A Small Beginning
Submitted November, 2011
A story about the history of San Diego CSA Chapter #57
Two San Diego residents, having been diagnosed with Celiac Disease (different times and with different doctors), were looking for any help they could find. There was very little, if any, information available in those years (the late 1980's into the early 1990's).
As for myself, shortly after being diagnosed in 1986, I happened to stop by a Gemco store (How many remember that one?) and by chance took a look at their paperbacks, one of which was labeled "The Allergy Cookbook". Upon looking through it I found it contained several recipes that were "gluten-free". Also inside I found reference to the CSA national group. Needless to say I immediately joined and was referred to the Orange County chapter. After joining them, attending their meetings, meeting Lisa (the other San Diego Celiac), and meeting Cecile Weed (their founder), we were being urged to start a group in San Diego. After some time and much consideration (Lisa had two young children and we had just recently moved into a new home and a completely new town) we decided we would benefit by having a chapter in our area.
Our first meeting took place in the early 1990's and was held in Lisa's home, followed by one in our home, and then in Glorian Beeson's. At the first meeting we had 11 persons in attendance, i.e. Lisa and husband Jamie, myself and husband Bill, Hildegard Savage, Margaret Whaley, John Duffy, one woman and her young son (names not recalled), and two Orange County members: Arlene and Glenn Gibbs. Those members came down to offer moral support. They were very much appreciated.
In the interim Lisa and I met with Dr. Kagnoff who helped us set up an agenda for the meetings. Later as the group grew in size, Lisa wasn't able to continue as chairperson (family activities took too much of her time). We had a special meeting to find and appoint a chairperson to continue in Lisa's place. Judy DeJaco volunteered to do so and she continued for some time. In addition, with Dr. Kagnoff's assistance once again, we found another meeting place at UCSD in a conference room (not very adequate but it did the job for awhile). Judy remained chairperson for some time and eventually we had the meetings in the Mira Mesa library. It was an ideal place for us, as it even had a small kitchen with a microwave, which suited our needs.
During our library days, sometime later, we found ourselves with a new chairperson, Jeanne Murdock, and we also received our Chapter Charter. That was in 1993. We enjoyed meeting in the library because of the location, convenient parking, and pleasant atmosphere, but that too had a time limit. Jeanne left our group when she found it necessary to move to central California. Once again we were without a chairperson, so one of our members, Mini Landry, was gracious enough to step in until we a had a new chairperson. That was in January of 2004. Then Jan Pruitt volunteered and took over the reins and has been in that position ever since. Because of the worsening economy, we lost our Mira Mesa space, as they were unable to stay open on Saturday afternoons (our usual time slot). Once again we were able to meet at UCSD, but that was very short-lived, as it wasn't suitable for our needs. However, someone was no doubt looking out for us, because we were graciously asked if we would consider using a meeting room in the medical building at Rady Children's Hospital. We accepted this offer with our thanks and hope to remain at that location for a very long time.
Submitted by Helen Foreman,