KSC offers diversity, camaraderie

  • Published
  • By Kati Molloy
  • Kirtland Spouses' Club
I recently came across mementos carrying the byline “Kadena Officers’ Wives’ Club,” relics of a bygone era, but one that I’d belonged to.

I remember joining my first wives’ club one month into our Air Force adventure.

A neighbor convinced me that the membership chairwoman position was easy and didn’t represent a significant time commitment. She was moving to a new assignment and recruiting a replacement was high on her to-do list.

The job description involved attending monthly board meetings, keeping name tags up to date and displaying the name tags in an organized fashion for the monthly coffees. Simple.

She neglected to mention that it also included creating the directory. Mind you, this was in the pre-computer era.

Easy and insignificant time commitment were not the words that tripped off my tongue as I painstakingly compiled the directory on a typewriter. I did mutter her name frequently under my breath, however, as I worked long hours to satisfactorily complete my project.

Then there were the board meetings; as a young second lieutenant’s wife, not well versed in the ways of the wives’ club, I felt out of my league.

I showed up late on a regular basis — no surprise there — dressed in workout gear, having come straight from the gym where I was a physical training instructor for the pilot training program. I generally had nothing of substance to report.

My fellow board members’ apparel fell in a narrow range running from classy slacks to the crisply pressed dresses one colonel’s wife wore. She always dressed to the nines and was never seen without her hat. (Gloves were optional, but not at the coffees.)

Even the officers’ club was intimidating, foreign and very formal for a laid-back girl from Colorado. Once a friend and I made it all the way through the buffet lunch line before we were caught wearing walking shorts (gasp…); we were instructed to eat our meals in a closed section.

At first, I felt overwhelmed, overawed and woefully underdressed. But after a few months, a funny thing happened: I realized those “unapproachable” colleagues of mine weren’t so unapproachable after all.

They encouraged my halting questions and welcomed my ideas.

Even the most formidable of them all, the colonel’s wife, took me under her wing, patiently explaining the intricacies of board procedures and introducing me around at all the coffees. Her tutelage extended to broader topics as she covered military protocol and etiquette, and shared stories from her remarkable life.

By the end of the year, though I never donned a hat or showed up on time, I had grown familiar with the ways of the wives’ club and was excited at the prospect of the exotic Air Force life that lay ahead of me. More importantly, I had developed many strong friendships among this amazing group of women.

In the years that followed, I sought out and enjoyed the diverse assembly of wives (now spouses) from all walks of Air Force life who made up the various spouses’ clubs that I joined.

Today, the name of the organization has changed, but the camaraderie remains the same. I’m glad I joined!

Kirtland Spouses’ Club membership is being accepted at half the annual rate.

Membership forms are available on the KSC website at KirtlandSC.org. Membership forms can be mailed in or brought to any monthly social.