Board Members for Life! Part One


A post by writer Sue Pace:

Some of the most memorable films depicting strong women bonds are rooted in the south: Steel MagnoliasThelma and LouiseFried Green Tomatoes.

Conversations about sex, men and birthing babies just sounds better when it involves women with high-rise hairdos and a ya’ll dropped into a sentence.

But, as part of a real sisterhood of the south, I know the secret to this bond. We tease each other, not our hair. We can find Southern Comfort in a bottle and in the strength of good friends who know how to have fun smack dab in the middle of a thunderstorm.

There are six of us in this group.

We are all from various regions of North Carolina, and we were brought together at that tender age of newly-conferred college graduates finding jobs as worker bees at a Chapel Hill, North Carolina multi-media enterprise. We were hired cheap and taught well. We each excelled in our own careers.

Some of us worked in the graphics department (Beth, Lisa, Denise and myself). Polly was in sales. Boots worked as the CEO’s assistant. Thirty years later, we’re still dancing collectively at someone’s wedding.

We call ourselves The Board.

It started out like a secret post-college sorority.

Our night’s out became the talk at the water cooler. Co-workers wondered where we’d go? Who did we talk about? If they had to ask, no doubt we were talking about them.

But, as we grew older our bond went beyond the walls of our collective companies. We started doing grown up things like having babies, getting divorced, changing careers.

Our dinners moved to each other’s living rooms. Our conversations held more real-life meaning. Our friendships became more substantive.

But, just like the differences in a tangy eastern BBQ and the sweeter taste of the western fare, we each bring our own distinct ingredient to the recipe.

Boots is the comedian.

Denise is the eternally glass half-full kind of gal.

Beth is the organizer and planner.

Polly filters nothing.

Lisa is a self-proclaimed control freak.

I think I’m perfect until one of them tells me otherwise.

Our success in staying together for thirty years?

Truth be told we prey on each other’s foibles. We never let each other forget them.

We force one another to put our big girl panties on and “getover it ya’ll.”

But, there’s no din more powerful than of the six of us, wined or whined up women, rejoicing in each other’s victories.

So, between us we’ve been married ten times, divorced four, suffered six miscarriages, birthed eleven kids, suffered three rounds of cancer and one heart attack.

We’ve watched five parents die and two lose their memories.

Two brothers have died before their time.

Most of us are in menopause. The rest of us are cranky enough to pre-qualify (except perky Denise, of course).

We know crying is about as useful as a trap door in a canoe. 

So, we get together and we laugh. We love our other catch phrases, too – “fish gotta fly,” “ya’ll stop laughing at me,” “Un-cle Ben’s or Min-ute Rice,” and our collective favorite “Ya’ll, I’ll bring the wine.”

We’ve supported each other through challenging times – a cheating spouse, bankruptcy, a change of careers, a lost brother, death.

And we’ve marveled at the victories – an RN degree at 40, dangerously preemie babies, that first love after a lost marriage, second weddings, surviving cancer.

While not everyone chooses to disclose their own personal details (some of us are more proper Southern girls, after all), there are those that have shared hilarious stories about intimacy – on a gator cart in a football stadium, in a field of sunflowers along a highway in France.

One of us has even proclaimed that getting dragged over broken glass sounded preferable to that first amorous encounter after birthing a baby.

To be continued….


13 thoughts on “Board Members for Life! Part One”

  1. I love this. My life has taken me in strange and wonderful ways to so many different places that I’ve not been able to connect with an actual “group” of women who are all friends, but it’s something I wish I could have had. I loved your piece and do think I missed out on this part of friendships. Although I’ve had so many other blessings that I appreciate.

  2. I love your writing! And how great to have such a wonderful group of friends! Can’t wait until the next installment!

  3. LOVE this!!! And i feel honored to know and love the self professed control freak! Have been hearing about “the board” for so long. Great to finally learn the history and hear another angle!
    Keep on!!! Sisterhood is great.

  4. What a wonderful tribute to friendship and yes—I do believe that the Southern friendships are the ones that are long lasting. After living in NC (Mooresville) for 9 + years those are the friendships that are the dearest to me. Ya’ll are onto something in the south—I hope to return to live someday. And I love the Chapel Hill connection—being a proud mama of a UNC grad I have a soft spot for all things Carolina Blue. Thanks for the great read today.

    1. Haralee: Don’t fret: there really is no explaining some of these things… it’s a Board thing! enjoy reading, and laughing along. Sue is such a talent.

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