Douglas and Ozark Counties RTA members, Barbara Roberts, Ida Mae Huse, Geraldine Gray, Terri Hall, Ruth Evans, Caryl Feiler, Edith McKinnon, Julane Williams, Betty Moore, Sue Robirds, Jane Elder, Marie Bristol, Norma Stillings, Norma Griffith, and guest, Lin Waterhouse met Tuesday, October 9 for lunch at the Gainesville Senior Center.
President, Marie Bristol thanked everybody for coming and thanked Ida Mae Huse for making the arrangements for the meal. Betty Moore gave the invocation before the group ate lunch. The minutes and treasurer’s reports were approved as presented.
Announcements and committee reports were made. Memberships are now due. MRTA dues of $35 are paid directly to the state office, local dues of $10 are collected by the local unit. There have been four RTA Scholarships given this year. There was a discussion but no motion that there will need to be changes made to limit the number of scholarships awarded each year due to the lack of funds for that purpose. Community service hours reports can be sent to Doris Morrison or given to Marie Bristol. Marie reminded RTA members that the MRTA Region 10 meeting was being held October 19 in Ozark at the Community Center there. She would send maps to those who were going.
Marie read “Reflections” by Barbara Self, who is our MRTA Region 10 Vice president.
The guest speaker was Lin Waterhouse, who has written the book, The West Plains Dance Hall Explosion, that was published in 2010 by The History Press. Lin talked about moving to the Ozarks with her husband and becoming a free lance writer focusing on the rich history of the region. When she heard about the tragic explosion and fire that had taken the lives of 39, injured many more, and that no certain cause had ever been found, she did some research on it and wrote an article for the Ozarks Mountaineer magazine which was published in March/April 2007. As she continued to do research into material on other historical subjects she kept finding mentions about the explosion and fire and its toll. Not being satisfied with the lack of agreement on an explanation for the explosion, she set out to find out all she could, and wrote this book.
Lin hunted through newspaper accounts, obituaries, the coroner’s jury record, documents, personal records, and photos to try to lay aside gossip and rumors to find the truth. She talked to modern day investigators and put to rest some rumors, but still did not arrive at a conclusive answer, but she brought the stories of the individuals concerned to life so that you can sense the real loss and grief that touched so many homes that terrible April 1928 night.
Jane Elder invited the Retirees to visit the Ozark County Historium on the Gainesville Square and mentioned a Civil War Reenactment that would be held at Vera Cruz, November 2 and 3.
The next RTA meeting will be held November 13 at the Ava Pizza Hut. David Norman will be speaking on his “Experiences on the school board and the Ava City Council.”