FRONT ROW from Left - Calimuff, Paula, LaFleurblue, Patsy1 and Constellation...... SECOND ROW from Left - Fancycatnip, Rokmom, Domu, Chattycarnation, Brassica, Aletha, Windy, PCOneil and Gardenrookie....... THIRD ROW from left - Jim Skiles, Ron, CAW, Whitmore1, Brugmansia, Murphy131, (?), Hostawoman, Lindalee and Plantdoc........ Missing from photo, Boomagooey
Durning the end of October in 1996 I stumbled my way into a chat room that had just been newly started that month. Like all newbies on the internet, I was leary of chat rooms, having heard all the horror stories that circulated about the "sickies" that frequented them, but somehow, this chat room seemed different and the people were friendly and informed, talked gardening, which was my passion, and didn't strike "terror" in my heart at all, and I had found a home! I have enjoyed the people I meet here since this chat room began and am delighted that I finally have had a chance to meet a few of them face to face! In the spring of 2000, Milt and Mary Grace Whitmore remarked that they would help me with a Chat Meet if I wanted to have one and that is all it took! Invitations and maps went out to chatters from Milt's huge data base of addresses and the reservations started coming in for the "Midwest Chatmeet" during July of 2000. There was much discussion in the chat room about the mystery guest that Sheila (Calimuff) was bringing... a lot of guessing and speculation about who it would be. I don't think anyone dared to hope that it would be Patsy, but it was... what a treat to have her come all the way from Canada to be with us and how nice of Sheila to make that trip. Guests started arriving Friday evening.... those that flew in from the East coast or drove in from further away, and we all had a piece of Pizza while we got to know each other and finished the preparations for the next day. Saturday started with coffee and cookies on the patio as guests arrived and collected name tags and T shirts and "watering cans", the gifts sent by GE. The day progressed with much hugging, seed swapping, picture viewing and laughter over the poem written by Annie Phelan from Ireland. Brats were served from the grill at noon and a pot luck dinner with fried chicken was served in the evening after we had feasted all afternoon on hors d'oeuvres including a delicious smoked trout, mango salsa and shrimp dip. We sat on the patio and visited until ten PM and then said goodnight to our wonderful new/old friends. Sunday morning started at nine AM with coffee, rolls and fruit for breakfast... most chatters left for home but a few stayed to go to Hornbaker's Gardens with Hostawoman. After a lunch of left over chicken most chatters started their trip home loaded down with seeds and plants from the seed swap. Sheila and Patsy stayed a day longer to help me get things put back and after the tent came down on Monday morning I was left with only wonderful memories and pictures to share with you. It was more fun than I can remember having had in years....Thank you Milt and Mary Grace for your help... and Thanks to all the chatters who came... it was truly wonderful! A special Thank You to Paula Skiles, Lindalee and Quentin Lowe for the terrific photographs for these pages.