GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A group of West Michigan women who first started gathering for coffee and crafting back in December 1981 have continued meeting for 40 years, leaning on each other through all the good times and bad.
“It started with just a couple gals that had gotten together for a coffee," said Jill Campbell, one of seven women who were able to gather again just this week.
“It was 40 some years ago, so we were all with babies, and it was going to be a night to get out and just be with women, and get away from the kids and stuff.”
Their nights for a long time centered on crafts — making presents for their kids' teachers in earlier years, and items made out of wine corks in more recent years.
“We have all had kids, they've gone to college, we have gone through many crises, and we have bonded like sisters,” Campbell told FOX 17.
Sadly they lost two members of their craft group over the pandemic, one of them to COVID.
"That was very sudden... within one week of each other... And so that really hit us hard,” Campbell said.
“We did the Zoom thing, all during COVID, and it was very hard to lose two members and not even be able to go to the funerals, or the memorials.”
The group has touched almost all aspects of their lives.
“It's just a group that feels like home,” said Lynne Deputula.
Another member, Terri Sierzant, added, “These women are my heroes, because of some of the things they have gone through in their lives, the sadness, and they're just amazing... and the joy that we all bring each other too.”
Whatever it is that they're doing, they are always there for each other.
Laughing, Suzi Mayer said, “I cherish the memories... My crafts not so much.”
And they don't plan to stop meeting up any time soon. Campbell guesses they have had at least 400 craft club meetings over the years.
“We've made many things... Some of them cool, some of them not so cool, but almost always fun," Campbell said.