The day did not open as auspiciously as we hoped it would, but after its morning tears - being an April day- it smiled upon us before the noon hour and the rest of the day was delightful.
By nine o'clock, which was the hour of assembling for the business meeting, friends from the country were collecting about the City Hall and in the Mayor's room discussing the day and enjoying in pleased anticipation the address to be delivered in the Auditorium at 11 o'clock, with perhaps - and why not? - an occasional remark about the coming dinner.
The Rev. Solomon P. Fay, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, had been secured by the Association to address them, and it seemed a fitting selection, for all his early life was spent here, and from Marietta College he went forth prepared for good work and usefulness in his calling. While it gave him great pleasure to return to his former home and meet his old friends whom 54 years had spared, it also gave us who were boys with him, a very keen enjoyment in renewing the memory of old times.
We were anxious - at least those of us who were responsible for the conduct of the occasion - fearing lest the April shower might prevent many old pioneers from enjoying the day with us - and fearing also that the baskets would not come so laden with good things, as to furnish the abundance we always had enjoyed at our meetings. But our nervous anxiety was soon set at rest, for by 11 o'clock, very much to our delight, the tables set in the third story of the City Building were already prepared and loaded with a most generous and abundant offering of toothsome viands - such as was said by many we never had before.
And better still - the crowds were gathering in the Auditorium to listen to the address by Mr. Fay. One of his friends a few days before the 7th, in writing of him, said, "It is certain he will charm his audience by his refinement and his intellectual culture, and will reawaken patriotic endeavor by his close sympathy with the object of the meeting." And so it was. We were delighted with his address and charmed especially with its being somewhat out of the beaten path of such occasions.
About half of his address was devoted to lauding the influence of women in giving such a character to our early settlement, and he deservedly gave high praise to their courage, endurance and their religious influence. He referred to co-education, so lately adopted in our own college, and was glad that "boys and girls," as he called them, could share alike in all such advantages. Women did not stand for party, but principle, and so he thought politics would be made purer and clearer by their vote.
The audience was a good one, and after the close of Mr. Fay's speech, a general stampede was made for the dinner table. About 260 sat down to the first table and enjoyed their share of the bountiful provision, and were followed by as many more. There were delightful greetings of old friends and many happy faces, and all were bountifully supplied out of the abundance, and many poor ones were made happy from the more than 12 baskets left over. Take it all in all, we have seldom had so delightful a Pioneer day.
H. B. Shipman, Secretary