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AAFA 12th Annual Meeting and Family Reunion

Alford American Family Association, Inc.

1999 Meeting Report - San Antonio, TX

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 really delicious.

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 the music.

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 meeting.

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.

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