Pat Hoffer's 1973 Reunion Report
[Al Tabor's note: the original mimeograph (yes, mimeograph!) had been xeroxed and the copy was so light that it was almost, but not quite, impossible to read. (I feel I've picked up some of Pat's somewhat eliptical style by osmosis, here.) As a result, I transcribed it rather than scanning it to put up on Facebook. A shout out to Kate Tabor for pointing out a relatively painless path to transcription using Google Doc's voice recognition. If there a photo or two in the box from this event, I'd love to add them in.]
Thanks to 66 smiling enthusiastic Potter's the Fort Dodge Gathering was a weekend to remember!
Our sorrow is in not having those of you who wanted so much to be there but couldn't and I hope is that in two years you will make it. we all appreciated and enjoyed your good letters-- thanks so very much!
The celebration of Alta and Herb’s 50th wedding anniversary was a joyful occasion and an opportunity for nostalgia, fun, sentiment and surprises. Much credit goes to Lois for song-leading and research, Chuck Beck for masterful M.C.ing and Gwen for a golden book of notes and pictures from each family. I'm sure A&H would cherish similar contributions from those of you who were not present. They can paste in what you send and the total can be viewed when you visit them or perhaps at the next get-together. The notes were “What they mean to me” (in poetry and prose!). We used pictures sent in spontaneously, as yours, Louise. Thanks!
‘Twould be hard to list the high points and I’d be sure to omit something that someone else thought was tops. One incident, though, so captured the essence of it all in a nutshell for me. It was when Tim Tabor-- 18 year old, brawny, bearded and beaming--hobbled out of his Dad's car, having come directly from the hospital where he had knee surgery, and said my friends said “you’re going to a family reunion and you're looking forward to it?!” These teens and 20’s are becoming the true-fired glaze on the old Potter clay. Their nights on the hill side sleeping under the stars are bringing together tales, dreams, studies, and adventures from all over the globe these days-- Europe Japan Australia-- and interests as far-flung and fascinating as their travels. A yeasty bunch, that! The local jobs are even typical-- from Barb Beck's nursing home job to Sonnie Schones playground to Molly Hoffer’s factory job, etc. Their energy--whether employed in sports, making music, sketching, dancing, laughing or eating--a great show. The next younger crop will be a match for them and the rapport is strong and sure already.
The generation of The Eight had a hey-day with old pictures, songs, reminiscences and loving everyone! The pictures and stories where is absorbing to the currently young as to those whose faces appeared as children in the early 1900’s.
Our generation of work-horses is an amiable (and able!) as one could hope to find gather together anywhere-- and what a job they did. We can't begin to thank each one enough. Those foxy Paul Potters sort of span the generations and I tend to think of them as almost contemporaries. They did the work of people half my age, certainly, and came up grinning like cherubs at the end! They deserve true accolades for the success of the weekend. This is not to say that only these above-mentioned people worked--the cooperation and diligence from every age was truly touching and deeply appreciated.
A hastily scrawled “family tree” helped us get each other straight. I'm reproducing it here so the rest of you can see it diagrammed. I’ve starred the ones present, to omit listing. Those regrettable gaps in the information can be mailed to me. Perhaps by 1975 I can get a complete one ready. As you can see, we had a different branch of the clan represented in the presence of the Bemis’s--a happy development--so perhaps the tree will become a grove in another gathering or two!
Cile and Bob Suelflow, nobes souls that they are, have offered their new woodsy home as a setting for the next time. We immediately accepted, recommending that jobs be diffused to relieve our hosts of details, as our numbers are, indeed, growing. Not unexpectedly, we quickly got several volunteers and Cile and Bob are at liberty as chairman to fill in the gaps in the following departments--or more if need be: mailing, food, activities, Sunday service, cooking, clean-up. Why not volunteer and get them thinking with you right away? They can use several people in each category--and we'll all help again in the latter, natch.
We were asked to make recommendations for the next time. We think the above-mentioned work division will help in avoiding some of the errors we made. Other than that, we believe it would be good for people to let the host know ahead of time what food they are bringing to prevent over buying and help cut costs. Last minute ideas and emergencies will be understood--a little less or more can't hurt. This suggestion in no way diminishes are still incredulous appreciation of the bounties produced spontaneously this round!!
We also recommended that Chuck Beck’s slides of many past reunions scheduled so we'll all be able to see them. Since there are so much to share and do, and the time when “everyone is here at once is so short” could we dare push for everyone to try to be there at least two full days? Planning ahead we might come close.
We wonder if the catered meal is worth it. we spent as much on that one meal as an all the others put together. Tell Suelflows what you think
A final word--. It seems that the spiritual essence of this group--that fine Intelligence and Sensitivity is its catalyst and most precious element. It’s what had Herb Padgett spending endless hours at home making fascinating wooden toys for the Little People; it's what had older kids looking out for younger ones and introducing themselves and chatting so unaffectedly with the older ones; what brought Sonia and Bob Padgett out from Long Island with a 6 year old and a 4 and 1/2 month old for a three-day visit; what kept us laughing and working from sun-up to lock-up; what lent wisdom to young Lynn Potter and his sermon on going slowly enough to truly savor life; what had Don Ehlers, Marjean Potter’s bridegroom and a professional musician, playing and singing his heart to about 60 brand new relatives (and total strangers who invariably slipped in to listen); what helped to bring the loved and missing faces so truly There; what in effect is the Tie That Binds. Long may it flourish! (And it's everyone's guess that it by-golly will!)
Love and Many Thanks to All --
Pat and Bud
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