Sunday, July 26, 2009

Women's Group

In Boulder, where I spent the last forty years before moving to Bellingham, I had a career and a full life. I started going to a folk dancing group in 1980 and met some women I really liked. We decided to start a group together, and that first night, back in June 1981, seven of us got together in Diane's home. That was the beginning of a more-than-two-decade-long wonderful journey. The only thing we had in common was that all of us enjoyed folk dancing. The cake above was decorated with a picture of the seven of us, twenty years after we started meeting.

We had only one rule: if you had the women to your house, it was your job to provide the entire meal, with the guests providing the wine. You would cook, serve, and clean up, and the others would be treated to an event where they were completely catered to. It worked perfectly. We did this once a month for 26 years, starting with seven of us, and then we were six, and then we were five. We talked about adding others, but we never did. This is about those women.

In 1982, this picture was taken (with Helen missing), with us pretending we were really stuck up. Marilyn is first, the oldest of us, then Peggy. Judy comes next, then me, and with her nose really up in the air, Diane. And Lynn, who "ruined" the picture my smiling, comes last.
We got together once a month so every seventh month you were the host, until Judy moved off to Oregon to begin a bed and breakfast with her sister. For many months we would get an update about how things were going in her part of the world, and then gradually we stopped hearing from her regularly. In 1998, she flew back from Oregon to attend the funeral of Helen, who died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Helen had gone to school (she was an elementary school teacher) and collapsed after hours. She was gone that very night. We miss her to this day.
This is the earliest picture taken of us, in 1981. In the front row are Lynn and Helen, and the four of us in the back are Peggy, Diane, Marilyn, and me, with long hair and in a skirt. Judy is missing from this picture. We all had family and friends and we would not always make every gathering, but during those years, we got together and talked about our love life, our kids, our jobs, books we were reading, and whatever else was important to us at the time.

Even when we stopped going dancing, we still got together and had a group that never stopped being a vital part of our lives. We had births and deaths, children and grandchildren, weddings and divorces, and everything in between. I couldn't remember exactly when we started getting together, so I called Marilyn just before I started writing this post. We reminisced, I told her I would be writing this, I caught up on the gossip, and we exchanged our latest books for the other to put on her list.

Sometimes there are parts of our lives that continue on, even after the end has come and gone. I will never think of these women as anything other than my sisters of the heart.


  1. I have an art support group of 6 friends and we meet once a month. I hope we stand the test of time like your group.

  2. I envy you for that group. Most of my friends don't know each other. But they don't have much in common either. You are blessed to have such a group of friends.

  3. What a great group to be a part of. Most of my friends are not in a group. In fact, oddly enough, they often didn't care for one another.

  4. That must have been so much fun to have friends like that. In the early 80s I got a job where I took care of trainees and was on call 24/7 because they were foreigners and had no one to turn to. On week-ends I either went to the airport to see them off or get new ones or helped them shopping, etc. When I was off on vacation I had to go to see my mom in France who was sick. I never could make close friends for the 27 years I worked there – not enough regular time off. Now it is too late, I have a few old friends but don’t see them often, so my husband and I read and travel and now I have more friends through my blog than I have had in 27 years! It’s certainly is a nice experience.

  5. I know EXACTLY how you feel..especially after my annual reunion this weekend...they have all left as of today and we are once again refreshed with new memories and warm hearts from being together again.

  6. You are so fortunate to have more friends than fingers on one hand. Nothing can replace going through the ups and downs in life with friends that you have known a good many years of your life.

    I have my one best friend since the 7th grade and treasure her like no other.

  7. What a great story of your wonderful group of friends. I have spent a big part of my life on the go and moving around the country. There have been friends but many were like me and they have come and gone.

  8. That is very interesting Djan. I wish I'd thought of that many years ago. I have kept my friends over the years, but never in a group like that. I still see my two best friends, Sue and Barbara, who I have been friends with since we were 5 years old. We are now 57, so have kept the friendship a long time.
    Blessings, Star

  9. You do realize this has all the makings for a book? A book I'd love to read, having gotten hooked by the blog...

  10. What a magnificent group -- Forever friends!
    Definitely a heartwarming story! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I've said it before and I'll say it again,DO WRITE A BOOK ,you have so many experiences that others will find funny/thrilling/ heart warming....
    Great story of friendships that spanned 20+yrs.You look pretty.

  12. Isn't this SUCH a gift? So many years you had together. I bet you feel a void but it would seem you are certainly an overcomer and have made new friends and connections where you are now planted. And Bellingham is certainly a LOVELY city. We vacationed there three years ago.

    Long term relationships are rich, though. We carry so much of each other. My current main friend group is one I've been a part of for about 8 years. The husbands are friends, too, and many of the kids. When we all get together - about 5 times a year, we are about 70 in number! It's the family I never had.

    I am also blessed to have a few old friends I've had since I was a very young child. They all live out of town but we when we talk it's like we never missed a beat. THANKS for sharing this. :)

  13. I started a women's group almost 13 years ago and we have learned so much from each others..shared the many loving and sad occasions of our lives. As a matter of fact, two of us created a free e-book, "9 Steps to Starting a Women's Group" to help other women start their own groups...all over the world we have gained new contacts. Feel free to check it out at and let me know what you think. Any additional ideas that would be greatly appreciated.


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