jane Meloy

Carolyn (Ainley) Pinke

George and Susan Reed

Jesse (James) and Darcy Sandilands

Wayne Smith

Ron and Janie Walters

Greg Walters

Virginia Watkins

Marilyn Watkins

Rebecca (Ainley) and Bruce Whitmore


[1] The Edgefield Inn is in a suburb of Portland, Oregon.  The Edgefield was once a poor-farm.  It has 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.