By Maureen Smith

Have you always thought of yourself as a Romeo? Now that you are retired and looking for any and every chance to get out of the house, why not form a Romeo Club? There are hundreds of these fun groups across the country.

And how did they come up with the name Romeo? Try Rich Old Men Eating Out, Retired Older Men Enjoying Outings, Respectable Older Men Eating Out and in Houston, you will find Rice (University) Old Men Eating Out.

The best part is there are no rules to write, no bylaws to adopt and no minutes to be taken — just a group of men at the same stage of life getting together to solve the problems of the world over lunch. They meet once a week or once a month, or whatever fits the group. They can meet at the same place or try a new restaurant each time.

Tom Brokaw gave the name “Romeo” notoriety in his book, The Greatest Generation. As the story goes, John “Lefty” Caulfield, a school principal retired from the U.S. Navy, started the first Romeo Club at various dinners in Cambridge, Mass., and he dubbed it “retired old men eating out.” However, there have been other references to the founder of the Romeo name and other references as to the meaning of the term Romeo. Many seem to claim the distinction of founding the name Romeo Club.

Clubs can be just a bunch of good friends getting together, former work colleagues, those sharing the same interests or those with varying interests. The less structured the better.

There is currently a Romeo group of retired Naval Academy professors. Not to be outdone, their wives including me formed a group called the Juliets. That’s Just Us Ladies Indulgently Eating Together. For convenience sake, we usually choose the same restaurant, but eat at different tables. These groups have been meeting now for several years.

Once the Juliets sent their check to the Romeo table, but it didn’t work. The waitress returned with an unprintable comment from the Romeos.

We always enjoy sharing our retirement activities with one another. So get your friends together now to form your own Romeos and/or Juliets.

Maureen can be reached at [email protected]


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