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Work friends stay close long after their jobs end

Group meets monthly to stay in touch

work-friends

Connie Brack and Jan Peacock, seated from left, and Gladys Pierson, Barbara Szyperski, and Mona Rathke, standing from left, meet at Eddie Lee’s this month. Gladys Pierson says the reason for their bond is simple: ‘... we just have a really good time together.’

THE BLADE/LORI KING
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Time passes, and friendship abides.

Such are the sentiments expressed by three Oregon ladies who are part of a group that has remained close friends since the 1950s, when they worked together in downtown Toledo at the former Gulf Oil Corp. sales office.

The five women were all single and young then, employed in Gulf’s mail room and accounts receivable in the former National Bank Building at 608 Madison Ave.

Today, they’re in their 70s, with husbands, children, and grandchildren. A lot has changed, but not their friendship. They get together with their spouses every month for dinner at an area restaurant, then repair to a member’s home for dessert and more conversation.

“We’ve stayed connected all these years,” said Jan Peacock of Oregon. “We became fast friends at Gulf, and we’ve stayed that way.”

Gulf was a major oil company, but it ceased to exist independently in 1985 when it was bought by Standard Oil of California, which became Chevron Corp.

This was long after the Toledo office closed in 1964, and the ladies went their separate ways. But they kept in touch and eventually adopted their schedule of monthly get-togethers, although there were years when some couldn’t make it.

Barbara Szyperski of Oregon left Gulf in 1961, shortly after she was married. As the only member of the group not to work again, she took it upon herself to be the organizer of the get-togethers. To the amusement of all, she referred to the group as “my club.”

“We’ve used the monthly meetings to catch up, to talk about our problems, our kids,” Ms. Szyperski said.

“We all been through life’s tribulations,” added Dave Rathke of Sylvania, whose wife, Mona, is a member.

“I can’t put it in to words,” Mrs. Rathke said when asked why the bond among the women has lasted so long. “We’re just true friends, anytime, anywhere.”

For Gladys Pierson of Oregon, the relationship has lasted because group members simply enjoy each other’s company. “We’re close friends because we just have a really good time together,” she said.

And this rapport goes back to their time together at Gulf, she said. They would take lunch breaks together and catch a movie after work. Sometimes their meetings include overnight trips for dinner in such venues as Port Clinton or Frankenmuth, Mich.

A different member decides on the location each month, and it is her home the group visits afterward.

This month’s locale was Eddie Lee’s Restaurant in Sylvania Township.

Jack Pierson, Gladys’ husband, joked that the monthly location is all-important. “That’s the big discussion of the evening,” he said.

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