The meeting this past year, as most of you are aware, was held at
the Holiday Inn Select-Airport. There were tours scheduled for Wednesday,
Thursday, and Monday along with tours during the meeting for spouses
who did not wish to attend all of the sessions of the meeting. We
did not arrive in time to take the Wednesday tour to Fredericksburg.
Those who did attend all said they had a most enjoyable time. The
bus driver, Thomas Martinez of Greyline Tours, shared information
with those on the tour concerning the history of the area in and around
Fredericksburg. The Thursday tour consisted of visiting several of
the missions in the San Antonio area. A specific request was made
that Mr. Martinez also be the driver on that tour. We were fortunate
enough to be able to go on that tour. Mr. Martinez was kind enough
to show us some areas of interest that were not supposed to be on
the mission tour. The tour ended at the Alamo.
The meeting officially got under way Friday morning with registrations
beginning at 8 o'clock. It seems no matter how careful we are when
preparing nametags, there is always at least one botched tag. One
year, I had the wrong last name for gentleman. Last year, I had "Kat"
instead of "Kate" on a nametag. This year, I had the wrong
family lineage on a nametag. What really made this so embarrassing
was that the tag belonged to my cousin, your treasurer, Doris Vetri.
One would think that I could have at least got that one correct. Lynn
Shelley along with help from other members conducted the Genealogy
Workshop on Friday. The event was well attended. Several nice compliments
were heard regarding the contents and the job done by all who contributed
to the workshop.
The reception held Friday night had the second largest number of
people attending (the Saturday night buffet being first). We renewed
acquaintances with several friends from past meetings and meet quite
a few members who were attending for the first time. The food was
At the Saturday morning meeting, a new Board of Directors was chosen
by those in attendance at the business meeting. The members (in attendance)
of the new Board then elected a new slate of officers for the coming
year. Dick Alford, Mbr. #0633, Lewiston, Idaho, was elected President.
Lynn Shelley, Mbr. #0484, Springfield, Missouri, was re-elected Vice-President.
Doris Alford Vetri, Mbr. #0303, Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, was re-elected
Treasurer. Max Alford, Mbr. #0230, Mesquite, Texas, was re-elected
Secretary. Reports were given by past president, Gil Alford, the treasurer,
Doris Vetri, the meetings committee chairlady, Ramona Darden, Janice
Smith, co-chairman of the Photographic Committee, just to name a few.
I apologize to those who gave reports that I did not list.
At the Saturday night buffet, the food was very good and there seemed
to be a lot of good conversation going on during the meal. The editor
of the AAFA quarterly, Pam Thompson, Mbr. #0030, Mountain View, California,
was honored with a plaque for her many years of devoted service to
the Association via her compiling and editing of the quarterly since
the inception of the Association. Pam is taking a two year leave of
absence from her position as editor of the quarterly to devote more
time to some other projects that have been neglected somewhat because
of the amount of time the editor's job consumed on a almost daily
basis. Plus Pam and her husband plan on taking a long cruise along
the shores of America on their sailboat. Everyone in the Association
owes Pam a very special "Thank you" for the last 45 issues
of the award winning "AAFA Action" quarterly.
As is the case every year, the Saturday afternoon Alford Family Forum
was well attended. Gil Alford again conducted the forum ably assisted
by various members.
This year, we were very fortunate to have entertainment from an individual
as well as a group. James "Posey" Alford, Mbr. #0021, of
Gonzales, Texas, gave a very humorous after-dinner talk that was the
hit of the evening. This was a return engagement for Posey. Posey
had everyone in stitches and some were close to rolling on the floor.
We sincerely hope to have the privilege of hearing from Posey again
at future meetings. The Caldwell High School Jazz Band also entertained
us. They traveled all the way from Caldwell, Texas, to San Antonio
just to entertain us. There was music for everyone from golden oldies
to classical. _______ Alford, son of Mbr. #0058, James Alford, Caldwell,
Texas, and grandson of D.L. Alford, Mbr. #0054, Caldwell, Texas, was
a member of the band. The band did an outstanding job and all enjoyed
Then before we knew it, we were packing up all the books in the research
room, the photographs in the photography room, and the merchandise
in the store as the meeting came to an end.
Sunday afternoon, many of us journeyed downtown to see the Alamo,
the IMAX Theater that was showing a movie about the Alamo, or to just
shop in the mall located next to the Alamo and the theater. Late in
the afternoon, we all met at a restaurant on the River Walk to enjoy
dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Afterwards, we all boarded one of
the riverboats for a tour of San Antonio along the River Walk. Again,
we were introduced to some more history of San Antonio by the boat
driver and tour guide. The evening was one of the high lights of our
trip. Afterwards, we had to catch taxis back to the hotel. Some of
us almost didn't make it back to the hotel. After crossing a busy
San Antonio one way street in mid-block for about the third time,
a couple of San Antonio's finest (on bicycles) approached the group
I was in and informed us if we did that one more time, they would
provide transportation for us but it wouldn't be back to the hotel.
The reason for the many trips across the street involved trying to
hail a cab. The cab would be on the opposite side of the one way street
from where we were, so we would cross over to the opposite side and
the cab in turn would make the block and come back on the side we
were originally on. It proved to be one of the zanier moments of the
Ramona Darden, Chairlady of the Membership Committee, did an outstanding
job of making arrangements for the meeting. She is to be congratulated
and THANKED for all her efforts toward making this a meeting to remember
for all who attended. There were a few things that did not go as they
were planned and Ramona handled them all efficiently and quickly.
One incident that could have put a damper on the Sunday afternoon
trip to downtown San Antonio happened when the Holiday Inn had to
withdraw their offer to shuttle our party downtown because one of
their vans had broken down and the other vans were needed for airport
transportation. Ramona quickly rounded up rides for all via four or
five taxis. This was not the only mishap that Ramona had to deal with
during the meeting but is representative of how she handled each incident
as it came up.
I personally was pleased that for the first time my cousin, Peggy
Schuster, was able to attend the meeting. In the past, she had been
obligated to attend the annual Alford Family Reunion held each year
in Pickton, Texas. This is a reunion of my particular line of Alfords.
Peggy was very involved in making the arrangements for the meeting.
Last year, Peggy turned those chores over to someone else, which enabled
her to attend the AAFA meeting. Peggy has been involved in researching
our particular line of Alfords for many years. She has supplied much
data to the AAFA and has been a tremendous help to me in maintaining
our family line in a Brother's Keeper database.
There are many pleasant memories of this meeting that will linger
for a long time with yours truly. Sally and Dick Stoewer (Mbrs. #0120,
Baton Rouge, Louisiana) were unable to attend this meeting due to
Sally's surgery. Sally's sister, Jeanne Singleton, Mbr. #0249, Greenwell
Springs, Lousiana, who has assisted Sally in the store at past meetings,
brought the merchandise to the meeting and ably manned the store.
Jeanne's friend, Pat Courtney, who had no Alford relatives (at least
none she would admit to) attended the meeting to assist Jeanne. She
quickly made friends of us Alfords and one would have thought that
she had attended many of the previous meetings the way she conducted
herself. I hope that Pat is able to attend future meetings with Jeanne.
Who knows, we may even adopt her into the Alford family.
Someone else we always look forward to seeing at the meetings (even
though she has no Alford ancestors) is Ester Hutchins! What can I
say about Ester? Ester is a long time friend of Jo Carrigan, Mbr.
#0235, Pleasanton, California, and has attended many of the meetings
with Jo. Ester could best be described as a real live cut-up and someone
who never meets a stranger. Ester is full of life and seems to enjoy
every minute of it. Ester and my son, Matt, had many smoke breaks
together during the meeting and became good friends.
These are but a few of the many memories of the San Antonio meeting
that we will carry for a long time. Two young ladies, Laura Tuffnell,
granddaughter of Frieda Shepherd, Mbr. #0763, Sonoma, California,
and "T.T." Whitt, granddaughter of Betty Peveler, Mbr. #0947,
Sebree, Kentucky, also livened up the meeting with their presence.
Laura was quick to point out that I had the wrong city on her nametag.
As it looks like this report is turning into a novel rather than short
story, I will end this with apologies to all who I failed to mention
but both time and space worked against me in doing this report. My
old memory isn't quite what it use to be.