June 2006 Newsletter


Don’t miss our summer luncheon!


Every summer, La Causerie holds a luncheon for ALL of its members. While the luncheon is scheduled this year at a French restaurant (and on Bastille Day, no less), we want Spanish and Italian students to participate, too. Please plan to come.


July 14, 2006 at noon

Aixois Café, 251 E 55th Street, KC, MO (at Brookside Blvd and 55th Street)

Cost: $24

Menu:  Choice of entrée:  Croque Monsieur, chicken crepes or spinach and cheese quiche, plus dessert and wine or soft drink


Reservations, pre-payment and entrée choice must be received by July 8. To sign up: 

1.      Write a check for $24 payable to Veronica Bergonzoni and mail it to her at:

(see your Livret, but her new street number is 4712)

2.      Indicate your choice of entrée (see above) on a note with your check. 


NOTE:  The restaurant will only take payment from one person that day, so do NOT make the check to La Causerie or to the restaurant.


Marty Shaffer retires after 18 years of teaching


More than 30 people attended the retirement party held at noon on May 12 for retiring Spanish teacher Marty Shaffer.  Marty’s 18 years of service to La Causerie were fondly acknowledged by her students who shared some stories of their work with her.  Marty’s contributions to the club were also recognized by La Causerie President Inez Pennington who presented her with a certificate that awarded her with a lifetime membership in La Causerie. 


Word on the street is that Marty may return as a French student.


La Causerie Calendar


July 14       Summer luncheon at Aixois Café.  Details provided above (with more to come).

August 1     Online registration available (target date).

Sept. 8       Enrollment party. Come see your friends, even if you’re already enrolled.          

Sept. 22      First day of classes for 2006- 2007 school year.


Livret Updates


La Causerie now has a phone number and mailing address (separate from the church): 

(816) 361-5300

6320 Brookside Plaza, #253, KC, MO 64113


Thanks to retiring Board members Cerise and Thad


Thad Carver and Cerise Harris have recently retired from the Executive Board after many years of service.  These energetic and generous volunteers have worked hard on behalf of our club and we owe them a great deal of thanks.  We honor and thank them in this newsletter with the personal profiles below.


Cerise Harris was spurred to learn Spanish by the birth of two grandchildren—a boy born in Peru and a girl born in Ecuador.  She joined La Causerie in 1997 to study one of the languages these grandchildren would learn in their early years.  Now her three daughters, son and six grandchildren all reside in the U.S.  But Cerise continues to enjoy studying Spanish because she believes that learning a foreign language is a good mental challenge. This is not a surprising attitude for this 20-year art teacher veteran of the Raytown School District.


During her nine years at La Causerie Cerise has served on the Executive Board for four years, two as assistant vice president (hospitality) and the two as secretary. She was attracted to La Causerie because of its daytime hours and flexibility (“learn at your own rate, come when you can, no tests”).  But soon became a true fan because of the people.  “I really enjoy the interesting people you meet at La Causerie,” she says.


She has lived in Kansas City since she was three years old, attending Avila (undergraduate) and Baker (masters) after graduating from Central High School.  Cerise has been married to Ronald Harris for 47 years.

Besides her La Causerie activities, Cerise is very involved in Master Gardeners of GKC. A master gardener, Cerise grows mostly day lilies and hostas and belongs to the MO-Kan Day Lily Society.  When asked what her favorite plant is she says, “I like them all.” 


This year Cerise took on a huge responsibility to serve as chair of Garden Tour 2006—“A Gardener’s Journey” taking place on June 16 and 17th in 10 gardens along the eastern I-70 corridor. You’re invited to attend and enjoy the results of her work. For more info call Cerise.


Like many La Causerie members, Cerise loves to travel. Her favorite trip was a three week excursion to Greece and Italy with two of her daughters.  Second best trips were to Peru and Ecuador.  Word is she’s heading to China later this year.


Thanks Cerise, for your many contributions to La Causerie. 


Thad Carver joined La Causerie in 1998 upon retiring after 33 years as an attorney and bank trust officer.  He wanted to revive French beginnings dormant for about 45 years.  The boarding school he attended at age 14 required students to study a foreign language, so he took three years of French during high school.  “It was the school's thinking that the study of a language not your own is a broadening experience that opens the door to the literature, customs and culture of another people. The study has a practical aspect as well.”  He furthered his studies with a year of French in college.

He learned about La Causerie from a co-worker’s wife and dropped in at First Lutheran Church to get more details.   His earlier French instruction emphasized grammar and the written word.  So he values La Causerie’s focus on conversation, speaking and understanding of language.


Thad has served as treasurer for the past two years and we have all benefited from his attention to detail and his care in managing the club’s finances and investments.  During his tenure, his responsibilities also included managing the important (and then-manually complicated) enrollment process.


But, don’t think that Thad’s talents are limited to bean counting and administration.  A couple of years ago he wrote the French department skit called, “Martha and the Tarasque of Tarrascon,” based on a myth that appears in the poetry of Frederick Mistral, French Provençal poet. He also played the lead role in another skit about a French shepherd whose dog dies, then miraculously comes back to life.  Thad recruited one of his West Highland White Terriers, Angie, to play the role of the dog. Not surprisingly, Angie was a hit. “After all, not every day do you see a dog come back life,” quoth the shepherd.

Thad is also a gardener, traveler and grandpa.  He took the formal studies required to become an Extension Master Gardener and now applies this knowledge of horticulture to his own garden and shares his talents with others.  He works as a volunteer in public gardens in Johnson County (like the Shawnee Indian Mission) and answers questions on the Master Gardener Hotline.  Thad and his wife Jane have three children, Jon, Tom and Amy.   But, according to Thad, “Only one grandchild: get busy children!”

Thad enjoys traveling to France and putting his French to use and plans to attend a week immersion class at Concordia Language Villages this fall in Minnesota (along with two other La Causerie friends).  He suggests that we lobby Jacques Chirac to offer a "Blue Light Special" to make travel to France a bit more affordable for La Causerie members.

”What I appreciate most about La Causerie goes back to my boarding school's reasoning concerning the importance of studying a foreign language,” says Thad. “You meet people from all over the western world at La Causerie. If you pay attention, you can begin to see the world though the eyes of others.”


Thanks, Thad for the energy, enthusiasm and care you brought to your work at La Causerie.

Publicity Committee Update


Thanks to the many members who have agreed to spread the word about La Causerie at public places around town. We are NOT yet ready for you to do this, so hold tight to any materials you have been given.  We want to launch this PR effort after all book selections, curriculum details, schedule and such are pinned down and on the website.


Dalene has made an email distribution list for the Publicity Committee and will be in contact with everyone that way.  If you did not receive any materials yet, she will take care of that, too.


La Causerie artist recognized


Our own Anita Toby Grow has a painting in a new juried exhibition of women artists from Kansas and Missouri.  The show, open from June 2 – July 14, 1006 at the Carter Art Center at Penn Valley Community College, is presented by the Greater KC Area Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in partnership with Friends of the Carter Art Center.


Anita paints under the name of “Anita Toby” and should be proud of having been chosen by jurors Philomeme Bennett, Mary Beth Moley and Ellen Goheen.


The Palatable Pair


Several of us really liked a dish that Linda Rei brought to the Spring Fête. It was topped with a tasty chutney that she got from a local business called The Palatable Pair.  You, too, can make this dish by shopping at www.palatablepair.com (or check the site for stores that carry their products). We understand that Linda actually helps the owners prepare their chutneys.

Club Leadership


Need help, have questions or suggestions?  Contact these La Causerie officers, department chairs and program chairs.



President               Inez Pennington (Chair, Website) 

1st VP                   Linda Rei (Chair, Membership)    

2nd VP                  Veronica Bergonzoni (Chair, Hospitality)       

Treasurer              Linda Lyon

Asst. Treasurer       Mary Lew McCarty (Chair, Textbooks)

Secretary              Joan Daniels (Chair, Programs)

Asst Secretary       Dalene Bradford (Chair, Publicity/Newsletter)


Language Department Chairs:


Wish List


Got Livrets?  Our Historian is looking for copies of the Livret from the year 1997-1998 and any from the years 1989 – 1995.  These are missing from our archives and we really want to complete our records. If you were a member then (and a saver now), please check for these RARE EDITIONS and consider donating them to the club for posterity. It’s OK if they have markings in them.


La Causerie would like to own the following:


If you know of anyone willing to donate these items, let Inez know.