Westmont Magazine A Golden Reunion
“There are no friends like old friends,” says Siddy Mouw Flynn ’56, and she ought to know. She has met with five of her closest Westmont friends every year for the past two decades, vacationing in locations from Canada to Mexico to Hawaii. The group includes Joyce Klassen Hatfield ’56, Joan Weathers ’56, Barbara Howard Meldrum ’56, Phyliss Kreps Dow ’56 and Marilyn Snyder Boyce ’57. Five of them marched as Golden Warriors at Commencement in May — Marilyn has to wait a year, which creates another reunion opportunity for the women.
The group started gathering annually after Homecoming in 1986. They’ve met in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Maui, Atlanta, Coeur d’Alene, the Grand Canyon, Whidbey Island, Mexico and Montreal.
“When people have known you that far back, there’s no superficiality anymore,” Joan says. “There’s nothing to prove, and that makes a really safe place to be and to grow.”
The ladies call themselves A.W.A.W.A. (pronounced: ah-WAH-wah), which stands for August Westmont Alumni Women’s Association. Reunions used to occur in August. Now that they’re all retired, they get together at various times.
“There is a feeling of acceptance and support from each other,” Joyce says. “We challenge each other to grow.”
The campus has undergone many changes in the past 50 years, which doesn’t go unnoticed. “It’s amazing to see,” Joan says. “There was no gym, no this, no that. We stood in line in Kerrwood to eat. Our classes were upstairs (in Kerrwood).When we started in 1952, there were about 300 students.” In contrast, about 340 students picked up diplomas at Commencement this year.
“It’s fantastic,” the group says almost in unison. It makes them proud, they say, that Westmont is recognized around the country.
“This was such a profound and shaping time in our lives,” Joan says. “Now, we’re sort of growing old together. Keeping that continuity is really rare and powerful.”