The rug was pulled out from under us.


Since our 50th high school class reunion, my four best high school friends and I rendezvous once a year or more.  Jean, Diane and MaryLee still live in Wisconsin, I have lived in Arizona for 49 years, and Kay is bicoastal when she and her third husband are not on a cruise.

We and our significant others just spent four days exploring around Tucson. They stayed at the Adobe Rose Inn and mid-day we toured – Tohono Chul Park, Arizona State Museum, Tumacacori Mission and Tubac art colony.  We cruised through historic neighborhoods and were guided through the new Mercado District which is built on history and working toward building downtown community.

We had a final dinner at the Southern Pacific Railway Station restored to its 1943 glory, eating in Maynard’s Market.  It has become the hub for young professionals, a place to start a weekly run, and to finish, famished.  We wish we could turn back the clock 30 years.  Two of us hobble and all but two watch our diets.

What binds us together this late in life?  First, we met in art class.  We all thought we might become architects, but the school, progressive as it was, would not allow girls to take drafting.  It was a class for rowdy boys who would never go to college (when 85% of our graduating class did).  We would “be a distraction.”

So Jean became an interior designer (and can be seen on Kohler’s web site), Mary taught grade school art.  Diane eventually headed the Wisconsin AAA travel bureau and, like Jean and MaryLee, designed her own house.  Kay got into real estate in California about the time it boomed.  I have been an independent contract writer, often related to art, since 1968.

All but one of us has been divorced.  Mary is still with her high school sweetheart.  All-together we have 12 children (two adopted, one estranged) and 15 grandchildren (two adopted from China, two multi-racial).  Four of us have bipolar children or grandchildren.

To think we once imagined our lives would be all about Wedgewood, Rosenthal, and Dansk.

My history professor once said of our generation of women, “You had the rug pulled out from under you.”  I agreed with him but also with my mother who often repeated, “The downfall of civilization was Elvis Presley and The Pill.”

On the other hand, we survived.

Kay, MaryLee, Karen, Diane and Jean 1985

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