I like to remember the fun Mary Swan and I had together. I never met anyone who did not like and enjoy Mary.
We moved into our new home in 1967 before water could be obtained for our cistern. Tom Swan said, “Not to worry. Go to my house and ask my wife, Mary, for water.” We did and obtained water. In New Jersey water was abundant. We never heard of bottled water. Thus began a long and enduring friendship.
We decided if our husbands could have morning coffee together, so could we. This was the beginning of the Baldwin Biddies Breakfast Bunch. The first several years there were just two of us, although Sandy Elliot joined us now and then. Soon we were joined by Jane Richards, newspaper editor, and Dorothea Jackson. No dues, no formal reports —just talk. I am firmly convinced if politicians visited men and women’s coffee groups in small towns, most of our national problems could be solved.
Over the years men have left their farms and gone to town early telling their wives they need “parts." This did not work in the “burbs." We lived in a small New Jersey community and my husband’s office was fairly close by. Now many men work in home offices and “going to town for parts” has become obsolete. Today it is the women who leave to work outside the home. One salary is often not enough.
The Baldwin Biddies Wednesday moring coffee group has changed over the years. Gradually, new friends join our group, and we truly do enjoy the talk. We do not discuss current gossip but amicably agree or disagree with no harsh words or ill feelings. We have been told by many relatives and family visitors it is the best coffee group they ever attended. Occasionally we are joined by a gentleman or two, who seem to enjoy the group also.
Halloween, Mary and I often dressed up and trick-or-treated around town. Mary had a wonderful nightgown given to her by Tom that said, “Gorilla of My Dreams." She bought a full gorilla mask to complete the outfit. I dressed as her keeper in a trench coat, hat, blinking nose, Groucho Marx glasses, mustache, etc. Michael Landon came to Baldwin to shoot the film “Where Pigeons Go To Die." We went to the train station where they were shooting the film and asked for jobs as extras. It caused quite a commotion and they handed Mary a banana. From there we went to Baker University and President Lambert, dressed as Batman, came out of the building to invite us in to trick-or-treat.
Another Halloween, we dressed as witches and visited Baldwin State Bank for trick-or-treat. One of the girls said, “The bank examiners are in the back room; go on back.” You should have seen the amazed faces when we asked for trick-or-treat! Only in a small town! I would not try that in a large bank in KC. Once again in full gorilla and keeper regalia, we visited “Rob Roy’s” gorilla under the pine tree going north out of town on 56. We had our picture taken, labeled “visiting Mary’s boyfriend."
Mary and I did not consider ourselves mechanical or electronic geniuses. We selected a movie at the video store and went to her basement to play it. Her large TV sat less than a foot from the basement floor. The knobs with directions were in the dark. Unfortunately the video had not been rewound. Neither of us knew what to do with this new-fangled mess. We ended up laying flat on the basement floor, our heads almost touching the TV. We had to constantly re-start the video but finally managed to re-wind the entire video backwards. We'd just lie on the basement floor laughing until we could get onto the couch and see the video correctly. So much for new-fangled conveniences!
I have more remembrances but my column space has been limited.