How “this” all began: as all miracles do, there is not one distinct moment when life changes, but there are our own memories which stay comfortably with us forever. Over ten years ago I received a call to visit Joan Swensen at her home in Mahwah. Everyone who knows Joan lives in the wonder of her life, so I was delighted to spend the evening with her, Meta, and Janice. As with so many courageous, clever, and delightful women, there was “a catch.” They wanted to start a book club which would meet at Joan’s lovely home once a month. Would I like to join? My answer: “No, thank you for asking.” Hard to say, but I wanted to read from my own ever-growing tower of books. Then curiosity urged me:
“Who will be in this Book Club-just we four?” The question didn’t deceive these bluestockings. “We’ll just take it one meeting at a time. ” Well, for once in my life I demurred-enter the moment of grace-as Joan “threw” her irresistible punchline: “I’ll be able to see women I really love, but rarely see.” That was it; I was in…and never looked back, only forward with gratitude, and sweet companionship steeped in the blessings of the written and spoken word.
–Barbara,as told to Therese