Making what’s old sparkle like new again
This past weekend, I went to Chicago for the AMA Board of Trustees meeting.
The Alliance has a small conference room in the new AMA Plaza, located right on the Chicago River. In this office we have an oval marble table, comfortable chairs and four filing cabinets full of records, copies of newsletters, speeches, awards and pictures. Among the treasures were two engraved silver pieces from 1937 and 1960 that were terribly tarnished. They were in such bad shape that the engraving was barely legible.
My good friend, Barb Hanas, who is also chairman of the AHEI Board, had driven to the city to assist me with finishing the setup of the office. I should note here that the preceding week, our space had been relocated. President-Elect Sarah Sanders met Managing Director Pat Troy and two of her Next Wave Group staff members who had been in Chicago for an unrelated convention, had overseen the transfer and set up.
Barb and I, both separately and together, went to about eight stores to look for silver polish. We finally found what we needed, purchased some disposable rubber gloves, and were able to get cloth rags from AMA staffer, John O’Keefe.
Barb deserves all of the credit for cleaning, because she applied “elbow grease” and spent about half an hour polishing two containers and their ornamental lids.
Before and after pictures tell the story. They are sparkling and look like new again! The silver pieces are back in the office, protected by silver cloth, and we will use them at our welcome reception at our June conference.
The engraving revealed that the round bowl was given for Membership Awards in 1937, first to New York and in 1938 to Arkansas. The oblong piece was given by the AMAERF (AMA Education and Research Foundation) in honor of Mrs. Ethel Gastineau with three years listing Tennessee as the winner. Since no further engraving is on the piece, I can only assume that they gave up engraving any more Tennessee winning years, which numbered at least 34 in highest donations to the medical scholars fund!
In a way, these pieces represent to me the major steps and transitions that our organization has bravely taken in the past two years. We were not exactly tarnished, but we needed to update the way we did the business of our national Alliance. We took on the challenge, worked hard, applied the appropriate “polish” and we are now much brighter, looking like new (and improved) and ready for the future.