MARQUETTE - For the third year, a group that calls itself The Over The Hill Gang has decorated a Christmas tree in the Winter Wonderland display at Peter White Public Library in a special way saluting the holiday's origins.
The tree is covered in items for babies because, after all, Christmas is about a baby.
Once the holiday display is done, the members of the gang then donate all the items to the Care Clinic on Third Street in Marquette so the clothes and other baby stuff can be given to young mothers to help them as they bring baby home.
Over The Hill Gang member Pat Maki places some baby items on thye group’s Christmas tree at Peter White Public Library. Gang members shopped for baby items to adorn their tree. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)
"Some of the items on the tree are purchased and some are handmade," said Marge Haley, gang spokeswoman. "But they all go to the Care Clinic. We try to get a variety of things for newborns, for infants and for toddlers.
"Last year, the people at the Care Clinic almost cried when they saw what we brought," Haley said. "They were so happy."
Lynn McDonnell, nurse-manager at the Care Clinic, said the items were indeed welcome.
"It's truly a blessing to our mothers and babies," McDonnell said. "We put together layette boxes for the new mothers and fill them with needed items.
"It really does help."
The Over The Hill Gang is a group formed to provide seniors with opportunities to be social.
"Why did we choose that name? Look at us," member Alice Dionne said. "We are all over the hill. Or we can see the top."
Laughter filled the air at Peter White Public Library when these gang members showed up to decorate their tree with the baby items. Members oohed and aahed over sweaters, onesies and other baby goods.
"I have two new great-grandchildren to buy for, but this is so much fun, too," Dionne said.
Haley said: "We love baby clothes. I have always loved to shop for them. When I was a kid and we'd go shopping, my mother always said, 'if you can't find Marge, look over in the baby department.'"
While the group decorating the tree was composed of women only, The Over the Hill Gang has members of both genders.
"There are 22 people in the club," Haley said. "We have a married couple and two single fellows in the group."
It is the second social group Haley has founded. The first was the Sociable Singles, which was formed 15 years ago. Haley was active in that group for its first four years, but then dropped out to help her son raise his two children.
That combined with holding down a part-time job meant Haley was too busy for much socializing.
However, as her life became less hectic, Haley reconsidered.
"Some of my friends kept coaxing me to start another club," she said. "I finally gave in and have some very nice people. We are seniors and bored."
The Over The Hill Gang gets together often, Haley said.
"We get together two or three times a month," she said. "What's nice is no one is obligated to attend every time. Each time we get together, we try to do something different."
The group's recent activities have included a tour of Fayette; a darts tourney; board game evenings; and potlucks. The gang also schedules dances for those who are interested in participating.
Haley said new senior members are welcome. Call her at 228-3449 for more information.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.