I recently had the great honor of attending a meeting at Hope United Methodist Church for the Hope Kill Kare Klub, an organization that has been an important part of the Hope community since Nov. 12th, 1909, 110 years!

Arriving late due to childcare duties, I was greeted warmly by the members and enjoyed wonderful goodies with evidence of their colors, green and white, and their flower, the white carnation, throughout on several tables. We then gathered in a room that I have been in many times with wonderful people for Bible and other book studies. The warmth of this group carried over to the formal part. The reflective theme from the song, “The Way We Were” still resonates in my mind: “Memories light the corners of my mind.”

Members repeated these words from “Collect” by Mary Stewart, “Keep us, O God, from pettiness; let us be large in thought, in word, in deed. ...” It was followed by their short “Pledge”- “... I pledge to be faithful to its interests, share its works, and guard its reputation.” They also read from “What Is A Woman's Club?” with the following lines: “A place where kindly thoughts are cherished, where high ideals are fed and nourished, where charity in all its beauty is held to be a sacred duty, where peace and harmony abound, and members meet on common ground.”

Then, there was the roll call which each member described the food they disliked for Thanksgiving. The food mentioned the most frequently was oyster dressing. For the previous meeting, Halloween antics had been shared. A basket was passed around with each member making a contribution, funds that have helped many good causes over the years such as Hauser Dollars for Scholars, Hope Ministerial Association and Hope United Methodist Church. Original dues were $.05 each meeting held twice a month with a $.05 fine assessed if missing.

A heart touching tribute was read for former members Marie Clouse, inducted in 1981, and Carla Gross, inducted in 2008. Marie's family and Carla's family each received 16 white carnations in their memory. Eventually, the total membership will be 16 again as has been the case often since the club's beginning.

The program was led by Imogene Emmert, a longtime member since 1975. I happened to be sitting by Imogene who had carefully handwritten 17 pages of notes related to the history of the club. She started with the words formed by the first eight members: “The object of this club is to bring the young married ladies of Hope together for social purposes and also to help each member individually by each one taking an active pat in the literary program which is to take up half of the time spent together.”

The constitution and by-Laws were formed by several member and read to the other members on Nov. 17th, 1909 for the first time.

The following was written: “Entertaining the club was not to be burdensome; the same in preparing the program.” In searching for the name, Imogene Martin's mother suggested “a name to reflect a place where you can kill cares.” They chose the name Kill Kare Klub. There are no records why they chose to start Kare and Klub with a “K” instead of a “C.” 

One date in particular caught my attention. During the Sesquicentennial of 1980 Celebration, the club sponsored an essay contest for local 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, “Hope In The Year 2000.” (I was a fifth teacher then and still have three essays!) A club yearbook with pictures and the winning essays were placed in a time capsule underground in front of the former Irwin Union Bank to be opened in 2030.

Imogene ended with a wonderful summary:

“... I believe many women have been blessed by being a part of the Kill Kare Klub over the 110 years. Life has many beautiful moments that we share with others; life also has many fragile moments when we need solace and understanding from others. … In all our opportunities, we cared and shared. May we continue to do this in the years ahead. ...”

Amen!