Members celebrating the 50th anniversary of their coffee group are pictured from the left front row, Tess Moor, Delores Bailey, Jean Hoffman, Loryne Moore, LaVonne Guthrie, back row from the left are Barb Heffelfinger, Suzanne Johnson and Linda McCabe.
They've watched fifty years fly by as they've talked about their pregnancies, watched their kids grow up and get married, struggled with their parents aging and now are busy with all of their grandkids and great-grandkids activities.
For fifty years a group of women in Exeter have been gathering in each other's homes for coffee and fellowship.
After fifty years the women claim to remember no big fights or arguments and they continue to meet every other month. The group always stayed close to a dozen members but the members have changed, some moving out of the area and some moving in, but three of the original members remain. The passage of fifty years has changed the conversation among the women drastically. "We used to talk about diapers, but now its Medicare," said one of the newer members, Linda McCabe.
It started all of those years ago because "we just wanted to get out of the house," according to original member Delores Bailey. The other two original members LaVonne Guthrie and Tess Moor piped in about how they "just brought our babies along and watched them play while we talked."
Other members recalled how the topics have changed from worries about their children, to concerns about their parents and now the activities of their grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The group always gets together on a gift whenever one of the kids get married and its always a serving tray, while at funerals they go together for a plant. They don't really have a set name for the group but sometimes they call themselves the birthday group because at one point they got together for everyone's birthdays. Loryne Moore recalled that "We used to each bring a card for the birthday person but we decided it would be better to give the person the dollar that we would have spent on the card and then they would let us know what they bought with the money."
The hostess served coffee and treats and they spent the afternoon watching their kids play together and visiting. There was always an olive tray on the table and in the early days of the group everyone watched the tray as it went around the table. Taking an olive was your way of announcing to everyone at once that you were pregnant. As the group explained this ritual they all laughed, proclaiming that original member Delores Bailey "got the most olives."
These Exeter women have enjoyed fifty years of coffee and have no plans to stop meeting now, although the olive tray probably doesn't have the same significance.