- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SEYMOUR, Ind. (AP) - After spending several years as a homemaker, Eunice Lacey was invited to join a local Extension Homemakers club.

“At that time, I had other things to do; but it was kind of a way to get out of the home and meet other people,” she said.

Even though being a homemaker kept her busy, Lacey added to her workload by taking a job in the cafeteria at Crothersville High School when her daughter was a junior.

Thirty-six years later, she’s still on the job.

“They keep asking me when I’m going to retire,” Lacey said. “Right now, I enjoy it, and I’m able to do it. I enjoy the students. I enjoy the people.”

More than 50 years later, she is still a member of the Happy Apronettes Extension Homemakers Club. She also is in her second stint as president of Jackson County Extension Homemakers.

This is Indiana Extension Homemakers Association Week, a time for clubs around the state to celebrate by doing community service projects. The organization has been in existence for 100 years and continues to draw people who want to celebrate the home arts and enrich their lives through social and educational opportunities.

The Jackson County group was started in 1922. Today, it consists of 14 clubs, the most among the five-county Bedford District.

Along with meeting on a monthly basis, the Jackson County clubs do a variety of things throughout the year, Lacey told The Tribune (https://bit.ly/1oqe0Tb ).

Reading to Head Start students, ringing bells for the Salvation Army, filling backpacks for children in foster homes, collecting items for Anchor House, Community Provisions and Riley Hospital for Children, raising money for the Purdue Cancer Research Fund and conducting a bake sale to benefit a scholarship fund are among the projects.

The organization’s vice president is in charge of committees that help see these projects through, along with putting together two special events - Fall Fling (which will be Nov. 13) and Achievement Night (in May).

“One of my jobs to do when I was vice president, I called these other clubs and asked them, ‘Would you be in charge of this?’” Lacey said. “They volunteer to get other people involved with it. It seems to work that way. That way one person doesn’t have to do it all.”

The Happy Apronettes once had about 30 members. While only 13 are involved now, Lacey said, it’s a good group to be around.

“They just thoroughly enjoy it because this is the time they meet and have fellowship. Also, you learn things from your fellowship,” she said. “People are very cordial to other people. I have found that in the Extension Homemakers. They are very cooperative and respectful of each other.”

The Wegan Wide Awake club, organized in 1924, is the oldest among the county’s current groups. The second-oldest is Seymour City (1933) and then Crothersville (1936).

Doris Kovener said she has been involved with the Crothersville club for more than 40 years. Several members of her family were involved in clubs over the years, including her mother, who joined the Seymour Rural club in 1924.

Kovener is president of the Crothersville club, which has fewer than 10 members at the moment. The women meet once a month for a meal and to socialize. They occasionally go on an educational trip.

The Purdue Extension Jackson County office has a yearbook that gives the clubs ideas of things to do or talk about during meetings.

“It’s just the fellowship. That’s one thing,” Kovener said. “Then just reaching out in the community with things as things come up. People know that they can call on the homemakers club for support, whether it’s monetary or taking a covered dish.”

She said that’s what makes it nice to be involved.

“It has been a joy to always communicate with other people in the community,” she said. “It has just always been nice to call on them for help on something - a contribution or whatever - or to handle a meeting. That’s what I’ve enjoyed.”

Brownstown Unit 1 was organized in 1937.

Annette Bachmann said she has been president of that club for several years. It currently has 10 members.

When she and her husband, Ray, moved to Jackson County in 1974, she found out about the club and got involved.

“A lot of the programs they have are improvement type things - how they improve your life and meals,” Bachmann said. “I kind of needed encouragement in that.”

Bachmann has been a homemaker for most of her life, but she also has worked part time outside the home.

“Meals don’t appear magically,” she said. “I’d like to be able to wave a magic wand and have this lovely meal appear, but it doesn’t work that way. I’ve been married since 1956, and after almost 60 years, you run out of ideas (for meals) and have to search for lots more ideas.”

That’s where being involved in a homemakers club has helped her, she said.

During meetings, Bachmann receives ideas from fellow club members and people from other clubs or the community who serve as guests.

“You get good information, and you have good friends in that group, and I think that’s what keeps the group going,” she said. “I think all of the gals who are members of a homemakers club find a lot of value in the ideas.”

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Information from: The (Seymour) Tribune, https://www.tribtown.com

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