It may sound strange for a man to cite a fifty-seven-year history with The American Association of University Women, but the truth is in the events which my wife, Avis, and I have shared together. Our journey has been a long, fruitful, and beautiful one that included more memorable connections than there is time or space to relate here. Of these, however, our relationship with AAUW stands out as a special one of which we are extremely proud. Concisely stated, this is our story:
The aircraft carrier USS Oriskany-CVA 34 had no sooner returned from the last leg of its shakedown cruise off San Francisco when my commanding officer aboard the ship informed me that his wife had invited one of her AAUW friends to dinner. I was expected to show up promptly at 6:00 to be her blind date. When I tactfully tried to explain that I already had a date that night, my commander’s response was “Break it! Be at my house on time.” To make a long story short, the pretty, young, and endearing Avis Reising was my dinner companion that evening in 1959, and we were married a year later.
During her thirty-year career as a teacher of special needs kids, Avis remained active in AAUW while, from the sidelines, I watched her gather up broken children and make them whole again as she taught them to read, write, and grow. I have often thought that the Lord, in his highest love for children, must be smiling down on Avis while he whispers “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Several years after Avis retired from active teaching, I was called off the sidelines by AAUW to join the Tampa Chapter and serve as its “token male” accountant for it’s hosting of the 2014 annual convention here in Tampa. Since then I’ve attended meetings during which the Chapter invited me to present the three novels I’ve written: The Rivergrass Legacy, Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion, Bridge of the Paper Tiger…all available on my website @ EngagingBooksBlog.com. For so kindly supporting my writing and me as a writer, I extend my sincerest gratitude to AAUW. I’ve enjoyed watching the Tampa Chapter provide the same heartening support, as well as financial scholarships, to young women graduating with undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of South Florida.
Once again, my wife and I offer our deepest thanks to AAUW for all it has meant to us over the course of our married lives.
John P. Chaplick BA, MBA, CPA, CBA
January 9th, 2016