1975 – 1976 Year In Review
I’m an Obsessive/Compulsive, most doctors are. We’re the personalities who can wade into all that
information, memorize it, obsess over it, regurgitate it back for exams, and basically pass those years
of medical training. I was probably a little more laid back than most of my classmates, but early on my
buddies told me, “David, the degree will say, David Haines, M.D. and there won’t be a note ‘but he got a
C in cell biology’”
Anyway, I moved to Warsaw in late 1971, started practice in December, we had our first son 4 days
later and I attended my first Optimist meeting presided over by Charlie Hollar. There were about 15
present then. Howard Hoppus and Wayne Snider were there along with Pete Bissell. I returned in 1972
and joined sometime later. Pete Bissell was my sponsor. (I later sponsored him over 20 years later) I
signed up for Christmas trees sales, unloading etc. I was impressed with Tony Zykan’s working with
what we called, “The Little O Club” It was sort of a Big Brothers – big Sisters pattern which gave me
the opportunity to help a young man with a single mom. I remember taking him fishing and constantly
taking fish off the hook and baiting it rapid fire without an opportunity to do my own line. After a while
he turned and said, I’ve caught more fish than you , Doc. I must be a better fisherman
.”My first official meeting was in the Holiday Inn where waitresses served our food, poured coffee
and generally made us feel important. Arleen was our favorite. Glenn Turner presided over the club
when we built the Plymouth club. I think Randy Swanson served the next year and then it was my turn.
While attending a meeting in Indianapolis I overheard one of the attendees say, “Warsaw? Where’s
Warsaw?” I thought to myself, you are going to know where Warsaw is and never forget it. I remember
membership was growing and we passed 75 earning a banner patch. I had several goals to accomplish
my year. Pass 100 in membership, build a new club of over 35 members and achieve Distinguished
Club. I must have made 20 early morning visits to South Bend to meet with their potential members.
(Remember, I was delivering babies, and making early rounds at the hospital in those days) We
chartered the South Bend Club and suddenly Warsaw started taking the lead role in Indiana Optimism.
Jack Jarecki and John Elliott were my vice presidents.
My first meeting I took the gavel and bell and started the meeting, but I didn’t realize that we needed
a program so I conducted a “business” meeting to deal with club business. In previous years I had
learned to practice the tenet about forgetting the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater
achievements of the future. My First big Boo-boo was passing out hundreds of booklets that had VD on
the cover.(I was doing a Project aVoiD and bought the books from Mckesson laboratories) Someone on
the board wanted us to put labels on the books giving Optimists credit so as my children put the labels
on the books I didn’t pay much attention until later at school when I read the label that my children had
put front and center on the cover ”VD a gift of the Warsaw Optimist Club” The Indiana District gives
an annual Boo boo award. Our president received it that year. My second Boo boo occurred on the
Optimist Canoe trip to Canada with Tom Maze. I found a map with a lake labeled “Trout” and talked
Jerry Chubb into taking a canoe and trying to find that lake. Soon 12 boys and 2 other men joined in the
expedition. Basically it was a disaster that Jerry Chubb wrote into a funny story. My second Boo-boo
award. Jerry Titus pulled another a year or two later. Not an accomplishment that we are real proud of,
but hey. If we don’t make mistakes, we haven’t been doing anything.
I remember fondly Mike Henn composing a “Night Before Christmas poem” using the names of every
Optimist member. I’ve tried to duplicate it a few times, but never achieved the sparkle when Mike first
unveiled his masterpiece.
One year when I was Health Officer, the Holiday Inn was having problems with their orange juice prep
being “sour” One of the members gave me a cup so I took it to the Health Dept and asked my sanitarian
to take it to Turner’s Lab and have it tested. Well, this sanitarian was a nice fellow but his elevator
didn’t go to the top floor. So he dawdled and set the container on his dash. Well, you guessed it, it kept
fermenting and producing CO2 and the container exploded in his car. He never came back and told me
what happened but my senior sanitarian told me about it 2 weeks later.
Optimist “fines” used to be a dime. Inflation has made that a memory, yet occasionally I think our
Sergeants at Arms get a little carried away trying to “entertain” We need to be a little more sensitive to
possible hurt feelings and slights. I think that is as much a contributing factor to nonattendance as not
One thing I used to do was make certain I knew everybody in the room. As president I used to sit during
the program and look down each row and “check off” the names and faces in my head. Now I find I
have to wander around the room and look at name badges.
Doug Jones’ dad, Dick, was at my house for a “nickel-dime” poker night and he looked across the table
at Dick Balke and said “Why do I know you?” I answered for him, “You’re both members of the Optimist
When the leadership started publishing the roster book I quit looking around the room. Maybe I should
The morning Phil Ehrenman stood up in club and asked “Who would like to come an hour early and sing
some songs? I’ll bring the music.” Was a life changing decision on my part. Early rising on Wednesday
to sing has been a part of my life ever since that morning. The day several years ago when My daughter
Kathy called Babs and me to tell us that Phil had died in his sleep was also a life changer. With that void
of the Optimist Singers for a few months, I received an invitation to join the barbershop chapter.
As years have gone by we lose members by death as we age. The joke was that every singer who stood
next to me is gone. Dick Anderson, Jerry Chubb, Floyd Hollar, Pinky Ehrenman, Glenn Moorehead, Mike
Henn, Bob Richmond, Phil and some other singers are all gone now, but the good memories linger.
One morning at a District meeting in Indianapolis we went to breakfast with all 6 children. The kids
were giggling and jostling like a litter of puppies and the hostess said, “ I bet Christmas morning at
your house is fun” I replied, “Every morning at our house is fun.” Our children attended every District
meeting with us in the late seventies and early eighties.
The one Optimist in the Indiana District who impressed me the most is Bill Scott from Jeffersonville.
Somehow we clicked with our communication. Neither Bill or I have participated in District Meetings
these past few years. Like Chubb Smith, I have trouble embracing “change” and when Indiana was split
into North and South I still feel like the civil war families who watched brothers march off to fight for
opposite sides. I’m not sure I understand the International hierarchy now but “organization men” know
how to be efficient.
I’m sure I’ll think of other Optimist memories, but this will do for a starter.
David Haines, M.D. past president, past lieutenant governor, past district committeeman, past participle