Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Iowa, part 2: P.E.O. Sesquicentennial CIC

The biennial Convention of International Chapter, P.E.O. Sisterhood, is always special but it was even more so this year because this is P.E.O.'s sesquicentennial.

In January, 1869, seven young women, all students at Iowa Wesleyan College, formed the P.E.O. Sisterhood.   I wrote about that momentous event in this post.   If you'd like to know even more read my friend Fran Becque's blog .

It's hard to distill into one post four intense days of meetings, workshops, meals, sight-seeing, greeting long-time friends and making new ones.    This video captures the enthusiasm:  https://www.facebook.com/peointernational/videos/927195737648403/?v=927195737648403 

I stayed in an AirBnB, a condo in a renovated historic downtown hotel.  My roommates were P.E.O.s (biological sisters) from Kansas and Texas -- we were introduced by a Facebook friend.

There was a display of the building history in the lobby.

At the bottom corner of a 1940 newspaper page in that display was this notice, which was most a propos.

The Kirkwood is on the skyway that connects dozens of downtown buildings and parking garages.  Most of the time I walked outside -- six blocks -- but there were light sprinkles a couple of times and the skyway meant I didn't need to carry an umbrella.

Most attendees arrived on Wednesday.  The Descendants' Tea that afternoon feted today's P.E.O. members who are related to the seven founders -- there were great-great granddaughters, great-great (and more) nieces.   That evening the Illinois attendees -- the delegates and others (members like me and a few husbands) met for dinner.

Thursday was workshop day -- required sessions for delegates in the morning (I sat in on the membership session) and general-interest sessions in the afternoon.  I went to an update about Cottey College, a women's liberal arts college that P.E.O. owns. I  also went to "You CAN Teach a Pig to Sing," a funny--and helpful--seminar about dealing with difficult people. Mary Jane Mapes is a consultant (and a P.E.O.). She reminded us that it is hard to change other people but you can change your attitude toward them.

I left the building for the third seminar -- the Des Moines Art Route .  I walked to the botanic garden, paid the entry fee, and did a lightning round of the gardens -- all in 45 minutes!

The opening ceremonies were Thursday evening.  It was Projects Night to celebrate P.E.O.'s six philanthropies. Here's my FB post summary:

Each project had a booth in the Projects Room -- statistics and photo ops abounded.

The convention got down to business on Friday. The delegates were seated on the floor of the arena. We visitors sat in the stands.

Friday evening was dinner-on-you-own. My roommates invited me to join them and a group of friends from a chapter in Washington, DC. Great food and great conversation!

Back to business on Saturday.  More discussion. More voting. Would it all end on time?  Yes!

The outgoing president gave her remarks.  The incoming officers were installed.  The new international president introduced her theme.  The logo certainly caught my quilt-making attention.

I immediately began to think about a commemorative quilt that incorporates the log cabin design.
My roommates and me at the banquet 

The final banquet was the birthday bash.  (All the convention food was good. That evening we were impressed that the filet mignon was so tender -- after all, they served 2500+.)

The closing entertainment was a magic show.  How'd she do it?  I couldn't figure it out.

I was on the road early Sunday morning. I drove straight through and got home at 1:30.  580 miles round trip, new friends, and great memories!

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Souvenirs!  I wasn't going to buy anything but the Marketplace had such neat stuff.  That's a commemorative ceramic dish in the center; a P.E.O.-themed pouch at the bottom (all the dish towels and memo pads with that artwork sold out); a t-shirt; and a scarf commissioned for the convention.


cbott said...

Oh my--I tried to watch that video, really I did, but by the 1-minute mark I had to turn it off. Way too frantic; I kept thinking it could cause a seizure in those so inclined.

PEO is an organization closely linked to my chorus--we have a couple of members common to both, and my quartet gave a performance for a local chapter recently to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the organization.

I was briefly confused and clicked on the link wondering if I'd see a librarian I knew (obviously I didn't), who also has close ties to the chorus.

Regardless of MY problems, sounds as though you had a great time!


cbott said...

Also: yes! Log Cabin for the win!!

Jeannine Leonhart said...

I wonder how many more quilters saw a log cabin quilt about to happen. I was so sorry we did not meet up until the last moment. I am already making plans for Portland! CIC is an incredible experience.