- Front Porch
WALLINGFORD — Wallingford Community Women, formerly the Wallingford Junior Woman’s Club, celebrated 60 years of service in style Sunday.
The group, which has about 20 members, hosted a high tea service at the Wallingford Public Library that was attended by a bevy of past members and local officials.
State Rep. Mary Fritz, D-Wallingford, decked out in a Kentucky Derby-style hat, said Sunday that though she was never a member, she appreciated the work done by the club.
“Anything you needed, volunteers were always willing to step up,” Fritz said.
The club, which started in 1954 as a community service-oriented organization for women 18 to 40, has evolved to remove the age cap, but has remained an organization dedicated to serving Wallingford.
The name change in 2011 reflects that evolution. Member Lisa Ryan said that the “junior” part of the title, originally included because women would “age out” of the club on their 41st birthday, simply became confusing as the years went on.
“People weren’t sure if we were ‘junior’ because we were only open to young girls, or if it meant that we were smaller than a regular club, and neither of those are the case,” Ryan said.
The new name, which was voted upon by members a few years ago, now serves to elucidate the group’s main goals: that they’re an organization for women, and that their focus is on community service in Wallingford, Ryan said. Some of the club’s events include hosting a spelling bee and an effort to reintegrate female veterans into the community.
Sunday’s celebration was a nod to the club’s history as well as a chance to look forward.
Two new members were installed: Jackie Michaud and Chrissy McGrath.
Meanwhile, historian Gloria Horbaty said parts of the tea service dated back to the club’s formation, originally used as part of the second annual Holly Ball.
From 1950 to 1969, the Holly Ball was a Hartford debutante dinner and dance.
The formality of the tea service was in full effect Sunday, with past and present club members wearing gloves and hats.
“You know they all got dressed to kill for the monthly meetings,” Horbaty said of the charter members and the elegant styles of the mid-’50s. “So this is our tribute to that.”
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