Friday, March 9, 2012

Stillwater Reading Club

The Stillwater Reading Club was founded in 1886 by Mrs. McClure as the "Stillwater Woman's Reading Club," according to Pat Johnson, the club's historian. Pat told me that the incorrect singular "woman" instead of the plural "women" is still used today because that is the way the original charter reads. Mrs. McClure organized the club as a way to discuss current matters of politics and other important events.
On the far left, Pat Johnson, club historian, stands to take a photograph.

I can imagine the club members were a pretty impressive group back in 1886, as are the members of today, who are filled with good humor, a desire to share their stories, and a keen sense of history. Doing a Farm Heritage Program for the group on March 5th was an absolute joy for me and Nancy. The group was with me or ahead of me on every piece of nostalgia or humor, and they expressed their interest in preserving Farm Heritage by telling stories after the program and buying books.
Some told brief stories from their chairs in the audience. Others came to the microphone if they had more to say. In the above photo, Dorothy Gerson told of working on the farm during the 1930s and pumping water outdoors in the winter time.
Others told me stories as I signed books. Myrtle Janilla explained that when she was a small child her father would give her two cent to hold the cow's tail as he milked the animal. I'm sure that not only served the purpose of keeping the tail out of his eyes, but also of keeping his eyes on Myrtle.
 Nearly every one of the members stopped by to chat after the program. Ellen (above right) brought me coffee and others offered us cake and cookies.

Ellen Campbell, who arranged my visit and presided over the meeting, posed for a photograph with me.

This small group was particularly fun because they were enthusiastic and eager to share their experiences. Nancy and I want to thank everyone in the Reading Club for their kind comments about our program, and we especially thank Ellen Campbell for arranging our visit.

We hope that those of you who purchased books will proudly pass on our Farm Heritage as the books get passed on to future generations.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

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