When Helen Hodges' husband of 45 years died 13 years ago, she knew she had to keep busy.
“I couldn't stay in the house,” she said.
Hoping to find friendship with people her age, she joined Single Again, an organization dedicated to helping people 55 and older connect and build lasting relationships.
Though she wasn't looking to find a new love, she met her current husband at her first meeting.
“The first day I went, he was in a corner by himself. He looked like a lost puppy who didn't want to be there,” she said of Harold Hodges, the man she would marry.
Harold Hodges, also widowed, drove to the Singles Again group two times before finally introducing himself on the third.
“The third time, I went inside. I didn't want to be there,” he said. “Then she showed up. I walked over to her, and we ended up going dancing that night.”
She enjoys quilting and playing the saxophone, and he is a bowling fanatic. When she hosted an Easter cookout with her children, she invited him, and the pair have been together ever since.
They got married six years ago.
“When you get to be our age and something good happens, you appreciate it,” Harold Hodges said.
The two remain active members of Single Again, which was founded in 1981 under the sponsorship of First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City. The group has since become independent and meets every weekend at Cattlemen's Steakhouse, 1309 S Agnew.
Membership is $8 per year, with proceeds going toward activities the group sponsors.
Single Again activities and trip coordinator Peggy Scarbrough said she enjoys the camaraderie the organization provides.
“A lot of us are in the same boat. We either have spouses that have passed away or we've been through a divorce. I've met a lot of wonderful friends.”
Scarbrough said she enjoys planning events for the group, such as the annual Halloween party and Christmas gift exchange. Dominos and potluck dinners are group staples.
Scarbrough said the group could benefit from new members.
“The new people keep it going,” she said.
Member Effie Jones said the group benefits anyone looking for company, whether it turns into romance or friendship.
“I enjoy the companionship and the friendship. I enjoy the whole group. It's good to see them, and it's good to go out with them,” she said.
Jones, who is in a relationship with Single Again President Billy Gill, said she heard about the group through friends. She said her relationship with Gill was an unexpected surprise.
“He had me at hello. He's a door opener and such a gentleman. You don't find a lot of those anymore,” she said.
Gladys Carey, who does public relations for the club, became involved after her divorce.
“I wasn't going to sit at home and do nothing just because I was divorced,” she said. “Joining the group was one of the best things I've done.”
To learn more
To learn more about the Single Again, go to www.singleagainokc.com or call Carey at 371-8426.