Tigers Traveling Together
Four alumna reconnect at Mizzou reunion.
It had been decades since Darlene Robertson Johnson, BS Ed ’60, had spoken to some of the people milling about the Reynolds Alumni Center at her 45-year college reunion, sponsored by the Mizzou Alumni Association. She saw Axie Anderson Hindman, BS Ed ’60, MA ’82, around Columbia now and then, but running into Jo Anne Crider Ellis, BJ ’60, and Sally Schuppan Gunderman, BS BA ’60, was a surprise.
The four women lived together in Johnston Hall, were active in Greek Life, participated in student government and were members of Mortar Board. When they reconnected in 2005, they fell into conversation easily.
“For some reason, we clicked,” Johnson recalls. “So many time passages had occurred — births, deaths, divorce, remarriage — but it was as if we could start up again where we left off.”
After the reunion ended, Johnson and Hindman stayed in Columbia; Gunderman flew back to Tucson, Ariz.; and Ellis drove home to Cassville, Mo. But the quartet stayed in touch.
“It really hit me that we’re not getting any younger, and there are so many places to see in the world,” Ellis says. “We were all feeling that same desire to get out and see as much as we can. We needed to get busy.”
The women started traveling together. One year to Cactus Cove, the bed and breakfast Gunderman owns in Tucson, where they called themselves the Cactus Cuties. Another year to Ellis’ summer home on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks where they were the Bikini Babes.
“Don’t even ask,” Ellis says jokingly.
They’ve been the Cabin Cuties at Hindman’s cabin in northern Minnesota. (Her husband, former Columbia mayor Darwin Hindman, BA ’55, JD ’61, slept outside in a tent so the women could have their privacy.)
In fall 2012, the women took their escapades overseas to Vietnam and Cambodia. The quartet became a trio — the Hindmans went to Italy — and the Three Broads Abroad were born.
Most recently, with Axie Hindman back in tow, the Four Broads Abroad traveled to northern Peru, where they climbed Machu Picchu, explored the Pisac Indian Market and toured Lake Titicaca by boat.
“We learned the good use of oxygen; the differences between llama, alpaca and vicuña; and that one needs strong legs for climbing,” Johnson says.
With each trip, the women are finding it more difficult to find a place one of them hasn’t been before. This summer, Ellis went to New Zealand, Gunderman to Nepal, Johnson to Africa and Hindman to Alaska.
“We all have the travel bug, but the great thing is that we don’t let travel bug us with its delays or bad weather,” Ellis says. “We just laugh and enjoy the best of each situation.”
Ellis hopes the next places they visit will be Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires — she wants to learn the Argentine tango.