The Possum Hollow Sewing Club is a tight-knit group, but knitting no longer is part of the women’s club activities.

“It’s not a requirement for members to know how to sew,” says Margie McArthur, a club member for 40 years.

But that doesn’t mean gaining club membership is easy.

“A member has to die or move (for a new member) to get in,” says president Jo Barr.

Eight women are on a waiting list for one of 22 spots in the club, which is comprised primarily of Lakewood women with an average age of 55. Membership remains small to preserve the group’s intimacy, as well as to allow meetings to be held in members’ homes. Willingness to entertain and pay dues of $30 annually are the club’s only requirements.

The women meet twice monthly for cocktails, lunch and gossip.

“There is lots of gossip,” McArthur says. “Gossip is fun if it’s done right; you know it is.”

The members celebrate happy times – children’s graduations, weddings and births – as well as console each other during difficult times.

“It’s like being a member of a sorority, they’re just like your sisters,” McArthur says.

Unlike many organizations, the Possum Hollow Sewing Club doesn’t perform civic services, concentrating exclusively on socializing.

“The meetings are twice a month, but our friendship is ongoing. It embraces all facets of a person’s life. Everything else (other clubs) I’ve ever belonged to, they can’t stand it ‘til they are going down to help the homeless,” McArthur says.

“I’m all for that, but it’s very unusual to belong to a club that does nothing but entertain each other.”

“Entertaining each other” is how the club began in 1947. Six Lakewood women brought their children, sewing projects and food to each other’s houses. The idea caught on, and the club grew.

They named the club “Possum Hollow” because possums could be seen running across neighborhood streets and some of the neighborhood houses were built in a hollow.

Through the years, the group staged some memorable parties, members say. Progressive parties, which included husbands, have been particularly popular.

“Everybody would have food, and we would hop around from house to house,” McArthur says. “We would end up at the largest house so we could dance.”

The 1974 luau party also was a favorite. Member Betsy Massey flew leis in from Hawaii, and the Masseys dug a backyard pit to roast a pig.

“I can’t wait for sewing club,” McArthur says. “The members are enthusiastic, witty and very entertaining. It’s an upbeat group.”

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