The Bonne Heure Club
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA— Companionship, someone to talk to, those were the main reasons these ladies got together for the first time in 1947. Many of their husbands were still away in the military. A small group of second generation families from Lebanon decided to meet, cheer eachother up, and then pass it on.
Venice Yeager wasn’t an original member but her mother-in-law was. “She insisted I join,” she recalls. “So she had me write a letter asking if they would allow me to join because it was very exclusive.”
They called themselves the Bonne Heure Club which, in French, means good hour. They weren’t large in number. Around 50 women was as big as they ever got. But these ladies did have big fun.
They still show old films of Founder’s Parties that gave the ladies a chance to laugh at themselves and their husbands. One old film clip from the 50′s shows the men all in drag for a fashion show. One longtime member, Dorothy Harroz recalls lots of laughter and good conversation. “I tell you they were great,” she says pointing to the ladies sitting around the table. “And I love every one of them.
There are 18 members left now. They haven’t let any new members in since the early 70′s. Love for eachother is still evident at every meeting, but they were serious from the beginning about spreading that love around. Very quietly these ladies raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the St. Elijah Church and for local charities. “We laugh and we talk,” says Yvonne Homsey, “and we decide where we’re going to send our money, what charity we’re going to send it to, and what we’re going to do next for a project.”
Part of their club motto states, “one good hour to get started, one good hour to make decision, and one good hour to say goodnight.” That’s a lot of good hours in any language, and not a single minute wasted.
At their 50th Anniversary in 1997, club members counted up all the money they’d donated to local causes since ’47. The total came to more than $275,000.