By Evelyn Wall

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 17, 2003

I’m going to be modest and say that eight members of my social club, the Suffolk Les Gemmes Inc., deserve a pat on the back for a job well done in its planning of the annual Les Gemmes Inc. National Board of Directors meeting. The event was held from Sept. 8-10 at the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center.

Gemmes President Gracie Eure, Anita Warren, Gail Hinton-Copeland,

Veronica Evans, Joyce Garretson, Lezma Cobb, Audrey Knight, and yours truly, had been planning the meeting and activities for a little over a year, and in April the national president, Shirline Johnson, came to our city to visit the hotel, where activities were scheduled to be held, to study our plans.

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The week before the meeting was the most stressful one. We spent most of that time sorting, separating, packing and stuffing material and gifts, some from local businesses, to put in about 150 gift bags bearing the Suffolk Les Gemmes Inc. logo. We also touched base with the hotel and the Main Street Jazz Restaurant, where activities were going to be held, to make sure that things would run smoothly.

Friday finally arrived, and it was show time.

We began the registration period at 4 p.m. and we were pleased at how smoothly everything was moving along.

The activity on Friday night began at 8 p.m., and was a dinner and lip-synching program for Gemmes only called, “The Stars Come Out at Night.”

Saturday activities were opened to the public and began with a luncheon-fashion show from noon to 2 p.m. A Saturday Night Western Disco, with Benford Hunter serving as the DJ, was held from 8 p.m.-midnight.

On Sunday morning, a Founders Day breakfast and program was held from 9-11a.m., which concluded the national board meeting for 2006.

About 120 women attended the meeting and activities. Among them was one of the founders, Gemme Melvine Blakeley.

The Les Gemmes Social Club was founded in 1955 and other founders are Gemme Lena Siler, who was ill and unable to attend the meeting, and the late Inez Mercer Brown and Queenie Branch.

There were few complaints if any about the way things went. One out-of-town Gemme, riding in the elevator with me on Sunday morning, even made an observation. She said she learned that if she needed medicine, needed to mail a post card, wanted to visit a pizza or Chinese restaurant, or just go shopping, everything was in a 15-minute or less walking distance.

She said not only was it a good time to be in Suffolk, but lodging at the Suffolk Hilton Garden Inn for the weekend, knowing that she wanted to take advantage of some of these opportunities, made the hotel a convenient location in Suffolk as well.

The Suffolk Chapter of Les Gemmes Inc. would like to thank the following

for making this occasion a success: the many businesses who contributed to our cause; The City of Suffolk; Mayor Linda Johnson; Councilman Charles Brown; Sheryl Short and Ayanna Herbert, judges; Benford Hunter, DJ; Positive Sounds, band; Dr. Elliott Armstrong, chiropractor and Ross Boone, speakers at the men’s luncheon; Sherwin Turner and Horace Balmer, owners of Main Street Jazz Restaurant; and Luefras Robinson, photographer.

Wall is a former News-Herald reporter and regular contributor to this page.