Vice regent Laura Boyd asked members to share favorite memories from Christmases past. Ellen McReynolds said that as children, she and her two siblings stayed up late one Christmas Eve to wait for Santa, with a fire still burning in their fireplace. Their mother told them that Santa would not be stopping at their house that year because of the fire, since he would not be able to come down the chimney. They did, however, have presents under the tree the next morning.
Jane Lucchesi reported on the progress of the veterans’ home planned for Bradley County, saying that most are still hopeful that the veterans’ home will be built and will not be delayed. She asked anyone who can help in any way to reach this goal to please do so.
Joy Harden, American Indian chairman, reported on the plight of Cherokee women during the Trail of Tears.
Jeannine Scott, National Defense chairman, shared a quote by John F. Kennedy, “Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.”
Maggie Evans, Insignia chairman, explained the process for ordering DAR pins.
Included in the president general’s message from American Spirit magazine was the topic of “Spy Games” during the Revolutionary War.
“Spying was critical to the success and failure of both American and British sides in the Revolution, supplying information about strategy, troop movements and supplies, and sometimes preventing battles from happening,” says John A. Nagy, author of “Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution.” Spying was a risky business, since anyone who was caught faced the death penalty.
General George Washington employed a large network of spies and designed sophisticated fake battle plans to fool the British. Spies used codes, ciphers, invisible ink, pen quills, blind drops, buttons, hollow balls, flowers and even laundry to secretly slip messages across enemy lines.
Quill letters were large feathers that had messages jammed into their hollow shafts. Messages were also sewn under cloth-covered buttons, and small hollow silver balls served as hidden compartments for secret messages. The hollow balls could be swallowed if the spy were to be captured, and could hopefully be coughed up to retrieve the messages once the danger had passed.
In a “blind drop,” one spy would pass information to another without the two meeting directly. Letters were often sent on a circuitous route through rural areas to avoid British troops. In one particular spy ring which operated near Long Island, N.Y., when one spy wanted to alert another of his arrival, he would have Anna Smith Strong, a spy who lived in the area, hang a black petticoat on her clothesline. She would later place a specific number of handkerchiefs on her clothesline to signify the cove on Long Island Sound where the secret messages were stored.
During the business session of the meeting, Linda Foster gave the treasurer’s report, Gussie Ridgeway read the minutes of the previous meeting and Helen Riden gave the Registrar’s report.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was remembered, with several ladies sharing their memories of that day and what they were doing when they learned of the attack.
After Christmas gifts were exchanged, baskets of fruit were passed around by the hostesses.
Mrs. Dietrich thanked hostesses Mildred Maupin, Rinehart Lackey and Ellen McReynolds before adjourning the meeting.