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Tri-State Singles club celebrates 5th anniversary

July 27, 2000

Tri-State Singles club celebrates 5th anniversary



By KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer


 



Tri-State Singles

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Saturday, July 29, 9 a.m., Parlor House Restaurant, Potomac Shopping Center, Waynesboro, Pa.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Monday, July 31, 6 p.m., Mountain Gate Restaurant, 10530 Buchanan Trail East, Waynesboro, Pa.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Tuesday, Aug. 1, 6 p.m., Hung Won Restaurant, 824 Pennsylvania Ave., Hagerstown

For information, call Dick, 301-824-5200; Edith, 1- 717-749-3344; or Virginia, 301-739-8990.



After his wife of 32 years died 10 months ago, Fred Norris sometimes put 40 miles on his car, just driving around looking for a place to eat dinner.

"The thing was eating by myself all the time," said the 67-year-old St. James resident.

His sister told him about Tri-State Singles, and about seven months ago, he went to one of the group's dinner gatherings. He was happy to have "somebody to enjoy a meal with, somebody to talk to."

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Norris recently attended a picnic celebrating Tri-State Singles fifth anniversary. "Baby, we've come a long way in five years," said Virginia Bentz, as she welcomed friends. The group, which meets at area restaurants every Saturday for breakfast and about four times a month for dinner, has 50 to 60 members. Not all members come to every gathering, but about 50 people attended the family-reunion-style picnic at member Mary Jane Koontz's home.

Koontz said she hadn't dated in 38 years when her husband died 10 years ago. "I was afraid," she said.

She found comfort and friends in Tri-State Singles. They are just like sisters and brothers to her. "We're there for each other," she said.

"We're all in the same position. We understand each other's feelings," Harryette Hall, who has been divorced 10 years.

"No dues, no officers. The group belongs to all of us," Bentz said. "No work and fun," is the group's unofficial motto. Activities are not too expensive, Bentz said. The group has planned holiday parties occasionally. It's whatever the members want, without too much work for any one person. "The key is friendship," Bentz said.

Bentz, 68, and her friend Julia Luhouse started a group for mature singles about five years ago, calling it "55-Plus." The name changed a couple of years later.

There are so many things for younger people, but none for more mature singles, explained Luhouse, 73. They had known each other for years - Luhouse, widowed, and Bentz, divorced, had been members of a local Parents Without Partners group.

They put notices in area newspapers and had 85 to 90 callers respond. "There was such a need for such a group," Luhouse said.

"I don't want to do the same things I did 20 years ago," said Judy Morehead, 64. The Hagerstown resident and her husband, Dewey Morehead, aren't Tri-State Singles regulars because they are married, but they came to the anniversary picnic to see longtime friends. The couple met at a singles dance, not through Tri-State Singles, but other couples have met and married through the group. Bentz has been dating a man she met through the group - indirectly - for three years. He's a friend of a Tri-State Singles friend.

Dances are too noisy for meeting people, said Ray Skupien, a 67-year-old Hagerstown resident.

"You can't really talk," said Skupien, who has been divorced for about seven years.

Skupien has made several friends through Tri-State Singles, including Wilma Herbert, of Hagerstown. The two are dating. Herbert, 69, says she's kind of a "stay-at-home person," but a friend persuaded her to attend one of the group's gatherings about four years ago. She enjoys the friends she's made.

"We still have a lot to give the world," Luhouse said.

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