I returned a few days ago from a very successful recruiting trip to Poland and Russia where I found several young Russians and Poles eager to join Club 34.  The problem I had was getting them visas to come to this country.  Oh well, it was a fun trip despite that.  The highlight of the trip no doubt was finding my wife’s birthplace.  It was an emotional time when we were able to locate the house she lived in for the first 6 years of her life.  My lovely wife of 30 years immigrated to Israel when she was 6 never to return to Poland until last week.  With the help of some local residents, we were able to find that tiny little house she lived in for the first 6 years of her life deep in the countryside of Poland not far from Wroclaw, Poland.  We had other eventful moments however.  Our first stop was Moscow where we visited the Kremlin, Red Square, and attended the Bolshoi Opera.

But last Monday was a day I will never forget.  We spent most of the day visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps followed by an excursion to the Oscar Schindler museum in Krakow, Poland.  As director of Scrabble Club 34, I never want to hear again from any of my members any whining etc when they dont draw well or lose a Scrabble game.  Everyone of us needs to reflect just how fortunate we are to live in this country and at this time.  I remind my wife many times during our marriage how fortunate she is to come into this world in 1951, not 1941. My wife and 2 kids had a wonderful family bonding experience, one we wont soon forget.

When I returned, I was very pleased to find out that attendance at Club 34 was amazing, 16 and 11 the first week followed by 21 and 8 last Tuesday!!  In fact, last Monday night after returning from that harrowing experience I just described, I texted(a good word now) 15 of our members from Krakow, Poland, to find out if they would be attending Club the next day.  10 of those responded with affirmative answers.  Another example of how my job as director of Club 34 is never done!

I wanted to let you know that Meetup has increased its fees to what it considers a large vs. small meetup site so I had to start purging some names from this site to qualify as a small club, whatever that number may be.  When I first established our Meetup site, I thought more was better but that isnt the case.  I will be purging names to keep the total around 15 or 20.  It isnt important if existing members of Club 34 are no longer on this site.  If you want to know what is going on in the future, just go to our Blog and into the Meetup Site.  I will also purge names of new members who have joined a few months ago but have made no effort to come to the Club or contact me.  I did find out that a couple of people who I have spoken with are battling medical issues so cant come at this time.  But most of the rest simply arent coming tho I keep contacting them in hopes that they will respond!!

Club 34 welcomed back last Tuesday James Frankki, a relocation project from Houston, who now lives out here tho still looking for employment.  Jim is a German college professor so if any of you know some junior college or university looking for him, please let Jim know.  He probably would take a high school job too.  Jim is a veteran of the Houston scrabble clubs so he knows how to play this game.  Welcome to our Club Jim.

The week before Duncan Cunningham made his second appearance.  Duncan is another Starbucks find so I will place more ads into well positioned and centrally located stores in the future tho not as aggressively as I did last year.   I was in touch with Maxine Marcus recently.  Maxine is a regular of Bruce D’s club in Los Angeles and came to Club 34 twice last year.  Her grand jury commitment is over July 1 so she assured me she would return to our Club in mid July.

I was pleased to find out from Lorry Higgins, our club photographer, troubleshooter and do everything that contributions were up during my absence.  Maybe I should stay away more often.  I again want to mention how important it is to contribute to the voluntary fund so we can get the word out about Club 34 and continue to grow!!  I know that the fund is voluntary but if everyone could contribute every Tuesday just $2 I could place ads into local newspapers in the city, around town and in all the local schools much more quickly.  I also know that not everyone shares my desire to see Club 34 grow but I think most do and I also think that most of us enjoy meeting the new players that have come to our Club.  Without the advertising, this would never have happened!  $2 does not mean alot to most people and certainly all of you are spending alot more to go to the other clubs!!  At this time I want to mention and thank Nancy Douglas who contributed $20 last Tuesday.  That was an amazing gesture of goodwill and thoughtfulness to do that so I thank you Nancy and the entire membership of Club 34 thank you as well!!

I have alot more to say but will save it for now.  A midyear report will follow in the next week or so that discusses some changes for Club 34 as well as some other announcements.  I hope to see all of you next Tuesday.  Dont forget, we will have another drawing Tuesday night.

David Poder, Director

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