In the Summer of 1965, the 59th Grand Nest Convention was held in St. Louis. At this time, the United States was hopelessly mired in the jungles of Vietnam. People resented the War. Even returning soldiers were spat upon. We were facing protests and riots in the streets. There was arson and looting on a large scale, destroying the hearts of many cities. Insurance was no longer available in certain areas. This would give rise to what is now known as “ The Fair Plan”, which provided people in those areas with access to an insurance market. It still operates today.
Our MLGG Earl S. Hannan refused to allow these historic events to deter the St. Louis pond from conducting a memorable convention. But, it was reported that this was the only time that the presentation of colors and the singing of anthems was mentioned in the Convention minutes during the turbulent 1960’s. Those minutes also reflect that the meeting was dominated by insurance industry issues, as well it should have in those years of stress. The meeting opened with an insurance seminar. The only change of note was a request to admit employees of The Retail Credit Company as members. It was rejected. Character, Charity, and Fellowship were in short supply it seemed.
Some thirty six years later, the St. Louis Pond readied itself to host another Grand Nest Convention, in 2001. Much had happened in the intervening years. Overall, our membership was changing. The insurance industry was no longer supplying a dominate number of members. Many members now came from the ranks of vendors, and independent contractors who worked with the insuring public after a loss. The Gordon F. Crowther Charity Award was launched to recognize the Pond that did the most varied works of charity. Also, the use of technology was spreading. Eight Ponds and the Grand Nest were reported as having a website. Online convention registration was introduced for the first time for the St. Louis Convention. In 1989 females were approved for membership. Charles L. Cramer, our MLGG, visited seven other Ponds just prior to the Convention, and commented that every one of them had at least one female officer.
Then, some five weeks after the St. Louis Convention, it was September 11, 2001, and the World Trade buildings came down in the vicious attack of that date. Five Blue Goose members were lost. Let us never forget.
The trinity of Character, Charity, and Fellowship seem to be emphasized more these days in all of the Ponds, but especially here in the St. Louis Pond. A gentler, kinder approach is evident. We are all the better for it! What changes will happen at the 2016 convention? Or after it? No one knows for sure, but based on past history, we all know that changes will occur. Stay tuned!