Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Golden Girls - More Precious Than Gold

We're not the girls from the Ya Ya Sisterhood, but we are a bunch of chicks who became friends when were East High Eagles.  Our school colors were gold and white.  Our school was brand new when we first entered its doors as freshmen back in 1959.  Some of us came from the East side of Pueblo, Colorado, a steel town. The East side in those days was mostly made up of middle-class working families.  The rest of us came from Belmont, a new development that had sprung up on the Northeast side of Pueblo in the late 50's and early 60's.  We began social networking by passing notes in class, talking to each other in class, and eating together at lunch.  We bonded in pep club meetings or after school at the football and basketball games.  We went to sock hops, proms, and slumber parties together.

Then, we graduated from high school and went our separate ways.  We married.  We had kids, or not.  Some got divorced, some didn't.  Some married classmates the first-time around, while others, like myself married high school sweethearts the second-time around.  We are children of the '60's so we have all traveled very divergent paths.  

At least 30 years ago, two of the girls got together and decided to invite others from the class of '63 to join them for a get together.  They had so much fun, they decided to make it a regular event.  Thus, this special group of women started a tradition that becomes more precious as each year goes by.  Pam S and Shirley Boyce were the original two who began the group.  Shirley sadly passed away a number of years ago, but we all continue to meet three times a year.  We always lift a glass to remember Shirley, but sadly we are now naming others who have left us through death.

Yesterday, was our first meeting for this year.  Since Kathy M. missed the Christmas get together, we decided to have our spring meeting at her house.  That's what happens if you miss.  Your house gets selected for the next gathering.  Kathy was gracious enough to go along with our plans to have a party at her house.  This meant that she even sent her Abby Lynn to her neighbor's house to play with Molly while we had our party.

Kathy & Abby Lynn
with Molly and Molly's mom

I love the hugs my high school buddies give.  When I am greeted by them, I know I've been hugged.  I love laughing with my high school buddies because when I laugh with them, I know I have laughed.  We laugh often and loudly.  As soon as one of us walks through the door, there are hugs all around, and there is laughter and joy in the air.


As is tradition, we gather for our group shot before we do anything else.  We want to get that done while we still have our lipstick on and our hair is properly arranged.  Plus, we don't want to forget to take the group photo.  We have to have some way of remembering where we were last and who was there.

Speaking of remembering, it seems that Eileen couldn't remember where we had our Christmas party.  She said, she remembered we'd had a Christmas party but couldn't recall where.  "Eileen," I said, "we had it at your house!"  I told her I had pictures to prove it.  So, here are the photos from Christmas.

Eileen, your new kitchen is just wonderful.  You look great in it.


The table you set was just beautiful and very festive.  And we all loved the lamp that you brought back from Mexico.


Here's the group that gathered for Christmas.  We all don't make it to every get together.  We miss the ones that don't make it.  


In September, we had a school reunion for the first four classes of our high school.  Our group of girls got together for brunch and had a wonderful time because we had so many there that had traveled from out of state.

As is our tradition, we mix up margaritas so we can toast Shirley Boyce, one of the founders of the get together.  This time as we gathered, we also sadly remembered Judy who passed away late this fall after a hard fought battle with cancer.  Judy is sitting in the front row in both of these photos.  She is dressed in turquoise in both photos.  


The margarita glasses are all lined up and ready to be filled by our excellent drink mixer.


Val lends a hand and adds some humor to occasion.


Three of us are still virgins.  Well, anyway, we drank virgin margaritas.  I pointed out that the virgins are still fluffy while the rest of them are flat.

Three fluffy virgins

I guess you could say that Kathy M was our guest of honor.  She attended the get together for the first time.  She came all the way from Kansas to be with us.  I was so excited to see Kathy.  I'd not seen her for since high school.
Kathy X 2

Kathy X 3
or
A Kathy Sandwich

We always have lots of good food to go with our drinks and laughter.

Before we eat our meal, and after our group photo and toast, we gather in a circle and catch each other up on what we have been doing since our last gathering.


This group of women are the most caring and compassionate friends you could ever meet.  Some are now widows.  Some are in remission from cancer.  Others are caring for older parents.  Some are dealing with other heavy burdens that call for support and love.  We laugh and cry as we share our stories.  We are there for each other.  Pam reminded us that we can call a special meeting whenever we need the love and support of the others.  

When Judy was nearing the end of her life, many of the group drove to Pueblo to be with her in the hospital.  While they were at her bedside, it was determined that it was time to move her to hospice.  The girls traveled to hospice to be with her in her final hours.  We have promised each other that we will do this for each other.  These girls are good for their word.

We met at 10:30 in the morning.  We ate hor d'orevres, took photos, shared our latest news, and then we ate dinner.  Kathy, as hostess, prepared the main dish.  It was delicious pulled pork and beef brisket.  We had wonderful salads and side dishes to go with it.  We also had three different luscious desserts.  As I looked around at my dear high school friends as we gathered around the table to share some food, my mind went back to high school.  I remembered sitting in the school cafeteria with these same girls.  I remember that they would remember each other on birthdays when we were in high school by bringing a cake to school to be shared at lunch.  I'm sure none of us ever imagined that we would continue to gather all these years later to share some food, laughter, and friendship.  But here we are, nearly 50 years after we graduated from high school still enjoying each other.  

We are all the same girls.  We haven't changed.  That is what I love.  I look in each girl's eyes, and I see my high school girl friend.  She is still there.  She is still young at heart.  We still laugh at our silly jokes.  We still get out of control with our girlhood sense of fun.  We also cry with each other because we love each other.  We treasure the time we have together.  These friendships have stood the test of time.

Conversation over dessert

Finally, at 5:00, after setting the place and date for our next meeting, we reluctantly begin to gather our things to go home.  It is hugs all around again.  We say our good-byes.  Our hearts are all a little lighter because we have laughed, we have cried, and we have again been blessed by the gift of friendship.

My East High School Girls of '63 are the best!  
They are the golden girls.
They are more precious than gold.


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