Week 25: Groups

My favorite group is my immediate family – 3 kids, 6 grandkids, 5 great grands and all their spouses. I’ll be spending the next several days with this group so I’ll hold off writing about that adventure. We’re having a family reunion in Myrtle Creek, Oregon where Grandson Zachary lives. I’m excited to be with everyone to catch up and fill by emotional memory bank. Most of all I want to meet Baby Theo and hold my Great grandkids! How lucky am I?!

Over the years I’ve been part of many groups – classmates, cousins, business partners, sororities, choirs, and church groups. I’ve moved in and out of many groups but the one consistent is THE GIRLS. Linda and I played together as toddlers so I’ve known her for 80 plus years. Next would be Maryann. Her Mom, along with Linda’s and my Mom, formed the first kindergarten in our little town. Lynn and Carla joined us in the middle school years along with Pat C. and by High School we had Pat P. and Peggy. That’s 8 of us. Other  girls came and went as we progressed through school but this is the core group that hung around together, dated in groups, had dance parties, slumber parties and fun. 

I think The Girls really got solid after high school. We were in each others’ weddings and as college and marriage started to tear us apart we decided to meet up regularly to keep in touch and share life’s issues. We would gather at each others houses and soon decided that we needed a project. Almost everyone could knit so we made up a knitted sampler afghan and then held a drawing to see who would own it. (We paid for the chance and gave the proceeds to charity) Often we would meet up at a local park for a picnic lunch and for out little ones to become acquainted.

As the years went by some of us moved away but when we came back to our hometown The Girls would collect for a dinner out or coffee or sometimes get our kiddies together or sometimes invite the hubbies. Mostly, we just wanted “girl time”. One special meet up was at Pat C’s house when she was back in town. Her Mom invited us all to bring our babies and have a morning coffee. Not much visiting was done at that meet-up as we managed all our toddlers.

Another time we gathered to pack up a box of baby gifts to ship to Maryann who had recently accompanied her hubby to Iran where they would live for a few years. We happily filled a large box to overflowing with items that would be hard for  her to find. Little did we know the shipping charges would be more than the value of all the items!

Somewhere around 1980 one of the girls went through a heart-breaking, nasty divorce. To help her through her first Valentine Day, Maryann invited the local girls to a weekend at her condo in Door County Wisconsin. That was the start of the annual Girls Trip to the condo each summer, What wonderful memories I have of those trips. Maryann arranged so many fun adventures for us – pontoon boating, salmon fishing, a Segue jaunt, horseback riding just to name a few. Dinners out, summer theater – loved the Peninsula Players – Fish boils, home and garden tours, hikes, motor scooter rides and more. And then evenings and morning filled with conversation and coffee.

Scrapbooking was popular and after a few years The Girls began creating beautiful scrapbook pages of memories for each year’s trip. We would spend a few hours on each trip collecting pictures from prior years and cooperating on page designs. (That was one of the times our individual personalities really shined!)  A few years ago, as health issues prevented several of us from traveling, our annual trips came to an end. We continued to meet up as we were able to be back in our hometown and at one of those dinners we decided to divide up the scrapbooks. We had seven lovely, huge 12 x 12 albums filled with 20 plus years of memories. We drew names and each got one album that we treasure.

There are six of us left, now in our 80’s, who still keep in touch regularly. We have nurtured and supported each other through births of children, health issues, divorce and death of spouses. We have shared our homes and our hearts and on occasion our fortunes to help each other through a crisis. We have laughed, cried and sung our hearts out together. Our children call us the Ya-yas but to us we are THE GIRLS.

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