Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Local book club marks 65 years of reading, relationships

The first chapter of the Resumé Club was written on Sept. 18, 1956. The setting was a private home in Lewisville. That’s where 20 wives of prominent local doctors, lawyers and other businessmen gathered to enjoy each other’s company while staying updated on the latest books.

More than 65 years later the group remains strong. Today, only a few live in Lewisville with most calling places like Argyle, Flower Mound, Highland Village and beyond home while meeting at Salerno’s Restaurant in Highland Village long after outgrowing members’ residences.

Resumé Club members Kathy Davis, Jean Musselman, Ramona Kennedy, Diane Ashmore, LaNelle Jackson, Judy Dennison and Mary Ann Fairman. (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

Flower Mound’s Ramona Kennedy, a two-time past president and member since 1984, and Lewisville’s LaNelle Jackson, who first joined in 1990, are among the longest-tenured members of this exclusive club. Kennedy said little has changed from the original constitution.

“I believe those ladies believed in education and socializing in their neighborhood. This was their group to get together. And they loved good books,” said Kennedy. “Many of them were teachers.

“At that time, they came dressed in their Sunday best. Many times they wore their hats and gloves and pearls. They met in the homes with their sterling and their crystal and everything.”

Jackson said many of the items had been purchased at Beasley’s Jewelry in Old Town Lewisville owned by T.W. Beasley, whose wife Mildred was a charter member.

“We believe we’re the oldest book club in Denton County,” said Jackson, who occasionally worked with her late husband Dr. Dale Jackson.

Jackson said when she joined the club it had about 30 members, about the limit for meeting in homes. Within a few years, meetings moved to venues like the old Colonial Bank in Lewisville and Lewisville Estates then Salerno’s, first in Flower Mound and now in Highland Village, with Bistecca hosting a few meetings in between.

“The Salerno family has been very, very good to us because we don’t have a large budget,” Jackson said. “We pay for our professional people that come in to do the books for us. Our dues ($115 a year) cover that and our desserts.”

The professionals are reviewers – mostly from Dallas and Fort Worth – who come to the meetings the second Tuesday of each month from September through May to present details on the selected books. Some even act out the stories or sing about them. For the January meeting, reviewer Holly Stevens discussed “This Used to be Dallas” by H. Hall. Selections often are booked a year in advance.

“Many times [for] the book they are reviewing they have visited the place especially in the summer when we don’t meet,” Kennedy said. “They will go to Europe or New York or Philadelphia wherever the setting is.”

Resumé Club missed only two meetings during the early parts of the COVID-19 pandemic and usually has a special event around the holidays and a luncheon in May.

“It’s a fascinating group,” said Kennedy, who for years had a catering business in Dallas. “And to think of the ladies that started it, I met a number of them before I joined. I visited the club before I ever moved here.”

On occasion both women have even bought the books they learned about.

“We’re just a close-knit group and that’s part of the objective,” said Kennedy, whose favorite book was “My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me.”

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