GAIL MARTIN, Independent Editor
At the Crossroads restaurant was a beehive of activity last Wednesday.
That’s when ‘The Club’ met.
The Club is a group of 16 women from the Hamilton area who have met together once every two weeks, for the past 65 years.
They were in the area to meet with one of their long-time members, Shirlie Denton, who lives in St. Jacobs.
The “girls” as they fondly call each other, first met when they were in public school They enjoyed each other’s company so much, that they started to get together every other Tuesday. At first, it was in the evening, although they now prefer to meet during the day.
“I love the company,” said Bernice Simpson, who has been a part of the club for the entire 65 years. “We say it’s our group therapy session, and it keeps us sane — and I’m using that loosely!”
“We’ve never had an angry word,” added Simpson.
Marion Taylor has been part of the group for the last 30 years, after hearing about their meetings for a long time.
“One of the ladies in the group was a neighbour of mine,” said Taylor. “She used to tell me of the girls. I knew them all, even before I got together with them.”
Taylor was asked to join after her husband passed away.
There are several members who have been with the group since the beginning, and others, like Taylor, who have joined somewhere along the way.
Through the years, they have seen each other through marriages, the birth of children and grandchildren, and even the death of some of the members, and their spouses.
They’ve been there to provide support in the tough times, and to share in the joy during the good times — and providing practical support and help when a good time is a little overwhelming, such as in the birth of twins, when the other members of the group pitched in to buy a diaper service for the expectant mom.
“Whenever there is a need, they are there; you never need to ask anyone for anything,” said Simpson.
Most of the members of the group are now widows, living on their own, but having a separate family of friends in their club.
Some members live too far away to see on a regular basis, such as Denton, so the group either plans excursions to meet their friends, or, if a friend arrives in the Hamilton area, they will drop everything to meet — even if the visit happens to take place on a day that they would not normally meet.
“We’ll arrange to see if we can all get together, and it’s like they never left,” said Simpson.
The meetings also serve as a way to commiserate over some of the foibles that come from getting older, such as forgetting something.
The theme “you’ll never guess what I did” is a common one — and was likely part of the discussion last Wednesday, as members waited for Denton to show up.
It turns out the group was supposed to visit Denton in St. Jacobs first, before heading to the Crossroads restaurant.
After several phone calls, and an excursion by some of the ladies to pick up Denton — who was already en route to the restaurant — The Club was eventually able to settle down for a nice visit at the restaurant.
It didn’t matter.
“It’s been a wonderful, wonderful life because of (The Club),” said Simpson. “So many people, when they hear of us, can’t get over how lucky we are.”