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High School Friends Embrace Golden Years Living Together in Their 80s

Just give them a call.

In California, a quartet of longtime friends who bonded during their high school years is embodying the essence of “The Golden Girls,” the iconic TV series portraying the lives of friends cohabiting as mature single women.

The group comprises Joan Harris, Elsie Webb, Sylvia Crane, and Mary Grace Tassone, all alumni of Mt. St. Mary’s Academy in Grass Valley, California, having graduated in the mid-1950s.

Over the past year, these four companions have shared a living space at Atria Senior Living, a retirement community situated just a short distance from their alma mater.

“I believe that the value of friendship is immeasurable, and the presence of lifelong friends is truly precious,” remarked Crane. “With many of our peers gone, it brings me immense joy to have these three remarkable women by my side.”

Crane, a member of the class of 1954, reminisced about their tight-knit bond at Mt. St. Mary’s Academy, a cozy private institution.

PHOTO: Sylvia Crane, left, and Joan Harris hold a class photo from Mt. St. Mary’s Academy in Grass Valley, California.A photograph captures Sylvia Crane and Joan Harris holding a class picture from their high school days at Mt. St. Mary’s Academy in Grass Valley, California. Courtesy Atria Senior Living

Following their graduation, each of them pursued distinct paths, delving into careers and raising families, collectively nurturing 12 children.

Upon Crane’s relocation to Atria Senior Living in July after residing in her home for 66 years, she expressed relief and delight at reuniting with her friends of over 70 years.

“As I entered the dining area, I found all three of them there,” shared Crane. “It was a heartwarming moment.”

PHOTO: Mary Grace Tassone, Joan Harris, Elsie Webb and Sylvia Crane, pictured left to right, all attended the same high school.Atria Senior Living presents a picture of Mary Grace Tassone, Joan Harris, Elsie Webb, and Sylvia Crane, from left to right, all hailing from the same high school. Courtesy Atria Senior Living

Harris, a graduate from the class of 1953, recollected her arrival in May, where she immediately spotted Tassone, a member of the class of 1955, seated in the lobby.

“They were familiar faces in an unfamiliar setting, faces I recognized with knowledge of their backgrounds,” Harris recalled. “I didn’t need to explain my life’s journey; they were already acquainted with it.”

PHOTO: Joan Harris, left, and Mary Grace Tassone are pictured at Atria Senior Living in Grass Valley, California.A snapshot from Atria Senior Living captures Joan Harris and Mary Grace Tassone in Grass Valley, California. Courtesy Atria Senior Living

Tassone, who pursued a career as a registered nurse post-high school, has been a resident at Atria for the longest duration among the group, spanning three years.

She mentioned that she and her former schoolmates engage in various activities together, such as movie nights and musical events.

Crane added that the group enjoys reminiscing about their high school escapades.

PHOTO: Mary Grace Tassone and Elsie Webb are pictured at their high school’s prom in 1952.A vintage photograph showcases Mary Grace Tassone and Elsie Webb at their high school prom in 1952. Courtesy Atria Senior Living

“We often recall anecdotes from our high school days,” shared Crane. “Like the time we had this elderly nun who brewed root beer every evening. At noon, she would emerge from the cellar with the root beer, ring a bell, and we’d each pay a quarter for a mug of root beer.”

Harris chimed in with another memory, noting, “She also sold candy bars.”

Given their strong bond, Harris, Crane, Tassone, and Webb, all part of the class of 1955, could foreseeably continue their shared living arrangement for many more years ahead.

Research highlighted by the indicates that individuals with close, supportive friendships tend to lead more fulfilling lives and are less susceptible to mortality from various causes.