January 20, 2012
On January 10, 2012, members of the Alpha Study Club met at the home of Phyllis Chizek on a beautiful winter day. Sixteen members answered roll call by giving her reading goal for 2012 or a book she would like to read. President Shirley Young opened the meeting with a reading called “Wintertime” by Nellie Schmalle. Shirley shared two new books she found interesting: “Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse” by Rebecca Janni and “Act Two” by Kimberly Stewart. She also passed around a calendar for left handed persons, which the “righties” found a bit “backwards”. It was shared that the Community Children’s Christmas Gift Project was a huge success and plans are underway for next Christmas. The Westbrook Acres was appreciative of the new “winter” decoration we provided as our “Christmas Project” to the nursing home. The program committee introduced Ranae Fagan, who gave her report on “Mao’s Last Dancer” by Li Cunxin. The book Mao’s Last Dancer is the autobiography of Li Cunxin who lived in a desperately poor village in northeast China. At age eleven, Li Cunxin was chosen by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates to be taken from his rural home and brought to Beijing, where he would study ballet – and Chairman Mao’s communist teachings. The book describes his determination to rise above the hopeless life of a peasant in communist China by becoming an outstanding ballet dancer. In 1979 he was chosen to go to Texas as part of a cultural exchange where he fell in love with America and with an American woman. Two years later, he defected to the United States. He danced with the Houston Ballet for sixteen years and became one of the best ballet dancers in the world. Shirley closed the meeting with a reading “Kettle Music” by Betty Cooper. Phyllis serve delicious kolaches, coffee and refreshing sparkling punch. The next meeting on January 24th will be hosted by Pat Clausen at Gifts of Grace at 1:30 p.m.
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