In the fall semester of our senior year at Ohio Wesleyan University, 12 coeds from the Class of 1958 had an impromptu gathering by the piano in Austin Hall. We decided that our friendship should continue past graduation, and we were determined to make that happen. We named ourselves “The Committee,” and we gathered often in someone’s dorm room for “meetings” with no agenda, rules, or officers.
We were warmed by our friendship and energized by conversation about our hopes and dreams. Following graduation, we started circulating an envelope among us and adding individual letters and pictures. This envelope became two and continued to make its rounds for the next 25 busy years of marriages, jobs, and children.
What a gift it was when this treasure arrived – 12 letters from our OWU Committee friends along with pictures of spouses and children! We gave ourselves a month to read them all, remove our own letter and pictures, and add to the file before sending it on. In 1983, we all returned to OWU for our 25th reunion. A “Committee meeting” was called in Becky’s room. She offered her chalet in Sugarbush, Vt., for a weeklong Committee meeting to be held in June 1986. We had three years to plan how we could arrange our schedules to be there.
We were spread across America, from Seattle to Charlotte, N.C. It was to be a one-time event. Except for Joyce, whose husband was in the hospital at the time, all of us got there. We made it! Twenty-eight years of separation melted away as we talked in our circle of friendship of joys and sorrows, of our families and of our failures, of the past and of our hopes for the future. The conversation was spellbinding and eye-opening.
As our week together drew to a close, we all knew that we had to meet again. Di offered her home in Charlotte for our next gathering in another three years. We left feeling blessed by our week together and looked forward to the next Committee meeting in 1989.
Since that gathering in 1986, we have met regularly for 30 years in our homes across the country. Last October, we met again to celebrate our 80th birthdays at Joyce’s townhome in Middletown, Ohio. There were nine of us then: unfortunately Dottie and Marlyn have died, and Kayanne couldn’t leave her nursing-care facility. We talked with her by phone, and two of us visited her on the way back home. Sadly, Kayanne passed away in December. Every time we gather, our circle of friendship becomes more treasured and more meaningful.
We plan to keep on meeting until we can no longer manage it. We hope that our next meeting will be back where it all began, at OWU for our 60th class reunion in 2018.
By Betty Crider Henderson ’58
Is your OWU group of friends still meeting? Send us photos and updates at firstname.lastname@example.org.