Friends forever: Tuesday Afternoon Club in Easthampton honors longtime member about to turn 100

  • Roma Donais, 99, of Easthampton, left, is celebrated by friends Janet Couch of Easthampton and Convy Stahl of Southampton, Tuesday, in advance of her 100th birthday in August. The birthday party was held during the Tuesday Afternoon Club’s final banquet of the year at the Glendale Grill in Easthampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Roma Donais, 99, of Easthampton receives a card June 6, 2017 during an advance celebration of her 100th birthday, which is in August. The party was a part of the Tuesday Afternoon Club's final banquet of the year at the Glendale Grill in Easthampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Roma Donais, 99, of Easthampton, second from left, is celebrated by friends Connie Dragon of Westhampton, left, Janet Couch of Easthampton and Convy Stahl of Southampton June 6, 2017 in advance of her 100th birthday in August. The birthday party was held during the Tuesday Afternoon Club's final banquet of the year at the Glendale Grill in Easthampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Roma Donais, 99, of Easthampton, right, receives a boutonnière from Marie Fiat of Easthampton June 6, 2017 to celebrate her 100th birthday, which is in August. The birthday party was held during the Tuesday Afternoon Club's final banquet of the year at the Glendale Grill in Easthampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Roma Donais, 99, of Easthampton, second from left, is celebrated by friends Marie Fiat of Easthampton, left, Janet Couch of Easthampton and Convy Stahl of Southampton June 6, 2017 in advance of her 100th birthday in August. The birthday party was held during the Tuesday Afternoon Club's final banquet of the year at the Glendale Grill in Easthampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

For the Gazette
Published: 6/6/2017 11:29:24 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Nearly eight decades ago, Roma Donais joined the Tuesday Afternoon Club in Easthampton. The young mother and newlywed had no way of knowing in the early 1940s that she would be the club’s guest of honor in 2017.

But that’s exactly what happened Tuesday at the club’s final meeting of the season at the Glendale Grill, where nearly 30 members and guests celebrated Donais with a cake, card and well-wishes. At 99, she is the club’s oldest and longest-serving member and by the time the group sees her again, she’ll be 100.

In addition to the Tuesday Afternoon Club, Donais has been a longtime member of other civic societies in Easthampton: the Helping Hand Society, the Women’s Club, the Mother’s Club, the Medical Auxiliary Club and the Historical Society -- and those are just the ones she can remember.

The Tuesday Afternoon Club was founded in 1895 as part of a countrywide trend of postwar women's groups that catered to a growing leisure class.  The club’s original purpose was to serve as a place for stay-at-home mothers to get together and “enlighten” themselves through research papers, guest lectures and the study of books and poetry, according to the club’s literature. 

Now, women’s clubs are less popular as more women work full time and have trouble fitting in midday meetings.

“Younger women are usually working on Tuesday afternoons when we have meetings,” said member Lucille Kostek.  

As a result, the Tuesday Club draws a crowd of retirees who want to keep their minds active. Among the women are former schoolteachers, artists, businesswomen, nurses and even a minister’s wife.  

Many members live in the Lathrop Retirement Community in Easthampton and appreciate the opportunity to socialize and make new friends. “It’s almost like a big family,” said member Priscilla Pike.

Although the demographics have changed, the educational component of the club remains strong. Each year, the board chooses a theme to structure the meetings around.

This month, Easthampton native and former mayoral candidate Nancy Sykes addressed the attendees on the subject of travel. The theme of the season was “Oh the Places We’ve Been!”

Tuesday’s meeting also marked an important handing of the torch when a new president is selected.  Connie Dragon and Marie Fiat will share the role as co-presidents, a first for the club.  

The Tuesday Afternoon Club does not meet during the summer months. Its next meeting is  in October.


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