Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Thursday Night 'Get Together'

'Coffee Drinking Women' - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1907

Every Thursday night, when I was growing up, 
was 'Ladies Night' for my Mother. 

 This meant 'getting together'
with six sisters 
at my Grandmother Bea's. 

No men allowed. 

This was the night that the 'girls' reserved to play cards, 
gossip, and share their weekly stories in my Grandmother's farmhouse kitchen. 

The chrome rimmed Formica table was pulled away from the two kitchen windows
and the 'skinny ones' would slide in first. 

One by one 'the girls' would arrive carrying their fanciest offerings. 
Coffee cakes, cookies, sandwiches, cheese trays, 
Jello molds......

Often a sister would bring a friend or two. 

That little farmhouse kitchen could get very crowded. 

Coffee would percolate, filling the room with a wonderful aroma. 

This was the night that new hairstyles, clothes,
 and special news would debut to 
mutual admiration. 

My Grandmother, Bea would set out her best china 
and put on her prettiest house dress. 

Many times, as the eldest of 5 daughters myself, 
I would be invited along. 

This was a very special honor. 

As housewives in the 50's and 60's, 
this was a very important night. 

A night to break away for a few precious hours
from the never ending household chores, 
child raising, and husband tending. 

In those days, most women were housewives, 
and my Aunts, Mother, and Grandmother were no exception. 

The kitchen would ring with laughter, as everyone talked at once, 
keeping their funniest anecdotes to share as everyone arrived
and made themselves comfortable. 

I was allowed to stay at the table for this very important
 'meet and greet', 
but soon I was dispatched
 to care for the babies. 

Babies were never left home as it was considered 
beyond the skills of husbands to tend to :) 

As the night wore on, the lighthearted bantering
gave way to more serious subjects
and voices became muted and sympathetic. 

The coffee pot was put on to percolate for another round. 

Problems and worries were sorted out, 
advice and support offered, courage bolstered, 
hugs dispensed,
and sometimes tears shed. 

Dishes were always washed 
as sweet goodbye's were said, 
along with hugs and promises to meet 'next time'. 

As I grew older, these Thursday night 'Get Togethers' 
gradually gave way to modern times. 

Women's Liberation saw my Mother and Aunts 
seeking part-time jobs, mainly in the evenings
when husbands and older children could care for the younger ones. 

Some of my Aunts moved away, including my Mother. 

As my own sisters grew up and had families of their own, 
my Mother's kitchen became the scene of a new generation of
the Thursday night 'Get Together'. 

Now that my Mother is gone, 
this tradition has scattered to the wind once more. 
But the echoes of the laughter and tears,
 of sisters caring for sisters,
remain written upon the family slate. 

With today's busy lives, it is not always easy to 
keep some traditions alive. 

Now we must make new traditions to fit modern lives. 
With instant communication, the old fashioned 'Get Together' 
is not as necessary. 

But somehow I think something precious has been lost to time. 

What about you? 
Do you keep a tradition of weekly family 'Get Togethers'? 

How do you keep tradition alive? 

Note: All photos in this post are random vintage images and not family photos. 


  1. You are so right when you say that it's hard to keep traditions alive in today's bust times. I guess it's up to us to create new traditions :)

  2. Your family's girls' nights sound far more enticing than TV. I think what they created was quite unusual.
    If I go back as far as I know through the generations nobody ever lived close together. Either in the same house or far far away. Even the husbands frequently worked far away for long periods of time. Not everyone could drive or even had a car for the family. The men rode bicycles sometimes, or else everyone walked. People visited their friends in the daytime and the children played outside usually. Today we all have cars and phones and computers but we still live far away from each other. I would have to drive for four days non-stop to visit one sister and three more days to get to the other. Well, we are in the same country. Maybe it is a tradition for our family members to spread their wings and go.

  3. Aww what special memories you have of those Thursday night get together, Karen. It's sad to see those happy times drift away. I guess maybe Bunco groups have replaced some of those times for people that don't have families nearby? We have so many birthdays that we are always getting together. However, it might be nice to schedule monthly dinners. Thanks for getting me to think about this. Hugs!

  4. Hello Karen,

    What a beautifully written and atmospheric post this is. How you have transported us back to those days of the Thursday night 'get togethers' and how well we can imagine the lively conversation that ensued.

    In an age when we would all say that we have never been so 'connected', in many ways we are less connected than in those days of your childhood. Human contact is so very important and the new technologies just do not compensate in the same way, at least not for us. The art of conversation these days seems dead. When one looks around even restaurants most people are texting on a mobile phone rather than talking to their dinner partner.

    It is a good question that you pose here for there are many wonderful traditions that one would wish to hang on to. Perhaps we all have to reinvent things in order that the special friendships or relationships in life are nurtured rather than overlooked.

  5. Mom, you have continued bits of that tradition that I remember fondly of you, Gramma and all four Aunts. Now that you have four daughters of your own our get togethers still consist of our fanciest offerings, pretty new dresses, percolating coffee (or a bottle of wine 😊) and plenty of gossip! All of my girlfriends know what I brought to a party just by the display. Now that I'll be closer we can continue those Thursday Night Get Togethers. XO

  6. Dearest Karen, this post is one of my favorites from you. It made me wish for days like those gone by. . .I remember my Grandma talking about getting together with the ladies to play Bridge and other games.

    When I lived in Canada my family and I would always get together on Friday nights and we would play games well into the early morning. We would much on homemade treats made by my sweet Grandma Betty and we would laugh. Precious memories. . .

    Lovely post, my friend. Enjoy your day!

  7. having had the pleasure of my 2 sisters' company for 10 days last month, this brought tears to my eyes. i hadn't seen one of my sisters for over 9 yrs. to have the 3 of us 'breathing the same air' was most special.

  8. Dearest Karen,
    It would be just lovely if to such fond memories and thoughts, we would have photos to underline it.
    You are so right, nothing compares to that and it was their way of surviving, of relaxing and sharing it all together. Very important and for sure they never felt lonely and that is more and more the case nowadays. So many people live lonely lives regardless the modern communcation gadgets we all have.
    Setting aside time for others remains always precious.
    Yes, I have done that while I was still in The Netherlands. Big gatherings on birthdays and also when we had the town's fair. I would cook a meal for all 17 of us and we enjoyed the day together. Still I can look at photos of those happy times. But I doubt if this tradition is being continued by any of my sisters... They seem to be too occupied with their own things. Sad but it is a loss.
    With our friends and extended family here in the USA we do know such happy times of sipping coffee and laughing about silly things and sharing life's problems with each other.
    Hugs to you,

  9. What a beautiful written post! It makes me wish I could still be part of a group of ladies that got together to share some time....and friendship! I guess it's never too late! You've made me wonder! Hugs!

  10. I agree! This tradition is lost and that is such a shame. I don't think my Mom participated because she was a Navy wife and there were always new friends in each place we lived, and no relatives. But, I know the women got together for certain things. There was also that tradition of the couples card night. Two to four couples, usually close neighbors were have a card night, and the kids were all delegated to one of the bedrooms in whichever house they were meeting in, would fall asleep and later be carried home to bed. It was such a simple, interesting time! I love this post anmd the pictures. It reminds me a lot of my childhood years, even though this tradition wasn't part of my life back then. Thank you also for your very sweet comments on my blog. We do have a sweet little family. Wish I could have hauled all of us on up to CO but Y & J just couldn't get away that long. It was great sharing everything (so many posts to come! :-) ) with our grandson! Hope you get to see Monument Valley one day!

  11. This post made me cry for times that are lost.... even though these are good times too... this sort of fun was a treasure of my childhood too, and a treasure that I miss!

  12. I loved this post for so many reasons. The tradition is just so beautiful!! Getting together once a week to be with other woman to talk and share stories and laugh!!! I do this with my girl friends. We rotate houses every couple of months. Someone hosts and everyone brings something to pass. I look forward to these gatherings and I actually have one coming up this Saturday. I do wish I had something like this with my mom and sisters though my older sister lives further away. What wonderful memories have inspired me with this post to start some new traditions! You are so blessed to have these memories and such a wonderful family! Nicole xoxo

  13. This was a fascinating post to read, both because it was a lovely tradition and because it shows how women's life has changed for the better and the worse at the same time. We don't have traditions in my family apart from the Christmas lunch together... But since my dad is retired, I've been "inventing" traditions like visiting a new town every summer, visiting Paris each December... Making memories that we didn't have time to make when he was working.

  14. I loved every line of this post. Gosh, we were all so much closer in those days.
    It is so sad we can't all have that kitchen with love and laugh's. Families split,
    move away. You have a beautiful family. yvonne

  15. Oh what a wonderful and lovely post! I love the topic and your lines! I love the leap in time back to the 50ies and 60ies! Great. Yes, my mother was also a young mother at that time!
    Have a happy happy weekend and all my best

  16. How wonderful that time was for your grandma and her girls. I think that one of the problems that marriages today face is that of a mobile society. Families are no longer geographically close. Women no longer have their mothers and sisters to rant to about their husband, get personal loving advice, etc. Women often expect their husband to be their best girlfriend. It doesn't work that way. So much was lost when families moved apart. I was hoping to pass the baton, so to speak, to the younger generation when it came to hosting the holidays, but we all live so far apart and it makes more sense then to get together at 'mom and dad's'. I am ready to be a guest, not the one doing all the preparation. Anyway, this was a wonderful post!

  17. Thank you for sharing these precious memories. I can almost hear the laughter and smell the coffee right now. We always lived too far apart from each other to have weekly visits, but we did cherish the times we spent together and still do. This weekend is one of them:-)

  18. Hi Karen,
    Just a few hours ago I was praying the Our Father, I got to "give us this day our daily bread," and I stopped short. I thought of how much of our "Daily Bread" go to pay for things we never see; AAA, cable TV, car insurance, association fees, etc. I thought about how it would be if Daily Bread was, indeed, Daily Bread again. Food, water, heat, a/c, clothes, gas for the car, etc.
    Your post reminds me of these thoughts. The days when people got together weekly. In the flesh, not virtually. And no one was checking the cell phone then, either.
    It reminds me of the popular poem about maybe having more actual problems, but fewer imaginary ones.
    Real food, real coffee, real people. Sigh.

  19. Such a wonderful post Karen! I also enjoyed reading all the comments and hearing everyone's thoughts on the family gatherings. My family was rather small, my dad came to Canada on his own, and my mom's family weren't particularly close to us. As my sisters and brother moved on with our own families, we did get together for the usual big holidays, and my parents' birthdays, but never a weekly gathering (we had all become too far flung for that after we married). We still hang onto a few big holidays, but now fewer of us are putting in the effort to do it. And it does take some effort to meet for one day all together! I miss the good old days at my parents' place when all our own kids were young. It was special for our kids too and they remember fondly meeting at Grandma & Grandpa's house and slipping down to the creek for some fun without any of the adults supervising. Those days seem to have slipped away far too quickly! We just had a family gathering for my dad's birthday. It was a fairly good turnout (only 2 were missing), so perhaps there's hope for the future. Your family's weekly hen parties sound like they were a lot of fun! Wendy x

  20. This is such a sweet post...I remember seeing my mom get together with friends this way. I try hard to keep in touch with friends, but it's different. I do love getting together for the special baby and bridal showers...the one you posted about recently was wonderful.

  21. Hi Karen, yes it is hard to keep some traditions alive in the times we are living in now. That must of been so much fun for your grandma and mother and the get togethers. I loved this post too of old traditions. Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

  22. Wow; such great and fond tradition you have (or had) ♡♡♡ I don't have a sister, only late brother. My 2 sister cousins were living close when we were little and I DID wished to have one seeing them really close :-) Oh, I think good old days family ties were strong are the same both western and eastern countries♪♪♪ I remember loved to be with my mother having great time with her 3 sisters.
    It was such a joy to read your post today, thank you so much for sharing, Karen.

    Sending you Lots of Love and Hugs to my Dear friend in America, xoxo Miyako*

  23. Such a thought-provoking post. In my family, my mother was separated by many miles from her mother and sister, and I never knew her to have a special night with friends as you describe. We did see my grandparents a couple of times a year, and I was aware that my granny had a very supportive circle of women friends from church. I think my Granny felt she deserved a night off, whereas my mother was always doing some paid work to help support the family and she never felt she deserved time off - as if her paid work was her time off! I think we have definitely lost an appreciation for good conversation and the pleasures of relaxing together with friends and family.

  24. Such a beautiful post Karen. Those Thursday nights sound really precious. We are having family traditions to like celebrating 'Sinterklaas' with the family and baking a Christmas turban. Hopefully in future I can add a few new traditions as well.

    Wishing you a lovely week!

    Madelief x

  25. Enjoyed your post alot, Karen. loved all the old photos. Sigh. Life changes. Families aren't close, nor are relationships, sometimes. We didn't get together with family often, a couple times a year. Maybe it was because dad was a farmer? Chores? Money? My dear friend, Tamara, and I do Bible study almost weekly, depending on our schedules. If it's at our house or her's, then there's tea with a snack. I enjoy that time together with her. Good thoughts. Take care and have a blessed week!

  26. Lovely post Karen, and the retro pictures you found are really wonderful. Your memories are so special. We are all so separated by distance, I think we've really lost something. My book club gets together twice a month, and it is a little like what you describe. I really treasure those friendships. So sweet to see your daughter's comment, too.


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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