Wilton Newcomers Club holds its first event of 2013-14—an Open House Ice Cream Social—on Sunday, September 8, 2-4 pm at Merwin Meadows. Guests can speak with current members and committee chairs about the many activities the Club offers, while meeting new friends for their children and themselves. The club hosts events for adults only, women or men only, dinner groups and more. Parenthood is not a membership requirement, just a willingness to meet new people and learn more about life in Wilton. GOOD Morning Wilton writer Michele Bennett reflects on what she loved about being a WNC member and what makes joining the WNC a “must” for current new residents.
Judging from my summer visits to the supermarket, the Wilton Y, and Town Center, I spy many new faces in Wilton these days. If the “Wilton, CT 411” Facebook page is any indication, it’s not just a sign that I need a new contact lens prescription. So many newcomers to Wilton after a seemingly quiet few years is great for everyone: we’ll benefit from renewed energy and enthusiasm for volunteering in our schools and town organizations, different approaches to how things have “always been done,” and simply the joy of seeing new generations of little ones in tiny soccer jerseys and ballet costumes around the Luncheonette and the Wilton Library.
When we were the “new faces” after we arrived in Wilton in 2004, it was almost like landing in outer space. True, moving from Norwalk, we’d already been calling Connecticut “home” for three years after a long time in New York City. But with Manhattan work commutes and our first child, we were cocooned in a world with time enough for only doctor’s appointments, nap schedules, and limited local excursions to Stew Leonard’s, diaper runs to Costco and the occasional visit to Home Depot, the new homeowners’ Mecca. We were still living like self-contained, city dwellers—until parenthood hatched open our cocoon to the people around us.
No one was more surprised than I was to find myself joining a Newcomers Club, as my “independence” and ability to “go it alone” was a huge part of my identity. Postpartum, sleep- and shower-deprived, and desperate for someone–anyone–who could relate to life with a newborn, my first true friends in CT were made via the club’s baby playgroup I joined when my son was only 3 weeks old. I didn’t know these women more than 10 minutes before we bubbled over with, “Oh my God, your hair is falling out too?” and, “Is anyone else still wearing maternity jeans…and their baby is teething?” as well as pushing any former modesty aside too to openly nurse our babies. All sense of “propriety” fell by the wayside in those early days. Looking back a decade later, I thank all powers that be for these women and the weekly sanity-saving playgroups that likely benefited us moms more than the babies. While they drooled and dozed, we bonded.
Early motherhood playgroups segued into something else entirely, however, when we moved to Wilton. My son now a 2-year-old, I eager-beavered myself into a committee position with Wilton Newcomers (I don’t even remember what the job was, I just recall it involved lots of plastic Easter Egg grass and a heavy reliance on Oriental Trading junk for kiddie events). I met people, many of whom had the same deer-in-headlights look that I did, and overall I felt like a grade-A schlub. Think Nicole Kidman in the (awful) Stepford Wives remake. OK, think Bette Midler in the Stepford Wives remake. I was the harried, overtired mom of a toddler, no longer working in an office, and my most pressing concern was how to fill the hours from 4 to 6 every evening.
As I got more involved with Wilton Newcomers, however, I was once again “rescued” by the mere act of getting in the car, driving myself and my child to a relative stranger’s home, and bonding while the now-toddlers ran around and generally caused a mini heart-attack every five minutes. “NOOO Shelby don’t touch hot water!!” someone would exclaim, or worse yet, a loud THUD would prompt us all to drop our coffees and run like madwomen into the next room. An angelic face saying, “It was just Buzz Lightyear diving over the bed, mommy,” did nothing to calm our nerves; surprisingly, what did was the ability to look at each other–not friends, old roommates or even next door neighbors, just simply fellow Newcomers Club members brought together by geographic fate–and sigh, “Thank God it’s not only me going through this.”
Over the course of the two years or so that our Wilton Newcomers playgroup gathered weekly, I met some terrific people and benefitted from a new sense of community within the community of Wilton; it was truly the best way for us to put down roots in town. Some of those moms and babies have become close friends, and I remained very much involved with Wilton Newcomers for a few years after that, enjoying Ladies Nights Out, Family Events and much more. While I don’t often see many of the moms I spent those crazy Thursday mornings with (or was it Tuesday? who can remember), when I do bump into them, we share a smile and always an appreciation for making it out the other side, intact, together, and sometimes even wearing mascara.
Kate Roomert, current President of WNC, says, “We’ve been getting a lot of inquiries from families that have recently moved to Wilton, and we’re excited about the coming year.” She added, “We are still, in fact, looking for a few more members for our board – it’s a great way for anyone looking to get involved in town to meet new people.” Anyone interested can contact Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about WNC, visit www.wiltonnewcomersclub.com.