Rose and Pat
Pat, Jane, and Jo
Marcia on the move
We were randomly thrown together, residents mostly of one wing of a dormitory at a small midwestern women's college in the late 1960s. Somehow the personalities meshed and a tribe evolved. There were numerous college escapades: the unexcused absences from class, the late nights, the impromptu road trips, the blind dates, the loser boyfriends. Did we really spend a night in a Notre Dame men's dorm? Yes, we did. And back then, they were ALL mens' dorms at Notre Dame.
By the time we graduated, the tribe had turned into a family of sisters.
We went our separate ways but happily those ways, for the most part, converged in one metropolitan area. (A shout out to Mary in Boston...) We've been through Life together--the high points and the lows, careers, marriage, children, health issues, aging parents, calamity and loss, laughter and tears. We've recharged on a number of road trips through the years, most memorably having shared a week in Nantucket in 1999. But mainly we meet for dinner. Grabbing time for this has always been a priority for all of us. One of those occasions was last night.
The plan was to meet at a spot convenient for two of the group who live in the northern Chicago suburbs. Four of us arrived simultaneously at the agreed-upon restaurant and discovered a mob scene and the news that our wait for a table would be "80, 90, or 100 minutes". (What kind of corporate restaurant focus-group mumbo jumbo is THAT?) So we marshalled our cell phone resources and quickly all agreed to meet at another place nearby, known as The Brat Stop.
The Brat Stop is not unfamiliar territory for us. It was the backdrop of a few of our past adventures, a hard drinking and dancing spot going back 30+ years. Or more.
In those days, a 40-mile drive didn't deter us in the least. Gas was cheap, beer was waiting to be enjoyed, we could drink there legally due to county ordinances. Say no more. We would be off, no matter that we had to hit a 12:30 a.m curfew back at school, appearing sober and in control for inspection by a sharp-eyed drill sergeant/nun (and I'm not making that part up) before we could crawl to our rooms. But by far the best and most sacred fact about The Brat Stop is that there, on one beer-soaked night in the early 70s, in one star-crossed and karmic moment in time, two of our group met their husbands.
"Star-crossed" is not an expression one normally would associate with The Brat Stop.
Fancy dining it is not. But that really doesn't matter. We had a great time, laughed a lot, got caught up, planned our annual holiday get-together, and gave some thought to next year. Perhaps another road trip? We're thinking Las Vegas or the California Wine Country... That's the way it is with this group--always a new group adventure on the drawing board. Friendship and sisterhood is the best spice of life.
As we were leaving, some very burly and scary-looking security people were taking their stations around the place. Apparently The Brat Stop still is a hard-drinking and partying sort of establishment, once the baby-boomers have paid up and gone home.