The Goucher Girls Zoom
By Molly Englund
There is a forum you’ve never heard of where the world’s problems are hashed out, diseases are diagnosed, and the best recipes are discussed and reviewed. Welcome to the Goucher Girls Zoom, a Friday-night gathering that began a year ago in the homes of more than a dozen Goucher graduates.
Hailing from the classes of the late 1970s and early 1980s, these women are Heubeck women, having met while living in Heubeck’s Robinson House and Bennett House. The Goucher Girls formed a connection to each other so strong that others noticed: A few women who lived in Heubeck Hall’s Gamble House moved over to be part of the group.
The late ’70s were an interesting time to be a college student—women’s liberation was in full swing, the drinking age was 18, and there was only one color TV in Robinson House (they remember watching Roots on it). The women were eager to take on the world and eager to have fun, with a kind of goofy innocence they remember fondly—going to Howard Johnson’s for sundaes, drinking Tab and eating popcorn in their Lanz of Salzburg flannel nightgowns together. “There was a bond from sitting on the floor in our pajamas that transcends time,” says Debbi Oresman Kasper ’79. “It doesn’t matter if I haven’t seen them in 10 years; it feels like yesterday.”
Along with Kasper, some of the core group included Leslie Nurnberg Saber ’77, Meg Campbell ’78, Marlene Trestman ’78, Ellen Rosenblum Rubesin ’78, Sandy Zheutlin Roth ’78, Susan Berman Leibenhaut ’78, Liz Strauss Gruber ’79, Sandy Ranck King ’79, Jodie Hirsch Slaughter ’79, Kay Helzberg Schoenfeld ’79, Byrd Oliver Wood ’79, Diana Hernandez Soman ’80, and Mary Malick Burke ’80.
Forty years later, the women of Heubeck are back together, gathering over Zoom instead of hanging in the hallway. A few had stayed in touch over the years, although many had not seen each other since graduation. Facebook helped more of them reconnect. Then, in March 2020, lockdown began in the U.S. After some social media conversations, a Zoom call was convened. The next week, they did it again, and again the next week. Soon, 12 regulars were getting together every Friday at 5 p.m. They stay on for an hour or two to drink, laugh, and commiserate. Up to 18 people have joined a single Zoom, and a Facebook group has attracted even more of their classmates.
They talk about what they’re cooking, how they’re coloring their hair at home (Madison Reed), and the most comfortable pants to buy online (the Pixie from Old Navy is a good option). They share articles, books, and television shows. There is talk of pets, kids, graduations and weddings, and, of course, much dissection of the news. They sometimes jokingly call themselves the Goucher Google Forum, as they’re adept at looking up each other’s medical maladies.
The weekly Zooms started because of the pandemic, but they continue because of the friendship. “It’s about what’s going on in our lives now,” says Kasper. “We’re in each other’s business, but it’s a community that transcends the college itself.”
(Photo at top): A Goucher Girls Zoom call from March 2021, with Goucher facemasks on display