GL P.E.O. celebrates 75 years
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
California Chapter GL P.E.O. in California was organized April 14, 1938, at the Peck Mansion, the home of Alma Peck, charter member, California, by Bertha Hanley, State Organizer. She was assisted by her own chapter EM, Rolla. Helen B. Collett, Second Vice President was also present. At the close of the organization Hanley said that to her the letters of GL expressed “Gracious Ladies.” This would be a legacy to be cherished by all future members of Chapter GL.
As Lois Perin Hull, the first President in 1938 wrote in the introduction of the first scrapbook, “It is indeed well that Chapter GL is compiling the important events of our years in the P.E.O. Sisterhood. As we look back over the years we will perhaps see not only the bare facts as recorded in the secretary’s notes, but also many happy memories recorded in the hearts of each of us. Not so many important events occurred in any year, but there are special and happy meetings which none of us want to forget and many events and projects in which we feel future members of Chapter GL will be interested.”
From a writing of Wylma Briscoe, past President, “ We are a rather unique chapter in being made up of members from two towns, 12 miles apart, varied in our interests, age groups, and religious affiliations. Yet harmony and happiness do prevail and perhaps because of our diversities, the bonds of sisterhood are appreciated so much.”
In the early years, the chapter members of GL worked with the Red Cross, sold War Savings Bonds and Stamps, and were involved in War Loan Drives. They furnished milk to undernourished children in the California schools and represented Cottey College, a liberal two- year university owned by the P.E.O. sisterhood in Nevada for prospective entrants from California and Tipton high schools. In addition to special local projects, Chapter GL continued to support the projects of the sisterhood at large: the Educational fund, the International Peace Scholarship and the former P.E.O Home, Inc. Our chapter unsuccessfully petitioned the Missouri State Chapter to purchase the Eitzen Mansion in California to serve as the Missouri P.E.O. Home. Their most successful project was for several years to sponsor the Program for Continuing Education with scholarships given to local women in both communities to further their education .
The 1980 President Sharon Snorgrass, Tipton, was a delegate to the International Convention in Phoenix. She enjoyed visiting seven Jefferson City chapters with her convention report. She also served as our Hostess Group President in 1984. They had their first combined BIL and Family Reception with all the children of our members in 1994 and a fun time was had. In 1995 they met the convention challenge for gifts to the 125th Anniversary Fund raising over $200 in honor of a sister, Virginia Hert, California, shortly before she entered Chapter Eternal.
In 2000 Michael Kateman, author, wrote the play “Ruby Nelle”, based on the life of Chapter GL sister and philanthropist Ruby McVean, Tipton. Several members were in attendance at the play at Columbia College and met the author after the production. In 2000 the chapter answered a challenge at convention by contributing $200 to the second year Cottey College Millenium Scholarship Fund. Newer projects included care packages for their “ Designated Scholar” Cottey students as well as inviting a University of Missouri P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship (IPS) recipient who was majoring in Music to perform for us. She was a virtuoso pianist. Several members also attended her senior recital on the MU campus. Chapter GL became a 50th anniversary chapter for Cottey. Every Christmas they hold a silent auction and the proceeds are used for P.E.O. projects. In 2001 three sisters were a very important part of the MO State Convention: Nancy Poage, Osage Beach, formerly of California, served as Vice-Chairman of the Convention; Mischelle Gibson, Tipton, was in charge of decorations and designed the stage backdrop; and Ginger Moore, California, was the pianist for the convention. The Moniteau County program, “Buddy Backpacks”, was contributed to in order to provide snacks over the weekend for students who did not have enough food at home.
Special Anniversaries were never overlooked in Chapter GL. Their first anniversary in 1939 was observed at Buster’s café where each sister received individual yellow birthday cakes in the shape of a star with an ivory candle. The following fall the meeting was a picnic held in the hostess’ yard. The minutes recorded, “with much merriment motion pictures of our group were taken, later to be displayed on the local screen with other California pictures.” The twenty-fifth silver anniversary was celebrated in 1963. President Edwina Kay, California, current 60 year “Golden Girl” sister, reported, “Life has changed for the group during these years. We were twelve women who were homemakers, now, many of the sisters are employed out of the home with full time occupations. Half of our regular meetings are now held in the evenings so these members may attend.” Edwina Peterman, California, is also a 60 year member. The chapter’s forty-fifth anniversary was celebrated in Tipton at the Butterfield Inn with three charter members in attendance: Edwina Lee, Blanche Lemen and Katherine Newton. The 50th golden anniversary was celebrated at the Ramada Inn, Jefferson City. The three charter members were again in attendance. Their 60th anniversary was held in the home of one of our sisters with a reception following the meeting. GL’s 70th anniversary dinner was held at Yen Cheng restaurant, Jefferson City. The chapter always enjoys the annual PEO Day at the Lyceum Theater in Arrow Rock and attended the June 12 reserved production of “The Wizard of Oz “. The 75th anniversary was held during the fall Ways and Means dinner and anniversary celebration Sept. 12 at the Canterbury Hills Restaurant In Holt’s Summit, (see picture). As past President Gibson wrote recently, “As we begin a new year our chapter is looking forward to the “rebirth” that happens every spring. The rebirth of our ideals, our love for one another and our fellowship with each other.” From their scrapbook; “Ideals are like stars; we will not succeed in touching them with our hands. However, we can choose them as our guide and by following them we will reach our destiny.”
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