By Mary O’KEEFE
~ To all the days here and after
May they be filled with fond memories, happiness and laughter.
– An Irish toast
Memories, happiness and laughter seem to be the ingredients that go into making great friendships and can be found in a group of women that meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They don’t meet at a clubhouse and there are no officers, although there are distinct leaders.
“We all met at Curves,” said Marie Shaw.
That would be the Curves in Montrose. Some started at the health club at the location in Sunland-Tujunga, some in Glendale, but as those clubs closed they moved, and met, at the Montrose location.
“Marie is our social director,” said everyone in the group.
It’s a simple formula: Marie finds trips and events for them to go to and if they are interested they go. No pressure to show up, but anyone who spends a few minutes with these women will find they love to be together … they love showing up.
CVW was recently invited to the birthday celebration for Carol Sanford, 80, and Shaw, 90, at the home of Phil and Charlene Downs. Downs had arranged for classic cars to be parked in front of his home, adding to the festivities.
Three things were obvious from the start: These women love hanging out with each other, age is absolutely a state of mind and Phil was hopelessly outnumbered.
“We have gone to Solvang and Catalina and went to the Sawdust Art Festival (in Laguna),” Shaw said.
They also went to the Strawberry Festival in Oxnard and on a day cruise.
The women all agreed that Shaw is the one who got them together and keeps them going to a variety of places, but if Shaw is the happy social director, Sanford is the ball of fire that keeps the group moving.
Sanford, like Shaw, has lived in the Crescenta Valley area for decades. At 80, she still works at her son’s business, Charles H Sanford Plumbing, located in Sunland Tujunga. She said she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Shaw moved from Chicago to the La Cañada area over 50 years ago, then later to La Crescenta.
“We didn’t realize that we lived just four or five houses away from each other for so many years,” Sanford said.
She and Shaw found they were neighbors long after meeting each other at Curves.
The birthday celebration was an example of how these women enjoy sharing their many trips and events. There is a lot – really a lot – of banter, of teasing each other and just out-loud laughter.
Shaw’s husband passed away when their children were young but through it all she has kept her positive attitude, and that outlook has helped her stay young and very active. She attributes her positive outlook and ability to laugh for staying a very young 90-year-old. Shaw also attributed friendship to her longevity.
“We are all very fortunate to have met each other,” she said. “We don’t talk about politics or religion.”
“It is just a great support system,” Sanford added.