Torch Club of The Fox Valley Torch Logo

Torch Logo

Meeting Minutes

M i n u t e s
12 March 2009
Atlas Coffee Mill & Café

Present: Jim Baumbach, Al Button, Travis Christopher, Barb & Bill Kelly, Bob Swain, Peter Thiel, Scott Valitchka, Donna & Len Weis, Janet Wullner-Faiss Cloak

Guests: Helen Thiel, Helen Turek

PRESIDENT Barb Kelly called the meeting to order at 6:35 PM (Atlas Classroom).

MINUTES were approved as written.

Bob Swain moved, Len Weis seconded, a motion that Article VI, Section 1 of the Bylaws be ammended to read: "The officers of the Club shall be a president, a vice-president, a secretary, and a treasurer.  All Officers shall be elected for two-year terms." Motion APPROVED.

                        12 March 2009                     $1,924.54
                        13 March 2008                     $1,333.84
Bob Swain moved, Donna Weis seconded, Report accepted.

Al Button suggests a “celebratory event” after the convention. Unanimous!

NOMINATING COMMITTEE: Officers reelected (“by acclimation”) subject to amended By-Laws.

CONVENTION 2009: Barb Kelly reported that 45 are registered; we need at least 60.

Len Weis said that Gail Stickland will send out a letter (by Barb and Travis) attached by e-mail to the TORCHLIGHT news letter. This will remind people about the Badger games and the need to book their airline and hotel space.

Delegates are needed by 1 June. Donna Weis, YES. We will ask Leota Ester. Possible Alternate: Janet Wullner-Faiss Cloak

Travis Christopher reported that hotel and food expenses will be less, and we should make a profit of just over $3000. “We’re in great shape.”

TOURS: 3 people needed each afternoon. A car is needed with each trip in case of emergency.

REGISTRATION DESK will need staffing.

Scott Valitchka mentioned that Bergstrom-Mahler will be in process of installing a new exhibit. All agreed that a tour of the permanent exhibit of glass and paperweights is even more desirable for the Convention guests.

Len Weis announced that the Friday Supper will be a half-hour later in order to have adequate tour time. The Hearthstone will have docents despite the loss of its Director.

NEXT YEAR’S PROGRAMS: Bill Kelly asks that we be prepared at our April meeting to sign up for next year’s programs.   We adjourned “by acclimation” at 7:13, moved back to the Atlas Dining Room for dinner before returning to the classroom for Janet Wullner-Faiss Cloak’s program (substituting for Mary Poulson’s). The emergency program was revised (in haste) from the form as originally presented to Town & Gown Book Club.

Respectfully submitted,
Janet Wullner-Faiss Cloak


Eudora Welty’s The Golden Apples (and other books)
Town & Gown Book Club, 3 December 2008
Revised for TORCH, March 2009
Presenter: Janet Wullner-Faiss Cloak


The program began with a lengthy recitation from memory of a passage from John Brown’s Body, a Civil War epic by Stephen Vincent Benét. Short biographical remarks followed. Benét was not a Southern writer — he was born in Pennsylvania — but he influenced many writers during his life and Margaret Mitchell said John Brown’s Body was a direct influence on her novel, Gone With the Wind.

I read John Brown’s Body some 55 years ago. When southern Writers became our book club topic, I balked a bit. Slavery, lynchings, Ku Klux Klan, rednecks, prejudice — all those negatives came to mind. But the memory of the poem, John Brown’s Body, haunted me. Although not written by a Southern writer, the cadence of the piece made me long to find that Southern-sounding voice in my author of choice: Eudora Welty. She did not disappoint me.

The Golden Apples was the book assigned. It’s a collection of interlocking short stories, each focusing on different members of the community of Morgana, an imaginary small town in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta. Welty’s subject is relationships, the relation of self to family and community. I summarized two of the stories for the club members and then read Eudora Welty’s most pleasant Afterword.

Then I read from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Optimist’s Daughter, in which Laurel Hand confronts the memory of her long dead mother, faces the death of her father, and deals with his second wife, the self-centered Fay. I was led to this book after reading One Writer’s Beginnings, Eudora Welty’s unusually conceived autobiography. The last paragraph spoke volumes to me:

"As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within."

©2011 Torch Club of the Fox Valley