MASSENA - For a local social organization to have been in existence for nearly three quarters of a century requires dedication, enthusiastic members, and likely a unique instigator who came up with the idea for the group so many years ago.
The Grandmothers Club is getting closer to that historical milestone after celebrating their 71st anniversary this week
The club was founded by former Massena resident Ruth Hutton along with 20other grandmothers on June 4, 1942. Ms. Hutton was a Massena resident during the early and middle parts of the 20th century and on that late spring day she and the other women of Cretona Chapter 516 Order of the Eastern Star met for a luncheon at her house to form the unique club.
According to a document describing the history of the club written by Massena Town Historian and club member MaryEllen Casselman, Ms. Hutton had desired a group where Order of the Easter Star grandmothers could have just a social time.
Current Grandmothers Club members range from newbies to veterans like secretary Martha Palmer.
Ive been (part of) the Grandmothers Club for probably around 20 years. My granddaughter is here today, and I was bringing her in a high chair (when I started), so its been at least 20 years, Ms. Palmer said.
The group typically holds their monthly meetings on the first Thursday of the month. In the past they have met at the Massena Country Club, members homes, and the Masonic Hall, but now get together at local restaurants like Dars Place.
Ms. Palmer acknowledged that the group gives to local charities and is focused on enjoying social activities together. They also sometimes welcome guest speakers to their meetings.
The club was more exclusive in the past, as membership use to require being a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, being at least 60 years old and, in some cases, to be an actual grandmother. Restrictions have become more lenient in recent years though.
(Only) to be sponsored by an Eastern Star member and to be of an age of a grandmother. You dont have to be a grandmother because some people, that doesnt happen for them. You just have to be of an age of a grandmother, Ms. Palmer said.
Treasurer Sharon Neault explained that most of the members are from Massena but there are a few out of towners as well.
I live in Brasher. The majority are from Massena, and we have a couple who are in the nursing home. Also, a couple of the inactive members live away, she said.
The club currently has 25 active members and six inactive members.