2023, Loagy Bay Press

South Providence Girls

A Clique in Time

In 1938 thirteen Jewish girls were born and then lived their childhoods in gritty South Providence, Rhode Island. They were infants when the Great Depression was beginning to wane, polio was still a significant health threat, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was serving the second of his four unprecedented presidential terms, and a massive hurricane flooded downtown Providence causing enormous destruction and death throughout New York and New England. Ominous and violent events were occurring in Europe and Japan setting the stage for the beginning of the Second World War. These near and distant threats were part of the backdrop in which the girls spent their early years. By the time they all reached the age of eleven-and-a-half, they had formed into a distinct group calling themselves The Junior Debs—a name that jokingly acknowledged their somewhat out-of-the-mainstream identity. That long-ago friendship faded a bit over thirty years after high school graduation, but ultimately revitalized itself into a permanently and powerfully bonded cadre of strong, accomplished women. Now, in their ninth decade, they identify as enthusiastic and proud members of The Junior Debs.

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