The early 1970s were exciting times for AA’s in the Orlando area. Groups were cropping up everywhere. Twelfth-step work was enthusiastically sought and committees were formed to provide for the many functions within the fellowship. General Service Representatives began to meet in the local area on a regular basis.
Mary C., “California Mary,” was one of many who carried the AA message to the state prison at Lowell. Usually, two or three members rode with Mary in her brand new Cadillac. C. K. B., a former West Virginia State Trooper, also made the trip in his Cadillac. However, his was one of those “pre-owned” cars, a gas hog not nearly as comfortable as Mary’s new Caddy.
This 12th-step call required nearly a day’s involvement-traveling 94 miles to Lowell, holding a meeting, having dinner at the prison mess, and returning well after dark. There was no trouble getting a group together for the monthly journey AA members were more than willing to carry the message to those who could not get themselves to an AA meeting.
From time to time a group would put on a function of such magnitude that they would invite all other groups to participate, such as Christmas parties, usually held on behalf of a club; and a variety show where you could watch Alcoholic Al put on a magic show. These functions were later called Roundups, for which participants bring and eat potluck dinners, listen to selected speakers, and generally enjoy sharing in the fellowship. The “squirrel cage” used to mix the raffle tickets is the same one made by Robbie R. for the first Roundup, which was held in Sanford during the early 1970s. Since then, Roundups have been held every quarter, with essentially the same program format: Al-Anon speaker, 11:00-12:00; potluck buffet, 12:00-1:30; and AA speaker, 1:30-3:00.
The first Roundups were organized by a committee of GSRs. Erie N. scouted out facilities for proper space and price. He booked the Altamonte Civic Center, which housed most of our Roundups until recently, when we outgrew the facility. John D., the “Baron of Bithlo,” was responsible for the flyers. Although not an artist, he managed regularly to get help putting out a flyer for each event. Proper spelling was not a requirement, and once we had to stand on our heads to properly read the map. Joe C. was in charge of the food. During each Roundup, one could see Joe working in the kitchen, coordinating activities. He came out to join the party after everyone was fed and the kitchen was cleaned. Others on the committee were “Dry Wall” John, Alice Katherine B., Robbie R., and Chuck B. This group attended to all details to ensure a good Roundup. In time, Intergroup took over this task, with groups taking turns sponsoring a Roundup.
Though unofficial, committees were also active in performing functions for the Intergroup Office. No one could refuse Marie, our Office Administrator.
In addition to volunteering every Friday afternoon for hotline duty, Parker E. studiously kept track of each group and meeting place. Year after year, it was Parker who drew up the meeting schedule and managed to find someone eager to do the typing. In time we obtained professional printing. When our printer installed a computer, only corrections to the previous schedule were required. Schedules were quite accurate and published frequently.
Richard H., a short fellow who walked with a cane, developed a map to help residents and visitors locate meetings. Richard drove to every meeting, perhaps 50 locations at that time, and made the entries necessary to find the meeting places. Richard was no artist. Joe H., his sponsor, felt sorry for him and refined the maps from then on.
Richard was standing several feet away from the bulletin board at the Central Group admiring one of his first maps when he heard another person say, “That’s a good map.” Richard smiled. When another person said, “Thank you. I drew it,” Richard angrily sought out his sponsor. Joe told him that the 12th Tradition states that we look for no reward for fellowship service, and that the person who solicited the undeserved praise had a problem and we should not rebuke him for it.
From then on, all maps drawn by these two incorporated Richard’s initials on one side of the compass rose and Joe’s on the other side. Thereafter Richard heard no more false claims of authorship.
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