|Diane, Helen, me, Lynn, Marilyn, Peggy|
We met in the early 1980s at folk dancing. I think it was Diane who was behind the idea of getting together to consider whether we might start a women's group or not. I missed the first one, held at Helen's, not realizing that it was destined to become an integral part of my life. We decided to meet again the next month at Diane's, and she said she would fix dinner for us if we would bring the wine. This ended up being our usual pattern: if you had the group to your home, you would prepare dinner and clean up afterwards, pampering the others. No men, no visitors. Your husband and kids had to go elsewhere. We actually started with seven, but Judy moved to Oregon in the early 1990s.
For almost three decades, we got together once a month on Mondays, with no agenda to follow, other than to find out what was happening in each person's life and sharing an incredible meal with one another. I didn't realize it until we began, but it's rare to be treated to a fancy meal and then not being expected to help clean up afterwards. Sometimes we had a lot of wine, but the hostess would keep the extra bottles for another time. It was heavenly.
Several of us were single at the time we first came together. Folk dancing was sponsored by a group at the University of Colorado, and I suspect the activity was considered by some as a way to meet prospective dates. I didn't know these women very well, but that changed over the years. The only person who was married to her husband when we began and was still married to him three decades later is Lynn. Diane married and divorced and had a daughter during our time together (she was the youngest); Marilyn and Peggy both met and married their husbands, and Helen, who was a schoolteacher, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Her daughter was pregnant with her first grandchild when Helen died. It was traumatic to everyone, but we kept getting together for years after that.
Once a year, we would go out to a restaurant so that nobody would need to be in the kitchen, and occasionally a mother or sister would join us, which was allowed. I knew everything about these women, and they knew everything about me. They watched me decide to become a skydiver and listened with bated breath as I described the process of getting certified to them. I was the adventurer in the group.
When I retired and moved away from Boulder, several parties and celebrations were held for me, and when they asked who I wanted to invite, these women were always at the top of my list. My boss Mickey and his wife Karen had a catered dinner in their home for me, and one poignant memory that stands out is that gathering, with all my work friends and the women's group all gathered together to say goodbye and wish me well.
For a couple of years after I left, I would call and talk with Marilyn about how everybody was doing, but as my life here became more involved, I stopped calling. My friend Judy is now someone who fills a part of what I shared with these women for all those years. I love each of them with all my heart and hope they are doing well.
|Lynn, Peggy, Diane, Helen, Marilyn, me|
And now I have these blogs, and the memories of the women's group will be available to me for many years to come. I just realized how fortunate I am to have been born in this day and age, when my penchant for writing and preserving the past can be indulged without restraint. It's a good time to be alive.