Carey Progressive Club maintains tradition
Members still play pinochle at 87-year-old club
By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer
Since February 1914, the Carey Progressive Club has met
once a month in the homes of its members to join together to practice
"Ever onward, upward, helping everywhere."
Carey Progressive Club members stand at
Alma Rush’s front door ready to greet their club sisters. From left to
right, Mary Peterson, vice president; Alma Rush, hostess; Mary Green,
treasurer; and Bonnie Justesen, president.
And, so, true to practice and true to their motto, the 12
members of the Carey Progressive Club settled into an afternoon of
pinochle at Alma Rush’s home last Wednesday.
It was the 87th time the club had met in March,
and the 1,045th time it had met overall.
But the connection between the Carey Progressive Club and
the several different Progressive Movements in American history is
Mary Hunt, a club member for about 40 years, said there
might have been a political element to the club at one time, but she is
not clear what it was.
She did recall that at one time, the club appointed
delegates to observe the Idaho Legislature to keep women back in Carey and
other towns informed.
Many in the club thought it had its beginnings in the
women’s suffrage movement, which won women the right to vote. That may
be true since the club started in 1914 and the 19th Amendment granting
women the right to vote was passed in 1920.
Hostess Alma Rush, left, and Madge Reay
join in playing a hand of pinochle at the Carey Progressive Club’s
monthly meeting at Rush’s home last week. Express photos by Peter
Club member Mary Green has a calendar of the club’s
1918-1919 monthly meetings, which reports the club was organized in 1914,
federated in 1919 and became statewide in 1922.
The assumption drawn by many of the members was that at
one time the Carey Progressive Club was affiliated with other Progressive
Clubs across the state and the nation.
Hunt said, "I suppose after we got the vote, we
Whatever may have been its political origin, Carey
Progressive Club member Madge Reay said its political activities ended a
couple of years ago when members stopped taking dinner to the election
judges on Election Day.
However, the club still has causes and raises money for
them, such as sending off high school students to Girls State and to Boys
State, an annual event in Boise designed to show selected students the
inner workings of state government.
Another task club members still perform is to serve as
greeters at the Blaine County Fair and to keep an eye on booths while
their owners are taking a break.
Asked if they wear any special badge, insignia or sash to
identify themselves, the women just chuckled and said, "People just
know we’re Progressives."
Now they get together to have fun on the first Wednesday
of every month, usually in the form of lunch and then a few hands of
pinochle. But before any of that begins, club president Bonnie Justesen
said, they say the Pledge of Allegiance.