November 2009 Newsletter


A message from the President      
You might call it “the reunion that almost wasn’t”.  One of our members called it “the accidental reunion.”  In any case, the Dickinson Family Association reunion of 2009 was not what was planned.     
Friday afternoon six of us gathered at the Ancient Burying Ground in downtown Hartford for a very interesting tour lead by head guide Andrea Ader and some of her youth trainees.  It was a warm, sunny, pleasant afternoon.  As we concluded and headed toward Wethersfield, the sky was darkening.  By the time we reached Wethersfield for our 5 o’clock board meeting, the skies were overcast, the western sky was nearly black and a very brisk wind had come up.     
Inside Michael’s Tavern a few board members had arrived before 5pm and a few others came in just as the storm was starting.  The wind and rain were so strong they came through the cracks in the historic old building.  There was lightening, thunder and hail.  The power went off; emergency lighting came on.  Water had to be mopped up on the second floor where we were meeting.  The gale subsided as suddenly as it had come.  A few more board members climbed up the stairs, quite wet.  With chairs in a circle those who had assembled had a meeting by dim light.  Eventually the restaurant was closed and there was no word as to when power would be restored.  Most of the board members went across the street to a small pizza shop which had a generator, and was doing a brisk business.  After an hour of socializing and pizza we headed out to a calm evening with clear skies.     
The power did not come on all night.  The National Weather Service eventually came to Wethersfield and determined that a tornado had struck the town.  Saturday was a beautiful sunny day.  A massive cleanup effort was in progress and the Wethersfield police had issued a request that people not drive into town.  The church where our meeting was to be had no power and could not let us inside.  The caterer had to cancel our lunch, and the speaker who had prepared a power-point presentation was also cancelled.  A few people were notified that we couldn’t have a reunion, but many were already staying in the area or were on their way, and they came.  And they came!  We called the caterer to re-order our morning coffee etc., and found a picnic table in the church yard for it.  Andrew Dickinson started selling his books, and Virginia Allis sold the Dickinson T-shirts.  People refused to turn around – they parked, gathered and chatted.  Eventually the church provided us with some folding chairs and tables, and gave us access to restrooms.  Many cousins exchanged information with our genealogist, Adrienne Weible.  As lunch-time approached one attendee offered to go out in his car in search of a restaurant that could provide us with, you guessed it – pizza.      
After the pizza lunch we did have an abbreviated meeting.  We had a few reports, announced our scholarship winner, gave out prizes and elected officers.  We sang “God Bless America”, and we took  group pictures.  The meals and many events that had been planned for months in advance didn’t happen, but people had a chance to mingle and get to know the other cousins in attendance much better than they would have at a “regular” reunion.  We also learned that Dickinsons are not easily deterred!     
Although many huge trees fell in the beautiful old town green that Nathaniel Dickinson had helped create and some homes nearby suffered extensive damage, there were no human casualties in the storm, and the historic buildings in Old Wethersfield were preserved.  Next year we hope to avoid any violent storms, but perhaps our experience in Wethersfield taught us some lessons that can be put to use in future reunions. 
Alan C. Dickinson, president 
GOOD NEWS FROM THE GENEALOGIST! In answer to many requests, our genealogist, Adrienne Weible has compiled a new edition of our Female Lines CD.  The first edition contained information current to October, 2003.  This one goes through May of 2009.  The new disc made its first appearance at the June meeting and is now available for purchase through our website.  If you have no internet access, you may order the CD by sending a check for $25 (which includes postage), made out to Dickinson Family Association, to Andrew Dickinson, P.O. Box 308, Cummington, MA 01026. 
ANNUAL REUNION, 2010 Our next Reunion will be held at Mt. Holyoke College on June 26, 2010.  Our main speaker will be Dr. Martha Ackmann, a Mt. Holyoke professor who is an expert on Emily Dickinson.  The poet was a student at Mt. Holyoke during the 1847-48 academic year.  Also, we are happy to announce that this year’s speaker, whose talk was cancelled due to the storm, has agreed to come to Mt. Holyoke with her presentation next June.  Watch the website and future newsletters for more on the 2010 reunion. 
EXECUTIVE BOARD RE-ELECTED The executive board for 2009-2010, elected at the 2009 reunion, is as follows:  President: Alan Dickinson, Vice President & Publications Treasurer: Andrew Dickinson, Treasurer: Virginia Allis, Secretary: Karen Sims, Genealogist: Adrienne Weible, Membership Clerk: Beth Landolina, Historian & Past President: Bob Magovern, Scholarship Committee Chair: Jean Blackmer, Hospitality: Dale Williams. 
MEMBERSHIP NEWS      Our membership clerk, Beth Landolina, has reported that the DFA membership has surpassed 400.  This is a great milestone, and we hope to keep increasing.  If you have relatives who would like to be on our mailing list, send their names and addresses to Beth.  Also, please remember to notify Beth if either your postal or e-mail address changes.     This issue of the Newsletter is being sent electronically to all members whose e-mail address we have.  If you are receiving a paper copy and you do have e-mail we would appreciate your giving your e-mail address to Beth. Sending the November and June newsletters by e-mail saves us time and money, and often gets the Newsletter to you quicker.     Contact info:  Beth Landolina, 82 Evergreen Dr., Tolland CT 06084; . 
2009 SCHOLARSHIP Congratulations to Brittany Garand, this year’s winner of the DFA Scholarship.  Britanny is a junior at Westfield State College majoring in business. She has consistently been on the dean’s list at WSC and plans to pursue a career in business and conservation.  Britanny is a descendant of Samuel.  We wish her well as she continues her studies at Westfield State.
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