Report of the Second Meeting of the Feller Reunion planning Society

First I must apologize for the delay.  I have been a bit swamped over the past few days trying to get my act together to head South.

Notwithstanding the fact that the first meeting went well, I believe this one went even better.  The first meeting was exploratory and most everyone was on their best behaviour and though this is much to be applauded it can sometimes inhibit people’s willingness to express themselves freely.  Add to that the my tendency to never shut up on top of my somewhat opinionated personality and some folks are liable to just sit and watch.   Brian Babb and Carmen Paquin, among others, were instrumental in setting a relaxed tone for the meeting and my thanks go out to them.  Brian expressed some mild doubt about the Chairman’s wild optimism in a most colorful and entertaining manner.  But I’ll leave the details for the chat site.  I would also like to thank Doug Masson who even though it was his first meeting did not hesitate to make his point clear.  Lest anyone should misunderstand, Doug did so quite graciously, but he none the less insisted on making me understand the point he was trying to make.  Far from being offended I was grateful for his insistence.  If we are to work together and hash out the best approach to get the best results, then we very much need to speak our minds freely.   For others who may attend in the future please do not hesitate to express your feelings and opinions.  Brian and Doug demonstrated that we can say quite a lot to each other face to face, without fear of offense.  A smile is the secret.

We got quite a bit done in my opinion and things are looking good.  I opened the meeting with an address about the structure of our organization and what we were looking to accomplish and my suggestion as to how we might best proceed.  I also explained that in my opinion we were more a society than a committee, as committees are normally constituted by some other organization.

In attendance were:

Ian St James, Rick Elger, Jean Claude Girodo, Albert St James, Arthur Grannary, Joycelyne Auclair, Anne Durling, Brian Babb, Peter Payan, Dave Small, Doug Masson, Mike Lacombe, Carmen Paquin,  and Nigel Taylor

Our first order of business was the establishment of officers and the following were appointed:

Chairman:  Ian St James
Vice Chairman: Brian Babb
Treasurer:  Anne Durling Bordeleau
Secretary:   Isabelle St James

There was only a single nominee for each of the four positions and so all were ‘elected’ by acclamation.   Isabelle St James has yet to be formally advised and accept her nomination.  But we have inside dope that she will be pleased to serve.  So I don’t believe we really need to involve the Quebec Elections Officer (or whatever he’s called).

From this point, we discussed the overall of what was facing us and determined that it would best be approached by the ‘divide and conquer’ philosophy.  As I have mentioned previously, it is my own opinion, and I do believe that I had at least some support, that we will need to tackle this project in a manner that will accommodate the handicap of not knowing exactly how many people we’re planning for.  But in order to try and at least get a feel for what percentage of those who have been found may attend,  there will be a page on this site listing all those who have been found with some added information.  The exact layout remains to be determined, but somewhere associated with each name will be the possibility of indicating five different degrees of commitment concerning attendance at the reunion.  The terms may change somewhat by the time we finally get it up and running, but for the sake of example let’s say something like:

1. Will definitely attend
2. Will most likely attend
3. Don’t know yet
4. Will most likely not attend
5. Sorry, won’t be able to make it

This way we should have a running, continuously updated ‘survey’ of where we stand.  (Hopefully!)  Once we do get it up, I would like to ask all of you to make an effort to communicate your status.   Those who have still not given any indication after a reasonable period of time should prepare for the possibility that we may taunt them, and break wind in their general direction.

As I said above our approach to this task was to divide and conquer, so we established a whole bunch of ‘committees’.  In some cases the committees are one person while in others there are more than one person.  There room for more volunteers on most of these committees and anyone who would like to get involved and help, should make themselves known.  I suspect we’re going to need all the help we can get and then some.  We somehow settled on the term “focus” to identify the central player on each committee.  The reason for identifying a single person was to keep information and suggestions about the particular task ‘centralized’ with one individual.  Therefore, any suggestions, contributions or other information (and we need that stuff) that anyone may have,  should be addressed to the ‘focus’ person involved in the task, along with whoever else you may wish to discuss it with or propose it to.  The purpose being to have at least one person with the ‘whole picture’ in each area.

To wit:

Hall (locale for the main event): - - - - -    Arthur Grannary(focus), Peter Payan, Jocelyne Auclair
Catering: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  -  Arthur Grannary(focus), Peter Payan, Jocelyne Auclair
Accommodation info for out of towners: -   Arthur Grannary(focus), Peter Payan, Jocelyne Auclair
Entertainment:- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -   Brian Babb(focus), Anne Durling
Fundraising: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -    Ian St James(focus), Mike Lacombe
Transportation:- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -   Mike Lacombe(focus)
Souvenirs and mementos :- - - - - - - - - -  Anne Durling(focus), Isabelle St James, and Rick Lambert (who doesn’t know yet).
Local (Grande Ligne resource):- - - - - - -   Jocelyne Auclair(focus)
Memorabilia: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  Albert St James(focus), Jocelyne Auclair
Search: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  Carmen Paquin(focus)
Advertising:- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -   (no focus person yet)  Rick Elger and Vincent Pons, (who also doesn’t know yet) as resource and guidance
Photography: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -    (We arrived at the consensus that a professional photographer should be invited to attend and take candid photos during the duration.)  No one has yet been tasked with this, but there’s time yet for this matter.
Artist: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  It was agreed to twist Mike Lacombe’s arm if and when we identified what we need.
Activities: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -   This committee remains unmanned.  (Unless I forget I’ll comment on this a little further along.)

Many will notice that all members of the various committees have one thing in common.  Namely, that they were educated at a particularly fine school and of a consequence are exceptionally intelligent and competent individuals. Therefore, the mandates of these committees remain broad.  Namely to research and determine what options are available or advisable and then to evaluate them.  Some committees will effectively define their own mandate.  The plan being to accomplish as much preparatory legwork as possible and then meet again in early January of the New Year.  We determined that we would make the final decisions if full congress as the overall group.  Of course, I expect that the final recommendations of each committee will very probably be the way we go.

Overall,  the plan is to lay the groundwork and do the research for as grand a reunion as we can.  This should give us a fairly accurate appreciation of what the different aspects and proposals might entail in terms of effort, time and cost.  Thereafter, should a shortage of interest, support and/or numbers require it, we can scale all the way back to beer at a local tavern if absolutely necessary.  Though regrettable, it would be easier to scale back, late in the game, than to scale up.

Our greatest objective still remains the location of alumni.  Everything depends on it.  To this end, it has been suggested that the history of Feller may well be of sufficient interest to entice print and TV media into providing us with publicity in exchange for an interesting story.  This suggestion was first made to me by Rick Elger quite some time ago and then again by Vince Pons immediately upon his return from Europe, followed most recently by Michel Girodo and others.  As I have stated elsewhere, Rick and Vince both have a lifetime of experience that would be very pertinent to any such endeavor.  As it happens though, Rick in my opinion is already doing more than his share and Vince is, especially these days, a very busy beaver indeed.  They have both nonetheless offered their advice and expertise in this matter but I feel quite strongly that we should arrange to ask an absolute minimum of their time.  Vince explained what we need to do in considerable detail to me on the phone and Rick, as many of you know has a lifetime of experience in entertainment including TV specials, and the press, so the man has to know a trick or two about what we’d need to do to put together something of interest.  Vince explained to me that we don’t need to actually produce the thing, the pros will do that, we need to get them the materials, the sources and the facts, etc., and if we can pique their interest, they’ll do the rest.

Herein lies a possibly massive breakthrough in the locating of Alumni.  Jocelyne Auclair in particular has already contributed remarkable effort and produced a whole raft of stuff from the people who replaced the Grande Ligne Mission.  (I just can’t seem to remember their new name.)  Jocelyne has been working on collecting information for the production of a master list of everyone who ever attended Feller, and acquired an impressive amount of other material in the process.  Somebody  somewhere owes this girl a beer for her efforts. Thanks Jocelyne.  Michel Girodo has also done some preliminary exploration on this subject, but it is unclear as to whether he will have the time to continue.

We need to get people working on this yesterday.  Actually the day before yesterday would have been much better, Remembrance Day would have been a great opportunity for the WW2 prisoner of war angle.  It’s a touch late for Nov 11, but it’s a terrific idea nonetheless.  Therefore, anyone who would be inclined to contribute in doing research and digging up ideas on this subject – “Come on down!!”,  your fellow alumni needs you…  your alma mater…  “Ask not for whom the bell tolls”…  and other stuff like that.

On the subject of activities we’ve received suggestions concerning golf, wine and cheese, a Feller type meal at the main event, an identified common meeting area or ‘hang out’ for in between times and others.  Of course we must guard against encroaching on the main purpose which of course is to get together and talk.  This was the point Doug Masson made to me during the meeting and though I probably didn’t sound like it at the meeting, I’m slowly coming around to a fear of  “overentertainment”.  We may well look forward to a well organized weekend of activities with old school friends, but once we actually get together and get to talking we just might discover a considerable reluctance to do much of anything else.  We have a devilishly hard time getting down to business at these meetings because of this very phenomena.  My own opinion is that it doesn’t hurt to look at these options, we just have to remember to be prepared to walk away from them, if we should, when the time comes to make the tough choices.  There may indeed be some tough choices to make along the way with this project, but then that’s what we’re paid the big bucks for.  Which brings me to my next subject…

If you refer back to the list of different committees and check the name beside  “Fundraising”, you may guess where I’m going here.  As we stand now, we don’t have a cent.  A bunch of people have volunteered to invest time in effort to try and make this reunion happen big time.  I’m hoping that the alumni will agree with me that they should not also be expected to fork over the costs involved in this planning and organization.  We will surely incur incidental costs in this project.  We can only go so far without financial resources and that point is now approaching.  We discussed how we might go about financing our efforts and at my suggestion we decided to try the simplest method first.  That being to ask you.  Many of you have inquired if there was any way you could contribute from afar.  Well this would be one.  I’m hoping that we can generate sufficient funds through pure donations from you wonderful people out there.  (I'm sucking up as best I know how here.)

So as they say on TV, take advantage of this special offer while supplies last, send cheque or money order payable to “Feller Reunion 2001”, to:

Anne Durling
37 Genicourt,
Lorraine, Que

I leave the amounts up to you.   Any surplus will most probably go towards enhancing the actual reunion itself or be returned in proportional amounts.  Can’t say yet.  Perhaps you may wish to indicate your preferences concerning surplus with your donations.

This is getting really long even for me.  I could have made it shorter, but then it would be less fun, like for example:

In summary, we arranged for structure with committees who will explore options in the different areas and report back to the group with hard information and recommendations.  At the meeting in January we seek to decide the main aspects of what we plan to do and expect to have most of it already lined up. Once the options are decided we should then be able to arrive at what it will cost per person.  We should also have an accurate perception as to how long we can wait for the best guess at the numbers who will attend, once the conditions are determined.  When we can wait no longer, we will commit to spending more serious money.   I suspect we will have to ask that people send the money for their tickets somewhat before time in order to secure whatever goods and services will be required but, this will be sorted out somewhere down the line.

The question of fixing a date was a subject of discussion, but in the end, the date remains for the moment late September, first half of October.  Most everyone is dully sensitive to the benefits of early confirmation for planing purposes, and we hope to fix a date at the next meeting, because we can’t very well delay much beyond that.

Even with this length, I get the feeling that I’ve overlooked something.  If so, I’ll get to it in another report.

Ian St James
Class of 62
Chairman, Feller Reunion Society

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