November 2007 Newsletter


Fall Business Meeting Scheduled for November 9

Each year there are two business meetings to which all members are invited. The fall business meeting will be held Friday, November 9 at noon (room to be determined). Please plan to stay for a short meeting. Extra snacks will be provided to tide you over.

Here’s why we have business meetings: La Causerie Française is an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization. Your board of directors, elected each spring, meets regularly and manages the organization’s activities. Our two business meetings are a chance for members to provide input to their organization and for you to develop a better understanding of the workings of La Causerie.

Among other business items, our membership handbook and roster, called the Livret, will be distributed at the meeting. The Livret contains our history, By-Laws, as well as contact information for teachers and members.

Mark your calendar--noon programs are beginning!

La Causerie offers noon cultural programs for its members. These are free (part of your membership) and generally focus on cultural aspects of the countries in which our languages are spoken. Each program is presented in one of our three languages with the occasional program in English.

Details about upcoming programs follow. Watch for signs the day of the program indicating where the programs will be held since room assignments may vary depending on anticipated attendance and the speakers’ need for AV equipment.

Spanish Program at Noon on October 26

Our very own Doug Eikermann will present in Spanish about his own journeys with the Spanish language and about his work as a consultant for corporations that do business in Latin America. An attorney, Doug has written and published a number of books—both fiction and non-fiction.

French Program at Noon on November 2

Belgian native Mary Moulaert will speak in French on November 2nd. Her husband is an executive with Cook Paint Company, which is now owned by a French company. In an interesting connection, the husband of former La Causerie teacher Helene Genuyt worked for this company when the Genuyts were in Kansas City several years ago.

Mary will speak about Belgium and attempt to place her country in an historical and political context. She will also discuss Belgium’s important role in building Europe.

English Program at Noon on November 16

The Tell-Tale Traveler:  Stories of Spirited Journeys and Oddball Adventures,” will be presented in English on Friday, November 16 in the Fellowship Hall at the church.  Since it’s in English it should be appealing to all members.


We are fortunate to have two talented storytellers within our membership:  Spanish students Deborah Shouse and Ron Zoglin.  Join them for their presentation of “The Tell-Tale Traveler” told through words (written by Deborah) as well as pictures they have taken along the way. Here’s how they describe the trip you will take with them:


Indulge your wanderlust without leaving home... as we take you to the golden temples of Tokyo, the hidden hot springs of New Mexico, and the mist-filled gardens of Ashford Castle in Ireland’s County Cong. We’ll share a few words of Italian along with a story of being delightfully lost and found in Tuscany. Finally, we’ll transport you to the pristine beaches of the British Virgin Islands and drop you off at some islands much closer to home.

Deborah writes the Love Stories column for The Kansas City Star and facilitates The Star’s FYI Book Club. Her writings have appeared in the Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Family Circle, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day, Newsweek, and other periodicals. Deborah has been featured in dozens of anthologies, including the Chicken Soup series. 


Ron Zoglin is a professional storyteller who has performed for businesses, universities, and national and international conferences. Ron is also an antique dealer and appraiser. He is the voice on the audiotapes Even Mystics Have Bills to Pay and The Adventures of the Little Green Dragon. Together they have performed their stories in the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Ireland, England, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Costa Rica.

Welcome to Back Former Instructors

In our September e-newsletter we introduced our new teachers to you. This month we thought we would share some information on the rest of our faculty.


Marta Peñaherrera, born in Ecuador, is currently a Spanish instructor at Johnson County Community College. After twenty-four years in real estate and eight years in interior design, Martha is enjoying teaching her native language. Her classes focus on conversational Spanish. She has just returned from a trip to Ecuador with a group of students. Students attended Spanish classes at a local university and experienced the culture of the country first-hand.


Louis Imperiale is Professor of Foreign Languages at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and one of La Causerie’s most versatile instructors. Last year he taught two French classes after the holidays. Prior to that he had substituted many times and also had been a regular presenter of excellent noon cultural programs. This year we considered having him teach Spanish, but eventually moved him to be an Italian instructor—yes, he’s that versatile.

Nina Mehta-Young graduated from the University College, London, in 1995, with a degree in Italian and Art history. Nina lived and worked in Italy on many occasions, moving to the US from Rome where she worked as a tour guide. Nina now teaches art history at the Kansas City Art Institute and teaches Italian both privately, for the University of Missouri-Kansas City and for La Causerie.


Hélène Perriguey-Keene fits in well at La Causerie since she is fluent in French (a native speaker), English, Spanish and ranks herself as an intermediate Italian speaker.  She has degrees from universities in France, Spain and the University of Nebraska.  She has taught French and Spanish at nearly every level possible, from elementary school to the university.  Currently she teaches a range of courses at Johnson County Community College. 


Becky Tucker is currently a French department tutor at Johnson County Community College and does private tutoring. Her experience as a French teacher is very diverse, ranging from an after school French program in Italy (!) to high school French in Wichita.  She has a master’s degree in French language and culture from the University of California-Santa Barbara.  La Causerie member Marti Moore attended the Lac du Bois Concordia Language Villages adult immersion camp and “discovered” Becky teaching there, too. 


Cyprienne Simchowitz was born and brought up in Paris. She has a Licence en Lettres (English) from the Université Paris-Sorbonne as well as a Master's in International Law. She was an attorney in France before coming to the USA about 20 years ago. She also has a JD from the UMKC School of Law and maintains a law practice here. Cyprienne has taught French to parents of French magnet students and is a frequent presenter and speaker around town on various legal, cultural and political French and international issues

Missing Member

Those in French classes have been missing long-time member and regular participant Eleanor Scherer. Now we know that she had a good reason for not being in class—and unfortunately it wasn’t due to a European tour. From her daughter we recently learned that Eleanor had hip replacement surgery this month. La Causerie will send flowers and a note, but we’re sure Eleanor would appreciate hearing from her many friends. Her address is 11808 West 149th Street, Olathe, KS 66062.

Have a facilities issue?

Then tell a board member, not someone who works at the church. We want to keep our landlords happy and you can help by funneling La Causerie issues, suggestions and requests through Inez or another board member (see list below).

Snow Policy

La Causerie Française follows the Shawnee Mission School District practice on snowy or icy days. If the Shawnee Mission District closes its schools due to bad weather, La Causerie will also be closed. In case of inclement weather, please listen to the list of school closings on television and radio or check the SMSD’s website.

Fall Calendar

October 26 Classes Held. Spanish Program at noon.

November 2 Classes Held. French Program at noon.

November 9 Classes Held. Business meeting

November 16 Classes Held. English Travel Program at noon in Fellowship Hall.

November 23 NO CLASSES Thanksgiving Holiday

November 30 Classes Held. Spanish Program at noon.

December 7 Classes Held. Italian Program at noon.

December 14 Classes Held. Holiday Fête at Noon

December 21 NO CLASSES Holiday Break

December 28 NO CLASSES Holiday Break

January 4 NO CLASSES. Holiday Break

January 11 Classes Resume.

Executive Board Members 2007-2008



Patricia Reed

President: Inez Pennington

First VP: Debra Starr (Livret)

Second VP: Pam White (also Chair of Social & Hospitality)

Secretary: Joan Daniels (Program Chair)

Asst. Secy: Judy Pearlstein (Textbook Chair)

Treasurer: Linda Lyon

Asst. Treas Dalene Bradford (newsletter and publicity)