Visiting the Evergreen State

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
May 28, 2015

I left the hotel in Montana at 4:30 AM on Friday, May 1st, to fly to the 114th Washington State Conference, Carol Jean Gaffney, State Regent.  Honorary Vice President General Beverly Bills and my personal page Jennifer Schmidt accompanied me from the airport to Redmond, just outside of Seattle. Redmond is well known as the location of the Microsoft headquarters.

Carol Jean’s theme is “Together, Using our Time, Talent and Treasure, we will Celebrate America!”  Carol Jean’s project is the Brigadoon Service Dogs which provide independence to enrich the lives of their human partner, especially our veterans. The Washington State Motto is “Patriotism, Reverence, Remembrance.”  While the state legislature has not officially adopted a state theme, it is referred to as the Alki State.  Alki or Al-Ki is the Indian word for Bye and Bye.

I had a lovely room with yellow roses and a huge Texas shaped basket full of Washington goodies.  The first event I attended was the Historic Preservation Luncheon featuring Judy Rantz Willman, author of “The Boys in the Boat: A Look behind the Book.”  The book recalls the University of Washington team who rowed their way into the 1936 Olympics, winning a gold medal.  Judy introduced the great-niece of George Yeoman Pocock, the boat builder. Judy was kind enough to give me a copy of the book and she was surprised to receive a set of application papers.  Three chapters were presented awards for historic preservation projects and I was pleased to learn that two of the projects were completed with the assistance of our Special Project Grants.

The Conference officially opened Friday afternoon. Music was prominent throughout the conference and each session featured the National Anthem played on a violin by Kathy Dyblie.

The Banquet Friday evening opened with music played on a Steinway Piano.  After my speech, Carol Jean surprised me with entertainment by Sarah Joanne Davis, a Texas Junior currently living in the Seattle area. Sarah won the American Prize in Voice in 2014 and opened with “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” followed by “Summertime,” “O Mio Babbino Caro” and concluded with “God Bless America.”  She is so very good.  Sarah’s mother, Nancy Davis, is a friend of mine from Texas and she flew all the way to Washington for the surprise. 

Carol Jean presented several wonderful gifts in addition to a beautiful Pendleton Blanket entitled “Raven and the Box of Knowledge.”  The artist designed it based on his Tinglit heritage and donates 5% of the proceeds to the Northwest Indian College.  I then received a most unique gift – an adopted Orca whale named Alki.  It included a photo of Alki and her genealogy chart. Orcas are the state marine mammal and there is even a site where you can listen to the Orcas:  My grandchildren were quite impressed that Honey has a whale!

Carol Jean presented a beautiful paperweight made from the ash of the 1980 eruption of the Mt. St. Helens Volcano. Washington State Daughters Patricia Cobain Guyll and Erica Fisher Iverson compiled a wonderful book of biographies of the members’ relatives who had served in World War II, entitled “Lest we Forget.”

Honorary Vice President General Beverly Bills presented a copy of an ancient photo showing the first group of members to volunteer for DAR on our computers during the Blair Administration, 1992-1995.  This group evolved into the VIS Committee. I can recognize Mary Marshall, Margie Nelson, Shelby Conti, Dawn Hines, Beverly Bills, Marcy Heathman, Irene d’Amato, Alice Ellingsberg,  Shirley McCausland,  Pat Wasilik and myself.  Can you name any others?

Saturday morning’s activities began with the Cameo Society breakfast at which Kate Hull-Pease, President, presented each of us with lovely shoe bags made by her mother.  Kate then invited us to share the ways in which we are Celebrating America.

It was a pleasure to present the 100% participation certificates to 35 of the 38 chapters for their support of the President General’s Project at the Business session.  The Pages were excused from the session for a special outing and I was tickled to be included.  Page Chairs Emmelyn Hart and Katey Purgatoria planned a short visit to Snoqualmie Falls.  Time did not permit the planned stop at the Root Beer Store, but the ladies had brought chilled root beers along.  I had no idea there were over 110 brands of Root Beer!

We returned to the hotel in time for the Education Luncheon where we greeted Virginia Lingelbach, National Chair Units Overseas, who would be traveling with me to visit some of the chapters in Canada.  Candayce Detloff spoke at the Education Luncheon on “Native American Women” showing a number of pieces of regalia and describing the traditions.  Scholarships were presented to area students and awards were presented to essay contest winners and the DAR Good Citizen. 

After lunch the guests were again excused to visit the Chilhuly Glass Museum, next door to the Space Needle, accompanied by State Chaplain Lanabeth Horgren. The Museum features the amazing glass art of Dave Chihuly.  Let’s just say I was relieved not to have my energentic grandsons with mel!   Imagine our surprise when Kay Nelson, a DAR member from Florida, recognized and introduced herself to us.

We returned in time for the Heritage Club Tea at which I had the opportunity to thank the generous donors for their gifts to the National Society, such as the gift from Honorary State Regent Heather Gilden of a spinning wheel dating back to the American Revolution for our DAR Museum.

For what may be the first time in history, I won an item I bid on – a fabulous quilt made by Jenny Schmidt, the State Junior Membership Chair and my Page.  This quilt depicts a mother’s arms cradling a baby’s head and is absolutely beautiful!  The Michael Trebert Chapter presented a huge basket filled with lavender items.  It is gorgeous!

The speaker for the National Defense Banquet was Monica McNeal, President, Washington State American Gold Star Mothers.  The Gold Star Mothers were founded in 1928 by Grace Darling Seibold who had lost her son in World War I. Mrs. Seibold , a DAR member, realized that self-contained grief is self-destructive, devoted her time and efforts not only to working in the hospital but also to extending the hand of friendship to other mothers whose sons had lost their lives in military service. Monica shared the story of her son, LCpl Eric L. Ward, who was killed in action in 2010.

Early Sunday morning, Carol Jean’s daughter, Katherine, drove Lanabeth , Virginia and me to the ferry, spotting a bald eagle on the bridge en route.  The three of use took the Victoria Clipper to Victoria, Canada, for a visit with the New Caledonia Chapter.  I looked for Alki along the way, but did not see my whale...

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