Convention Memories

Late Sunday night, Aug. 18, was a busy time for the thirty young people who were preparing to leave Grand Rapids on the Edgerton bus. Last minute activities included collection of bus fare, well wishes (and admonitions) from parents, and a short talk by Rev. C. Hanko. Amidst the waves and noise of the onlookers the bus left for its twenty-hour ride to the 23rd annual convention of Protestant Reformed Young People. Others went by car and about five o’clock Monday afternoon conventioneers began to arrive in Edgerton.

Something should be said about the city of Edgerton. When the bus committee first contacted the bus company about transporting the Grand Rapids delegation, the man in charge laughed and said, “You can’t shove all those kids into Edgerton; it’s hardly a broad spot on the highway.” And many people we talked to seemed to think that it was a tiny place in the middle of nowhere. Having mentally conditioned ourselves to this situation, we were rather pleasantly surprised. As far as farm communities go, Edgerton is good-sized. It is clean, friendly, and even has a brand new swimming pool.

Tuesday was taken up with registration and assignment of lodging. At 7:30 we all met at the high school gym and had our picture taken on the bleachers. (The next day the pictures were ready. Fast!) Afterwards we went inside the warm gym and heard Rev. Hoeksema speak on the theme, More than Conquerors: In the Church. During the get-acquainted hour each of us was handed a slip of paper on which was part of what Rev. Woudenberg said were the current top hits in Edgerton. They included such favorites as “Little Jack Homer” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” The idea was to find everybody in your song and then sing it. The only one who remained confused was Rev. H. Hanko who located neither the person he was to sing with nor the melody. After we got acquainted we all went home!

Wednesday morning, we hopped out of bed after a long night’s sleep and attended the short business meeting. Afterwards we were herded into the bus and cars and left for the outing. The first stop was the pipestone quarry where we met Standing Eagle. He is one of the few Indians who still work the quarry for pipestone from which he makes pipes. After his little speech, we broke up into groups and toured the quarry. We saw two cliffs about thirty feet apart where legend has it that the braves had to jump across this gap before they could be married. The remark was made that they had little divorce problem.

We went to the Three Maidens (rocks) for lunch. Here Rev. Hanko again distinguished himself, first, by courageously walking through the lawn sprinkler, and then by his expert piloting of the toy airplanes that came in the potato chip bags. Rev. Woudenberg engaged in a heated debate with our treasurer. Topic: “Who should pay for his parking violation?”

The remainder of the afternoon was spent at the Blue Mounds Park. Here we held the annual East-West ball game. Under the strong pitching of Dale Kuiper, the East had just pulled ahead of Henry Bleyenberg and the West, when Rev. Woudenberg sent everyone to the showers (swimming). Before supper we played games involving such diverse things as human croquet balls, pancakes, and elephants. Supper included a hotdog roast and more of the exceptional punch served by the Edgerton ladies throughout the convention.

For the evening program, we traveled several dusty roads to Blue Mounds. Here the Indians drove buffalo over the cliffs which surrounded us to kill them. But Wednesday evening it was used for tamer purposes as Rev. R. Harbach delivered his address, More than Conquerors: Over Against an Evil World. Rev. Lubbers then led us in singing some well-known psalms. Many conventioneers agreed that this was the most inspiring part of the convention. After singing we had watermelon and pop around a blazing bonfire.

Later that night some of us were introduced to one of the natural wonders of the Edgerton area — the River Road. After being told that this road was not as dusty as the others, we agreed to try it. The “road” was at the other extreme. Supposing that it was called River Road because it ran along side of a river, we were somewhat frustrated to discover that it ran through the river. And not all of us had jeeps (e. g. Irvan Velthouse’s wide-track, low-slung Pontiac).

Thursday morning everybody had to rush to get to the pancake breakfast. It was very good and we were prepared for the long business meeting. The new officers elected were Calvin Reitsma (First), James Huizenga (Randolph), and Joyce Kuiper (Hudsonville).

During the afternoon, some of us went to Pipestone, some went swimming, and most slept. Thursday evening climaxed the convention with the banquet. The theme was “Buffalo and Indians.” It was very warm in Indian territory but the food was again delicious and everyone enjoyed it. Later Rev. Lubbers spoke to us on “More than Conquerors: In the Last Days.” After closing remarks, during which it was announced that next year’s convention would be held at Hope, we sang, “God be with you ’till we meet again” and the 1963 Convention passed into memory.

Editor’s Note:
The person who was to write the convention article was suddenly taken sick and submitted to an emergency appendectomy. Another of our young people graciously consented to write the above article.