The first Retirees Retreat held in Ashland, Oregon, was a fun affair.  The event took place on May 27-29, 1997; and there were 70 people who attended.  “Great to see you!  Golly, retirement must agree with you.  Let’s sit over here and chat.  How’s the family?  Where have you been lately?”  (These were a few of the remarks heard during the retreat.) 

The golf, theatrical plays, river rafting, fishing, shopping, art galleries, and eating were of much interest.  But, the best part for all seemed to be seeing old friends, co-workers, and spouses, sometimes after a separation of many years. 

Conversation was never lacking.  The main get-togethers were at meal times:  a banquet Tuesday evening and breakfast Thursday morning.  The din of conversation only slightly abated when the food was served.  By design, the retreat was loosely structured; however, a sense of togetherness among the attendees was evident. 

The Thursday morning breakfast was followed by a drawing for original (unique?) door prizes.  Anticipation was rampant.  Earl Reynolds and Mary Belle Grosjacques won large and smaller art (silk screen) pieces, both from Jim Howland’s home studio.  Les Wierson won a custom duckhead plunger for emergency use (or display) designed and crafted by Ken Stuart.  Bob Pailthorp donated one of his “lake draggers” (difficult to describe) for reclamation of submerged golf balls.  Fred Harem won this carefully-engineered contraption, and said he will make good use of it. 

The rain stopped in time for about 20 retirees to play in a golf outing at the Cedar Links Golf Course in Medford, Oregon.  Prizes were won by many, with each player receiving a package of tees and golf balls.  Jean Gibbs and Don Fox were the big prize winners as well as many others.  There were prizes for low gross and net as well as longest drive and closest to the pin.  The players were fortunate to finish before a big thunderstorm hit the golf course, saving everyone from getting wet. 

A questionnaire was circulated at the end of the retreat to get attendees’ ideas concerning future retreats.  Topics on the questionnaire included the frequency, location, season of the year, and the number of days for the event.