|Have you ever walked into a room full of strangers and felt immediately at home? It is a unique feeling, and one that you are sure to get at a gathering of people from the Republic of Pemberley. Arriving at your first Pemberley general meeting is a bit like coming home, especially when you are greeted with a hug from Cheryl.|
|Friday evening July 25th saw 35 women gather at the Essex Conference Center and Retreat in Essex, Massachusetts for the annual meeting, and among them were several first timers.
The weather in Massachusetts was hot but beautiful and the setting was classic New England: rustic looking buildings, lush green grass, gardens in their midsummer glory. Added to it were interesting outdoor sculptures to admire.
|Attendees began their weekend of laughter (for there is always a great deal of laughter at any Pemberley gathering) with dinner together, with only a couple of people made late by traffic (and maybe a little getting lost). Following dinner we all gathered in the general meeting space for introductions. There were big cheers for our first timers! It is always surprising to hear how long people have lurked at the boards before joining in the conversations, and it is amazing how long some of these people have been hanging around. Many of us have been at Pemberley for more than ten years!
Which Pemberlean: is the cousin of Franklin Roosevelt's mistress, Lucy Mercer?
Which Pemberlean: has a black belt in Karate?One of the Opening Night activities is a Jane Austen game where we write out a response to a question as if we were a Jane Austen character. This year was no different, except that we were limited to only three characters, and instead of reading our scribblings out loud, they were collected to be used later in the weekend. More on that later.
|As the novel of the weekend was Emma, many people chose to watch one or two of the Emma adaptations after the more structured part of the evening was over. Others chatted in their rooms or gathered for conversation in the dining hall. The retreat center was made up of several levels, with a set of open stairs leading from the main floor to another floor of rooms, and even up to a room in a sort of Fanny-esque White Attic! As a result, murmured conversations, punctuated with bursts of laughter, could be heard throughout the weekend. One always felt as though excellent discussions were going on all over the building.|