Monday, August 8, 2011
Sunday Dinner at the Swiss Club
While neither of us are of Swiss descent, we recently attended the Humboldt Swiss Club's annual Swiss Independence Day chicken dinner and dance. Many were there just to see the Beatrice baron of the accordion, Lindy Mantova. We were the youngest patrons at the soiree, (we are both past the half-century mark), and the spryness of the attendees astounded us. We were introduced to three sisters each deep into their 90's. One Mr. Cabalzar introduced himself to us as the "oldest Swiss in the whole place" and told us "I've been coming here since 1927." Most of the members are well into their 80's and have been going to the gatherings for decades.
What's sad is that these organizations are in danger of going away. Where are the baby-boomer children stepping up to preserve the rich cultural heritage of these social bastions? Many of these halls rely on rentals just to survive. Pat Cabalzar-King, current president of the Humboldt Swiss Club, told us the Swiss Hall was close to shuttering in 2005 until a rally cry went out among the Swiss-Italians in the area that closure was near. Annual membership to the Humboldt Swiss Club is only $15 per couple and you don't even have to be Swiss. What an offer! Now, who will take them up on it? We did.