President’s Column, June

Contemplating my keyboard, it occurred to me I had no understanding of the origin of the phrase “swan song.” Yes, this is my final newsletter prior to my stepping away from the office of President. Yet, what does this have to do with swans? My penchant for historical minutiae had me uncover the legend grounded in Greek mythology that swans, typically mute during their lives, will sing one, last sweet tune before their lives end.

Notwithstanding the debunking of that legend as early as AD77 courtesy of Pliny the Elder, poetic imagery proved to be more attractive than scientific method and many poets and playwrights made use of the fable long after Pliny’s observations.  All that said, “No. Our next General Membership meeting will not be ‘open mic’ night wherein I serenade our community while waltzing out the door.”  Let’s not go there – LOL.

What would be a “sweet note” upon which to end? Thanks, gratitude and appreciation –

To you, our club members, who attended our meetings, volunteered to lead activities, signed up for events, and patiently abided with slide show hiccups and microphone missteps; To Rob, and his deep well of creativity that transformed our web and online presence and graced our meetings with slides shows of our membership at play; To Anna, whose party planning helped us enjoy the Holiday season and our end-of-year Spring Fling – “Who did it?”; To Ellen and her cadre of Activity leaders who faithfully planned and presented options for connection and community (with my personal favorite being the Christmas Parade!); To Martha, who very well managed all the memberships, renewals, name tags and personal demographics while later also juggling the capture and distribution of Board meeting minutes; To Pat, whose commitment as Secretary was unfortunately cut short by health concerns; To Deb dependably managing the monies, ensuring our good stewardship of resources provided by our members; To Cathy, and her creative enlistment of guest speakers fluidly adjusting to changes in schedules for both speakers and our meetings; To Sandie, whose original vision continues to thrive and provide a forum for Newcomers to connect with new friends in a new home.

Finally, to our newly elected Board of Directors whose talent and skill will usher us into continued success on their “volunteer” shoulders.  We couldn’t do it without YOU! (To see the complete list of the new board members, please visit

Planning ahead – our final General Membership meeting is June 13, 2024, at the Harrison Center on Middle Street in New Bern.  While we will not be holding Newcomers 101, we will kick-off the meeting and celebrate with an ice cream social. Our guest speaker, re-scheduled from May, will join us from NOAA and share insights into preparing for the upcoming hurricane season.  Good to be “in the know.”

As Bob Hope would close his USO shows during WWII and Vietnam, “Thanks for the memory.”

Bill Brettschneider, President


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