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.
(454) Kelly Schwarz Kyriacopoulos
Tue, 27 July 2010 03:01:22 +0000

I just finished the Girls From Ames for the second time. I grew up in Edina, graduated from the same high school as Christie would have in 1981 and went to Iowa State. I lived in Boston for awhile and now live in Virginia - between Angela and Jenny. In addition, my name is Kelly. I feel connected to these women in so many ways.

Tomorrow night I will go to book club armed with pictures of myself in elementary school and high school to discuss the story, these amazing women and our own friendships. I wish I could say that I had done a better job of staying in touch with my Edina friends or my ISU friends but that has not been the case. Today my "coffee friends" are the 6 women who mean the most to me in life. We have been meeting at Starbucks(another connection to the Girls) for more years than we can remember. Our semi-monthly meetings have become our lifeline through cancer, separations, career changes, pre-school years to teen years. Last weekend we picked out the nursing home we all want to go to together.

While I love my husband, it is my friendship with these 6 women that makes me whole, vaidates who I am and has made my 40s the best years of my life. These are my Girls and I am so blessed to have them in my life.

Thanks for the great story. I will read this book each summer and remember my years in Ames with great fondness.

(453) Deby
Tue, 27 July 2010 01:48:56 +0000

Wow! What a wonderful book....I have a best friend that is more of a sister. We met when we were 16 and are now a comfortable 55! Over the years, we have been each other's shoulder to cry on, supporter, etc. We were in each other's first weddings; consoled each other during our divorces; were there for each other during our second go around at love and remarriage. We have each made other friends outside of our bond--work friends, in-law friends, college friends--but we are still there for each other no matter what. This story reminded me of how lucky I am to have not only my best friend but my other women friends....thank you, thank you for sharing your story!

(452) Nancy Sullivan
Sat, 24 July 2010 01:21:23 +0000

Take four “girls” who have been friends for 45 years and add another who became part of the esteemed group 39 years ago (the newcomer) and you have the “Bods of ’74” (yr we graduated from HS). Your special book mirrored so much of what we have also been through, from the good times to the hard ones. We even have our own car-in-the ditch-story, complete with a tractor pulling us out! The success of this book proves that these relationships, if we are blessed enough to have them, are as that credit card ad says....priceless! I’m Minnesota proud of you ladies and of the author who understood the importance of telling your story! It didn't surprise me, in the least, that Mr. Zaslow also has a connection with Randy Pausch! Thank you!

(451) Jill Y
Sat, 24 July 2010 01:19:43 +0000

I just finished the book and am so appreciative of those who shared their stories. I loved the book from beginning to end. I am part of a group of 6 young women - we just got together for our 10 year high school reunion, one friend is busy planning her wedding and one announced that she is pregnant (the first of the bunch!). Thank you for reminding me how lucky I am to have a close group of girlfriends, and for giving me perspective on the importance of maintaining those relationships in years to come!

(450) Lisa Finn
Fri, 23 July 2010 23:20:59 +0000

I just finished reading this book and I feel compelled to share my story. I was given your book as a gift from one of my best friends from high school, Marla. We have a group of friends, similar to the Ames girls, that we are still closely in touch with. We are all attending our 30 year class reunion this fall and we all turn 48 years old this year. We have all been friends since high school and three of us have been together since kindergarten.

We grew up in a small town in southwestern Illinois called Wood River. It is about 1/2 hour from St. Louis but is very rural and small. The similarities to Ames and our childhood/adolescent years are amazing. We have all lived all over the country. I lived in the San Francisco area for a few years. My friend Patti (nicknamed Harm for her maiden name of Harmon) lived in Seattle for many years. Joli and Sheila both lived in the Carolinas for a few years. The other Patty (nicknamed Drain for her maiden name Drainer) currently lives in Springfield, IL. Marla and Susie remained in the St. Louis area for all those years and the rest of us have all migrated back over the past 10 years. We see each other regularly for holidays, birthdays, our children's graduations, and our parents' funerals.

We all take an annual trip together. For most of the years, it has been renting a condo or houseboat at a lake 3 hours away from St. Louis. For that long weekend, we revert back to our high school and college days. We all laugh until we hurt and cry while comforting each other. We have gone a year without seeing each other but immediately on our arrival again together, time stands still again. No time was lost, we are completely comfortable, at ease, and ourselves again. I feel we are at our best when we are with each other.

When reading your book I saw so much of my friends in you. I feel I am alot like Cathy and Angela but with alot less of a glamorous job. My friend Marla reminds me of Kelly. Drain is Diana. Sheila is your Sheila--fun-loving, carefree, and hilarious. Harm is Karla wih the same loving, perfect family. Joli is most like Jenny or Jane--very considerate of everyone. Susie reminds me somewhat of Sally. Thankfully we have had no deaths in our group (like your Sheila) and no children's deaths (like your beautiful Christie).

We have often times thought about writing our story. Thanks so much for sharing yours with us. We have all read yours now and may be encouraged to share ours. Who knows what the future holds? Please continue to update us on your lives via your website. Take care and god bless you all!

Lisa Finn

(449) Debi Hill
Fri, 23 July 2010 05:25:47 +0000

I just finished the book and it was amazing - made me cherish my old friends even more and miss those relationships I have let go of. I recently returned to my hometown with my family after being away for 23 years. I hope this allows me reconnect with some dear friends I have lost contact with. I will recommend this book to all my girlfriends. I loved it!

(448) Christina Ferrari
Wed, 21 July 2010 18:43:41 +0000

I'm reading your book right now and have found so many similarities in it with my own group of girlfriends. We too grew up in a small town and have been friends since we were children. We also lost one of our friends, eerily at age 22 as well. And now that we're approaching 30 and starting families, getting married etc. it's harder to see eachother. We've been getting together annually at a friend's hunt camp for the past 3 or 4 years, and we see it as a weekend to connect and catch up, much like the "Ames Girls". Also, during our weekend we have a 'self esteem' circle where we each say something we love about the others. In total there are 8 of us that go each year.

Just wanted to say how much I appreciated the book and it brought insight into my own friendships and in fact brought me closer to them.
Thank you.

(447) Ann Webber
Tue, 20 July 2010 15:56:45 +0000

Just finished the book. Great reading. I am part of a group of ten women who have been friends since school. We are all turning 50 this year and I bought a copy of the book to give to each one of them. What a great journey it was. The parallels were amazing and I now appreciate their presence in my life even more. Thank you for a great story!

(446) Jennifer Battles
Tue, 20 July 2010 07:07:33 +0000

Just finished reading the Girls from Ames and it was truly a pleasure to read from beginning to end. The experiences these women shared are remarkable, it must truly be awesome to have this kind of friendship and for it to withstand forty years.

(445) Peggy Bales
Sun, 18 July 2010 14:22:02 +0000

I loved the book and have told my friends. I have to confess we would love to tell our stories through a book some day too. We are graduates from Shawnee Mission North High School, class of 1975. We became a close knit group known in Drill Team as The Big 10. Since high school we have had families and various careers: Nurse Practitioner, CPA, Financial Advisor, Insurance Agent, Mortgage Broker, Elementary Teacher, City Judge and Attorney, etc. We also have a cancer survivor in our group and one who lost their brother to AIDS. We all have stayed in town for most of the years, suburb of Kansas City. We have traveled together since 1990 and have gone all over the USA on various spa trips, ocean fronts, big cities, and Branson!! We went to New York when we were 40 and had a fifteen year celebration in Florida with 7 of us, sometimes 8 have made the trips, sometimes 5. We look forward to many more years of life!! Thank you for sharing your story with all of us girls!

Peggy Bales, Olathe Kansas—elementary teacher in Shawnee Mission, Kansas Peggy Barkus, maiden name

(444) Lori
Sat, 17 July 2010 00:32:19 +0000

I just finished reading The Girls of Ames and I can't begin to thank you enough for writing this amazing story. I grew in Story City, Iowa 10 miles north of Ames, and spent more time in Ames than I did in my own town. I also graduated in 1981 and probably was in the company of these girls at some point but never knew them personally. It was so great to reminisce about different places in Ames like Taco Time (my favorite to this day!) and remembering the tv show The Magic Window! The book started me on my own journey of memories and when I finished reading it today, I sat down and startd writing down places and activities I did with my friends in Ames. My son will be a senior at Iowa State this fall and his being there gives me an excuse to go back and revisit old haunts. The girls and their friendship have endured many happy and sad memories but what an example they have set for their own children and society in general. Thank you for the beautiful gift of this book and allowing me to get to know these girls. Thanks for the memories, ladies!

(443) Mary Pat Kinney
Fri, 16 July 2010 19:58:41 +0000

I finished reading this book, while on vacation in Minnesota. I was attracted to this because I am blessed to have 3 good friends from Iowa, as well. We call ourselves "Babes in the Woods". For 19 years, we have met at Platte River State Park outside of Omaha. One lives in Iowa, 2 of us in the Kansas City area, and 1 in Durango, Co. We, too, have shared many of lifes hills and valleys, from births, divorce, 2nd marriages, 12 step recovery, child w/cancer, caregiving and death of parents, and grandparenting. 2 of us met while in college, and the others' as young mothers. We email throughout the year, and feel our 3-4 days together in the fall is precious. We celebrate our birthdays, as 3 of us are October gals. Nothing like the history and bond of these friends.

(442) Bonnie Esperanca
Wed, 14 July 2010 21:59:29 +0000

My girls and I grew up in small rural towns in Northern California. Our high school was made up of kids that came from all the little towns that made up the county. So on our first day of high school when Erin, Lori, Melanie and I realized that we had every single class together, we figured we better be friends. We experienced the hormonal ups and downs of being a teenager together and had our share of heartbreak and triumphs. And we struggled with our identities as girls becoming women. But when Melanie’s mom passed away when were 15, I like to think that we helped raise each other.

When we graduated from high school in 1994 we all went our separate ways-went to college, started our careers or got married. But when you come from a small town, everyone still knows everything about each other and you never really lose touch. But about 5 years ago, the four of us started to reconnect on a more regular basis-largely due to the convenience of email and the internet. Over the last few years, each Monday morning, no matter where we are, one of us sends out a “Weekend Update” email sharing the events of the weekend or just the latest and greatest. Sometimes it’s a race to see who can get it out first, and sometimes our busy schedules don’t allow us to reply for a few days but we do it. And while it can seem like we are gloating, it’s mainly about the wonderful life we have and our desire to share it with each other. We make a point to see each other every few months and some of us see each other more than the other but we always commit to an annual Girls Weekend. No spouses or kids –just a long weekend away where we can be silly teenagers again, share inside jokes (Brown Chicken Brown Cow), flirt with Mr. _______(insert city name), and make new memories. We have gotten flack from other friends for not including them but this is weekend is ours. I have purchased a copy of this book for each of them and plan on giving it to them during our weekend in September.

After over 20 years of friendship the 4 of us are all very different women, but that’s what makes our relationship special and I KNOW how truly blessed I am to have them to share my life with.

(441) susan rubin
Tue, 13 July 2010 02:14:19 +0000

literally just finished the book. LOVED IT!!! sent all of my friends an email telling them to please read the book. i have many amazing friends that are not all connected but i could relate to every page of the book. thank you for this special book and thanks to the girls from ames for sharing their story.....

(440) Mary Mazzoni
Sat, 10 July 2010 19:18:14 +0000

Thank you for telling your story. It brought back so many memories. I have been friends with three girls who grew up with me since we were about four or five years old. (We were born in 1962, 63 and 64) Through the years we have gone to college, gotten married and now we each have three children. We have shared those happy times, as well as the death of my baby and the deaths of some of our parents. We have recently started meeting again regularly to catch up and share laughs. No matter how long it has been since we talked, it is always as if we haven't been apart. So many people are amazed (and envious I think) that we have each other. No one knows you like the girls you grew up with!

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