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.
(229) Lois T Wilson
Fri, 7 August 2009 07:27:30 +0000

I have just finished this wonderful book of friendship...& have loved reading the comments...I'm in my mid-eighties, but THINK FORTY...stay busy with volunteering...I have had one REALLY close friend...from days in Evanston,IL when my husband went to NU on the GI Bill. My dear friend,Betty, was my neighbor & her husband was already a Professor...NU made it possible for us to live w/graduate students, because our son, Alan was born in 1947...I was from SA TX. Betty was from Pasadena, CA. In 1968 my husband as an engineer, was transferred from West TX to CA. I left 2 children at UT Austin...didn't want to leave TEXAS, but I would be near my friend Betty again
Betty & Alan are both gone now...Alan was killed in a motorcycle accident in CO Aug 2002 & Betty died suddenly Aug 2005... unexpected losses in my life.
I'm so pleased to find this up-date site...our Downey Library book club meets next week & I can't wait to share The Girls from Ames...My best wishes to all the girls.!!! Lois Wilson

(228) Judy
Thu, 6 August 2009 22:52:00 +0000

I just finished Girls from Ames and did enjoy it. While I have friends from different times in my life, I do regret that I don't have the deep "group" friendships that they and the people writing on this site enjoy. Sometimes I attribute it to the fact that I never had children, it is certainly hard to make friends in the suburbs being "childfree". Whatever the reason, I have always felt that lack.Thanks for an entertaining and touching look into their lives, I hope they are followed in the future.

(227) Ellen Urda
Thu, 6 August 2009 13:55:22 +0000

Girls from Ames meet the Girls from Wittenberg (that is Wittenberg University, in Springfield Ohio.) I could not believe it when I read a book review in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 about the book "The Girls From Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship." My disbelief, and excitement was generated from the fact that I was in final planning phases of organizing a get together for 11 women who became friends in 1977 during our freshman year at college, and pledging the Kappa Delta sorority. We have remained in constant contact (in varying degrees), and have gotten together on a regular basis (trying to do so in 5 year increments) since graduation. This special gathering was to mark our passage into the "half century club" as we all share 1959 birthdays, and such all turning 50 this year.

Our group of 11 met in Saugatuck, Michigan in mid-July. We had representation from Texas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Sadly, the friend who would have made us a dozen strong was unable to attend due to the complications of work, economics, gravely ill parent, and last child heading off to college. A destination planning team (DPT}, as three of us were coined, organized the long weekend, complete with purchase of 12 copies of the book!

The book, in addition to many other party favors - in a special gift tote - were handed out upon arrival. Having the books in advance I was able to inscribe all copies with a special message to each one of the dear women. In Michigan the 11 copies were passed around like yearbooks (as was the 12th copy for the absent friend.) All of us left the weekend with so many great memories, and a few too hours sleep - oh well. . . but one of the lasting memories will be our books with what I refer to as a "group hug." One friend who after reading, and very much enjoying the book, wrote to state. . . . "the best part, of course, is having the inscriptions to peek at when the need for a little KD friendship injection arises!"

There is so much a want to tell you about these girls, Karen R, Sharie, Caren, Sue, Mary, Barb, Karen T, Marcia, Nancy, Patty, and Laurie (in birthday order ) but I must drive my son to his SAT prep class! Know that we too have that special bond that you have enjoyed. We too have built that extraordinary friendship. We are as well a remarkable story, with the photo evidence to prove it. . . .I would love to share our group photo from our reunion!

Thank you for your book, and more importantly for the validation of the powerful nature of the friendship of women.

Most Sincerely,

Ellen Urda

(226) Martha Gresham
Wed, 5 August 2009 14:34:17 +0000

I started the book last night, hated to put it down. But did, could not sleep, so I got up at 4:00 AM and finished the book.

There is only one really good friend from high school that I am still in touch with. We have gone a couple of years not being in touch, but when we do get together, it's like it was yesterday. She's moved back to our hometown, so I get to see her lots.

I retired from my job in 2001, got involved with The Sweet Potato Queens, and have found some of the best friends I ever had. We are from TX, AL, GA, CA, AR, FL, MS, OK, and I'm sure I'm missing a couple of states. But, we are "sisters' of the heart. We have a private message board and often have get togethers around the country. We have a beach week set up for October and we are all waiting for that week to get here. We have met up in Las Vegas for a wonderful weekend. If anyone ever announces they have a trip planned - beware - some of us will jump right in and go too. Some of us are going on a cruise to the Med next spring. They are who I turn to when my heart is breaking or I just need something funny to make me smile.

I also have my "Book Buds" - our reading group. Several of us have bonded and I cannot imagine having them in my life.

I cannot tell you how many "adopted" sisters I have, in addition to my "real" ones - 4 of them.

My husband and I are leaving in the morning for a trip to IL, IA, and NE. (We are trying to get to all the states and will only have 6 left after this trip.) Best part is, I will be only 30 minutes from Ames, so we plan a detour to go there!

Loved the book and all the characters. That is what they are to me - good, funny, sweet, tart, and everything a girl should be.

I'm thinking you could have a wonderful book with the responses that are written here.

(225) Traci
Tue, 4 August 2009 05:03:52 +0000

I was given this book this summer on July 9th, as my friends and I gathered at my friend Sharri's home to give her support and comfort. She had lost her 16 year old daughter in a car accident on June 8th. We get together every year, but this time was an unexpected reunion. For those of us who couldn't make the funeral we knew we HAD to go as soon as we could. I had planned on giving it to "the girls" next summer at our gathering (we had agreed on Nappa), but it was sitting in the bedroom Sharri had prepared for my friend Sue and I. She gave us each a copy. As I read it I couldn't believe how it paralelled our live growning up in Fergus Falls, Mn. When I got to page 266 I stopped dead in my tracks. The story of Karla's husband taking the Ames Girls for a boat ride, and making them lunch (after the death of Christie) was beyond belief. We had just had this exact same experience with Jack (Sharri's wonderful husband)as we struggled to accept Lilly's death. I immediately sent Sharri a text asking her if she had read that page yet. I think what struck me most was how the "girls from Ames" always found laughter, even in the dark. My friends and I have the good fortune of that same bond. We shared many tears that weekend, but managed a couple good laughs as well. I thank the girls for sharing their story. It's an inspiration, but very familiar to me.

(224) Leslie S
Tue, 4 August 2009 00:35:14 +0000

I am a 1982 graduate of Iowa State and grew up in northwest Iowa. I currently live in Dallas. The book did a tremendous job of documenting the Ames Girl's experiences and also my history. I detassled corn in the summers, went to the keg parties, and attended the concerts at Hilton Coliseum. Much of the book was a walk down memory lane.

The story about the naming of Jack Trice stadium was the first part of the book where I got choked up. It was unexpected and brought a flood of memories from my days at school. The story about the football player resonated strongly with me at 19 and even more today.

I have alwasy known that the work ethic, values and relational bonds of the people of Iowa are a gift to learn from. Thanks for sharing this view for others.

Now in my forties with children drifting off to college, I am also looking at the next chapter of my life and recognize that it will be the friendship of women that will sustain and drive me forward. Pain and suffering may come (it is all in the statistics right?) but as women we can join together to weather these storms.

The book came to me from my friend and I am grateful to her for letting me know about it. I will extend the favor and pass it to my mother and my other friends. I will also share it with my three daughters so they can better know their mother and the importance of building true relationships that can span a lifetime.

(223) Ronnie Vacchina
Mon, 3 August 2009 23:47:39 +0000

We are a group of seven. I suppose for the want of a better name, we could be called the Stonehill girls. Yes, Jane, your Stonehill. In September of 1964 the seven of us met on that small catholic college campus, and for forty-five years we have maintained a connection that is deeper than a family connection.
Two of us lived together in off campus housing because there was no girls' dormitory. Kathy and I were put in the same house because we came from furthest away. Kathy was from Maryland and I was from the Berkshires. Yes Jane, that Berkshires. (By the way, there is cell phone reception here. You don't have to climb to the top of Jiminy Peak.) In that first semester, four other girls, Maria, Mary, Roberta, and Barbara became our close friends, confidantes and drivers. In the sixties only the commuters had cars. Joan came the next year as a transfer student. Like the Girls from Ames, we stuck out and everyone knew us. Everyone thinks the sixties were full of students rebelling and organizing. We never rebelled against anything although we did participate in a "Love-In", which on a Catholic campus is a very tame occasion. I could ramble on forever telling about the trench coat crowd (boys,)the essence of Stonehill-the smell from the leach fields and other memories. But I won't.
I was struck so much by the parallels when I read the book. In our twenties we were busy with jobs (careers came later,) marriages and children. Now,gulp,in our sixies we have more timeand money to meet. We get together once or twice a year and always at the reunions.
One never married, one never had children, one had cancer, one has two special needs children, several of us have had husbands or children with cancer. No one has divorced and thank the Lord we are all still here.

(222) Kathy Abbott
Mon, 3 August 2009 22:21:13 +0000

I just finished reading The Girls From Ames and absolutely loved it!! I grew up in Altoona, Iowa, am 45 and found this book comforting of my childhood memories as well as the connections of so many high school girlfriends that I remain friends with today. My husband is an ISU graduate. My niece and nephew currently go to ISU. We love getting to Ames! What beautiful country.
One of my "adult life" girlfriends gave me this book as she thought I'd enjoy it. Her and I participate every year in The Breast Cancer 3-Day 60-Mile Walk along with 4 other friends. Since 2005, we have raised nearly $140,000.00 that goes towards breast cancer education, research, treatment and awareness programs. We walk for all families that have had this diagnosed to a loved one. Kelly and Angela ~~ stay strong, lean on your beloved sisters, all their e-mails, flowers, words of encouragement, and love that comes your way.
May you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. We will be walking this year in your honor!

Kathy (Murphy) Abbott
1982 SEP Graduate
Altoona, Iowa (then)
Chandler, AZ (now)

(221) Renee
Mon, 3 August 2009 17:08:58 +0000

I was sorry to finish reading "The Girls from Ames" because I was so caught up in their life stories. I'm pleased to know there is this site where updates are posted and I can find out how the girls are doing. It's a testament to a good author that the reader would feel so involved in the story as to want it to continue.
I wanted to share a bit of my story, though it's not nearly as remarkable as the girls' from Ames.
2010 will be the 50th anniversary of the friendship I share with my lifelong best friend, Sheila. We met when she moved in two houses down from us when my family lived in Indiana. We were 8 years old and have remained best friends ever since though we've never lived close by again. At one point we went 20 years without even seeing one another. We're thinking of celebrating with a cruise or trip to Disney World if we can find a way. Both our lives have been turned upside down by hardship caused by the economy.

I have moved many, many times all over the country throughout my life and have made other "best friends", no less valuable to me than Sheila. Linda, my best friend since Junior High, and I remain close and stay in contact. I have another friend I met in 1971 when we were both young mothers and we share emails daily. She's a wonderful friend and a woman I greatly admire for the valiant way she faced down horrendous tragedies in her life and thrived in spite of them.
Then I have Daphne, an older woman I met over 27 years ago when I moved to Virginia and she is a combination of mother, sister and best friend to me. I don't know what I'd do without her.
This book will touch hearts of women all over the world who have ever had a close enduring friendship whether within a group of other women or one on one. I for one thank you for all the memories it invoked of my friendships. When I finished reading the book I immediately called my BFFs and let them know how thankful I am to have them in my lives.

(220) Sam
Mon, 3 August 2009 14:10:03 +0000

I just finished "The Girls from Ames" and kept thinking it was the girls from my town! We've lost a "niece" to Leukemia, fought with a sister through breast cancer, and have had a couple divorces as well. What MY girls have learned is that we are ALWAYS there for each other! And it is such a relief to just BE and LAUGH with friends who KNOW ALL THE CRAP and you don't have to relive it every time you talk if you don't want to. My newer friends, whom I love, seem to want to fix every problem. That is very sweet, but the acceptance of what IS from my girls is so comforting.

Thank you, Mr Zaslow and the Girls for sharing your story and letting us know that there are sisters out there just like us!

(219) Amy
Mon, 3 August 2009 13:47:33 +0000

Hello! I am really enthralled with this book and feel as though I know the "girls." It is a unique story and hits home for me as I have one very close childhood friendship. We have been best friends since we were 7 years old. Paired up by an elementary school teacher because we were the only Jewish girls in the school, we have been through much together!! There is nothing like this kind of bond!
There is one thing that I came across in the book, however, that continues to bother me. The heart-wrenching story of Karla and Christie ripped out my heart! When Karla speaks about Judaism's outlook on death as described by Jane as final, you basically die and go back to the earth---I was taken aback. This is not Judaism's outlook on death. I am an observant Jew and though not an expert in the field, I know that the reform and conservative movement rarely delve into this matter. It is a shame, for so many people perpetuate this myth for lack of education on the subject. Judaism speaks about "ha'olam haba,"
The world to come. There are many varying commentaries on what this is. But I felt compelled to share this. Also, we believe in a form of reincarnation, believe it or not!! That you simply die is so off the mark!! The soul is a powerful thing and according to Judaism, never dies. Maybe the confusion started with our belief that we focus on the here and now on earth--doing as many mitzvot, good deeds, as we can. But our good deeds can elevate the souls of our ancestors as we often do them (the deeds) in their merit.
Please know that I am not an authority on this deep meaningful subject. I find it fascinating, however. I have read many books where this myth about no after-life has been perpetuated. I hope I shed a little light on the subject.
My heart goes out to Karla. Christie was a beautiful person. Whatever the afterlife truly is--I envision Christie's soul has made it an even better place. She was a gift to all and even to us readers. Thank-you Karla for allowing us a glimpse into your world.


(218) Yoomee
Sun, 2 August 2009 22:38:08 +0000

As a 40ish "girl", who grew up in a small town (Nevada)8 miles from Ames, I was drawn to this book when I saw it at the library. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. Of course it was fun to recognize the landmarks and activities ( I walked beans; I wasn't old enough to de tassle corn), but it was the authentic and caring voices that kept me turning the pages. I'd like to think that there are thousands of areas of the country that produce such genuine and grounded people. I know that I'm grateful for the few years I spent in the little towns of Iowa.

(217) Julie
Sun, 2 August 2009 06:54:27 +0000

Thank you for the open and honest account of true friendship. As I read, I found myself drifting back to Urbandale High School and the friendships that were nurtured there and continue to grow as we've moved on and out. This book encouraged me to make my "girls" a more important part of my life. We are all in our early 30s and, as the book mentions, involved in careers, marraiges, raising children, etc. We need to stay connected! And these days, we have Facebook to thank for that. A quick post on someone's wall or a comment on someone's photo album is just about all we have time for,'s something!

This book not only reminded me of the important friendships that I have and the necessity to keep them, it also educated me on the place I called home for 18 years. Central Iowa, though some may disagree, has a rich history that I wasn't even aware of. I spent one evening, while in the midst of the book, quizzing my husband and parents on the Pope's visit to Urbandale and on the naming of the Iowa State football field. I am so proud to call Iowa home and thank you for this positive, educating read!

(216) Joyce Kelly
Sat, 1 August 2009 04:39:58 +0000

A woman in my Tues. night women's church group couldn't have been more enthusiatic about this book, she highly recommended the book, which of course, made me anxious & excited to locate & start reading.. and not a easy feat, since the book has proved to be very popular & wasn't easy to find. In any case, my husband pointed out the book in Target & I got to reading! and reading! and reading! LOL.. "you guessed it"... I couldn't put it down.. I'm an only girl who is the Mom to 2 children, ages 30 & 24, the youngest is my daughter, so I've always preached the importance of "girlfriends", I know personally, they fill that void of a natural born sister. I've been quoted as saying something similiar to what the Ames girls were quoted.. Men come & go but your girlfriends will be there FOREVER.. soo true!
I LOVED THE BOOK and as much as I was anxious to finish it, I also hung on the end for as long as I could, knowing finishing the book would be bittersweet. Thank you Ames girls for all the wonderful stories that brough me joy, laughter, sadness & tears. The stories were all so uplifting. Although I don't see the girls I went to grade school with (K-6), I think of them often w/ happy thoughts. The friends I have from high school that I still keep in touch w/ are small but equally important, and of course, I have my friendships built in adulthood that I treasure & nurture w/ love and loyalty. So many stories in the book were similiar to memories of mine growing up.. (going to my grave w/ some of them)..LOL.. Above all the book re-inforces the importance of friendship, whether its 1, 11 ore more.. I loved all the girls, but my favorites were Sally, Karla & Kelly.. you all inspire me for different reasons. Kelly.... you & Angela will be in my prayers. Thank you Jeffrey Zaslow for a wonderful book. It was just like "being in Ames w/ all the girls"..
I've just passed on my book to a friend, for her visit to Ames!!

Joyce in CA
Fountain Valley, CA- Los Amigos H.S.- Class of 1977 (married 31 yrs to my h.s. sweetheart)
Formerly of Costa Mesa CA - shout out to the girls from Pomona Elementary.. Sandy S., Cornelia, Lori, Brenda, Sandi R.

(215) Pat
Fri, 31 July 2009 19:15:06 +0000

I enjoyed reading the book as I am also from a very small town in Iowa - West Branch. I was also an Ames girl, however a college girl, because I went to Iowa State in 1972-1975. There I met 3 girls who have become lifelong friends. We got the label "Cute and fun to be with" from some upperclassmen in our dorm at Linden Hall.

Now 34 years later. we still meet 2-3 times a year, usually in Chicago to hang out and have fun. When we get together, it is just like we were back in school. We fall seamlessly back into talking, shopping, sharing, and confiding.

I live in Ohio, one lives in Wisconsin, another in Iowa, and one lives in the Chicago area. Bewteen the 4 of us, there are 12 kids ranging down from 29-19. Three of our spouses were also from Iowa State.

We have had family get togethers when the kids were little, and three marriages of our kids. Sadly, we have had one funeral as one of the Iowa State husbands died of cancer.

This December will mark the first grandmother as the Iowa girl is expecting her first grandchild!

We have had blessed friendships and despite the distances, we have been much more than just Christmas card friends.

Patty - Iowa State - Class of 1975

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