One of Mama’s life’s ambitions was to make sure that I got in the Junior Service League. To me, it really didn’t matter. As far as I was concerned, I had survived sorority rush and my mother’s dream wedding, so why endure more pain.
One day out of the blue I get this phone call from a lady (of society) who (in a rather unfriendly tone I must say) inquires as to why I have not replied to my invitation to join the service league. I politely explain that I was unaware that I had received such an invitation. She quickly tells me, not only has one been issued, it was written, sent more than a week ago, and apparently the luncheon with the grandpoo –pahs is tomorrow - introducing all the new “little leaquers”. Obviously, I was already receiving demerits in the “knows how to correctly write a prompt response” column. And I wanted to tell her, that if in fact I had received her note, and had in fact decided to accept their invitation, that a proper note on my engraved stationary would have been sent in return mail.
I could tell by the tone of her voice that she thought I was just raised in a barn and most likely got the note and just didn’t know what the Junior Service League was. In her mind – what a waste. So she, in her own (haughty) way, issued me an oral invitation on the phone, and I could tell that she expected an immediate reply. Knowing that I had little choice now - I replied, “Why, yes, I would be delighted.” And then gave her my correct address. Next, I made the phone call I almost dreaded – to my mother. And was not disappointed by her glee. She had achieved her trifecta.
The luncheon the next day was everything, and more than I thought it would be. The new invitees were herded before the crowd of older and current members and introduced. Your pedigree and heritage, should you have one, was announced. My introduction was short. Then it was explained, that we were not truly members, we had a year to prove ourselves worthy as “provisional” members before full membership was bestowed upon us. (I guess that part was in the “fine print” at the bottom of the written invitation I did not receive.) We were introduced to the member who would gently guide us through our provisional year. Great - been here – done this – got the jersey.
Well to make a long story – short, I made it through several months before it was clear that although the league was trying to reach out to working and professional women, when you have your meetings during the day and the general attitude is “League First – with a Smile”, they didn’t get it. My leader’s comment was that perhaps we weren’t being flexible. My response was perhaps they were not in the real world. There was no way to balance my life, my job, and this organization. So I politely, with a proper note (on my engraved stationary), resigned. I feared telling my mother – then I thought about it. She had always wanted me to “get in”. She never said anything about “staying in.” I could still politely check this off her list.