From Ted Lylis:
It has been years, but whenever I think of Steve and Edie it has always been with fondness. Remember where some pictures are of the year I was chair?- surely you jest. I can barely remember the year I was chair. And that’s not the only thing I’m having trouble remembering. But I will always remember what fine people Steve and Edie are. Thank you for being you and I hope our paths will cross again.
From Debbie Weiner-Soule:
Steve and Edie Whitney were the Pelicans I wanted to be. I remember arriving on Star, just out of high school and seeing the ‘experienced’ Pels including the Staff Waitress, Edie, and the Kitchie, Steve, I thought about how much I could learn from them. Of course, I soon found out how much fun they were. I learned about Pickle Rickeys, the rituals of a Star Island baseball game (red licorice all around, please); bridge; eating lobster on the rocks in back of the kitchen; fishing with mixed veggies for chum, and much more. And when I landed in the infirmary on Pier Party night because of strep throat, Steve and Edie were the ones who showed up with my dinner tray, and they made me considerably less miserable than I might otherwise have been by handing me a ‘cigar’ – a metal cigar holder which was filled with vodka!
As the founders of Pel Reunion, Steve and Edie envisioned a gathering where their friends and former Pels could come back and celebrate the joys of Star together. Their very good idea has grown and taken flight, and the fact that the conference has earned a place on the permanent Star conference calendar speaks to their wisdom and creativity.
I chaired the conference just after Ted Lylis, and had a great time doing it – how could you go wrong running a conference with so many of your friends present? One of the things we did that summer – or heck, it could have been another summer, but who can remember the fine points? – was a social hour that was dubbed the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. This was secretly a way for Ben and me to get rid of a giant overstock of gourmet tea which we had around…but also a way to have a social hour which encouraged people to bring unusual beverages and snacks to share…and leave with a little gift of tea from the DorMouse (aka our daughter, Emily, in a large top hat we had acquired for the occasion).
A minister friend of mine said, “The most radical thing we can do is bring people together.” Steve and Edie, thank you for having such a radical idea so many years ago. Clearly, it was the right thing then, and it remains so today!
Fondly, Debbie Weiner Soule
From Susy Mansfield:
Do you know that Tom and Steve are related? In 1640 Robert Mansfield and his sons Joseph and Andrew came from England to Lynn, Massachusetts, on Cape Ann. Steve is an 11th generation direct descendent of Andrew, Tom is a 10th generation direct descendent of Joseph. We learned this in 1983 though Susy had known Steve since the early 60s in All Star, while Tom and Edie attended the same high school in Newton MA.
While we were all Pelicans together in 1968-9 we didn’t hang out with them. Steve was a kitchie and Edie a waitra, both white knights and already in love. We were both black(ish) knights and not rabid Red Sox fans as they were (and are). It was through the early Pelican Reunions that our friendship bloomed; they are Molly’s god-parents in fact. So we have tons of happy memories together.
From Brad Greeley:
I think the metaphor that best describes the way the Whitneys helped us during the preparations and delivery of “our” Pel Reunion is that of a boat (not surprisingly). The Pel ReUnion was a pretty well designed craft by the time we took the helm for its 25 anniversary voyage. There was a good working crew (yourself included) and things were pretty shipshape. But the winds always blow a bit along the way and seas roughen up some. The co-captains were scurrying about on the deck and the crew was asking appropriate questions. Whatever else was helpful to us as we worked to keep things on course, the real answer was the keel. The steady, experienced and well aimed direction that was offered by Steve and Eddie. We wouldn’t have made harbor without it/them.
As a relative aside, they got made, brought and distributed the classic, now sought after heritage 25th anniversary Pel T-Shirts. Plenty of work in its own right.
See you on the Island,
Brad and Catherine
From Carey Kasky:
My memories are many and I am not sure I can think of one so I will give you a glimpse of warm thoughts that ran through my mind when I read the request:
Being welcomed at their house for lunch and everyone looking at me like I was to know what to do! Leaving that lunch with thoughts that I was crazy to chair but feeling like I had a plan. Steve smiling at me walking out of my chapel service…Edie making me laugh at the Arts and Craft table, every year looking at Pel papers to see what profession Edie would write this year, Edie making room for me on the porch so I could join Stitch and Bitch – These are the times that made me feel like I wasn’t just Cathy’s sister or an ‘85 Pel but I had transcended “my year” and was part of something bigger….the Star community.
Before orientation of my conference I put a stone on each chair and during orientation I asked everyone to keep it close when they left the island as a way to remember the time spent 10 miles out -( or something of the sort- I was thinking that life was short and hoping we could carry the warmth of the conference to our every day life) any hoo – Edie told me Steve kept his stone for a long while.. It touched me and made me feel connected to them.
From Arlyn Weeks:
I was chair fairly early on. (The Steering Committee sent Bob Lightfoot to “invite” me to serve; he took me to lunch at a VERY nice restaurant. I should have been immediately suspicious.). At that point, I believed that Pelican Reunion was really trying to be a “conference,” so I recruited theme speakers (a family that had never been to Star before and probably had never heard of it) and set up many “workshops” and “discussions,” most of which went unattended. This approach was certainly ironic, as at that time I had never actually attended a conference myself. The actual three days are a blur in my memory. I do recall having to find the acting manager (Tony C. was off island for most of the weekend) to reverse the dismantling of our silent auction by Pels who decided it was time to wax the floors in Newton. And my conference minister, carefully recruited at the Pelican Reunion preceding “mine,” managed to get pregnant in the interim and could not attend at all; my father filled in. Fortunately for us all, having a parent at Pelican Reunion has worked just fine for the Kolbjornsen Kids, but I found it very distracting.
I was very happy to “pass the torch” to Nate and Stephanie Hubbard on the Monday of “my” Pelican Reunion. (I think it was at the next Steering Committee meeting that Edie observed, gently, that incoming chairs could certainly learn from the experiences of past chairs.) The food at Steering Committee meetings at the Whitney residence was always fabulous. Lenny Reed attended some of those meetings in the early years. (He didn’t seem to remember me at all, for which I was grateful.) The Whits always pushed to involve more recent Pelicans in our conference leadership, a very wise approach. They managed to bring order out of the chaos that is to be expected when more than 3 or 4 Pelicans gather. I can’t imagine my life without them.
From Laurie Lentz Marino:
One of my favorite memories was of a steering committee meeting in ‘08. There was a running joke about how much ham Edie had cooked for the meeting and this was at the end of the minutes email she later sent. I also noted that she wrote ‘adorned’ instead of adjourned. It made me chuckle: “Meeting was adorned at 4:00 and no one took home any ham!”
From Liz Erickson:
When I first agreed to chair the Pel Reunion conference, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. However, Steve and Edie demonstrated enormous hospitality, welcomed me into their home (with the Pel Reunion Committee) and showed me the ropes. They were gracious when Erik Mercer (the co-chair) or I was outrageous and helped us bring to fruition what I hope was a successful Pel Reunion weekend. Steve and Edie worked hard to keep us “on track” (not necessarily the easiest of jobs considering the co-chairs) and maintain the vision of the weekend for former Pels.
For Steve and Edie’s many years of service to Pel Reunion Weekend, I am tremendously grateful. They have inspired many of us to stay connected to Star Island in a meaningful way.
From Nancy Meyer:
I tell the story often of Steve’s infamous sales pitch that got me to agree to be Pel Reunion Chair. He said, “Look at it this way, you’ll get it over with early.” That still makes me laugh and it was good advice.
They have always felt like the parents of Pel Reunion (literally and figuratively), giving each new chair enough latitude to feel ownership and excitement about “their conference” but always there to keep us from going too far off the deep end and help out in times of trouble. It was reassuring to have them at my back. That constant stewardship and guidance will be missed and will be a tough act to follow.
One odd sidebar: I consider the Pel Reunion Steering Committee actively involved in my marriage to Dick. He and I drove down to the 2001 Steering Committee meeting together. Carey was supposed to come too but, as fate would have it, she needed to cancel at the last minute. After the meeting, Dick and I went out to dinner and that was our first date, although at the time we were too shy to actually admit it was a date.
So, thanks Steve and Edie, for Pel Reunion and the wonderful memories — and for the unfolding future.
From Nate Hubbard:
I don’t have any specific memories of Steve and Edie from the Pel Reunion but more from my youthful years as a Pelican. When I came out in 1970 for the first of my three fabulous years as a Pelican, I remember Whit and Edie already as a couple. Although I was a young 18 and they were only a few years older than me, they seemed so “adult” to me. I may not have even uttered a sentence to them, being intimidated by these old shoalers. Steve may have not known who I was but he always said hi in passing. In the three Pelican years I got to know them better.
A decade later we communicated about Corporation business with Smuttynose and then I was delighted to refresh our friendship with them when the Pel Reunions started. As our family grew, our need to find a family conference took us to All Star II where we’ve been for 12 years.
I’d like to thanks the Whitneys for their stewardship of Star Island in their many capacities of Pelicans, Corporation Board Members and Board Members of the Pelican Conference!
Nate, Stephanie, Celia, Kate & Lily Hubbard