Laughing together, just for fun |

Laughing together, just for fun

Mark Fox/The Aspen Times Members of the Hysterical Club at the Village Smithy Restaurant in Carbondale, Oct 3, 2005

We’ve got benefits, lectures, discussion groups, healing circles and enough special events to make your head spin in this valley. But what about just having fun?

Just after 9/11, Marian Perregaux of Carbondale started to think about how serious everyone had gotten in light of the terrorist attacks. Smiling and laughter, she decided, would not only be therapeutic for people during such a dark time, but would also be a way to show publicly that the people’s spirit could not be beaten. And so the Carbondale Hysterical Society was born.

“It was important to go on with our lives and have a good time,” Marian said.

The Carbondale Hysterical Society met officially for the first time in January 2002. Only one rule applied: no negativity. The group, which started with a handful of members and has blossomed to more than 30, would tell jokes, play games and have fun quizzes.Almost four years later, much of the formality has fallen away, and the group of (mostly) retired ladies meets once a month for lunch at a Carbondale restaurant. During the holidays, they still do a little extra, like raising money for Lift-Up or sponsoring a local family.

For some, the Carbondale Hysterical Society is a way of connecting with old friends; and for newer members, it’s a way to meet people. The group could alternatively be called “the living historical society,” as many of its members are longtime valley residents who helped shape Aspen and have stories galore about the old days.

“I used to live in Aspen and moved to Carbondale after my husband died,” Rosemary Bingham said. “When you start over you think it’s going to take a long time. But this is a good way to get acquainted with people; I’m making lots of very fine friends.”

“I live alone, and wouldn’t go to half the restaurants if I wasn’t in this group,” said Carol Klein, who moved to Carbondale a year ago. “So many of these people have such interesting stories to tell.”

“It gets me to see a lot of friends I don’t see otherwise,” said Arlette Lawyer, a 50-year local resident. “I remember a time when we would see each other all the time.””It’s a real interesting group,” said Marty Densmore, with nods of agreement from Barbara Snobble, who claimed to have had the first ski wedding in Aspen in 1947. “Everyone has something to offer. And I don’t think that anyone’s negative here – as long as you stay away from politics.”

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