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The Suburbanite
  • Nan DeMuesy — Fondly remembering 90 years of the Canton Woman’s Club

  • Celebrating 90 years of life, the Canton Woman's Club has offered growth and a certain grandness to area women.

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  • Certainly near the top of the list of Stark County’s finest women’s finishing schools would be the Canton Woman’s Club. Celebrating 90 years of life, this “idea” offered growth and a certain grandness to area women who have gathered and continue to do so for uplifting programs and lunch with sticky buns.
    The original groups in the 1920s through the 1940s rarely had a college education. They mostly were local ladies who were married to young men who were freshmen in all the manufacturing and professional areas of our community.
    Who could guess how many book reviews, musicals, plays and style shows have hit the walls of that lovely home? There were programs that started interesting hobbies for the members. Oh yes, there was the afternoon of bridge, too. And there always has been the challenge of the beautiful winding staircase!
    FEELING GRATITUDE
    My intention today is to thank those who had the wisdom and vision to start the club in 1920. And I thank them for my mother and all the other mothers and their daughters who benefited so richly because of its offerings. Believe me, it was more than lovely luncheons and those buns!
    My mother was a receptive and worthwhile member in the 1930s through the 1950s. She was not really a solo performer like her show-off daughter, but you always knew she was part of the strong “ways and means” committee. With Mrs. Kerns, she was a winner, and the two of them could have managed a big business.
    Originally, meetings were luncheon and afternoon programs, because that was when the children were in school and men at work. Moms were always at the sink when we got home from school.
    For some strange reason, my mother agreed to do a book report. It was Pearl Buck’s third book, “The Young Revolutionist,” and was reviewed by my mom in 1936. I would have liked to have been there. I hold the book today. It cost $1.50. There are a dozen paper clips marking certain pages; there also are typewritten 5-by-7-inch notes to keep my mother on track. For the life of me, I can’t imagine mother performing, and this was just one of the skills she learned at “the club.”
    ON THE RADIO
    Later on the members would have programs on WHBC, when it was located on the second floor of a building next to the Stern and Mann store. My mom was to deliver a report on “flowering shrubs.” Now that’s a whiz-bang of a subject! I remember being at home with my dad and brothers, ears to the radio set. Mother was going along very well when, suddenly, there was a deathly silence. She recovered and, when she returned home, she explained. She was told to stand up at the microphone and read her notes. As she concluded a page, she should not shuffle it behind her other papers, but drop it to the floor. You’re right. She dropped it too soon. Back to the “ways and means” committee.
    Page 2 of 2 - The club enlarged to include several garden clubs and these continue today at the Canton Garden Center. She learned to make hats. This was a wonderful extension in life for girls who graduated from high school and became interesting wives and mothers.
    There was a day when I was between careers and at a fuzzy crossroad. Mom invited me to come with her to the club; there was to be a good book review. It was something about “rooms in your life” and something good clicked in me. Just imagine how many ladies have been served and polished by this wonderful idea for 90 years.
    Happy birthday to the club at Eighth Street and Market Avenue North. And thank you.