Fifth Visit, Going On Sixth

photo: darlene, gordon, dennis, francine

Today's crop of new club members wait for starting time on La Corona's terrace, like sensible people.

The 'Report' of the 48th Weekly Meeting

Paris:- Thursday, 31. August 2000:- For most of the summer, regardless of the weather, I have been taking the métro to the club because of the roadworks on the Boulevard Saint-Michel that make the trip by bus an uncertain adventure.

On the métro platform, the loudspeakers are announcing the interruption of traffic on the line 12, because of a 'technical incident.'

Yesterday at 13:22, the front wagon of a southbound train fell on its side and slid 100 metres into the station at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, stopping a few metres from the front of a northbound train. Nobody was killed; although 24 riders were injured.

Some 'technical incident!' This phrase is not rare, but serious 'incidents' are. It is almostphoto: darlene greb four years since a train derailed and the previous 'incident' was six years before that. The last time anybody was killed was in 1930. As my line 4 train picks up speed, I give it no more thought.

Darlene Greb, despite new events, still audits 'household lectures.'

On Rivoli shoppers are rushing around getting their back-to-school gear. Those that aren't are sitting in the Café Massena. Around the corner, I don't come across any Fiat 500's. Are they fed up with being the 'Car of the Week?'

At La Corona, some people are on the Amiral Coligny terrace. Along the Quai du Louvre, there aren't many more. In the bar there is nothing in particular to photograph.

As I am shaking hands all round, I am presented with a face I've seen before - only a few minutes before. It announces itself as Professor Gordon Greb. The time before the last time, was in December 1997, when we checked out the Café Charbon up on Oberkampf together.

The last time was when I walked by the Amiral Coligny terrace; where Gordon takes me to meet Mrs. Professor Greb, Darlene, and Francine Miller and Dennis Bradley.

I ask them to take their time to finish their terrace business while I fix up the club's café area for their reception. When the new members do come in carrying their terrace drinks, they do what all new members do - spread themselves all over the club's area.

It really is a place with elbow-room. I like cozy meetings; telling Gordon I'm a bit deaf as he's telling me he's a bit deaf, so neither of us hears the other. This sort of mutual mumble gets the meeting off to a good start.

If I tell you Professor Greb was trying to come to Café Metropole Club meetings about 26 months before they began, this will give you an idea of what kind of Metropole fan he is. Darlenephoto: francine miller can vouch for this; but Francine and Dennis never heard of the club or Metropole before today.

I think the club has had Chico, California as 'City of the Week' before, so this week the honor goes to London in Britain, which is where Francine and Dennis live.

Francine Miller tries out the slow speed of the camera's shutter.

This couple are perfect new club members because even though they've never ever seen Metropole before, they ignore all the rules concerning the club members' booklet, and leave less information in it than Jerry from Brooklyn did.

Don't worry - I'm not going to have a contest where the briefest inscription wins. I don't want a bunch of Martians showing up and answering the questionnaire with '(!).'

The last time Darlene and Gordon were in Paris was for their 40th-something wedding anniversary. In a round-about way, Gordon tells me this year they are having their 50th anniversary - all year.

So far they've managed to fit in New York City - because it's there - Victoria, British Columbia - because it's there too - and now they are on a jumbo tour that started in London. A lot of it continued on a luxo-barge tour on the rivers of Holland and Belgium. "Past Europe's industrial wonders! And no cows," Gordon says.

Part of this tour involves four days in Paris - because it has a couple of rivers, and some canals too! - and the Grebs simply tacked on a couple of extra days to this.

Gordon tells me how he's become the President of the 'World Improvement Association.' He says he made this personal sacrifice because, "I worry more about the state of the world than the President does."

However he admits it is an idea he thought up for Darlene, in order to give some legitimacy to his lifelong habit of 'giving lectures around the house.'

One night on the barge trip, which had a Polish cook and 14 other American passengers, "No TV; no radio," he explains, "We put on our own show."

One lady who was an actress did Juilette and another did a ghostphoto: gordon greb story, and Gordon, as President of the 'World Improvement Association,' was the MC. Not having any other songs or stories handy, he outlined the purposes of the association.

After all of the the club's recent physicist members, it's certainly an event to have Professor Greb for a change.

"No conventions, no newsletters, no dues" - and I think I've heard of this before. But he adds, "Anybody can be President of their own local chapter - even husbands and wives can be President by forming two local chapters, each with a different improvement project."

"The next day," he goes on, "Several other passengers asked me how to start their own chapters."

Then he quotes Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous quote, which goes something like this: 'People ask me all the time what if what we do doesn't work? Why, we'll do something else! If that doesn't work we'll come up with another idea.'

Half the stuff Gordon has thought up hasn't worked. Luckily for him, the other half has. This is how, besides being a Professor and now the President of the 'World Improvement Association,' he and Darlene have time to have a year-long 50th wedding anniversary and include Paris in the plan.

Becoming charter members of the Café Metropole Club at the same time is just something they've managed to squeeze into their heavy schedule of celebrations.

photo: dennis bradleyGordon says it is all part of the 'great adventure.' Another part was the horrendous noise outside their low-floor hotel window. When the other tour members left, Gordon craftily arranged for a new room higher up, near the roof of their hotel.

Dennis Bradley joined the club as a 'private member.' The club's secretary respects his incomprehensible decision.

The morning after they moved upstairs, satellite-dish installers on the roof woke them at 7:30 in the morning.

Gordon writes about as much as he talks. He answered all of the questions in the members' booklet. Question 4 asks, 'What have you liked least in Paris?'

His answer; "Too crowded in August because of visitors like us."

Both potential and existing club members are warned that Professor Greb may make a return visit to attend a club meeting in December.

I need not warn anybody about the possibility of Darlene coming too; for she certainly will - as President of her chapter of the 'World Improvement Association.'

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

For those who want more details about the Café Metropole Paris Club in Paris, please read 'About the Café Metropole Club,' which is accessible here, and from each issue's 'home' page.

This 'about' page contains the details of the free membership, the free members' card and the other free unofficial non-rules concerning the club and how it freely operates and other free but needless information. You may need to know more about all of this, so look at thisphoto: ed's drink page, unless you already know more than you want to.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The date for the club's next meeting is Thursday, 7. September. Although this is Sainte-Reine's Day in Paris, the whole rest of the day will be sufficient for shopping for famous Paris trinkets.

The secretary's drink is not the 'Drink of the Week' because it is the only drink not started out on the terrace.

The café La Corona meeting place will again be open like today - and the time for your club's meeting remains from 15:00 to 17:00 - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm. Come to the next meeting during its official hours - unless you get a better offer to be elsewhere.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre, Paris 1.
Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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