Gathering of the Goddesses: Laughter, Tears, Friendship
Looking back, not one of the Goddesses could actually remember how they reconnected. They simply knew that after their first weekend together, the Gathering of the Goddesses became as vital to life as breathing.
The year was 1962. John F. Kennedy was president, the Cuban missile crisis loomed, a gallon of gas was 25 cents and you could mail a letter for 4 cents….and none of it mattered. The Goddesses (although they didn’t assume this name until much later in life) were starting first grade and life was good. Five young girls coming together for the first time and never knowing the impact they would have on each other’s lives some 50 years down the road.
They were all friends for the twelve years they attended school together. Not bosom buddies but friends at times, acquaintances at times, even “not liking each other” at times as young girls are apt to do. They had slumber parties, joined clubs, went to church and fell in love. They were cheerleaders and majorettes and acted in plays. They were teachers pets and teachers pains and they lived a life of shared memories in the sleepy little town of Hughes Springs.
They all went to college (some were even roommates) and then went their separate ways becoming successful in the fields of graphic arts, education, law, marketing and technology. They became mothers, biologically and through the love of a child. They found somewhere along the way that those diverse fields really had not changed them much at all. Their collective life experiences led them back home again, if not literally, then in their hearts.
It has been almost four years now since Melinda, Becky, Teri, Kathy and Patti had their first “over 50” slumber party. They spent the first night with each telling their life story and without knowing it establishing, or maybe re-establishing, their place in the group. A ground rule was set in that they agreed to never meet without everyone being able to attend. Creating a circle of sort that cannot be broken.
Melinda is the “Martha Stewart Goddess” – she’s an excellent artist, a darn good cook and always creative. She is beautiful inside and out and should get an award for “mother of the century”. She is outspoken yet kind and firm in her beliefs whether they be political or picking the color of paint she will use next. The food she brings to their Gatherings are worthy of a magazine cover and the kindness she brings keeps them all grounded.
Becky is the “Mother Goddess” – wanting to take care of everyone and always willing to lend an ear when someone is hurting. She is reluctant to plan for the next Gathering of the Goddesses and then she can’t imagine what she would have done if they had met without her. She is loud and funny and quiet and introspective and no matter how many times she is told…. she still doesn’t grasp that the others need her to complete the circle.
Teri is the “Happy Goddess” – she loves life, has the voice of an angel and can tell a story in a way that makes others feel as if they were there when it happened. She can capture a crowd and keep them entertained for hours with no idea she is the center of attention. She has lost so many in her life, loved ones who were her foundation, yet she keeps moving forward without complaint. She has faith beyond measure and a smile that will light up a room.
Kathy is the “Free Spirit Goddess” – a successful business woman with a slight bohemian streak. She has style and flare and isn’t afraid to tackle any project whether large or small. She is independent yet holds her friends close. She may have come from a small town but she was born a city girl. She is comfortable in her own skin and fits in just as well at the symphony as a rock concert. She knows how to make things happen and is a wonderful person to call friend. She is the type you always want on your team as she would make a fierce opponent!
I am the “Left Brained Goddess” – my clothes match only because I am smart, not because of any sense of style. I think in numbers and spreadsheets. I can only have something if I can afford it because goodness knows I missed out on the creative gene. I make reservations better than dinner. I am passionate and obstinate and I take in every stray dog or cat that runs across my yard and looks hungry. I work too much and play too little and undertake way more than I can accomplish. I love being a Goddess and know without a doubt that the other four were meant to come back into my life.
We get together every three months or thereabout and we eat and drink and laugh and cry and dance and share and shop and laugh some more. We solve the problems of the world and know for certain that if we were in charge for a day we could find world peace! We discuss everything from recipes to politics and from men to big girl panties… and we never have to say “now don’t tell this” because we know that “what happens with the Goddesses stays with the Goddesses”.
I leave each Gathering of the Goddesses feeling infinitely better about life, love, family, and my place in the world. I leave our Gatherings with a renewed sense of self and a spring in my step and a song in my heart. I leave with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face and, most importantly, a mark on my calendar as to when and where we will meet again. I leave with a lighter heart and knowledge that I will always be a Goddess.
Now we are not bosom buddies but we are friends at times, acquaintances at times, even “not liking each other” at times as women are apt to do. We have slumber parties (and maybe drink a bit too much), join clubs, go to church and fall in love. Our hearts are home again, resting in the friendship of five women whom we know will take good care of them. Five women who will drop everything and come home when needed.
We know this is not the end of our story, but the beginning of renewed friendships that will continue until our last breaths are drawn.
Who says you can’t go home?