Real-life 'Golden Girls': 4 high school friends live together in their 80s

The four women graduated from high school together in the 1950s.

February 9, 2024, 2:21 PM

Just call them Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia.

In California, a group of four friends who have known each other since high school are living out the real-life dream of "The Golden Girls," the classic TV sitcom about friends living together as older single women.

The four women -- Joan Harris, Elsie Webb, Sylvia Crane and Mary Grace Tassone -- all graduated from Mt. St. Mary's Academy in Grass Valley, California, in the mid-1950s.

For the past year, the four friends have lived together at Atria Senior Living, a retirement community located just a few miles away from their high school.

"I think friendship is really important and having old friends is wonderful," Crane told "Good Morning America." "There are so many of us that are gone and it's very important to me to know that I still have these three wonderful women around me."

Crane, a 1954 high school graduate, said she and the other women knew each other well at Mt. St. Mary's Academy, a small, private school.

PHOTO: Sylvia Crane, left, and Joan Harris hold a class photo from Mt. St. Mary’s Academy in Grass Valley, California.
Sylvia Crane, left, and Joan Harris hold a class photo from Mt. St. Mary’s Academy in Grass Valley, California.
Courtesy Atria Senior Living

Upon graduation, she said they each went their separate ways, going onto have careers and raise families, including 12 children between the four of them.

When Crane moved into Atria Senior Living in July from her home of 66 years, she described a sense of relief and joy at seeing her friends of 70-plus years gathered again.

"When I came in the dining room, all three of them were there," Crane said. "It was a nice feeling."

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

Harris, class of 1953, said when she moved in May, she walked in the front door and immediately recognized Tassone, class of 1955, sitting in the lobby.

"They were friendly faces in a strange place, friendly faces that I knew who they were, and I knew their backgrounds," Harris said. "I didn't have to explain anything that happened in my life, they already knew it."

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

Tassone, who became a registered nurse after high school, has lived at Atria the longest of the four women, for three years.

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She said she and her former high school classmates meet up for different activities, like movie nights and musical performances.

Crane said the women also have fun reminiscing about their high school memories.

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

"We talk about different things from high school," Crane said. "Like, we had a little, old nun .... and she made root beer every night. And every noon time, she would bring the root beer out of the cellar, and ring a little bell and we all had our quarter for our mug of root beer."

Harris jogged another memory for the foursome, adding, "She sold candy bars too."

Given the strength and length of their friendship, Harris, Crane, Tassone and Webb, class of 1955, could easily end up living together for many more years to come.

People who have close, healthy friendships are more satisfied with their lives and "less likely to die from all causes," according to research shared by the American Psychological Association.

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