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50 years of growing friends: Pine Needle Garden Club marks milestone

Billie Thomas remembers when it all started 50 years ago.


Current members gather for a photo in the parking lot of Michael's.
Photo by Staff
The very first Pine Needles meeting was held in her home in 1956, with Myrtice Turner as the speaker and the judge of arrangements that day.

"She gave every single one of us a blue ribbon, and made us feel so good. That motivated us to keep going, and inspired our creativity," Mrs. Thomas said.

The Pine Needle Garden Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary on Feb. 8, will commemorate the occasion with an Afternoon Tea on Tuesday, March 21, at the Thomson Depot. Families of Pine Needle Club members, along with those of past members and members of other local garden clubs, have been invited to attend.

To capture the last 50 years and share with club members in the future, Pine Needle members sought the help of Amy Johnson, a representative of Creative Memories. She is helping preserve the club's history through two scrapbook albums. The club dedicated their first 25 years of history in the scrapbooks to Mrs. Turner.

Each of the 23 members was assigned a two-year period to research and design pages showing the story, said Cindy Wilson, club president.


Left to Right
First row: Billie Thomas, Mary Ruth McCorkle, Lucy Bentley, Guest (Mary Ruth's sister), Kate Baston, Mary Frances Young, Murray Beckum
Second row: McNease, Bennie Lee Sisson, Margaret Stevens, Mary Etta Dozier, Jo Helen Norris, Myrtle Dozier, Pat Wall, Jewel Broome, Gloria Pounds, Unknown, June Norris.
Each year is featured on a page listing officers and members, along with photos or descriptions highlighting special activities.

"They have to go through the microfiche in the library and copy articles and pictures. The work is hard, but it's enjoyable," said Ms. Thomas.

The scrapbook also is being burned on a compact disc to enter in a competition with the Garden Club of Georgia and for club members to purchase.

At the anniversary tea, past club presidents will be honored. Thomson Mayor Bob Knox will make a proclamation and the scrapbooks will be presented to the members for viewing.

The club has been celebrating all year with the theme "Remember When" at each monthly meeting. The meetings have been recreations of those held in the past. For example, in February, club president Cindy Wilson said the members met at Michael's Restaurant for breakfast wearing a hat and matching purses they decorated with fresh flowers. Mrs. Wilson said in the 1950's, the club had a "High Hat Breakfast" where each member also wore a hat decorated with flowers or fruit.


At Knox-Terrace Hotel 1958-1959
Left to Right
First row: Myrtle Dozier, Lucy Bentley, Bennie Lee Sisson
Second row: Billie Thomas, Jewel Broome, Mary Ruth McCorkle, Mary Frances Young, Carolyn Searcy, Patsy Smith, Peggy Starnes, India Dozier, Mary Etta Dozier.
In addition to horticultural education and floral arrangements, the Garden Club seeks to improve the community by making donations to Habitat for Humanity, the Ronald McDonald House and The Wrightsboro Foundation, Mrs. Thomas said. The club also assists with roadside beautification, gives scholarships, and works in projects such as garden therapy for mental patients, provides flowers for churches, and educates children through fun projects at the library and the Watson Brown Foundation.

"In the past 50 years, I have missed only one show. It's meant everything to me. To see the progress we have made, and how we help the young members learn what gardening is all about," Mrs. Thomas said. "Every person has left a mark."

Web posted on Thursday, March 9, 2006

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