Tell Us About Your Friends

We invite you to share your thoughts here on the Ames girls’ story, or to tell us about your own group of friends. (If there's a follow-up project, we may be back in touch for more details. Thanks!)

Click here to share your thoughts.
(589)
(469) Lynne
Mon, 23 August 2010 01:29:12 +0000

I just finished reading the book-it was fantastic! I grew up in a small town in Iowa around the same time as "the girls", and had a group of 11 friends that did everything together. I did not remain close to them after leaving for college, but I definitely learned the value of friendship from them. I have eight very close friends, all from different times in my life, and any one of which I know I can count on for anything I need. They have seen me through several difficult times in my life-the loss of my parents and my only sibling, the perils of infertility, and my husband's infidelity. They have supported me in every way without question and have been my family. We have celebrated many things as well-weddings, our childrens births, job successes, and anything else that makes us happy.
Thank you for bringing the joys of "sisterhood" to print-it is a great book that I have recommended to my friends and "sisters" to enjoy!

(468) Maya
Sun, 22 August 2010 00:38:24 +0000

As a girl who was born and brought up in Ames (but in the '90s), this novel definitely touched my heart. The references to Ames were wonderful and I learned a lot about my hometown. Of course it also made me reflect on my friendships from my days in Ames and appreciate my girlfriends even more.

My only qualm is that Cathy is not explored more as a person. A lot of emphasis was placed on the other girls' husbands and families which makes perfect sense but I felt Cathy's life story was much less detailed. Even though she may not have the traditional sort of family with a husband and kids I think a bit more could have been said about her life and the choices she's made. Maybe as a young woman in her early 20's I can't relate as well to the other girls' families but more to Cathy and her career and would have liked to hear about her more.

I'm so glad my best friend saw the title at the airport and as a proud native of Ames, passed it on.


(467) Mary Smith
Sat, 21 August 2010 23:35:46 +0000

One of my closest friends gave me your book to read. She felt it strongly resembled our group of friends. Her intention is for all of us to read and discuss it.

Our small group of 3 started at the beginning of high school. We met at the girls' Catholic high school we attended. We walked each day to school together. We laughingly called ourselves "The Socialites of Normal Heights." This is the name of the area of town we lived. And, we were anything but------the socialites of the area. We considered ourselves a bit on the outside looking in on all the activities of high school. We felt we were sort of the socially enept, of course, only because we were overlooked by the popular girls in class. We had our own fun and adventures.

At graduation from high school, we found ourselves all headed to the same community college. We car pooled and our bonds became stronger. We, too, have ALWAYS been there for each other. We added one other high school friend to our group in college. A few other high school classmates joined us over the years in our gatherings and activites. Some of them come and go. One other moved back into our area and has stayed close.

At our 40th reunion, 8 years ago, we reconnected with other classmates. A classmate organized a class group e-mail set-up which has allowed us to grow in knowledge of one another and enjoy bigger group support and activities.

But as for "The Socialites from Normal Heights + 2," we continue to be the main support emtionally and physically through life's hardships and its joys. These women have enriched my life and helped me survive when I thought I wouldn't. Sometimes we don't hear from each other but we know they are there. It is like the old saying, "Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them but you know they are there!"

I have had the fortune of adding a couple of other stars to my life outside the "Socialite" circle of friends. ALL these women are HUGE blessings in my life!
Besides my family, they are my absolute greatest gift in life!

So, you know this book speaks to us. And, Girls of Ames, from your mail--you are aware of the many women out there fortunate to have the gifts you share in their bit of the world. Thanks for allowing your story to be told and shared with us. May God bless you all.

(466) Kelley King
Sat, 21 August 2010 20:36:54 +0000

First of all I have to say your story is simply amazing, you are all incredibly lucky to have such a bond that has lasted sooo long! I have one friend I have been friends with since i was 9 or 10 my dad never liked her but we stayed friends until high school and lived together for a short time. THings happend and we lost touch for many years. This past year she came to see me and we were both nevous wondering if things would be awkard...needless to say as soon as we saw each other it was like we never parted. It was the most amazing thing to share that with one person i couldnt imagine how wonderful it feels for more then that. Good luck ladies with all you encounter and thank you for the amazing story that I will always remeber.

(465) A C
Sat, 21 August 2010 02:53:43 +0000

Thank you for this book. I read the book because my dad attended Iowa State, and I've always liked his stories. I didn't know what the book was really about until I got it home. While I am only lucky enough to have a long-lasting friendship with one girlfriend since elementary school, I see the profound impact that friendships have. Thank you for bringing me back to reality and the basics of life & friendship.

(464) BJ McHugh
Thu, 19 August 2010 13:40:45 +0000


I read the book while sitting in waiting rooms this week with my 16 year old son. Sam broke his leg skateboarding and it's been a stream of appointments, casts, and now surgery tomorrow. Throughout the week I have leaned on my girlfriends for comfort and advice, and I felt like the Ames women were there with me in some way during the process.
As a childbirth assistant, I have learned that women need to talk in order to process life events (especially birth), and thank God for all the women in my life I have had the privledge of sharing. I grew up during the same time period as the Ames girls in a small Ohio town and can really relate to cornfields, detassling, etc.
Thanks girls!
BJ McHugh



(463) Shari Riggs
Wed, 18 August 2010 20:02:55 +0000

What a great book! I didn't read it quickly, as so many others have, but rather, absorbed it, giving myself time to get to know each of the Ames girls better. My intention was to suggest that a movie be made of their story, but was glad to see I don't have to, since I read in the updates that Lifetime is going to film it! That's the perfect venue for "The Girls from Ames" and I can't wait to see it.

(462) Devan
Wed, 18 August 2010 13:42:30 +0000

This book caught my attention in an airport book store in Fort Lauderdale. My husband and I were on our way home from vacation in May and I needed some reading material. The cover is what caught my eye...11 women laughing and posing reminded me of 8 women in my life. My mom and her 7 friends! Sadly my husband and I were on vacation so I won't have to face the fact that Mother's Day/my mom's birthday had to be celebrated for the second year without my mom. She past away in February 2009. Much like the Ames girls...the Magnolias (Mags for short) are from a small town, but in Illinois. They began as 2 or 3 in middle school and over the years have grown to a core group of 8. The Mags have been through marriage, children, job changes, breast cancer, divorce, death of parents, death of children, death of spouses, and sadly the death of one of their own. They have raised 20 children and have moved onto grandchildren, 15 of them and more to come! I can't even put into words how much seeing those ladies together has meant to me...they are my family. By the age of 26 I had lost both my parents and credit much of my sanity to the support and love of the Mags...I know my children will always know their grandparents, without ever meeting them, because of this wonderful group of ladies! They are a chaotic, adventurous, loud, loving, laughing, trouble-making, mess of a group of ladies in their 50's who live life to it's fullest and treat each other and their children like family...they are the Mags...they are my moms!

(461) Michell Chisham
Wed, 18 August 2010 04:30:54 +0000

I just finished the book. I chose it at the airport going from California to Michigan to celebrate and honor my sister who passed away in Feb. It was heartbreaking to go back, but having grown up there, I was met by my best friends from HS. They helped me go through Denise's belongings and we laughed and cried and I couldn't have done it without them. In so many ways the book is our story, except we are in our 50s, having graduated in 77. I cried on the plane home reading it, crying for their losses as well as my own. Thank you so much for helping me appreciate the wonderful women I have in my life that have been there since grade school.
Sincerely,
Michell Chisham

(460) Linda McCaw
Tue, 17 August 2010 21:43:41 +0000

I just finished the book and told my husband it is one of the best books I have ever read. I am filled with love for these wonderful women and so thankful for their sharing of this life story. My life was so different as I was raised as a military "brat, never living anywhere for longer than 18 months except one wonderful period of nearly 4 years in Germany. I made many friends and then would move on to many new friends, every time we moved. I was fortunate that my father was from a large family and had many cousins, but saw them only sporadically. My best friends are from the three years I spent in nursing school and while I see only a few of these women I still think of them often. My very best friend was made while in school and in many ways she was the sister I so desperately wanted. I had a younger sister die when I was only seven so grew up as an only child. Years later this special friend decided, for an unknown reason, to not speak to me and now, almost 20 years later, I still mourn the loss of this friendship. I continue to look for friends throughout my life knowing that "to have a friend you have to be a friend". But, these life long relationships written about in this extraordinary book are rare and to be cherished.

(459) Marcaus
Wed, 11 August 2010 09:38:58 +0000

I just finished reading your story after being given it by my wife yesterday afternoon. She had read it whilst sitting bedside in hospital with our four month old son who is recovering from heart surgery. After our recent trials I thought I had little emotional reserves left at the moment. I was wrong.

Thankyou for the tears, laughter, lessons of friendship and forgiveness. Thankyou for helping me to understand my wife and her various female friendship circles.

Thankyou for helping me validate for myself that as a man it is ok to feel more lonely than my wife. Growing up in a similar small town (in Australia - themes and experiences seem universal, certainly in western culture) and having left for a military career twenty years ago, my frienships for the most part are dispersed, transient and periodic, and that is ok.

And finally, thankyou for reminding me to seize the day.

(458) Jessica Neumann
Sat, 7 August 2010 04:39:47 +0000

I just recently finished reading this book. It first caught my attention because I am from a small town called Odebolt, Iowa. I just graduated from high school this spring and I will be attending Iowa State University in Ames in the fall. The name caught my eye right away. This whole story reminds me so much of my childhood growing up in Iowa, it is so strange. As I am going to be going off to college in about a week this story really inspired me to make sure I keep in touch with all of my childhood friends as we each begin to take our own paths. I really enjoyed this book!

(457) Suzanne Marcoe
Sat, 31 July 2010 17:07:23 +0000

We were given this book last year by one of the "five best friends" who have been together since even before high school - over 40 years ago. We're now 54 and each year we spend a girls beach weekend together. Like all the postings here I saw so many comparisons to our own group of friends and I can't wait to see the girls next weekend and share since we've all now read the book.
How fascninating for me that it took me a year to read the book since at the same time I decided to finally read it I lost my father, just about amonth ago now. Again so many similarities to our own family sitautions where our parents knew each other and were so much a part of our growing up together and keeping us on the straight and narrow. Several of the other girls have already lost at least one and in one case both parents and I couldn't stop thinking about them as I savored each chapter.
I was especially moved with the chapter about Christie "Their First Child". I've also used Caring Bridge for my dad's struggles and I was enthralled with the references to Christie and her online journal. What a teachable experience for all of the 2nd generation Ames children - beautifully written so the reader can truly feel Christie (and Hanna's) perception and understanding for their life experiences.
Thank you Jeffrey Zaslow and thank you to all the "Ames Girls" for sharing and for opening up many past and future conversations for so many groups of "best friends"!!

(456) Cindy J. Thao
Wed, 28 July 2010 19:08:12 +0000

I finished reading "The Girls from Ames" last week. It was an amazing book so filled with love like family. When I think about the women in the book, I can't believe how well they kept up their friendship. I'm mesmerized by the fact that eleven women can continue their friendship from childhood into their 40s. At age 23, I sometimes feel like it is impossible to have lifelong friendships without the technology of e-mail, cell phones, and social networking pages. I think about all the people I considered as girlfriends when I was in grade school, and with almost all of them, I have kept zero contact.

In elementary school, my closest friend was Yeng Her. We met in kindergarten, and she and I quickly became buddy-buddy, joined at the hips. All of our classroom stations were done together, and recess was spent together. I can't remember how old she was when she moved away to Miramonte Elementary, but I remember, at that age, feeling that I would miss her dearly because I knew there would not be a way for me to stay in contact with her.

I have a memory of me sitting with her at the school playground. We sat side by side on this plastic, yellow bench that would bounce up and down. We weren't speaking to each other, only staring out at the black top. It would have been a perfect photo of childhood friends. We wore the same navy blue jumper with similar short sleeve white blouses. We were good friends, and we knew it quite well.

Eighteen years have gone by, and she and I haven't seen each other since elementary school. It's almost as if I woke up from a dream to realize that my first true friend really didn't exist at all. She was an angel, a guardian that was sent to teach me a lesson about relationships. Every time that I drive by Miramonte Elementary, I think of her. I remember her, and I remind myself that this is the school that she transferred to.

Occasionally, I wonder how she's doing. Does she have kids? Is she married? Is she still in Fresno, or has she moved away to Minnesota? What is she up to now? I wonder if she will notice me if we ran into each other. Has she changed or is she still the innocent, pretty girl that I remember her as? I sometimes think that maybe, I have ran into her somewhere and did not recognize her. I can only recall her as the dark-complexioned Hmong girl who always had her hair half-up with a pretty red bow and who accepted me for myself and expected nothing more than that. She stood by my side despite my awkwardness in tether ball and the infamous rubber band game.

Yeng is a person that left footprints in my heart that may never be washed away. She taught me the joys of having a girlfriend who never turned away despite all our differences. Because she taught me the feeling of true friendship at such a young age, in the friends that I have gained since her, I search for that. In the four girlfriends that I have now, each one of them loves me like a sister as I do to them. We know that we all have flaws, but instead of pin pointing them, we accept that these flaws are part of who we are. Like the girls in the book, I hope that my girlfriends and I will continue our bond for another twenty more years.

(455) LYLASLiz
Wed, 28 July 2010 16:34:37 +0000
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This story is so inspiring! I have a group of girlfriends that have been friends since childhood and can't tell you how wonderful it is to have such a support system! We've even started a collaborative blog together! http://www.lylasandco.com/

The Girls from Ames is truly an amazing story, everyone should be so lucky to have such wonderful girls in their lives!


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