Each fall I spend a happy hour or so with the Friendship Club of Laconia. We meet at the clubhouse at Levitt Park. The senior group meets every week and usually has a speaker or some special event, like Bingo. They take bus trips together. Enjoy special luncheons at area restaurants. These are folks who love life, love to socialize and love to laugh.

At every meeting, there’s the Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord’s Prayer, the singing of America the Beautiful. There’s coffee and snacks. There are jokes to warm up the crowd. There’s community.

Because I visit every year, it’s a challenge to come up with stories I haven’t told them before. But if I slip up, they don’t complain.

As usual, they told me stories, too. Two of my favorites came after the program was over. Someone said, “You need to hear Ginger’s stories.” I found Ginger, a small, white-haired lady with a double twinkle in her eyes.

She grew up in Lakeport and was just a child during World War II. She remembered a friend of the family who was asked if he’d ever been outside of New Hampshire. Oh, yes, he said, “I’ve been to Portsmouth!”

She remembered kindergarten. Yup, they had kindergarten in Lakeport during the 40s. Once or twice a day their teacher would excuse herself from the classroom and leave them on their own. Not one child made a fuss or misbehaved, she said. It seems the teacher had a glass eye, and when she left the room, she’d pop that eye out and set it on the desk. The kindergarteners were positive she was WATCHING them.

Concern for the health of the students resulted in a teaspoon of Cod Liver Oil being dispensed to each child every day. Couldn’t have them getting sick, after all. Ginger laughed: “We’d line up. They used the same spoon to feed the Cod Liver Oil to each of us.”