Sunday, October 12, 2008

Our FUN Weekend away,...... at Smith Scholarship House 50 Year Reunion, and some fun History!

Well Hello!, ......... I come to post today full of energy and feeling energized and thankful for our weekend away. To explain this post, I am the kind of person that really likes to know about the "History" of things, like I would love to know more about the History of Stampin Up. More about why the sisters started it, more about why the one Sister dropped out of it 10 years ago, more about the whole company in general! This post is a long, one, but we learned so much this weekend, and it really made an impression on so many people I just have to share about the History of Smith House, and what the weekend entailed!
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Well this weekend we went to Kansas State University in Manhattan Kansas to Smith Scholarship Houses 50th Anniversary. We learned so much about the History of the House it is very interesting read more below. We learned things that my Husband who lived at Smith for 4 years and has been one of the very active members of the Alumni Board for 9 years did not know. I did find out why my husband is so into cooking and cleaning! I now know that if he had not lived in the house that he did, he would not help the way he does at home. So for that I am very, very thankful to Smith House!!!!!!!!!

If any of this looks or sounds wierd I wrote the post and then added pictures in later ;-)

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The History and Funny stories about Smith House It was a pretty neat experience, there were Alumni there from every Decade 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90', and the 2000's. Marvin is from the 90's. I was surprised there were about the same amount of Alum from every single decade in attendance! For me the most fun group to watch was the group from the 80's! There were a lot of them, they must have really done a lot of calling before the event to make sure that as many as could came to the anniversary! They were the most wild, and fun group to keep an eye on! They were the group that re-opened the house after K-State closed it in the 80's, so this event was probably even closer to their hearts than some! (read more below about how the house re-opened after being closed for 1 year) O.K. the next paragraph is all about me and then I will tell you more about Smith!! :-)

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The first thing I am going to say (all you Mom's out there will totally get it!!), but my very favorite part of the weekend (and this comes from the fact that our kids were at home with Grandma) was getting to get myself ready, and look good! I mean things like getting to have a full make up job. No hair up in a ball cap, dressed in more than a hoodie sweatshirt, and jeans! I got to get myself ready like before I had kids, like I did in college, when I went places I actually felt good about myself! :-) The last few years even at church I never feel like I am very put together with 3 kids to take care of and get ready and such!!! All weekend I actually had earrings and necklaces on! I know WOW! I had matching shoes and they were not slip on tennies, or flip flops. I won't keep going on, but it sure felt nice!!!!! ;-D :-)
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Smith was started in 1958 by a donation of a Fraternity house which had been closed down. It was purchased by a Female Medical Dr. then given to the University's Foundation. She wanted it to be used for young men as a scholarship house where they would come live there under cooperative living, and maintain scholarly grades. The Smithies as they call themselves rent the house for $1 a year from the Foundation, and then all the housing fee's go to the meals, and up keep of the house and provide salary for the Executive Director (or house Mom or Man that lives there), the Kitchen Manager, the House Manager, and a Dietitian that plans the house meals.
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The House is a Cooperative House where the Boys who live there are expected to do 5 to 6 hours of chore's each week, cleaning, cooking, upkeep ect... They have duties, and if they do not do them they get Duty Cuts. The boys have to maintain a certain GPA to remain in the house as well. They have to learn to be social with other's and live as a group of young men together. They have a deep route of Traditions that we learned looking back thru the Scrapbooks every year from now to 50 years ago, the traditions are still handed down from year to year. Things they did when Marvin was in the house are still done today. They have a sister house that they do things with, and now way more than when Marvin was there they have many Socials with this house per year. The house is now controlled by the Alumni Board. Before the house was re-opened in mid 80's after being closed for 1 year (more details on this below) the house was run by K-State Housing.
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As My Husband has been on the Alumni Board of the House for 9 years now (only 3 years after he moved out he started on the Alumni Board, we had just started dating when he was asked to join the board, so it has been a part of our life together as long as we have been together!) We get all of the boys School Grades/GPA's sent to our house at the end of each Semester due to the fact that part of Marvin's responsibility (a part he does not like!!!!) to ask the young men who are not living up to expectations to move out. This has happened for both grades, and house duties/personal behaviors in the years I have known Marvin.
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Friday Night It all started with Friday night there was a Welcome Bar-B-Que, the house was literally packed with people standing room only. Friday night was especially neat to watch all the current boys interact with all the Alumni. The boys took the Alumni thru the house, and showed them around, sat in groups with the Alumni and talked about life, and took the Alumni down to the basement to look at all the Scrapbooks from each year or each few years of the house. It was especially fun to watch all these men in their 30's. 40's, 50's, 60's and early 70's look thru the scrapbooks and reminisce about their "Glory" years! Some of the pictures were quite hilarious as the house was not a "Dry" house until a few years ago! Looking at some of the crazy things they did was funny!. It was fun for me to see the boys from the late 50's and 60's and all the girls coming to the house were always in nice dresses and hand gloves, and the games they played back then were so "Proper"! As the night wore on it was easy to notice that the current house members were very interactive, polite, and attentive to the needs, and wishes of all the guests!
After everyone was done at Smith House many of the Alum's decided to head on out to Aggiville. Aggiville is in the downtown area within walking distance of the School, House, Hotel, et, et... Aggiville has lots of restaurants/Bars that most of the older students you mostly (I think now you mostly have to be 21) to get into them and hang out at. In Kansas almost anyone knows what Aggiville is if you say it to them! :-) We knew we were getting "old" when the music was so loud everyone was annoyed by it because we had a hard time talking to each other! :-)
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Saturday Day Time and Marvin's favorite Part! Saturday morning started with a House/Alumni Board Meeting. They have House meetings each week, and Alumni Board meetings 2 to 3 times a year so all the men from different decades got to come watch this process again and see how the house if doing now.
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Throughout the day their were campus tours, Alumni visiting, and then my Husbands favorite part of the day the Ultimate Frisbee game. The Smith house has a long time history of playing games with Frisbee's! Ultimate Frisbee from my view was a combination of a sort of a Soccer type game with a Frisbee, and some aspects of football game added in too. It was the Alumni (Old Men) vs. Current House members (New Men) Normally Old Men and New Men are terms used the whole year to distinguish between, returning house members and Freshmen of that year.
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3 years ago I spent about 6 months hearing about the Alumni vs. New Men Ultimate Frisbee game! Marvin talked about it all the time. When Marvin was in the house the Men played Ultimate every day together! So this was a big part of his experience at Smith. He was so excited about the game. The Alumni won that year, and the next. Last year they did not play and despite the fact that the Alum's had a few 50 year old's (who did amazingly well!), quite a few 40 year olds, and many men in their 30's playing they won again. I felt bad the the New Men because they played hard! I am not sure how the Alumni won 11 to 3, but they did and it meant the world to them. Marvin says it is because the New Men do not play as often as the old men did????

Here are the Old Men getting their game plan together! They might have won because there were a lot more of them, and after each point was scored they sent in a new 8 guys for the next point. Below Marvin in the tan ball cap is telling all the guys which team they were Alpha 1, Double 2, and Tails 3. They are holding up their hands to show which team they are on! ha ha

The picture above are the New Men (or current house residents) getting their game plan together. Old Men had Blue Smith House shirts on, and New men had green Smith House Shirts on.

The picture below sitting on the ground is the "Royal Purple" University Paper reporter who came to write about the event. The two people sitting on the Bench are a Smurthwaite alum who came to hang out with all the guys she hang out with in college (the 80's guys I talked about earlier) The man she is sitting next to is one of the 80's guys that lived in the house before it closed and then again after it re-opened he played a part in getting it back up and running.

Talking to the reporter. I got to liston to most of the things they were telling her and that is part of how I learned so much about the house.

Above you can see some of the "Action" of the game. The next few shots are just action shots I got.

Here you can see one of the main 80's guys down on the ground. He was playing hard! The one in the purple shirt.

The guy with the Frisbee below was one of the toughest 80's players. He showed up with sports goggles, knee pads and the works!

Below is the 80's guys close up. They have purple shirts on or a couple of them did (K-State colors are Royal Purple, and Silver.) The one looking towards us with the Sun Glasses was the one on the ground a couple of pictures earlier.

Another Action Shot. Marvin is the one blocking the New Man jumping up to get the Frisbee! Marvin had fun, but he was tired afterwards!

Saturday Night Saturday night there was a Formal Social Hour, Program, Dinner, and Dance. We were so impressed with all the Smith Men! They were dressed very well, some in tuxes. They all had dates with them many in Home coming/Prom type dresses! The men mingled once again with the Alum. They were so polite, and seemed interested in the Alum! :-)

This picture is of Justin Vibbert one of the current Smithies. I have known Justin since he was 3 years old. I was around him a lot when he was a younger kid. I hung out with Justin's Mom all the time when I was in College as she was best friends with my Boyfriend (who I dated for 8 years) Mom. We did stuff together almost every day. Justin's Mom helped a ton with my wedding and his sister was the little girl who carried the train on my wedding dress as I walked down the isle. I wanted to take this picture to send to his parents so they could see him and his date all dressed up. When he was getting ready to start college his dad called and talked to Marvin about Smith house and he ended up there. Justin is a very, very brilliant young man. He started out as a freshman taking a level of Calculus that most Juniors and some Seniors take.

Justin and his date Christina. 22 of the girls that were there as Dates for the Smithies were Smurthwaite girls like Christina. Justin came and found Marvin and I before the dinner started to introduce us to his Date. He talked to us for awhile and then after dinner I found him and told him I wanted to take their picture before they left. He came and found me and I got these shots taken. We later found out that the Smithies had been coached well by Anna Elise to introduce their dates (first) to all the Alumni when they talked to them. :-)

This young couple asked me to take their picture and e-mail it to them.

The picture above are the 4 men that came that all started out as Freshmen together. There were a lot more who started in the house together, but only these 4 from that years new class were here. Marivn is on the far right, next to him is his friend Nate Culley Nate is a Veterinarian as is his wife Tara. Marvin and Adam Womack the guy on the other side of Nate were in Nate's wedding, and Adam was in Marvin's wedding, and Marvin was in Adam's wedding. Stewart is the guy far right. He lived in the house for a couple extra years after these guys were gone, so he also lived with the guy's below. The other good friend of theirs that was in a couple of their weddings also is Chuck Caudill. Chuck is in Iraq right now. Marvin communicates with Chuck thru e-mail there. Chuck is also part of the Country Boy Can Survive group! (read below about the CBCS guys. This year will be their 15th annual CBCS trip, they are going to have T-shirts made for it ;-)

Below are 3 of the guys that were Freshman when Marvin was a Sr. Marvin and his college friend started an Annual Country Boy Can Survive Hunting trip while in college they would all go up to where Marvin is from and Hunt all weekend. Adam, Nate and Marvin above still Hunt the CBCS annual hunting trip with the 3 men below. Left to Right, it is Thad, Justin, John, and Marvin. Justin and Marvin are not cousins, but they each share cousins. Justin's Dad's Brother married Marvin's Dad's sister (did you follow that????) Justin is from the same tiny town Marvin is from. Lebanon Kansas. Thad is also a very active member of the Smith Alumni Board. He has been on the Board for 2 years now. He lives in town and works for K-State so he has done a lot of the leg work for the Alumni the last two years! Marvin really appreciates all the things Thad does that Marvin can not do since we live 2 hours away.

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The MC Marvin was the MC for the evening probably because of the 3 most active Alum on the Board Marvin is the most comfortable public speaker. If you know Marvin you know he likes public speaking! ha ha. I have to give him credit, He is good at it so he got to do it. He never gave his own speech though, just did the MC'ing, I know he could have told a ton of stories himself! He forgot to play the one game he wanted to and have all the Alumni who married Smurthwaite girls stand up (the sister house Smith does so much social stuff with) there are a lot of them that have ended up married over the years! Including Monte Wentz (picture below) who is the current President of the Alumni Board. Monte has been president for about 8 years now. Both Monte and Marvin say if either of the other of them ever quit being on the board the other one will quit too!

Marvin as he was doing his Master of Ceremony's MC job. Monte is on the far right. Next to him are two of the guys he started in the house with as Freshman. The 3 of them were Freshmen the year before Marvin and his group were Freshmen. The guy in the middle (I am sorry I can not remember his name) played in the Ultimate game with Marvin. I almost do not want to show these pictures. I felt like both of us looked much better that night then these pictures show. I really do think the camera adds 20 lbs here!! The angle was kind of wierd we were standing at the top of a stair case and the girl taking the pictures was at the bottom.

Marvin and I. Marvin got a $250.00 bonus recently that ADM gave every employee, he told me why, but I can not remember. Marvin decided to buy a new suite with the bonus money because his last new suite was 8 years ago right before our wedding so he could wear it on the formal dress nights on our Honeymoon in the Pocono's. .........

The Speeches Two Alum got to give speeches. One of the Charter members got up and told us all about the house, and what the outside world was like when the House was being started. The next Alum was the one responsible for getting the house Re-Opened. The house was closed in the mid 80's and K-State planned to sell it. When the Men showed up for the first week of school they were told they would not be living there and had to find new places to live! This alum worked very, very hard to change the University's decision, and the House re-opened the next year, but this time, it was now run by the Alumni. There had not been an Alumni Board before, and they were not an integral part of how the house ran. Now it was the Alumni that ran decisions in the house not the Housing Department of the University. This way of doing things has now been done for 24 years, and it ran the other way for 26 years. It seems to work well! However when I found out there has only been an Alumni board for 24 years and Marvin has been on it for 9 years I was surprised!

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The House President also spoke and really impressed upon the Alumni how much updating the house requires. Hopefully they will get the much needed donations to do the updating that does desperately need to be done!

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The Band played the rest of the evening and some danced while others went back out the the Lobby part of the venue and took lots of "Class" "Decade" and "Friends" pictures, and just visited for many more hours.

Here is a picture of Adam, Nate, and Adam's wife Heather looking at the Scrapbook's from Adam, Nate, and Marvin's freshman year at Smith House. Adam and Nate were not able to come on Friday so they just came to the Formal Saturday event. I think Nate and Tara were at some of the Saturday morning events too. I did not go Saturday morning as I had the wonderful rare occasion of sleeping in at a Motel with no kids to take care of!

The Smith Men had all the Scrapbooks in the Basement of Smith for all the Alumni to look at on Friday and Saturday during the day. On Saturday night they packed them all up and took them to the Venue of the Formal so all the Alumni that only came to this part of the weekend could see them. Then on Sunday they were back at the house to be seen again. I think the Alum loved looking at all these scrapbooks! They also had some of the past t-shirts from past years annual events displayed on one of the tables in the lobby of the venue.

Here are all the Scrapbooks back at the house to be viewed on Sunday morning.

Other than the Scrapbooks one of the most interesting things from the house were the Yearly Composites that hang all over the House. Every Year from 1987 thru the present time there is a large composite of all the men in the House that year and the Director. At the Top of the Composite it lists by their picture the President of the House, Vice President, House Manager, Kitchen Manager, and Treasure of the House. Marvin was president his Sr. Year. I took pictures of some of the composites and cropped down the pictures of his Freshman Year and his Sr. Year for you to see!

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Here is a picture of the Compostie from Marvin's Freshman year in the House.

Here is the cropped down Close up of Marvin that year. He looks so young! So much Hair too! :-)

Here is a picture of Chuck the friend who is in Iraq. Since we have been married Chuck has been stationed in North Korea for 1 year, Iraq for almost a year, and now he is back in Iraq for another full year. Marvin always worries about Chuck when he is gone, not as much as his wife and family do I am sure though! Marvin is on the left. Chuck is 3rd from lt, and Adam is on the far right. Here is the Cropped picture of Marvin when he was a Sr. he was president and Chuck was Vice President. I also took a picture of the Composite a few years later when Chuck moved back in the House as Execuative Director (House Dad????) He did this for the year between when Cynthia the director for the first 3 years after Anna Elise quit, also quit, and the next year when Anna Elise came back again. I must not have edited that picture to put in the blog though.

O.K. back to the end of the Formal night. Monte, Marvin, and their two wife's ended up closing down the joint and were the last ones to leave. It was a fun evening! The Smith boys left shortly before we did, and all the clean up staff were eyeing us enough we finally decided to leave. We sat around and talked with Stewart, and Justin and his date until after midnight, then as we were staying at the Holiday Inn a block away all four of us walked back to the Hotel and went to bed.

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Sunday Morning Sunday morning there was a brunch back at the house. We were very surprised how many attended and once again the house was packed. Hats do go off to how much work the current Smithies worked to make this event go off, and I believe every Alum left very impressed with the current Smithies, and Anna Elise the house director. Anna Elise was Marvin's house mom from 92 to 96, she quit a year after Marvin graduated. There was a different director for 3 years, and then she also quit. Then one of Marvin's good friends and housemates was the Director for 1 year. The next year Anna Elise came back. She has been doing this job for the better part of 20 some years now! She and the men put tremendous work into making the weekend a successful enjoyable, happy memory for all the Alumni in attendance!

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Here is just a view of many of the Alum sitting arond eating Brunch in the living room. They were all over the house out on the front and Back porch, sitting in the yard, and all over.

I may be wrong on some Names here and if I am correct me. Marvin is on the left, Next to him is David Boyed (sp) the Alum mostly responsible for getting the house open again and under the current structure of leadership in the 80's, Current Smithie (not sure of name), Sebastian the House President, and Shawn the current House Manager. Shawn has been a big leadership since he was a freshman. I hear Marvin talk about him alot, ever since he started in the house. About 4 years ago there were a group of guys in the house not so willing to live by house standards and at the time the Alumni thought they might have to close the house down again, but they got this group of Freshman in and they have really turned things around and made the House a great leadership environment again!

Marvin, Thad, and Stew talking on the Front Porch after eating Brunch

Some of the more Mature Alumni talking in one of the Halls.

Here she is Anna Elise, she is talking with Thad, his wife and Marvin. I think they were discussing Barrack Obauma's trip to Germany, as Anna Elise is from Germany and still visits her brothers there. One of Marvin's friends piped up that he was in Germany training with John Deer while Obauma was there. He did not go see him though. Well this is it. There are more pictures, but I think you get the jest of the weekend. If I get a copy of the picture of all the Smith Men with thier Dates on the Venue Stairs I will add that later! Have a Great Week! .......... If you are one of my Stamping readers I am sorry for the long post about Smith, but I am proud of my Husband and all the House men after learning so much about what they did, and do as Smith House Men!

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Have a Great Day. I will be back tomorrow with some Stamping Stuff, and pics of the Kids too!
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Heather

4 comments:

paula said...

Hey that is very interesting about Smith House....was Little Justin there? Glad you are home safe and sound

Regina said...

Hello Heather,
this was quite a big surprise! And a so long comment, wow!!! Many thanks for your visit on my (old) Blog!

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paula said...

Loved all of this. And you are too hard on yourself You looked awesome in the pictures...and Not FAT!!!! Great post

Shonda said...

Thank you for sharing your weekend, Heather! You did a great job giving the history of the Smith House. Made me almost feel like I was there, too.