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April 8, 1995

Sad but true, another Perry organization with deep roots has found it necessary to disband because of dwindling membership. The Marigold Garden Club unit, chartered on Jan. 1, 1938, has thrown in the towel, or perhaps in this case that should be trowel. Down to only seven members this year, the ladies decided there were just too few of them to carry on.

The Marigolds had a long and proud heritage in this community. Their members were traditionally among the major exhibitors and ribbon winners in the annual county fair flower shows with exotic plants and tasteful, artistic arrangements. In 1945-46, which may have been their peak year, they had a membership of 26 ladies who met twice each month to discuss gardening and horticulture.

Thelma Bittman's mother, Mrs. P J. Cordes, was a charter member of the Marigold unit. Thelma showed me a copy of the club's yearbook for 1945-46, listing Mrs. George Dolezal as president, Mrs. Dale Ream vice president, Mrs. A.W. Campbell secretary-treasurer, Mrs. Homer Barr corresponding secretary and Mrs. Vance Scott treasurer. The charter president in 1938 was Mrs. Merle Allen. Other presidents, in succession through 1945-46, were Mrs. R. V Skinner, Mrs. J. E. Lang, Mrs. King Montgomery and Mrs. Homer Barr. Mrs. Emil Voigt was the district Garden Club treasurer in 1945-46.

These were the club's members that year: Mrs. Jack Adams, Mrs. Homer Barr, Mrs. J. E. Beech, Mrs. A. J. Brase, Mrs. A. W. Campbell, Mrs. Ben Childers, Mrs. P. J. Cordes, Mrs. G. M. Deen, Mrs. George Dolezal, Mrs. J. E. Dolezal Jr., Mrs. J. G. Heck, Mrs. Vaughn Hester, Mrs. Wilbur Mouser, Mrs. Elbert Pace, Mrs. Judson Pierce, Mrs. Dale Ream, Mrs. Kenneth Reed, Mrs. Phillip Rhees, Mrs. Vance Scott, Mrs. Jack Smith, Mrs. Ed Swart, Mrs. Charles Thigpen, Mrs. J. E. Lang, Mrs. LeRoy Williams, Mrs. R.V. Skinner and Mrs. Charles Monroe Jr.

With so many women now holding down fulltime jobs, it has become increasingly difficult to recruit members. Interests have changed with the times, too, so perhaps it was inevitable that some of our long-time organizations such as this were forced to disband. Still, it's sad to see them go. The Marigolds had a few dollars in their bank account. To their credit, they divided the funds among some of the local organizations still in existence with the hope that the gift might enable them to keep going. We'll miss the Marigold unit, but congratulations to them for their thoughtfulness in dispersing their assets.

One Garden club unit, the Petunias, remains in existence here. I understand the Columbine unit disbanded earlier.

Women of the First United Methodist church have started taking orders for a unique 50 x 65" afghan made of cotton yarn which will be a virtual pictorial representation of some of this city's most interesting and historical points. Based on an original design by Larry Anderson, a graphic artist at Ditch Witch, the afghan includes these Perry landmarks: the courthouse, Daniels Field, Carnegie library, the Foucart building, the Hopes and Dreams statue in Centennial Plaza, the Santa Fe depot, the Rose Hill school at the Cherokee Strip museum, the original Ditch Witch logo and the first trencher produced by the Charles Machine Works, Inc. Photos for the designer's reference were made by Dee and Kenda Williams and Anna Lou Randall, all members of the Perry church.

In addition, the design incorporates the state bird, a scissortail flycatcher, perching on a tree in the courthouse park, the state flower (mistletoe) and leaves of the redbud tree forming a border. The afghan is machine washable with several two-color options. All will have a neutral background, plus one of these additional colors -- hunter green, navy, or cranberry red, which is a close approximation to our Perry maroon color.

The afghans will be manufactured upon receipt of orders by the Riddle Manufacturing Co. in Burlington, N.C. They will sell for $45 and proceeds will be used by the UMW for mission projects locally and throughout the world.

Patsy Hasenfratz and Marlys Nelson are co-chairmen of the project. A sample afghan will be on display at several locations in Perry, starting with Foster's Corner Drug. Check it out and see if you don't need at least one of these artful, interesting afghans.