1975 – 1976 Year In Review

Doc Haines

David Haines, M.D. past president, past lieutenant governor, past district committeeman, past participle

Optimist memories

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

“getting involved”

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

start again.

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