The name was not very original, but the meetings were memorable.
“The 7 Club” consisted of five sisters (Deborah, Sharon, Joanna, Jessica, and Monica) and two brothers (Jonathan and Matthew), and was a monumental effort to foster unity and peace and goodwill among them.
The club met every few weeks and discussed important matters like cleaning jobs, future activities, family celebrations, and Christmas plays. Sometimes the discussion dissolved into more pressing matters, such as throwing a football around.
I have fond memories of “The 7 Club”. I was elected Secretary (somehow I always end up with this job) and carefully recorded suggestions and topics discussed in the meetings. My older brother Jonathan was elected Treasurer.
The other day I found the minutes from those long-ago meetings. They included, but were not limited to, the following:
Meeting #1: June 22, 1994, Wed. night, Wallingford, CT
Deborah talked about cleaning the bus, dish teams, Hippie (the name of one of our motor homes, a 1972 beast of a vehicle). Jonathan and Deborah goofed around. Laughter and such.
Matthew: suggestion for Cedar Point.
Sharon: exchange letters.
Monica: picnic, raise money for food.
Joanna: P.O. (Post Office. We shipped packages of CDs weekly, so this was a valid point.)
Jonathan objects to the whole club!
Sharon: a paper.
Joanna: singing cheers.
Sharon: prayer meetings (1 hour straight).
Matthew: mow lawns for old ladies.
Deborah: amount of tracts given out each week, etc.
General discussion followed about sign language and Spanish.
Sharon: rules, equal rights. Save money ($1/week per person).
Discussion about Christmas and sign language. (Apparently we were stuck on sign language. We did end up performing a Christmas play and Deb signed during one song.)
Jessica: at each meeting, wear 1 piece of matching clothing.
Think on a name all week. Discussion about next meeting.
Encouragement from Deborah.
Various chores were listed, with our names included.
Meeting adjourned (without prayer).
Clearly, the club was tolerated by my brothers. I find it humorous that each comment reflects something of that sibling’s personality.
Deborah, as the oldest at home at the time, was spiritually minded (at least more than the rest of us) and loved clean motor homes. Sharon was the eternal organizer and was particularly concerned about equal rights and rules. Joanna loved parties (and the Post Office, apparently). Jonathan could care less. I was quiet (typical), and I loved wearing matching clothes. Matt really wanted to go to Cedar Point, or any place other than the meeting–but he seemed to have a deep concern for old ladies who needed their lawns mowed. And Monica was wise beyond her years.
Unfortunately, “The 7 Club” lasted for only three meetings. Although I appreciated Deborah’s ideas to draw us closer, the club failed to meet regularly and eventually fizzled out.
Something about the tight quarters and the amount of time spent together forced us to find a way to work together, but we were just as normal as the next person.
We had moments when we wanted to punch a sibling rather than see their face one. more. time. Occasionally, a fight would break out: for my brothers, this usually was resolved with a few well-placed blows; for my sisters and me, this necessitated long conversation (especially from me) and many tears.
Looking back, I know that I am thankful for this forced comradeship. Nothing like living in a bus to make all of the bad attitudes and selfishness rise to the top, where you had to deal with them. You cannot be unhappy with the other person for very long–that is, if you want to maintain sanity in that kind of space.
Dad and Mom encouraged us to resolve differences quickly, to not let “the sun go down upon your wrath.” The joke was–as we had no real doors in the bedrooms of the bus–we could not slam a door in anger, even if we wanted to.
Although I am still working on this area, I am grateful for those old days where I first learned that I needed to 1) discuss problems and differences openly and honestly, 2) listen to the other person’s side, 3) do my best to resolve issues, and 4) learn to live at peace with others, or at least as much as humanly possible.
That little notebook reminds me of a simpler time in life.
The notebook also reminds me to keep working on important things, like unity and kindness and consideration of others.
Today, it’s a tangible reminder of siblings and rivalry and irritations and annoyance. But it’s also a reminder of love and unity and selflessness and connection. After all, the club was really about the big picture: working together, serving others. Not about family gatherings or chores or activities.
And the big picture for me today should be the same as it was twenty-three years ago.