Friday, February 20, 2009

Tuesday Night Club - Rome's Golden Girls!

June 28, 1947- Left to Right, back: Betty Hoag Doherty, Betty Mack Beckwith, Ann Jones Marwick, Betty Lascelles Reber (the bride), Jean Meyer Dunn, Dorothy Mathis Delaney. Left to right, front: Merle Amman Johnson, Beverly Jenny Johnson and Sally Miller McAndrew.

Excerpts from March 24, 1996 Rome Observer article titled Rome's Golden Girls!
Back in the late 30's, maybe very early 40's, Rome Free Academy Professor Franklin Pelkey used the Tuesday Night Club as a way to illustrate the word "cabal". In his reference and according to several of the members who were in his class that day, he meant it only in its nicest sense--
"Cabal -- a more or less secret group of intriguing members"
Pretty close. They were then and still are "intriguing members."
One thing has changed. the name. But that was only because the original members who had come from various elementary schools )Jay Street, Fort Stanwix and Barringer) were only 8th graders at the old Rome Junior High School on North James Street at the time, and when somebody told them they "could go to jail maybe" for using Greek letters without permission and without a real legal Charter, they dropped Alpha Gamma Phi and became simply the Tuesday night Club. That's what they were in 1938-- and that's what they were on Tuesday night February 26th 1996 when the Tuesday Night Club met for dinner at the Colonial Inn.
The five original members in attendance that night a few weeks ago (members for 58 years) were (Alphabetically, by married last name--this group is very well organized)...
*Betty Mack Beckwith
*Betty Hoag Doherty
Jean Meyer Dunn
*Beverly Jenny Johnson
Betty Lascelles Reber (in a nursing home in Warsaw, NY)
... and 53 (66) year member Virginia Foley Donahue who joined in 1943 when she moved to Rome from Canastota and went to work at Rome Cable.
There were four other 1938 originals; Marilyn Seymour Corr and Dorothy Mathis Delaney who have left the area, but still return for meetings whenever they are able -- Ann Jones Marwick and Sally Miller McAndrew are original members who have passed away. Evelyn Traxell Lambert and Merle Amman Johnson are members who have moved, but were not among the "original" nine.
The original nine consisted of a fun loving , vivacious group of 8th graders who wanted to do some grown up things and have sort of a "secret society", which is probably why they selected Greek letters for their name, wore identical friendship rings and every Tuesday, on meeting day, all wore exactly the same style, blue cardigan sweater BACKWARDS - that is, buttoned up the back. Failure to wear that sweater and the felt cut-out Greek letters that they attached to the front of the sweater, was punishable by a stiff fine - a dime.
Now you know why "Prof" Pelky referred to the Tuesday Night Club as a "cabal" meaning (the ladies insist to this day) "intriguing." No doubt was correct. I turn the page of the paper I realize there is a 3 page spread all about the Tuesday Night Club. 5 more pictures too.......

The war years were difficult and lonely times for us, but we had each other and that helped us form these long lasting friendships. We did things as a group. Always good things. We tried to be helpful especially to the war effort. As we all married, we brought our husbands into the picture. Al Johnson and Dick Beckwith, for instance, became best friends. Betty Mack remembers that "all of our kids practically grew up together". .....
One of the members provided a short profile on each of the current members, including herself, You will be able to easily figure out who did it.
Jean Dunn - Most active. Also first one with a card or a plate of cookies if anyone is ill.
Betty Reber - Also very active. Most lady like. Very efficient.
Bev Johnson - Lots of fun. Official chauffeur and photographer. Finds very interesting restaurants for us as far away as Barnes Corners.
Ginny Donahue - Our petite beauty. Friend to all
Betty Beckwith - Our official "keeper of the records" of the RFA Class of 1943. Keeps very up to day lists with correct addresses. Coordinates our reunions. Very well organized and always so pleasant.
Betty Doherty - Makes monthly meeting reservations. Reminds everyone of time and place. Need information? Ask me Sometimes I even know the answer."

We should all have such long lasting supportive friendships as this.

1 comment:

Elin said...

What a fun story!