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They met in kindergarten. 70 years later, these seven women are still best friends

"Through thick and thin, we cry and laugh together."

YARMOUTH, Maine — It’s a question we’re asked a lot on 207 — "Where do you get your ideas for stories?"

The idea for this story came from 207 alumna Peggy Keyser, who had gotten to know Sheila Alexander at the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals, where Peggy now works. 

They were chatting one day and, as Peggy told me, Sheila "casually announced she had just had a gathering with her pals from kindergarten."

Peggy was instantly curious. After all, how many of us are still getting together with pals from kindergarten?

That was the introduction to what’s known as the Kindergarten Group—seven women who grew up together and have remained the closest of friends for an astounding 70 years.

"We started kindergarten September 1952 at the Portland Street school in Yarmouth,” Sheila later emailed Peggy. “We all live in Maine except one who lives in Laconia, NH, and she comes to see us, or we go there, or meet in the middle!"

Nearly once a month the women get together to talk, laugh, reminisce, and catch up. They’ve been doing it for decades. Through all that life has thrown at them, they remain a band of sisters.

"Four long marriages, ten children between us," Sheila wrote. "Some divorces, some illnesses, so through thick and thin we cry and laugh together and all know where we were when Kennedy was assassinated."

The Kindergarten Group enthusiastically agreed to sit down with me and tell their story, and I am deeply grateful to them—and to Peggy. As Sheila told me before we shot the story: “We are looking forward to being famous and/or infamous!”

Infamy? No. Fame? They deserve every bit they get.

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