A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was a regional grocery chain known as Wegmans Food Markets. You may have heard of it? The big W, “Wegs” to folks around Rochester. I worked for Wegmans for seventeen years, from January 1983 until December 1999. It’s the kind of company that looks good on a résumé. It’s a safe bet that if you are job hunting, you will get an interview when Wegmans is listed as one of your employers. I learned a lot at Wegmans. A Wegmans scholarship made it possible for me to return to school. But the best part about working at Wegmans was the friends I made.
Eleven years after leaving, I share Wegmans DNA with three special women. We don’t see each other as often as we’d like. Sometimes months pass before we get together. When the co-ordinates are at last set, Renee, Lisa, Judy and I travel from the nether lands of Canandaigua, the town of Webster, the Browncroft neighborhood and the town of Greece, respectively, to join in the sisterhood of friendship we have affectionately dubbed, “The View,” after the talk show of the same name. I’m not exactly sure how we came up with that name but, like the women on the show, we are an interesting collection of women. I think we decided on the name during one of those evenings when we were drinking wine and laughing so hard we were crying. We do a lot of laughing. We gossip. We are language and grammar snobs. Judy and I used to keep a list of words we heard people mis-pronounce. I think the first word on our list was “supposably.” Wow, did we get a lot of mileage out of that one. We are not malicious nor are we reverent.
We met for lunch today at the Pittsford store, well, actually at the Food Pub formerly known as Tastings Restaurant, next to the store. Judy works at the Pittsford store, so we decided to meet her for lunch. Because our visits are infrequent, we talk fast, and a lot! You have to pay attention. We do a round robin to catch up on each others’ lives. We laugh, we give counsel to one another, we sometimes lend a shoulder to cry on. We are all at different stages of our lives and it makes for interesting conversation. Let me tell you about these special women. We’ve had our ups and downs but we stick like glue in the end.
First, there is Judy. The beautiful Swede. A classy lady’s lady. The epitome of style and good taste. Judy is good friends with Richard Gere’s cousin, a fact we laugh about from time to time. Judy had the unfortunate fate of reporting to me many years ago though she tells me she learned a great deal from me. I guess my tutelage was okay because today she is the senior HR person at the Pittsford store which has over 1,000 employees. Judy met the love of her life while attending Michigan State and she is a die-hard Spartans fan.
Then there is Renee. Where do I begin? Renee is one of the most talented people I know. She is responsible for much of what we see about Wegmans in the press. And, she has a famous connection too. Her first cousin, Michael Park, is an Emmy-award actor from the soap, “As the World Turns.” She met Alec Baldwin (a favorite of mine) when he recently filmed some Wegmans commercials. Renee is mom to an eleven-year old future Red Sox star who looks like he could be Justin Bieber’s double. Renee is always making plans for the group and working on her next big dream. We love that about her. Today she talked the three of us into taking a short girls’ cruise in October! The only thing I’d change about Renee is her poor choice in baseball teams. Yankees forever!
And, finally, there is Lisa. Miss Lisa. Our little Lisa. We watched her grow up. She was just a kid out of college when she started working for me. Now she is a happily married woman with two beautiful daughters and is an accomplished professional in her field. She is the youngest of our group, and is our anchor. Lisa is super smart. In my opinion, she has the highest level of emotional intelligence among the four of us. Lisa is the one who can keep the four of us grounded when Judy, Renee and I are drama queens. She has a wisdom about her that makes her so special. And, she’s cute as a button (she’ll hate me for that). When she was expecting her second daughter, she was hospitalized for weeks before Allison’s birth. She was so strong during that ordeal. It amazed me. Though it may not seem obvious, maybe even to her, Lisa is a risk taker and it has paid off, both personally and professionally.
So let me dedicate this post to the sisterhood of “The View,” who keep me young and don’t let me take myself too seriously!