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      The Reunion Week-end started on a sad note; We drove up to Okemah Ok. to attend the funeral services for our friend and classmate, Etta Mae Jimboy Pulliam. We were up late packing, then up early Thursday, rushed to load the car before a fast approaching rain storm arrived.  Just made it; it began raining just as we got on the road.

      It rained practically all the way to Okemah.  The sign indicating where to turn for Creek Chapel was not to be found.  Made a guess, traveled a quarter mile on a very muddy road to the first home to ask directions; returned to the highway and proceeded to the correct turn. We learned later that a sign had been posted but it was missing the day of the funeral.

     Traveled about 3 or 4 miles on another very muddy (3 to 4 inches deep) road.  Front wheel drive may be better for mud and ice but we arrived at Creek Chapel with red mud splashed on both sides of the car, all the way up to the windows. 

      Elliot, the Jimboy family and a large number of kinfolk were singing hymns in the Creek language as we made our way to the chapel avoiding mud puddles and tall wet grass. 

      When the singing ended, we expressed our sorrow to Elliot and Matthew Pulliam and Etta Mae's eldest son, Mike Jimboy.  As we introduced ourselves to the family and kinfolk, we soon realized just how big our Sequoyah family is.  We found that many had a connection to Sequoyah or to our alumni family; I counted about 12 Sequoyah alumni in attendance. After visiting and sharing lunch with the family and kinfolk,  it was time for Etta Mae's services. 

        The services were conducted in the Creek manner with the hymns and prayers in Creek.  It was sad to see Etta Mae like that, but to those aware of her physical problems of the last few months, it was a relief to see her at peace. We buried her on the Jimboy homestead next to her brother Wayne, who passed away in August, 2005.  We said our good byes and were back on the road.

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     Arrived in Tahlequah, checked into the Oak Hills Motel and crashed for the night. Got up about noon Friday to find the sky still overcast and a few sprinkles. It turned out we wouldn't see the sun until  Monday morning, when we were back in Texas.

    Had lunch at the Restaurant of the Cherokees, then we (Ruby) began to help Lois and Stanley Speaks in setting up the ballroom for the silent auction.  It's a lot of work and would be easier if we could get the donations in place earlier but I know folks get there when they can. Anyway, whenever new items arrived, we had to shift things around to accommodate them on the limited table space.

    By 5 O'clock, there were alumni arriving, meeting & greeting and checking out the auction items.  Found a couple of items I wanted: 2 Sequoyah yearbooks (1972 & '74).  The auction / social got underway with Sterling & Anna Faye Speaks and Jack Bauer selling Indian tacos and fry bread.

    Many fine items and a few that I wondered what the donor was thinking, but only a few items were left without a bid after the auction, which shows how much I know about such things.  One of the items getting a lot of action in the "live" auction was a white/maroon diamond patterned quilt made especially for the 2006 Sequoyah Alumni Reunion and donated by Sterling & Anna Faye Speaks. It received a final bid around $300.

      The auction ended at 9:00pm. with almost everyone satisfied with the items they won; some paid a little more than they planned but got caught up in the excitement of a live auction. I was happy; I had the winning bids on the 2 yearbooks.

       We joined Stan & Lois, Boyd & Stella Speaks and about 20 others at the B&J restaurant at the Tahlequah Motor Lodge for a late snack and more socializing. Later, back in our motel room we inserted the 2006 graduates list and the song sheet into the banquet programs; finished about 2 am.

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      Saturday morning, got up late, headed to the campus; dang, missed the tour of the new sports facility, but I was just in time for the picnic.  Due to the gym construction and the threat of rain, we had to use the art classroom for the picnic and the annual business meeting, which was Ok as it allowed late arrivals to get something to eat right up until the meeting started.

       In the absence of alumni Pres. Elliot Pulliam, V-Pres. Gaydon Shipp chaired the meeting. Last year's minutes were accepted; next was the financial report by the Treasurer Malissa Perryman and a report from the Scholarship Committee Chairperson, Roberta Springwater.

      Lois Hogner Speaks reported a successful silent auction; Stanley Speaks reported that the Hall of Fame committee had made changes in the criteria for induction and there would be no one inducted this year.

       Sequoyah Veterans K.I.A. Recognition Committee member, Donny Bevenue reported that they were having problems reaching family members and rather than rushing to do something this year, they were going to postpone it to make sure it's done in a manner the veterans deserve.

      Next item on the agenda: presenting the 2006 ByLaws to the membership for approval. After some spirited discussion on whether we needed to replace the 2002 ByLaws with a totally new version, the 2006 ByLaws were approved by margin of  20 something to 3.

Election of new officers, president and secretary, was next on the agenda.

     For president we had two candidates: former Secretary of the S.A.F. Wanda Leach Jones, Class of 1976 and  and Alfred Berryhill, Class of 1965, the current Second Chief of the Muscogee Nation. 

The 2006 S.A.F. President is Alfred Berryhill  and the 2006 S.A.F. Secretary is former Board Member, Roberta Springwater Gibson, Class of 1961, who ran unopposed.

(NOTE: Somehow the election of a new Board Member was overlooked and the Board will have to appoint someone to the office and have it confirmed by the membership at next years business meeting.)

 Meeting adjourned.

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      Rushed back to our room, washed my face, combed my hair, checked my camera batteries, grabbed my best girl and headed back to the dining hall for the banquet.  Managed to find a parking place close to the door, (not easy with the construction right next to the cafeteria) and get inside before the next rain shower.

      The cafeteria looked great as usual; this years decoration included subdued lighting and lit candles on the tables.  It caused me some concern because I have very little experience with  my new camera and subdued lighting can cause exposure problems. I think the camera did fine (we'll see when I post the photos) but I may have messed up a few anyway.

      The room had a lot of empty tables for awhile but folks continued to arrive until well into the program; perhaps the rains caused some to run a little late. Eventually most of the tables were occupied by smiling alumni enjoying the banquet.

      We opened the program with the group singing the National Anthem and a Creek hymn sung by our President-elect, Alfred Berryhill.  In the absence of Pres. Pulliam, Stanley Speaks acted as the emcee for the evening. We recognized veterans, former employees, and special anniversaries like 50 years, 40 years, 30 years and 20 years. 

      The Class of 1956 had 5 members present: Lula Belle Nuttall, Phyllis Osage, Gay Don Shipp, Sally Whitecrow, and Leroy Wolf.  The Class of 1966 had: Leslie Locust, Louis McGertt, Ernest Tiger, Gloria Tubby, Thelma Wade, and Mike White. I don't know if any of the Class of 1976 were present but from the Class of 1986 there was Stephanie Fields.

       Cherokee Chief, Chad Smith was presented an Indian blanket and a "Certificate of Honor" for the work the Cherokee Nation has done in making Sequoyah the school we always knew it could be. Chad mention that Sequoyah has become a desired school for outstanding Indian students and a waiting list of over 100 who hoped to become Sequoyah alumni.

      Sequoyah Superintendent, Gina Stanley was also presented an Indian blanket and a "Certificate of Honor" for  the outstanding job she has done in raising the average S.A.T. scores of  Sequoyah students, which means Sequoyah graduates are having more success in acquiring scholarships and entry into better schools.

      Of course, we appreciate the cooperation they have shown the S.A.F. organization: allowing us to gather on campus where we feel at home, to celebrate our alumni reunions.

     Bill Tidwell, Class of 1959, was presented a "Certificate of Honor" for outstanding  contributions made to the S.A.F. organization.

     Agnes Shattuck Dill, a teacher from 1939 to 1944 was presented a "Certificate of Honor" for her services to Sequoyah students, dedicated life of services to the advancement of Indian women, Indian communities and Indian Country.

     We closed the banquet by singing the school songs; then spent twenty minutes or more meeting and greeting the late comers and those we missed on the way into the banquet.

     The Class of 1956 had reserved the club room at the Tahlequah Motor Lodge to celebrate their 50th anniversary, so a number of us joined them in their celebration.  Stories, gossip, "what ever happened to ....?" inquiries was the theme of the evening.  Classmates, schoolmates, coffee, cake, fried chicken and snacks made for a pleasant way to end the day.

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       Sunday breakfast on a plastic tray doesn't sound very exciting, but somehow going through the chow line, chatting with the kitchen help (we went to school with Betty Holcomb, chief cook), then deciding which old friends to sit with can be kind of fun.  I just ate really fast and then visited all the tables so I didn't miss anyone.

       Time to be on the road, last good-byes and promises to keep in touch and the 2006 Sequoyah Alumni Reunion has ended.

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      On the way home we stopped in McAlester Ok. to visit  former girls dorm matron, Lois Pugh.  Mrs. Pugh is looking good and gets around very well for a 94 year old lady with 2 mechanical knees and a hip replacement.