We met yesterday for the first time in nearly three years. Our Book Club last met in my home in February 2020. It had been a jolly affair with a lot of laughter and we were looking forward to the next meeting in a different home in March … only there wasn’t. By the end of that month the country was plunged into a hard lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID. We couldn’t even see family members, let alone friends and acquaintances.

The WhatsApp group buzzed with jokes, links to literary matters, messages reaching out to each other, puzzles … then inertia crept in. Messages dwindled, became more focused on memes about the virus (which not everyone appreciated), about Trump (which fewer people appreciated) and fewer people responded – the only polite way to indicate a preference to leave politics and the virus out of communications.

We didn’t see each other for months on end. Some people, like me, still buy groceries at half past six on a Monday morning – as soon as the supermarket opens. Others took advantage of having their groceries delivered, while yet others chose to shop later in the day. The supermarket or the pharmacy were the only places where one might meet people in those early days of lockdown – all wearing masks of course.

Months later, I greeted one of our members who passed me while I was out walking. I was wearing a hat and dark glasses – as well as the mask still – for the day was hot. I greeted her and we both continued walking for a step or two. She turned round then and called my name. Her voice carried a startled note and she stared at me for a moment, pulled her mask down and called out “I didn’t recognise you!” I didn’t blame her. Having been short-sighted forever, I tend to recognise people by their gait.

Yesterday a member phoned “I can’t find your house!” She had driven past it several times without recognising the gate. The trees have grown in three years and so has the bougainvillea tumbling over the fence. My house is no longer clearly visible, although the gate remains the same. “I can’t believe it,” she said on arrival. “I have been coming here for nearly thirty years!” But not for three years in a row.

Early on there was a suggestion that members continue to meet on Zoom … it fell flat. One member said “I don’t have YouTube”, which gives you an idea of the technological capabilities of the group. People were still reluctant to have too many people in their homes at once … then, we could dispense with masks; we could visit each other; life was gradually returning to normal …

Still we did not meet.

Then, yesterday – at last – we did! Some members have left town, but the rest gathered in my home and it felt good. I had to serve tea on arrival because the power went off promptly at three o’clock and wasn’t to come back until half past five (that makes it sound as if the power went for a walk!). We all brought a book or two and it was fun to hear again about authors we had not read, or had forgotten about; to experience again the different points of view about books we were familiar with; to catch up briefly on what has happened in the interim; and just ‘to be’ in the company of people we have shared so much with over the years.

So, our Book Club has not died after all. One could say it has been comatose all this time – thanks to the pandemic – but there is life in us yet and we plan to meet again in January, filled with the expectation of many more meetings to come.


30 thoughts on “WE MET YESTERDAY

  1. I am afraid we completely fell out of the habit of entertaining inside. We still have coffee, ice cream, tea or cold drink with our neighbours and friends, but we tend to gather at restaurants, at the beach (weather permitting) or outside in the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is the first time I have had so many people inside my home. There is still a feeling of caution about – we could all sense that – and yet it helped to dispel some of the ‘fog’ of Covid.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Last evening I got to talk to a book club about the WWII book, which they’d read. It had been postponed because I had Covid. How delightful to meet in person and without masks, just as you’ve experienced.


  3. What a wonderful story! A gift to be able to meet again. I, too, have not recognized people wearing masks. Your story is also a reminder about how many simple pleasures COVID took away from us. We actually did use Zoom a lot during the worst of it—that’s how we celebrated Christmas one year. But there’s nothing like getting together in person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right. Although one of the societies I belong to has been meeting successfully on Zoom over the past few years, the field trip we enjoyed a while ago has been a highlight – it provided an ideal opportunity for us to meet again in person.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The pandemic surely has had its effect upon us all. I’m glad you’ve reunited with your book club members. I daresay mine is gone forever, but who knows? Hope springs eternal. 😉


    • I thought ours had gone forever too. My invitation for members to come to tea and to bring a book to share if they wished was in the form of either bidding each other a fond adieu or to think about picking up the reins. Happily, they are delighted that someone had taken the initiative.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Just as your electricity took a walk, so did your book club. I am so glad they both returned. It speaks to some tenacity on the part of your book club members, to make it happen again. I like having visitors at our house; I always feel like the energy of our house improves with their presence. Like our house, and us, have been blessed.


  6. Our Book Club started in Oct 2019, and sadly did not manage to pick up again. It is so good to hear that your group saw each other again, Anne.


    • It was an experiment that worked: I couldn’t bear the thought of thirty years of meetings to simply disappear without us at least bidding each other farewell 🙂


  7. That was interesting Anne. Do you usually all read and discuss the same book, or do the members just discuss what they are reading? My library book club is meeting again in person, with tea in china teacups and snacks, but sans masks, but I have not gone as I usually have so many other books out that I haven’t had time to read the book, OR I read it a few years ago and can’t remember the details. I wish my hospital retiree group would meet again – I guess we’ve fallen out of the habit, but with flu cases upticking here now, along with Covid, I’m not sure what the turnout would be for an indoor venue.


    • We find it more fun for each of us to talk about a book we are currently reading. This is a lovely way to meet new authors and even to get a different perspective on books we might have read or are planning to read. Our members have varied interests and in this way I have got to read books I might never have selected on my own.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.