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Clear Spring Homemakers celebrate 90th anniversary

August 14, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - Among the dignitaries invited to the Clear Spring Homemakers 90th anniversary celebration in September is Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

But the veteran Maryland legislator is no stranger to the club.

"When I was planning to go to Johns Hopkins University, I got financial aid from the homemakers," Munson said by telephone.

He described it as a college loan which he paid back later. "It was a great help to me," Munson said.

The celebration will be held at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Clear Spring on Sept. 20 at 1 p.m.

Among those attending will be Salome Clopper, who joined the club in 1946. She is 90 years old this year and still active in the club.

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Clopper treasures the picture taken of her and dozens of other Maryland homemakers at the completion of the "short course" at the University of Maryland at College Park the year she joined.

That course work taught Clopper and others the skills that homemakers needed to run an efficient household.

"We met once a month," Clopper said. During those meetings, the women would paint chairs, make lampshades and drapes, create dress forms, craft enamel earrings and trays, make baskets and learn new recipes.

There was also time for socializing, she said.

"It was and is a way for women to get out of the house," said current member Ruth Mills.

The club used to meet in downtown Clear Spring in the old library building. Lots of soldiers would come in to read or write letters in that library, Clopper said.

"It was right next to my father's store," Clopper said, referring to Clarence Pound. That store was later renamed C.W. Clopper's Market after Salome's husband.

Currently, Jean Rowe and Darlene Semler are co-presidents.

The first president of the club was Martha Foster, who started the club in 1917 and wrote the homemaker's creed which is still recited at the beginning of the meetings held the first Tuesday of the month.

In the early years, the Clear Spring Homemakers Club made soup for soldiers stationed in Washington County.

Meetings were much more formal in those days with the members dressing in their Sunday best and adhering strictly to parliamentary procedure.

"We were judged on that," Clopper said.

There was a homemakers' choral group and the members would often perform skits on the radio, she said.

"Adele Miller was the extension agent when the extension office was on Summit Avenue," Rowe said. "Homemakers had a lot of programs there."

All three women said they still enjoy the homemakers club even though the mission has changed over the years. Members now make favors for nursing homes and do other outreach projects such as donating to area food banks.

There are nine homemaker clubs in Washington County, according to Rowe. All members pay dues which generates the funds necessary for the club's contributions to such things as the educational funds for students, like Munson's financial aid for college so many years ago.

Now the group is smaller (16 members) and more casual but still active with some ladies in their 20s and 30s while about half are 80 or older.

For more information on the club, call 301-842-3895.

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