Patricia Boehnke

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Dear Andy,

My friend Renata Hays (now deceased) who I met in the sixties at the Y.W.C.A. where we played badminton together, listened to the radio a lot. She heard Phyllis talking about the E.R.A. in the 70's. By this time, we had become friends for we discovered our mutual interest and skills at various sports, mostly Tennis. We had children close to the same age and sometimes they were with us on the court or in the local pool that was available.

She informed me that we had to do something about what she had heard Phyllis talk about on the radio.

We found a friend in Jack Hoskins who was manager of WFMB and he gave us some time on the radio. His wife Bonnie became active with our group from hearing us.

Rocky Schoenrock came into the picture when we wanted to use a room at city hall for a meeting and the local liberal women's group tried to stop us. I don't remember if it was N.O.W. or League of Women Voters. At the time I was not familiar with either group. Anyways he got us the room and we had a meeting with the local STOP ERA chairman. I don't know remember her name.

As we got more known for being on the radio and writing letters to the editors, we attracted more supporters over time. We got information from the local STOP ERA chairman who had gotten it from Phyllis as to what to do. Several of us were invited to St. Louis that year for the annual conference. If memory serves it was 1974. Phyllis had been to Springfield by that time and we had gotten acquainted with her and Harriet Mulqueeny her driver and aids.

When Renata got more organized and active she could be Phyllis and I'd be Harriet. She had more experience politically and was a fast thinker and could therefore be a better thinker and speaker. It was our own private joke. I did do most of the driving.

As we attended more meetings at the statehouse we learned more from Phyllis about what to do. We were homemakers and mothers, as were most of those who joined us over time, and we passed what we learned to them.

When we went to the first conference in 1974, was when the name Eagle Forum was decided.

So we formed our own Eagle Forum from those who had joined us. One of our members got her Mormon church to let us use the building. The Mormon's over time were a great help, from Springfield and around the state as were many other church members and churches.

Phyllis sent us the rules and regulations to form an Eagle Forum Chapter. We had meetings at various homes of members to carry them out. Over the years that followed, we took bread, apple pies, potted plants, and fruits to do lobbying as Phyllis directed. We learned from her what in kind contributions were going to fundraise to support our candidate, passing out literature for them, and even helping at fundraisers.

We learned from Phyllis whatever we needed to do in politics to win. Renata and I provided a lot of leadership for our group. She and I went wherever we were invited to pass out the Phyllis Schlafly Report and Renata would speak. This got more supporters and informed them with information. When Bonnie's husband was at a local TV station he gave us 30 minutes to inform the TV audience about the dangers of the ERA. We went to several galas in Washington D.C. The liberals were given more time to pass E.R.A. and the final victory gala was in 1982.

It has been my privilege to work with Phyllis and learn about politics with her, and other things too. I did things I never knew I could do and found talents I didn't know I had. Renata and I had different talents so we were a good pair, just as we were on the Tennis court. I have wonderful memories of those days. Phyllis has made a difference in my life. I get her report and send it to others to inform them. We have another fight on our hands with Obama. I know we will win.

God Bless,

Patricia Boehnke

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