ALUMNI RELATIONS 1984 Newsletter

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 20: Alumni & Alumni Relations

Alumni Relations 1984 Newsletter

TAGS: Alumni Relations 1984 Newsletter, Pine Mountain Association of Alumni & Friends, alumni homecoming meeting, “Earn and Learn” scholarships, PMSS Octet, Arthur Dodd, Ruth Shuler Dieter, Chapel marriage, country dancing revival

TRANSCRIPTION: Alumni Relations 1984 Newsletter

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Homecoming 1984
Pine Mountain Association of Alumni & Friends
Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, Kentucky

[Photograph caption] “A joyful gathering outside the chapel.”


The eleventh annual meeting of the Pine Mountain Settlement School Association of Alumni & Friends was held Saturday, August 11, 1984, 1:00 P.M. at Laurel House Dining Room, Mattie Ellen Ayers Hayes, President, presiding.

Carol and Jim Urquhart welcomed us again to Pine Mountain and had a word of appreciation and thanks for the jobs done this year.

Mrs. Hayes recognized the following people from the floor: first timers to the Homecoming were Cleta Brock Strandholm, Ruth Christian Russell, Margaret Dodd (daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Dodd), and Hazel Kilgore Latham. Former workers and directors present were Mr. and Mrs. William Hayes, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Dodd, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Creech, Ordelle Havey and Mr. and Mrs. Burton Rogers.

There was a moment of silence in remembrance of Ed Bird and Malcolm Wells, who passed away during the year. Pat Hall Martin read the minutes of last year’s meeting and Mr. August Angel gave the Treasurer’s report. There was a standing ovation in recognition of Mr. Angel’s contributions to the …

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… Association.

“Mac” then gave the report on what jobs we had accomplished during the year: Laurel House Girl’s Room, curtains, and a computer for the office.

Lela Christian Meador gave a report on Ruth Shuler Dieter on her retirement from the Board of Trustees. Ruth was presented with a book of letters and cards of Pine Mountain days and a beautiful fireplace bench, made by William Hayes, from the Association. It was agreed that Ruth has greatly added to and worked hard for the Association and will be missed.

Jack Martin was elected to the Board as Ruth’s successor. The slate of officers for 1984 were reelected for the year 1985.

Paul Hayes explained about “Earn and Learn” scholarships, with Carol, who had prepared explanatory notes about the pilot program. It was reported that the cost of one scholarship was $30. Collection was taken by Paul Hayes and Jack Martin.

The great Pine Mountain cooks were given special recognition.

Next Homecoming is scheduled to be August 10 and 11, 1985.

Meeting Adjourned.
Respectfully submitted,
Betty Burkhart Kelly, Secretary


Fred Burkhard lets me know that my jokes are “pure corn”, so I’ll start by telling one of his: “I feel like the mosquito who flew into the nudist colony. I really don’t know where to begin!”

That about sums up the staggering effect upon my emotions as our beautiful Homecoming unfolded.

When we go down the list of those who came this year it’s astounding to see the many states represented from near and far. Pine Mountain is like a magnet that draws us back to enjoy once again the place of our youth. Lela Christian Meador (Dancing Grandma) and Ruth Christian Russell came all the way from Woodlands and Houston, Texas. I still feel that last hug. Others who came were Delia Ann Taylor Lewis and Stella Taylor LaMoreax, from Hamilton and Cleveland, Ohio, Cleta Brock Strandholm, from Cedarville, Michigan, and Hazel Kilgore Latham, Tucson, Arizona. It was thrilling to see Margaret Dodd, daughter of Arthur and Georgia, who came from Connecticut, returning to enjoy Homecoming and visit the place of her “roots”. Ann Angel, daughter of August and Sue [Susie Hall Angel], was just a baby the last time I saw her. August and Sue are building a new house on the farm near London, …

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… Kentucky. August is doing “honey do” jobs and enjoying his new freedom from the printing press.

It was great to see Calvin Jones, now retired in Panama City, Florida. He spent so many years in Turkey, he now has meat loaf for Thanksgiving.

Our picture of the young ladies, Lela Christian Meador, Ruth Christian Russell, Georgia Ayers Dodd, and Fern Hall Hayes, is one-half of the renowned Octet, which performed many engagements, including appearances at the White House during the Roosevelt era. NBC Radio, from Radio City, Town Hall in New York, and many others. They were the true ambassadors of Pine Mountain, they made our image one of pure beauty, which was reflected in the spirit of that day and still exists in the hearts of those who gather each year for Homecoming. Dr. Glyn Morris was their director. We are thankful for this great heritage. We have expectations of having all eight there some day, along with their director.

It was a real pleasure to meet the new president of Berea College, Dr. John Stephenson and his family, who shared our Saturday picnic and Country Dance Party, along with a host of Alumni and Friends and community people. How does pinto beans, poke sallet, cornbread and watermelon grab you?

[Photograph caption] “Dr. and Mrs. John Stephenson, son and daughter

We had a large crowd for Breakfast on Sunday morning before worship service. I stood in line behind a young lady from Topeka, Kansas. I asked her if she had a restful evening and her reply was, “It was pleasant but not restful, because two men talked until 4:00 A.M.” She said she didn’t know who they were. I asked her if she knew George Tye. She said, “I don’t know…

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… George Tye but I do know Bill Tye.” I told her it must have been George because Bill would never do a thing like that … and it certainly couldn’t have been Dr. George William Tye, because he’s a good listener! He maintains that he came to Pine Mountain sinless and left there sinless. If this is the case we had better take WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO ROOM WITH off the registration card! Nuff said.

Paul Hayes


Didn’t I tell you that you’d swear, by grab, it would be a pretty fine time at our Homecoming? Well, it was more than pretty fine, it was absolutely sensational!

Let me tell you, it’s different when you serve as president of our organization. You fret over details of scheduling events, who’s to do what and when…then when we all get to Pine Mountain everything falls by the wayside, we’re so glad to see each other again. Everything else that happens is just “water over the dam.” I heard one person say that she didn’t come to dance, she came to hug. Even Bill Tye’s golf joke got funnier with each telling. I think he comes to keep us in good cheer anyway! A special vote of thanks [goes] to Carol and Jim and their excellent staff for the warm welcome and enthusiasm for our special time. So many beautiful happenings in such a short time could never be recounted, but one we’ll remember and never forget is Burton’s and Carol’s thrilling music during the chapel service. We also appreciate Clay Howard’s “dinner music”…those super tunes from H.M.S. Pinafore and Mikado.

The success attributed to our Reunion really belongs to those we honor and cherish. Arthur Dodd, who has shared his harmony of talents with each of us for so many years, has been made officially aware of our gratitude and publicly proclaimed in our midst as one we hold in deep affection and thanksgiving. Ruth Shuler Dieter now knows by expressions in notes and letters (plus special remembrances from several of us) that we appreciate all she has done as our representative on the Board of Trustees. Ruth now has the lovely fireplace bench she has always wanted and it has finally made its way to Abilene, Kansas.

This is the “right stuff” of which Homecomings are made. I want to thank each of you for your love and thoughtfulness in these most highly valued events at a place we all hold dear.

Paul’s appeal for the EARN AND LEARN program was so favorably received that we more than covered expense for the pilot program with projections far into the future. Thank you for your concern and dollars for this outstanding endeavor.

From the moment Ruth stood up to announce “This is Arthur W. Dodd Day,” …

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… until Mary’s gratifying benediction prayer on Sunday morning, it was pure joy. We are eternally thankful to Dr. John Stephenson for his meaningful message about the threshold of new beginnings.

Go out now, buy your calendar for 1985, mark the days AUGUST 10 and 11, and remember, YOU CAN COME EARLY TO HELP WITH CHORES!

Love to each and all, Mattie Ellen

Rt. 4, … Tremont Lane
Johnson City, Tenn. 37601
August 27th, 1984

Mrs. Paul Hayes
Pine Mountain School Association of Alumni and Friends
Bristol, Tenn 37620

Dear Ellen Hayes:

The Home-Coming week end of August 11th and 12th was indeed a memorable one for me and Georgia as well. We were happy that Margo, our daughter, was present to share our joy.

We deeply appreciate all that the Association did to make this possible and for the many kindnesses extended to us since its creation. The thoughtful gifts were loved and I was grateful and appreciative for the public citation that my contributions were worth while.

Over that span of 18 years, starting at a salary of $40.00 a month, I never considered it a sacrifice on my part – rather a golden opportunity had come for personal growth and long lasting associations with worthy groups of teen-agers and many dedicated Workers.

Today, August 27th, is our Wedding Anniversary covering exactly 46 years since we were married in the Pine Mountain School chapel by our dear friend and associate Glyn Morris – with August Angel and Nan Milan as attendants. We know that Pine Mountain School has had considerable influence on our happy relationship together.

Again my warm thanks for everything and with loving thoughts and kind remembrances to all.

Dodd and Georgia

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Dr. John Stephenson, president of Berea College and Chairman of Pine Mountain’s Board of Trustees, has appointed Ruth Shuler Dieter as Chairman of the Advisory Council, at the Fall Meeting of the Board. This Council is to advise and assist the Board with respect to phases of the Schools operation working toward beneficial and constructive matters for the good of Pine Mountain School as an institution. Let’s support Ruth in this new responsibility. HALLELUJAH, AMEN!


When a folk art form is repressed, suffers from disuse, nearly dies, and then is revived and thrives, it is a time for major rejoicing! Such is the case with the exciting resuscitation of country dancing at Pine Mountain. A group of some 20-30 young dancers is being courageously and ably led by the ebullient Carol Urquhart, with the moral support and help of the unstoppable Alonzo Turner. It would be sheer pleasure to all you erst-while Pine Mountain dancers to behold this phoenix-like resurgence.

During our August gathering, I had the great good fortune to observe this group in rehearsal and then in action at our dancing party. There, sure enough, was the old familiar stuff – Circassian Circle, Rufty Tufty, La Russe and Nonesuch. But there, too, was something new – The Levi Jackson Breakdown! This is 1984, folks, and watching those youngsters perform that clever dance invention reminded me of 1944, when a bunch of us fell in love with the “Eva Two-step,” done to the tune of “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” The old guard was openly scandalized by such a departure from tradition, but we obviously loved every minute of it.

There were some other nostalgic tugs, as well. I saw us as we must have actually been … the younger, sort of awkward ones, unused to dancing, embarrassed by partnering and performing; the rowdy, [fiesty] ones, showing off, making wisecracks, tripping up; and then there were the naturals, the graceful easy ones, completely and beautifully at home on the dance floor. It was as if we were all right out there, forty years ago, each and every one of us.

There are two other things about this group that I believe you’d find very interesting. With the closing of nearly all of the residential schools that used to send teams of dancers to the festivals, groups such as this will, in future, be the tap root if the festivals are to continue and flourish. Pine Mountain’s group – about 24 young people from our valley – was the largest of all at last Spring’s festival in Berea. And what of hopes for the future? Well, there’s an aspiration in the works we’d never have dreamed of! This group of dancers, with their fearless leaders, hope to take a dancing trip to Denmark in 1985. Let’s support them in every way we can.

Jane Hobgood

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It is with a heart filled with gratitude and love that I express my sincere thanks to all of you who were so generous of your time and talents to write the wonderful letters and messages for the album which you presented to me at the past Reunion. The beautiful handmade elegant bench which was also given to me by all of you is doubly appreciated. There are not enough words in the dictionary for me to adequately relate my feelings to you at this time, but if a few words will do it, I will just say I am deeply honored and overwhelmed by your kindness.

[Photograph caption] “Arthur Dodd being honored by the Alumni Association and receiving plaque from Ellen Ayers Hayes and Ruth Shuler Dieter.

Little did I know that when I wanted to express my appreciation to you for affording me the privilege of serving on the Board of Trustees of Pine Mountain School, and for the opportunities it has given me in being with all of you, that I would in turn be the recipient of such affection and love you have shown me. Never in my fondest dreams did I expect or ever feel that I earned such honors, but from the bottom of my heart I want to tell every one of you how grateful I am to you. You have shown affection not only to me but to the school which all of us have loved for so many years.

If in any small way, as the opportunity was given me to serve on the Board as your representative, I have been able to aid in the rebuilding of the spirit of Pine Mountain School with the loyalty from all of the Alumni, that alone has been ample reward for everything I have done. I am humbly and sincerely grateful for your expressions of love and affection, and for all your support in the rekindling of the interest of our school-which has meant so much and done so much for each and every one of us.

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The benefits we are all deriving from Pine Mountain have been reflex, because as we have received, we are now giving back to the school. I am aware that my work to serve you was not done alone, but with the constant endeavors from you as a whole, and especially Ellen and Paul Hayes, who have really guided me in your behalf for the past six years.

Now, for six years—two meetings each year, my beloved friends have met me at the airport, carted me to Pine Mountain, waited for me during the board meetings, taken me to their home, and then returned me to the airport for my trips back to Kansas. We have not missed a board meeting for the entire six years, and we have not missed a Homecoming for more years than that! To Ellen and Paul I owe a deep debt of gratitude.

What we have done for Pine Mountain School as an Association has been only a beginning. There is much more to do, and we must continue to go forward and attain the goals which we have set for our organization to serve the school. We must help Pine Mountain again achieve its position of prominence in the community by influencing the lives of all those with whom it serves in the valley and elsewhere, just as it has served not only in the past but will continue to serve in the future.

May God guide you, and I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the next Reunion.

Ruth Shuler Dieter

[Photograph caption] Lela Christian Meador, Georgia Ayers Dodd, Fern Hall Hayes and Ruth Christian Russell – one-half of the renowned Octet group who toured the country as Pine Mountain’s ambassadors during the Roosevelt era.

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