Reflections by Mary Jo Hazard
“Oh we’re the gals who love to sing about our group called CORE-O.”
Twenty-two years ago, my friend, Grace, and I started a book club. The two of us reached out to two others and the “Circle of Reading Enthusiasts” (CORE) was formed. At the first meeting in my office, the four of us sipped chardonnay and came up with a structure, loose guidelines, and picked our first book “How to Make an American Quilt.”
The friend I invited to that first meeting moved to Italy, but Grace’s friend, Dorothy, one of the original four, is still with us, in fact she’s hosting our anniversary meeting in March.
CORE is a mix of women from different backgrounds, ages and professions. Over the last two decades, we’ve picked up new members, lost long-standing members, and now we number nine. We take turns hosting at our homes, but sometimes we meet at a restaurant—we’re flexible, but we also have well-established traditions. Come hell or high water, Dorothy hosts in March, cooks a traditional Irish dinner, and we all wear green. No matter what, she hosts again in October, and we come in elaborate costumes. December finds us cruising the canals of Naples enjoying the elaborate Christmas lights, or touring the bay on Dorothy’s yacht.
“What I love about CORE,” Grace said, “is that many times I read books that I probably wouldn’t have thought of reading, and find it a good read. I love the exchange from others that sometimes changes my thoughts, or reinforces what I got from the author. “
We’re more than a book club; we’ve gone on field trips to Disneyland, Big Bear and Terranea. We even spent the day in Hemet several years ago watching a “horse whisperer” work his magic.
Remember the Forrest Gump quote? “Mama always said that life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” When Grace and I came up with the idea of a reading group we didn’t know what we were gonna get; but twenty one years later, CORE has exceeded our wildest expectations, enriched our lives, and damn, we did good!