Since our last post was an impromptu visit to the bygone, halcyon days of the Amelia Earhart Society, I thought we might continue in that vein by returning to the first and only Amelia Earhart Society Symposium, held in August 1993 in Morgan Hill, Calif., an event that AES founder Bill Prymak modestly labeled a “measured success.”
The 1993 AES Symposium should not be confused with the better known June 1982 Smithsonian Amelia Earhart Symposium at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. This event is covered in my April 3 and April 10, 2020 posts.
The following comprehensive summary of the three-day AES extravaganza appeared in the September 1993 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters. Today’s entry is the first of three parts. Boldface emphasis mine throughout.
A COMPENDIUM ON THE SYMPOSIUM
By Bill Prymak
Judging by the smiles and happy faces at the AES SYMPOSIUM, plus the flood of mail expressing kind words and appreciation, the three-day meeting was a measured success. This NEWSLETTER will recap the speakers and materials covered plus some trivia. The NEWSLETTER will serve as a permanent hard-copy record for the attendees, plus fill in for those who unfortunately missed one hellava shindig. Just look at the picture of that guy in the overalls and you know it had to be one hellava party!
Some eighty members and guests spent three days at THE FLYING LADY, where we were lovingly hosted by the guy in the overalls . . . we all fell in love with Irv, and without his efforts (plus Jan and Julie Perch, wife and daughter respectively), we collectively would not have experienced the true joy and warmth of being part of his family.
To those who could not attend and are just looking at the photo of Irv Perch: don’t be fooled by the overalls . . . this man is a MAN amongst men . . . within his kingdom he answers to nobody! (Maybe to Jan once in a while?) Time may fade some of the speeches, but Irv’s effort and hospitality will remain with us forever. Irv, we all thank you for showing us that caring and love still exist in our turbulent society.
The below tribute to Bill Prymak was written by retired Air Force Col. Rollin Reineck, whose work is familiar to readers of this blog. The original presentation in the October 1999 issue of the AES Newsletters was written in all caps and does not reproduce well, so I copied it in lower case but otherwise it’s just as presented in its original format and content, as I always strive to do. Reineck’s response and Prymak’s note in the cloud are copied directly from the original.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * BILL PRYMAK * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
There is a new way to spell success. From now on it is spelled “Bill Prymak.”
Some of you may recall, others may not know, that Bill Prymak took a demoralized, failing Amelia Earhart Research Organization, that was deeply in debt, and virtually single handedly made the Amelia Earhart Society a viable and credible research organization that has now achieved national recognition.
For the last three years the Amelia Earhart Society has grown from just a handful of dedicated Earhart researchers to a thriving, coherent body of over 200 honorable individuals that have just one objective, and this is to find the truth as to what happened to Amelia Earhart.
The Amelia Earhart Society does collect a small yearly dues ($25.00) that covers the printing and handling of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletter. Bill has not solicited one single penny from anyone. Whatever other expenses there have been, Bill Prymak pays them out of his own pocket.
On August 27-28-29 this year, the Amelia Earhart Society held its First Earhart Symposium. This affair was held at the “Flying Lady Restaurant” in the small California community of Morgan Hill, just south of San Jose. The owners of the Flying Lady and our hosts were Jan and Irv Perch. A very fine couple indeed.
Again, Bill made all the arrangements, flew from Denver to Morgan Hill three times, coordinated all the activities and personally took a hand to ensure that everyone in attendance was well taken care of. He was the leader that put this affair together and made it a success.
As could be expected there were many varying views on many of the subjects that were discussed at the symposium. However, the presentations reflected quality, sincerity and well thought out personal beliefs. The group as a whole and each member individually understood that no one has “The Final Answer” as to what happened on that fateful day of 2 July 1937. Accordingly, each speaker was able to have his say in a congenial atmosphere of understanding and acceptance.
Although I had known of, had written or talked to many of the participants, meeting each and everyone was indeed a genuine pleasure for me. No finer group could have been assembled.
I am very proud to be a member of the Amelia Earhart Society and am eagerly looking forward to our next annual symposium. *
* This was the first and only AES Symposium ever held.
End Part I.