You pick the title

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2005

This column can take on one of two topics-&uot;Celebrating a 50th Anniversary,&uot; or &uot;What Happened to the Disappearing Luggage.&uot;

Les Gemmes Inc. was founded in Norfolk in September 1955 by four childhood friends who came together to form a social, civic and savings club to promote growth, service and sisterhood. Those four founders were Melvine C. Blakeley, Lena L. Siler, the late Queenie L. Branch and the late Inez M. Brown. Last weekend from Sept. 9-11 a huge celebration was held to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Les Gemmes organization at the Sheraton-Imperial Hotel Convention Center, Research Triangle Park in Durham, N.C.

The Oxford, N.C. chapter served as the host chapter and during the event, a new chapter from the state of North Carolina, the Rocky Mount Chapter, was inducted into our organization bringing chapter membership to 18 states nationwide.

Email newsletter signup

We have 10 members in our Suffolk Chapter but only seven attended: Gracie Eure, president; Audrey Knight, Lezma Cobb, Gail Hinton-Copeland, Joyce Garretson, Anita Warren, and I.

Four of us, Copeland, Garretson, Warren and I traveled together with Copeland serving as our chauffeur. We left Suffolk at 4 p.m. Friday.

We finally reached the hotel at 7:30 p.m. Friday and after visiting a local restaurant went to bed around midnight.

The board meeting began at 9 a.m. Saturday and for the Sisterhood luncheon at noon, we were entertained by saxophonist Parrish Anderson and presented a play by Angela and Company. The business meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

The gala gold and black attire event, $100 a couple 50th Anniversary Ball and banquet, began at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in one of the hotel’s most elegant ball rooms; everything was decorated in black and gold which made the area a beautiful sight to behold.

Our national president, Shirline Johnson, wrote a song of her love for Gemme sisters for the anniversary and set it to the music of &uot;Endless Love.&uot; Out of all the Gemmes she could have selected to do the song, she called Copeland from our Suffolk Chapter to sing it for the first time at the business meeting and then again at the ball. Copeland received standing ovations at both events.

After the banquet, we danced until 1 a.m. to the music of a live band, Sweet Dreams, from Winston Salem, N.C. I want to thank our excellent dancer and male escort from Suffolk who traveled to Durham to make sure that we single women in our group had equal time on the dance floor.

On Sunday after a rededication candlelight service at 9 a.m. we were given a

farewell breakfast by the Oxford Chapter that included a worship service.

The event came to a close and we all said quick good-byes.

It was now 11:15 a.m. and check out time was at noon. To expedite our departure, Hinton came up with a quick way to move our luggage to the van and to check out at the same time. Our rooms were on the fourth floor in the back of the hotel and our vehicle was parked at the first floor at the back door. Garretson and Warren had already gone to the van with their luggage and Hinton told me to take my luggage down next for them to pack it in the van. Gail in the meantime, took keys to the desk to check us out. Since I had left Hinton’s luggage, which was a leopard skin tote bag and garment bag, up against a pole next to the elevators on the fourth floor, I rushed back to get it only to discover that the luggage was gone. I was puzzled and got onto the elevator and heard a voice call out to me, &uot;Hold that elevator.&uot; To my surprise a woman entered with the same colors and pieces of luggage that I had left against the pole. I was holding and rubbing my head trying to think of a way to ask the woman to give up the luggage when all of a sudden she asked me if I was feeling all right. The door finally flew open on the first floor and Copeland was standing there smiling.

&uot;What beautiful luggage you have. I have some that looks just like it,&uot; she told the woman and pointed to her luggage in a chair close by.

The woman looked at me and said, &uot;Now I know why your friend was looking so sick.&uot; We all laughed and went our separate ways.

So now, you be the judge. Whichever of the two topics you did pick fits this column to a &uot;T.&uot;

Evelyn Wall is a retired News-Herald reporter and regular columnist.