Friendship Club marks 80th year

AROOSTOOK COUNTY — A women’s club, which began in Perham and now includes many Aroostook County communities, has stood the test of time. Members recently gathered to celebrate the club’s 80th anniversary.

The Friendship Club was established in 1936 by a group of ladies in Perham, Maine, and was aptly named the Perham Friendship Club. As implied by the name, the meetings were intended for the ladies to get together with friends once a month for lunch, relaxation and lively conversation. Each member hosted the meetings in turn. For many years, children were also included.
Those of school age would be dropped off by the school bus at the appropriate house each month.

Gradually, meeting times began changing to evenings with the hostess of the month then providing supper for the group. With the passage of time and more and more members working a 9-to-5 day job, preparing a full meal for everyone became prohibitive. Today only coffee and light refreshments are expected.

Once a year, club members treat themselves to a night out at a favorite restaurant. For many years the restaurant of choice was York’s just over the border in Perth, New Brunswick.

The Club has always enjoyed an annual Christmas dinner where members choose Secret Pals. Gifts are exchanged and the previous year’s Secret Pals are revealed.

Over the years the members have also supported several worthy causes, such as the Battered Women’s Home. They have provided gifts for a needy family at Christmas time, each year selecting the family from one of the towns represented by Club members.
As expected, over the 80-year span, membership in the club has ebbed and flowed. Some of the current members represent several generations from the original membership. Over the years, too, members have been added from communities other than Perham, and it is now called simply the Friendship Club. Currently members hail from Perham, Woodland, Caribou, Washburn, Van Buren and Houlton.

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