I don't often do "girly" things. I have nothing against formal girly things, like teas and coffee klatches and Red Hat Lady events, but I rarely have the opportunity and I've lost the ability to wear gloves and balance a tea cup on my knee.
However, I got invited to a meeting of the Woodland Shakespeare Club by my friend Sue Abdi Lincoln. Sue actually invited me to a meeting nearly a year ago but I was unable to attend at that time.
This was a club which was founded in 1886 and is now, Sue tells me, the oldest literary club on the West Coast. She has been a member for about 10 years. Her mother for 30. It's limited to 50 active members. (She had to wait 5 years until someone died to get in). Sue assures me that they don't just discuss Shakespeare. When she first invited me, they were reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and at the moment they are reading "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society," which I read when Jeri and I were in France and Italy...so at least I figured I would be able to follow any discussion.
The group meets Oct-Apr on the first Saturday of the month. Members can bring guests to the January meeting or the April meeting. I didn't make it to that meeting last April, but I was able to get to this one.
As I pulled up to the Lions Club building in Woodland, I watched all these women walking in, some dressed up, some not so dressed up. One woman had a very large hat with purple swirls of fabric, lots of netting and some feathers or something. I only really saw her from the back. Many were women "of size" like me. One reminded me so much of my friend Diane Clark, who died a few years ago, that it brought tears to my eyes.
It was like the first Neil Diamond concert I attended in Sacramento, when Ned's friend Greg was working on the light crew. I remember parking the car and walking to the auditorium with Walt and saying that the depressing thing was knowing that we looked like all these old people who were filing into the place.
Yes, I fit in, and that's always a shock to see my "peers" en masse.
However, they seemed to be a congenial group. Sue had also invited another friend, Jan, who, as it turns out, is my neighbor. In fact, she and I were discussing her daughter's love of puppies and I told her about Buddy...and Buddy has a play date at their house tomorrow morning.
I'm not really too clear on the rules of the Woodland Shakespeare Club and what happens at meetings, but today it started out with a group of women reading selections from the book. Then a woman gave a fascinating account of the history of the Channel Islands during World War II. (I didn't realize that Britain had decided that they were of no use to the country, and so left them undefended, which allowed the Germans to move their troops in and occupy the islands for several years).
There was what was described in the printed program as "loose comparison of Woodland Shakespeare Club to Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society."
Then we broke for "tea and social," with lots of delicious finger foods, even more delicious desserts, and either coffee or tea or punch.
This was followed by all returning to their tables where each table was given a discussion topic to talk about amongst ourselves for 5-10 minutes. Our table's topic was "how has technology affected letter writing." NowTHERE's a topic that is right up my alley! It was easy to overcome my usual reticence to speak in front of strangers and to participate in the discussion.
There was no real "end" to the meeting. Each group had a representative who gave an overview of her table's discussion and the meeting was officially ended.
I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I talked with very few women and still don't know how it operates when there are no guests, but Sue asked if I would like to come to the next guest meeting in April and I said that I would.
I may actually send a request to join the group. Your request needs to be accompanied by written recommendations from two people in the group...but I actually know three people, so that should be simple.
Then all I need to do is wait for someone to die so I can take her place, though given the age of most of the women, that might not be such a long wait. (Bad Bev)It would be kind of fun and different to add a little something girly in my life once a month for 7 months. I could adjust to that.