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Visiting the First State
June 4th 2014

After the North Carolina conference, I met my husband in Naples, FL where he was attending a conference.  The beautiful beach and water were so alluring that we enjoyed parasailing the first afternoon.  We were 800 feet in the air and enjoyed a fabulous view of the area.

I returned to DC on May 8th for a few hours in the office before traveling to Wilmington, Delaware by train the next morning for the 108th State Conference, Claudia Onken, State Regent.  State Vice Regent Susan Meade-Beachell drove me through the beautiful countryside to Winterthur where we were greeted by Claudia Onken, Vice President General Ginger Trader and Lin White, DAR member and 30 year volunteer and tour guide at Winterthur. Lin gave us a fabulous tour of the private family rooms on the seventh floor of the Mansion.

Founded by Henry Francis du Pont, Winterthur is a premier museum of American decorative arts made or used in America between about 1640 and 1860. The collection is displayed in the magnificent 175-room house, much as it was when the du Pont family lived here, as well as in permanent and changing exhibition galleries. Following our tour, we were greeted by Dr. David Roselle, Executive Director of the Museum. 

Afterwards, we toured the exhibit Costumes of Downton Abbey.  As a fan of the PBS television series, it was a thrill to see forty of the costumes up close.  The exhibit contrasted life in a fictional aristocratic household on a British country estate with real life on an American estate at the same time. The DAR Museum’s own Alden O’Brien, Curator of Textiles, was a recent guest speaker at Winterthur about period costumes. 

We drove a short distance through the rolling hills of the Brandywine Valley to Buckley’s Tavern for lunch.  The Tavern was built as a private residence in 1817 and served as a stagecoach stop. 

The first event at the conference hotel was a reception where we greeted the Honorary State Regents, Executive Board and conference guests, Vice President General Shari Thorne-Sulima and New Jersey State Regent Connie Olde. 

Following dinner with the Board and Chapter Regents, Richard Lovekin, who served in Vietnam as a helicopter gunner and crew chief in 1969-1970, spoke about his experiences during the war and upon returning home.  As a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Richard is a frequent speaker to civic clubs and schools to ensure that no returning soldier be treated as the Vietnam Veterans were. This was the perfect opportunity for me to remind the chapters to participate in the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration and to honor these veterans and their families.

Claudia’s project is to replace a stolen marker placed by DAR and C.A.R.  at the Mason-Dixon line. To raise funds, she is throwing a double nickel birthday bash at the historic Maull House, built in 1730 and owned by Col. David Hall Chapter.

Prior to the opening of the conference, it was a pleasure to host a breakfast for the Heritage Club and Founders Club members.  When the business session began with more than 85 members and guests, I was surprised to receive a framed replica of Delaware’s ratification of the Constitution from a representative of the State Auditor’s office.  Delaware is rightfully proud of being the first state to ratify the United States Constitution on December 7, 1787. 

After the reports, State Chaplain Ginger Trader held a lovely Memorial service on the patio which overlooked a small pond.  Presentations were made during the Luncheon to the Good Citizen and Essay contest winners and it was a pleasure to present a certificate for 100% participation in the President General’s Project to Cooch’s Bridge Chapter, the largest chapter in the state with 259 members.

As this weekend marked the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, Claudia honored two members who are Blue Star Mothers.  It was quite moving as we had an opportunity to express appreciation for the sacrifices of the families of our deployed soldiers.

Following my address on the projects and objectives of the President General’s Project, Claudia presented me with a generous contribution from the Delaware Society,  recognition from the State House of Representatives and a Delaware charm for my bracelet. Junior Chair Beth Beachell presented a holly charm from the Juniors.  I was stunned to receive a beautiful quilt featuring an eagle and the names of all of the Delaware chapters.  This gorgeous treasure was made by State Registrar Kristin Jones. 

The conference adjourned mid-afternoon and Connie Olde was kind enough to drop me at the Philadelphia airport for my return flight to Houston that evening.  After an absence of three weeks, it was wonderful to be reunited with my family for Mother’s Day!

The Delaware conference was my last official visit of the first year of the administration.  With travels limited to the east coast, I had the privilege of seeing where so much of our Revolutionary history was made.  Most importantly, I had the opportunity to visit with dedicated Daughters throughout the east and to hear firsthand how they are Honoring our Heritage, Focusing on the Future and Celebrating America!

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