I admit it. My first thought at the suggestion of writing a story about a book club conjured up an image of a handful of women sitting in a living room of overstuffed couches discussing some dull and obscure piece of literature. What I found while attending one of their meetings was quite the opposite.
Wednesday Reviewers Book Club
My friend had invited me to the annual May meeting of the Wednesday Reviewers Book Club (WRBC) at Maggiano’s on Park Lane. To my surprise, inside the large meeting room were about 60 ladies, a full three-quarters of the club’s membership. These were intelligent and articulate women who welcomed me warmly, like an old friend.
Many are retired educators drawn by their love of books to such a community. Others have retired from business careers, and now have the time to read both the newest best-sellers and classic books by authors long since gone. Some privately confided that they don’t take the time to read the books being reviewed, but love to hear from the monthly series of book reviewers and authors. Others simply come for the camaraderie and friendships cultivated over many years.
This club, the oldest of its kind in Plano, celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 25, 2018, with a special celebration. According to secretary Bonnie Mount:
“A small group of five women, whose husbands were all employees of Collins Radio Company (forerunner of technology company Rockwell Collins), invited others to an organizational meeting for a new book club. At the time, the most popular book club in the area was closed to new members, and it required that someone move or die to open a spot.
Out of that first meeting, 25 ladies formed the WRBC and began meeting in a room furnished by the First National Bank of Plano. Other locations followed, and the group currently meets at the Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Plano on the 4th Friday of most months between September and April. Four of the original members still attend the monthly meetings.”
The book club’s May meeting
May’s meeting welcomed author and book reviewer Rosemary Rumbley, widely considered as one of the best speakers in Dallas. At 95 years young, Rosemary continues to amaze her audiences. Her seemingly extemporaneous speech left us laughing one moment and in awe the next.
For over an hour she spoke on the writings of Brad Meltzer, an author of histories, mysteries, and biographies written specifically for children. She peppered her presentation liberally with her own personal experiences and true stories about historical people I only thought that I knew. Even when her own cell phone rang during her presentation, she didn’t miss a beat. Instead, she quipped that a much beloved son-in-law had forced that phone on her without ever telling her how to turn it off.
As we broke bread together that day, Rosemary told us all about her fifth book on life in Dallas. It was only then that the truth hit me. This group didn’t need me to write a story about the Wednesday Reviewers Book Club. They were obviously making their own history. I was the one who needed to find a group of people who share my love of reading and to find a brand-new writing hero. Clearly, this was my lucky day.