Getting a bird’s-eye view of Tallahassee from the top floor of the Sheraton Four Points are (front row) Susan Stratton, Pam Spivey, Beverly Frick and Portia Thomas, and (back row) Janet Ferris and Pat Stephens.
Look at the calendar, and you might be tempted to say the women in this story are growing old. But take a peek into their souls, and you’ll find this crew isn’t fading into obsolescence. On the contrary, they’re coming into their own, with the wisdom, experience and attitude that only comes when you’ve walked this Earth for a respectable number of years.
Many, born during the first flush of the Baby Boom, came of age during the 1960s. It was a time of tumult, when old mores were upended. Wife, mother — and perhaps nurse, secretary or teacher — were no longer the only vocations for a young woman on the cusp of adulthood. Teased hair and pancake makeup made way for a more natural look, and bras … well, they might not have been burned, but they weren’t necessarily worn either.
Now, these women are in life’s “senior class.” And enjoying the heck out of it.
Not to say it was always smooth sailing. They’ve lived through wars — most notably the nation-rending one in Vietnam — assassinations, recessions and disasters, both natural and manmade. And you don’t get to your sixth decade and beyond without plenty of personal trials — death, loss, mistakes, illness and disappointment, to name just a few. But challenge is often the foundry that forges the stronger, more interesting person we become later in life.
Consider this group of six as “representing” for their generation. They are lively, accomplished and very comfortable in their own skin. Some knew each other (this is, after all, Tallahassee), but all became supportive friends throughout the photo shoot. All are wearing clothes from their closets and their usual hair and makeup. (OK, there was a bit of puffing and polishing courtesy of Fuel Salon. After all, it was a cover shoot!) We sent them all a questionnaire about their philosophies and style to fill out with prompts like, “What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?” and “If I had it to do all over again, I would … .”
They are by no means the only women of their ilk in this town. I venture to guess there are thousands of Tallahassee women who could have gathered around the pool at the Sheraton Four Points on a sunny morning for a photo shoot, each with an interesting story and a panache all her own.