Connections: The Lovelies. Courtesy photo

A woman under the auspices of Meetup created a group called Being Elder. Bree, living alone and with her two psychology degrees,  jumped at the chance to facilitate such a group starting in November 2019.

I had given up on Meetup groups – not finding my own cup of tea even though my daughter’s and friend Hope’s nag to make more friends was often in my mind. I decided to stop getting notifications from Meetup. Why clog up my inbox with things I’m not interested in? After months of notification freedom, in came a notification about Being Elder, a Meetup group. I signed up and found the first meeting was one block away on Yale.

I’m an old workshop girl who probably has participated in at least 30 personal development workshops and led group calls under many circumstances. I am into and been involved in personal and spiritual development since 1980 and meeting monthly was a little frustrating for me and some others and we wished we could meet more often. Surprise, surprise our needs would be met but at what cost?

On March 13, 2020 the world shut down. A stay at home order was declared and we all stayed at home — freaked out on many levels. For me, stacking this frightful thing called Covid on top of the loss of my husband less than 5 years before, this scary thing put me on high inner alert but at least my daughter, with whom I live, had work. Juniper, my granddaughter, could not let her mom work so we went through many trials to satisfy everyone’s needs. Her preschool closed for 3 solid months, so it was Juni, age 3,  and grandma, age 77,  every day all day. When we went for a walk, we avoided everyone. She learned to navigate and move aside but her only playmate all day every day was me. 

I need to be more than just a grandma so I decided to ask a few of my “Elder” contacts and a few old friends if they’d like to join me on Zoom on Saturdays with only one caveat — no politics. On May 16, 2020 we met on Zoom for the first time. We have met every Saturday since that time.

Since I was the initiator, I knew everyone but everyone didn’t know each other. Imagine eight lovely old ladies, some of whom live alone which Covid certainly exacerbated, showing up to what none of us knew we’d become.

Paulina only knew me but we know each other for over 50 years.

Selma, Bree, Joan and Linda I know from the Elders group and they met each other that way also.

Justine and Janine are twins and know me since their daughter/niece and my daughter became friends at age 9 but only knew each other and me.

We’ve had three crazy “six degrees of separation” experiences all revolving around Selma, the eldest of the Lovelies. For awhile another woman, Paula was part of the group. It turns out that Selma’s daughter and Paula have been friends for 35 years and only had heard about each other but never met until one day on Zoom with the rest of the Lovelies. Also, Selma had created a family sticker store business and Justine has shopped for her craft materials there for years. And the most amazing of all is that Selma’s cousin lived in the same Brooklyn building that Joan, age 86,  grew up in and Selma, age 91. visited there all the time! 

But the real miracle is the depths to which we have reached.  We know about each others’ children and grandchildren and Joan even has great-grandchildren. The Jewish woman have learned about growing up Catholic and vice versa. We have felt safe to share inner dreams, shortcomings and failures.

     Some of our weekly topics have included:

● Teen years — what were you like?

● Why did you marry your husband?

● Do you ever feel like life isn’t worth living?

● What are you good at?

● What are your personal benefits of aging?

● Favorite stories about people you love

● Sharing how friends have disappeared and how painful that is

● And so many, many more

     No one is the leader. Everyone can speak. We each try to not go on too long so each has a turn.

     Because of Covid, we have only met all together in-person twice in a park. We have now instituted monthly in-person in the park get togethers.

     Had Covid not happened, I really doubt if the connections and closeness that we all cherish would have happened. It is said that every cloud has its silver lining and the Lovelies are definitely one of mine.