Dickinson

Family Association

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEWS from the

 

 

 

 

2018 DFA REUNION

Mt. Holyoke College

S. Hadley, MA

June 23

 

 

 

Mount Holyoke College has been the venue for five Dickinson Family Association reunions: 1976, 1985, 2010, 2013, and this year, 2018.  Two of the previous meetings had a focus on Emily Dickinson - appropriate since her one year of college was at Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary, the original name of the school.  This year again we focused on Emily but in different ways.  A short pre-luncheon presentation by Alan Dickinson was titled: “Emily’s Dickinson Ancestors.”  It included brief highlights of the seven generations of Dickinsons who came before her.

 

The main feature of the day, however, was the appearance of actress, Ginger Grace, as Emily Dickinson herself.  Ms. Grace’s approximately one-hour program was entitled:  “Inside Emily Dickinson, Her Poetry and Her Life.”  Attired in a characteristic white dress with hair pulled back and always a twinkle in her eye, she moved seamlessly from interacting with the audience, actually pulling out the poet in each of us, to bringing us into the presence and even the mind of the poet herself.  Recitations of many Dickinson poems were woven into the monologue in wonderfully appropriate ways.  The ebullient young 19th century woman we met that day may have surprised some audience members who might have expected a darker portrayal.  But anyone who has really studied Dickinson, who has read not just her poems, but also her letters, knows that we saw a true representation. 

 

Ginger Grace herself is a delightful person.  In 2017 she gave this performance in several locations, mostly libraries.  My wife and I were fortunate to see it in Watertown CT that spring.  She told me afterward that she was so excited to bring her presentation to the DFA, and you could tell that was the case at the reunion.  At the conclusion, our standing ovation was matched by her own applause, for us!

 

The Friday evening dinner was held at the Yarde Tavern in South Hadley, and was attended by about thirty people.  We have used this location the last two times the reunion was at Mt. Holyoke.  It is conveniently located, the food is great and the staff is very accommodating. 

 

Saturday began, as usual, with morning refreshments during a social time.  The registration table was run by Dale Williams, treasurer, and Betsy Dickinson, registrar.  Maria Dickinson, publications treasurer was at the book and T-shirt table and vice president Ken Dickinson and former president Andrew Dickinson brought some interesting items for the exhibits table.

 

Counting of the cousins showed no representation from Thomas, Hannah and Hezekiah and the largest number were descendants of Nehemiah, not a surprise.  Two people from Vermont shared the prize for the farthest traveled. They were Mary Goding and her grandson, Tristan.   The youngest in attendance was Claire Butler, 10, from Noank CT and the prize for the oldest attendee went to Dave Chipman, 90, from Dartmouth, MA. 

 

The lunch featured chicken francese, potatoes, rolls, salad and succotash with strawberry shortcake for dessert.  Because of rain the group photo was taken inside rather than on the patio as in previous years.

 

The 148th annual meeting was called to order by Vice President, Ken Dickinson.  Minutes from the meeting will be distributed sometime in the coming months by secretary, Meg Kribble.  The slate of officers presented by nominations chair Dale Williams included two changes from last year:  Ken Dickinson as President, and Lisa Butler as Scholarship Chair.  The position of vice president is now vacant, and Jean Whitten steps down after many years at the helm of the scholarship committee.

 

Our genealogist, Becky Passa, was in attendance and many people had a chance to talk with her.  She expressed her gratitude for the DFA members’ patience and understanding of the magnitude of her job.  The board is looking into ways to help her out and ease the burden.

 

The scholarship report was not ready in time for the reunion, but it did come out shortly thereafter and it was a tie between two outstanding students:  Siena Rose Caddle of Gloucester, MA and Thomas Landolina of Tolland, CT.  Congratulations to both and best wishes in your college careers!

 

Before adjourning, President Ken Dickinson announced that next year’s reunion will be held in Essex, Connecticut.

 

Alan Dickinson

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