DIANE MAKAR MURPHY Hubbard group pursues a scholarly social mission

For 39 years, the ladies of the Hubbard Fortnightly IV have met at members' homes around Hubbard. Crowded into a circle in Metta Linnen's living room, they were, this program night, to be MY audience.
My generation seems to have missed, by just a few years, the sorority of such clubs. I regret it. For almost four decades the group of about 20 or so women has been growing intellectually. Each month, (at one time, every two weeks, hence, Fortnight), September through May, they gather for another presentation.
Book reviews, local craftsmen, lectures by area professionals, crafts and presentations by group members are regular fare for the Fortnightly IV. I have been admonished to "do something fun and distracting" for my presentation, in light of the recent tragedy in New York and near Washington, D.C.
Program: When I arrive, I find a lovely invitation-sized booklet trimmed in red satin and white lace sitting on a coffee table. It is the annual program, decorated in the club's colors (red and white), and it announces several speakers, of whom I am just one.
Next month, a gentleman from Youngstown State University will talk about "Services for Retirees." (Did they imagine 39 years ago that would one day be a topic?!) Charen Fink will talk about Women in the Civil War in November.
Club historian Sally Malin is in charge of the Christmas program. In January, the women will read the Constitution. Later, they will hear a book review by Lorraine Atwood, assistant director of the Hubbard Library, see a presentation on gems by Adamas Jewelry and Gifts and one on the flowers of Williamsburg, Va. It's an ambitious year. (I wonder how you think of things for the 39th year running!)
Friendship blossoms: But perhaps more important than intellectual growth has been the growth of friendship fostered by club membership.
Member Judy Ruby wrote in the program notes, founder Barbara Schultz "recognized that we, as young women, needed to have a get-together at least once a month to stay attuned to the times, to socialize, and to compare notes about our families, our health and any other subject that might come up."
And they do, even though they are no longer, exactly, young women. Amid Roberts Rules of Order, replete with motions and yeas and nays, there are discussions about doctor's visits and cards to be sent to ill members, and words of praise to those whose seats will remain forever empty. Laughter is shared as easily as dues are collected.
When I ask them to write down something about themselves no one else in the club knows -- a favorite food, or a special trip, perhaps -- they roar with laughter. What can they possibly think of that no one else knows? A full half don't even bother to write down anything.
Only Pat Morell manages to stump a few, writing, "I was never able to stand up on ice skates and skate."
Involvement: And their friendship has extended beyond their cozy living rooms and into their community. When Schultz, who passed away this year, founded the club in 1962, she and her 24 first members developed this motto: "To apply our hearts to knowledge, increase strength and seek understanding."
But, beyond this, they added as the club's object: "Self culture in the study of fine arts, history, literature, social service and the progressive thought of the times." Social service has meant one or two philanthropic projects each year.
I speak to my audience about some articles I've written and about the advice I've received on public speaking from fellow columnists Gail White and Nancy Beeghly and, the most salient, from my daughter Hannah who instructed, "Keep it short."
I think I did. When I was done, however, I didn't rush on home. I stayed put in my big, comfy chair, to eavesdrop a little and share in some laughter.