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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Washta's Neighborhood Club marks 70th anniversary

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Neighborhood Club of Washta continues into its 71st year with 10 active members: Front row, left to right, Beverly Huth, Delores Todd, Erma Grell and Nancy Crouch. Back row, Janice Grell, Mary Beazley, Joyce Johnson, Nancy Harder and Ranee Goettsch. Absent, Sandra Leonard. As a side note of interest, at 94-years-young, Erma Grell holds the distinction of being the club's oldest member. Photo by Ron Flewelling
On August 16, a friendly convocation of country folks converged on the Washta Methodist Church for the summer get-together of the Neighborhood Club.

Besides being an annual good-timing event, this summer celebration also marks the club's 70th anniversary.

This fraternity of friendship first got its start way back several decades ago when a group of farm wives from southeast rural Washta started getting together to celebrate their friends' birthdays.

However, this informal birthday bunch would soon undergo a bit of an evolution into bigger and better things.

In 1939, they formed the Neighborhood Club and immediately started putting some real meaning into the words "being neighborly."

Besides allowing the members to stay in touch with their friends, the Neighborhood Club also has a track record of being a social organization.

In the past, they have organized fund-raisers and completed projects, donating the money earned to a number of groups and organizations including the March of Dimes and the Red Cross as well as many local causes.

One year they even raised the money to purchase new dishes for the Washta school.

Considering the changing rural scene, it comes as no surprise to learn that the Neighborhood Club's membership has remained fluid, its numbers varying as some members retired, died or moved away.

Just the fact that there are fewer and fewer farms has affected the club's membership.

After all, the fewer the farms, the fewer the farm wives.

Throughout it all, however, the rank and file of the Neighborhood Club have continued having a good time over the years visiting with their friends and doing the occasional good deed.

The club continues to meet on the third Thursday each month, coming together at a member's home, usually for lunch.

They also have a couple of red letter dates marked prominently on their calendar.

In January, the members and their families gather for a pot luck dinner and card party.

In June, they load up in their family cars and head out for a road trip adventure.

In the past, this has included tours to areas like the Iowa Great Lakes and the Loess Hills.

When summer rolls around, the neighborly nabobs enjoy the season by having a potluck picnic.

To mark their 70th anniversary, the ladies of the Neighborhood Club decided to do something special.

They held their summer gathering at the Washta Methodist Church and invited family, friends and former club members to drop in at help them celebrate.

It was interesting to note that there were several individuals on hand who happened to be third and fourth generation descendants of some of the club's original members.

Although the Neighborhood Club has seen its ups and downs over the years, the club's members continue to live up to those ideals of friendship, sociability and service to their community subscribed to so many years ago by their charter members.

In fact, I think that the Neighborhood Club should be good for another 70 years or so.

At least as long as there's a farm wife in southeast rural Washta...

...And she has a neighbor.

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