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East Chapel Hill Rotary
February 27, 2009

Last Friday Cliff Butler got us off to a rousing start with questions about George Washington.  The best part was when he told us how funny he would have been had Chuck Stone been at the meeting.  Instead he had to substitute another African American, Brian Kileff, to answer questions about George Washington Carver.

Our speaker was Warren Bingham who gave a very entertaining talk about George Washington’s tour of the South in 1791 after he became President.  Yes, it’s true that George only had one real tooth at the time.  And No, it is not true that his false teeth were made of wood.  Thanks to Jim Heavner for a great program.  And NO, George Washington did not spend the night at Jim’s house….or at the Colonial Inn in Hillsborough.

Art St. John gave us an interesting and entertaining member minute about his life (see below).

Today’s meeting (Feb 27) will be at the Rizzo Center at 12:45.  Come a little early because the program will be a little longer because of a special presentation of a new club award. 

Dr. Eugene Flood will be the speaker and topic is “U.S. Economic Policy Challenges in 2009”

On Highway 54, turn into Meadowmont on Meadowmont Lane (opposite direction from Friday Center).  The second road after the third stoplight, turn right into the Rizzo Center.  Park in the main parking lot on the right as you enter and follow the paths to McLean Hall.  Handicap parking is around beside McLean Hall and in circle behind the old home place. 

When you enter McLean Hall, go straight ahead and slightly to the left to the elevator and go down to the ground level.  When you exit the elevator, go straight ahead to the end of the hallway, turn left and Meadowmont Room is the first right.

Next week we will be meeting at Carrabba’s in New Hope Commons because renovation of Sheraton will not be complete for the room we were going to be in. We’ll be served their special lasagna.

Speaker will be Bob Greczyn, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield, and he will talk about a subject very much in the news today – Financing Health Care.  It should be a great program.

A captive audience, but please don’t throw any shoes.  I spent the first 18 years of my life in Massachusetts.  College was United States Coast Guard Academy.  I graduated number 3 in my class and won 4 years active duty to pay for my education.  The first 3 years involved sea duty mainly off Greenland.

 My final assignment was Grand Turk Island as commanding officer of a navigation station.  Turk is the easternmost island in the Bahamas.  It is 5 miles long by 2 miles wide with incredibly beautiful beaches and blue green water.  At that time there were no utilities.  All animals ran free.  Most native housing was 6’ x 8’ driftwood siding and flattened 50 gallon oil drums for roofing. The main industry was sun drying ocean water in 3 acre pans for salt.  The island is now a tourist stop for cruise liners and has a Rotary Club.

No dependents were authorized for this station.  I brought my bride of 2 weeks anyway.  I found a 14 room house on the ocean.  We acquired kerosene appliances including a stove, refrigerator, and lanterns.  Water was from a cistern which caught rain water from the roof.  We learned to take fresh water showers in the middle of the night by running outside and taking advantage of infrequent rains. Otherwise it was ocean and Dove soap.   Rent was 25$/mo and a live-in maid for $2.50/week.  It was a year long honeymoon.  I could get lobster anytime from a reef 20 feet from shore and fish aplenty as I went skin diving almost every afternoon.  In more recent times our rental home was acquired by the British government and is now a museum.

I resigned my commission and attended the Wharton School for an MBA.  Following grad school we spent several years trying to get back to the islands with no success.

At one point I took a job with Jantzen, the swimsuit and sweater manufacturer, in Portland, Oregon.  They asked me to develop a factory to make plastic and fabric molded bra cups for their woman’s swimsuit line.  It was a great job for a 30 year old male with active hormones.  Working with their female models, I could stare while getting paid to do it.

Our final working stop was North Palm Beach, Florida where I had my own real estate appraisal company valuing mostly industrial and commercial properties.  Our family of 5 went back to 2.  The eldest, Lisa, went to Duke and is now a research scientist with GSK in the Triangle.  The middle child, Todd, went to Virginia and is an environmental engineer specializing in stream restoration with Kimley Horn in Raleigh.  Scott, the baby, went to Princeton and is a tv producer in Hollywood.  His latest is Deal or NO Deal.

In 1997 we moved to our beach house in Stuart, Florida.  It was on an isthmus, the Atlantic Ocean on one side and 2 plus miles of Intracoastal Waterway on the other.

Retiring 1997 I wanted a project to fulfill a dream of restoring an old home. 

We bought a 100 year old farmhouse inside Chapel Hill city limits in 1995.  The farmhouse had no plumbing, minimum electric service, no closets, no garage, no A/C and fireplaces for heating.  After much debate we sold the Stuart home in 2000 and moved to the restored Chapel Hill house in 2001.

  I have been a Rotarian for 46 years and a member of 3 clubs:  Wausau, Wisconsin where I rose to secretary, North Palm Beach, Florida where I served as president, and here where I am just plain Art.  At 77 years old that is fine with me but I still want to contribute.   East Chapel Hill Rotary Club is the diamond of my 3 clubs and there can be no better.  The club has a wonderful rule which meshes well with the 4 way test.  Paul Ransford first introduced me to it.  “A Rotarian cannot say no”.   The members of this club have great talents which they are willing to share and use in making worldwide contributions for Rotary.  I am very thankful and proud to be a member of ECH Rotary.

Upcoming Events

East Chapel Hill Rotary Club
PO Box 2254
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-2254
Meetings: Friday at 1:00 pm, Hotel Sheraton