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.
(244) Tracey
Mon, 24 August 2009 00:57:37 +0000

I absolutley LOVED this book and these ladies! I am 31 and I saw myself and my friends in the characters. I grew up in a small town and have maintained wonderful friendships with girls I met as a child and girls I met in high school. This book brought back so many good memories from my own growing up and it encouraged me to keep building those lifelong friendships. I love how the Ames girls meet at each others houses yearly, what a great idea! Thank-you for sharing your story with the world! I appreciate it! I have been telling everyone to read this book! :)

(243) Kathi F.
Fri, 21 August 2009 00:34:17 +0000

I just finished reading this wonderful book. At times, it was as if I were reading excerpts from my own life with my group of friends (let's call us the "Girls from Campbell" - class of 1985). Some started friendships in elementary school, some came in as late as freshman year of high school. We WERE a group of 10 (technically could have been 11, our dear friend drifted from us early in high school, only to succumb to drugs and then AIDS in her early 20's). The remaining 10 dwindled, one just took another path in life and another is still close to a couple of us, but not the group as a whole. As with your group, we have had 11 husbands (one of our girls is still single) and 19 kids (one with no children yet and one with her first child at 41). For get-togthers, we are now only a group of 8, but those 8 share treasured times and create wonderful memories each year with our annual trip to Tahoe. We all still live within a 90 mile radius of eachother, with the exception of one who lives just one state away. The parallels we share with your cirlce of friends is quite interesting. Including a photo that we took in Tahoe in 2007, it is very similar to the cover of your book (would love to email it to one of you). We always considered ourselves a 'one of a kind' group, but when the group email was sent out (from one of th girls)to tell us all "you have to read this book". I was thrilled to see other CIRCLES that have stayed as close as us. Thank you for being couragous enough to share your stories, your lives, your heartaches and triumphs. We have always commented that "with the stories we share, we should write a book"... I think your book has given us the encouragement to at least start documenting our stories for eachother. Thanks!

(242) Jo Ann McNiel
Thu, 20 August 2009 13:59:07 +0000

I just read this book while I was on a "girlfriend tour" back home last week, to Springfield, OH, and shared this story with my high school girlfriends. Just yesterday, I sent an e-mail telling them that I would for us to start a "blog" sharing similar memories and stories, so I think this will be my winter project. One of our friends is seriously ill at the James Center at OSU in Columbus; she's making progress, but has such a long way to go to beat her lymphoma and to get her system strong enough to do so. Even though we had maintained connections over these many years (40 years since high school), Beth's struggle and spirit have glued us together even more strongly and reconnected even more of us. The book was given to me by Angela's aunt, Ursula Williams, and I am grateful to have read it, and to have this inspiration to connect even more deeply with my friends. I am recommending the book to my sister and sisters-in-law because of their strong bonds with life-long friends. I have also written to Oprah to ask her to do a show about this - I hope you hear from her!

(241) Beth
Tue, 18 August 2009 18:13:34 +0000

I absolutely loved the book! Thank you for sharing it with the rest of the world. I graduated from high school in 1981 so it felt like a step back in time for me. I parted ways in high school with my core group of friends after I was targeted in a way similar to Sally but I didn't have a supporter like Sally did. I know it was traumatic at the time but I managed to make new friends quickly and have no hard feelings about what happened. A part of me was sad while reading the book that I don't have any early childhood friends I stay in contact with but I'm a big believer in always being open to opportunities for new friends. I have made many great friends in college and adulthood with women of all ages. I bowl with a group of women that are old enough to be my mother but I really value the perspective on life these women bring to me. My relationship with these women is like having another Mom with none of the baggage! They call me their "young blood"! This group gives me hope because they spend very little time complaining about their life but focus on living it to the fullest. So my advice is to cherish and maintain your old friends but be open to new possibilities.

(240) Carolyn Showalter
Tue, 18 August 2009 04:14:30 +0000

I read your book while visiting my hometown in Canada for my sister's wedding. I finished it as we drove through the west part of Iowa on my way back to Kansas CIty. When I reached page forty I was sitting in my father's recliner. He was already in bed. I am approaching 40 and my father has been living with Alzheimer's for ten years. Two months ago my father told me mother he could not marry her. I cried reading those pages. I also saw my father walk my sister down the aisle at her wedding this weekend. He did not know there was a wedding the next day. He got sick this week and I took your book to the hospital and read there too. I too have a circle of friends I have held close for 27 years and I saw them on this trip as well. Your book has resonated with me greatly. God bless your friendship. Thanks for sharing it.

(239) Christine
Mon, 17 August 2009 05:52:23 +0000

I picked this book up at the library the other day, because the book about a longtime friendship captivated me. I'm a girl that has known her (1) of best friends since the day of playing with plastic pots with faces on them in a sandbox at the age of 5 in a trailer park in Kirkville, NY.
I also have another best friend Valerie whom I met in 4th grade (1974). We played "pencil people" together. total opposites. and then Karen in 7th grade. Sadly to say, I don't talke to that Karen much anymore. but I remember her all up into 12tth grade.
My point is? Oh I related so much. In a group of girls. We were called the Foursome Fearsome!!! not the Shit sistersd. but we have our stories. so needless to say, i CAN HONESTLY SAY Great book! and it will be on the best sellers list one day soon. You get a whole lotta mamas on the feed with that book. your history,. But please remember me. Chrissy,stina, tuck,fester, tucker, butch

(238) Faye Gregory
Sun, 16 August 2009 19:30:45 +0000

I picked up the book to read as I prepare to meet "the girls from Cordele" for our yearly get together. We were all born between March -July 1940! We all went to the same schools from K-12. College sent us various ways as did marriage and families. We met for HS reunions and at age 55, decided to meet yearly. This will be our 15th meeting. Like the Ames girls, we have had joy and sadness, cancer and deaths, but we remain close in ways only long friendships can weave. We spend a week at some resort or home and talk and talk and talk. It is as if we have never been apart as we are so comfortable in this space. Many envy us our ability to stay together after all the years and miles apart.
We are now 8 having lost one too soon.

(237) Cheryl Mesietrman
Sun, 16 August 2009 15:39:25 +0000

Dear Ladies,
Thank you for sharing your intimate stories with all of us faithful readers. I was sorry to come to the finish and want you to know that your touching words continue to flow through us.I am blessed with 4 friends, some from first grade, who meet yearly to kick up our heels in the fall leaves of N.C. We all graduated in 1970 from Haworth High school in Kokomo, Indiana. I am the "Jane" of the group and relish my e-mails, cards, chats, and laughter with these fine women, who have scattered physically yet we know we can be "there" when needed. The strength of friendship is difficult to place into words. So glad that you all contributed, with the nudging from Mr. Zaslow. Cheryl Meisterman

(236) Nicole Henry
Sun, 16 August 2009 04:03:16 +0000

Thank you so much for sharing such a compelling story. I feel as if I have lived part of this story in my own life, though I am only 18 years old.
For as long as I can remember, there have been five girls in my life who I consider to be my best friends, my family, my sisters. We have all grown up in a small town in central NY (I actually know where Hamilton College is and am quite familiar with Clinton)and have spent our childhoods bopping from one anothers' houses. Our parents call us "the neighborhood girls" and it is a name that sticks since we continue to call ourselves that in reference to each other.
Together we have weathered a number of storms through tears and laughter, hugs and tightly held hands. While we have been closer to certain girls at different times in our lives (there is a three year gap between the youngest and oldest), we have always had each other for advice, a shoulder to lean on, and laughs to be shared. I feel as if I cannot explain my life without mentioning these girls who have been an integral part of it.
This year, the last of "the neighborhood girls" are leaving for college. I am heading west to Rochester while our other recent graduate (who I call my twin given our uncanny resemblance) will be traveling across the country to attend a school in Washington. It will be the furthest any of us have ever been from each other. While I am moving closer to one friend, another is going farther.
I recently came upon "The Girls From Ames" while browsing the shelves at the library and was touched by the story it had to tell. Given the changes that are ahead of us, I found solace in the words of wisdom and experiencre told in those pages. I hope to one day look back on this time with my four best friends and laugh at the worries we've shared and the jokes we told just as the Girls from Ames have been able to do.

Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story with the world - it is truley and inspiration that I'm sure many - young and old - can relate to.

(235) Betty Hopp
Sat, 15 August 2009 23:59:52 +0000

I am an avid reader adn am always looking for a good read. I came to read the Ames girls by way of a relative of one of the Ames gals. My best friend is Cathy's cousin, Vicki, so natrually I just had to read it.

Deep long abiding friendships must run in Cathy's family..let me tell you about our group. I too am privileded to have a strong circle of lifetime friends. We are a bit ahead of the Ames girls as we are in our 60's now.

We also met in elementary school many years ago. We started out with a group of eight and by high school when Vicki, Cathy's cousin joined us we were ten strong. We also have shared every emotion possbile wiht eachother. We have always had our regular get togethers that started in junior high weekly.We all did marry, some divorced, some lost children, parents, siblings, faced devestating illness, plus lots of joyful times and events etc..we clung to eachother along the way. We have often joked that hey we should go on Oprah or write a book because if IT can happen in life it HAS happened to at least one of us.

Our families know and accept this unbreakable bond we have. They are on the outer ring of our cirlcle..knowing, caring, understanding but not on the inside.

We recently lost one of our "Girls". This has been very hard. She will alwasy be with us, we have too many memories to ever forget her in any way.

As I read the book it made me think so much of our "Girls Group'..the many fun times we had, all that we had shared, grwoing up together, sharing grief and loss, laughing until you wet your pants. The book brought so much back and I thank you for that.

We were almost a gemeration ahead of the Ames girls so some of our circumstances were different..times were different. That said I can truthfully say that we are all good strong smart women who truly feel blessed to have this special cirlce of love we have.

Cathy, Vicki found our group when she moved to Ohio and has been part of it ever since. So I must assume that she comes from that same good strong loyal family stock that you posess. She fit in like a glove. I was also lucky enough to meet your Mom and Dad on a visit to Vickis. We have had our friendship for many years some over 60 yes we understand your lovely special story very well indeed. Thanks for telling it !!!

Betty Hopp

(234) Jan Peters
Thu, 13 August 2009 12:54:39 +0000

I heard about the book in a women's magazine and thought I've got to read that since I am also from Iowa(but several yrs older than the girls) and then went to Iowa State University in Ames. It was like stepping back in time most definitely!! Amazing how so many things are so similar to other small towns in Iowa(the cornfield keggers, dashing like mad to have lunch off campus, etc) I probably ran across some of these girls myself since we loved Boyds Malt shop and it was known to have the best double thick chocolate malts in town!! Like many other readers, I'm amazed at the bond that was started and has grown through these thirty plus years. It's wonderful and I hope more women still reach out to other women at later points in their lives for support and wisdom.

(233) Shelley Potvin
Wed, 12 August 2009 22:19:06 +0000

I am part way through the book and felt compelled to find the website and comment.

Girls from Ames, meet the girls from Shawville: Nancy, Mary F, Kendra, Mary R, Shelley, Janice, Angie, Judie and Wanda. You have no idea how remarkably similar our journeys have been!

We were raised in a small town in Quebec, Canada. In our town of 1500 people you were born into friendships. The local doctor, my father in law, delivered many of us, including me! Two of our members are cousins. PS: Marilyn, your dad was so very much like my father in law.

We have been together since kindergarten. We straddle two grades in school (it was hard to come up with 9 girlfiends from one grade!). Like the Girls from Ames we bonded in grade school with individual friends, but by high school we were a team. And yes, we were often hated and despised by those we ignored. Only hindsight gives you clarity on that! Jeffrey you did such an insightful job of highlighting that issue. I regret that we did not have a cake made about us! Many of us would have peed our pants over a joke like that! We were not intentionally snobby, but we gave an air as such because of our deep ties.

We spent all weekends together, sharing cars (for which we had nicknames), jobs and yes, boyfriends! We very often piled into two cars and headed towards great adventures. Drive in movies, bush parties, house parties, school dances, sports events, concerts, name it, we were there. And we were there with arms locked and giggles aplenty.

We were in each other's weddings and have shared in the birth of many chidren. We have become teachers, accountants, social workers, human resources professionals and cops. Our close encounters with the law as teens led one of us to believe she knew enough about the profession to become one!

We know each other's birth homes intimately and we not only know each other's parents very well, but also grandparents and extended families. At our last get together the words "deeply rooted" kept coming to me over and over again. Our bond is thick, strong, long and deep. Like the Ames girls, we care very deeply for each other. As a child and teen I had no idea how special our relationship was. When I went off to university it felt so odd to be trying to make friends with people I did not know intimately. I kept marvelling at girls who could gain new friends when they didn't even know their parents or where they lived!

Perhaps our best gift to each other is laughter. One of our members is particulary witty and nicknamed most of us and everything we did. As mentioned we have names for the cars we drove as teens. We have names for some prominent characters from our lives. We even have names for actions and events! Thanks to Mary F, when we get together we laugh constantly over the memories these nicknames conjure up. The names add such texture to our bond.

We are all 43 or 44 now. We just spent a weekend at my house last summer and plan to see each other again in 2010. We are all over Eastern Canada but have seen each other in smaller groups since we left high school.

Girls from Ames and Jeffrey, your book and the familiar story in it will be a gift to my girlfreinds when we gather next. I know they will find it tender, powerful and as reflective of our lives as I did. Thank you so very much for sharing your story.

Shelley Potvin
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

(232) Sharon B
Sat, 8 August 2009 14:16:22 +0000

I just finished the book and it's similar to my experience.
We are a group of nine women who met in high school in 1962. We graduated in 1966 and call ourselves, "club '66."
We used to get together every month. Now, we get together every two months, but have our annual getaway every year.
It's truly a blessing to have friends who love you just as you are.

(231) stephanie
Sat, 8 August 2009 06:42:57 +0000

I just finished this amazing book! I am only 19 years old but felt like I was reading about my own life. I have a group of 13 best girl friends and although we haven't lived quit as long as all of the ames girls the similarities of all of their lives and ours up until college are almost scary they are so similar. I have known two of the 13 since before kindergarten and 6 of the others are the same, the last one of us came in 8th grade and we have all been inseparable for at least seven years. We all bring out the best in each other every day just like all the ames girls. We have grown to coin the title "the 13 girls". College has been really difficult for all of us because i think its safe to say we are closer than actually family. Regardless of what happens with us, smiles or tears we will always be there for each other just like the ames girls. I thought for sure that my group of girls was something extremely rare because i have never heard anyone else having more than 2 or 3 best friends. maybe it is, and I just have something special like the ames girls but i just wanted to write on here that this is an awesome book and the girls are just like mine.. perfect!

(230) Jenny Peters
Fri, 7 August 2009 19:25:11 +0000

Just finished reading The Girls From Ames and loved every bit of it. "I'm from" Alleman which is a small town 15 miles south of Ames and graduated from ISU in 1998 so I feel like I could relate with part of the book. I too had many close friends in high school but with all of us going to different colleges, some having kids earlier than others, etc. we grew apart. I'm sending this to one of those friends, putting a list of who to send to next and hoping that in the end we too can rekindle our friendships and meet yearly (or more) like the Ames girls do. It's a part of life missing, there's nothing like the girlfriends from grade/high school. Thanks for opening up your lives for "us", it was a joy to read about yours.

In Quincy, IL now,
Jenny Peters

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