The Light for September 25, 2018
By Helen Oloroso
Photography by John Searles
President Kristin Brown opened the meeting and led the members in reciting the club’s statement of purpose:  “Why We Are Rotarians.”  Susan Prout read three quotes on happiness, citing Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, and J. J. R. Tolkien.
Kristin mentioned that today is National Voter Registration Day in the U.S., tomorrow is the International Day for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, and Sunday, Sept. 30, is the International Day of Peace.
Committee Reports
Linda Gerber reported on the International Service Committee meeting which was held on Sept.  24.  The committee has decided on a new area of focus, that of the refugee crisis.  Because of the committee’s interest in the work that Myra Janus has been doing on behalf of Syrian refugees, it was decided to help support the Karam Foundation with a $2,400 grant to provide monthly stipends of $50 for each of four Syrian refugee students in Turkey to go to school for one year.  Lesley Peters interviewed representatives of the foundation and presented the application.  Linc Janus was also involved in the work to support the application.  Others on the committee present at the meeting were:  Don Gwinn, Harold Bauer, Gerry Baumann, Gary Peterson, Gary Schultz and Marisa Naujokas.
Michael Merdinger reported on the work of the Young Leaders committee in terms of its purpose,  that of creating the next generation of young people committed to service and to be a resource to schools toward that end.  The committee’s primary activities involve the planning and implementation of the Youth Leadership Day, RYLA, and the Rotary Youth Exchange.  The committee is looking for more members to join the group, volunteers for the Youth Leadership Day in November, and for more opportunities for youth to provide service to others.
Jean Saunders reported on the Membership Committee, which met on Sept.  24.  The committee has three objectives:  ensure that prospective members understand the commitment it takes to be a Rotarian; engage current members to ensure that they have the opportunities for involvement they seek; and, increase the diversity of our membership by partnering with other organizations which represent a broad cross-section of the Evanston community.
Harold Bauer gave an update on the medical condition of Senyo, the young boy in Ghana whose first surgery was funded in part by a grant from the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club Foundation several years ago.  Senyo is growing and doing well in school but needs further surgery in order to keep up with his maturing body.  Anyone wishing to contribute to Senyo’s medical expenses can do so at
Zbig Skiba reminded the club that our next tree planting will be on Saturday, Oct. 6.  More information will be coming from Zbig regarding the project’s time and locations.  Please disregard any mention of an earlier date; the event is Oct.  6 – Saturday.
Jean Saunders asked members to save the date of Wednesday, Oct. 24, for the annual observation of World Polio Day.  A new film about the polio eradication effort will be screened at Rotary International at 4:30 pm and at 5:30 p.m.
Neil Gambow announced that Rotary Youth Exchange interviews will begin next week and that Oct. 15 is the deadline to submit applications.  Currently, as many as three applicants have submitted.
Lesley Peters announced that the club’s new fellowship activity, Dinner with Eight, will be held for the first time over the weekend of Nov.  9-11.  Sign-up sheets were on the tables and members can sign up as a host or a guest.  Hosts will plan the meal and guests will contribute side dishes.
Ann and John Searles returned from a recent trip to Scandinavia, where they attended a meeting of the Gimle Rotary Club in Oslo.  Ann presented the club with their banner.
Antonio Guerrero also presented the banner from his club in Chile.
Kristin Brown and Antonio Guerrero
Kristin announced that the next Board meeting will be on Monday, Oct.  1, at the home of Linc and Myra Janus, beginning at 7 p.m.
Kristin also announced that she and her husband, Mahmoud, and Barb and Nick Miles, will ride in the Ride to End Polio in Tucson, Ariz., on Nov. 17.  The fundraising page at will be available for contributions.
Kristin reminded the club that Rotary Day at Northwestern will take place at the Homecoming Game on Saturday, Oct. 13.  (The time of the game has not yet been announced.) Individual tickets can be purchased on the NU Athletic Programs website for the Rotary price of $55 each.
Elaine Clemens announced that the Community Service Committee is finishing its month-long collection of art supplies for The Learning Bridge.  The committee is still accepting monetary donations until the end of the month.
Roasts & Boasts
Neil Gambow boasted his wife, Marge, for her work with the annual Arts & Crafts Exposition (ACE) at the Chicago Botanical Gardens this year in support of the Northshore University Health Systems Foundation.
Suzie McNamara was interviewed by Sergeant-at-Arms Albert Menard.  She citing several key “Rotary moments” that confirmed her interest in the club:  the tree planting in the spring; raising the tent at Taste of Evanston; and the work of the Community Service Committee in considering grant applications.
Zbig Skiba and Suzie McNamara
Suzie revealed something that we might not know about her.  On a trip to New York City with her husband, Suzie saw President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalind, having dinner at the same restaurant.  She shared the picture that she took with the President, a moment which made her very proud since Jimmy Carter has been a person that Suzie has always admired.
What Poetry Asks of Us
Speaker: Richard Jones, Professor of English at DePaul University, Director of the Poetry Center and Editor of Poetry East
Professor Jones told the club that poetry asks that we slow down and enjoy the “insignificant and the divine” in our daily lives.  The challenge of life, he said, is to live the mystery.  He analyzed poetry in terms of the Four Way Test:  poetry is also a search for truth, must be written for all, fair to all, also build good will and better friendships and must be as beneficial as prayer. 
He told the story of a brief period in his life in which he had 40 days and nights of stillness while a retinal tear needed time to heal and how it led to the writing of a poem entitled, “Throne of Dreams.”  Since he could not lie down to sleep, he learned to sleep sitting in a chair and all the chairs in his home became an integral part of his life and sleep. 
In his poem, “Walking the Dog,” he spoke of slowing down with an aging dog and spending the last chapter of the dog’s life with him, comparing it to the sadness one feels upon reading the end of a good book.  “Standing in the Dark by My Mother’s Bed,” evoked thoughts of what she must have been like as a young girl, making snow angels while lying on the ground in the winter.  “Goodbye” sums up the author’s feelings about having been able to spend time with his father after all the necessary things had been said and done, leaving the two men to, “. . .go slow, think things through; we have all the time in the world.”
Professor Richard Jones
Guests and Milestones
Visiting Rotarians
John Doe, Rotary Club of Wilmette Harbor
Jane Smith, Rotary Club of Cochabamba, Bolivia
Other Guests
Nancy Baumberger, wife of Bruce
Sylvester Schmidlap, a neighbor of Ann and John Searles
Hector Berlioz, a friend of Harold Bauer and a prospective member
Club Anniversaries
Don Gwinn, 25 years
Kate Collinson, 8 years
Next Week’s Assignments
Yves Lassere and Horton Kellogg
Thought for the Day
Leslie Peters
Kate Collinson