Club celebrates German culture with fellowship, fun

NEIGHBORS

February 19, 2002|By Nancy Gallant | Nancy Gallant,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I SUPPOSE I expected to find a group of somber women praying and listening to speeches at the recent meeting of The Christian German-American Women's Club that I attended.

Was I wrong!

Instead, I met a gaily dressed crowd, full of laughter - and all speaking German.

Now, I don't know a word of German, but it didn't matter. Even without understanding the words, it was clear that people were having fun and doing good things at the same time.

Since I began writing this column, I have included monthly notices about this club. I always wondered what those meetings were like, so last month I went.

The club is for women interested in the German culture and language, and their monthly meetings have a theme. January's theme was Fasching, the German equivalent of Mardi Gras.

Many of the women wore traditional dirndls, costumes or silly hats in honor of the holiday. Irene Kucholik, the club's president, led the group through its agenda, with the audience clapping and laughing through the minutes and the reports of club business.

Elizabeth Milley read a thank-you letter from a missionary in Alaska that the group is helping to support. Gwendolin Davis shared a reflection about spiritual growth. Heidi Zech read from the Bible.

Item 11 on the agenda was "Allgemeines Essen," which I learned is the German phrase for "Everybody eat." Each member had brought a German dish to share. From herbed vegetables to sausage to pastries, it was wonderful! (I followed the instructions of Dorothy Dericson from Crofton: "Eat dessert first.")

Kucholik, a Gambrills resident who was born in Germany, founded the group seven years ago as a way to share with others who love the German culture. From its tiny start of six members, the group has grown to nearly 40. Most were born in Germany; some had visited or lived there for a few years.

Suzanne Grebowski, born in Germany and married to an American serviceman, remembers the day she became an American citizen. She said the judge told her, "Now you're an American," then added that she would make our country better through the good things she had learned in her former country."[He said] always be proud of your heritage," Grebowski said. For her, the club is a way to join with others who love Germany as well as America and to share the beauty of her heritage with her daughter, Gwen.

Susanna Sutton, a native of Hamburg, brought her 5-year-old daughters, Caroline and Hannah. Sutton has been living in America for seven years, and moved to Maryland last month.

Even though this was her first meeting, she said she felt very much at home.

"You can't believe how German this all is. It is so authentic, very organized, yet fun," a beaming Sutton said.

This month's meeting, scheduled for noon Monday in the social hall of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Odenton, will celebrate Valentine's Day. So most attending will wear red. Regina Brady will speak about Lent.

Information about the group: Irene Kucholik, 301-621-7862, or Karin Jackson, 301-855-6877.

Art auction for scholars

Avatar Gallery will present an art show and auction Saturday at Jessup Community Hall, Route 175 and Wigley Avenue.

The auction will benefit the Julia S. Stafford Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund was established in 1997 to provide financial assistance to students graduating from Meade Senior High School. To date, 15 students have received awards totaling $22,500.

The scholarship was created in memory of Julia Stafford, a Meade student who died of brain cancer.

The $8 single admission or $15 couple admission covers hors d'oeuvres, wine, soda, vegetables and fruit, desserts, door prizes and a raffle ticket for a basket of Beanie Babies.

Starting at 7 p.m., guests can preview the art while enjoying harp music performed by Lorraine Lacey. The auction will begin at 8 p.m.

Featured artwork will include original oils, watercolors, lithographs, etchings and sculpture by such artists as Llewelyn, Borelli, Hendershot, Neiman, Douglas, Levinstone, Wyeth and Romanello. The majority of the pieces are expected to sell for $50 to $150. A Collectors Corner also will be featured.

Tickets and information: Dana Herbert, 410-796-7999.

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