Just as a tree grows from a little acorn, so did our chapter grow from two teenage boys’ wanting their mothers to meet. We met; we became best pals and found that our circle of friends crisscrossed. Her name was Ruth Hedgepath and I, Bert Wise, were the friendship that built a club. Below is our story of the Washington DC CARATS history.
The idea of a travel club presented itself and we had to think how best to go about it. We each put six names in a hat as possible members. Believe it or not, five of each of our names were the same.
Try to imagine twelve women, bubbling with the three “v’s” - vigor, vision, vitality –bonded together for years as the GADABOUTS. We danced and partied all over the globe. We used every mode of transportation – cars, boats, planes and trains. WHAT! - you thought we were alone? No, our ‘Gem-Dandies”, as the men were called, were right beside us. What we did was just add another vacation week to the necessary August conventions of our spouses.
Everything was fine until two of our members attended a CARAT gala in Baltimore for Conclave 1979. There they met CARATS from other cities and were overwhelmed by their warmth and friendly personalities, not to mention their dress. Many questions about organizing a CARAT group were asked. Then the thought was - Why not the GADABOUTS become CARATS? This would be perfect!
‘Bert’ Wise, the GADABOUT president at that time, was a member of the old defunct CARATS of D.C. She was still, by luck, a General Member of CARATS, Incorporated and an excellent starting point. The two GADABOUTS convinced Bert to move ahead. A meeting was called immediately. The proposal was discussed – noting that the major change would be operating under a constitution and by-laws, paying of dues and attending conclaves. She explained that attending conclave was not a requirement but once one attended, they caught the fever and made a point thereafter to attend. A vote was taken to seek membership and it was eagerly accepted.
Wanting to strike while the iron was hot, Baltimore was contacted by telephone relative to sponsorship and all details. It took Baltimore some time to move through the channels of sponsorship. What joy upon learning of our acceptance in CARATS
We hosted our sponsoring chapter, Baltimore, with a Mexican Fiesta, complete with Mexican chefs, food, games, music and dance at Bert’s home. This sealed the deal. Our installation date was April, 1981.
Janet Sullivan, national president of CARATS, Incorporated and Barbara Gross, national vice-president, were our constant companions in procedure and protocol. We really and truly marched to their beat but did we surprise them?
This is how our installation was planned:
- Gadabouts installation into CARATS – Howard University, Washington, D.C. , April, 1981
- Luncheon – New Blackburn Center
- The Mayor of D.C. declared it CARAT’s Day and gave us a copy of the Proclamation which was read at the luncheon.
- Our guests were housed at the new Hyatt Regency in Capitol Hill, just a few steps from the capitol building.
- The Saturday night activity was held at Howard University’s School of Law
- Sunday morning – a Silver Service Breakfast was served compliments of our legal Carat agent, Attorney and Mrs. Quetin Banks of Washington, D.C.
- During the weekend, the ‘Gem Dandies` and CARATEERS were royally entertained – golf, lunch and the whole thing.
- Bus transportation was used to transport guests to and from all points necessary.
We were, now, officially CARATs – a committed group of women dedicated to the proposition that a relaxed, free spirit in the midst of a hurried schedule is good for the soul, nourishment for the body and manna for what ails you. Gleaming with joy and laughter, we have moved from G (GADABOUTS) to C (CARATS) alphabetically and from local to the national scene of kindred women. ~Penned by Roberta ‘Bert` Wise
Now celebrating 30 years, we want to give you an update.
The Washington DC CARATS meet on the 4th Saturday of each month. These meetings take a variety of forms- from dinner and conversations; to dinner and wine tasting; to dinner and a play or movie; to dinner and games; to dinner and a mobile tour of Washington, DC at night to view the skyline and historical sites.
Since our chartering in April 1981, The Washington CARATS hosted conclaves in 1990, 2002 and look forward to hosting conclave 2016. We have been supportive of the growth and stability of the organization through the leadership of the following: Barbara Harmon and Louise Richardson, National Vice Presidents; Annie Goodson, National Recording Secretary and Chair, Policy Guidelines; Roberta “Bert Wise”, a member of the organizing team that resulted in formation of the CARATS, Inc. Finally, our chapter is proud that its member, Carat De Vera Y. Redmond, served with distinction as the 18th National President of CARATS, Inc.