Letters: February 2010

Letters: February 2010

Letters to the Editor

A Tip o’ the Hat to Don Ensch
The article about Don Ensch, “Staying With It” by Katherine Wertheim (October), brought back some very happy memories for me. I’m a member of the Tralee Toastmasters in Ireland, and in 1999 I spent a month in Ventura, California, with my family. I got Don’s name as a contact person for local Toastmasters clubs, and I rang him on arrival in Ventura. He immediately invited me to a meeting of his club – the Sandpipers Toastmasters in Ventura – for the following day. Don drove me to every meeting that was scheduled for the month.

Along with Sandpipers members Herb Nowlin and Jim Sullivan, he brought me to a district conference in Oxnard (California), where I had the honor of addressing the delegates. As Ms. Wertheim’s article illustrates, Don has lived a life of service – to the community and to Toastmasters. He made me, a stranger, feel welcome and ferried me around that beautiful part of the world. Don Ensch is a rock upon which neighborliness, courtesy, professionalism and generosity are built.
Sean Lyons • Tralee Toastmasters • Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland 

Celebrating in Style
What fun, enthusiasm and pride Toastmasters clubs in Santa Ana, California, enjoyed in preparing for the 85th anniversary celebration of Toastmasters International. The organization was born in Santa Ana on October 22, 1924, and existed in the city for about 66 years before moving to its current location in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.

My club, Inner Strength, based in Santa Ana, wanted to highlight this precious local history. We bought and read The Story of Toastmasters, Vol. II, by Toastmasters’ founder, Ralph C. Smedley. I was mainly impressed with the book’s “Toastmasters’ Famous 15 Points,” especially with No. 9 (“to promote friendship among Toastmasters clubs and Toastmasters”) and No. 14 (“to establish the place of the Toastmasters Club in the life and work of the community”).

I encourage everyone to read this book. It is packed with delightful details of Dr. Smedley’s life, diligent work and caring ways.
Patricia Adelekan, Ph.D., DTM • Inner Strength Toastmasters • Santa Ana, California 

A Toast to TI
Toastmasters International’s 85th anniversary gave me a chance to present a wonderful toast at my club. When I was preparing it, the features in the October Toastmaster, especially the Viewpoint from International President Gary Schmidt and articles relating to Toastmasters founder Dr. Ralph Smedley, helped me a lot.

In my toast, I said, “October 22 is the birthday for one of our young members; however, there is an even bigger birthday party for you and me to celebrate. Today, Toastmasters International turns 85.” My toast ended with how this “pukka” organization changed my life.

By the way, pukka was the Word of the Day. It means “first-class.”
Jason Zhang • Deer Park Club • Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Manufacturing a Speech!
I came across Toastmasters International one evening while searching the Internet for a way to increase my communication skills. I attended a meeting that was located five minutes from my home and found it to be everything I wanted to be a part of. That was on April 1, 2009, and I must say it was challenging. I work at a manufacturing center on the night shift and take three college classes during the day. I didn’t have free time to practice, so I would practice at work while running my machine. Co-workers would find me speaking to myself, waving my hands, and practicing my gestures while trying to run a machine at the same time.

The practice did pay off, but I still couldn’t overcome the nervousness. I felt that I needed to speak more to become better. So I would work all night, go home and sleep for two hours, then visit other Toastmasters groups at noon and present speeches. Little did I know that I would complete 10 speeches in eight months. Toastmasters has truly been a life-changing experience and was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Brehon Mills, CC • SPBC Toastmasters • Richmond, Virginia 

It’s All in the Room
Right on the mark! I concur absolutely with the views of Gene Perret’s article “Be (A)ware of ‘The Room’” (November). Over the past 40 years, I’ve given around a thousand presentations – mostly outside of the Toastmasters environment, at maybe 600-700 different venues. The room aspect is something I’ve attempted to bring home to Toastmaster members over the years. Great to see the subject’s finally getting the airing it deserves.
Arthur Thomas Ware, ATMG, CL • Dundas Club Sydney, Australia 

It Really is Academic
Regarding John Cadley’s article “It’s Academic” (November), may I point out that King John didn’t sign the Magna Carta in 1215 (he couldn’t write) – he sealed it. Sorry to be so academic.
Stuart Lawson, CTM • West Herts Speakers • St Albans, England 

A Clergyman Comments on Eulogies
As a clergyman for more than 40 years, and a new member of Gainesville Toastmasters in Gainesville, Florida, I have seen many eulogies thrive and some eulogies die. I always encourage a eulogist to write out their presentation in full. Often, people can speak with no notes or minimal notes; however, they may need a written text to follow if they become emotionally distressed. Also, while it is rare, sometimes a eulogist is so distraught they cannot complete their eulogy at all. By having a written text they can hand to someone else to deliver, they can still have their words honor the departed and comfort the living.
Les Singleton • Gainesville Toastmasters • Gainesville, Florida 

Do you have something to say? Write it in 200 words or less, sign it with your name, address and club affiliation and send it to letters@toastmasters.org.