Ellen Kirk

The Friendly Club
This is a little summary of the Friendly Club. This is the poem found on page one of the Friendly Club booklet from 1977-78. It is entitled Neighbors, the author is unknown.

It gives me the warmest feeling
As I look across the lawn
In the dusk of evening,
And see your lights come on
Although I cannot see you,
I know that you are there;
Perhaps behind your paper
In your favorite chair.
As I sit here with my mending
I'm no longer feeling blue
And I wonder if my window
Ever does the same for you?

In September of 1957, 50 years ago, my husband Ed and I moved onto Scott Drive in Ivanhoe subdivision. Our son Lee was starting 3rd grade and son Douglas kindergarten. From neighbors I heard about the Friendly Club and decided to join. It was a great way to get to know neighbors in both the Flowerpot and Ivanhoe, and meet the mothers of our children's classmates. We met at 1 the 2nd Thursday of each month in members' homes, and finished by 3 in order to be home when our children came back from school. Baby sitting was provided. Our annual dues were two dollars. Each year we held a Valentine's Day dinner for our spouses, and in May, a luncheon for members. My booklet for 1977-78 shows there were 63 members. Our purpose as stated was "to promote friendship in the neighborhoods of the Flowerpot and the Ivanhoe subdivisions." Hostesses were to provide the meeting place, beverages and conduct the meetings; the co-hostesses were to provide cookies and help serve.
One year we published a cookbook of members' recipes. I recently duplicated it from Betty Gordon's copy. Good eating and good memories, a capsule of the era with the use of canned soups and Jello.
There were 3 spin-off groups: sit and sew, square dancing, and bridge. The square dancing group met through the 60s, usually with four or five circles. Our venues were Red Cedar School, East Lansing Savings and Loan basement, the Esmay's basement, the Grange, and Forest View School. George Bubolz was a frequent caller. The bridge club endured until about ten years ago playing twice a month in members' homes. Over the years our 3 tables gradually dwindled to 1. It was good bridge, but always with time for conversation.
When I worked the 1960 election, a poll worker from another area of the city was amazed at the number of voters I knew. A direct result of my membership in the Friendly Club.
Now when we walk through the neighborhoods, I look at the houses of so many old friends, fondly remembering them from over these last 50 years. I am grateful to the Hicks ladies, past and preset, for their devotion to this friendly club.