#18 Memphis, Tennessee April 17-21, 2002

Wednesday, April 17: A memorable experience sums up the get-together in Memphis. The Peabody, the South's grand hotel which has been home to the world-famous marching ducks since the 1930s, was headquarters for the Class of 1950's 18th mini conclave. Cocktails and mingling in the lobby preceded dinner. Registration packets contained miniature cotton bales replicas of the 2-1/2 million produced annually in Memphis, the world's largest market.

Thursday, April 18: Tour guides described points of interest en route to Mud Island River Park where the vintage B-17 Memphis Belle is on display. Nearby, the permanent outdoor River Walk exhibit featured a scale model of the 954-mile Lower Mississippi River from Cairo, Illinois, to the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River Museum's 18 galleries are dedicated to the river's history and culture. After lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, many attendees visited Elvis Presley's fabled Graceland Mansion where artifacts of the singer's life, including his legendary 1955 pink Cadillac, are on display. A digital audio presentation made the tour come to life. Others visited The National Civil Rights Museum housed in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Interpretive exhibits and audio/visual displays depicted sig­nificant moments of the civil rights struggles. The evening was spent cruising aboard the Memphis Queen III while noshing on Southern cuisine and dancing to a Dixieland band. Some viewed the alignment of the moon and four planets.

Friday, April 19: A highlight during breakfast in the Venetian Room was Mayor Willie Herenton's welcome. He emphasized that Memphis "is moving forward." While golfers and tennis players utilized the Memphis Country Club, others explored the city, known for its music, rich heritage and diverse culture. Then all together in the Venetian Room for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.

Saturday, April 20: A full day of exciting events. The morning tours were to the Dixon Gallery & Gardens, a specialized fine arts museum housed in a Georgian-style residence and gallery complex surrounded by 17 acres of formal English gardens, open vistas and woodlands. A special show, "Tempo of Memphis Modern: Flowers & Art Show 2002," featured floral interpretations of contemporary paintings and sculpture. Also to the Brooks Museum of Art. Founded in 1916, it is the oldest and largest fine arts museum in Tennessee, housing outstanding collections of sculpture, European and American paintings from antiquity to the present. The Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery's 61-piece Portraits of the Presidents, including images from Washington through Clinton, was on display. The afternoon's piece de resistance was the spectacular Wonders exhibition at the Pyramid. "Czars: 400 Years of Imperial Grandeur" covered more than 250 objects from the Moscow Kremlin State Museum, depicting the Romanov's dynasty from 1613 to 1917. After a delightful reception and dinner at the prestigious Memphis Hunt & Polo Club, Princetonians sang "Old Nassau." Four girls and a guy sang an original tribute to hosts Blair and Clare Macdonald.

Sunday, April 21: Farewells and departures of the 96 attendees to their various homes with dreams of Palm Beach dancing in their heads.

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