“BATW Kicks Off the New Year and New Publication”

by Suzie Rodriguez

The historic Gatehouse at Fort Mason, built in the 1930s, turned out to be a wonderful venue for our January 16 meeting.

Separated from Fort Mason’s large building blocks, the discrete mini-building offered its own bathroom, a wall of windows, and was nicely heated (sometimes a little too heated!). Even though he had returned home from a trip abroad about 10 hours before the meeting, BATW’s indefatigable snack-bringer, Ed Walsh, still showed up with piping hot coffee, bagels, cream cheese and other goodies. Thank you, Ed!

During the short business meeting, we said goodbye to three board members whose terms expired in January: Laurie McAndish King, Bob Cooper and Jim Shubin. New board member Ashok Khanna, a retired economist, was introduced, and Jim Gebbie made his first appearance as BATW’s Executive Director.

This meeting served as the official launch for BATW’s third publication, Travel Features & Photos: California’s National Parks, Monuments, Trails, Seashores and Historic Sites (one of the book’s stories is about that day’s venue, Fort Mason). Copies were available for sale at cost, and most of them were sold. And don’t forget: you can download a free PDF of the book or purchase a printed copy from www.batw.org/publications.

Without a doubt, the meeting’s highlight was listening to members read 4-minute excerpts from their stories in Travel Features & Photos.

Reading order was determined by drawing names from a hat—and it wasn’t just any hat. It’s a red-white-blue French sailor’s hat from the ship Jeanne d’Arc, presented to Monica Conrady at a party aboard the Jeremiah O’Brien in France during the celebrations surrounding the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. Out of an original D-Day armada of 5,000 ships, the O’Brien was the only ship in good enough shape to make it back to France 50 years later. That trip was the subject of Monica’s story in our new book.

There were plenty of fun moments during the readings, but the standout was probably Donna Peck singing a stanza from the annual Bracebridge Dinner at Yosemite, which she wrote about in the book.

Here’s the list of readers: Karen Misuraca, David Laws, Lee Foster, Inga Aksamit, Diane LeBow, Donna Peck, Susan Alcorn, Monica Conrady, John Compisi, MJ Pramik, Suzie Rodriguez and Laurie McAndish King.