Friendships and retirement blossom when you get involved

When I retired from my full-time job as membership coordinator at The Union Club in downtown Cleveland in March 2008, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Having an art background, I knew I wanted to take some art classes and explore painting styles, and I also wanted to join a garden club. 

I attended my first meeting of the Westlake Garden Club the month I retired and was recruited to become the recording secretary. I joined the garden club in April 2008 and started taking minutes of the meetings in August 2008. 

Now, four years later, I am serving my second year as 2nd vice president, membership chairman, and have just taken over producing the newsletter, Garden Scoop. Sometimes I feel like I have a full-time job with the garden club, but because of my responsibilities, I have been able to maintain my computer skills and fill the void of going from work to retirement. 

As a result of joining the garden club, I have made many good friends and learned a lot about gardening, and about life. It seems that, no matter the question or subject matter, someone in the garden club has experience in that area.

I am very pleased with the direction in which the garden club is going. Our goal is to grow our membership and become more visible within the community. We now have three male members and will introduce our new website in July – two giant steps for the garden club. 

The Westlake Garden Club meets the third Wednesday of each month, March through December, at Westlake Porter Library, unless a field trip is planned. Meetings start at 11 a.m. followed by lunch at noon and the program at 1 p.m. We provide programs on various topics that will be of interest to everyone and speakers who are professionals in their fields.

We are planning a fundraising event on Thursday, April 26, at Wagner’s Country Inn. This year’s event will be a luncheon with guest speaker Mark Johnson, chief meteorologist at Channel 5 News. Tickets are $30 and are available by calling 440-899-1969. Proceeds from this event will support civic and educational programs within Westlake and surrounding communities. 

We are already considering ideas for celebrating the Westlake Garden Club’s 50-year anniversary in 2013. If you have an interest in gardening, want to get more involved in the community or just want to get together to socialize and meet new and interesting people, call me at 440-665-5463 and I will tell you more about how the garden club has become an important part of my life. 

And yes, I have taken some art classes and explored different styles of painting. I just entered two paintings in a juried show; unfortunately neither was accepted, but not to worry, with the encouragement of my good friends, I will keep trying.

Jean Smith

I am 2nd Vice President and Membership Director of the Westlake Garden Club.

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Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 11:54 AM, 03.20.2012