Back a hundred years ago, when there were no paved roads and few if any cars to drive on them and when horses were more common than automobiles, women's clubs proliferated throughout rural America.
They offered companionship and solace in times of stress and someone with whom women could share the joys of marriage and births. They served a definite purpose then, and for some, they still do.
The Midway Country Club will celebrate its 100 years of existence 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Estherville VFW trophy room.
Current members meeting at the Gloria Hansen home were Holly Hansen, Georgia Whitehouse, Lois Quastad, Cheryl Klingbeil, Arlys Slaughter, Lois Lenox, Clara Valen, Louise Clabaugh and Joyce Griffith.
Current club members are Evonne Cook, Joyce Griffith, Holly Hansen, Louise Clabaugh, Cheryl Klingbeil, Marsha Klingbeil, Clara Valen, Gloria Hansen, Georgia Whitehouse, Arlys Slaughter and Diane Blom, all residing in the club's original 16-square-mile area between Gruver and Dolliver. Honorary members are Lois Lenox and Lois Quastad. Officers are Clara Valen, president; Gloria Hansen, vice president; Cheryl Klingbeil, secretary; and Holly Hansen, treasurer.
Griffith said country clubs were all over Iowa, but most went by the wayside.
"We're still active and do things," she said, noting the Midway Country Club continues to donate to worthy projects. The club originally donated to orphanages. Today, they give to similar causes such as Big Brother and Big Sister, YMCA Kinship, safehouses and hospice. Remarkably, the club still has minutes of all its meetings.
One thing that hasn't changed is how members help each other.
"People always need to know their neighbors are there to help people out," Cook said.
The club now meets at 2 p.m. the first Tuesday every month at members' homes. Members take turns hosting lunches December through February.
Apparently Signe Nielsen-Betsinger told members four years ago the club's centennial was approaching. Her father was William T. Nielsen, former Emmet County Supervisor, and Signe's mother was a club member.
The club is seeking descendents of former members who might want to join, remember and celebrate. Anyone related to a past member is urged to call Holly Hansen at 362-2054 to make reservations by Wednesday, July 30. Attendance is limited to members or former members' relatives and the cost of the dinner is $12.50.