The name will give you pause.
The Happy Hookers are, however, not what you think. In fact, they have hearts of gold as a “sewing circle” that meets weekly to crochet and knit blankets, quilts, and even beanies for newborns, all for charity.
“It’s definitely people not putting it together that we’re ladies who are crocheting,” group manager Sue Sullivan said. “We’re ‘hookers,’ because of our crochet hooks.
“It’s definitely memorable, so they sure don’t forget us!”
Who could forget the Happy Hookers?
The group from the Highlands at Scotland Yards in Dade City has been doing this for more than 15 years. Not only is it a noble, charitable act, there’s no one that doesn’t chuckle at the name.
“A lot of people find that … humorous,” Judy Besley, a founding member of the Happy Hookers, said with a sly smile. “We had about 20 people at one time and, yes, some people have died and others have moved. Even with COVID, we couldn’t meet, but we kept crocheting at home, and came back ready with a bunch of blankets and more. We just got into the habit of doing this, every week, because we like to talk. We will also crochet at home, but it’s so nice to be able to do it with some people and just have a conversation.
“We’ve had that name since we started — we’ve always been hookers.”
Besley says the group formed when since-passed Highlands resident Josephine Basil wanted to teach crochet in the community. Several residents already knew how, so the original members decided they’d like to continue to crochet and knit as charity work.
“As hookers,” Sullivan said, “our kids and grandkids already have enough scarves, blankets and beanies they could need or possibly want, so we stopped giving them to our families. We (make stuff) for anyone in general, but we like to make blankets for the veterans, beanies for the babies — we just want to do charity work.”
The Happy Hookers make a lot of blankets that are then given to Meals on Wheels, or to veterans with the help of Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #2731 that donates a lot of yarn to the group. Sullivan also is an Elk, and on Jan. 24, the Hookers presented 45 blankets to the veterans at Baldomero Lopez State Veterans Nursing Home in Land O’ Lakes.
The women also make beanies for newborns and give them to Paula’s Project, a charitable Facebook group that collects and donates beanies to St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Tampa.
Nearly all the supplies, especially the yarn, is donated to the Hookers. Not only does the Elks Lodge give them a lot, but so does the community. The Hookers also hold fundraisers and raffles to raise money to buy supplies.
“Sometimes,” Sullivan added, “we’ll come in here on a Wednesday and just find a great big bag of yarn someone left. … It’s great to have this in the community, and together we do some charity work and also have some fun.”
The members do have fun, as evidenced by the chatter and laughter during a morning sewing session. Sullivan likens it to sewing groups that meet at local libraries, with those participants doing so “because then there’s someone to talk to.”
“That’s just like us,” she added. “We just happen to be here in Scotland Yards.”
Which is not to say The Happy Hookers aren’t welcoming or limited to just Scotland Yards’ residents. In fact, not only have there been “hookers” from other communities, these Hookers welcome anyone — no matter their experience, or even if they can’t crochet, knit or sew.
“There are some people who don’t even crochet,” Besley said. “Whether they can’t because they don’t know how or have a medical issue like arthritis, but they’re just here for the chit chat. We’re happy for anyone to come by, either to crochet or visit.”
Sullivan adds the group can even teach those willing, and wanting to be, a hooker.
“Come on down — everyone is welcome!” she said. “We actually taught one lady how to knit, and she’s really good now, too. We’re not going to turn anyone away. This isn’t a club. There’s no dues, there’s no requirement or forms — it’s just us, knitting and talking (laughs).
“We’re just a group of ladies that call themselves hookers.”
Highlands Happy Hookers
Anyone can join the Happy Hookers — it’s not only for residents of the Highlands at Scotland Yards. No experience is necessary either. Nor is sewing in general, as the members welcome those looking for some companionship, as well. To join the group or donate yarn, email Sue Sullivan at .
Published June 20, 2022