What could you possibly have to talk about every other Thursday for 66 years? Everything! That's what the ladies of the “First Ladies Club” say about their 66-year-old friendship. They started having “club” when they were juniors in high school, Ishpeming High School, and they've met every other Thursday since.
On this Thursday, April 24, a birthday surprise was to be part of their club gathering. One of the friends was having a birthday the next day, and so as a gift from her daughter-in-law, I was serving tea with scones and cream, and birthday cake. I've served many teas for a variety of occasions in my own home, and for the historical society as fundraisers, but this was the first time I had been asked to go to someone's home and serve a tea for their guests. That's why I'm calling them the “First Ladies Club” - they were the first group of ladies I served at someone else's home.
So back to the question, “what could you possibly have to talk about every other Thursday for 66 years?” There was a lot of “remember when” comments, as well as teasing each other. So much excitement of being together again, brought about such chatter, that one lady said, “You almost have to raise your hand to make a comment.”As they moved from the living room to the kitchen for tea, scones and birthday cake, one noted that she was the oldest, then another said, “but only by one or two weeks.” And more laughter erupted.
The menu I chose with the birthday girl in mind was Blueberry Lemon scones with a lemon glaze and Mock Devonshire Cream shown here. The china was on loan and provided by a friend. Aqua and pastels went together nicely with the blueberry and lemon. A favorite tea of mine is the English Rose Tea by Republic of Tea, so I made a pot of that for the tea drinkers. It is a light, caffeine-free rose and raspberry tea, and although they agreed it had good flavor, they preferred black tea - P G Tips Tea with their sweets.
I truly was honored to be in their presence. I knew all but two of them, and I also knew many of the people in their memories, their own kids, and of the references to our town's history. Though I was planning to keep quiet while serving, I found myself being drawn into their conversation. The club hostess invited me to join them, so I enjoyed some tea in between serving and pouring.
Here is the Lemon cake with Lemon cream cheese frosting. This was reported to be the birthday girl's favorite flavor. The mini angel-food cake pan was a perfect size cake for six servings. I added some aqua paper flowers with the use of Cricut's Pagoda cartridge, and layered them for a nice pop. The edible pearls came from the World Market store, one of my favorite suppliers for tea-time treats and decorations.
And so the conversation continued, “nothing kept us from getting together over the years - not snow storms, nothing!” Another noted that their mothers made refreshments for them, but not everyone remembered the same things. “We used to meet at night,” referring to the early days of their club when they were young married women with families. “Don't get the house a mess. Don't eat that food in the refrigerator,” is what they remember telling their kids and husbands when it was their turn to host club.
One of the ladies that I hadn't met before, was surprised when she realized that she has socialized with my mother; and another was a classmate of my father's, and told of the fun they had growing up in the same neighborhood.
That day there was a spring snowstorm on its way, so of course, a discussion of the awfully cold winter, and late cold spring began. Whether they were talking about the Tigers baseball game they were missing that afternoon; what to do with all the photos they've taken over the years; how social behavior has changed fashions; or comments they've read on their Face Book page, I realized that there is something that has no age limit – friendship. It isn't your age or social/economic status that matters. It's that common bond you begin with and the issues of everyday life, present and past, that keep friendship going. It's “being good for each other,” not judging, and accepting one another for who they are that makes a friendship sustain itself for 66 plus years. Whether your friends are classmates, the neighborhood gang or are formed from a common interest, what makes them friends (and not acquaintances) is what you've been through together. That's what the “First Ladies Club” taught me today, without saying it.
Thank you, First Ladies Club. How fashionable you are - wearing the paper flowers! It was such a pleasure serving you and making your club afternoon just a little more special. Happy Birthday, Mrs. B!