Janet Bauman Read shared her account of the family trip to Chile: “Inspired by an Amazon,” a published account of the history of El Vergel (“A Garden of Paradise” by Lawrence E. Reed), the grandchildren of founder Ezra Bauman decided to travel to Angol, Chile, to observe the 100th year celebration of this historic farm.
As a missionary to Chile for several years, the Rev. Bauman became very concerned about the lack of employment and educational opportunities of the impoverished citizens of south-central Chile. He became aware of a well-developed farm that was ready to be sold, persuaded his Methodist Episcopal Bishop Oldham to arrange to purchase the farm for the church and accomplished it in August 1919.
The 3,700-plus-acre farm was furnished with orchards, vegetables, livestock, florals, forests and rivers. Within a year, the Rev. Bauman and others established the Agriculture School on the grounds, which still operates today. Experimental farming on El Vergel provided great opportunities and progress for the citizens of the area and all of Chile.
Our 10-day “adventure” group of 19 included grandchildren: myself, my two brothers and sister, two cousins, six great-grandchildren, several spouses and two great-grandchildren: 4-year-old twins named Ezra and Henry. States represented were Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Washington, Florida and Illinois.
Our journey included stays and tours of the capital Santiago, coastal cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, Puntas Arenas at the Strait of Magellan, the magnificent national park of glaciers in Torres del Paine and Casa Blanca wineries. And of course, El Vergel — located outside of Angol, a small city southeast of Concepcion (where my father was born).
The “Centenary” celebration included a Friday night church service in the chapel on the grounds of El Vergel, with two other United Methodist churches from Angol. (“How Great Thou Art” is even more inspiring in Spanish than in English.) All day Saturday was filled with social time, an extensive review of the history of El Vergel, recognition of school alumni, former families or representatives who had lived and served at El Vergel, and recognition of the achievements of the Agriculture School, a high school co-ed institution.
Several hundred attended and enjoyed a large luncheon, as well as continued music and celebration into the evening. Our family stayed at the slightly updated guest house — which has been on the property for many years — as well as some camp buildings being renovated for more retreats and special events.
The grounds of the farm were wet but filled with myriad types of trees and flowering bushes. It is winter in Chile now; so many days were very cold, often rainy, but also beautiful days of chilly sunshine. It’s an adventure I’ll forever cherish.
Janet and her family were gone from Aug. 8-20.
I was in the post office and met Jennifer Reynolds, mother of Weston Reynolds, our Huntington DAR Good Citizen. She was mailing tortillas to Weston at Texas Tech University for the Saturday football game. Seems they were out of tortillas in Lubbock.
Ben and John Hicks were perfect help in my projects that I could not do. Light bulbs overhead and tubs of clothes going outside to storage were their labors. David Hicks shared them with me.
Connie and John Porter’s grandson Tyler Baumann, son of Lisa Baumann, attended Wiley College and played baseball for four years. He and his roommate tried out and were accepted in the independent ball league in Bakersfield, California, with a team named the Train Robbers.
Tyler and Darion Flemming played for 10 weeks. There was some mistake on their host family and Cathy (Guidi) and husband Art Carls accepted them and they had rooms, TV, meals and Cathy gave them her car to drive. The Guidis were friends of the Porters years ago. It is a small world.
Tyler will be an assistant baseball coach this semester at Wiley College in Marshall while he finishes his degree in kinesiology.
I missed the early KTRE news last week and called Lauren Stacy at Lufkin Parks & Recreation. The city is hosting Christmas in the Pines! on Dec. 6-8. Rudolph, our favorite pumping unit and trailer, will be set up in the parking lot next to the municipal court building between Shepherd and Burke streets, between the J.S. Moore Building and Regions Bank. The Christmas Parade will be Dec. 6 and the lighting of Rudolph will be Dec. 7. Events will be downtown all day Saturday, and Sunday will begin the Festival of Trees at the Museum of East Texas.
Janie McCann’s daughter, Sage Rudd Papaioannou, was promoted to the principal of Hamilton Elementary School in the Cypress-Fairbanks school district. Sage has been in education for 25 years with a masters in counseling. She is a graduate of the Rice Educational Entrepreneurship Program.
Janie sold her home on Grove and has bought a house on the golf course in Diboll.
Our busiest volunteer Pat Harkness has a project other than her three days volunteering at the Charles Wilson VA Clinic. She has documented 1,778 veteran graves in 31 cemeteries covering about 800 miles. She puts flags or flowers at the graves of the forgotten military people. She cleans veterans’ headstones in a 25-mile radius of Lufkin.
She said that some headstones have words about the person and she does not want them forgotten. The freedom that they fought for is sometimes abused today.
She always says “Thank you for your service” when she leaves the grave. Cemeteries need to have associations to help keep up their mowing.