By Betsy Yohai
In August of 1999 my friend Kimberly invited me to a book club meeting in Seal Beach. I’ve always had a passion for reading fostered at an early age by my mom and our regular trips to the local Library. I liked everything about the book club- meeting new women, sipping wine and having lively discussions about the book we read. I was really disappointed when I learned that they were not accepting new members.
I shared all this with my husband Steve who suggested that I start my own book club. So I did. There were eight of us in the very beginning and we soon grew to a steady 12 members ranging in ages from their 20’s to women in their 80’s. We decided to structure our club to meet the second Tuesday of each month; rotating hostesses who would chose the book and provide dinner at their home. The food is always delicious and the conversations inspiring. A special ‘sisterhood’ has developed over the years.
Our book club—or the “wine and book club” as many of our husbands have referred to it- a fair moniker as I figure to date we have consumed close to 975 bottles of wine and have read 240 books. Our membership has changed faces due to people moving away, having babies and sadly last year we said a final goodbye to one of our original members- Eileen Palmer who passed away. She was one of the strongest women I have known and is greatly missed by us all. Over the years we have faced several life-changing events together- surviving cancer, the devastating loss of a spouse or sibling, new babies and grandbabies being born, retirement and moving homes.
I think we have done a great job at keeping our meetings fresh and exciting. Most times our dinners + decor will match the theme of the story. We have invited authors to speak to us- both in person and via the phone. We have held our meetings in homes, on Duffy boats, in parks and at restaurants. Our diverse group of ladies is connected by our love of a good book, a good glass of wine and being in a gathering of women where we can share our views and experiences. I say to Andee, Christy, Kimberly, Judy, Laurie, Linda, Maggie, Patsy, Paula, Sandi, Sue, and Teri –Thank you and CHEERS to another great 20 years together!