Ice Cream Days at IPC

by Bernie Kessler, Bernard Kessler & Assoc. Ltd.

As one may understand, in an organization such as IPC, there are many types of attendees at the semi-annual meetings. While it is a very significant and productive technical forum and people on the design, processing and quality assurance ends made up the bulk of the attendees in the 60's and 70's, there were, of course, many from sales as well, such as myself. But on one particular night when we were free of meetings, many appointments were made for dinner, especially by salespeople who didn't attend but were 'hawking" the show, i.e., they descended on their prey only after the meeting session and took one or several out to dinner. However, not everyone was available for such appointments and several of us just stayed together to socialize and take our semi-annual walk together. My rule was quickly and readily adopted; we were forbidden to talk business at these get-togethers. This was strictly a relaxing time and we did indeed hop on anyone who may have joined us without knowing the rule. No business. It's difficult to remember all the names but the core group was Dieter Bergman, George Messner, Gerald Ginsberg, Mark Saverin, Phil Derrough, Vivian Vosberg and I.

In April 1973, the semi-annual meeting was being held in Boston. I was in New Jersey with my wife, visiting with our daughter who was scheduled to give birth any day. With full understanding of the family, I left that Sunday, April 1, to attend the IPC meeting. When I arrived at the hotel I called N.J. to discover that shortly after I left for the airport the family left for the hospital and on that day my second grand-daughter was born, Jennifer Melissa. It was a pleasant surprise but also a frustration because I had missed the birth of my first granddaughter (same parents) due to an emergency need to go to France and London and I had promised that it would not happen again. I then went downstairs and grabbed the guys I knew very well and told them of my great event and invited one and all to celebrate by having a big dish of ice cream together. This celebration extended to the celebration of all children and grandchildren. The ice cream consumption became the mandatory means of celebration at the end of our traditional walks and so two traditions merged into one. This practice continued and many of the members knew of the ice cream bit and the walks and we'd have a different fringe group join us at each meeting.

On April 1, 1990, seventeen years later to the day, the meeting was again scheduled to start in Boston and I took my granddaughter Jennifer and my wife to this meeting. David Bergman knew the story and their attendance and had invited both of them to our membership luncheon. He also arranged for the hotel to serve ice cream for dessert. I was invited to the podium to introduce the "ice cream" gal to the members present and explain the origin of the tradition, and I did so. I went on to explain that Jennifer and the ice cream were reminders to all of us that while we wildly pursue our goals on our career paths, we can't help but diminish some of the family events that we must of necessity miss. I asked all to take the time to enjoy the sweetness of the ice cream, a tribute to families and friends whose understanding we need in making our lives meaningful, and everyone had a great time.

I've been active in the IPC for about 45 years, give or take a year. Of all the memories I have, none are as treasured as the human side, this story being just one of many.