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Images of America: Lakeside, California

The TNT Club:
A Dynamite Club With A Heart
Marcella Williams


  In November of 1927, a group of thirteen women met at Onar Swearengin's home to eat, chat and form a new club. These charter members were Lela Baker, Genevieve Barker, Alma Conrad, Winnie Condon, Ossette Flack, Mable Haley, Iva Laws, Frances Lucas, Hilda Nelson, Mary McKenney, Ruby Nelson, Lora Nelson and Onar Swearengin. The Club needed a name, one that was different and that would represent the fun, surprises and the unpredictable events in the future. Many names were offered but the name suggested by Iva Laws "TNT" - Thimble, Needle, Thread - seemed to fit the bill. They started out with a BANG by making a mattress to give away to a poor family. It was only the first of their many years of philanthropic deeds. Membership was by invitation and the club grew.
  These were depression times, money was tight, but the dues were only ten cents. They enhanced their treasury by serving dinners to the Chamber of Commerce in the school cafeteria and cleared $3.74. They performed a skit for "Stunt Night" and received the first prize of $3.00, which they gave to the Community Church. They helped the Woman's Club prepare Christmas boxes for Veterans. A benefit card party given by Alma raised $8.00 which enabled them to buy clothes for a school girl. Things were somewhat better in 1933 when they served the Chamber of Commerce making $15.50 and were able to deposit it in the Lakeside Bank. They donated $2.50 to help put tennis courts at the Grammar School.
  All through the years, there were flowers for the sick, fruit and groceries for the needy, clothes and some expenses for worthy students. As their families grew, they had new baby parties, birthday parties, Christmas parties for all the TNT children. Members exchanged 10 cent gifts. By 1937 there were 21 members and 30 children. They continued sewing for the Lakeside Welfare and the Ladies Aid, and they made night shirts for the Red Cross. They pieced jeep robes from wool material; Grace Fankhanel bought five yards of outing flannel at 20 cents per yard for lining. In December of 1941 the meetings changed to afternoons because of blackouts.
  Later, a Christmas family potluck was held in the recreation hall. Dance music was provided by Bob Carlile, Stanley Brennen, and Leonard Wessels. In the late 40's,

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