Sunday, March 18, 2012

Treasured Friends ~ Treasured Times

Every three months, my dear high school friends meet for lunch.  This has been going on for over twenty years.  Most of us live scattered along the Front Range of Colorado from the Denver area to Pueblo.  The drive doesn't stop us from getting together.  We have our calendars marked three months in advanced for the next scheduled meeting of the group.  It seems there always a few who can't make it, but we nearly always have at least 12 to 15 girls (ladies) in attendance.  

In 2010, the weekend of a class reunion for the first four classes of our school, we held a special breakfast gathering for all of the girls from our class who were in town for the reunion.  That was our largest gathering ever.
EHS Girls of '63
Summer 2010

Yesterday, we had a very special Saint Patrick's Day gathering.  Originally, we were supposed to meet at my house, but Iris stepped up to the plate as the back-up person and held the party at her house.  Thanks, Iris!  She made sure we would all be decked out in a little green.

There are some great traditions that group continues to hold:

  • The hostess provides the main course or meat dish.  This year since our gathering was held on St. Patrick's Day, two others and I fixed corned beef.  

  • The others always bring the side dishes, appetizers, and desserts.  This time we had wonderful potatoes, boiled cabbage, a dish that combined cooked carrots, parsnips, and parsley, salad, Irish soda bread, and wonderful Irish oatmeal cake.  All of it was simply delicious.
  • The group always makes a toast to those who have passed on and are no longer with us.  The toast started to honor Shirley Boyce, one of the original founders of the group, who passed away from breast cancer a number of years ago.  Now, we also remember our dear Judy who passed on in November of 2010.
Making a toast to those who have passed on.
December 2011

  • Before the margaritas are mixed, we always have to find out who the virgins are.  Or, at least we find out who wants a virgin margarita.

The three virgins
  • We also must take the group photo as soon as we get there.  This is done right away so we don't forget to take it, and so we still look somewhat fresh.
EHS Girls of '63
Spring 2011

EHS Girls of '63
December 2011

  • We try to always have a time when we sit down and go around the circle and update each other on what is happening in each other's lives.  This is where we celebrate the victories or support the hard times.  This group of ladies have all been through some rough things such as cancer, high blood pressure, loss of spouse, illnesses, loss of children, and divorce.  They are truly there for one another, and they have made the commitment to each other to be there when there is a need.  The deep concern, love and support that this group gives is just amazing.
Each time we get together, I am reminded that when my girls give a hug, they mean it.  

A hug from a favorite hugger:
Getting hugs
Getting the food set up go together

While no one is celebrated more than any other, we did have a few special attendees and guests yesterday. Dove came all the way from Vermont to attend the gathering which also happened to coincide with her birthday.  

Dove & Sally
March 17, 2012
Back in September of this past year, Dove and I were together at her beautiful home in Vermont on the same day as the girls were meeting back in Colorado.

Dove & Sally
Vermont, September 2011

Dove & Eileen catching up
and reminiscing about days going as far back as kindergarten
A birthday cake was in order since it was Dove's birthday.  I wrote about Dove in this post.  The first date with my husband was when we attended her 16th birthday party. She is the person who lined me up with this wonderful man I married.  Thanks again, Dove!


 In 2010, the group met at my home on my birthday.  I remember how thrilled we were that our dear friend Judy was well enough to join us.  She is sitting in the gold chair.  She had been through a really rough spot just before our gathering, but she made sure she joined us.  A few months later, her illness in remission, she looked so well and healthy at our summer reunion gathering.  (She is seated in the front row of that photo and is wearing a turquoise colored pair of slacks.)  Sadly, she would pass away just months after that.  True to the commitment this group has to each other, and true to the love they have for each other, many from the group met at her bedside as she was moved to hospice and just a short few hours before she passed away.  
EHS Girls '63
February 2010

Yesterday, the other special guests who joined us for dessert were Judy's granddaughter Maddie and her husband Ted.  It was so good to see Maddie, who seems to be doing so well.  She totally got into the St. Patrick's Day theme and made sure she was decked out in green from head to toe.  

EHS Girls '63
with Ted & Maddie
March 2012
As Dove drove me back to my house, we talked about how wonderful the gathering had been.  It was the first time Dove had actually been able to attend with us.  Although she had been at the summer reunion in 2010, she had never experienced the small intimate group.  We remarked how wonderful it is to be with the girls we grew up with. I find these times together with the group so affirming and grounding for me.  I think Dove summed it all up best when she wrote on Facebook,  I felt very nourished and energized by spending a few hours with them. Wonderful open hearted hugs and deep caring for one another, the power of women is a beautiful thing to experience.

There is an authenticity to the group that one seldom finds.  We know where we came from, who we are, and what we have been through.  Some of us knew each other's parents and siblings.  We remember the neighborhoods we grew up in together.  We remember our teachers, and we remember how we just never had enough time to talk and got in trouble in class because we couldn't stop talking.  In fact, we shared and talked non-stop from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m yesterday.  Then, sadly the clock said we had to part again, but we will meet again in three months.  


Linda Myers said...

How fortunate you are to have old, old friends!

Jean said...

What a wonderful tradition. It's impressive that a group so large still gets together on a regular basis. You're The Girls from Ames, except you're not from Ames! Lots of lovely photos here.

DJan said...

What a beautiful and moving post, Sally. I can see the love and caring shining through each picture. You are so fortunate to be able to see them every few months. Thanks for the wonderful pictures, too. :-)

Beth said...

The pictures are great. What fun it is to get together with old friends from the past!

Chatty Crone said...

That is one of the most wonderful things and group of pictures I have ever seen! sandie

MerCyn said...

You are so lucky to have such a large group of wonderful, life-long friends that you can share everything with - the good, the bad, and the mundane.

Olga said...

It is a true blessing to have such friends of long standing and loyalty. I am amazed how this group has managed to stay so close for all this time.

Friko said...

This is so heart-warming. To have friends from so long ago must be a wonderful experience. It's good that you don't get together more than every three months, it keeps the reunions fresh and new.

I envy you, you can't imagine how much. There's me, al alone in the world, no old time friends at all and precious few current friends.

I read only yesterday that having friends and being close to people is a sure way of living a long and happy life.

Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, I am so impressed how you all have made the effort to stay in each others lives for so many years. We moved so much that I never learned how anyone turned out.
The caring is so obvious amoung your group.

LC said...

Such a beautiful look at a group of women who have worked throughout their lives at keeping the "glue" of their relationship strong.

Thanks for including the wonderful photos, too!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

As others have said, it is wonderful that you have this group of long-time friends who remain steadfast. Thanks for describing the get-togethers and the support they provide, and thanks for all the photos, which bring this story to life!

Rita said...

What a great time! So nice that you all get together like you do. :):)

Linda Reeder said...

I just heard from an old classmate today. Our 50th high school reunion is coming up in June, and people are beginning to reach out.
But I don't have anything like your group of classmates/friends. I moved away right after graduation to go to college in Seattle, and never really returned except to visit. I don't have the kind of connections you have. You are very fortunate.

Thisisme. said...

Such gorgeous photos, and you all look really fabulous! Beautiful post today Sally, and I think it's wonderful how you girls all meet up every three months like that, and to all still be in touch after all these years. That is a blessing indeed my friend. Thank you for sharing these happy occasions with us.

troutbirder said...

Indeed. I can relate. My spouse, also the retired English teacher, does exactly the same thing. It must go with the territory...:)

Dee Ready said...

Dear Sally, What a blessing to be part of this group of lifelong friends. A lovely posting, filled with tenderness and enhanced by endearing photographs.


Sharla Greenway said...

How wonderful. What a lovely thing to do. To have such a close bunch of friends must be just brilliant.

Jeanie said...

This is totally delightful! I'm so glad you still connect with one another -- and so festively! There is much to be said for being with those who know your history. So many of my friends have moved elsewhere, it's hard to find that these days -- now and then, if someone happens into town. I'm glad you were able to be together -- and that three months from now, you'll be together!

dkzody said...

Looks like a really nice bunch of women. I can sure understand why you talk all afternoon, wishing you had more time.

Sandi said...

This was such a lovely post! I found myself smiling all the way through. The photos are evidence of the wonderful camaraderie you all share together, lots of big smiles on happy faces!

How blessed you are to take the time for this nourishment with soul sisters. Good for you to keep it up and make your connections a priority!

I find myself forever wondering about my high school friends. I still live in the same town, but very few of them do. We just don't get together and it's sad.

Thanks for a great post to read just before I head off to bed!

Terri Tiffany said...

Oh wow! I envy you your group and think it is marvelous that you all get together and are committed like this! Amazing in this day!

Sightings said...

Sounds like fun, and looks great. But the most important thing is that when your "girls give a hug, they mean it!"

Barb said...

Hi Sally, I think connections like this are priceless and so important emotionally and even physically. You gals are surely looking good! I'm going on another Girlfriends' vacation end of April into May and I'm looking forward to being with the 4 other gals I travel with - we never run out of things to talk about. We know each other so well - there are no secrets. What a relief!

Rose said...

What a wonderful tradition you all have, Sally! I'm amazed, too, that you manage to get together so frequently. I'm looking forward to joining "the girls of '67" in a few weeks for lunch. We got together in Dec. 2009 for the first time in years and vowed we would do it again more often, yet here it is two years later before we've managed to organize another get-together. That earlier meeting was spurred by the sudden loss of two dear members of our group, making us realize that we shouldn't put things off until it's too late.

Long-time friends are such a treasure; you are blessed to have such a wonderful group.

Kay said...

I'm looking at your beautiful, happy photos and realize we'll be having our reunion soon too. I haven't been to one in decades. Your photos make me think this might be the year. You're so lucky to have such a wonderful group of girlfriends to get together with.

Heidrun Khokhar said...

You are so blessed to be connected to such a group. Not many have that these days.

Joanne said...

My two best friends get together once a month and we always have some kind of theme to our getogethers. I think it is so great that you do this. What a fun time! And so well organized too! As we get older we need to hold on to those friendships. I wish my Mom had because now she feels quite lonely for girlfriends.
Blessings, Joanne

Liz said...

What a fantastic gathering of wonderful women! You are blessed.