The noise level rises as they make their way to the front door greeting one another with hugs and air kisses. These eight little ladies have been meeting once a month, some twice a month, for nearly 50 years. They know each other well. Occasionally, when someone moves or passes away, a new member joins the group. Their children grew up together, married and had children of their own. They have lived in the same community for at least 50 years. There are no secrets. They know when their children’s marriages are in trouble, and when they end. Their own marriages remained solid, though there are only three husbands left between them. They went through tennis, golf, dance club, antique club, PTA, Campfire Girls and Girl Scouts, high school football games, volunteer work and aerobic classes. They were the first generation to recognize the benefit of regular exercise. They learned to cook with Julia Child and to exercise with Jack LaLanne.
Dinner parties were just that—parties. Everything was planned down to the clothes they would wear, perhaps to match the decor of the dinner table and the flower arrangement. These are women raised in the Great Depression, where there were very few parties, and not many new party dresses, so this period of their lives became quite special. Before marriage, and for a short time afterward, they held various jobs. There are two nurses and three teachers, and one artist. They all became the last generation of stay-at-home mothers. Were their children’s lives any better for that? Good question.
Some now need help climbing up the steps when they arrive. One has a walker, one or two sometimes need a cane. Every able-bodied friend hurries to lend a hand getting them to their chair and a waiting glass of “pink” wine. The conversation is lively and constant. The subject matter is personal, ranging from family, husbands past and present, to politics, sex and religion or lack thereof, and always, aches and pains. They learn who has died or moved into rest homes or senior living. They discuss whether they will ever need to move from their comfortable homes. Lately they have been exploring the distinct probability of their own deaths, and the desirability of burial or cremation. Their ages range from eighty to eighty-nine, and their minds are sharp as twenty year olds. They cannot understand why their children and grandchildren never learned this frustrating and fascinating game!
After a social hour the hostess serves lunch, and then down to the serious business of the bridge game. The arguments begin over whose turn it is to deal or at whose house they will meet next time. The person who brought her glasses is the one who keeps score, because the score card is written in ridiculously small print. Some are available to substitute in other formal bridge groups when needed, others are not. The games last until late in the afternoon, when the hugs and kisses are repeated and they go their separate ways until the next game.
We don’t need to worry about this older generation, they were born with, and still have common sense, and have retained a good sense of values.