“In the Beginning…”
by Mary Rybieki
February 20, 1981
I was asked to prepare a little talk on the beginning of the Littleton Gem & Mineral Club, as I am one of the charter members.
I think that it was sometime in 1960 that Mrs. Cox called me and said that she, her husband, Chester Young, Martha Meston, Beulah Lind, and Mary Frazier were making plans to start a gem club in Littleton. She asked if my husband and I would help. She knew we were members of the Colorado Mineral Society and were charter members of the Denver Gem and Mineral Guild, a new club which had just started up.
I told her we would be glad to do all we could. So, we had a meeting and decided to put a paper on Martha Meston’s desk, where she worked for the Littleton Chamber of Commerce. She would ask all of the people who came to her for information as to whether they would be interested in joining a mineral club in Littleton. If so, she would ask them to write their names and phone numbers on the sheet of paper.
It was not too long before we had quite a list of names; as near as I can remember, there were about 97. So, we proceeded to find a place to meet. We were able to get a room at the YMCA, where we could hold meetings on the last Friday of every month. We set a date for the first meeting. We called all the names on the paper and invited them to this meeting. We also put an announcement in the Littleton newspaper and invited all interested people to attend. Not everyone came who signed the paper, but we were surprised at the large number who did come.
We made plans to draw up some by-laws, rules, and to elect a president and officers to run the club and hold meetings. I cannot for sure remember who the first president was, but it seems like it was Paul Nichols. I do know for sure that Jim Craig was elected president for 1962-1963 to serve from September to May. Mary Frazier was Vice-President and I was secretary and treasurer. Paul Nichols, Paul Ebertz, and Bill Korenke were on the board of trustees.
It was not long until we had a very enthusiastic group of members lined up. We got our field trips planned for the summer, potluck dinners set, and made provision for refreshments after the meetings. We appointed a Welcoming Hostess who signed up the visitors at each meeting and then introduced them to the members present. I served several times in this capacity down through the years.
We always welcomed children with their parents to our meetings. At one time we elected a committee which started a class for the “Pebble Pups,” the children of our members. A couple of members would help with this at each regular meeting. We would take the children to a different room and teach them about rocks and minerals while their parents had their own meeting. I helped with this and enjoyed working with the children.
I feel we got a good firm foundation for this club because here twenty years later, it is still going strong. I am very proud of all the people who support it and keep it going. I am proud to have had a small part in getting it started. I am still very interested in the club. I do not attend meetings too oftenas my husband passed away in 1972 and I do not drive alone at night . . .
My husband and I never made much headway in this hobby until we joined a club. You learn from each other, you share your ideas, you go on field trips, you make wonderful friends, and you meet the most interesting and likeable people in the world in the clubs, I think. So stay with your club. That is my advice after 30 years in the clubs.
*** Mary passed away in January 1993. We are lucky to have her account of our club’s beginnings and her advice is still very true today.