Last month, Pauline "Polly" Feasel of Tiffin was installed as president of the Ohio State Chapters of Grandmothers Clubs. With 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, Feasel is well qualified for the two-year post.
Feasel said her involvement began in 2001 with membership in the Seneca Rose Grandmothers, which now is inactive.
"I was a big Eagles member. I was president of that three times. ... We started up Crystal Ball, and I was the first president of Crystal Ball for 2 1/2 years," Feasel said.
She also served as Crystal Ball's secretary for five years and as state secretary for two years. In 2010, she switched to the Clyde Rosettes club, which has 34 members. Although the grandmother clubs began as a nationwide organization, members found it difficult to attend conventions in distant states.
As members aged and died, many of the clubs dissolved for lack of members.
Feasel said grandmothers from the two southern Ohio clubs did not attend the 2011 state convention in Fremont.
Crystal Ball is down to about a dozen members. They and other clubs that remain active are searching for new members. Feasel said Ohio has seven chapters: Crystal Ball of Tiffin; Golden Sunset of Fostoria; Clyde Rosettes; Aviators of Dayton; Sunshine Gals in Union; Vacationland of
Sandusky; and Lake Erie of Port Clinton.
"We do a lot of charity work for the deaf and blind. Every year, the state does that. Of course, we help local kids at Christmas time and the (military) guys overseas. We do the Giving Tree at the Eagles and the Moose. We sit at Hospice (add-a-bow trees). It's all charity. What we make goes into charity," Feasel said.
When the state convention took place in Columbus, the grandmothers visited the schools for the blind and the deaf.
As state president, Feasel will make the rounds to the various chapters as each hosts its annual dinner.
An avid sports fan, Feasel chose "Let the Games Begin" as her theme. She is devoted to Ohio sports teams, especially the Browns, the Indians and Ohio State teams. She tries to get to an Indians game once a year.
"I'm from Malcolm, W.Va. I came up here in 1965. My ex-husband was a glass worker. That's how I ended up in Tiffin, but I've still got the accent when I talk, especially on the phone. When I get excited, I talk fast," Feasel said.
She also worked at Tiffin Glass for 30 years and said she was sad to see it close. Most of the glassware she brought home has been given away over the years. For a few years, she worked at St. Francis in Tiffin.
During Feasel's term as Ohio president, outgoing president Jackie Briskey of Clyde is to serve as Feasel's "counselor." Another woman is assigned to keep a scrapbook of Feasel's accomplishments and activities over the two years. Feasel is to meet with her state board members in August, but the Grandmothers Clubs is not her only commitment.
"At the Eagles, I go down and help with funeral dinners, and I've been a part-time Ballreich's worker. ... I'm a picker," Feasel said.
Married to Charles for 42 years, Feasel has three children and a stepson. She tries to visit family members in Maryland and West Virginia. Shopping in Ohio's "Amish country" is another travel destination. She is a member of Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Tiffin.
In the past, Feasel did a lot of bowling, including tournament play at various levels, but physical issues have forced her to give up her Tuesday night bowling leagues. Now she does more reading, especially inspirational books and romance novels.
"I collect book markers. ... I like to read," Feasel said. "Danielle Steele is my favorite."