Photo: (L to R) Phyllis Reasoner, Iona Wise and Eleanor Radcliffe preparing soup in the kitchen of Acton United Methodist Church.
In what has become a tradition, the members of the Four Corners Home Economic club met recently for their January soup meeting. Everyone began arriving with a small container of chopped vegetables which were added to a simmering meat broth that would soon be ladled out as a delicious vegetable soup. There is no need to remind readers of the delicious aroma guiding the group into the kitchen. “We meet monthly, and several years ago, we started out the new year by gathering together and making soup for lunch at our first meeting of the year,” stated Phyllis Reasoner, a long-time member of the group.
Beulah Rabourn and Juanita Wilson, charter members of Four Corners Club were in attendance at the meeting and recalled a time when the group had lots of members and there were several Home Economics clubs active in rural communities. Home economic clubs were started in Indiana about 1915 and were intended to strengthen families and communities through education and leadership training. Extension services reached out to more than 70,000 homes in Indiana by the 1950s, focusing on health, nutrition, sewing and other homemaking skills. “Today, we have twelve members and most of the time, we just go out to eat,” says Jan Schildmeier, the current leader of the club. “We still do some community service projects, but our club is primarily a social gathering.” In the recent past, Four Corners Club has completed projects with Riley Hospital, some local nursing homes and a Christmas project with Veterans.
Members of the group are Garnet Denney, Sandy Gilkerson, May Jamison, Barbara Rowe, Carol Waterman, Sandy Weber, Phyllis Reasoner, Iona Wise, Eleanor Radcliffe, Beulah Rabourn, Juanita Wilson, and Jan Schildmeier. Eight additional members are inactive due to health issues.
A brief meeting with a speaker from Franklin Township Historical Society allowed time for the soup to cook. A relish tray was assembled and a tempting pretzel salad dessert with cherry topping was placed on the counter. One could tell that this group of women knew all about homemaking and hostessing at its finest.