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Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006

THE FINAL WORD

PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

Newton Ladies Literary Club still puts on a 'delightful program enjoyed by all'

By Molly Farmer

April 24, 2006 | NEWTON -- No one's really sure when the Newton Ladies Literary Club began meeting in the cozy homes of this small farming community. But since 1928 or 1939 -- take your pick -- the club has continued to share a love of literature and camaraderie.

At a recent club meeting, member Sharron Maughan brought a picture taken of a group of women in 1928 who called themselves by the group's name. The picture was taken 11 years before the literary club's official organization in 1939.

According to minutes kept by the group's secretary, the first meeting was held in February 1939 in Hazel Rigby's home. Club member Phyllis Hunter reviewed the book "My Son, My Son" for the 23 members present.

Heidi Hodgson, a literary club member for the last eight years, said she joined because she thinks it's really important to promote literacy. She said women need to continue to educate themselves even after they complete formal schooling.

The typed 1958 bylaws taped to the inside cover of the 1954-1967 minute book state a meeting was to be held once a month, usually in a member's home though records show they occasionally met elsewhere like scout rooms and banquet halls. Each meeting was to have one or two musical numbers and members absent "without excuse for six months will be considered withdrawn."

Though today's club no longer requires the secretary to notify members of meetings via post card, its purpose is still about appreciating literature. At each meeting one member of the club reviews a book or spotlights an author. The April 10 meeting focused on the book "Ben Franklin" by Walter Issacson. Hodgson, who gave the presentation, focused on Franklin's life and accomplishments. Some members read books about Franklin prior to meeting, while others just came to listen.

Hodgson's mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother all belonged to the club, an unbroken line of membership dating back to the club's founding. She said the time the early members took to meet together, even without the modern conveniences members have today, shows they considered it a priority.

The club isn't limited to literary works only. Hodgson said one woman who loved gardening had a Utah State University professor teach the group how to prune trees, and another member shared Celtic music.

"It's really so varied," she said, as the meetings reflect the diverse interests of the members.

Hodgson said she has been exposed to many things she would never have tried before. Things like horse poetry and interacting with women of the community many years her senior. At one meeting a woman shared a book about World War II, Hodgson said, an era which many of the members had lived through. The women discussed their experiences of rationing and what life was like at war, which was a learning experience for Hodgson.

"It is just so fun," she said.

The format of today's meetings is similar to those of the early gatherings as authors are profiled, books reviewed, and refreshments are a must. Fruit salad and ham roll-ups were served at the April 10 meeting. One 1958 bylaw stated snacks should consist of "light refreshments, two or three things including drink."

On Feb. 22., 1940, the 208th anniversary of George Washington's birth, the minute book states, "Cherry tarts and punch were served to all present with a favor which was in keeping with Washington's birthday." There were "over sixty ladies present and one gentleman."

As evidenced by over 67 years of continued attendance, members of the Newton Ladies Literary Club have loved experiencing literature with one another. In the beautifully penned, cursive writing of Secretary Opal Clarke from the 1939-1953 minute book, "It was a delightful program enjoyed by all."

NW
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