Pamela Gail circa 2000 – book signing at the Bookstop
I’m easily amused so you could say I’m happy most of the time. Not a Polyanna – I’m like most people, I get a little annoyed dealing with chronically cranky people or when my car is making a funny noise – but I get through most days with a smile.
Then, sometime in 1997, I had an awakening. Some people not only didn’t care whether or not I was happy — they actually seemed annoyed by it. <gasp!> And most of the time they didn’t want to hear anything about it.
I started to notice lots of other happy people, like me, tended to keep a lot of our happiness to ourselves, or a secret. So one day I started to wonder where all of the happy people were.
Then my imagination kicked in and I saw them standing around in a room chit-chatting about all things happy. Then I saw their banner: The Secret Society of Happy People. Did I forget to mention they were wearing Mardi Gras masks? That was so the identities of the not-so-secretly happy people would remain a secret in case a Parade-Rainer crashed the party ~ because all happy gatherings are a party.
The Society’s original membership lapel pin and buttons 🙂
Originally I thought this would be a great idea for an essay. But, with the encouragement of a few happy friends and some blind optimism, I started the Secret Society of Happy People in August of 1998.
That November, Ann Landers publicly acknowledged the “keep your happy news to yourself” cultural norm by advising her readers to ditch writing and sending annual holiday letters chronicling your family’s fates and fortunes.
My motto was, “If you’re happy and you know it, shouldn’t you write at least one letter a year if it made you smile.” So naturally, I had to do something!
I wrote Miss Landers a letter that was ignored by her that year, but embraced by the press … and voila, the Secret Society of Happy People became known internationally. And making me even happier, the following year, in part because of the reader response she got, Ann agreed with me that it was OK to share your happy news.
Our name refers to most folks’ reluctance to speak out when they have something happy to share. Otherwise, they fear, grumpier people might rain on their parade by making fun of them or questioning their need to express happiness.
The letter & envelope from Queen Elizabeth’s office! And, the book I wrote about the Society’s first year adventures.
The Society believes it’s always OK to share your happiness. We even identified 31 Types of Happiness and were the first group to create three happy holiday celebrations so we could get more people noticing and talking about happiness.
I also wrote Don’t Even Think of Raining on My Parade chronicling the adventures of the Society’s first year.
We’ve had lots of fun and can’t wait to have more.
One year we even sent Queen Elizabeth a membership and we got a letter from Buckingham Palace. (To the left is a scanned image of the actual letter and envelope we received!)
If you want more information check out our FAQ’s!!!
Thank You to the Not-So-Secretly Happy People Who’ve Made the Society Possible since 1998
Founder: Pamela Gail Johnson
Current Happy Helpers: Rose Mis, Bob Wieland, Crystal Plante, Juan Olandez
Website Graphics Created by Chief Happiness Designer Juan Olandez
Website Design and Maintenance by Rose Mis
Original Logo Designer: David C. Perry
Updated Logo Designer: Diane Schwartz
Past Happy Helpers: Lars Hedbor, Keren Lynn, Bryce Berkowski, Gary Schwartz, Brian Hammer, Andre Freimann, Amy Fisher, & Rose Yates