This issue of THE INTERGROUPER marks the beginning of its 20th year. The first edition in September 1972 was called “Intergroup Reports. ” It originated out of our Intergroup Office when it was located at the old Alco-An Club house on 205 East Jackson Street in Orlando.
Ruby J. originated the idea of a newsletter during the summer of 1972. She modeled it after the Georgia Messenger, a newsletter with which she was familiar before coming to Orlando. Ruby carried a big folder she called her “borrow pit.” It contained a compilation of material gleaned from other AA oriented newsletters and periodicals, which she selectively reprinted in the Intergroup Reports. This was necessary because in 1972 there were not many sources (AA members). AA members were extremely limited.
Elise D. acted as Ruby’s assistant for about a year. In August 1973, Ruby died suddenly. Elise became the chief editor and produced the September 1973 edition, Volume II, Number 1, of THE INTERGROUPER. She has been doing so ever since.
Credit for the current name, THE INTERGROUPER, goes to Ralph L. (Rotten). He had written an article announcing a contest to rename the newsletter. As an example of what the name selection committee was looking for, Ralph mentioned “Intergrouper.” Much to Ralph’s surprise, that was the name selected by the committee and he was awarded a Big Book.
Records are not available of the number of the newsletters printed monthly during the first years. However, during 1983, one thousand copies were printed monthly. Today it is 3,000 (1991). In time, more articles authored by locals began to appear. Also, our editor became concerned with copyright infringement. A rule was established that only original articles would be printed. She also steered away from publishing religious articles, thinking they are more suited for church publications.
Now try to stay with me… Articles submitted for the following month must be turned in to the Intergroup Office two Wednesdays before the last Sunday of the month. That’s the way it was, still is, and probably will continue to be. This is because THE INTERGROUPER is distributed at the Intergroup Delegates’ meeting on the last Sunday of each month. This is D-Day (Distribution Day). The printer needs the material seven days earlier, D minus 7. Elise needs at least four days to work up the newsletter. This brings the need for material to be at the Intergroup Office on D-ll. Understand? Anyway, because of the timing (D-11), the Service Committee meets two Wednesdays preceding the last Sunday of each month. Now do you understand?
During 1983, Mary M. of the Back to Basics Group, Barbara D. from Sanford, and tire undersigned tape interviewed Elise. Elise related the exciting experiences in the Intergroup Office on the day when the uncollated INTERGROUPER pages arrived. Our administrator, Marie G. or Jean B., looked forward to receiving the pages if they arrived on Wednesday (D-4). If they arrived on Thursday (D-3), it wasn’t too bad. However, if they didn’t get in until Friday (D-2), friendly panic prevailed. Volunteer collators circled the tables, stacking the pages in numerical sequence while joking, laughing and sharing. The most prestigious function was that of operating the electric stapler, which was a slightly controversial expenditure in that this item was an example of how the Intergroup Office “squandered” money.
Our editor, Elise D., has an interesting background. During World War II she worked in Washington, D.C. with the War Department, teaching codes and ciphers. After learning Japanese, she became a Japanese translator. During her career, Elise was employed as an historical researcher and an editor. She also did statistical studies on 25 languages. Between her junior and senior years in college, she worked on a newspaper as Church & School Editor.
When Elise married her husband, Hal D., and came to Sanford in 1970, there were only 10 or 12 AA groups in our three counties. Elise immediately got into service, becoming very active in North Florida Assembly activities, where she was Treasurer for 14 years. Elise has been a regular attendee to Intergroup Delegates, Intergroup Service Committee, General Service Representative and North Florida Assembly meetings. She is also an avid attendee of Roundups, Celebrate Sobriety, Florida State Conventions, Southeast Forums, and International Conventions. I know of no one in the program who has dedicated themselves so completely to AA service as this scrappy and charming little lady, We in AA are indeed indebted to Elise for her monumental service efforts.
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