Clubs Lift Our Spirits In Support

From the beginning of time, women have found strength in groups. I have never been much of a joiner; the only club I ever wanted to belong to was the ol’ boys club….just kidding. No, seriously though, once I longed to be included in – the exclusively male S Club, a group of Sterling High School boys, who owned the coveted Varsity letter S proudly worn on letter jackets. Fueled by Title IX, they finally allowed girls to join.

Mom's stitches holds family together

Mom stitches generations together

My mom’s generation knew the value of women’s social circles. As the ultra clubber, she belongs to a half dozen groups that support one another through life’s transitions. From sorority to AAUW to the Methodist church’s Rebecca Circle, Mom has always been a do gooder. She works at FISH (a food pantry) and plays chimes at church. Her Piecemakers Quilt Club creates quilts for babies, children and military people in hospitals and also holds auctions with profits going to local charities.

“I also belong to the Roundtuits,” my mom said. “Originally it was a home extension group from the University of Illinois for farm women and the name comes from the idea that “Someday I will get around to it.”

Grandma's quilts preserve memories

Grandma’s quilts preserve memories

Today, it’s a social club that donates to local charities and a fund raiser for breast cancer. Within it are sub groups: a book group, a lunch bunch and a Bunco playing gang.

Women’s communities are now global. In the 21st century, Facebook Clubs are ideal for people like me with bad backs because I can gab and giggle with the girls from my bedroom. I joined  a couple of clubs recently -the Gutsy Independent Publishers, the National Association of Memoir Writers and most recently the GenFab™, female writers of a certain age! Bloggers, journalists, entrepreneurs, memoirists, self-help gurus, inspirational folks that hail from coast to coast and around the continents. With a click of my finger I can connect to Lynne’s Any Shiny Thing and Sharon’s Empty House Full Mind in California to Clara’s Authentic Women and Viki ‘s Friendgrief in Chicago to Kathy’s Memoir Writer’s Journey in New-York to Bonnie’s Home Place in Connecticut!

Everyone is so welcoming; I feel like the belle of the ball instead of a wall flower. Now I whittle away hours clubbing on the internet. Soup boils over, laundry piles up, the house a clutter … sorry Mom, but I will never get a-round-to-it again.

With different projects in the works and missions to accomplish, we all draw inspiration and energy from one another. And I am grateful to my social butterfly mom for giving me the courage to join something new.

My cyberspace mates are a far cry from my stud buds in the S Club – the quarterback, tight end, and right guard – that I hung out with in high school. My, oh my, how our world has evolved but, no surprise, women are still at the center of the circle.

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Posted in inspiration, relationships, social view.


  1. What an inspiring mother and an upbeat post! I read somewhere that as we women reach out to each other and receive comfort and companionship, our brains release oxytocin, a stress-fighting chemical. We literally make each other healthier through our friendships. Thanks for the salute, my friend.

    • Yes, Lynne, my mom was inspirational and nurtured my creativity. As a kindergarten teacher, she made every learning experience fun…but alas I can’t sew a stitch to save my life. Yes, companionship does release stress-fighting chemicals, so I know that your friendship is not only enriching my mind, but is also good for my health!

  2. What a delightful reminder, Pat, of the beauty of friendships and connecting with like-minded people to nurture our hearts and souls. Love your Mom’s Roundtuit club! And thank you for the mention and link. Just a note, I’m in New York, though right now Virginia sounds appealing as we face frigid temperatures this week. In the end, it really doesn’t matter where we’re from. I treasure our connection and hope we can meet in person someday. xo

  3. I recently attended a presentation by a neurologist on maintaining memory (can’t remember when or where)! Well really I do remember…but to my point…he stated the most important activity was social interaction. Not on Facebook, emails, etc., but face to face contact with others.
    Clubs can give us that in a unique way. We meet and interact with others (usually other women) in unique ways. They do not have to be our “best” friends…we do not have to agree with their opinions, actions or life styles. But, we can learn from them, be stimulated by them and sometimes find our lives changed by them.

    • Yes, Peggy, I believe the neurologist’s presentation findings are so true. Internet is a great way to bridge the distance in miles, but nothing beats a face to face, heart to heart talks and a human hug!

  4. Pat, I do love my “ladies social circles” too and am as pleased as you are to be a member of GenFab!

    It makes me so sad when I hear of women who don’t support one another the way this group has. These ladies are amazing! And thank you so much for the “shout out” !

    • So glad we connected through GenFab and thanks for posting your latest overseas connection on FB. Looking forward to following what’s happening in your neck of the woods through Home Place, especially when it comes to March Madness. ha ha

  5. Thanks so much for a shout out for GenFab (soon to be and for my blog! There’s really nothing that can compare to a group of girlfriends for making us feel good, is there? Especially at this point in our lives, we need the connection to other women to help us through the ups and downs that come with midlife.

    • Amen Sharon…there is nothing like women to get us through the difficult transitions. Love your blog Empty House Full Mind and so glad to be connected
      with the highflying 50somethings! ha

  6. Hi Pat,
    We are getting together next month at Sharon’s house for “club”, our annual gathering of friends from ISU. Even though it’s once a year, it’s always so good to reconnect. Maybe one of these times you’ll be able to make it back. Skype maybe?

    • Oh Teri, what a great idea…when & where & what time? Would love to make it back to a club. Don’t know if it is possible to connect in cyberspace because there is 7 hrs difference here, but maybe I could Skype in a special guest appearance! ha

      • We will be at Sharon’s on February 9th at 6:30pm our time. Is that 1:30am your time? Yikes! If you’re up for it, I could check with Sharon to see what her Skype is.

  7. Oh, thanks for including me in this great reminder, Pat!

    I think those of us of a certain age spent a lot of time fighting our way into those old boys’ clubs, and sometimes our girlfriends got neglected. Not so any more and yes, Facebook has been incredible for re-connecting and keeping in touch.

    I went to an all-girls Catholic high school. Since our 20th reunion, we’ve met formally every 5 years (we’re in between 40 and 45 now). The cliques fell away after the 20th, but it took losing one of our class on 9/11 to really empower our friendships. Our active yahoo group includes most of the class – spread across the states, Canada and Iceland – and we meet for dinner a couple time a year. It’s one of the great joys of my life.

    Here’s to supporting our friends!

    • Viki, that is so true about fighting our way into the old boys clubs. Isn’t it wonderful how cliques fall away in time. What a great way to stay connected with your classmates and honor the memory of the dear friend you lost in 9/11. I still reconnect with childhood friends and college buddies when I am back in the States. It is always magical to restore old memories, especially for me living abroad, since only the friends I grew up with in Illinois can understand my roots.

  8. Your mom sounds like a very adorable and “GUTSY” woman! I like the idea of the Roundtuits club…and quilting club too? Wow. I’m inspired to join more clubs. Love this post, Pat. By the way, you knew why you really wanted to invade the boy’s club-just sayin’:)

    • Yes, my mom is a gutsy gal and always encouraged me to follow my dreams. I don’t belong to any real clubs, though, too busy holding down a day job, making up stories and hanging out on line at night.

  9. Looks like this blog appealed to many of your readers. I loved that you featured Mom including photos of her talents. It is no surprise to me that the clubs she is active in do so many good works for others in addition to providing those uplifting connections. Mom and Dad have always set such a wonderful example by really walking the walk. Your words are so true, Pat,….we draw inspiration and enegry from being part of a bigger sisterhood.

  10. A sense of belonging is so important, especially as we get older and the outlets for community become more narrow. As moms it is easy to connect, but I have to work at it harder now that the kids are grown.

    That said, I am so glad you are part of my tribe!

  11. What a wonderful post and a great mom you have! I loved this post; it really spoke to me. Girl clubs where I live in suburbia are difficult. Being an empty nester. other girlfriends who I used to “group” with are not. Differing schedules make it impossible for girl get togethers. Alas, I long for the face-to-face camaraderie of girl groups. But I will not be daunted – I will keep looking. Im the meantime I love all my girl online groups, and I adore GenFab; great support, comfort and laughter. So glad to meet you, and I look forward to more conversations with you.

    • Yes, Cathy, so true that once the kids are grown and flown it is harder to connect. I am still teaching so that helps, but I find that coping with a chronic illness curtails the energy needed to maintain an active social life. The online girl groups help fill that void. So grateful to have connected with you and the other GenFab gals with whom I share so many of the same issues, interests and, of course, our love of words.

  12. Ah, Pat, you had such a good role-model! My mom never was much of a joiner and, in large part because of my journalism profession, I wasn’t either. As I’ve moved away from journalism, though, I see the need for more joining. We each have so much to give to others and through their support, we’re able to blossom into the people we were meant to be. Whether our friends are scattered across the globe or right in our hometowns, friendships matter!

    • So true Debbie, and I am so fortunate that my mom let me be a tomboy growing up. Because she didn’t try to force me to conform to the social dictates of that time period, I was able to bloom into the person I was meant to be. Friendships do matter…so glad to have a journalist friend back in Illinois where so much of my heart remains even after all these years abroad.

  13. My mom is a lot like yours, Pat, and I have also benefited from many kinds of collective women’s groups. My philosophy is that I can’t be truly me until you are truly you, so that means I am involved as much as I can be in other people’s lives.

    Of course, writing is also solitary work, so somehow we bridge the two. I love connecting with other writers and trying to help them. It’s another way to be a “Peicemaker.”

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