Regardless of temperatures from 103 to 115 degrees during our four-day weekend, the Chico Holiday Inn was cool, and bustled with activity beginning Thursday afternoon with registration for early arrivals.
In the hallway host Bernie Bidwell of Colbert, WA, greeted new friends and old alike. At the registration table, handing out packets of reunion information and local interest, was Bernie’s weekend assistant, Chico resident, Judy Crain. Formerly associated with Bidwell Mansion, Judy learned of Bernie’s need for local help to organize the reunion when he contacted the Bidwell Mansion people. She agreed to assist as Bernie’s on-site representative. Her enthusiastic personality, Texas accent, and organizational skills endeared her to us so that now Judy is an honorary BFA member.
In late afternoon, available Bidwells gathered in the hotel’s bar for snacks and drinks (hard or soft). Joining the chatter were 25 old and new friends from California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, and Florida.
Friday morning at 10am board members met, along with interested non-Board members:
(1) The Treasurer’s report is included further back.
(2) Ann and Fred Cline will assume the office of Reunion Secretary from Faith Heath, who still holds the positions of Corporate Secretary Newsletter Editor.
(3) Work is progressing toward locating a site and host for next year’s reunion.
(4) Louise Fahey reported that Gateway Publishing, publishers of Volume 1, put her in touch with a professional compiler who has worked with Gateway. Louise will send samples of Joan’s material to study, including one carton of Joan’s corrections and family updates, a copy of Vol. 1 with Joan’s notes, and sample copies of her file cards. The Board will pay up to $400 (25 hours work at $15 per hour) for the compiler to review the sample material in order to estimate the cost and time to compile all of Volume 2 material into book format.
(5) Alden Tyrol reported on the proposal to store Bidwell records and related materials at the Bidwell House Museum in Monterey, MA_ After consulting with Bidwell House personnel, he learned that the facility does not have fire-proof storage areas. The storage proposal was then tabled for the time being.
(6) Nominated to serve on the Board were Bob Bidwell of Tucson, AZ, and Julia Bidwell of Grove City, OH. They will be voted on at the members’ business meeting tonight.
The afternoon was free to enjoy the pool, shop, or sit and chat with new and old friends alike. Friday after dinner we gathered in the meeting room to introduce ourselves by family groups, enjoy a presentation by a local couple of a condensed reading of John and Annie’s 1860’s court- ship letters, and learn what occurred during the morning’s board meeting. Bob and Julia Bidwell were voted onto the Board.
Saturday 100+ Bidwells divided into two groups. One toured the Bidwell Mansion (John and Annie’s home), the visitor’s center, and grounds. The six-bedroom mansion, built in the 1860’s, was filled with cutting edge innovations, including indoor toilets. The second group toured Chico Cemetery, where John and Annie are buried, then to Bidwell Park and the Nature Center, on land donated by John and Annie to the city of Chico. Bernie and Judy kept us moving.